Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015 — DT 27697

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27697
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27697]
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


I should feel pretty good about my performance on this puzzle. Gazza rated it four stars for difficulty and I only relied on electronic help to solve one clue. However, I did need to look up the meaning of a word appearing in one clue and the spelling of the solution to another clue.

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   Minor // computing device? (10)

I had to look up the spelling of the solution to this clue. It completely escaped me that there was a PH in the word and I tried all kinds of combinations of double-F and double-R to pad the word out to fill the available spaces in the grid — which really disrupted efforts on 3d and 4d.

6a   Singer /in/ traditional top (4)

10a   Theme /in/ film closed previously (5)

To[5] is an adverb meaning so as to be closed or nearly closed ⇒ he pulled the door to behind him.

11a   Top poetry composed /as/ an exemplar (9)

12a   Storm // to meeting with navy, anticipating fuss (7)

The Royal Navy[5] (abbreviation RN) is the British navy. It was the most powerful navy in the world from the 17th century until the Second World War.

What did he say?
In his review, Gazza refers to the Royal Navy as our senior service.
Senior Service[5] is a British term for the Royal Navy.

A standing "Navy Royal", with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, originated in the early 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII.[7] The English Army was first established as a standing military force in 1660.[7] I trust that it is self-evident that the Royal Air Force came into existence much later.

13a   Commend // a couple of pages with writing say almost finished (7)

"writing" = R (show explanation )

Together with reading and 'rithmetic, 'riting is a member of the Three Rs.

hide explanation

Approve[10], as an intransitive verb, (often followed by of) means (1) to consider fair, good, or right; or (2) to commend (a person or thing).

14a   Obstinate // article penned by unusually tart cleric (12)

18a   Superb lot up for recreation round island // specifically devised (7-5)

Purpose-built[5] (also purpose-made) is a British term meaning built or made for a particular purpose ⇒ purpose-built accommodation for the elderly.

"Recreation" is used in the sense of remaking (re-creation). Other than the omission of the hyphen, this word is not an invention of puzzle setters.

Re-creation[10] means (1) the state or instance of creating again or anew the re-creation of the Russian Empire or (2) a simulation or re-enactment of a scene, place, time, etc. a re-creation of a vineyard kitchen.

21a   Time in New York in group // not at work? (7)

In January, when this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph, New York was on Eastern Standard Time (EST) — as were we here in Ottawa.

What did he say?
In his review, Gazza describes Eastern Standard Time as the standard time used in New York (and other bits of North America bordering the Atlantic).
True enough if one is speaking only of the US. Canada, of course, has two time zones that are east of the Eastern time zone.

23a   Querulous // comedian almost close to fury (7)

I had to look up "querulous" in the dictionary — and discovered that my guess as to its meaning was not even close.

Groucho Marx[7] (1890–1977) was an American comedian and film and television star. He was known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era. His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers and imitators.

24a   Expression a good social worker /provided for/ bad-tempered woman (9)

Today's setter adds a nice touch by clueing ANT as "social worker" rather than merely the usual "worker".

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

25a   Impractical /and/ off presumably? (3,2)

26a   Restricted cheer /in/ parliament (4)

I was trying to make the wordplay be a truncated version of a word meaning "cheer". Thus I spent some time trying to establish that DIETS might be considered to fit the bill.

Cheer[5] is food and drink provided for a festive occasion ⇒ they had partaken heartily of the Christmas cheer.

Who knew? I always supposed that "Christmas cheer" referred to a spirit of happiness and good will that prevails during that season.

Diet[2] is is the name of the legislative assembly of certain countries, e.g. Japan.

27a   Love, maybe, // expensive board items put in department (10)

"department" = ENT (show explanation )

In the Crosswordland Hospital, patients rarely — if ever — find themselves anywhere but in the ear, nose and throat (ENT[2]) department.

hide explanation

The definition, "love, maybe", informs us that love is one example — others might be honey, sweetie, darling, etc.


1d   It's often baked /and/ apt too to be battered (6)

2d   Account /for/ explosive noise (6)

I interpreted "account" to be a noun. Gazza, on the other hand, has the first definition as a verb "account for". However, I am afraid that I am having trouble seeing "account for" as a synonym for "report".

3d   Load get on grass fringing rank /in/ prearranged break (7,7)

Gazza describes PACK as being a load or consignment — which doesn't mean much to me. I wonder if I might be missing some British connotation here.

However, if one thinks about hiking, then a pack might well be called a load. Perhaps this also explains the surface reading of the clue — a soldier on a forced march who, during a break, lays his pack down on the grass beside the group of marchers (who march in rank and file).

4d   Agent's work? (9)

5d   Scent /from/ a capital resident not new (5)

7d   Ordinary female /in/ yard embraced by Hollywood actress? (8)

8d   Patience, perhaps, /in/ operation before tense volunteers (8)

Op[5] is an informal short form for (1) a surgical operation ⇒ a minor op, (2) a radio or telephone operator, or (3), in the plural (ops), for military operations ⇒ the ops room.

"tense" = T (show explanation )

Grammatically speaking, t.[10] is the abbreviation for tense.

hide explanation

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

In the UK, Territorial Army (abbreviation 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.

hide explanation

Patience[7] (in full Patience; or, Bunthorne's Bride) is a comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

9d   Loop rash cretin mishandled -- /and/ part of sheet? (8,6)

15d   Obtain in enclosed space first sign of edible // vegetable (9)

Courgette is the British name for zucchini[5].

16d   Lively // trip -- side let loose (8)

17d   Keep // parking on wildlife area (8)

19d   Blade /in/ sack, yet sheen showing, oddly (6)

The wordplay parses as the odd letters (showing oddly) of SaCk YeT sHeEn.

20d   Young bird /and/ seal mentioned (6)

22d   Small quantity /of/ drink cut by artist (5)

"artist" = RA (show explanation )

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[5]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5], an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. 

hide explanation

The grain[5] (abbreviation gr.) is the smallest unit of weight in the troy and avoirdupois systems, equal to 1/5760 of a pound troy and 1/7000 of a pound avoirdupois (approximately 0.0648 gram). [Because originally the weight was equivalent to that of a grain of corn].
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. Completed, but required more time than usual and online help for several words. Never heard of the operetta, but Google found it.

    Needed your commentary to parse a few answers that I bunged in. The construction of holiday still eludes me.

    1. The wordplay for 3d parses as PACK (load) + AGE (get on [in years]) + HAY (grass) containing (fringing) OLID (rank; foul smelling).

    2. Thanks. For some reason, I was so convinced that olid was not a word that I didn't check the dictionary. Lesson learned.

    3. To paraphrase P. T. Barnum "No crossword solver ever went wrong by underestimating the improbability of words in the English language".

  2. For pack I was thinking of a load or consignment carried by a beast of burden or 'pack animal' such as a mule.


    1. Hi Gazza,

      Thanks for dropping in to comment -- and provide some clarification for your hint for this clue. Perhaps this is one of those words that is used more frequently or with a broader meaning in the UK than it is here. I can certainly see consignment meaning a shipment -- I just have difficulty envisaging it arriving by mule train.

    2. Just to clarify, it was the word "consignment" in your hint that threw me -- not the fact that a "load" could be a "pack" carried by a pack animal.