Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — DT 27434

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27434
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27434]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Gazza
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's puzzle was not too difficult, although I did stumble over the British robber at 5d. Even though I have had a least one previous encounter with him, his name did not readily come to mind.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Tool, rasp initially wrapped in cloth (6)

5a   Confront eccentric king, perhaps (4,4)

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, face card[5] is a chiefly North American name for what the Brits call a court card[5] — but it would appear that the term must be reasonably well-known in the UK as well.

9a   Fetching article, number costing much less than it should (5,3,1,4)

10a   Find a way around spin and pace (8)

Side[5] is a chiefly British term for spin given to the cue ball in snooker and billiards by hitting it on one side.

11a   Continue to imagine parking’s not available (6)

12a   Not as busy in class? (6)

14a   Ignore reduction (8)

16a   On a trip, identify most memorable moment (4,4)

The high spot[5] is the most enjoyable or significant part of an experience or period of time the high spot of the tour was to be an audience with the Pope.

19a   Being out-of-date, this should not be worn at Ladies’ Day! (3-3)

This clue consists of a definition (marked with a solid underline) followed by a cryptic definition (dashed underline). I hesitate to call this a double definition, as the numeration for the solution given by the cryptic definition (3,3) does not match that given for the clue (3-3). Perhaps we could think of this clue as a "quasi-" double definition [quasi-[5] denoting 'apparently but not really'].

I have marked the first part of the clue as the definition (primary indication), as it provides a solution which matches the numeration given in the clue. I have marked the second part as a subsidiary definition, as it produces a solution which does not match the numeration given in the clue.

Had both parts of the clue resulted in solutions whose numeration matched that given in the clue, then both would be considered to be primary indications and I would have marked both with a solid underline .

The Royal Ascot[5], held each year in June at Ascot Racecourse in England, comprises a series of horse races spread over a period of five days. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. Day three (Thursday) is known colloquially (but not officially) as Ladies' Day.

The most prestigious viewing area is the Royal Enclosure which has a strictly enforced dress code. For women, only a day dress with a hat is acceptable, with rules applying to the length and style of the dress. In addition, women must not show bare midriffs or shoulders. For men, black or grey morning dress with top hat is required.

21a   Head croupier’s left to trade with diamonds (6)

23a   Start to suggest leaving out sinister controller (8)

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

25a   I know I want you to advise me on computers and stuff (4,2,5,2)

IT[5] is the abbreviation for information technology.

26a   Husband, even more generous (8)

27a   Leave extremely disreputable character (6)


Down


2d   I’m great playing this style of piano music (7)

3d   Complaining cry from first of holidaymakers entering Bordeaux? (5)

Holidaymaker[5] is a British term for a person on holiday [vacation] away from home.

Bordeaux[5] is a red, white, or rosé wine from the district of Bordeaux in southwestern France.

4d   To calm down, use lift at college (7,2)

In Britain, up[5] may mean at or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge they were up at Cambridge about the same time.

5d   Highwayman may make one pay for protection (7)

Strictly speaking it would appear that a highwayman may not be a footpad.

A highwayman[7] was a thief and brigand who preyed on travellers. This type of outlaw usually travelled and robbed by horse, as compared to a footpad who travelled and robbed on foot. Mounted robbers were widely considered to be socially superior to footpads. Such robbers operated in Great Britain and Ireland from the Elizabethan era until the early 19th century.

The definitions in Collins English Dictionary are bit less restrictive. A highwayman[10] is defined as a robber, usually on horseback, who held up travellers while a footpad[10] is a robber or highwayman, on foot rather than horseback.

6d   Seat I must sit in daily (5)

Daily[5] (also daily help) is a dated British term for a woman who is employed to clean someone else’s house each day.

Char[5] is another name for a charwoman[5], a dated British term for a woman employed as a cleaner in a house or office.

7d   Brief conversation in support of bridge puzzle (9)

8d   A large number, nearly all in administration (7)

A regiment[5] is a large array or number of people or things the whole regiment of women MPs.

Regimen[5] is an archaic term for a system of government.

13d   He’d put in cryptic clues and grid, finally programmed (9)

15d   Unpalatable character interrupting lecture? (5,4)

17d   Disinclination to act shown by one with damaged retina (7)

18d   Left over in seaport abroad (2,5)

20d   Made up of famous people, the whole side originally on pitch (3-4)

The surface reading takes on a sports context.

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

In Britain, pitch[5] is another term for field[5] in the sense of an area of ground marked out or used for play in an outdoor team game a football pitch.

In cricket, however, the pitch[5] is the strip of ground between the two sets of stumps both batsmen were stranded in the middle of the pitch.

22d   Lover of chrome, oddly (5)

Romeo[5] is a name applied to an attractive, passionate male seducer or lover I saw her heading out the door with some rug-chested young Romeo [from the name of the hero of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet].

24d   Rise and dress (3-2)

Yet another "quasi-" double definition (see comment at 19a) where the numeration differs in the two definitions, (3,2) in the first and (3-2) in the second.
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, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — DT 27433

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27433
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, March 10, 2014
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27433]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

As usual, I enjoyed the weekly offering from Rufus.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Talk with female, the lady of the house (10)

Chatelaine[5] is a dated term for a woman in charge of a large house.

6a   Not the gardener’s favourite little number (4)

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

10a   Turn to celebrity for backing (5)

11a   Popular officer on the whole (2,7)

12a   Player given an awful roasting (8)

13a   Curbs straggling bushes (5)

15a   Letter contains record set by one holy man ahead of the French (7)

An EP[5] (abbreviation for extended-play) is a record or CD that contains more than a single track (per side in the case of a record) but fewer than would be found on an LP (abbreviation for long-playing).

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

17a   Yet he still may play Shylock (7)

Shylock[5] is a Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, who lends money to Antonio but demands in return a pound of Antonio’s own flesh should the debt not be repaid on time. The term Shylock has come to mean a moneylender who charges extremely high rates of interest.

Exact[10] means to force or compel (payment or performance) or to extort ⇒ to exact tribute.

Thus Shylock could well be described as an exactor, someone who exacts a high rate of return from those who borrow money from him. Split (2-5), the solution would be (as Miffypops puts it) a "former thespian" — perhaps one who comes out of retirement to take on the role of Shylock.

19a   Foreign money invested in source of sugar and spice (7)

The yen[5] (abbreviation Y[5] is the basic monetary unit of Japan.

21a   Eastern market may supply mongoose (7)

The meerkat[5] is a small southern African mongoose, especially the suricate.

22a   Describing a boom in the travel industry (5)

24a   Lady-killer? (8)

Not someone who kills ladies (even figuratively in a romantic sense), but a lady who kills.

27a   A client I’d made perfectly agreeable (9)

Agreeable[5] (followed by to or with) means in keeping or consistent salaries agreeable with current trends.

In his review, Miffypops expresses some uncertainly about the definition. As I see it, the term "agreeable" would seem to connote the possibility of some degree of variation between two things which are being compared. However, if they were "perfectly agreeable", there would be no variation, and they would be identical.

28a   A fifty to one chance to be this inspired hermit (5)

I didn't fully comprehend the subtlety in the definition until I read skempie's comment on Big Dave's blog. As he points out, the word "inspired" is a verb rather than an adjective. We must read the definition as "[The] chance to be this [is what] inspired [the] hermit" where the pronoun "this" refers to the solution to the clue.

29a   Born on the first of December in poverty (4)

30a   One on his way to work a complete change? (5,5)

In his review, Miffypops refers to Charles Kingsley (1819–1875), English novelist and clergyman who is remembered for his historical novel Westward Ho! (1855) and for his classic children’s story The Water-Babies (1863). The protagonist of the latter work is Tom, a young chimney sweep.

Down


1d   It’s not the original ape (4)

Although Miffypops did not mark it as such, I would say that this is a double definition.

2d   Setback — very sad to get upset about it (9)

3d   Run in next race (5)

In cricket, an extra[5] is a run scored other than from a hit with the bat, credited to the batting side rather than to a batsman.

4d   What I am when one has one over the eight? (7)

Have one over the eight[5] is an informal British expression meaning to have one drink too many. [probably from the assumption that the average person can drink eight pints of beer without getting drunk].

5d   The shift that is seen after dark (7)

A shift[5] (also shift dress) is a woman’s straight unwaisted dress.

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

7d   Go astray or slip (5)

As the definition, "slip" is actually a noun rather than a verb.

8d   Purposeful muse (10)

9d   Anxious when visiting America? (2,1,5)

In his review, Miffypops states "Wherever you were in the USA you would be in one of these".  Well, not quite, you might be in the District of Columbia[5].

14d   This section produces bangs, possibly supersonic (10)

16d   Yet it can provide firmness of purpose (8)

18d   Observes and steals money (5,4)

Contrary to Miffypops (who categorises this clue as a double definition), I would consider it to be a charade with the wordplay being TAKES (steals) + NOTE (money).

20d   Correct code used by a student (7)

An ethic[5] is a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct the puritan ethic was being replaced by the hedonist ethic.

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

21d   Off-colour article following piece in paper (7)

Off colour[5] is a British term meaning slightly unwell I’m feeling a bit off colour. Of course, in the UK it also means (as it does here) slightly indecent or obscene ⇒ off-colour jokes.

23d   Relative energy required to go through French city (5)

Nice[5] is a resort city on the French Riviera, near the border with Italy; population 348,721 (2007).

25d   Gathers in spare jumble (5)

26d   Detain in a safe place (4)

The keep[5] is the strongest or central tower of a castle, acting as a final refuge.
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014 — DT 27427 (Bonus Puzzle)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27427
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, March 3, 2014
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27427]
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
The National Post skipped this puzzle which — under its regular publication schedule — would have appeared on Monday, July 14, 2014.

Introduction

For those who are suffering from CCWS (Cryptic Crossword Withdrawal Syndrome), I present your Monday fix — namely, the puzzle that the National Post skipped one week ago.

During July and August, the National Post does not publish an edition on Monday. In years past, a Monday Diversions page has sometimes been printed in either a preceding or subsequent edition of the paper. However, that practice appears to have been discontinued. In order to afford readers the opportunity to tackle the puzzles that the National Post has skipped, throughout the summer I will be posting (with a one week delay) the puzzles that would normally have appeared on Monday.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Angry about sails getting wet (8)

In nautical terms, rig[3] refers to the arrangement of masts, spars, and sails on a sailing vessel.

6a   Means of raising a pound for a villainous fellow (6)

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10].

9a   Indication of terror -- a hoot! (6)

10a   Eat green fresh produce (8)

11a   Negotiator's award displayed by leader of team (8)

12a   Original spares may be few and far between (6)

13a   As it's repaired, works OK (12)

16a   Clip-joints? (7,5)

19a   Warning from worker about fight (6)

21a   First phase of Stone Age building (5,3)

23a   Confirm tea laid out after five (8)

24a   Introduce gradually in new list (6)

There is a bit more to the definition than Miffypops has shown in his review.

25a   Maintain there's some body in the beer (6)

Think of "some body" meaning "a part of the body".

26a   Poet's rewritten sonnet about New York (8)

Alfred Tennyson[5], 1st Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater (1809–1892) [commonly known as Alfred, Lord Tennyson] was an English poet, Poet Laureate from 1850. His reputation was established by In Memoriam (1850), a long poem concerned with immortality, change, and evolution. Other notable works: ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854) and Idylls of the King (1859).

Of course, Miffypops is clearly mistaken in stating that Tennyson wrote "By the shore[s] of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water". These lines were actually penned by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow[5].

Down


2d   Flinch from a backlash (6)

3d   Thought first of ladies supreme (5)

4d   Two scholars put into reform school (4,5)

5d   Work out highest fractions (7)

6d   They may be high -- that's unlucky, we hear (5)

In analyzing cryptic crossword clues, one must often interpret "that's" as if it contains an implicit "which" making it "that [which] is" or, in other words, "something (or someone) that is". Therefore, "that's unlucky" is interpreted as "someone that is unlucky".

A jinx[5] is a person or thing that brings bad luck he regarded her as a jinx because she had lost her husband.

As a verb, jink[5] means to change direction suddenly and nimbly, as when dodging a pursuer she was too quick for him and jinked away every time. As a noun, it denotes a sudden quick change of direction people remember him for his runs on the wing, his jinks. The word, which dates to the 17th century, was originally Scots as high jinks, denoting antics at drinking parties (probably symbolic of nimble motion). Current senses date from the 18th century. Despite this, I am only familiar with the word in the original Scots sense.

7d   Quixotic writer never acts in play (9)

Miguel de Cervantes[5] (1547–1616) was a Spanish novelist and dramatist. His most famous work is Don Quixote (1605–15), a satire on chivalric romances that greatly influenced the development of the novel.

8d   Flair shown as skill is added to effort (8)

13d   Craft likely to go under (9)

14d   A girl getting into giddy hero-worship? (9)

15d   It's played for the HQ dance (8)

It seems that Miffypops thinks that "Baseball is boring". If so, how should one describe cricket?

17d   American small change being found in school is dodgy (7)

To solve this clue, one must "lift and separate" (a bit of crosswordese adopted from Playtex brassiere advertisements). It refers to the fact that, in parsing the clue, the phrase "American small change" must be split into two parts — "American" and "small change". As it turns out, the "small change" is actually British, rather than American.

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

School[5] is used in the sense of a body of people or pupils adhering to a certain set of principles, doctrines, or methods.

18d   One doing exercises gaining colour (6)

20d   Girl's round about the advertisement, miss (5)

22d   Test paper (5)
Key to Reference Sources: 

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014 — Pagan Woman Slept Naked


Introduction

There were no major obstacles to completing today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon.

The inspiration for the blog title comes from the solutions to the symmetrical set of clues 5d, 8d, 26d, and 20d read as a sentence.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Try to lose weight quickly (4)

FAST — double definition

3a   U.S. president doing pounds and pounds of laundry? (10)

WASHING|TON_ — WASHING (doing ... laundry) + TON (pounds and pounds)

George Washington[5] (1732–1799) was an American general and statesman, 1st President of the US 1789–97. Washington helped win the War of Independence by keeping his army together through the winter at Valley Forge and winning a decisive battle at Yorktown (1781). He chaired the convention at Philadelphia (1787) that drew up the American Constitution and subsequently served two terms as President, following a policy of neutrality in international affairs.

9a   Roll containing a chicken to cook (7)

RO(A)STER_ — ROSTER (roll) containing (†) A (†)

11a   Enraged — awfully enraged (7)

ANGERED* — anagram (awfully) of ENRAGED

Of course, one could equally well interpret the clue as:
  • 11a   Enraged — awfully enraged (7)
12a   One accommodated by inn keeper's lift (5)

HO(I)ST — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (accommodated by) HOST (inn keeper)

13a   Stuck tally around this spot (7)

AD(HERE)D — ADD (tally) containing (around) HERE (this spot)

15a   Idle gab excited an unimpressed response (3,4)

{BIG DEAL}* — anagram (excited) of IDLE GAB

Voiced sarcastically

16a   Actress Richardson has a tan ruined (7)

NATASHA* — anagram (ruined) of HAS A TAN

Given the circumstances of her death, it struck me as a bit inappropriate to use Natasha Richardson in this clue. However, scanning through the list of people named Natasha, I was surprised when I failed to find anyone else with name recognition even remotely approaching hers.

Natasha Richardson[7] (1963–2009) was an award-winning English stage and screen actress. A member of the Redgrave family, she was the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director/producer Tony Richardson and the granddaughter of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.

Richardson died tragically on 18 March 2009 from an epidural hematoma suffered two days earlier when she fell while taking a beginner skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec, Canada.

18a   Homer or Marge's boy taking in brats (7)

S(IMPS)ON — SON (boy) containing (taking in) IMPS (brats)

The Simpsons[7] is an American family animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition.

21a   Nothing left of budget for speech (7)

O|RATION — O (nothing; letter that looks like the numeral "0") + ([to the] left of) RATION (budget)

For a Canadian audience, the clue would have been enhanced had the setters omitted the word "for", resulting in a clue reading:
  • 21a   Nothing left of Budget Speech (7)
In Canada, the Budget Speech is the means by which the Minister of Finance unveils the budget in a speech to the House of Commons.

23a   Georgia gets furious in parking spots (7)

GA|RAGES —GA ([US Postal Service abbreviation for the state of] Georgia) + RAGES (gets furious)

25a   Flag entirely camouflages spy (5)

_AG|ENT_ — hidden in (camouflages) flAG ENTirely

27a   At Bath, I arranged for natural living space (7)

HABITAT* — anagram (arranged) of AT BATH I

Bath[5] is a spa town in southwestern England; population 81,600 (est. 2009). The town was founded by the Romans, who called it Aquae Sulis, and was a fashionable spa in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

28a   Astronomer's girl, one with summer zodiac sign (7)

GAL|I|LEO — GAL (girl) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + (with) LEO (summer zodiac sign)

In astrology, Leo[5] is the fifth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about 23 July.

29a   Laundry soaps discourage guys (10)

DETER|GENTS — DETER (discourage) + GENTS (guys)

30a   Positive votes — or one positive vote (4)

A|YES — A (one) + YES (positive vote)


Down


1d   Army post outside of Thebes is most advantageous (3,3,4)

FOR( THE BES)T — FORT (army post) containing (outside of) THEBES (†)

2d   Saving article in season (7)

SP(A)RING — A ([indefinite] article) contained in (in) SPRING (season)

Saving[11] is used as an adjective in the sense of thrifty or economical.

4d   Feel sick about Irma's mode of delivery (7)

A(IRMA)IL — AIL (feel sick) containing (about) IRMA (†)

5d   Not believing that guy with a following (7)

HEATHEN — HE (that guy) + (with) A (†) + THEN (following)

Heathen[11] is used as an adjective.

6d   African country's troubled reign (5)

NIGER* — anagram (troubled) of REIGN

Niger[5] is a landlocked country in West Africa, on the southern edge of the Sahara; population 15,306,300 (est. 2009): languages, French (official), Hausa, and other West African languages: capital, Niamey. Part of French West Africa from 1922, Niger became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958 and fully independent in 1960.

7d   Gets weary about commercial's wild speeches (7)

TIR(AD)ES — TIRES (gets weary) containing (about) AD (commercial)

8d   Apprentice painter's subject in shifting dune (4)

NUDE* — anagram (shifting) of DUNE

10d   People who make lace rags (7)

TATTERS — double definition

A tatter is someone who tats (makes lace).

14d   Flowers land among automobiles (10)

CAR(NATION)S — NATION (land) contained in (among) CARS (automobiles)

17d   Hardship for Virginia in hiking route (7)

TRA(VA)AIL — VA ([US Postal Service abbreviation for the state of] Virginia) contained in (in) TRAIL (hiking route)

19d   Mixed bag item in storage unit (7)

MEGABIT* — anagram (mixed) of BAG ITEM

A megabit is a unit of data size. In computer science, a megabit[3,4,11] is strictly defined as 220 (1,048,576) bits although it is often loosely used to mean one million bits (1,000,000) [especially by hard drive manufacturers in an effort to make their devices appear to be larger than they really are]. In network engineering, one megabit per second is a data transmission rate of one million bits per second. [Surely the definition for megabit[5] given by Oxford Dictionaries Online is imprecise to the point of being misleading.]

20d   Lingerie near neckwear (7)

NIGH|TIE — NIGH (near) + TIE (neckwear)

21d   Playing hit song without rehearsal (2,5)

{ON SIGHT}* — anagram (playing) of HIT SONG

22d   I had excellent friend, in theory (7)

ID|E|ALLY — ID ([contraction for] I had; I'd) + E (excellent; a result on a school assignment, perhaps) + ALLY (friend)

24d   Bunk or something turning (5)

ROT|OR — ROT (bunk; nonsense) + OR (†)

26d   Fall off small building (4)

SHED — double definition

Shed is used as an intransitive verb meaning to pour forth, fall off, or drop out All the leaves have shed (this being the active voice of an intransitive verb). I have to say that this is a usage which is unfamiliar to me. I would have expressed the thought as All the leaves have been shed (the passive voice of a transitive verb).
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, July 18, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014 — DT 27431

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27431
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, March 7, 2014
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27431]
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

While Deep Threat has rated this puzzle as two stars for difficulty, I found it a bit more challenging. The southwest quadrant took as long to solve as the entire remainder of the puzzle. The last clue in was 1a, a word with which I am not familiar (at least not as a verb). Once I had all the checking letters — and overcame my obsession with student drivers — I was able to come up with the solution (although I did need to consult a dictionary to verify that such a word actually exists).

Notes on Today's Puzzle

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Slander a hundred old students at start of event (10)

Calumniate[5] is a formal term meaning to make false and defamatory statements about he has been calumniating the Crown and all the conservative decencies.

6a   Something fraudulent in this campaign (4)

10a   Nymph shown in tedious commercial (5)

In folklore and Greek mythology, a dryad[5] is a nymph inhabiting a tree or wood.

11a   Place controlled by editor laid waste (9)

Pl.[5] is an abbreviation for Place in street addresses ⇒ 3 Palmerston Pl., Edinburgh.

12a   One with difficult tasks needing the woman’s clues worked out (8)

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hercules[5] was a hero of superhuman strength and courage who performed twelve immense tasks or ‘labours’ imposed on him and who after death was ranked among the gods.

13a   Fairy by lake may be menace (5)

In Persian mythology, a peri[5] is a mythical superhuman being, originally represented as evil but subsequently as a good or graceful genie or fairy.

15a   Notice any number in muddle — it’s bedlam (7)

The letter n[10] is used (especially in mathematics) as a symbol to represent an indefinite number (of) there are n objects in a box.

17a   First hint of 20 and northern river offers minimal flow (7)

The numeral "20" in the clue is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 20d in its place to complete the clue.

The River Ribble[7] is a river that runs through North Yorkshire and Lancashire in Northern England.

19a   Expose boss as simpleton (7)

21a   Special utterances of fellow, mostly rubbish (7)

Originally in Hinduism and Buddhism, a mantra[5] was a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation a mantra is given to a trainee meditator when his teacher initiates him. The word has come to mean a statement or slogan repeated frequently the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap.

22a   ‘Abrasive’ is ‘hard as hard’? That’s about right (5)

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

24a   Fantastic scene with Ron as seen by TV viewers? (2-6)

27a   Youngster terribly dainty getting to trouble important lady (9)

Twee[5] is a British term meaning excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental although the film’s a bit twee, it’s watchable.

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

Tweenager — a word formed by mashing together the words "(be)tween" and "(teen)ager" — is an informal name applied to some children. The British dictionaries don't agree on its precise definition and the American dictionaries don't list it at all. Oxford Dictionaries Online defines a tweenager[5] as a child between the ages of about 10 and 14 while Collins English Dictionary stretches the range to a child of approximately eight to fourteen years of age[10]. The Chambers Dictionary has by far the best definition — and avoids specifying an age range. It defines a tweenager[1] as a child who, although not yet a teenager, has already developed an interest in fashion, pop music, and exasperating his or her parents.

28a   Bird crossing river in horde (5)

A drove[5] is a large number of people or things doing or undergoing the same thing tourists have stayed away in droves this summer.

29a   Moulded social group, not English (4)

A caste[5] is each of the hereditary classes of Hindu society, distinguished by relative degrees of ritual purity or pollution and of social status members of the lower castes .

30a   Reportedly stuff in office cupboard’s gathering dust maybe (10)


Down


1d   Drug given to fish? There’s a set of rules (4)

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.

2d   Church assistant and boss seen round outskirts of Scottish town (3,6)

Ayr[5] is a port in southwestern Scotland, on the Firth of Clyde, the administrative centre of South Ayrshire council area; population 45,900 (est. 2009).

In the Anglican Church, a lay reader[5] is a layperson licensed to preach and to conduct some religious services, but not licensed to celebrate the Eucharist.

3d   This person needs medical practitioner — something drunk (5)

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

Médoc[5] is a red wine produced in Médoc, the area along the left bank of the Gironde estuary in southwestern France.

4d   Spikes drink to be imbibed by troublemakers (7)

5d   Faith said to be tied up (7)

7d   Attendant about to get into vehicle (5)

Carer[5] is a British term for a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person elderly people and their carers need long-term support. The equivalent North American term is caregiver[5].

8d   Laddies met abroad in hot part of the world (6,4)

This part of the world has become even "hotter" since the original publication of this puzzle in The Daily Telegraph in March.

Laddie[5] is an informal, chiefly Scottish term for a boy or young man (often as a form of address) he’s just a wee laddie.

9d   A possibility for welcoming in ‘daughter’? (8)

This type of clue is formally known as an &lit. clue[7] (or, as Deep Threat informally styles it, an all-in-one clue). The entire clue (when read one way) is the the definition, but under a different interpretation takes on the roll of wordplay.

The definition alludes to the fact that one way to welcome a daughter into your life is through ADOPTION.

14d   Approach when beset by something that makes one sick? Showing understanding (10)

16d   Huge beast from alien planet, he (8)

18d   Narco able to move round European city (9)

Narco[5] is US slang for (1) narcotics or illegal drugs the multi-billion dollar narco trade; or (2) a drug trafficker or dealerpolitical bosses who may have links to the narcos.

Barcelona[5] is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain, capital of Catalonia; population 1,615,908 (est. 2008).

20d   Beginning of December, unpleasant time — not what you expect then? (7)

21d   Destroying this creature could be rum task (7)

Deep Threat refers to this as a reverse anagram, but I do not see it as such. In a reverse anagram (or, as I prefer to call it, inverse anagram), the solution to the clue consists of both an anagram indicator and its fodder, with the result of the anagram operation being found in the clue itself. For instance:
  • [DT 27413] 15a   Curse Tom, possibly, as someone who won’t conform (7,8)
The solution to the clue is AWKWARD CUSTOMER (someone who won't conform) which, in a cryptic crossword, could be (possibly) used as wordplay indicating an anagram (awkward) of CUSTOMER giving the result CURSE TOM. Thus the anagram indicator (awkward) and the anagram fodder (customer) are both found in the solution to the clue, while the result of the anagram operation (Curse Tom) us contained in the clue itself.

Contrast this with the situation in the present clue. The solution is MUSKRAT. The clue tells us that performing an anagram operation on (destroying) the solution (MUSKRAT) might produce (could be) the the result RUM TASK. Thus two out of three conditions for a reverse anagram are satisfied; (1) the anagram fodder is found in the solution and (2) the anagram result is found in the clue. However, the third condition is not met, as the anagram indicator is found in the clue rather than in the solution.

Drawing on the well-established distinction made between an &lit. (all-in-one) clue and a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue, perhaps one could call this a semi-reverse anagram.

23d   Famous film director’s providing orchestral instruments (5)

I would not categorize this clue as a double definition (as Deep Threat appears to have done). The first part is actually a bit of wordplay being REED (famous film director) + S ('s).

Sir Carol Reed[5] (1906–76) was an English film director. His films include Odd Man Out (1947), The Third Man (1949), and the musical Oliver! (1968), for which he won an Oscar.

25d   In port notice piece of electronic equipment (5)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

26d   Cathedral city south of river bank (4)

The Diocese of Ely[5] is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury, headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in the city of Ely.
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