Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015 — DT 27683

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27683
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27683 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27683 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


Oh dear! Upon finishing this puzzle, I wrote "DIFFICULT" across the top of the page. Needless to say, it was a bit of a comeuppance to see crytpicsue's assessment of the degree of difficulty.

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   Hotel employee /that's/ more to the left? (6)

The wordplay leads to a whimsical invented word. If PORT be a nautical term for "left", then PORTER must surely denote "more left".

4a   During which there's the prospect of hidden riches? (4,4)

A period during which prospectors seek the mother lode.

8a   Lots /of/ dogs failing to start (6)

9a   I'm repelled by staff in bed /in/ secret photo (8)

A microdot[3,4,11] is a microcopy of a photograph about the size of a pinhead, used especially in espionage.

10a   Stride out, catching dancer's skirt half torn off -- // waste (8)

Either half of the skirt will do.

11a   Warning of thaw? (6)

In her review, I am sure crypticsue meant to say "Split 3, 3 – NOT ICE so a thaw".

I interpret this to be a cryptic definition in which the phrase "of thaw" provides a bit of cryptic elaboration to the straight definition "warning".

12a   This will show you the way // to finish letters (8)

Post[5] is a British term for mail[5], including in the sense of letters and parcels sent or received. Is it not rather ironic that the Royal Mail delivers the post in Britain and Canada Post delivers the mail in Canada?

13a   Large number behind bars // were scrounging (6)

Terms such as "a number", "a large number", "many" or "a great many" are often indicators that a Roman numeral is required. 

I don't think this clue parses correctly. It seems to be missing an insertion indicator.

As I interpret it, the wordplay (were it complete) would be D (large number; large Roman numeral) contained in [indicator missing] CAGED (behind bars). While the phrase "behind bars" could certainly indicate "inside CAGE", it surely cannot denote "inside CAGED".

Had the clue read:
  • 13a   Large number behind bars // are scrounging (5)
we could substitute "in cage" for "behind bars" to give us:

  • 13a   Large number in cage // are scrounging (6)
with the wordplay parsing as D (large number) contained in (in) CAGE (from the [modified] clue).

Several comments on Big Dave's blog raised this issue, but it is not addressed to my satisfaction (or to that of most of those who commented there) with the discussion being choked off on the basis of this being a "prize puzzle".

15a   Once it was the capital of Spain (6)

Until the introduction of the euro in 2002, the peseta[5] was the basic monetary unit of Spain, equal to 100 centimos.

18a   One who's recently become a member of a union (5-3)

20a   Lapel // back incomplete (6)

Revers[5] denotes the turned-back edge of a garment revealing the undersurface, especially at the lapel ⇒ he wore a black silk dressing gown, with crimson revers.

21a   Greek character with Italian backing -- we French /will become/ rebellious (8)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

"Italian" = IT (show explanation)

A couple of explanations are available:

  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italian or Italy.

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is an informal, dated British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.
hide explanation

In French, nous[8] is a pronoun meaning we.

23a   Steps outside a new // window (8)

In addition to being a semicircular window over a door or window, often having sash bars like the ribs of a fan, the name fanlight[10] is also used in Britain for a transom or skylight.

24a   Old boy round to accompany first // instrument player (6)

"Old boy" OB (show explanation)

In Britain, an old boy[5] (abbreviation OB[2])  is (1) a former male student of a school or college ⇒an old boy of Banbury County School or (2) a former male member of a sports team or company ⇒the White Hart Lane old boy squared the ball to present an easy chance from 12 yards. It is also a chiefly British affectionate form of address to a boy or man ⇒ ‘Look here, old boy,’ he said.

hide explanation

25a   Many beam if around mum /and/ little nipper (8)

See comment at 13a regarding the use of "many" to clue a large Roman numeral.

26a   Delay /for/ one with the doctor coming round (6)

To decipher the wordplay, one must insert a pause at the appropriate spot to get "one with the; doctor coming round". This parses as DR (doctor) containing (coming round) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + THE (from the clue)}


1d   Arrogant // pair do uplifting drawing in university (5)

2d   One doesn't mind showing it (9)

3d   Cooking roots -- it /makes/ a dish (7)

Risotto[5] is an Italian dish of rice cooked in stock with ingredients such as vegetables and meat or seafood.

4d   Courtier's victory? (4,3,3,5)

Game, set, and match[5] is an expression that is often used figuratively to indicate a decisive victory ⇒ the trade unions have won—game, set, and match to the workers. It comes from a phrase said at the end of a tennis match, indicating that a player has won a game that also wins them the set and the match.

Note the question mark at the end of the clue. It is a warning that the setter has exercised a bit (or more) of cryptic licence here. In Comment #1 to crypticsue's review at Big Dave's site, Gazza observes "Even with a bucketful of cryptic licence I can’t see how courtier is a tennis player (it’s like having barrier as a ballet dancer)".

5d   The French cheat in command -- /that's/ not saying much (7)

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

The abbreviation i/c[5] can be short for either (1), especially in military contexts, in charge of ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations or (2) in command ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.

6d   Opening // cause of downfall (7)

7d   Having a volcanic temper? (3-6)

12d   Poor sci-fi rerun // sending one to sleep (9)

14d   Removing moisture from // tiny gourd that's sprouted (6,3)

16d   Plain vehicle goes from South America to North America (7)

Savanna[5] (alternative spelling of savannah) denotes a grassy plain in tropical and subtropical regions, with few trees.

17d   Idiot one's seen holding raised period // weapon from Africa (7)

An assegai[5] (also assagai) is a slender, iron-tipped, hardwood spear used chiefly by southern African peoples.

19d   Announced which river crossing /will be/ somewhere near London (7)

Watford[7] is a town in Hertfordshire, England, situated 17 miles (27 km) northwest of central London. This Watford is not to be confused with Watford, Northamptonshire which is about 50 miles to the north.

22d   Woodland being // settled over unknown river (5)

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

In Greek mythology, a satyr[5] is one of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods. In Greek art they were represented as a man with a horse’s ears and tail, but in Roman representations as a man with a goat’s ears, tail, legs, and horns.
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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