Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26799
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphMonday, February 27, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26799]
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
NotesThe National Post has skipped DT 26798 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, February 25, 2012
My electronic helpers enjoyed another day of rest, although I did need to do a bit of post-solving research to understand or confirm the British trademark at 12a, the literary giant at 15a, the new (to me) meaning at 21a and the herb at 8d. As for the obscure British units of measure, they have appeared in at least two previous puzzles and I was able to merely cut and paste from those postings.
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.
12a A match for the devil (7)
Lucifer is an archaic name for a friction match. It was originally a trade name for a match manufactured in England in the 19th century.
15a Aspired to become a literary giant (7)
The solution was fairly obvious from the anagram and the checking letters, but the explanation required a bit of sleuthing. Giant Despair is a character in The Pilgrim's Progress, a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in 1678.
21a Sells or tells (7)
In a new (to me) meaning for an old word, retail can denote to to relate (gossip, scandal, etc.) in detail, especially persistently.
24a Spinner quietly stands by the French pitch (6)
Even those of us who are not musically inclined will surely know by now that piano[3,5] (abbreviation p) is a direction used in music to mean either soft or quiet (as an adjective) or softly or quietly (as an adverb).
28a Rebel is held by soldiers (4)
The Corps of Royal Engineers (RE) is the field engineering and construction corps of the British army.
29a Only staged irregularly, but in UK it’s always in June (7,3)
... and likewise anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.
8d Mint copper sovereign (10)
The solution to this clue came either from an informed guess or through divine inspiration. In any event, it proved to be correct. Pennyroyal is either of two small-leaved plants of the mint family, used in herbal medicine [a creeping Eurasian plant (Mentha pulegium), and American pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides), family Labiatae].
14d Area measures, out of doors (5)
A rood is a historical, and chiefly British, measure of land area equal to a quarter of an acre (40 square perches, approximately 0.1012 hectare). Of course, we all know what a square perch is - or, if you prefer, a pole (as Digby refers to it).
A perch is another historical, and chiefly British, unit of measurement which can refer either to (1) a measure of length, especially for land, equal to a quarter of a chain or 5 1/2 yards (approximately 5.029 m) or (2) (also called a square perch) a measure of area, especially for land, equal to 160th of an acre or 30 1/4 square yards (approximately 25.29 sq. metres). As a measure of length, a perch is also known as a pole or rod and as a measure of area as a pole, rod, square pole, or square rod.
20d Note given to the ill will get a rest (7)
My interpretation was (as several of the Brits also pointed out) that the definition is "rest" and the wordplay is a charade of RE ([musical] note) + SPITE (ill will) to give RESPITE.
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)