Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014 — Dry Toast


Introduction

Once again, I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a bit more challenging than I am accustomed to. I did stick with it and was able to solve all but one clue before calling in my electronic reinforcements — although I spent more time that usual to get to that point.

There appears to be no particular theme to the puzzle. The title is drawn from what I envisage would be the result of imposing 15a + 17a.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Feeling of irritation after network rejected "Hex" (7)

BEW<|ITCH — ITCH (feeling of irritation) following (after) reversal (rejected) of WEB (network)

5a   Bit male Conservative, consumed by hatred (7)

M|ODI(C)UM — M (male) + {C (Conservative) contained in (consumed by) ODIUM (hatred)}

9a   Stuff used by a gymnast before worn-out old horse (9)

ROSIN|ANTE — ROSIN (stuff used by a gymnast) + ANTE (before)

This is a term that I haven't previously encountered. The word Rosinante[10] means a worn-out emaciated old horse. It comes from the name of Don Quixote's horse, Rocinante[7]  [pronounced Rosinante], in the novel Don Quixote by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (15471616).

10a   Metal edges of saucers seen behind pair of cups? (5)

BRA|SS — SS (edges [outer letters] of SaucerS) following (seen behind) BRA (pair of cups)

11a   Springtime test of a municipal official (7)

MAY|ORAL_ — MAY (springtime) + ORAL (test)

The wordplay works even more effectively as a phrase, with a "May oral" being a "springtime test".

12a   What I found in big pond: big tree (7)

SE(QUO|I)A — {QUO (what) + I (†)} contained in (found in) SEA (big pond)

A sequoia[5] is a redwood tree, especially the California redwood.

Apparently QUO must mean "what" — if not in English, then in some language, at least. 

Despite there being no indication that we are looking for a word in a foreign language. I looked into Latin, where I found that quo can mean 'in which' as in the phrase status quo[3,4,11] or 'where' as in the phrase quo vadis[4]. It does seem that quo can assume a broad range of meanings in Latin, one of them being "what".

I also checked Spanish and Italian to no avail. Quoi[5] does means 'what' in French, but that would leave the "I" unexplained.

After all of this, I am not sure that I have correctly analyzed the clue. Perhaps an astute reader will throw some more light on this.

13a   South African land of birth (5)

NATAL — double definition

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. The name comes 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.

15a   Flat-topped hill circle spreading (9)

BUTTE|RING — BUTTE (flat-topped hill) + RING (circle)

Butte[3,4,11] is a term used chiefly in the Western US [and, according to some dictionaries, Western Canada] for a hill that rises abruptly from the surrounding area and has sloping sides and a flat top.

17a   Delays returning object with built-in speaker (9)

M(ORATOR)IA — reversal (returning) of AIM (object) containing (with built-in) ORATOR (speaker)

19a   Those who join ranks (5)

TIERS — double definition

The first definition is a whimsical reference to persons who join ropes together by means of knots.

21a   Fifty were paid for having knowledge (7)

L|EARNED_ — L ([Roman numeral for] fifty) + EARNED (were paid)

23a   Similar variety and colour of apples (7)

KIND|RED — KIND (variety) + (and) RED (colour of apples)

25a   Lie level (5)

STORY — double definition

Story is the US spelling of storey[3,4], a floor or level of a building.

26a   Finished carrying weapon, I like chewing gum? (9)

SPE(ARM|I)NT — SPENT (finished) containing (carrying) {ARM (weapon) + I (†)}

27a   Ring seen among pretty bad artisan's wares (7)

P(O)TTERY* — O ([letter that looks like a] ring) contained in (seen among) anagram (bad) of PRETTY

28a   Arranged someday for sled dog (7)

SAMOYED* — anagram (arranged) of SOMEDAY

A Samoyed[10] is a Siberian breed of dog of the spitz type, having a dense white or cream coat with a distinct ruff, and a tightly curled tail.

Down


1d   Famous director and actor named Orson holding manager back (7)

BE(RGM<)AN — BEAN (actor named Orson) containing (holding) reversal (back) of MGR (manager)

Orson Bean[7] (born Dallas Frederick Burrows) is an American film, television, and stage actor. He appeared frequently on televised game shows in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including being a long-time panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth.

Ingmar Bergman[5] (1918–2007) was a Swedish film and theatre director. He used haunting imagery and symbolism often derived from Jungian dream analysis. Notable films: Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), The Seventh Seal (1957), and Hour of the Wolf (1968).

2d   Country-clubbish with a secret agent (5)

W|A|SPY — W (with) + A (†) + SPY (secret agent)

Waspy[3,11] is an adjective meaning of, pertaining to, or characteristic of WASPs, a white, usually Protestant member of the American upper social class ⇒ a Waspy country club. The term WASP is an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

3d   Runner's lacrosse team practice, for the most part (7)

TEN|DRIL_ — TEN (lacrosse team) + DRIL {DRIL[L] (practice) with the final letter deleted (for the most part)}

The sport of lacrosse[7] is played by teams of ten players. Just as a baseball team might be called a nine, a rowing crew an eight, or a cricket or soccer team an eleven, a lacrosse team would be a ten.

4d   Sort of moustache Abner had rearranged around front of lip (9)

HAND(L)EBAR* — anagram (rearranged) of ABNER HAD containing (around) L (front [initial letter] of Lip)

5d   Entering clothing department, one looks (5)

M(I)ENS — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (entering) MENS (clothing department)

6d   Call Quebec about university town in Iowa (7)

DUB(U)QUE — {DUB (call) + QUE (Quebec)} containing (about) U (university)

Dubuque[5] is an industrial and commercial city in northeastern Iowa, on the Mississippi River; population 57,250 (est. 2008).

7d   South American land embracing a mother's medicinal plant (9)

CH(A|MOM)ILE — CHILE (South American land) containing (embracing) {A (†) + MOM (mother)}

Chamomile[2,5,10] is a chiefly North American spelling of camomile, an aromatic European plant of the daisy family, with white and yellow daisy-like flowers; especially Anthemis nobilis, whose dried crushed flowers or leaves are used for their soothing medicinal properties, especially in the form of a herbal tea, or added to some types of shampoo.

8d   Laurel included in cup for horse (7)

MU(STAN)G — STAN (Laurel) contained in (included in) MUG (cup)

Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892–1957) made up the American comedy duo Laurel and Hardy[5]. British-born Stan Laurel played the scatterbrained and often tearful innocent, with Oliver Hardy as his pompous, overbearing, and frequently exasperated friend. They brought their distinctive slapstick comedy to many films from 1927 onwards.

14d   Flip-flop with resistance in fish fight (9)

TU(R)NA|BOUT — R (resistance; symbol used in physics) contained in (in) TUNA (fish) + BOUT (fight)

16d   Running through with ankles shackled is unrewarding (9)

_TH|ANKLES|S_ — hidden in (running through) wiTH ANKLES Shackled

17d   Taking classes, Beatles do "Nowhere Man"? (7)

M(ILKS)OP — MOP (Beatles [hair]do) containing (taking) ILKS (classes)

A milksop is a man lacking courage and other qualities deemed manly[3] or a feeble or ineffectual man or youth[4].

"Nowhere Man"[7] is a song by the Beatles, from their album Rubber Soul. The song was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney). The subject of Nowhere Man "Doesn't have a point of view / Knows not where he's going to".

18d   Tiny pet ruined old photo (7)

TINTYPE* — anagram (ruined) of TINY PET

Historically, a tintype[5] was a photograph taken as a positive on a thin tin plate.

19d   Puzzle using sharpness and memory (7)

TANG|RAM — TANG (sharpness) + (and) RAM (memory; Random Access Memory, a type of computer memory)

A tangram[5] is a Chinese geometrical puzzle consisting of a square cut into seven pieces which can be arranged to make various other shapes.

20d   Under editor, in full (7)

S(ED)ATED — ED (editor) contained in (in) SATED (full)

22d   Chore involving piece of silver in need of cleaning (5)

DU(S)TY — DUTY (chore) containing (involving) S (piece [initial letter] of Silver)

24d   Wet inside, with a bit of sun outside (5)

RA(IN)Y — IN (inside) contained in (with ... outside) RAY (a bit of sun)
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)
Happy Easter — Falcon

Friday, April 18, 2014 — Good Friday


Introduction

It being Good Friday, the National Post did not publish an edition today. Contrary to past practice, there is no 'Friday Diversions' page in either the Thursday, April 17 or Saturday, April 19 edition of the paper. Furthermore, the National Post will not publish on Monday and no 'Monday Diversions' page has been provided.

I would like to wish all readers a Happy Easter weekend.

Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014 — DT 27364

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27364
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27364]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave
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

With a lot of perseverance I reached the point where there were two unsolved clues — and I made short work of them with a bit of help from my electronic assistants.

Tomorrow, being Easter Friday, the National Post will not publish. However, if past experience serves as a guide, the Post will thoughtfully publish the Friday puzzle in the Saturday edition so we will have something with which to occupy our time tomorrow!!!

Cryptic Crossword 101: Select and Discard

In Jay's puzzles, you will often need to select individual letters or groups of letters from words or, conversely, discard letters or groups of letters.

Today we have at least three instances where we must select letters:
  • 10a:  the letter L is clued by "source [initial letter] of Lignite";
  • 28a:  the letter T is clued by "finally [final letter of] caughT";
  •   1d:  the letter R is clued by "her last",  that is, the last [final letter] of heR.
as well as several instances where we must discard letters:
  • 14a:  ARE is clued by "AGREE to drop regulars" — that is, discard a regular sequence (in this case, the even letters) from AGREE;
  • 15a:  GUES is clued by "GUESS (reckon) not quite complete" — that is, discard the final letter of GUESS leaving it "not quite complete";
  • 25a:  SLID is clued by "unfinished SLIDE (part of playground)" — that is, discard the final letter of SLIDE leaving it "unfinished";
  • 29a:  T is clued by "NOT without NO (refusal)";
  •   6d:  IN is clued by "discovered MINT" — where discovered is used in the whimsical sense of 'with the covers [outer letters] removed';
  •   6d:  CAS is clued by "CASH (money) mainly" — that is, discard the final letter of CASH leaving the main part of the word.
In 14a, "regular" indicates a regular sequence of letters. The particular nature of the sequence is not defined and it could be either the odd letters (1, 3, 5, ...) or the even letters (2, 4, 6, ...). On at least one occasion, I seem to recall having seen this wording used to indicate every third letter. The solver must figure out which one is meant by determining which particular sequence fits the clue.

A usage like "discovered" in 6d is based on the whimsical logic that if disrobe means to remove one's robe (or other clothing), then it only stands to reason that discover must mean to remove one's cover.

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.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Left one protected by upper-class European (6)

4a   Worker runs to trap savage fox (8)

10a   Fuelled from a source of lignite dismissed by company (4-5)

11a   Group that spell ‘bay’ with an ‘n’? (5)

12a   Having some luck working with a cob (2,1,4)

Cob[5] is a British name for a round loaf of bread a round granary cob.

Bap[5] [given as a hint by Big Dave] is a British name for a large, round, flattish bread roll, typically with a spongy texture and floury top.

13a   Wine kept for man on bench? (7)

Reserve wine[7] is a term given to a specific wine to imply that is of a higher quality than usual, or a wine that has been aged before being sold, or both. Traditionally winemakers would "reserve" some of their best wine rather than sell it immediately, coining the term.

In sports, a reserve[2] is an extra player or participant who can take another's place if needed; in other words, a substitute. While the dictionaries don't flag this as a British term, I also don't find it in the American dictionaries specifically applied to sport thereby leading me to conclude that the term may be used more commonly in the British sports vocabulary than it is on this side of the Atlantic.

14a   Agree to drop regulars and name a venue (5)

15a   American army dress — overweight, I reckon, not quite complete (8)

British dictionaries give no indication that fatigues[1,2,5,10] is an American term. Perhaps the answer is found in Wikipedia which defines fatigues[7] as follows:
  • In American English usually a synonym of battledress, typically referring to the plain OG-107 uniform;
  • In most Commonwealth countries (and formerly in US English) work clothes (e.g. boilersuits) worn by soldiers to avoid getting their uniforms dirty in non-combat manual work.
18a   Scottish engineer admitting mistake with a boatman (5,3)

James Watt[5] (1736–1819) was a Scottish engineer. Among his many innovations he greatly improved the efficiency of the Newcomen steam engine, which was then adopted for a variety of purposes. He also introduced the term horsepower.

Water rat[10] is an informal term for a person who is very fond of water sports.

Ratty and Mole [who appear in Big Dave's hint] are characters from the children's classic The Wind in the Willows[7] by Scottish writer Kenneth Grahame (1859–1932), first published in 1908.

20a   It’s in a church letter (5)

23a   Protective cover for primate in role (7)

One meaning of parapet[5] is a protective wall or earth defence along the top of a trench or other place of concealment for troops the sandbags that made up the parapet had been blown away and the wall of the trench had caved in.

25a   Protective cover for child in unfinished part of playground (4,3)

Skid lid[5] is an informal British name for a crash helmet.

26a   Bird finding love in right dump! (5)

While dump and bin might be used as nouns, they could also be verbs.

A dump[5] is a site for depositing rubbish. Bin[5] is a British [more or less] name for a receptacle in which to deposit rubbish. 

As verbs, dump[5] means to deposit or dispose of (rubbish, waste, or unwanted material), typically in a careless or hurried way while bin[5] means to throw (something) away by putting it in a bin.


American robin
As you will note from Big Dave's illustration, a British robin[5] is not the same bird as the one we have in North America. The European robin or redbreast, Erithacus rubecula, is a small Old World thrush having an orange-red face and breast. The American robin, Turdus migratorius, is a large New World thrush that resembles the European robin, especially in having a red breast.

27a   Prepare too hard for open rule, by the sound of it (9)

28a   Bird finally caught rodent eating it (8)

Titmouse[5] is another term for tit[5], a small songbird that searches acrobatically for insects among foliage and branches. Called chickadee in North America.

29a   Man of the cloth makes enquiries, not without refusal (6)

A priest[5] is an ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church, authorized to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments.

Down


1d   Cleopatra is excited after casting off her last breastplate! (8)

A pectoral[5] is an ornamental breastplate.

2d   Evidence of loss from brewing a keg ale (7)

3d   Eastern county rowing crew rumoured to choke (9)

Suffolk[5] is a county of eastern England, on the coast of East Anglia; county town, Ipswich.

An eight[5] is an eight-oared rowing boat or its crew.

5d   Bush says people must be respected politicians (5,9)

6d   Discovered mint with money mainly for South Americans (5)

The Incas[5] were a South American Indian people living in the central Andes before the Spanish conquest.

7d   Get separated from fantastic creature in plunge (7)

In fantasy literature and games, an orc[5] is a member of an imaginary race of human-like creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent. While the term has existed since the late 16th century, the current sense is due to the use of the word in the fantasy adventures written by South African-born British novelist J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973).

8d   Give up and put a coat on before decorating (6)

Render[5] can be used in a literary sense of to give up or surrender ⇒ he will render up his immortal soul.

Render[5] also can mean to cover (stone or brick) with a coat of plaster external walls will be rendered and tiled.

9d   For energy, limits the amount of rapid increases (14)

16d   Fighter delighted a riot’s broken out (9)

17d   Doctor Brown on Italian thriller (8)

Doctor Who[7] is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior appears as a blue police box. The show has had widespread distribution in North America and apparently is currently available in Canada on the SPACE specialty channel on cable and satellite.

19d   Circus performer, born in a European setting (7)

21d   Part of arable farming’s up to date (7)

22d   Short of verve (6)

In Britain, a short[5] is a drink of spirits served in a small measure or, as Collins English Dictionary puts it, a drink of spirits as opposed to a long drink such as beer[10].

24d   Quietly enthusiastic about horse (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.
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, April 16, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 — DT 27363

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27363
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27363]
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

It was a fairly gentle workout today with scarcely any British terms — and certainly none that we haven't seen before.

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.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Fly into a rage at failure to find sandal (4-4)

6a   Unconventional exit (3-3)

9a   Ugly mob after nervous pal — coolness is required (6)

10a   Church with a candid clergyman (8)

11a   Delicacy got from fair goes off (4,4)

Foie gras[5] (short for pâté de foie gras[5]) is a smooth rich paste made from the liver of a specially fattened goose or duck.

12a   Female let down in the prime of life (6)

13a   Transfer duke speedily (4,4,4)

16a   Dread arrest (12)

19a   Sexy Italian breaking heart? The reverse (6)

21a   Leave out sailor’s fish (8)

The name skipjack[2] is applied to any of a number of different species of fish which are able to jump out of the water, in particular the skipjack tuna[5], Katsuwonus (or Euthynnus) pelamis, a small tuna with dark horizontal stripes, widely distributed throughout tropical and temperate seas.

23a   Priggish girl, 12 (8)

The numeral 12 in the clue is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 12a in its place to complete the clue.

24a   Support reportedly required by Austria’s first capital city (6)

25a   Mistreated a book, second-hand (6)

26a   Conjectures made by rightwingers entertaining ambassador (8)

A Tory[4] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada. Historically, a Tory was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679-80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

HE[2] is the abbreviation for His or Her Excellency, where Excellency[2] (usually His, Her or Your Excellency or Your or Their Excellencies) is a title of honour given to certain people of high rank, e.g. ambassadors.

Down


2d   Scoundrel after drink for pet (6)

3d   Examine top of posh gown (5)

4d   It may be difficult to get out of bra, thinly fashioned (9)

5d   Constable I included as very good painter (7)

After providing an explanation in which the definition is "painter", Gazza goes on to say "This also works with the definition being ‘good painter’ and the short word at the end of wordplay just meaning ‘very’, but I prefer the first explanation." Could that be an indication that he does not deem Picasso to be a "good painter"? Or, does he simply prefer the former explanation of the wordplay?

In Britain, PC[5] is the abbreviation for a police constable ⇒ PC Bartholomew made his report.

The expression very good[5] (a dated variant of very well) is used to express agreement or consent very good, sir, will that be all?. 

So[5] is a conjunction that can be used to introduce a question (so, what did you do today?) especially one following on from what was said previously (so what did he do about it?).

One can certainly imagine an English butler saying Very good, sir, will that be all?, while someone a bit less refined might express this same idea as "So, will that be all?".

6d   Conflict involving hospital and fellow in dock (5)

7d   A tuna in foil, newly cooked (9)

The yellowfin[5] (or yellowfin tuna), Thunnus albacares, is a widely distributed, commercially important tuna that has yellow anal and dorsal fins.

8d   All that is acceptable in revolutionary rhyme (8)

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). In Crosswordland, it is frequently clued by words denoting upper class such as posh or superior — or, as today, acceptable.

13d   Novel had to contain right dates (4,5)

As I said recently, I always think of "date" and "time" as being quite different — they are certainly different parameters when I configure my computer. However, Collins English Dictionary does list time, along with stage and period, as being synonyms of date[10].

Hard Times – For These Times (commonly known as Hard Times[7]) is the tenth novel by English author Charles Dickens (1812–1870), first published in 1854. The book appraises English society and is aimed at highlighting the social and economic pressures of the times.

14d   Murder in the Spanish Main — it involved Drake, ultimately (9)

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

The Spanish Main[5] is the former name for the north coast of South America between the Orinoco River and Panama, and adjoining parts of the Caribbean Sea.

Sir Francis Drake[5] (circa 1540–96) was an English sailor and explorer. He was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe (1577–80), in his ship the Golden Hind. He played an important part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

15d   Adam, apparently, had one piece of pork (5,3)

Adam must have had an extra one — the one from which Eve was created[7].

17d   Budding early in north, with a pleasant smell (7)

18d   Few panic catching cold (6)

20d   Social set boast over duke (5)

22d   Card trickster (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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 — DT 27362

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27362
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, December 16, 2013
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27362]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave
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 27361 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Introduction

I was feeling very pleased with my efforts today — chuffed as the Brits would say — until I was brought down to earth by Big Dave's one-star difficulty rating. I was further deflated to discover that I had the wrong answer for one clue.

The National Post has skipped a puzzle today, something that it does from time to time. Since the puzzles are published in The Daily Telegraph at a rate of six per week (Monday through Saturday) but appear in the National Post only five days per week, the time delay between their appearance in the UK and when we see them here in Canada is gradually increasing. At one point, we were about three months behind. This has now grown to a gap of about four months. Given that we are now receiving puzzles from mid-December, it would not surprise me to see a number of puzzles skipped in order to avoid the flurry of Christmas-themed puzzles that may be waiting in the wings.

The chatter on Big Dave's blog concerning AVB refers to André Villas-Boas[7] who, on December 16, 2013, was dismissed from his position as manager of British Premier League football [soccer] club Tottenham Hotspur — or, officially, left the club "by mutual consent".

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.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Drag one’s feet on stair carpet newly fitted (13)

10a   Transport I catch for this meeting of governors (7)

11a   French dramatist’s second story about the Queen (7)

In the UK, mo[5] [abbreviation for moment] is an informal term for a short period of time hang on a mo!.

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.

Molière[5] (1622–1673) was a French dramatist; pseudonym of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. He wrote more than twenty comic plays about contemporary France, developing stock characters from Italian commedia dell’arte. Notable works: Tartuffe (1664), Le Misanthrope (1666), and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670).

12a   Keen to bring singer back (4)

13a   Fall off in spill (5)

A spill[5] is a thin strip of wood or paper used for lighting a fire, candle, pipe, etc.

14a   Labour staged walk-out? (4)

The Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5]) in Britain is a left-of-centre political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people that since the Second World War has been in power 1945–51, 1964–70, 1974-9, and 1997–2010. Arising from the trade union movement at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Liberals as the country’s second party after the First World War.

It did occur to me that the second definition might somehow relate to the common stage direction "Exit, stage left", though I have no evidence to back this up. While "Exit, stage right" is also a common stage direction, Snagglepuss[7] rarely — if ever — exercised the latter option.
P.S. After reading the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I see that I am not alone in drawing this connection.
17a   Unwanted gas pipe? (7)

As Big Dave points out in his review, the entire clue is a cryptic definition which can be decomposed into a double definition.

18a   About to be put back in school ground (7)

19a   Fishy evidence that lady is married (7)

Since the numeration is (7), the primary indication in this cryptic definition must be "fishy evidence" — an allusion to a "red herring", with the subsidiary indication being "that lady is married".

Had the numeration been (3,4), I would have marked the clue as a cryptic definition:
  • Fishy evidence that lady is married (3,4)
where the definition is "evidence that lady is married" with the adjective "fishy" being the subsidiary indication.

22a   Artillery associated with assault (7)

24a   Oats cooked in oven (4)

25a   A backward idiot, apart from all else (5)

26a   Four-letter word that’s used in place of another? (4)

I put in OATH with a great deal of misgiving. Although I marked this clue to have a closer look at later, I carelessly neglected to do so. My only rationale for this choice was thinking (with very little confidence) that an OATH might possibly be considered to be a milder substitute for a stronger profanity.

With respect to that latter point, I was sort of on the right track. Dash is an informal British exclamation used to express mild annoyance[5], a euphemistic word for damn[10]. A dash[5] is also a horizontal stroke in writing or printing to mark a pause or break in sense or to represent omitted letters or words.

29a   Flirt and irritate worker (7)

30a   Let care get arranged for female in tragedy (7)

In Greek mythology, Electra[7] was the daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra, and thus princess of Argos. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father, Agamemnon. Electra is the main character in two Greek tragedies, Electra by Sophocles and Electra by Euripides, and has inspired other works.

31a   Saucy proposal that may break deadlock (5,8)

Down


2d   Refuse to make a scathing comment (7)

In Britain, the word rubbish[4] can be used as a verb meaning to criticize or attack verbally.

3d   Once set it may hold ice-cream (4)

4d   Appeal when vehicle overturns in amateur races (7)

The Tourist Trophy[5] (abbreviation TT[5]) is a motorcycle-racing competition held annually on roads in the Isle of Man since 1907.

5d   The storm created by Shakespeare (7)

The Tempest[7] is a play by English playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616), believed to have been written in 1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

6d   Africa’s best-known desert flower (4)

The setter uses "flower" in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense meaning something that flows — in other words, a river.

7d   There is a short girl here (7)

8d   Fiddle just enough to satisfy examiner? (6,7)

Scrape[10] can mean to to produce a harsh or grating sound by rubbing against (an instrument, surface, etc) — such as a less-than-accomplished violin student might do in a music exam.

9d   Narrowly failed, received school caning (6,2,1,4)

I thought of BEATEN BY A NOSE and BEATEN BY A NECK before realizing that the losing margin fell between the two.

In Britain, head[5] is short for for headmaster[5] (a man who is the head teacher in a school), headmistress[5] (ditto for a woman), or head teacher[5] (the teacher in charge of a school).

15d   Elect Russian leader (3,2)

This Russian leader is the subject the editorial cartoon in today's edition of the National Post.


16d   Trace mislaid box (5)

20d   His depredations will affect stockholder (7)

In Crosswordland, stockholders are more likely to possess livestock than financial instruments.

21d   Celebration drink for Pygmalion’s love (7)

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion[5] was a king of Cyprus who fashioned an ivory statue of a beautiful woman and loved it so deeply that in answer to his prayer Aphrodite gave it life. The woman (at some point named Galatea) bore him a daughter, Paphos.

22d   Disapproval, we hear, increasing for drinking spree (5-2)

23d   Able to come back after a stretch (7)

27d   This could be said from the platform (4)

28d   It will remind me to go to doctor (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, April 14, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014 — DT 27360

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27360
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 13, 2013
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27360]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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

I found this puzzle more difficult than either Deep Threat's three stars or my bar chart would indicate. Although I solved all but two clues without electronic help, the solving process was neither quick nor easy. One of the two remaining clues was easily cracked with a wordfinder program but I needed to consult Deep Threat's review for an explanation of the other one.

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.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Former copper taken in hand about caress and let off (10)

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from Latin cuprum).

6a   New introduction for Christmas book in church (4)

I must have experienced a mental block here, as the solution looks trivial in hindsight — but then, they often do, don't they?

My downfall lay in my mistaken fixation that the solution must be NOEL.

Joel[5] is a book of the Bible containing the prophecies of Joel, a Hebrew minor prophet of the 5th or possibly 9th century BC.

9a   Boast of very small relation (5)

10a   Supply second part of Bible only, being frugal (9)

12a   Represented clients — artist and orchestral players (13)

Clarinettist[5] is the British spelling of clarinetist.

14a   Syrupy stuff fool fed to little animals (8)

15a   Army officer sending out fifty in groups (6)

17a   Stuff transferred quietly in what could be a loud environment (6)

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.

19a   In time rodents wandering round will be cut down severely (8)

I must say that I always think of "date" and "time" as being quite different — they are certainly different parameters when I configure my computer. However, Collins English Dictionary does list time, along with stage and period, as being synonyms of date[10].

21a   Retreat gets demeaning somehow (13)

24a   Bring back restriction, say (9)

25a   Confession of trader and model (5)

In the UK, it would seem that a trader is what we in North America would refer to as a merchant.

In Britain, a trader[2] is someone who trades [deals], often one who owns or runs a shop or market stall, or who trades in a particular group of goods.

Merchant[5], in the sense of a retail trader, would seem to be a North American usage. In the UK, the term merchant means a person or company involved in wholesale trade, especially one dealing with foreign countries or supplying goods to a particular trade (i) a builders' merchant; (ii) a tea merchant.

26a   Approves of old-fashioned excavations (4)

27a   Irritates, having got roguish without any necessity (10)

Deep Threat's hint should say "... followed by an adjective for roguish". It would appear that he has inadvertently turned the adjective into an adverb.

Down


1d   Feeling of discontent when messenger drops round (4)

2d   A Parisian about to get into twist in legislative body (7)

In French, un[8] is the masculine singular form of the indefinite article.

3d   Shy man’s talent surprisingly discovered in northern resort (6,2,5)

Lytham St Annes[7] is a conurbation in Lancashire, England situated on the Fylde coast, south of Blackpool. The neighbouring towns of Lytham and St-Anne's-on-the-Sea (nearly always abbreviated to St Annes) have grown together and now form a seaside resort. The Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is one of the host courses for the British Open.

4d   A beloved, it’s said, must be informed (8)

5d   All right in confinement, the first mum to bring forth (5)

7d   Superintend as a diocesan bishop? (7)

A see[10] is the diocese of a bishop, or the place within it where his cathedral or procathedral is situated.

8d   Luxury-lover who is relaxed, or else taut possibly? (5-5)

In Greek mythology, the lotus-eaters[10] were a people encountered by Odysseus in North Africa who lived in indolent forgetfulness, drugged by the fruit of the legendary lotus. Today, the term lotus-eater[5] denotes a person who spends their time indulging in pleasure and luxury rather than dealing with practical concerns she was thinking of taking the afternoon off, but resisted the impulse to be a lotus-eater.

11d   Like some tobacco policy expected soon? (2,3,8)

The only thing that I could come up with on my own was IN THE LIFETIME — which was certainly far from being a strong contender.

13d   Society decayed and harboured bad emotions (10)

16d   Style of cleric always involved in split (8)

18d   Enduring pain south of US city (7)

20d   Are holy folk embracing court performer? (7)

Saint can be abbreviated as either St[5] or (chiefly in Catholic use) S[5] S Ignatius Loyola.

Julie Walters[7] [whose picture graces Deep Threat's hint] is an English actress who came to international prominence for playing the title role in the film adaptation of Educating Rita (1983) — a role she had created on the West End stage [West End denoting the London theatrical district]. She is perhaps best known internationally for her on-screen characterisation of Molly Weasley in seven of the eight Harry Potter films.

22d   Quickly use up some of the capacity (5)

23d   Manoeuvre to work at steadily — nothing in it (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