Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26863
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphFriday, May 10, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26863]
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
I was surprised to see that this puzzle was rated four stars for difficulty by Gazza. My performance can likely be attributed to the small number of British references in the puzzle – and those that are present are all familiar to me.
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.
10a Sign this writer on to go to extremes (4)
It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as setter, compiler, author, or writer to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must usually substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.
12a Superior map produced by duke to show type of territory (6)
As we saw in yesterday's puzzle, 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 "superior" (whereas yesterday it was "socially acceptable"). 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).
21a Second bean plant at top of pole? (6-2)
Runner bean is a British name for what I know as the scarlet runner bean. According to Wikipedia, " In the UK, the flowers are often ignored, or treated as an attractive bonus to cultivating the plant for the beans, whereas in the US the scarlet runner is widely grown for its attractive flowers by people who would never think of eating it." In my experience, Canadians are closer to the Yanks than the Brits when it comes to this plant.
3d My delight no longer conveyed in song (12)
Although I did eventually get the correct solution (it was my last one in), I only understood the wordplay after reading the lyrics to the song.
4d Zestful organisation to help motorists coming to journey’s end (4)
The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) is a British private club. Founded in 1897 with the aim of encouraging the development of motoring in Britain, today the Royal Automobile Club is one of London’s finest private members' clubs. Like many other "gentlemen's clubs" in London today, the Royal Automobile Club now has women as well as men as members.
RAC Limited is a private limited company based in the United Kingdom supplying roadside assistance as well as other products and services for motorists. It started its existence as part of the Royal Automobile Club but has since been divested.
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)