Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 — DT 27681

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27681
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27681]
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


Merry Christmas. Today's puzzle was published in The Daily Telegraph on Christmas Eve 2014.

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   Party game in which others may leave you standing (7,6)

10a   We yearn for change /in/ 2015 (3,4)

Remember when this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph.

11a   Fight and squabble /to get/ the bird (7)

12a   Within easy reach, // like Scrooge was at first (4)

A Christmas Carol[7] is a novella by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870), first published in 1843. The novella tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Near[5] is an archaic term denoting mean [stingy] or miserly.

13a   An intriguing little party, // part of YMCA ball (5)

14a   How not to get things done, // acting like Jack in pantomime? (4)

A pantomime[5] is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

Idle Jack (sometimes called Jack Idle or Jack the idle apprentice) is a character from the pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat[7].

17a   Covers broadcast // entertainment, often including pantomime (7)

A masque[10] is a dramatic entertainment of the 16th to 17th centuries in England, consisting of pantomime, dancing, dialogue, and song, often performed at court.

18a   Calls // to make appeal to evil-doer? (5,2)

19a   Joining // one, perhaps, with gin cocktail (7)

22a   Some saying // mince pie, one can add a little weight (7)

24a   What people sing /for/ joy (4)

A glee[5] is a song for men’s voices in three or more parts, usually unaccompanied, of a type popular especially circa 1750–1830. This sense of the word gives rise to the term glee club[5].

25a   Jam /in/ a slice of Christmas cake? (5)

26a   Article concerning // author of words for 9 Down? (4)

"9 Down" is a cross reference — one that is far more explicit than we usually encounter.

It would appear that the composer of the hymn "Away in a Manger"[7] is unknown. The earliest known publication, in 1884, ascribed the lyrics to German Protestant reformer Martin Luther, explicitly referencing his 400th birthday (which was in 1883). However, this attribution appears to be false: the hymn is found nowhere among Luther's works. It has been suggested that the words were written specifically for Luther's 400th anniversary and then credited to the reformer as a marketing gimmick.

29a   Gets the game started (7)

What did they say?
In their review, the 2Kiwis tell us that the solution is "what the beater is expected to do at a shoot".
A beater[5] is a person employed to raise game birds for shooting by striking at the ground cover.

30a   A big hit, verse in card /that's/ popular (1,2,4)

It would appear that the the setter has clued ODE by the phrase "verse in card".

The phrase à la mode[5] means in fashion or up to date ⇒ corduroy is extremely à la mode this season. The alternative sense of à la mode[5] meaning served with ice cream is a North American usage.

31a   One may have this at Christmas dinner -- // a boxer usually has one (6,7)


2d   Discloses what's present? (7)

3d   Cross priest put up // holly (4)

In the Bible, Eli[5] is a priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 1-3).

Ilex[5] is a tree or shrub of a genus that includes holly and its relatives.

4d   Publicise routes // which are used by Santa? (7)

5d   Some may get upset over trifles at parties (7)

Trifle[5] is a British term for a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream.

6d   Just open /for/ a drink (4)

Jar[5] is an informal British term for a glass of beer ⇒ let’s have a jar.

7d   Red rose embroidered /for/ church screen (7)

In the Christian Church, a reredos[5] is an ornamental screen covering the wall at the back of an altar.

8d   For the present it shall be nameless (9,4)

9d   Carol // a Wagnerian may want to change (4,2,1,6)

Scratching the Surface
Richard Wagner[5] (1813–1883) was a German composer who developed an operatic genre which he called music drama, synthesizing music, drama, verse, legend, and spectacle. Notable works: The Flying Dutchman (opera, 1841), Der Ring des Nibelungen (a cycle of four operas, 1847–74), Tristan and Isolde (music drama, 1859), and the Siegfried Idyll (1870).

15d   Port // one gets in casks (5)

Tunis[5] is the capital of Tunisia, a port on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa; population 745,000 (est. 2007).

16d   Dressin' // the Christmas bird? (5)

I did manage to discover an association between the robin and Christmas.

The European robin[7] (Erithacus rubecula), most commonly known in Anglophone Europe simply as the robin, is a small insectivorous passerine bird, specifically a chat, that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family (Turdidae), but is now considered to be an Old World flycatcher. Around 12.5–14.0 cm (5.0–5.5 in) in length, the male and female are similar in colouration, with an orange breast and face lined with grey, brown upperparts and a whitish belly. It is found across Europe, east to Western Siberia and south to North Africa.

The term robin is also applied to some birds in other families with red or orange breasts. These include the American robin (Turdus migratorius), which is a thrush, and the Australian red robins of the genus Petroica.

More recently, the robin has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many Christmas cards since the mid 19th century. The robin has appeared on many Christmas postage stamps.

An old British folk tale seeks to explain the robin's distinctive breast. Legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the robin, then simply brown in colour, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain. The blood from his wounds stained the robin's breast, and thereafter all robins got the mark of Christ's blood upon them. An alternative legend has it that its breast was scorched fetching water for souls in Purgatory.

The association with Christmas, however, more probably arises from the fact that postmen in Victorian Britain wore red jackets and were nicknamed "Robins"; the robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card.

20d   Die of cold (3,4)

21d   Fancied // one invited to the party, we hear (7)

Fancy[3] and guess[3] are used in the sense of imagine, suppose or think.

22d   Cut in, /using/ short language over noisy party (7)

23d   Shabby // ski slope? (3-4)

I don't think this is a double definition as the numeration needed for the latter part does not match that given in the clue. Therefore, I would consider the latter part to be wordplay. If the solution were enumerated (3,4), it would describe a ski slope.

27d   Loves receiving a greeting from somewhere in the US (4)

"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

28d   The bearer of pantomime spirit? (4)

The Middle Eastern folk tale Aladdin[7] is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights ("The Arabian Nights").

The story of Aladdin[7] and his wonderful magic lamp has been a popular subject for pantomime for over 200 years, having been dramatised as early as 1788 by John O'Keefe for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
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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