Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — DT 27735

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27735
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Petitjean (John Pidgeon)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27735]
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


Solving this puzzle proved to be a strange experience. I quickly sensed that some of the clues seemed familiar and it did not take long to realize that I had reviewed this puzzle when it appeared in The Daily Telegraph in February. Despite this, I had no recollection of several clues and in the case of many others, while I recognized the clues, I did not recall the solutions and and had to work them out all over again. I resorted to an electronic word finder for help with one clue and even had to refer to my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog to confirm my explanation for another. Based on my comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I appear to have found it more difficult the second time around. Perhaps my brain functions better at 30 below.

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   Doctor/'s/ inquiry about viewing hospital is ignored (6)

John H. Watson, known as Dr. Watson[7], is a fictional character in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Watson is Sherlock Holmes' friend, assistant and sometime flatmate, and the first person narrator of all but four of these stories.

Is that correct?
In Comment #12 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Dutch questioned my use of the term alter ego Falcon, Holmes’s partner rather than alter ego?.
Alter ego[5] can mean either (1) a person’s secondary or alternative personality or (2) an intimate and trusted friend. Thus Batman is Bruce Wayne's alter ego (in sense 1) and Robin is Batman's alter ego (in sense 2).

Having only encountered the latter meaning for alter ego shortly before writing the review in February, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to put my new knowledge to work — knowing full well that it was likely to generate a comment or two.

4a   Some taxicabs or buses // are spongy (6)

8a   Providing small // uncertainties (3)

Oops! The reviewer at Big Dave's site has made a booboo. The hint should read "a conjunction denoting on condition that or providing followed by S(mall)". Now, how could that have happened?

10a   A clever rhyme or note you memorise initially (7)

11a   Idiot gets phrase cut short /in/ chat network (7)

I would guess from the dictionary entries that the word "twit" may have a slightly different connotation in the UK than it does in North America.

British dictionaries define twit as an informal term meaning variously (1) a fool or idiot[2]; (2) a foolish or stupid person, an idiot[10]; and (3) a silly or foolish person[5]. Both Oxford Dictionaries Online and Collins English Dictionary characterize the term as being chiefly British.

American dictionaries, on the other hand, define twit as an informal term for (1) a foolishly annoying person[3] or (2) an insignificant or bothersome person[11]. Thus the emphasis in North America seems to focus more on the fact that the person is a pest — as opposed to the intellectual capacity of the person.

12a   Type of material // one works on endlessly (5)

Although I don't appear to have had an issue with it in February, I questioned the wordplay in this clue the second time around. I have to conclude that it parses as TOILE[R] (one [who] works on) with the final letter removed (endlessly). I suppose the phrase "work on" is intended to have the connotation of working extremely hard or incessantly.

13a   Pole in Baltic port with limited beauty -- // sound familiar? (4,1,4)

Riga[5] is a port on the Baltic Sea, capital of Latvia; population 722,000 (est. 2007).

14a   Objective // is emotion filling court (13)

17a   Maybe The Sun is about right -- // it covers the present (8,5)

The Sun[7] is a daily tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland by a division of News UK, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The premise of the clue is that The Sun is a "Wapping paper" - Wapping[7] being a district in East London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. While both the offices and production facilities of The Sun were at one time located in Wapping, this appears to have no longer been the case at the time this puzzle was published in The Daily Telegraph in February of this year (as brought to my attention by silvanus in Comment #13 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog).

In January 1986 The Sun moved its operations to a new complex located in Wapping, East London. In January 2008 the Wapping presses printed The Sun for the last time and London printing was transferred to Waltham Cross in the Borough of Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, where parent company News International had built what is claimed to be the largest printing centre in Europe. According to Wikipedia, in early 2011 the company vacated the Wapping complex, which was put on the market in November 2011 and sold in May 2012. According to the website of News UK (the publisher of The Sun), the move of its offices from Wapping to its new London Bridge headquarters was completed in September 2014.

Behind the Picture
Page 3[7] is a colloquial term for a feature formerly included in the British tabloid newspaper The Sun. The phrase originates with the publication of a large photograph of a topless, bare-breasted female glamour model usually published on the print edition's third page. [Is the phrase "topless, bare-breasted" not a bit redundant?]

When I wrote my review in February 2015, I knew of the long-running campaign in the UK to abolish the Page 3 feature. However, I was not aware that the paper had actually bowed to the pressure and discontinued the feature in January 2015.

22a   Aunt chews fishy // titbit (6,3)

North American dictionaries define titbit[3,11] is an alternative, chiefly British spelling of tidbit. British dictionaries, on the other hand, define tidbit[2,5,10] as a US or North American term for titbit.

Collins English Dictionary intriguingly defines titbit[10] as a pleasing scrap of anything, such as scandal.

23a   Boring instrument // gurgled now and then following a rousing intro (5)

24a   Nothing so dour could make you // perfumed (7)

Often, a term such as "could make you" would be merely a link phrase. However, in this clue it gets elevated to the role of an anagram indicator.

25a   Green viewpoint? // One old soldier enters vote against (7)

The question mark warns us that the definition is whimsical rather than literal.

Based on entries in British dictionaries, Brits consider vet[2,5,10] to be an informal North American term for a veteran. On their side of the pond, vet[2,5,10] is a chiefly British term for a veterinary surgeon.

26a   Support // showing inner steel (3)

27a   We hear bishop's place by Dartmoor, for instance, /that's/ spectacular (6)

The wordplay is sounds like (we hear) {SEE (bishop's place) + (by) NICK (Dartmoor, for instance)}.

A see[10] is the diocese of a bishop, or the place within it where his cathedral or procathedral is situated.

The nick[5] is an informal British term for prison ⇒ he’ll end up in the nick for the rest of his life.

Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Dartmoor[7] is is a men's prison, located in Princetown, high on Dartmoor (show explanation ) in the English county of Devon.

Dartmoor[5] is a moorland district in Devon that was a royal forest in Saxon times, now a national park.

hide explanation

28a   National hero's repelled // slaughter (6)

The Grand National[5] is an annual horse race established in 1839, a steeplechase run over a course of 4 miles 856 yards (about 7,200 metres) with thirty jumps, at Aintree, Liverpool, in late March or early April. The race may be familiar as the setting for National Velvet[7], a 1944 film based on the 1935 novel of the same name by British author Enid Bagnold (1889-1981). The film stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and a young Elizabeth Taylor.

Red Rum[7] was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse who achieved an unmatched historic treble when he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and also came second in the two intervening years. The world-famous steeplechase is a notoriously difficult race that has been referred to as being "the ultimate test of a horse’s courage". The horse was renowned for his jumping ability, having not fallen in 100 races.


1d   Means /it's/ breaking the law (6)

After further consideration, I might slightly rephrase my hint from February as an anagram (breaking) of THE LAW and classifying "it's" as a link phrase.

2d   Limits /of/ some shorter miniskirts (7)

3d   Jaguar type // that's in the pound (5)

Ounce[5] is another term for snow leopard[5], a rare large cat (Panthera uncia) which has pale grey fur patterned with dark blotches and rings, living in the Altai mountains, Hindu Kush, and Himalayas.

The jaguar[5] is a large heavily built cat (Panthera onca) that has a yellowish-brown coat with black spots, found mainly in the dense forests of Central and South America.

Scratching the Surface
A pound[5] is a place where illegally parked motor vehicles removed by the police are kept until their owners pay a fine in order to reclaim them.

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) would seem to be no more a type of jaguar (Panthera onca) than it is a lion[5] (Panthera leo)  or tiger[5] (Panthera tigris). The setter obviously chose to use jaguar as it is also the name of a well-known luxury automobile.

5d   Female that follows rule and sits on money? (9)

Britannia[5] is the personification of Britain, usually depicted as a helmeted woman seated with a shield and trident. The figure appeared on Roman coins and was revived with the name Britannia on the coinage of Charles II (see Britannia: Depiction on British currency and postage stamps[7]).

"Rule, Britannia!"[7] is a British patriotic song, originating from the poem "Rule, Britannia" by James Thomson and set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740. It is strongly associated with the Royal Navy, but also used by the British Army.

6d   Unobtrusively // dealing with article supported by 'Question Time' (2,3,1,1)

On the q.t.[5] is an informal expression meaning secretly or secret ⇒ (i) Brenda nipped round on the q.t.: (ii) please, I beg you, regard this for the present as on the q.t.. [q.t. being an abbreviation of quiet]

Scratching the Surface
Question Time[7] is a topical debate BBC television programme in the United Kingdom. The show typically features politicians from at least the three major political parties as well as other public figures who answer pre-selected questions put to them by a carefully selected audience.

7d   Degree by which bank appears // just (6)

The wordplay parses as BA ([academic] degree) + (by which ... appears) RELY (bank).

8d   Artist who copies // Monet among others? (13)

Claude Monet[5] (1840–1926) was a French painter. A founder member of the impressionists, his fascination with the play of light on objects led him to produce series of paintings of single subjects painted at different times of the day and under different weather conditions, such as the Water-lilies sequence (1899–1906; 1916 onwards).

9d   A monolith? // Not Charlie Watts (8,5)

Charlie Watts[7] is an English drummer, best known as a member of the English rock band The Rolling Stones.

I interpreted the clue as merely a reference to the fact that Charlie Watts is a Rolling Stone rather than a standing stone. Thus my comment alluding to the proverb "a rolling stone gathers no moss"[5]. However, it was pointed out by Gazza in Comment #2 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog that Charlie Watts, being a drummer, is a sitting Stone, whereas the rest of the band are standing Stones.

Standing stone[5] is another term for menhir[5], a tall upright stone of a kind erected in prehistoric times in western Europe.

14d   Married but over // early freshness (3)

15d   Salami /is/ no peppier when cooked (9)

16d   Slip up, /using/ King Edward with ginger root (3)

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of King Edward is ER[5] — from the Latin Edwardus Rex.

Scratching the Surface
A King Edward[5] is an oval potato of a variety with a white skin mottled with red [named after King Edward VII].

18d   Bring back /or/ put away again (7)

19d   E /for/ Einstein? (7)

Albert Einstein[5] (1879–1955) was a German-born American theoretical physicist, founder of the special and general theories of relativity.

20d   Performers // cast or sacked (6)

As an anagram indicator, sack[5] is used in the chiefly historical sense of to plunder and destroy (a captured town or building).

21d   Could be footballer switching left to right /gets/ slightest of chances (6)

23d   Last word // to the French about what makes an impression (5)

In French, when the preposition à[8] (to) would otherwise precede le (the masculine singular form of the definite article), the combination is replaced by au (meaning 'to the').

Adieu[5] is a chiefly literary term that may be used (1) as an exclamation meaning goodbye or (2) as a noun meaning a goodbye ⇒ he whispered a fond adieu [from French: 'goodbye' or 'farewell'].
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

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