Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019 — DT 29000 (Published Saturday, September 14, 2019)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29000
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29000 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29000 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.
This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, September 14, 2019 edition of the National Post.

Introduction

Today, several digits on the puzzle counter roll over — this being puzzle number DT 29000. While there should be nothing particularly significant about numbers such as this, they are customarily treated as major milestones.

On the day that this puzzle appeared in the UK, the Brits were preoccupied with rugby — it being the final day of the 2019 Six Nations Championship*[7]. Three matches were played that day: France defeated Italy 25-14, Wales defeated Ireland 25-7 in the match that occasions the most comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, and England and Scotland played to a 38-38 draw. The Calcutta Cup (mentioned in several comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog) is a trophy awarded to the winner of the match between England and Scotland. As the 2019 match ended in a draw, Scotland finds itself in possession of the cup on the basis of winning in 2018.

* The Six Nations Championship[7] is an annual international rugby union competition between the teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The current champions are Wales, having won the 2019 tournament.

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.

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.


The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "<" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)


Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television program, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be:
  • a "precise definition": a definition that is either taken directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • a "cryptic definition": a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.
Examples

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or 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 future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or 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.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

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Across

4a   Prompt // check on car -- that is to save tax (8)

In the UK, MOT[5] (also MOT test) refers to a compulsory annual test for safety and exhaust emissions of motor vehicles of more than a specified age.

Origin: abbreviation of Ministry of Transport, which introduced the original test

A value added tax[5] (abbreviation VAT) is a tax on the amount by which the value of an article has been increased at each stage of its production or distribution. (show more )

The European Union value added tax[7] (or EU VAT) is a value added tax on goods and services within the European Union (EU). The EU's institutions do not collect the tax, but EU member states (including the UK) are each required to adopt a value added tax that complies with the EU VAT code. Different rates of VAT apply in different EU member states, ranging from 17% in Luxembourg to 27% in Hungary. In the UK, the rate is 20%.

Canada's Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) are each instances of a value added tax.[7]

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8a   Power given by Irish water // that produces agricultural turnover (6)

"power" = P [symbol used in physics] (show reference )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power [among other things] in mathematical formulae.

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Lough[10] [pronounced identically to and having the same meaning as the Scottish word loch[10]] is an Irish word meaning lake.



In British English, the name of this farm implement is spelt plough[5]; in US English, it is spelled plow.

9a   Tea-maker // who tries really hard? (8)

10a   Blended label rum -- // one should keep water away (8)

11a   Old rocker's following used to be // dissipated (6)

Ted[2] is short for Teddy boy[5], a slang term originally applied to a young man belonging to a subculture in 1950s Britain characterized by a style of dress based on Edwardian fashion (typically with drainpipe trousers, bootlace tie, and hair slicked up in a quiff* and a liking for rock-and-roll music. The name comes from from Teddy, pet form of the given name Edward (with reference to Edward VII's reign). Judging by the entry in the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, it would appear that the term Teddy boy[2] is now applied to any unruly or rowdy adolescent male.

* Quiff[3,4] is a chiefly British term for a prominent tuft of hair, especially one brushed up above the forehead.

12a   Repress // what head and tail of pups do? (6,2)

The head (initial letter) and tail (final letter) of P(UP)S bottle (form a container around) the word UP.

13a   Most uneven // nap, having eaten duck --that's horrid! (8)

"duck" = O [cricket term] (show explanation )

In cricket, a duck[5] (short for duck's egg) is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

In British puzzles, "duck" is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

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16a   In great detail, // eventually (2,6)

19a   Doctor envied church // grounds (8)

"church" = CE [Church of England] (show explanation )

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.

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21a   It's left on Dec 24 by Santa and his reindeer, /and/ grand to put around rhubarb (6)

G as an abbreviation for grand is a North American usage that the Brits would appear to have embraced (show more ).

While the abbreviation G for "grand" is deemed by British dictionaries to be an Americanism, it seems to be one that is well known to Brits — undoubtedly from American gangster films. It is frequently seen in British crossword puzzles and never seems to garner the abuse that usually greets the appearance of American terms.

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  • Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5].
  • Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2].
  • Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[4,10].
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Rhubarb[5] is an informal British term denoting nonsense* it was all rhubarb, about me, about her daughter, about art.

* The term may well come from the theatre world where the term rhubarb[5] refers to the noise made by a group of actors to give the impression of indistinct background conversation, especially by the random repetition of the word ‘rhubarb’.

Rot[3,4,11] is used in the sense of pointless talk or nonsense.



In the 20th century it became common during December in large shops or department stores to have a "cavern" in which an actor dressed up as Santa Claus would give gifts to children. Grottos can be large walk-through fantasy cavern-like areas incorporating animatronic characters such as elves and pantomime characters. This tradition started in Britain in 1879 and then extended in the 1890s to Australian and American department stores seeking to attract customers.

The world's first Christmas grotto was in Lewis's Bon Marche Department Store in Liverpool, England. The grotto was opened in 1879, entitled "Christmas Fairyland". A staple of Liverpool's festive season, many generations first visited Father Christmas here, with the final displays covering over 10,000 square feet (930 m2). The Grotto has now moved to St. Johns Market, St. Johns Shopping Centre (Liverpool, UK) and runs by the name 'Liverpool's Famous Grotto'.

Nowadays department stores and shopping centres in the UK still host Santa's Grottos.
It is traditional that the children receive a toy from Father Christmas upon visiting his Grotto be it in a shopping mall or a little garden centre. Grottos are sometimes free and sometimes they charge parents to let their kids see Santa and receive a surprise gift.

23a   Out-of-the-way // tipsy cuddles, ecstasy to be hugged (8)

"Ecstasy | drug" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy* or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

* Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

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24a   Learned folk /will be/ polite, rational, internally ... (8)

25a   ... more calm, // sitting back in chauffeured limousine (6)

26a   Northern god missing nothing, consumed /in/ menace (8)

In Norse mythology, Thor[5,7], the son of Odin and Freya (Frigga), is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. Thursday is named after him.

Down

1d   Puzzle /seeing/ married male, strong beast, oppressed by what he calls a cold! (7)

Man flu[10] is an informal, derogatory term* for a case of the common cold as suffered by a man, implying that he is exaggerating the debilitating effects of the illness.

* an ailment recorded in most of my British dictionaries but yet to make an appearance in any of my American dictionaries

2d   Traitor after endless fortune -- one has /to be/ well-paid (9)

On first appearances, a third person construction in the clue ("one has") would seem to become a first person construction in the solution ("I've").

The pronoun one[5] can be used to refer to the speaker, or any person, as representing people in general. Although technically a third person pronoun, in certain contexts when referring to the speaker, it can effectively be considered to be used as a first person pronoun. For instance, the statement As distasteful as this task is, one has got to do what one has got to do is equivalent to As distasteful as this task is, I've got to do what I've got to do.

3d   The woman loveless love // put off (6)

"love" = O [tennis term] (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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4d   False impression /made by/ undertaking absorbing little program about chicken (15)

The clueing "little program" denotes not a program with only a few lines of code but rather that we need a shortened version of the word APPLICATION.

In the computing field, an app[5] (short for application) is an an application, especially as downloaded by a user to a mobile device ⇒ apparently there are these new apps that will actually read your emails to you.

5d   Reject // that could show worth? (5,3)

This is a reverse (or inverse)* wordplay clue. The solution consists of an anagram indicator and anagram fodder that produces a result found in the wordplay.

* In a "normal" clue, the indicator and fodder would be found in the wordplay with the result appearing in the solution.

In cryptic crossword syntax, THROW OUT could indicate an anagram of (out) THROW.

6d   Circulation aids // weathercocks, it's said (5)

7d   Having defeats and victories only, apparently, // in an open-neck shirt? (7)

In her review, crypticsue does not mark this as a double definition (as I do) seemingly because she spells the solution to the first part with a hyphen (which I don't).

14d   House idly refurbished // in a frightful way (9)

15d   I will join good number going to rave // in the dark (8)

"good" = G [academic result] (show reference )

The abbreviation G[a] for good comes from its use in education as a mark awarded on scholastic assignments or tests.

[a] Collins English to Spanish Dictionary

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Scratching the Surface
Rave[3,4,11] (also rave-up) is a chiefly British term for a raucous or boisterous party, especially a dance.

17d  Like a mere // stain? (7)

A double definition, the first being whimsical.

Mere[5] is a literary British term for a lake or pond ⇒ the stream widens into a mere where hundreds of geese gather.

Those of us in Ottawa should be familiar with this word as the Mackenzie King Estate (the country estate of Canada’s 10th and longest-serving prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King) is located just across the Ottawa River in Kingsmere, Quebec, on the shores of Kingsmere Lake (a name which surely amounts to Kingslake Lake).

A tarn[5] is a small mountain lake.

18d   Half of school rejected studying sacred books by this writer, // one inventing plots (7)

In the UK, religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[5]) is a subject taught in schools which educates about the different religions of the world.

"this writer" = ME (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, (the or this) speaker, (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.

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20d   Pay /and/ enter with the wrong order! (6)

The indicator "with the wrong order" instructs us to reverse the order of the words in the phrase clued by the fodder. Thus, when the order of the words is changed, COME IN (enter) is transformed into INCOME.

22d   Melody /that gives/ those people energy (5)

"energy" = E [symbol used in physics] (show reference )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy in mathematical formulae ⇒ E = mc2.

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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 Advanced 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)
[14] - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019 — Canadian Icons

Introduction

I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a bit on the more difficult side. However, that may be primarily due to getting a poor night's sleep and tackling the puzzle following a busy and tiring day.

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

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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
- yet to be solved

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.


The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "<" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)


Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television program, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be:
  • a "precise definition": a definition that is either taken directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • a "cryptic definition": a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.
Examples

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or 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 future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or 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.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide

Across

8a   Some kind of a nut, // Thai cop is running amok (9)

PISTACHIO* — anagram of (running amok) THAI COP IS

9a   Imagine // 500 sheets of paper in a group (5)

D|REAM — D ([Roman numeral for] 500) + REAM (sheets of paper in a group; i.e., a quantity of paper)

A ream[5] is a quantity of 500 (formerly 480) sheets of paper.

Did you fall into the trap of supposing that the letters REAM are being clued by "500 sheets of paper"?

10a   Greeting in places /for/ some Muslims (7)

S(HI)ITES — HI (greeting) contained in (in) SITES (places)

A Shiite[5] is an adherent of the Shia* branch of Islam.

* Shia[5] (also Shi'a or Shiah) is one of the two main branches of Islam, followed by about a tenth of Muslims, especially in Iran, that rejects the first three Sunni caliphs and regards Ali, the fourth caliph, as Muhammad’s first true successor.

11a   For the second time, saint /and/ con (7)

AGAIN|ST — AGAIN (for the second time) + ST (saint; abbrev.)

12a   Vote for // one revolution without end (3)

YEA_ — YEA[R] (one revolution [of the earth around the sun]) with the final letter removed (without end)

13a   Earl of Derby // rents a dolly when moving (4,7)

{LORD STANLEY}* — anagram of (when moving) RENTS A DOLLY

Earl of Derby[7] is a title in the Peerage of England. Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby[7], (1841–1908), styled as Hon. Frederick Stanley from 1844–86 and as Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886–93, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and the sixth Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. An avid sportsman, he is famous for presenting Canada with the Stanley Cup*. Stanley was also one of the original inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

* The Stanley Cup[7] is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff winner.

15a   Ways // a Roman goddess admits error (7)

A|VENU(E)S — A () + {VENUS (Roman goddess) containing (admits) E (error; abbrev. used in baseball}

In Roman mythology, Venus[5] is a goddess, worshipped as the goddess of love in classical Rome though apparently a spirit of kitchen gardens in earlier times. Her equivalent in Greek mythology is Aphrodite.

17a   Garden resident and insect // not backing off (7)

ADAM|ANT — ADAM (Garden resident) + (and) ANT (insect)

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.

19a   Ontario-born author // mad at Mayflower (6,5)

{FARLEY MOWAT}* — anagram of (mad) AT MAYFLOWER

Farley Mowat[7] (1921–2014) was a Canadian writer and environmentalist, born in Belleville, Ontario. His works were translated into 52 languages, and he sold more than 17 million books. He achieved fame with the publication of his books on the Canadian north, such as People of the Deer (1952) and Never Cry Wolf (1963). The latter, an account of his experiences with wolves in the Arctic, was made into a film of the same name released in 1983.

Scratching the Surface
In all likelihood, the surface reading refers to the Mayflower[5], the ship in which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from England to America.

22a   Go overboard about depth, /being/ eccentric (3)

O(D)D — OD (go overboard; abbrev. for overdose) containing (about) D(epth)

24a   Devoured // last of sundae with crushed peanut (5,2)

E{ATEN UP}* — E (last [letter] of sundaE) + (with) anagram of (crushed) PEANUT

26a   Polish // woman returned call (7)

SHE|LLAC< — SHE (woman) + reversal of (returned) CALL

In its role of definition, "polish" is pronounced POL-ish rather than PO-lish as the surface reading would suggest.

27a   Noisily chew // hero (5)

CHAMP — double definition

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, hero[12], short for hero sandwich[10,12], is a US term for a submarine sandwich.

28a   Excessively burdened, // public dismissed (9)

OVERT|AXED — OVERT (public) + AXED (dismissed [from employment])

Down

1d   Guess // I’m housed in ritzy residence (8)

EST(IM)ATE — IM (I'm) contained in (housed in) ESTATE (ritzy residence)

2d   Tip: a magnifying lens /for/ fruit (10)

CANT|A|LOUPE — CANT (tip; list or lean) + A (†) + LOUPE (magnifying lens [used by jewellers and watchmakers])

3d   Each one outside has // “Star Trek” gun (6)

P(HAS)ER — PER (each one) containing (outside) HAS (†)

Phasers[7] are common and versatile phased array pulsed energy projectile weapons, first seen in the original Star Trek television series and later seen or referenced in almost all subsequent films and television spin-offs. Phasers come in a wide range of sizes, ranging from small arms to starship-mounted weaponry.

4d   Coals are tossed /in/ body of water (5,3)

{CORAL SEA}* — anagram of (tossed) COALS ARE

The Coral Sea[5] is a part of the western Pacific lying between Australia, New Guinea, and Vanuatu, the scene of a naval battle between US and Japanese carriers in 1942.

5d   Brainstorm // in Mideast (4)

_IDEA_ — hidden in (in) MIDEAst

6d   Listened to officer/’s/ ear piece? (6)

KERNEL~ — sounds like (listened to) COLONEL (officer)

A lovely whimsical definition here!

7d   Mast they reconstructed /in/ stone (8)

AMETHYST* — anagram of (reconstructed) MAST THEY

8d   Pale // beyond yellow (5)

PAST|Y — PAST (beyond) + Y(ellow)

Colours of the Rainbow
The abbreviation Y for yellow may come from this being one of the colours of the rainbow.

Rainbow in Jasper National Park
Rainbows[7] span a continuous spectrum of colours. Any distinct bands perceived are an artefact of human colour vision, and no banding of any type is seen in a black-and-white photo of a rainbow, only a smooth gradation of intensity to a maximum, then fading towards the other side. For colours seen by the human eye, the most commonly cited and remembered sequence is Sir Isaac Newton's sevenfold red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, remembered by the mnemonic, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (ROYGBIV).

14d   Transcendental meditation in a parent’s // lodgings (10)

A|PAR(TM)ENT|S — TM (transcendental meditation; abbrev.) contained in (in) {A (†) + PARENT + S ('s)}

15d   Outside /of/ sore calf massaged (8)

ALFRESCO* —anagram of (massaged) SORE CALF

16d   Somewhat rewarded athletes // breaking promises (8)

SEMIPROS* — anagram of (breaking) PROMISES

18d   Extreme anger /could make/ Expo play badly (8)

APOPLEXY* — anagram of (badly) EXPO PLAY

Scratching the Surface
The Montreal Expos[7] were a Canadian professional baseball team based in Montreal, Quebec. The Expos were the first Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located outside the United States. They played in the National League (NL) East Division from 1969 until 2004. Following the 2004 season, the franchise relocated to Washington, D.C., and became the Washington Nationals.

20d   Scoundrel with light brown // cane (6)

RAT|TAN — RAT (scoundrel) + (with) TAN (light brown)

21d   Was Theodore // beyond tipsy? (6)

WAS|TED — WAS () + TED ([diminutive for] Theodore)

23d   Chopped // down and chilled (5)

D|ICED — D (down; abbrev. found in crossword puzzles — in this very clue, for instance) + (and) ICED (chilled)

25d   From behind, reach across // piles (4)

NAPS< — reversal of (from behind) SPAN (reach across)

Pile[5] is the soft projecting surface of a carpet or a fabric such as velvet or flannel, consisting of many small threads.

Nap[5] is the raised hairs or threads on the surface of fabric or suede leather, in terms of the direction in which they naturally lie.

Epilogue

Today's puzzle features a couple of Canadian icons — each with its own bit of tarnish.

The Stanley Cup was originally donated as an award to Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club, but has now become the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff winner.[7] Would Lord Stanley have approved?

Farley Mowat's advocacy for environmental causes earned him praise, but his admission, after some of his books' claims had been debunked, that he "never let the facts get in the way of the truth" earned harsh criticism. In the words of one literary authority, "few readers remain neutral".[7]
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 Advanced 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)
[14] - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019 — DT 28999

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28999
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, March 15, 2019
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28999]
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

Today's puzzle from Giovanni is a pleasant enough solve. However, as you will see from Big Dave's Crossword Blog, British solvers had another matter on their minds. On the day that this puzzle appeared in the UK, a terrorist conducted shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand[7], during Friday Prayer. The attacks killed 51 people and injured 49.

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.

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.


The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "&lt;" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)


Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television program, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be:
  • a "precise definition": a definition that is either taken directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • a "cryptic definition": a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.
Examples

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or 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 future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or 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.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide

Across

1a   Cringe maybe /as/ a cricketing failure (4)

In cricket, a duck[5] (short for duck's egg) is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

3a   Disorderly males in bus // that cannot be overlooked (10)

9a   Good antique? // It's very valuable (4)

10a   Like relatively cheaper goods // not considered (10)

11a   Equipment carried by wicked English // group (7)

13a   Descended from mountain maybe /and/ became depressed (3,4)

14a   /What's/ patriot done wrong /to become/ exile? (11)

Effectively the split phrase "what's ... to become" constitutes the equivalent of a link phrase. It is split due to the interrogative nature of the clue. Were the clue to be phrased in a declarative fashion rather than an interrogative manner, it might read:
  • Patriot done wrong /has to become/ exile (11)
which would have a non-split link phrase.

18a   Pilgrim's passage, // very short, a road so fouled up with oil (3,8)

The Via Dolorosa[7] is a processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. The route is a celebrated place of Christian pilgrimage.

21a   Gem // fairy's presented to Dorothy (7)

In Persian mythology, a peri[5] is a mythical superhuman being, originally represented as evil but subsequently as a good or graceful genie or fairy.



Peridot[5] is a green semi-precious mineral, a variety of olivine.

22a   Sword // inflicted wound on girl (7)

23a   Appealed to // umpire -- not out! -- start of debate thereafter (10)

Scratching the Surface
In cricket, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

However, even though the ball may have been caught, the batsman is not actually dismissed until the fielding team appeal to the umpires for a decision, traditionally using the expression "How's that" (or "Howzat").

That is, the fielder will claim a catch out by appealing to the umpires for a decision.

In cricket, it seems, umpires do not deliver a decision until requested to do so by the players.

24a   From what we hear, disease // was airborne (4)

25a   Over-scrupulous // activity of school nurse? (3-7)

26a   Children's game // is quiet before end of party (1-3)

"quiet" = P [music notation] (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.

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Down

1d   Menial worker // torments organisation (8)

Dogsbody[5] is an informal British term for a person who is given menial tasks to do, especially a junior in an office ⇒ I got myself a job as typist and general dogsbody on a small magazine.

2d   Manage to include everybody and one /could be/ an inspiration for poets (8)

In Greek and Roman mythology, Calliope[5] is the Muse* of epic poetry.

* In Greek and Roman mythology, the Muses[5] are the nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. (show more )

The Muses are generally listed as Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flute playing and lyric poetry), Terpsichore (choral dancing and song), Erato (lyre playing and lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Thalia (comedy and light verse), Polyhymnia (hymns, and later mime), and Urania (astronomy).

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4d   Uproar // is interrupting one terribly (5)

5d   Belonging to firm, idiot in journey /is/ hiding identity (9)

Nit[5,10] (short for nitwit is an informal British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

6d   Excluding /from/ building in street, home with disease (8,3)

7d   Cigarette end on // bit of the mattress? (6)

8d   Posting the first bit out /and/ the last (6)

12d   Succeed for the first time, having cried desperately /for/ so long (11)

Arrivederci[5] is an Italian exclamation of farewell meaning goodbye until we meet again.

Explanation of "ARVE Error"
Those who visit Big Dave's Crossword Blog will see an "ARVE Error" message (show explanation ) in place of the video that Deep Threat presumably included in his review.

ARVE (Advanced Responsive Video Embedder) is a plugin for the WordPress content management system — the platform on which Big Dave's Crossword Blog operates.

I would guess that parameter values that were valid at the time that Deep Threat's review was written in December 2018 are no longer supported, thus causing the error message to be displayed.

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15d   One wild young fellow // easily made money (1,4,4)

16d   Work set up on benches, // drinks // being provided (8)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (Latin 'work', plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in other contexts to denote an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

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Due to the clue structure employed by the setter, the definition appears in the middle of the clue followed by the link phrase. A more straight-forward clue structure would place the definition at the end of the clue:
  • Work set up on benches /provides/ drinks (8)
17d   Perish, /taking/ a route south of col (4,4)

A col[5] is the lowest point of a ridge or saddle between two peaks, typically providing a pass from one side of a mountain range to another.

19d   Possibility /of/ non-parents taking caring role with a daughter not wanted (6)

20d   A sort of hollow -- // pram is awkward going over it (6)

Scratching the Surface
Pram[5] is a British term for a four-wheeled carriage for a baby, pushed by a person on foot.

22d   Cold meat /must be/ hygienic (5)

Lean[5] denotes the lean part of meat ⇒ the man who eats no fat and the wife who eats no lean.
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 Advanced 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)
[14] - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon