Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — DT 27734

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27734
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27734]
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 27731 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, February 21, 2015 and which appeared on this blog yesterday as a Bonus Puzzle as well as DT 27732 and DT 27733 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, February 23, 2015 and Tuesday, February 24, 2015.


I think the editors at the National Post are toying with me. Last week they skipped two puzzles, this week it is three. Will it be four next week?

As for the puzzle, it is a fairly typical Jay creation that I would say sits slightly toward the upper end of the three star difficulty range.

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   Drink, and gather one's // entry may be barred by this (10)

"drink" = PORT (show explanation )

Port[5] is a strong, sweet dark red (occasionally brown or white) fortified wine, originally from Portugal, typically drunk as a dessert wine.

hide explanation

Cull[5] is used in the sense of to select from a large quantity or obtain from a variety of sources ⇒ anecdotes culled from Greek and Roman history.

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

6a   Cornish sailor/'s/ mop? (4)

The adjective Cornish[5] denotes a relation to Cornwall or its people or language. Cornwall[5] is a county occupying the extreme southwestern peninsula of England; county town, Truro.

"sailor" = AB (show explanation )

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

hide explanation

9a   Head honcho // more worried by son getting out of bed (7)

The clue parses as an anagram (worried) of MORE following (by) {S (son) + (getting) UP (out of bed)}.

Supremo[5] is an informal British term meaning (1) a person in overall charge of an organization or activity ⇒ the Channel Four supremo or (2) a person with great authority or skill in a certain area ⇒ an interior by design supremo Kelly .

10a   Blocks put on spy's cover /and/ methods (7)

12a   Person who anticipates // exciting flutter on reel? (7-6)

14a   Vacant home in estate redesigned /for/ arty type (8)

15a   American farm // butter? (6)

Spread[5] is a North American term for a large farm or ranch.

17a   Pole in wages // spoof (6)

Delving Deeper
In addition to being synonyms in the general sense, pole and rod are also synonyms in a more specific sense.

Pole[5] and rod[5] are alternative names for perch, a historical unit of measure that was once used in Britain.

A perch[5] (also called pole or rod) is a historical, chiefly British measure of length, especially for land, equal to a quarter of a [surveyor's] chain  or 5½ yards.

To further confuse matters, a perch[5] (also called square perch, pole, square pole, rod, or square rod) is a historical, chiefly British measure of area, especially for land, equal to 160th of an acre or 30¼ square yards.

19a   Toast // feature applied to most of country (4-4)

Chin-chin[5] is a dated, informal British expression used to express good wishes before drinking ⇒ ‘Chin-chin,’ he said, and drank.

Fine Point #1
In their review, the 2Kiwis state that the solution is "a facial feature followed by a large Asian country with the last letter removed".
Although it makes no practical difference in this instance, the facial feature should follow the truncated Asian country rather than vice versa.

The convention is that a phrase such as "A applied to B"  implies that B is in place prior to A (otherwise A could not be applied to B). Therefore, "A applied to B" produces the result BA because we must enter B into the grid first and then add (apply) A to it.

Like many cryptic crossword conventions, this one is not always respected by setters.

21a   Sound advice -- forty per cent of hotel employs // rented accommodation (7,6)

Council house[5] is a British term for a house owned by a local council [municipal government] and rented out to tenants.

24a   Cut // poor decisions -- not so! (7)

Fine Point #2
In their review, the 2Kiwis show the O and second S being removed from "DECISIoNs".
This deviates from cryptic crossword convention which dictates that the letters to be removed should appear in the removal instructions (not SO) in the same order as they appear in the word(s) from which they are to be removed (DECI[S]I[O]NS). Thus, convention would require it be the first S that is removed rather than the second.

Once again, I would add that this convention is not necessarily always respected by setters — and often draws a rebuke from experienced solvers when it is violated.

25a   Stepped across line and the French // caused bother on the internet (7)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Troll[5] means to make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them ⇒ (i) if people are obviously trolling then I’ll delete your posts and do my best to ban you: (ii) you folks taking this opportunity to troll me, you really need to reassess your values in your life.

26a   Duck confronting really disheartened and cross // creature (4)

"duck" = O (show explanation )

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. In British puzzles, duck is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

hide explanation

The oryx[5] is any of three species of large antelope living in arid regions of Africa and Arabia, having dark markings on the face and long horns.

27a   Vote/'s/ close, amid signs of hesitation by adjudicator (10)


1d   Trophy wives ultimately accepted // job (4)

We need to insert a pause to split the wordplay into a series of steps giving us "Trophy; wives ultimately accepted". Step 1: [start with a synonym for] trophy; Step 2: insert (accepted) the final letter (ultimately) of wiveS [into the result from Step 1].

Pot[5] is an informal [seemingly chiefly British] term for a prize in a sporting contest, especially a silver cup.

2d   The acts of a con man // on holiday in tears (3-4)

3d   Declares ketch must be renovated // to get ready for action (5,3,5)

4d   Get better tho' losing heart /and/ respect (4,2,2)

5d   Children? // A bone of contention (5)

7d   A rhyme for really // dangerous move on bike? (7)

8d   Dominating // prime equestrian activity? (10)

Bestride[3] is used in the sense to dominate by position or tower over Hitler's ghost, the specter that ... bestrides mid-twentieth-century history (Economist).

11d   Two ways in which Forest has one // means of advancement (8-5)

Epping Forest[7] is an area of ancient woodland and former royal forest in south-east England, straddling the border between north-east Greater London and Essex.

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading is likely intended to suggest Nottingham Forest Football Club[7] (often referred to simply as Forest), a football [soccer] club based in Nottinghamshire, England that currently plays in the Football League Championship (the second tier in the English football league system).

13d   Mafia boss pinching most of Italian composer's drink (10)

Capo[5] is a chiefly North American term for the head of a crime syndicate, especially the Mafia, or a branch of one ⇒ the Sicilian capo claims he controls most of the world’s heroin trade.

Giacomo Puccini[5] (1858–1924) was an Italian composer. Puccini’s sense of the dramatic, gift for melody, and skilful use of the orchestra have contributed to his enduring popularity. Notable operas: La Bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), and Madama Butterfly (1904).

16d   Choke, /getting/ most of the rubbish left out with no end of grief (8)

Rot[3] is used in the sense of pointless talk or nonsense She always talks such rot.

18d   Coarse // fish covering late-starting meal (7)

What did he say?
In their review, the 2Kiwis say The included word, when doubled, could also be a crossword solver’s pet hate.
In Crosswordese, an unch is an unchecked letter (a letter that does not occur in both an across and a down clue and therefore cannot be cross-checked by an intersecting solution. A "double unch" is the occurrence of two consecutive unchecked letters in a solution — a situation that generally increases the difficulty of the clue.

20d   Bothered, /but/ is in possession of transport in the north (7)

22d   A step // away from so-called gerrymandering (5)

Although merely "from" would suffice, I believe that the hidden-word indicator is intended to be "away from".

23d   A horse/'s/ name for a man (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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