Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015 — DT 27751

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27751
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27751]
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
The National Post has skipped DT 27750 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, March 16, 2015.


I awoke to discover that the National Post had skipped yet another puzzle — sending me back to the drawing board with the blog. Fortunately, the puzzle did not take too long to solve, even with a fairly slow start. Of course, a speedy solve for me would be seen as a snail's pace by many British solvers. They often mention completing the puzzle in the time it takes to travel two or three Underground stops. If I were solving the puzzle on the train, I would be halfway to Montreal by the time I finished.

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.


5a   First chess player attending match /in/ formal evening dress (5,3)

In chess, the "white" player always moves first. After the first move, players alternately move one piece per turn (except for castling, when two pieces are moved).[7]

"Match" and "tie" might be considered to be synonyms (meaning equal) when used as verbs as in ⇒ In his final run, the driver was able to match the best time posted so far in the competition. However, it certainly did not surprise me that Gazza sees these words as being nouns — in a particular British usage.

Tie[5] is a British term meaning a sports match between two or more players or teams in which the winners proceed to the next round of the competition Swindon Town have gained themselves a third round tie against Oldham.

The foregoing usage example does not mean — as a North American would presume — that Swindon Town and Oldham played to a draw in the third round. Rather, it means that Swindon Town defeated their opponent in the second round and will move on to face Oldham in the third round.

8a   Ape straddling an // awning (6)

10a   Soldier who carries the Colours // in -- gen's misleading (6)

In the British infantry, an ensign[10] is a colours bearer.

Scratching the Surface
Gen[5] is an informal British term for information ⇒ you’ve got more gen on him than we have.

11a   Liking // page with charm (8)

12a   Fail to win card game -- // become exasperated (4,8)

Patience[5] is the British name for solitaire[5], any of various forms of card game for one player, the object of which is to use up all one’s cards by forming particular arrangements and sequences.

15a   Bridge player // held in low esteem (4)

In the card game bridge, North[5] and South[5] comprise one partnership and play against East[5] and West[5] who form the other partnership.

17a   Element /causing/ trouble amongst our sailors (5)

"our sailors" = RN (show explanation )

The Royal Navy[5] (abbreviation RN) is the British navy. It was the most powerful navy in the world from the 17th century until the Second World War.

hide explanation

Remember, this puzzle originally appeared in a British publication.

What did he say?
In his review, Gazza refers to the Royal Navy as our senior service.
Senior Service[5] is a British term for the Royal Navy.

A standing "Navy Royal", with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, originated in the early 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII.[7] The English Army was first established as a standing military force in 1660.[7] I trust that it is self-evident that the Royal Air Force came into existence much later.

Radon[5] (symbol Rn) is the chemical element of atomic number 86, a rare radioactive gas belonging to the noble gas series.

18a   Stage // one in unhappy retirement (4)

19a   Frail head going round // food shop (12)

Ness[5] (a term usually found in place names) means a headland or promontory Orford Ness.

22a   Colour /of/ object surrounded by seaweed (8)

Laver[5] is an edible seaweed (Porphyra umbilicaulis) with thin sheet-like fronds of a reddish-purple and green colour which becomes black when dry. Laver typically grows on exposed shores, but in Japan it is cultivated in estuaries.

Delving Deeper
Laver[7] is an edible, littoral alga (seaweed). In Wales, laver is used for making laverbread, a traditional Welsh dish. Laver as food is also commonly found around the west coast of Britain and east coast of Ireland along the Irish Sea, where it is known as slake.

It is smooth in texture and forms delicate, sheetlike thalli, often clinging to rocks. The principal variety is purple laver (Porphyra umbilicalis). Purple laver is classified as a red alga, tends to be a brownish colour, but boils down to a dark green pulp when prepared. It is unusual amongst seaweeds because the fronds are only one cell thick. Laver has a high content of dietary minerals, particularly iodine and iron. The high iodine content gives the seaweed a distinctive flavour in common with olives and oysters.

Porphyra is also consumed in East Asia, where it is known as zicai in China, nori in Japan, and gim in Korea.

Ulva lactuca, a green alga, also known as sea lettuce, is occasionally eaten as green laver, which is regarded as inferior to the purple laver.

24a   Novel /from/ library, or borrowed? On the contrary (3,3)

Rob Roy[7] (1817) is a historical novel by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832). It is narrated by Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who travels first to the North of England, and subsequently to the Scottish Highlands, to collect a debt stolen from his father. On the way he encounters the larger-than-life title character, Rob Roy MacGregor. Though Rob Roy is not the lead character (in fact, the narrative does not move to Scotland until halfway through the book), his personality and actions are key to the novel's development.

25a   Policeman determined // to avoid responsibility (3,3)

Out[10] is used in the sense of desirous of or intent on (something or doing something) He was out to get revenge for the humiliation he had endured.

26a   Sample // mushrooms brought back by me after breaking in (8)

The cep[5] is an edible European mushroom with a smooth brown cap, a stout white stalk, and pores rather than gills, growing in dry woodland and much sought after as a delicacy. Also called penny bun.


1d   Punch // clock (6)

Similar to Gazza, I too was baffled by this double definition where the two definitions would appear to be the same — a clear flouting of cryptic crossword convention. Given that Gazza reports having searched fruitlessly for another meaning of clock, I spent little effort in investigating the matter further.

Clock[5] is an informal, chiefly British expression meaning to hit (someone), especially on the head someone clocked him for no good reason.

2d   A tall nurse treated // film comedian (4,6)

Laurel and Hardy[5] were an American comedy duo consisting of Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson) (1890–1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). British-born Stan Laurel played the scatterbrained and often tearful innocent, Oliver Hardy his pompous, overbearing, and frequently exasperated friend. They brought their distinctive slapstick comedy to many films from 1927 onwards.

3d   Picture /of/ forged coin (4)

4d   On reflection, // partaking in absinthe endures (2,3,3)

I initially had difficulty seeing the definition, but — in the end — came to accept it.

The phrase in the end[5] means eventually or on reflection in the end, I saw that she was right.

Scratching the Surface
Absinthe[5,7,10] (also absinth) is a potent green aniseed-flavoured alcoholic drink, technically a gin, originally made with the shrub wormwood. For most of the twentieth century, absinthe was banned in the United States and much of Europe.

6d   Deliver // diamonds in German city (4,4)

"diamonds" = D (show explanation )

Diamonds[2] (abbreviation D[2]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

Hanover[5] is an industrial city in northwestern Germany, on the Mittelland Canal; population 516,300 (est. 2006). It is the capital of Lower Saxony.

7d   Coppers stride off /in/ a display of team spirit (6,2,5)

9d   Stake // boat (4)

Punt[2,3,4,5,10,11] is a mainly British term which, as a verb, means to gamble or bet, especially against the bank, as in roulette, some card games, or on horses and, as a noun, denotes such a gamble or bet.

A punt[5] is a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat, square at both ends and propelled with a long pole, used on inland waters chiefly for recreation.

13d   Scratched one? (3-7)

A non-starter[2] is a horse (or other animal or person[5]) which, though entered for a race, does not run.

14d   Trying // more ties out (8)

16d   Changing of editor, // highly desirable (2,3,3)

20d   Tender // doctor returned wearing costume (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

21d   I attempt to arrest a // villainous character (4)

Iago[7] is a fictional character in Othello (c. 1601–04), a tragedy written by English playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The play's main antagonist, Iago, is the husband of Emilia, who is in turn the attendant of Othello's wife Desdemona. Iago hates Othello (who is also known as "The Moor") and devises a plan to destroy him by making him believe that his wife is having an affair with his lieutenant, Michael Cassio.

23d   Tax // office (4)

What did he say?
In his review, Gazza refers to a duty as the sort of tax that the Chancellor may well be reducing slightly on alcohol tomorrow in an attempt at a pre-election bribe.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer[5] is the chief finance minister of the United Kingdom, who prepares the nation’s annual budgets — the British counterpart to the Minister of Finance in Canada or the Secretary of the Treasury in the US.

The United Kingdom general election of 2015[7] was held on 7 May 2015 to elect the 56th Parliament of the United Kingdom [this was approximately seven weeks after this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph].
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. Agree with Falcon's ratings - this is a nice puzzle for cryptic newbies. Oddly, I thought only Americans believed white tie was high formal wear - I find it a horrid style - makes one looks like a waiter imo. Only the mushroom and seaweed were must-be guesses. Favoured 11A.