Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015 — DT 27726 (Bonus Puzzle)


The National Post may be publishing on a reduced schedule for the summer. However, that doesn't mean you have to break your Monday puzzle habit. Here is DT 27726, the second of two puzzles that the National Post skipped on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.

This concludes the series of Summer Bonus Puzzles as the National Post returns to its normal production schedule next week. I hope you have enjoyed them.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27726
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, February 16, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27726]
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 skipped this puzzle on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.
When Miffypops is blogging, consider the Difficulty and Enjoyment ratings shown on Big Dave's Crossword Blog to be meaningless as he has confided on more than one occasion — such as this response to Comment #38 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog of February, 10 2015 — that he does not adjust these ratings from the default values appearing in the blog template.


I would say that the 3-star difficulty rating shown on Big Dave's Crossword Blog for today's puzzle is spot on. However, this comes about through good fortune rather than good management as Miffypops has advised us that he does not adjust the ratings from the default values appearing in the blog template.

Today, on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, you will see a discussion of the merits of two forms of rugby football — rugby union and rugby league. Perhaps it would be more accurate to rephrase that and say that the discussion concerns the merits of rugby union and the lack of merit of rugby league. Rugby union[10] is a form of rugby football played between teams of 15 players, while rugby league[5] is played by teams of thirteen.

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   Asian // navies meet at sea (10)

6a   Important people will turn /to/ a shady character (4)

Spiv[5] is an informal British term for a man, typically a flashy dresser, who makes a living by disreputable dealings.

What is he talking about?
In his review, Miffypops comments — with respect to the solution to the clue — that Private Walker (The Late Jimmy Beck) of Dad’s Army springs to mind.
Dad's Army[7] is a television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War which was broadcast on BBC television from 1968 to 1977. The series regularly gained audiences of 18 million viewers and is still repeated worldwide.

The Home Guard consisted of local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, either owing to age or by being in professions that were exempt from conscription. Dad's Army deals almost exclusively with the former, and as such the series mainly featured older British actors. Among relative youngsters in the regular cast was James Beck (who died suddenly during production of the programme's sixth season in 1973).

Beck plays the role of Private Joe Walker, a black market spiv. The Cockney Walker was the only fit, able-bodied man of military age in Walmington-on-Sea's Home Guard. He was discharged from the regular armed forces because of an allergy to corned beef.

In 2004, Dad's Army was voted into fourth place in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom. It had been placed 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 and voted for by industry professionals. The series has influenced popular culture in the United Kingdom, with the series' catchphrases and characters being well known. It highlighted a forgotten aspect of defence during the Second World War.

10a   Insertion of data /is/ not out of place (5)

11a   Even the short-sighted could plainly see that it was dangerous (4,5)

12a   Policy that's uncompromising /is/ almost a shame (4,4)

Hard lines[5] (or hard luck) is an informal British expression used to express sympathy or commiserations.

13a   Worth // millions, weary, needing to retire (5)

15a   Forced to seek a new occupation (7)

17a   One who treats wounds -- /in/ the chest? (7)

This clue would seemingly work better on this side of the pond.

In the UK, a dresser[5] is not a chest of drawers as it is in North America. Rather, it is a sideboard (show explanation ) with shelves above for storing and displaying plates and kitchen utensils.

A sideboard[5] is a flat-topped piece of furniture with cupboards and drawers, used for storing crockery, glasses, and table linen.

hide explanation

A Welsh dresser[5] [mentioned by Miffypops in his review] is a British term for a piece of wooden furniture with cupboards and drawers in the lower part and open shelves in the upper part. Thus, it would appear to be merely another name for a dresser — or, perhaps, dresser is merely a shortened version of Welsh dresser.

19a   Individual with sour disposition /that is/ hard to bear (7)

21a   Unusually, I earn it /in/ doing nothing (7)

22a   Girl has half-hour /in/ a state (5)

24a   Two girls // that could be useful in the kitchen (8)

As I see it, "Two girls" is wordplay, not part of the definition.

27a   Calm /and/ painless death (4-5)

The latter part of the clue cannot be a definition as the numeration is incorrect. "Painless death" is obtained by splitting the solution (4,5).

28a   Understand /it is/ a number less than ten (5)

Again, not a double definition in my books.

29a   First showing of estate agent/'s/ notice (4)

30a   Fan /of/ sickness benefit? (10)

This clue, I would say, is a double definition. The question mark indicates that the latter definition is a bit on the tenuous side. The solution certainly can be of benefit to the sick — but I wouldn't think of it as a benefit of being sick.


1d   One in leading position /is/ full of himself (4)

2d   Note hip seams split by // stress (9)

My first thought was that split is a rather questionable choice for an anagram indicator. However, come to think of it, something could split into eight parts.

3d   Well-known /to have/ made a record (5)

4d   The male sort -- it includes females as well (7)

I would say that this is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue. The entire clue is the definition while the initial part of the clue (shown with a dashed underline) also provides the wordplay.

5d   Main plant // producing wonder in children (7)

The main[5] is an archaic or literary term for the open ocean.

7d   Former // holy man (5)

A prior[5] is the male head of a house or group of houses of certain religious orders, in particular the man next in rank below an abbot or the head of a house of friars.

8d   A number are eating fresh // vegetables and fruit (10)

Like Miffypops, I initially presumed that this must be a semi-&lit (semi-all-in-one) clue. However, as was the case with a number of visitors to Big Dave's Crossword Blog — including pommers at Comment #40 and vancouverbc at Comment #41 — a closer examination caused me to question that conclusion. The definition must be either a noun or an adjective — and the entire clue clearly cannot define an adjective. On the other hand, if the entire clue were meant to define a noun, then the solution would have to be plural, VEGETARIANS (from "are eating").

I have therefore concluded that the definition must be "vegetables and fruit" used as an adjective as in "a vegetables and fruit diet".

Terms such as "a number", "a large number", "many" or "a great many" are often used in cryptic crosswords as indicators that a Roman numeral is required.

The wordplay is V (a number; a Roman numeral) + an anagram (fresh) of ARE EATING.

9d   Trampled on Oriental /in/ mad rush (8)

"Oriental" = E (show explanation )

This is an indirect abbreviation. Oriental[10] is another word for eastern (abbreviation E[5]). Indirect anagrams are not permitted in puzzles, but apparently indirect abbreviations are fair game.

hide explanation

14d   This old boneshaker, // strangely loved piece (10)

The velocipede[5] was an early form of bicycle propelled by working pedals on cranks fitted to the front axle.

16d   Complete, // from start to finish, hiding nothing (8)

18d   Gels put on one side /for/ repairs (4,5)

20d   Start of court proceedings (7)

Whether on the tennis courts or in the law courts, proceedings start with a service. In the latter case, the service of a summons or subpoena.

21d   It's reported to stimulate // comprehension (7)

23d   A bluff upstanding moral story-teller (5)

Aesop[5] (6th century BC) was a Greek storyteller. The moral animal fables associated with him were probably collected from many sources, and initially communicated orally. Aesop is said to have lived as a slave on the island of Samos.

25d   Decoration // badly made by learner (5)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

26d   Produce disorder, // wake up /in/ prison (4)

Stir[5] is an informal term for prison [on both sides of the Atlantic] ⇒ I’ve spent twenty-eight years in stir.
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. A puzzle like this shows me that, cryptics-wise, I still belong in the kiddie pool. I found it very difficult and was happy to get as far as I did. No idea on 8D ("number"), 9D ("Oriental"), or 13A; didn't understand the cryptic part of clues for 10A, 12A, 30A or 20D. Biggest moment of delight: getting 11A. Thanks for posting this - very enjoyable brain-racking.

    1. Practice makes perfect. And it is the difficult exercises that provide the biggest benefit in perfecting one's technique.

    2. I have expanded my explanation of 8d.

      As I said originally, I believe the definition to be "vegetables and fruit" used as an adjective as in "a vegetables and fruit diet".

      Terms such as "a number", "a large number", "many" or "a great many" are often used in cryptic crosswords as indicators that a Roman numeral is required.

      Therefore, the wordplay is V (a number; a Roman numeral) + an anagram (fresh) of ARE EATING.

    3. Carola,

      I am guessing that you usually do only the Saturday Cox and Rathvon puzzles. I trust that you followed the link to Miffypops' review of the puzzle on Big Dave's Crossword Blog and found answers to your questions there. If you still need clarification on some points, don't hesitate to ask. The Monday to Saturday puzzles in the National Post are British puzzles that originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph in the UK. Not only do they include a lot of British expressions and references but the level of difficulty is definitely a notch or two above that of a Cox and Rathvon puzzle.

    4. Thank you, Falcon. Yes, I usually do only the Saturday cryptics that you post as well as the occasional cryptic in the Sunday New York Times and the Saturday Wall Street Journal ("variety" cryptics by Cox and Rathvon). I did read Miffypops' review and appreciated the explanations. It's fun to have a go at the British puzzles, even though I don't know many of the conventions. I did remember the L for "learner" this time, after "student" appeared in the last bonus puzzle (another enjoyable crusher).