Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 (DT 26091)

This puzzle was originally published Friday, November 20, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph


For the third day running, we have a puzzle that the reviewers on Big Dave's site have rated as three stars for degree of difficulty. For me personally, the three were definitely quite different in level of difficulty - with today's being by the far the least difficult. I was able to solve almost the entire puzzle before opening my Tool Chest. I did have to research the wordplay on a few clues (such as determining what gibbons have to do with Orlando and what Badminton has to do with trials). Finally, I was left scratching my head over the wordplay in one clue.

Today's Glossary

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

Menzies (Ming) Campbell - former leader of the British Liberal Democrats political party.
  • Note: The nickname arises from the pronunciation of the Scottish name Menzies which, according to different parties writing on Big Dave's blog, sounds like Mingus or Mingis. Or as Wikipedia puts it "'Menzies' is a Scottish name, pronounced /ˈmɪŋɨs/, and originally written Minȝies, the "z" being a graphic approximation of the (Middle English) yogh (ȝ) originally found in the name; hence he is often known as 'Ming'".
cor - exclamation colloq expressing surprise or pleasure

County Down - a county in Northern Ireland

Badminton - a village in Gloucestershire, England known for its horse trials

gang2 [Collins] - verb Scot to go

Orlando Gibbons - English composer and musician of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods

poodle - noun 2 Brit. a servile or obsequious person

screw - verb 4 snooker, billiards to put sidespin or backspin on (the cue ball)

thane - noun 1 (in Anglo-Saxon England) a man granted land by the king or a nobleman, ranking between a freeman and a hereditary noble. Wikipedia says that although the term "was slowly changing its meaning ... [and had] different senses in different ages and kingdoms", it "is commonly employed by historians to describe ... an aristocratic retainer of a king or nobleman".

Patience Strong - pseudonym of British poet Winifred Emma May

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Telegraph Crossword Blog [DT 26091].

As the gentleman to whom Gazza refers in his comments on 8d may well be unfamiliar to North American readers, Noel Edmonds is an English television presenter (host) - who presumably is well-known for wearing sweaters.

It was interesting to see a number of references to American cities in today's puzzle - and I braced myself for the expected howl of protest from visitors to Big Dave's site. Actually the howl was rather muted compared to what I was expecting.

The setter of the puzzle, Giovanni replied to one protester "Please don’t reinforce the image that Telegraph readers are small-minded little-Englander xenophobes — because I’m sure the vast majority (including you, Derek) are not really like that!".

This blog even received favourable mention, as Gazza responded to one visitor who commented on the American content, by saying "It’s very interesting to read the “National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum” ... – it’s instructive to see how many of the terms which we take for granted have to be explained to the N. American readers."

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

18a Frightened when female's issued a reprimand (6)

Since Gazza seems to gloss over the point (no doubt having encountered it often enough that it no longer merits comment), I suspect some readers may miss the significance of the wordplay in this clue. The word "issued" can mean "came out" (e.g., as in the case of a magazine - and even perhaps in other senses). Thus "frightened when female is issued" is equivalent to saying "frightened when female came out" and FEARFUL (frightened) when F (female) came out (is deleted) is EARFUL.

29a Patience needed by principal inclined to be impulsive (10)

Being generally unfamiliar with poets, and especially late 20th century British poets, I had no idea what the connection was between strong and patience. Perhaps if I had exercised a bit more of the latter I would have discovered the answer; after all, this person seems hardly more obscure than Orlando Gibbons whom I was successful in tracing.

Signing off for today - Falcon

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