Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26785
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphFriday, February 10, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26785]
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
Gazza certainly seems to have found this puzzle to be a relatively easy solve. I did well until I arrived in the southwest corner, at which point I needed to call in the electronic reinforcements.
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.
4a Symbol of victory Parliament put back in old city (6)
In Britain, HP is the abbreviation for Houses of Parliament. This abbreviation is also found in The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition.
8a Consistently successful journalist is well-educated (8)
Said of a sports player or team, in form means playing or performing well. The British might also say on form to mean the same thing. Even in form (used in this sense) strikes me as an expression that would not hear frequently in North America.
12a Animal books better than all others one’s given stars (10)
A bestiary is a descriptive or anecdotal treatise on various kinds of animal, especially a medieval work with a moralizing tone. As the American Heritage Dictionary puts it "A medieval collection of stories providing physical and allegorical descriptions of real or imaginary animals along with an interpretation of the moral significance each animal was thought to embody. A number of common misconceptions relating to natural history were preserved in these popular accounts."
13a Something sung in film when the enemy walks past? (2,4,4,2)
"As Time Goes By" is a song written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931. It became most famous in 1942 when it was sung by the character Sam (Dooley Wilson) in the movie Casablanca.
In cryptic crosswords, we often find that time is the enemy, expressed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats as "The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time" meaning that innocence and beauty are each subject to the ravages of time.
16a Sterling Cafe badly organised with DIY facility? (4-8)
Sterling is a Scottish family name, a grade of silver and the currency of the United Kingdom. The name of the Scottish city is spelled Stirling. The definition is "with DIY [do it yourself] facility" and the solution is self-catering, which is used in British English as an adjective to describe a holiday or accommodation offering facilities for people to cook their own meals • guests stay in self-catering apartments.
20a Secluded Conservative girl meets the heartless revolutionary (10)
I clearly suffered a brain cramp when I failed to identify the girl in this clue, which Gazza illustrates with a picture of Canadian-born American actress Margot Kidder who is perhaps best known for playing Lois Lane in four Superman movies from 1978 to 1987.
21a Place that makes sense by the sound of it (4)
On my first read through, I thought the solution might be MINT (where cents are made). Luckily, the solution to 15d was so obvious that I quickly realized the error of my ways. I later realized that my original answer was highly unlikely in that the Brits would surely refer to the coins as pennies rather than cents.
23a Country wants tax to come down (8)
Scot was an archaic term for a payment corresponding to a modern tax, rate, or other assessed contribution.
24a Back English author (6)
Laurence Sterne (1713 – 1768) was an Irish-born British novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
9d Puts off performance in East Anglian town (11)
East Anglia is a region of eastern England consisting of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and parts of Essex and Cambridgeshire. Diss is a town in Norfolk close to the border with Suffolk.
18d One could make leap to edge of pond — after transformation! (7)
I saw the cryptic definition so quickly that I totally overlooked the anagram in this clue. Gazza's eye was clearly sharpen than mine.
19d Very light one of them may be (6)
I recall having encountered this type of emergency signal in a puzzle somewhere in the distant past. By some miracle, it just popped to mind as I read the clue (well, I admit that I did have a little help from my friends, the checking letters). A Very light is a flare fired into the air from a pistol for signalling or for temporary illumination [named after Edward W. Very (1847–1910), an American naval officer]. The clue, as Gazza puts it, employs a "Yoda-like word order" to express the idea that of all the types of FLARES in existence, one of them is the Very light.
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)