Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 (DT 26152)

This puzzle, by Rufus, was originally published Monday, February 1, 2010 in The Daily Telegraph

The National Post has skipped DT 26151 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, January 30, 2010

Introduction

Today's puzzle is considerably more difficult than the typical "Monday" puzzle. Despite getting the correct solution at 19d, I didn't completely understand the wordplay until I read Rishi's review. I had some difficulty with 15d as well, and I think the clue may rely on a British usage of the word - anyway, that's my excuse.

Today's Glossary

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

Used in Clues:

Cresta Run - a skeleton racing sled track in St. Moritz, Switzerland

Today's Links

Rishi's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26152].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

31a Friend goes to States for talks (8)

In a comment, Rishi states "In the clue ‘talks’ is a noun in plural form. But as definition for word required it does a switcheroo as a verb ..." While one may choose to interpret the clue in this fashion, I certainly don't think it is the only way to interpret the clue. Palaver can just as easily be a noun as a verb, in which case it could mean "noun 2 dated a parley or improvised conference between two sides". I seem to recall from Western novels I read as a boy that the commanding officer of the cavalry was always holding palavers with Indian chiefs (those of the North American variety).

15d A record number of contestants in the field (5)

An ENTRY can be either a "record" (as an entry in a log book, for example) or the "number of contestants in the field". This latter shade of meaning may be more prevalent in Britain than in North America. One of the tools that I like to use to gauge whether a particular usage is British is The Free Dictionary web site. That site usually provides definitions from both an American dictionary (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language) and a British dictionary (Collins English Dictionary). By comparing the respective entries (how appropriate) in the two dictionaries, I hope to get some indication whether a particular usage may be British. I'm not sure how reliable this method is - it may just be that Collins provides a more comprehensive range of different shades of meaning.

For entry, the American Heritage Dictionary gives "one entered in a competition" while the Collins English Dictionary, in addition to the aforementioned meaning, also provides "the competitors entering a contest considered collectively". I am sure that were I to encounter the example given ("a good entry this year for the speed trials"), I would understand its meaning. However, I would undoubtedly be inclined to use the word field to refer to the competitors collectively rather than entry.

Signing off for today - Falcon

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