Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012 - Canada Day

Introduction

In today's puzzle from Cox and Rathvon, the setters mark Canada's National Holiday which will  be celebrated tomorrow.












Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Across

1a   DO|MINI|ON - DO (haircut) + MINI (very short) + ON (atop)
Dominion of Canada $1 bill, 1923, showing King George V
5a   ST(R)EAM - R (right) contained in (into) STEAM (mist)

9a   SERAC< - reversal (flip) of CARES (has a concern)

10a   F(IREW*)ORKS - FORKS (kitchenware) containing (†) an anagram (tangled) of WIRE

12a   _LAN|GUID_ - hidden in (somewhat) MiLAN GUIDes

13a   F(ADD)ISH - ADD (total) contained in (in) FISH (seafood)

14a   MO|UNTIES - MO (modus operandi) + UNTIES (frees)

16a   _ROGUE - BROGUE (Irish accent) with the first letter deleted (losing face)

18a   NICKS~ - sounds like (said) NIX (no)
The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary lists nix[2] as an exclamation meaning no in North America, while the American Heritage Dictionary classifies nix[3] as an adverb meaning not so or no.
20a   PAR(AD)ERS - AD (notice) contained in (among) PARERS (cheese utensils)
The Governor General's Foot Guards on Parade
23a   {LON(G AG)O}* - anagram (cracked up) of LOON containing (about) GAG (joke)

25a   R|E(CO)VER - R (head [letter] of Russia) + EVER (always) containing CO (company)

26a   {MAPLE LEAF}* - anagram (altered) of FEMALE PAL
Canada's Maple Leaf Flag
27a   H|OOPS - H (hard; as a grade of pencil lead) + (and) OOPS (I'm so clumsy)

28a   {DE SOTO}* - anagram (moving) of ODES TO
Hernando de Soto (c.1496/1497–1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River.
29a   MEMORIAL* - anagram (improving) of MORALE IM
Canada's National War Memorial in Ottawa

Down

1d   {DESILU}* - anagram (arranged) of DUEL IS
Desilu Productions[7], co-owned by husband and wife Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, was best known for its hit productions such as I Love Lucy, Star Trek, The Untouchables and The Jack Benny Program. The couple jointly owned Desilu Productions from its inception in 1950 until their divorce in 1960, after which Ball bought Arnaz out and ran the company by herself for several years. She eventually sold the company in 1967 to Gulf+Western; after the sale, company officials renamed it Paramount Television.
2d   MARENGO* - anagram (wild) of RAM GONE
Marengo[7] (c. 1793–1831) was the famous war mount of Napoleon I of France. The horse was named after the Battle of Marengo, through which he carried his rider safely.
3d   {NOC|TURNES}~ - sounds like (from the audience) {KNOCK (fault) + TURNS (changes)}

4d   OFFED~ - sounds like (in conversation) OFT (frequently)

6d   TOWED~ - sounds like (from the sound) TOAD (amphibian)

7d   E(A)RRING - ERRING (being wrong) containing (about) A (†)

8d   M|IS|CHIEF - M (007's boss) + IS (†) + CHIEF (arch)
M[7] is a fictional character in Ian Fleming's James Bond (Agent 007) series; the character is the Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service—also known as MI6.
11d   REFUSER - double definition; "naysayer" & "someone bonding again" [with the latter being whimsical: fuse meaning to bond]
15d   IMP|LORE - double definition; "beg" & "stories about devils" [once again, the latter definition is whimsical: "IMP LORE" being LORE (stories) concerning (about) IMPS (devils)]

16d   RAD(ICCH*)IO or RADI(CCHI*)O - anagram (surprisingly) of CHIC contained in (in) RADIO (broadcast medium)

17d   INFLAMED* - anagram (improperly) of FIND MEAL

19d   CAN(APE)S - CANS (tins) containing APE (crazy; as in to go ape over something)

21d   _R|A|VIOLI_ - hidden (in part) in foR A VIOLInist

22d   BRAS|I|L - BRAS (underwear) + I (†) + L (left)
Brasil[4] is the spelling of Brazil in Portuguese, the national language of Brazil. Pelé[7] is the nickname of retired Brazilian football (soccer) player Edson Arantes do Nascimento who is widely regarded as the best football player of all time.
24d   A|DEPT - A (one) + DEPT (department)

25d   RI(F)LE - F (failing [grade at school]) contained in (amid) RILE (stir)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Happy Canada Day – Falcon

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012 - DT 26838

Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle Number
DT 26838
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Setter
Ray T
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26838]
Big Dave's Review Written By
Big Dave
Big Dave's Rating
Difficulty - ★★ / ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Performance
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
██████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

Ray T is in fine form today, providing us with a generous taste of innuendo and his signature mention of Queen.

By the way, I hope everyone noticed that the National Post also published Monday's puzzle in today's paper. As has been its practice for a number of years, the National Post will not be publishing a print edition on Mondays during the summer.

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.

1a   Dictatorial leader of French facing awkward situation (6)

De is a French preposition meaning 'of'.

9a   Does up semi with dens or otherwise (10)

To do (something) up[5] is an informal British expression meaning to renovate or redecorate a room or building Mrs Hamilton did the place up for letting. A semi[5] (in Britain or Canada) is a semi-detached house a three-bedroomed semi. However, in Canada, the foregoing would be called a three-bedroom semi (without the -ed).

12a   Return of Queen with fellow Prince? (6)

A regent[5] is a person appointed to administer a state because the monarch is a minor or is absent or incapacitated. A Prince Regent[5] is a prince who acts as regent, in particular the title of the future George IV, who was regent from 1811 until he became king in 1820 (during which period his father, George III, was incapacitated by mental illness).

15a   Compiler’s clue taking time for cheat (8)

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 the clue, one must substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms is found in the clue. The "compiler's clue" is "I'm poser" or, in other words "I'm the one who posed the questions (crossword clues)". When run together around T(ime), this becomes IMPOSTER (cheat).

18a   Kept woman by force on motorway (8)

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway (controlled access highway) in England connecting London to Leeds.

27a   Blokes keep score in mind (8)

In Britain, bloke[5] is an informal term for a man he’s a nice bloke.

28a   Cover includes wide brief (6)

Brief[5] is an informal British name for a solicitor or barrister it was only his brief’s eloquence that had saved him from prison.

7d   Correct errors from young lady, posh and grand (5)

In Britain, U[5] 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).

8d   Criminals among American car parts (9)

The part of an automobile known in North America as a fender would be called a wing[5] in the UK.

14d   Kill time with Alien flicks (9)

In the Daily Telegraph, it would appear that the word Alien was enclosed in single quotation marks. The anagram indicator is "flicks", presumably based on flick[5] meaning of to make or cause to make a sudden quick movement.

16d   One’s repulsive to birds (9)

The Brits might have been deceived into thinking that "birds" is a reference to chicks of a different kind. In Britain, bird[5] is an informal term for a young woman or a man’s girlfriend.

Worzel Gummidge[7] [mentioned by Big Dave in his review] is a British children's fictional character who originally appeared in a series of books by the novelist Barbara Euphan Todd (and later adapted for radio and television). A walking, talking scarecrow, Gummidge has a set of interchangeable turnip, mangel worzel (a mangel-wurzel[2] is a variety of beet with a large yellow root, used as cattle food) and swede (rutabaga) heads, each of which suit a particular occasion or endow him with a specific skill.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - DT 26837

Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle Number
DT 26837
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Setter
Jay
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26837]
Big Dave's Review Written By
Pommers
Big Dave's Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Performance
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

Judging by my performance, I would say that this puzzle only barely deserves the three stars for difficulty that Pommers awarded it.

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   Final check on form for an acquaintance (9)

In Britain, a form[5] is a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. Thus the fifth form would be the linguistic counterpart to the fifth grade in North America and Form 1 would be like saying Grade 1.

10a   City mucker returns first-class (5)

Mucker[5] is British slang for a friend or companion we felt like old muckers. As Pommers points out, bud[5] is used in a similar manner in North America.

13a   Cake and Vichy water on grant, oddly (6)

Gateau[3,4], the French word for cake, seems to have been adopted into the English language (on both sides of the pond). Vichy[5] is a town in south central France. A noted spa town, it is the source of an effervescent mineral water. The French word for water is eau[8].

18a   Infer loyal politicians will have precedence (8)

In Britain [or Canada], Con.[5] is an abbreviation for Conservative which is used to denote the political affiliation of a Member of Parliament Teddy Taylor, MP (Con).

19a   Little time on board for confectionery (6)

SS[5] is the abbreviation for steamship the SS Canberra.

26a   Legal being executed? That’s terrible (5)

One should always keep in mind that executions in Crosswordland are almost invariably accomplished by means of beheading.

27a   Where those on the fiddle may know the score? (9)

I tried (without success) to make this an anagram. With THE SCORE we have one incorrect letter and one missing letter.

1d   Stretching top dog in support of motorists (7)

The Royal Automobile Club[7] (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.

3d   Retainer given to old boy for paying attention (9)

A retainer[5] is a servant, especially one who has worked for a person or family for a long time faithful family retainers.

4d   Open a beer (4)

Jar[5] is British slang for a glass of beer let’s have a jar.

7d   Fiddle around edges, flushed (7)

Fiddle[5] is an informal, chiefly British term for an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying a major mortgage fiddle.

16d   Retailer’s fresh green mint cut by half (9)

Sage green[5] is a greyish-green colour like that of sage leaves.

17d   Expand hotel space after amount raised (8)

Hotel[5] is a code word representing the letter H, used in radio communication.

22d   Ticked over, investing old money in rising food store (5)

In Britain, tick over[4] is another term for idle in the sense (said of an engine) to run at low speed with the throttle control closed and the transmission disengaged.

24d   Food for volunteers after bed (5)

In Britain, the name of the flat bread that North Americans know as pita is spelled pitta[5]. In the UK, the Territorial Army (TA)[5] is a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency. In Britain, pit[4] is a slang word for bed.

25d   Single prisoner’s object of veneration (4)

In British slang, a lag[5] [mentioned in Pommers' hint] is a person who has been frequently convicted and sent to prisonboth old lags were sentenced to ten years' imprisonment.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - DT 26836

Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle Number
DT 26836
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26836]
Big Dave's Review Written By
Gazza
Big Dave's Rating
Difficulty - ★ / ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Performance
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

I threw in the towel with two clues left to solve and called in my electronic assistants. Perhaps if I'd "perservated" (in Mary's terminology) long enough, I could have finished. However, other duties were calling.

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   Bony, a maltreated langur (7)

Although this bit of knowledge is not really needed to solve the clue, a langur[5] is a long-tailed arboreal Asian monkey with a characteristic loud call.

17a   Small mollusc in sink (7)

In Britain, the word cuttlefish[4] is sometimes shortened to cuttle.

19a   Truncheon around back of hip brought to work in police station (7)

A cosh[3,4] is a British weapon similar to a North American blackjack[3,4].

21a   Lock in criminal at chokey (5)

Chokey[5] is dated British slang for prison • they sent old Polgar to the chokey then?

23a   Hedonist, tense after examination in German city (3,6)

In Britain, a viva voce (often shortened to viva[5]) is an oral examination, typically for an academic qualification (i) candidates may be called for a viva voce; (ii) assessment of the PhD is by thesis and viva voce. Viva can also be used as a verb meaning to subject (someone) to an oral examination facing them sat the youth who was being vivaed.

Viva voce may also be used as an adjective indicating (especially of an examination) oral rather than written a viva voce examination or as an adverb signifying orally rather than in writing we had better discuss this viva voce. This term is used in North America as an adjective and adverb. I suspect that the these forms predate its usage as a noun, and that this is just one more example of the British propensity to turn adjectives into nouns.

1d   Artist not finished? Blow me! (7)

In the surface reading, British solvers are likely to see blow[5] as a euphemism for damn • ‘Well, blow me’, he said, ‘I never knew that.’ rather than the vulgar meaning that, I am sure, was the first idea to enter the minds of many North American readers.

4d   Sounds like Twist, for example, revolting Dickensian character? (7)

The solution is a character from a novel by English writer Charles Dickens – not Oliver Twist, but Ebenezer Scrooge.[7]

5d   Praise expert on horseback (5,2)

The expression "crack up" (in the sense in which it appears here) generated a howl of protest from readers of Big Dave's blog when it last appeared just over a week ago. To crack something up[2] means to to praise it extravagantly, giving the impression that it is better than it is • This job is not all it's cracked up to be. I stand to be corrected, but I believe that the expression exists in this sense only in the phrase given as an example.

6d   A head of Rugby understood slang (5)

In Britain, head is short for for headmaster (a man who is the head teacher in a school), headmistress (ditto for a woman), or head teacher (the teacher in charge of a school).[5] Rugby School[7] is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain. The game of Rugby owes its name to the school.

8d   Garden centre in Surrey, busy after noon (7)

Surrey[5] is a county of SE England.

14d   Footwear item, the type Venus Williams might wear? (5,4)

In Britain, a court shoe[5] is a woman’s plain, lightweight shoe that has a low-cut upper, no fastening, and typically a medium heel. The footwear illustrated by Gazza would appear not to match this description on almost all counts – with the possible exception of 'lightweight'. But I suppose no one will notice – they won't see past the legs.

16d   Carpet salesman, guy let in free (9)

In Britain, carpet[5] is an informal term meaning to reprimand severely the Chancellor of the Exchequer carpeted the bank bosses.

17d   Gag made by the Italian during comic scene (7)

In Italian, the masculine form of the definite article is il[8].

22d   Opening of historical play inaccurately portrayed? It may be (5)

Haply[4] is an archaic word for perhaps. The use of the word "historical" in the clue may be a deliberate hint to the archaic nature of the answer (after all, the setter could have used any word starting with the letter H).
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - DT 26835

Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle Number
DT 26835
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, April 9, 2012
Setter
Rufus
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26835]
Big Dave's Review Written By
Libellule
Big Dave's Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Performance
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 26834 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, April 7, 2012

Introduction

Rufus puts us through a fairly gentle workout today. Despite having been published in the UK on Easter Monday, today's puzzle is not themed to that day.

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.

1a   Is covered in bread crumbs and cooked (7)

Although I had to think a bit about "crumbs" as an anagram indicator, it does work very well. The "bread crumbs" would, of course, be the individual letters spelling the word "bread". If you cover something in crumbs, the crumbs are naturally rearranged from the pattern that they occupied in the original substance that was crumbled to produce them.

11a   Errors in field may cause defeats (10)

The solution is a cricket term that is also equally applicable in baseball.

14a   Here come dots, dashed! (3,5,4)

This is an all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is both definition and wordplay. While the definition certainly seems to be more than a tad whimsical, the setter excuses himself with an exclamation point.

21a   Number taking turn at party game (4)

Ludo[5] is the British name for a simple game in which players move counters round a board according to throws of a dice. It is a somewhat simplified version of the Indian game Pachisi. In the US, the game is commonly known as Parcheesi.[7] While the later name likely predominates in Canada, I do recall as a child having a Ludo game (part of a compendium of board games almost certainly imported from the UK).

27a   Billy’s mates who are good with children? (7)

I really think that this clue would have been better had it been phrased as "Billy’s mates who are good with kids?" Perhaps the setter thought that would make the answer too obvious – but it could hardly be more obvious than it is already.

4d   A number finished the port (5)

Dover[7] is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and is the home of the Dover Calais ferry.

6d   Efficient island uprising (4)

Elba[7] is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the Tuscan coastal town of Piombino and 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of the French island of Corsica. Elba is the third largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia. Elba is best known as the spot to which French emperor Napoleon I was exiled from May 1814 to February 1815.

13d   It enabled Queen Victoria to stick to her post (5,5)

Post[5] is a British term for the mail, the official service or system that delivers letters and parcels. The Penny Black[7] was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was issued in Britain on 1 May 1840 and bore an image of Queen Victoria in profile.

16d   A host of local supporters (8)

In Britain, a publican is a person who owns or manages a pub. A host (especially in the phrase 'mine host') is a humorous term for the landlord or landlady of a pub mine host raised his glass of whisky. A local[7] is a pub convenient to a person’s home. Thus "local supporters" are patrons of a pub.

17d   Mother angled craftily for a place at Oxford (8)

Magdalen College[7] is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England.

19d   Cycles along quiet winding dales (6)

The musical direction piano (abbreviation p)[5] makes its fourth appearance in seven days.

20d   The single boy in a family is very much a favourite (4,2)

Odd[5] can be an adjective denoting a single goal by which one side defeats another, especially where each side scores at least once they lost a close-fought game by the odd goal in five.

23d   Desist from mounting watch? (5)

Aside from its well-known (to me, at least) meaning of to send (money, payment, etc.), as for goods or service, especially by post (mail), remit[4] has a number of other meanings among which is to cancel or refrain from exacting (a penalty or punishment).
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012 - DT 26833

Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle Number
DT 26833
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, April 6, 2012
Setter
Giovanni
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26833]
Big Dave's Review Written By
Crypticsue
Big Dave's Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Performance
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

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[7] 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[7] (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[5] 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[5] 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[7] 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[5] 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[5] 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[5] may be a railway vehicle for carrying freight, especially a small open one and a bogie[4] 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[4] and one for transporting freight is called a truck[4]. In North America, any such railway (or, in the US, railroad) vehicle would be called a car[4] (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)[5] 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[3] 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[5] 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[5] 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[4] 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[7] (abbreviation OM[5]) 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[5] 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[4] 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[7], 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[5] 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: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012 - Planetary Search

Introduction

I almost failed to recognize the theme in today's puzzle from Cox and Rathvon. If you look closely, half the planets in our solar system (now that Pluto has been demoted) are fairly well-concealed in the solutions.

The review is a bit late this week as I was away for most of the weekend. I started to compose the review last evening, but after repeatedly falling asleep at my keyboard and nearly toppling out of my chair, I decided to pack it in for the night.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Across

1a   PARVENUS* - anagram (cracked) of RAVENS UP

5a   SPIDER< - reversal (to the left) of REDIPS (drops down again)

9a   PLUM|MET - PLUM (fruit) + MET (encountered)

10a   BET|WEE|N - BET (wager) + WEE (very small) + N (number)

11a   N|ODE - N (Neruda's first [letter]) + ODE (poem)
Pablo Neruda[7] (1904 – 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
12a   {OMAR SHARIF}* - anagram (transposed) of AIRS FOR HAM

14a   REPROVE - double definition; "find fault with" & "show again"

15a   LA|THE - LA ([musical] note) + THE (†)

18a   NE|PAL - NE (northeast) + PAL (ally)

19a   T_OPICAL - TROPICAL (†) with the R (right) deleted {get right out}

22a   {TAKES A TURN}* - anagram (wild) of KARATE NUTS

24a   AGO|G - AGO (before now) + (by) G (Goalie's start; i.e., first letter of Goalie)

26a   O(N A TE)AR - OAR (rower in a boat) containing (keeps) NATE (Nathaniel)

27a   BA(G LAD)Y - BAY (howl) containing (about) GLAD (happy)

28a   _ERS|AT|Z_ - hidden in ('s centre; i.e., centre of) teachERS AT Zurich
In the cryptic analysis, the "'s centre" (signifying 'centre of') applies to the entire phrase "teachers at Zurich", and not merely to "Zurich".
29a   {WEAR THIN}* - anagram (mobile) of WREATH IN
Note that the word "Mobile" is deceptively capitalised, making it appear to be a reference to Mobile, Alabama in the surface reading.
Down

1d   PI(PIN)G - PIG (swine) containing (pierced by) PIN (something sharp)

2d   _ROUND|_TRIP - {GROUND (†) + STRIP (†)} with the first letter of each word deleted

3d   EL(M)S - ELS (PGA golfer [Ernie Els[7]]) containing (carries) M (medium)

4d   {UP-TEMPO}* - anagram (in motion) of PUT POEM

6d   PITCH B(L)ACK - PITCH (delivery; a baseball term or, perhaps, a spiel from a salesperson) + {L (left) contained in (in) BACK (rear)}

7d   D|REAR - D (drill's top; i.e., first letter of Drill – in a down clue) + (on) REAR (bottom)

8d   R(AN) AFTER - AN (article) contained in (caught in) RAFTER (ceiling beam)

10d   BAR(G)E - G ($1,000) contained in (found in) BARE (uncovered)

13d   O|PALE|SCENT - O (ring; i.e., a letter that looks like a ring) + (with) PALE (faint) + SCENT (perfume)

16d   TELEGRAPH* - anagram (in code) of GREAT HELP
I am interpreting this to be an all-in-one clue, with the entire clue constituting both the wordplay and definition. The telegraph system (which used Morse code) frequently proved to be a great help, especially during the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries.
17d   KNOTHOLE - sounds like (for audience) NOT WHOLE (not complete)
I think the clue would have been more elegant had it been phrased "Opening for viewing incomplete for audience" (thus avoiding the use of the word"not" in both the clue and the solution).
19d   TUT|OT - TUT (ancient [Egyptian] king; the pharaoh Tutankhamun) + OR (†)

20d   PAR|A(B)LE - PAR (norm) + (with) {B (bee) contained in (in) ALE (beer)}

21d   EGO|YAN< - EGO (self) + a reversal (turned) of NAY (negative)
Atom Egoyan is a critically acclaimed Canadian director (on both stage and film).
23d   K|EATS - K (kay) + EATS (devours)
John Keats (1795 – 1821) was an English Romantic poet.
25d   _AGA|R_ - hidden in (from) SacandAGA River
The Sacandaga River is a 64-mile-long (103 km) tributary of the Hudson River in the northern part of the state of New York in the United States.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012 - DT 26832

Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle Number
DT 26832
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Setter
Ray T
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26832]
Big Dave's Review Written By
Big Dave
Big Dave's Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Performance
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

Ray T is fairly gentle with us today. The puzzle does have the trademark reference to Queen and a bit of rather subdued innuendo.

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.

1a   Lady Muck initially rich as one’s poor (11)

Lady Muck[5] is a British epithet for  a haughty or socially pretentious woman : it’s that woman, Lady Muck herself—who does she think she is?

14a   Stagger one regularly getting into scrap? (6)

In Britain, a totter[5] is a person who makes a living by salvaging saleable items from dustbins [garbage cans[5]] or rubbish[5] heaps [trash[5] piles] Coney Street in York was a totter’s paradise on Tuesday morning. It would seem that rubbish is a chiefly British expression (although not  uncommon in Canada) and trash is a distinctly North American term.

Steptoe and Son[7] (mentioned by Big Dave) is a British sitcom about two rag and bone men (persons who collect unwanted household items and sell them to merchants) living in Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherd's Bush, London. Four series were broadcast by the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. It was remade in the US as Sanford and Son[7], which ran on the NBC television network from 1972 to 1977.

23a   Cove encircles the Italian city (5)

Cove[5] is dated British slang for a man he is a perfectly amiable cove.

27a   Touch of wind over relish (5)

On cricket scorecards, O[5] appears as an abbreviation for over[5], 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. As for Big Dave's comment "not the relish produced by last night’s Apprentices", the "plot" summary for the April 4, 2012 episode of the British television series The Apprentice is "The Apprentice contestants attempt to impress Lord Sugar with creative condiments."

28a   Red setter returned, secured around rear (11)

As a cryptic crossword convention, the creator of the puzzle will often use terms such as setter, compiler, author, or writer to refer to himself or herself. To solve the clue, one must substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms is found in the clue. Ass[3,4] is apparently a North American term – the usual British expression being arse[3,4]. However, ass seems to be well enough known to the Brits that the term elicited no comment on Big Dave's site. Obviously, one would have to conclude that these terms are considered to be less vulgar in Britain than they are in North American – perhaps due to the seeming lack of a sexual connotation to the words in Britain.

4d   De Niro nicely demonstrates sneering (6)

Robert De Niro[7] is an American actor, director and producer.

5d   Lord Muck initially in list supporting aristocrat (8)

Lord Muck[5] is British slang for a haughty or socially pretentious man.

15d   ’Time’, track’s gripping Queen previews (8)

It wouldn't be a Ray T puzzle without a mention of his favourite band, Queen. 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 (or, in Big Dave's terminology, cypher) are ER[5] - from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

19d   Ray, a French bachelor in bed (7)

Un[8] is the masculine singular form of the French indefinite article.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today – Falcon