Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015 — DT 27684

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27684
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, December 29, 2014
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27684]
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 found this puzzle to be more challenging than any we have seen for some time. In the introduction to his review on Big Dave's site, Miffypops informs us that the puzzle "offered a steady slog with the top right corner just pushing it into three star difficulty". While I concur that the top right corner proved to be the most troublesome, I would say that the puzzle was closer to four star 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   Expect // I will go before head after some horseplay (10)

As Miffypops advises, "[d]o what the clue suggests" — not what he tells you to do — and place the charade "after some horseplay", not before it.

6a   Staunch // good man the writer turns over (4)

"the writer" = ME (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.

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10a   Plane crashes // somewhere in the Himalayas (5)

11a   In hospital, most would like to go like this // tradesman (9)

In the sense used here, tradesman[11] is a chiefly British term meaning a shopkeeper.

Outfitter is a dated British term for (1) a shop selling men’s clothing[5] or (2) someone who provides outfits, especially one who sells men's clothes[2]. Compare this to the North American meaning of outfitter[5] which is a shop selling equipment, typically for outdoor pursuits ⇒ a canoe outfitter.

12a   Practical /is/ 'in' -- be less fancy (8)

13a   It can be enthralling /for/ a while (5)

15a   Hit back with a note before ten? // It can be true (7)

17a   Long John Silver's line (3,4)

Thinking that the clue might be referring to the pirate's lineage or line of descent, I put in SEA FOLK — seafolk[10] being people who sail the sea. However, it turns out that what the setter had in mind was his line of work. Aside from the incorrect numeration, I thought my answer was a rather decent attempt. Moreover, you will see from Comment #12, Comment #28,  and Comment #33 on Big Dave's site that I was not the only one to sail that route.

Long John Silver[7] is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the novel Treasure Island (1883) by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894). Silver, a cunning and opportunistic pirate who was quartermaster under the notorious Captain Flint, is hired by Squire Trelawney as ship's cook for the voyage to find Captain Flint's treasure[7]. Part II of the novel is titled "The Sea Cook".

19a   Less than 50 per cent? // Certainly! (3,4)

Not half[5] is an informal British expression meaning to an extreme degree or very much so ⇒ she didn’t half flare up!

21a   Find fee out of order /for/ Turkish official (7)

I knew it was an anagram, I correctly determined what the indicator and fodder were, but I couldn't manage to assemble the parts in the right order.

In Turkey today, effendi[2] is the oral form of address equivalent to Mr. However, before 1934, it was a formal title for a civil official.

22a   Heavenly body, one seen in // flight (5)

The comma is essential to the clue. In fact, a semi-colon might serve even better.

24a   Common title for Satan? (8)

Nick[2] (also Old Nick) are names for the devil.

27a   Pension /for/ all directors? (4,5)

Pension[10] is another name for full board[10], the provision by a hotel of a bed and all meals.

28a   Fitting end for a piece of wood (5)

A tenon[5] is a projecting piece of wood made for insertion into a mortise in another piece ⇒ a mortise and tenon joint.

29a   Boat // to swing off course to port (4)

30a   They provide poor accommodation (10)

Stated a bit more verbosely, this says "They provide [the] poor [with] accommodation".

An almshouse[5] is a house founded by charity, offering accommodation for poor people.

It did not help my cause to have initially put in FLOPHOUSES. I was eventually to discover that flophouse[5] is the US name for dosshouse[5], an informal British term for a cheap lodging house for homeless people and tramps.


1d   Teenage trouble spots? (4)

2d   It's highly confidential (3,6)

3d   Shouts out // names (5)

4d   Weak case /made for/ charitable collection (4,3)

Contrary to what Miffypops shows in his review, the wordplay is clearly POOR (weak) + BOX (case) with the definition being "charitable collection".

5d   Ties // the rest in knots (7)

7d   Cut of the cloth? (5)

The cloth[5] is a term for the clergy or the clerical profession ⇒ has he given up all ideas of the cloth?

8d   Much improved, // that enjoys greater popularity (4,4,2)

9d   Official // bit of advice goes to teachers, say (8)

A tipstaff[3,4,11] is (1) a staff with a metal tip, carried as a sign of office or (2) an officer, such as a bailiff or constable, who carries a tipstaff.

14d   Europeans travel by air /to obtain/ a dubious aphrodisiac (7,3)

Its only been a couple of weeks since Rufus slipped a dash of saltpetre into a puzzle [DT 27673]. Today, he applies the antidote.

Spanish fly[5] is another name for a bright green European blister beetle (Lytta vesicatoria). It is also the name for a toxic preparation of the dried bodies of Spanish fly beetles, formerly used in medicine as a counterirritant and sometimes taken as an aphrodisiac. Also called cantharides.

16d   Dreadful family heard /in/ abusive outburst (8)

The solution sounds like (heard) {DIRE (dreadful) + TRIBE (family)}. If the solution doesn't sound like that to you, then you obviously do not speak like a Brit.

The phrase "dire tribe", when pronounced in a non-rhotic[5] (show explanation) British accent ("di'ah tribe"), sounds like "diatribe".

Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

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18d   Welcoming start of treatment, mentions new // remedies (9)

20d   Flier // in a flat spin (7)

A fantail[10] is any Old World flycatcher of the genus Rhipidura, of Australia, New Zealand, and southeastern Asia, having a broad fan-shaped tail.

21d   Creates a secret passage (7)

This is definitely not the sort of passage I was looking for.

23d   Silver down /but/ looking healthy (5)

Scratching the Surface
Might this not be another reference to the pirate in 17a?

25d   Two Poles about to set up job centre? // Untrue (3,2)

26d   Numbers // taken out of telephone service (4)
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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