Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 — DT 28137

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28137
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, June 10, 2016
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28137]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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

I found today's puzzle to be quite typical of what we have come to expect from Giovanni.

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   Bits of food // terrible, about to be eaten -- gosh! (11)

Crumbs[5] (a euphemism for Christ) is an informal British term used used to express dismay or surprise ‘Crumbs,’ said Emily, ‘how embarrassing.’.

9a   Heartless denier of his friend, // look (4)

St Peter[5] is an Apostle; born Simon. Peter (‘stone’) is the name given him by Jesus, signifying the rock on which he would establish his Church. He is regarded by Roman Catholics as the first bishop of the Church at Rome, where he is said to have been martyred in about AD 67. He is often represented as the keeper of the door of heaven. 

In the Christian Bible, all four canonical gospels recount that, during the Last Supper, Jesus accurately foretold that Peter would deny him three times before the following cockcrow ("before the cock crows twice" in Mark's account).[7]

10a   An attractive // number (11)

"Number" is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of 'something that numbs'.

Aesthetic[5] is the British spelling of esthetic.

Anaesthetic[5] is the British spelling of anesthetic.

11a   Don't hunt him with dogs -- bring back the guns! (4)

Gat[10] is a mainly US slang term for a pistol or revolver (origin: shortened from Gatling gun).

Delving Deeper
The slang expression gat does derive — directly, or indirectly — from Gatling gun[5] (the first practical machine gun which was developed during the US Civil War). Most sources seem to suggest that the term arose as gangster slang and dates from the prohibition era (the 1920s and early 1930s) in the United States. Wiktionary claims that gat is additionally an archaic slang term for a Gatling gun which was used in old westerns. However, that may simply be a case of early 20th century screenwriters misapplying what was then current-day lingo to a past period of history. The American Heritage Dictionary, Oxford Dictionaries Online. and Collins English Dictionary all define gat[3,5,10] as meaning a pistol or revolver (despite its etymology) while Wiktionary says a gat is "Any type of gun; usually a pistol". Several entries at the Urban Dictionary claim that gat was coined by American gangsters during prohibition as slang for the Thompson submachine gun (or Tommy gun). Of course, the Urban Dictionary is likely among the most unreliable sources on the Internet. The Online Etymology Dictionary perhaps gives a hint as to the evolution of the word gat which it defines as a revolver, and dates the usage to 1904 (pre-prohibition). It also says that the etymology is a "slang shortening of Gatling (gun)". Furthermore, it goes on to say that "by 1880, gatlin was slang for a gun of any sort". So, it would seem to make sense that the word Gatling meaning a specific type of machine gun (from the 1860s) might first have been shortened to 'gatlin' which came to mean a gun of any sort (by the 1880s), and — in a second stage of evolution — was further shortened to 'gat' in the early 1900s. The word would now seem to have pretty much lost its sense of a gun of any sort and refer almost exclusively to a pistol or revolver.

14a   Proceeded with difficulty, // kitchen device having leaked (7)

Hob[5] is a British term for a cooking appliance, or the flat top part of a cooker [kitchen stove], with hotplates [heating elements of an electric range*] or burners [of a gas range*].
* Brits would not refer to these appliances as 'ranges'. To them, a range is a stove with a firebox and a stove with top-mounted elements or burners is known as a cooker.
16a   The German scoundrels returning // took leading roles (7)

"the German" = DER (show explanation )

In German, der[8] is one of the several forms that the definite article may assume.

hide explanation

17a   Unprofessional types /showing/ sloppiness, but don't get cross! (5)

18a   Causes 'urt /to/ members (4)

The clue is a play on the cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London which is characterized by dropping H from the beginning of words.

19a   Work needed -- // this joint // has got restricted (4)

In this unusual clue construction, the setter has managed to place the definition in the middle of the clue between the hidden word fodder and hidden word indicator..

20a   Book // a sailor brought back (5)

22a   Money for job when worker is in // town (7)

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

The word "worker" is commonly used in cryptic crossword puzzles to clue ANT or BEE.

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

Wantage[7] is a market town and civil parish in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, England that is situated15 miles (24 km) south-west of Oxford.

Historically part of Berkshire, it is notable as the birthplace of King Alfred the Great in 849. In 1974 the area administered by Berkshire County Council was greatly reduced, and Wantage, in common with other territories South of the River Thames, became part of a considerably enlarged Oxfordshire.

23a   Is yours truly coming in skinny? // Organic substance // needed (7)

Once again, the setter contrives to position the definition in the middle of the clue. The word "needed" — despite coming at the end of the clue — plays a role identical to that of the link word "needing"in 12d.

Thiamin[10] is an alternative spelling of thiamine (also known as vitamin B1), a soluble white crystalline vitamin that occurs in the outer coat of rice and other grains. It forms part of the vitamin B complex and is essential for carbohydrate metabolism; deficiency leads to nervous disorders and to the disease beriberi.

24a   Famous South African /in/ a short skirt (4)

Desmond Tutu[5] is a South African clergyman. As General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (1979–84) he became a leading voice in the struggle against apartheid. He was Archbishop of Cape Town 1986–96. Nobel Peace Prize (1984).

28a   Vigorous /and/ in no need of a transfusion? (4-7)

29a   Cross /and/ offensive, by the sound of it (4)

Rood[2,3,10] denotes:
  1. a crucifix, especially a large one set on a beam or screen at the entrance to the chancel of a church; or
  2. (archaic or literary) the Cross on which Christ was crucified.
30a   Promotion /from/ publicists not ultimately enthralling Packard (11)

Vance Packard[7] (1914–1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and author.

Scratching the Surface
In The Hidden Persuaders[7] , first published in 1957, Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era. He identified eight "compelling needs" that advertisers promise products will fulfill. According to Packard these needs are so strong that people are compelled to buy products to satisfy them. The book also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. The book questions the morality of using these techniques.

Down

2d   Managed to come before king in status (4)

"king" = K (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

3d   Wild person at party losing head, // say (4)

4d   Strange dialect /in/ SA hall (7)

The Salvation Army[5] (abbreviation SA) is a worldwide Christian evangelical organization on quasi-military lines. Established in 1865 by William Booth, an English Methodist revivalist preacher, it is noted for its work with the poor and for its brass bands. A Salvation Army meeting hall is known as a citadel[5].

5d   Chemical // stuck in your ears (4)

Urea[5] is a colourless crystalline compound which is the main nitrogenous breakdown product of protein metabolism in mammals and is excreted in urine.

The surface reading certainly evokes a rather amusing — if distasteful — image.

6d   By carrying torch, maybe, /you can see/ home from afar (7)

Torch[10] — in addition to its historical meaning — is the British name for a flashlight.

Blighty[5,10] is an informal British term for Britain or England, used by soldiers of the First and Second World Wars. For troops serving abroad the term signified 'home'.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat refers to the solution to the clue as Tommy Atkins’ term for Britain when serving abroad.
The word tommy[5,10] (also Tommy or Tommy Atkins) is an informal British term for a private in the British Army. The term originates from the use of the name Thomas Atkins in specimens of completed official forms in the British army during the 19th century.

7d   Tudor yeomen looking silly /in/ old book (11)

In Crosswordland, the phrase "religious books" — or often merely the word "books" — is commonly used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). Today the setter very specifically zeroes in on an individual book within one of these set of books.

Deuteronomy[10] is the fifth book of the Old Testament, containing a second statement of the Mosaic Law.

Scratching the Surface
A Yeoman of the Guard[5] (also called beefeater) is a member of the British sovereign's bodyguard, first established by Henry VII, now having only ceremonial duties and wearing Tudor dress as uniform.

8d   Generate din, going mad /as/ one sort of actress (11)

12d   Seabirds /needing/ rare wash set out (11)

The shearwater[3,5,11] is a long-winged seabird related to the petrels, often flying low over the surface of the water far from land in search of food. Its long slender wings appear to shear the water as the bird flies along the surface.

13d   A nasty smell on road --- country // thing that's disgusting (11)

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

15d   Old Italian // smoker died making ascent (5)

Mount Etna[5] is a volcano in eastern Sicily, rising to 3,323 m (10,902 ft). It is the highest and most active volcano in Europe.

Dante[5] (1265–1321), full name Dante Alighieri, was an Italian poet. His reputation rests chiefly on The Divine Comedy (circa 1309–20), an epic poem describing his spiritual journey through Hell and Purgatory and finally to Paradise. His love for Beatrice Portinari is described in Vita nuova (circa 1290-4).

16d   Animal // rested before getting tucked in (5)

The two-letter word means "before" when one is telling time.

The stoat[5] (also known as the ermine, especially when in its white winter coat) is a small carnivorous mammal (Mustela erminea) of the weasel family which has chestnut fur with white underparts and a black-tipped tail. It is native to both Eurasia and North America and in northern areas the coat turns white in winter. In North America, it is known as the short-tailed weasel.

20d   A good lot of drinks /gets one/ unable to move somehow (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

21d   Something unpleasant in bag /is/ a resin (7)

A sac[10] is a pouch, bag, or pouchlike part in an animal or plant.

25d   Run away briefly when meeting a // bloodsucker (4)

26d   Big sound /from/ the heart? Not the heart (4)

27d   Writer said /to be/ a founder of state (4)

William Penn[5] (1644–1718) was an English Quaker, founder of Pennsylvania. Having been imprisoned in 1668 for his Quaker writings, he was granted a charter to land in North America by Charles II. He founded the colony of Pennsylvania as a sanctuary for Quakers and other Nonconformists in 1682.
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, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 — DT 28136

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28136
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Setter
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28136]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Kath
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 28134 and DT 28135 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 and Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

Introduction

The National Post has taken a leap forward today, landing on a fairly gentle "Thursday" puzzle from RayT. I checked and there seem to be no printing errors in the puzzle today — unlike the egregious situation yesterday where two "fielders" found religion and became "elders".

At the time that this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph, parts of France — including Paris — were experiencing severe flooding. Thus the comment in the intro to Kath's review expressing her hope that RayT (a resident of Paris) has survived unscathed.

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   Spoilt star with nerves /getting/ cross (10)

6a   Stunner // starts to bare all becoming excited (4)

As Kath says in her review, this is "a Ray T special" — on two counts. Not only is it a trademark RayT initialism style clue but it has a mildly risqué surface reading.

The "robes" that Kath uses to illustrate the clue — while certainly stunning — are hardly ones that I would call "dresses".

9a   Sweetheart wearing sacks /for/ dresses (5)

"sweetheart" = E (show explanation )

A common cryptic crossword construct is to use the word "sweetheart" to clue E, the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

hide explanation

10a   Stop swallowing most of beer, /it's/ common (9)

12a   Insignificant // balls in over seen in Test (7)

In cricket, an over[5] is 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.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] denotes an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

13a   Knight perhaps // clear in front of Queen (5)

"Queen" = ER (show explanation ). This is another RayT trademark. Her Majesty almost invariably makes an appearance in his puzzles — although Queen is apparently actually a shout out to his favourite rock band.

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5](3) — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

15a   Paragraph's opening covered /and/ checked (7)

17a   Fantastic man? Not half! (7)

After due consideration, I have decided to mark this clue a bit differently than Kath did as "fantastic" is an adjective and the solution is a noun. I would think the clue is a cryptic definition which we need to interpret as "fantastic half-man".

19a   Most indiscreet // break around tree (7)

21a   Folds /and/ quits holding King (7)

"king" = R (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Before being corrected, there was an error in this clue on the Telegraph Puzzles website. However, it appeared correctly in the print edition of The Daily Telegraph and it is printed correctly today in the National Post.

22a   Surprised expressions, catching front of perfect // body (5)

Cor[5] is an informal British exclamation expressing surprise, excitement, admiration, or alarm ⇒ Cor! That‘s a beautiful black eye you’ve got!.

24a   Body /of/ motor first off contains dipstick (7)

Motor[5] is an informal British term for a car we drove out in my motor.

Corps[5] may denote either:
  1. a military body with a specific function ⇒ (i) intelligence corps; (ii) medical corps; or
  2. a body of people associated together the diplomatic corps.
27a   France possibly consumes the compiler's // life (9)

"compiler's" = IM (show explanation )

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

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

hide explanation

28a   Supporter, very ordinary // one provides uplift (5)

The solution is something (one) [that] provides uplift, i.e., a shout of approval.

Historically, in the UK (with the exception of Scotland), O level[5] (short for ordinary level[5]) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A (advanced) level. It was replaced in 1988 by the  GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

"very" = V (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

29a   Greek god/'s/ angry being overthrown (4)

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite — the Roman equivalent being Cupid.

30a   Measure // beat in heart (10)

Down

1d   Hasty repair securing // part of car (4)

Tyre[5] is the British spelling of tire, in the sense of a part of an automobile.

2d   Bird /by/ altar sobs uncontrollably (9)

3d   Initially some uncooked seafood's hidden in // dish (5)

I would say that this is a simple clue with wordplay and definition as marked above.

Although in other circumstances "uncooked seafood" (as Kath shows in her review) would make a fine definition, in this clue it is part of the wordplay and could, at most, be only part of the definition were one to consider this to be a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue:
  • Initially some uncooked seafood's hidden in dish (5)
in which the entire clue would serve as the definition.

4d   English politician confined /then/ cleared (7)

"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (or MP[5] for short).

hide explanation

5d   The woman will put on endless // varnish (7)

7d   Change // commercial about knights perhaps (5)

8d   Kirk's ship/'s/ log on power increase (10)

"power" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

James T. Kirk is a fictional character in the Star Trek franchise. As the captain of the starship USS Enterprise, Kirk leads his crew as they explore "where no man has gone before".

Scratching the Surface
In Star Trek, the scene was commonly set by a voice-over reading from the Captain's log as described in this entry from Wikipedia on a related subject:
A stardate[7] is a fictional system of time measurement developed for the television and film series Star Trek. In the series, use of this date system is commonly heard at the beginning of a voice-over log entry such as "Captain's log, stardate 41153.7. Our destination is planet Deneb IV..." While the general idea resembles the Julian day currently used by astronomers, writers and producers have selected numbers using different methods over the years, some more arbitrary than others. This makes it impossible to convert all stardates into equivalent calendar dates, especially since stardates were originally intended to disguise the precise era of Star Trek.

11d   Set out for Himalayas, maybe touring Everest's // heart (7)

The Himalayas[5] are a vast mountain system in southern Asia, extending 2,400 km (1,500 miles) from Kashmir eastwards to Assam. The Himalayas consist of a series of parallel ranges rising up from the Ganges basin to the Tibetan plateau, at over 3,000 m above sea level. The backbone is the Great Himalayan Range, the highest mountain range in the world, with several peaks rising to over 7,700 m (25,000 ft), the highest being Mount Everest.

14d   Tapas recipe changed, missing Southern // relish (10)

Scratching the Surface

A tapa[3,11] (often tapas, especially in British dictionaries where the singular — for the most part — does not exist [explore further ]) is any of various small, savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack or appetizer (typically with wine or beer) or with other tapas as a meal.

Oxford Dictionaries explains the etymology as Spanish tapa, literally 'cover, lid' (because the dishes were given free with the drink, served on a dish balanced on, therefore ‘covering’, the glass).[5]

Among my regular online reference sources, the singular version (tapa[3,11]) is found in the two American dictionaries, but not in the three British dictionaries (which list the word only in the plural, tapas[2,4,5,10]). However, the singular version tapa[1] is found in my hard-copy edition of The Chambers Dictionary.

close

16d   Delivers excellent rearing // plant (7)

"excellent" = A1 (show explanation )

A1[4][5] or A-one[3] meaning first class or excellent comes from a classification for ships in The Lloyd's Register of Shipping where it means equipped to the highest standard or first-class.

hide explanation

Freesia[5] is a small southern African plant of the genus Freesia with fragrant, colourful, tubular flowers, many varieties of which are cultivated for the cut-flower trade.

18d   Pass is tantalisingly going round // teammate (9)

20d   Substantial // moggie up on roof (7)

Moggie[5] (or moggy) is an informal British term for a cat, typically one that is does not have a pedigree or is otherwise unremarkable ⇒ I have three other cats (two moggies and one Bengal/Tonkinese cross).

Tile[10] means to cover (in this case, a roof) with tiles (a common roofing material in Britain).

21d   Gold item seen in court? (7)

This is an &lit.[7] clue (sometimes called an all-in-one clue). The entire clue (when read one way) is the definition, but under a different interpretation takes on the role of wordplay.

"gold" = OR (show explanation )

Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

hide explanation

"court" = CT (show explanation )

Ct[2] is the abbreviation for Court in street addresses — and possibly in other contexts as well.

hide explanation

A coronet[5] is a small or relatively simple crown, especially as worn by lesser royalty and peers or peeresses.

23d   Greek character holding smart // beast responsible for charges? (5)

Rho[5] is the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ρ, ρ).

25d   Work /for/ a pound, with hesitation (5)

26d   Model, // outsize, getting into exercise (4)

The sizes of clothing that North Americans would describe as plus-size[7] (or often big and tall in the case of men's clothing) would be called outsize (abbreviation OS[5]) in Britain.

"exercise" = PE (show explanation )

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education [or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days]. 

hide explanation
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016 — DT 28133

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28133
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, June 6, 2016
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28133]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
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└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

If — as Miffypops shows in his review — this puzzle merits only two stars for difficulty, I would say that it sits at the extreme upper end of the two-star range. One clue (21a) would almost certainly seem to have been created for a solution other than the one that appears in the puzzle.

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

Errors in Today's Puzzle

As Richard has made me aware in his comment below, errors have crept into two clues in the puzzle as it appears in the National Post. In both cases, the word "fielder" has been changed to "elder". The correct clues are:
  • 22a   View of batsmen making runs, and a fielder (10)
  • 15d   Baseball fielder -- in trunks and jumper? (9)

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   Funny // business with amended claim (7)

5a   Person on the make (7)

9a   A quiet man /gets/ protection (5)

"quiet" = P (show explanation )

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

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10a   Crossword addicts should be used to such setbacks (9)

In the intro to his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops remarks that he "struggles with the difference between all-in-one clues and cryptic definitions". That is understandable when one is dealing with a puzzle crafted by Rufus. His clues often bear the characteristics of multiple types of clue rather than falling neatly into one classification.

This clue is a case in point. My first inclination was to mark it as a double definition in which the first definition is given by the portion with the dashed underline. However, the word "setbacks" — in addition to being a definition on its own — does seem to complete the thought conveyed by the first part of the clue, making the entire clue into a very nice cryptic definition.

11a   Offensive // description of a snowman? (10)

Unlike the previous clue, I have opted to mark this one as a "double definition" rather than a cryptic definition. Why, you might ask? Merely gut feeling.

12a   Currency check (4)

This is a cryptic definition of a structure that checks or impedes the flow of a current in a waterway. Currency[1] is used rather whimsically in the sense of that which circulates, especially the money of a country, or circulation.

14a   This will remove tea stains -- but /one needs/ to verify (12)

As an anagram indicator, remove[10] is used in the sense of to take away and place elsewhere. It is the individual letters forming the words "tea stains but" that are acted on — not the words in their entirety.

18a   So many miraculously catered for (4,8)

In the Bible, Jesus is reported to have miraculously fed a multitude[7] on two separate occasions — each time from a few loaves and a small number of fish.

The first miracle, "the Feeding of the 5,000", is the only miracle (apart from Jesus' resurrection) which is recorded in all four canonical Gospels: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15. This event is also known as the "miracle of the five loaves and two fish", because the Gospel of John reports that five barley loaves and two small fish supplied by a boy were used by Jesus to feed a multitude.

The second miracle, The "Feeding of the 4,000", with seven loaves of bread and fish, is reported by Matthew 15:32-16:10 and Mark 8:1-9, but not by Luke or John.

21a   Aussie's bag /for/ loot (4)

I spent a lot of time and effort trying to account for the Australian reference in the clue. I eventually concluded that the clue was created for a solution other than the one required — a view that is also unanimously espoused in comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. Yes, SACK does mean "to loot" and a SACK is a "bag" — but there is nothing inherently Australian about the term.

On the other hand, SWAG does mean "loot" (money or goods taken by a thief or burglar). Swag[5] is also an Australian and New Zealand term for a traveller's or miner's bundle of personal belongings.

As Weekendwanda ponders at Comment #43 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, is this a case of "the wrong answer to the right clue or the right answer to the wrong clue".

22a   View /of/ batsmen making runs, and a fielder (10)

In cricket, a stand[10] is an extended period at the wicket [in other words, an extended period batting without being put out and thereby scoring a substantial number of runs] by two batsmen*.
* In cricket, batsmen always bat in pairs, one positioned at either end of the pitch. A partnership[5] [a term used by Miffypops in his review] is the number of runs added by a pair of batsmen before one of them is dismissed or the innings ends ⇒ their 176-run third-wicket partnership.
In cricket, point[5] is:
  1. a fielding position on the off side* near the batsman; or
  2. a fielder at the point position.
* In cricket, the off side (another name for off[5]) is the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) towards which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball.  The other half of the field is known as either the leg[5] (also called leg side) or on[5] (also called on side) ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg.
25a   Rate balsa to be // a smooth material (9)

26a   Is a girl -- or a boy (5)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops writes In days gone by Obituaries or biographies would often end with the number of offspring the deceased had and would be written thus – Issue. 1s 3d meaning 1 son 3 daughters. For years I read it as Issue. One shilling and threepence to my complete bafflement.
In the British currency system used prior to the introduction of the current decimal currency system, a shilling[5] (abbreviation s[5]) was a coin and monetary unit equal to one twentieth of a pound and a penny[5] (abbreviation d[5] [for denarius]) was a coin or monetary unit equal to one twelfth of a shilling or 240th of a pound.

27a   Makes things balance /and/ quits to eat a late meal (5,2)

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

28a   A gentle exercising, // with style (7)

Down

1d   Stock // form of car tax (6)

Stock[10] denotes a long usually white neckcloth wrapped around the neck, worn in the 18th century and as part of modern riding dress.

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

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

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

2d   Dark red // strand (6)

3d   Sequence that needs to be checked in a film studio (10)

A "not very cryptic" definition for which Rufus is known.

Sometimes these type of clues are intended to misdirect one's attention to another area of endeavour entirely. Should one fall into the trap, these clues can lead to "Eureka" moments when the penny finally drops. If the solver is not taken in by the attempt at misdirection, he or she is left scratching their head questioning what is cryptic about the clue.

In this case, not only did I not fall into a trap — in hindsight, I can't even see that there is a trap.

4d   Some popular variety // grub (5)

5d   Very serious internal troubles? (5,4)

It did not take me long to realize that the solution related to armed conflict rather than a medical ailment. At least in this clue — unlike 3d — I can recognize the intended distraction.

6d   A noble // brew of ale that's about right (4)

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

7d   The difference between imports and exports (5,3)

This definition is even less cryptic than 3d.

8d   Kept /from/ retiring (8)

13d   Whatever the cost, // it could make a nice party (2,3,5)

15d   Baseball fielder -- /in/ trunks and jumper? (9)

I would not say that the picture used by Miffypops to illustrate his review shows either trunks or a jumper — by anyone's definition.

In Britain, a jumper[5] is a knitted garment typically with long sleeves, worn over the upper body (in North American parlance, a sweater — in particular, a pullover).

What those of us in North America would call a jumper, the Brits would call a pinafore[5] (a collarless sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or [British] jumper [i.e., North American sweater]).

Thus, if a British lass were to wear a pinafore over her jumper and a North American gal were to wear a jumper over her sweater, they would be dressed identically.

The terms sweater[5] and pullover[5] would also appear to be in common use in the UK. Although the definitions given for sweater in British dictionaries would seem to imply that the term applies only to a pullover, Collins English Dictionary defines a cardigan[10] to be a knitted jacket or sweater with buttons up the front.

16d   Where prompt action is requested (3-5)

17d   Girl and cleric having no right // to withdraw (8)

Behind the Picture
Shown in the Wonderbra advertisement is Eva Herzigová[7], a Czech model and actress.

Here is yet another outstanding example of her work:

Translation: "Look at me in the eyes ...", "... I said the eyes."

Curate[5] can mean:
  1. (also assistant curate) a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest; or
  2. (archaic) a minister with pastoral responsibility.
19d   Light sleep? (6)

A sleep taken while it is light out.

20d   Declare // in cricket match (6)

The wordplay is AT (in) + TEST (cricket match).

As a preposition used to indicate location or position, at[5] can — on fairly rare occasions — be replaced by the word "in" ⇒ (i) are they at the table?; (ii) staying at a small hotel. In the later of these usage examples, one could make the substitution but it certainly does not work in the former case.

A Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] is an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops refers to Lords or The Oval.
Lord's Cricket Ground[7], generally known as Lord's, is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is widely referred to as the "home of cricket" and is home to the world's oldest sporting museum. 

The Oval[7], currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Kia Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth, South London. The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it was opened in 1845. It was the first ground in England to host international Test cricket in September 1880. The final Test match of the English season is traditionally played there.

Scratching the Surface
The term "declare" has a very specific meaning in cricket.

In cricket, a team continues to bat until ten of the eleven players on the team have been dismissed*, unless the captain of a batting team declares the innings closed prematurely (the rationale for doing so is explained below). In the event that the captain declares the innings closed, his team takes the field and the opposing team bats.
* batsmen always bat in pairs and once ten players have been dismissed there are not enough players left to form a partnership.
The primary objective of each team in cricket[7] is to score more runs than the opposing team. However, in Test cricket (a match between national teams), it is not only necessary to score the most runs but also to dismiss the opposition twice in order to win the match, which would otherwise be drawn. Therefore, the captain of a batting team which has built up a large lead may declare the innings closed prematurely in order to allow the opposition to bat (and thus gain an opportunity to dismiss them). As a captain, the key to victory is picking the right time to declare. Should he declare too early, the other team may score more runs than his team has amassed and thereby win. On the other hand, if he were to declare too late, the match may end before his team can dismiss the other team (resulting in a draw, even though his team may have a substantial lead in runs).

23d   Railwaymen of yore with points // to look after (5)

The National Union of Railwaymen[7] (abbrev. NUR) was a trade union of railway workers in the United Kingdom. The NUR was founded in 1913 by the merger of three predecessor railway unions. In 1990 the NUR merged with the National Union of Seamen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and ceased to exist as a separate union.

24d   Very low // perch (4)

Bass[10] is another name for the European perch (Perca fluviatilis). However, in my American dictionaries, this particular fish does not appear on the list of the several species of fish sharing the name bass.
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