Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26796
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphThursday, February 23, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26796]
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
Having completed the puzzle without needing to call upon my electronic assistants, I was rather surprised to see that the puzzle rated four stars for difficulty from Big Dave. Of course, it does contain a very low dose of Briticisms which probably reduces the level of difficulty by at least one star for me.
I think Big Dave should add a third rating category for Ray T puzzles – "Raciness". I would award today's puzzle two stars in this category (primarily for 24d).
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 Scotsman’s tatty accompaniment? (5)
Tatty is a chiefly British (according to Collins English Dictionary) adjective meaning worn out, shabby, tawdry, or unkempt. To a Scotsman, a tattie is a potato and tatties are traditionally served with neeps (turnips). The spelling may seem not to be correct (although no one commented on this at Big Dave's site), but in Crosswordland, question marks can cover a multitude of sins.
9a Isolation’s over with good man facing apartheid (9)
On cricket scorecards, O appears as an abbreviation for over, a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.
13a Filled initially working trowel around palmetto ends? (9)
Like Big Dave, I had to conclude that this must be intended to be an & lit. (all-in-one) clue – one in which the entire clue serves as both definition and wordplay. Big Dave was not convinced, and neither am I.
25a Run following sweetheart, tense holding hands (9)
Another all-in-one clue, and this one I buy.
2d Name of boxer and some rottweilers! (5)
The boxer is former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson . Apparently Tyson must be a common name for rottweilers. We do know that at least one of these two has a propensity for biting ears.
As for Tyson being a common name for rottweilers, I got 5,920,000 hits when I googled "Tyson the rottweiler" and only 2,120,000 hits for "Rex the rottweiler". On the other hand, "Rover the rottweiler" produced 23,500,000 hits, although many of those seemed to have to do with run-ins between rottweilers and Range Rovers.
5d Put differently, Tory leader charged with reprimand (9)
In Britain, slate is an informal term meaning to criticize severely • his work was slated by the critics.
24d Last item removed in strip? (5)
I saw this as a cryptic definition of the last item of clothing removed by a stripper. However, some of the Brits pointed out that a thong can also be a type of footwear (North American and Australian term for a light sandal or flip-flop) and that a last is a cobbler's tool. Another commented that another meaning for thong is a strip. Although Big Dave did accept that the clue might work as a double definition with these meanings, I find it a bit far-fetched. As skempie comments at Big Dave's site "I would have thought a last is the last place you’d see a thong. Yes, it can mean footwear, but refers to what we call flip flops, can’t see anyone stinking (sic) them on a last." (I believe he intended to say "sticking"). Furthermore, even if one were to concede that "last item" and "strip" could each mean 'thong', how does one account for the word "removed".
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)