Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015 — DT 27758

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27758
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27758]
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


For the second day in a row, we get a puzzle that is both relatively easy and fairly light on British content.

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   Women carrying weapons // got more affectionate (6)

5a   Deer's popular -- /what's/ the ammunition? (8)

9a   Bad result -- shooter // calls the shots (5,3,5)

10a   A beer a radio operator sent back /for/ prince (8)

"beer" = JAR (show explanation )

Jar[5] is an informal British term for a glass of beer ⇒ let’s have a jar.

hide explanation

"radio operator" = HAM (show explanation )

Ham[5] (also radio ham) is an informal term for an amateur radio operator.

hide explanation

Maharaja[5] (also maharajah) is a historical term for an Indian prince.

11a   East of Libya, more rational to retreat /in/ battlegrounds (6)

12a   Mark/'s/ letter from Greece welcoming Turkish leader (6)

Sigma[5] is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Σ, σ).

14a   Finds fault with // fools eating cream (3-5)

Nit[5] is an informal British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

16a   Dated // only first of three during service award (8)

OBE[5] is the abbreviation for Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Delving Deeper
The Order of the British Empire[5] is an order of knighthood instituted in 1917 and divided into five classes, each with military and civilian divisions. The classes are: Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE), Knight or Dame Commander (KBE/DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE). The two highest classes entail the awarding of a knighthood.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire[7] is the "order of chivalry of British democracy", rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations and public service outside the Civil Service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V, and comprises five classes, in civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male, or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Appointments to the Order of the British Empire were at first made on the nomination of the self-governing Dominions of the Empire, the Viceroy of India, and the colonial governors, as well as on nominations from within the United Kingdom. As the Empire evolved into the Commonwealth, nominations continued to come from the Commonwealth realms, in which the monarch remained head of state. These overseas nominations have been discontinued in realms which have established their own Orders, such as the Order of Australia, the Order of Canada, and the New Zealand Order of Merit, but members of the Order are still appointed in the British Overseas Territories.

19a   Jokingly said // 'Swallow' (6)

21a   Plant // stand put on front of terrace (6)

Teasel[5] (also teazle or teazel) is any of several species of tall prickly Eurasian plant of the genus Dipsacus with spiny purple flower heads.

23a   Breeding // exercises understand about energy (8)

"exercises" = PE (show explanation )

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education (or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days). 

hide explanation

"energy" = E (show explanation )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy

hide explanation

25a   Inquiry /as/ it is no vintage brew (13)

26a   Islanders // run wild with son after noisy drink (8)

I thought the use of "noisy" as a homophone indicator to be rather inspired.

27a   Tries, // for example, wearing less, with no top (6)


2d   Rates adjusted after sailor /gets/ up-to-date (7)

"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

3d   Whisky area /and/ island (5)

Malt[5] is short for malt whisky.

Malta[5] is an island country in the central Mediterranean, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Sicily; population 405,200 (est. 2009); official languages, Maltese and English; capital, Valletta.

Delving Deeper
Historically of great strategic importance, Malta has been held in turn by invaders including the Greeks, Arabs, Normans, and Knights Hospitaller. It was annexed by Britain in 1814 and was an important naval base until independence within the Commonwealth in 1964. Besides Malta itself, the country includes two other inhabited islands, Gozo and Comino.

4d   Slight // anger follows reprogramming of iPads (9)

5d   Island that must have a hotel in mind? (7)

"hotel" = H (show explanation )

Hotel[5] is a code word representing the letter H, used in radio communication.

hide explanation

Bahrain[5] is a sheikhdom consisting of a group of islands in the Persian Gulf; population 728,700 (est. 2009); official language, Arabic; capital, Manama.

Delving Deeper
Ruled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and the Persians in the 17th century, the islands became a British protectorate in 1861 and gained independence in 1971. Bahrain’s economy is dependent on the refining and export of oil.

6d   Unusual item's last to go for a // court in the Vatican (5)

The Curia[5] is the papal court at the Vatican, by which the Roman Catholic Church is governed. It comprises various Congregations, Tribunals, and other commissions and departments.

7d   Criminal whose gang /is/ getting clean (9)

8d   Part of Australia // unpopular with defender (7)

A back[5] is a player in a team game who plays in a defensive position behind the forwards ⇒ their backs showed some impressive running and passing.

The outback[5] is the remote and usually uninhabited inland districts of Australia.

13d   Hardly mention // what an undercoat may need (5,4)

An undercoat[5] is a layer of paint applied after the primer and before the topcoat ⇒ the woodwork was primed and had two undercoats.

The top layer might be a gloss — or a semi-gloss, or a matte, or an eggshell, or ...

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading is likely intended to evoke undercoat[10] in the sense of a coat worn under an overcoat.

It almost certainly does not refer to a treatment applied to the bottom of an automobile as that is known as an underseal[10] in the UK.

15d   Badly hit trader /is/ not very good (5-4)

17d   Terrible verbosity -- not so! Quite the opposite (7)

This is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue in which the entire clue constitutes the definition while the portion with the dashed underline doubles as wordplay.

18d   Bottles // links supporting European politician (7)

"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In many Commonwealth countries (including Britain and Canada), a member of the House of Commons or similar legislative body is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (or MP[5] for short).

hide explanation

Empty[10] is an informal term for a bottle or glass left empty of its contents ⇒ the barman collected the empties.

20d   How the man at the back speaks? (7)

22d   Girl seen on Circle // line? (5)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading suggests the Circle line[7], a London Underground [subway] service. At one time, the line formed a closed loop around the centre of London on the north side of the River Thames. However with the opening of an extension to Hammersmith in December 2009, the line assumed a spiral shape.

24d   Middle of night, prison sent up // breakfast for American (5)

Stir[5] is an informal term for prison [on both sides of the Atlantic] ⇒ I’ve spent twenty-eight years in stir.

Grits is a US term for:
  1. a dish of coarsely ground maize [corn] kernels boiled with water or milk; or
  2. the coarsely ground maize [corn] kernels used to make this dish.
Delving Deeper
Grits[7] refers to a ground-corn food of Native American origin that is common in the Southern United States and eaten mainly at breakfast. Modern grits are commonly made of alkali-treated corn known as hominy.

Grits are similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world such as polenta.
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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