Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015 — DT 27698

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27698
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27698]
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


Today's puzzle from Jay is a more gentle workout than some of those we have been given recently. Nevertheless, I needed help from my electronic assistants to identify a couple of British expressions, one that was entirely new to me and one that (although I had encountered it before) did not come to mind immediately — or even after a lengthy period of reflection.

For the benefit of readers who may be new to the blog, I would like to offer a couple of notes of explanation. Boxes, such as those titled "Scratching the Surface" in today's post, provide information that is not directly relevant to the solving of the puzzle. For instance, "Scratching the Surface" boxes explain the surface reading of clues. Other boxes that you will often see here, such as "What did he say?" or "Behind the Picture", explain items found in the review and comments at Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

What did he say?
In Comment #3 at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Rabbit Dave says I expect if Roy Hodgson does crosswords he would have picked something else [as his favourite clue].
Roy Hodgson[7] is an English former footballer [soccer player] who is the manager of the England national football team. What he would have picked — and why he would have picked it — remain a complete mystery to me. Obviously, the humour in the remark must have been clear to a British readership.

Secondly, information dealing with frequently used abbreviations, terms and cryptic crossword conventions is hidden. You can reveal this information by clicking on (show explanation ).

That's right! You've got it!

hide explanation

As a final note, you may be interested in crypticsue's suggestion at Comment #41 on Big Dave's site to check out a (15 minute-long) BBC Radio 4 programme where host David Baddiel Tries to Understand Cryptic Crosswords. There’s also a crossword by Arachne (pseudonym of British crossword setter Sarah Hayes) to download from the site and a whole lot of useful hints and tips she provides too.

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.


8a   Fail to stress // carpet fitter's requirement, incorporating small change (9)

"small change" = P (show explanation )

In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny[5] (plural pennies [for separate coins] or pence [for a sum of money]) is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound. The abbreviation for penny or pence is p[5].

hide explanation

10a   Alert /for/ what a ship may leave behind (5)

This is not considered to be a double definition as the numeration for the wordplay (1,4) does not match that given in the clue.

11a   Current bar // that might stop delivery of beer? (7,8)

Draught is the proper British spelling of what too often appears as the American draft in Canada.

Draught excluder[10] is a British term for a device (such as a strip of wood, or a long cylindrical cushion) placed at the bottom of a door to keep out draughts — as illustrated by the 2Kiwis in their review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

The definition for draught excluder[5] found at Oxford Dictionaries Online is a strip of foam rubber, metal, or other material inserted in a door or window frame to keep out draughts. This sounds suspiciously like weatherstrip[5] (or weather strip or weatherstripping[2,10]) — a term that Oxford Dictionaries Online characterizes as North American (although the other British dictionaries do not[2,10]).

12a   Fruit /with/ sharp taste the Spanish love (7)

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

hide explanation

The tangelo[5] is a hybrid of the tangerine and grapefruit.

13a   Bits /of/ organ loaded on board (7)

"on board" = SS (show explanation )

In Crosswordland, a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[10]. Thus "on board [a ship]" is code for 'contained in SS'.

hide explanation

15a   Reckless progress, // apparently mirage? (8,7)

My electronic assistants helped me find the the correct solution but they did not explain the wordplay to me. That latter task fell to the 2Kiwis.

Motorway[2] is a British, Australian, and New Zealand term for a major road for fast-moving traffic, especially one with three lanes per carriageway [direction of travel] and limited access and exit points.

Carriageway[2,5] is a British term for the part of a road used by vehicles, or a part used by vehicles travelling in one particular direction.

Motorway madness[1] is an informal term for reckless driving in bad conditions on motorways, especially in fog.

Despite mistakenly thinking the solution might be a British term for road rage (a term that appears to be in use on both sides of the Atlantic), I failed to decipher the wordplay.

If one splits "mirage" as (2,4), the result is M1 rage — the M1[7] being a north–south motorway in England connecting London to Leeds.

The use of the word "rage" in the clue almost certainly has nothing to do with "road rage" and is merely based on "rage" being a synonym for "madness".

19a   Scheduled exam // in theory (2,5)

Paper[5], is a British term for (1) a set of examination questions to be answered at one session ⇒ we had to sit a three-hour paper or (2) the written answers to examination questions ⇒ you need to test your students, mark their papers, and place them in the right class.

22a   It's over for European in turnaround of Iberian // capital (7)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Iberian[5] is an adjective that means relating to or denoting Iberia, or the countries of Spain and Portugal.

24a   Freudian technique /offered by/ Liberal club (4,11)

In psychology, free association[5] is the mental process by which one word or image may spontaneously suggest another without any necessary logical connection. It is also the name given to a psychoanalytic technique — devised by Sigmund Freud[7] — for investigation of the unconscious mind, in which a relaxed subject reports all passing thoughts without reservation.

Scratching the Surface
The word "Liberal" is deceptively capitalized to suggest that is is referring to a political party. (show explanation )

The Liberal Party[5] in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists.

hide explanation

26a   Article includes it /showing/ 10 per cent levy (5)

27a   To what point /is/ a man used for renovation on area? (2,7)

Like the 2Kiwis, I too have misgivings about the underlining in this clue. However, just as "democ­racy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those other forms that have been tried", the underlining that the 2Kiwis have chosen to use seems to be the worst choice except for all the others that I tried.

I suspect that this may have been intended to be a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue with the latter part of the clue — in addition to serving as the wordplay — also providing some cryptic elaboration to refine the definition. However, I fail to see that it manages to do so.


1d   Supply cash /for/ entertainment on date (4)

2d   Oxford // accent? (6)

3d   Large number /must find/ half of pleasure embracing god (8)

In Scandinavian mythology, Thor[5] is the god of thunder, the weather, agriculture, and the home, the son of Odin and Freya (Frigga). Thursday is named after him.

4d   Animals // only confused, missing love and reversing gender (6)

Several animals — including HYENAS and NYALAS — auditioned for the role, but the correct one only came forward once I had identified — with a little help from my [electronic] friends — all the checking letters. Furthermore, my efforts were not facilitated by mistakenly assuming that "reversing gender" meant substituting M for F (or vice versa).

If you are missing love, it can be found at 12a.

5d   Twist added to story on the radio /is/ a help to pilot (4,4)

To be precise, both parts of the wordplay are homophones since WIND is pronounced differently when it means the movement of air than when it denotes twist.

6d   Led off bearing unhappy // burden (6)

7d   Perhaps fallow // type of grass on the rise (4)

The fallow deer[5] is a Eurasian deer (Cervus dama) with branched palmate antlers, typically having a white-spotted reddish-brown coat in summer.

9d   Fisherman might have one // freely granted (7)

12d   Beat // up in barbershop, metaphorically (5)

14d   Dish /needing/ quiet in most of clubs, for example (5)

16d   Continual // red tape involved protecting Spain (8)

"Spain" = E (show explanation )

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E[5] [from Spanish España]. 

hide explanation

17d   Blokes getting a hole in one /must be/ threatening (8)

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

18d   Highly-charged // rationale to support source of energy (7)

20d   Fairly // small-minded? About right (6)

21d   Naughty boy, // a learner after crashing cars (6)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

23d   Routinely stuck // at home with car out, lacking company (2,1,3)

Here "routinely stuck" is to be interpreted as stuck in a routine.

24d   Able seaman's beginning // attacks (4)

Scratching the Surface
In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman.

On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills. 

Given the context of the clue, the former may be the more appropriate meaning.

25d   Married in centre, // feeling nothing (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


  1. Serious fun today - 15a I have seen before (mirage) in a cryptic, so tiptoed through that. Was stumped on 11A as to meaning, until I saw the 2K's picture - we used stuffed penguins on a back door when a child (the pic is lambs). Favoured 17D - still searching for my first (golfwise) - been close but no joy yet. 3/4 for a rating, a good start for the week.

  2. Completed, with a bit of on-line help, filling in 11a and 15a from the crossing letters, but had no idea what the answers meant. Bloody pommies!

    Loved 17d and plan to try it on my golf buddies this weekend.

    1. Looks like it will not be difficult to form a consensus today.