Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 — DT 27369

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27369
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27369]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Gazza
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 27368 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, December 23, 2013.

Introduction



Having just got through Easter, the National Post has chosen to provide us with a holiday themed puzzle — albeit the holiday being marked is Christmas. This puzzle appeared in the UK on Christmas Eve.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

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

Across


1a   Charge round Cornish town with a boy for days over Christmas (7,6)

St Ives[7] is a seaside town and port in Cornwall, England. St Ives is well known from the nursery rhyme and riddle "As I was going to St Ives", although it is not clear whether the rhyme refers to the Cornish town or one of several other places called St Ives.

10a   A row about boy in pantomime role (7)

A pantomime[5] is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

The Middle Eastern folk tale Aladdin[7] is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights ("The Arabian Nights").

In the United Kingdom, the story of Aladdin was dramatised in 1788 by John O'Keefe for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. It has been a popular subject for pantomime for over 200 years.

11a   Party wear in favour (7)

One meaning of favour[2] is a knot of ribbons worn as a badge of support for a particular team, political party, etc., although Oxford Dictionaries Online characterises this usage of favour[5] as archaic.

A rosette[5] is a rose-shaped decoration, typically made of ribbon, worn by supporters of a sports team or political party or awarded as a prize the showjumping rosettes Samantha had accumulated.

In Britain, it is apparently common practice to wear a rosette as a badge to show one's allegiance to a sports team or political party.

12a   Nominal attachments for the present (4)

13a   A bell shaped attachment to the Christmas parcel (5)

14a   Party drinks for children? (4)

17a   Uneasy feeling a meal is badly cooked (7)

18a   Want to change vital part of 8 Down (7)

I did briefly have the correct solution under consideration but rejected it prematurely. Twankay[10], a variety of Chinese green tea, fit the checking letters — but nothing else.

Widow Twankey[7] is a female character in the pantomime Aladdin [see 10a]. The character is a pantomime dame [see 8d], portrayed by a man; and is a comic foil to the principal boy, Aladdin – played by an actress.

19a   Appreciates token to have a drink (5,2)

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle. As a noun, it means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

22a   Christmas gift offer (7)

24a   Two parties and there’s nothing left of the bird! (4)

The dodo[5] (now extinct) was a large flightless bird, Raphus cucullatus, with a stout body, stumpy wings, a large head, and a heavy hooked bill. It was found on Mauritius until the end of the 17th century.

25a   A favourite place to get spirits? (5)

26a   It may hold needles on the tree — but only as a present (4)

29a   Mother left fat on duck (7)

The mallard[5], Anas platyrhynchos, is the commonest duck of the northern hemisphere, the male having a dark green head and white collar.

30a   Child so wrapped up in wintry weather like this (7)

31a   In the festive season one gets all dressed up to sit in the living room (9,4)

Down


2d   Gave Len unusually good news for Christians! (7)

Evangel[5] is an archaic term for the Christian gospel.

3d   Such a fuss getting to function (2-2)

4d   Type of wine from Spain, under very popular label (7)

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

5d   Unusual present — it’s in snakeskin (7)

6d   Curate’s party’s held up somewhere in church (4)

A curate[5] is a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest. A member of the flock might well deal with the curate rather than directly with the vicar.

7d   Carol’s prospect for Wenceslas? (7)

8d   Character dragged up at this time of the year? (9,4)

A pantomime dame[7] is a traditional character in British pantomime [see 10a]. It is a continuation of en travesti portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag. They are often played either in an extremely camp style, or else by men acting 'butch' in women's clothing. They wear big make up and big hair, have exaggerated physical features, and perform in a melodramatic style.

9d   Heavenly sight delights shepherds (3,3,2,5)

In North America, we are familiar with the bit of weather lore[7] that begins "Red sky at night, sailor's delight ...". However, in Great Britain and Ireland, this saying is applied to a different occupation "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight ...".

15d   Christmas tree on the way, second to none (5)

16d   Party-goer in right state (5)

20d   Christmas present drawer acting as a guide (7)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer[7] is a fictional male reindeer with a glowing red nose, popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer". When depicted, he is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through inclement winter weather.

Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward, a now defunct American mail order and department store retailer.

21d   Applause that’s twofold back in pantomime stalls (7)

For pantomime, see discussion at 10a.

 While the dictionaries can't get together on the precise definition of a stall, they do at least agree that the term is British. The American Heritage Dictionary says that a stall[3,4,11] is a seat in the front part of a theater, the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary has it as a chairlike seat in a theater, especially one in the front section of the parquet [see following], and Collins English Dictionary defines it as a seat in a theatre or cinema that resembles a chair, usually fixed to the floor. In the plural, stalls is variously defined as the seats on the ground floor in a theatre[5] (Oxford Dictionaries Online), the seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema[2] (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary), or the area of seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema nearest to the stage or screen[4] (Collins English Dictionary).
  • the parquet[11] is the front part of the main floor of a theater, opera house, etc., between the musicians' area and the parterre [see following] or, especially in the U.S., the entire main-floor space for spectators; Collins English Dictionary defines parquet[4] as the US term for the stalls of a theatre
  • in the US, the parterre[11], also called the parquet circle, is the rear section of seats on the main floor of a theater, opera house, etc., under the balcony; in Britain, the parterre[4] is the pit in a theatre [the ground floor of the auditorium of a theatre].
The dictionaries are just as divided when it comes to the pit. Collins English Dictionary defines the pit[10] as the ground floor of the auditorium of a theatre while Oxford Dictionary Online says that the the pit[10] is a dated British term for the seating at the back of the stalls of a theatre.

22d   Dad has to get hold of a superior card — it solves all problems (7)

23d   Ten fuddled with drink weave around (7)

27d   They were wise, putting scholar before soldier (4)

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war. Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather of government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

28d   Plan to put money in the drinks kitty (4)

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10].

A pot[5] is all the money contributed by a group of people for a particular purpose — in this case, presumably, the purpose being to buy drinks.
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 — DT 27367

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27367
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27367 - Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27367 - Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 27365 and DT 27366 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, December 19 and Friday, December 20, 2013 respectively.
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Introduction

December 21, 2013 — the day that this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph in Britain — was the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. The first published crossword appeared in the New York World newspaper on 21st December 1913. To mark the occasion, we have a specially themed puzzle — look at the solutions at the centre of the grid (16a and 20a). There is also a Nina (a message hidden in the solution) which starts at the top left-hand corner and runs around the outside edge of the puzzle in a clockwise direction.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

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

Across


7a   Boy attending to a composition (6)

The wordplay might parse as either:
  • SON (boy) + AT (attending to; engaged in, as in the phrase men at work) + A (from the clue)
or:
  • SON (boy) + AT (attending) + (to) A (from the clue).
In the latter case, the word "to" is used as a charade indicator in the sense of "pressed against" — as in expressions such as "shoulder to the wheel" or "nose to the grindstone".

8a   King Henry’s lead in unusual role of Robin Hood perhaps (4,4)

This king would be found either on a chessboard or in a deck of cards. Henry[7] was the name of eight kings of England, Wales and Ireland.

Diverging ever so slightly from crypticsue's explanation, I would say that the wordplay parses as {K (king) + H (Henry's lead; initial letter (lead) of Henry)} contained in (in) anagram (unusual) of ROLE OF.

Robin Hood[5] was a semi-legendary English medieval outlaw, reputed to have robbed the rich and helped the poor. Although he is generally associated with Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, it seems likely that the real Robin Hood operated in Yorkshire in the early 13th century.

9a   Live accommodated by one encouraging soft drink (4,4)

11a   Occasion for people to enter test (6)

In the UK, MOT[5] (also MOT test) refers a compulsory annual test for safety and exhaust emissions of motor vehicles of more than a specified age. It is an abbreviation of Ministry of Transport, which introduced the original test.

12a   Fashion designer — politician ’Arriet needs one (6)

Harriet Harman[7] is a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) since 1982. She is currently Deputy Leader of the Labour Party as well as Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

In the cockney dialect spoken in the East End of London — which is characterised by dropping H from the beginning of words — she would be known as 'Arriet 'Arman.

Giorgio Armani[5] is an Italian fashion designer.

15a   Cat left tree (4)

Cat[5] is short for cat-o'-nine-tails[5], a rope whip with nine knotted cords, formerly used (especially at sea) to flog offenders.

16a   Make dramatic entrance year after special occasion (9)

17a   Some scoffed dodgy exotic vegetable (4)

Eddo[3,5,11] is the edible root of the taro — the root being identified variously as a corm [Oxford Dictionaries Online] or tuber [American Heritage Dictionary].

18a   Handle fellow turning to drug (4)

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.

20a   Puzzle requires ticking off (9)

The term "tick off" has a different meaning on the other side of the pond. Whereas, in North America, to tick someone off[5] means to make someone annoyed or angry Jefferson was a little ticked off, but he’ll come around, in Britain it means to reprimand or rebuke someone (i) he was ticked off by Angela; (ii) he got a ticking off from the magistrate.

23a   City in either end of yearbook (4)

York[5] is a city in North Yorkshire, northern England, on the River Ouse; population 136,900 (est. 2009). The Romans occupied the site, known as Eboracum, from AD 71 until about AD 400; in AD 867 it was taken by the Vikings. It is the seat of the Archbishop of York and is noted for its magnificent cathedral, York Minster.

25a   Cause senora to be upset (6)

Señora[5] is a title or form of address used of or to a Spanish-speaking woman, corresponding to Mrs or madam.

26a   Soft cryptic clue in Daily Telegraph initially (6)

The Daily Telegraph[7] is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper, founded in 1855 as The Daily Telegraph and Courier, which is published in London and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally [... and the newspaper in which this puzzle initially appeared].

28a   Bird dressed to suit me (8)

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

31a   Titles constituting me as lord (8)

I note that, in her review, crypticsue has cut the solution short — it should be EARLDOMS.

Earldom[5] is the rank or title of an earl[5]a British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess [the third highest of the five ranks of nobility — duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron].

In the UK, Lord[5] is a title given formally to a baron, and less formally to a marquess, earl, or viscount (prefixed to a family or territorial name) Lord Derby.

32a   Get the better of remote American media company (6)

The Fox Broadcasting Company[7] (commonly referred to as Fox or the Fox Network) is an American commercial broadcasting television network that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group division of 21st Century Fox.

Down


1d   Hospital supported by boss of our paper given recognition (8)

2d   Card player to scoff, taking in his opponent (4)

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


3d   Fashion from right period (4)

4d   Heat making airmen toil (10)

In Britain, an eliminator[5] is  a stage in a competition where players or teams are removed from a contest, usually by defeat   ⇒ a world title eliminator. The corresponding term in North America would be elimination game.

5d   Second bad actor in charade (4)

6d   Swimwear revealing torsos (6)

8d   Pelt with mineral causing uproar (6)

10d   Bar’s given European harmful stuff (4)

13d   A familiar chap’s stuck up (5)

In the UK, cock[5] is an informal friendly form of address among men please yourself, cock.

Acock[10] is an obsolete word meaning in a cocked or turned up manner, or defiantly.

14d   Novelty pub gets applause (10)

15d   Name possessed by lady possibly (5)

19d   Space flight is rather aimless, creating news (8)

21d   Rank university beset by figures (6)

22d   Rock band keeping a stock of paper (4)

R.E.M.[7] was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. The group disbanded amicably in September 2011.

24d   Dashing valour could become seedy (6)

27d   Fish around lake — it’s bleak (4)

29d   Second person in the Bible gets short measure (4)

30d   One’s sworn in supremo at Hogwarts (4)

Supremo[5] is an informal British term meaning (1) a person in overall charge of an organization or activity the Channel Four supremo or (2) a person with great authority or skill in a certain area an interior by design supremo Kelly .

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, shortened to Hogwarts[7], is a fictional British school of magic for students aged eleven to eighteen, and is the primary setting for the first six books in British novelist J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014 — Dry Toast


Introduction

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

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

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

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

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

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

Across


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11a   Springtime test of a municipal official (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13a   South African land of birth (5)

NATAL — double definition

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

15a   Flat-topped hill circle spreading (9)

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

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

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

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

19a   Those who join ranks (5)

TIERS — double definition

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

21a   Fifty were paid for having knowledge (7)

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

23a   Similar variety and colour of apples (7)

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

25a   Lie level (5)

STORY — double definition

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

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

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

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

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

28a   Arranged someday for sled dog (7)

SAMOYED* — anagram (arranged) of SOMEDAY

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

Down


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5d   Entering clothing department, one looks (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8d   Laurel included in cup for horse (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18d   Tiny pet ruined old photo (7)

TINTYPE* — anagram (ruined) of TINY PET

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

19d   Puzzle using sharpness and memory (7)

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

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

20d   Under editor, in full (7)

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

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

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

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

RA(IN)Y — IN (inside) contained in (with ... outside) RAY (a bit of sun)
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Friday, April 18, 2014 — Good Friday


Introduction

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

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

Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014 — DT 27364

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27364
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27364]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

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

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

Cryptic Crossword 101: Select and Discard

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

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

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

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

Across


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

4a   Worker runs to trap savage fox (8)

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

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

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

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

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

13a   Wine kept for man on bench? (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20a   It’s in a church letter (5)

23a   Protective cover for primate in role (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

28a   Bird finally caught rodent eating it (8)

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

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

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

Down


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

A pectoral[5] is an ornamental breastplate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17d   Doctor Brown on Italian thriller (8)

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

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

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

22d   Short of verve (6)

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

24d   Quietly enthusiastic about horse (5)

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.
Key to Reference Sources: 

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