Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 (DT 26119)

This puzzle, set by Jay, was originally published Wednesday, December 23, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph


I found today's puzzle to be pretty much on a par with the one we saw yesterday. Again I managed to get through most of it unaided, only needing my Tool Chest on the last two or three clues.

Today's Glossary

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

nit - noun informal 2 Brit. a stupid person

OS - abbreviation 3 ordinary seaman

River Severn - the longest river in Great Britain

shop - verb 3 informal, chiefly Brit. inform on

Today's Links

Tilsit's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26119].

Tilsit suggests that the clue for 7d is not "politically correct", although few visitors to Big Dave's blog seemed to agree with him. I can only guess that he must be objecting to the use of the term mincing ("walk in an affected manner with short, quick steps and swinging hips"), a term that may be applied to the affected manner of walking that is characteristic of certain gay men. He also raises an objection to 25a in yesterday's puzzle. I am assuming that he is offended not merely by the appearance of the word bum, but rather by the context in which it was used ("Does her bum look big in this?"). Although the clue would have been rather nonsensical, I wonder if it would raise the same objection if it had read "Does his bum look big in this?" (i.e., if the crinoline had been on the other bum).

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

6d Heartless trio getting birch, for example (4)

"Heartless" is often used as an instruction to delete the middle letter from a word. Thus, upon seeing this clue I absent-mindedly thought delete H from THREE (trio) to get TREE (of which birch is an example) - in the process failing to recognize that H is not the middle letter of the word "three". Tilsit took the same approach but, to his credit, he did observe that H was in the wrong position for this wordplay to work. It was Gazza to the rescue, pointing out that in this case "heart" does not refer to the middle letter in the word but the H in the word (with H as an abbreviation for "heart" coming from the suit in a deck of cards).

By the way, Franny proposes a rather innovative alternative solution - a bit along the lines of some of the unusual solutions that I have been known to dream up from time to time.

Signing off for today - Falcon


  1. Falcon,

    Just as an aside the clue "Does her bum look big in this?" is also a reference to a phrase made popular in a UK comedy show - "The Fast Show", by a character known as "Insecure Woman".


  2. Hi Libellule,

    Thanks for this. Upon reading your comment, I thought that perhaps, due to how it was used in this show, the phrase might carry more baggage in the U.K. than would immediately be evident. However, a bit of rather cursory research failed to uncover any glaring evidence of this. Arabella Weir, who played the part of Insecure Woman on the show later wrote a semi-autobiographical novel entitled Does My Bum Look Big in This?. By the way, it seems that The Fast Show was renamed Brilliant when broadcast in the U.S.