Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26682
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphThursday, October 13, 2011
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26682]
Big Dave's Review Written ByBig Dave
Big Dave's Rating
|Difficulty - ★★★★||Enjoyment - ★★★★|
█ - solved without assistance
█ - incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
█ - solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
█ - solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
█ - unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's blog
█ - reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's blog
NotesThis puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the National Post edition of Friday, December 30, 2011
With today's puzzle, there is no mistaking the setter - who is clearly at his mischievous best. Clues such as 1d and 26a are classic Ray T fare, and 18d with its reference to Queen only serves to confirm it. I completed the lower half unaided, but struggled with the upper half. Fearful that I was suffering a bout of mental torpidity, I had to pull out my Tool Chest with ten clues remaining to be solved - all of them in the upper portion of the puzzle. Primarily, I used tools which generate lists of words matching the checking letters. In most cases, they provided a set of no more than ten to twenty possibilities from which the correct solution often seemed to leap right off the screen. I felt somewhat less inadequate when I saw that Big Dave had awarded this puzzle four stars for difficulty.
In my initial posting, I failed to notice that this is the puzzle for Monday, January 2, 2012 and not the one for Friday, December 30, 2011 - both of which appear in the Friday, December 30, 2011 edition of the National Post.
Notes on Today's Puzzle
This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.
7a Very open admitting start of affair’s steamy (8)
I tried very hard to force fit words like spacious and salacious in here.
11a Favoured soft leg drive shot, taking single (10)
This is one of the few clues in the top half that I was able to solve before dipping into my Tool Chest. As we saw only yesterday, the musical notation p (piano) means soft or softly.
14a He may chase English goer (8)
It is a revelation to me, but chase can be a verb meaning to engrave (metal, or a design on metal). It is usually seen in the form of an adjective chased • a miniature container with a delicately chased floral design.
15a Offensive smell from head of sea carp (6)
A tench is a European freshwater fish of the carp family, popular with anglers (Tinca tinca, family Cyprinidae).
26a She barely participates in game (8)
Erica Roe, who so amply illustrates this clue in Big Dave's review, is also known as the Twickenham Streaker. She is remembered for a topless run across the pitch of Twickenham Stadium during an England vs. Australia rugby union match on 2 January 1982. It has been described by the BBC as "perhaps the most famous of all streaks". Roe, who later claimed to have been inspired by alcohol, ran onto the field during half time, exposing her 40-inch bosom. Roe and the friend who joined her streak were corralled by police officers on the field, one of whom covered Roe's chest with his helmet while leading her off the field.
2d Exercise with cheat on steroids? (4)
In Britain, do is an informal term for swindle • a thousand pounds for one set of photos—Jacqui had been done. The sense of the wordplay is "PE (exercise) with DO (cheat) on [it]". Since this is a down clue, putting DO on top of PE implies that DO precedes PE.
4d Skive and endlessly lounge in crib (8)
Skive is an informal British expression meaning to avoid work or a duty by staying away or leaving early or, in other words, to shirk • I skived off school.
8d Harry Lime in shady case, grinning (6)
Harry Lime is a character (played by Orson Welles) in The Third Man, a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed with a screenplay written by novelist Graham Greene.
24d Transport from Paddington, perhaps (4)
Paddington Bear , a polite immigrant bear from Deepest, Darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase, duffle coat and love of marmalade sandwiches, has become a classic character from English children's literature. In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington railway station in London by the Brown family, sitting on his suitcase (bearing the label "WANTED ON VOYAGE") with a note attached to his coat which reads, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." Author Michael Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during the war, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington.
References:Signing off for today - Falcon
 - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
 - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
 - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
 - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
 - Wikipedia
 - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
 - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)