Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017 — DT 28511

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28511
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, August 21, 2017
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28511]
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

Today there is no doubt as to the setter of the puzzle. It is definitely one of Rufus' creations.

Last week, Rufus (Roger Squires) was pulled from his usual "Monday" spot in the rotation and replaced by Mister Ron (Chris Lancaster). That puzzle appeared in the National Post one week ago yesterday. I am afraid that I had not read the comments at Big Dave's Crossword Blog before posting my review and so was not aware of this fact at that time. I only discovered that the puzzle had not been set by Rufus when pommers mentioned it in a comment a couple of days later and I only realized that Mister Ron had compiled it when Senf remarked on it yet another day later.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Humble // suggestion to refer to a clue that's not here today (4,3,4)

I likely spent as much time on this clue as I did on the remaining clues combined. I did use some electronic assistance but my helpers did not serve up the answer on a silver platter. They merely helped me narrow down the number of possibilities. It still involved a lot of deduction on my part to assemble the correct combination from the long lists of candidates they nominated for each position in the solution.

After that experience, I felt humbled when I read the first part of Miffypops' hint "I just love it when one across is a piece of cake". However, I regained a bit of confidence when I got to "Not so today".

9a   Pole enters by way of // special permit (4)

10a   A capital picture-house (4,7)

The Tate Gallery[5] (commonly known simply as the Tate) is a national museum of art in London, England founded in 1897 by the sugar manufacturer Sir Henry Tate (1819–1899) to house his collection of modern British paintings, as a nucleus for a permanent national collection of modern art. It was renamed Tate Britain in 2000, when the new Tate Modern gallery opened. [I would surmise that by that time the original collection could no longer be considered "modern".]

11a   Half the alphabet // that's studied by physicists (4)

... the other half being N to Z.

14a   Leaning over // he upset Nigel (7)

16a   Book /in/ stock (7)

17a   Showed open-mouthed wonder /seeing/ space-man? (5)

In his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops writes "Not only do you have to guess which man you also have to shorten his name. Unfair clueing in my opinion." In theory, one should be able to arrive at the solution through either the definition or the wordplay. This is a case where one is more apt to arrive at the solution via the definition and then use the wordplay to confirm it. That is, having found the solution based on the definition, does it also satisfy the wordplay.

18a   Cushions // which are left behind by astronauts? (4)

This was an easy solve — once I had focussed on the right leg of the journey. I spent too much time pondering on what they might have left behind on the moon.

19a   Great work // from the picador (4)

Scratching the Surface
In bullfighting, a picador[5] is a person on horseback who goads the bull with a lance.

20a   Don't agree with // sending potato back (5)

22a   Redoing novel /to be/ cut (7)

Cut[3] means to refuse to speak to or recognize (someone); in other words, to snub cut me dead at the party.

23a   [It receives word /of/ a murder that's been arranged (7)

24a   Clothing // to boast about (4)

28a   What dead men do, // on being held back by informers (4,2,5)

Dead men tell no tales[a,b,c] is a proverb alluding to the fact that those who are dead cannot reveal secrets.

[a] Farlex Dictionary of Idioms; [b] McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs; [c] Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary

A Truth of the Ages
This proverb apparently dates at least to the 13th century. A posting on the website Quoteland.com claims that Will Durant's Age of Faith volume 4, in his Civilization series quotes p 530 of Lewis Browne's "Wisdom of Israel," NY, 1945, as attributing this line to the medieval Persian poet Sa'di, around 1250, saying this is what we should to to all quacks and charlatans:
"So I finished the rogue, notwithstanding his wails,
With stones, for dead men, as you know, tell no tales."

29a   Has // wrongly won point (4)

30a   Character /in/ tantrum meant to explode (11)

Down

2d   The first man /for whom/ madam lost her head (4)

"the first man" = ADAM (show explanation )

In the biblical and Koranic traditions, Adam[5] is the name of the first man. According to the Book of Genesis, Adam was created by God as the progenitor of the human race and lived with Eve in the Garden of Eden.

hide explanation

3d   Still // quits (4)

Still[5] is an adverb meaning even (used with comparatives for emphasis) (i) write, or better still, type, captions for the pictures; (ii) Hank, already sweltering, began to sweat still more profusely.



Quits[5] is an adjective meaning (of two people) on even terms, especially because a debt or score has been settled ⇒ I think we’re just about quits now, don’t you?.

4d   Approaching // Grannie for change (7)

5d   He could be told, /but/ he probably wouldn't understand (4)

6d   Suffered wounds after fighting, /but/ sang (7)

7d   Cold game? (6,5)

This is one of those clues which is only cryptic if you fall for the misdirection — and many will likely not especially if they don't happen to be wintertime hunters.

8d   Such a reception may please friends /but/ annoy enemies (4,7)

This is a difficult clue to mark as part of the clue is implied (which I have attempted to show through the use of a dotted underline for the second definition). The dotted underline is also appropriate as the usage is ironic. The clue, in full, would read "Such a reception may please friends /but/ [such a reception may] annoy enemies".

In the Old West, unwelcome guests might be given a warm welcome with blazing rifles ⇒ Okay, boys! Let's give these varmints a warm welcome!.

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable lists a warm reception (also a hearty welcome) as meaning a hot opposition ⇒ The Home Rule members are prepared to give the Coercion Bill a warm reception; Mr. Parnell’s followers will oppose it tooth and nail.Newspaper paragraph, May 19th, 1885.

12d   Scapegoat // one of Fagin's pickpockets? (8,3)

Whip[5] is an informal British term meaning to steal (something) ⇒ the escaper had whipped his overcoat.

Scratching the Surface
Fagin[7] is a fictional character who appears as an antagonist of the novel Oliver Twist (1838) authored by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870). He is the leader of a group of children, the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates among them, whom he teaches to make their livings by pickpocketing and other criminal activities, in exchange for a roof over their heads.

13d   It's worn after the match (7,4)

My first (erroneous) attempt here was WEDDING GOWN, reasoning that it would be in used condition (worn) following the ceremony. In my books, that would have been a more Rufusesque solution than the actual one.

15d   Georgia and Edward // confined to school (5)

Gate[5,10] is a British term meaning to confine or restrict (a pupil or student) to the school or college grounds as a punishment he was gated for the rest of term.

16d   Show // to look back on, they say (5)

20d   Make duty-free? (7)

It may have been Miffypops "iffy clue of the day". However, I rather liked this  cryptic definition alluding to a soldier, for example, taking over a post from another.

21d   A doctor breaks journey /to get/ an instrument (7)

"doctor" = MB (show explanation )

In Britain, the degree required to practice medicine is a Bachelor of Medicine[7] (MB, from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus), which is equivalent to a North American Doctor of Medicine (MD, from Latin Medicinae Doctor). The degree of Doctor of Medicine also exists in Britain, but it is an advanced degree pursued by those who wish to go into medical research. Physicians in Britain are still addressed as Dr. despite not having a doctoral degree. 

hide explanation



Tambour[5] is a historical term for a small drum.

25d   Strike /makes/ mates upset (4)

In Britain, mate[5] — in addition to being a person’s husband, wife, or other sexual partner — is an informal term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

26d   Quiet // part of electrical motor (4)

27d   Anxious /to show/ how cutting you can be? (4)

Keen[5] is a British* term meaning having or showing eagerness or enthusiasm (i) a keen gardener; (ii) John was keen to help.

* British! Really?



In the second definition, the setter seems to play with a couple of meanings of the word. Keen[10] (said of a tool or implement) denotes having a sharp cutting edge or point. It can also mean intellectually acute.
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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 — DT 28510

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28510
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28510 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28510 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (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
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

Today's offering is a pangram — a puzzle in which every letter of the alphabet makes at least one appearance in the solutions. Such puzzles are relatively rare, but rarer still is the fact that I noticed this.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

8a   One must enter by means of // jetty (4)

9a   The anxious eccentric /shows/ fatigue (10)

10a   Client /in/: hoax reckoning to meet the Queen (8)

"the Queen" = ER, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth (show explanation )

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.

hide explanation

11a   Prize draw // match (3,3)

A cup tie[5] is a British* term for a [sports] match in a competition for which the prize is a cup.

* the expression "cup tie" is inferred to be British as the word "tie" is used in a British sense (see box following)


There are ties ... and then there are ties
Draw means tie[5] in the sense of a result in a game or other competitive situation in which two or more competitors or teams have the same score or ranking there was a tie for first place.

However, tie[5] is also a British term meaning a sports match between two or more players or teams in which the winners proceed to the next round of the competition ⇒ Swindon Town have gained themselves a third round tie against Oldham*.

* This statement does not mean — as a North American might presume — that Swindon Town and Oldham played to a draw in the third round. Rather, it means that Swindon Town defeated their opponent in the second round and will move on to face Oldham in the third round.

12a   Flower // people going by Mini perhaps (9)

Mini[7] is an automobile brand, currently owned by BMW, but originally introduced as a model under the Austin and Morris marques by the British Motor Corporation (BMC).

13a   This will have some imbibing excessively (5)

In this semi-&lit. clue — or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue — the definition is provided by the entire clue while the wordplay (the portion with the dashed underline) is found embedded within the definition (show further explanation ).

In an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

In a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
hide explanation

15a   Vicar standing in can // triumph (7)

A vicar[5] is a member of the clergy, although the meaning of the term varies among religious denominations (show more ).

The term vicar may mean:
  • in the the Church of England, an incumbent of a parish where tithes formerly passed to a chapter or religious house or layman;
  • in other Anglican Churches, a member of the clergy deputizing for another;
  • in the Roman Catholic Church, a representative or deputy of a bishop;
  • in the US Episcopal Church, a clergyman in charge of a chapel;
  • a cleric or choir member appointed to sing certain parts of a cathedral service.
show less

Can a can be a pail?
My first thought was that one might very loosely consider a can (such as one containing paint) to be a pail — at least, once the lid had been removed. However, The Chambers Dictionary, while declaring a pail* to be an 'open container', does not specify that a can** must have a lid. So, according to this dictionary, they seem to be pretty much the same thing.

* A pail[1] (or bucket) is an open cylindrical or conical container with a hooped handle, for holding or carrying liquids (also ice, coal, etc).
** A can[1] is a container for holding or carrying liquids, generally of tinned iron, with a handle over the top.

17a   Leaf insect/'s/ colourful display (7)

20a   Second caution /causes/ alarm (5)

22a   Winter personified /as/ knave, female or twisted saint (4,5)

Jack Frost[10] is a personification of frost or winter.

25a   Act One goes wrong // immediately (2,4)

26a   Unperturbed about commercial // music (8)

27a   Something soothing /in/ mist left by enchantress (5-5)

Witch hazel[5] is an astringent lotion made from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel*.

* Witch hazel[5] is a shrub with fragrant yellow flowers that is widely grown as an ornamental. American species flower in autumn and Asian species in winter. There are several species including Hamamelis virginiana which is the source of the lotion.

28a   Road covering very // undulating (4)

"very" = V (show explanation )

The abbreviation v (or v.)[1,2,5,10] stands for very. Although this definition is found in most of my British dictionaries, it does not appear in any of my American dictionaries. Unfortunately no explanation is given as to the specific context in which one might encounter this usage. The only example that I can imagine is when combined with G as a grade of VG (very good) on school tests or assignments.

hide explanation

Down

1d   Creature no longer // is around on the prowl (8)

2d   Bird // cage (6)

Bird[10] is British slang for prison or a term in prison, especially in the phrase do (one's) bird. In this instance of Cockney rhyming slang (show explanation ), bird is shortened from birdlime, rhyming slang for time (as in a prison sentence).

Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example, butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in cockney rhyming slang.

hide explanation

3d   Meet corgi barking // in a regular pattern? (9)

As an anagram indicator, barking[5] is used in an informal British sense meaning completely mad or demented ⇒ (i) we are all a bit barking; (ii) has she gone completely barking mad?.

4d   Cigar /in/ bed interrupted by brave man (7)

A cheroot[2,5,10] is a cigar with both ends open (cut off squarely at both ends).

Here and There
Not that it matters today, but 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 known in North America.

5d   Fast // living (5)

The quick[5] (plural noun) is an archaic term denoting those who are living ⇒ the quick and the dead.

6d   A carpet I damaged // costing quite a bit (2,1,5)

The phrase at a price[5] denotes requiring great expense or involving unwelcome consequences his generosity comes at a price.

7d   Not still // causing emotion (6)

14d   Military punishment that will pass by anon? (4-5)

I was familiar neither with this form of military punishment nor with the expression based on it. While I did manage to correctly guess the solution from the checking letters and confirm its existence with a dictionary check, I was at a loss to explain the wordplay until I read crypticsue's review.  However, I later discovered that had I only scrolled further down the screen on the Oxford Dictionaries site the answer would have been staring me in the face.

Pack drill[4,510] (or pack-drill[1]) is a possibly British* term for a military punishment of marching up and down carrying full equipment.

* the term is found in three of my British Dictionaries but in none of my US dictionaries

The clue alludes to the expression no names, no pack drill[5] which means that punishment will be prevented if names and details are not mentioned that way there's no names, no pack drill - if anyone asks, I've never heard of you, ok?.

Scratching the Surface
Anon[2] can mean either anonymous or soon. In this clue, it has the former meaning in the cryptic reading while it likely takes the latter meaning in the surface reading.

16d   One woman /or/ another pocketing bent coin (8)

18d   Take the plunge suddenly? // No, I have to get around Home Counties date initially (8)

The Home Counties[5] are the counties surrounding London in southeast (SE) England, into which London has extended. They comprise chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire. (show more )

No exact definition of the term exists and the composition of the Home Counties remains a matter of debate. While Oxford Dictionaries restrictively lists them as being chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire, Wikipedia tells us that the Home Counties[7] are generally considered to include Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (although Sussex does not border London).

Other counties more distant from London, such as Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire are also sometimes included in the list due to their close proximity to the capital and their connection to the London regional economy.

hide explanation

19d   Turn over // hat dimensions (7)

21d   Family pet's first // flower (6)

A catkin[5] is a downy, hanging flowering spike of trees such as willow and hazel, pollinated by the wind.

23d   East these days puncturing Navy/'s/ reputation (6)

"navy | sailors" = RN (show explanation )

The Royal Navy[5] (abbreviation RN) is the British navy. It was the most powerful navy in the world from the 17th century until the Second World War.

hide explanation

24d   City // food bar's hot inside (5)

Delhi[5] (also known as Old Delhi) is a walled city on the River Jumna in north central India, which was made the capital of the Mogul empire in 1638 by Shah Jahan (1592–1666).

Delving Deeper
New Delhi[5] is the capital of India, a city in north central India built 1912–29 to replace Calcutta (now Kolkata) as the capital of British India. With Delhi, it is part of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Pop. (with Delhi) 12,259,200 (est. 2009).
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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 — DT 28509

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28509
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, August 18, 2017
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28509]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Senf
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

After merely "reading and writing" on the first two clues, I thought this was shaping up to be a one-star effort. However, the further I got into it, the more difficult it became. For me the puzzle was solidly ensconced at the top of the two-star range — possibly even infringing on three-star territory.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

9a   Walk // quietly past market, having turned back (5)

"quietly" = P (show explanation )

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.

hide explanation

10a   See zebra moving east /in/ wind (3,6)

11a   Artist // sits awkwardly being welcomed in West? (7)

Mae West[5] (1892–1980) was an American actress and dramatist. She made her name on Broadway in her own comedies Sex (1926) and Diamond Lil (1928), memorable for their spirited approach to sexual matters, before embarking on her successful Hollywood career in the 1930s.

12a   A new excitement when king emerges /from/ earthy mound (3,4)

"king" = R (show explanation )

In the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms*, Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George — often shortened to GR) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

* A Commonwealth realm[7] is a sovereign state that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and shares the same person, currently Elizabeth II, as its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch, but retains a crown legally distinct from the other realms. There are currently sixteen Commonwealth realms, the largest being Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom with the remainder being smaller Caribbean and Pacific island nations.

hide explanation

13a   One has darkness, no end, /in/ native dwelling (5)

14a   Carol wrapping Ted maybe /in/ protective covering (9)

Sir Edward Heath[5] (1916–2005) [commonly known as Ted Heath] was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1970-4. He negotiated Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community and faced problems caused by a marked increase in oil prices. Attempts to restrain wage rises [raises] led to widespread strikes and he lost a general election after a second national coal strike.

16a   Fruit // obtainable from San Marino garden (8,7)

Scratching the Surface
San Marino[5] is a republic forming a small enclave in Italy, near Rimini; population 30,200 (est. 2009); official language, Italian; capital, the town of San Marino. It is perhaps Europe’s oldest state, claiming to have been independent almost continuously since its foundation in the 4th century.

19a   Worried // rodent met snakes (9)

21a   Groan maybe /as/ recipient of holy letter (5)

Titus Groan[7] is the main protagonist in a novel of that name by English writer Mervyn Peake (1911–1968). It is the first novel in the Gormenghast fantasy series.



St Titus[5] (1st century AD), Greek churchman. A convert and helper of St Paul, he was traditionally the first bishop of Crete. Feast day (in the Eastern Church) 23 August; (in the Western Church) 6 February. The Epistle to Titus[5] is a book of the New Testament, an epistle of St Paul addressed to St Titus.

23a   Minister embraces a // device for generating energy (7)

A rector[5] is a member of the clergy, although the meaning of the term varies among religious denominations (show more ):

  • in the the Church of England, an incumbent of a parish where all tithes formerly passed to the incumbent,
  • in other Anglican Churches, a member of the clergy who has charge of a parish;
  • in the Roman Catholic Church, a priest in charge of a church or of a religious institution.

hide explanation

25a   There's little right in Dad /being/ more distant (7)

27a   Bug one's caught? // Supplement will limit cold (9)

Bug[5] is used in the sense of an enthusiastic interest in something they caught the sailing bug.

28a   Extremist // contributing to awful tragedy (5)

An ultra[3,4,11] is an extremist, as in politics, religion, or fashion.

Down

1d   Cook cutting out a // part of vegetable? (4)

2d   Fellow on phone /gets/ prize-winning novelist (6)

Dame Hilary Mantel[7] is an English writer whose work includes personal memoirs, short stories, and historical fiction. She has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, the first for the 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, and the second for the 2012 novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Cromwell trilogy. Mantel was the first woman to receive the award twice. The third instalment to the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, is in progress.

Delving Deeper
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction[7] (formerly known as the Booker-McConnell Prize and commonly known simply as the Booker Prize) is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the UK. The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally assured international renown and success; therefore, the prize is of great significance for the book trade. From its inception, only Commonwealth, Irish, and South African (and later Zimbabwean) citizens were eligible to receive the prize; in 2014, however, this eligibility was widened to any English-language novel—a change which proved controversial. In 2016 and 2017, the prize was won by writers from the United States.

A high-profile literary award in British culture, the Booker Prize is greeted with great anticipation and fanfare. It is also a mark of distinction for authors to be selected for inclusion in the shortlist or even to be nominated for the "longlist".

3d   Bishop's office // copies tape improperly (10)

Episcopate[5] denotes the office of a bishop.

4d   Like groups /offering/ worldly goods (6)

5d   A form of rule in Home Counties, supported by very old // city (8)

The term raj[5] is an Indian word meaning rule or government ⇒ they alleged that a ‘goonda* raj’ had been set up in the state. Historically, the Raj refers to British sovereignty in India. ⇒ the last days of the Raj

* Goonda[5] is an Indian term meaning a hired thug or bully the unbridled goondas roughed up the peasants and murdered them very often.

The Home Counties[5] are the counties surrounding London in southeast (SE) England, into which London has extended. They comprise chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire. (show more )

No exact definition of the term exists and the composition of the Home Counties remains a matter of debate. While Oxford Dictionaries restrictively lists them as being chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire, Wikipedia tells us that the Home Counties[7] are generally considered to include Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (although Sussex does not border London).

Other counties more distant from London, such as Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire are also sometimes included in the list due to their close proximity to the capital and their connection to the London regional economy.

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"very" = V (show explanation )

The abbreviation v (or v.)[1,2,5,10] stands for very. Although this definition is found in most of my British dictionaries, it does not appear in any of my American dictionaries. Unfortunately no explanation is given as to the specific context in which one might encounter this usage. The only example that I can imagine is when combined with G as a grade of VG (very good) on school tests or assignments.

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Sarajevo[5] is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Delving Deeper
Taken by the Austro-Hungarians in 1878, Sarajevo became a centre of Slav opposition to Austrian rule. It was the scene in June 1914 of the assassination by a Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863–1914), the heir to the Austrian throne, an event which triggered the outbreak of the First World War.

The city suffered severely from the ethnic conflicts that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, and was besieged by Bosnian Serb forces in the surrounding mountains from 1992 to 1994.

6d   Rubbish // ultimately attracting rubbish (4)

Rot[3,4,11] and the second instance of  rubbish[3,4,11] are used in the sense of nonsense.



Grot[5] is an informal British term for something unpleasant, dirty, or of poor quality ⇒ they watch endless grot on telly.

As for rubbish[5], Oxford Dictionaries considers the word (in all senses) to be chiefly British — despite it not being characterized as such by American dictionaries[3,11].

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Senf writes the answer is also the name of the shop opened by Reggie Perrin which sold useless products.
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin[7] is a sitcom based on a series of novels by English comedy writer David Nobbs (1935–2015) that initially ran on British television from 1976 to 1979.

The story concerns a middle-aged middle manager, Reginald "Reggie" Perrin, who is driven to bizarre behaviour by the pointlessness of his job. In Series Two, Reggie opens a shop called Grot, where he sells useless products like square hoops, round dice and Tom's wine (made from sprouts, nettles and the like), hoping it will be an interesting failure. However, the products are snapped up as novelties, and Grot becomes a huge success. Reggie relapses into alienation and tries to destroy Grot from within by hiring incompetents, but this backfires as they all display unsuspected talents.

7d   Shy, // taking clothes off etc? (8)

Here "etc" denotes crawling between the covers (putting on pajamas — though optional — might also be involved).

8d   Modern bits of language // spreading gloominess (10)

A neologism[5] is a newly coined word or expression.

13d   Unimportant // stuff this person's brought to the fore (10)

"this person's" = IM (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

Today, the setter has made the scenario slightly more complicated by combining "this person" with the verb "to be" producing "this person's" (a contraction of "this person is") which must be replaced by "I'm" (a contraction of "I am").

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15d   Unfaithful // love rat, suitor gets upset about (10)

"love" = O (show explanation )

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

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

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17d   Chap blocks road in that revolutionary // conqueror's home region (8)

William I[5] (c.1027–1087), who reigned 1066–1087, was the first Norman king of England; known as William the Conqueror. He invaded England and defeated Harold II at the Battle of Hastings (1066).

Delving Deeper
The Normans[5] (from the word for "northman" in several Scandinavian languages[7]) are a people of mixed Frankish and Scandinavian origin who settled in Normandy from about AD 912 and became a dominant military power in western Europe and the Mediterranean in the 11th century.

Normandy[7] is a region of northern France bordering the English Channel. Normandy's name is derived from the settlement of the territory by mainly Danish and Norwegian Vikings ("Northmen") from the 9th century. For a century and a half following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman and Frankish rulers.

18d   Pause // during session with one needing little time (8)

I don't understand why Senf refers to the first part of the wordplay being "A verb constructed from a two word synonymic phrase for during session" as I can find no reference to "in term" being a common phrase used in this sense ("in session" yes, but "in term"?). I simply see the wordplay as a charade of IN (during) + TERM (session) + (with) I ([Roman numeral for] one) + T (little [abbrev. for] Time)



Intermit[5] (verb) means:
  • to suspend or discontinue (an action or practice) for a time he was urged to intermit his application. 
  • (especially of a fever or pulse) to stop for a time.
20d   Champion // fed up, having obtained goal (6)

22d   Volunteers landing on Caribbean country but not a // Pacific island (6)

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

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

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Haiti[5] is a country in the Caribbean, occupying the western third of the island of Hispaniola.



Tahiti[5] is an island in the central South Pacific, one of the Society Islands, forming part of French Polynesia.

24d   Understanding // the performance, he won't participate (4)

I did call my electronic reinforcements out of barracks here. They confirmed not only that word I was looking for must be among the possibilities that I was already considering but also pointed me in the direction of the correct solution. However, even at that point, it took some effort to parse the wordplay.

26d   Bit of money /made by/ heartless competitor (4)

The rial[5] (also riyal) is the basic monetary unit of Iran, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon