Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday, Septemberr 16, 2014 — DT 27475


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27475
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, April 28, 2014
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27475]
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

According to Miffypops, this was "a breeze of a puzzle". While it didn't pose a huge challenge to me, I suspect that I needed to expend a bit more effort than he did in completing 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.

Across

1a   Obtaining expert remedy before people's treatment's beginning (11)

9a   A new local's arranged to get grant (9)

In Britain, a local[7] is a pub convenient to a person’s home ⇒ a pint in the local.

10a   Return first-rate piece of bone (5)

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.

11a   Turnovers in coats (6)

12a   Stop one on a horse (8)

13a   Military show that leaves a permanent impression on one (6)

15a   Linesman who is ready to help a player (8)

The setter would like us to fall into the trap of thinking that a linesman[5] must be (in games played on a field or court) an official who assists the referee or umpire from the touchline, especially in deciding whether the ball is out of play.

18a   Accused in crash involving learner driver in blind alley (3-2-3)

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.

In his review, Miffypops offers a hint in the form of a quotation from a popular British work of fiction. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾[7] is a British television series based on the book of the same name written by English author Sue Townsend. The book is the first in a series featuring the fictional protagonist Adrian Mole[7]. The books are written in the form of a diary, with some additional content such as correspondence. The first two books appealed to many readers as a realistic and humorous treatment of the inner life of an adolescent boy. They also captured something of the zeitgeist of the UK during the Thatcher period. The collection's bestseller success is due to, say some specialists, the relation that teenage people, the target public, feel towards Adrian.

19a   No way to finish port (6)

Ostend[5] is a port on the North Sea coast of northwestern Belgium, in West Flanders; population 69,175 (2008). It is a major ferry port with links to Dover, England.

21a   Fashionable writer to give autograph (8)

23a   Beer UN brewed for old leader of Israel (6)

In his review, Miffypops has neglected to underline the first word of the definition.

In the Bible, Reuben[5] was a Hebrew patriarch, eldest son of Jacob and Leah (Gen. 29:32).

26a   Maybe ski? OK -- here's where to get tickets (5)

27a   Measuring device for cats and dogs (4,5)

Rain cats and dogs[5] means to rain very hard. Although the origin of the expression is uncertain, it was first recorded in 1738, used by Jonathan Swift, but the phrase rain dogs and polecats was used a century earlier in Richard Brome's The City Witt.

28a   His merchandise won’t be free (5-6)

Down

1d   Little work -- fun allowed (7)

A playlet[3,4,11] is a short play.

2d   Neat border plant (5)

Neat[5] is an archaic term for a bovine animal or, as a mass noun, cattle.

The oxlip[5] is a woodland Eurasian primula (Primula elatior) with yellow flowers that hang down one side of the stem.

3d   Clue women possibly will find displeasing! (9)

There's an obvious typo in Miffypops' review. The wordplay is clearly an anagram (possibly) of CLUE WOMEN (not CLUE WOMAN).

4d   Bird from Northern England (4)

Erne[5] is a literary name for the sea eagle[5], a large Eurasian fish-eating eagle (of which there are several species) that frequents coasts and wetlands..

5d   They give a seat to one standing (8)

6d   Not qualified to give the final figure (5)

The setter intends the phrase "not qualified" to be interpreted as 'unqualified' as ⇒ his first attempt was certainly far from being an unqualified success.

7d   The team won't be prepared to play without him (7)

8d   Sailors in the drink (8)

In the Royal Navy, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman.

Absinthe[5,7,10] (also absinth) is a potent green aniseed-flavoured alcoholic drink, technically a gin, originally made with the shrub wormwood. For most of the twentieth century, absinthe was banned in the United States and much of Europe.

14d   Gossips going to dance discuss business (4,4)

16d   He takes note of bungling Green broadcast (9)

Bungling[10] would seem to be used as a noun meaning mistakes and clumsiness.

17d   Australian capital ship (8)

Canberra[5] is the capital of Australia and seat of the federal government, in Australian Capital Territory, an enclave of New South Wales; population 345,257 (2008).

SS Canberra[7] was an ocean liner, which later operated on cruises, in the P&O fleet from 1961 to 1997. The ship, named after the federal capital of Australia, was launched in March 1960 and embarked on her maiden voyage in June 1961. In the 1982 Falklands War she served as a troop ship.

18d   Yellow bird (7)

20d   Nursed a disabled male ballet performer (7)

In his review, Miffypops has neglected to underline the first word in the definition.

22d   Has an inclination for men who are dissipated (5)

As an intransitive verb, rake[5] means (of a ship’s mast or funnel) to incline from the perpendicular towards the stern or (of a ship’s bow or stern) to project at its upper part beyond the keel.

24d   Tied in the long jump (5)

25d   Correct pronunciation for ceremony (4)
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 15, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014 — DT 27474


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27474
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27474 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27474 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (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
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

I managed to complete this puzzle without resorting to electronic aids. However, in the case of some of the British place names, this was attributable more to being able to decipher the solutions from the wordplay and checking letters than it was to my knowledge of British geography.

I have to wonder if gnomethang might have been running late for a tee time when he wrote his review as there are a goodly number of errors to be found in it — especially toward the end.

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.

Across

1a   Blood pressure's about to kill off muscle (6)

BP[5] is a recognized abbreviation for blood pressure.

Ice[5] is North American mobster slang meaning to kill ⇒ another man had been iced by the police. I must say that I found this usage example given by Oxford Dictionaries Online to be a bit bizarre. I would tend to think of the crooks doing the icing — not the police!

4a   I speak ill of West Indian perhaps (8)

10a   Caught odd bit of musician's set (5,4)

Here "set" refers to the musician's gear — not his repertoire.

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

11a   Reminder about university having good feeling (5)

12a   Tie up ship just right around bar (7)

13a   Part of garden where rowdy biker's unknown (7)

Rocker[5] is a British term for a young person, especially in the 1960s, belonging to a subculture characterized by leather clothing, riding motorcycles, and a liking for rock music.

14a   Weird English lake (5)

Surely, no one failed to get this one.

Lake Erie[5] is one of the five Great Lakes of North America, situated on the border between Canada and the US. It is linked to Lake Huron by the Detroit River and to Lake Ontario by the Welland Ship Canal and the Niagara River, which is its only natural outlet.

15a   Respite for person swimming round about (8)

18a   In correspondence with friend about artist joining the French Left (8)

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[5]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5], an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain.

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8]

20a   Welsh town has tidy hospital (5)

Neath[5] is an industrial town in South Wales on the River Neath; population 46,800 (est. 2009).

23a   One held without women in Plymouth landmark (7)

Plymouth Hoe[7] (referred to locally as the Hoe) is  a large south facing open public space in the English coastal city of Plymouth. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Hoe, a sloping ridge shaped like an inverted foot and heel. Plymouth Hoe is perhaps best known for the probably apocryphal story that Sir Francis Drake played his famous game of [lawn] bowls[7] here in 1588 while waiting for the tide to change before sailing out with the English fleet to engage with the Spanish Armada.

25a   Play vid strangely without enthusiasm (7)

Vid[5] is an informal short form for video ⇒ I’ve got it on vid now.

26a   Gritty Murray is behind second (5)

Andy Murray[5] is a Scottish tennis player. In 2012 he won the Olympic gold medal for singles and, by winning the US Open, became the first British man to win a grand slam singles tournament since 1936. In 2013 he won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.

27a   One saint catching fish, going by place associated with Angel (9)

A ling[5] is any of a number of long-bodied edible marine fishes including various species of large East Atlantic fish related to the cod, in particular Molva molva, which is of commercial importance.

I believe that "going by" is used in the sense of '[travelling] on' ⇒ they spent the summer bicycling across Canada, mostly going by back roads.

Angel[7] is an area on the northern fringe of Central London, located 2 miles (3.2 km) north-northeast of Charing Cross [regarded as marking the centre of London]. It is named from the former Angel Inn which stood on the corner of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road. Since 1965 the whole area has formed part of the London Borough of Islington in Greater London.

28a   Sprains something to do with hip in simple transport (8)

Rick[2] is a verb meaning to sprain or wrench (one's neck, back, etc) or a noun denoting a sprain or wrench. Oxford Dictionaries Online characterises the verb — but not the noun — as British[5]. However, the word rick[3,11] does not appear with this meaning (either as a verb or a noun) in either of my regularly consulted US dictionaries (The American Heritage Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary).

I infer from a usage example found at Oxford Dictionaries Online that hips and haws are often found growing in close proximity. A haw[5] is the red fruit of the hawthorn, while a hip[5] is the fruit of a rose, especially a wild kind the hips and haws in the hedges.

According to gnomethang, the hawthorn is a rose tree making hips and haws the same thing.

According to the dictionary, the hawthorn[5] is a thorny shrub or tree of the rose family, with white, pink, or red blossom and small dark red fruits (haws). Native to north temperate regions, it is commonly used for hedging in Britain.

29a   Card game -- pontoon perhaps (6)

The misdirection here is provided by the fact that pontoon[5] is also a British name for the card game blackjack or vingt-et-un he got me to go into his room for a hand of pontoon.

In his review, gnomethang makes reference to "sappers". The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

Down

1d   Get seen missing Penny, madly in love (8)

In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny[5] is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound (and is abbreviated p).

2d   Show appreciation for each part of bell (7)

3d   Events experienced in catastrophe no men anticipated (9)

5d   Group left in certain parties frequently inundated area (8,6)

The Somerset Levels[7], or the Somerset Levels and Moors as they are less commonly but more correctly known, is a sparsely populated coastal plain and wetland area of central Somerset, in South West England, running south from the Mendip Hills to the Blackdown Hills. The Levels are at risk from both tidal and land-based flood waters.

6d   Meat jelly with a reduced flavour (5)

In gnomethang's review, the explanation should begin "A from the clue ...".

7d   See code is broken by European (7)

A see[10] is the diocese of a bishop, or the place within it where his cathedral or procathedral is situated.

8d   Flaw in photo -- apply colour again to cover origin of error (3-3)

9d   Ample librarian becoming star of Romeo and Juliet perhaps (5,9)

I think gnomethang may have intended to write "Becoming is the anagram indicator for AMPLE LIBRARIAN".

16d   Can batsman put together a helping hand for Cook? (3-6)

In cricket, an opener[5] is a batsman who opens the batting. The setter mischievously capitalizes the word "cook" to misdirect the solver into thinking of  English cricketer Alistair Cook[7], a left-handed opening batsman who is the captain of the England test and one-day international teams and plays county cricket for Essex.

Tin opener[5] would  appear to be the more commonly used British name for a can opener[5].

17d   Native American evokes retiring Princess (8)

The Cheyenne[5] are an American Indian people formerly living between the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers but now on reservations in Montana and Oklahoma.

Princess Anne[5], the Princess Royal, is the daughter of Elizabeth II. [I note that her father does not rate a mention.]

19d   It's deadly performing in races (7)

In his review, gnomethang has underlined the anagram fodder rather than the definition.

21d   Checked over Heath's foreign car (7)

In his review, gnomethang has underlined too much of the clue. The word "over" is a charade indicator and not part of the definition.

In the cryptic analysis, the 's interpreted as a contraction for "is" making the wordplay read "over Heath is foreign car".

Sir Edward Heath[5] (1916–2005) [commonly known as Ted Heath] was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1970-4. He negotiated Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community and faced problems caused by a marked increase in oil prices. Attempts to restrain wage rises led to widespread strikes and he lost a general election after a second national coal strike.

Audi AG[7] is a German automobile manufacturer that has been a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group since 1966. The company name is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. "Horch", meaning "listen" in German, becomes "audi" in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi's predecessor company, Auto Union.

22d   One drink after another -- Red Rum perhaps (6)

In his review, gnomethang identifies the second part of the clue as a cryptic definition. However, based on the following entry from Oxford Dictionaries Online, I would say that it is a pretty straight definition by example.

A chaser[5] is a horse for steeplechasing.

Red Rum[7] was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse who achieved an unmatched historic treble when he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and also came second in the two intervening years. The world-famous steeplechase is a notoriously difficult race that has been referred to as being "the ultimate test of a horse’s courage". The horse was renowned for his jumping ability, having not fallen in 100 races.

Heavy[5] [used by gnomethang in his review] is a chiefly Scottish term for a strong beer, especially bitter a pint of heavy. Bitter[5] is a British name for beer that is strongly flavoured with hops and has a bitter taste ⇒ (i) a pint of bitter; (ii) the company brews a range of bitters.

24d   Fool swallowed by chasm (5)

In his review, gnomethang manages to have the swallower become the swallowee. It is the ASS that swallows BY — not the other way around (as he has it).
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, September 13, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014 — Small Change

Introduction

The setters give no quarter in today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. They are not being merciless — merely parsimonious.

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.

Across

1a   Strange image including conjurer's ultimate trick on the eyes (6)

MI(R)AGE — anagram (strange) of IMAGE containing (including) final letter (ultimate) of conjureR

4a   Dog food doubled (4-4)

CHOW-CHOW — CHOW (food) repeated (doubled)

9a   Western entertainment was carried by HBO, finally (5)

RODE|O — RODE (was carried) + (by) final letter (finally) of HBO

HBO[7] (Home Box Office) is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Home Box Office Inc., an operating subsidiary of Time Warner. HBO is the oldest and longest continuously operating pay television service (basic or premium) in the United States, having been in operation since November 8, 1972.

10a   Badly moldering sourdough (4,5)

{GOLD MINER}* — anagram (badly) of MOLDERING

Moldering is the US spelling of mouldering[5].

Sourdough[5] is a North American term for an experienced prospector in the western US or Canada. The term sourdough originally meant (1) a leavening agent for making bread, consisting of fermenting dough, originally that left over from a previous baking or (2) bread made using this leavening agent.

A "sourdough[7]" is primarily a nickname used in the North (Yukon/Alaska) for someone having spent an entire winter north of the Arctic Circle and refers to their tradition of protecting their sourdough starter during the coldest months by keeping it close to their body.

The sourdough tradition was carried into Alaska and the western Canadian territories during the Klondike Gold Rush. Conventional leavenings such as yeast and baking soda were much less reliable in the conditions faced by the prospectors. Experienced miners and other settlers frequently carried a pouch of starter either around their neck or on a belt; these were fiercely guarded to keep from freezing. However, freezing does not kill a sourdough starter; excessive heat does. Old hands came to be called "sourdoughs", a term that is still applied to any Alaskan old-timer.

11a   Parisian daily taking a cool drink (8)

LE|MON(A)DE — LE MONDE (Parisian daily) containing (taking; ingesting) A (†)

Le Monde[7] (English: The World) is a French daily evening newspaper continuously published in Paris since its first edition in December 1944. It is one of two French newspapers of record — the other being Le Figaro.

12a   Agency based in Paris upset U.S. once (6)

UNESCO* — anagram (upset) of US ONCE

The clue is not only cryptically sound but historically accurate.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)[7] is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). Its headquarters are located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France, now called the World Heritage Centre.

UNESCO has been the centre of controversy in the past, particularly in its relationships with the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and the former Soviet Union. During the 1970s and 1980s, UNESCO's support for a "New World Information and Communication Order" and its MacBride report calling for democratization of the media and more egalitarian access to information was condemned in these countries as attempts to curb freedom of the press. UNESCO was perceived by some as a platform for communists and Third World dictators to attack the West, a stark contrast to accusations made by the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1984, the United States withheld its contributions and withdrew from the organization in protest, followed by the United Kingdom in 1985. Singapore took the opportunity to withdraw also at the end of 1985, citing rising membership fees. Following a change of government in 1997, the UK rejoined. The United States rejoined in 2003, followed by Singapore on 8 October 2007.

14a   Mailed penny to the auditor (4)

SENT~ — sounds like (to the auditor [listener]) CENT (penny)

In Canada and the US, penny[7] is a commonly used name for the coin that is officially known as a "one cent piece" in Canada or a "cent"[7] in the US — a coin that has been removed from circulation in Canada.

15a   Holding wake, boor partied hard (8)

CA(ROUSE)D — CAD (boor) containing (holding) ROUSE (wake [from sleep])

Note: for cryptic effect, the setters have employed an inverted sentence structure.

19a   Old usher busted for joint (8)

SHOULDER* — anagram (busted) of OLD USHER

20a   Understood novel when read aloud (4)

KNEW~ — sounds like (when read aloud) NEW (novel)

23a   Make a notch in the Spanish coin (6)

NICK|EL — NICK (make a notch in) + EL (the Spanish; masculine singular form of the Spanish definite article)

The nickel[4] is a Canadian or US coin and monetary unit worth five cents.

25a   Small spear in grating (8)

S|TRIDENT — S (small) + TRIDENT (spear)

27a   Starting with a letter from Greece not long ago, collecting stamps (9)

PHI|LATELY — PHI (a letter from Greece) ["starting with" indicating that PHI is the first element of the charade] + LATELY (not long ago)

Philately[5] is the collection and study of postage stamps.

28a   Diner seating the pair eating bagel (5)

B(O)OTH (or BO(O)TH) — BOTH (the pair) containing (eating) O ([letter shaped like a] bagel)

29a   Part of a debate true about cigarette (8)

RE(BUTT)AL — REAL (true) containing (about) BUTT (cigarette)

30a   Made fun of sedate eccentric (6)

TEASED* — anagram (eccentric) of SEDATE

Down

1d   Painter of fog-shrouded mountain range (8)

M(URAL)IST — URAL (mountain range) contained in (shrouded [by]) MIST (fog)

The Ural Mountains[5] (also the Urals) is the name of a mountain range in Russia, extending 1,600 km (1,000 miles) from the Arctic Ocean to the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan, and rising to 1,894 m (6,214 ft) at Mount Narodnaya. It forms part of the conventional boundary between Europe and Asia.

I find the use of "Ural" rather than "Urals" to be a touch questionable. To me, the clue would have worked better as:
  • Painter of fog-shrouded river (8)
The Ural River[5] is a river, 1,575 miles (2,534 km) long, that rises at the southern end of the Ural Mountains in western Russia and flows through western Kazakhstan to the Caspian Sea at Atyraū.

2d   Pipsqueaks pocketing 10¢ for starters (9)

RU(DIME)NTS — RUNTS (pipsqueaks) containing (pocketing) DIME (10¢)

A dime[3,4,11] is a coin of Canada or the US worth ten cents.

3d   Pulverized soil (6)

GROUND — double definition

5d   Heard entire gap (4)

HOLE~ — sounds like (heard) WHOLE (entire)

6d   Feminine desire gripping Middle Eastern land (8)

W(OMAN)ISH — WISH (desire) containing (gripping) OMAN (Middle Eastern land)

Oman[5] is a country at the eastern corner of the Arabian peninsula; population 3,418,100 (est. 2009); official language, Arabic; capital, Muscat.

7d   Henry's an actor in "Forrest Gump" (5)

HANKS — HANK ([common nickname for] Henry) + S ('s)

Tom Hanks[7] is an American actor who played the title role in the 1994 American film Forrest Gump[7].

8d   Proceed into urban district with bellicose Olympian (3,3)

WAR (GO)D — GO (proceed) contained in (into) WARD (urban district)

In Greek mythology, an Olympian[5] is any of the pantheon of twelve Greek gods regarded as living on Mount Olympus, a peak in northeastern Greece.

10d   Ducks wander alongside ramparts (8)

GAD|WALLS — GAD (wander) + (alongside) WALLS (ramparts)

The gadwall[5] is a brownish-grey freshwater duck (Anas strepera) found across Eurasia and North America.

13d   Bunch of hags tax English city (8)

COVEN|TRY — COVEN (bunch of hags [witches]) + TRY (tax)

Coventry[5] is an industrial city in the west Midlands of England; population 271,100 (est. 2009).

16d   Threatening, nose guard adjusted (9)

DANGEROUS — anagram (adjusted) of NOSE GUARD

Note: the National Post has mistakenly split the final word.

17d   Predict calcium absorbed by timberland (8)

FORE(CA)ST — CA ([symbol for the chemical element] calcium) contained in (absorbed by) FOREST (timberland)

18d   Around crone, media mogul Rogers quivered (8)

T(WITCH)ED — TED (media mogul Rogers) containing (around) WITCH (crone)

Ted Rogers, Jr.[7] (1933–2008) was the President and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc., and the fifth richest person in Canada in terms of net worth.

21d   Election winners backing each hidden attacker (6)

SNI<|PER — reversal (backing) of INS (election winners) + PER (each)

22d   Eat like a mouse shot in African river (6)

NI(BB)LE — BB (shot; lead pellet used in air rifles) contained in (in) NILE (African river)

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.

24d   Move up chestnut's first branch (5)

C|LIMB — C (Chestnut's first [letter]) + LIMB (branch)

26d   That lady's a goddess (4)

HER|A — HER (that lady's) + A (†)

or

HER|A — HER (that lady) + ('s; contraction for has) A (†)

While both explanations are valid, the former is more elegant (less convoluted).

In Greek mythology, Hera[5] was a powerful goddess, the wife and sister of Zeus and the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. She was worshipped as the queen of heaven and as a marriage goddess.

Epilogue

The title of today's blog is inspired by 14a, 23a and 2d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014 — DT 27473


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27473
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, April 25, 2014
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27473]
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 really enjoyed this puzzle, in particular 14a and 16a. It was typical of a Giovanni puzzle — a few quick hits and then a lot of hard work leading to an immense feeling of satisfaction upon completion.

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.

Across

9a   Letting learner relax (5)

As a noun, letting[5] is a British term meaning (1) the action of renting out a property the renovation of houses for letting; (ii) she arranged lettings or (2) a property that is let or available to be let large houses were subdivided into multiple lettings.

10a   Recalling a beating (5-4)

Is this a double definition (as Deep Threat indicates) or not? That depends on whether the solution to both parts of a double definition must match the numeration given.

The first part of the clue, "recalling", would seem to lead to a result (going over) that has a numeration (5,4) which does not match that of the clue (5-4) ⇒ going over the events of the night before in his mind, he suddenly realized his error. Therefore, I have elected not to mark this as a double definition. See also 15d.

11a   Girl given a drink -- stony one brought to life (7)

Perhaps "stony" refers to her demeanour rather than her construction, as the statue was made of ivory rather than stone.

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion[5] was a king of Cyprus who fashioned an ivory statue of a beautiful woman and loved it so deeply that in answer to his prayer Aphrodite gave it life. The woman (at some point named Galatea) bore him a daughter, Paphos.

12a   One against joining companion for a drink (7)

Deep Threat has omitted one element of the charade in his explanation. He should have written "The Roman numeral for one and an adjective meaning against follow a Companion of Honour".

A Companion of Honour (abbreviation CH) is a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour[7], an order of the Commonwealth realms[7] founded by King George V in June 1917 as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion.

Chianti[5] is a dry red Italian wine produced in Tuscany named after the Chianti Mountains, Italy.

13a   Poet's name retained by boyfriend? (5)

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).

14a   Boss that needs others to give a hand? (3,6)

I like this clue a lot, even though I struggled to classify it. In the end, I have opted to label it a cryptic definition — one in which the primary indication (definition) is "boss" and the subsidiary indication is the portion of the clue marked by the dashed underline. The clue would be interpreted as calling for a name for a "boss" that in some way relates to a banana.

I decided that it can't be a double definition as "[something] that needs others to give a hand" would clue merely BANANA and not TOP BANANA.

A hand[9] is a bunch, cluster, or bundle of various leaves, fruit, etc., as a bundle of tobacco leaves tied together or a cluster of bananas.

16a   One of the houses lit up at night (4,2,3,6)

Another cryptic definition that I really enjoyed.

19a   Improving he-men don't spread out (2,3,4)

21a   Little folk sheltering in chapel vestry (5)

23a   Food snack I love cold for eating (7)

A tapa[3,11] (often tapas) 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.

Among the online sources that I consult on a regular basis, the singular version (tapa) is found in the two American dictionaries, but not in the three British dictionaries (which list the word only in the plural, tapas). However, the singular version is found in my hard-copy edition of The Chambers Dictionary.

25a   Fail to get into competition photograph (5-2)

Cup[5] is a contest in which the winners are awarded a cup playing in the Cup is the best thing ever.

27a   Bridge-crosser providing protection (9)

28a   Row in a place where guns are used (5)

A range[4,11] is a rank, row, line or series, as of persons or things.

Down

1d   Spell of hard work finally produces record (4)

2d   Visit everyone in confidence shortly (4,2)

3d   Game which could yield gold and amount of money, we hear? (10)

4d   Dismayed Arab commander, one of the very good people (6)

In the Ottoman Empire, agha[10] (a variant spelling of aga) could be either (1) a title of respect, often used with the title of a senior position or (2) a military commander.

5d   I put in record request -- a disregarded follower (8)

6d   Something fruity in jug -- lime? (4)

The ugli or ugli fruit[7] is a Jamaican form of tangelo, a citrus fruit created by hybridizing a grapefruit (or pomelo), an orange and a tangerine. UGLI is a registered trademark of Cabel Hall Citrus Limited, under which it markets the fruit. It was discovered growing wild (possibly having developed in the same way grapefruit was created) in Jamaica, where it is mainly grown today. The name is a variation of the word "ugly", which refers to the fruit's unsightly appearance, with rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow rind, wrapped loosely around the orange pulpy citrus inside.

7d   Angel is v. perverse, becoming a bad character (8)

A Svengali[5] is a person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose. The term comes from the name of a musician in George du Maurier's novel Trilby (1894), who controls Trilby's stage singing hypnotically.

8d   Men having social gatherings outside home? There must be rules (10)

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

13d   Criticise the substance, being unhappy (10)

15d   Chess player's hand moves here without deception (5-5)

I would say that the clue is not a double definition as the first part of the clue would seem to lead to a result (above board) that has a numeration (5,5) which does not match that of the clue (5-5). See also discussion at 10a.

17d   Get a new job as agricultural supporter? (8)

18d   Youngster upsetting a gent 'ere (8)

20d   Tube from what we hear must be avoided (6)

22d   Capital city in which Queen turns up after six (6)

Anne[7] (1665–1714) became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death.

Next week, Scotland will vote on dissolving the union.

Vienna[5] is the capital of Austria, situated in the north-east of the country on the River Danube; population 1,661,206 (2006). From 1278 to 1918 it was the seat of the Habsburgs. It has long been a centre of the arts, especially music; Mozart, Beethoven, and the Strauss family were among the great composers who lived and worked there.

24d   After successive failures with bat note apology (4)

A "failure with bat" in cricket would result in no runs being scored — what the Brits refer to as a duck[5] (equivalent to our expression goose egg[5]).

26d   Noble and quiet always (4)

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.

The nobility in Britain or Ireland (whose members are known as peers[5]) comprises the ranks of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron.
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, September 11, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014 — DT 27472


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27472
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Setter
Petitjean (John Pidgeon) [unconfirmed]
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27472]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Falcon
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ / ★★★★ Enjoyment - ★★/★★★
Falcon's Experience
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███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

Although I reviewed this puzzle for Big Dave's blog when it first appeared in The Daily Telegraph in April, it still proved to be a bit of a challenge. The solutions to some of the clues came to me quite readily, while others took almost as much effort as they did the first time around. Today, 19d was my last one in and it took seemingly forever for me to realise that neither "cook" nor "treat" have anything to do with food or sweets.

The identity of the setter was never confirmed, but I was not alone in suspecting that the puzzle might be the handiwork of Petitjean.

I also notice that none of the definitions are underlined in my review on Big Dave's blog. I do recall running into some problems when posting the blog that evening. It would seem that — in addition to the other issues I encountered — I failed to realise that the underlining had vanished during the posting process.

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.

Across

1a   Healthy meal? What about how eel turned out? (10)

6a   Prison officer's side being taken by gang (4)

Screw[3,4,11] is slang for a prison guard. Warder[5] [used in my review at Big Dave's site] is a chiefly British term for a guard in a prison.

10a   Trendy media centre that is appealing to non-mainstream tastes (5)

Indie[5] is an adjective (used in reference to a pop group, record label, or film company) that denotes (1) not belonging or affiliated to a major record or film company or (2) characteristic of the deliberately unpolished or uncommercialized style of small independent pop groups. I was surprised to see that this term has been around since the 1920s.

11a   New thesis about anaemic look (9)

12a   Weaker sex's representation is not that woman in 'EastEnders' (7)

An East Ender[5,10] (or Eastender[2]) is a native or inhabitant of the East End of London, an area whose residents are also referred to as cockneys

A cockney[5] is a native of East London [specifically the East End], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church). Cockney is also the name of the dialect or accent typical of cockneys, which is characterised by dropping H from the beginning of words and the use of rhyming slang[5].

EastEnders[7] is a British television soap opera which has been running in the United Kingdom since 1985. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End of London.

13a   Opposite from rhyming (7)

14a   Equipment that's linked with Halfords? (7,5)

Halfords Group plc[7] is a retailer of car parts, car enhancement, camping, touring and bicycles operating in the UK and Ireland. At one time, the business of the company apparently was solely bicycle sales and service — a base from which they have since expanded. The company is also a sponsor of bicycle racing teams.

18a   Golf News runs out -- the injustice! (12)

21a   Attack with energy to replace home's hedging (7)

At the time I wrote the review in April, Putin was exercising evasion and Ukraine was fearful of an invasion. The evasion continues — and the invasion has since come to pass.

23a   Confirm Paddington's antiquated (4,3)

Paddington Bear[7], a polite immigrant bear from Deepest, Darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase, duffle coat and love of marmalade sandwiches, has become a classic character from English children's literature. In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington railway station in London by the Brown family, sitting on his suitcase (bearing the label "WANTED ON VOYAGE") with a note attached to his coat which reads, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." Author Michael Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during the war, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington.

24a   Detective has reported organ transplant for one who did wrong in the main (9)

The main[5] is an archaic or literary term for the open ocean.

25a   Sink cool half of bitter (5)

26a   Retired gambler overlooking the odds against diamonds (4)

27a   Swimming frogs hiding endlessly -- from this? (7,3)

The entire clue provides the definition by specifying that the solution is something from which frogs (or other potential bait) might hide. A portion of the clue (with the dashed underline) also serves as the wordplay.

Down

1d   Whitewash extremely dubious and offensive (6)

Whiffy[5] is an informal British term denoting having an unpleasant smell whiffy socks.

2d   Invest in gold with commercial backing first (6)

Insert a mental pause when reading the wordplay "in; gold with commercial backing first". That is, the final element of the charade is IN (in). Before that (first), one places OR (gold) + (with) a reversal (backing) of AD (commercial).

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

3d   Let critic argue for arrangement that needs amplifying (8,6)

4d   By what means Rugby Union initially may divulge inquiry (3,3,3)

Rugby union[10] (abbreviation RU[5]) is a form of rugby football played between teams of 15 players (in contrast to rugby league[5] which is played in teams of thirteen).

5d   Excuse lack of depth in off-the-cuff remark by the writer (5)

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as compiler, setter, (this) author, (this) writer, this person or — as is the case today, the writer — 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.

7d   What baker might have twisted and raised, so they say (8)

In April, for some reason, I thought this was an all-in-one clue. However, I now realise that it is at most a semi-all-in-one clue. One could possibly say that the entire clue is the definition, although that is not necessary. The underlined portion of the clue by itself provides an adequate definition and certainly does not enter into the wordplay.

8d   The likes of The Searchers birds follow everywhere but North (8)

The Searchers[7] is a 1956 American Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, and set during the Texas–Indian Wars. The film stars John Wayne as a middle-aged Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his abducted niece (Natalie Wood), accompanied by his adoptive nephew (Jeffrey Hunter).

9d   Sensitive actor could be filling up at this point (7,7)

Unlike 7d, this clearly is a semi-all-in-one clue. The entire clue specifies that the solution is a place at which a sensitive actor (or any other motorist) might be filling up. The wordplay is provided by the portion of the clue with a dashed underline.

15d   Transatlantic high-flier's line in diamonds -- quantity of ice that's hot (9)

Charles Lindbergh[7] (1902–1974) was an American aviator, who as a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, made the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic on May 20–21, 1927 in his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis.

16d   Pest flying round tiny head of Alpine flower (5,3)

Wee[5] is a chiefly Scottish adjective meaning little ⇒ (i) when I was just a wee bairn; (ii) the lyrics are a wee bit too sweet and sentimental. The word may be of Scottish origin but, like the Scots themselves, it has migrated around the world.

17d   Concentrate with reduced calories is key (8)

The first time that I solved this clue, I tried to make the solution end in -LITE. The second time around, believe it or not, I fell into the same trap.

19d   Cook's treat (6)

20d   Observer did this with big-name journalist? (6)

The surface reading is likely an allusion to the British newspaper, The Observer[7], the world's oldest Sunday newspaper. A sister paper to the daily The Guardian[7], it takes a similar liberal or social democratic line on most issues.

22d   Vain characters squeeze middle of their spots (5)

A naevus[5] (plural naevi) is a birthmark or a mole on the skin, especially a birthmark in the form of a raised red patch.
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