Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26769
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphMonday, January 23, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26769]
Big Dave's Review Written ByDigby
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
(1) The National Post has skipped DT 26768 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, January 21, 2012(2) This puzzle appears on the Friday's Diversions page in the edition of the National Post published on Thursday, April 5, 2012.
This was a typical Rufus puzzle — very enjoyable without being overly difficult. His forte is the cryptic definition and he is in fine form today. After seeing the Q and the X, I thought for a while that this might be a pangram (a puzzle which uses every letter of the alphabet in the solutions), but it fell three letters short.
Digby makes his second appearance at Big Dave's Crossword Blog. For the next few weeks, he will be sitting in for Libellule and reviewing the puzzles that appear in the UK on Mondays (those that currently appear in the National Post on Fridays).
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 We hear Cockney bloke’s going to relax (4,3)
A term meaning "to relax" sounds like the Cockney pronunciation of the phrase 'He's off' (bloke's going). The Cockney dialect, spoken by the natives of an area in the East End of London, is characterised by dropping the H from the beginning of words. Bloke is British slang for
a man • he’s a nice bloke.
11a His enemies got fatally jarred (3,4)
It was a turn of phrase in Digby's review that caught my eye, when he says "... he did for most of his two-score victims by pouring boiling oil over them ...". I would have said 'did in' rather than 'did for'. However, British dictionaries define do for as meaning to defeat, ruin, or kill • (i) without that contract we’re done for; (ii) it was the cold that did for him in the end. The first example ("we’re done for") is one that is commonly used in Canada, but I would never use the second ("did for him"). I would expect to hear "It was the cold that did him in in the end" (yes, with the word "in" repeated). The American Heritage Dictionary defines do for as (1) to care or provide for; (2) take care of. I would suggest that one know their audience well before using this expression. Should you use it in the UK, you might well be 'taken care of' in manner that you didn't expect!
14a In the course of a lacklustre comeback (4)
Surely, in his review, Digby meant to say "a synonym for lack-lustre" rather than "the opposite to lack-lustre".
17a Cast rugby player in Shakespeare part (7)
The meaning taken by shy in this clue is new to me, but it does appear in dictionaries from both Britain and North America. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as to fling or throw (something) with a swift motion. Collins English Dictionary has it as to throw (something) with a sideways motion. The Oxford Dictionary of English entry is to fling or throw (something) at a target • he tore the spectacles off and shied them at her.
In rugby, a lock (also lock forward) is a player in the second row of a scrum.
22a It is used for duplicating clients’ letters (7)
As is sometimes the case with Rufus' clues, it is best not to try to over-analyze this one. What is known for certain is that the solution to this clue is an anagram of CLIENTS. What is less certain is what constitutes the anagram indicator. Perhaps it is some sort of all-in-one clue where duplicating is intended to indicate a rearrangement of the letters in the word CLIENTS ("client's letters"). On the other hand, perhaps the anagram indicator is the word "letters" used as a verb, meaning to write or mark letters on something. However, I don't see why either of these options would necessarily require that the letters in the word CLIENTS be rearranged. Despite this apparent shortcoming, the clue does seem to work on an overall level. So, as I said, sometimes one should avoid over-thinking a clue.
26a Vegetable initially served before sweet (4)
In Britain, sweet is another name for the dessert course of a meal - one type of which may be a pudding, which the Brits commonly shorten to pud.
5d Checker of drawing (7)
The boardgame known as checkers in North America is called draughts in Britain, and any of the discs used in the game is called a draught. In a comment on Big Dave's blog, Rufus (the setter of the puzzle) says "I intended DRAUGHT to mean “the act of drawing” (e.g. a draught horse) – the first definition in Chambers". By that, I presume he is referring to the first definition for the word draw which begins 'to pull; to drag; to pull along; ...'. Thus, it would seem to follow that Rufus envisioned either the word "drawing" or the phrase "of drawing" to convey the same meaning as draught (an adjective meaning, with reference to an animal, used to pull loads). I must say, I can't think of an example that one would be likely to encounter in everyday speech, but I suppose we can imagine that a contest between draught horses might be called a 'drawing competition' or a 'test of drawing power' (both of which would likely be interpreted with quite a different meaning).
16d Instruments of love in high orders (5)
The Order of the British Empire is an order of knighthood instituted in 1917 and divided into five classes, each with military and civilian divisions. The classes are: Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE), Knight or Dame Commander (KBE/DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE). The two highest classes entail the awarding of a knighthood.
Foreign recipients are classified as honorary members of the Order they receive, and do not contribute to the numbers restricted to that Order as full members do. Awards in the Order of the British Empire in the Commonwealth Realms were discontinued with the establishment of national systems of honours and awards such as the Order of Australia, the Order of Canada and the New Zealand Order of Merit. The Order of the British Empire is the most junior of the British orders of chivalry, and the largest, with over 100,000 living members worldwide.
23d Prisoner’s madly active, but quiet inside (7)
Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) soft or quiet (as an adverb) softly or quietly. Lately, we seem to have encountered this musical abbreviation at least two or three times per week.
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)