Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015 — DT 27709

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27709
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27709]
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


After acing yesterday's "three-star" offering from Rufus, it was a bit disappointing to have to seek aid from my electronic helpers on today's "two-star" puzzle. However, I take solace in the fact that two of the clues for which I needed assistance concerned Welsh geography and Scottish dialect.

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   OAPs' club with finesse arranged // office? (5,2,8)

Scratching the Surface
OAP[5] is a British short form for old-age pensioner.

9a   Foreign car almost blocking road by a // Welsh valley (7)

I mentally ran through a list of foreign car makes but somehow managed to overlook the one that is needed. Of course, it did not help that I had never heard of the Welsh valley.

10a   Pliable // wine connoisseur initially following the Spanish (7)

Not only is Asti Italy's largest producing appellation, it is also surely the most oft served wine in Crosswordland. (show explanation )

Asti[7] (formerly known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine that is produced throughout southeastern Piedmont but is particularly focused around the towns of Asti and Alba. Since 1993 the wine has been classified as a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and as of 2004 was Italy's largest producing appellation.

hide explanation

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

11a   Radio problem? Three characters get ejected /as/ conclusion (9)

12a   Maid a hotel's retained // somewhere in the US (5)

13a   Work to tour old city facing mass // commotion (7)

The use of the word "tour" as an anagram indicator is predicated on it meaning 'to go around'.

"old city" = UR (show explanation )

Ur[5] is an ancient Sumerian city formerly on the Euphrates, in southern Iraq. It was one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, dating from the 4th millennium BC, and reached its zenith in the late 3rd millennium BC. Ur[7] is considered by many to be the city of Ur Kasdim mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the birthplace of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.

hide explanation

"mass" = M (show explanation )

In physics, the symbol m[5] is used to represent mass.

hide explanation

15a   Devious type /in/ school set back engineers (7)

"engineers" = REME (show explanation )

The engineers today are not the usual Corps of Royal Engineers (RE)[5] (the field engineering and construction corps of the British army) but the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers[7] (REME; pronounced phonetically as "Reemee"), a corps of the British Army that has responsibility for the maintenance, servicing and inspection of almost every electrical and mechanical piece of equipment within the British Army from battle tanks and helicopters to dental tools and cooking equipment/utensils. 

hide explanation

17a   Troublemaker in confines of game /gets/ to encroach (7)

19a   Good place to view area that is /for/ hunting attendant (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

In Scotland, a gillie[5] (also ghillie) is a man or boy who attends someone on a hunting or fishing expedition.

21a   'Psyche' lending will show // legendary Greek figure (5)

In Greek mythology, Helen[5] (popularly known as Helen of Troy) is the daughter of Zeus and Leda, born from an egg. In the Homeric poems she was the outstandingly beautiful wife of Menelaus, and her abduction by Paris (to whom she had been promised, as a bribe, by Aphrodite) led to the Trojan War.

Scratching the Surface
I must say that I find this clue less than compelling. I suppose the surface reading is meant to convey the idea that the act of lending a copy of Psyche will somehow reveal the legendary Greek figure.

The quotation marks suggest that Psyche refers to a work of art or literature of some sort. However, as I did not find any obvious candidate for the role, I suspect it may be more a convenient invention of the setter than a reference to any particular work.

Psyche[7] is the name of several works including musical compositions, a couple of operas, and even a fairy tale. Perhaps the most prominent work would be the 1671 play Psyché by French playwright Molière (1622–1673). Psyche[7] is also the title of an 1846 philosophical treatise about the unconscious by German physician Carl Gustav Carus (1789–1869).

In Greek mythology, Psyche[10] is a beautiful girl loved by Eros (Cupid), who became the personification of the soul.

23a   Malcontent/'s/ demand to dismiss comedienne? (9)

Jo Brand[7] is an English comedian, writer and actress. In 2003, she was listed by the British Sunday newspaper The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.

25a   Bird snipped fish? // It's found on tracks (7)

Well, my initial attempt of RACECAR failed to reach the finish line.

The rail[10] is any of various small wading birds of the genus Rallus and related genera having short wings, long legs, and dark plumage.

26a   City university getting road repaired /in/ SA country (7)

The City[5] [or here, simply City] is short for the City of London[5] (not to be confused with the city of London). (show explanation )

The City of London[7] is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

It is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

hide explanation

In the clue, the setter uses "City" as a surrogate for for the EC postcode which serves the City of London [postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code]. The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

27a   Authorities // could create best towpath here (3,6,4,2)


1d   Stick with // a brood including son (7)

2d   A dessert is served up // cold (5)

Fool[5] is a chiefly British name for a cold dessert made of pureed fruit mixed or served with cream or custard ⇒ raspberry fool with cream.

3d   Coverage required when crashing? (9)

BEDSPREAD proved to be another trip down the garden path.

Eiderdown[5] is a British term for a quilt filled with down (originally from the eider [a northern sea duck]) or some other soft material.

4d   Soft soap /or/ another bathroom item (7)

Soft soap[3,4,11] means flattering, persuasive, or cajoling talk.

Flannel[10] is an informal British term for (1) indirect or evasive talk or (2) deceiving flattery.

Flannel[10] is a British term for a face cloth, a small piece of cloth used to wash the face and hands (US and Canadian equivalent: washcloth [although I would certainly use the terms face cloth and washcloth interchangeably]).

5d   Poor // environmentalist's slogan? (7)

6d   Paramilitaries with leading question /for/ ME national (5)

The Irish Republican Army[10] (abbreviation IRA) is a militant organization of Irish nationalists founded with the aim of striving for a united independent Ireland by means of guerrilla warfare.

The "leading question" would be Q1, followed by Q2, Q3, etc.

7d   Restrain // men later agitated about Frenchman (9)

"Frenchman" = M (show explanation )

In French, monsieur[8] (abbreviation M[8]) means 'gentleman' or 'man'.

hide explanation

Entrammel[10] means to to hamper or obstruct by entangling.

8d   Soft touch we're told /providing/ help (7)

A rare homophone that works on both sides of the Atlantic.

14d   Rule VIPs broke getting drug /being/ loathsome (9)

"drug" = 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

16d   Means of keeping locks in order (9)

To add to the list of possibilities enumerated by Gazza, I first thought of BARRETTES. I later discovered that barrette[5] is the US [not to mention Canadian] term for what is known in the UK as a hairslide. In his list, Gazza also includes hairgrip[5], a British term for a small, thin, flexible piece of metal or plastic bent so that the ends are close together, used for fastening a person’s hair in place [which would seem to be what is known in North America, Australia and New Zealand as a bobby pin[5]].

17d   Succeed // in meeting that woman with sex appeal (7)

"sex appeal"= IT (show explanation )

"It"[7] is a term that has come to mean sex appeal - although, in its earliest manifestation, it seems that the term pertained more to personality than to glamorous looks. Although the term had been used as early as 1904 by Rudyard Kipling, it was popularized  in the 1927 film It starring Clara Bow (who became known as the It Girl).

hide explanation

As Gazza points out in his review, The Chambers Dictionary shows succeed[1] as meaning inherit (a sense which it characterizes as Shakespearean). Collins English Dictionary lists succeed[10] (usually followed by to) as meaning to come into possession (of property, etc); inherit.

18d   Impress // leaderless chaps supporting Anglicanism (7)

"Anglicanism" = CE (show explanation )

Anglicanism[10] is the doctrine and practice of the Church of England and other Anglican Churches.

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

hide explanation

The clue published by the National Post is the same as the version that appeared in the printed edition of The Daily Telegraph in the UK. However, it would seem that even the editors of The Daily Telegraph eventually came around to the view that "impress" does not mean 'enforce', as the clue was changed on The Telegraph website to read:
  • 18d   Leaderless chaps supporting Anglicanism // apply (7)
19d   Places with beds needing maintenance? (7)

20d   Tip, having massaged sore // back (7)

22d   Something consumed in Tijuana chow? (5)

I would think the hidden word indicator to be simply "in". However, Gazza has indicated in his review that he interprets it to be "consumed" (although presumably it would actually have to be "consumed in"):
  • 22d   Something consumed in Tijuana chow? (5)
In any event, this is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue in which a portion of the clue (shown by the dashed underline) serves as the wordplay.

24d   Check // car close to pavement (5)
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. Okay, who do I sound like?

    That was horrible! Clunky constructions (1d and 6d, for example) and weird British words and names. Too much time and googling required.

    1. For me, 1d was the last clue standing. The penny dropped after Mr. Google and company revealed the name of the Welsh valley which gave me the final checking letter for 1d.

      In 6d, I thought the use of "leading question" to clue QI was rather clever. It was a 'eureka' moment when I saw it. Well, almost a 'eureka' moment -- I must admit that I didn't run naked through the streets as Archimedes is reputed to have done!.