Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015 — DT 27614

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27614
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27614]
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


I bogged down in the southwest quadrant on today's puzzle. A perusal of the comments on Big Dave's blog shows that I had lots of company.

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.


1a   Romances // a female, beautiful and small (7)

5a   One caught in the grasp of tender // policeman (7)

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught or caught by.

9a   Football kit? // Take it off! (5)

Strip[5] is a British term denoting the identifying outfit worn by the members of a sports team while playing the team’s away strip is a garish mix of red, white, and blue.

10a   Episodes // in police department? Gent's lost his head (9)

The Criminal Investigation Department (seemingly better known by its abbreviation CID[2]) is the detective branch of a British police force.

11a   Crack // bone with feather duster? (3-7)

Behind the Photo
Gazza illustrates his hint with a photo of Ken Dodd[7], an English comedian, singer-songwriter and actor, identified by his trademark unruly hair and protruding teeth, his red, white and blue "tickling stick" and his famous, upbeat greeting of "How tickled I am!". In the 1960s his fame was such that he rivalled the Beatles as a household name. His records have sold millions worldwide. Despite his age (87), he is apparently still performing.

Dodd's stand-up comedy style is fast and relies on the rapid delivery of one-liner jokes. He intersperses the comedy with occasional songs, both serious and humorous, in an incongruously fine light baritone voice.

Dodd is renowned for the length of his performances, and during the 1960s he earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours (7.14 jokes per minute), undertaken at a Liverpool theatre, where audiences were observed to enter the show in shifts.

12a   Car // valuation oddly ignored (4)

14a   Commanding Officer with Marlboro initially asks for // matches (12)

Scratching the Surface
Marlboro[7] is the largest selling brand of cigarettes in the world. It is made by Philip Morris USA (a branch of Altria) within the United States, and by Philip Morris International (now separate from Altria) outside the United States.

18a   Study coin and diamonds, gathering value /is/ reduced (12)

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

A cent[5] is a monetary unit in various countries[10], equal to one hundredth of a dollar, euro, or other decimal currency unit. However, in Britain — despite having adopted a decimal currency system — one hundredth of a pound is known as a penny rather than a cent.

Diamonds[2] (abbreviation D[2]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

21a   Vile, corrupt /and/ immoral (4)

22a   For each infection, dropping in /is/ ideal (10)

25a   Stamp // individual // card (9)

I failed to recognize that this was a triple definition. Furthermore, the only one of the three definitions that I understood was the one that Gazza chose to explain.

In the first definition, character[10] is used in the sense of the combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing. The corresponding meaning of stamp[10] is
a characteristic feature or trait; hallmark.

In the second definition, character[10] is an informal word for person [or individual] a shady character.

In the third definition, character[10] is an informal term for an odd, eccentric, or unusual person ⇒ he's quite a character.

26a   Trespasser heading off -- /it's/ private (5)

27a   Screen rambling unknown's // views (7)

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

28a   With passion // at the start, hugging Agnes regularly (7)


1d   Daft // seaman knocked over American on road (6)

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

2d   A record, by // George! (6)

Form[5] is an informal British term for a criminal record: they both had form.

George Formby[7], born George Hoy Booth, (1904–1961) was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian who became known to a worldwide audience through his films of the 1930s and 1940s. On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songs, usually playing the ukulele or banjolele, and became the UK's highest-paid entertainer.

3d   Little devil on wild ride -- relative intervening /is/ shut up (10)

4d   Smile unpleasantly, // lifting Malay dagger -- male is trapped (5)

A kris[5] (also archaic creese) is a Malay or Indonesian dagger with a wavy-edged blade.

5d   Horse and cart crashed -- // it could be in the pit (9)

6d   In golf, a deviating shot? (4)

In golf, a fade[5] is a shot causing the ball to deviate to the right (or, for a left-handed golfer, the left) ⇒ when they get to the 18th the ideal shot is a fade.

7d   One might use sleight of hand // to trick one involved in a trial (8)

8d   Reaction // on press broadcast? Ecstasy! (8)

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

13d   Reaching out // to engrave in chain (10)

15d   In a calm way, // obviously restraining the ego (9)

Here one could mess about in the branches, trying to rationalize the use of ego to clue I based on its meaning in metaphysics, or in psychoanalysis, or even in common everyday usage. Or, one could go straight to the root, as ego[5] is the Latin word for 'I'.

16d   Nice chess moves -- not hard // things to learn in school? (8)

H[5] is an abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.

17d   Driver should do this // in time to get over 'I start to corner' (8)

Indicate[5] is a British term denoting (of a driver or motor vehicle) to signal an intention to change lanes or turn using an indicator ⇒ (i) Cal indicated and moved across the road; (ii) one car had indicated left but pulled out in front of him.

In this situation, it would appear that the British might also use the word signal[5] (which also happens to be the term that would be used in North America).

19d   Italian /makes/ gesture on the other hand (6)

Signor[5] (also Signore, plural Signori) is a title or form of address used of or to an Italian-speaking man, corresponding to Mr or sir ⇒ (i) Signor Ugolotti; (ii) I am a man of honour, Signor.

20d   Force // green reforms on party, finally (6)

23d   Power // beneficial to Church (5)

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

24d   Poet dismissing learner /as/ cook (4)

William Blake[5] (1757–1827) was an English artist and poet. Blake’s poems mark the beginning of romanticism and a rejection of the Age of Enlightenment. His watercolours and engravings, like his writings, were only fully appreciated after his death. Notable collections of poems: Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794).

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.
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


  1. I struggled through this one, largely due to some convoluted and clunky constructions. My least favourite type of clue.

    Thanks for explaining 25d. I solved it with the crossing letters and the word-play was over my head.

    1. I presume you are referring to 25a, not 25d.

      I failed to recognize that it is a triple definition. I only saw the final definition and had no idea how the first two words were implicated. Even after discovering from Gazza's review that it is a triple definition, it took a fair bit of research to track down the first two definitions.

  2. Btw, I usually hit a fade with my irons. Unless I rush it, come over the top and slice into the next fairway.

    1. I sometimes rather unconvincingly attempt to make the case that my slices and hooks are merely exaggerated fades and draws.