Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015 — DT 27820

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27820
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, June 5, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27820]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


It is a rather gentle offering from Giovanni today. As you may gather from the chatter on Big Dave's blog, Don Manley (otherwise known as Giovanni) celebrated a birthday earlier in the week that this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph. It seems he was not alone as mention is made of several other birthdays as well.

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   Male champion has to stand before monarch /as/ ceremonial officer (4-6)

"monarch" = ER (show explanation )

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 Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation 

A mace bearer[5] (or mace-bearer[1] or macebearer[2,10] ) is an official who walks before a dignitary on ceremonial occasions, carrying a mace that represents the dignitary’s authority ⇒ her husband acted as mace bearer for the mayor.

6a   Image // I would love -- new one in car? (4)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation 

"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 

10a   Line at start of famous poem about returning // prisoner (5)

"If—"[7] is a poem by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), written in 1895 and first published in Rewards and Fairies, 1910. The poem begins:
If you can keep your head when all about you
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;
11a   Superior // school form (4-5)

In Britain, a form[5] is a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. Thus the fifth form would be the British linguistic counterpart (although not the academic equivalent) of the fifth grade in North America and Form One would be akin to saying Grade One.  (show more )

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower. The sixth form is the senior form of a school, and is usually divided into two year groups: the lower sixth and upper sixth. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms.


12a   'Cheap' accommodation // almost exorbitant? Then show anger (8)

Steerage[5] is a historical term denoting the part of a ship providing the cheapest accommodation for passengers ⇒ poor emigrants in steerage.

13a   Remove something potentially harmful /from/ part of lunar module (5)

15a   Assembled group // dismissed after performance (7)

The first segment of the wordplay may work even in a non-cricket context. Nevertheless, the Brits see cricket behind every stump.

In cricket, dismiss[5] means to end the innings of (a batsman or a side [team]) ⇒ Australia were dismissed for 118.

In cricket and baseball, out means no longer batting or at bat; having had one’s innings or at bat ended by the fielding side ⇒ England were all out for 159.

In cricket, innings[5] (plural same or informally inningses) denotes:
  1. each of two or four divisions of a game during which one side has a turn at batting ⇒ the highlight of the Surrey innings; or
  2. a player’s turn at batting ⇒ he had played his greatest innings; or
  3. the score achieved during a player’s turn at batting ⇒ a solid innings of 78 by Marsh.
In the first sense, the term innings (spelled with an 's') would correspond somewhat to an inning (spelled without an 's') in baseball while the second sense would be roughly equivalent to an at bat in baseball.

A turn[5] is a short performance, especially one of a number given by different performers in succession ⇒ (i) Lewis gave her best ever comic turn; (ii) he was asked to do a turn at a children’s party.

17a   Creature // in hold knocked out, keeping quiet (7)

"quiet" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

19a   Take food in home that's comfortable /and/ with the least clutter (7)

21a   Settlement // apt to be tricky with unknown fellows invading (7)

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

22a   Clean up // some of the Aussie territory? (5)

24a   Bottle with petrol in US /may be used as/ weapon (5,3)

Bottle[5] is an informal British term denoting the courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous ⇒ I lost my bottle completely and ran.

From a British perspective, gasoline[5] (also gasolene) is the North American term for petrol.

27a   Impractical types /having/ notion to join combat (9)

Lists[1] is defined by The Chambers Dictionary as meaning the boundary of a jousting-ground or similar area, hence the ground itself, combat. Based on my research, this latter meaning ("combat") would appear to be unique to The Chambers Dictionary. However, possibly the definition merely alludes to the phrase enter the lists[10] which means to engage in combat.

28a   Mountain leader // good on Ben Nevis taking English? (5)

Ben Nevis[5] is a mountain in western Scotland. Rising to 1,343 m (4,406 ft), it is the highest mountain in the British Isles.

 Guid[5] is a Scottish form of good.

29a   Young lady // in glasses (4)

30a   Great Dane's fouled up // item of outdoor furniture (6,4)


1d   Factory /with/ a thousand unable to work? (4)

2d   Cold fare I ate -- horrible // restaurant (9)

3d   Boat // Inn starts to get expensive (5)

4d   Essentially // a threat to be averted (2,5)

5d   Intellectual, // say -- good person to lead school? (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

In Britain, head[5] is short for headmaster[5] (a man who is the head teacher in a school), headmistress[5] (a woman who is the head teacher in a school), or head teacher[5] (the teacher in charge of a school).

7d   Tot and adult /creating/ form of entertainment (5)

The A (Adult) certificate is a former film certificate[7] issued by the British Board of Film Classification. This certificate existed in various forms from 1912 to 1985, when it was replaced by the PG (Parental Guidance) certificate. [Despite its demise in the real world, it continues to find widespread use in Crosswordland.]

8d   Nasty team insult // just before the final whistle? (4-6)

9d   Performance needs superior accomplice, // in fact (8)

"superior" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

14d   Stop /in/ one street and another? I will (10)

16d   Excessively adventurous // series of deliveries completed, we hear (8)

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

In cricket, bowl[5] means (for a bowler) to propel (the ball) with a straight arm towards the batsman, typically in such a way that the ball bounces once.

Thus OVERBOLD (excessively adventurous) sounds like (we hear) the phrase "over bowled" which would signify that a series of six deliveries has been completed.

18d   Source of iron? // Unfortunately, I hate meat (9)

Haematite[5] (US hematite) is a reddish-black mineral consisting of ferric oxide. It is an important ore of iron.

20d   Mad aunt is entertaining this writer /in/ the country (7)

"this writer" = I (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the) compiler, (the) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation

Tunisia[5] is a country in North Africa; population 10,486,300 (est. 2009); official language, Arabic; capital, Tunis.

21d   Studied // 'Introduction to Plato' with hesitation? Not new! (7)

Scratching the Surface
Plato[5] (circa 429-circa 347 BC) was a Greek philosopher.

23d   More than one revolutionary, having got rid of British, // dances (5)

25d   Scottish location // excited Nigel (5)

Elgin[5] is a former cathedral city and Royal Burgh in Moray, Scotland.

26d   Fellow /offers/ some amusing entertainment (4)
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. Re 15a. Indeed they do. Chambers includes this definition for "stump": any of the three thin vertical wooden posts that form the wicket.

    1. I initially wrote wrote "tree" -- but "stump" was just too tempting to pass up!