Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017 — World Tour

Introduction

I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a nice mental workout — definitely not a read and write, but also not overly taxing.

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

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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

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

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

Across

1a   Egg on // travel advertisement (4)

GO|AD — GO (travel) + AD (advertisement)

3a   Step into exhibits // where rockets take off (10)

S(PACE)PORTS — PACE (step) contained in (into) SPORTS (exhibits; as a verb)

10a   Bandmaster // then with United States Army (5)

SO|USA — SO (then) + (with) USA (United States Army; acronym)

John Philip Sousa[5] (1854–1932) was an American composer and conductor. His works include more than a hundred marches, for example The Stars and Stripes.

Scratching the Surface
In reality, Sousa's military service[7] did not include a stint in the US Army. He served two periods of service in the United States Marine Corps. The first was from 1868 (age 13) to 1875 (age 20) as a musician. The second was from 1880 to 1892 during which he was the leader of the Marine Band in Washington, D.C. Under his leadership, the Marine Band became the premier military band in the United States resulting in Sousa becoming nationally famous.

In 1917, at the age of 62 and shortly after the United States entered World War I, Sousa was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. During the war, Sousa led the Navy Band at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, Illinois.

11a   Wandering Roman made // notes (9)

MEMORANDA* — anagram (wandering) of ROMAN MADE

12a   Individuals entering populous land, // nation of islands (9)

IND(ONES)IA — ONES (individuals) contained in (entering) INDIA (populous land)

13a   Jet // away from home east of Spain (5)

SP|OUT — OUT (away from home) following (east of) SP (Spain; abbrev.)

14a   Roughly right // distance around (5)

GIRTH* — anagram (roughly) RIGHT

15a   Aircraft/’s/ journey on course (8)

TRIP|LANE — TRIP (journey) + (on) LANE (course)

The setters contravene the sparingly observed cryptic crossword convention that "on" — used as a charade indicator in an across clue — signifies 'following'  (show explanation )

"A on B" Convention
A sometimes ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already have been positioned (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it.

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

18a   Reprimand // is received by virgin (8)

CHAST(IS)E — IS (†) contained in (received by) CHASTE (virgin)

20a   Cookie // fight about iron (5)

WA(FE)R — WAR (fight) containing (about) FE ([symbol for the chemical element] iron)

23a   Send // clock back (5)

REMIT< — reversal (back) of TIMER (clock)

25a   Local resident interrupted by arranged // story (9)

N(ARR)ATIVE — NATIVE (local resident) containing (interrupted by) ARR (arranged; abbrev. found on musical scores preceding the name of the arranger)

27a   Run into very hot // Netflix option for viewing (9)

ST(R)EAMING — R (run; abbrev. used in baseball and cricket) contained in (into) STEAMING (very hot)

Netflix, Inc.[7] is an American entertainment company that provides streaming media and video-on-demand online and DVD by mail. In 2013, Netflix expanded into film and television production, as well as online distribution. Netflix started in 1997 as a DVD sales and rental business, adding streaming media in 2007. The company expanded internationally, with streaming made available to Canada in 2010 and continued growing its streaming service from there; by January 2016, Netflix services operated in over 190 countries.

28a   Impress // doctor at the back of the boat (5)

DR|AFT — DR (doctor; abbrev.) + AFT (at the back of the boat)

Impress[5] is used in the historical sense meaning to force (someone) to serve in an army or navy ⇒ a number of Poles, impressed into the German army.

While one might infer from the definition that it is not necessary to force people to serve in the Air Force, the truth is that the Air Force did not exist when this practice was in vogue.

29a   Some Africans // understand about northeastern storms (10)

SE(NE|GALES)E — SEE (understand) containing (about) {NE (northeastern) + GALES (storms)}

30a   Laze, after stirring // fire (4)

ZEAL* — anagram (after stirring) of LAZE

Down

1d   Young waterfowl // pass supportive bands (8)

GO|SLINGS — GO (pass; as years go by) + SLINGS (supportive bands)

2d   In two parts // while hypnotized (7)

AS|UNDER — AS (while) + UNDER (hypnotized)

4d   Dog’s eating first of many // shoes (5)

PU(M)PS — {PUP (dog) + S ('s)} containing (eating) M (first [letter] of Many)

5d   Dinner with one in subterranean room // got animated (4,5)

CA(ME AL|I)VE — {MEAL (dinner) + I ([Roman numeral for] one)} contained in (in) CAVE (subterranean room)

6d   European capital // is behind average (5)

PAR|IS — IS (†) following (behind) PAR (average)

7d   Asian capital // managed by thug (7)

RAN|GOON — RAN (managed) + (by) GOON (thug)

I'm afraid this clue is rather dated. Rangoon[5] is the former capital of Burma (Myanmar), a port in the Irrawaddy delta; population 4,088,000 (est. 2007). For centuries a Buddhist religious centre, it is the site of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, built over 2,500 years ago. The modern city was established by the British in the mid 19th century and was the capital from 1886 until it was replaced by Naypyidaw in 2005.

8d   Greek city/’s/ health resort filled with creative works (6)

SP(ART)A — SPA (health resort) containing (filled with) ART (creative works)

Sparta[2,5], a city in the southern Peloponnese in Greece, was a powerful city state in the 5th century BC, defeating its rival Athens in the Peloponnesian War to become the leading city of Greece. The city was noted for its austerity and its citizens were characterized by their courage and endurance in battle and by the simplicity and brevity of their speech.

9d   Starts // midday breaks around middle of May (8)

L(A)UNCHES — LUNCHES (midday breaks) containing (around) A (middle [letter] of MAy)

15d   Test about nine bananas // every three years (9)

TRI(ENNI*)AL or TR(IENN*)IAL — TRIAL (test) containing (about) anagram (bananas) of NINE

16d   Bird also found in large and small // areas near sea level (8)

L(OWL|AND)S — {OWL (bird) + AND (also)} contained in {L (large; abbrev.) + (and) S (small; abbrev.)}

17d   Eccentric relation // from the East (8)

ORIENTAL* — anagram (eccentric) of RELATION

19d   Rome in ruins taken in by old nomad // round-tripper (4,3)

H(OME R*)UN — anagram (in ruins) of ROME contained in (taken in by) HUN (old nomad)

In baseball, a home run[5] is a hit that allows the batter to make a complete circuit of the bases and score a run.

21d   Ship/’s/ gear contributed to fortune (7)

F(RIG)ATE — RIG (gear) contained in (contributed to) FATE (fortune)

A frigate[5] is a warship with a mixed armament, generally lighter than a destroyer (in the US navy, heavier) and of a kind originally introduced for convoy escort work.

22d   Holds // pot containing penny (6)

GRAS(P)S — GRASS (pot; marijuana) containing () P (penny; abbrev. for British unit of currency)

24d   Shania missing one good // country singer’s sound (5)

TWAN|G — TWA[I]N (Shania; Canadian singer Shania Twain[7]) with the I deleted (missing [Roman numeral for] one) + G (good; abbrev. used by teachers to grade academic work)

26d   Sitar music /from/ one wearing tattered clothing (5)

RAG(A)S — A (one) contained in (wearing) RAGS (tattered clothing)

The sitar[5] is a large, long-necked Indian lute with movable frets, played with a wire pick.

In Indian classical music, a raga[5] is:
  • each of the six basic musical modes which express different moods in certain characteristic progressions, with more emphasis placed on some notes than others; or
  • a piece using a particular raga.

Epilogue

We start today's puzzle perusing travel advertisements, then tour a space exhibit, meet a wandering Roman, visit a populous island nation in the Far East, jet away to Spain noting that our aircraft is on course, meet a local resident, impress a doctor on a cruise to a stormy West African nation, relax by a campfire, do some bird watching, visit several cities spread across Europe and the Orient, encounter an old nomad, and finish up with a concert in India.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017 — DT 28317

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28317
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, January 6, 2017
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28317]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 28313 through DT 28316 which were published in The Daily Telegraph from Monday, January 2, 2017 to Thursday, January 5, 2016.

Introduction

The editors at the National Post are in a frisky mood today, leaping over nearly an entire week's worth of puzzles to land of this one from Giovanni.

As I solve puzzles, I often come across words used in senses that don't come readily to mind causing me to ask "Does that word really mean that". Experience has taught me that they usually do — if one can only discover the correct nuance of meaning that the setter has in 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 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   Party given by general /in/ the field (6)

Nuances of Meaning
Here, general[10] means of, including, applying to, or participated in by all or most of the members of a group, category, or community.

4a   Hunter /taking/ part rode excitedly (8)

10a   Hesitant // female becoming different (9)

11a   A king in haunt of vice going about // undisguised (5)

"king" = K (show explanation )

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

12a   Race around river after short time // training (7)

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

Nuances of Meaning
Nurture[5] is defined as upbringing, education, and environment, contrasted with inborn characteristics as an influence on or determinant of personality. Often contrasted with nature.

13a   Bizarre // row initiated by holy person (7)

14a   Road // blocked by black car that's rolled over (5)

15a   Quite inferior // old car is seen in Switzerland (8)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Switzerland is CH[5] [from French Confédération Helvétique 'Swiss Confederation'].

18a   Boring group of people // that may be seen at Ascot (4,4)

Ascot Racecourse[7] is a British racecourse, located in Ascot, Berkshire, England, which is used for thoroughbred horse racing (both flat racing*  and National Hunt racing**). It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting nine of Britain's 32*** annual Group 1 horse races. The course enjoys close associations with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.

* A flat race[5] is a horse race over a course with no jumps, as opposed to a steeplechase or hurdles.
** National Hunt racing[7] is the official name given to that form of the sport of horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland in which the horses are required to jump fences and ditches. National Hunt racing in the UK is divided into two major distinct branches: hurdles and steeplechases. Alongside these there are "bumpers", which are National Hunt flat races. In a hurdles race, the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles; in a steeplechase the horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jump or an open ditch.
***  In another article, Wikipedia now lists 36 Group 1 races in Great Britain[7] — up from the 35 listed on my previous perusal of the article.

20a   Dance // round on one leg, say (5)

The limbo[5] is a West Indian dance in which the dancer bends backward to pass under a horizontal bar that is progressively lowered to a position just above the ground.

23a   International organisation's restricted, // exhausted? No (7)

"international organisation" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations[5] (abbreviation UN) is an international organization of countries set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace, security, and cooperation.

hide explanation

25a   Dad collects the thing beside street –- // quick pause in journey (3,4)

26a   Smell // nothing? Grim (5)

27a   Perhaps a Maine inhabitant // always keeping behind (9)

28a   Worries with the woman getting stuck in // floods (8)

29a   Saw // the fellow left between the sheets? (6)

Down

1d   Like a particular article /for/ sure (8)

2d   Disease /brings/ false alarm to borders of India (7)

3d   6 may want this cooler (3,6)

The numeral "6" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 6d in its place to complete the clue. The directional indicator is customarily omitted in situations such as this where only a single clue starts in the light* that is being referenced.

* light-coloured cell in the grid

5d   Regrets depot is needing to reform // mail service (10,4)

Registered post[5] is the British term for registered mail. Ironically, registered post is a service of the Royal Mail and registered mail is a service of Canada Post.

6d   One who eats // his meal half-heartedly? (5)

7d   Proceeds /from/ army college (7)

"army" = 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

King's College[7] is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge. King's was founded in 1441 by Henry VI, soon after he had founded its sister college in Eton.

King's College London[7] (informally King's or KCL) is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a founding constituent college of the federal University of London. King's was established in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington and received its royal charter in the same year. In 1836, King's became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London.

Takings[10] is a [most assuredly British] term for the income earned, taken or received by a shop, business, etc. The pub said that their takings were fifteen to twenty thousand pounds a week.

8d   Showing more embarrassment, looking up and down (6)

9d   Detect man in NHS wanting reform, // being fed up (14)

16d   They open parcel finally -- awkward // wrapping? (9)

Polythene[5] (contraction of polyethylene) is a British term for a tough, light flexible synthetic resin made by polymerizing ethylene, chiefly used for plastic bags, food containers, and other packaging.

Where have I heard that?
North Americans may be familiar with the term polythene from "Polythene Pam"[7], a song written by John Lennon, credited to Lennon–McCartney, and performed by the Beatles on their album Abbey Road. The song is part of the B-side medley.

17d   Worried about nothing, politician /gets/ weighed up (8)

"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (abbreviation MP[5]) or, informally, as a member[5].

hide explanation

19d   Lithe, // upwardly-mobile model featured in story (7)

Kate Moss[7] is an English model. Arriving at the end of the "supermodel era", Moss rose to fame in the early 1990s as part of the heroin chic fashion trend. Her collaborations with Calvin Klein brought her to fashion icon status. She is known for her waifish figure, and role in size zero fashion (see box).

Born in Croydon, Surrey, she was discovered in 1988 at age 14 by Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm Model Management, at JFK Airport in New York City. She received an award at the 2013 British Fashion Awards to acknowledge her contribution to fashion over 25 years. Moss is also a contributing fashion editor for British Vogue. Moss has had her own clothing range and has been involved in musical projects.

In 2007, TIME named her one of the world's 100 most influential people. She has inspired cultural depictions including a £1.5m ($2.8m) 18 carat gold statue of her, sculpted in 2008 for a British Museum exhibition.

Delving Deeper
Size zero[7] (or size 0) is a women's clothing size in the US catalog sizes system. Size 0 and 00 were invented due to the changing of clothing sizes over time (referred to as vanity sizing or size inflation), which has caused the adoption of lower numbers. For example, a 2011 size 0 is equivalent to a 2001 size 2, and is larger than a 1970 size 6 or 1958 size 8. Modern size 0 clothing, depending on brand and style, fits measurements of chest-stomach-hips from 30-22-32 inches (76-56-81 cm) to 33-25-35 inches (84-64-89 cm). Size 00 can be anywhere from 0.5 to 2 inches (1 to 5 cm) smaller than size 0. Size zero often refers to extremely thin individuals (especially women and adolescent girls), or trends associated with them.

21d   Performance, // dull one, needs to be cut by 40 per cent (7)

According to Oxford Dictionaries, mat[5] is the US spelling of matt[5] (or matte), an adjective used to describe a surface or colour which is dull and flat or without a shine (i) prints are available on matt or glossy paper; (ii) a matt black. I am only familiar with the spelling matte.

22d   Discourage // delay (3,3)

24d   One may ward off the effects of a strike (5)

In Britain, earth is used as a noun[5] to mean an electrical connection to the ground, regarded as having zero electrical potential ensure metal fittings are electrically bonded to earth and as a verb[5] to mean to connect (an electrical device) with the ground the front metal panels must be soundly earthed. The equivalent term in North American is ground (both as a noun[5] and a verb[5]).

I can't help but note the irony — not unlike the situation with post and mail discussed at 5d — that Oxford Dictionaries displays in defining earth as a British term meaning an "electrical connection to the ground" and ground as a North American term meaning an "electrical connection to the earth".
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017 — DT 28312

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28312
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28312 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28312 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
Notes
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Introduction

Despite appearing in the UK on New Year's Eve, this puzzle contains no seasonal references. Well, that is not entirely true, there is a reference to the season in which we are currently in the midst of.

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   Clears bed/'s/ clothes after a loss (5)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, gnomethang has gone beyond the edge of the bed in marking the first definition.

Weeds[5] is short for widows weeds[5], black clothes worn by a widow in mourning.

4a   Misleadingly articulate // girl goes to gallery (8)

"gallery" = TATE (show explanation )

8a   French author's second // risque character (8)

Jean Racine[5] (1639–1699) was a French playwright. Central to most of his tragedies is a perception of the blind folly of human passion, continually enslaved and unsatisfied. Notable works: Andromaque (1667) and Phèdre (1677).

9a   Press for // a meeting about war hero admitting nothing (8)

The Victoria Cross[5] (abbreviation VC[5]) is a decoration awarded for conspicuous bravery in the Commonwealth armed services, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856.

11a   That woman's name recalled // one with unorthodox views (7)

The wordplay parses as HER (that woman) + ('s; contraction for has) reversal (recalled) of CITE (name).

13a   Infatuation /shown by/ part of conference, say, supporting old boy (9)

"old boy" = OB (show explanation )

In Britain, an old boy[5] (abbreviation OB[2])  is:
  1. a former male student of a school or college ⇒an old boy of Banbury County School; or
  2. a former male member of a sports team or company ⇒ the White Hart Lane old boy squared the ball to present an easy chance from 12 yards.
It is also a chiefly British affectionate form of address to a boy or man ⇒ ‘Look here, old boy,’ he said.

hide explanation

As a charade indicator, I can only conclude that "supporting" must mean "following" in the sense of  being a fan (of  a sports team, for example) rather than in the physical sense of bearing the weight of or holding up as it would if this were a down clue.

15a   What a person must do to get into Oxford? // Commit a faux pas (3,4,4,2,2)

A double definition in which the first is cryptic, stating what the phrase constituting the solution might mean if interpreted literally.

18a   Left-winger may take such // editing (9)

As gnomethang indicates in his review, the wordplay must be considered as an entire phrase.

21a   Source of better advice, // priest gets conversion after time (7)

Here "better advice" is information provided to those wagering on the outcome of horse races.

22a   Spray disease of plant /that's/ suspect (8)

Rust[5] is a fungal disease of plants which results in reddish or brownish patches.

24a   Clears of building, /getting/ outside (8)

25a   Wicked woman // cast off vice (3-5)

26a   Was inclined /to make/ fast time covering area (5)

While this clue may not have been very seasonal when it appeared in the UK on New Year's Eve, that is certainly not the case today as we find ourselves precisely at the midpoint of Lent.

Down

1d   Someone in church /with/ proper wish to reform (10)

In his review, gnomethang generously adds a letter to the fodder that neither appears in the clue nor is necessary to form the solution.

2d   Starter of escalope Cliff obtained // that may be served in bistro (8)

A scar[5] is a steep high cliff or rock outcrop, especially of limestone ⇒ high limestone scars bordered the road.

Scratching the Surface
Starter[5] is a chiefly British* term meaning the first course of a meal.

* according to Oxford Dictionaries, British, but certainly a term that I would say is by no means foreign to Canada

An escalope[5] (also escallop)  is a thin slice of meat without any bone, typically a special cut of veal from the leg that is coated, fried, and served in a sauce.

3d   Maybe bar // contains nuts (8)

Sanction[5] is an interesting word, being effectively its own antonym. It can mean either official permission or approval for an action or a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule. Thus, it may denote either bar or the opposite of bar.

4d   The rise // of James Anderson (4)

Scratching the Surface
To the Brits, the surface of this clue suggested cricket. The only thing that came to my mind was Jim Anderson, the title character from the 1950s American sitcom Father Knows Best[7]. Now, that rather dates me!

James Anderson[7] is an English cricketer who plays for Lancashire and the England cricket team. He is England's all-time highest international wicket-taker* when combined across all three international cricket match formats**, being the country's leading wicket taker in Test match and One-Day cricket. He is the first English bowler to reach a 400 wicket-haul in International Test Cricket, and is currently the 6th highest Test wicket-taker of all time. He has been recently ranked No.1 in the International Cricket Council Test Bowler's Rankings.

On 25 July 2016, during the second Test of an England Pakistan series at Manchester, he became the first seamer*** to take 50 wickets against all other 7 Major Test playing nations, i.e. Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

The surface of the clue may allude to the rough start to Anderson's career. He made his international debut at the age of just 20, on England's 2002-2003 tour of Australia. Later in 2003 he experienced a dip in form and confidence against South Africa. After this he was in and out**** of the team and experienced numerous injuries, including a stress fracture of the back which kept him out of action for most of the 2006 season. He returned to action and features regularly in England's international cricket teams.


* To take a wicket[5] (said of a bowler or a fielding side) means to dismiss a batsman.
** Test matches (a four-innings match — two innings per team — which may last up to five days), One Day Internationals (a form of limited overs cricket in which each team faces a fixed number of overs, usually 50), and Twenty20 Internationals (a form of limited overs cricket in which each team faces 20 overs).
*** short for seam bowler[10], a fast bowler who makes the ball bounce on its seam so that it will change direction.
**** In Britain, one is said to be in or out of a team rather than on or off a team.

5d   Games being taken up // gives sharper edge (6)

6d   Part of jacket seen on an independent // fashion designer (6)

"independent" = I (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Giorgio Armani[5] is an Italian fashion designer.

7d   Nick/'s/ advantage (4)

In his review, gnomethang says that the first definition means a cut. While nick can certainly mean cut, I am not aware that edge means cut?

In cricket, edge[10] means to to hit (a bowled ball) with the edge of the bat. I am not sure if this is an intended outcome or an inadvertent one, but I suspect it may well be the latter.

In baseball, if I were to swing poorly and not make good contact with a ball, I might say I just nicked it. However, apart from the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary which defines nick[11] as to hit or injure slightly and Webster’s New World College Dictionary which defines nick[12] as to strike lightly and glancingly, I could not find this sense of the word in my dictionaries. By the way, both of the dictionaries cited are American.

10d   Money off // record released around November (8)

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

12d   Lower undergarments -- bloomers (8)

Lower is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of something that lows (moos) — in other words, a bovine animal.

The cowslip[5] is a European primula with clusters of drooping fragrant yellow flowers in spring, growing on dry grassy banks and in pasture. It is also the name of any of a number of other herbaceous plants.

14d   Flask placed in bag // at the bottom (10)

16d   Rhythm really oddly // unspiritual (8)

17d   Oil-bearing region // on earth's being developed (5,3)

The North Sea[5] is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that lies between the mainland of Europe and the coast of Britain, important for its oil and gas deposits.

19d   Party -- wise /to get/ amount of drug? (6)

20d   Minister's assistant /and/ copper going over charge (6)

"copper" = CU (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from late Latin cuprum).

hide explanation

Curate[5] can mean:
  • (also assistant curate) a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest; or
  • (archaic) a minister with pastoral responsibility.
22d   Assemble /for/ service (4)

23d   Follow // story as told (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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 — DT 28311

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28311
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 30, 2016
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28311]
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

For a Giovanni puzzle, this is a rather gentle workout. Moreover, despite having been published in the UK in the period between Christmas and New Year's, it contains only the most minimal of acknowledgements to the season.

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   Pointed comment by squire finally -- hint /to provide/ party food (8)

Scratching the Surface
A squire[10] is a country gentleman in England, especially the main landowner in a rural community.

In feudal history, a squire[10] was a young man of noble birth, who attended upon a knight.

9a   Lack of interest /in/ a course leading to the unknown (6)

"the unknown" = Y (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

hide explanation

10a   Uncontrolled /or/ organised party attracting thousand? (6)

11a   Hellish situation -- love's going wrong -- // collapse emotionally (8)

In Roman mythology, Dis[10] is:
  • (also called Orcus or Pluto) the god of the underworld; or
  • the abode of the dead or underworld.
The equivalent in Greek mythology is Hades[10].

12a   First opportunity for panto actor to get into gear? (5,9)

The word "panto" is superfluous and would appear to be thrown in merely as a nod to the time of year when the puzzle appeared in the UK.

Panto[5] is an informal British short form for pantomime[5], a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

15a   Missile // starts to seem costly -- unwanted deterrent? (4)

Scud[10] is an informal name for a Soviet-made surface-to-surface missile, originally designed to carry nuclear warheads and with a range of 300 km; later modified to achieve greater range: used by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War and in the Gulf Wars.

17a   Worried /and/ frightened leader getting put off (5)

19a   Set out /to give/ help to learner (4)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

The rationale for "A to B" denoting B + A is similar to that of "A on B" denoting B + A in an across clue. In order for A to be given to B (or for A to be placed on B), B must already have been positioned (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it.

20a   Exercise influence // to withdraw an orchestral section (4,3,7)

A sort of double definition in which the second definition is a possible literal interpretation of the phrase.

23a   Not one of us // will change our diets (8)

25a   Bug /in/ weed (6)

27a   Get away /and/ pray sixty minutes after midnight? (6)

28a   After strike, seek men's // submission (8)

I presume that the use of strike as an anagram indicator may relate to a blacksmith forming a piece of iron into a horseshoe or other useful implement.

Down

1d   Grand, in the manner of // festivity (4)

"grand" = G (show more )

While the abbreviation G for "grand" is deemed by the Brits to be an Americanism, it seems to be one that is well known to them — undoubtedly from American gangster films.

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  1. Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5];
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2];
  3. Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[10] .
hide explanation

2d   Tolerates // biased rambling (6)

3d   Boss // appearing in the advertisement (4)

4d   An upset you finally might get on the briny? (6)

In an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue) such as this, the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

5d   What may move our case (last bit of travel)? (8)

Whereas the previous clue was a true &lit. clue, this one is a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), in which the entire clue acts as the definition while only the portion of the clue with the dashed underline provides the wordplay.

6d   Put pitch on the outside of shed, // using a particular tool (10)

The wordplay parses as SLING (pitch) containing (put ... on the outside of) HOVEL (shed).

8d   Material // at bottom of river is mostly hardened clay (7)

The Cam[10] is a river in eastern England, in Cambridgeshire, flowing through Cambridge to the Great Ouse* (river). Length: about 64 km (40 miles).

* The Great Ouse[5] (which flows through East Anglia) is not to be confused with the River Ouse[5] in Yorkshire or the River Ouse[5] in Sussex — and certainly not with the Little Ouse[5], a river of East Anglia, which forms a tributary of the Great Ouse.

Cambric[5] is a lightweight, closely woven white linen or cotton fabric.

13d   Takes back // city area with feeling of delight beginning to spread around (10)

"city area" = EC (show explanation )

In the clue, the setter uses "city area" to stand for for the EC postcode* which serves the City of London. The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

* postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code

The City of London[7] (not to be confused with the city of London) is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City of London is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

hide explanation

14d   Arab maybe // sounding croaky (5)

An Arab[5] is a horse of a breed originating in Arabia, with a distinctive high-set tail.

16d   False belief /has/ us taken in by priest -- academic holds that (8)

In the Bible, Eli[5] is a priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 1-3).

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

18d   Relaxation // of French and English outside temporary accommodation (7)

"of French" = DE (show explanation )

In French, de[8] is a preposition meaning 'of'' or 'from'.

hide explanation

Detente[5] (also détente) is the easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries ⇒ his policy of arms control and detente with the Soviet Union.

21d   Getting properly organised, I tried /to be/ less messy (6)

22d   Aim to undermine international // plan (6)

24d   Play /or/ concert quietly proceeding to end (4)

The term prom[5] (or Prom) is short for promenade concert[5], a British term for a concert of classical music at which a part of the audience stands in an area without seating, for which tickets are sold at a reduced price. The most famous series of such concerts is the annual BBC Promenade Concerts (known as the Proms), instituted by Sir Henry Wood in 1895.

Here and There
Prom[5], in the sense of a formal dance, is chiefly a North American expression.

"quietly" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

26d   This clue is // a sort of model (4)

The implied meaning of the first definition is "[where] this clue is".
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon