Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015 — DT 27667

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27667
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, December 8, 2014
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27667]
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 usual gentle and amusing fare from Rufus today.

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   An A /for/ apprenticeship (8)

Grammatically speaking, "an" and "a" are articles—indefinite articles to be more precise.

Articles[5] is a British term meaning a period of training with a firm as a solicitor, architect, surveyor, or accountant ⇒ (i) he is already in articles; (ii) it may be worth taking articles in a specialized firm.

6a   Notice saying // 'Playground equipment' (6)

9a   Director's backing me first // to do relief work (6)

10a   Eden // is in the march past (8)

Eden[5] (also Garden of Eden) is the place where Adam and Eve lived in the biblical account of the Creation, from which they were expelled for disobediently eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge [thereby losing their innocence]. The term Eden has come to mean a place or state of great happiness; an unspoilt paradise ⇒ the lost Eden of his childhood.

11a   Clear course // of action after study (8)

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.

The Battle of the Somme[5] was a major battle of the First World War between the British and the Germans, on the Western Front in northern France July-November 1916. More than a million men on both sides were killed or wounded. Having recently visited the site of the battle, I would hasten to add that there may also have been a few troops from Canada, Newfoundland (not yet part of Canada), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and various other parts of the British Empire—not to mention France—involved.

12a   Observe nothing in /being/ old and infirm (6)

13a   Didn't remain wholly calm (4,2,6)

The solution could mean either "Didn't remain whole" or "Didn't remain calm". The setter has overlaid and merged the two to produce the clue. Does that make it a double definition? I ask facetiously.

16a   'Ratty' /making/ sure a knot can get undone (12)

Ratty[5] is an informal British term meaning bad-tempered and irritable ⇒ I was a bit ratty with the children.

Scratching the Surface
Rat[7], known as "Ratty" to his friends (though actually a water vole), is one of the main characters in The Wind in the Willows[7], a children's novel by British writer Kenneth Grahame (1859–1932), first published in 1908.

19a   It makes what's left look right (6)

21a   Recognise who's who, // yet I find that's mistaken (8)

23a   Hard top /makes/ vehicle fast (8)

24a   Didn't deny it/'s/ a selfish characteristic (6)

I was somewhat conflicted about whether to include "it" as part of the definition. Certainly, however, the response to What did he say when you told him his essay was poorly written? might be either He agreed or He didn't deny it.

25a   Take exception to /being/ ordered to leave again (6)

26a   Toolshed adapted /for/ climbers' requirements (8)


2d   In disorder, arm staff // that will press home a charge (6)

Remember to read the definition as [something] that will press home a charge.

3d   Does an evening job? (5)

4d   Cricket finalist? (4,3,2)

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]. However, a batsman when dismissed is also said to be "out" and that means he must leave the field of play and be replaced by the next batsman on his team.

Batsmen must always bat in pairs, one at either end of the pitch. When ten batsmen [out of the eleven players forming a cricket team] have been dismissed (i.e., are out), then the whole team is dismissed and the innings is over [since, with only one batsman left, there is no longer a pair of batsmen].

When the ninth batsman is dismissed, the eleventh player on the team begins batting (becoming the new batting partner of the player who was previously the batting partner of the ninth player to be dismissed). Thus, the eleventh player to bat is "the last man in"—although he may not necessarily be the last man out.

A humorous explanation of the ins and outs of cricket can be found here.

5d   The foolish snipe at // the wise (7)

What did he say?
In his review, Miffypops says Terry Pratchett fans will know this one. The luggage is made from this form of Pearwood..
 Sir Terry Pratchett[7] is an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. Pratchett was the UK's best-selling author of the 1990s, and has sold over 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages.

The Luggage is a fictional object that appears in several of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. It is a large chest made of sapient pearwood (a magical, intelligent plant which is nearly extinct, impervious to magic, and only grows in a few places outside the Agatean Empire, generally on sites of very old magic).

6d   People are unhappy when out of these // groups (5)

7d   Risks /of/ heat in terminals (9)

8d   Discharged // sailor worked out (8)

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.

13d   Treat wage adjusting /as/ a political scandal (9)

Watergate[5] was a US political scandal in which an attempt to bug the national headquarters of the Democratic Party (in the Watergate building in Washington DC) led to the resignation of President Nixon (1974).

14d   Walk // recollected in Arden poem (9)

As an anagram indicator, the setter uses "recollected" in the whimsical sense of collected again. Perhaps the letters have fallen on the ground and when collected again end up in a different order.

Scratching the Surface
Arden may merely be a convenient invention of the setter. I was unable to find any recognized poet with that name.

15d   Without notice, serviceman/'s in/ a pickle (8)

The Royal Marines[5] (abbreviation RM)[5] is a British armed service (part of the Royal Navy) founded in 1664, trained for service at sea, or on land under specific circumstances.

17d   /It's/ obvious // I'd engaged in contest (7)

The setter has structured the clue in such a way that the link word appears at the beginning.

18d   A piece of land // away from home (6)

20d   Give a telling-off to // cook (5)

I would say that the word "to" is part of the definition. To give a telling-off to someone is to roast them.

22d   Trunk // roots disturbed (5)
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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