Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26402
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphFriday, November 19, 2010
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26402]
Big Dave's Review Written ByGazza
Big Dave's Rating
|Difficulty - ***||Enjoyment - ****|
My performance would have been considerably poorer had I used the act of checking for the existence and location of the town of Chard to mark the point at which I opened my Tool Chest. However, given that I get to set and enforce the rules, I decided to forgive this infraction. Despite ignoring it, my performance was not exactly outstanding, as (like a great many of the Brits) I struggled to complete the lower half of the puzzle. Moreover, I was left not fully comprehending the wordplay in one or two of clues.
Selected abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions appearing in today's puzzle
Appearing in Clues:
The meanings listed in this section may reflect how the word is used in the surface reading of the clue. Of course, that meaning may be contributing to the misdirection that the setter is attempting to create.
Chard - town and civil parish in the Somerset county of England
Appearing in Solutions:
Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992) - a figurative painter (born in Ireland to English parents) known for his bold, austere, graphic and emotionally raw imagery
CD2 - abbreviation corps diplomatique (diplomatic corps) [French]
con4 - archaic study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing): the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry
daemon1 - noun
- (in ancient Greek belief) a divinity or supernatural being of a nature between gods and humans.
- an inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force.
- archaic spelling of demon
EC - abbreviation East Central (London postal district)
The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area, also known as the London EC postcode area, is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London and parts of the London Boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
Lorelei - a rock on the bank of the Rhine, held by legend to be the home of a siren whose song lures boatmen to destruction
- the siren said to live on the Lorelei rock
MP - noun a Member of Parliament: more than 80 MPs have signed the Commons motion
Although obvious to British and Canadian readers, perhaps not to visitors from some other parts of the world.
RR - abbreviation Right Reverend, adjective a title given to a bishop, especially in the Anglican Church
service tree - noun a Eurasian tree of the rose family, closely related to the rowan.
- Genus Sorbus, family Rosaceae: the southern European (S. domestica), with compound leaves and green-brown fruits that are edible when overripe, and the (S. torminalis), with lobed leaves and brown berries
shedload - noun British informal a large amount or number [Origin: (1990s) from shed + load; perhaps euphemistic after shitload]
terminus - noun 1 chiefly British the end of a railway or other transport route, or a station at such a point ; a terminal
- an oil or gas terminal
tester2 - noun a canopy over a four-poster bed
tester3 - [Collins English Dictionary] noun another name for teston2, an English silver coin of the 16th century, originally worth one shilling, bearing the head of Henry VIII
Commentary on Today's Puzzle
This commentary should be read in conjunction with the review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.
13a What you get in the argument is extremely loud (3-9)
Despite seeing the correct solution, I could not decipher the wordplay and, although Gazza explains it, it just does not work well for me. "What you get in the argument" is seemingly 'ear' splitting 'thgument'. I say, so what!
Had the residue been something meaningful (rather than the apparent gibberish 'thgument' I would probably have been impressed. For example, suppose the wordplay had been "How an afterthought becomes Juicy Fruit" in which PEARS (juicy fruit) is created by EAR splitting PS (afterthought; i.e., post script).
This could also work in reverse where the wordplay "How Juicy Fruit becomes an afterthought" could be interpreted as PEARS (juicy fruit) becomes PS (afterthought) by EAR splitting (leaving).
Am I expecting too much or have I, perhaps, overlooked some clever allusion in this clue?
23a Only Conservative doctrine that's seen as mistake (8)
The error in the clue to which Gazza refers in his review has not manifested itself in the National Post. This is truly remarkable, given that the error apparently appeared in the print edition of the Daily Telegraph as well as in the online edition. This is the first time I can recall ever having seen an error in the print edition of the Daily Telegraph be corrected in the syndicated version of the puzzle.
24a One examining old coin found in part of bed (6)
Initially it occurred to me that this clue might possibly be a triple definition, but I lost faith in this theory when several sources failed to indicate the existence of a coin matching the solution to the clue. Then, when Gazza's review confirmed my original idea, a more intensive search proved successful. However, there remains an apparent discrepancy in that Gazza indicates that the coin was worth six pence while Collins states that it was "originally worth one shilling" [12 pence]. Perhaps the value of the coin changed over time.
5d Siren in mythology with garland on (7)
There has been a long-standing debate regarding the role of the word "on" in a down clue. Before discussing the views of the two opposing camps, let's first review some basics.
'On' can be used as a charade indicator in two opposite senses. In the most general sense, 'on' is used in the sense of 'attached to' or 'added to'. Thus 'A on B' would mean 'A added to B' which, by convention, is BA. The argument supporting this ordering of the elements A and B is that 'A added to B' indicates that B is written first and A is then added to it. Since the English language is written from left to right, this implies the order is BA. Using this version of the cryptic device, "mythology with garland on" is equivalent to "garland on mythology" or "LEI on LORE" which would produce the solution LORELEI (A on B = BA).
In the particular case of a down clue, 'A on B' can also be interpreted as 'A on top of B' or 'AB'. Thus "mythology with garland on" is equivalent to "garland on mythology" or "LEI on LORE" which would produce the solution LEILORE (since, in this special case, A on B = AB).
One school of thought holds that the general (former) case should be permitted in both across and down clues, with the latter (special) case also being allowed in down clues.
The contrary view, to which Gazza would appear to adhere (based on his comment "“On” in a down clue is supposed to mean on top of or before rather than after."), holds that only the latter case should be permitted in a down clue with the former case only being allowed in an across clue. This group argues that it would be confusing to allow both versions of the clue to exist in down clues.
In the real world (or, rather, the unreal world of cryptic crosswords) we find both cases appearing in down clues, and so we must be prepared to encounter either of them. In any event, I do not see how the confusion that this ambiguity produces is any different from any other form of misdirection that the setter may throw at us. After all, misdirection is the cryptic crossword setter's stock in trade.
Signing off for today - Falcon