Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010 (DT 26095)

This puzzle was originally published Wednesday, November 25, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph


I was feeling pretty smug this morning, having completed the puzzle without needing to resort to the contents of my Tool Chest. However, my balloon was deflated somewhat when I saw that Big Dave gave it two stars for difficulty and commented that "It was very easy and the newer solvers should enjoy finishing it. For the rest of us it offered very little."

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

brass - noun 6 Brit. informal money

estate car - noun Brit. a car incorporating a large carrying area behind the seats and an extra door at the rear [known in North America as a station wagon]
  • Hint: The clue may be easier to solve if you ignore this piece of information
Harold MacMillan, 1st Earl of Stockton - former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

sapper - noun 2 Brit. a soldier in the Corps of Royal Engineers

Tate - an institution that houses the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art

York - a city in North Yorkshire, England situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss

Today's Links

Big Dave's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Telegraph Crossword Blog [DT 26095].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

12a Creature in middle of foaming river at York (5)

I was a bit slow to twig to the wordplay in this clue. The definition is "creature" with the solution being MOUSE. I initially supposed that M came from "middle" (possibly some British sports term) and OUSE being the "foaming river at York". However, I continued to have reservations about "foaming". Although Wikipedia does describe the Ouse as a tidal river (but the tidal portion does not extend as far upstream as York) and mentions that "heavy rainfall in the river's catchment area can bring severe flooding to nearby settlements", this hardly seemed to constitute a compelling justification for the setter to characterize it as a foaming river. Finally, the lights went on, and I realized that the M comes from "middle of foaming" (i.e., the middle letter of the word "foaming").

5d Chaplain in flat on outskirts of Rome (5)

Here the definition is "chaplain" with the solution being PADRE. The wordplay is PAD (flat, apartment) in front of (being a down clue, "on" signifies on top of) RE (outskirts of Rome; i.e., the two outermost letters of the word "Rome"). In a down clue, "A on B" is usually used in this manner and can only mean "AB".

Despite Big Dave's assertion that on "only really works to join the two parts of a down clue", I definitely recall having seen on used in an across clue and, I believe, even rarely in a down clue, in the sense of attached to, as one might use it in the sentence "I carry my cellphone in a holster on my hip." Furthermore, when used in this manner, it seems that "A on B" can mean either "AB" or "BA" (depending upon which hip you prefer to carry your cellphone, I suppose!).

Signing off for today - Falcon

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