Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26868
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphThursday, May 17, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26868]
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
My performance today was rather poor considering that the puzzle merited only two stars for difficulty from Big Dave. I attribute my poor showing to my brain shutting down from crossword overload. Not only have I fallen a bit behind in doing the puzzles and writing the blogs, I also reviewed today's puzzle in The Daily Telegraph for Big Dave's blog.
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 Friendly fellow found in a story (7)
We often find abbreviations for very common words used in puzzles (such as F for fellow in this clue). This may lead novice solvers to conclude that virtually any word can arbitrarily be shortened to its first letter. However, that is not the case. Often these abbreviations for common words derive from a very specialized usage of the word. In this clue, F is an abbreviation for Fellow in the sense of a member of any of many learned societies. In general, for an abbreviation to be used in a cryptic crossword, it must appear in a recognized dictionary. I try to point out these specialized usages whenever I am aware of them.
11a Foolish mistake made in road to Tyneside? (7)
The A1 is the longest numbered road in the UK, at 410 miles (660 km). It connects London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, with Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Tyneside is an industrial conurbation (an extended urban area, typically consisting of several towns merging with the suburbs of a central city) on the banks of the River Tyne, in NE England, stretching from Newcastle upon Tyne to the coast. While the construction of the clue does not require it be so, the A1 actually passes through Tyneside. The word "to" is used as a charade indicator in the sense of 'pressed against', as in the expressions "shoulder to the wheel" and "nose to the grindstone".
14a Pass around ball for fan (4)
I must have gotten too preoccupied with the sporting imagery.
22a Attendant’s element in book (4)
Like several visitors to Big Dave's blog, I fell into the trap of thinking that "element" referred to silver (whose symbol is Ag). That left me trying to figure out why PE should be a book.
27a Surprised expression shown by gentleman harbouring a criminal at sea (7)
Cor is an informal British exclamation expressing surprise, excitement, admiration, or alarm: Cor! That‘s a beautiful black eye you’ve got!
28a Celebratory time in Florida, say, with figure getting about (7)
I, like many others it seems, failed to see that "time in Florida, say" clues Eastern Standard Time (EST) with the word "say" indicating that Florida just happens to be one of many places located in this time zone.
1d Artist with conservationists below feature of college is part of a circle (8)
RA is the abbreviation for Royal Academician, a member of the Royal Academy of the Arts, an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. In Britain, the National Trust (abbreviation NT) is a trust for the preservation of places of historic interest or natural beauty in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, founded in 1895 and supported by endowment and private subscription. The National Trust for Scotland was founded in 1931.
7d Model European with religious book (7)
Pi is an informal British short form for pious.
8d In New York, fine snappily-dressed person (5)
In North America (including New York), swell is a rather dated slang expression meaning excellent or very good • you’re looking swell. On either side of the Atlantic, it is a informal, dated term for a fashionable or stylish person of wealth or high social position • a crowd of city swells.
20d Province associated with Spice Girl, say, and a country (7)
Geri Halliwell is a British pop singer-songwriter, clothes designer, author and actress who came to international prominence in the late 1990s as Ginger Spice, a member of girl group the Spice Girls.
In British cryptic crosswords, the word "province" often means Northern Ireland (abbreviation NI). Here is what Wikipedia has to say about terminology pertaining to the constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
Although the United Kingdom, as a sovereign state, is a country, England, Scotland, Wales and (more controversially) Northern Ireland are also referred to as countries, although they are not sovereign states and only Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government. The British Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom. With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice often revealing one's political preferences." Other terms used for Northern Ireland include "region" and "province".
25d Jogger’s first set of exercises includes a source of light relief? (4)
I would say that PE is the abbreviation for Physical Education (rather than Physical Exercises), but I suppose it all amounts to the same thing.
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)