ST 3227 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3227 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3227

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 27th Aug 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Dada has given us an enjoyable puzzle to solve this Sunday and now I present to you a full review of his puzzle. Hope to have your significant feedback and comments.

I learnt from the net that the term ’emoticon’, the answer to the clue of 7d, is, etymologically, a blend of ’emotion’ and ‘icon’ that originated in the 1980s. No doubt emoticon, with its pictorial representation of a facial expression using characters like letters, numbers and punctuation marks in order to manifest a person’s feelings, mood or reaction, without the necessity of a detailed description, has come to be regarded as a short for ’emotion icon’. As SMS mobile text messaging and the internet flourished in the late 1990s, emoticons in texting, internet fora, emails etc became the order of the day. Emoticons have come to play an important role in communication through technology and some devices and applicants have provided stylised pictures including facial gestures portraying specific emotions in place of text punctuations. Emoticons were the precursors to modern emojis, which have been in a state of perpetual development for a variety of digital platforms. Today, over 90% of the world’s online population uses emojis or emoticons. However, it is not that emoticons were not used in the past. They were definitely used in various forms in different parts of the world, even though the term was coined as late as in the 1980s. In 1912 in an essay, the American author, Ambrose Bierce, suggested facetiously that a bracket could be used as ‿ to represent a smiling face. In 1936 in an article, writer Alan Gregg proposed combining brackets with other punctuation marks to display various moods, such as – for a smile, — for showing more teeth, # for laughter and * for a wink. In 1967 in an article in Reader’s Digest, a tongue in one’s cheek was represented by a columnist as –I). In modern times, emoticons have been around since 1990s and at present ‘smiley’ emoticons such as colon, hyphen and bracket have become integral to digital communications. They have inspired various other emoticons, such as ;-) for winking and :-o for a ‘surprised’ face. Emoticons in Western style have the eyes on the left, followed by the nose and the mouth. The popular one is :I) without the nose. Changing a character may lead to a new feeling or a change in mood. For instance :I( equals sad and :I(I( equals very sad. Weeping can be styled as :I‘ and a blush can be expressed as :I>. Others such as wink as ;I) and smug as :I-> are also popular. An often-used combination is <3 for a heart and </3 for a broken heart. :IO is used to depict shock, :I/ to depict melancholy or disappointment and :I| to depict a neutral face. The Japanese popularised their own style of emoticons called kaomoji, literary called ‘face characters’ in a format similar to (*_*) where the asterisks indicate the eyes, the underscore the mouth and the parentheses the outline of the face. (T_T) may be used to express sadness or crying or to denote unimpressed. (x_x) may be a look of stress and (-_-;) may depict nervousness. In place of a hyphen, a period is often used for display a cuter mouth, such as (^.^). The combination of Japanese and Western styles have the standard ASCII characters on Western keyboards in use with these Japanese-style emoticons. Examples are <I(I^.^I)I>, <I(^_^<), <I(o_o<), <I(oII.IIo)I>, <I(II.III^i), or (I>II;I.I.I;II)I>, which include the parentheses, mouth or nose and arms. Are we returning to the hieroglyphic age?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Tied oddly, the cardinal bound (8)
TETHERED: The oddly-placed letters (oddly) of T[I]E[D] followed by THE from the clue and RED (cardinal) as a colour somewhat similar to the deep scarlet colour of a cardinal’s cassock or hat guides to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning tied an animal with a rope or chain so as to restrict its movement

5a    Laugh and cry (6)
SCREAM: Double definition; the first being an informal term for an irresistibly funny or amusing person as is the informal term ‘laugh’, e.g. She’s a real scream or She’s a good laugh and the second a verb meaning to cry out, sound or utter loudly and shrilly

9a    Cured meat in pate can’t spread (8)
PANCETTA: An anagram (spread) of PATE CAN’T leads to the definition of meat from the belly of a pig that has been cured, especially in Italian cuisine

10a    Bachelor blessing primate (6)
BABOON: A charade of B (bachelor) as the abbreviation for bachelor as BA in Bachelor of Arts and A BOON (blessing) as a timely blessing or benefit takes to the definition of a large monkey of various species, with long muzzle, dog-like tusks, large lips, a tail and buttock-callosities

12a    Initiation of fear, certainly — with this? (6)
FRIGHT: The initial of starting letter (initiation) of F[EAR] followed by RIGHT (certainly) as decidedly or certainly yields the definition of a sudden intense feeling of fear

13a    Smart with scarf on, acting the peacock? (8)
BOASTING: STING (smart) as to feel or cause to feel a sharp tingling or burning pain or sensation having (with) BOA (scarf) as a long, thin decorative scarf made of feathers or a similar material, worn by women at parties or as part of fancy dress coming before or preceding (on) takes to the definition of a verb in the continuous form meaning talking with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one’s achievements, possessions or abilities that can be compared to the simile ‘acting the peacock’ that, with its colourful tail expanding like a fan, has long symbolised vanity and pride

15a    Just arrived, cake for youth (7)
INFANCY: A charade of IN (just arrived) as an adverb expressing arrival, say of a train at the station and FANCY (cake) as a small iced cake takes to the definition of childhood or one’s early days

16a    Painful thing, banal performance? (4)
CORN: Double nounal definition; the second being an idea, song or any performance that is regarded as banal or sentimental that leads to the first referring to a small, painful area of thickened skin on the foot, especially on the toes, caused by pressure or friction

20a    Christmas prize-giver losing heart (4)
NOEL: NO[B]EL (prize-giver) as the Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist most famously known for his invention of the dynamite, in whose name prizes called ‘Nobel Prizes’ are given every year as per his will of 1895 is subject to the removal (losing) of the central or innermost letter (heart), arriving at the definition of Christmas, especially as a refrain in carols and on Christmas cards

21a    Journey allowed, one of three (7)
TRIPLET: A charade of TRIP (journey) as a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure and LET (allowed) as allowed to go or come guides to the definition of one of three children or animals born to the same mother at one birth

25a    Lift second whale (8)
HUMPBACK: A charade of HUMP (lift) as an informal verb meaning to lift or carry a heavy object with difficulty and BACK (second) as to give financial, material or moral support to someone leads to the definition of a baleen whale which has long white flippers and a hump instead of a dorsal fin

26a    Pig meat more ill-advised? (6)
RASHER: Double definition; the second being an adjective in the comparative degree denoting more foolish, imprudent or ill-advised that takes to the first a noun referring to a thin slice of bacon

28a    Publication penned by Godfather, monster (6)
DRAGON: RAG (publication) as a publication engaging in tabloid journalism enclosed (penned) by DON (Godfather) as an informal term for a high-ranking member of the Mafia

29a    Field circled by toboggan was scintillating (8)
SPARKLED: PARK (field) as an enclosed playing field surrounded (circled) by SLED (toboggan) as another term for sledge that is a vehicle on runners for conveying loads or passengers over snow or ice, often pulled by draught animals leads to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning shone brightly with flashes of light

30a    Cool score, result secured (6)
TRENDY: TRY (score) as the score of four points in Rugby League or five points in Rugby Union gained by a player who succeeds in placing the ball with his hand over the opposition’s goal line inside which is placed (secured) END (result) as a goal or desired result takes to the definition of an adjective meaning very fashionable or up to date

31a    Type of mineral, gem almost broken by two strikes (8)
GRAPHITE: The definition of ​a soft black or grey mineral composed of carbon, with many commercial and industrial uses, notably as the ‘lead’ in lead pencils is arrived from most of the letters (almost) of GE[M] separated (broken) by RAP and HIT (two strikes) as the former to strike a hard surface with a series of rapid audible blows, especially in order to attract attention and the latter to strike with a missile, a weapon or the like


1d    Warning why cue proving useless? (3-3)
TIP-OFF: Double definition; the second being the immediate response to the question since tip, one of the most essential pool cue accessories, is the only object that makes touch with the cue ball when a player makes a shot and the cue would be useless if it had no tip, i.e. its tip had come off that takes to the first referring to a piece of information or a warning that is given to someone, often privately or secretly

2d    Sport taken up by thousands, in netball (6)
TENNIS: Part of or hidden inside (by) [THOUSAND]S, IN NET[BALL] seen going upwards (taken up) as a reversal in the down clue guides to the definition of a sport played with a small, felt-covered rubber ball and rackets on a rectangle court either as singles, when two individuals face off, or as doubles, which involves two teams of two players each

3d    Fantastic plane, the jumbo (8)
ELEPHANT: An anagram (fantastic) of PLANE, THE takes to the definition of a very large plant-eating mammal with a prehensile trunk, long curved ivory tusks and large ears, native to Africa and southern Asia that is also commonly referred to as jumbo after Jumbo, an enormously popular name of an elephant at London Zoo that was sold in 1882 to the Barnum and Bailey Circus

4d    Food in time at sea (4)
EATS: Part of or hidden inside (in) [TIM]E AT S[EA] takes to the definition of a colloquial term for a small amount of food

6d    Crude programme on the radio? (6)
COARSE: COURSE (programme) as an educational programme or a programme of study serving as a homophone heard by the audience (on the radio) leads to the definition of an adjective meaning crude or unrefined in taste, manners or language

7d    Heart, say: tick in it once erratic (8)
EMOTICON: MO (tick) as an informal term for a short period of time placed inside (in) an anagram (erratic) of IT ONCE takes to the definition of a representation of an icon or a facial expression used to express a personal feeling in electronic mail etc, an example of which can be a heart indicating love

8d    Guy going grey, coping (8)
MANAGING: A charade of MAN (guy) as an adult male human being and AGING (going grey) as growing old or older leads to the definition of a verb in the continuous form meaning succeeding in surviving or in achieving something despite difficult circumstances

11d    Gripping instrument aimed at fungi (7)
FORCEPS: The definition of an instrument for grasping, holding firmly or exerting traction upon objects especially for delicate operations as by jewellers or surgeons is arrived at from FOR (aimed at) as a preposition meaning directed to or intended to reach or used as a function word to indicate an intended goal and CEPS (fungi) as the plural of an edible saprotrophic basidiomycetous woodland fungus, Boletus edulis, with a brown shining cap covering white spore-bearing tubes and having a rich nutty flavour

14d    Sudden thought to put lid on food (7)
CAPRICE: The definition of a sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behaviour is reached from CAP (lid) as a protective lid or cover for an object such as a bottle, the point of a pen or a camera lens placed upon (on) RICE (food) as a food that consists of small white or brown grains boiled in water until they become soft enough to eat in the down clue

17d    Building to do then, precisely (2,3,3)
ON THE DOT: An anagram (building) of TO DO THEN guides to the definition of a phrase meaning exactly or precisely

18d    Two lots of meat cooked, one on the same side (8)
TEAMMATE: An anagram (cooked) of MEAT and MEAT (two lots of meat) delivers the definition of person who is on the same team or side as someone else

19d    Hold on, pull yourself together! (3,1,4)
GET A GRIP: Double verbal definition of phrase; the first being to get a good physical hold on something and the second to get control of thoughts and emotions and stop behaving in a foolish or uncontrolled way

22d    Bishop resides in a street in foreign parts (6)
ABROAD: B (bishop) as the abbreviation for bishop in chess notation stays inside (resides in) A from the clue and ROAD (street) as a street or highway, arriving at the definition of an adverb meaning in or to a foreign country or countries

23d    Cold ice originally for hot food (6)
CHILLI: CHILL (cold) as a cold that causes shivering followed by the initial or starting letter (originally) of I[CE] leads to the definition of a hot-tasting pod of a variety of capsicum, used in sauces, pickles etc

24d    Something to playviolin part? (6)
BRIDGE: Double definition; the second being a thin upright piece of wood supporting the strings in a violin or similar instruments and transmitting their vibrations to the sounding board that leads to the first 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

27d    Finish off extra post (4)
SPAR: SPAR[E] (extra) as additional to what is needed, desired or required for ordinary use having the final or end letter (finish) removed (off) guides to the definition of a thick, strong pole, especially one used as a mast to hold the sail on a ship.

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 13a, 15a, 25a, 31a, 11d, 14d, 18d and 24d; 24d 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. Would love to be here again. Have a gorgeous day.

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