Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26830
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphTuesday, April 3, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26830]
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
It took considerable effort, but I eventually was able to complete the puzzle without help from my electronic assistants. I would definitely have finished sooner had I spelled languor correctly to begin with.
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 Town is accommodating quiet jam makers by church (7)
Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk, England.
Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p), is a musical direction meaning either soft or quiet (as an adjective) or softly or quietly (as an adverb). [It seems like this musical term makes an appearance about every second day.]
The Women's Institute (WI) is an organization of women, especially in rural areas, who meet regularly and participate in crafts, cultural activities, and social work (and, apparently, making jam). Now worldwide, it was first set up in Ontario, Canada, in 1897, and in Britain in 1915. Interestingly, Oxford Dictionaries characterises the abbreviation for this organization with Canadian origins as being "British".
13a Dogs, perhaps, heard in part of supermarket (5)
The Isle of Dogs is a former island in the East End of London that is bounded on three sides by one of the largest meanders in the River Thames. It is no longer truly an island, as the waterway on its north side has been interrupted by a strip of infilled land.
19a Manage to follow shop’s principal range (5)
I invested a lot of time trying to justify "range" being a STOVE. As I eventually came to realise, "range" is being used in quite a different sense in this clue.
23a Excellent teacher restraining troublemaker finally, vacant sort (7)
A1 or A-one meaning first class or excellent comes from a classification for ships in The Lloyd's Register of Shipping where it means equipped to the highest standard or first-class. Head is a colloquial term (perhaps British) for a head teacher or principal teacher.
24a Like one observant ambassador say hosting big noise (7)
HE is the abbreviation for His or Her Excellency, where Excellency (usually His, Her or Your Excellency or Your or Their Excellencies) is a title of honour given to certain people of high rank, e.g. ambassadors.
25a Skill is a necessity principally for mechanic (7)
An artisan is defined as a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand • street markets where local artisans display handwoven textiles, painted ceramics, and leather goods. I know that mechanics are a skilled workers who repair and maintain vehicle engines and other machinery, but I never considered them to be artisans. However, Oxford also shows an archaic meaning of mechanic to be a manual labourer or artisan • the Mechanics' Institute.
Mechanics' Institutes were educational establishments formed to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men. As such, they were often funded by local industrialists on the grounds that they would ultimately benefit from having more knowledgeable and skilled employees. The world's first Mechanics' Institute was established in Edinburgh, Scotland in October 1821. By the mid-19th century, there were over 700 institutes in towns and cities across the UK and overseas.
1d Irritates the French following row (7)
Les is the plural form of the French definite article.
2d Music-maker from this country left to go into posh sheltered place (7)
To identify the nation to which "this country" refers, remember that the puzzle was originally published in the United Kingdom. In Britain, U is used informally as an adjective with respect to language or social behaviour meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes (U manners). In today's puzzle, the setter clues it as "posh". The term, an abbreviation of upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).
4d Old despot with empty outburst, thick type (5)
Idi Amin Dada (c. 1924 – 2003) was the military dictator and third President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.
5d Wrongly term claims concocted by lecturer (7)
It seems that only those with access to a copy of The Chambers Dictionary will find that L is an abbreviation for lecturer.
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)