Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015 — DT 27678

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27678
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27678 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27678 – 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.


Crypticsue indicates in the introduction to her review that she "was in a minority of people who found solving this puzzle a doddle"—awarding it only a single star for difficulty. She goes on to say ''It was nice and easy to explain for reviewing purposes too". Not from my perspective, it wasn't, being riddled with Briticisms. I expect that these may also make the puzzle a more difficult solve for those on this side of the pond who are likely unfamiliar with many of them.

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   Supporting music /in/ reliable way (10)

6a   Eastern movie // spectacular (4)

10a   Ancient // celebrating fifty years without grand opening (5)

11a   Fish // ration covering back of leaf (5,4)

The Dover sole[5] is either of two flatfishes which are highly valued as food. One is a true sole (Solea solea) that is common in European waters. In North America, another fish (Microstomus pacificus) also goes by the name Dover sole. A relative of the lemon sole, it is found in the East Pacific.

12a   Woman /will be/ at that point when going west (7)

13a   Artisan working /for/ empress (7)

14a   With credit after frauds, succeeded /making/ moonshine (12)

"succeeded" = S (show explanation)

The abbreviation s[5] stands for succeeded, in the sense of to have become the new rightful holder of an office, title, or property ⇒ he succeeded to his father’s kingdom. It might be seen, for instance, it charts of royal lineages.

hide explanation

Fiddle[5] is an informal, chiefly British term for an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying ⇒ a major mortgage fiddle.

Tick[5] (used in the phrase on tick) is an informal British term meaning credit ⇒ the printer agreed to send the brochures out on tick. The term apparently originates as a short form for ticket in the phrase on the ticket, referring to an IOU or promise to pay.

Moonshine[5] is an informal term for foolish talk or ideas ⇒ whatever I said, it was moonshine. In the sense of illicitly distilled or smuggled alcohol, moonshine[5] is a North American term [or, as Collins English Dictionary more properly states[10], a US and Canadian term (Oxford Dictionaries Online seemingly being unaware of the existence of Mexico)].

Fiddlesticks[5] is an informal exclamation signifying nonsense.

18a   Reverend I will get drunk imbibing spirit -- // his job's on the line (6-6)

... the railway line, that is.

21a   Fictional lawman's spurning old // wrinkles (7)

Rumpole of the Bailey[7] is a British television series created and written by the British writer and barrister John Mortimer (1923–2009). The main character is Horace Rumpole, an ageing London barrister who defends any and all clients. The original show has been spun off into a series of short stories, novels, and radio programmes.

The Old Bailey[10] is a common name for the Central Criminal Court of England which is the chief court exercising criminal jurisdiction in London.

23a   Horse // to move unsteadily round run (7)

"run" = R (show explanation)

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

hide explanation

24a   State enrolled nurse about to take top off shortly -- // it's essential for tanning (9)

In the UK, a State Enrolled Nurse[5] (abbreviation SEN) is a nurse enrolled on a state register and having a qualification lower than that of a State Registered Nurse.

25a   Get annoyed about fellow/'s/ weapon (5)

"fellow" = F (show explanation)

F[2] is the abbreviation for Fellow (of a society, etc). For instance, it is found in professional designations such as FRAIC (Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada).

hide explanation

26a   Scoff about // dishonest chap (4)

Although found nowhere else, scoff happens to be the first meaning given by The Chambers Dictionary for rail[1]. This may well be an archaic meaning as Collins English Dictionary informs us that the English word rail[10], in the sense of to complain bitterly or vehemently, originated in the 15th century coming from an Old French word railler meaning to mock.

27a   Grassed area // gardeners prepared round wicket (10)

"wicket" = W (show explanation)

On cricket scorecards, one would find W[5] used as an abbreviation for wicket(s). In cricket, to take a wicket[5] (said of a bowler or a fielding side) is to dismiss a batsman.

hide explanation


1d   Glove puppet in which third of fingers /is/ stuck up (6)

The surface reading of this clue certainly suggests a rather rude gesture.

Amazingly, I recalled the name of the puppet from a previous puzzle [DT 27414, National Post (2014-06-25)]. Even more amazing is the fact that the previous clue actually dealt with Sooty's friend Sweep[7], a glove puppet dog.

Sooty[7] is a glove puppet bear, created by English puppeteer Harry Corbett (1918–1989) in 1948, that appears on British television. The children's television show that bears his name has continued in various forms since the 1950s and, according to Guinness World Records, is the longest-running children's programme in the UK.

2d   Unmentionable things // such as a zombie does apparently (6)

3d   Childish timepiece? Blow me! // It's somehow conned local kid (9,5)

I "bunged in" the solution without having the faintest idea why it was correct.

Scratching the Surface
Blow[5] is a British euphemism for damn ⇒ ‘Well, blow me’, he said, ‘I never knew that.’.

Dandelion clock[5] is a British term for the downy spherical seed head of a dandelion [from the child's game of blowing away the seeds to find out what time it is].

Delving Deeper
According to Wikipedia, the flower heads of the dandelion[7] mature into spherical seed heads called blowballs or clocks (in both British and American English)—neither of which terms I have ever encountered.

Not surprisingly, there is a considerable body of folklore relating to the dandelion. Among the many beliefs, legend has it that the number of breaths it takes to blow off all the seeds of a dandelion globe that has gone to seed is the hour number.

4d   Worker caught by lefty Miliband // in the act (3-6)

The wordplay is HAND (work) contained in (caught by) {RED (lefty) + ED (Miliband)}.

Ed Miliband[7] is a British Labour Party politician who—at the time this puzzle appeared in the UK—was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. He resigned as Labour Party leader in May of this year, following Labour's loss to the Conservative Party at the 2015 general election.

Scratching the Surface
The Labour Party[5] in Britain is a left-of-centre political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people that since the Second World War has been in power 1945–51, 1964–70, 1974-9, and 1997–2010. Arising from the trade union movement at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Liberals as the country’s second party after the First World War.

5d   Long for // bloke over time (5)

Bloke[5] is an informal British term for a man.

Cove[5] is a dated informal British term for a man he is a perfectly amiable cove.

7d   Cable to follow for // part of the country (8)

Vince Cable[7] is a British Liberal Democrat politician who—at the time this puzzle appeared in the UK—was the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government] and the Member of Parliament for Twickenham from 1997 until losing his seat in the 2015 election.

Northern Ireland[5] is a province of the United Kingdom occupying the northeast part of Ireland; population 1,775,000 (est. 2008); capital, Belfast.

Delving Deeper
According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, Northern Ireland[5] is the only major division of the United Kingdom to hold the status of province, with England[5] and Scotland[5] being considered countries, and Wales[5] a principality.

8d   Hazard to mountaineers /or/ cavers wandering over South-East (8)

9d   Hot bearded star performing // act on stage (5,3,6)

Tread the boards[5] (or walk the boards) is an informal expression meaning to appear on stage as an actor ⇒ the 1,500-seat theatre where generations of actors trod the boards.

15d   Exit scene unfortunately could put paid to it! (9)

The clue seems rather clumsy, but—in spite of that—I think the idea comes across fairly clearly.

Put paid to[3] is a chiefly British expression meaning to finish off or put to rest We've given up saying we only kill to eat; Kraft dinner and freeze-dried food have put paid to that one (Margaret Atwood). Oxford Dictionaries Online defines put paid to[5] as an informal term meaning to stop abruptly or destroy ⇒  Denmark’s victory put paid to our hopes of qualifying.

16d   Pawn and knight taken up in genuine // act of revenge (8)

"Pawn" = P (show explanation)

In chess, P[10] is the symbol for pawn.

hide explanation

Sir[5] is used as a title before the forename of a knight or baronet.

17d   Being full of oneself // like inhabitant of Middle East area (8)

An Omani[5] is an inhabitant of Oman[5], a country at the eastern corner of the Arabian peninsula; population 3,418,100 (est. 2009); official language, Arabic; capital, Muscat.

19d   Workforce on a // Hebridean island (6)

Staffa[5] is a small uninhabited [other than by seabirds] island of the Inner Hebrides, west of Mull. It is the site of Fingal’s Cave and is noted for its basalt columns.

20d   Quaker /offers/ resistance when beset by devil (6)

"resistance" = R (show explanation)

In physics, the symbol R[5] is used to represent electrical resistance.

hide explanation

A Quaker[5] (also known as a Friend[5]) is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian movement founded by George Fox circa 1650 and devoted to peaceful principles. Central to the Quakers’ belief is the doctrine of the ’Inner Light', or sense of Christ’s direct working in the soul. This has led them to reject both formal ministry and all set forms of worship.

22d   Neat // guide (5)

Neat[5] is an archaic term for a bovine animal or, as a mass noun, cattle.
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. Oik! Not a one-star for me either. Solving it in the garden, so no on-line help, and it took me a longish while, with my wife asking several times, "Are you still at it?" Umm, yes.

    Finally guessed at staffa, steer and snotty. Okay, one wrong.

    No sign of Brian. Maybe drove to Frinton and drowned himself.

    1. I think you were in good company. As I recall, crypticsue was in the minority in thinking it was a one-star.

      I knew Staffa as I have visited Iona and the ferries to Iona and Staffa share the same dock on Mull.

      The "neat" bovine appears quite frequently -- one would be wise to commit it to memory.

      I amazed myself by remembering the name of the glove puppet -- but only once all the checking letters were in place.