Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 (DT 26128)

This puzzle, set by Rufus, was originally published Monday, January 4, 2010 in The Daily Telegraph

The National Post has skipped DT 26127 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, January 2, 2010


Today's puzzle was perhaps a tad more difficult than the typical "Monday" fare - but one that I personally quite enjoyed.

Today's Glossary

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

bazooka - a brasswind musical instrument (from which the likely much better known anti-tank weapon derives its name)

brae - noun Scottish a steep bank or hillside

three-quarter - noun rugby any of the four players positioned between the full back and the scrum half and stand-off half

Today's Links

Rishi's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26128].

Were the Brits still suffering the aftereffects of their New Year's Eve celebrations? Many of them seem to be in an especially surly mood today.

Surgical Separation

The British bloggers sometimes speak of the need to "lift and separate" in solving a clue. The phrase comes from an advertising campaign once waged by a manufacturer of brassieres. In the cryptic crossword context, the phrase describes a situation where the component words of a well known phrase must be split into two separate parts, usually with one part contributing to the definition and the other part to the wordplay.

I have found an example of "lift and separate" in a review by Peter Biddlecombe of Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2524. The clue is:

[ST 2524] 5d Only half fared well in guest house (8)

This is a hidden word type clue where the wordplay instructs us to take half the letters (only half) of the phrase "fareD WELL IN Guest" to get DWELLING, a word meaning "house". Note that in the surface reading, we see "guest house" as a single unit. However, in the cryptic reading, we must "lift and separate" the two components, with "guest" forming part of the wordplay and "house" serving as the definition.

An example of this from today's puzzle is:

6d Mock taken around start of school recess (4)

Here, "school recess" which is a single entity in the surface reading, must be split into two components, with "school" being part of the wordplay and "recess" forming the definition.

In today's puzzle, we also find a couple of clues where we must go beyond a mere "lift and separate" operation - we are required to perform a surgical separation.

13a One breaks a little backbone (5)

In the cryptic reading, we must surgically separate "backbone" so that the clue reads:

One breaks a little back /\ bone

In this case, one of the components resulting from the surgical separation contributes to the wordplay, while the second serves as the definition. The definition is "bone" and the wordplay is I (one) contained in (breaks) a reversal of (back) {A BIT (little)} giving the solution TIBIA [{A(I)|BIT}<].

21d I have innate artlessness (7)

Once again, we need to perform a surgical separation to reveal the wordplay.

I have in nate /\ artlessness

In this case, the two components resulting from the surgical separation both contribute to the wordplay. The definition is "artlessness" for which the solution is NAIVETE. The wordplay tells us that IVE ("I have" or I've) is contained in (in) NATE [NA(IVE)TE].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

1a Unlikely opportunity given to prisoner released on parole (7,6)

I thought that Rishi's observation that being on parole "gives [a prisoner] an opportunity ... to escape" to be a bit strange. Surely, if he is on parole, he has no need to escape. Perhaps Rishi meant that if the parolee does not violate the conditions of his parole, he can escape (avoid) being sent back to prison.

30a Flying combination of cardinal and count (7)

You will be in trouble if you try to read this as a standard cryptic clue, for it is actually a cryptic definition. The sense of the clue is "Combine a word meaning 'cardinal' and a word meaning 'count' to get the name of something that can fly".

22d A man in love may well get married (7)

Despite getting the correct solution, I must admit that I failed (unlike Rishi) to notice the anagram - leaving me scratching my head as to the meaning of the wordplay.

Signing off for today - Falcon

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