Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015 — DT 27703 (Bonus Puzzle)

Prologue

Today the National Post resumes its usual summer practice of not publishing an edition on Monday. For the benefit of those who cannot forgo their daily fix of brain stimulation, here is DT 27703 — the puzzle that I had expected to appear had the presses run today. Of course, that forecast was made before I discovered that the National Post had skipped a couple of puzzles on Friday.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27703
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27703]
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 is one of two puzzles that the National Post skipped on Friday, July 3, 2015.

Introduction

Under pressure to get on with writing the blog, I threw in the towel with one clue remaining to be solved. As it was a very solvable clue, I might have eventually gotten it had I persevered long enough — at least, I'd like to imagine that would have been the case.

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

5a   Round of applause before dance /that's/ kind of foul (8)

In soccer (which Miffypops refers to as "association football" in his review), a handball[5] is the touching of the ball with the hand or arm, constituting a foul ⇒ (i) a penalty for handball; (ii) a blatant handball.

8a   Keen to embrace that woman /in/ bright red (6)

10a   Little bit of dough adds about // middle (6)

11a   Bones /from/ Wounded Knee? Lots (8)

Scratching the Surface
The Battle of Wounded Knee[5] was the last major confrontation (1890) between the US Army and American Indians, at the village of Wounded Knee on a reservation in South Dakota. More than 300 largely unarmed Sioux men, women, and children were massacred. A civil rights protest at the site in 1973 led to clashes with the authorities.

12a   Public school // to plan residence welcoming the Queen (12)

"the Queen" = ER (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Charterhouse[7], originally The Hospital of King James and Thomas Sutton in Charterhouse is a collegiate independent boarding school (also referred to as a public school) situated at Godalming in the English county of Surrey.

Founded by Thomas Sutton in London in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian monastery in Charterhouse Square, Smithfield, it is one of the original eight English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868 which derived from the Clarendon Commission of 1864. Today pupils at Charterhouse are still referred to as Carthusians, and ex-pupils as Old Carthusians or OCs.

Delving Deeper
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. A private school[2,5] is a special case of independent school, being a school run independently by an individual or group, especially for profit and supported wholly by the payment of fees. A public school[2] is yet another class of independent school, a secondary school, especially a boarding school run independently of the state, financed by endowments and by pupils' fees. What we in North America would call a public school[2], is known in the UK as a state school.

15a   White wine -- // some bucellas tippled (4)

Asti[7] (formerly known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine that is produced throughout southeastern Piedmont but is particularly focused around the towns of Asti and Alba. Since 1993 the wine has been classified as a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and as of 2004 was Italy's largest producing appellation.

Scratching the Surface
Bucellas[10] is a Portuguese white wine.

17a   Opinion /expressed by/ soldiers evicted from apartment building (5)

In Britain, the word tenement seems not to carry the negative connotation that it does in North America. In Britain, a tenement[4] is merely a room or flat [apartment] for rent or (also called tenement building) a large building divided into separate flats [apartments], whereas in North America, a tenement[3,11] is generally regarded as a rundown, low-rental apartment building — often overcrowded and located in a poor section of a large city — whose facilities and maintenance barely meet minimum standards.

Would any theologian agree that a tenet is merely an opinion? Perhaps — provided the question were in relation to a religion other than his own!

18a   Hear about old // system of weights (4)

Troy[5] (in full troy weight) is a system of weights used mainly for precious metals and gems, with a pound of 12 ounces or 5,760 grains ⇒ (i) gold closed at $332.5 a troy ounce; (ii) pounds troy.


19a   Splits up // firm producing vehicle components? (5,7)

22a   Dance // enthusiast circling with energy (8)

The fandango[5] is a lively Spanish dance for two people, typically accompanied by castanets or tambourine.

24a   Bishop with book /in/ bed (6)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Note to self: book can mean something other than reading material — and a bed is not necessarily meant for sleeping.

25a   Capital city, // captured by Cézanne, I viewed reflectively (6)

Vienna[5] is the capital of Austria, situated in the north-east of the country on the River Danube; population 1,661,206 (2006).

Scratching the Surface
Paul Cézanne[5] (1839–1906) was a French painter. He is closely identified with post-impressionism and his later work had an important influence on cubism. Notable works: Bathers (sequence of paintings 1890–1905).

26a   Unnecessary // to sew fringes of skirts (8)

I was surprised to discover that needle[2] can be a verb meaning to sew. Then again, if one can saw with a saw and hammer with a hammer, why not needle with a needle?

Down

1d   Journalist // cycled over carrying it (6)

2d   Power shown by champion dog, // race's early leader (4-6)

3d   Spots // name inside card (4)

4d   Strong // macho types kept in check (8)

6d   Devious mate's pocketing your old // gemstone (8)

7d   Lots terribly low after workers // suffered a heavy defeat (4,5,4)

9d   Fleece // man on board (4)

13d   Duel arranged -- relaxed Burton's kept // calm (10)

14d   Deliveries /for/ doormen (8)

In cricket, a bouncer[5] is a ball bowled [delivered] fast and short so as to rise high after pitching.

16d   Disrespectful, // lacking foresight right away (8)

20d   Conditional release // initially playing a part (6)

21d   Duty on one // vehicle (4)

23d   Japanese drama about a // Hebrew patriarch (4)

Noh[5] is traditional Japanese masked drama with dance and song, evolved from Shinto rites ⇒ a Noh play.

In the Bible, Noah[5] was a Hebrew patriarch represented as tenth in descent from Adam. According to a story in Genesis he made the ark which saved his family and specimens of every animal from the Flood.
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 4, 2015

Saturday, July 4, 2015 — Forever and a Day

Introduction

Solving the centrepiece of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon will surely require a very long time.

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


9a   Outdoor // opera in novel (4-3)

{OPEN-AIR}* — anagram (novel) of OPERA IN

10a   For sale: dancing // shoes (7)

LOAFERS* — anagram (dancing) of FOR SALE

11a   Gardening implement found in wetland // site in Morocco (9)

MAR(RAKE)SH — RAKE (gardening implement) contained in (found in) MARSH (wetland)

12a   Lift hats off after commencement (5)

_RAISE — [P]RAISE (hats off) with the initial letter removed (after commencement)

13a   Zippo // entangled in thong (7)

NOTHING* — anagram (entangled) of IN THONG

15a   Part /of/ group including FBI agents (7)

SE(GMEN)T — SET (group) containing (including) G MEN (FBI agents; G-men)

16a   Mutating many thousands of // eons (1,5,2,7)

{A MONTH OF SUNDAYS}* — anagram (mutating) of MANY THOUSANDS OF

19a   Stuck // tag on, wrapping present (7)

AD(HERE)D — ADD (tag on) containing (wrapping) HERE (present)

21a   A custodian’s opening lock /for/ thespian (7)

A|C|TRESS — A (†) + C (custodian's opening; initial letter of Custodian) + TRESS (lock [of hair])

24a   Give an address // for a terrorist on the inside (5)

_OR|A|TE_ — hidden in (on the inside) fOR A TErrorist

25a   French general /and/ Ms. Dunaway, in order in a cafe (9)

LA(FAYE)TTE — FAYE (Ms. Dunaway) contained in (in) LATTE (order in a cafe)

27a   Bagel eaten by hot, dry, dizzy // visitor to Oz (7)

D(O)ROTHY*  or DOR(O)THY* — O ([letter that looks like a] bagel) contained in (eaten by) anagram (dizzy) of HOT DRY

Dorothy Gale[7] is a fictional character and protagonist of many of the Oz novels by American author L. Frank Baum (1856–1919). Dorothy first appears in Baum's classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reappears in most of its sequels. In addition, she is the main character in various adaptations, notably the classic 1939 movie adaptation of the book, The Wizard of Oz.

28a   Disorderly mess // left in sailing vessel (7)

C(L)UTTER — L (left) contained in (in) CUTTER (sailing vessel)

Down

1d   Bond’s boss taken in by fictional barbarian // swindler (3,3)

CON-(M)AN — M ([James] Bond's boss) contained in (taken in by) CONAN (fictional barbarian)

2d   For listeners, peel // fruit (4)

PEAR~ — sounds like (for listeners) PARE (peel)

3d   Sandwich meat // I’m sadly returning (6)

{SALA|MI}< — reversal (returning) of {IM (I'm) + ALAS (sadly)}

4d   Piano interrupting Georgia, playing // musical riff (8)

AR(P)EGGIO* — P (piano; musical direction) contained in (interrupting) anagram (playing) of GEORGIA

5d   Mountain features // characters in Greek (6)

ALP|HAS — ALP (mountain) + HAS (features)

6d   Seasoning // salt, with piece of cloth atop (8)

TAR|RAG|ON — TAR (salt; sailor) + (with) RAG (piece of cloth) + ON (atop)

7d   Consider // lunch spot, and dress down (10)

DELI|BERATE — DELI (lunch spot) + (and) BERATE (dress down)

8d   Aviator’s first call for help receiving top // fire retardant (9)

A|S(BEST)OS — A (aviator's first; initial letter of Aviator) + SOS (call for help) containing (receiving) BEST (top)

14d   Catching cricket, overmuch your // child’s nighttime visitor (5,5)

TOO|TH (FAIR)Y — {TOO (overmuch) + THY (your)} containing (catching) FAIR (cricket; unfair being "not cricket")

16d   Snake // on Canada Wild (8)

ANACONDA* — anagram (wild) of ON CANADA

17d   Zero room in campers’ shelters // is really annoying (8)

T(O\RM)ENTS — {O ([letter that looks like a] zero) + RM (room)} contained in (in) TENTS (campers' shelters)

18d   Gangster’s nickname /for/ neckwear expert (8)

SCARF|ACE — SCARF (neckwear) + ACE (expert)

Scarface was the nickname of American gangster Al Capone.

20d   Yes, lad shifted // stalls (6)

DELAYS* — anagram (shifted) of YES LAD

22d   Test // fish ingesting mercury, finally (6)

TR(Y)OUT —  TROUT (fish) containing (ingesting) Y (mercury finally; final letter of mercurY)

23d   Department store stocking first of hair // clippers (6)

S(H)EARS — SEARS (department store) containing (stocking) H (first of hair; initial letter of Hair)

26d   Kid with empty // bag (4)

TOT|E — TOT (kid) + (with) E (empty)

Epilogue

The title of today's piece is inspired by 16a.
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 3, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015 — DT 27704

Vacation Edition
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27704
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27704]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Kath
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 27702 and DT 27703 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, January 19, 2015 and Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

Introduction

This has turned out to be an abbreviated Vacation Edition of the blog — although that was certainly not my original intention. The editor at the National Post continues to throw curve balls, skipping the two puzzles for which I had prepared reviews prior to leaving on a weekend trip. A couple of readers did visit the site this morning before I had a chance to remove the review for DT 27702 which I had expected to appear in the National Post today.

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

Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015 — DT 27701

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27701
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27701 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27701 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (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
The National Post has skipped DT 27700 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, January 16, 2015.

As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Introduction

The National Post has skipped the puzzle that would have appeared yesterday had an edition of the paper been published. However, those who visited the blog yesterday were able to enjoy the puzzle just the same.

There are a fair number of British references in this puzzle that are new to me. Fortunately, I was able to decipher most of the them from the wordplay and checking letters without necessarily knowing to what they referred. Only the seafood carried by rail and bus passengers eluded me. However, a London commuter (should he or she be working a Saturday shift) would have little excuse for failing to solve several of the clues.

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   How chess is played // in general (6,3,5)

10a   Nasa's speciality // quickly harbours love (9)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration[7] (NASA) is the United States government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite [the Roman equivalent being Cupid]. Since the days of the ancient Greeks, the word has been synonymous with sexual love or desire Eros drives us to transcend ourselves through desire.

11a   Arab /having/ second German car (5)

Audi AG[7] is a German automobile manufacturer that has been a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group since 1966.

Delving Deeper
The company name, Audi, is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. "Horch", meaning "listen" in German, becomes "audi" in Latin.

The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi's predecessor company, Auto Union.

A Saudi[5] is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, or a member of its ruling dynasty.

12a   Central European // archdeacon tucking into black berry (7)

In the Church of England, an archdeacon[2] is a member of the clergy who ranks just below a bishop.

Ven.[5] is the abbreviation for Venerable (as the title of an archdeacon) ⇒ the Ven. William Davies.

Sloe[5] is (1) another name for the blackthorn[5], a thorny Eurasian shrub (Prunus spinosa) which bears white flowers before the leaves appear, as well as (2) the name of the small bluish-black fruit of this plant, with a sharp sour taste. 

A Slovene[5] is a native or inhabitant of Slovenia, or a person of Slovene descent. Slovenia[5] is a country in southeastern Europe, formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia; population 2,005,700 (est. 2009); official language, Slovene; capital, Ljubljana.

13a   Some leave // when one's not at one's best? (3-3)

15a   Sports administrators note // celebrity (4)

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

In music, me[5] (also mi) is the third note of a major scale in tonic sol-fa. It would seem that, in the US, the name of the note is spelled mi[3,11] while, in the UK, both spellings are in use. Two out of three British dictionaries list me[2,5] as the principal spelling while the third shows mi[10] as being the primary spelling.

17a   Dropping off // lemon scone that's cooked (10)

18a   Carefully selected // husband together with old Scotsman being mentioned (4-6)

A Pict[5] is a member of an ancient people inhabiting northern Scotland in Roman times.

20a   Nothing /but/ a lake (4)

Mere[5] is a chiefly literary British term for a lake or pond ⇒ the stream widens into a mere where hundreds of geese gather. Those of you living in Ottawa may well be familiar with the term from Kingsmere[7], the home of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

22a   Eminence following leader of Eucharist taken by Catholic // priest (6)

Eminence[5] is a formal or literary term for a piece of rising ground ⇒ an eminence commanding the River Emme.

A tor[5] is a hill or rocky peak.

RC[5] is the abbreviation for Roman Catholic.

A rector[3,4,11] is a member of the clergy in the Roman Catholic, Anglican or Protestant Episcopal churches.

Scratching the Surface
In the Roman Catholic Church, Eminence[3] (used with Your or His [but never Her]) is a title and form of address for a cardinal.

The Eucharist[5] is the Christian service, ceremony, or sacrament commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.

23a   Light meal taken by singer-actress. // Chips, perhaps? (7)

Tea[5] is a chiefly British term for a light afternoon meal consisting typically of tea to drink, sandwiches, and cakes ⇒ they were about to take afternoon tea.

Cher[7] (born Cherilyn Sarkisian) is an American singer, actress, and television host. Known for her distinctive contralto singing voice, she has been nicknamed the Goddess of Pop.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips[7] (originally, Good-bye, Mr. Chips) is a novella about the life of a schoolteacher, Mr. Chipping, written by the English writer James Hilton (1900–1954), first published in 1934. The novel has served as the basis of several film, radio, television, and stage adaptations.

26a   Terrible lapse -- // a bit of a bloomer (5)

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

27a   Excel at trick // showing some beef (9)

Overtrump[5] is another term for overruff[5], which (in bridge, whist, and similar card games) means to play a trump that is higher than one already played in the same trick ⇒ there was a danger that West would be able to overruff.

28a   Performing alone, Simon somehow obtains // part in South Pacific (7,7)

I believe the the word "part" is part of the definition — not part of the wordplay.

Part[10] (often plural) means a region or area ⇒ you're well known in these parts.

The Solomon Islands[5] (also the Solomons) is a country consisting of a group of islands in the southwestern Pacific, to the east of New Guinea; population 595,600 (est. 2009); languages, English (official), Pidgin, local Austronesian and Papuan languages; capital, Honiara. With the exception of the northern part of the chain (now part of Papua New Guinea), the Solomons became self-governing in 1976 and fully independent within the Commonwealth two years later.

Scratching the Surface
South Pacific[7] is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The story is based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific.

Down

2d   Load // caught being put on legendary ship (5)

"caught" = C (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught or caught by.

hide explanation

In Greek mythology, the Argo[10] was the ship in which Jason sailed in search of the Golden Fleece.

3d   Means to cross London // that destroys terraced houses (6)

The Oyster card[7], a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contactless smartcard, is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport in Greater London in the United Kingdom. It is valid on travel modes across London including London Underground, London Buses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, trams, some river boat services, and most National Rail services within the London fare zones.

Scratching the Surface
Terraced house[10] is a British term for a house that is part of a row of houses, usually identical and having common dividing walls [US and Canadian names: row house, town house].

4d   Great Western // Railway company (10)

Stagecoach[7] is a 1939 American Western film directed by John Ford, starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne in his breakthrough role. The film follows a group of strangers riding on a stagecoach through dangerous Apache territory.

Stagecoach Group plc[7] is an international transport group operating buses, trains, trams, express coaches and ferries. The group, founded in 1980, is based in Perth, Scotland, and has operations in the United Kingdom and North America.

With 16% of the bus market and 25% of the rail market, the company is the second largest transport group in the United Kingdom, close behind FirstGroup.

In North America, Stagecoach owns the Coach USA and Coach Canada brands.

Scratching the Surface
The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company that linked London with the midlands, the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833 and ran its first trains in 1838. The GWR was the only company to keep its identity through the Railways Act 1921, which amalgamated it with the remaining independent railways within its territory, and it was finally merged at the end of 1947 when it was nationalised and became the Western Region of British Railways.

5d   Unpleasant type/'s/ order to dog (4)

6d   Shovel and pick worker/'s/ reserved (7)


Bashful is one of the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney's 1937 animated musical fantasy film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[7] based on a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The story had earlier been made into a Broadway play that debuted in 1912. The dwarfs are not given names in the fairy tale. In the 1912 production, they were named Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee. Disney renamed them Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

7d   Roll ball succeeding a // great deal (9)

8d   Delight a player that's puzzling? // Most solvers have it! (5,9)

Most solvers back in January might have had it — but that would be far from the case today!

The Daily Telegraph[7] is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper, founded in 1855 as The Daily Telegraph and Courier, which is published in London and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally [... and the newspaper in which this puzzle initially appeared].

9d   How fortresses tumbled around a // series of battles (4,2,3,5)

In her review on Big Dave's blog, crypticsue employs underlining which mistakenly shows the A as being part of the definition when it is, in fact, part of the wordplay. However, she does indicate in her explanation that the A is part of the wordplay.

The wordplay parses as an anagram (tumbled) of HOW FORTRESSES containing (around) A (from the clue).

One might also consider the phrase "tumbled around" to be a combination indicator that combines the anagram and containment operations in a single step. That is, the letters forming HOW FORTRESSES don't merely collapse, they collapse around the letter A. This parsing would be described as an anagram (tumbled around) of (HOW FORTRESSES + A).

I believe this latter parsing is what crypticsue intended to convey in her review. However, the omission of a crucial set of parentheses makes her explanation ambiguous — if not inaccurate.

14d   Topless dance to cause anxiety /to/ old female relative (10)

16d   Run by city, // German one mostly, with one friend (9)

Munich[5] is a city in southeastern Germany, capital of Bavaria; population 1,294,600 (est. 2006).

19d   Hitch /as/ concert featuring Elbow more than half over (7)

Promenade concert[5] (prom[5] or Prom for short) is 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.

Elbow[7] are an English alternative rock band that has played together since 1990, adopting the Elbow band name in 1997. They have had seven albums reach  the top 15 of the British album chart and seven singles place in the top 40 of the British singles chart. Their most recent album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, reached number one on the British charts, making it their first album to top the charts. In 2008 Elbow won the Mercury Music Prize as best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland for their album The Seldom Seen Kid, and in 2009 they won the Brit Award for Best British Group. In 2012 they released "First Steps", the BBC theme for the 2012 London Olympics.

21d   Incantation // alluring woman endlessly delivered (6)

A mantrap[1] is (1) a trap for catching trespassers; (2) (figuratively) any source of potential danger; or (3) (informally) a woman who takes a mischievous pleasure in attracting and acquiring men.

24d   Harass // peacekeepers boarding carrier (5)

"peacekeepers" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations (UN), after approval by the Security Council, sends peacekeepers to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the UN does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states.[7]

hide explanation

25d   Blue // feathers (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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 — DT 27700 (Bonus Puzzle)

Happy Canada Day

Prologue

It being Canada Day, the National Post has not published an edition today. For those who cannot survive without their daily dose of brain exercise, here is the puzzle that would normally have appeared had there been a paper today.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27700
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, January 16, 2015
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27700]
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

Today we get Giovanni in a rather benign and playful — witness 22d — mood.

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   Big road's number by French sea -- // the label's wrong (8)

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

 Mer[8] is a French word meaning sea.

9a   Awkward? /That's/ not right for Parisian (6)

Gauche[8] is a a French word meaning left.

10a   Explosive by side of house /for/ process to remove trees? (6)

"explosive" = HE (show explanation )

HE[5] is the abbreviation for high explosive.

hide explanation

11a   Reduction of speed in big town /is seen as/ a virtue (8)

12a   Room for doubt (11,3)

15a   Smear // with colour, not quite right (4)

17a   Tiny lad with idea not half // afraid to speak out? (5)

Timothy Cratchit, called "Tiny Tim"[7], is a fictional character from the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870). He is a minor character, the young son of Bob Cratchit, and is seen only briefly, but serves as an important symbol of the consequences of the protagonist's choices.

19a   Record // binder (4)

20a   Guess // this could suggest a midnight murder (1,4,2,3,4)

My initial attempt was A STAB IN THE DARK — in more ways than one. It certainly held me up significantly with respect to a couple of the down clues. I eventually came to the realization that it must be incorrect; but needed assistance from my electronic helpers to point me in the right direction.

In perusing Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I see from the thread at Comment #2 that I was far from alone in this choice — and can number myself among some very esteemed company.

What are they talking about?
Our the years, there have been a number of films released with the title A Shot In the Dark[7]. However, the one being discussed on Big Dave's blog is the 1964 Pink Panther film starring Peter Sellers. 

23a   Asked // to finish, having penned several sheets (8)

25a   Butcher /offers/ prime bit of meat -- and fish! (6)

27a   Messengers /providing/ brief answer set to be detained (6)

28a   Cavalier // man having celebrity status (8)

I failed to see the correct wordplay here, thinking the clue was merely meant to be a double definition.

A Cavalier[3,5] (also called Royalist) was a supporter of Charles I of England in his struggles against Parliament in the English Civil War.

Down

1d   Line on board /produced by/ tool (4)

2d   A foreign type // beastly to others? (6)

"a foreign" = UN (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

hide explanation

3d   Short reptile, // one old and decrepit from what we hear (4)

4d   Stag hastened, in part // struck with fear (6)

5d   Try very hard // to meet qualification for intestinal surgery? (4,1,3)

6d   What politicians must read? // Not the FT! (5,5)

In the UK, a White Paper[5] is a government report giving information or proposals on an issue.

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

8d   Big team playing -- / a lot of information /needed/ (7)

Due to the manner in which the setter has structured the clue, the link word "needed" ends up at the end.

13d   Little relative gainfully employed /or/ back in education? (10)

Among other things, rel.[1] is the abbreviation for relative.

14d   No honey served up -- // fruit /is on offer/ (5)

Similar to 8d, the structure of the clue pushes the link phrase "is on offer" to the back of the line.

In pharmacology, mel (Latin for 'honey') is a pure form of honey formerly used in pharmaceutical products.

16d   Herd moved across river /and/ put in new shed? (8)

The River Ouse[5] is a river of northeastern England, formed at the confluence of the Ure and Swale in North Yorkshire and flowing 92 km (57 miles) south-eastwards through York to the Humber estuary. There are also several other rivers in England having the same name or minor variations thereof.

18d   Old country // residence opening 24 hours (7)

Dahomey[5] is the former name (until 1975) for Benin, a country of West Africa, immediately west of Nigeria; population 8,791,800 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), West African languages; capital, Porto Novo. The country was conquered by the French in 1893 and became part of French West Africa. In 1960 it became fully independent.

21d   Woman /in/ residence wanting drink brought round (6)

22d   Bradman/'s/ famous duck? (6)

Sir Donald "Don" Bradman[7] (1908–2001), often referred to as "The Don", was an Australian cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest Test  (show explanation ) batsman of all time. Bradman's career Test batting average of 99.94 is often cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport.

A Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] is an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

Donald Duck[7] is a cartoon character created in 1934, at Walt Disney Productions.

The Inside Joke
Don Manley — the creator of this puzzle — sets crosswords for a number of British publications under various pseudonyms — Duck, Pasquale, Quixote, Bradman, and Giovanni all of which are punningly connected with the name Don or Donald.

24d   A number or twice as many /in/ overnight accommodation (4)

26d   Behold saints /making/ sacrifice? (4)

"behold" = LO (show explanation )

Lo[5] is an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them.

hide explanation

"saint" = S (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Don't overlook the fact that more than one saint is called for in the clue.
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)
Happy Canada Day — Falcon