Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 — DT 27369

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27369
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27369]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
- 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
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved
The National Post has skipped DT 27368 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, December 23, 2013.


Having just got through Easter, the National Post has chosen to provide us with a holiday themed puzzle — albeit the holiday being marked is Christmas. This puzzle appeared in the UK on Christmas Eve.

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.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.


1a   Charge round Cornish town with a boy for days over Christmas (7,6)

St Ives[7] is a seaside town and port in Cornwall, England. St Ives is well known from the nursery rhyme and riddle "As I was going to St Ives", although it is not clear whether the rhyme refers to the Cornish town or one of several other places called St Ives.

10a   A row about boy in pantomime role (7)

A pantomime[5] is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

The Middle Eastern folk tale Aladdin[7] is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights ("The Arabian Nights").

In the United Kingdom, the story of Aladdin was dramatised in 1788 by John O'Keefe for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. It has been a popular subject for pantomime for over 200 years.

11a   Party wear in favour (7)

One meaning of favour[2] is a knot of ribbons worn as a badge of support for a particular team, political party, etc., although Oxford Dictionaries Online characterises this usage of favour[5] as archaic.

A rosette[5] is a rose-shaped decoration, typically made of ribbon, worn by supporters of a sports team or political party or awarded as a prize the showjumping rosettes Samantha had accumulated.

In Britain, it is apparently common practice to wear a rosette as a badge to show one's allegiance to a sports team or political party.

12a   Nominal attachments for the present (4)

13a   A bell shaped attachment to the Christmas parcel (5)

14a   Party drinks for children? (4)

17a   Uneasy feeling a meal is badly cooked (7)

18a   Want to change vital part of 8 Down (7)

I did briefly have the correct solution under consideration but rejected it prematurely. Twankay[10], a variety of Chinese green tea, fit the checking letters — but nothing else.

Widow Twankey[7] is a female character in the pantomime Aladdin [see 10a]. The character is a pantomime dame [see 8d], portrayed by a man; and is a comic foil to the principal boy, Aladdin – played by an actress.

19a   Appreciates token to have a drink (5,2)

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle. As a noun, it means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

22a   Christmas gift offer (7)

24a   Two parties and there’s nothing left of the bird! (4)

The dodo[5] (now extinct) was a large flightless bird, Raphus cucullatus, with a stout body, stumpy wings, a large head, and a heavy hooked bill. It was found on Mauritius until the end of the 17th century.

25a   A favourite place to get spirits? (5)

26a   It may hold needles on the tree — but only as a present (4)

29a   Mother left fat on duck (7)

The mallard[5], Anas platyrhynchos, is the commonest duck of the northern hemisphere, the male having a dark green head and white collar.

30a   Child so wrapped up in wintry weather like this (7)

31a   In the festive season one gets all dressed up to sit in the living room (9,4)


2d   Gave Len unusually good news for Christians! (7)

Evangel[5] is an archaic term for the Christian gospel.

3d   Such a fuss getting to function (2-2)

4d   Type of wine from Spain, under very popular label (7)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E[5] (from Spanish España).

5d   Unusual present — it’s in snakeskin (7)

6d   Curate’s party’s held up somewhere in church (4)

A curate[5] is a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest. A member of the flock might well deal with the curate rather than directly with the vicar.

7d   Carol’s prospect for Wenceslas? (7)

8d   Character dragged up at this time of the year? (9,4)

A pantomime dame[7] is a traditional character in British pantomime [see 10a]. It is a continuation of en travesti portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag. They are often played either in an extremely camp style, or else by men acting 'butch' in women's clothing. They wear big make up and big hair, have exaggerated physical features, and perform in a melodramatic style.

9d   Heavenly sight delights shepherds (3,3,2,5)

In North America, we are familiar with the bit of weather lore[7] that begins "Red sky at night, sailor's delight ...". However, in Great Britain and Ireland, this saying is applied to a different occupation "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight ...".

15d   Christmas tree on the way, second to none (5)

16d   Party-goer in right state (5)

20d   Christmas present drawer acting as a guide (7)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer[7] is a fictional male reindeer with a glowing red nose, popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer". When depicted, he is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through inclement winter weather.

Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward, a now defunct American mail order and department store retailer.

21d   Applause that’s twofold back in pantomime stalls (7)

For pantomime, see discussion at 10a.

 While the dictionaries can't get together on the precise definition of a stall, they do at least agree that the term is British. The American Heritage Dictionary says that a stall[3,4,11] is a seat in the front part of a theater, the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary has it as a chairlike seat in a theater, especially one in the front section of the parquet [see following], and Collins English Dictionary defines it as a seat in a theatre or cinema that resembles a chair, usually fixed to the floor. In the plural, stalls is variously defined as the seats on the ground floor in a theatre[5] (Oxford Dictionaries Online), the seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema[2] (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary), or the area of seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema nearest to the stage or screen[4] (Collins English Dictionary).
  • the parquet[11] is the front part of the main floor of a theater, opera house, etc., between the musicians' area and the parterre [see following] or, especially in the U.S., the entire main-floor space for spectators; Collins English Dictionary defines parquet[4] as the US term for the stalls of a theatre
  • in the US, the parterre[11], also called the parquet circle, is the rear section of seats on the main floor of a theater, opera house, etc., under the balcony; in Britain, the parterre[4] is the pit in a theatre [the ground floor of the auditorium of a theatre].
The dictionaries are just as divided when it comes to the pit. Collins English Dictionary defines the pit[10] as the ground floor of the auditorium of a theatre while Oxford Dictionary Online says that the the pit[10] is a dated British term for the seating at the back of the stalls of a theatre.

22d   Dad has to get hold of a superior card — it solves all problems (7)

23d   Ten fuddled with drink weave around (7)

27d   They were wise, putting scholar before soldier (4)

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war. Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather of government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

28d   Plan to put money in the drinks kitty (4)

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10].

A pot[5] is all the money contributed by a group of people for a particular purpose — in this case, presumably, the purpose being to buy drinks.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (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] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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