Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010 (DT 26148)

This puzzle, set by Jay, was originally published Wednesday, January 27, 2010 in The Daily Telegraph


I made very good progress on this until I reached 27a, which caused me some agony. I was down to about the final half dozen clues before resorting to my Tool Chest.

Today's Glossary

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

agony aunt (or agony uncle) - noun Brit. informal a person who answers letters in an agony column

agony column - noun Brit. informal a column in a newspaper or magazine offering advice on readers’ personal problems

cable - a shortened form of cablegram, an international telegram (and, based on Tilsit's comments, apparently an Americanism); originally, a telegram sent by submarine cable, but the meaning seems to have been extended to also include those sent via other media such as radio or satellite

River Trent - one of the major rivers of England

Today's Links

Tilsit's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26148].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

10a Rock offering shade on beach (9)

This is an example of a clue where the syllabication of the solution produced by the definition varies from that produced by the wordplay. For the definition "rock" the solution is SAND·STONE. However, for the wordplay, we have TONE (shade) following (on) SANDS (beach) producing SANDS·TONE.

27a Columnist shot in a city in front of relative (5,4)

This clue will teach me never to discount any possibility - no matter how improbable it may appear to be. From the checking letters, I did see that the words agony and aunt would fit - but was on the verge of dismissing this as being just too ridiculous. However, when I did a web search, I discovered that agony aunt is a British term for a newspaper advice columnist. The wordplay is GO (shot, meaning attempt) contained in (in) A NY (city) + (in front of) AUNT (relative). See also commentary for 26d.

2d What a musician may do is express relief and walk (5-4)

Like 10a, this clue has a solution where the syllabication varies between that produced by the wordplay and that produced by the definition. The definition is "what a musician may do", for which the solution is SIGHT-READ. The wordplay is SIGH (express relief) + (and) TREAD (walk) producing SIGH·TREAD.

3d Density found in sort of rice beverage (5)

This is an example of what some of the British bloggers like to impishly refer to as a "lift and separate" clue (the expression comes from an old brassiere commercial). That is, although the phrase "rice beverage" would appear to be an entity (and it is intended to be such in the surface reading), we must separate the two elements in the phrase in the cryptic analysis. Thus, the clue is read cryptically as "Density found in sort of rice /\ beverage" (where the fulcrum symbol "/\" is used to show the dividing line between the wordplay on the left and the definition on the right. It turns out that we are not looking for a rice beverage (sake, as I initially suspected) at all, but rather an apple beverage.

Perhaps "d" is a symbol for density in some field of endeavour. While it does not appear in the online version of Chambers, I take solace in the fact that it undoubtedly appears in some edition of the unabridged version of Chambers. When I studied physics and engineering, the symbol for density was ρ (the Greek letter rho).

8d Sporting knowledge? (5,5)

Here "sport" has little, if anything, to do with athletic endeavours, but rather takes the meaning "to wear or display, especially proudly".

26d Go and get fired (4)

In this double definition, the solution is SHOT. One definition is "go" (attempt) and the second is "get fired" (as a gun might get fired or shot). Note that in 27a we see "shot" = GO and here we see just the reverse.

Signing off for today - Falcon

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