Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 (DT 25841)

This puzzle was originally published Monday, February 2, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph

Introduction

Today, this blog celebrates the completion of its first month of existence. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all those who visit this site on a regular basis and especially to those who have contributed comments.

With today's Cryptic Crossword, the National Post skipped ahead several puzzles, as they do from time to time in order to compensate for the difference in publication schedules for the puzzles in the Post and The Daily Telegraph. I'm not sure whether the Post actually makes this call or whether The Daily Telegraph does so when it syndicates the puzzles.

As for today's puzzle, I made a quick start, but soon became bogged down. In the end, I was unable to make any kind of credible stab at one clue and there were a few others for which my take on the wordplay was a bit suspect. I have to say that I wasn't particularly impressed with the quality of today's puzzle. I don't seem to be alone in that feeling, as the puzzle was widely panned by the British bloggers.

Anniversary Reflections

On the occasion of this one month anniversary, it is perhaps fitting to take a moment to reflect a bit on this blog and why I created it. It is intended to be a forum for those who enjoy solving the cryptic crosswords published in the National Post. While a prime motivation behind its establishment was to benefit newcomers to the field of cryptic crosswords, I would hope that it may be of interest to those of any level of proficiency in this area.

For the benefit of foreign visitors to this blog, the National Post is a newspaper with national distribution in Canada. Five days a week, the Post publishes a syndicated version of The Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword (appearing in the Post about four months after it was published in the Telegraph). On Saturday, the Post publishes a cryptic crossword created by American puzzle makers Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon.

My motivation in starting the blog was based on my initial experience in trying to solve cryptic crossword puzzles. At first, I could solve very few clues and many times I found myself unable to decipher the wordplay even with the solution grid in front of me. Eventually, I stumbled upon some Internet sites where I could get explanations for a least some of the clues. However, finding relevant information on these sites (or even just finding the sites) was a hit and miss process due to a number of factors, including:
  • The delay between publication in The Daily Telegraph and the National Post (approximately four months).
  • The differing publication frequencies in the two papers (six times per week in the Telegraph but only five times per week in the Post). The Post (as they did today) occasionally skips a number of puzzles to "catch up".
  • Sites would often pop up only to disappear after a short run.
  • Difficulty in navigating some of the sites.
I occasionally would post a query or comment to one of the British websites, but I always felt rather silly since I would be doing so some four months after the puzzle had been published in the UK.

With experience, I became quite adept at finding the appropriate sites and navigating them, and the knowledge I picked up greatly enhanced my proficiency at doing these puzzles. It therefore occurred to me that others here in Canada might benefit from my experience and that is what prompted me to start this blog.

As regular visitors will have observed, I provide the following as part of the blog:
  • A glossary of place names, words and expressions appearing in the puzzle that I think might be unfamiliar to many Canadians. While many of these may be "Briticisms", that is not the sole criterion for inclusion.
  • From time to time, a note dealing with a tool or tip to help solve cryptic crossword puzzles.
  • Links to sites that provide hints, solutions and explanations concerning that day's puzzle. I provide links directly to the page in the site's archive where the puzzle is discussed.
  • A commentary on clues that I found especially difficult, clues that illustrate some interesting point or clues that I deem otherwise deserving of attention.
  • A solution to the clues in the puzzle.
The blog has been structured in such a way to allow readers who may have reached an impasse in trying to solve a puzzle to start their visit to the site by checking the glossary to get some help with unfamiliar vocabulary - which in itself might be enough to help them make further progress. They might come back later to check a link or two on AnswerBank to help with a few more clues or read the commentary, allowing them to make some more progress. Finally, once they have completed the puzzle (or surrendered to it), they can check the solution or visit a site such as Crossword Ends in Violence (5) which (usually) provides a fairly complete discussion of the puzzle.

You will also see a number of "gadgets" (Google parlance) to the side of the blog:
  • Followers: allows other Blogger.com owners to link to this blog
  • Search: search the blog and its archives
  • Blog Archive: what else - past issues of this blog
  • Library: links to articles and web sites providing information on solving cryptic crosswords
  • Tool Chest: tools to assist in solving cryptic crosswords
  • Other ... Blogs: links to other blogs dealing with cryptic crosswords
And, last but not least, the comments section. Comments are always welcome. If you would like a detailed explanation to help you understand a solution provided here, please don't hesitate to ask. If you have an opinion on anything you see in this blog, please leave a comment. I am self-taught in the art of solving cryptic crossword puzzles - and I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, consider myself an authority. Those who have followed this blog over the last month will know that I do make mistakes and I genuinely appreciate when readers submit corrections.

So, I hope you have enjoyed your visits to the site and please come back and visit again. Now, on to today's puzzle.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar words and expressions used in today's puzzle

cover - a fielding position in cricket

impot - (Brit.) public school slang for an imposition - a written task imposed as punishment for misbehaviour

Today's Links

1. Crossword Ends in Violence (5) [DT 25841]: CEIV provides supplementary hints, solutions or full explanations for all clues in today's puzzle.

It seems that James Cary wrote his blog about today's puzzle while watching the Super Bowl on the telly. It is amusing to see comments regarding the slow pace of American professional football - especially coming from the land that gave us cricket. :-)

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize for the bad link to CEIV in yesterday's blog.

I found four questions on AnswerBank discussing today's puzzle. They (together with the clues that they cover) are:

2. AnswerBank [DT 25841]-a: 1d

3. AnswerBank [DT 25841]-b: 1ac, 14ac, 7d, 8d

4. AnswerBank [DT 25841]-c: 29ac, 15d, 19d

5. AnswerBank [DT 25841]-d: 15d

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

The clue that gave me so much trouble was:

15d In short, a form of school punishment (5)

This clue even seemed to cause problems for the British solvers (2 out of 3 questions on AnswerBank dealt with it). The solution is IMPOT (see Today's Glossary above). Despite an extensive search, I was able to find only one source with a definition for this term.

13ac Disguise the point of cricket (5)

The Brits seemed to think that this clue was rather clever. When I look at the article on cricket fielding positions (cited in Today's Glossary above), I see that there are a number of positions discussed there, including a "point", a "cover", a "cover point" and several other variants of these. Although it would appear from this source that a "point" and a "cover" are two distinct positions, I'll bow to the judgment of the experts across the pond on this one.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "CD" Cryptic Definition; "DD" Double Definition

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

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted

Across

1ac C|OB|WEB

4ac E(CO)NOMIC* - I^NCOME* + (CO)

9ac LIL*|IAN - ILL* + IAN

10ac INFRINGE* - {FINGER IN}*

12ac NESS - DD

13ac COVER - DD

14ac PANS* - SNAP*

17ac ASYMMETRICAL - CD

20ac COMMON GROUND - CD

23ac ACME* - CAME*

24ac INDEX - DD

25ac KILL - DD

On CEIV, Big Dave explains that "in a pheasant shoot, kill and bag are both used for the dead birds". I'm not familiar with this usage, but in North America, these words are synonymous as verbs when used in the context of hunting. For instance, to bag a deer means to kill a deer.

28ac S(US|P)ECTS

29ac FIANCE - CD

30ac M(ISTRES*)S - SISTER*

31ac ME|RELY

Down

1d CALENDAR - CD

2d BULLS-EYE

This is one of those clues that leaves me with a strange feeling that I am missing some nuance in the wordplay. I am trying to fathom the link between bull's-eye and gold. The best that I can come up with is that "hit the bull's-eye" and "strike gold" are both expressions signifying success.

3d EDAM* - MADE* (This is a cryptic definition containing an anagram)

5d CONVENIENCES - CD

6d _NERO_ - man[NER O]f

7d MANUAL - CD (unless you think that "manual" means "handy", in which case it would be a double definition)

8d CHEESE - CD

11d CONTAMINATES* - {ACTIONS MEANT}*

15d IMPOT - CD (I would say that this is merely obscure, not cryptic)

16d PADRE - CD

James Cary states on CEIV that "armed" means "pad". However, I have been unable to find any corroborating source for this contention. I suspect it may be an incorrect hypothesis arrived at by reverse-engineering the clue (see discussion in the comments to today's blog).

18d AUDIENCE - DD

19d ADU(LT)ERY* - AUD^REY* + (LT)

21d RANSOM - CD

22d AM|USES

26d BEAR - DD

27d KITE - DD

Signing off for today - Falcon

4 comments:

  1. 2D: The bull's eye on an archery target is coloured gold. A Google image search should confirm...

    ReplyDelete
  2. 16 down - Minister of the armed forces (5)
    I don't know how James Cary made the connection between pad and armed - I read it as a (not very) cryptic clue.

    The best single piece of advice that you can give to anyone attempting the Telegraph crosswords is to buy a copy of Chamber's Dictionary, 11th Edition (not the smaller version). An online subscription is also available at
    Chamber's Online - I hope that markup works in comments!

    This would have given, for example:

    bag - a game bag, hence the quantity of fish or game secured

    kill - prey or game killed

    impot (school slang) - an imposition

    bull's-eye - the centre of a target

    gold - the centre of an archery target, coloured gold

    Chamber's is used by all Telegraph setters, and they only occasionally stray outside of it (and usually create an outcry when they do!).

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish you didn't need Chambers (no apostrophe - the original editors had the surname Chambers) for the Telegraph - it's not exactly cheap, and contains many words they would never dream of using. But there are areas like abbreviations where anything in C seems to be fair game in the DT puzzle, and the cheaper Concise Oxford (English rather than Canadian) doesn't have impot or the archery "gold".

    ReplyDelete
  4. Many thanks to both of you for your comments (both today as well as over the past month).

    Your comments regarding archery targets caused me to wonder about the etymology of the expression "to strike gold". I had always supposed it had a mining related context, but might it have originated in archery? No, a quick check indicates that it seems to have arisen from the 19th century American gold rush.

    With respect to James Cary's equating "pad" to "armed", it was my suspicion that he may have arrived at this conclusion by "reverse-engineering" the clue. That is not necessarily a bad thing; I do it all the time myself. In this case, absent corroborating evidence, I will assume that his hypothesis is false.

    And finally, Big Dave, I hope my statement "... I am not familiar with this usage ..." did not come across as disputing your assertion regarding the meaning of "kill" and "bag". That was definitely not my intention. I was merely trying to point out that a slightly different meaning might be more common in North America.

    Now that I see the definitions you posted in your comment, I can see that they do, in fact, apply in North America. "Kill", most definitely, is very commonly used in the sense stated. As for "bag", I have to say that I am not personally familiar with it being used alone in this sense, although this definition does appear in the Merriam-Webster dictionary (noun, defn. 4a). However, it is certainly in common use in the expression "bag limit" meaning the "maximum amount of game that can be taken by a hunter in accordance with hunting regulations".

    And, as I pointed out, "bag" (as a verb) is very commonly used here in a hunting context to mean "kill" (verb, defn. 3a).

    ReplyDelete