Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 — DT 27671

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27671
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 12, 2014
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27671]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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 did not think that this was Giovanni at his most demanding—although some commenters on Big Dave's blog might beg to differ. However, under pressure of the blog deadline, I did resort to a bit of electronic assistance on a couple of clues. I was chastened to discover that the solution to one was a word that should be very familiar to any crossword aficionado while The Chambers Dictionary characterizes the other as a Canadian expression. A double dose of embarrassment.

By the way, if you did not follow-up on Gazza's suggestion in a response to Comment #33 on the review of yesterday's puzzle at Big Dave's site, I recommend you do so. He pointed out an article in which cryptic crossword setter Anax (Dean Mayer) explains the process of creating a puzzle. Here is a direct link to the article. It definitely gives you an appreciation for the view from the other side of the fence.

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   Conservative legislation reintroduced /to bring/ financial recoupment? (8)

5a   Famous US science teacher/'s/ optical instruments (6)

John Scopes[7] (1900–1970) was a teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, who was charged on May 5, 1925 for violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools. He was tried in a case known as the Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial.

... and the verdict was ... (show explanation)

The case ended on July 21, 1925, with a guilty verdict, and Scopes was fined 100 dollars. The case was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. In a 3-1 decision written by Chief Justice Grafton Green the Butler Act was held to be constitutional, but the court overturned Scopes's conviction on a technicality: the judge had set the fine instead of the jury. The Butler Act remained until May 18, 1967, when it was repealed by the Tennessee legislature.

hide explanation

9a   This person's posturing /as/ impressive (8)

"This person's" = IM (show explanation)

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the) compiler, (the) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue. Today, the setter has made the scenario slightly more complicated by combining "This person" with the verb "to be" producing "This person's" (contraction for "This person is") which must be replaced by "I'm" (I am).

hide explanation

10a   Probing hospital, MO started // pretty well (6)

Scratching the Surface
A medical officer[5] (abbreviation MO[5]) is a doctor in charge of the health services of a civilian or military authority or other organization.

11a   Management of image by company with a policy /to be/ sweet (7)

"Management of image by company" is certainly a very verbose way to say PR.

Sweet[5] is the British term for either (1) a piece of candy[5]a bag of sweets or (2) a sweet dish forming a course of a meal; in other words, a pudding or dessert.

Praline[5] is either (1) a smooth, sweet substance made by boiling nuts in sugar and grinding the mixture, used especially as a filling for chocolates ⇒ white chocolate and praline cheesecake or (2) [which is likely the meaning needed today] a chocolate filled with praline ⇒ pralines laced with alcohol.

12a   Fellow, sure clumsy, // gets covered in muck (7)

Muck[5] is farmyard manure, widely used as fertilizer.

Manure[5] as a verb means to apply manure to (land).

Like Roland at Comment #16 on Big Dave's blog, I initially thought that "gets covered in muck" should lead to MANURED, rather than MANURES. In his response to this comment, Gazza advises "You need to read the 12a clue as “gets (a field, say) covered in muck”".

I arrived at a somewhat different rationalization for the solution. Since the clumsy fellow gets covered in muck, one could say that he MANURES himself.

Under either explanation, I think the clue is a bit clumsy.

13a   Crazy leader is nut // to be made ineffective (11)

16a   Imbibers who go to pot? (3,8)

21a   Wreck entrance /in/ seaside resort (7)

Margate[7] is a seaside town in East Kent, England. For at least 250 years, Margate has been a leading seaside resort in the UK, drawing Londoners to its beaches, Margate Sands.

22a   Claim /made by/ little old female in crowd (7)

The word "little" indicates that we need the abbreviation for old.

23a   Girl, // one in spectacles putting off outsiders (6)

24a   Not wholly engaged at work? (4-4)

25a   Becomes aware of // meaning when listening (6)

26a   Bishop most strange /and/ least likely to be sober? (8)

"Bishop" = B (show explanation)

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation


1d   Cold rebel // touchy and irritable (6)

According to The Chambers Dictionary, chippy[1] is an informal Canadian term meaning touchy, quarrelsome, or aggressive. In this sense, it is commonly used to describe the play in hockey games. [I believe this may well be the first time I have seen Chambers designate a meaning as Canadian.]

2d   Seem /to be/ a listener keeping very quiet (6)

"very quiet" = PP (show explanation)

Pianissimo (abbreviation pp)[5] is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very soft or very quiet or (as an adverb) very softly or very quietly.

hide explanation

3d   Obtains new // defence (7)

4d   Result /of/ trick on train (11)

6d   Officer, // one taking line south of mountain pass (7)

7d   Completely heartless paper with monstrous female /given/ advancement (8)

8d   Dotty is sedate, /showing/ reserve (3,5)

12d   Businesses stalled here? (11)

14d   Disorder aboard ship /making/ trips (8)

"aboard ship" = contained in SS (show explanation)

In Crosswordland, you will find that a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[10]. Thus "aboard ship" is code for 'contained in SS'.

hide explanation

Tumble[10] is used in the sense of a state of confusion.

15d   Man perhaps overcome by beautiful // sort of design (4,4)

The Isle of Man[5]  is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system.

Fair Isle[10] is an intricate multicoloured pattern knitted with Shetland wool into various garments, such as sweaters. It is named after one of the Shetland Islands where the pattern originated.

Fair Isle[5] is one of the Shetland Islands, lying about halfway between Orkney and the main Shetland group.

What did he say?
In his review, Deep Threat lets us know that Man is but an example by indicating that the second part of the solution could be  Man or Wight or Muck or….
The Isle of Wight[5] is an island off the south coast of England, a county since 1974; population 131,700 (est. 2009); administrative centre, Newport. It lies at the entrance to Southampton Water and is separated from the mainland by the Solent and Spithead.

Muck[7] is the smallest of four main islands in the Small Isles, part of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It measures roughly 2.5 miles (4.0 km) east to west and has a population of around 30, mostly living near the harbour at Port Mòr. The other settlement on the island is the farm at Gallanach. The island's only road, about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) long, connects the two.

17d   One taking practical approach /is/ on a roll (7)

18d   Gun // beginning to scare owl? (7)

19d   Spell out // letters at end of crossword clue, all right? (6)

Doh! I got the first two letters, no problem. It was the last four that eluded me. When my electronic assistant served up the solution, I could not believe I had failed to see it immediately. My downfall was due to thinking that the DE came at the end of the solution making the definition "all right"—which turned out to be anything but right.

20d   Sanction // at the moment that gets transmitted (6)

As meaning at the moment as in the phrase as we speak.

Sanction[5] is an interesting word, being—effectively—virtually its own antonym. It can mean either official permission or approval for an action or a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.
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. Managed without help, so more like a 2, imo. Last one in was 20d. I got hung up on the current use of the word to describe trade embargoes and it took a few minutes recall the alternate meaning. An odd word, indeed.

    Yes, clawback has a particular resonance for Canadians. In my tax practice, I avoid using the word when walking my senior clients through their tax returns, as it can cause some people to set their hair on fire. I opt instead for "social benefits repayment".

    1. "Social benefits repayment" -- truly a term the bureaucrats here in Ottawa might come up with. On second thought, they might still find fault with the final word. Perhaps it would be "social benefits redistribution".