Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 — DT 27700 (Bonus Puzzle)

Happy Canada Day


It being Canada Day, the National Post has not published an edition today. For those who cannot survive without their daily dose of brain exercise, here is the puzzle that would normally have appeared had there been a paper today.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27700
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, January 16, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27700]
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


Today we get Giovanni in a rather benign and playful — witness 22d — mood.

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.


7a   Big road's number by French sea -- // the label's wrong (8)

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

 Mer[8] is a French word meaning sea.

9a   Awkward? /That's/ not right for Parisian (6)

Gauche[8] is a a French word meaning left.

10a   Explosive by side of house /for/ process to remove trees? (6)

"explosive" = HE (show explanation )

HE[5] is the abbreviation for high explosive.

hide explanation

11a   Reduction of speed in big town /is seen as/ a virtue (8)

12a   Room for doubt (11,3)

15a   Smear // with colour, not quite right (4)

17a   Tiny lad with idea not half // afraid to speak out? (5)

Timothy Cratchit, called "Tiny Tim"[7], is a fictional character from the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870). He is a minor character, the young son of Bob Cratchit, and is seen only briefly, but serves as an important symbol of the consequences of the protagonist's choices.

19a   Record // binder (4)

20a   Guess // this could suggest a midnight murder (1,4,2,3,4)

My initial attempt was A STAB IN THE DARK — in more ways than one. It certainly held me up significantly with respect to a couple of the down clues. I eventually came to the realization that it must be incorrect; but needed assistance from my electronic helpers to point me in the right direction.

In perusing Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I see from the thread at Comment #2 that I was far from alone in this choice — and can number myself among some very esteemed company.

What are they talking about?
Our the years, there have been a number of films released with the title A Shot In the Dark[7]. However, the one being discussed on Big Dave's blog is the 1964 Pink Panther film starring Peter Sellers. 

23a   Asked // to finish, having penned several sheets (8)

25a   Butcher /offers/ prime bit of meat -- and fish! (6)

27a   Messengers /providing/ brief answer set to be detained (6)

28a   Cavalier // man having celebrity status (8)

I failed to see the correct wordplay here, thinking the clue was merely meant to be a double definition.

A Cavalier[3,5] (also called Royalist) was a supporter of Charles I of England in his struggles against Parliament in the English Civil War.


1d   Line on board /produced by/ tool (4)

2d   A foreign type // beastly to others? (6)

"a foreign" = UN (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

hide explanation

3d   Short reptile, // one old and decrepit from what we hear (4)

4d   Stag hastened, in part // struck with fear (6)

5d   Try very hard // to meet qualification for intestinal surgery? (4,1,3)

6d   What politicians must read? // Not the FT! (5,5)

In the UK, a White Paper[5] is a government report giving information or proposals on an issue.

The Financial Times[7] (abbreviation FT)is a British international business newspaper that is printed on conspicuous salmon pink newsprint.

8d   Big team playing -- / a lot of information /needed/ (7)

Due to the manner in which the setter has structured the clue, the link word "needed" ends up at the end.

13d   Little relative gainfully employed /or/ back in education? (10)

Among other things, rel.[1] is the abbreviation for relative.

14d   No honey served up -- // fruit /is on offer/ (5)

Similar to 8d, the structure of the clue pushes the link phrase "is on offer" to the back of the line.

In pharmacology, mel (Latin for 'honey') is a pure form of honey formerly used in pharmaceutical products.

16d   Herd moved across river /and/ put in new shed? (8)

The River Ouse[5] is a river of northeastern England, formed at the confluence of the Ure and Swale in North Yorkshire and flowing 92 km (57 miles) south-eastwards through York to the Humber estuary. There are also several other rivers in England having the same name or minor variations thereof.

18d   Old country // residence opening 24 hours (7)

Dahomey[5] is the former name (until 1975) for Benin, a country of West Africa, immediately west of Nigeria; population 8,791,800 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), West African languages; capital, Porto Novo. The country was conquered by the French in 1893 and became part of French West Africa. In 1960 it became fully independent.

21d   Woman /in/ residence wanting drink brought round (6)

22d   Bradman/'s/ famous duck? (6)

Sir Donald "Don" Bradman[7] (1908–2001), often referred to as "The Don", was an Australian cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest Test  (show explanation ) batsman of all time. Bradman's career Test batting average of 99.94 is often cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport.

A Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] is an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

Donald Duck[7] is a cartoon character created in 1934, at Walt Disney Productions.

The Inside Joke
Don Manley — the creator of this puzzle — sets crosswords for a number of British publications under various pseudonyms — Duck, Pasquale, Quixote, Bradman, and Giovanni all of which are punningly connected with the name Don or Donald.

24d   A number or twice as many /in/ overnight accommodation (4)

26d   Behold saints /making/ sacrifice? (4)

"behold" = 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

"saint" = S (show explanation )

S[5] (chiefly in Catholic use) is an abbreviation for SaintS Ignatius Loyola.

hide explanation

Don't overlook the fact that more than one saint is called for in the clue.
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)
Happy Canada Day — Falcon


  1. Happy Canada to you too! Thanks for the crossword. Cheers

  2. smiled 26d Enjoyed 11a,loved 20A (you left us too soon Peter - RIP) and spent all the time on 24D.
    A very very good puzzle - 3.5/4.5 -