Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015 — DT 27616

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27616
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27616]
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


With a couple of clues remaining, I finally surrendered after beating my head against a brick wall for far too long and called in my electronic lend a hand. It would appear that pommers did not encounter the same difficulty.

As per usual, it has been necessary to restore a few illustrations in pommers' review which have mysteriously gone missing.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

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.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.


2a   Explanatory // representation of virus a little European contracted (12)

The overwhelming consensus on Big Dave's blog is that the setter misjudged the number of Es required in the anagram fodder.

The first part of the wordplay is sufficient to produce the solution; that is, an anagram of (representation of) VIRUS A LITTLE gives ILLUSTRATIVE.

The remainder of the wordplay, "European contracted", is likely clueing E (an abbreviation for "European"). However, the extra E is superfluous.

8a   Unruffled // learner entering river (4)

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

The Cam[10] is a river in eastern England, in Cambridgeshire, flowing through Cambridge to the Great Ouse (river). Length: about 64 km (40 miles).

Delving Deeper
The Great Ouse (which flows through East Anglia) is not to be confused with either the River Ouse in Yorkshire nor the River Ouse in Sussex — and certainly not with the Little Ouse, a river of East Anglia, which forms a tributary of the Great Ouse.

East Anglia[5] [also mentioned by pommers in his review]  is a region of eastern England consisting of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and parts of Essex and Cambridgeshire.

9a   Son cutting meals by reforming // diet perhaps (8)

Diet[2] is is the name of the legislative assembly of certain countries, e.g. Japan.

Delving Deeper
Historically, diet[10] was the name of the assembly of the estates of the Holy Roman Empire. The best remembered instance is undoubtedly the Diet of Worms[5], a meeting of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V’s imperial diet at Worms in 1521, at which Martin Luther was summoned to appear. Luther committed himself there to the cause of Protestant reform, and his teaching was formally condemned in the Edict of Worms.

10a   Source of deep delivery? (8)

A lifeboat[5] can be either (1) a specially constructed boat launched from land to rescue people in distress at sea or (2) a small boat kept on a ship for use in emergency, typically one of a number on deck or suspended from davits. Clearly, pommers — and seemingly most Brits — envisaged the former while, for me, it was the latter that came to mind.

Missing Illustration
This is the lifeboat based at Moelfre in Angelsey

Delving Deeper
RNLI logo
You will see quite a bit of discussion on Big Dave's blog about the Royal National Lifeboat Institution[7] (RNLI), this being the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well as on some inland waterways. There are numerous other lifeboat services operating in the same area.

Founded in 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, the RNLI was granted Royal Charter in 1860 and is a charity in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II is Patron. The RNLI is principally funded by legacies and donations with most lifeboat crew members being unpaid volunteers.

The Institution has saved 140,000 lives since its foundation, at a cost of more than 600 lives lost in service.

11a   A French expert getting left inside // to remove trainer? (6)

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

12a   Promotion /to offer/ before agitation? (10)

I flailed around for a considerable amount of time trying to work "proffer" (which I was misspelling as 'profer') into the solution.

The phrase "to offer" is serving as a link between the definition and wordplay.

Preferment[5] denotes promotion or appointment to a position or office ⇒ (i) after ordination, preferment was fast; (ii) most of her ministers owed their first preferment to her.

13a   Popular colleague // one's given time (6)

In Britain, mate[5] is an informal term (1) for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve or (2) used as a friendly form of address between men or boys ⇒ ‘See you then, mate.’.

16a   Mischievous // damsel finally gets detained (5)

The wordplay here does not quite work for me. It is not "damsel finally" that "gets detained" but rather "mischievous" (or, more properly, its synonym). What might have worked quite nicely (dare I say it) is "penetrated" in place of "detained".

Missing Illustration
The elfin Audrey Hepburn

17a   Shakespearean character/'s/ staying power (6)

Nick Bottom[7] is a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream who provides comic relief throughout the play. He is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of a donkey by the elusive Puck.

Bottom[5] is an archaic term meaning stamina or strength of character ⇒ whatever his faults, he possesses that old-fashioned quality—bottom.

18a   A floating can? (6,4)

21a   Obstacle about first piece of equipment /that's/ technologically advanced (2-4)

23a   Former person in union rung /and/ given praise (8)

24a   Criminal /having/ anxiety in Germany (8)

Scratching the Surface
As dutch points out in Comment #3, angst[8] is actually the German word for anxiety.

25a   Upper-class fool /in/ army group (4)

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners. 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).

Nit[5] is an informal British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

26a   I'm opposed to imperial figures? (6,6)

I toyed with the idea that we might be expected to interpret "I'm" as 1 m (one metre) which would be an example of expressing a distance in the metric system as opposed to the imperial system.


1d   Artist overlooking seaside feature // that's pointedly offensive (6)

The word "that's" has to be included in the definition since the solution is a noun. We are meant to interpret the definition as "[somethng] that's pointedly offensive".

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[5]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5], an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain.

What did he say?
In his review, pommers describes a pier as something you might find in a seaside resort such as Brighton.
Brighton[5] is a resort on the south coast of England, in East Sussex; population 127,700 (est. 2009).

The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier is a pleasure pier in Brighton, England. It is generally known as the Palace Pier for short, but has been informally renamed Brighton Pier[7] since 2000 by its owners, as it is now Brighton's only non-derelict pier.

2d   Tense /and/ suffering blemishes? (9)

3d   Work // occupying professional, a bourgeois (6)

4d   Landmark /that's/ disturbed by a tourist fleet? (6,2,7)

Missing Illustration

5d   Russian mystic // artist's given introduction (8)

Grigori Rasputin[5] (1871–1916) was a Russian monk. He came to exert great influence over Tsar Nicholas II and his family during the First World War; this influence, combined with his reputation for debauchery, steadily discredited the imperial family, and he was assassinated by a group loyal to the tsar.

6d   Back including 'monsieur' /in/ Asian language (5)

In French, monsieur[8] (abbreviation M[8]) means 'gentleman' or 'man'.

Tamil[5] is the Dravidian language of the Tamils, a people inhabiting parts of South India and Sri Lanka. The language, at least 2,000 years old, is spoken by about 68 million people.

7d   Speed // shown briefly by five in Rome? (8)

I must thank pommers for explaining the wordplay. In physics, the symbol (shown briefly) for VELOCITY is V which is also the symbol used in ancient Rome to represent the number five.

Missing Illustration
That's moving at a fair velocity - any excuse!

14d   Gold alone is kept in silence /in/ gloomy place (9)

The symbol for the chemical element gold is Au[5] (from Latin aurum).

15d   Propose // flier in letter (8)

I became fixated on INDICATE — which probably satisfies the definition but certainly not the wordplay. It is strange how once an idea becomes entrenched in ones mind, it is virtually impossible to dislodge it — even though one realizes that it is obviously incorrect.

Mina[2] is a seemingly rare alternative spelling of myna (also mynah), any of various large, southeast Asian birds of the starling family, some of which can be taught to imitate human speech. Among the several dictionaries that I consult on a regular basis, this spelling is found only in The Chambers Dictionary[1] and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary[11] in addition to the cited entry from Chambers 21st Century Dictionary.

16d   Time chap's got upset // showing stress? (8)

19d   Dismissed some tennis /in/ the beginning (6)

In tennis, darts, and other games, a set[5] is a group of games counting as a unit towards a match ⇒ he took the first set 6-3.

20d   Peninsula /in/ Russian region lacking sun (6)

What did he say?
In his review, pommers describes Iberia as the European peninsula where I live.
As you may have gleaned from his introduction, he lives in Vega Baja which located near the southern extremity of the province of Alicante on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

Iberia[10] is another name — and, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, the ancient name[5] — for the Iberian Peninsula.

Siberia[5] is a vast region of Russia, extending from the Urals to the Pacific and from the Arctic coast to the northern borders of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. Noted for the severity of its winters, it was traditionally used as a place of exile; it is now a major source of minerals and hydroelectric power.

Missing Illustration
Iberian peninsular (sic)

22d   Anxious // time in US medical facility (5)

Emergency room[5] (abbreviation ER[5]) is a North American term. The equivalent British term would be either accident and emergency[5] (abbreviation A & E) or casualty department[5] (or casualty ward).
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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