Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010 (DT 26131)

This puzzle, the creation of an unknown setter, was originally published Thursday, January 7, 2010 in The Daily Telegraph


It would seem that this puzzle was considerably more difficult for me than it was for the Brits - no doubt, the Briticisms played a part in that. Ironically, I always find it interesting to see the reaction from the Brits when one or two Americanisms creep into a puzzle.

Today's Glossary

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

Sir Richard Branson - British industrialist who founded Virgin Atlantic Airways (together with numerous other ventures)

Graham Hill - British racing driver

L2 - abbreviation 2 learner driver

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

shatter - verb 4 colloq to tire out or exhaust

The Stig - a racing driver character on the BBC Television show Top Gear

tin - noun 6 Brit slang money

trolley - noun 1 Brit. a large wheeled metal basket or frame used for transporting heavy or unwieldy items such as luggage or supermarket purchases

Today's Links

Libellule's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26131].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

27a Fall for American (6)

The meaning of this clue is definitely ambiguous. Read one way, it asks "What would an American call the season that the British call 'fall'?", while read another way, it asks "What does an American mean when he says 'fall'?". Thankfully, I discovered that it is fairly easy to find the correct solution even if one gets the sense of the wordplay backwards. According to Oxford, autumn is the chiefly British term for "the season after summer and before winter" while fall is a North American term meaning autumn. As is frequently the case, both terms are commonly used in Canada and I had no idea that one was British and one was American.

1d First-rate pick (6)

My choice of CHOICE turned out to be anything but a first-rate pick - presenting a major impediment to completing the northwest quadrant. I did eventually select a better answer.

17d How Branson got his business off the ground? (8)

I remained grounded for quite a while in the southwest quadrant when I mistakenly jumped on an AIRPLANE. Once I managed to find the right craft on which to fly, I quickly completed this corner.

Signing off for today - Falcon


  1. Fall/autumn - what's really going on here is that "fall" was an ordinary English word when English was exported to North America (say in 1750 for the sake of argument.) It probably still was a hundred years later - the OED quotes Thomas Carlyle using it in 1851. But somehow, "autumn" has now become our standard term, though as OED says, "spring and fall, the fall of the year, are, however, in fairly common use".

    1D: not your fault: your answer works just as well as the 'right' answer. There's a risk of coincidences like this when the two definitions lead to the same dictionary entry. If they lead to different ones, like bow=knot and bow=part of a ship, this kind of problem is much less likely.

  2. Peter,

    Thank you for this interesting clarification. It does not surprise me to learn that we in North America may still be using words and expressions that have disappeared from use in the U.K. This is similar to the situation of Acadians living in Canada's Maritime Provinces who speak a dialect of French that is not only different from that spoken in Quebec but is apparently very similar to a no longer spoken dialect that existed in parts of France four centuries ago.