Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010 (DT 26087)

This puzzle was originally published Monday, November 16, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph

The National Post has skipped DT 26086 which was published on Saturday, November 14, 2009 in the Daily Telegraph

Introduction

As Goldilocks might have said, today's puzzle was not too hard and not too easy - just a pleasant challenge. I did get diverted off the main highway a couple of times, which turned out to be rather pleasant - although time consuming - diversions. One clue gave me difficulty, causing me to opt for an incorrect solution.

Today's Glossary

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

dash - exclamation Brit. informal used to express mild annoyance

Land's End - a headland on the Penwith peninsula in Cornwall, England; the most westerly point of the English mainland

Mercia - ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom located in what is today known as the English Midlands

Offa - a king of Mercia

Order of Merit (abbreviation OM) - an honour of the Commonwealth realms recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture

rugby union (abbreviation RU) - noun a form of rugby played in teams of fifteen, traditionally strictly amateur but opened to professionalism in 1995

sack -noun historical a dry white wine formerly imported into Britain from Spain and the Canaries

Sealyham - noun a terrier of a wire-haired short-legged breed (ORIGIN from Sealyham, a village in SW Wales, where the dog was first bred)

spinning jenny - noun historical a machine for spinning with more than one spindle at a time

streets ahead - PHRASES not in the same street Brit. informal far inferior in terms of ability streets ahead Brit. informal greatly superior

Today's Links

Today, Big Dave introduces a new recruit to his team of reviewers. Rishi's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Telegraph Crossword Blog [DT 26087].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

10a The principle of no credit (8)

As Rishi points out in his review, "there is no anagram indicator" - at least there might appear to be no explicit anagram indicator. Despite this the anagram is not too difficult to see. I thought that perhaps the clue is intended as a cryptic definition, where "the principle of no credit" is intended to be a specific example of a doctrine, with the anagram "no credit" implicitly embedded in the clue being an additional hint to the correct solution. There is also a suggestion on Big Dave's site that the word "of" itself can serve as an anagram indicator.

13a Nominally involved in a court case (5)

This is the sort of clue I hate - one where there are a multitude of possible candidates and little information in the clue (or, at least, little that I find helpful) to narrow down the possibilities. The checking letters (i.e., the letters provided by the intersecting words in the grid) constrain the solution to words matching the pattern ?I?E?. However, that is not much of a constraint, as my pattern matching tool produces a list of 336 possible matches.

I learn from Rishi that the solution is CITED - with the underlying play on words seemingly based on the following definitions:
  • cite - verb 3 law a to summon someone to appear in court; b to name someone as being involved in a case
  • nominal - adjective 4 belonging to, being or relating to a name
With a great deal of uncertainty, I had penciled in FINED, thinking that someone involved in a court case might be fined and since one definition for nominal is:
  • nominal - adjective 3 (of a sum of money) very small; far below the real value or cost
I had reasoned that if one were to be let off easy by a judge they might pay a nominal fine.

As I said, I had little confidence in this solution - with good reason, as it turns out.

17a Far better than other than other door-to-do salesmen? (7,5)

Although the phrase STREETS AHEAD seemed to fit, it was an expression that I had never heard before. In an effort to verify it, my first web search turned up only the site of an American manufacturer of belts and other leather accessories - and offered no rationale why this phrase might appear in a British crossword. However, a bit more sleuthing revealed that this is indeed a British expression (see Today's Glossary).

Given that Rishi's hint for this clue begins "When a person is this, he or she outstrips everyone else ...", I really couldn't resist the opportunity to share the following image, and - just in case you might be interested - there are many more like it to be found on this company's website.



15d Female cotton spinner (5)

I had trouble finding a definition for the device referenced in the solution to this clue, thinking it was called a cotton jenny when, in reality, it was known as a spinning jenny. My confusion undoubtedly arises from my familiarity with the Gordon Lightfoot tune Cotton Jenny.



Signing off for today - Falcon

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