Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 — DT 28525

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28525
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28525]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
2Kiwis
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

Today Jay puts us through a moderate workout, one near the lower end of the three-star range.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   A day off? Yes and no! (6)

... yes, it is a day off (work), but not a day on which one is (feeling) off.

Sickie[5] is an informal British term for a day taken as sick leave when one is not actually ill* she took a sickie only last week and enjoyed a morning in bed.

* on this point, two other British dictionaries are less prescriptive than Oxford
  • Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: sickie[2] (originally Australian and New Zealand) a day's sick leave, often without the person actually being ill
  • Collins English Dictionary: sickie[10] a day of sick leave from work, whether for genuine sickness or not
Off (adjective) is an informal British term meaning unwell I felt decidedly off.

Here and There
Sickie[5] is an informal British term for a day taken as sick leave when one is not actually ill* she took a sickie only last week and enjoyed a morning in bed.

* on this point, two other British dictionaries are less prescriptive than Oxford
  • Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: sickie[2] (originally Australian and New Zealand) a day's sick leave, often without the person actually being ill
  • Collins English Dictionary: sickie[10] a day of sick leave from work, whether for genuine sickness or not
In North America, sickie[12] is slang for a sick person, especially one who is emotionally disturbed, sadistic, etc.

4a   Model // European member of parliament left in gallery (8)

"gallery" = TATE (show explanation )

The politician in question is a European MP and not (at least for purposes of the wordplay) a Member of the European Parliament (MEP[5]).

The clue parses as {E (European; abbrev.) + MP (member of parliament; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.)} contained in (in) TATE (gallery).

9a   Bob /is/ short, and scarcely lacking heart (6)

Bob[3] means to curtsy or bow.

10a   Judgment /of/ relations enveloped in obsession (8)

12a   A new editor's // rock (8)

13a   Disappear -- // like a commercial vehicle? (6)

A double definition — the second whimsical.

15a   Like-minded individual, // loving wine and whisky, say (7,6)

A kindred spirit[5] is a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own.


The term kindred spirits always evokes for me an image of Anne Shirley and Diana Barry.

18a   Promote boss's // best products? (6,7)

20a   Bolt wears little // sleeveless tunic (6)

A tabard[2] is a short loose sleeveless jacket or tunic, worn especially by a knight over his armour or, with the arms of the king or queen on the front, by a herald.

Scratching the Surface
Usain Bolt[5] is a  Jamaican athlete. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing he won gold medals in the 100 metre and 200 metre races, setting a new world record time for each. He defended his Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016, winning gold in the 100 metre and 200 metre races both years, and becoming the first athlete to win gold in the 100 metre and 200 metre races three times.

22a   Local // area parasite must drink meths regularly (8)

Local[5] is an informal British term for a pub convenient to a person’s home ⇒ a pint in the local.

Alehouse[5] is a dated term for an inn[5] [in the sense of a pub, typically one in the country, in some cases providing accommodation] or public house[5] [(British) formal term for pub].

Scratching the Surface
Meths[5] is an informal British term for methylated spirit*.

* Methylated spirit[5] (also methylated spirits) is alcohol for general use that has been made unfit for drinking by the addition of about 10 per cent methanol and typically also some pyridine and a violet dye.

24a   Set off alongside dense // woods (8)

25a   Represents // good person joining staff in recession (6)

Enact[5] means to act out (a role or play) on stage Mystery Plays were staged and enacted by members of the guilds.

26a   Cutting // last of remarks before trial (8)

27a   Comments /from/ assistants besieging head of security (6)

Down

1d   Community // also developed outside Channel Islands (6)

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



As synonyms for social, Collins English Thesaurus lists communal, community, and collective.

2d   Temporary manager/'s/ oddly keen in frantic rat race (9)

3d   Cool African party breaking into safe with poorer // person providing cover (9,6)

The African National Congress[5] (abbreviation ANC) is a South African political party and black nationalist organization. Having been banned by the South African government 1960–90, the ANC was victorious in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994 and its leader Nelson Mandela became the country’s President.

Here and There

When it comes to insurance protection, while the same verb form is used in Britain and North America, we use a different form of the noun on this side of the pond.

As a verb, cover[5] means to protect against a liability, loss, or accident involving financial consequences ⇒ your contents are now covered against accidental loss or damage in transit.

However, in the UK, the word cover[5] is used as a noun to denote protection by insurance against a liability, loss, or accident ⇒ your policy provides cover against damage by subsidence. This is equivalent to the North American term coverage[5] meaning the amount of protection given by an insurance policy ⇒ your policy provides coverage against damage by subsidence.

5d   Ring back? (4)

6d   Tipsy UK penpal pinches // food found in tins (9,6)

7d   A politician once needing independent // defence in law (5)

"independent" = I (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

If Liberals are not extinct in the UK, they are certainly high up on the endangered species list.

The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2])* in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists although it has no representation in the UK Parliament, no Members of the European Parliament (MEP), no members of the Scottish Parliament, nor any members of the National Assembly for Wales.[7]

* Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party in Britain — likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5]) — Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

8d   Ingredient of meringue, // for example, with weight adjusted (3,5)

Meringue[5] is an item of sweet food made from a mixture of egg whites and sugar baked until crisp.

11d   Smile in confusion about sport /and/ poor governance (7)

"sport" = RU (show explanation )

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

 Rugby union[7] is the national sport in New Zealand, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Madagascar.

hide explanation

14d   In the best case, // island truly needs to replace leader with daughter (7)

16d   Provided support, /but surly/ about cutting grass (9)

17d   Reclaim it at establishment admitting // copies (8)

19d   Safest going out /for/ meals? (6)

21d   Green stuff /produced in/ tidal inlets, reportedly (5)

Baize[5] is a coarse, typically green woollen material resembling felt, used for covering billiard and card tables.

23d   Floor // enthusiasts given a lift (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 — DT 28524

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28524
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28524]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr Kitty
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★ / ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

The consensus among commenters on Big Dave's Crossword Blog seems to be that this puzzle is, as Kath sums it up at Comment #13, "straightforward and quite good fun". I certainly cannot disagree with that assessment.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

7a   Where acne cream is applied // immediately (2,3,4)

8a   Reportedly hostile // country (5)

10a   Element /that's/ PC? (6)

PC[5] is a British designation for a police constablePC Bartholomew made his report.

11a   Start /seeing/ charmer in boy (6,2)

12a   Club // president's first, say (6)

A putter[5] is a golf club designed for use in putting, typically with a flat-faced head.

14a   Recall titles written about a // mariner (6)

16a   Bird // left old ship (4)

Ark[5] is an archaic name for a ship or boat. The best known example is undoubtedly Noah's ark[5], the ship in which Noah, his family, and the animals were saved from the Flood, according to the biblical account (Gen. 6-8).

17a   Vehicle // shuffled along sadly (5)

18a   Monster // thus returns (4)

19a   Dram for a // baby (6)

Once I had all the checking letters, the only thing I could think of was DIAPER. However, that option was to fail the grade on two counts — one, I couldn't parse it, and two, the British do not use the term (across the pond they are called nappies). My electronic assistants presented me with a list of words that matched the checking letters. However, I still had to select the correct one from the possibilities displayed.

My British dictionaries define nipper[2,5,10] as an informal or colloquial term for a (small) child, while my American dictionaries say that nipper[3,11] means a small boy. The American Heritage Dictionary indicates that the term is chiefly British and Chambers 21st Century Dictionary characterises it as not only informal, but dated ("old colloquial use").

21a   River important /for/ this animal (6)

The Don[5] is river in Russia which rises near Tula, south-east of Moscow, and flows for a distance of 1,958 km (1,224 miles) to the Sea of Azov.

Delving Deeper
As mentioned by Andrew in Comment #8 on Big Dave's Crossword BlogOne doesn’t need to go so far afield for the river in 21. S Yorkshire will do. In fact, there are at least two rivers in the UK that go by that name,  the Don[5] being:
  • a river in Scotland which rises in the Grampians and flows 131 km (82 miles) eastwards to the North Sea at Aberdeen
  • a river in northern England (Yorkshire) which rises in the Pennines and flows 112 km (70 miles) eastwards to join the Ouse shortly before it, in turn, joins the Humber
I would strongly suspect that the Don River in Toronto takes its name from the latter.

24a   A resting drunk, // one won’t react (5,3)

In chemistry, an inert gas[5] (also called noble gas[5]) is any of the gaseous elements helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon, occupying Group 0 (18) of the periodic table. They were long believed to be totally unreactive but compounds of xenon, krypton, and radon are now known.

26a   Empty // vessels, one inside the other (6)

27a   Ostentatious // moment (5)

Flash[5] (adjective) is an informal British term meaning:
  • ostentatiously stylish or expensive a flash new car
  • ostentatiously displaying one's wealth he's a bit flash and refers to his gold card a few times too many
28a   Secret row developed /in/ English city (9)

Worcester[5] is a cathedral city in western England, on the River Severn, the administrative centre of Worcestershire.

Down

1d   Bulb // lit and lit again, one screwed in (5)

2d   Rodent // pink, much maligned! (8)

3d   Liveliness /in/ frisky priest (6)

4d   Lack of American // intelligence (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.

5d   Repeated tea // dance (3-3)

Cha (also chai) is an alternative spelling of char[5], an informal British name for tea [as a drink].



The cha-cha[5] (also cha-cha-cha) is a ballroom dance with small steps and swaying hip movements, performed to a Latin American rhythm.

6d   Palace or monument ultimately rebuilt /for/ old ruler (9)

Cleopatra[5] (also Cleopatra VII) (69-30 BC) was queen of Egypt 47-30 BC, the last Ptolemaic ruler. After a brief liaison with Julius Caesar she formed a political and romantic alliance with Mark Antony. Their ambitions ultimately brought them into conflict with Rome, and she and Antony were defeated at the battle of Actium in 31 BC. She is reputed to have committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp.

9d   Reportedly, film // wasn't a hit (6)

13d   Fast // pace initially in attack (5)

15d   Restrict distribution of beer -- /it's/ basic logic (9)

17d   Illusory image -- // the setter should preserve one on newspaper (6)

"the setter" = ME (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

18d   Some cricket players /can be/ dull (8)

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

20d   Capital gains hard /for/ ecclesiastical district (6)

"hard" = H (show explanation )

H[2,5] is an abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.

hide explanation

22d   Beginner // without sin? (6)

23d   Mountains // in Switzerland, especially (5)

The Andes[5] are a major mountain system running the length of the Pacific coast of South America. Its highest peak is Aconcagua, which rises to a height of 6,960 m (22,834 ft).

25d   Reveal // second question (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017 — DT 28523 (Published Saturday, December 9, 2017)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28523
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, September 4, 2017
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28523]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, December 9, 2017 edition of the National Post.

Introduction

This is the week that the planets align and the puzzles appear in the National Post on the same day of the week on which they were published in the UK — an event that occurs once every six weeks. Thus today's puzzle is a "Monday" offering from Rufus.

I was held up in the southeast corner by the Spanish dance and the Indian prince. The latter was new to me (knowing him only by his alias in 6a) and the former, although it has appeared before, did not come readily to mind.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).

Across

1a   Supports a parent /but/ doesn't talk about it (5,3)

6a   Jack found among big shots, // very rich men (6)

We usually find the letters AB clued by sailor or seaman. Today, Rufus throws a less frequently used device at us.

The entry for jack in The Chambers Dictionary would fill a page if it were not spread over parts of two pages. Among the definitions, one finds jack[1] defined as (often with capital) a sailor.

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.

Nob[5] is an informal British term for a person of wealth or high social position ⇒ it was quite a do—all the nobs were there.



Nabob*[10] is an informal term for a a rich, powerful, or important man.

* Historically, nabob was another term for nawab[10] (see 22d), a Muslim ruling prince or powerful landowner under the Mogul empire in India. The term later came to be applied first to a European who made a fortune in the Orient, especially in India and subsequently to any wealthy or influential person.

9a   Odds on wet weather /causing/ injury (6)

SP[5] is the abbreviation for starting price[7], the odds prevailing on a particular horse in the on-course fixed-odds* betting market at the time a race begins.

* To the best of my limited knowledge in this field, this term would not be encountered in North America as betting on horse racing here is based on parimutuel betting rather than fixed-odds betting.

10a   Quartet heard and observed /as/ anticipated (8)

11a   A Ford not moving // forward -- then back! (2,3,3)

12a   Assumes // parking will be limited by migrating toads (6)

"parking" = P

13a   They raise the spirits (12)

The clue may allude to the fact that the distillation process[7] increases the alcohol content of liquor.

16a   He can't help helping himself (12)

19a   Lively // turn I have put on (6)

A turn[5] is a short performance, especially one of a number given by different performers in succession ⇒ (i) Lewis gave her best ever comic turn; (ii) he was asked to do a turn at a children’s party.

21a   Approached // wanderer uneasily (4,4)

23a   Make message unintelligible /in/ mad rush (8)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops writes Those of us of a certain age may well be reminded by the answer of the likes of Arthur Lampkin and Dave Bickers.
Arthur Lampkin[7] is an English former professional motorcycle racer and Dave Bickers[7] (1938–2014) was an English Grand Prix motocross racer.

Scramble[5] is a British term for a motorcycle race over rough and hilly ground a local landowner allowed some kids to hold a motorbike scramble in the woods.

24a   Check // rower's seat (6)

25a   Add // a very quiet finale (6)

Pianissimo[5,10] (abbreviation pp[5,10]) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very soft or very quiet or (as an adverb) very softly or very quietly.

26a   Dance // orchestra with woman leader (8)

The saraband[5] (also sarabande) is a slow, stately Spanish dance in triple time.

Down

2d   Make use of // unfinished polymer plastic (6)

3d   Simple // sort of medieval song? (5)

Plainsong[5] (also known as plainchant[5]) is unaccompanied church music sung in unison in medieval modes and in free rhythm corresponding to the accentuation of the words, which are taken from the liturgy.

4d   Comic often aims /to make/ political statement (9)

5d   Members of Italian society breaking the rules (7)

A mafioso[10] (plural mafiosos or mafiosi) is a person belonging to the Mafia.

6d   Mean to get a // girl (5)

7d   See // man on board crushing endless grain (9)

A bishop [5] is a chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a mitre, that can move any number of spaces in any direction along a diagonal on which it stands. Each player starts the game with two bishops, one moving on white squares and the other on black.



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

* A diocese[5] is a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Churchor, more precisely, episcopal churches.
** A cathedral[5] is the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is officially associated.
*** A pro-cathedral[5] (or procathedral[10] is a church used as a substitute for a cathedral.

Bishopric[5] is another term for a diocese, a district under a bishop's control.

8d   Had inspiration? (8)

13d   Not unique // type of bridge (9)

Duplicate bridge[5] is a competitive form of bridge in which the same hands are played successively by different partnerships.

14d   Queen's favourite // isle? Crete possibly (9)

Robert Dudley[5], Earl of Leicester (c.1532–88) was an English nobleman, military commander, and favourite of Elizabeth I.

Scratching the Surface
Crete[5] is a Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean.

15d   A death sentence impending /or/ just some bird? (8)

This is not a double definition as the numeration (5,3) for the first part of the clue does not match that given.

In English law, the black cap[7] was worn by a judge when passing a sentence of death. Although it is called a "cap", it is not made to fit the head like a typical cap does; instead it is a simple plain square made of black fabric. It was based on Tudor Court headgear. When worn, it is placed on the head on top of the judicial wig, with one of the four corners of the black fabric facing outward.

The death penalty has now been abolished in England and Wales, but the black cap is still part of a judge's official regalia, and as such it is still carried into the High Court by each sitting judge when full ceremonial dress is called for. It is worn every year on 9 November when the new Lord Mayor of the City of London is presented to the Law Courts.



The blackcap[5] is a mainly European warbler (Sylvia atricapilla) with a black cap in the male and a reddish-brown one in the female. In North America, blackcap is another name for the black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus).

17d   Publicity coverage /for/ speech (7)

18d   Not a Mr mistaken /as/ Mrs? (6)

A matron[5] is an older married woman, especially one who is staid or dignified.

20d   Be sent up to bed, // having gone into a decline (5)

22d   Bwana's new // title? (5)

Nawab[2,10] (also called nabob, see 6a) is a historical term for a Muslim ruling prince or powerful landowner under the Mogul empire in India.

Scratching the Surface
Bwana[5] is an East African term for a boss or master (often used as a title or form of address)he can't hear you, bwana.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017 — Fielding a Full Team

Introduction

Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon did not put up much of a struggle and was polished off fairly readily.

There is a bit of a Roman flavour to the puzzle what with all the Roman numerals and stopover at the Vatican. A couple of clues are timely — albeit no doubt wholly unintentionally — in that they have indirect links to accusations of sexual abuse that have been much in the news lately. I suppose one could even extend that list to include the clue related to the Church of Rome (although that is old news).

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

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

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

Across

1a   Sign sailor in, interrupting army meal/’s/ fleeting quality (13)

M(OMEN|TAR|IN)ESS — {OMEN (sign) + TAR (sailor) + IN (†)} contained in (interrupting) MESS (army meal)

9a   Army // lost soldier, taking one on (7)

M(I|LIT)IA — MIA (lost soldier; abbrev. for 'missing in action') containing (taking) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + LIT (on)}

10a   Bagel eaten by playwright/’s/ dog (7)

P(O)INTER — O ([letter that looks like a] bagel) contained in (eaten by) PINTER (playwright; English playwright Harold Pinter[7])

11a   Dog // food (4)

CHOW — double definition

12a   Inhabiting // post office, paint lug nuts (10)

PO|PULATING* — PO (post office; abbrev.) + anagram (nuts) of PAINT LUG

14a   Said, “Funny // bone” (7)

HUMERUS~ — sounds like (said) HUMOROUS (funny)

15a   Doctor with a sharp blade // scraped deep down (7)

DR|EDGED — DR (doctor; abbrev.) + EDGED (with a sharp blade)

The adjective "edged" may, but does not necessarily, imply a sharp edge. Otherwise, why would we need words such as "sharp-edged" and "blunt-edged".

16a   Erroneously call // Mac married (7)

MISTER|M — MISTER (Mac; informal form of address for a man) + M (married; abbrev.)

19a   Outfielder getting into small, divine // kind of pie (7)

S|HO(OF)LY — OF (outfielder; abbrev. for fielding position in baseball) contained in (getting into) {S (small; abbrev.) + HOLY (divine)}

Shoofly pie*[3] is a pie with a filling of molasses and brown sugar and a crumble topping.

* So called because one will supposedly have to shoo away the flies attracted to the sweet filling.

21a   Widening // street taken by actress in American Beauty (10)

B(ROAD)ENING —ROAD (street) contained in (taken by) BENING (actress in American Beauty; American actress Annette Bening[7] who co-starred in the 1999 American drama film American Beauty[7])

Life Not Imitating Art?
American Beauty stars Kevin Spacey[7] as Lester Burnham, a 42-year-old advertising executive who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela (played by Mena Suvari). Annette Bening co-stars as Lester's materialistic wife, Carolyn, and Thora Birch plays their insecure daughter, Jane.

In real life, Spacey's unwanted attentions were directed at young men rather than young women.

22a   Stealthily take // tropical tree (4)

PALM — double definition

25a   Stuck-up // literature is collected by alien (7)

E(LIT|IS)T — {LIT (literature; abbrev.) + IS (†)} contained in (collected by) ET (alien; title character from the 1982 American science fiction fantasy film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7])

26a   Commercial about some lofty real estate // was touching? (7)

A(BUTTE)D — AD (commercial) containing (about) BUTTE (some lofty real estate)

27a   Draw for Roman tourists // then is special after renovations (7,6)

{SISTINE CHAPEL}* — anagram (after renovations) of THEN IS SPECIAL

The Sistine Chapel[5] is a chapel in the Vatican, built in the late 15th century by Pope Sixtus IV, containing a painted ceiling and fresco of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo and also frescoes by Botticelli.

Down

1d   Copy // 1001 + 1001 + 100 (5)

MI|MI|C — MI ([Roman numeral for] 1001) + MI (ditto) + C ([Roman numeral for] 100)

2d   Company in shopping centre with Monsieur // X? (7)

MAL(CO)L|M — CO (company; abbrev.) contained in MALL (shopping centre) + (with) M (Monsieur; abbrev.)

Malcolm X[5] (1925–1965) was an American political activist; born Malcolm Little. He joined the Nation of Islam in 1946 and became a vigorous campaigner for black rights, initially advocating the use of violence. In 1964 he converted to orthodox Islam and moderated his views on black separatism; he was assassinated the following year.

3d   Observe // English school making a comeback (4)

NOTE< — reversal (making a comeback) of ETON (English school)

Eton College[7], often informally referred to simply as Eton, is an English independent boarding school for boys located in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is one of ten English schools, commonly referred to as public schools, regulated by the Public Schools Act of 1868.

Here and There
In Britain, an independent school[10] is a school that is neither financed nor controlled by the government or local authorities; in other words, an independent school[2] is not paid for with public money and does not belong to the state school system.

In Britain, a public school[2] is a particular category of independent school, namely a secondary school, especially a boarding school, run independently of the state and financed by a combination of endowments and pupils' fees.

Another category of independent school is the private school[2,5] which is a school run independently by an individual or group, especially for profit and supported wholly by the payment of fees.

What we in North America would call a public school[2], is known in the UK as a state school[5] or a maintained school*.

* In England and Wales, a maintained school[5] is a school that is funded by a local education authority.

4d   A pitch keeping Albert // speechless? (2,1,4)

A|T (A L)OSS — {A (†) + TOSS (pitch)} containing (keeping) AL ([diminutive form of] Albert)

The solution may come up a bit short in that "speechless" would seemingly mean 'at a loss for words'. Perhaps that accounts for the question mark in the clue.

5d   Call me Ezra /or/ shut up (7)

IM|POUND — IM (call me; I'm) + POUND (Ezra; expatriate American poet Ezra Pound[7])

6d   Role for Madonna // playing a TV pioneer (5,5)

{EVITA PERON}* — anagram (playing) of A TV PIONEER

American singer Madonna played the title role in the 1996 American musical drama film Evita[7] which depicts the life of Eva Perón (popularly known by her nickname Evita), the wife of former Argentine President Juan Perón.

7d   Holding office, /and/ smart about it (7)

S(IT)TING — STING (smart) containing (about) IT (†)

Full without bending, // in an icy way (8)

F|RIGIDLY — F (full; abbrev. found on fuel gauges) + RIGIDLY (without bending)

13d   Infielders confused // fans? (10)

FRIENDLIES* — anagram (confused) of INFIELDERS

Another question mark — and another stretched definition?

14d   Local athlete/’s/ yoga chant in Semitic language (8)

H(OM)EBREW — OM (yoga chant) contained in (in) HEBREW (Semitic language)

Om[5] is a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. It appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts. It is also a customary chant in the practice of yoga.



Home-brew[10] is an informal Canadian term for a professional football player who was born in Canada and is not an import.

17d   Southern conservatives/’/ accounts (7)

S|TORIES — S (southern; abbrev.) + TORIES (conservatives)

18d   Opera composer // breaking into Met (7)

MENOTTI* — anagram (breaking) of INTO MET

Gian Menotti[5] (1911–2007) was a US composer; born in Italy. He wrote the operas The Old Maid and the Thief (1939), The Consul (1950), and Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951).

Scratching the Surface
The Metropolitan Opera[7], commonly referred to as "The Met", is a company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

James Levine served as Music Director of the Met from 1976 to 2016 and then as Music Director Emeritus until December 2017, when the Met suspended its relationship with him  following the public revelation of accusations that decades earlier he had repeatedly sexually abused multiple young males over periods of years while they had been his music students.

19d   New Mexico town // vault with bug inside (5,2)

S(ANT)A FE — SAFE (vault) containing (with ... inside) ANT (bug)

Santa Fe[5] is the capital of New Mexico, in the north central part of the state. It was founded as a mission by the Spanish in 1610. From 1821 until 1880, it served as the terminus of the Santa Fe Trail. Taken by US forces in 1846 during the Mexican War, it became the capital of New Mexico in 1912.

20d   To-do about poor tot/’s/ short haircut (4-3)

FLA(T-TO)*P — FLAP (to-do) containing (about) an anagram (poor) of TOT

A flat-top[5] is a man's hairstyle in which the hair is cropped short so that it bristles up into a flat surface.

23d   Award // dinner or lunch accommodating 500 (5)

ME(D)AL — MEAL (dinner or lunch) containing (accommodating) D ([Roman numeral for] 500)

24d   Swamp plant // included among citrus hybrids (4)

_RUS|H_ — hidden in (included among) citRUS Hybrids

Epilogue

The theme of today's review is inspired by the baseball players found at 19a and 13d.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon