Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015 — DT 27736

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27736
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, February 27, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27736]
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's offering displays Giovanni's gentler side. There is only one word that is totally new to me — the bit of British slang that is the solution to 24a. I was able to decipher the answer from the wordplay. However, someone who is not familiar with the other bit of British slang that is found in the wordplay would be hard pressed to solve the clue. British television programmes from five decades ago could also present a formidable obstacle.

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   Stuff // friend offered to competitor -- very little given away (8)

"friend" = MATE (show explanation )

In Britain, mate[5] is an informal term (1) for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve or (2) used as a friendly form of address between men or boys ⇒ ‘See you then, mate.’.

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9a   Stuck in grass the Parisian // staggered (6)

"the Parisian" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

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10a   Brought up // claret maybe after start of banquet (4)

Claret[5] is a red wine from Bordeaux, or wine of a similar character made elsewhere.

11a   Random // records having very different levels of success (3-3-4)

The term "hit record" is certainly familiar; its Side B (miss) maybe less so.

The wordplay is apparently an allusion to Juke Box Jury[7], a music panel show which originally ran on the BBC Television Service from 1959 until 1967 (with brief revivals in 1979 and 1989-90). The programme was based on the American television show Jukebox Jury (which aired from 1948 to 1954), itself an offshoot of a long-running radio series.

The series featured celebrity showbusiness guests on a rotating weekly panel judging the hit potential of recent record releases. Each week, the host asked four celebrities (the 'Jurors') to judge newly released records and forecast which would be declared a "hit" or a "miss" – the decision accompanied by either a bell for a 'hit' or a hooter for a 'miss'. A panel of three members of the audience voted as a tie-breaker if the guests' decision was deadlocked, by holding up a large circular disc with 'Hit' on one side and 'Miss' on the other. Most weeks the performers of one of the records would be hidden behind a screen and emerge to "surprise" the panel after they had given their verdict.

12a   Linger by a river /in/ big shed (6)

14a   Middle Eastern // shelter containing sprouting beans (8)

Lebanese[10] is an adjective denoting of or relating to Lebanon or its inhabitants.

On first glance, "sprouting" does seem to be a rather novel anagram indicator. I suppose this use relates to the fact that sprouting is the process of  transforming from a seed into a plant.

15a   Restaurant /offers/ meat very thinly cut initially (6)

17a   Foreign characters // lasted with difficulty (6)

Delta[5] is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet (Δ, δ).

20a   Support needed by part of town // not up with the times? (8)

22a   Snake found by maiden /in/ plant (6)

"maiden" = M (show explanation )

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over, (abbreviation M)[5] is an over in which no runs are scored.

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.

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The adder[5] (also called viper) is a small venomous Eurasian snake (Vipera berus) which has a dark zigzag pattern on its back and bears live young. It is the only poisonous snake in Britain.

The madder[10] is any of several rubiaceous plants of the genus Rubia, especially the Eurasian R. tinctoria, which has small yellow flowers and a red fleshy root.

23a   The four making news? (10)

24a   Rob /is/ second-rate criminal (4)

"criminal" = LAG (show explanation )

Lag[5] is an informal British term for a person who has been frequently convicted and sent to prison ⇒ both old lags were sentenced to ten years' imprisonment.

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Blag[5] is an informal British term that, as a verb, can mean:
  1. to manage to obtain (something) by using persuasion or guile they blagged two free tickets to France;
  2. to manage to obtain (private or confidential information) by impersonation or another method of deception (i) they were often able to hack phones because they had blagged phone numbers and passwords: (ii) blagging is an offence under the Data Protection Act; or
  3. to steal (something) in a violent robbery or raid I could lie in wait and blag her fur coat;
and, as a noun, may denote:
  1. (1) an act of using persuasion or guile to obtain something raising the £6.5 million had been either a heroic achievement by selfless, dedicated humanitarians or the blag of the century; or
  2. (2) a violent robbery or raid.
25a   Dish // makes one become giddy -- double dose of drug in it? (6)

"drug" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

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26a   Iron -- it'll get moulded /into/ a cube (8)

A trillion[5] is a million million (1,000,000,000,000 or 1012). It is the cube of  ten thousand (10,000 or 104). In dated British use, a trillion was a million million million (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 1018) making it the cube of one million (1,000,000 or 106).


1d   Vehicle // arrived before lunchtime maybe to enter prison (8)

"arrived" = ARR (show explanation )

With reference to the arrival time of a bus, train, or aircraft, the abbreviation arr. (or arr)[2,5,10] denotes arrival or arrives — and. presumably after the fact, arrived.

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The denizens of Crosswordland customarily observe a late lunch.

2d   Quarrel // expected with female showing up (4)

3d   After banter see the woman // dry up (6)

4d   French Alps city // became almost stately (8)

Grenoble[7] is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. It was the site of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games.

5d   Period at home gets an old rocker // wound up (10)

Ted[2] is short for Teddy boy[5], a slang term originally applied to a young man belonging to a subculture in 1950s Britain characterized by a style of dress based on Edwardian fashion (typically with drainpipe trousers, bootlace tie, and hair slicked up in a quiff (show explanation )) and a liking for rock-and-roll music.The name comes from from Teddy, pet form of the given name Edward (with reference to Edward VII's reign). Judging by the entry in the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, it would appear that the term Teddy boy[2] is now applied to any unruly or rowdy adolescent male.

Quiff[3,4] is a chiefly British term for a prominent tuft of hair, especially one brushed up above the forehead.

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6d   Guys // providing meals or drinks across the Home Counties (6)

Tea may be either a meal or a drink, especially in Britain.

The British distinguish between afternoon tea and high tea, although both may be referred to simply as tea[10]. Afternoon tea[2,5,7,10] (or Low Tea) is a light afternoon meal, typically eaten between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm, at which tea, sandwiches, biscuits [British term for cookies or crackers] and cakes are served.

High tea[7] (also known as meat tea) is the evening meal or dinner of the working class, typically eaten between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. It typically consists of a hot dish such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, or macaroni cheese [macaroni and cheese to North Americans], followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam. Occasionally there would be cold cuts of meat, such as ham salad. Traditionally high tea was eaten by middle to upper class children (whose parents would have a more formal dinner later) or by labourers, miners and the like when they came home from work. The term was first used around 1825 and high is used in the sense of well-advanced (like high noon, for example) to signify that it was taken later in the day.

"Home Counties" = SE (show explanation )

The Home Counties[5] are the counties surrounding London in southeast (SE) England, into which London has extended.

However, no exact definition of the term exists and the composition of the home counties remains a matter of debate. Oxford Dictionaries Online restrictively lists them as being chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire.

On the other hand, Wikipedia tells us that the Home Counties[7] are generally considered to include Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (although Sussex does not border London).

Other counties more distant from London, such as Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire are also sometimes included in the list due to their close proximity to the capital and their connection to the London regional economy. 

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Guy[3,4,11] means to make fun of, to hold up to ridicule, or to mock.

8d   Greek character left off collecting stamps // recently (6)

Phi[5] is the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet (Φ, φ).

Philately[5] is the collection and study of postage stamps.

13d   After entrance to field cricketer /gets/ a guard (10)

Keeper[5] is short for short for goalkeeper[5] (a player in soccer or field hockey whose special role is to stop the ball from entering the goal) or wicketkeeper[5] (in cricket, a fielder stationed close behind a batsman's wicket). The counterpart position in [ice] hockey is far more apt to be called a goalie than a keeper.

16d   Very hot // kiln in shape of a circle (8)

18d   The female to betray // man in the furniture business (8)

Thomas Sheraton[7] (1751–1806) was a furniture designer, one of the "big three" English furniture makers of the 18th century, along with Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite. Sheraton gave his name to a style of furniture characterized by a feminine refinement of late Georgian styles and became the most powerful source of inspiration behind the furniture of the late 18th century.

19d   Clever // commercial nonsense that takes one in (6)

21d   Christian, I must squash // (this) hostility (6)

The role being played by the word "this" is difficult to pigeonhole. I don't think one could call it a link word, and it really doesn't seem to be part of the wordplay. I would say that it constitutes a flourish on the definition, indicating that we are looking for a specific type of hostility rather than hostility in general.

22d   Soft food that is /offered by/ old-fashioned club (6)

A mashie[10] (or mashy) is a club that was formerly used in golf, corresponding to the modern No. 5 or No. 6 iron, used for approach shots.

24d   Person about fifty // certainly not timid (4)

Bod[3] is chiefly British slang for a person.
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. Woo Hoo! Finally got through a Giovanni - Didn't follow 24D without the hint, but it was an obvious answer. SW corner was last, 25a last in. Favoured 5D - thnx Falcon!

    1. As the Brits would say, congratulations on breaking your duck versus Giovanni.