Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015 — DT 27745

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27745
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27745]
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


Gazza reports that this puzzle "was quite enjoyable without raising too much of a sweat". Aside from a couple of clues, I would agree with him. I probably should have identified the food in 23a but the Belgian town — which I must have heard of — never came to mind. As for 20d, it seemed that there was only one possible answer but I certainly would never have figured out the explanation on my own.

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   Angry editor // came over (7)

5a   Bird eating most of tablet -- // one might help with the flying (2-5)

The coot[5] is any of several species of aquatic bird of the rail family, with blackish plumage, lobed feet, and a bill that extends back on to the forehead as a horny shield.

9a   One fancies you // notice bog by river (7)

10a   Mean about brother or sister? /It's/ plain to see (7)

11a   Bill on immigration's first, or // later? (9)

Posterior[5] is a formal term denoting coming after in time or order; in other words, later ⇒ a date posterior to the first Reform Bill.

12a   Upsetting story about Conservative's // style (5)

Collins English Dictionary defines éclat[10] as showy display or ostentation with a synonym being stylishness.

13a   Once more arrange // to do exam again -- one drops out, given 'E' (5)

Resit[5] is a British term which, as a verb, means to take (an examination) again after failing it  ⇒ she is resitting her maths GCSE [General Certificate of Secondary Education] and, as a noun, denotes an examination that is resat ⇒ the system allows the office to timetable all resits in a single block.

Scratching the Surface
E[5] is used in the sense of the fifth-highest class of academic mark.

15a   Drink // called mead in Old English shunned by maidens (9)

"Old English" = OE (show explanation )

Old English[5] (abbreviation OE[5]) was the language of the Anglo-Saxons (up to about 1150). Also called Anglo-Saxon, it was an inflected language with a Germanic vocabulary, very different from modern English.

hide explanation

"maidens" = M (show explanation )

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden overis an over in which no runs are scored. On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation M[5] denotes maiden over(s) — or maiden(s).

An over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end. On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s).

hide explanation

17a   It maybe joins a fleet // animal going round small ancient city (9)

For a long time, my focus was on the wrong ancient city.

In Homeric legend, Troy[5] is the city of King Priam, besieged for ten years by the Greeks during the Trojan War. It was regarded as having been a purely legendary city until Heinrich Schliemann identified the mound of Hissarlik on the northeastern Aegean coast of Turkey as the site of Troy. The city was apparently sacked and destroyed by fire in the mid 13th century BC, a period coinciding with the Mycenaean civilization of Greece. Also called Ilium.

19a   Dance // graduate's after alcohol (5)

22a   A mainly boring time /for/ grown-up (5)

23a   Food /from/ a Belgian town with sweet stuff thrown over (9)

Spa[5] is a small town in eastern Belgium, south-east of Liège; population 10,549 (2008). It has been celebrated since medieval times for the curative properties of its mineral springs.

25a   The Spanish gent with a woolly /that's/ stylish (7)

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

As an anagram indicator, woolly[2] is used in the sense of vague and muddled; lacking in clarity ⇒ (i) woolly thinking: (ii) woolly-minded: (iii) woolly argument.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, woolly[2] denotes a woollen, usually knitted garment.

26a   6 may carry this // toboggan in silence? On the contrary (7)

This clue employs a couple of cryptic crossword devices.

The numeral "6" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 6d in its place to complete the clue. The directional indicator is often omitted in situations such as this where only a single clue starts in the square that is being referenced.

The phrase "on the contrary" tells the solver to reverse the logic of the statement immediately preceding it.

North Americans will undoubtedly be puzzled by the British concept of a toboggan. To the Brits, a toboggan[5] is a long, light, narrow vehicle, typically on runners, used for sliding downhill over snow or ice. You will find that they apply the term toboggan to almost any type of sled used for sliding downhill. I suppose by including the phrase "typically on runners" the definition leaves enough wiggle room to allow a 'true' toboggan (which has no runners) to squeeze in. Clearly the term must have been taken back to the UK by some British explorer who paid a visit to the colonies and went home very confused.

27a   Mailer keeping novel ultimately // slim! (7)

Scratching the Surface
Norman Mailer[5] (1923–2007) was an American novelist and essayist. Notable novels: The Naked and the Dead (1948) and The Presidential Papers (1963).

28a   Some chaps send a signal when getting over // grief (7)


1d   Bridge // hands are brought together by one (7)

Clapper[1] is another name for clapper bridge[5], a simple bridge consisting of slabs of stone or planks laid across a series of rocks or piles of stones.

2d   Diffusion of liquids // round moss is developing (7)

3d   Harsh cry, children having dropped // loose rock (5)

4d   Trim wood off, removing width by railway -- // it's for sleepers (9)

5d   Bloke runs /for/ shelter (5)

Bloke[5] is an informal British term for a man.

 Cove[5] is a dated informal British term for a man he is a perfectly amiable cove.

"runs" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

hide explanation

6d   One might travel in a taxi // to go green, surprisingly (9)

7d   Lamb follows to toss // plant (7)

Charles Lamb[5] (1775–1834) was an English essayist and critic. Together with his sister Mary he wrote Tales from Shakespeare (1807). Other notable works: Essays of Elia (1823). Elia[5] is the pseudonym that he adopted in his Essays of Elia (1823) and Last Essays of Elia (1833).

Lobelia[5] is any of many species of a chiefly tropical or subtropical plant of the bellflower family, in particular an annual widely grown as a bedding plant. Some kinds are aquatic, and some grow as thick-trunked shrubs or trees on African mountains.

8d   Drama // in that place, welcoming cheers going up (7)

Cheers[5] is a chiefly British expression expressing gratitude or acknowledgement for something ⇒ Billy tossed him the key. ‘Cheers, pal.’.

Ta[5] is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you ‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.

14d   Telecast's opening with a rubbish and eccentric // fortune-teller? (5,4)

Rubbish[3,4,11] is used in the sense of foolish words or speech; in other words, nonsense. I note that Oxford Dictionaries Online considers the word rubbish[5] to be chiefly British — despite it not being characterized as such by American dictionaries.

16d   Citadel // could make Paris cool (9)

An acropolis[5] is a citadel or fortified part of an ancient Greek city, typically one built on a hill. The Acropolis[5] is the ancient citadel at Athens, containing the Parthenon and other notable buildings, mostly dating from the 5th century BC.

17d   Undergarments -- // they might poke out the chest (7)

18d   Girlfriend /or/ crush? (7)

Squeeze[5] is an informal North American term [cue howls of British outrage] for a person’s girlfriend or boyfriend ⇒ the poor guy just lost his main squeeze.

20d   I'm coming over to grind // up sticks (7)

Up sticks[5] is an informal British term meaning to go to live elsewhere. [From nautical slang to up sticks 'set up a boat's mast' (ready for departure).]

21d   Comebacks? This side, they're going down! (7)

It would help the solver to know that, in The Daily Telegraph, the clues appear in two columns with the Across clues in the left-hand column and the Down clues in the right-hand column.

23d   Following // a female -- they're regularly removed (5)

24d   Firm // free to secure US fighter (5)

"US fighter" = GI (show explanation )

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war. Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather derives from the term government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

hide explanation
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. Managed to fill in all the squares correctly, but couldn't parse several clues -- the ones I call constructions and Miffypops calls legos. Whatever the name, they are far and away my least favourite. They take too much fiddling and I can't spend all day on the cryptic.

    Gosh, am I sounding like Brian again? Second day running?

    Thanks for your commentary, especially 21d, as the clue made little sense without that info.

    Twilight golf this afternoon. Senior's rate on the city course is $25 at 4:30 and we can just manage 18 holes before dark.