ST 3209 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

ST 3209 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3209

A full review by Rahmat Ali

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

This puzzle was published on 23rd Apr 2023

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

Greetings from Kolkata. An excellent Sunday puzzle of Dada that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a full review of his puzzle for your kind perusal and important feedback.

‘Hairy’, the answer to the clue of 23a, is doubly defined. The second one refers to the probable characteristic feature of the armpits. No doubt the hair of the armpits is rightly called the armpit hair. But there are other names for it, too, such as the underarm hair or axillary hair.

‘Banana republic’, the answer to the clue of 7d, has an interesting history. A Wellfleet sea captain, Lorenzo Dow Baker, unloaded a cargo in June 1870 that would shape the course of history. By bringing the first bananas into the United States, he laid the foundation for the United Fruit Company, legendary maker of fortunes, fortress of political power and icon of global capitalism. He bought the bananas in Jamaica and when he landed at Jersey City, a wholesale grocer alone bought all his 608 bunches. Amazed at the tidy profit he earned, he immediately sailed back to Port Antonio and had 1408 bunches of bananas packed for him to be sold at Boston, where he not only earned a whopping 1000% profit, but also formed a partnership within a few days of his arrival. He, along with his partner, rounded up enough investors to capitalise an import firm they called the Boston Fruit Company. Jamaica became a single-purpose economy to the United States. As the Company later expanded into Cuba and the Dominican Republic, it was rechristened United Fruit Company in 1899. By introducing Americans to the banana, the fruit companies of the United States exploited the economies of small tropical nations to cash in on the newly popular fruit. These powerful companies essentially controlled Honduras and other countries politically, making them so-called ‘banana republics’, soon after the term ‘banana republic’ had been coined in 1904 by the writer, William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name O. Henry in 1904 to describe a fictional country ‘Anchuria’ modelled on Honduras. In his collection of short stories called ‘Cabbages and Kings’, he mentions ‘Anchuria’ in one of them as a ‘small, maritime banana republic’. In course of time, a ‘banana republic’ came to be regarded as a small country that is political unstable and whose economy is dominated by foreign companies and depends on one export, such as bananas. Today, the term is used, more broadly, for despotic nations with limited resources. On the other hand, the ‘banana’ of ‘banana republic’ has an interesting etymology in the Arabic language. Based on the notion that banana is a fingerlike fruit in a bunch which is called a hand, the Arabs call it ‘banaan almauz’ or ‘finger of banana’, where ‘banaan’ means ‘finger’ or ‘fingerlike’ and ‘mauz’ means ‘banana’. However, the Europeans took only the word ‘banaan’ and the fruit came to be called as ‘banana’ that is now heard in most languages of Europe like Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Croatian, to name a few, as also in some languages of Asia like Korean and Japanese.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Wise guy hurt, plonker initially poking nasty wound (11)
SMARTYPANTS: The definition of a know-it-all or someone who obnoxiously and frequently attempts to assert perceived superiority in intelligence is arrived at from SMART (hurt) as a verb meaning to feel or cause a sharp stinging pain, especially of a wound or part of the body followed by the first or initial letter (initially) of P[LONKER] getting inside (poking) an anagram (wound) of NASTY

9a    Play one of those perfect union men (2,5,7)
AN IDEAL HUSBAND: A charade of AN (one of those) as one of the indefinite articles, used before a vowel sound, IDEAL (perfect) as perfect or most suitable and HUSBAND (union man) as a man who has united with a woman to form couple through union or the state of wedlock leads to the definition of the name of a four-act play by Oscar Wilde that revolves around blackmail and political corruption and touches on the themes of public and private honour

11a    Long, first of holes in one (4)
ACHE: The definition of a verb meaning to yearn or long is arrived at from the first or initial letter (first) of H[OLES] placed inside (in) ACE (one) as the one in dice, cards, dominoes etc

12a    Opening bars in Spain troublesome (5)
INTRO: Part of or hidden inside (bars in) [SPA]IN TRO[UBLESOME] guides to the definition of a contraction of introduction, used especially of the opening passage of a jazz or popular music piece

13a    Cordial evidently unrefrigerated? (4)
WARM: The definition of an adjective meaning having or showing enthusiasm, affection or kindness is cryptically proven from the situation of something that is not refrigerated or not allowed to keep cool or chilled in a refrigerator

16a    Reformed sinner, he is put in sacred place (8)
ENSHRINE: An anagram (reformed) of SINNER HE takes to the definition of a verb meaning to contain or keep in a place that is highly admired and respected or to hold as sacred

17a    Country where Tibetan priest, losing head, follows God (6)
PANAMA: [L]AMA (Tibetan priest) as a title given to a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual teacher, monk or priest without its first or head letter (losing head) preceded by (follows) PAN (God) as the god of pastures, flocks and woods in ancient Greek religion and mythology, arriving at the definition of a transcontinental country spanning the southern part of Northern America and the northern part of South America

19a    Run through beginning of recitative in musical work (6)
PIERCE: The definition of a verb meaning to run into or through as a pointed weapon does is arrived at from the first or starting letter (beginning) of R[ECITATIVE] that is placed inside (in) PIECE (musical work) as a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic composition

20a    Diagnose rash in US city (3,5)
SAN DIEGO: An anagram (rash) of DIAGNOSE guides to the definition of the eighth-most populous city of the United States situated on the Pacific Ocean coast of Southern California and sharing its border with Mexico

22a    Fire pocket (4)
SACK: Double definition; the first being an informal verb meaning to dismiss from employment and the second a noun denoting a bag in which agricultural produce is sold, used as a measure for trading

23a    Frightening, as armpits may be? (5)
HAIRY: Double adjectival definition, the second referring to the probable characteristic feature of the hollow under the arm of each shoulder of a person as being covered with hair when they hit puberty that leads to the first an informal term meaning frightening, risky or dangerous, especially in a way that is exciting

24a    Squeeze toe on massive giant (4)
HUGE: HUG (squeeze) as to clasp close with the arms or embrace followed by one of the terminal digits of the human foot (toe) that signifies the last letter on [MASSIV]E, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning vast, enormous, colossal or gigantic

27a    Wonderful to be far from our home? (3,2,4,5)
OUT OF THIS WORLD: Double definition; the second meaning to be far, far away from our home, the earth or the planet we live in that leads to the first an idiom denoting extremely enjoyable or impressive

28a    Easy job coming to stop in building unit (11)
BREEZEBLOCK: BREEZE (easy job) as a thing that is easy to do or accomplish, often unexpectedly and without difficulty moving closer towards (coming to) BLOCK (stop) as to stop something moving through or along something, arriving at the definition of a lightweight building brick made from small cinders mixed with sand and cement


2d    Football club, northern champions at the top in richest team formed ultimate in plutocracy? (10,4)
MANCHESTER CITY: A combo of the topmost letter (at the top) each of N[ORTHERN] C[HAMPIONS) is placed inside (in) an anagram (formed) of RICHEST TEAM followed by the ultimate or last letter (ultimate) in [PLUTOCRAC]Y, arriving at the definition of the name of the English football club that is based in Manchester and that competes in the Premier League, the top division in the English football league system

3d    Lippy daughter seen in French street (4)
RUDE: D (daughter) as the genealogical abbreviation for daughter is noticed inside (seen in) RUE (French street) as the word for street in the French language, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning offensively impolite or bad-mannered

4d    Eager boy finally in paid work (8)
YEARNING: The final or last letter (finally) of [BO]Y followed by EARNING (in paid work) as engaged in a ‘work for money’ job or assignment takes to the definition of an adjective meaning involving or expressing a feeling of intense longing for something

5d    A wild horse on the beach (6)
ASHORE: A from the clue followed by an anagram (wild) of HORSE guides to the definition of an adverb meaning to or on the shore or land from the direction of the sea

6d    Exclamation of disapproval about a job (4)
TASK: TSK (exclamation of disapproval) as an exclamation used to show disapproval often in a humorous way is placed around (about) A from the clue, arriving at the definition of a noun meaning a piece of work to be done or undertaken

7d    Politically unstable country needing a hand? (6,8)
BANANA REPUBLIC: The definition of a small state that is politically unstable as a result of the domination of its economy by a single export controlled by foreign capital is arrived at from REPUBLIC (country) as a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch requiring or preceded by (needing) BANANAS (a hand) as a bunch or hand where each banana is referred to as a finger

8d    Common, 120 for a dollar it seems? (1,4,1,5)
A DIME A DOZEN: The definition of an idiom meaning very common, cheap and of no particular value is cryptically arrived at from 120 for a dollar equalling 100 cents that could (it seems) work out to A DOZEN or 12 for A DIME or 10 cents, that is, A DIME A DOZEN

10d    Toy in pile at worst malfunctioning (5,6)
WATER PISTOL: The definition of a toy gun for shooting a jet of water or other liquid to hit people or things is arrived at from an anagram (malfunctioning) of PILE AT WORST

14d    Try joke (5)
CRACK: Double informal nounal definition; the first being an attempt to achieve something and the second referring to a joke, typically a critical or unkind one

15d    Bent, also breaking through (5)
BANDY: The definition of an adjective meaning a club bent at the end for striking a ball is arrived at from AND (also) as a conjunction meaning along with or in addition to entering (breaking) BY (through) as a preposition meaning through or through the medium of

18d    Game over in league, stuffing knocked out (8)
LACROSSE: The definition of a team game, originally played by North American Indians, in which a long-handled, netted stick is used to throw, catch and cradle the ball and drive it through the opponents’ goal is arrived at from ACROSS (over) as a preposition meaning from one side to the other of a place, area etc placed inside (in) L[EAGU]E having its inner content or the inner letters (stuffing) removed or eliminated (knocked out)

21d    Food served with bangers that is for old club (6)
MASHIE: A charade of MASH (food served with bangers) as mashed potatoes that is part of the food dish called ‘bangers and mash’, the traditional British dish for breakfast consisting of bangers or sausages and mash or mashed potatoes and IE (that is) as the abbreviated form of the Latin phrase id est meaning ‘that is’ or ‘that is to say’ guides to the definition of an old iron golf club for lofting a number five iron

25d    A croft briefly seen in the distance (4)
AFAR: A from the clue and FAR[M] (croft) as a tract of land used for cultivation and pasturage, along with a house and other necessary buildings seen having its last letter removed (briefly) takes to the definition of an adverb meaning at or to a distance

26d    Bread bundle (4)
ROLL: Double nounal definition; the first referring to a small, individually-baked portion of bread formed into any of various shapes, that can be cut open and filled with other foods, preserves etc and the second a roll or wad of banknotes

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 1a, 9a, 13a, 23a, 27a, 28a, 2d, 6d, 7d and 18d; the topper of all being 7d. 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 gorgeous day.

8 comments on “ST 3209 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Interesting history about banana republics. I remember well sailing from Port Antonio, Jamaica, to Southampton on a banana boat. We did it in three different years, six trips and I loved them. I’d love to do it again, I wonder if they still take passengers? So much better than modern cruises with thousands of passengers. Thank you for that, Rahmat.

    1. Thank you once again, Merusa, for liking the review. You must have had a lovely experience each time you sailed in a banana boat from Port Antonio to Southampton or vice-versa.

  2. Thank you Rahmat, as ever, for an informative and interesting blog.
    I thought 2d was a very good clue and probably true (although I’m not a footie fan, so I might be wrong!).
    I always think the Scottish word ‘oxter’ is so much better than armpit.

    1. Thank you once again, Mikep, for liking the review. 2d was indeed a good clue with its plutocratic element. To me, too, ‘oxter’ does sound better than armpit.

        1. I think the name of the country ‘República de Panamá’ that is in Spanish is always written as ‘Republic of Panama’ or in short ‘Panama’ in English. However, Panama is not a politically unstable country. ‘Panama’ has originated from the word ‘bannaba’ which means ‘distant’ or ‘far away’ in Kuna language that is native to Panama and Colombia, so states one of the theories of its etymology.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.