Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 — DT 27676

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27676
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27676]
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 I had the opportunity to spend time with an old acquaintance—one I first met last December. I must admit that it took a moment to recognize the puzzle as such.

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   Cry // during 'Billy Elliot' (4)

Scratching the Surface
Billy Elliot[7] is a 2000 British film set in north-eastern England during the 1984-85 coal miners' strike which tells the story of 11-year-old Billy, an aspiring dancer dealing with the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer. The story was later adapted for the stage as Billy Elliot the Musical.

3a   Retired performer /in/ demand (5)

An act[2] is (1) a short piece of entertainment, usually one of a series in a variety show or (2) the person or people performing this.

6a   Bishop takes port /and/ spirit (4)

"Bishop" = B (show explanation)

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

8a   Regular route undertaken /with/ a bad attitude (5-10)

9a   Picturesque // view, they say, adjacent to Manx prison? (6)

Nick[5] is an informal British name for a prison ⇒ he’ll end up in the nick for the rest of his life.

The Manx cat[10] is a short-haired tailless variety of cat, believed to originate on the Isle of Man[5], a British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea.

"Manx prison" is NIC[K] (prison) with its final letter removed (tailless, like a Manx cat).

10a   Boycott start of term -- that is // formal (5,3)

Black[5] is a dated British expression meaning to refuse to handle (goods), undertake (work), or have dealings with (a person or business) as a way of taking industrial action ⇒ the printers blacked firms trying to employ women.

11a   Cover up // offensive remark about a European (8)

13a   Develop extremely elegant // heavenly body (6)

15a   Hesitate with opening key change -- // the one or the other? (6)

17a   Angels // somehow spare that man (8)

A seraph[5] (plural seraphim or seraphs) is an angelic being, regarded in traditional Christian angelology as belonging to the highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardour, and purity.

19a   Ideal spot managed without parking /and it's/ remote (8)

21a   Needle /provoked by/ feisty lush to a great extent (6)

22a   Fruit avoided by vegetarians? (9,6)

23a   Pin-up // I would briefly look over (4)

"look" = LO (show explanation)

Lo[5] is an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them.

hide explanation

24a   Mothers keeping quiet -- // it's infectious (5)

"quiet" = 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

25a   Cutting edge // commercials on the radio (4)


1d   Where US-style greeting irks her badly? (9)

Almost anywhere in the UK could be a candidate for the solution to this clue if one were to judge by the outcry on Big Dave's blog whenever a US-style expression of any description makes its way into the puzzle.

I would say that the entire clue serves as the definition with the wordplay being the portion of the clue with the dashed underline—thereby making this a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue.

2d   Spoils // exotic allure by beginning to swear (7)

When this puzzle first appeared, I ventured the opinion that "it seems a mighty huge stretch to imagine that the solution is synonymous with the definition". However, several comments on Big Dave's site took issue with that point of view. For instance, Rabbit Dave in Comment #2 states "I think the definition for 2d is fine; “spoils” and the answer can both mean “prizes”".

3d   Simple furniture? (4,5)

4d   What are the odds of army over brave // unsophisticated beings? (7)

5d   Uncontrolled lust overcoming a // place in Oklahoma (5)

6d   Holiday's affected -- // pack tents up (5,4)

7d   It is about half of them on Ecstasy /making/ record (7)

"Ecstasy" = E (show explanation)

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

hide explanation

12d   Peacekeepers facilitate outbreak of flu -- /isn't that/ awkward? (9)

13d   Airborne troops circling location -- // they could be hanging on (9)

Para[4,11] (short for paratrooper) is a soldier in an airborne unit.

14d   Trombones will be played as Queen leaves after time /in/ memorial (9)

"Queen" = R (show explanation)

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

hide explanation

16d   As an alternative, // home brew's brought in shillings and pence (7)

In the British currency system used prior to the introduction of the current decimal currency system, a shilling[5] (abbreviation s[5]) was a coin and monetary unit equal to one twentieth of a pound and a penny[5] (abbreviation d[5] [for denarius]) was a coin or monetary unit equal to one twelfth of a shilling or 240th of a pound.

17d   Crook admires // weapon (7)

As an anagram indicator, crook[2] is almost certainly used in the sense of a verb meaning to bend or curve.

18d   Measure put in place under prince // that will raise the standard? (7)

Prince Hal[7] is the standard term used in literary criticism to refer to Shakespeare's portrayal of the young Henry V of England as a prince before his accession to the throne, taken from the diminutive form of his name used (almost exclusively) by Falstaff in the plays Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2.

Hal is portrayed as a wayward youth who enjoys the society of petty criminals and wastrels, a depiction which draws on exaggerations of the historical prince Henry's supposed youthful behaviour.

20d   Shot this man for overturning // symbol of respect (5)

"this man" = 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—or today, this man—to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation
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. Thanks for the amusing commentary -- both here and on BD's site. Especially liked the bit about Yorkshiremen frowning on non-standard English.

    And the chap who didn't know you can spell halyard with an a. Amazing! We learn something every day.

    1. Hi Richard,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, sometimes half the fun is reading through the chatter on Big Dave's site.