Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016 — No Bench Warmers Today

Introduction

Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is like the NBA All-Star game — everyone gets a chance to play. It is a pangram, a puzzle in which every letter of the alphabet appears at least once in the solution.

Given the -40° C windchill today, it is a good day to stay in and relax in front of the tube. If basketball is not your passion, there are some good suggestions in the puzzle for the cinephile.

I thought the puzzle to be of middling difficulty — not super easy but far from being as challenging as some we have had — with some interesting wordplay.

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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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   Six agitate // like he-men (6)

VI|RILE — VI ([Roman numeral for] six) + RILE (agitate)

4a   Groups of dogs outside bay wildly /for/ rewards (8)

PA(YBA)CKS or P(AYB*)ACKS — PACKS (groups of dogs) containing (outside) anagram (wildly) of BAY

9a   Talk about an African country (5)

GAB|ON — GAB (talk) + ON (about; regarding, on the subject of)

Gabon[5] is an equatorial country in West Africa, on the Atlantic coast; population 1,515,000 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), West African languages; capital, Libreville. Gabon became a French territory in 1888. Part of French Equatorial Africa from 1910 to 1958, it became an independent republic in 1960.

10a   A term in Shakespeare /for/ “grinding machine” (5,4)

W(A|TER M)ILL — {A (†) + TERM (†)} contained in (in) WILL ([William] Shakespeare; Will is a diminutive form of the given name William)

11a   Disallow building support /for/ a bluegrass musician (8)

BAN|JOIST — BAN (disallow) + JOIST (building support)

12a   Ted keeps chopper I // rolled down the tarmac (6)

T(AX|I)ED — TED (†) containing (keeps) {AX (chopper) + I (†)}

14a   Beginning of New Age--/it’s/ a gas (4)

N|EON — N (beginning [initial letter] of New) + EON (age)

Neon[5] (symbol Ne)  is the chemical element of atomic number 10, an inert gaseous element of the noble gas group. It is obtained by the distillation of liquid air and is used in fluorescent lamps and illuminated advertising signs.

15a   Manages to get // grand in closing scenes (8)

FINA(G)LES — G (grand; gangster speak for $1000) contained in (in) FINALES (closing scenes)

19a   Ridicule // Ironside crudely (8)

DERISION* — anagram (crudely) of IRONSIDE

Scratching the Surface
Ironside[7] is an American television crime drama that ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975 The show starred Raymond Burr as Robert T. Ironside, a consultant for the San Francisco Police who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the line of duty.

In 2013, a short-lived remake with the same name aired on NBC. Actor Blair Underwood took on the title role (with none of the other characters from the original series being used), while the action was relocated from San Francisco to New York City. This version of the character was more in the tough cop mold, often at odds with his superiors over his unrelenting, even violent approach to police work. The series was panned by critics and ignored by viewers, and was canceled and pulled after the airing of just four episodes (out of nine produced).

20a   Ocean’s hue // observed in seaquake (4)

_AQUA_ — hidden in (observed in) seAQUAke

Scratching the Surface
A seaquake[5] is a sudden disturbance of the sea caused by a submarine eruption or earthquake.

23a   In Z, the surprising // climax (6)

ZENITH* — anagram (surprising) of IN Z THE

Scratching the Surface
Z[7] is a 1969 Algerian-French political thriller film directed by Greek-French filmmaker Costa-Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its satirical view of Greek politics, its dark sense of humor, and its downbeat ending, the film captures the outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time of its making.

The film was the 4th highest grossing film of 1969 in France and the 12th highest grossing film in the U.S. Z is also the first film — and one of the few — to be nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture.

25a   Chisel wooden bench with a // Great Lakes tribe (8)

CHIP|PEW|A — CHIP (chisel) + PEW (wooden bench) + A (†)

Chippewa[5] is another name for the Ojibwa[5], an American Indian people inhabiting a wide area around Lake Superior.

27a   Depressing // mating game involving sick leer (9)

CHE(ERLE*)SS or CH(EERL*)ESS — CHESS (mating game) containing (involving) anagram (sick) of LEER

28a   Houston ballplayer, // a bad sort (5)

A|STRO* — A (†) + anagram (bad) of SORT

The Houston Astros[7] are an American professional baseball team located in Houston, Texas. The Astros are members of the American League (AL) West division in Major League Baseball (MLB), having moved to the division in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League (NL).

29a   Satisfactory, until // outlay of money (8)

S|PENDING — S (satisfactory[10]; abbrev.) + PENDING (until)

30a   Baby bear embraces her // chubby angel (6)

C(HER)UB — CUB (baby bear) containing (embraces) HER (†)

A cherub[5], regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, is depicted in Western art as a chubby, healthy-looking child with wings. However, this winged angelic being, described in biblical tradition as attending on God, is represented in ancient Middle Eastern art as a lion or bull with eagles' wings and a human face.

Down

1d   Hobo // going back through had no bag available (8)

{_VA|GAB|ON|D_}< — reversed (going back) and hidden (through) in haD NO BAG AVailable

2d   Legendary outlaw // hobo Rodin sculpted? (5,4)

{ROBIN HOOD}* — anagram (sculpted) of HOBO RODIN

Auguste Rodin[5] (1840–1917) was a French sculptor. He was chiefly concerned with the human form. Notable works: The Thinker (1880) and The Kiss (1886).

Being the eve of Valentine's Day, I think it only fitting to revisit a previous dissertation on the later work.


Marble version of The Kiss in the Musée Rodin, ParisBronze version of The Kiss in the Tuileries Garden, Paris

Delving Deeper
The date of The Kiss seems to be somewhat unclear. Oxford Dictionaries lists it as 1886 while Wikipedia — within a single article — shows it variously as 1882 and 1889. The confusion may relate to the fact that several versions of the sculpture in various sizes and materials exist.

Rodin indicated that his approach to sculpting women was of homage to them and their bodies, not just submitting to men but as full partners in ardor. The consequent eroticism in the sculpture made it controversial. A bronze version of The Kiss (74 centimetres (29 in) high) was sent for display at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The sculpture was considered unsuitable for general display and relegated to an inner chamber with admission only by personal application.

The Kiss figured into the plot of the All in the Family episode "Archie and The Kiss," where Archie tries to make Gloria give back a reproduction of the sculpture she had been given by the Bunkers' friend, Irene Lorenzo. Archie expresses his disgust over the morality of the sculpture and sexuality in artwork.[7]

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.

3d   Chaney put on // famous tower’s site (6)

LON|DON — LON (Chaney) + DON (put on)

Lon Chaney[7] (1883–1930) was an American actor during the age of silent films. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. Chaney is known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques he developed earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

The Tower of London[5] (or merely The Tower) is a fortress by the Thames just east of the City of London. The oldest part, the White Tower, was begun in 1078. It was later used as a state prison, and is now open to the public as a repository of ancient armour and weapons, and of the Crown Jewels.

5d   Dizzy ain’t // opposed (4)

ANTI* — anagram (dizzy) of AINT

6d   Salt found inside simple // sea creature (8)

BAR(NACL)E — NACL (salt; NaCl is the symbol for the chemical compound sodium chloride, the scientific name for table salt) contained in BARE (simple)

A barnacle[5] is a marine crustacean with an external shell, which attaches itself permanently to a surface and feeds by filtering particles from the water using its modified feathery legs.

7d   Hot food that sounds like it’s cold (5)

I also considered marking the clue as:
  • 7d   Hot food // that sounds like it’s cold (5)
but opted to go with the cryptic definition with embedded wordplay.

CHILI~ — sounds like (†) CHILLY (cold)

8d   Three-dimensional shapes, // thus, with tops (6)

SO|LIDS — SO (thus) + (with) LIDS (tops)

10d   Slightest // intelligence about secret agents (8)

WI(SPIES)T — WIT (intelligence) containing (about) SPIES (secret agents)

13d   Carelessly gash sole /in/ footwear (8)

GALOSHES* — anagram (carelessly) of GASH SOLE

16d   Prophet having quest // set apart (9)

SE(QUEST)ER — SEER (prophet) containing (having) QUEST (†)

17d   Strangely terraced, // like the surface of the moon (8)

CRATERED* — anagram (strangely) of TERRACED

18d   Search following feline alongside a // burial chamber (8)

CAT|A|COMB — COMB (search) following (†) {CAT (feline) + (alongside) A (†)}

21d   Vocally halts // some Europeans (6)

CZECHS~ — sounds like (vocally) CHECKS (halts)

22d   Spanish whip/’s/ big impact (6)

SP|LASH — SP (Spanish; abbrev.) + LASH (whip)

24d   Relative /from/ England’s capital in French city (5)

NI(E)CE — E (England's capital [initial letter]) contained in (in) NICE (French city)

Nice[5] is a resort city on the French Riviera, near the border with Italy; population 348,721 (2007).

26d   Director of Lawrence of Arabia // having very little fat (4)

LEAN — double definition

Lawrence of Arabia[7] is a 1962 epic historical drama film based on the life of British archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre and the Super Panavision 70 cinematography by Freddie Young are also highly acclaimed. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won seven in total including Best Director, Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture.

The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence's emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his own identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army and his new-found comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.

Epilogue

The title of today's review was inspired by the fact that the puzzle is a pangram as well as by the NBA All-Star game taking place this weekend in Toronto.
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 Valentine's Day (tomorrow) — Falcon

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016 — DT 27907

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27902
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27907]
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 27905 and DT 27906 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, September 12, 2015 and Monday, September 14, 2015.

Introduction

After several weeks of playing nicely and keeping to the schedule, the editors at the National Post have gotten a bit frisky and jumped ahead a couple of puzzles.

I was slow to get started with this puzzle but once I had established a beachhead in the southwest quadrant, the rest of the puzzle surrendered fairly quickly. My last one in was 14a which I solved primarily based on pattern recognition from the checking letters. It then took a bit of research to uncover the several Briticisms that underlie the clue before I could explain it.

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

5a   Onset of hail -- pergola /may provide/ shelter (7)

7a   Wheel may show this /as/ rake scoops in grand? (5)

9a   Forcefully strike // brick structure at work (6)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

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

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

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

hide explanation

10a   Novel // off pile I arranged (4,2,2)

Life of Pi[7] is a fantasy adventure novel by Canadian author Yann Martel published in 2001.

Delving Deeper
The protagonist of the novel, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

The novel, which has sold more than ten million copies worldwide, was rejected by at least five London publishing houses before being accepted by Knopf Canada, which published it in September 2001. It won the British Man Booker Prize for Fiction the following year as well as several other international awards. In 2012 the story was adapted into a theatrical feature film directed by Ang Lee with a screenplay by David Magee.

11a   Youngster // could get rise in benefit? Just the opposite (10)

13a   Herb, reportedly, /in/ thickening agent in sauce (4)

14a   By inference, girl who's fit /for/ nothing? (3,1,5-4)

Dicky[5] is an informal British term meaning (of a part of the body, a structure, or a device) not strong, healthy, or functioning reliably ⇒ a pianist with a dicky heart.

Bird[5] is an informal British term for a young woman or a man’s girlfriend. 

Thus a "dicky bird" would be a girl who is not fit and "not a dicky bird" would imply the opposite.

Dicky bird[5] is an informal child’s word for a bird.

Not a dicky bird[5] is an informal phrase meaning not a word or nothing at all ⇒ ‘Did you hear from her?’ ‘Not a dicky bird.’. [Dicky bird being rhyming slang for 'word']

Behind the Picture
Dickie Bird[7] is a retired English international cricket umpire.

16a   Leading performer, // bald almost (4)

Bald[5] is used in the sense of not having any extra detail or explanation; in other words, plain or blunt ⇒ the bald statement in the preceding paragraph requires amplification.

Stark[10] is used in the sense of devoid of any elaboration; in other words, blunt ⇒ the stark facts.

17a   Chief minister/'s/ in luck getting cycle back (10)

Chancellor[5] is the title of the head of the government in some European countries, such as Germany.

I thought this might possibly be a reference to a cabinet position in the British government, but I see that Gazza has opted for the German connection.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer[5] is the chief finance minister of the United Kingdom, who prepares the nation’s annual budgets — the British counterpart to the Minister of Finance in Canada or the Secretary of the Treasury in the US.
 
19a   Block /in/ middle of cobbled street with playing court outside (8)

20a   One considering getting rid of husband, // a rascal (6)

Tinker[5] is an informal British term for a mischievous child ⇒ little tinkers, we were.

22a   Ghostly // eastern lake (5)

It is rare to find a Canadian reference in a Daily Telegraph puzzle, but today we have been blessed with two.

23a   Lock of hair // stuck inside covering letter (7)

Down

1d   Examination /of/ rocklike substance with no carbon content (4)

The symbol for the chemical element carbon is C[5].

2d   Created // calm (8)

3d   Chair, Italian, /could make one/ a fast buck (6)

"Italian" = IT (show explanation )

This clueing might be explained in a couple of ways:
  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italian or Italy.

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is an informal, dated British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.
hide explanation

4d   Strange our factory /being/ the source of tittle-tattle? (6,4)

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

5d   Tried // to catch leader of antelopes in group (5)

6d   Series of violent ups and downs /as/ large wave hits vessel (13)

8d   Talk about // former beat (7)

12d   Information /in/ special air letter about uranium (10)

The symbol for the chemical element uranium is U[5].

14d   Striking // number heading chart (7)

15d   Cynthia, awfully good sport (8)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

17d   Gives rise to // lawsuits involving university (6)

18d   Clear // above top of trees (5)

21d   Childish? Not half, /in/ river (4)

The required word for "childish" is often found preceding the words "delinquent" or "diabetes".

The Nile[5] is a river in eastern Africa, the longest river in the world, which rises in east central Africa near Lake Victoria and flows 6,695 km (4,160 miles) generally northwards through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt to empty through a large delta into the Mediterranean.
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 11, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016 — DT 27904

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27904
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, September 11, 2015
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27904]
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

As is not unusual with Giovanni puzzles, it took a while to establish a foothold but, once that had been accomplished, the solutions revealed themselves in a steady progression.

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   Tear off to be entertained by thin // relation (5-4)

9a   Clothes // are left, found behind a piano more than once (7)

"piano" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

10a   Attribute /of/ a writer (7)

11a   Time to argue /for/ disloyalty (7)

12a   Virtue of a disciplined // pet (9)

14a   Strange folk // dances led by old theologian (8)

Doctor of Divinity[7] (abbreviation D.D. or DD, Divinitatis Doctor in Latin) is an advanced academic degree in divinity.

Delving Deeper
Historically, the degree of Doctor of Divinity identified one who had been licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects. In the United Kingdom, Doctor of Divinity has traditionally been the highest doctorate granted by universities, usually conferred upon a religious scholar of standing and distinction. In the United States, the Doctor of Divinity is usually awarded as an honorary degree.

15a   Fool is last to accept // help (6)

17a   A piano in small room is used by a // star (7)

The piano from 9a gets used for a third time.

Capella[5] is the sixth-brightest star in the sky [the third brightest in the northern hemisphere according to Deep Threat's sources], and the brightest in the constellation Auriga. It is a yellow giant.

20a   One shouldering heavy burden -- tons // at the end (2,4)

In Greek mythology, Atlas[5] was one of the Titans, who was punished for his part in their revolt against Zeus by being made to support the heavens. He became identified with the Atlas Mountains.

23a   Don't yet try to kill // the fellow hugging ancient tree! (4,4)

25a   Coming by northern river /for/ exciting experience (9)

The River Ure[7] is a stream in North Yorkshire, England, approximately 74 miles (119 km) long from its source to the point where it changes name to the River Ouse.

26a   One of three kids // scattering litter round front of park (7)

27a   Greek character thus joins leader of Gang // Show (7)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

Al Capone[5] (1899–1947) was an American gangster of Italian descent. He dominated organized crime in Chicago in the 1920s and was indirectly responsible for many murders, including the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.

28a   Hair // that could be inch long with initial cut (7)

A chignon[5] is a knot or coil of hair arranged on the back of a woman’s head ⇒ her hair was drawn back from her face into a chignon.

29a   Quality of ungainly person /offering/ weak signs taken amiss (9)

Down

2d   Allocates new chairs to // each in the course of breaks (7)

3d   Possible claim of abbot's number two, // based on logic (1,6)

A prior[5] is the male head of a house or group of houses of certain religious orders, in particular:
  1. the man next in rank below an abbot; or
  2. the head of a house of friars.
Thus a prior (an abbot's number two) might say (à la Yoda, as Deep Threat points out) A prior, [am] I.

A priori[5] is an adjective that means relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge which proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience ⇒ a priori assumptions about human nature.

4d   A right uninteresting person leading volunteers /in/ the woods (8)

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

5d   Food should be // put under grill? Not egg (6)

6d   Essence of sung message to encourage escape of Prince /in/ vessel (9)

"The Skye Boat Song"[7] is a Scottish folk song recalling the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The song tells how Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a serving maid, escaped in a small boat after the defeat of his Jacobite rising of 1745, with the aid of Flora MacDonald. The song is a traditional expression of Jacobitism and its story has also entered Scotland as a national legend.

The chorus of the song is:
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.
7d   What could make lass cry // in a silly manner? (7)

The usage example given by Oxford Dictionaries would seem very appropriate to the clue.

Crass[5] is an adjective (adverb crassly) meaning showing no intelligence or sensitivity ⇒ the crass assumptions that men make about women.

8d   Area misunderstood /puts/ learner in annoying situation, awkward position (5,4)

"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 countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

13d   Rose /and/ Dorothy after upset were kept inside (7)

Dot is a diminutive form of the given name Dorothy[7].

15d   Designer /of/ the thing seen in sly form of therapy (9)

ECT[5] is the abbreviation for electroconvulsive therapy[5], the treatment of mental illness by the application of electric shocks to the brain ⇒ a course of electroconvulsive therapy.

16d   Support for injury having got hit /in/ fighting? (9)

18d   Lady Fortune, for Spooner, // one no longer effective (4,4)

A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

A lame duck[5] is an an ineffectual or unsuccessful person or thing ⇒ most of her boyfriends have been lame ducks. In a chiefly North American — one might say US — usage, the term can mean a politician or administration in the final period of office, after the election of a successor ⇒ [as modifier] a lame-duck president. The term is likely not seen so much in Canada as we effect the transition of government following an election rather quickly as compared to the US.

19d   Channel Islands in grip of evil Italian // breaking the law (7)

The Channel Islands[5] (abbreviation CI[5]) are a group of islands in the English Channel off the northwestern coast of France, of which the largest are Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney. Formerly part of the dukedom of Normandy, they have owed allegiance to England since the Norman Conquest in 1066, and are now classed as Crown dependencies.

"Italian" = IT (show explanation )

This clueing might be explained in a couple of ways:
  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italian or Italy.

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is an informal, dated British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.
hide explanation

21d   European // valiant in battle (7)

22d   Do better than // basic success in exam after teacher is listened to (7)

It is common practice for British school students to call their male teachers "Sir", as in To Sir, with Love[7], a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner-city school.

24d   Sailor // chattering, not quiet at first (6)

The piano quietly makes a fourth appearance.

"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.

hide explanation

Rating[5] is a British term for a non-commissioned sailor in the navy the rest of the new crew was made up of naval ratings. [So named from the position or rating held by a sailor, recorded on a ship's books.]
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 10, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 — DT 27903

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27903
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27903]
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

Introduction

I found the workout today to be a bit on the gentle side.

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   Rummage // among model vegetables (5)

4a   Greek character detained by a drugs agent /is/ lawless (8)

Chi[5] is the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet (Χ, χ).

Narc[5] (also nark) is an informal, chiefly North American term for an official narcotics agent.

In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath refers to narc as a mainly US slang term for a drugs dealer.  As Dutch points out in Comment #7, I think we have a drugs cop rather than a drugs dealer. Furthermore, note the use of the British drugs dealer and drugs cop as compared to the North American drug dealer and drug cop.

10a   Endurance /in/ a short time shown among Southern volunteers (7)

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

11a   Unforced // musical note (7)

In music, a natural[5] is a natural[5] note; that is, a note that is neither sharp nor flat.


12a   Learner getting in way of French // customary form (4)

"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 countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

The French word for street is rue[8].

13a   By the sound of it, considerable // item in fireplace (5)

14a   African country // takeaway? (4)

Takeaway[5] is a British term for takeout[5]:
  1. a restaurant or shop selling cooked food to be eaten elsewhere ⇒ (i) a fast-food takeaway; (ii) [as modifier] a takeaway pizza;
  2. a meal or dish bought from a shop or restaurant to be eaten elsewhere ⇒ (i) he phoned for a takeaway; (ii) he is happy to eat Chinese takeaway.
To go[5] is a chiefly North American term denoting (of food or drink from a restaurant or cafe) to be eaten or drunk off the premises ⇒ (i) one large cheese-and-peppers pizza, to go; (ii) (as adjective to-go) if possible, grab a to-go coffee and hit the road early.

I really can't imagine anyone using the term "to-go coffee". Rather, one would almost certainly say either   a takeout coffee or a coffee to go.

Togo[5] (official name Togolese Republic) is a country in West Africa with a short coastline on the Gulf of Guinea; population 6,031,800 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), West African languages; capital, Lomé. .

Delving Deeper
The region formerly known as Togoland lay between the military powers of Ashanti and Dahomey and became a centre of the slave trade. It was annexed by Germany in 1884 and divided between France and Britain after the First World War. The western, British section joined Ghana on the latter’s independence (1957). The remainder, administered by France under a UN mandate after the Second World War, became an independent republic with the name Togo in 1960.

17a   After folding, knot sheet maybe // in addition (2,3,4,5)

19a   Jack more than once /showing/ inconsistency (6,8)

22a   Note house /in/ bohemian London area (4)

In music, the term so, an alternate spelling of soh[5] (in the UK) and sol[3,11] (in the US), denotes:
  1. (in tonic sol-fa) the fifth note of a major scale; or
  2. the note G in the fixed-doh system of solmization.
Soho[7] is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.

23a   Having overturned drink, discontented hubby /is/ aggressively forceful (5)

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, sup[5] 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.

24a   Musical group // regularly appearing in star limos (4)

27a   Free // film? (7)

28a   Plant // liable possibly to retain oxygen (7)

O[5] is the symbol for the chemical element oxygen.

Lobelia[5] is any of many species of a chiefly tropical or subtropical plant of the bellflower family, in particular an annual widely grown as a bedding plant. Some kinds are aquatic, and some grow as thick-trunked shrubs or trees on African mountains.

29a   Magnificence /in/ garden cultivated by old city (8)

Ur[5] is an ancient Sumerian city formerly on the Euphrates, in southern Iraq. It was one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, dating from the 4th millennium BC, and reached its zenith in the late 3rd millennium BC. Ur[7] is considered by many to be the city of Ur Kasdim mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the birthplace of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.

30a   Light brown // wagon not previously seen bridging Scottish river (5)

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.

Down

1d   Bone in some French church /getting/ label (8)

In French, des[8] is a determiner[5] meaning 'some'.

"church" = CE (show explanation )

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

hide explanation

2d   Flier /in/ part of plane, perhaps, with permit (7)

The plane[5] (also plane tree) is a tall spreading tree of the genus Platanus of the northern hemisphere, with maple-like leaves and bark which peels in uneven patches.

3d   Arab ruler // in semi-retirement (4)

Emir[5] (also amir) is a title of various Muslim (mainly Arab) rulers ⇒ HRH the Emir of Kuwait.

5d   Source of relief at the end of a course? (10,4)

Nineteenth hole[5] is a humorous term for the bar in a golf clubhouse, as reached after a standard round of eighteen holes.

6d   Observance /that's/ hackneyed? Not at first (4)

7d   Chemical substance /in/ hospital no more deployed (7)

8d   Lines penned by leading business figure /for/ musical instrument (5)

9d   Organisation offering access to matches? (8,6)

Marriage bureau[5] is a dated British term for an establishment which arranges introductions between people who want to get married.

15d   In which local teams play /in/ Midlands city (5)

Derby[5] (or local derby) is a British term for a sports match between two rival teams from the same area.

Derby[5] is a city in the Midlands of England, on the River Derwent; population 244,700 (est. 2009).

16d   Cut /in/ knee, say (5)

Joint[5] is a British [or perhaps not so British[3,11]] term for a large piece of meat cooked whole or ready for cooking ⇒ a joint of ham.

18d   Pleading // woman blowing top around very old California college (8)

In official postal use, the abbreviation for California is CA[5].

"college" = C (show explanation )

According to The Chambers Dictionary, c[1] (or c.) is the abbreviation for college.

hide explanation

20d   Tragic heroine // excited hope before trouble mounts (7)

Ophelia[7] is a fictional character in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet. Following the death of Polonius at the hands of Hamlet, Ophelia goes mad and drowns — in an apparent suicide — when she falls from a willow tree into a brook.

21d   First person entering exotic RAF base -- // it's passed by vehicle? (7)

Scratching the Surface
The Royal Air Force[5] (abbreviation RAF) is the British air force, formed in 1918 by amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (founded 1912) and the Royal Naval Air Service (founded 1914).

22d   Leap not new /for/ young person (5)

Sprig[5] is an archaic, chiefly derogatory term for a young man.

25d   Female attendant /is/ composed for audience (4)

26d   Support // Lincoln tipster principally (4)

Abraham Lincoln[5] (1809–1865) was an American Republican statesman, 16th President of the US 1861-5.
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