Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 — DT 27707

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27707
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27707 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27707 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (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
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.


My horse did pull up short on the final jump and I needed help from my electronic assistants to finish.

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.


3a   Piano works -- // 'Aida', for instance? (5,5)

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions. Opus can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

Aida[7] is an opera by Italian  composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) which was first performed in 1871.

Grand opera[5] denotes an opera on a serious theme in which the entire libretto (including dialogue) is sung.

8a   Realise // one can do this at the bank (6)

As crypticsue indicates in her review, the clue is rather weak as the "two definitions ... are not very dissimilar".

Realise[5] means to convert (an asset) into cash ⇒ he realized all the assets in her trust fund.

Encash[5] is a British term meaning convert (a cheque, money order, bond, etc.) into money ⇒ after the payment of one year’s contribution you may encash your bond at any time.

9a   Rebuke // Simon had brought about (8)

10a   Having retired, // little woman retrospectively retains value (8)

I wonder how long it took crypticsue to identify the "little woman".

11a   Quick -- // doctor's in river! (6)

"doctor" = MB (show explanation )

In Britain, the degree required to practice medicine is a Bachelor of Medicine[7] (MB, from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus), which is equivalent to a North American Doctor of Medicine (MD, from Latin Medicinae Doctor). The degree of Doctor of Medicine also exists in Britain, but it is an advanced degree pursued by those who wish to go into medical research. Physicians in Britain are still addressed as Dr. despite not having a doctoral degree. 

hide explanation

The Nile[5] is a river in eastern Africa. (expand explanation )

The longest river in the world, the Nile rises in east central Africa near Lake Victoria and flows 6,695 km (4,160 miles) generally northwards through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt to empty through a large delta into the Mediterranean.

hide explanation

12a   Space for painting needed by dull // little apartment (6,4)

Studio flat[5] (North American studio apartment) is a British term for a flat [apartment] containing one main room.

In Britain, the term flat is used for what would be called an apartment in North America. The term apartment is also used in Britain, but in a more restricted sense seemingly applying to temporary or more classy accommodation. From the perspective of a British dictionary, apartment is (1) a British term for a flat, typically one that is well appointed or used for holidays[5]self-catering holiday apartments or (2) a North American term for any flat[5]the family lived in a rented apartment.

14a   Management takes action /in/ drawn-out dispute (7,6)

The wordplay parses as RUNNING (management; running is a gerund which is the equivalent of a noun) + (takes) BATTLE ([military] action)

20a   I put scroll round // iron grating (10)

A portcullis[5] is a strong, heavy grating that can be lowered down grooves on each side of a gateway to block it.

22a   Ill-treatment of inspirational woman is to be admitted (6)

A muse[5] is a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

Delving Deeper
In Greek and Roman mythology, the Muses[5] are the nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. The Muses are generally listed as Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flute playing and lyric poetry), Terpsichore (choral dancing and song), Erato (lyre playing and lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Thalia (comedy and light verse), Polyhymnia (hymns, and later mime), and Urania (astronomy).

23a   Rebel // Frenchman aged badly (8)

Réné certainly ranks among the most popular names for a Frenchman in crosswordland.

What did he say?
In his hints, Big Dave mentions that this French forename would be "familiar to all who watched ‘Allo ‘Allo!".
'Allo 'Allo! is a BBC television sitcom broadcast from 1982 to 1992. Set in a small town in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, 'Allo 'Allo! tells the story of café owner René Artois (played by English comic Gordon Kaye).

Réné, whilst trying to remain impartial, has been dragged into the war by both sides. The Germans are threatening to shoot him if he does not secretly hide stolen valuables; the Résistance is using his café as a safe-house for shot-down British airmen; and on top of that, he is trying to keep his passionate love affairs with the café waitresses secret from his wife. Whenever his wife Edith catches him in the arms of another woman, René invariably responds with the phrase "You stupid woman! Can you not see that..." followed by a convoluted explanation, which Edith always believes, leading to an apology from her.

24a   Command -- // it's what winner of horse race had? (8)

Bestride[5] means to dominate ⇒ he bestrides Alberta politics today. [That usage example is rather showing its age!]

25a   One gathers // that you don't want to meet if it's grim (6)

This is another instance of a clue which could be either a cryptic definition (as crypticsue has indicated in her review) or a double definition (as I have shown). [Hint: when a definition begins with the word "that" read it as thought it were "something that".]

The Grim Reaper[5] is a personification of death in the form of a cloaked skeleton wielding a large scythe ⇒ he met the Grim Reaper a decade later.

26a   Dolefully idle? (10)

This is an ideal example of this style of cryptic definition — one in which we have a straight definition combined with a bit of cryptic elaboration. The straight definition is "idle" which may mean UNEMPLOYED but could also denote other things, such as LAZY. However, the addition of the modifier "dolefully" (with its allusion to "dole") leaves little doubt as to what the setter has in mind (even without taking the numeration into consideration).


1d   Not Maria's woolly // drawer (8)

2d   Broadcast bothered an // angry woman (8)

3d   Hospital within reach /in/ poor quarter (6)

4d   A final unending // exclamation of grief (4)

5d   Unfortunate condition // of Parisian I meant to resolve (8)

"of Parisian" = DE (show explanation )

In French, de[8] is a preposition meaning 'of''.

hide explanation

6d   Parents going round an // isthmus (6)

The Isthmus of Panama[5], in the narrowest sense, is the site of the Panama Canal. More broadly, it is all the territory of Panama, or the entire region that connects North and South America. Formerly called Isthmus of Darien.

7d   Outcome? // About second last, in short (6)

The abbreviation ult.[5] is short for ultimate.

13d   The French and German // drink (5)

"the French" = LA (show explanation )

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

hide explanation

Did she really intend to say that?
In her review, crypticsue describes GER as "one of the anagrams of GER(man)".
I have no doubt that she intended to say "one of the abbreviations of GER(man)".

15d   Endanger surrounding area, /which is/ magnificent (8)

16d   Cable // TV, it's said, has little weight (8)

Telly[5] is an informal British term for television ⇒ (i) there’d been a cowboy film on telly; (ii) a black-and-white telly.

17d   Bad performer (4-4)

18d   Team's negative response written up /in/ profile (4-2)

"team" = side (show explanation )

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you..

hide explanation

19d   Habit /makes/ copper most upset (6)

"copper" = CU (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from late Latin cuprum).

hide explanation

21d   Ugly rumour // may oust leader from firm (6)

As Big Dave indicates in his review, CAN does not necessarily mean "may". Nor, I might add, does "may" necessarily mean CAN.

A canard[5] is an unfounded rumour or story ⇒ the old canard that LA is a cultural wasteland.

23d   Count // coming from Loire -- lynched (4)

Scratching the Surface
The Loire[5] is a river of west central France. France’s longest river, it rises in the Massif Central and flows 1,015 km (630 miles) north and west to the Atlantic at St-Nazaire.
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. Like most prize puzzles, very entertaining.

    Only resorted to the crossword dictionary for 10a, as the wordplay eluded me.

    I don't suppose Allo Allo ever aired on French TV? Can't imagine British actors doing bad French accents and spoofing the Resistance would appeal to Gallic sensibilities.

  2. 8a, 20a and 24a were new words for me today. 14a was a repeat (thankfully) clue which was a great help. Once I got off Comicopera for Aida (duh), the rest ticked along. Found myself nodding in agreement while filling in 25a 3/2 rating.

  3. Richard - I also discovered today that I've misspelt 10a since forever!