Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26820
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphThursday, March 22, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26820]
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
Today, we have a rather chaste offering by Ray T standards. While it may be lacking the usual quotient of raciness, Queen does not go unmentioned. I could have finished this one without assistance, if I only had a better ear for music (or, at least, for composers).
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.
7a Life for American facing stir in American state (8)
Brits would give the first component of this charade an -OUR ending (thus the presence of "for American" in the clue). Stir[3,4] is a slang term for prison on both sides of the Atlantic, so the surface reading suggesting a life term should not be an issue to North American readers.
9a Hardy or Dickens character (6)
In the surface reading, there are two English writers – Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. However, in the cryptic reading, one of them transforms into an American comedian.
10a Formerly single, going round clubs (4)
... with clubs being one of the four suits in a deck of cards.
11a Seize criminal one’s caught in end (10)
On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c indicates caught (by) • ME Waugh c Lara b Walsh 19.
14a Sweat with energy then test deodorant perhaps? (8)
Sometimes the explanations need to be explained. Big Dave's hint includes the word "graft" as a synonym for sweat. Graft is British slang which means hard work (as a noun) • success came after years of hard graft or to work hard (as a verb) • I need people prepared to go out and graft.
17a English band’s backing ‘Gaga’ (6)
It would not be a Ray T puzzle without at least one appearance by the British rock band Queen. While the surface reading is clearly a reference to American singer Lady Gaga, there is undoubtedly an underlying allusion to Queen's 1984 hit "Radio Ga Ga".
22a Title heard from composer (6)
I failed to handle this clue well. The required composer did not appear on the list that ran through my mind.
George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in Halle (Germany), he received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727.
23a Injured in trauma, so getting here (10)
In Britain, this type of hospital is called a sanatorium while in the US it is known as a sanitarium. Oxford says the latter is a North American term, but I think it is more of a US term.
An article on the campaign against tuberculosis in Canada explains that sanitarium is actually the older word and originally meant a health resort (usually one associated with mineral springs). Early tuberculosis treatment facilities were also called sanitariums, but it was felt that a distinction should be made between the health resort and the new hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis (likely politicians did not relish the image conjured up in taxpayers' minds of governments sending TB patients to luxury health resorts). Thus the term sanatorium was invented, and is the name that is used most prevalently in Canada (with the exception of a few institutions which predate the adoption of the new term).
24a Bond performance chasing heart of Octopussy (4)
Octopussy (1983) is the thirteenth film in the James Bond series, and the sixth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond.
26a Maybe bowled six balls before dark (8)
In cricket, to bowl means for the bowler to propel the ball with a straight arm towards the batsman, typically in such a way that the ball bounces once. Also in cricket, an over is 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.
1d ‘The Game’ from Queen contained in discs (8)
Here is today's obligatory explicit mention of Queen. The Game, the eighth studio album by Queen, was released in 1980 and is the only Queen album to reach No. 1 in the US. Notable songs on the album include the bass-driven "Another One Bites the Dust" and the rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", both of which reached No. 1 in the US.
Rounders[5,7] is a a ball game – similar to and a precursor of baseball – played (chiefly by British and Irish schoolchildren) with a cylindrical wooden bat, in which players run round a circuit of bases after hitting the ball.
3d Yank tap? (6)
Oxford characterises faucet as a North American term. However, I am more comfortable with Big Dave's description of it as "the US word for a tap". In my experience, the words faucet and tap are used interchangeably in Canada.
4d International detectives involved in domestic killing (8)
The Crime Investigation Department (CID) is the branch of all Territorial police forces within the British Police and many other Commonwealth police forces, to which plain clothes detectives belong. It is thus distinct from the Uniformed Branch and the Special Branch.
13d Producer of opera is prim dropping piano rendition (10)
Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p), is a musical direction meaning either soft or quiet (as an adjective) or softly or quietly (as an adverb).
21d Former PM accepting Liberal constitution (6)
Edward "Ted" Heath (1916 – 2005) was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1970–74) and as Leader of the Conservative Party (1965–75).
22d Small country location for Shakespeare play (6)
Big Dave characterises a hamlet as "a village without a church". It seems that, in Britain, there is a well defined set of criteria that determines how a community is categorised. These criteria seem to include – among other factors – the presence or absence of a church, cathedral, university or market. A hamlet is a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a church.
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)