Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily TelegraphDT 27307
Publication Date in The Daily TelegraphSaturday, October 12, 2013
Links to Hints and Full Review [Note 1]Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27307 - Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27307 - Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written ByBig Dave (Hints)
|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
█ - solved but without being able to fully parse the clue
█ - unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's blog
█ - reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's blog
█ - yet to be solved
Note 1: As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.
Note 2: Although gnomethang raises the possiblity that the setter might be Cephas (Peter Chamberlain), a number of the regulars on Big Dave's blog disagree.
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. The underlined portion of the clue is the definition.
1a Penny's relationship with Bob near to end of engagement produces drama (7,5)
Bob is an informal term for shilling, a former monetary unit and coin of the UK, in use prior to the introduction of decimal currency.
In the British currency system used prior to Decimal Day (February 15, 1971), a penny was equal to one twelfth of a shilling or 240th of a pound (and was abbreviated d, for denarius).
In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound (and is abbreviated p).
Contrary to what gnomethang indicates, I believe nigh means simply "near" and not "near to" [at least, despite trying, I was unable to find it defined as "near to" in any of the dictionaries that I consulted]. In that case, the word "to" in the clue must therefore be a charade indicator, used in the sense of "pressing against" — as in expressions such as "put your shoulder to the wheel" or "with your nose to the grindstone".
Twelfth Night is the evening of 5 January, the eve of the Epiphany and formerly the twelfth and last day of Christmas festivities.
Twelfth Night; or, What You Will is a comedy by English poet and playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616), believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season.
9a Great church parson I removed (7)
Minster is a name used to designate a large or important church, typically one of cathedral status in the north of England that was built as part of a monastery ⇒
10a Travel document not completed by one corrupt returning traveller (7)
11a Bremner holding decline back in crime (7)
Rory Bremner is a Scottish impressionist, comedian, and television personality who is noted for his work in political satire and impressions of British public figures.
In his review, gnomethang makes reference to Billy Bremner (1942–1997) who was a Scottish professional footballer, most noted for his captaincy of the Leeds United team of the 1960s and 1970s.
12a In trouble, Popeye's opening his can -- of this? (7)
Here my indication of the definition varies (quite markedly) from that used by gnomethang in his review. He has underlined only the word "this" while I have chosen to underline the entire clue. My rationale is that, while the pronoun "this" does take the place of the solution to the clue, it hardly provides sufficient information in its own right to be considered a definition. This is quite clearly a semi & lit. clue — one in which the entire clue constitutes the definition and the first portion of the clue provides the wordplay.
Popeye the Sailor Man is a cartoon fictional character, who has appeared in comic strips as well as theatrical and television animated cartoons.. He first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre in January 1929; Popeye became the strip's title in later years. Spinach use was rare in the original comic strip. However, in the animated cartoons, Popeye invariably eats a can of spinach to endow himself with superhuman powers.
13a Fish gave off a whiff (5)
14a Where we may find used paintbrush broke (9)
In his review, gnomethang uses the term skint[4,11] which is British slang for broke.
16a I am priggish type, not unwise (9)
19a Some colossal volley (5)
21a Famous aristocrat retaining part-time soldiers (7)
In the UK, the Territorial Army (TA) is a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency.
23a Artist visiting Cockney area displaying full range of colours (7)
A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain.
A cockney is a native of the East End (of London), traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church). Cockney is also the name of the dialect or accent typical of cockneys, which is characterised by dropping H from the beginning of words and the use of rhyming slang.
Note that the the East End is to be distinguished from East London, which covers a much wider area.
Bow is a district in East London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. [Not only is Bow situated in East London, it falls within the narrower boundaries of the East End.] According to Wikipedia, "people often believe that to be a true Cockney you need to be born within earshot of the sound of Bow Bells and that these are the bells of Bow Church in the heart of Bow. However, the saying actually refers to St Mary-le-Bow, which is approximately 3 miles west on Cheapside, in the City of London."
24a Oriental princess has last month in hospital with touch of anaemia (7)
A sultana is (1) a wife or concubine of a sultan or (2) any other woman in a sultan’s family.
San is an informal term for sanatorium (British term for sanitarium).
Ultimo (abbreviation ult.) is a dated expression meaning of last month ⇒
the 3rd ultimo.
25a Make threat to London College with no short answer (7)
Imperial College London (officially The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university located in London, England, specialising in science, engineering, medicine and business. A former constituent college of the federal University of London, it became fully independent on in 2007, as part of the celebrations of its centenary.
26a What parachutist should have done with a change of side for rich countryfolk (6,6)
Landed gentry is a British term for upper class landowners.
1d Lay down cards taking in bridge opponents capable of defence (7)
2d Beg favour after people losing head (7)
3d Middle-aged and single (5-4)
The definition of middle age seems to vary from dictionary to dictionary. It is said by The American Heritage Dictionary, Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, and Collins English Dictionary[4,10] to to occur between the ages of 40 and 60. Oxford Dictionaries Online has it delayed somewhat, being between 45 to 65. The Chambers Dictionary (which spells it as middle-age, with a hyphen) cheekily says it is between youth and old age, variously reckoned to suit the reckoner.
4d They're full of stingers giving nettle-rash (5)
5d Teacher's developed here, to teach (7)
Teacher's Highland Cream is a brand of blended scotch whisky produced in Glasgow, Scotland by the American company Beam Inc. (producer of Jim Beam whiskey) who, through a series of corporate mergers and acquisitions, took control of the original producer, Scottish whisky distiller and blender William Teacher & Sons Ltd.
6d The toad's transformed for lovers' tryst (3,4)
7d One churning out some prints is artist (13)
8d One's subtitle alternatively expression of surprise on seeing its author (2,4,3,4)
The subtitle of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is or, What You Will [see comment for 1a].
15d Function featuring a performance that's gloomy (9)
A sine is the trigonometric function that is equal to the ratio of the side opposite a given angle (in a right-angled triangle) to the hypotenuse.
17d Spanish food contains bit of turkey bone (7)
18d Mounted second-rate attack giving abuse (7)
19d Get very little writing as pen tip's broken (7)
Once again, I am going to vary (ever so slightly) from gnomethang in my indication of the definition. As I see it, the definition is "very little writing". Although the word "get" appears at the beginning of the clue, rather than in the middle, it serves a similar role to that of a link word (a word linking the definition and wordplay). This may be clearer if we rework the clue to have a simpler sentence structure:
- Broken pen tips produce very little writing. (7)
20d New York statue terribly damaged -- that's not right (7)
The Statue of Liberty is a statue at the entrance to New York harbour, a symbol of welcome to immigrants, representing a draped female figure carrying a book of laws in her left hand and holding aloft a torch in her right. Dedicated in 1886, it was designed by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and was the gift of the French, commemorating the alliance of France and the US during the War of American Independence.
22d Antelope dash over Germany (5)
The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Germany is D [from German Deutschland].
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)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)