Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 (DT 26102)

This puzzle was originally published Thursday, December 3, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph


I found this puzzle to be more difficult than the one yesterday, which seems to be quite the opposite view from the Brits.

Due to time constraints, I have posted this after reading Libellule's review but before having had the opportunity to read through the comments related to his review. I will be interested to see whether I've duplicated any or whether I'm in total disagreement with them.

Today's Glossary

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

hock - noun Brit. a dry white wine from the German Rhineland

nous - noun 1 Brit. informal practical intelligence

Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE) or sappers: noun 1 military engineers who lay or detect and disarm mines. 2 Brit. soldiers in the Corps of Royal Engineers

Territorial Army (abbreviation TA) - noun in the UK: a fully trained volunteer force intended to provide back-up to the regular army in cases of emergency

off one’s trolley - PHRASE Brit. informal mad; insane [Although this expression seems to be unique to the U.K., it would appear that Brits may share with us a similar phrase used in North America, "off one's rocker"]

Today's Links

Libellule's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Telegraph Crossword Blog [DT 26102].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

9a Church by West Coast city to charge rent (8)

A quick reading of this clue might cause one to question why "to charge" equates to RATE. "To charge" would certainly appear to be a verb, while I believe that charge and rate would need to be used as nouns to be synonyms (e.g., He asked the desk clerk to quote him the charge/rate for the hotel room?). The answer, I suspect, may be that "to" is not being used here to form the infinitive of a verb. Rather, it may well be a charade indicator, used to show that one thing is placed next to another, as in the expressions "put pen to paper", "put your shoulder to the wheel", or "have one's nose to the grindstone". Thus the clue would parse as:

CE (church; i.e., Church of England) beside (by; in this case, on the right hand side of) LA (west coast city; i.e., Los Angeles) next to (to: as discussed above) RATE (charge) /\ LACERATE (rent?)

However, I have difficulty with this clue, as it seems to me that lacerate should mean rend, not rent. Rent could mean either laceration (as a noun) or lacerated (as a verb).

4d One depends on freezing point (6)

I struggled with the wordplay here, with my problem arising from trying to analyze this as a regular cryptic clue rather than the cryptic definition which it is. The idea being conveyed is that the solution, ICICLE, represented in the clue by the pronoun "one", only forms (and continues to exist) when the temperature is below the freezing point. There is also an additional hint in the clue, in that an icicle may be considered to be a "freezing point" (i.e., a frozen pointed object).

5d Valley of angels flying without wings (4)

Although I admit that I arrived at the solution much in the same fashion described by Libellule in his review, I think if one were to strictly follow the wordplay, one should perform the anagram first (flying) followed by the removal of the outer letters (without wings). Thus one would first obtain AGLENS (or, if you prefer, SGLENA) from which stripping the first and last letters would produce GLEN. While, in this case, the order of operations does not matter, there are no doubt instances in which it would.

17d Politician - one embraced by the church (8)

I thought that this might be considered an &lit (all-in-one) clue, where one reading is as explained by Libellule and the second would be as a cryptic definition conveying the idea of "the name of a political position that also exists in the church".

19d Water under the bridge means a loss for this transporter (8)

It was only upon reading Libellule's review that I finally fully twigged to the wordplay here. I was looking for some sort of wordplay built around transforming the word "aqua" to get AQUEDUCT. However, it is a straight cryptic definition stating that water found under an aqueduct in all likelihood indicates that there is a leak in this structure used to transport water.

Signing off for today - Falcon

1 comment:

  1. 9A: you're absolutely right, on both charge=rate as nouns, and the meanings of "rent".

    4D: I think the clue also relies on depend (archaic and lit.) = "to hang down" - not explicitly mentioned in the blog but I think libellule saw it.