ST 3244 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3244 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3244

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 24th Dec 2023

BD Rating –Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A lovely and gentle Christmas Eve puzzle from Dada this Sunday that I greatly enjoyed and now I present to you a full review of the puzzle and expect to have your valuable comments.

I came across the phrase ‘lame duck’, the answer to the clue of 15d, for the first time in my mid-twenties when I was preparing for my B.Com. exams, more specifically that I learnt then was a lame duck company that is a weak, sick or ailing company in dire need of support from the government. This time, I became eager to learn if there were other areas with which the phrase could possibly be connected. So I took to the net and got more information on it. The phrase ‘lame duck’ is traced to the early days of the London Stock Exchange when a member who could not meet their claims on the settlement day would lose their membership on the exchange. They would be described as lame ducks because they waddled out of the exchange alley. However, the member could trade again only after their debts had been settled and paid. The phrase also referred to a trader who had gone bankrupt due to an inability to cover trading losses and is now out-of-use in Great Britain. In politics, a lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of their tenure. It can also mean an elected official who continues to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor. In a legislative assembly, a lame duck session refers to one that takes place after an election but before newly elected members are seated. In a game design, a lame duck is a player who remains in the game despite knowing that they cannot win. In professional sports, there happens to be a lame duck season that refers to the period prior to or during which a team has announced its intent to relocate to another metropolitan area but will remain in its existing home until the next year. Interestingly, there was also an amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1933 that was its twentieth amendment. That amendment, designed to remove the excessively long period of time a defeated president or member of Congress would continue to serve after their failed bid for re-election, indicated the beginning and ending dates of the presidential and congressional terms. This amendment earned the nickname of ‘Lame Duck Amendment’.

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1a    Gravy goodness in remains of food (11)
BREADCRUMBS: A charade of BREAD (gravy) as a slang term for money, a form of which is gravy, another slang term denoting money obtained by corrupt practices or graft and CRUMBS (goodness) as an interjection used to express dismay or surprise guides to the definition of a fragment of stale, hard or dried bread that has been crushed or ground for use in cooking

10a    Landlord perhaps wore pants into which name sewn (5)
OWNER: An anagram (pants) of WORE into which N (name) as the abbreviation for name is tacked (sewn) leads to the definition of a person who owns something or one who has the legal or rightful title to something, an example of which is a landlord who is the owner of property such as land, houses or apartments

11a    Ruby cut fish (3,6)
RED MULLET: A charade of RED (ruby) as a colour like blood, an example of which is ruby that is an intense purplish-red colour and MULLET (cut) as a hairstyle in which the hair is cut shorter at the front, top and sides, but is longer at the back takes to the definition of an elongated fish with long barbels on the chin, living in warmer seas and widely valued as a food fish

12a    Figurine in op art, surprisingly a high price (3,6)
TOP DOLLAR: DOLL (figurine) as a small model of a human figure, typically one of a baby or girl, used as a child’s toy placed inside (in) an anagram (surprisingly) of OP ART produces the definition of an informal term for a very high price

13a    Rumba dancing country once (5)
BURMA: An anagram (dancing) of RUMBA guides to the definition of the previous name of the country in Southeast Asia that is known by its present name Myanmar since 18 June 1989

14a    Report in Religious Education yet to be handed in? (6)
RELATE: The definition of a verb meaning to narrate, report or give an account of something is reached from a charade of RE (Religious Education) as the abbreviation for religious education as a subject taught at primary and secondary schools that aim to develop children’s understanding of the world’s religions and LATE (yet to be handed in) as still not arrived or is behind schedule or overdue

16a    Pig and tailless wild dog getting on (8)
BOARDING: BOAR (pig) as an uncastrated domestic male pig and DING[O] (dog) as a wild or half-domesticated dog with a sandy-coloured coat, found in Australia that is devoid of its tail or last letter (tailless) take to the definition of verb in the continuous form meaning getting on or into a ship, aircraft or other vehicle

18a    I am on phone, still (8)
IMMOBILE: I’M (I am) as a contraction of ‘I am’ having alongside (on) MOBILE (phone) as referring to a mobile phone that is a portable telephone that can make and receive calls over a radio frequency link while the user is moving within a telephone service area guides to the definition of an adjective meaning still, motionless or not moving

20a    Journey heading for Florence, easy (6)
FLIGHT: The definition of a journey made through the air or in space is arrived at from the initial or leading letter (heading) for F[LORENCE] followed by LIGHT (easy) as facile or easy to accomplish

23a    Lowest point in Florida now recalled (5)
NADIR: Part of or hidden inside (in) [FLO]RIDA N[OW] that is seen coming from the other side (recalled) as a reversal in the across clue leads to the definition of the lowest or most unsuccessful point in a situation

24a    Irish premier, his ace reforms to follow universal principle (9)
TAOISEACH: The definition of the Irish word meaning chief or leader that was adapted in the 1937 Constitution of Ireland as the title of the head of the Government or Prime Minister is reached from an anagram (reforms) of HIS ACE coming after (to follow) TAO (universal principle) as the central or organising principle of the universe, moral life etc

26a    In parts dry, Latino rum (9)
SECTIONAL: The definition of an adjective meaning in parts or made up of or divided into parts is arrived at from SEC (dry) as an adjective meaning dry in the French language, especially pertaining to brewing of wine and an anagram (rum) of LATINO

27a    Dramatic performance observed in Europe rarely (5)
OPERA: Part of or seen hidden inside (observed in) [EUR]OPE RA[RELY] guides to the definition of a kind of dramatic performance in which actors sing all or most of the words of a play with music performed by an orchestra

28a    First of challenges that hurt King Edward, say — lazybones! (5,6)
COUCH POTATO: The initial letter (first) of C[HALLENGES], followed by OUCH (that hurt) as an exclamation used to express pain and POTATO (King Edward, say) as a starchy plant tuber which is one of the most important food crops, cooked and eaten as a vegetable, a variety of which is King Edward that is grown in the United Kingdom since 1902, making it one of the oldest cultivars still grown commercially takes to the definition of a lazy and inactive person, especially one who spends a great deal of time watching television


2d    Approach rugby union joke the wrong way (3-2)
RUN-UP: The definition of a literal and figurative term for an approach is arrived at from RU (rugby union) as the abbreviation for Rugby Union followed by PUN (joke) as a type of joke where the meaning of words is interchanged, usually using a similar sounding word in place of another coming up (the wrong way) as a reversal in the down clue

3d    Put out drink for JFK, say? (7)
AIRPORT: A charade of AIR (put out) as send or put out and PORT (drink) as a strong, sweet dark red, occasionally brown or white, fortified wine, originally from Portugal, typically drunk as a dessert wine takes to the definition of a place where aircraft take off and land, usually equipped with hard-surfaced landing strips, a control tower, hangars, aircraft maintenance and refuelling facilities and accommodations for passengers and cargo, an example of which is the JFK or the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City of the United States

4d    Ring cleric when upset (6)
CIRCLE: An anagram (when upset) of CLERIC guides to the definition of a group of people with a shared profession, interests or acquaintances or a round plane figure whose boundary consists of points equidistant from a fixed point

5d    Outsider, criminal rounded on leader in gymkhana (8)
UNDERDOG: An anagram (criminal) of ROUNDED placed upon (on) the head or leading letter (leader) in G[YMKHANA] in the down clue takes to the definition of an outsider or a contestant given little chance of winning

6d    Cry bucketsthick tissue! (7)
BLUBBER: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to weep effusively or sob noisily or without restraint and the second a noun referring to a thick insulating layer of fatty tissue below the skin such as the whale used by man as a source of oil

7d    Principal in Canada, one entering Toronto, isn’t bothered — twisted individual? (13)
CONTORTIONIST: The head or leading letter (principal) in C[ANADA] in the down clue followed by I (one) as the Roman numeral for one getting inside (entering) an anagram (bothered) of TORONTO, ISN’T guides to the definition of a gymnast who practises twisted or contorted postures or a person who twist words and phrases

8d    Dreadful, like a doughnut filled with jam, ultimately (8)
ALARMING: The definition of an adjective denoting causing people to feel danger or alarm or to be worried or frightened is reached from À LA (like) as a preposition in its contracted version from ‘à la mode de’ meaning ‘in the style or manner of’ in the French language followed by RING (a doughnut) as a round or circular object, an example of which is a doughnut that is a ring-shaped object, in particular a vacuum chamber in some types of particle accelerator containing (filled with) the ultimate or final letter (ultimately) of [JA]M

9d    One of several hands, each forward (8,5)
STRAIGHT AHEAD: A charade of STRAIGHT (one of several hands) as a poker hand containing five cards of various suits in numerical sequence, ranked above three of a kind and below a flush and A HEAD (each) as referring to each or per person as of the price of something yields the definition of an adverb meaning directly ahead and without deviation or towards what is in front

15d    Powerless individual, male unfortunately with nothing (4,4)
LAME DUCK: An anagram (unfortunately) of MALE and (with) DUCK (nothing) as a batsman’s score of nought in cricket guides to the definition of a person who is powerless or in need of help

17d    Pal composed note, just like friends (8)
PLATONIC: An anagram (composed) of PAL followed by TONIC (note) as the first note in a scale which, in conventional harmony, provides the keynote of a piece of music leads to the definition of an adjective meaning intimate and affectionate but not sexual, especially of love or friendship

19d    Mexican food: something sharp on it with last of tabasco (7)
BURRITO: The definition of a Mexican dish consisting of a flour tortilla, filled with meat, beans, chilli etc and folded is reached from BURR (something sharp) as any lump, ridge etc that is more or less sharp placed upon (on) IT as in the down clue and (with) the final or terminal letter (last) of [TABASC]O

21d    Strike with wood cushioned by oaf (4,3)
LASH OUT: The definition of a verb meaning to hit or kick out at someone or something is arrived at with ASH (wood) as the white, tough, hard wood of ash that is a well-known timber tree covered (cushioned) by LOUT (oaf) as an uncouth, ill-mannered, aggressive or awkward man or youth

22d    Arrive with something to smoke? (4,2)
ROLL UP: ROLL-UP (something to smoke) as an informal term for a hand-rolled cigarette takes to the definition of a colloquial verb meaning to turn up, assemble or arrive at a place

25d    A part of a company, very skilful (5)
ADEPT: A from the clue followed by DEPT (part of a company) as the abbreviation for department that is a section of a company or an organisation takes to the definition of an adjective meaning highly skilled or thoroughly proficient

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 1a, 11a, 16a, 26a, 28a, 3d, 7d, 8d, 9d and 17d; the topper among them being 28a. 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.

3 comments on “ST 3244 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Thank you very much for, as usual, and extremely clear and interesting review. Happy New Year to you, may it be healthy, peaceful and happy.

    1. Thank you so much once again, MsGlad, for liking my review. I also thank you for your greetings on the occasion of the New Year 2024 and heartily reciprocate the same to you and your family.

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