Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015 — DT 27690

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27690
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, January 5, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27690]
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 must be losing my edge. Miffypops rates this as a mere two star difficulty puzzle. In my case, if it was not into four star territory, it was certainly verging on four stars. My electronic assistants got their most vigorous workout in ages.

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   Paint or paper I ordered /is/ not suitable (13)

10a   Returning antelope occupied by kill /gets/ coup de grace (7)

The gnu[5] (also called wildebeest) is either of two species of large dark antelope with a long head, a beard and mane, and a sloping back.

11a   It's to do with examination // in theory (2,5)

Paper[5] is a British term meaning a set of examination questions to be answered at one session ⇒ we had to sit a three-hour paper.

12a   It detects by smell // and is aware by sound (4)

13a   Cried out /for/ a drink (5)

14a   Ring /for/ house work (4)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, Op.[5] (also op.) is an abbreviation meaning opus (work). It is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication.

hide explanation

17a   Is it to encourage laying /in/ a little money? (4,3)

Although the first definition is phrased in the form of a question, I presume we are to interpret it as though it were written "It is [used] to encourage laying".

A nest egg[5] is a real or artificial egg left in a nest to induce hens to lay eggs there.

18a   It normally lacks bark (7)

I knew we needed a dog with no bark and I knew that such a breed existed. I just did not know what it is called. Thank you Mr.Google for your assistance [endorsed by Miffypops].

A basenji[5] is a smallish hunting dog of a central African breed, which growls and yelps but does not bark.

19a   Sideways? (7)

A bypath[10] is a little-used path or track, especially in the country. In other words, not the main drag.

22a   Meaning to follow, /being/ sheepish (7)

Hangdog[5] is an adjective that denotes having a dejected or guilty appearance; in other words, shamefaced : the hangdog look of a condemned man.

The Chambers Dictionary provides the following definition:
hang n the action or mode of hanging; principal of connection, plan; knack of using; meaning; a declivity; a slackening of motion; a hanging mass; a euphemism for damn.
24a   Be inclined // to make a charge (4)

25a   Rest // that a billiards player wants as high as possible? (5)

In billiards, "break" has two meanings — apart from the action of a frustrated player demolishing his cue stick.

First, the verb break[5] can mean to make the first stroke at the beginning of a game with the noun break[5] meaning a player’s turn to make the opening shot of a game ⇒ whose break is it?.

Second, break[5] can mean a consecutive series of successful shots, scoring a specified number of points ⇒ a break of 83 put him in front for the first time.

I forgot about the second meaning and so was left trying to rationalize the wordplay based on the first meaning.

26a   First sign of true intelligence /in/ a fool (4)

I would guess from the dictionary entries that the word "twit" may have a slightly different connotation in the UK than it does in North America.

British dictionaries define twit as an informal term meaning variously (1) a fool or idiot[2]; (2) a foolish or stupid person, an idiot[10]; and (3) a silly or foolish person[5]. Both Oxford Dictionaries Online and Collins English Dictionary characterize the term as being chiefly British.

American dictionaries, on the other hand, define twit as an informal term for (1) a foolishly annoying person[3] or (2) an insignificant or bothersome person[11]. Thus the emphasis in North America seems to focus more on the fact that the person is a pest — as opposed to the intellectual capacity of the person.

29a   Support for a runner /in/ St Leger? (3-4)

In his review, Miffypops indicates that the anagram indicator is "a runner in". That is not the way I see it. I believe the definition to be "support for a runner" where runner means leg (something you run on). I believe that the anagram indicator is none other than the question mark!

Scratching the Surface
The St Leger[5] is an annual flat horse race at Doncaster [a town in South Yorkshire, northern England] for three-year-olds, held in September.

A runner[5] is a horse that runs in a particular race ⇒ there were only four runners.

30a   New opera in // natural setting (4,3)

31a   Not out of the running, after all (2,2,3,6)

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, the expression in at the finish (also in at the death or in at the kill) dates from the first half of the 1700s and denotes being involved in or present at the end, especially a disastrous end but sometimes merely the climax of an important event. For example, He had a hand in their breakup, but he didn't want to be in at the death, or They've done really well this year, and we want to be in at the kill. These expressions originally alluded to hunters and hounds being present at the death of a fox they had run to ground.

I interpreted the clue to be a reference to a runner — a marathoner, perhaps — who, despite struggling during the race, manages to finish.

On the other hand, Miffypops puts a cricket spin on the clue — although one that is perhaps a mite strained. In cricket, one side is "in" (i.e., batting) and the other side is "out" (i.e., fielding). The batting side is also running — whenever they manage to hit the ball. As long as a side is still batting, it is "in" and could be said to be "not out of the running". Thus the wordplay could be IN (not out of the running) + AT THE FINISH (after all).

The term "not out" also has another meaning in cricket. Batsmen must always bat in pairs. Thus when ten of the eleven players on a side have been dismissed (i.e., are "out"), the side itself is dismissed. The eleventh player, who was not personally dismissed, is said to be "not out" — although he must still assume a fielding position along with his teammates.


2d   They are not suited for camp life (7)

3d   Duet /involving/ piano melody (4)

"piano" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

4d   Tackle // some vote-manipulating (7)

5d   Adage // showing preference for a word of action (7)

6d   'Children causing trouble /are/ somewhat dim' -- psychologist (4)

7d   Conrad's whirlwind romance? (7)

Romance[5] is used in the sense of a work of fiction depicting a setting and events remote from everyday life, especially one of a kind popular in the 16th and 17th centuries ⇒ Elizabethan pastoral romances.

Typhoon[7] is a novel by the England-resident Polish writer Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) which was published in 1902. A classic sea yarn, possibly based upon Conrad's actual experience, the story describes how Captain MacWhirr sails the Siamese steamer Nan-Shan into a typhoon—a mature tropical cyclone of the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean.

8d   Marathon perhaps? (7,6)

A marathon[5] is a long-distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km). The name comes from Marathōn in Greece, the scene of a victory over the Persians in 490 BC; the modern race is based on the tradition that a messenger ran from Marathon to Athens (22 miles) with the news. The original account by Herodotus told of the messenger Pheidippides running 150 miles from Athens to Sparta before the battle, seeking help. [I bet runners are relieved that the latter distance was not chosen for the race.]

9d   Plot associated with vice? (8,5)

Vice[5] is the British spelling of the device that Americans (and most Canadians) would spell as vise.

15d   Reports come back up when such charges are dropped (5)

16d   Gun is dismantled /for/ practice (5)

20d   Old educational establishment to work with new // figure (7)

Poly[5] is a historical British term for a polytechnic[5], an institution of higher education offering courses at degree level or below, especially in vocational subjects.

In Britain the term polytechnic has largely dropped out of use. In 1989 British polytechnics gained autonomy from local education authorities and in 1992 were able to call themselves universities.

21d   Exercise // period in prison (7)

22d   Intercept // principal on holiday (4,3)

23d   They depend on cattle and some old folk (7)

Depend[5] is used in the archaic or literary sense of to hang down ⇒ his tongue depended from open jaws.

27d   Tendency /to be/ dishonest (4)

In Britain, the word bent[5] has the same connotation (dishonest or corrupt) as does the word crooked[5] in North America. [It would appear that the British use both bent and crooked in this sense].

28d   /Being/ near, // aim (4)

Near[5] is an archaic term denoting mean [stingy] or miserly.
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. A toughie rate a solid 4 - missed every non-check letter in 18a (eug) - banging in the answer. Got stumped in bottom right had corner - needed hints and helpers. Loved 25 across - took as double definition, as a perfect break leaves cue ball at top rail of table (forgot about the running score as a definition - duh), so a triple perhaps?

    1. Hi smaug,

      Welcome to the blog. Hope you'll visit again soon.

  2. Thnx Falcon - will drop in to discuss my daily nemesis. Note - having trouble joining site as I'm not a googler, but will persevere. Cheers!