Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — DT 27453


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27453
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27453]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
scchua
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
██████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

Those of you who solved the bonus puzzle in yesterday's blog get another chance to tackle one of Jay's puzzles. This one is not too difficult and is certainly enjoyable.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across

1a   Leaving shop empty, flog a little (6)

4a   Suitable place by a quiet river in Italy (8)

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

The Po[7] is a river that arises in the Cottian Alps and flows eastward across northern Italy entering the Adriatic Sea through a delta near Venice.

10a   City's experience with right game played with balls (9)

Liverpool[5] is a city and seaport in northwest England, situated at the east side of the mouth of the River Mersey; population 454,700 (est. 2009). Liverpool developed as a port in the 17th century with the import of cotton from America and the export of textiles produced in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and in the 18th century became an important centre of shipbuilding and engineering.

11a   Publication for children? (5)

12a   Crushed fabric (7)

13a   Bury's river not unknown by one million (7)

Bury[7] is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on the River Irwell, 7.9 miles (12.7 km) north-northwest of the city of Manchester. However, it is not "Bury's river" that is needed today, but rather one found not far away in Liverpool.

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are typically represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

The Mersey[5] is a river in northwestern England, which rises in the Peak District of Derbyshire and flows 112 km (70 miles) to the Irish Sea near Liverpool.

14a   Gag church after priest takes only regulars (5)

"Regulars" indicates that a regular sequence of letters is required. As is the case today, this usually means every second letter — although I recall at least one occasion where the required sequence was every third letter. As is customarily the situation, the setter does not specify whether we need the odd sequence or the even sequence — which we must figure out by trial and error.

15a   Make another effort to incorporate soldiers' records here (8)

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war. Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather derives from the term government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

18a   Barber's offering route to efficiency? (5,3)

Dictionaries do not agree on the spelling of the solution when used in the latter sense. The Chambers Dictionary and Collins English Dictionary both have it as short cut[2,10] (two words) while Oxford Dictionaries Online as well as the two American dictionaries (The American Heritage Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary) all have it as shortcut (a single word).

20a   As some say, volcanic rock produces a primitive life form (5)

Many English dialects, especially those spoken in southern England, feature an "intrusive 'r'" — that is, an 'r' is pronounced in the middle of a word where none exists in the spelling. In such dialects, the word "sawing" is pronounced 'SOARING' and the word "lava" is pronounced 'LARVA'.

23a   Strikes bringing in American relations (7)

25a   Trade union in fresh trial, in name only (7)

TU[3,4,11] is the abbreviation for Trade Union.

26a   Irritable people who won't drink in sunlight (5)

27a   Energy absorbed by modest or new instruments for measuring (9)

28a   Lied outrageously, held by head with no substance (8)

29a   A detailed brief point on land (6)

The setter uses "detailed" in a whimsical cryptic crossword sense meaning having the tail removed — based on an analogy with words such as deflowered or defrocked.

Down

1d   Milks row, working for 20 (8)

The numeral "20" in the clue is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 20a in its place to complete the clue. In this case, the solution to 20a is the definition for the present clue.

By the way, those are not French fries in the photo that scchua uses to illustrate his hint — it is a plate of deep-fried silkworms.

2d   Young animal always protected by permit (7)

3d   Lie here if injured by brick? (9)

A stretcher[5] is a brick or stone laid with its long side along the face of a wall.

5d   Where people vote for cutting radio broadcaster (7,7)

Poll[5] means to cut the horns off (an animal, especially a young cow). In an archaic usage, it also means to cut off the top of (a tree or plant), typically to encourage further growth there were some beautiful willows, and now the idiot Parson has polled them into wretched stumps.

6d   Love island engulfed in rising slander and loathing (5)

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

7d   Poor return is without profit ultimately for risk taker (7)

8d   Admittedly, cross-index Eternal City (6)

The Eternal City[5] is a name for the city of Rome. However, here we must "lift and separate" the phrase, with the first part becoming part of the wordplay and the latter part forming the definition.

Exeter is a city in southwestern England, the county town of Devon, on the River Exe; population 109,200 (est. 2009). Exeter was founded by the Romans, who called it Isca.

9d   Machines that break down in the kitchen? (4,10)

16d   Talks incoherently of line in golf clubs given to son (9)

17d   The French must welcome a bridge game for two teams (8)

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

19d   Chased across area inhabited by ghosts (7)

21d   Finished up accepting fiction — outstanding work (7)

Relievo[5] is another term for relief, a method of moulding, carving, or stamping in which the design stands out from the surface, to a greater (high relief) or lesser (low relief) extent.

22d   A great deal of panic, squashing a black beetle (6)

The scarab[5] (also sacred scarab) is a large dung beetle (Scarabaeus sacer) of the eastern Mediterranean area, regarded as sacred in ancient Egypt.

24d   Equally divided, concealing rise of perfect state (5)

An idyll[5] is an extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque period or situation, typically an idealized or unsustainable one the rural idyll remains strongly evocative in most industrialized societies.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014 — DT 27447 (Bonus Puzzle)


Prologue

For those who are suffering from CCWS (Cryptic Crossword Withdrawal Syndrome), I present your Monday fix — namely, the puzzle that the National Post skipped one week ago.

During July and August, the National Post does not publish an edition on Monday. In years past, a Monday Diversions page has sometimes been printed in either a preceding or subsequent edition of the paper. However, that practice appears to have been discontinued. In order to afford readers the opportunity to tackle the puzzles that the National Post has skipped, throughout the summer I will be posting (with a one week delay) the puzzles that would normally have appeared on Monday.

Enjoy solving the puzzle. The review follows.

Review

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27447
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27447]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
scchua
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
The National Post skipped this puzzle which — under its regular publication schedule — would have appeared on Monday, August 11, 2014.

Introduction

This is an enjoyable offering from Jay. However, there is a tricky bit of wordplay in 9a.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across

1a   A lot of covering left spread on garden? (5)

In the definition, "spread" is used as an noun. The definition could be interpreted as "spread [that might be found] on garden".

4a   Being arrogant, I'm up to changing in public transport (9)

9a   What makes unusual plot visible? (9)

I confess that I failed to sort out the wordplay in this clue and relied on scchua's explanation.

I would say that this is an &lit. (all-in-one) clue. The entire clue constitutes the definition; a SPOTLIGHT would make an unusual plot — or, for that matter, virtually anything else — visible. The entire clue also serves as the wordplay. However, it is a rather devious bit of wordplay in that we have to replace "visible" with its synonym "in sight" where "in" serves as a containment indicator and "sight" as the container. The clue then can be deciphered as 'what makes an anagram (unusual) of PLOT contained in (in) SIGHT'.

10a   Wild tree -- a sort of apple (5)

Eater[5] is an informal British term for an eating apple.

11a   Nouveau riche's leading way with skill (7)

12a   A place for thinking about deal (7)

13a   Heartily ate a macho dish (6)

"Heartily ate" signifies the heart (middle letter) of the word 'aTe'.

A tamale[5] is a Mexican dish of seasoned meat and maize [corn] flour steamed or baked in maize husks.

15a   Charge for spice is steep (8)

Another way of expressing "charge for spice" would be 'spice charge'. From this, we get MACE (spice) + RATE (charge).

18a   Mix-up in rush for planes (8)

20a   Dispatch a letter reserving holiday accommodation (6)

23a   Time trains breaking down and pass through (7)

24a   Counsellor's face-saver after a dodgy start (7)

26a   Feature leader of African country (5)

27a   Unusual amount wasted for a spare part? (3,3,3)

My initial attempt at explaining this clue differed markedly from that of scchua. This prompted me to undertake some further research following which I concluded that the setter is likely using the first definition from The Chambers Dictionary which defines odd man out[1] (or odd one out) as (1) a person who is left out when numbers are made up [e.g., teams being chosen from a pool of potential players] or (2) a person who, whether through personal inclination or rejection by others, gets set apart from the group to which he or she belongs, because of e.g. a difference interests, behaviour, etc.

I had initially started with the definition found at Oxford Dictionaries Online which defines odd one (or man) out[5] as a person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set in some way I hate being the odd one out among friends who are all couples. As the usage example illustrates, this expression may sometimes be applied to a situation of a lone, unaccompanied person in the presence of one or more couples.

Working from this basis, I thought perhaps "spare part" might be a British expression equivalent to the North American term fifth wheel[5], meaning a superfluous person or thing. However, I was unable to find this specific term in any British dictionary. I did find the rather crude British expression spare prick at a wedding meaning a useless or unwanted person (usually heard in the expression 'like a spare prick at a wedding'). I surmised that the setter might have used the term "spare part" as a polite allusion to what the Brits would term a "naughty bit".

28a   Firm dates fixed before Lent, perhaps (9)

This puzzle would have appeared in the UK during Lent which likely explains the recent spate of references to Lent in the puzzles.

In the Christian Church, Lent[5] is the period preceding Easter, which is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church [with the exception of the Roman Catholic Church[7]] it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, and so includes forty weekdays [excluding the six Sundays that fall during this period].

29a   Promises nothing and trails, having lost leader (5)

Down

1d   Unfinished place of prayer -- it's full of love, and flies (9)

As scchua points out in his review, most people would differentiate between flies and mosquitos. However, Oxford Dictionaries Online defines mosquito[5] as a slender long-legged fly with aquatic larvae. Oxford does, however, specify that the plural is mosquitoes although Chambers 21st Century Dictionary[2] and Collins English Dictionary[10] both also allow mosquitos.

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

2d   Ladies perhaps note curls (5)

In Britain, the Ladies[5] is another name for a women’s public toilet. Loo[5] is an informal British term for a toilet.

3d   Receptacle for antique found in lobby (7)

Holdall[5] is a British term for a large rectangular bag with handles and a shoulder strap, used for carrying clothes and other personal belongings [possibly similar to a North American carryall[5]].

4d   Important books on southern fanatics (6)

In Crosswordland, the word "books" is often used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). As is often case, the clue does not specify whether the reference is to the former or the latter.

5d   Relevant stuff (8)

6d   Discovered in Goethe a treasure house (7)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe[5] (1749–1832) was a German poet, dramatist, and scholar. Involved at first with the Sturm und Drang movement, Goethe changed to a more measured and classical style, as in the ‘Wilhelm Meister’ novels (1796–1829). Notable dramas: Götz von Berlichingen (1773), Tasso (1790), and Faust (1808–32).

7d   Immediately working, and consequently suffer (2,3,4)

The phrase on the nail[10] means (with respect to payments) at once (especially in the phrase pay on the nail).

8d   Fish quietly netted by sailors turning up (5)

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

The sprat[3,4]is a small marine food fish, Clupea sprattus, of the northeast Atlantic Ocean and North Sea that is eaten fresh or smoked and is often canned in oil as a sardine; also called brisling.

14d   Spread Madge mostly eats at home (9)

Madge[7] is a female given name, a short form of Madeline (itself an anglicised version of 'Magdalene'), Marjorie, and Margaret.

16d   Register it with one's gut reaction (9)

17d   The polar orbits creating abundance (8)

19d   Leading actor in the mire might not cut it! (7)

In his review, scchua indicates that the definition is merely the word "it". While the pronoun "it" does represent the solution in the clue, I don't think that it can be considered to be the definition [try solving the clue on the basis of the word "it" alone]. Therefore, I have chosen to classify this as a semi-&lit. clue.

21d   Try bear -- once! (4,1,2)

22d   Criminal ring riots regularly (6)

"Regularly" indicates that a regular sequence of letters is required. As is the case today, this usually means every second letter — although I recall at least one occasion where the required sequence was every third letter. As is customarily the situation, the setter does not specify whether we need the odd sequence or the even sequence — which we must figure out by trial and error.

23d   Fixes duty for the audience (5)

The definition "fixes" is used in the sense of affixes.

25d   Police informer exposed after vacating salon (5)

Snout[5] is an informal British term for a police informer his arrest had been the work of some anonymous snout.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014 — DT 27451


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27451
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, March 31, 2014
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27451]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Libellule
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

Today, Libellule returns — following a long absence — to the blogging seat at Big Dave's Crossword Blog. He was a regular weekly blogger up until mid-November 2013. However, it would seem that this appearance is a one-time performance and not the start of a regular gig.

Also at Big Dave's site, crypticsue comments "The easiest Rufus ever but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining." That statement was certainly a bit disheartening — given that I needed to call in the electronic reinforcements today.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across

1a   Agree to exchange letters (10)

6a   It stimulates one to start piano and stick with it (4)

10a   Submariners may be upset if these charges are dropped (5)

11a   Lights now required for those who get busy after dark (5,4)

12a   Ordered to get round secure barrier (8)

My initial supposition was that the solution must be BLOCKAGE which, of course, left me in the dark as far as the wordplay was concerned. Eventually, the light dawned.

13a   Limit area for stock (5)

Libellule appears to have overlooked the obvious (at least for someone from North America) explanation for the second definition — that range[5] denotes an expanse of open land where cattle are grazed.

15a   Business in time makes money (7)

17a   Not huge, shaped to become robust (7)

19a   State regalia thrown out (7)

21a   Prison -- one's taken in weapon, getting bird (7)

A North American is most likely to solve this clue by recognizing that PEN as a shortened version of penitentiary, but note that this is not the route taken by Libellule. The word penitentiary is apparently not used in the UK in the sense of a prison; this usage is characterised as being North American by Chambers 21st Century Dictionary[2], Collins English Dictionary[10] and  Oxford Dictionaries Online[5].

22a   Hack returns, writing for papers (5)

24a   Grannies making money (8)

27a   Considering retribution (9)

Consider is used in the sense of deem to be (the event was reckoned a failure).

28a   Period of calm for one after exercising (5)

29a   Unwatered stock (4)

Neat[5] is an archaic term for a bovine animal or, as a mass noun, cattle. [Might there be a drought on the range?]

30a   Composer in far off New Zealand heard record (5,5)

Franz Liszt[5] (1811–1886) was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He was a key figure in the romantic movement; many of his piano compositions combine lyricism with great technical complexity, while his twelve symphonic poems (1848–58) created a new musical form.

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for New Zealand is NZ[7].

Down

1d   Laws that can only be broken by an expert (4)

Although one might deem this entire clue to be a cryptic definition, I believe that it can also be viewed as a double definition. The latter is perhaps easier to see if one replaces the word "that" with the phrase "something which".

2d   Change needed for pound sterling -- don't set aside for driving back (9)

I interpreted "set aside" to be a deletion indicator instructing us to remove the letters D, O, N and T from POUND STERLING to arrive at the anagram fodder. Although the wording of Libellule's hint is a bit ambiguous, he appears to have deemed the deletion indicator to be merely "aside" and seen the phrase "DON'T set" as denoting the "various letters of DON'T" or, in other words, the set of letters forming the word DON'T.

3d   Moral rule put in French and Latin here (5)

In French, et[8]is a conjunction meaning 'and''.

In Latin, hic is an adverb meaning 'here'.

4d   Lent preliminary item that falls flat? (7)

Does a pancake fall flat? Obviously the person who coined the term 'pancake landing' thought so.

A pancake landing[5] is an emergency landing in which an aircraft levels out close to the ground and drops vertically with its undercarriage still retracted.

In the Christian Church, Lent[5] is the period preceding Easter, which is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church [with the exception of the Roman Catholic Church[7]] it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, and so includes forty weekdays [excluding the six Sundays that fall during this period].

Shrove Tuesday[5] is the day before Ash Wednesday. Though named for its former religious significance, it is chiefly marked by feasting and celebration, which traditionally preceded the observance of the Lenten fast. It is also known as Pancake Day[5], as it is a day on which pancakes are traditionally eaten.

Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent[7] because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: in many cultures, this means no meat, dairy products, or eggs.

5d   You wouldn't care to be guilty of it (7)

7d   Quarrel over an ash tree (5)

Rowan is another name for the European mountain ash[10] (Sorus aucuparia).

8d   Making out, being intelligent (10)

9d   Top of the bill act? Rats! (4,4)

A turn[3] is a brief theatrical act or stage appearance.

Star turn is a British term for the person or performance that is the most interesting or exciting[10] or the person or act that gives the most heralded or impressive performance in a programme[5] (i) he was stopped by the arrival on stage of the star turn; (ii) she was the star turn of the night.

This clue involves what I call inverse wordplay — specifically an inverse reversal. The solution to the clue (STAR TURN) consists of a reversal indicator (TURN) and its fodder (STAR), with the result of the reversal operation (RATS) being found in the clue itself. The exclamation mark at the end of the clue could be seen as an indication that there is something a bit out of the ordinary about the clue.

In a "normal" reversal clue, the reversal indicator and its fodder would be in the clue itself, with the result of the reversal operation being found in the solution.

14d   A figure once hard to work out (10)

16d   Place of grazing (8)

After 13a and 29a, one could be forgiven for suspecting that the solution might be an 8-letter synonym for range. I was quite confident that this was not the case and was thinking along the lines of "grazing" possibly referring to a bullet that just nicks the skin. However, despite being generally on the right track, I needed a nudge from my electronic assistants to nail down the correct solution.

18d   It suffers periodic downturns in time (9)

20d   A row about the Spanish studio (7)

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

21d   As a fine example, Father ran full of energy (7)

23d   Bill's getting new car, that's capital (5)

Accra[5] is the capital of Ghana, a port on the Gulf of Guinea; population 1,970,400 (est. 2005).

25d   Drive for mile travelling round pithead (5)

26d   Go to get added flavour (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014 — DT 27450

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27450
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Setter
Cephas (Peter Chamberlain)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27450 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27450 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
██████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Introduction

It was 18a that gave me the most trouble today. Several times I set the puzzle aside for a period hoping that my subconscious would find the solution while I concentrated on other things. Eventually I did decipher the correct solution, but it looked so improbable that I nearly discarded it. It also took me a very long time to see the wordplay at 23d and I never did figure out the wordplay at 1a (for which I was forced to obtain from gnomethang's review).

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across

1a   Crucial moment at Wimbledon affecting two times champion (5,5)

I was at a loss to explain the wordplay, having totally failed to detect the existence of the anagram.

In tennis and other sports, match point[5] is a point which if won by one of the players or sides will also win them the match he saved all three match points.

6a   Flashy character upsetting top people (4)

Spiv[5] is an informal British term for a man, typically a flashy dresser, who makes a living by disreputable dealings.

9a   Old cars popular with learner visiting more than one state (3,7)

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

Tin lizzie[4,5] is an informal and dated North American term for an old or decrepit car. It was originally a nickname for the Model T Ford.

10a   Powder used in macrobiotic latte coming from the East (4)

The reversal indicator is "coming from the East" (that is, reading from right to left).

12a   Hunter's habit perhaps put an end to soft wimps (6)

Weed[5] is an informal British term for a contemptibly feeble person he thought party games were for weeds and wets.

Tweeds[5] are clothes made from tweed, a thick roughish woollen cloth, usually with coloured flecks, used for making suits, jackets, skirts, etc and often identified with the town, area, etc where it is produced Harris tweed. The word tweed was originally a trade name which was a misreading of Scots tweel meaning 'twill' and which became reinforced by the name of the River Tweed in the Borders [the area of Scotland bordering on England] along which many of the factories that first produced the cloth were situated. Such clothes seem to be especially associated with hunters and academics.

13a   Follower of false gods, I procrastinate (8)

15a   Gratifying resolution of nightmare war (5-7)

18a   Major initiative -- single picture left in movie (5,7)

This was the last clue to be solved — and by a massive margin. I eventually worked out the correct solution from the wordplay, but it was so implausible that I nearly discarded it without looking it up. Fortunately, I did look it up and found to my amazement that it was correct.

Cine[5] is an adjective used in Britain meaning cinematographic (of which it is seemingly a shortened form) a cine camera [or, in other words, a movie camera].

Sir John Major[5] is a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1990-7.

The Cones Hotline[7] was a telephone hotline introduced by the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Major in June 1992 to allow members of the public to enquire about roadworks on the country's roads and report areas where traffic cones had been deployed on a road for no apparent reason. The hotline was widely seen as being a waste of government resources, costing several thousand pounds per year to run. It was quietly disbanded in September 1995, having fielded a total of fewer than twenty thousand calls. The service did inspire the term cone syndrome, to describe a piece of legislation made by a government that seems to serve no real purpose.

21a   Florence ruled by fish (8)

22a   Shawl, new, makes one hot (6)

In the cryptic analysis, one must read the clue as STOLE (shawl) + N (new) produces (makes [for] one) [a word meaning] hot.

24a   O! What comes from pen? Animal noise (4)

25a   Houseplant rousing a sad spirit (10)

An aspidistra[5] is a bulbous plant of the lily family with broad tapering leaves, native to eastern Asia and widely grown as a houseplant.

26a   Made a portrait of Barrymore? (4)

Drew Barrymore[7] is an American actress, screenwriter, film director, producer, model and author who is a descendant of the Barrymore family of well-known American stage and cinema actors, and is the granddaughter of film legend John Barrymore.

Michael Barrymore[7] [mentioned by gnomethang in his review] is the stage name of Michael Ciaran Parker, an English comedian and television presenter of game shows and light entertainment programmes on British television in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Barrymore was voted the UK's favourite television star several times, becoming one of the highest-paid stars on television.

27a   Help Charlie with initially important position (10)

Charlie[5] is an informal British term for a fool what a bunch of charlies.

Down

1d   Grumble endlessly about a change (6)

2d   Vulnerable bid (6)

3d   Hard manner and sauce -- shock treatment's needed (12)

H[5] is an abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.

4d   Don't start to drink slimy stuff (4)

5d   Wastrel we enrolled to be employed (4-2-4)

As an anagram indicator, "employed" is likely to be interpreted as busy, active, or moving around.

7d   Insect tucked into simple fruit (8)

8d   A newspaper probes depravity in minister's place (8)

In his review, gnomethang mentions that "[a] red top newspaper is sometimes [derogatorily] called A RAG". In Britain, a tabloid newspaper is known as a red top[5] (from the red background on which the titles of certain British newspapers are printed).

A vicarage[5] is the residence of a vicar. In the the Church of England, a vicar[5] is a member of the clergy who is an incumbent of a parish where tithes formerly passed to a chapter or religious house or layman, whereas a rector[5] is a member of the clergy who is an incumbent of a parish where all tithes formerly passed to the incumbent.

11d   Musician performing stint with recital (12)

Clarinettist[5] is the preferred British spelling of clarinetist.

14d   Women taking orders from printworks around S American city (10)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

Orders[5] denotes the rank of a member of the clergy or an ordained minister of the Church he took priest’s orders.

Holy orders[5] is the sacrament or rite of ordination as a member of the clergy, especially in the grades of bishop, priest, or deacon.

The phrase in holy orders[5] means having the status of an ordained member of the clergy his friend in holy orders.

The phrase take holy orders[5] means to become an ordained member of the clergy his first ambition was to take holy orders.

A prioress[5] is (1) a woman who is head of a house of certain orders of nuns or (2) the woman who is next in rank below an abbess.

16d   A very loud reprimand's given outside place for punishment (8)

Fortissimo[5] (abbreviation ff[5]) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very loud  or (as an adverb) very loudly.

To solve this clue, one must insert a bit of mental punctuation in the wordplay. Thus we treat it as a series of instructions. In step one, we form a charade from A (from the clue) and FF (very loud). In step two, SCOLD (reprimand) is placed around (given outside) the result from step one.

17d   Report girl gaining little weight (8)

19d   'Mercury' maybe getting slightly twisted in printing roller (6)

Those who remember using typewriters should be familiar with a platen[5]. It is the cylindrical roller against which the paper is held. As I recall, to underline text, one had to release the platen and move it back to the point where the start of the text to be underlined was situated at the point where the typing would occur (without advancing the paper to the next line) and then typing over the original line of text with underscore characters.

20d   Lag behind in recast team (6)

One must interpret the wordplay as following (behind) IN [is positioned] an anagram (recast) of TEAM.

23d   Antipodean it's essential we picked up (4)

Here "picked up" implies "picked up [by the ear]" and is a homophone indicator. The wordplay parses as sounds like (picked up) {KEY (essential) + WE}. [Note: the "ME" in gnomethang's hint is clearly a typo].

The Antipodes[5] is a term used by inhabitants of the northern hemisphere to refer to Australia and New Zealand. An Antipodean would therefore be an inhabitant of Australia or New Zealand.

An antipode[5] is the direct opposite of something voting and violence are antipodes. The term originally denoted the inhabitants of opposite sides of the earth.

Kiwi[5] is an informal term for a New Zealander. It presumably comes from kiwi[5], a name applied to any of three species of flightless New Zealand birds with hair-like feathers, having a long downcurved bill with sensitive nostrils at the tip.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon