Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26722
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphTuesday, November 29, 2011
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26722]
Big Dave's Review Written ByGazza
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
This puzzle is not too difficult – once one manages to establish a foothold.
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.
10a Blunder made by foreman? Almost (5)
Gaffer is an informal British term for a person in charge of others or a boss • street cleaners stopping for a smoke when their gaffer isn’t in the vicinity.
20a Eryngo growing wild, wild on grey breakwater (6)
Eryngo is another term for sea holly, a spiny-leaved plant of the parsley family, with metallic blue teasel-like flowers, growing in sandy places by the sea and native to Europe [Eryngium maritimum, family Umbelliferae]. Groyne is the British spelling for a low wall or sturdy timber barrier built out into the sea from a beach to check erosion and drifting. The US spelling is groin. I'm not sure what the Canadian spelling is as I can't say that I've ever encountered this word.
I must confess that I failed to notice the second anagram.
23a Buddhist priest describing naughty dance (7)
The word "describing" is often used as a containment indicator in cryptic crossword puzzles. This usage is based on describe taking the sense of to move in a way which follows the outline of (an imaginary geometrical figure). Thus the container word provides an outline for (i.e., goes around) the contents word.
3d A rugby forward’s very large, by the way (7)
In rugby, a prop is a forward at either end of the front row of a scrum. The sizes of clothing that North Americans would describe as plus-size (or often big and tall in the case of men's clothing) would be called outsize OS in Britain.
Apropos would appear to be one of those words with such a broad spectrum of meanings that it almost becomes its own antonym. The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition defines it (as an adverb) as to the purpose; appropriately; with reference to (with of); by the way; incidentally.
4d Thin, a group’s leader plunging into lake (6)
Mere is a British (and chiefly literary) term for a lake or pond. The word may known in the Ottawa area from its appearance in Kingsmere, the estate of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in Gatineau Park.
5d Service small cars before test (8)
Mini is an automobile brand, currently owned by BMW, but originally introduced as a model under the Austin and Morris marques by the British Motor Corporation (BMC)
16d Hint given to a learner? That’s natural (9)
The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate, a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.
19d All are getting drunk imbibing English beer (4,3)
Real ale is a British term for cask-conditioned beer that is served traditionally, without additional gas pressure. The name real ale was coined by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in 1973 for a type of beer defined as "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide".
21d Runs slip away causing setback to recovery (7)
On cricket scorecards, R is used as an abbreviation for run(s).
22d Stadium beginning to get full (6)
Ground (in what I would guess may be a British usage despite not being labelled as such by the dictionaries) is an area of land, often with associated buildings, used for a particular sport • (i) a football ground; (ii) Liverpool’s new ground is nearing completion.
23d Off the booze during card game and bingo (5)
In addition to being another name for a lottery, lotto is a children’s game similar to bingo, in which numbered or illustrated counters or cards are drawn by the players. As in the note in reference to the previous clue, this usage is not identified by the dictionaries as being British, but I would suspect that it may well be a much more common term there than it would seem to be on this side of the Atlantic.
Key to Reference Sources: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)
 - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)