Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010 (DT 26147)

This puzzle, created by Shamus, was originally published Tuesday, January 26, 2010 in The Daily Telegraph


Gazza may have thought that this was a fairly easy puzzle, but I had to dig into the Tool Chest early and often. Although I managed to complete the puzzle (with the exception of one clue where I was unable to decide between two possible solutions), I was left with question marks in my mind concerning the wordplay in a couple of clues.

Today's Glossary

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

motorway - noun Brit. a road designed for fast traffic, typically with three lanes in each direction (abbreviation M)

River Aire - a river in Yorkshire, England

airer - noun Brit. a frame or stand for airing or drying laundry

OBE - abbreviation Brit. (Officer of the) Order of the British Empire, an award given to honour personal or professional excellence, or services to the country

John Reith - first Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation

squash rackets (or squash racquets) - noun a game for either two or four players who use small-headed rackets to hit a little rubber ball around an indoor court ... Often shortened to squash.

swell - noun 5 informal, dated a fashionable person of high social position

Paris Commune

20d Talk one's associated with Paris? (7)

The solution to this clue is COMMUNE, a word meaning "talk" as well as a word seemingly having several possible associations with Paris, although Gazza chooses to focus on the first one listed below.

The first Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 (more formally, from March 28) to May 28, 1871.

The second Paris Commune (during the French Revolution) was the government of Paris from 1789 until 1795.

Finally, a commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the present-day French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or cities in the United States and Canada or Gemeinden in Germany. French communes have no exact equivalent in the United Kingdom, having a status somewhere in between that of English districts and civil parishes.

A French commune can be a city of two million inhabitants as in Paris, a town of ten thousand people, or just a ten-person hamlet.

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26147].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

27a Smart vehicle? Change oil in use circling motorway (9)

Here "smart vehicle" is not a Smart Car; rather "smart" means stylish and a "smart vehicle" is a LIMOUSINE. The wordplay is an anagram (change) of OIL IN USE containing M (motorway).

2d It might arise from some celeb I lampooned (5)

This is an & lit. clue (or as Big Dave prefers to call it, an all-in-one clue). The entire clue can be read two ways. In the first reading, the clue is a description of LIBEL, something that could arise should one's lampoon contain false statements that were damaging to a celebrity's reputation. In the second reading, "it" (the solution) is a reversal (indicated by "might arise", this being a down clue) of a string contained in (indicated by "from some") the phrase "ceLEB I Lampooned".

14d A native overlooking a lake that's private (8)

I didn't understand the wordplay completely - but I take some solace from knowing that neither did Gazza. In this clue, the first A signifies PER (as in "Gasoline, or petrol to the Brits, is 99 cents a litre" or "99 cents per litre"). I bet the Brits wish they could get it for that price - they pay in the order of 120 pence per litre (or about $1.80 per litre) which is nearly double what we pay here.

The definition is "private" with the solution being PERSONAL. The wordplay in this charade is {PER (A) + SON (native)} + (overlooking) {A + L (lake)}. I have indicated the joins in the charade by plus signs. Note that there are three joins - two of which are implicit and one of which is explicit (indicated by "overlooking"). I have chosen to show this clue as two mini-charades (each containing two elements) which in turn form the elements of an overall charade [i.e., {A + B} + {C + D}], although I think one would probably be equally correct to view it as a single four-element charade [A + B + C + D].

21d Broadcasting bigwig reportedly getting mark of honour (6)

Although I recognized that this is a homophone type clue and suspected that the "broadcasting bigwig" might be a senior executive with the BBC, I failed to identify the proper individual. Either BROOCH or WREATH could fit the grid and either might match the definition "mark of honour". The "broadcasting bigwig" for whom we are searching is John Reith, the first Director-General of the BBC, while I was only able to come up with the current BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson (which, coincidentally, might have had a tie-in to "mark of honour").

Signing off for today - Falcon

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