Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014 — Double-Teamed


Introduction

With one exception, each of Santa's reindeer makes two appearances in today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon.

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

I join with the setters in wishing Saturday readers a Very Merry Christmas.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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
- 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   Awaken // Comet with love (4,2)

COME T|O — COMET (†) + O (love[5]; nil score in tennis)

4a   Darts for Cupid, // while eating red rhubarb (6)

A(R|ROW)S — AS (while) containing (eating) {R (red) + ROW (rhubarb[10]; heated discussion or quarrel [US and Canadian])}

9a   Being troublesome, // Vixen changed $1000 (6)

VEXIN*|G — anagram (changed) of VIXEN + G ($1000)

10a   Rob drew a fanciful // Donner’s closet? (8)

WARDROBE* — anagram (fanciful) of ROB DREW A

This could be "Donner's closet" or a closet belonging to anyone else. I can see no reason for the word Donner to appear in the clue, other than to support the theme of the puzzle.

12a   Call silver farm animal // “Vixen” (9)

TERM|AG|ANT — TERM (call; as a verb) + AG ([symbol for the chemical element] silver) + ANT (farm animal; animal that lives in an ant farm)

13a   Cupid getting a piece of Rudolph/’s/ mail in the U.S. (5)

A(R)MOR — AMOR (Cupid) containing R (a piece [initial letter] of Rudolph)

In Roman mythology, Cupid was the god of love who was also known by his Latin name Amor[7].

Armor is the US spelling of armour, one type of which is [chain] mail.

14a   In Comet, one unknown // source of revenue (6,3)

IN|COME T|A|X — IN (†) + COMET (†) + A (one) + X ([algebraic] unknown)

17a   Dasher daintily holds // scrap of earthenware (5)

_SHER|D_ — hidden (holds) in daSHER Daintily

18a   British poet // Donner cut short (5)

DONNE_ — DONNE[R] with the final letter removed (cut short)

John Donne[5] (1572–1631) was an English poet and preacher. A metaphysical poet, he is most famous for his Satires and Elegies (circa 1590-9) and his love poems. He also wrote religious poems and, as dean of St Paul’s from 1621, was one of the most celebrated preachers of his age.

20a   Prancer mistakenly includes the heartless // builder (9)

CARPEN(TE)R — anagram (mistakenly) of PRANCER containing (includes) TE {the heartless; T[H]E with its middle letter (heart) removed}

22a   Ingredient in some chili // Dancer mixed up after the first (5)

CARNE* — anagram (mixed up) of _ANCER {[D]ANCER with its initial letter removed (after the first)}

23a   Prancer initially shifted Clarence/’s/ stamp ahead of time (9)

P|RECANCEL* — P (Prancer initially; initial letter of Prancer) + anagram (shifted) of CLARENCE

26a   Blitzen is confused about one // philosopher (8)

LE(I)BNITZ* or LEIBN(I)TZ* — anagram (is confused) of BLITZEN containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz[3] [seemingly more commonly spelled Leibniz] (1646-1716) was a German philosopher and mathematician. He invented differential and integral calculus independently of Newton and proposed an optimist metaphysical theory that included the notion that we live in "the best of all possible worlds."


27a   Blitzen is upset, missing the sixth // pancake (6)

BLINTZ* — anagram (is upset) of BLITZ_N (BLITZ[E]N missing the sixth [letter])

A blintz[3] is a thin, rolled blini [Russian pancake], usually filled with cottage cheese, folded, sauteed or baked, and often served with sour cream.

28a   Dasher’s event, /in/ small type (6)

S|PRINT — S (small) + PRINT (type)

29a   Dancer roughly // hoisted with heavy machinery (6)

CRANED* — anagram (roughly) of DANCER

Down

1d   Spotted cat // I have in court (5)

C(IVE)T — IVE ([contraction for] I have; I've) contained in (in) CT ([abbreviation for] court; found on street signs, for instance)

A civet[5] (also civet cat) is a slender nocturnal carnivorous mammal with a barred and spotted coat and well-developed anal scent glands, native to Africa and Asia.

2d   Party /of/ nine in Cousteau’s milieu (5)

M(IX)ER — IX ([Roman numeral for] nine) contained in (in) MER (Cousteau's milieu; French word for 'sea').

Jacques-Yves Cousteau[5] (1910–1997) was a French oceanographer and film director. He devised the scuba apparatus, but is known primarily for several feature films and popular television series on marine life.

3d   Cat eating not far from // part of a turntable (4,3)

TO(NE AR)M — TOM ([male] cat) containing (eating) NEAR (not far from)

5d   Breaking crate, // be stimulated (5)

REACT* — anagram (breaking) of CRATE

6d   Trials // or trades (7)

OR|DEALS — OR (†) + DEALS (trades)

7d   Wildest // tales Time printed about Manitoba’s premier (9)

STOR(M)IES|T — {STORIES (tales) + T (time)} containing (printed about) M (Manitoba's premier; initial letter of Manitoba)

For the benefit of readers from outside the borders of Canada, Premier is the title applied to the leader of a provincial government in Canada. The current Premier of Manitoba is Greg Selinger. In the context of the clue, the word Premier might well have been capitalized.

8d   Stranger regarded // corrupting influence (8)

DEGRADER* — anagram (stranger) of REGARDED

11d   Play a role in jerk/’s/ gambit (6)

T(ACT)IC — ACT (play a role) contained in (in) TIC (jerk)

14d   Unruly // physician immersed in one African river (8)

I|N(DOC)ILE — DOC (physician) contained in (immersed in) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + NILE (African river)}

15d   Lit acorns’ drifting // plumes in the sky (9)

CONTRAILS* — anagram (drifting) of LIT ACORNS

16d   Congress and king brought back // old Persian king (6)

{XER|XES}< — reversal (brought back) of {SEX (congress) + REX ([Latin word for] king)}

Xerxes I[5] (circa 519–465 BC), son of Darius I, was king of Persia 486–465. His invasion of Greece achieved victories in 480 at Artemisium and Thermopylae, but defeats at Salamis (480) and Plataea (479) forced him to withdraw.

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

19d   Queen from Aquitaine // converted one earl (7)

ELEANOR* — anagram (converted) of ONE EARL

Eleanor of Aquitaine[5] (circa 1122–1204) was the daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, queen of France 1137–52 and of England 1154–89. She was married to Louis VII of France from 1137; in 1152, with the annulment of their marriage, she married the future Henry II of England.

21d   Rebel—an agitated // person who makes things happen (7)

ENABLER* — anagram (agitated) of REBEL AN

23d   Climbing gear // functioning behind hole (5)

PIT|ON — ON (functioning) following (behind) PIT (hole)

A piton[5] is a peg or spike driven into a rock or crack to support a climber or a rope.

24d   Jailbird—an // early role for Arnold (5)

CON|AN — CON (jailbird) + AN (†)

Conan the Barbarian[7] is a 1982 sword and sorcery/adventure film based on stories by Robert E. Howard, a pulp fiction writer of the 1930s, about the adventures of the eponymous character in a fictional pre-historic world of dark magic and savagery. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Earl Jones, and tells the story of a young barbarian (Schwarzenegger) who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents at the hands of Thulsa Doom (Jones), the leader of a snake cult.

25d   The Parisian and the last British character // took it easy (5)

LA|ZED — LA (the Parisian) + (and) ZED (the last British character)

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

Zed[3,4,11] is the spoken form of the letter Z in Britain — and Canada.

Epilogue

The theme of today's puzzle was easily established.
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, December 19, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014 — DT 27545


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27545
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, July 18, 2014
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27545]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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

We are offered up another fairly stiff challenge today, although I fared better with this puzzle than I did with yesterday's.

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

1a   City // engineers seen by the French house (6)

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.

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

Lahore[5] is the capital of Punjab province and second-largest city of Pakistan, situated near the border with India; population 6,926,600 (est. 2009).

4a   A horrible dribble /from/ one making impromptu speech? (2-6)

9a   Like meadow /where/ poet's written about saints (6)

Thomas Gray[5] (1716–1771) was an English poet, best known for ‘Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard’ (1751).

S[5] (chiefly in Catholic use) is an abbreviation for Saint ⇒ S Ignatius Loyola.

10a   Ruins // meals about to be consumed (8)

The word "about" is not the containment indicator, but the fodder.

We must read the wordplay as a series of instructions as if it were written "meals; about to be consumed". That is, in the first step, we start with SUPPERS (meals); then, in the second step, C (about; circa) is inserted into (consumed [by]) the result from the first step.

11a   Czar due to travel round // holiday region (4,1'4)

13a   Atmosphere by lake // sensed, but not visually (5)

14a   Domestic decluttering exercise /in/ financial institution (8,5)

Deep Threat classifies this as a double definition and I have somewhat reluctantly gone along with that assessment — as I could think of no better option. The first definition is cryptic and a bit tenuous at that.

A clearing house[5] is a bankers' establishment where cheques and bills from member banks are exchanged, so that only the balances need be paid in cash.

17a   Certainly not of the class of Eton, for instance (13)

This is one that — in hindsight — I should have had.

Eton College[7], often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent [private] school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is located in Eton, near Windsor in England, and is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. [Note: In Britain, "public schools" are a special class of private school; what North Americans would call public schools seem to be referred to in Britain by terms such as state-run or state-funded schools].

21a   Alternative // parent maiden rejected (5)

This is another instance of a clue which must be separated into a series of instructions as if it were written "parent; maiden rejected".

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over, (abbreviation M)[5] is an over in which no runs are scored. An over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

23a   Forthright, /or/ try endless charm? (9)

24a   Great // blunder if one Conservative follows Socialist ultimately? (8)

25a   Less productive // domestic helper, first to be dismissed (6)

26a   Do youngsters have the necessary capability /in/ restaurants? (8)

27a   Cook enslaving princess /for/ 24 hours (6)

Princess Ida[7] (full name Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant) is a comic opera with music and libretto by the English team of Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and Sir W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) respectively. It was their eighth operatic collaboration of fourteen. Princess Ida opened at the Savoy Theatre in London, England in January 1884, for a run of 246 performances. The piece concerns a princess who founds a women's university and teaches that women are superior to men and should rule in their stead. The prince to whom she had been married in infancy sneaks into the university, together with two friends, with the aim of collecting his bride. They disguise themselves as women students, but are discovered, and all soon face a literal war between the sexes.

Down

1d   What's handed on // in fancy cage left upside down (6)

2d   Listen to army rebel/'s/ sorrow (9)

In the UK, the Territorial Army (TA)[5] is a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency. [This is the former name of the force. It is now known as the Army Reserve.]

Che Guevara[7] (1928–1967) was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

3d   Stuff left /in/ French street English man's collected (7)

And yet another clue which must be disected into a series of instructions, in this case "French street; English man's collected".

The French word for street is rue[8].

In his review, Deep Threat makes reference to an advertising campaign conducted by British Gas in 1986.
British Gas plc[7] [public limited company] was an energy and home services provider in the United Kingdom which was formed when the state-owned British Gas Corporation was privatized in 1986 by the government of Margaret Thatcher. In December 1986, its shares were floated on the London stock market. To encourage individuals to become shareholders, the offer was intensely advertised with the "If you see Sid...Tell him!" campaign. In 1997 the company was demerged into three separate parts — Centrica, BG Group and National Grid.
5d   Dogmatic // director in a recasting (11)

6d   Accuse // one politician? Every one! (7)

7d   Litre being poured into stomach /makes you/ dim (5)

Read "makes you" as meaning "produces the result for you (the one solving the puzzle)".

8d   Settled // with the answers filled in -- not for the first time! (8)

Is this not just as much a double definition as 14a? Deep Threat doesn't seem to think so.

12d   Nazi orators disturbed // one kind of religious believer (11)

A Zoroastrian is an adherent of Zoroastrianism[5], a monotheistic pre-Islamic religion of ancient Persia founded by Zoroaster in the 6th century BC. The religion survives today in isolated areas of Iran and in India, where followers are known as Parsees.

15d   Ignorant /and/ no longer taken notice of? (9)

As with 8d, I cannot see why this is not a double definition despite Deep Threat not marking it as such.

I struggled to understand the second definition and I am still not certain that I comprehend it correctly. I believe that it may be alluding to unlearned[5] in the sense of not needing to be learned or, in other words, innate ⇒ an unlearned behaviour pattern.

16d   Socratic meandering /creates/ a problem (8)

Problem in the sense of a puzzle. An acrostic[5] is a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.

18d   Our country poet Kathleen /in/ a foreign land (7)

Take note that this puzzle was initially published in the United Kingdom.

Kathleen Raine[7] (1908–2003) was a British poet, critic, and scholar.

19d   Like some weapons /that/ could bring a cruel end to Man (7)

One could almost consider the entire clue to be the definition.

20d   Floor /of/ shop with the latest in haberdashery (6)

22d   Bird, // the female, held up by leg in the field (5)

In cricket, leg[5] (also known as leg side) is the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg.

The leg side is also known as the on side (also called the on[5]). Naturally, the other side of the field is known as the off side[5] (also called the off).
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, December 18, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014 — DT 27544


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27544
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27544]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
archy and mehitabel
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

This puzzle proved to be a considerably stiffer test than those that preceded it. I needed a fair amount of help from my electronic assistants to complete it — although, in hindsight,  I should not have needed to call on their aid in several instances.

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.

Across

7a   Goal /is/ fair (9)

8a   Hours to some extent // routine (5)

My electronic assistants jeered "You dragged us out to help solve this!!" as I kicked myself for failing to see the solution on my own.

10a   Persist /in/ intimidating female (6)

It would seem that the term dragon carries a different connotation in the UK than in North America. The American dictionaries define dragon as a fiercely vigilant or intractable person[3] or a fierce, combative person or a very strict, protective woman[11]. British Dictionaries, on the other hand, have it as a fierce or intractable person, especially a woman[10], a frighteningly domineering woman[2], or a fierce and intimidating woman his wife is a real dragon[5].

11a   Inspector's needing pass -- // run out! (8)

A detective inspector (DI)[5] is a senior police officer in the UK. Within the British police, inspector[7] is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief inspector. Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or attached to their force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Disgorge[5] (said of a river) means to empty into a sea ⇒ the Nile disgorges into the sea at Rashid.

12a   Contemporary // comic’s success (4,2)

The wordplay is WIT (comic) + ('s; contraction for has) HIT (success).

14a   Tasers dispersed // protest (6)

16a   Area's vote is /for/ coalition (4)

In general terms, an axis[5] is an agreement or alliance between two or more countries that forms a centre for an eventual larger grouping of nations the Anglo-American axis. More specifically, the Axis[5] was the alliance of Germany and Italy formed before and during the Second World War, later extended to include Japan and other countries the Axis Powers.

17a   Shy person // that works with computers (5)

I gave myself another kick here.

I had became fixated on trying to split the clue after the first word rather than after the second word. As usual with this type of clue, one must interpret the second definition as if it were "that [which] works with computers" or "[something] that works with computers".

18a   Bear will occasionally // roar (4)

19a   Brilliance /of/ one accepted by peer group? (6)

In biology, a genus[5] is a principal taxonomic category that ranks above species and below family, and is denoted by a capitalized Latin name, e.g. Leo. In philosophical and general use, the term means a class of things which have common characteristics and which can be divided into subordinate kinds.

21a   Confidential information /from/ detective turned in aristo (3-3)

I originally omitted an entry for PI, thinking it to be self-evident. However, this abbreviation generated more chatter on Big Dave's site than I have seen in a long time — leading to a long discussion regarding ranks in British police services.

PI[5] is the abbreviation for private investigator (another name for private detective[5]), a freelance detective who carries out covert investigations on behalf of private clients. Private eye[11] is an informal name for a private detective. As Gazza points out — in somewhat more down-to-earth language — in a comment on Big Dave's blog, eye is an allusive phonetic rendering of I, abbreviation of investigator.

Aristo[2] is a colloquial, often derogatory, short form for aristocrat.

Toff[5] is an informal, derogatory British term for a rich or upper-class person.

24a   Difficult // end endured without drug (8)

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.

26a   Excessively // hard to govern with Republican ousted by Democrat (6)

27a   One's given consent /for/ key (5)

28a   Dear // comic (9)

Down

1d   Muscle or fat's ultimate // check (5)

2d   Bars // books? (8)

Penguin biscuits[7] are milk chocolate-covered biscuit bars filled with chocolate cream produced by the McVitie's division of British multinational food manufacturer United Biscuits. Whether the Penguin is a biscuit or a chocolate bar has been the subject of much debate, but it is widely regarded as a biscuit.

Penguin Books[5] is a British publisher. Founded in 1935, Penguin Books is now an imprint of the worldwide Penguin Random House, a conglomerate which was formed in 2013 by the merger of book publishers Random House, owned by Bertelsmann, and Penguin Group, owned by Pearson PLC.

3d   Singular fish // smell (6)

In grammar, the abbreviation for singular is s[5].

The tench[5] is a European freshwater fish (Tinca tinca) of the carp family, popular with anglers and widely introduced elsewhere.

Pong[5] [used by archy and mehitabel in their review] is an informal British term that means (1), as a noun, a strong, unpleasant smell ⇒ corked wine has a powerful pong and (2), as a verb, to smell strongly and unpleasantly ⇒ the place just pongs of dirty clothes.

4d   Passionate // prima donna in the ascendant (4)

5d   Some relief a moussaka /is/ notable (6)

Moussaka[5] (also mousaka) is a Greek dish made of minced lamb, aubergines [eggplant], and tomatoes, with cheese sauce on top.

6d   Seafood // recipe initially welcomed by couple on board (4,5)

Although the abbreviation for recipe is r (or r.)[1], the setter actually does not rely on this fact in the clue. Rather, he (or she) explicitly indicates that we are to use the initial letter of recipe ("recipe initially").

The king prawn[5] is a large edible prawn which is of great commercial value.

9d   Leak /found in/ small poncho coming from Spain (6)

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

13d   Tied up reportedly /for/ safekeeping (5)

15d   Former party leader reties knots -- /that's/ skill (9)

17d   Male on course /to be/ talisman (6)

If I wasn't already black and blue, I definitely was after kicking myself yet again.

Ascot Racecourse[7] is an English racecourse, located in the village of Ascot, Berkshire, used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK's 32 annual Group 1 races. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.

18d   Bishop's nasty feud led /to/ puzzle (8)

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

As a link word, to[10] is a preposition used to indicate equality ⇒ 16 ounces to the pound.

20d   I'm nicked -- no way! -- /and/ charged (6)

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to arrest (someone) ⇒ Stuart and Dan got nicked for burglary.

Charge[5] is used in the sense of to fill or pervade with a quality or emotion the air was charged with menace.

22d   Pressure drop /in/ spring (6)

In physics, the symbol p[5] is used to represent pressure.

23d   B-minus /getting/ praise (5)

In Christain church services, bless[5] means to call (God) holy or to praise (God).

25d   Standard // maiden over following no runs (4)

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over, (abbreviation M)[5] is an over in which no runs are scored. An over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 — DT 27543


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27543
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27543]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
scchua
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

Granted this is a fairly gentle offering from Jay, but I wouldn't go so far as to rate it at only a single star for difficulty.

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Felt // bound to chase source of growth (6)

5a   Detective's area /is/ murder (8)

A detective inspector (DI)[5] is a senior police officer in the UK. Within the British police, inspector[7] is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief inspector. Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or attached to their force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Patch[5] is an informal British term for an area for which someone is responsible or in which they operate ⇒ we didn’t want any secret organizations on our patch.

9a   Honourable old Scottish chanteuse /in/ Pacific state capital (8)

Lulu Kennedy-Cairns, OBE (born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie), best known by her stage name Lulu[7], is a Scottish singer, actress, and television personality who has been successful in the entertainment business from the 1960s. She is internationally identified, especially by North American audiences, with the song "To Sir with Love" from the film of the same name and with the title song to the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. In European countries, she is also widely known for her Eurovision Song Contest winning entry "Boom Bang-a-Bang" and in the UK for her first hit "Shout", which was performed at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Honolulu[5] is the state capital and principal port of Hawaii, situated on the southeastern coast of the island of Oahu; population 374,676 (est. 2008).

10a   Wow! Close, finishing early /for/ a bit of a looker (6)

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

11a   Lacking principles, without time /for/ God, for example (8)

As a containment indicator, without[5] is used in the archaic or literary sense meaning outside ⇒ the barbarians without the gates.

12a   Hydrogen planet // that could be considered home! (6)

The symbol for the chemical element hydrogen is H[5].

13a   Went too far // -- filmed by paramour, topless! (8)

15a   Cure // the man with a leg missing for example (4)

17a   Fruit /that's/ mainly the product of an oyster (4)

19a   Build up // new case, behind schedule (8)

20a   Broad area /of/ Cornwall rather unprotected? (6)

Cornwall[5] is a county occupying the extreme southwestern (SW) peninsula of England; county town, Truro.

21a   Assertive // setter with degree needing endless credit (8)

This setter is not a crossword compiler, but rather one of the canine variety.

Tick[5] (used in the phrase on tick) is an informal British term meaning credit ⇒ the printer agreed to send the brochures out on tick. The term apparently originates as a short form for ticket in the phrase on the ticket, referring to an IOU or promise to pay.

22a   University that in Spain /is/ unparalleled (6)

Uni[5] is an informal [seemingly British] term for university he planned to go to uni.

In Spanish, que[8] is a relative pronoun or conjunction meaning 'that'.

23a   People losing head after rubbish // revolution (8)

24a   Over-zealous people /or/ footballers with strange antics (8)

The Football Association[7], also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football [soccer] in England. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.

25a   Collared // stole? (6)

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to arrest (someone) ⇒ Stuart and Dan got nicked for burglary.

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to steal ⇒ she nicked fivers from the till.

Down

2d   Person sharing // opportunity with merchant seaman (8)

A mate[3,4,11] (short for first mate[3,4,11]) is an officer second in command to the captain of a merchant ship.

3d   Poor colt's terrible // form (8)

Form[5] is the manner, method, or style of doing something, especially with regard to recognized standards.

4d   Brave // daughter with no female relations? (9)

5d   Form of tennis embracing conventional // hypocrisy (6,9)

6d   Objection // on behalf of trial (7)

7d   Terribly deferential lad missing /in/ island in the Atlantic (8)

Tenerife[5] is a volcanic island in the Atlantic, the largest of the Canary Islands; population 866,033 (2008); capital, Santa Cruz.

8d   I agree // to try and try again (4,4)

14d   Primate // called, taken in by published article (5-4)

The orangutan[5] (also orangutang[5], orang-utan[2,10], orang-utang[10] or orang-outang[2,10]) is a large mainly solitary arboreal ape (Pongo pygmaeus) with long red hair, long arms, and hooked hands and feet, native to Borneo and Sumatra.

15d   Very attractive thing /found in/ recently stolen items (3,5)

I think that one would not be wrong to view this as a double definition.
  • 15d   Very attractive thing /found in/ recently stolen items (3,5)
In fact, I did initially see it as a double definition while scchua took the contrary view and labelled the second part as a charade. While either approach would seem to work, I have gradually come around to the opinion that scchua's approach might be slightly better. The expression "hot stuff" is clearly a single entity when applied to the first part of the clue, but less so when applied to the second part of the clue.

16d   An orchestra section finishing early -- no one up /for/ a scrape (8)

17d   Most particular /and/ politically correct about net aid being distributed (8)

18d   Medicine that might counteract a love potion? (8)

This is a particular style of cryptic definition which consists of a very general straight definition (the portion of the clue with the solid underline) combined with a cryptic elaboration (the portion of the clue with the dashed underline) that serves to narrow the scope of the definition.

19d   Drain // part of car responsible for emissions (7)
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — DT 27542


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27542
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Setter
Shamus (Philip Marlow)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27542]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Gazza
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

By Gazza's reckoning this puzzle was a bit more difficult than one's we have seen recently. I therefore felt rather pleased — or as the Brits would say, chuffed — to have finished it without resorting to electronic aids.

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

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Former partner's place found by address // search (11)

Pl.[5] (also pl.) is the abbreviation for Place (in street addresses) ⇒ 3 Palmerston Pl., Edinburgh.

7a   Shirt, say, no longer wanted /with/ players away? (4-3)

In this clue, the word "with" serves as a link (expressing causality) between the definition and wordplay. The preposition with[5] may be used to indicate the cause of condition ⇒ he was trembling with fear. Used in this sense, the word "with" essentially means "resulting from".

8a   Maybe Mohican /gets/ dry and cold in cabin (7)

Mohican[5] is the British name for a Mohawk[5] [haircut].

10a   Window /makes/ admirer easy to pick up (8)

In addition to being a semicircular window over a door or window, often having sash bars like the ribs of a fan, the Brits also use the name fanlight[10] for a transom or skylight.

11a   Beef /in/ hotel consumed by footballer right away (6)

Hotel[5] is a code word representing the letter H, used in radio communication.

A winger[5] is an attacking player in football [soccer] as well as in other sports, such as hockey [which, to the Brits, would mean field hockey] and ice hockey [the word "ice" being redundant to a Canadian].

Whinge[5] is an informal British term that, as a verb, means to complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way ⇒ stop whingeing and get on with it! and, as a noun, denotes an act of complaining persistently and peevishly ⇒ she let off steam by having a good whinge.

13a   Jug /in/ dirty place initially covered (4)

Cover means to hide or conceal. Thus "initially covered" is used to clue 'with the initial letter hidden or concealed'.

14a   Get hat and coat confused? /That's/ to be idiotic (3,3,4)

Goat[5] is an informal British term for a stupid person or fool. Thus, to act the goat is to act like a fool ⇒ just for once, stop acting the goat.

16a   Place in which sound quality is cultivated? (6,4)

Health farm[5] is a chiefly British term for a residential establishment where people seek improved health by a regimen of dieting, exercise, and treatment.

18a   House in the Home Counties /for/ trainer perhaps (4)

The Home Counties[5] are the counties surrounding London in southeast (SE) England, into which London has extended.

However, no exact definition of the term exists and the composition of the Home Counties[7] remains a matter of debate. Oxford Dictionaries Online restrictively lists them as being chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire while the cited Wikipedia article provides a considerably longer list.


21a   Remove travel items /from/ peacekeeping group? (6)

22a   A top firm that's defending case in unusual // resort (8)

Acapulco[5] is a port and resort in southern Mexico, on the Pacific coast; population 616,384 (2005). Full name Acapulco de Juárez.

24a   Competitor // hurried into makeshift tent (7)

25a   Appropriately presented // like a nun? (2,5)

26a   Green /and/ wild cornfield bound by banks of estuary (11)

Down

1d   Ascetic restricting source of comfort /in/ perfume (7)

An Essene[5] is a member of an ancient Jewish ascetic sect of the period from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD in Palestine, who lived in highly organized groups and held property in common. The Essenes are widely regarded as the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

2d   Visionary figure announced // gain (6)

3d   Old fellows on strike carrying article /that's/ improvised (3,3,4)

F[2] is the abbreviation for Fellow (of a society, etc). For instance, it is found in professional designations such as FRAIC (Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada).

4d   Scented bag missing sides? // A pain (4)

5d   Man's here /getting/ independent shares I distributed (5,3)

The Isle of Man[5] is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system.

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, perhaps in the context of a politician with no party affiliation.

6d   Admission of failure /in/ retrograde study a don demolished (2,3,2)

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

7d   Establishment unlikely to favour instant consumption? (6,5)

9d   One regularly boosting a rep's income? (7-4)

Rep[5] is an informal shortened form of repertory[5]. It can refer either to the performance of various plays, operas, or ballets by a company at regular short intervals,  or to a repertory theatre or company.

12d   Fetching // a pamphlet I have consumes short time (10)

15d   Being jumpy in bars? (8)

Staccato[5] is a musical direction denoting that a piece is to be performed with each sound or note sharply detached or separated from the others ⇒ a staccato rhythm.

In music notation, a bar[7] (or measure) is a segment of time defined by a given number of beats, each of which are assigned a particular note value. The word bar is more common in British English, and the word measure is more common in American English, although musicians generally understand both usages. Originally, the word bar derives from the vertical lines drawn through the staff [or stave] to mark off metrical units. In British English, these vertical lines are called bar, too, but often the term bar-line is used in order to make the distinction clear. In American English, the word bar stands for the lines and nothing else.

17d   Mate up at sea close to gunwale /for/ Nelson, perhaps (7)

Horatio Nelson[5], Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte (1758–1805) was a British admiral. Nelson became a national hero as a result of his victories at sea in the Napoleonic Wars, especially the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he was mortally wounded.

Nelson[7] was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the sight in one eye in Corsica.

19d   Champion cyclist going over top with a // break (7)

Sir Chris Hoy[5] is a Scottish cyclist. A multiple world champion in track cycling, he won his sixth Olympic gold medal in 2012, more than any other British athlete in history. He shares with Bradley Wiggins the record for the highest total number of Olympic medals won by a British athlete (seven).

20d   Maintain // rising part of ship (6)

23d   Disturb // bird (4)

Stir[5] is an informal term for prison [on both sides of the Atlantic] ⇒ I’ve spent twenty-eight years in stir.

Bird[10] is British slang for prison or a term in prison, especially in the phrase do (one's) bird. This is yet another instance of Cockney rhyming slang (of which we saw several examples in yesterday's puzzle). Bird is shortened from birdlime, rhyming slang for time (as in a prison sentence).

In his review, Gazza mentions porridge[5], another informal British expression for time spent in prison — a term which appeared in yesterday's puzzle.

Although Gazza indicates that stir is "another informal term for bird or porridge", that would not be my understanding. Stir is slang for prison and porridge is slang for time spent in prison, while bird is slang for either prison or time spent in prison. Thus, although stir and porridge are each synonyms of bird (in different senses of this word), they are not synonyms of each other — unless I have misread the dictionaries or the dictionaries do not correctly reflect the way that Brits actually use these terms.
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