Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015 — DT 27724

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27724
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, February 13, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27724]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


If I were rating this puzzle, I would add another star for difficulty to the two that Deep Threat has awarded it. I found it quite challenging even

I have had previous encounters with both the British cartoonist and the archaic adverb at 17d and — after a lot of intensive thought (and help from the checking letters) — managed to dredge them from the deep recesses of my mind. I correctly divined the significance of the date in 20a. The British card game was also new to me but I correctly guessed its existence as it was needed to complete the explanation of the clue. This process would seem to be akin to a physicist postulating the existence of some exotic hitherto undiscovered sub-atomic particle on the basis that it is needed to explain some observed phenomenon.

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.


5a   Element /of/ bitterness leading to one having hesitation (7)

Gallium[5] (symbol Ga) is the chemical element of atomic number 31, a soft silvery-white metal which melts at about 30°C, just above room temperature.

7a   Bar /with/ some judges toping (5)

In law, estop[10] means to preclude by estoppel[10], a rule of evidence whereby a person is precluded from denying the truth of a statement of facts he has previously asserted. This seemingly overrides the conflicting principle that it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

9a   Stop crossing river // line (6)

In cricket, a crease is a line — not an area as it is in hockey and lacrosse. In cricket, a crease[10] is any of three lines (bowling crease, popping crease, or return crease) near each wicket marking positions for the bowler or batsman.

Dimensions of a cricket pitch and creases (click to enlarge)

10a   Gear isn't wobbly /in/ engineered frameworks (8)

11a   Be fine splashing about a bit of money -- i.e. this? (10)

To be precise, this is a semi-all-in-one clue. The entire clue provides the definition while the portion with the dashed underline serves as the wordplay.

13a   Salvation Army would have this instrument for greeting (4)

The rather unusual construction of this clue places the definition in the middle. I have no idea what such a clue might be called. If I were obliged to describe it, I might say that it is an implied deletion. A more common clue structure might run along the lines:
  • Salvation Army absent from greeting /for/ this instrument (4)
The Salvation Army[5] (abbreviation SA) is a worldwide Christian evangelical organization on quasi-military lines. Established in 1865 by William Booth, an English Methodist revivalist preacher, it is noted for its work with the poor and for its brass bands.

14a   Wild terrain bird occupies /shown by/ quirky illustrator (5,8)

The wordplay parses as HEATH (wild terrain) + ROBIN'S ON (bird occupies).

Heath[5] is a chiefly British term for an area of open uncultivated land, typically on acid sandy soil, with characteristic vegetation of heather, gorse, and coarse grasses.

William Heath Robinson[7] (signed as W. Heath Robinson, 1872–1944) was an English cartoonist and illustrator, best known for drawings of eccentric machines. In the UK, the term "Heath Robinson" has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption, similar to "Rube Goldberg" in the U.S. It is perhaps more often used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations. Its popularity is undoubtedly linked to Second World War Britain's shortages and the need to "make do and mend".

16a   Support good // game, /making/ boast (4)

It's BOGO time! Buy one definition and get a second for free. Not only does this clue have two definitions, it also features a bit of wordplay in the form of a charade.

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Brag[11] is an old English card game similar to poker.

17a   Documentation /makes/ office assistant get saucy and protest (5,5)

19a   Mistake by army officer /brings/ ruin (8)

20a   No shooting it before 12 August? // Grumble (6)

Driven grouse shooting[7] is a field sport of the United Kingdom. It is popular because it provides a challenge due to the rapid flight of the grouse. The grouse shooting season extends from 12 August, often called the "Glorious Twelfth", to 10 December each year. Shooting takes place on grouse moors (show explanation ), areas of moorland in northern England and Scotland.

A grouse moor[5] is an area of managed moorland for the shooting of red grouse.

Moorland[5] is a chiefly British term for an extensive area of moor[5], a tract of open uncultivated upland, typically covered with heather.

hide explanation

The name 'driven grouse shooting' refers to the way in which the grouse are driven towards the hunters (termed 'guns') by beaters. A shooting party usually includes 8–10 guns who stand in a line in the butts—hides for shooting spaced some 20–30 m apart, screened by a turf or stone wall and usually sunken into the ground to minimise their profile—to shoot the grouse in flight. There is a strict code of conduct governing behaviour on the grouse moor for both safety and etiquette. Grouse shooting can also be undertaken by 'walking up' grouse over pointers, or by flushing the birds with other dogs.

22a   Composition /in/ middle of test, for example (5)

23a   Remove // additional cuts, giving us a let-off (7)

Let-off[5] is a [seemingly British] term denoting a chance to escape or avoid something, especially defeat ⇒ the team had two let-offs as shots rebounded to strike the defenders' legs.


1d   Insect // to escape by the sound of it (4)

2d   Gentleman, wicked, upset hospital, /being/ only slightly ill (8)

Among other things, liverish[5] can mean slightly ill, as though having a disordered liver.

3d   A foreign character tucked into what could be dog // food (6)

Nu[5] is the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ν, ν).

4d   Rile sister being naughty -- // one should keep things clean (10)

5d   Greedily eat // egg or bananas (5)

6d   Region of the planet that has its attractions (13)

The magnetosphere[5] is the region surrounding the earth or another astronomical body in which its magnetic field is the predominant effective magnetic field.

8d   English city // quietly getting on after break (7)

"quietly" = 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

Preston[5] is a city in northwestern England, the administrative centre of Lancashire, on the River Ribble; population 165,600 (est. 2009). It was the site in the 18th century of the first English cotton mills.

12d   A live gent's becoming excited /as/ a preacher (10)

14d   Possibly a growing factor // helping to make author money (7)

15d   Water /from/ clouds beginning to fall on wicket maybe (8)

This clue has nothing to do with cricket — aside from the surface reading perhaps.

A wicket[5] (also wicket door or wicket gate) is a small door or gate, especially one beside or in a larger one.

In my research, I discovered that it is a North Americanism to use wicket[5] in the sense of an opening in a door or wall, often fitted with glass or a grille and used for selling tickets or a similar purpose.

17d   Fruit /brought by/ daddy always getting eaten (6)

Ay[10] is an archaic or poetic term meaning ever or always.

One must insert a pause in the wordplay, making it read "daddy; always getting eaten" which parses as AY (always) contained in (getting eaten [by]) PAPA (daddy).

18d   Home group /featured in/ small picture (5)

21d   Test // for local dignitary when May has passed (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 comment:

  1. I agree -- enough tricky clues and obscure answers to merit three stars.