Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26800
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphTuesday, February 28, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26800]
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
Sometimes one can fully understand the clue, the solution can even be on the tip of one's tongue, and yet it just will not come to mind. Such was the case with 19d. I finally resorted to a word finder program to generate a list of words matching the checking letters – and the answer immediately became obvious. It was a similar story for a couple of other clues in the southwest corner (24a and 18d). The other holdout was in the northwest corner (1d) and it involved a previously unknown (to me) literary meaning for an otherwise well-known word.
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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.
8a Large drinking cup for a small mouth? (6)
Collins English Dictionary characterises gob, a slang word for the mouth, as being especially British. Nevertheless, I think it is a term that is not unknown in North America. This is not surprising as the word seems to be of Gaelic origin and many of us on this side of the Atlantic can trace our roots to Ireland and Scotland.
The second definition in the clue "small mouth" is cryptic (as flagged by the question mark). In the same way that a booklet is a small book, the setter playfully supposes that a goblet must be a small gob.
9a Clobber blokes surrounding a Royal Marine (8)
In Britain, clobber is an informal term for clothing, personal belongings, or equipment • I found all his clobber in the locker.
The Royal Marines (RM) is a British armed service (part of the Royal Navy) that was founded in 1664, and trained for service at sea, or on land under specific circumstances.
11a Leave university storeroom (6)
In Britain, down means away from a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge • he was down from Oxford and go down is to leave a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge, after finishing one’s studies. We will see the flip side of the coin at 13d. In eastern Asia, especially India, a godown is a warehouse.
12a Being a member of this, may one expect no service charge? (4,6)
Free Church is chiefly a British term referring to any Protestant Church, especially the Presbyterian, other than the Established Church, i.e., a Church that is officially recognized as a national institution, especially the Church of England.
25a Stony broke? Oscar enters, aloof (6)
Oscar is a code word representing the letter O, used in radio communication.
Stony broke is a British slang term describing someone entirely without money • (i) all his friends were stony broke; (ii) friends of stony-broke Sir Charles Maugham are giving him bags of supermarket food. In North America, one would say stone broke.
26a Different taxi stands for all those who are not commissioned officers (5,5)
In the British armed forces, all those who are not commissioned officers are referred to as other ranks.
1d Arrange old piece of music (8)
Previously unknown to me, concert is a term used in formal speech meaning to arrange (something) by mutual agreement or coordination • they started meeting regularly to concert their parliamentary tactics. As Gazza points out, this meaning is usually encountered only as a past participle in phrases such as 'a concerted effort'.
2d Ringing dope in factory (8)
This is another word with which I was not familiar. Plangent is an adjective that chiefly appears in literary works which means, in relation to a sound, loud and resonant, with a mournful tone • the plangent sound of a harpsichord. Fortunately, I was able to decipher the solution to this clue from the wordplay and then look it up in the dictionary to confirm its existence. Gen is British slang for information • you’ve got more gen on him than we have.
7d Ring a Scottish inventor up in capital (6)
There should certainly be no excuse for not getting the solution to this clue. James Watt (1736 – 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer who – although he didn't invent the steam engine – introduced design changes that vastly improved it.
13d Hoist ladder at university (3,2)
Here is the counterpart to the expression seen in 11a. In Britain, up means at or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge • they were up at Cambridge about the same time. Also, in the UK, a ladder is a vertical strip of unravelled fabric in tights or stockings • one of Sally’s stockings developed a ladder. The term run is characterised by the Oxford Dictionary of English as being chiefly North American – but apparently not too much so for the Brits to be expected to know it.
21d Chase me round stud (6)
Luckily I remembered having previously encountered this meaning of chase. Chase means to engrave metal or to engrave a design on metal. It is usually seen as a past participle used an adjective • a miniature container with a delicately chased floral design.
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)