ST 3203 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3203 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3203

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 12th Mar 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Dada has given us a slightly tough Sunday puzzle but overall an enjoyable one and now I present to you a full review of the puzzle. Hope to have your precious feedback and comments.

‘Whistler’s Mother’, the answer to the clue of 3d, was painted by the American-born, British-based painter, James Abbott McNeill Whistler in oils on canvas in 1871. The name ‘Mother’ touched my heart and I became inquisitive to know much more about this masterpiece of Whistler and thus a trip to the net became inevitable. I learnt that ‘Whistler’s Mother’ is a revered and often parodied portrait of motherhood; its subject being Whistler’s mother herself. She was Anna Matilda McNeill, born in 1804 to Charles Daniel McNeill and Martha Kingsley McNeill. After her marriage to George Washington Whistler in 1831, she became Anna Matilda (née McNeill) Whistler and after her death in 1881, Whistler adopted her pre-marriage surname, placing it before his own surname. The painting is 56.81 inches by 63.94 inches. It has been variously described as an American icon, a Victorian ‘Mona Lisa’ etc. Incidentally, ‘Whistler’s Mother’, the more affectionately-called and celebrated name, is not the original name of the painting. It was entitled, ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black’. The work was shown at the 104th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Art in London in 1872. The audience of the Victorian era was not ready to accept a portrait exhibited as an ‘arrangement’. That led to the addition of the explanatory title and it was renamed as ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother’. It was due to this development a simpler name ‘Whister’s Mother’ came to be on everyone’s lips that subsequently displayed it charismatic power of endurance. After the painting was viewed by Thomas Carlyle, a leading Scottish writer of the Victorian era, he agreed to sit for a similar composition and it was given the name ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle’. Thus, the previous iconic painting became, by default, ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother’. Needless to mention, Whistler’s first touchstone painting too, entitled, ‘Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl’ of 1862 was a sensation at the ‘Salon des Refusés’ in Paris in 1863.

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8a    Which person comes to a stop? (4)
WHOA: WHO (which person) as what or which person or persons used as an interrogative pronoun meets (comes to) A from the clue, taking to the definition of an exclamation used to tell a horse to stop or a person to stop what they are doing or to do it more slowly

9a    Winner smashed (3)
HIT: Double definition; the first being a noun referring to a successful and popular person or thing or a successful venture, especially a film, pop record or song and the second a verb in the past tense meaning attacked someone very violently or came into violent contact with someone or something

10a    Ed Banks dead happy! (6)
ELATED: ED from the clue edges or surrounds (banks) LATE (dead) as an adjective meaning no longer alive, leading to the definition of another adjective meaning ecstatically happy

11a    Group granny knocked over in French city (6)
NANTES: A combo of SET (group) as a group or collection of things that belong together or resemble one another or are usually found together and NAN (granny) as one of the pet names for a grandmother overturned from normal position (knocked over) as a reversal in the across clue furnishes the definition of the sixth largest city of France that is in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire

12a    Tip back mixed drink (8)
COCKTAIL: A charade of COCK (tip) as to tilt something in a particular direction or to turn up or to one side and TAIL (back) as the back end or the hindmost part of an animal leads to the definition of a mixed drink containing spirits and other liquors

13a    Remarkably hip soul, me: accent that’s fine and clipped (6,9)
PENCIL MOUSTACHE: An anagram (remarkably) of HIP SOUL, ME: ACCENT guides to the definition of a fine and neatly-clipped moustache found adjacent to or a little above the lip

15a    ‘Island‘ composed by Gershwin? (7)
MADEIRA: MADE (composed) as composed or drawn up something written or abstract is followed by (by) IRA (Gershwin) as the first name of the American lyricist, Ira Gershwin, who was also the first lyricist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, taking to the definition of one of the islands of Portugal that is also the largest and most populous of the Madeira Archipelago

17a    Spirit that is observed on board ship in pictures (7)
SELFIES: A combo of ELF (spirit) as a supernatural being of folktales and IE (that is) as the abbreviation of the Latin term id est meaning ‘that is’ or ‘that is to say’ is seen inside (observed) SS (on board ship) as the abbreviation for steamship that is a ship propelled by a steam engine, arriving at the definition of self-portrait photographs, typically taken with a digital camera or smart phone, which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick

20a    Old mechanism in car’s weird: scheme failing (10,5)
ARCHIMEDES’ SCREW: An anagram (failing) of CAR’S WEIRD SCHEME guides to the definition of a machine historically used for transferring water from a place of lower elevation to another at a higher elevation

23a    Surface that’s huge covering borders in Egypt (8)
COSMETIC: COSMIC (huge) as inconceivably vast taking in (covering) the outermost letters (borders) in E[GYP]T guides to the definition of an adjective meaning involving or producing an apparent or superficial concession, improvement etc without any real substance to it

25a    Not okay being warm, possibly? (6)
UNCOOL: A charade of UN (not) as a prefix meaning not or denoting the absence of a quality or state and COOL (okay) as a colloquial term for an adjective meaning acceptable guides to the definition of another adjective meaning not cool and thus cryptically or possibly warm

26a    Field something round (6)
SPHERE: Double nounal definition; the second referring to a solid figure that is completely round, with every point on its surface at an equal distance from the centre that leads to the first denoting an area or field of activity, interest or expertise

27a    Sailor in fact a rating (3)
TAR: Part of or hidden inside (in) [FAC]T A R[ATING] guides to the definition of a colloquial term for a sailor

28a    Wine took off (4)
ROSE: Double definition; the second being a verb in the past tense meaning went high up into the air or moved from a lower position to a higher one that takes to the first a noun referring to a pinkish table wine produced either by removing red grape skins or by mixing red and white wines, early in fermentation; its written version rosé maintaining the ‘e’ with an acute accent, as originally in French


1d    Literary group becomes ragged on the radio? (6)
PHRASE: A homophone as heard by the audience (on the radio) of FRAYS (becomes ragged) as becomes worn or ragged at the edge, especially of a fabric, rope or cord leads to the definition of a group of words that make up a grammatical construction and expresses a particular idea or meaning

2d    Pressure on what could be the atom (8)
PARTICLE: P (pressure) as the symbol for pressure in physics is placed upon (on) ARTICLE (what could be the) as referring to either an indefinite article ‘a’ or ‘an’ or the definite article ‘the’ in grammar in the down clue, arriving at the definition of one of the very small parts of matter or a minute piece of anything

3d    Painting of kettle and cake (9,6)
WHISTLER’S MOTHER: A charade of WHISTLER (kettle) as a whistling kettle whose spout is fitted with a device that gives a whistling sound when steam escapes through it, indicating that the water in it is boiling and SMOTHER (cake) as to form an impenetrable cover over something guides to the definition of the celebrated painting of the American-born, British-based painter, James Whistler that represents the peak of his radical method of modulating tones of single colours and the model of which was his own mother

4d    Pleat pinned by boy, firmly attached (5,2)
STUCK ON: TUCK (pleat) as to make a flattened, stitched fold in a garment or material, typically so as to shorten or tighten or for decoration held (pinned) by SON (boy) as a boy or man in relation to either or both of his parents, arriving at the definition of an informal idiom meaning very fond of or very attracted to someone

5d    Cheese on conventional board game property (9,6)
LEICESTER SQUARE: LEICESTER (cheese) as a kind of mild, firm orange cheese originally made in Leicestershire is placed upon (on) SQUARE (conventional) as old-fashioned or boringly conventional in the down clue, arriving at the definition of a yellow property in the UK version of the classic Monopoly board game

6d    Repeated words making chap with skill uplifted (6)
MANTRA: MAN (chap) as an adult human male and (with) ART (skill) as a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice taken upwards (uplifted) as a reversal in the down clue lead to the definition of a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation, as originally in Hinduism and Buddhism, or a statement or slogan repeated frequently

7d    OT character in trouble, vindicated (4)
LEVI: Part of or hidden inside (in) [TROUB]LE VI[NDICATED] guides to the definition of the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob as mentioned in the Old Testament

14d    Weed with no name, ultimately (3)
HOE: The ultimate or final letters (ultimately) of [WIT]H [N]O [NAM]E provide the definition of a verb meaning to weed, cultivate or thin a crop

16d    Show what goes over one’s ‘ead? (3)
AIR: Double definition; the second being a noun referring to the Cockney way of pronouncing a hair as ‘air that grows on or goes over a person’s ‘ead that is head; an apostrophe replacing the beginning letter ‘h’ when in written form that takes to the first a verb meaning to broadcast a programme on radio or television

18d    Deal with eccentric king or queen, say (4,4)
FACE CARD: The definition of a playing card bearing, for example, the face of a king, queen or jack is arrived at from a charade of FACE (deal) as to confront and deal with or accept a difficult or unpleasant task, fact or situation and CARD (eccentric) as a comical or eccentric person

19d    Train due, ETA adjusted to accommodate first of cancellations (7)
EDUCATE: An anagram (adjusted) of DUE ETA to take in (accommodate) the first or initial letter (first) of C[ANCELLATIONS] leads to the definition of a verb meaning to train someone by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade or profession

21d    Little pig, quite possibly, in play? (6)
HAMLET: A combo of HAM (pig) as a bit of salted or smoked meat from the upper part of a pig’s leg and -LET (little) as a noun suffix used to form diminutives is denoting a small bit of ham or little pig in a humorous way somewhat (quite possibly), arriving at the definition of a dramatic work of William Shakespeare for the stage in the form of a tragedy that is also his longest play with 29,551 words

22d    Say, I’m so amazing — is that it? (6)
EGOISM: EG (say) as the abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia meaning ‘for example’ followed by an anagram (amazing) of I’M SO takes to the definition of the fact of being excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself or thinking only about oneself and considering oneself better and more important than other people

24d    Roof off chicken houses — oh dear (4)
OOPS: [C]OOPS (chicken houses) as cages or pens in which poultry are kept is without its head or topmost letter (roof off) that leads to the definition of an interjection used typically to express mild apology, surprise, or dismay

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 8a, 10a, 13a, 15a, 17a, 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 18d, 21d and 22d; the best of the lot being 3d. Thanks once again to BD for the encouragement, to Dada for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Looking forward to being here again. Have a wonderful day.

2 comments on “ST 3203 (full review)

  1. Many thanks as always, Rahmat, for your most comprehensive and interesting review and also for the details you researched on Whistler and his famous masterpiece – I knew the picture but not the background – fascinating! For me this was not one of Dada’s most challenging puzzles but very enjoyable and a little general knowledge was definitely required. My favourite clue was also 3d – apart from the painting the clue evoked happy memories of the whistling kettle of my childhood. My least favourite clue had to be 25a – ‘cool’ in that sense is bad enough for me, but ‘uncool’ – maybe it’s just that I’m old-fashioned! Thanks again and best wishes from England.

    1. Thank you once again, PeakyC, for liking my review. I am delighted to learn that 3d evoked happy memories of the whistling kettle of your childhood. I think we all recall much more of our childhood days than of the other days. At this moment, I am having fond memories of Ramadan which I have been observing by fasting for one month every year since my childhood days and which I have never missed in life. Here the month of Ramadan has just started. I saw the moon a few hours ago and am going to fast for a month. Thanks again for your reply and best wishes to you from India.

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