Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010 (DT 26136)

This puzzle, set by Jay, was originally published Wednesday, January 13, 2010 in The Daily Telegraph

Introduction

Today we have a relatively easy - but still very enjoyable - puzzle which I managed to finish unaided (a rare event indeed).

Today's Glossary

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

AB2 - abbreviation 1 Brit able seaman

bloomer2 - noun Brit a longish crusty loaf of white bread, with rounded ends and several diagonal slashes across the top

extra - noun 5 cricket a run scored other than by hitting the ball with the bat

Indian - noun 5 colloq a a restaurant that specializes in Asian food, especially curries; b a meal in, or a takeaway from, this type of restaurant • went out for an Indian

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

Today's Links

Big Dave's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26136].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

11a Form of bread plant (7)

Here is a clue that was likely trivial to the Brits, but not so for North Americans who generally would not know that a bloomer is a crusty loaf of white bread. I only managed to find the solution through the second definition (plant) and the checking letters.

28a Bonus ball? (5)

While I get the general drift of this cryptic definition, it would likely resonate more with someone who is more familiar with the sport of cricket. In cricket, an extra is "a run scored other than by hitting the ball with the bat". It would appear that the term "ball" can be used in cricket in a manner similar to the use of the word "pitch" in baseball (i.e., an instance of delivering - or throwing - the ball by the bowler or pitcher, respectively). I infer this from the definition of an over which is "a series of six ... balls bowled by the same bowler from the same end of the pitch"or "play during such a series of balls". Most runs are presumably scored by hitting the ball with the bat. Thus, it would be a bonus (hence the name extra) should a team score a run on a ball without having to hit the ball with the bat.

4d Priceless car - a black Beetle is garaged (6)

There is a fairly rigid convention in North America that the definition in a cryptic crossword clue must be either the first or last element in the clue. However, in the U.K., this is not such a hard and fast rule. While the definition in British puzzles will usually be either the first or last element, one will occasionally see a clue - such as this one - where the definition is found in the middle of the clue.

The definition is "beetle" with the solution being SCARAB. In this hidden word clue, the wordplay tells us that a word meaning "beetle" is hidden (is garaged) in the phrase "pricelesS CAR A Black".

I have heard it said that one should ignore the punctuation in a cryptic clue, which is what we need to do here. By the way, as with most rules, this one does have exceptions - so the rule really is, "ignore punctuation unless it should not be ignored". Punctuation in a cryptic clue can serve either of two purposes. Most commonly it is used to create a deceptive surface reading that will disguise the underlying cryptic reading. In rare cases, it may form part of the wordplay (for instance, I seem to recall once having encountered a clue ending with an exclamation mark for which the solution was EXCLAMATION MARK).

In this clue, we need not only to discard the punctuation supplied to us by the setter, but to insert our own punctuation. Doing so, we arrive at "priceless car a black, beetle is garaged" which we must interpret as "priceless car a black [in which] beetle is garaged".

Signing off for today - Falcon

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