Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015 — DT 27701

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27701
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27701 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27701 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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
The National Post has skipped DT 27700 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, January 16, 2015 and which appeared on this blog yesterday as a Bonus Puzzle.
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


The National Post has skipped the puzzle that would have appeared yesterday had an edition of the paper been published. However, those who visited the blog yesterday were able to enjoy the puzzle just the same.

There are a fair number of British references in this puzzle that are new to me. Fortunately, I was able to decipher most of the them from the wordplay and checking letters without necessarily knowing to what they referred. Only the seafood carried by rail and bus passengers eluded me. However, a London commuter (should he or she be working a Saturday shift) would have little excuse for failing to solve several of the clues.

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   How chess is played // in general (6,3,5)

10a   Nasa's speciality // quickly harbours love (9)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration[7] (NASA) is the United States government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite [the Roman equivalent being Cupid]. Since the days of the ancient Greeks, the word has been synonymous with sexual love or desire Eros drives us to transcend ourselves through desire.

11a   Arab /having/ second German car (5)

Audi AG[7] is a German automobile manufacturer that has been a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group since 1966.

Delving Deeper
The company name, Audi, is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. "Horch", meaning "listen" in German, becomes "audi" in Latin.

The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi's predecessor company, Auto Union.

A Saudi[5] is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, or a member of its ruling dynasty.

12a   Central European // archdeacon tucking into black berry (7)

In the Church of England, an archdeacon[2] is a member of the clergy who ranks just below a bishop.

Ven.[5] is the abbreviation for Venerable (as the title of an archdeacon) ⇒ the Ven. William Davies.

Sloe[5] is (1) another name for the blackthorn[5], a thorny Eurasian shrub (Prunus spinosa) which bears white flowers before the leaves appear, as well as (2) the name of the small bluish-black fruit of this plant, with a sharp sour taste. 

A Slovene[5] is a native or inhabitant of Slovenia, or a person of Slovene descent. Slovenia[5] is a country in southeastern Europe, formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia; population 2,005,700 (est. 2009); official language, Slovene; capital, Ljubljana.

13a   Some leave // when one's not at one's best? (3-3)

15a   Sports administrators note // celebrity (4)

The Football Association[7], also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football [soccer] in England. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.

In music, me[5] (also mi) is the third note of a major scale in tonic sol-fa. It would seem that, in the US, the name of the note is spelled mi[3,11] while, in the UK, both spellings are in use. Two out of three British dictionaries list me[2,5] as the principal spelling while the third shows mi[10] as being the primary spelling.

17a   Dropping off // lemon scone that's cooked (10)

18a   Carefully selected // husband together with old Scotsman being mentioned (4-6)

A Pict[5] is a member of an ancient people inhabiting northern Scotland in Roman times.

20a   Nothing /but/ a lake (4)

Mere[5] is a chiefly literary British term for a lake or pond ⇒ the stream widens into a mere where hundreds of geese gather. Those of you living in Ottawa may well be familiar with the term from Kingsmere[7], the home of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

22a   Eminence following leader of Eucharist taken by Catholic // priest (6)

Eminence[5] is a formal or literary term for a piece of rising ground ⇒ an eminence commanding the River Emme.

A tor[5] is a hill or rocky peak.

RC[5] is the abbreviation for Roman Catholic.

A rector[3,4,11] is a member of the clergy in the Roman Catholic, Anglican or Protestant Episcopal churches.

Scratching the Surface
In the Roman Catholic Church, Eminence[3] (used with Your or His [but never Her]) is a title and form of address for a cardinal.

The Eucharist[5] is the Christian service, ceremony, or sacrament commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.

23a   Light meal taken by singer-actress. // Chips, perhaps? (7)

Tea[5] is a chiefly British term for a light afternoon meal consisting typically of tea to drink, sandwiches, and cakes ⇒ they were about to take afternoon tea.

Cher[7] (born Cherilyn Sarkisian) is an American singer, actress, and television host. Known for her distinctive contralto singing voice, she has been nicknamed the Goddess of Pop.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips[7] (originally, Good-bye, Mr. Chips) is a novella about the life of a schoolteacher, Mr. Chipping, written by the English writer James Hilton (1900–1954), first published in 1934. The novel has served as the basis of several film, radio, television, and stage adaptations.

26a   Terrible lapse -- // a bit of a bloomer (5)

Scratching the Surface
Bloomer[5] is a dated informal British term for a serious or stupid mistake ⇒ he never committed a bloomer.

27a   Excel at trick // showing some beef (9)

Overtrump[5] is another term for overruff[5], which (in bridge, whist, and similar card games) means to play a trump that is higher than one already played in the same trick ⇒ there was a danger that West would be able to overruff.

28a   Performing alone, Simon somehow obtains // part in South Pacific (7,7)

I believe the the word "part" is part of the definition — not part of the wordplay.

Part[10] (often plural) means a region or area ⇒ you're well known in these parts.

The Solomon Islands[5] (also the Solomons) is a country consisting of a group of islands in the southwestern Pacific, to the east of New Guinea; population 595,600 (est. 2009); languages, English (official), Pidgin, local Austronesian and Papuan languages; capital, Honiara. With the exception of the northern part of the chain (now part of Papua New Guinea), the Solomons became self-governing in 1976 and fully independent within the Commonwealth two years later.

Scratching the Surface
South Pacific[7] is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The story is based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific.


2d   Load // caught being put on legendary ship (5)

"caught" = C (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught or caught by.

hide explanation

In Greek mythology, the Argo[10] was the ship in which Jason sailed in search of the Golden Fleece.

3d   Means to cross London // that destroys terraced houses (6)

The Oyster card[7], a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contactless smartcard, is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport in Greater London in the United Kingdom. It is valid on travel modes across London including London Underground, London Buses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, trams, some river boat services, and most National Rail services within the London fare zones.

Scratching the Surface
Terraced house[10] is a British term for a house that is part of a row of houses, usually identical and having common dividing walls [US and Canadian names: row house, town house].

4d   Great Western // Railway company (10)

Stagecoach[7] is a 1939 American Western film directed by John Ford, starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne in his breakthrough role. The film follows a group of strangers riding on a stagecoach through dangerous Apache territory.

Stagecoach Group plc[7] is an international transport group operating buses, trains, trams, express coaches and ferries. The group, founded in 1980, is based in Perth, Scotland, and has operations in the United Kingdom and North America.

With 16% of the bus market and 25% of the rail market, the company is the second largest transport group in the United Kingdom, close behind FirstGroup.

In North America, Stagecoach owns the Coach USA and Coach Canada brands.

Scratching the Surface
The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company that linked London with the midlands, the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833 and ran its first trains in 1838. The GWR was the only company to keep its identity through the Railways Act 1921, which amalgamated it with the remaining independent railways within its territory, and it was finally merged at the end of 1947 when it was nationalised and became the Western Region of British Railways.

5d   Unpleasant type/'s/ order to dog (4)

6d   Shovel and pick worker/'s/ reserved (7)

Bashful is one of the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney's 1937 animated musical fantasy film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[7] based on a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The story had earlier been made into a Broadway play that debuted in 1912. The dwarfs are not given names in the fairy tale. In the 1912 production, they were named Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee. Disney renamed them Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

7d   Roll ball succeeding a // great deal (9)

8d   Delight a player that's puzzling? // Most solvers have it! (5,9)

Most solvers back in January might have had it — but that would be far from the case today!

The Daily Telegraph[7] is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper, founded in 1855 as The Daily Telegraph and Courier, which is published in London and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally [... and the newspaper in which this puzzle initially appeared].

9d   How fortresses tumbled around a // series of battles (4,2,3,5)

In her review on Big Dave's blog, crypticsue employs underlining which mistakenly shows the A as being part of the definition when it is, in fact, part of the wordplay. However, she does indicate in her explanation that the A is part of the wordplay.

The wordplay parses as an anagram (tumbled) of HOW FORTRESSES containing (around) A (from the clue).

One might also consider the phrase "tumbled around" to be a combination indicator that combines the anagram and containment operations in a single step. That is, the letters forming HOW FORTRESSES don't merely collapse, they collapse around the letter A. This parsing would be described as an anagram (tumbled around) of (HOW FORTRESSES + A).

I believe this latter parsing is what crypticsue intended to convey in her review. However, the omission of a crucial set of parentheses makes her explanation ambiguous — if not inaccurate.

14d   Topless dance to cause anxiety /to/ old female relative (10)

16d   Run by city, // German one mostly, with one friend (9)

Munich[5] is a city in southeastern Germany, capital of Bavaria; population 1,294,600 (est. 2006).

19d   Hitch /as/ concert featuring Elbow more than half over (7)

Promenade concert[5] (prom[5] or Prom for short) is a British term for a concert of classical music at which a part of the audience stands in an area without seating, for which tickets are sold at a reduced price. The most famous series of such concerts is the annual BBC Promenade Concerts (known as the Proms), instituted by Sir Henry Wood in 1895.

Elbow[7] are an English alternative rock band that has played together since 1990, adopting the Elbow band name in 1997. They have had seven albums reach  the top 15 of the British album chart and seven singles place in the top 40 of the British singles chart. Their most recent album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, reached number one on the British charts, making it their first album to top the charts. In 2008 Elbow won the Mercury Music Prize as best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland for their album The Seldom Seen Kid, and in 2009 they won the Brit Award for Best British Group. In 2012 they released "First Steps", the BBC theme for the 2012 London Olympics.

21d   Incantation // alluring woman endlessly delivered (6)

A mantrap[1] is (1) a trap for catching trespassers; (2) (figuratively) any source of potential danger; or (3) (informally) a woman who takes a mischievous pleasure in attracting and acquiring men.

24d   Harass // peacekeepers boarding carrier (5)

"peacekeepers" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations (UN), after approval by the Security Council, sends peacekeepers to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the UN does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states.[7]

hide explanation

25d   Blue // feathers (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. Some clever homophones and ugly constructions. 15a and 22a, being examples of the latter. As for 28a, a combination of clever and clunky. You're incorrect about "part" being part of the definition. Obtains part = lands solo.

    1. Richard,
      I beg to disagree about the role of the word "part".

      Your example, "obtains part", could be analyzed as LANDS (obtains) + SOLO (part). "Lands" just means "obtains". You can land a role, land a job, land a promotion, etc.

      If the word "part" is not included in the definition, then the definition is merely "in South Pacific" (an adjectival phrase) which would signify that the solution is an adjective, rather than the noun which is required.

      The word "part" when used in this sense generally appears in the plural but apparently can be used in the singular (as evidenced by the dictionary entry that I cited -- and which I searched long and hard for).