Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26764
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphTuesday, January 17, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26764]
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
Not only was today's puzzle not overly difficult, but the number of entries in the grid, at 26, is about the smallest number possible.
While long-time readers may be getting tired of seeing frequently repeated definitions such as that for piano in 9a, I feel that I should include such references for the benefit of new readers.
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.
9a Quiet monk installing small sort of screen (6)
Piano (abbreviation p) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.
10a Adults in classes describing heartless women (5-3)
The manner in which the word "describe" is being used in this clue as a containment indicator is a cryptic crossword convention. The device relies on describe being used in the sense of to trace the form or outline of • describe a circle with a compass. Thus, in today's clue, we have GROUPS (classes) containing (describing) WN (heartless women; W[ome]N with the interior letters deleted). The idea is that the container (GROUPS) forms an outline around the contained entity (WN) in a similar manner to the circumference of a circle forming an outline around the circular area contained within it.
13a Carry out order causing catastrophe (4)
The Order of Merit is a dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by King Edward VII, admission into the order remains the personal gift of its Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, and is limited to 24 living recipients at one time from these countries plus a limited number of honorary members.
The current membership consists of two members of the Royal Family (Prince Philip and Prince Charles), nineteen Britons, two Australians (one of whom is a British resident), and one Canadian (former Prime Minister Jean Chretien). Past members from Canada are former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, and former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. It would seem that being a former Liberal prime minister gives one a leg up in receiving this honour.
Dad's Army (mentioned in Gazza's review) is a British sitcom about the Home Guard during the Second World War which was broadcast on BBC television between 1968 and 1977.
22a Saucy dance? (5)
I tried doing the TANGO for a brief spell until I got on the right rhythm.
2d Amusement caused by it in the course of Spring term at Oxford (8)
In some British universities, the the term beginning in January is known as the Hilary term [after St Hilary (whose feast day is January 13, but I have no idea if that has any bearing on the practice of applying this name to the term)].
4d Working wife paying separately (5,5)
In Britain, duchess is an informal and affectionate form of address used (especially among cockneys) by a man to a girl or woman • ‘Spotted a likely one, duchess?’. As Gazza says, it may be used in referring to one's wife - which may well have been the original sense in which it was used (rhyming slang for wife from Duchess of Fife). However, it seems that the usage may have expanded to include any girl or woman.
8d Certificate ambassador detailed (7)
Here is another cryptic crossword convention. If de-ice means to remove ice from, then surely detail must mean to remove the tail from.
14d Highly-strung member of the Crazy Gang (American) (7)
The Crazy Gang were a group of British entertainers, formed in the early 1930s. In the mature form the group's six men were Bud Flanagan, Chesney Allen, Jimmy Nervo, Teddy Knox, Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold. The group achieved considerable domestic popularity and were a favourite of the royal family, especially King George VI.
21d Annoy Noah, initially, on his ship (4)
In Britain, nark means to cause annoyance to • women like her nark me.
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)