Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015 — DT 27625

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27625
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, October 20, 2014
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27625]
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 27624 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, October 20, 2014.


In a departure from the fairly long-standing pattern, the National Post has skipped a puzzle other than one that would have appeared on a day when the paper did not publish. Will this be the start of a new pattern?

Due to this change in behaviour, you get to partake of a "Monday" puzzle from Rufus, rather than the "Saturday" puzzle from Cephas which would otherwise have appeared.

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   Military force calling /for/ withdrawal (10)

The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

6a   I make an offer // in place of a previous quotation (4)

The term ibid.[5] (also ib.), abbreviation of Latin ibidem 'in the same place', denotes in the same source (used to save space in textual references to a quoted work which has been mentioned in a previous reference) ⇒ (ibid. p. 57).

10a   DNA unit takes time /to find/ cat-like creature (5)

The genet[5] is any of several species of catlike nocturnal mammal of the civet family with short legs, spotted fur, and a long bushy ringed tail, found in Africa, southwestern Europe, and Arabia.

11a   The best parts of holidays /in/ mountains? (4,5)

I must take issue with Miffypops' explanation on two counts. First, I would say that this is a double definition, with the question mark indicating that "mountains" are examples of HIGH SPOTS. Second, while "the best parts" might be a reasonable definition for HIGH SPOTS, it ignores the words "of holidays" that appear in the clue.

A high spot[5] is the most enjoyable or significant part of an experience or period of time ⇒ the high spot of the tour was to be an audience with the Pope.

12a   Reforged inferior // poker, perhaps? (4,4)

Fire irons[5] are implements for tending a domestic fire, typically tongs, a poker, and a shovel.

13a   One may take longer when one travels without a hitch (5)

15a   I managed to name // one from 4 Down (7)

In this clue, "4 Down" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 4d in its place to complete the clue. While the directional indication is often omitted in situations like this where only a single clue starts in the square labelled 4, the setter has chosen to include it.

The word "to" is used as a charade indicator in the sense of "pressed against" — as in expressions such as "shoulder to the wheel" or "nose to the grindstone". 

17a   Director of river boats to keep locks in order? /That's/ dandy! (7)

19a   Is inclined to enter Church // to absolve sins? (7)

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.

21a   Superlatively daring // pieces of underwear (7)

In Britain, a vest[5] is an undergarment worn on the upper part of the body, typically having no sleeves. The garment that North Americans (as well as Australians) call a vest[5] is known in the UK as a waistcoat.

22a   Pass // one bill in ten after amendment (5)

24a   Plucky player /gets/ support following veto (8)

Behind the Video
The video clip is "Dueling Banjos"[5] from the 1972 film Deliverance.

"Dueling Banjos" is an instrumental composition by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith. The song was composed in 1955 by Smith as a banjo instrumental he called "Feudin' Banjos".

The composition's first wide scale airing was on a 1963 television episode of "The Andy Griffith Show".

The song was made famous by the 1972 film Deliverance, which also led to a successful lawsuit by the song's composer, as it was used in the film without his permission.

27a   He passes out at the back of the pack (5,4)

In rugby, pack[5] denotes a team’s forwards considered as a group ⇒ I had doubts about Swansea’s pack at the beginning of the season.

In rugby, scrum half[5] denotes a half back who puts the ball into the scrum and stands ready to receive it again. The scrum-half[7] is the link between the forwards and the backs — one of his roles being to remove the ball from the back of the scrum.

28a   Where two sides come together to some degree (5)

29a   A parson taken aback enough // to swear (4)

The word "enough" indicates that the term for a member of the clergy is to be abbreviated.

Delving Deeper
To solve this clue, one needs rely merely on the informal meaning of parson[5] as any member of the clergy, especially a Protestant one.

However, in the Church of England, the term has a more specific usage, where parson[5,10] is a title for a parish priest, formerly applied only to those who held ecclesiastical benefices — that is, a rector or a vicar.

A benefice[5] is a permanent Church appointment, typically that of a rector or vicar, for which property and income are provided in respect of pastoral duties. 

30a   Limited // form of credit provided after period of unemployment (10)


1d   Pet // that's all the fashion (4)

For the definition to be a noun, the second definition must be "that's all the fashion" rather than merely "all the fashion". Remember to mentally read it as "[something] that's all the fashion".

2d   Only a small number show // support (9)

Terms such as "a number", "a large number", "many" or "a great many" are often indicators that a Roman numeral is required — usually a large one. However, this clue demands "only a small number".

3d   Smart girl // that is after a share of the proceeds (5)

"Smart" refers to her appearance rather than her intelligence.

4d   Moving near the // foreign capital (7)

Teheran[5] is the capital of Iran, situated in the foothills of the Elburz Mountains; population 7,088,287 (2006). It replaced Isfahan as capital of Persia in 1788.

5d   Such food is grown, naturally (7)

The only thing that makes this clue cryptic is the comma. Ignore it and the solution should be obvious.

7d   Cake /in/ hamper? (5)

8d   Share out // is tried but in an alternative way (10)

Scratching the Surface
Despite the missing hyphen, the surface reading of this clue likely sounds quite normal to the British ear.

Share-out[5] is a British term denoting an act of sharing something out, especially money ⇒ the share-out of his estate among the family.

9d   It really is a breathtaking experience (8)

14d   Premier League team after victory /in/ Sussex town (10)

Even though I had never heard of the town in Sussex, the wordplay was remarkably easy to sort out — once I had realized that it did not start with either "V (victory)" or "V (victory) + IN (from the clue)".

Chelsea Football Club[7] is an English professional football [soccer] club based in Fulham, London. Founded in 1905, the club plays in the Premier League [the top tier of the English football league system].

Delving Deeper
Fulham[7], an area in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, is an inner London district that lies on the north bank of the Thames, between Putney and Chelsea.

Chelsea[7], part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. is an affluent area in central London bounded to the south by the River Thames.

However, apparently the district of Chelsea is considered to extend beyond the boundaries of Kensington and Chelsea into the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith and Fulham as Wikipedia states "The football club Chelsea F.C. could reasonably be considered to be based in Chelsea, despite being located in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.".

Winchelsea[7] is a small town in East Sussex, England, located between the High Weald and the Romney Marsh.

16d   I mention changes // straight away (2,2,4)

18d   Failure to notice // surveillance (9)

Miffypops ironically illustrates the solution by committing an oversight by failing to underline the second definition, despite identifying the clue as such in his remarks.

20d   Typical measure by couple // to show affection (7)

Here, in typical Rufus fashion, "typical" is used in a whimsical sense denoting of or pertaining to type.

In printing, the em[5] is (1) a unit for measuring the width of printed matter, equal to the height of the type size being used or (2) a unit of measurement equal to twelve points.

21d   Be born healthy, // get an advantage (7)

[5] (French, literally 'born', masculine past participle of naître) is an adjective meaning originally called or born (used before the name by which a man was originally known) ⇒ Al Kelly, né Kabish. The feminine form, née, is encountered far more often than the masculine form as women have traditionally been more apt to change their names (as a result of marriage).

I do wonder, though, how one deals with the situation of a transgendered individual. Does the adjective accord with their current state or their former state?

23d   Be of one mind // about being in time (5)

Behind the Illustration
Miffypops does love to use illustrations from My First Dictionary, a blog which later became a book.

Here is how a review in the Boston Globe described the book:

In his new book “My First Dictionary: Corrupting Young Minds One Word at a Time’’ (It Books), Ross Horsley, a British librarian with a wicked sense of humor, skewers the adult world of lies and secrets, infidelities, and overindulgences. He accomplishes this by pairing cheery illustrations based on a children’s dictionary from the 1970s with his own twisted and irreverent definitions. Each word, from “abandon’’ to “zoo,’’ is used in a simply stated vignette involving adult subject matter, running the gamut from sexually transmitted diseases, pedophilia, and adultery to alcoholism, suicide, and murder. Horsley is an equal opportunity offender.

25d   Initially agreed, a mixed-up type // animal (5)

Pi[10] (or pie) is a printing term denoting a jumbled pile of printer's type.

The okapi[5] is a large browsing mammal (Okapia johnstoni) of the giraffe family that lives in the rainforests of northern Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire). It has a dark chestnut coat with stripes on the hindquarters and upper legs.

26d   Kink /in/ nautical knot (4)

As a verb, bend[5] is a nautical term meaning to attach (a sail or cable) by means of a knot ⇒ sailors were bending sails to the spars. A bend[5] is a kind of knot used to join two ropes together, or to tie a rope to another object. For example, a carrick bend[5] is a kind of knot used to join ropes end to end, especially so that they can go round a capstan without jamming.

Scratching the Surface
Of course, the surface reading may well be intended to drive us in another direction. A knot[5] is a unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour, used especially of ships, aircraft, or winds.
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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