Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015 — DT 27691

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27691
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27691]
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


Oh dear! Yet another two-star difficulty puzzle for which I needed electronic help to finish. Perhaps I can at least partially attribute my compulsion to call in my electronic assistants to the pressure of the blog deadline. I like to solve — and even blog — a few days ahead. However, when the National Post skips puzzles (as it recently did), it plays havoc with my plans and I am left playing catch-up.

Like Gazza, I found the southeast corner to be the trickiest and 21d was also my last clue in — aside from going back to verify my solution to 9d (where a bit of research confirmed that I initially had the wrong verb).

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   Messy, // agent eating chop (6)

4a   Neat // poker hand (8)

The first definition is how you might take your whisky.

10a   View // exotic lap dances (9)

11a   Food // ready to eat after end of fast (5)

Tripe[5] is the first or second stomach of a cow or other ruminant used as food. [I suppose anything is appealing after a fast.]

12a   Entrance by duke that is // doggedly determined (2-2-3)

"duke" = D (show explanation )

A duke[5] (abbreviation D.[10]) is a male holding the highest hereditary title in the British and certain other peerages.

hide explanation

13a   Looks steaming, /having/ done this on the golf course? (3,4)

In golf (in the UK, at least), an air shot[5] is a shot that misses the ball completely but counts as a stroke.

The definition, while phrased as a question, would be deemed to be equivalent to the statement "This is done on the golf course".

14a   Improvised, // most of excuse involving daughter (2-3)

15a   Novel // confusing to morons (8)

Nostromo (full title Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard) is a 1904 novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad (1857–1924), set in the fictitious South American republic of "Costaguana". It tells the story of Nostromo's efforts to prevent a hoard of silver ingots from falling into the hands of revolutionaries and the ultimate corrupting influence that the treasure trove has on him.

18a   Moral tale // about Ecstasy is wholly distasteful (8)

"Ecstasy" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

hide explanation

20a   Overactive // aboard dinghy, perhaps (5)

23a   Boast endlessly about firm, // the place for fruit (7)

25a   Uncertain what to do, // with income less than outlay? (2,1,4)

26a   Conclude // not one has escaped from hell (5)

Inferno[5] is another word for  Hell (with reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy).

27a   Saw maiden boiling // water (5,4)

Adam's wine[10] is an old-fashioned, humorous British name for water. The Brits also use the equivalent term Adam's ale[10] — an expression that is common in North America.

28a   Novelist /in/ Maine tried changing ending of 'Middlemarch' (8)

"Maine" = ME (show explanation )

The US Postal Service abbreviation for the state of Maine[7] is ME.

hide explanation

George Meredith[7] (1828–1909) was an English novelist and poet of the Victorian era.

Scratching the Surface
Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life[7] is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of English author Mary Ann Evans (1819–1880). First published in eight instalments (volumes) during 1871–2, the novel is set in the fictitious English Midlands town of Middlemarch.

29a   Attentive pocketing key /and/ watch chain (6)

In Britain, albert[5] (also albert chain) denotes a watch chain with a bar at one end for attaching to a buttonhole. It is named after Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria.


1d   A youth's after seconds, going to pub // food counter (5,3)

2d   Personal objective /in/ move that backfired? (3,4)

In soccer, an own goal[5] is a goal scored when a player inadvertently strikes or deflects the ball into their own team’s goal. In Britain, the term is also used figuratively to denote an act that unintentionally harms one’s own interests ⇒ government scores own goal by assisting organized crime in London.

3d   Dance // well with person brought up in post (4,5)

Well[5] can be used as an exclamation to to indicate that one is waiting for an answer or explanation from someone ⇒ Well? You promised to tell me all about it.

So[5] can be used to introduce a question ⇒ so, what did you do today? or to introduce a question following on from what was said previously ⇒ so what did he do about it? .

Bod[3] is chiefly British slang for a person.

Paso doble[5] is the name of a fast-paced ballroom dance based on a Latin American style of marching ⇒ (i) she danced a sensuous paso doble with a handsome officer; (ii) last came the paso doble.

5d   A fantastic thing /seen in/ article, jazz fan's night attire? (3,4,7)

It certainly did not advance my cause to use the US spelling pajamas rather than the British spelling pyjamas[5]. I eventually sorted it out when I got the solution to 18a.

The cat's whiskers[5] (or chiefly North American the cat's meow or the cat's pyjamas) is an informal expression denoting an excellent person or thing ⇒ this car is the cat’s whiskers.

6d   Change flag, heading off (5)

7d   Thriller writer/'s/ forbidding abridged copy (7)

John Grisham[7] is an American lawyer, politician, and author, best known for his popular legal thrillers.

8d   Deal with party, ultimately /making/ pact (6)

9d   Respond amiably // to fool over satisfying role (4,2,4,4)

To take (something) in good part[5] is to not be offended by something ⇒ he took her abruptness in good part.

16d   Learns in the course of proper // practice session (9)

17d   Split screen in court showing Turkish emblem (8)

"court" = CT (show explanation )

Ct[2] is the abbreviation for Court in street addresses — and possibly in other contexts as well.

hide explanation

19d   A match /for/ the devil (7)

Characterized as an archaic term by Oxford Dictionaries Online, lucifer[5,10] is another name for a friction match, a type of match struck by rubbing it on a rough surface. It was originally a trade name for a match manufactured in England in the 19th century.

21d   Papers supporting wizard/'s/ image (7)

22d   Element /of/ hatred under Stalin's lead (6)

Scratching the Surface
Joseph Stalin[5] (1879–1953) was a Soviet statesman, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR 1922–53; born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.. His adoptive name Stalin means ‘man of steel’.

24d   Biting // cold in desert (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


  1. I needed some electronic help, as well. 21d is a confusing clue. Never heard of an albert or an air shot. And I've been golfing for fifty years.

    1. I just now noticed that I marked the wordplay incorrectly in 21d. The 's (a contraction for is in the wordplay) serves as a link word and is not part of the wordplay as I had originally shown. However, I suspect your "confusion" extends beyond that.

      Before consulting the dictionary, I supposed that an "air shot" might be a skied ball (one hit unusually high). But I discovered that it is a swing that fails to make contact with the ball. This seems to be a British term and it is also used in cricket and other sports.