ST 3219 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3219 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3219

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 2nd July 2023

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

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

Traffic jam, the answer to the clue of 13d, reminded me of a strange dream that I had one night some decades ago. The dream featured a night itself that was starless and the sky intensely black. I was standing on the terrace of a skyscraper, gazing at the vehicles flying in the air just above me. They were not illuminated but could be easily seen despite a black background. It was known to me that the whole world had become so densely populated that there were no roads or avenues left for the movement of vehicles from one place to another. Moreover, all the road vehicles of the world had already been dismantled and flying vehicles of different kinds had instead come to occupy as the only means of transport among places of short to long distances within each country. While most of the time they remained operational above the ground, they were not required to go as immensely higher as the aeroplanes did, but definitely their routes were above the tallest building of the city or town. The drivers and pilots were well aware of and used to all the routes that were themselves thoroughly defined and controlled by experts. On the ground, however, there were millions of specified places from where these flying vehicles could take off; each of them having a nearby place meant for their landing. While I was enjoying watching the flying cars and other vehicles plying on different routes in the air, suddenly, there was a loud siren and I could see vehicles of one particular route slowing down their speed and moving either left or right and stopping in the air. The siren made me realise that a minister would be passing through that way. He should not face any difficulty in reaching his destination in time and that was the reason why the vehicles started to clear the route for him. What followed was too colourful! A beautiful fleet of three vehicles passed that route; the siren still continuing. That led me to guess in the dream that the minister was travelling in the first vehicle and his armed guards were in the two vehicles that followed. The vehicles looked like mats woven out of plastic straws and exactly rectangular in shape, almost similar to the Pathfinder that went to Mars many years later, though the Pathfinder looked as if a big rectangular piece has joined a smaller piece at its one end. All the three vehicles had each hundreds of lights fitted below that were glowing and having one particular colour. Hence, the vehicles looked almost like three cuboid-shaped mats with glowing lights of three different colours. That really exhibited a spectacular view! But they were also soon gone! Now the road was clear for the halted vehicles to continue their journey. From left and right, they came to the exact route in the air and started moving ahead. Incidentally, three of the vehicles due to mechanical failure could not do so. They were tilting a bit left and then a bit right and again a bit left and again a bit right, but remaining where they were. There were no mechanics in the air who could repair those vehicles and put them back into operation. I was aware something terrible was going to happen, but all the more frightened seeing one of the vehicles right above me though at a height. Soon the vehicles started rolling and simultaneously falling down. There were explosions one after another. One of them fell on a far-off building; the second on a building not very far-off. I was experiencing death at that moment, but heaved a sigh of relief when the third vehicle fell on the building that was adjacent to the building of our immediate neighbour but on the other side. Then I woke up, but still felt tensed for some time.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Newshound referring to carrier (8)
REPORTER: A charade of RE (referring to) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘referring to’, ‘concerning’ or ‘about’ and PORTER (carrier) as a person employed at a railway station, hotel, market etc to carry passengers’ luggage leads to the definition of a person who reports, especially for a newspaper or legal proceedings

9a    Antipodean too in French and English (6)
AUSSIE: A charade of AUSSI (too in French) as an adverb in the French language meaning ‘also’, ‘too’ or ‘as well’ and E (English) as the abbreviation for English takes to the definition of an informal term for a native or inhabitant of Australia

10a    Relative without a daughter freed (6)
UNTIED: [A]UNTIE (relative) as an informal term for a person’s aunt or the sister of one’s father or mother is devoid of (without) A as in the clue and followed by D (daughter) as the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning freed, unloosened or fastened from something that was restricting it

11a    Artist Samuel’s back rubbed (8)
MASSAGED: A combo of Edgar DEGAS (artist) as the French impressionist celebrated for his pastel drawings and oil paintings and SAM (Samuel) as often used as a nickname for Samuel is returning (back) as a reversal in the across clue, leading to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning rubbed and kneaded a person or part of their body with the hands

12a    Battle with new formats prior to start of decisive card game (8,6)
STAMFORD BRIDGE: The definition of the battle that took place in England on 25 September 1066 between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and the English king’s brother Tostig Godwinson is reached with an anagram (new) of FORMATS placed before (prior to) the starting or first letter (start) of D[ECISIVE] followed by BRIDGE (card game) as a card game related to whist, played by four players in two competing partnerships who at the beginning of each hand bid for the right to declare a trump suit, seek to win tricks equal to the final bid and play with the hand of declarer’s partner exposed and played by declarer

15a    Girl in form losing lead (4)
LASS: [C]LASS (form) as grade, course, band or form is subject to the removal of (losing) its leading or first letter C (lead), leading to the definition of the Scottish term for a girl or young woman

17a    Prompt writer (5)
SWIFT: Double definition; the second being an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, poet and author celebrated for his children’s classic ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ that guides to the first an adjective meaning happening quickly or promptly

19a    Travel by tube? (4)
ROLL: A cryptic definition of a verb meaning to move down from atop a hill (travel) by lying on the hill and turning oneself over and over as if the body is coming down like a cylinder (by tube)

20a    Oath or cuss — but not bad? (4-6,4)
FOUR-LETTER WORD: The definition of any of a number of vulgar short words, especially of four letters, referring to sexual or excretory functions regarded as course, offensive or blasphemous that is cryptically arrived at from its applicability to ‘oath’ or ‘cuss’ but not to ‘bad’

23a    Boa perhaps meeting wicked gangster (8)
SCARFACE: SCARF (boa perhaps) as a length or square of fabric worn around the neck or head, of which boa serves as an example joining (meeting) ACE (wicked) as a slang term for wicked, excellent or admirable, taking to the definition of the nickname of the famous US criminal Al Capone who had a mark on his face where somebody had once cut him with a knife

25a    Bureau no longer slipping? (6)
OFFICE: No longer ON ICE (slipping) as of an entertainment performed by skaters on ice or moving as on a slippery surface such as ice can be cryptically arrived at as OFF ICE that leads to the definition of the local centre of a large business or a room, set of rooms or building used as a place for commercial, professional or bureacratic work

27a    Content of tube fills European river (6)
DANUBE: The central or innermost letters (content) of [T]UB[E] going inside (fills) DANE (European) as a native or inhabitant of Denmark, a country in Europe takes to the definition of the second-longest river in Europe, flowing much of Central and Southeastern Europe from the Black Forest into the Black Sea

28a    Paintings beat film noir? (3,5)
OIL SLICK: A charade of OILS (paintings) as paintings done in oil colours and LICK (beat) as an informal verb meaning to beat or thrash someone guides to the definition of a film or layer of oil floating on an expanse of water or rarely a road etc


1d    Poor show (4)
MEAN: Double definition; the first being an adjective indicating inferior or poor, especially of a person’s mental capacity or understanding and the second a verb meaning to show, signify or intend to convey or refer to a particular thing

2d    Problem hosting cricket game — element likely to react? (6)
SODIUM: SUM (problem) as an arithmetical problem, especially at an elementary level is entertaining or welcoming in (hosting) ODI (cricket game) as the abbreviation for One Day International that is a form of limited overs cricket, played between two teams with international status, in which each team faces a fixed number of overs, taking to the definition of a silver-white soft waxy ductile element of the alkali metal group that occurs abundantly in nature in combined form and is very active chemically

3d    Neat cut (4)
TRIM: Double definition; the second being a verb meaning to cut down, as to required size or shape that leads to the first an adjective meaning neat and smart in appearance

4d    Revolutionary cares about a dictator (6)
CAESAR: An anagram (revolutionary) of CARES placed around (about) A from the clue guides to the definition of the Roman general and statesman who led the armies in the Gallic Wars, defeated his political rival in a civil war and subsequently became dictator until his assassination in 44 BC

5d    Sardinian, say, vilified by me? (8)
ISLANDER: I SLANDER as to mean I defame or vilify someone or make false and damaging statements about someone, if transformed to passive voice would be ‘defamed by me’ or ‘vilified by me’ that leads to the definition of what a person would possibly be called if he or she were a Sardinian or a native or inhabitant of Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea

6d    Lower chamber in building new, I recall (4,6)
WINE CELLAR: The definition of an underground room where wines are stored is arrived at from an anagram (building) of NEW, I RECALL

8d    Annoying editor promises to pay after end of August (7)
TEDIOUS: A combo of ED (editor) as the abbreviation for editor and IOUS (promises to pay) as the plural of IOU, pronounced ‘I owe you’ and serving as a promise to pay a debt, especially a signed slip of paper or other document acknowledging the specific amount owed is placed after (after) the ending or last letter (end) of [AUGUS]T, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning boring, tiresome or annoying

13d    Deal with predicament, stoppage on the way? (7,3)
TRAFFIC JAM: A charade of TRAFFIC (deal) as to deal or trade in something illegal and (with) JAM (predicament) as an informal term for an awkward situation or predicament guides to the definition of congestion, and resultant stoppage, of traffic such as on a road or at a busy junction

14d    General meaning, might that be flaky? (5)
DRIFT: Double nounal definition; the second referring to a large mass of snow that when carried away by the wind might break or separate easily into flakes that takes to the first denoting the general intention or meaning of an argument or someone’s remarks

16d    Level, then winning — prepare to fight (6,2)
SQUARE UP: A charade of SQUARE (level) as to even or make equal and (then) UP (winning) as ahead in scoring, such as being up at half time in football takes to the definition of a phrasal verb meaning to adopt a position of readiness to fight an opponent

18d    Plant where whistler comes into work (7)
TREFOIL: REF (whistler) as a short form of referee or a person who is an arbitrator, umpire or judge or the official, who controls a sport event such as a football game, especially by blowing a whistle that is sometimes needed to start, stop or restart the game, hence also informally known as whistler gets inside (comes into) TOIL (work) as hard work, especially physical labour, leading to the definition of a small European plant of the pea family, with yellow flowers and three-lobed clover-like leaves

21d    Grey retreat south of meadow (6)
LEADEN: DEN (retreat) as a room or hideout where a person can go to relax or be private coming after in the down clue (south of) LEA (meadow) as a meadow or a tract of open ground, especially grassland, taking to the definition of the colour of lead or dull grey

22d    Possible breakfast chatter (6)
WAFFLE: Double definition; the second being a verb meaning to prattle or chatter or to talk or write nonsense that leads to the first a noun referring to a thin, light cake, the surface of which is formed into a pattern of raised squares, often eaten at breakfast

24d    God in lover, ostensibly (4)
EROS: Part of or hidden inside (in) [LOV]ER, OS[TENSIBLY] guides to the definition of the Greek god of love and sex

26d    Valve left out of timer (4)
COCK: L (left) as the abbreviation for left is removed from (out of) C[L]OCK (timer) as a mechanical or electrical device for measuring time, indicating hours, minutes and sometimes seconds on a round dial or by displayed figure and is usually placed in a room or attached to a wall, arriving at the definition of a hand-operated valve or faucet, especially one opened or closed by rotating a cylindrical or tapered plug having part of the passage pierced through it from side to side

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 9a, 11a, 12a, 20a, 25a, 27a, 28a, 6d, 8d, 14d, 21d and 22d; 28a being the best of the lot. My prayers to the Almighty for the eternal rest and peace of BD and my thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.

12 comments on “ST 3219 (full review)

  1. Thanks again to Dada for the puzzle and many thanks to Rahmat for the review.
    I’m still not sure about 19a. My best guess is that it’s a cryptic description of how something (a ball bearing, say) might move within a tube but …
    Has anyone any better ideas?

    1. Or the way a tube or cylinder moves to travel along a surface perhaps like rolling a pencil to score at pencil cricket

    2. My guess is that “oath” and “cuss” are both four-letter words but “bad” is only three letters hence “bad” cannot be described as a four-letter word (“but not bad”).

  2. No more dreams Rahmat, sounds like you’re looking into the future and the future is a “nightmare”!

    1. Merusa, the dream turned into a nightmare at a time towards the end when there were three explosions. But dreams are not meant to be prevented from taking place. I have had dreams that were even much longer.

  3. 3*/4* ….
    liked 5D ” Sardinian, say, vilified by me? (8)” …
    problem with clue 20D in the quickie “where six is sex” …. any ideas how to explain the answer please ?

    1. Hi Robin,
      I don’t get the weekend paper but ‘sex’ is the Latin for six – also ‘sex’ & ‘six’ are the same word in Swedish. Don’t know whether that helps?

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