Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26809
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphFriday, March 9, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26809]
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
I was especially pleased with my performance today, seeing as Gazza awarded this puzzle four stars for difficulty.
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.
1a Worked hard and succeeded — recorded hit (7)
I had two candidates for the solution based on possible definitions and three of the checking letters. The solution could have been SLOGGED (worked hard) or SLUGGED (recorded hit). I was leaning to the former, as I figured that the latter was baseball lingo that likely did not carry over into cricket. This hunch was confirmed once I had the solution to 2 down.
To solve this clue, one must interpret succeed as meaning take over a throne, office, or other position from • he would succeed Hawke as Prime Minister. When used in this sense, s is the abbreviation for succeeded.
9a Trendy doctor, a divine being (5)
Indra or Śakra is the King of the gods and Lord of Heaven in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall – a fact you would be well advised to remember.
18a Brief stop in Bury to join evangelistic enterprise (12)
By falsely capitalising bury, the setter is attempting to mislead us into thinking of Bury, a town situated approximately 8 miles from the city of Manchester.
22a Notice I put into church to manage (10)
Minster is a British term for a large or important church, typically one of cathedral status in the north of England that was built as part of a monastery • York Minster.
25a Brian ain’t fussed about woman being nation’s figurehead (9)
Britannia is the personification of Britain, usually depicted as a helmeted woman with shield and trident. The figure appeared on Roman coins and was revived with the name Britannia on the coinage of Charles II. [Origin: the Latin name for Britain]
26a This person’s mature in public perception (5)
As a cryptic crossword convention, the creator of the puzzle will often use terms such as setter, compiler, author, writer or (a new one to me today) "this person" to refer to himself or herself. To solve the clue, one must substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms is found in the clue.
28a Tank hard to get on to islands (7)
I got the solution from the definition (tank) and checking letters but failed to decipher the wordplay. The Channel Islands are a group of islands in the English Channel off the NW coast of France, of which the largest are Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney. Formerly part of the dukedom of Normandy, they have owed allegiance to England since the Norman Conquest in 1066, and are now classed as Crown dependencies.
2d Yesteryear’s book chain won’t get book ____! (6)
I was a bit leery of my attempt to fill in the blank as I was unsure whether this American bookstore chain operated in Britain. In fact, it did. Borders Group was once an international bookseller based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, now defunct. Borders (UK) Ltd. was once one of the UK's leading booksellers, a former subsidiary of Borders Group, now also defunct (and therefore "yesteryear's book chain").
3d Arranged somehow to import old piano for entertainment (5,5)
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).
4d Money expected to run short, Tom? (5)
A ducat[3,4] was any of various former European gold or silver coins, especially those used in Italy or the Netherlands. Today the word is used as a slang term to refer to any piece of money.
5d Agreements to study geographical regions (9)
Con is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing) • the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.
7d Container that’s damper inside? (5,3)
As Gazza explains, "that's" is to be interpreted as a contraction for "that has". In Australia and New Zealand, damper is an unleavened loaf or cake of flour and water baked in wood ashes [in the sense 'something that takes the edge off the appetite'].
8d Strikingly good or irritating? (8)
Both The American Heritage Dictionary and Collins English Dictionary classify rattling as a kind of adverb (an intensifier, to be precise) as would be used in the phrase "the guiltless gust of a rattling good yarn" (Anthony Burgess). On the other hand, the Oxford Dictionary of English prefers to call rattling an informal, dated adjective meaning very good of its kind (used for emphasis) • a rattling good story.
I guess it comes down to how one interprets the phrase "rattling good story". If the story is rattling good, then it would seem to be an adverb but if the rattling story is good, then it would presumably be an adjective. On this issue, I must side with American Heritage and Collins.
15d What might excite 9 — a nice one being executed? (4,5)
I told you to keep Indra's portfolios in mind. The "9" in the clue is a cross-reference to clue 9 (since there is no 9d in the puzzle, 9 is sufficient to identify the cross-referenced clue). Substitute the solution to clue 9 for "9" to obtain the full clue.
Rain dances are rainmaking rituals that are performed by natives ("Indians") of the Southwestern United States. I suppose Indra might well leap at the chance to add these to his repertoire.
24d Emergency organisation needs hour to get round in the fog (4)
In my first attempt, I tried appending HR (hour) to TA (Territorial Army). That accounted for the first four words in the clue, but left me in a fog as to what to do with the rest. Then I discovered from the dictionary that the result (tahr) is a goat-like mammal inhabiting cliffs and mountain slopes in Oman, southern India, and the Himalayas. I eventually realised that not only did I have the wrong "emergency organisation" but I had also positioned it incorrectly.
The Automobile Association (The AA) is a British motoring association founded in 1905. Its counterparts in North America would be the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA).
A haar is a cold sea fog on the east coast of England or Scotland.
By the way, in the UK, the Territorial Army (TA) is a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency.
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)