This puzzle, by Jay, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I am sure that I found this puzzle to be a bit more difficult than did Big Dave. He awards it three stars for enjoyment and two for difficulty. I needed to use my Tool Chest to solve a few clues. Even at that, I ended up with an incorrect solution to one clue and an incomplete understanding of the wordplay for a second.
I confess that I am easily drawn off on tangents. And so it was today, where a chance remark by Big Dave about strippers being female led me off on a journey of discovery into the world of male stripping - fascinating not for what happened on stage but for the gruesome shenanigans behind the scenes.
Selected abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle
Used in Clues:
fiddle - noun 2 informal, chiefly British an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying: a major mortgage fiddle
Used in Solutions:
c - abbreviation Cricket (on scorecards) caught by: ME Waugh c Lara b Walsh 19
CID - abbreviation Criminal Investigation Department, the detective branch of the British police force
do1 - verb 5 British informal swindle: a thousand pounds for one set of photos — Jacqui had been done
MOD - abbreviation (in the UK) Ministry of Defence
scrub round - Informal [likely British] to waive; avoid or ignore: we can scrub round the rules
test match - noun an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries: the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies
visiting card - noun British a card bearing a person's name and address, sent or left in lieu of a formal social or business visit [In North America, more likely to be referred to as calling card or business card]
Big Dave's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26280].
Commentary on Today's Puzzle
9a Places where people look to clean suit? (5,5)
Big Dave indicates that the places we are looking for are "places where people look at ladies in various states of undress". Lets not neglect the ladies in our audience - there are also places where they can watch men discarding their suits (and this might even be a better fit for today's clue). The most famous of such performers (at least in North America) are undoubtedly the Chippendales. In doing a bit of research, I discovered that this was an extremely cut-throat organization; I lost track of how many principals ended up dead, most of them murdered by their partners - either business or marital. For some unfathomable reason, the current Wikipedia article has been edited to the point of incomprehensibility. To fill in the gaps, I would suggest reading this version of the article from April 2010.
2d A minor route out of the country (6)
I didn't quite get the wordplay here, thinking that it must be A + B (minor) + ROAD (route), where I supposed B had something to do with minor scales or minor keys in music. Not being well-versed in music theory, I couldn't really be sure whether I was on the right track or not. I learn from Big Dave that the wordplay is actually A + B-ROAD (minor route).
20d Mostly skilful goal from champion (6)
I understood the structure of the clue, with the definition being "champion" and the wordplay being a charade comprised of the first three letters (mostly) of a word (likely four letters in length) meaning "skilful" and END (goal). My downfall was in failing to recognize that "champion" could be a verb (which it happens to be in this case) as well as a noun. I settled (erroneously) on LEGEND for a solution, but was at a loss to explain the first part of the wordplay. It seems that I was in good company, as a fair number of the Brits confess to having made the same stumble. If you still haven't figured out the answer, it can be found in Big Dave's review.
Signing off for today - Falcon
Times 26683 - Done Like a Kipper
10 hours ago