Puzzle at a Glance
Daily Telegraph Puzzle NumberDT 26973
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphMonday, September 17, 2012
SetterRufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full ReviewBig Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26973]
Big Dave's Review Written ByLibellule
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
NotesThe National Post has skipped DT 26972 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, September 15, 2012.
IntroductionGo figure! After an entire week of three and four star degree of difficulty puzzles for which I did not need to resort to the use of my electronic assistants, I had to call upon them for today's one star offering. Oh well! We seem to scale mountains with ease but stumble over mole hills. The two clues for which I sought help were 21a and 12d. As is often the case, there is no obvious reason why the solutions to these particular clues should have eluded 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 Neat electrical network that keeps farm animals in a field (6,4)
Neat is an archaic term for (1) a bovine animal or (2) cattle. In Britain, a cattle grid is a metal grid covering a ditch, allowing vehicles and pedestrians to pass over but not cattle and other animals. The North American name for this device is a cattle guard.
11a Architectural style about right? That's sarcastic! (6)
A classical order is one of the ancient styles of classical architecture, each distinguished by its proportions and characteristic profiles and details, and most readily recognizable by the type of column employed. Three ancient orders of architecture—the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—originated in Greece. To these the Romans added the Tuscan, which they made simpler than Doric, and the Composite, which was more ornamental than the Corinthian.
12a Not birds, but they chirp and fly (7)
... and, to my mind, not very cryptic, but a style of clue that we have come to expect from Rufus — one often characterised as "barely cryptic".
18a Pay attention or bend over (4)
I spent a good deal of time poring over dictionaries to justify my answer here. I had to choose between LIST, TILT and possibly WILT. I was leaning toward the former and it proved to be the winner. List is an archaic or poetic word for listen.
19a Starts the game off with defeats (5)
Start is used in the sense to rouse (game) from its lair. Beat is to move across (an area of land) repeatedly striking at the ground cover in order to raise game birds for shooting ⇒
they hire boys to beat the Yorkshire moors for game birds.
27a One holds hands during the game (4,6)
Pontoon (mentioned by Libellule in his hint) is (1) another name for the card game blackjack or vingt-et-un ⇒
he got me to go into his room for a hand of pontoonor (2) a hand of two cards totalling 21 in pontoon.
28a Growth of love at first sight (4)
In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love is a score of zero or nil ⇒
love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.
7d Hire candle out, giving superior illumination (10)
Here "superior illumination" is a cryptic indication that we are looking for a lighting fixture that one might expect to find in an elevated position.
8d Smart girl seen in a city (10)
Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, South-East England. Hester — a rarely encountered girl's name — is best known to me as the given name of Hester Prynne, the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter. The name may well be more popular in the UK than it is in North America as the list of entries on Wikipedia for Hester is overwhelmingly populated by women from Britain.
13d Chars at night to get debt written off (5,5)
Char (as a noun) is an informal shortened version of charwoman, a dated British term for a woman employed as a cleaner in a house or office. As a verb, char means to work as a charwoman ⇒
she’d had to char and work in a grocery store to put herself through university.
14d Where we can buy with money off drink on board (5)
As is customary in cryptic crosswords, "on board" implies 'on a steamship (abbreviation SS)'.
25d Time to come up before a court (4)
It initially seemed to me that the definition might be a bit vague, but I was compelled to change my mind after consulting a dictionary. Court is defined as (1) a quadrangular area, either open or covered, marked out for ball games such as tennis or squash or (2) a quadrangular area surrounded by a building or group of buildings.
26d Electric wire to act as a conductor (4)
In Britain, a lead is a wire that conveys electric current from a source to an appliance, or that connects two points of a circuit together.
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)