Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26833
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphFriday, April 6, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26833]
Big Dave's Review Written ByCrypticsue
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
Despite the fact that this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Good Friday and was compiled by Giovanni (who often includes clues with religious connotations in his creations), this puzzle surprisingly contains no religious references.
I needed a bit of electronic help to identify a piece of British railway equipment as well as an item of building material that I had not previously encountered.
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.
6a Tree found in part of London (6)
Poplar is a historic, mainly residential area of the East London in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is about 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east of Charing Cross (since the second half of the 18th century Charing Cross has been seen as the centre of London).
10a Dad gets shown reconstructed piano in uncle’s place (8)
Uncle is an archaic, informal term for a pawnbroker.
As for piano, if you happen to have forgotten what this musical term means, just check my blog postings from Monday or Wednesday of last week.
19a Hits coming from small child in the middle of lesson (6)
One meaning of mite is a small child or animal, especially when regarded as an object of sympathy • the poor little mite looks half-starved.
21a Instrument with which this person has left theatre (8)
Odeon Cinemas is a British chain of cinemas, one of the largest in Europe, created in 1928 by Oscar Deutsch. Odeon publicists have dubiously claimed that the name of the cinemas was derived from his motto, "Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation". It would appear that the term odeon may have become genericized in Britain as a synonym for cinema, in the same way that kleenex has become synonymous with facial tissue).
Odeon also operated a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary, Odeon Theatres (Canada) Ltd., with more than a hundred cinemas in Canada, coast-to-coast. This business was sold in 1978 to the Canadian Theatres chain and became Canadian Odeon Theatres, then was sold again in 1984 to Cineplex, forming Cineplex Odeon (now, once again, Cineplex).
25a Dancing round in truck (6)
Bogie is a chiefly British term for an undercarriage with four or six wheels pivoted beneath the end of a railway vehicle. An alternative name for this piece of equipment in Britain (and the name by which it is commonly known in North America) is truck[3,4,5].
Judging by the discussion at Big Dave's site, perhaps the use of the word truck as a synonym for a bogie (in the sense of an undercarriage for a railway car) is not so common in Britain – although it is clearly defined as such in the Oxford Dictionaries entry. Many of the Brits referred to alternative meanings (although still from the railway domain) for these words. In Britain, a truck may be a railway vehicle for carrying freight, especially a small open one and a bogie can be a small railway truck of short wheelbase, used for conveying coal, ores, etc.
It seems that, in Britain, a railway vehicle for carrying passengers is called a car and one for transporting freight is called a truck. In North America, any such railway (or, in the US, railroad) vehicle would be called a car (distinguished by prefixing a modifier, such as passenger car, freight car, etc.).
26a We in the army will want ruler to be changing slightly (8)
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.
4d Grabbed by bounder, simpleton is kissed and cuddled (9)
While of no bearing on today's clue, I did note from my perusal of the dictionaries that, in Britain, canoodle seems to lack the secondary meaning of to win over or convince by cajoling or flattering or, in other words, to wheedle • "his matchless ability to charm, bamboozle, or canoodle most of his political associates" (Timothy Garton Ash).
8d A stucco I fancy as characteristic of auditorium? (8)
One might be able to contort the definition "characteristic of auditorium" into being an adjective, but it does seem to call for a noun. If the solution is meant to be an adjective, acoustic would certainly work. From this same entry, we see that (as a noun) acoustic (also acoustics) means the properties or qualities of a room or building that determine how sound is transmitted in it • the Symphony Hall has perfect acoustics. I am accustomed to seeing this term with the latter spelling (with an s on the end), and the only place I found it without a final s (having this meaning) was this entry from Oxford Dictionaries. Note that despite seemingly showing acoustic as the primary entry, Oxford chooses to present a usage example in which the word is spelled acoustics rather than acoustic.
13d Piece of wood to lean in hanging support (9)
Like Crypticsue, I too was unfamiliar with this "piece of wood". A scantling is a timber beam of small cross section.
Not having a solution for 25a, I spent a good deal of time in a fruitless effort to make the last four letters be -LIST ("to lean").
15d Soldier gives sign for pausing followed by frantic nod (8)
The term commando comes from Afrikaans and originally referred to an armed force raised by Boers during the Boer War.
17d Order chaps in court to provide explanatory note (7)
The Order of Merit (abbreviation OM) is a dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by King Edward VII, admission into the order remains the personal gift of its Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, and is limited to 24 living recipients at one time from these countries plus a limited number of honorary members. The current membership includes one Canadian (former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien).
Chap may be a chiefly British informal name for a man or a boy – but it is a term that is far from being unknown outside the UK.
18d Stupid person crossing road was a famous general (6)
Apparently the original meaning of goon is a stupid or deliberately foolish person. However, in North America, the word has come to mean a thug hired to commit acts of violence or intimidation, especially in an industrial dispute [leading the Collins English Dictionary to classify it as a term belonging to the field of Industrial Relations!].
Major-General Charles George Gordon, CB (1833 – 1885) was a British army officer and administrator.
Gordon saw action in the Crimean War as an officer in the British army, but he made his military reputation in China. He later became the Governor-General of the Sudan, where he did much to suppress revolts and the slave trade. Exhausted, he resigned and returned to Europe in 1880.
Then a serious revolt broke out in the Sudan, led by a Muslim reformer and self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad. Gordon was sent to Khartoum with instructions to secure the evacuation of loyal soldiers and civilians, and depart with them. After evacuating about 2,500 British civilians he retained a smaller group of soldiers and non-military men. As an ardent Christian evangelist he was determined to stand up to the Mahdi, his Muslim nemesis. In the build up to battle the two leaders corresponded attempting to convert the other to their respective faiths, but neither would comply. Besieged by the Mahdi's forces, Gordon organized a city-wide defence lasting almost a year that gained him the admiration of the British public, though not the government, which had not wished to become involved (as Gordon had known before setting out). Only when public pressure to act had become too great was a relief force reluctantly sent. It arrived two days after the city had fallen and Gordon had been beheaded.
22d Director, foul, had G&T maybe (5)
A G&T is a drink of gin and tonic. However, since this seems to be one of several available choices ("maybe"), make mine a Scotch.
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)