ST 3238 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3238 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3238

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 12th Nov 2023

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

Greetings from Kolkata. A great puzzle from Dada this Sunday that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a full review which I now present for your kind perusal and precious feedback.

From the net, I learnt that the etymology of ‘long in the tooth’, answer to the clue of 12, is from the practice of examining the length of the teeth of the horses. An old horse has long, rectangular incisors and their occlusion angle is steep. That is why, I presume, cautions a proverb, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Or, to be precise, don’t criticise a gift you are getting for free.

I took interest in also knowing more about oompah, answer to the clue of 25a. It is also known by umpapa. Oompah is an onomatopoeic term describing the rhythmic sound of a deep brass instrument in combination with the response of other instruments or registers in a band, a form of background ostinato, that is a musical fragment of succession of notes that persistently repeats in the same musical voice, frequently in the same pitch. Oom-pah refers to the combo of the ‘oom’ sound that is normally made by the tuba alternating between the root or tonic of the chord and fifth or dominant and the ‘pah’ sound that is played by off-beats by higher-pitched instruments like the clarinet, accordion or trombone. Often associated with the celebrated German Volkstümliche Musik, oompah is also linked with polka and in triple time genres such as the waltz, it is oom-pah-pah.

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7a    Toy in test I ran, failing (5,3)
TRAIN SET: An anagram (failing) of TEST I RAN guides to the definition of a set of trains, tracks and other items making up a child’s model railway

9a    Wide of the mark describing flat object (6)
ASTRAY: The definition of an adverb meaning wide of the mark or away from the correct path or direction is arrived at from AS TRAY (describing flat object) as describing any object like a tray that is a flat, shallow container with a raised rim, typically used for carrying food and drink or for holding small items or loose material

10a    Journey east by southern band (6)
STRIPE: A combo of TRIP (journey) as a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure and E (east) as the abbreviation for East coming after or preceded by (by) S (southern) as the abbreviation for southern takes to the definition of a long, narrow band or strip differing in colour or texture from the surface on either side of it

11a    Position car alongside something round — roundabout! (8)
BALLPARK: PARK (position car) as to place and leave a car at a place at the end of a journey coming after (alongside) BALL (something round) as something round or roundish, of various sizes and materials, hollow or solid, for use in games like football, baseball, tennis or golf yields the definition of an adjective meaning approximate or roundabout, especially of a cost or price

12a    Old neon light flickering, one of a set (4,2,3,5)
LONG IN THE TOOTH: An anagram (flickering) of NEON LIGHT followed by TOOTH (one of a set) as one of a set of something or a group of similar things that belong together in some way such as a tooth or false tooth leads to the definition of describing someone who is old or getting old or who is elderly, like a horse whose gums are receding with age

15a    Stage where those such as hamsters do a backflip? (4)
STEP: The definition of a stage in a gradual process is arrived at from PETS (hamsters) as tame animals kept for companionship or amusement where those serving as examples (such as) are hamsters or small animals covered in fur with a short tail and large spaces in each side of its mouth for storing food and often kept as pets turn backwards (do a backflip) as a reversal in the across clue

17a    Game with striker in the box? (5)
MATCH: Double definition; the second being a matchstick that acts as a striker against a rough surface of any of two sides of a matchbox for lighting something that leads to the first referring to a formal contest or game in which people or teams compete against each other

19a    Vegetable stolen by crook, a leek (4)
KALE: Part of or hidden inside (stolen by) [CROO]K, A LE[EK] guides to the definition of a variety of cabbage with open curled leaves

20a    When everything seems to fail, yet nosh with seafood works (3,2,5,4)
ONE OF THOSE DAYS: An anagram (works) of a combo of YET NOSH and (with) SEAFOOD takes to the definition of a phrase referring to a day when several things go wrong

23a    Upset with bad tours in European capital (8)
BUDAPEST: An anagram (tours) of a combo of UPSET and (with) BAD guides to the definition of the capital and largest city of Hungary that is in the continent of Europe

25a    Dynamism about a type of German music (6)
OOMPAH: OOMPH (dynamism) as dynamism or the activeness of an energetic personality placed around (about) A from the clue leads to the definition of a rhythmical sound of a deep brass instrument in a band, often associated with Volkstümliche, a form of popular German music

27a    Teach swimming group (6)
SCHOOL: Double definition; the second being a noun referring to a shoal of fish, whales or other swimming animals that takes to the first a verb meaning to educate, teach or instruct

28a    Supporter of monarchy: lot I say about getting behind king (8)
ROYALIST: An anagram (about) of LOT I SAY placed after (getting behind) R (king) as the abbreviation for rex, the Latin word for ‘king’ guides to the definition of a person who supports the principle of monarchy or a particular monarchy


1d    Mark on guitar appearing regularly in ferment (4)
FRET: The regular or alternate letters (appearing regularly) in FeRmEnT takes to the definition of any of the wooden or metal ridges on the fingerboard of a guitar on to which the strings are pressed in producing the various notes

2d    Cold metal crushed by giant (6)
BITING: TIN (metal) as a silvery-white, easily fusible, malleable metal squeezed or forced into (crushed) by BIG (giant) as an adjective meaning large or great takes to the definition of an adjective meaning unpleasantly cold

3d    End with little time in reserve (4)
STUB: T (little time) as time in its abbreviated form and serving as the symbol for time in Physics placed inside (in) SUB (reserve) as a substitute, stand-in or reserve guides to the definition of the end or truncated remnant of a pencil, cigarette or similar-shaped object after use

4d    Case where rule lifted, then allowed (6)
WALLET: LAW (rule) as a rule of action established by authority raised (lifted) as a reversal in the down clue followed by (then) LET (allowed) as a verb in the past tense meaning allowed to go or come leads to the definition of a small folding case for holding money, papers etc

5d    Supply required outside, work on cold tap (8)
STOPCOCK: STOCK (supply) as a supply of goods, materials or equipment for sale directed outside of (required outside) of a combo involving OP (work) as the abbreviation for opus that refers to work, especially a musical composition in which one is numbered in order of publication placed upon (on) C (cold) as the abbreviation for cold in the down clue takes to the definition of a tap that controls the flow of liquid or gas through a pipe

6d    Cheese spread clearly inspires Greek character (10)
CAERPHILLY: The definition of a kind of mild white cheese, originally made in Caerphilly, a town in South Wales is arrived at from an anagram (spread) of CLEARLY that breathes inside (inspires) PHI (Greek character) as the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet

8d    Bone problem restricts bird (7)
STERNUM: SUM (problem) as a problem in addition or in arithmetic generally that blocks (restricts) TERN (bird) as a long-winged aquatic bird of the subfamily Sterninae leads to the definition of the breastbone in humans and the corresponding bone in other vertebrates

13d    Crackers temporarily unavailable (3,2,5)
OUT TO LUNCH: Double phrasal definition; the second literally refers to having left one’s home or workplace to get lunch and hence temporarily not available that guides to the first meaning slightly crazy, in a world of his or her own

14d    Hook or snag? (5)
HITCH: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to hook or entangle and the second a noun referring to a temporary difficulty or problem or a snag

16d    Killer parrot in a flap nips journalist (8)
PREDATOR: An anagram (in a flap) of PARROT takes into grip (nips) ED (journalist) as the abbreviation for editor being in charge of the final content of a journal or a newspaper or magazine, arriving at the definition of any animal that lives by preying on other animals

18d    Welcome, lie forgotten (7)
HISTORY: A charade of HI (welcome) as an injection used as calling attention of or when welcoming someone and STORY (lie) as a made-up or trumped-up story takes to the definition of an event in the past, especially one that has been forgotten or reduced in importance

21d    Fish caught by cook with little effort (6)
FREELY: EEL (fish) as a snake-like fish with a slender elongated body and poorly developed fins, proverbial for its slipperiness taken in (caught) by FRY (cook) as to cook in oil or fat in a pan takes to the definition of an adverb denoting very easily or without much effort

22d    Stupid request almost entirely hollow (6)
DIMPLE: DIM (stupid) as a colloquial adjective meaning mentally dull or stupid and PLE[A] (request) as a request made in an urgent and emotional manner having most of the letters (almost entirely) take to the definition of a small hollow, especially on a person’s cheek or chin

24d    2 Down open pie (4)
TART: Double definition; the second being a noun referring to an open pie or pastry case containing a sweet or savoury filling that takes to the first an adjective meaning having a sharp or biting quality that is synonymous to 2d

26d    Bad lesson, every other one of those too (4)
ALSO: The alternate letters (every other one of those) of bAd LeSsOn leads to the definition of an adverb meaning in addition or too

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 11a, 12a, 17a, 20a, 25a, 6d, 13d, 21d, and 22d; the best among the lot being 12a. 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 pleasant day.

2 comments on “ST 3238 (full review)
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  1. Thank you RA for your informative disentanglement of this puzzle, which I have just come to, and found to be tough but entertaining, I needed your help with some of the parsing.

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