Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010 (DT 26115)

This puzzle, set by Giovanni, was originally published Friday, December 18, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph

Introduction

Like many of Giovanni's puzzles, I found it difficult to find a starting point. However, once I managed to solve a couple of clues, I made good progress. Of course, I had to pull out the Tool Chest for help with the last few clues.

As I noted at the beginning of the week, the planets have aligned in such a manner that the puzzles are currently being published in the National Post on the same day of the week that they originally appeared in the U.K. Generally, the puzzles get progressively more difficult from Monday through to Friday. Of course, this is only a rough rule of thumb. Certainly, the level of difficulty of the puzzles compiled by a particular setter will vary from week to week, and we may well encounter a difficult Wednesday puzzle that is more of a challenge than an easy Thursday puzzle.

While The Daily Telegraph (unlike some papers) does not publish the name the setters, their identities are more or less known. Setters usually work under a pseudonym - and a setter will often compile puzzles for a number of publications under unique pseudonyms for each one.

According to information provided on Big Dave's site, the compilers are as follows:
  • Monday - Rufus (pseudonym of Roger Squires)
  • Tuesday - shared between Ray T and Shamus on a roughly alternating schedule
  • Wednesday - the Wednesday workload has traditionally been shared among a number of setters. However, beginning with puzzles published in the U.K. in 2010 (a point we are yet to reach), the regular setter will be Jay (pseudonym of Jeremy Mutch)
  • Thursday - the Thursday setter has traditionally been Jay, but it seems that his contributions will soon be moved to Wednesday and Thursday will become the day with no set setter
  • Friday - Giovanni (one of the numerous pseudonyms of Don Manley)
Additional information on the setters can be found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog (look under Xword Setters in the Categories drop-down list found near the bottom of the sidebar on the right side of the screen).

Today's Glossary

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

Edmond Halley - English astronomer

Right Reverend - (abbreviation RR) adjective a title given to a bishop [Note: this is the usage in Britain; in other parts of the world, the honorific Right Reverend generally has a more restricted application.]

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26115].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

22a Duck egg falling out of two-wheeled vehicle (6)

Fortunately, the setter did not choose to make this a "sounds like" clue, as the word scoter seems to be pronounced quite differently in Britain and North America. In Britain, it is apparently pronounced with a short O (rhyming with otter), while on this side of the Atlantic, it would appear to be pronounced with a long O (rhyming with boater).

14d Yapper keeps so very quiet! (10)

Despite finding the correct solution, I failed to see the wordplay (as did many others who have confessed on Big Dave's blog). As my mother would have said, the answer was hiding in plain sight. She would also often say, when I was unable to find something that was sitting in plain view, "If it were a bear, it would bite you."

"Very quiet" usually signals that PP (abbreviation for pianissimo) appears in the solution. However, in this case, PIANISSIMO is the solution. The wordplay tells us that this is a hidden word clue, where the word "yapper" hides (keeps) PP.

Signing off for today - Falcon

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