Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015 — DT 27668


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27668
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27668]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Gazza
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

This is not a difficult puzzle but I suffered a mental block on 7d. I bashed my head against a brick wall till it hurt trying to solve the last remaining clue. I finally relented and called on my electronic assistants for help. When I saw the solution, I did further damage to myself with several stiff kicks.

If you have never perused the comments on Big Dave's blog, today might be the day to do so. There is some quite amusing banter going on.

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. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Impostor? // Nonsense (6)

Behind the Picture
Gazza illustrates his review of this clue with a picture of humbugs which he describes as a "minty sweet [candy]". According to British dictionaries, humbug[2,5,10] is a British term for a hard boiled sweet [candy], usually flavoured with peppermint and often having a striped pattern. As a candy, the term humbug[3,11] does not appear in the American dictionaries that I customarily consult.

Humbugs are available in Canada, but I certainly would not describe their taste as minty. I was unsuccessful in my attempts to identify what is used as a flavouring, although I did find references to licorice and maple flavoured humbugs in addition to the traditional ones, which one manufacturer simply describes as humbug-flavoured. I think that is undoubtedly the best description one could give.

5a   Disease, // nasty-sounding -- pets affected (4-4)

Fowl pest[5] is another name for (1) Newcastle disease[5], an acute infectious viral fever affecting birds, especially poultry or (2) fowl plague, an acute and often fatal infectious disease of birds, especially poultry, caused by certain strains of influenza virus.

9a   Honeymoon suite for them -- // grand bedroom, I suspect (5,3,5)

Although Gazza has interpreted this to be a semi-all-in-one clue, I am afraid that I don't see it that way. I think that "honeymoon suite for them" defines the solution quite satisfactorily—where the definition is interpreted to mean "persons who might occupy the honeymoon suite".

10a   Mate ringing a seabird /is/ taking protective interest (8)

In Britain, mate[5] is an informal term (1) for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve or (2) used as a friendly form of address between men or boys ⇒ ‘See you then, mate.’.

11a   French dramatist // elected to enter competition (6)

Jean Racine[5] (1639–1699) was a French dramatist, the principal tragedian of the French classical period. Central to most of his tragedies is a perception of the blind folly of human passion, continually enslaved and unsatisfied. Notable works: Andromaque (1667) and Phèdre (1677).

12a   Nothing about English version /in/ US state (6)

Nada[5] [from Spanish] is an informal North American term for nothing—as you might gather from skempie's remarks at Comment #4 as well as those of Beaver (and the ensuing discussion) at Comment #7 and SheilaP at Comment #17 on Big Dave's blog.

14a   Work in vile // Parisian prison (8)

The Bastille[5] was a fortress in Paris built in the 14th century and used in the 17th-18th centuries as a state prison. Its storming by the mob on 14 July 1789 marked the start of the French Revolution.

16a   A female, silver-tongued /and/ wealthy (8)

19a   Pop out after beer /in/ Syrian city (6)

Aleppo[5] is a city in northern Syria; population 1,693,800 (est. 2009).

21a   Foremost of players to speak /in/ golf club (6)

23a   Story // one cadet concocted (8)

25a   Guy at No.9, // best player on pitch? (3,2,3,5)

The numeral "9" is a cross reference indicator—but one with a twist. Usually a cross reference indicator directs the solver to insert the solution to the cross-referenced clue in its place to complete the clue.However, here the wordplay is telling us to extract some information from the cross-referenced clue to produce the solution to this clue.

In Britain, pitch[5] is another term for field[5] in the sense of an area of ground marked out or used for play in an outdoor team game ⇒ a football pitch. In cricket, however, the pitch[5] is strictly the strip of ground between the two sets of stumps ⇒ both batsmen were stranded in the middle of the pitch.

26a   In power replacing Liberal? Vote received /makes this/ likely (8)

Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party[5] in Britain—likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5])—Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power (among other things).

27a   Untidy, dancing /in/ state of undress (6)

Down

2d   Drunken bum's ardour /causing/ offence (7)

3d   Carrot // bachelor covered with cheese (5)

B[2] is the abbreviation for Bachelor (in the sense of an academic degree).

4d   Novelist suppressing joke // -- it's fruity (9)

Graham Greene[5] (1904–1991) was an English novelist. The moral paradoxes he saw in his Roman Catholic faith underlie much of his work. Notable works: Brighton Rock (1938), The Power and the Glory (1940), and The Third Man (written as a screenplay, and filmed in 1949; novel 1950).

5d   Following suit, mostly to impress a new // group of admirers (3,4)

In publishing, f.[10] (plural ff.) is used to denote following (page).

6d   Bet // salary on first of runners (5)

7d   In favour of writer /exposing/ outlaw (9)

There would seem to be only two possible words which fit the checking letters. I thought of one on my own; unfortunately, it was the wrong one. However, my electronic assistants were able to come up with the other.

8d   Influential /in/ workshop, ignoring right line (7)

13d   Suddenly, // everyone agreed about carbon (3,2,4)

The symbol for the chemical element carbon is C[5].

15d   Political leaders // ordered means test (9)

17d   Perplex // loud clumsy person (7)

18d   Vandalised // paintings mounted in front of hut (7)

20d   Crack /in/ planter's recent (3,4)

22d   Fire damaged rear of boat, resulting in this? (5)

At 9a, I had a contrary view to Gazza—and here again.

I would say that this is a semi-all-in-one clue with the entire clue serving as the definition and the portion with the dashed underline being the wordplay.

24d   Old-fashioned // old man penning note (5)

In music, te[5] (or ti[2]) is the seventh note of the major scale in sol-fa notation. Judging by entries in American and British dictionaries, the only recognized spelling in the US would seem to be ti[3,4,11] whereas, in the UK, the principal spelling would appear to be te[2,3,4,11], with ti as an alternative spelling in some dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries Online provides less leeway, giving the spelling as te[5] with ti shown as the North American spelling.
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, May 21, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015 — DT 27667


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27667
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, December 8, 2014
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27667]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
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

The usual gentle and amusing fare from Rufus 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. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   An A /for/ apprenticeship (8)

Grammatically speaking, "an" and "a" are articles—indefinite articles to be more precise.

Articles[5] is a British term meaning a period of training with a firm as a solicitor, architect, surveyor, or accountant ⇒ (i) he is already in articles; (ii) it may be worth taking articles in a specialized firm.

6a   Notice saying // 'Playground equipment' (6)

9a   Director's backing me first // to do relief work (6)

10a   Eden // is in the march past (8)

Eden[5] (also Garden of Eden) is the place where Adam and Eve lived in the biblical account of the Creation, from which they were expelled for disobediently eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge [thereby losing their innocence]. The term Eden has come to mean a place or state of great happiness; an unspoilt paradise ⇒ the lost Eden of his childhood.

11a   Clear course // of action after study (8)

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

The Battle of the Somme[5] was a major battle of the First World War between the British and the Germans, on the Western Front in northern France July-November 1916. More than a million men on both sides were killed or wounded. Having recently visited the site of the battle, I would hasten to add that there may also have been a few troops from Canada, Newfoundland (not yet part of Canada), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and various other parts of the British Empire—not to mention France—involved.

12a   Observe nothing in /being/ old and infirm (6)

13a   Didn't remain wholly calm (4,2,6)

The solution could mean either "Didn't remain whole" or "Didn't remain calm". The setter has overlaid and merged the two to produce the clue. Does that make it a double definition? I ask facetiously.

16a   'Ratty' /making/ sure a knot can get undone (12)

Ratty[5] is an informal British term meaning bad-tempered and irritable ⇒ I was a bit ratty with the children.

Scratching the Surface
Rat[7], known as "Ratty" to his friends (though actually a water vole), is one of the main characters in The Wind in the Willows[7], a children's novel by British writer Kenneth Grahame (1859–1932), first published in 1908.

19a   It makes what's left look right (6)

21a   Recognise who's who, // yet I find that's mistaken (8)

23a   Hard top /makes/ vehicle fast (8)

24a   Didn't deny it/'s/ a selfish characteristic (6)

I was somewhat conflicted about whether to include "it" as part of the definition. Certainly, however, the response to What did he say when you told him his essay was poorly written? might be either He agreed or He didn't deny it.

25a   Take exception to /being/ ordered to leave again (6)

26a   Toolshed adapted /for/ climbers' requirements (8)

Down

2d   In disorder, arm staff // that will press home a charge (6)

Remember to read the definition as [something] that will press home a charge.

3d   Does an evening job? (5)

4d   Cricket finalist? (4,3,2)

In cricket, a player who is batting is said to be in[5]. Conversely, a player who is fielding is said to be out[5]. However, a batsman when dismissed is also said to be "out" and that means he must leave the field of play and be replaced by the next batsman on his team.

Batsmen must always bat in pairs, one at either end of the pitch. When ten batsmen [out of the eleven players forming a cricket team] have been dismissed (i.e., are out), then the whole team is dismissed and the innings is over [since, with only one batsman left, there is no longer a pair of batsmen].

When the ninth batsman is dismissed, the eleventh player on the team begins batting (becoming the new batting partner of the player who was previously the batting partner of the ninth player to be dismissed). Thus, the eleventh player to bat is "the last man in"—although he may not necessarily be the last man out.

A humorous explanation of the ins and outs of cricket can be found here.

5d   The foolish snipe at // the wise (7)

What did he say?
In his review, Miffypops says Terry Pratchett fans will know this one. The luggage is made from this form of Pearwood..
 Sir Terry Pratchett[7] is an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. Pratchett was the UK's best-selling author of the 1990s, and has sold over 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages.

The Luggage is a fictional object that appears in several of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. It is a large chest made of sapient pearwood (a magical, intelligent plant which is nearly extinct, impervious to magic, and only grows in a few places outside the Agatean Empire, generally on sites of very old magic).

6d   People are unhappy when out of these // groups (5)

7d   Risks /of/ heat in terminals (9)

8d   Discharged // sailor worked out (8)

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

13d   Treat wage adjusting /as/ a political scandal (9)

Watergate[5] was a US political scandal in which an attempt to bug the national headquarters of the Democratic Party (in the Watergate building in Washington DC) led to the resignation of President Nixon (1974).

14d   Walk // recollected in Arden poem (9)

As an anagram indicator, the setter uses "recollected" in the whimsical sense of collected again. Perhaps the letters have fallen on the ground and when collected again end up in a different order.

Scratching the Surface
Arden may merely be a convenient invention of the setter. I was unable to find any recognized poet with that name.

15d   Without notice, serviceman/'s in/ a pickle (8)

The Royal Marines[5] (abbreviation RM)[5] is a British armed service (part of the Royal Navy) founded in 1664, trained for service at sea, or on land under specific circumstances.

17d   /It's/ obvious // I'd engaged in contest (7)

The setter has structured the clue in such a way that the link word appears at the beginning.

18d   A piece of land // away from home (6)

20d   Give a telling-off to // cook (5)

I would say that the word "to" is part of the definition. To give a telling-off to someone is to roast them.

22d   Trunk // roots disturbed (5)
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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 — DT 27666


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27666
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27666 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27666 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (Review)
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 has skipped DT 27664 and DT 27665 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, December 4, 2014 and Friday, December 5, 2014 respectively.
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

The National Post has skipped a couple of puzzles. According to the biweekly rotation, I would have expected this one to have been set by Cephas (Peter Chamberlain). However, there is no information to confirm (or refute) this on Big Dave's blog.

Despite the two-star difficulty rating assigned by gnomethang, I found this puzzle quite challenging—especially the northwest quadrant (where I called in my electronic assistants for some backup).

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. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Driving manoeuvre, // say doing a U-turn, with Gabriel getting clipped (4,6)

It would certainly have helped had I taken into account that Gabriel was no mere angel of ordinary rank.

In the Bible, Gabriel[5] is the archangel[5] (an angel of greater than ordinary rank) who foretold the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38), and who also appeared to Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, and to Daniel. In Islam, Gabriel is the archangel who revealed the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad.

6a   Sign of official correspondence /for/ electrical units (4)

OHMS[5] stands for On Her (or His) Majesty’s Service.


The ohm[5] is the SI unit of electrical resistance—SI being the abbreviation for the international system of units of measurement [from French Système International].

9a   Mafioso // trashed Rome around summer time (7)

BST[5] is the abbreviation for British Summer Time (the UK terminology for Daylight Saving Time).

10a   Match official // testimonial with no charge taken (7)

12a   Organised worker // intrudes into a struggle (5,8)

14a   She wrote // 'A Transatlantic Decade' (6)

... "transatlantic" from a British perspective.

Jane Austen[5] (1775–1817) was an English novelist. Her major novels are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1818), and Persuasion (1818). They are notable for skilful characterization, dry wit, and penetrating social observation.

15a   Aid to understanding foreign films /being/ nuanced about it (8)

17a   Aggressive youth // had Nikes scuffed (8)

A skinhead[5] is a young man of a subculture characterized by close-cropped hair and heavy boots, often perceived as aggressive.

19a   Area west of New South Wales the Queen/'s/ come back to (6)

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

22a   Amount of business done by electronics company /is/ sweet (5,8)

Apple Inc.[7] is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, online services, and personal computers.

Sweet[5] is the British term for a sweet dish forming a course of a meal; in other words, a pudding or dessert.

24a   See Kent all out // with extreme sharpness (7)

Scratching the Surface
Kent[5] is a county on the southeastern coast of England; county town, Maidstone.

25a   Time Foreign Office should intervene in riot // quickly (7)

I hadn't considered the solution to be an adverb—but I discover that it is.

Hotfoot[5] can mean in eager haste ⇒ he rushed hotfoot to the planning office to object.

26a   Provide comfort /and/ support mostly (4)

27a   Keep protection // with cutting through dreary escarpment (10)

A keep[5] is the strongest or central tower of a castle, acting as a final refuge.

Down

1d   Like pheasant, e.g. // male having bright covering (4)

2d   A Roman assassin moving right up /in/ a tree (7)

Marcus Junius Brutus[5] (85-42 BC) was a Roman senator. With Cassius he led the conspirators who assassinated Julius Caesar in 44 BC. They were defeated by Caesar’s supporters, Antony and Octavian, at the battle of Philippi in 42 BC, after which Brutus committed suicide.

The arbutus[5] is an evergreen tree or shrub of a genus that includes the strawberry tree. Not to be confused with the trailing arbutus[5] (or mayflower), the floral emblem of both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts.

3d   Dairy product, // possible output of goat etc, it's said to make you smile (7,6)

4d   A vice /that's/ accepted (6)

5d   A bloomer // to stick around Eastern princess (8)

In oriental countries, especially India, a rani[10] (or ranee) is a queen or princess; the wife of a rajah.

7d   Musician // playing rap hits (7)

8d   Show passion and skill embracing wife /and/ lover (10)

11d   One is going from one party to another -- // got travel info somehow (8,5)

Floating voter[5] is a British term for a person who does not consistently vote for the same political party ⇒ the party leader stepped up his efforts to appeal to floating voters.

13d   Being madly made, // does it rise when sheep's angry? (10)

16d   Brag about amateur/'s/ support (8)

18d   What reporter announces /to create/ wow factor (7)

20d   Military leader /has/ news about half of army line (7)

It did spend a lot of time and effort trying to justify GENERAL based on it containing GEN (Briticism for information; or, in other words, news), RA (reversal (about) of half of ARmy) and L (line). It is only missing the second E.

21d   A Big Apple entertainment failing to start, in a haphazard way (6)

The Big Apple[5] is an informal name for New York City.

23d   One's sore, /getting/ left out of fashion (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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 — DT 27663


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27663
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27663]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
2Kiwis
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
The National Post has skipped DT 27662 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.

Introduction

The National Post may have skipped this puzzle, but regular readers of this blog did not miss out. The skipped puzzle appeared as a Bonus Puzzle in yesterday's blog posting.

You should not have worked up much of a sweat with today's puzzle. However, brace yourself for tomorrow.

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. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Worriedly describes lacking credit // in any case (7)

5a   Notice // joker following almost all of drama (7)

One might arrive at the solution through either of the two following routes:

A joker[5] is a playing card, typically bearing the figure of a jester, used in some games as a wild card.

Card[5] is an informal, dated term for a person regarded as odd or amusing ⇒ He laughed: ‘You’re a card, you know’.

9a   To put one's foot down /is/ a duty of sorts (5)

Stamp duty[10] (or stamp tax) is a tax on legal documents, publications, etc, the payment of which is certified by the attaching or impressing of official stamps.

10a   Lead, say /from/ corrupt copper? (4,5)

11a   Torrent /causing/ rambling group to lose leader during day trip (10)

12a   Request // that cuts enjoyment by half (4)

14a   Short // acts perhaps rewritten with depth (4-8)

18a   On form // demographic group? (7,5)

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower. The sixth form is the senior form of a school, and is usually divided into two year groups: the lower sixth and upper sixth. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms.

21a   Reality /produced by/ fine performance (4)

22a   Shield // design of touch screen with no end of bother (10)

25a   Dish /for/ bad loser in lawsuit? (9)

26a   Name /for/ savings scheme account? (5)

In the UK, an ISA[5] (individual savings account) is a scheme allowing individuals to hold cash, shares, and unit trusts free of tax on dividends, interest, and capital gains; in 1999 it replaced both personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs).

27a   Talk about // seconds on field event (7)

28a   People who understand // Australians? (7)

Digger[5] is an informal Australian and New Zealand term for a man, especially a private soldier (often used as a friendly form of address) ⇒ how are you, Digger?. [The term dates from the early 20th century and World War I: from digger 'miner', reinforced by association with the digging of trenches on the battlefields].

Down

1d   A clergyman/'s/ quiet work under British institute (6)

In music, Op.[5] (also op.) is an abbreviation meaning opus (work). It is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication.

B.[10] is the abbreviation for British.

I[1] (or I.) is the abbreviation for institute.

2d   Feels hurt /seeing/ pictures included in text message (6)

SMS[5], Short Message (or Messaging) Service, is a system that enables mobile phone users to send and receive text messages.

3d   Tactful // service might follow this (10)

I think this may qualify as a double definition.

4d   Weep over unprotected Nero/'s/ grave (5)

The word CRYPT did cross my mind initially.

Scratching the Surface
Nero[5] (AD 37-68) was Roman emperor 54-68; full name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Infamous for his cruelty, he wantonly executed leading Romans. His reign witnessed a fire which destroyed half of Rome in 64.

5d   Care following delivery /of/ mail to part of South Africa? (9)

Natal[5] is a former province of South Africa, situated on the east coast. Having been a Boer republic and then a British colony, Natal acquired internal self-government in 1893 and became a province of the Union of South Africa in 1910. It was renamed KwaZulu-Natal in 1994. [From Latin Terra Natalis 'land of the day of birth', a name given by Vasco da Gama in 1497, because he sighted the entrance to what is now Durban harbour on Christmas Day].

6d   Crown // service protecting millions (4)

7d   One leapt high, /as/ a Springbok (8)

A springbok[10] is an antelope, Antidorcas marsupialis, of semidesert regions of southern Africa, which moves in leaps exposing a patch of white erectile hairs on the rump that are usually covered by a fold of skin.

Scratching the Surface
The capitalization of "Springbok" might mislead one into believing that the setter is referring to a sportsman rather than an animal. The Springboks[5] are the South African international rugby union team.

8d   Boring, when crossing road /for/ slow people (8)

Contrary to the assertion by the 2Kiwis, the abbreviation for road in not inserted between the two components of the charade, but rather in the middle of the latter one.

13d   Wiping out // call after service bill (10)

15d   Mysterious ghost ship/'s/ most interesting parts (4,5)

16d   Do we act differently hugging female, /being/ false? (3-5)

17d   Flowers // reptile habitually consumes (8)

19d   Entertain // disheartened rabble with good beer (6)

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

20d   Cuts /due to/ arrest on board ship (6)

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to arrest (someone) ⇒ Stuart and Dan got nicked for burglary.

In Crosswordland, you will find that a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[10]. Thus "on board ship" is code for 'contained in SS'.

23d   Completely turn // Jude's heart, capturing writer (5)

Scratching the Surface
If this is intended to be a reference to the Thomas Hardy character, then the allusion is pretty obscure.

24d   Nation // secured by future prospects on the rise (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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015 — DT 27662 (Bonus Puzzle)


Prologue

Today being Victoria Day, a holiday in Canada, the National Post did not publish an edition. The recent practice of the National Post has been to skip puzzles that would have appeared on dates on which it does not publish. Therefore, to satisfy your cravings, here is DT 27662the puzzle that you would have seen had a paper landed on your doorstep this morning.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27662
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27662]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Gazza
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

This is a slightly more difficult puzzle than we've had in a few days. I did manage to complete it—although only after taking several cracks at it. The setter is not identified but several of those commenting at Big Dave's blog feel that it may be the creation of Shamus (Philip Marlow).

On a couple of clues, I have presented alternative interpretations to those given by Gazza in his review. That is in no way intended to suggest that his interpretation is incorrect. You may find both interpretations to be equally valid or you may prefer one over the other. Take your choice.

In Comment #39 on Big Dave's blog, Hrothgar provides a link to an interesting article from The Daily Telegraph which gives a profile of setter Don Manley (Giovanni) who set Friday's puzzle. The article was published to mark the publication of his 100th Toughie puzzle (the Toughie being a cryptic crossword published by The Daily Telegraph that is intended to be a more difficult challenge than the regular daily Cryptic Crossword which the National Post carries in syndication). As you will note from Big Dave's response, he thinks the celebration may be just a tad premature.

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. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Looked // good, area outside church (7)

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

5a   It could be blooming // useless, initially, if cash is wasted (7)

Scratching the Surface
Blooming[5] is an informal British expression used to express annoyance or for emphasis ⇒ (i) of all the blooming cheek!; (ii) a blooming good read.

9a   Temper -- losing head // on a regular basis (5)

10a   Enter // a tent and peer around (9)

11a   Queen, in leaving, /is/ putting a coat on? (10)

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

12a   Starts to believe Liberal's acting honourably? // Nonsense! (4)

14a   Sketches // depict sins or misbehaving (12)

18a   They make tracks for these // garden bugs (12)

Gazza has given us one breakdown of the clue and I have provided an alternative. In his version, the first definition relates to the tracks left behind in the ground by these machines. In my version, it relates to the tracks that form part of the machine.

21a   Attempt to hold a // platter (4)

22a   Regard // maid oddly getting dismissed -- I'm flipping helping! (10)

Scratching the Surface
Flipping[5] is an informal British term used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance ⇒ (i) are you out of your flipping mind?; (ii) it’s flipping cold today.

25a   Doctor with duty to follow mother/'s/ rambling discourse (9)

The 's (denoting a possessive in the surface reading) becomes a contraction for is in the cryptic reading and serves as a link denoting equality between the wordplay and definition.

26a   Start to strain? (5)

27a   Green /or/ red male's pants (7)

Pants[5] is an informal British term meaning rubbish or nonsense ⇒ he thought we were going to be absolute pants.

The 's (denoting a possessive in the surface reading) becomes a contraction for is in the cryptic reading and serves part of the anagram indicator with the wordplay being an anagram (is pants) of RED MALE.

28a   Paddy // Brown's first to take drink (7)

Paddy[5] is an informal British term for a fit of temper ⇒ John drove off in a paddy.

The 's (a contraction for is in the surface reading) becomes a contraction for has in the cryptic reading and serves as a charade indicator with the wordplay being TAN (brown) + (has) T (first to take; initial letter of Take) + RUM (drink).

Down

1d   Musical riff -- // it continues along the entire record (6)

A riff[5] is a short repeated phrase in popular music and jazz, typically used as an introduction or refrain in a song ⇒ a brilliant guitar riff.

Groove[5] is an informal term for a particular rhythm in popular or jazz music ⇒ her vocals drift delicately across a soaring soul groove.

2d   Directed cast, or ...? (6)

Think of the surface reading as a teacher prompting a student for a desired response by giving them an alternative term followed by a prolonged "o-o-or" and a pause. Thus the clue, in effect, demands "a synonym for a group of performers taking direction".

Based on this interpretation, I have marked the entire clue (including the ellipsis) as the definition with the portion having the dashed underline being the wordplay. Gazza has followed a different approach, marking "directed cast" as the definition. This would seem to suggest that he sees the entire clue as wordplay with a portion of the clue being the definition.

3d   Measure // bit in middle (10)

A bit[5] is a short time or distance ⇒ (i) I fell asleep for a bit; (ii) can you move over a bit?. The idea in the first example could equally be expressed as I fell asleep for a time.

4d   Wisdom /of/ department opening in hospital (5)

5d   Concerned with how the bread gets sliced? (9)

As alluded to by Gazza, the question mark indicates that this is a definition by example. That is, budgeting (allocating the money or "slicing the bread") is but one of many financial roles.

6d   Pretty // cold pick-up truck (4)

Ute[5] is an informal Australian or New Zealand term for a utility vehicle or pickup (truck).

7d   Stop before one gets on // horse (8)

8d   Gemstone // set my hat off (8)

13d   Celebrity goes on vacation, but not Central America -- // result of lack of fare? (10)

Among numerous other things, CA[10] is the abbreviation for Central America.

15d   Youth // clubs kept secret about large violent criminal (9)

Oxford Dictionaries Online characterizes hood[5] as an informal, chiefly North American term for a gangster or similar violent criminal ⇒ I been beaten up by hoods [hardly U speech].

What did I just say?
In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners. The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

16d   Small bed detached // without injury (4-4)

What did Gazza say?
In his review, Gazza describes a cot as "a child’s bed".
In Britain, a small bed with high barred sides for a baby or very young child is called a cot[5] rather than a crib[5] as it is in North America.

17d   Throttle -- // unusual to be squeezed by learner? On the contrary (8)

The phrase "on the contrary" is a direction to invert the logic of the preceding statement. Thus as Gazza puts it, the solution "isn’t unusual contained in a learner but the abbreviation for a learner contained in an adjective meaning unusual".

19d   Rubbish // issue (6)

Ooh! Kittens on Friday and puppies today. [in reference to illustrations in Miffypops review on Friday and Gazza's review today]

20d   Grass/'s/ condition after batting (6)

Form[5] is a person’s mood and state of health ⇒ she seemed to be on good form.

In cricket, a player who is batting is said to be in[5]. Conversely, a player who is fielding is said to be out[5]. A humorous explanation of the ins and outs of cricket can be found here.

Grass is an informal British term meaning (1) as a noun, a police informer[5] and (2) as a verb, to inform the police of someone’s criminal activities or plans[5]someone had grassed on the thieves. This expression may derive from rhyming slang (grasshopper 'copper').

23d   Hopeless // in record time (5)

24d   All the best // volunteers will show up twice (2-2)

In the UK, the Territorial Army (TA)[5] at one time was the name of a volunteer force founded in 1908 to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined military personnel for use in an emergency. Called since 2013 Army Reserve.

In Britain, ta-ta[5] is an informal way to say goodbye well, I’ll say ta-ta, love.
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