Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26802
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphThursday, March 1, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26802]
Big Dave's Review Written ByBig Dave
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
Although I completed the puzzle without outside assistance, I seem to have spent an excessively long time doing so – spread over several solving sessions.
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 Make fun of a learner with deadpan coarse humour (8)
The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate, a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.
10a Old-fashioned accommodation for English troops under canvas (8)
The word tenement seems to carry a bit of a different meaning in Britain than it does in North America – and the meaning may even vary regionally within Britain. The British meaning of tenement (at least outside of Scotland) would seem to be a room or flat (apartment) for rent. In North America and Scotland, the meaning is either (1) a house divided into and let as separate residences or (2) a room or a set of rooms forming a separate residence within a house or block of flats (apartments)[5,2,10]. I could find no explanation as to why a tenement would be considered to be "old-fashioned accommodation".
The word apartment would also appear to have a somewhat different meaning in the UK than it does in North America. What we think of as an apartment, the Brits would call a flat. In Britain, only a certain specific type of flat would be called an apartment – typically one that is well appointed or used for holidays (thus, seemingly, an upscale flat). In the plural, the term apartments refers to a set of private rooms in a very large house.
12a Ex-serviceman’s admitted aim to get thanks may cause feud (8)
Ta is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you • ‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.
As Big Dave points out, the use of veteran (or its short form, vet) to mean "ex-serviceman" is a "North American term".
16a Place too much importance on bowlers’ speed (8)
"Bowler" refers to a cricket player.
19a A fresh flower is opening (8)
By convention, "flower" appearing in a clue is often a reference to a river (something that flows). In this case, it is the River Ure, a river in North Yorkshire, England, approximately 74 miles (119 km) long from its source to the point where it changes name to the River Ouse.
24a Punch-drunk maniac or legendary heavyweight? (8)
Rocky Marciano (1923 – 1969), born Rocco Francis Marchegiano, was an American professional boxer and the World Heavyweight Champion from September 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956. Marciano is the only champion to hold the heavyweight title and go untied and undefeated throughout his career. Marciano defended his title six times.
2d Loan ordinary Tottenham player out — that’s brilliance (9)
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English football (soccer) club based in Tottenham, London, that plays in the Premier League. An individual player, of course, would be a Spur.
5d Blues’ home game — behind 0-10 (8)
Oxbridge is a portmanteau word signifying Oxford and Cambridge universities regarded together. In Britain, a blue is (1) a person who has represented Cambridge University (a Cambridge blue) or Oxford University (an Oxford blue) at a particular sport in a match between the two universities • a flyweight boxing blue or (2) a distinction awarded to a Cambridge blue or an Oxford blue • Adrian’s brother won a rugby blue in December. Big Dave's comment referring to "the dark and light blues" would suggest that the term derives from the colour of the uniforms worn by the teams from the two universities.
7d Gosh! Soprano melody could be one from ‘The Pirates Of Penzance’ (7)
Cor is an informal British exclamation expressing surprise, excitement, admiration, or alarm: Cor! That‘s a beautiful black eye you’ve got!
15d Painful excrescence is damn secure (8)
The Oxford Dictionary of English defines hang as a dated South African and New Zealand exclamation used to express a range of strong emotions from enthusiasm to anger • hang, but I loved those soldiers!. Collins English Dictionary says that it is slang (usually used with a negative) meaning a damn • I don't care a hang for what you say.
17d Elderly relative duty-bound to be wandering (7)
VAT (value added tax) is a tax on the amount by which the value of an article has been increased at each stage of its production or distribution. This system of taxation is used in Europe, where it is known as the VAT (or, more fully, the EU VAT) and in Canada, where it is called the GST (Goods and Services Tax) or, in provinces where the federal and provincial sales tax systems have been integrated, the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax). This system of taxation is not currently used in the United States.
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)