Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015 — DT 27673

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27673
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, December 15, 2014
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27673]
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


Today we have the usual fare from Rufus—enjoyable but not overly difficult. I wouldn't say that this puzzle rated three stars for difficulty—perhaps Miffypops merely neglected to change the stars from their default setting in the template.

At Comment #3 on Big Dave's blog, Miffypops asks Who’s ashes are we scattering across the blog today Big Dave?. This—and the ensuing discussion—relate to the practice on the blog of displaying snowflakes falling across the screen in the weeks leading up to Christmas (this puzzle having been published in the UK on December 15, 2014).

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   Pirate on S American river // that may be seen on board (6,5)

Read the definition as "that [which] may be seen on board" or "[something] that may be seen on board".

Long John Silver[7] is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the novel Treasure Island (1883) by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894). The most colorful and complex character in the book, he continues to appear in popular culture.

The River Plate[7] is a wide estuary on the Atlantic coast of South America at the border between Argentina and Uruguay, formed by the confluence of the Rivers Paraná and Uruguay. The cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo lie on its shores. In 1939 it was the scene of a naval battle in which the British defeated the Germans. The Spanish name is Río de la Plata.

Board[5,10] is an archaic term for a table, especially one used for eating at, and especially when laden with foodhe looked at the banquet which was spread upon his board.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's blog, Miffypops says "As this river has only five letters it is not the Amazon or the Orinoco. It must therefore be the one with the football team named after it."
River Plate Football Club[7] was a sports club from Uruguay, founded in 1897 in Montevideo. It is considered one of the four giants of the first era in Uruguayan football [soccer]. After the second decade of the twentieth century, the club entered in ostracism and disappeared in 1929.

9a   Game /that's/ bound to go with whisky (9)

10a   Reserves // bets on races (5)

Book[5] denotes a bookmaker’s record of bets accepted and money paid out.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's blog, Miffypops refers to bookmakers as "Turf Accountants".
When I first encountered the term "turf accountant", I presumed that it must be jocular British slang for a bookie. As it turns out, it is quite the opposite. Turf accountant[5,10] is a formal British name for a bookmaker.

11a   Nelly is confused about love, /and/ without boyfriends? (6)

"love" = O (show explanation)

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

hide explanation

12a   Reptile // brings back one young salmon in ten (8)

13a   Curiosity // may make one tarry (6)

15a   Dead centre? (8)

18a   Quasar exploding round one high-class // constellation (8)

"high-class" = U (show explanation)

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). In Crosswordland, it is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior or—as today—high-class) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable).

hide explanation

In astronomy, Aquarius[5] is the name of a large constellation (the Water Carrier or Water Bearer), said to represent a man pouring water from a jar. It contains no bright stars but has several planetary nebulae.

19a   Back on board (6)

It took a while to resolve whether I should be thinking nautically or in terms of a gameboard.

21a   Not very bright, /so/ extra-shy (8)

Not a double definition at all—at least not in my opinion. I would say that the clue is a charade.

Shy[5] is a dated term meaning, as a noun, an act of flinging or throwing something at a target and, as a verb, to fling or throw (something) at a target he tore the spectacles off and shied them at her.

23a   Their losses may get roundabout compensation (6)

Roundabout[10] is a British name for a merry-go-round.

What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts[Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus] (or, more simply, it's swings and roundabouts) is a British saying meaning that the positive and negative results of a situation or action balance each other ⇒ The route through town would be shorter, but there'll be more traffic." "Well, it's just swings and roundabouts.

26a   He gets put out, /becomes/ angry (3,2)

27a   Script one created /for/ TV's Morse? (9)

Inspector Endeavour Morse[7] is a fictional character in the eponymous series of detective novels by British author Colin Dexter, as well as the 33-episode 1987–2000 television drama Inspector Morse[7], with the character played by John Thaw. Morse is a senior CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officer with the Thames Valley Police force in Oxford, England.

28a   Seconds // subside? (7,4)

The seconds[5] are the reserve team of a sports club.

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you..

A reserve[5] is an extra player in a team, serving as a possible substitute ⇒ he was reserve hooker [position on a rugby team] for the World Cup team. The reserves[5] are the the second-choice team ⇒ playing in the first team has been a big step up after the reserves.

Split "subside" (3,4) to get RESERVE (sub) + TEAM (side).


1d   Student // involved in chorals (7)

2d   Flower // some pull up inappropriately (5)

3d   Cares a lot about // powered flight (9)

4d   Past prime minister /is the product of/ sanctimonious island race (4)

Pi[5] is an informal British short form for pious.

"island race" = TT (show explanation)

The Tourist Trophy[5] (abbreviation TT[5]) is a motorcycle-racing competition held annually on roads in the Isle of Man since 1907.

hide explanation

William Pitt[5] (1759–1806), known as Pitt the Younger, was Prime Minister of Britain 1783–1801 and 1804-6, The youngest-ever Prime Minister, he introduced reforms to reduce the national debt. He was the son of William Pitt[5], 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–1778) who was known as Pitt the Elder. As Secretary of State (effectively Prime Minister), the elder Pitt headed coalition governments 1756–61 and 1766-8. He brought the Seven Years War to an end in 1763 and also masterminded the conquest of French possessions overseas, particularly in Canada and India.

5d   The tales bandied about /by/ sportsmen (8)

6d   It may retain warmth // that will show at the end of three months (5)

7d   Mary holding child /featured in/ stonework (7)

8d   Full // make up? (8)

"Make up" meaning complete? Perhaps is the sense of ⇒ I need only one more piece to make up a full set.

14d   It takes a turn for the better (8)

I thought maybe roulette might be another name for a roulette wheel—but that would seem not to be the case. I suppose if one interprets "takes" as meaning "involves" then one could say that roulette involves "a turn for the better".

16d   Place to be for an alibi (9)

17d   Chases // jobs (8)

18d   One more // convert on earth (7)

20d   /This is/ no way to drink // patent medicine (7)

The wordplay is NO (from the clue) + ST (way; abbreviation for street) + (to) RUM (drink).

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".

Despite appearing at the beginning of the clue, the words "this is" fulfill the role of a link phrase.

22d   One's saucy prank! (5)

After considerable searching, I concluded that capers aren't saucy—but a sauce may be capery. I can only deduce that the clue is a not a double definition but, rather, a cryptic definition built around an allusion to the fact that capers can be used in sauces.

Caper sauce[10] is sauce flavoured with capers   ⇒ wild duck in caper sauce .

24d   Chemical, // inert in another form (5)

Nitre[5] is another term for saltpetre[5] which, in turn, is another term for potassium nitrate[5], a white crystalline salt which occurs naturally in nitre and is used in preserving meat and as a constituent of gunpowder. [This series of definitions seems to have been composed by M. C. Escher—since, as in his drawings, if you follow a path far enough, you end up back where you started.] I suspect that what may be intended by this sequence of definitions is not that potassium nitrate is one component of nitre but that the naturally occurring form of potassium nitrate is called nitre.

Saltpetre (potassium nitrate) was once thought to induce impotence, and is still falsely rumored to be in institutional food (such as military fare) as an anaphrodisiac [a drug that reduces sexual desire]; however, there is no scientific evidence for such properties.[7]

25d   One employs // American with hesitation (4)
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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