Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26902
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphTuesday, June 26, 2012
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26902]
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
IntroductionThe puzzle was definitely easier to solve than it was to blog. I only needed to seek help with the British equestrian team practicing at the Middle Eastern inn.
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.
5a Fool, one taken in by her dressmaker? (8)
In Britain, clot is an informal term for a foolish or clumsy person ⇒
Watch where you’re going, you clot!
11a Boozing from bar to bar, becoming crude in quiet club maybe (3-5)
Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p), is a musical direction meaning either soft or quiet (as an adjective) or softly or quietly (as an adverb).
Gazza comments on the use of the word "becoming" as a link word, "Strictly speaking the wordplay should become or lead to the definition, not the other way round." However, as is the case today, one often does see it used "the other way round". After repeatedly seeing this, I have concluded that there may be some justification for the reverse approach. Think of the wordplay leading to the definition as being a case of synthesis (the combination of components or elements to form a connected whole). The reverse process would be analysis (the process of separating something into its constituent elements). Thus analyzing the definition would lead to the constituent elements (i.e., the wordplay) and today's clue could be interpreted as "Boozing from bar to bar, becoming [through analysis] crude in quiet club maybe". Of course, whether one needs to apply a process of synthesis or analysis is left unstated (as are many things in cryptic clues).
13a One may find me in a casino in Oxford, say (4)
Oxford is a city in central southern England, situated about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. It is the county town of Oxfordshire and home of the University of Oxford. Oxford is certainly better known for its university than for its casino — if it even has one (it seems that Oxford city council showed no interest in seeking a casino licence in 2006).
18a Exercises at Eastern inn before a riding event (8)
In the Middle East, a khan is an inn for travellers, built around a central courtyard. Gymkhana is a chiefly British term for an event in which horses and riders display skill and aptitude in various races and contests.
23a Swing he composed, with bit of ragtime thrown in? (8)
George Gershwin (1898 – 1937) was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres.
25a Up endlessly making wine (4)
Asti (formerly known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine that is produced throughout southeastern Piedmont but is particularly focused around the towns of Asti and Alba. Since 1993 the wine has been classified as a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and as of 2004 was Italy's largest producing appellation.
28a Buys it on the Spanish train (6)
Gazza explains the meaning and possible derivation of the expression "buys it". El is the masculine, singular form of the Spanish definite article.
5d Big old British-born actor makes one chuckle during dance (7,8)
Charles Laughton (1899 – 1962) was a [heavyset] English-born American stage and film actor and director. "One chuckle" is a laugh, two chuckles would be laughs.
6d Closed small company at Inverness, for example (8)
Inverness (from a Scottish Gaelic phrase meaning "Mouth of the River Ness") is a city in the Scottish Highlands. An Inverness (sometimes not capitalized) is also an overcoat with a removable cape.
7d Leave work in the course of strike (3,2)
Hop it is an informal British expression meaning go away quickly ⇒
I hopped it down the stairs. In the field of music, Op. (also op.) is an abbreviation meaning opus (work). It is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication.
8d Oriental Queen engaging a novelist from Ireland (9)
By tradition, British monarchs use initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus Queen Elizabeth's initials are ER — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina. Laurence Sterne (1713 – 1768) was an Anglo-Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics.
14d The osprey materialised suddenly, as if by magic (3,6)
Where an American conjurer might say "Presto", a British conjuror would say "Hey presto" — a phrase announcing the successful completion of a trick, or to suggest that something has been done so easily that it seems to be magic ⇒
press the start button and, hey presto, a copy comes out the other end.
20d Bloomer over getting child in free (6)
Bloomer often takes either of two British meanings unfamiliar to most North Americans — (1)
a serious or stupid mistake ⇒
he never committed a bloomer or (2) a large loaf [of bread] with diagonal slashes on a rounded top. But today bloomer is just a plant that produces flowers at a specified time ⇒
fragrant night-bloomers such as nicotiana. An over (abbreviation O) is a division of play in cricket consisting of 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.
22d Child and I must go into farm building (5)
Bairn is a chiefly Scottish and Northern English term for a child.
24d United at home, supported by everyone initially (2,3)
In one (or all in one) means combined or united. The wordplay is IN (at home) + ON (supported by) + E (Everyone initially; i.e, the initial letter of "everyone"). I was thinking of the phrase as one (the crowd cheered as one) which I guess would be considered to be an adverb. An example of the use of the phrase in one might be "The artist's cabin served as living quarters and studio in one".
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)