Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015 — DT 27662 (Bonus Puzzle)


Today being Victoria Day, a holiday in Canada, the National Post did not publish an edition. The recent practice of the National Post has been to skip puzzles that would have appeared on dates on which it does not publish. Therefore, to satisfy your cravings, here is DT 27662the puzzle that you would have seen had a paper landed on your doorstep this morning.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27662
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27662]
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


This is a slightly more difficult puzzle than we've had in a few days. I did manage to complete it—although only after taking several cracks at it. The setter is not identified but several of those commenting at Big Dave's blog feel that it may be the creation of Shamus (Philip Marlow).

On a couple of clues, I have presented alternative interpretations to those given by Gazza in his review. That is in no way intended to suggest that his interpretation is incorrect. You may find both interpretations to be equally valid or you may prefer one over the other. Take your choice.

In Comment #39 on Big Dave's blog, Hrothgar provides a link to an interesting article from The Daily Telegraph which gives a profile of setter Don Manley (Giovanni) who set Friday's puzzle. The article was published to mark the publication of his 100th Toughie puzzle (the Toughie being a cryptic crossword published by The Daily Telegraph that is intended to be a more difficult challenge than the regular daily Cryptic Crossword which the National Post carries in syndication). As you will note from Big Dave's response, he thinks the celebration may be just a tad premature.

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   Looked // good, area outside church (7)

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

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.

5a   It could be blooming // useless, initially, if cash is wasted (7)

Scratching the Surface
Blooming[5] is an informal British expression used to express annoyance or for emphasis ⇒ (i) of all the blooming cheek!; (ii) a blooming good read.

9a   Temper -- losing head // on a regular basis (5)

10a   Enter // a tent and peer around (9)

11a   Queen, in leaving, /is/ putting a coat on? (10)

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

12a   Starts to believe Liberal's acting honourably? // Nonsense! (4)

14a   Sketches // depict sins or misbehaving (12)

18a   They make tracks for these // garden bugs (12)

Gazza has given us one breakdown of the clue and I have provided an alternative. In his version, the first definition relates to the tracks left behind in the ground by these machines. In my version, it relates to the tracks that form part of the machine.

21a   Attempt to hold a // platter (4)

22a   Regard // maid oddly getting dismissed -- I'm flipping helping! (10)

Scratching the Surface
Flipping[5] is an informal British term used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance ⇒ (i) are you out of your flipping mind?; (ii) it’s flipping cold today.

25a   Doctor with duty to follow mother/'s/ rambling discourse (9)

The 's (denoting a possessive in the surface reading) becomes a contraction for is in the cryptic reading and serves as a link denoting equality between the wordplay and definition.

26a   Start to strain? (5)

27a   Green /or/ red male's pants (7)

Pants[5] is an informal British term meaning rubbish or nonsense ⇒ he thought we were going to be absolute pants.

The 's (denoting a possessive in the surface reading) becomes a contraction for is in the cryptic reading and serves part of the anagram indicator with the wordplay being an anagram (is pants) of RED MALE.

28a   Paddy // Brown's first to take drink (7)

Paddy[5] is an informal British term for a fit of temper ⇒ John drove off in a paddy.

The 's (a contraction for is in the surface reading) becomes a contraction for has in the cryptic reading and serves as a charade indicator with the wordplay being TAN (brown) + (has) T (first to take; initial letter of Take) + RUM (drink).


1d   Musical riff -- // it continues along the entire record (6)

A riff[5] is a short repeated phrase in popular music and jazz, typically used as an introduction or refrain in a song ⇒ a brilliant guitar riff.

Groove[5] is an informal term for a particular rhythm in popular or jazz music ⇒ her vocals drift delicately across a soaring soul groove.

2d   Directed cast, or ...? (6)

Think of the surface reading as a teacher prompting a student for a desired response by giving them an alternative term followed by a prolonged "o-o-or" and a pause. Thus the clue, in effect, demands "a synonym for a group of performers taking direction".

Based on this interpretation, I have marked the entire clue (including the ellipsis) as the definition with the portion having the dashed underline being the wordplay. Gazza has followed a different approach, marking "directed cast" as the definition. This would seem to suggest that he sees the entire clue as wordplay with a portion of the clue being the definition.

3d   Measure // bit in middle (10)

A bit[5] is a short time or distance ⇒ (i) I fell asleep for a bit; (ii) can you move over a bit?. The idea in the first example could equally be expressed as I fell asleep for a time.

4d   Wisdom /of/ department opening in hospital (5)

5d   Concerned with how the bread gets sliced? (9)

As alluded to by Gazza, the question mark indicates that this is a definition by example. That is, budgeting (allocating the money or "slicing the bread") is but one of many financial roles.

6d   Pretty // cold pick-up truck (4)

Ute[5] is an informal Australian or New Zealand term for a utility vehicle or pickup (truck).

7d   Stop before one gets on // horse (8)

8d   Gemstone // set my hat off (8)

13d   Celebrity goes on vacation, but not Central America -- // result of lack of fare? (10)

Among numerous other things, CA[10] is the abbreviation for Central America.

15d   Youth // clubs kept secret about large violent criminal (9)

Oxford Dictionaries Online characterizes hood[5] as an informal, chiefly North American term for a gangster or similar violent criminal ⇒ I been beaten up by hoods [hardly U speech].

What did I just say?
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).

16d   Small bed detached // without injury (4-4)

What did Gazza say?
In his review, Gazza describes a cot as "a child’s bed".
In Britain, a small bed with high barred sides for a baby or very young child is called a cot[5] rather than a crib[5] as it is in North America.

17d   Throttle -- // unusual to be squeezed by learner? On the contrary (8)

The phrase "on the contrary" is a direction to invert the logic of the preceding statement. Thus as Gazza puts it, the solution "isn’t unusual contained in a learner but the abbreviation for a learner contained in an adjective meaning unusual".

19d   Rubbish // issue (6)

Ooh! Kittens on Friday and puppies today. [in reference to illustrations in Miffypops review on Friday and Gazza's review today]

20d   Grass/'s/ condition after batting (6)

Form[5] is a person’s mood and state of health ⇒ she seemed to be on good form.

In cricket, a player who is batting is said to be in[5]. Conversely, a player who is fielding is said to be out[5]. A humorous explanation of the ins and outs of cricket can be found here.

Grass is an informal British term meaning (1) as a noun, a police informer[5] and (2) as a verb, to inform the police of someone’s criminal activities or plans[5]someone had grassed on the thieves. This expression may derive from rhyming slang (grasshopper 'copper').

23d   Hopeless // in record time (5)

24d   All the best // volunteers will show up twice (2-2)

In the UK, the Territorial Army (TA)[5] at one time was the name of a volunteer force founded in 1908 to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined military personnel for use in an emergency. Called since 2013 Army Reserve.

In Britain, ta-ta[5] is an informal way to say goodbye well, I’ll say ta-ta, love.
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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