ST 3179 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3179 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3179

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 25th Sep 2022

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. It’s the festive season of Durga Puja here in West Bengal with uninterrupted holidays for 11 days! It’s also a gazetted holiday today in India on account of Dussehra. So, Shubho Bijoya Doshomi and Shubha Dussehra to all concerned around the world.

A gentle and thoroughly entertaining Sunday puzzle of Dada which I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a full review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable comments.

I was aware that spring, part of the wordplay to the clue of 4a, begins in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20 or 21 and in the Southern Hemisphere on September 22 or 23 every year and that it comes under astronomical season. But now I learnt from the net that for ease of keeping records, meteorologists and climatologist reckon March 1 as the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and September 1 as the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Other than the astronomical and meteorological seasons, there is a third one, called the solar or Celtic season that commences on February 1 and August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere respectively.

Gourmand, the answer to the clue of 13a, took me to my time in the late seventies when I was still a teenager, by the way the answer to the clue of 24a. I was then learning French at Alliance Française, Calcutta. In one of those days, I came across two French words, namely, ‘gourmand’ and ‘gourmet’ that I also found in the English dictionary and got to learn what they meant. That further reminded me two particular occasions in my life. The first was in the late seventies itself. I was a tutor to a boy of Class IV. When I started giving him tuition, he was in the beginning of the second term. After around four months, the exams were held. He came 7th in his class. The report card booklet also contained his marks of the first term. I saw that he had then ranked 28th. Although I gave him the full credit for his hard work, perseverance and extraordinary progress, but, nonetheless, his too-happy parents cordially invited me one day to dinner. I was surprised to see that there were fourteen dishes which his mother said were cooked by her for me alone! Actually, it was not yet time for dinner. As the place was far-off and as I had only to walk all my way back home which usually took around thirty-five minutes, dinner had to be set early for me. I thank them and helped myself with only four of those fourteen dishes for my consumption. The second was in the late eighties when I was already employed. I went for a study of two-year evening course of the Arabic language at Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Calcutta. Having learnt to read the Qu’ran at a rather early age, I was already well-versed with reading of the language. I joined the institute particularly for improving the spoken part. In my class, a girl in her early twenties befriended me. She was an air hostess. Although we spoke in Hindi, her mother tongue was Gujarati, but she was totally new to the Arabic language. She sought my help and I guided her in reading, writing and speaking the language all throughout the course for the first year only for which she enrolled. She was very diligent in her studies and passed her exams with flying colours. She invited me to dinner at her house that I could not refuse. There she introduced me to her mother and five brothers. All were happy to meet me. After that, she took me to the dining room where the dishes were already in place. I was really astonished to see that there were so many dishes that I took a keen interest in counting them. There were thirty-three dishes and all vegetarian! And I was further astounded when she told me that she had cooked all those dishes by herself and for me only! Perhaps she had wanted to express her gratitude in this way to her friend who also became her teacher. Coming to the food part, I guess even a voracious eater would have failed to consume even twenty of those dishes. However, I relished myself that day with five of those dishes and thanked her for her amazing endeavour. I have always been a gourmet in life with certain reservations and enjoyed with more number of edible items at parties and functions, but speaking of so many dishes prepared by someone for one single person does qualify for a pleasant reminiscence.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Cord with bits pulled back (5)
STRAP: PARTS (bits) as amounts or sections which, when combined with others, make up the whole of something retreated (pulled back) as a reversal in the across clue, leading to the definition of a strip of leather, cloth or other flexible material, used to fasten, secure or carry something or to hold on to something

4a    Early spring
parade (5)
MARCH: Double definition; the first being the name of the third month of the year that is also the first month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere that includes the United Kingdom and the second a verb meaning to walk in a military manner with a regular measured tread

10a    Evening wear exactly right, laic surprisingly impressed (4,4)
TAIL COAT: TO A T (exactly right) as an idiom meaning just right, exactly as required or with perfect exactness having an anagram (surprisingly) of LAIC engraved or brought inside (impressed), leading to the definition of a man’s formal morning or evening coat, with a long skirt divided at the back into tails and cut away in front

11a    Wicked without gaps, did you say? (6)
UNHOLY: UN-HOLEY (without gaps) as rather facetiously could mean ‘having no holes’ or ‘having no gaps’ that serves as a homophone heard by the audience (did you say?), arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning immoral, depraved, sinful or wicked

12a    Scrabble vowels for team (6)
WOLVES: An anagram (scrabble) of VOWELS guides to the commonly-referred name of the football team that is known by its full name as Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

13a    Chap into fruit, foodie (8)
GOURMAND: MAN (chap) as an adult human male placed inside (into) GOURD (fruit) as a large hard-rinded fleshy fruit characteristic of the cucumber family, arriving at the definition of a person who enjoys eating and often eats too much

14a    Sadly, animal knocked over wine (7)
MARSALA: A charade of ALAS (sadly) as an interjection expressing grief or misfortune and RAM (animal) as a male sheep overturned (knocked over) as a reversal in the across clue takes to the definition of a sweet, fortified wine from Marsala in Sicily

16a    Game is broadcast in pictures (6)
IMAGES: An anagram (broadcast) of GAME IS guides to the definition of mental pictures or representations resulting from thought or memory rather than sensory perception

17a    Legendary monarch, king in a day (6)
ARTHUR: R (king) as the abbreviation for rex, the Latin word for king is placed inside (in) a combo of A from the clue and THUR (day) as the abbreviation for Thursday, taking to the definition of legendary British king who appears in a cycle of medieval romances as the sovereign of a knightly fellowship of the Round Table

19a    Vegetable, standard crop (7)
PARSNIP: The definition of an umbelliferous plant or its edible carrot-like root is arrived at from a charade of PAR (standard) as a norm or standard and SNIP (crop) as to cut something with scissors of shears

21a    Clutch very bad, fragile thing (8)
EGGSHELL: A charade of EGGS (clutch) as in a group fertilised at the same time or laid in a single session and incubated together and HELL (very bad) as a colloquial interjection used to express displeasure or emphasise something very bad leads to the definition of a very thin kind of porcelain or anything that is very delicate, brittle or fragile

22a    Thug from Los Angeles in pool (6)
LAGOON: GOON (thug) as an American slang for a hired thug beginning at (from) as placed at first LA (Los Angeles) as the abbreviation for Los Angeles, taking to the definition of water separated from the sea by earth or sand banks, coral reefs etc

23a    In a mo, the dancing (2,4)
AT HOME: The definition of a phrase meaning in one’s own house or simply in is arrived at from A MO THE that has been subject to an anagram (dancing)

24a    Youth in great need, virtually abandoned (8)
TEENAGER: The definition of a young person from thirteen to nineteen years old inclusive is arrived at from a combo of GREAT and nearly or most of the letters (virtually) of NEE[D] that is subject to an anagram (abandoned)

25a    Hoard stolen by larcenist, a shame (5)
STASH: Part of or hidden inside (stolen) by larceniST A SHame guides to the definition of a colloquial noun meaning a secret store, or its hiding place

26a    Seize unlicensed stock, unloading remaining packages first of all (5)
USURP: The first letters each of (first of all) U[NLICENSED] S[TOCK] U[NLOADING] R[EMAINING] P[ACKAGES] lead to the definition of a verb meaning to take possession of by force, without right or unjustly


2d    Where brew served up to me, or a fancy (3,4)
TEA ROOM: An anagram (fancy) of TO ME OR A guides to the definition of a restaurant where tea and light refreshments are served

3d    Where shelf stackers may be seen, everywhere (3,4,3,4)
ALL OVER THE SHOP: The definition of an idiom meaning all over the place, in all directions or everywhere is cryptically arrived at from the scene in a supermarket or other shops where stackers are busy with their job of filling the shelves and displays with goods and other things for sale

5d    Month before it turns up south of an island (7)
ANTIGUA: A combo of AUG (month before) as the abbreviation for August coming before September, the month of publication of this puzzle and IT from the clue goes upward (turns up) as a reversal in the down clue and placed under or southward to (south of) AN from the clue, arriving at the definition of one of the two big islands, the second being Barbuda, that form an independent dual-island nation in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea

6d    Tailor shortened tux carried by messenger (9)
COUTURIER: Most of the letters (shortened) of TU[X] taken inside (carried) by COURIER (messenger) as a messenger, especially one employed to delivery special or urgent messages or items, arriving at the definition of a dress maker or dress designer

7d    Lack of American sense (4)
NOUS: A charade of NO (lack of) as to be without or deficient in and US (American) as the adjectival abbreviation for the United States or belonging to the United States, leading to the definition of a slang term for common sense

8d    An egg that’s scrambled kept by Victor and girl in vessel (9,5)
CHAMPAGNE GLASS: AN EGG that’s anagrammatised (scrambled) is retained inside (kept by) a combo of CHAMP (Victor) as the winner or victor and LASS (girl) as a girl or young woman, leading to the definition of a stemware designed for champagne and other sparkling wines

9d    Fair promise broken by Liberal, scuffle finally ensuing (6)
BLONDE: BOND (promise) as a written obligation to pay a sum or to perform a contract parted (broken) by L (liberal) as the abbreviation for Liberal who is a member of the Liberal Party of the United Kingdom and the final or concluding letter (finally) of [SCUFFL]E coming thereafter (ensuing), taking to the definition of an adjective meaning having fair hair and usually a fair complexion

15d    Emergent, a new deal (9)
AGREEMENT: An anagram (new) of EMERGENT A guides to the definition of a negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action

18d    Premier League team, neither top nor bottom, fine (6)
RIGHTO: [B[RIGHTO[N] (Premier League team) as the commonly-referred name of the football team based in the city of Brighton and Hove that is known by its full name as Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club is devoid of its topmost and downmost letters (neither top nor bottom) in the down clue, leading to the definition of a colloquial interjection expressing acquiescence

19d    Beer bottles finished off, German exercises (7)
PILATES: PILS (beer) as a type of lager beer similar to Pilsner stores preserves inside (bottles) ATE (finished off) as completely consumed something, especially food or drink, arriving at the definition of a type of mind-body exercises developed in the early 20th century by German physical trainer, Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named

20d    Good one, sovereign trailblazer (7)
PIONEER: PI (good) as a short version for pious, ONE from the clue and ER (sovereign) as the abbreviation for Edwardus Rex in New Latin meaning King Edward take to the definition of someone who is among the first in new fields of enterprise, exploration, colonisation, research etc

22d    Upward spin for eye (4)
LEER: REEL (spin) as to whirl or seem to swirl or sway that is going up (upward) as a reversal in the down clue takes to the definition of a verb meaning to look lecherously

Clues that I liked in this puzzle were 10a, 13a, 14a, 19a, 22a, 3d, 5d, 6d, 8d, 18d and 20d and the best of the lot was 18d. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment, to BD for the encouragement and to Gazza for the assistance. Would be delighted to be here again. Have an enjoyable day.

2 comments on “ST 3179 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. 3*/3*…
    liked 22A “Thug from Los Angeles in pool (6)”….
    enjoyed reading about your experiences as a gourmand RA … did you keep in touch with your air hostess by any chance ?

    1. Thank you so much, Robin Newman, for enjoying reading about my experiences as a gourmet.

      No, I could not keep in touch with her. She was a newly-wed and supposed to join her husband who was working in Saudi Arabia soon after passing her exam. A few months later, when in the second year of my language course, I also got married.

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