Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018 — DT 28793

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28793
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28793]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr K
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

I can't fault Mr K's assessment of the puzzle — and was, in fact, greatly relieved to see him award it four stars for difficulty. I did find some of the clues rather challenging — which is not a bad thing. I may have thrown in the towel prematurely and called in electronic backup as I wanted to get on with writing the review. A night of sleeping on the puzzle often elicits a few more answers.

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.

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.


The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "<" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)


Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television programmes, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be a "precise definition" (a definition that is either taken straight from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion) or it may be a "cryptic definition" (a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition).

The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and cryptic definitions by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.
Examples

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.
In future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide explanation

Across

1a   Bone put in pile // on the way out (8)

Moribund[5] means:
  • (of a person) at the point of death on examination she was moribund and dehydrated
  • (of a thing) in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigour ⇒ the moribund commercial property market
Post Mortem
I understood the structure of the clue and identified the correct bone but failed to locate the right pile. It did not help that I was not familiar with the first meaning of the solution given above.

By the way, given the solution to the clue, the title of this box seems ironically apropos.

5a   Old Dutchmen chaining ten // dogs (6)

Historically, a Boer[5] was a member of the Dutch and Huguenot population which settled in southern Africa in the late 17th century. The Boers' present-day descendants are the Afrikaners. Today, Boer is a South African term for an Afrikaner farmer.

9a   Polite? // I'm amazed! (8)

10a   Rip off // beastly coat? (6)

12a   Like some grins? // Also yours (6)

Methinks that "yours" is equivalent to 'thine' rather than 'thy' — and I see that Mr K has reached the same conclusion in an entry in the thread arising from Comment #33 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

13a   Complex // building finished (8)

15a   Problem getting in shape, // eat! (7)

16a   Fragile thing cut // somewhere on the face (4)

20a   State // I love, well to the west (4)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

21a   Stone // tearing rocks (7)

25a   Share // not quite redistributed (8)

Quotient[5] is used in the sense of a degree or amount of a specified quality or characteristic ⇒ the increase in Washington's cynicism quotient.

26a   A vet upset with service /in/ pub (6)

"service" = RN (show explanation )

The Royal Navy[5] (abbreviation RN) is the British navy. It was the most powerful navy in the world from the 17th century until the Second World War.

hide explanation

28a   One with famous voice, not entirely // tragic character (6)

Enrico Caruso[5] (1873–1921) was an Italian operatic tenor. He was the first major tenor to be recorded on gramophone records.



In Greek mythology, Icarus[5] is the son of Daedalus, who escaped from Crete using wings made by his father but was killed when he flew too near the sun and the wax attaching his wings melted.

29a   Using face creams etc, // risk acne unfortunately (8)

30a   Expert batsman, // key (6)

In cricket, an opener[2] is either of the two batsmen who begin the batting for their team.

* remember, in cricket, batsmen always bat in pairs

As for why the opener is an "expert" batsman, I had supposed that the best batsmen might be more likely to bat first as those at the end of the batting order may not even get to bat at all (e.g., should time run out or the team captain declare the innings closed prematurely). However, that would seem to be not necessarily the case. In a discussion of this point on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Rabbit Dave offers the following view  it generally requires a different mindset/skillset to bat against the new ball particularly in longer forms of the game (i.e. when played over 3-5 days) when it can often be better to hold back your most prolific batsmen until the ball is older and the bowlers less fresh.

I suppose the situation is not unlike baseball, where a team's power hitter does not bat at the top of the order. Rather, the first three batters will be players who are "expert" at getting on base, base running, and advancing runners — players who hit lots of singles, draw lots of walks, and are proficient at bunting and stealing bases. The power hitter bats fourth (the cleanup spot) thereby coming to the plate at a point in the game when there is a high probability of runners being on base but still high enough in the batting order to maximize the number of plate appearances he is likely to have in the game. While the considerations in cricket are undoubtedly much different than those in baseball, they presumably lead to a situation where a team's most prolific hitter does not necessarily bat first.

I find Rabbit Dave's comment about holding back one's most prolific batsmen "until the ball is older" rather interesting in light of the practice in baseball to replace the ball as soon as it gets even slightly scuffed.

31a   Taken around play area, toboggan // was scintillating (8)

At some point in the distant past, it would seem that the Brits developed the impression that a toboggan is a sled (which they might call a sledge) and has runners — and they have never been able to shake that misconception.

North Americans would be puzzled by the British concept of a toboggan. To the Brits, a toboggan[5] is a long, light, narrow vehicle, typically on runners*, used for sliding downhill over snow or ice.

You will find that the Brits apply the term toboggan to almost any type of vehicle used for sliding downhill. I suppose by including the phrase "typically on runners" the definition leaves enough wiggle room to allow a 'true' toboggan (which has no runners) to squeeze in. Clearly the term must have been taken back to the UK by some British explorer who paid a visit to the colonies and returned home very confused.

* Ironically, at one time Oxford Dictionaries Online illustrated its entry with a drawing of a true toboggan — one with no runners [the illustration has since been removed].

Down

1d   Very, // very strong (6)

2d   Sense // a boy overcome by extremes of rage (6)

3d   Sound of lift /in/ UK resort (8)

Brighton[5] is a resort on the south coast of England, in East Sussex.

4d   Absence of American // common sense (4)

Nous[5] is an informal British term meaning common sense or practical intelligence ⇒ if he had any nous at all, he’d sell the film rights.

6d   Old couple yearn /for/ tea (6)

Oolong[5] is a kind of dark-coloured China tea made by fermenting the withered leaves to about half the degree usual for black teas.

7d   Figure welcoming fine // faculty (8)

Fine[5] is a word used to to express one's agreement with or acquiescence to something (i) anything you want is fine by me, Linda or simply fine, Linda; (ii) he said such a solution would be fine.

8d   Furious, // grasp object (8)

11d   One of thirteen // in band, I am on drums (7)

It was not the hidden answer that I had difficulty spotting, it was the significance of the number thirteen. Doh!


14d   Artisan working /for/ Russian empress (7)

A tsarina[5] (also czarina or tzarina) was an empress of Russia before the revolution of 1917.

17d   Fly // low around capital in Sweden, then leave (8)

A mosquito is a fly? Apparently yes.

A mosquito[5] is a slender long-legged fly with aquatic larvae.

18d   Wine // in soup bottles (8)

This is a "recipe" style clue. Think of the wordplay as a series of steps from which all punctuation, numbering and formatting of the instructions have been removed. When we replace these missing elements, we get:
  • Step 1: [start with] IN
  • Step 2: POTAGE (soup) contains (bottles) [the intermediate result from Step 1]



A potage[5] is a thick soup.



Pinotage[5] is a variety of red wine grape grown in South Africa, produced by crossing Pinot Noir and other varieties, or a red wine made from this grape .

Origin: The name is a blend of Pinot (Noir) and Hermitage, names of types of grape.

Post Mortem
Not being familiar with the wine — and having no more than a passing acquaintance with the soup — made this clue difficult. I was further hampered by having entered IOWA in 20a (as did many others judging by comments on Big Dave's site).

19d   Novel retains minimum of respect -- // there are holes in it (8)

22d   Item used by trumpeter to keep in // time (6)

A mute is a pad or cone placed in the opening of a brass or other wind instrument to soften the sound.

Post Mortem
I could picture the trumpeter's device in my mind but do you think I could put a name to it?

23d   Stop /and/ give a lift to storyteller and journalist (6)

24d   Popular contract, // without doubt (6)

27d   Miss // second nap (4)

Kip[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  • (noun) a sleep or nap ⇒ (i) I might have a little kip; (ii)  he was trying to get some kip
  • (verb) to sleep ⇒he can kip on her sofa
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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
[14] - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018 — DT 28792

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28792
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, July 16, 2018
Setter
Mister Ron (Chris Lancaster)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28792]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
██████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

The puzzle was not too difficult although I did need the gentlest of nudges from my electronic helpers to complete it. On Big Dave's Crossword Blog there is but the briefest mention of France's victory over Croatia in the FIFA World Cup championship match which took place the day before this puzzle appeared in the UK.

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.

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.


The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "&lt;" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)


Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television programmes, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be a "precise definition" (a definition that is either taken straight from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion) or it may be a "cryptic definition" (a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition).

The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and cryptic definitions by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.
Examples

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.
In future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide explanation

Across

1a   Quickly // appear fashionable (4,6)

The phrases look snappy[1] and make it snappy[1,5] are expressions meaning to hurry or be quick about it ⇒ into bed and make it snappy!.

I might also have marked the second part of the clue as a definition but have not as it is a straight charade.

6a   Talk /in/ second-class facility (4)

9a   How one should build flat-pack furniture -- /and/ get it upstairs? (4-2-4)

There is an implied reuse of the phrase "how one should". Were we to expand the clue, it would read:
  • How one should build flat-pack furniture -- /and/ [how one should] get it upstairs? (4-2-4)
which gives us a precise definition and a somewhat cryptic definition.

The numeration really should be (4,2,4) as in both cases the phrase "step by step" is used as an adverb. The hyphens are only present when the phrase is used as an adjective.

The phrase step by step means so as to progress gradually and carefully from one stage to the next (i) [as an adverbial phrase] I'll explain it to you step by step; (ii) [as a modifier] a step-by-step guide.

10a   Small Faces, briefly, /could be/ arrogant (4)

Scratching the Surface
Small Faces[7] were an English rock band from East London. The group was founded in 1965 by members Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, although by 1966 Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan as the band's keyboardist.

When Marriott left the band, the remaining three members recruited Ronnie Wood (later to join The Rolling Stones) as guitarist, and Rod Stewart as their lead vocalist, both from The Jeff Beck Group, and carried on as Faces, except in North America, where this group's first album (and only their first album) was credited to Small Faces.

Small Faces were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

12a   Tempt // cricketer to take single (4)

A bat[5] is a person batting, especially in cricket; in other words, a batsman the team's opening bat.

13a   Share a French article /in/ principle (9)

"French article" = LE (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Rationale[5] denotes a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief he explained the rationale behind the change.

Origin: Mid 17th century: Latin rationalis ‘endowed with reason’.

Thus a rationale is not merely an explanation (as the term is often misused) — or, even worse, an excuse — but a reasoned explanation grounded in principle.

15a   Light quality/'s/ somewhat fair, in essence (8)

16a   Outdo // someone gambling (6)

18a   Reach // volunteers aboard a vessel (6)

"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

20a   Temporary accommodation left covered by one // member (8)

"one" = ACE (show explanation )

To my mind, the most direct explanation may be that an ace[10] (also called hole in one) is a score of one on a hole in golf.

Although ace[10] can also mean:
  • any die, domino, or any of four playing cards with one spot
  • a single spot or pip on a playing card, die, etc
I say that the golf context is the more direct explanation because I might look a golf scorecard and, seeing a score of "1" on a hole, remark that the player had scored an "ace". However, I am not personally accustomed to referring to a die or domino with one spot as an ace or a playing card with one spot as a 'one'.

hide explanation

23a   Rebellious pair hated // segregation (9)

Historically, in South Africa, apartheid[5] was a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. (show more )

Adopted as a slogan in the 1948 election by the successful Afrikaner National Party, apartheid extended and institutionalized existing racial segregation. Despite rioting and terrorism at home and isolation abroad from the 1960s onwards, the white regime maintained the apartheid system with only minor relaxation until February 1991.

hide

24a   Cut // meat? (4)

26a   Performer/'s/ gloomy broadcast, according to some (4)

Not only does this homophone clue rely on a non-rhotic (show explanation ) pronunciation typical of dialects found in many parts of Britain (especially southeastern England), but on two different non-rhotic pronunciations of the word "dour" which can be pronounced either DOW-wah or doo-WEH , the latter sounding like the non-rhotic pronunciation of "doer" .

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

hide explanation

27a   Place bet in error after account/'s deemed/ satisfactory (10)

28a   Flee ultimately strange // old character (4)

A rune[5] is a letter of an ancient Germanic alphabet, related to the Roman alphabet.

29a   Deliberated // dressing team in Conservative red! (10)

"team" = SIDE (show explanation )

Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in* their side.

* Note that, in Britain, a player is said to be "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America.

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage is also found in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

hide explanation

"Conservative" = CON (show explanation )

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party* under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

* Historically, a Tory[10] was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
In Britain (as in Canada), it is the colour blue (not red) that is associated with the Conservative party. However, this association may not necessarily extend to Crosswordland.

Blue[5] is an informal British term denoting politically conservative ⇒ the successful blue candidate.

Down

1d   Fine to leave rich // drunk (4)

"fine" = F (show explanation )

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead.

Note: Oxford Dictionaries surprisingly characterizes this usage as British

hide explanation

2d   Write song after love // outside (4-3)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

3d   Prove // aunt is best at dancing (12)

4d   Sailor's scheme to save time /is/ hard to understand (8)

"sailor" = AB (show explanation )

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

hide explanation

5d   Rather // attractive (6)

7d   Criticise // gentle person sat around (7)

Lambast is an alternative spelling of lambaste[5]. (Being unfamiliar with this spelling, I delayed entering it into the grid).

8d   Generous // description of unambiguous? (3-7)

Those who read my review of yesterday's puzzle may recognize this clue as a dingbat.

11d   Tame // doc meditates after working (12)

14d   Monster // leaves having eaten bloke with Queen (10)

"bloke" = MAN (show explanation )

Bloke[5] is an informal British* term for a man ⇒ he’s a nice bloke.

* Very British, but certainly also very familiar to anyone on this side of the pond who has ever watched a British film or television programme

hide explanation

"Queen" = ER (show explanation )

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

hide explanation



Salamander[5] denotes a mythical lizard-like creature said to live in fire or to be able to withstand its effects.

17d   Unnecessary // bad feeling on ship (8)

I thought the "bad feeling" might somehow relate to the "pins and needles" one feels when an extremity "falls asleep". However, there is another explanation.

Needle is an informal British term denoting hostility or antagonism provoked by rivalry there is already a little bit of needle between the sides.

"ship" = SS (show explanation )

In Crosswordland, a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[5]the SS Canberra.

hide explanation

19d   Novel I daren't // exchange (5-2)

21d   Hit // gear (7)

Clobber[5] is an informal British term for clothing, personal belongings, or equipment ⇒ I found all his clobber in the locker.

22d   Sticky stuff // seen in novel crop (6)

25d   Fuel // price finally dropped (4)

Post Mortem
My difficulty arose from being focussed on a too-literal meaning for "fuel".
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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
[14] - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 — DT 28791

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28791
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28791 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28791 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
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

The puzzle is fairly gentle and the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog relating to Donald Trump's visit to the UK are quite subdued. I did like the Matt cartoon which Big Dave shares with us in the thread at Comment #11.

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.

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.


The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "<" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)


Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television programmes, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be a "precise definition" (a definition that is either taken straight from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion) or it may be a "cryptic definition" (a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition).

The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and cryptic definitions by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.
Examples

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.
In future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide explanation

Across

1a   Problem jazz fan picks up /in/ gossip (8)

Cat[5] is an informal North American term (especially among jazz enthusiasts) for a man ⇒ (i) this West Coast cat had managed him since the early 80s; (ii) the cat went crazy on the horn.

9a   Four articles about medium/'s/ curse (8)

"medium" = M (show explanation )

M[5] is the abbreviation for medium (as a clothes size).

hide explanation

10a   Worry // about appearing in business paper (4)

The Financial Times[7] (abbreviation FT) is a British international business newspaper that is printed on conspicuous salmon pink newsprint.

11a   Working with stars, // fool collects prize (that's right) (12)

13a   Engineer gets best clothes /for/ chemical plant (8)

"engineer" = RE (show explanation )

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.

hide explanation

15a   Shed // small amount of light on tea that's stewed (4-2)

16a   Simple plant // found in several gardens (4)

Alga[5] (plural algae) is a simple, non-flowering, and typically aquatic plant of a large group that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled forms. Algae contain chlorophyll but lack true stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue.

Origin: Latin ‘seaweed’

17a   Group popular in the Nineties touring East /being/ less happy (5)

Blur[7] are an English rock band, formed in London in 1988. In the early 1990s, the band achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rivals Oasis in 1995 dubbed the "Battle of Britpop". In 1997, their single "Song 2"[7] went to #6 in the US and #1 in Canada on the alternative rock charts.

18a   Give out // ecstasy in front of Cambridge college (4)

"ecstasy" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy* or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

* Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

hide explanation

This college is found in Cambridge, Massachusetts rather than Cambridge, England. (reveal more )

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology[5] (abbreviation MIT) is a US institute of higher education, famous for scientific and technical research, founded in 1861 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

hide

20a   Reconnoitring with a view to breaking // cover (6)

... not only breaking, but entering as well.

I've marked this as a cryptic definition on account of the length of time it took me to realize that the first definition is more than merely "reconnoitring".

21a   Achieve success /through/ Republican Party ties (2,6)

GOP[5] stands for Grand Old Party, a nickname for the Republican Party in the US.

23a   Planes in navy crashed // somewhere in USA (12)

26a   Good message to departed // stagehand (4)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[a] for good comes from its use in education as a mark awarded on scholastic assignments or tests.

[a] Collins English to Spanish Dictionary

hide explanation



Grip[5] is a term for a stagehand in a theatre or a member of a camera crew responsible for moving and setting up equipment.

27a   Report of events /from/ all directions found (8)

Found[5] is used in the sense of to make (an article) by melting and moulding metal.

28a   Strongly criticise // directors' salary? (8)

Down

2d   Renegade caught by Henry /makes/ a bloomer (8)

Hal[nameberry] is a venerable nickname for Henry, Harry [itself a variant of Henry]* and Harold, famously used by Shakespeare in King Henry IV as the name of the king's son, the future Henry V.

* Harry was considered the "spoken form" of Henry[7] in medieval England. Most English kings named Henry were called Harry. At one time, the name was so popular for English men that the phrase "Tom, Dick, and Harry" was used to refer to everyone.



Harebell[5] (also called bluebell, especially in Scotland) is a widely distributed bellflower with slender stems and pale blue flowers in late summer.

Origin: Middle English: probably so named because it is found growing in places frequented by hares.

The flower commonly known in North America as the bluebell is the Virginia bluebell[7] (Mertensia virginica) rather than the Scottish bluebell[7] (Campanula rotundifolia). In Britain, outside of Scotland, the name bluebell would be understood to refer to the common bluebell[7] (Hyacinthoides non-scripta).

Scratching the Surface
Bloomer[5] is a dated informal British term for a serious or stupid mistake ⇒ he never committed a bloomer.

3d   Italian Trot, a revolutionary // dictator? (12)

Scratching the Surface
Trot[5] is an informal, chiefly derogatory term for a Trotskyist or supporter of extreme left-wing views (i) a band of subversive Trots; (ii) he declared that the Corporation was a ‘nest of long-haired Trots’.

4d   Travel at speed // damaged outside of limousine (6)

5d   Mexican food // cheers company (4)

Cheers[5] is an informal British expression of gratitude or acknowledgement for something ⇒ Billy tossed him the key. ‘Cheers, pal.’.

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

6d   Composer with uplifting part /for/ one unaccompanied (8)

Johann Sebastian Bach[5] (1685–1750) was a German composer. An exceptional and prolific baroque composer, he produced a massive body of work — not to mention twenty children. (show more )

Bach produced works ranging from violin concertos, suites, and the six Brandenburg Concertos (1720–1) to clavier works and sacred cantatas. Large-scale choral works include The Passion according to St John (1723), The Passion according to St Matthew (1729), and the Mass in B minor (1733–8). He had twenty children: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–88) wrote church music, keyboard sonatas, and a celebrated treatise on clavier playing, and Johann Christian Bach (1735–82) became music master to the British royal family and composed thirteen operas.

hide

7d   TV cook // endlessly found in food shop (4)

Delia Smith[7] is an English cook and television presenter [host], known for teaching basic cookery skills in a no-nonsense style. One of the best known celebrity chefs in British popular culture, Smith has influenced viewers to become more culinarily adventurous.

8d   What one may do during cheese course /or/ entree? (8)

The cheese course of a full-course dinner[7] comprises a cheese selection accompanied by an appropriate selection of wine which might well include port. Port[7] is commonly served after meals as a dessert wine in English-speaking countries, often with cheese, nuts, and/or chocolate; white and tawny ports are often served as an apéritif. In Europe all types of port are frequently consumed as aperitifs.



Entrée[10] is used in the sense of the power or right of entry.

Passport[10] is used figuratively in the sense of a quality, asset, etc, that gains a person admission or acceptance.

12d   Theatre worker, // a star that's upcoming caught by surprise (5,7)

The stage manager[5] is the person responsible for the lighting and other technical arrangements for a stage play.

14d   Canadian singer-songwriter, no longer this? (5)

This would seem to amount to a precise definition embedded within (for want of a better alternative) a somewhat cryptic definition.

Neil Young[7] is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician. In a career that has spanned nearly sixty years — including stints as a member of the groups Buffalo Springfield (1966-1968) and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (1969-1970) — he has amassed achievements and garnered awards far too numerous to even attempt to mention. Just let it be said that Young has received several Grammy and Juno awards. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him twice: as a solo artist in 1995 and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield.

16d   Single-handedly captures international // gangster (2,6)

International[5] (noun) is a British term for a player who has taken part in an international game or contest.

Cap[5] is a British term for:
  • a cap awarded as a sign of membership of a particular sports team, especially a national team [a team representing a country in international competition] ⇒ he has won three caps for Scotland
  • a player to whom a cap is awarded ⇒ a former naval officer and rugby cap.



Al Capone[5] (1899–1947), nicknamed  Scarface (show more ), 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* .

* The St Valentine's Day Massacre[5] was the shooting on 14th February 1929 of seven members of the rival ‘Bugsy’ Moran's gang by some of Al Capone's men disguised as policemen.

Capone[7] was born in Brooklyn (New York) and began his life of crime in New York City before moving to Chicago. Capone inadvertently insulted a woman while working the door at a Brooklyn night club and was slashed by her brother Frank Gallucio. The wounds led to the nickname that Capone loathed: "Scarface". Capone's boss, racketeer Frankie Yale, insisted that Capone apologize to Gallucio, and later Capone hired him as a bodyguard. When photographed, Capone hid the scarred left side of his face, saying that the injuries were war wounds. Capone was called "Snorky", a term for a sharp dresser, by his closest friends.

hide

17d   Someone scary // ravaged money bag (8)

19d   Person hard to satisfy // that is boxing former boxer (8)

Muhammad Ali[5] is an American boxer; born Cassius Marcellus Clay. He won the world heavyweight title in 1964, 1974, and 1978, becoming the only boxer to be world champion three times.

22d   Colour in a kind of statistical chart // a small digit (6)

Big Dave sees "colour" as a noun but I think it works just as well — if not better — as a verb with ink[1] (verb) being used in the sense of to mark, daub, cover, blacken or colour with ink.

24d   Pond creature // wife caught in appropriate item (4)

The wordplay is not entirely independent of the definition as the word "appropriate" clearly refers back to "pond creature" (i..e, we need an item appropriate for catching a pond creature). However, the structure of the clue does not lend itself to any sort of markup that would allow me to indicate such a linkage.

25d   Division // of Novotel (4)

Both Big Dave and crypticsue have parsed the clue as shown above in which the solution is hidden in (of) NoVOTEl where the hidden word indicator is the single word "of".

I wondered if this might not be a sort of all-in-one clue in which the entire clue constitutes the wordplay in which the definition is embedded:
  • Division of Novotel (4)
This interpretation would give us the solution hidden in (division of) NoVOTEl where the hidden word indicator is 'division of'.



Division[5] denotes an instance of members of a legislative body separating into two groups to vote the new clause was agreed without a division.

Scratching the Surface
Novotel[7] is a hotel brand within the AccorHotels group.

There is a Novotel Hotel here in Ottawa although it is not included in the rather limited list found in the Wikipedia article.
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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
[14] - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon