Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017 — Rear Ends

Introduction

With one exception, the western half of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon went in quite readily with the eastern half putting up a substantially more spirited fight. The exception was 10d, which eluded me for the longest time. I set it aside, wrote the review and then went back to it at which point it grudgingly yielded.

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
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███████████████████████████████████
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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
- yet to be solved

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

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Jot // weight goal for a batter (4)

W|HIT — W (weight; abbrev.) + HIT (goal for a batter [in baseball])

The abbreviation for weight can be w[3] (also w.[11] or W.[11]) or wt.[11].

3a   Director//’s article about long book by Spanish artist (4,6)

A(TOM E|GOYA)N — AN ([indefinite] article) containing (about) {TOME (long book) + (by) GOYA (Spanish artist; )}

Goya[5] (1746–1828) was a Spanish painter and etcher; full name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. He is famous for his works treating the French occupation of Spain (1808–14), including The Shootings of May 3rd 1808 (painting, 1814) and The Disasters of War (etchings, 1810–14), depicting the cruelty and horror of war.

The Third of May 1808 (1814), Goya
Atom Egoyan[7] is a Canadian director (of stage and film), writer, producer and former actor. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica (1994), a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club. Egoyan's most critically acclaimed film is the drama The Sweet Hereafter (1997), for which he received two Academy Award nominations, and his biggest commercial success is the erotic thriller Chloe (2009).

9a   Golfer Ernie maintaining equal // numbers (7)

EL(EVEN)S — ELS (golfer Ernie; South African professional golfer Ernie Els[7]) containing (maintaining) EVEN (equal)

11a   Two sailors bathe at last, // raw (7)

TAR|TAR|E — {TAR + TAR} (two sailors) + E (bathe at last; final [last] letter of bathE)

Tar[5] is an informal, dated nickname for a sailor. The term came into use in the mid 17th century and is perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, also used as a nickname for a sailor at that time.

12a   Cool // Western alliance including Ukraine, finally (5)

N(E)ATO — NATO (Western alliance) containing (including) E (Ukraine finally; final letter of UkrainE)

Scratching the Surface
Ukraine applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)[7] in 2008. Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the Euromaidan* unrest, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014. The interim Yatsenyuk Government which came to power, initially said, with reference to the country's non-aligned status, that it had no plans to join NATO. However, following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government made joining NATO a priority.

Russia's reaction to the 2008 plan of the then Ukrainian Government to join NATO was hostile. Nevertheless, the following year, NATO spokesman said that despite Russian opposition to NATO's eastward expansion the alliance's door remained open to those who met the criteria.

According to polls conducted between 2005 and 2013, Ukrainian public support of NATO membership remained low. However, since the start of the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO has risen greatly. June 2014 until 2016 polls showed that about 50% of those asked supported Ukrainian NATO membership.

* Euromaidan (literally 'Euro[pean] Square') was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kiev, demanding closer European integration.

13a   Asian // crocodile’s back at the rear of the boat (7)

E|ASTERN — E (crocodile's back; final [back] letter of crocodilE) + ASTERN (at the rear of the boat)

15a   One of Jacob’s sons acquires // doodads (7)

GAD|GETS — GAD (one of Jacob's sons) + GETS (acquires)

In the Old Testament, Gad[10] is Jacob's sixth son, whose mother was Zilpah, Leah's* maid.

* Leah[10] was the first wife of Jacob and elder sister of Rachel, his second wife (Genesis 29)

16a   Jurisdiction of a noble // lad Rome meddled with (7)

EARLDOM* — anagram (meddled with) of LAD ROME

Historically, an earldom[5] was the territory governed by an earl*.

* An earl[5] is a British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess [in other words, the third highest of the five ranks of British nobility — duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron].

18a   Scottish national symbol // altered the list (7)

THISTLE* — anagram (altered) of THE LIST

The thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland[7] and is celebrated in the patriotic song "The Thistle o' Scotland"[7].


21a   Mary Jane’s angry, // careless criticism (7)

POT|S|HOT — POT (Mary Jane; slang for marijuana) + S ('s) + HOT (angry)

23a   In centre, a timely // petition (7)

_ENTRE|A|T_ — hidden in (in) cENTRE A Timely

As the definition, "petition" is a verb despite being a noun in the surface reading.

25a   Ram front of elevated, // flattopped hill (5)

BUTT|E — BUTT (ram) + E (front [initial letter] of Elevated)

27a   “Wrong letter,” I // call anew (7)

RETITLE* — anagram (wrong) of I LETTER

28a   I bore myself in retreat /for/ people of distinction (7)

{EM|ERIT|I}< — reversal (in retreat) of {I (†) + TIRE (bore) + ME (myself)}

Emeriti is the plural of emeritus, one who is retired but retains an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement[3].

29a   Arachnid behind prison camp/’s/ calcite formation (10)

STALAG|MITE — MITE (arachnid) following (behind) STALAG (prison camp)

A stalag[5] was a Second World War German prison camp, especially for non-commissioned officers and privates. The name comes from German, a contraction of Stammlager, from Stamm 'base, main stock' + Lager 'camp'.

A stalagmite[5] is a mound or tapering column rising from the floor of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water and often uniting with a stalactite*.

* A stalactite[5] is a tapering structure hanging like an icicle from the roof of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water.

30a   Icy mass // composer (4)

BERG — double definition

Alban Berg[5] (1885–1935) was an Austrian composer, a leading exponent of twelve-note composition. Notable works: the operas Wozzeck (1914–21) and Lulu (1928–35) and his violin concerto (1935).

Down

1d   Little fellows in shiny suits, // some evenings (10)

WEE|KNIGHTS — WEE (little) + KNIGHTS (fellows in shiny suits)

2d   Anger Left and // part of Europe (7)

IRE|L|AND — IRE (anger) + L (left) + AND (†)

4d   Flowers coming after last of sweet // samplers (7)

T|ASTERS — ASTERS (flowers) following (coming after) T (last [letter] of sweeT)

5d   Sea mist splashed around // painter (7)

MATISSE* — anagram (splashed around) of SEA MIST

Henri Matisse[5] (1869–1954) was a French painter and sculptor. His use of non-naturalistic colour led him to be regarded as a leader of the Fauvists. His later painting and sculpture displays a trend towards formal simplification and abstraction, and includes large figure compositions and abstracts made from cut-out coloured paper.

Woman with a Hat, 1905, Henri Matisse
6d   Mad king losing English // stuff (5)

GORGE — G[E]ORGE (mad king) after having removed (losing) the [first] letter E (English; abbrev.)

George III[5] (1738–1820) was king of Great Britain and Ireland 1760–1820, Elector of Hanover 1760–1815 and king of Hanover 1815–20. He exercised considerable political influence, but it declined from 1788 after bouts of mental illness, as a result of which his son was made regent in 1811.

7d   Craved // vote for communist, keeping neutral (7)

YEA|R(N)ED — YEA (vote for) + RED (communist) containing (keeping) N (neutral; an indication found on a gearshift lever)

8d   Must have // struck a low blow to the ear (4)

NEED~ — sounds like (to the ear) KNEED (struck a low blow)

10d   Wearing // the latest in fake chinchilla, e.g. (7)

E|RODENT — E {the latest [final letter] in fakE} + RODENT (chinchilla, e.g.)

14d   Second, counting // small number (10)

S|MATTERING — S (second; abbrev.) + MATTERING (counting; being of significance)

17d   Restricted a chart // subject to evaluation (7)

R|A|TABLE — R (restricted; motion picture classification) + A (†) + TABLE (chart)

19d   Resistance to change // shaken up in a rite (7)

INERTIA* — anagram (shaken up) of IN A RITE

20d   You and Beatrice caught in Emily/’s/ glance (7)

E(YE|BEA)M — {YE ([archaic form of] you) + BEA (diminutive of Beatrice)} contained in (caught in) EM (diminutive of Emily)

An eyebeam[a] (or eye-beam[5]) is an archaic or rare literary term for a glance of the eye, imagined as a beam of light.

[a] Webster’s New World College Dictionary

21d   Clear about one // doctor’s case (7)

PAT(I)ENT — PATENT (clear) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one}

22d   Phone link // in hotel out of order (7)

HOTLINE* — anagram (out of order) of IN HOTEL

24d   Tropical fish // seen in remote travels (5)

_TE|TRA_ — hidden in (seen in) remoTE TRAvels

A tetra[5] is a small tropical freshwater fish that is typically brightly coloured. Native to Africa and America, many tetras are popular in aquaria.

26d   In retrospect, tender // love (4)

EROS< — reversal (in retrospect) of SORE (tender)

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite — the Roman equivalent being Cupid. The name Eros is synonymous with sexual love or desire Eros drives us to transcend ourselves through desire.

Epilogue

The title of today's review is inspired by the cryptic device employed in 11a, 12a, 13a and 10d to clue the final letter of a word.

Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017 — DT 28292

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28292
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Setter
Shamus (Philip Marlow)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28292]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Falcon
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

This is one of those occasions where I was well into the puzzle before it dawned on me that the clues seemed very familiar.

There is almost a mini-theme in today's puzzle which morphs from a tear drop (21a), to an inflammation of the eye (23a), to an eyesore (6d), and finally to a seedy joint (1d).

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Wander // about with son in lodgings (7)

5a   Starter, perhaps, requiring study /to get/ flavour (7)

Starter[5] is a chiefly British* term meaning the first course of a meal.

* chiefly British  according to Oxford Dictionaries, but certainly a term that is by no means foreign to Canada

"study"= CON (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

A soupçon*[5] is a very small quantity of something ⇒ a soupçon of mustard. Thus a subtle flavour.

* Soupçon[8] is a French word meaning 'suspicion'.

9a   Drink round lake chap's left /for/ cold meal (10,5)

Lough*[10] is an Irish word meaning lake.

* pronounced identically to the Scottish word  loch[10] which also means lake

"chap" = MAN (show explanation )

Chap[3,4,11], an informal British*[5] or chiefly British[3] term for a man or boy, is a shortened form of chapman[3,4,11], an archaic term for a trader, especially an itinerant pedlar[a,b].

 * Despite being identified by British dictionaries as a British term, I would say that the term is far from unknown in Canada.

[a] Pedlar is the modern British spelling of peddler[c] which, in most senses, is deemed to be a US or old-fashioned British spelling. The exception is in the sense of a dealer in illegal drugs which in Britain is a drug peddler.

[b] The current meaning of chap[2] dates from the 18th century. In the 16th century, chap meant 'a customer'. The dictionaries do not explain how a shortened form of 'chapman' (pedlar) came to mean 'customer'.

[c] Collins COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

hide explanation

Ploughman's lunch[5] is a British term for a meal of bread and cheese, typically with pickle and salad.

10a   Mo not leader? // Doubtful (4)

Mo[5] (abbreviation for moment) is an informal, chiefly British term for a short period of time ⇒ hang on a mo!.

11a   Hundred students hope to pass this // rock? (5)

12a   Drooping // fruit cut close to shop (4)

What did I say?
In my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I hinted that "fruit cut" was a detailed citrus fruit.
This was a use of "detailed" in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of having the tail removed — in juxtaposition to "decapitate" used in the hint two clues earlier.

15a   Improve // two bridge players by luck? Not principally (7)

In the card game bridge, North[5] and South[5] comprise one partnership and play against East[5] and West[5] who form the other partnership.

16a   Individual entering seaside venue /is/ trail-blazer (7)

17a   Article on port, // town in Hampshire (7)

Dover[5] is a ferry port in Kent, England, on the coast of the English Channel. It is mainland Britain’s nearest point to the Continent, being only 35 km (22 miles) from Calais, France.

Andover[7] is a town in the English county of Hampshire. The town is on the River Anton some 25 miles (40 km) north of the city of Southampton.

What did I say?
In my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I stated that the wording of the clue is in contravention of the convention for the use of on in an across clue.
"A on B" Convention

A sometimes ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already exist (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it. .

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

19a   Dry wind /is/ over African country -- medic takes flight (7)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

hide explanation

"medic" = MO (show explanation )

A medical officer[5] (abbreviation MO[5]) is a doctor in charge of the health services of a civilian or military authority or other organization.

hide explanation

A sirocco[5] is a hot wind, often dusty or rainy, blowing from North Africa across the Mediterranean to southern Europe.

21a   Drop, we hear, /is/ level among others (4)

22a   A learner falls behind American university // standard (5)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

23a   Inflammation? // Sadly, yes -- temperature must be contained (4)

26a   What could be rhetorical skill -- /or/ lack of certainty (15)

The wordplay is an allusion to the term rhetorical question[5], a question asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.

27a   Support // aim by Arab, say, in East End (7)

An Arab[5] is a horse of a breed originating in Arabia, with a distinctive high-set tail.

The East End[5] is the part of London [England] east of the City as far as the River Lea, including the Docklands, an area whose residents are known as cockneys. The cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London is characterized by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words.

28a   What customers want a shop to be -- // 'customary'? Editor needed! (7)

Down

1d   Strip /in/ seedy joint interrupted by English priest (7)

2d   Hit the roof? // Some do it when diving (2,3,3,4,3)

3d   Limit // club -- bar women! (4)

A wedge[5] is a golf club with a low, angled face for maximum loft.

4d   Mention of amount secured /for/ an unknown person (7)

5d   Tanning device // plus man for a massage (7)

6d   Like an eyesore, // unedifying largely at the edges? (4)

7d   Unexpectedly eccentric kind of // swindle (10,5)

Confidence trick[10] (informal shortened form con trick) is the British term for a confidence game (informal shortened form con game).

8d   Loser // prone to sprawl around house (2-5)

A no-hoper[10] is a useless person; a failure.

13d   Rogue // part of church given hearing (5)

14d   Seek to win over // legal institution (5)

17d   What might be quaint and last in furniture? (7)


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

18d   Gentleman put up with single // fried dish (7)

Rissole[5] is a British term for a compressed mixture of meat and spices, coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

19d   Soprano with energy, a singer /and/ swimmer (3,4)

"soprano" = S (show explanation )

In music, the abbreviation for soprano is S or s[2].

hide explanation

"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Sea bass[7] is a common fish name. Many fish species of various families have been called sea bass.

20d   Ace I had cited // with singular vision? (3-4)

24d   Revolutionary deserters /showing/ sign of military rank (4)

The only explanation that I could come up with for this clue was that it was referring to the stars used by the US military as an insignia of rank. However, the British military uses "pips" rather than stars and the Canadian military uses maples leaves.

In Comment #24 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Mike suggests that the clue is referring to a 'Star of the Bath'.

Plunging In
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath[7] (formerly the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) is a British order of chivalry founded by George I in 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath".

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant).

The insignia[7] of the order includes a star, the design of which varies by rank and division.

25d   Lush // part of meadow in Oxfordshire (4)

Oxfordshire[5] is a county of south central England; county town, Oxford.
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017 — DT 28291

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28291
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28291]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
2Kiwis
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

In hindsight, I likely threw in the towel too early today, calling in electronic help prematurely. I'm sure had I cogitated a bit longer, I would have solved the three clues for which I sought assistance. Of course, you might still be waiting for the review to be posted.

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Let off // extra duties at first (6)

5a   County // game is cut short before reserve appears (8)

Cheshire[5] is a county of west central England; county town, Chester — and the source of yesterday's cheese!.

Scratching the Surface
County cricket[5] refers to first-class cricket played in the UK between the eighteen professional teams contesting the County Championship.

A reserve[5] is an extra player in* a team, serving as a possible substitute ⇒ he was reserve hooker [position on a rugby team] for the World Cup team.

* Note that the Brits say "in a team" (or, perhaps even more often, "in a side") rather than "on a team".

9a   Politicians // finish in Lords who can't abide changes (6,7)

Were I writing the clue, I would have phrased it as "the last letter of Lords plus an anagram (changes) of WHO CAN’T ABIDE".

Shadow cabinet[5] is a British term* for a group of members of the principal political party in opposition that are chosen as counterparts of members of the government who hold cabinet positions.

* In my experience, the term Shadow Cabinet is little used in Canada. A member of the Shadow Cabinet is far more likely to be referred to as an opposition critic. Wikipedia says with regard to the situation in Canada, "Members of the official opposition [shadow cabinet][7] are generally referred to as opposition critics, but the term Shadow Minister (which is generally used in other Westminster systems) is also used."

Scratching the Surface
In the UK, the House of Lords[5] (or, more informally, the Lords[10]) is the higher chamber of Parliament, composed of peers and bishops.

10a   Abandon // plane and sit back working (8)

11a   Ambush // means gamble (6)

12a   Con // trendy officer on board (6)

14a   Carrots perhaps /in/ cooked pot roast? (8)

16a   Spain therefore accommodates journalists, /getting/ coffee (8)

"Spain" = E (show explanation

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E[5] [from Spanish España].

hide explanation

19a   Get at // person entitled to entertain bishop (6)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

Nobble[5] (verb) is an informal British term which could perhaps mean "get at" in any of several senses:
  • try to influence or thwart by underhand or unfair methods ⇒ an attempt to nobble the jury;
  • tamper with (a racehorse or greyhound) to prevent it from winning a race, especially by giving it a drug ⇒ a doping ring nobbled three of the trainer's horses in 1990;
  • obtain dishonestly; steal ⇒ he intended to nobble Rose's money;
  • seize or accost (someone) ⇒ (i) they nobbled him and threw him on to the train; (ii) people always tried to nobble her at parties.
21a   Guard // fuel, needing area for energy (6)

Petrol is the British term for gasoline[5].

"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

23a   Treat /with/ discretion (8)

25a   Dinnertime is fixed, and tea flexible, // not exactly fixed (13)

Isn't English an amazing language, one in which both "fixed" and "flexible" can be anagram indicators.

26a   Turn right in passage /for/ 'Gulliver's Travels', for example (8)

Gulliver's Travels, whose full title is Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, (1726, amended 1735), is a prose satire by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and the "travellers' tales" literary subgenre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.

27a   Rise to welcome Queen /in/ maroon (6)

"queen" = R (show explanation )

Queen may be abbreviated as Q, Qu. or R.

Q[5] is an abbreviation for queen that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

Qu.[2] is another common abbreviation for Queen.

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

Thus Queen Elizabeth signs her name as 'Elizabeth R' as seen here on Canada's paint-stained constitution.

hide explanation

Down

2d   Dad perched on rear // part of horse (7)

3d   Joint /in/ carpet (5)

Joint[5] is a British* term for a large piece of meat cooked whole or ready for cooking ⇒ a joint of ham.

* or perhaps not so British[3,11]

Carpet[5] is British* slang meaning to reprimand severelythe Chancellor of the Exchequer carpeted the bank bosses.

* Although we do not use this expression in North America, we certainly use the presumably related expression to be called on the carpet[5].

4d   Thresholds /in/ approaches, journalistically? (9)

Doorstep[5] (verb) is an informal British term meaning (said of a journalist) to wait uninvited outside the home of (someone) in order to obtain an interview or photograph he was being doorstepped by the tabloids.

5d   Fruit // firm fiddle just using regulars (7)

Fiddle[5] (noun) is an informal, chiefly British term denoting an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying ⇒ a major mortgage fiddle.

Fiddle[5] (verb) is an informal, chiefly British term meaning to falsify (figures, data, or records), typically in order to gain money ⇒ everyone is fiddling their expenses.

6d   Joint // push (5)

7d   Pet goes on search /for/ source of sweetness (9)

8d   Withdraw // religious education pamphlet (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.

13d   Sky link // confusing brigadier (3,6)

Air bridge[5] is a British term for a a movable bridge placed against an aircraft door to allow passengers to embark or disembark.

Such devices go by a variety of names, including jet bridge[7], jetway, gangway, aerobridge/airbridge, air jetty, portal, skybridge or its official industry name passenger boarding bridge (PBB). However, I could find absolutely no evidence of it being referred to as a "sky link". Thus, "sky link" would seem to be a cryptic definition of such a structure.

15d   Match in Naples fragmented, /occasioning/ such kicks (9)

Tie[5] is 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 usage example 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.

In soccer, a penalty kick[5] is a free kick at the goal from a point (penalty spot) within the penalty area and 12 yards (about 11 m) from the goal, with only the goalkeeper allowed to defend it: awarded to the attacking team after a foul within the penalty area by a member of the defending team.

In rugby union, a penalty kick[5] is a kick awarded after a serious foul that can be aimed straight at the goal to score three points.

17d   King Charles // cross that is start of line? (7)

The King Charles spaniel[5]that we have seen as recently as Tuesday — is a spaniel of a small breed, typically with a white, black, and tan coat.

18d   Well-behaved // worker in hospital (7)

20d   Liberal changing recent // stand in church (7)

"Liberal" = L (show explanation )

The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2])* in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists although it has no representation in the UK Parliament, no Members of the European Parliament (MEP), no members of the Scottish Parliament, nor any members of the National Assembly for Wales.[7]

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

hide explanation

22d   Fortune to /come from/ this game? (5)

In addition to having clear wordplay and a concise definition, the entire clue quite accurately describes why people play this game.

24d   Preside over // key and locks (5)
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 — DT 28290

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28290
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Setter
Samuel (Chris Lancaster)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28290]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr Kitty
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

A new setter makes his debut today on the Telegraph back-page. The puzzle is referred to in Britain as the back-pager as it normally appears on the back page of the paper unless forced inside by an advertising feature (causing howls of complaint from cruciverbalists).

If you visit Big Dave's Crossword Blog today, you will find him celebrating the  birthday of Rufus (Roger Squires) who set the puzzle which appeared yesterday in the National Post.

You might like to try your hand at the trio of terse clues offered by Mr Kitty in his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. In addition to the solutions, he also mercifully provides some help in the form of the checking letters.
  • O? (4,6)
  • X (4,2,3,5)
  • ? (8)
Let us know how many you managed to solve.

I also invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with today's puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   Cross // Cheshire, say, with lift (7,3)

Cheshire[5] is a kind of firm crumbly cheese, originally made in Cheshire[5], a county of west central England.

6a   Big Brother /gets/ backing when suppressed by Brussels (4)

Brussels[5] (the capital of Belgium) is also considered the de facto capital of the European Union[7], having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat (officially the second seat but de facto the most important one) of the European Parliament.

Just as Washington and London are used as metonyms for the US and UK respectively, Brussels serves as a metonym for the EU.

In the Bible, Esau[5] is the elder of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob and was tricked out of his father's blessing by his brother (Gen. 25, 27).

Scratching the Surface
Big Brother[7] is a reality game show franchise, originally broadcast in the Netherlands and subsequently syndicated internationally. The term Big Brother originates from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its theme of continuous oppressive surveillance.

In the show, contestants called "housemates" (or "house guests") live together in a specially-constructed house that is isolated from the outside world. Housemates are voted out (usually on a weekly basis) until only one remains and wins the cash prize. During their stay in the house, contestants are continuously monitored by live television cameras as well as personal audio microphones.

Behind the Haircut
"The Story Behind David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust Haircut, A Radical Red Revolution" is an account by David Bowie's hairstylist on how the haircut came to be.

Coincidentally, "Big Brother"[7] is a song written by David Bowie in 1973 and intended for his never-produced musical based on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In 1974 it was released on the album Diamond Dogs. It segued into the final track on the record, "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family".

9a   Work hard // having got rid of rodent? (6,4)

10a   Left sitting next to Mum eating Eastern // dinner, maybe (4)

12a   Inflammation // from dusty environment (4)

13a   Swimmer/'s/ ginger hairdo (3,6)

According to The Chambers Dictionary (I kid you not), a mullet is a hairstyle that is short at the front, long at the back, and ridiculous all round. The term perhaps comes from the dialect word mullethead, 'a fool'.

The red mullet[5] is an elongated fish with long barbels on the chin, living in warmer seas and widely valued as a food fish.

15a   Dickens character // heard American coin word meaning 'beside' (8)

Nicholas Nickleby[7] (in full, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby) is a novel by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870). Originally published as a serial from 1838 to 1839, it was Dickens' third novel.

16a   Deprive // nameless servant when drunk (6)

18a   Commit again // to stand down (6)

20a   Tease over mostly rubbish // weapon (8)

Rubbish[5] (adjective) is an informal British term meaning very bad; worthless or useless ⇒ (i) people might say I was a rubbish manager; (ii) she was rubbish at maths*.

* maths is the British term for math

A garrotte[5] (also garotte or garrote)* is a wire, cord, or other implement used to kill (someone) by strangulation ⇒ he had been garrotted with piano wire.

* My commonly-consulted dictionaries present differing views on the spelling of this word (show explanation )

The three British dictionaries (Chambers, Collins, and Oxford) list the principal spelling as garrotte while the two American dictionaries (American Heritage and Random House) show it to be garrote. Chambers and Oxford differ on the American spelling with the entry in Chambers corresponding to the principal spelling shown in both American dictionaries. Collins avoids designating an American spelling.The American dictionaries fail to agree on the alternative spelling.
  • Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: garrotte[2] or garotte or (US) garrote
  • Collins English Dictionary: garrotte[10], garrote or garotte
  • Oxford Dictionaries: garrotte[5], (US garotte) (also garrote)
  • American Heritage Dictionary: garrote[3] or garrotte
  • Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary: garrote[11] or garotte
hide explanation

Delving Deeper
Historically, a garrotte[10] was a device, usually an iron collar, used by the Spanish as a method of execution by strangulation or by breaking the neck.

23a   Novel // refreshment for energy sag (5,4)

Agnes Grey[7] is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë (writing under the pen name of Acton Bell), first published in December 1847, and republished in a second edition in 1850. The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works within families of the English gentry.

24a   Low-grade boat needs a // horn (4)

26a   Greek character // cheers after score is halved (4)

Ta[5] is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you ‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.

A score[5] is a group or set of twenty.

Iota[5] is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ι, ι).

27a   Fancy man entered, /showing/ sign of affection (10)

28a   Somewhat divine Roman // emperor (4)

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

29a   Small animals hide /in/ town (10)

Amazingly, never having heard of the town, I was able to correctly guess the animals.

Shrewsbury[7] is the county town of Shropshire, England. It is on the River Severn and has a population of approximately 72,000.

Behind the Picture
Shrewsbury Biscuits (British)
In his review, Mr Kitty shows a picture of New Zealand Shrewsbury biscuits* — not to be confused with British Shrewsbury biscuits.

* Biscuit is the British term for cookie.

Down

1d   Young European, // perhaps twenty-seven (4)

An initial attempt to parse "twenty-seven" as a cross-reference to clue 27a held up progress for a while. I see from Mr Kitty's epilogue that I was not alone in going down this path.

2d   Flexible // response after auction goes belly up (7)

3d   Footballer in alone, meaning // he plumbs the depths (12)

Pelé[5] is a retired Brazilian professional footballer [soccer player]; born Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, he appeared 111 times for Brazil and is credited with over 1,200 goals in first-class soccer.

 A speleologist[5] is someone who studies or explores caves.

4d   Harangue // terrible-sounding family (8)

The word "dire", when pronounced in a non-rhotic (show explanation ) accent typical of many parts of Britain, sounds like "dia".

Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

hide explanation

5d   German woman and policeman // con merchants (6)

Frau[5] (plural Frauen) is a title or form of address for a married or widowed German-speaking woman ⇒ Frau Nordern.

DS[10] is the abbreviations for Detective Sergeant. Within the British police, sergeant is the first supervisory rank. Sergeant is senior to the rank of constable, and junior to inspector. Detective sergeants are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts; only the prefix 'detective' identifies them as having completed at least one of the various detective training courses authorising them to conduct and/or manage investigations into serious and/or complex crime.

I thought that "con merchant" might be a British term, perhaps equivalent to "con artist". However, that does not seem to be the case as the term "con artist" is found in British dictionaries while "con merchant" is not. I, therefore, must conclude that "con merchant" is merely a convenient construct invented by the setter to suit the needs of the clue.

7d   Girl runs // like a star (7)

"runs" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

hide explanation

8d   Peacekeepers allow one to flee in ranks // with little education (10)

"peacekeepers" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations[5] (abbreviation UN) is an international organization of countries set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace, security, and cooperation.

The UN Security Council bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, and may call on members to take action, chiefly peacekeeping action, to enforce its decisions.

hide explanation

"In ranks" as it might be applied to stadium seating, not military forces.

11d   Sweet things // loveless actor sprinkled with stardust (7,5)

"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).

hide explanation

Custard tarts[7] or flans pâtissier are a pastry consisting of an outer pastry crust filled with egg custard and baked.

14d   Lack of fizz // upset Frenchman, acclaim being a non-starter (10)

A Frenchman in Crosswordland is almost invariably named René.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Mr Kitty describes René as one of Crosswordland’s favourite Frenchmen (much discussed in last Sunday’s blog).
The cryptic crossword puzzle that appears in The Sunday Telegraph is a different series from the one that is syndicated by the The Daily Telegraph and thus readers of the National Post do not get to see it.

The clue in questions was:
  • Frenchman and Englishwoman having pronounced difference (4)
to which Big Dave gave the hint "René as a Frenchman’s name is pronounced differently to Rene as an Englishwoman’s name – find another similar pair of names" (i.e., the solution to the clue is not RENE but another name that can apply both to a Frenchman or an Englishwoman).

In the comments, Dutch opined "I’m confused about Rene – have i been pronouncing it wrong?"

To which Big Dave responded "In France it is pronounced Renay, as in ‘Allo ‘Allo!* – in England the girl’s name is usually, but not always, pronounced Reenee."

* 'Allo 'Allo![7] is a BBC television sitcom broadcast from 1982 to 1992. Set in a small town in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, 'Allo 'Allo! tells the story of café owner René Artois (played by English comic Gordon Kaye).

17d   Cast end game orbiting unknown // satellite (8)

"unknown" = Y (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Ganymede[5] is one of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, the seventh-closest satellite to the planet and the largest satellite in the solar system (diameter 5,262 km).

19d   Treason destroyed // politician (7)

21d   Picture // story about black gold (7)

The symbol for the chemical element gold is Au[5] (from Latin aurum).

22d   Yank/'s/ rule broken by serving-girl? Quite the opposite (6)

The phrase "quite the opposite" tells the solver to reverse the logic of the statement immediately preceding it.

In legal documents, r[5] is used as the abbreviation for ruleunder r 7.4 (6) the court may hear an application immediately.

Wench[10] is an archaic term for a female servant.

25d   Southern river // lodge (4)

The Tay[5] is the longest river in Scotland, flowing 192 km (120 miles) eastwards through Loch Tay, entering the North Sea through the Firth of Tay.
Key to Reference Sources: 

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