Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015 — DT 27827

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27827
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Cephas (Peter Chamberlain) [suggested by gnomethang]
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27827 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27827 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (Review)
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
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


Today's puzzle is about what one would expect to see in a "Saturday" puzzle.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

A Note on Oxford Dictionaries Links

Regular readers have likely noticed that I rely heavily on Oxford Dictionaries as the source of definitions on the blog. For every definition that I use, I provide a link to the website where I obtained the information (with the exception of The Chambers Dictionary, where the definitions come from my hardcopy edition). If you have tried to follow links to the Oxford Dictionaries website you may also have discovered that these links frequently produce unpredictable results.

I regret to report that Oxford Dictionaries has yet again demonstrated its utter technical incompetence at running a website. However, let's back up and review some of their past actions.

First they introduced a new method of labelling entries, in the process causing many — if not all — existing links to their website to become broken.

As if that were not enough, they then altered the new labels (decrementing the numerical value of many by one), thereby causing many newly created links to be directed to incorrect entries.

Now they have made yet another change. As originally implemented, some labels in the new system contained capital letters. In fact, there would be pairs of labels that were identical except for the fact that one label was all lower case and one started with an upper case letter. I have noticed that this was an issue for certain browsers which seem not to differentiate between upper and lower case in such labels. So the solution of the geniuses at Oxford Dictionaries appears to have been to make everything lower case. But remember that I said that some labels were identical except that one contained an upper case letter. By simply converting all upper case characters to lower case, now many labels are identical to other labels and clicking on their link will direct one to an incorrect entry.

For example, click on the link for the city of Nice[5] in today's blog and you will will be told that it means "giving pleasure or satisfaction ...". And it is not just links on my blog that don't function correctly, the internal links on the Oxford Dictionaries website are similarly broken.

I presume that good folks in Oxford will eventually wake up and discover that they have a problem and mount yet another corrective action. And I fully expect it to be an even bigger cockup.

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   An Italian school/'s/ language (8)

I should have trusted my instincts. Having actually come up with the correct solution, I discounted it when I did not find it listed by Oxford Dictionaries.

Romansch[10] (or Romansh) is a group of Rhaetian dialects spoken in the Swiss canton of Graubünden; an official language of Switzerland since 1938.

Oxford Dictionaries provides a different spelling. Romansh[5] (also Rumansh) is the Rhaeto-Romance language spoken in the Swiss canton of Grisons [the French name for Graubünden] by fewer than 30,000 people. It has several dialects, and is an official language of Switzerland.

The Chambers Dictionary attempts to cover all bases — and then some — proving the following spellings: Romansch, Romansh, Roumansch, Rumansch, or Rumonsch. Despite this valiant effort, it still manages to overlook one of the spellings provided by Oxford Dictionaries.

6a   He is in finest // order (6)

9a   Servant // wearing short skirt (6)

10a   Ministerial // rites arranged in travel regularly (8)

11a   Curiosity /to make/ a capital return (8)

12a   To a great degree /or/ just that amount? (2,4)

13a   Nice views might be seen through it (6,6)

Nice[5] is a resort city on the French Riviera, near the border with Italy; population 348,721 (2007).

16a   Low-key, // although it needs two pianos (6-6)

"piano" = softly (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Softly-softly[5] is a British term meaning cautious and patient ⇒ he urged the president to use a softly-softly approach to the crisis.

19a   Made an impression as an artist (6)

21a   Suppress // the endless nonsense and let loose (8)

23a   Without first ingredient, mismanage dissolving // powder (8)

Magnesia[5] is hydrated magnesium carbonate used as an antacid and laxative.

24a   Stampede // over long grass (6)

I attribute my shortfall here, in part, to becoming fixated on another four-letter grass beginning with R.

25a   Agent accepts shelter /when/ tired (6)

26a   One's tied up with drip // that's not welcome in garden (8)

Drip[5] is an informal term for a weak and ineffectual person ⇒ I hope that drip isn’t still pursuing you.

Weed[5] is an informal British term for a contemptibly feeble person ⇒ he thought party games were for weeds and wets.

Wet[5] is an informal British term for a person lacking forcefulness or strength of character ⇒ there are sorts who look like gangsters and sorts who look like wets.

Delving Deeper
In British political circles, the name wet[5] is applied to a Conservative with liberal tendencies ⇒ the wets favoured a change in economic policy. It was a term frequently used by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for those to the left of her in the British Conservative Party [which must have been just about everyone].

Knotweed[5] is any of several species, in particular Japanese knotweed, of the dock family, which typically has sheaths where the leaves join the stems and is often an invasive weed.


2d   Gold book that is getting bound /in/ the East (6)

Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

The New Testament[5] (abbreviation NT[5]) is the second part of the Christian Bible.

3d   Celia's new // name (5)

4d   Seeing that bank // showing honesty (9)

5d   That man Patrick in charge of // livery (7)

"in charge" = IC (show explanation )

The abbreviation i/c[5] can be short for either
  1. (especially in military contexts) in charge of ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations; or
  2. in command ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
hide explanation

Livery[10] means of or resembling liver.

Hepatic[5] means relating to the liver ⇒ right and left hepatic ducts.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, livery[5] refers to a special uniform worn by a servant, an official, or a member of a City Company ⇒ (i) yeomen of the guard wearing a royal red and gold livery; (ii) pageboys in scarlet and green livery.

6d   Composer/'s/ perfect joy (5)

Sir Arthur Bliss[5] (1891–1975) was an English composer. He moved from the influence of Stravinsky, in works such as A Colour Symphony (1922), to a rich style closer to Elgar, as in his choral symphony Morning Heroes (1930).

7d   Silence is golden when this is paid? (4,5)

8d   One chooses // to remove corselet (8)

As an anagram indicator, remove[5] [or remove to] is used in the dated sense of to change one’s home or place of residence by moving to (another place) he removed to Wales and began afresh.

Scratching the Surface
A corselet[5] is:
  1. (historical) a piece of armour covering the trunk; or
  2. a variant spelling of corselette, a woman’s foundation garment combining corset and bra.

13d   Conversely it means there is only a slim hope (3,6)

14d   Confounded tar we found before swimming pool // game (5,4)

Scratching the Surface
Tar[5] is an informal, dated term for a sailor. The term, which dates from the 17th century, is perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, which was also used as a nickname for a sailor at that time.

15d   Jumbo might leave this // cold on track! (8)

Contrail[5] is a chiefly North American alternative term for vapour trail.

17d   Where return ticket takes one // somewhere in Australia (7)

The outback[5] is a term that specifically refers to the remote and usually uninhabited inland districts of Australia ⇒ a two-week tour of the outback; or, more generally, outback denotes any remote or sparsely populated inland region ⇒ the outback of Ontario. [I can't say that I've ever heard the term applied to Ontario other than by Oxford Dictionaries.]

18d   Cathedral with diocese /and/ building in Paris (6)

The Diocese of Ely[7] is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury, headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in the city of Ely.

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

20d   Swedish youngster, partly // attractive (5)

Dishy[5] is an informal, chiefly British term meaning (of a man) sexually attractive.

22d   Flung // from end to end as reported (5)
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 comment:

  1. Fortunately, your extensive knowledge of ladies' lingerie and British cathedral cities means you needn't rely on Oxford Dictionaries for assistance. The rest of us are lost in the murk.