Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015 — DT 27819

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27819
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Petitjean (John Pidgeon)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27819]
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 has skipped DT 27818 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.


As expected, the National Post has skipped the puzzle that would have appeared yesterday had a paper been published. However, regular readers of this blog did not miss out as the skipped puzzle was posted here yesterday as a Bonus Puzzle..

I did find today's puzzle to be rather challenging — and needed to call in some electronic assistance to help mop up the southeast corner.

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   Quote work both contrary /and/ lyrical (6)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

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5a   Sweet // Delia ultimately did wrong stuffing prune (4,4)

Sweet[5] is British term for a small shaped piece of confectionery made with sugar ⇒ a bag of sweets. In North American parlance, sweets would be candy[5] a sweet would be a piece of candy.

Acid drop[5] is a British term for a kind of boiled sweet [candy] with a sharp taste.

Scratching the Surface
Delia Smith[7] is an English cook and television presenter [host], known for teaching basic cookery skills in a no-nonsense style. She is the UK's best-selling cookery author, with more than 21 million copies sold.

9a   Exercising swallows at // flying display (10)

10a   Stack // endless bricks (4)

11a   V&A library originally next to foyer -- a // blissful spot (8)

Although Kath tells us that it can be ignored, the "&" actually does factor into the parsing of the wordplay which is V + (&) A + L (library initially; initial letter of Library) + (next to) HALL (foyer) + A (from the clue).

In Scandinavian mythology, Valhalla[5] is a palace in which heroes killed in battle were believed to feast with Odin for eternity.

Scratching the Surface
The Victoria and Albert Museum[5] (abbreviation V & A) is a national museum of fine and applied art in South Kensington, London, created in 1852 and having collections principally of pictures, textiles, ceramics, and furniture.

12a   Spooner's brown horse passed // resting place (3,3)

A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

A day bed[1,2,4,10] or daybed[10,11] is a narrow bed, with a head piece and sometimes a foot piece and back, on which to recline during the day or a couch, especially of the 17th or 18th century, in the form of a chaise longue. Daybed[3,5,11] (or day bed[3]) is also a North American term for a couch that can be made up into a bed [presumably another name for a sofa bed].

13a   Assistant /gets/ Queen away from attacker -- twice (4)

"queen" = R (show explanation )

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

Thus Queen Elizabeth signs her name as 'Elizabeth R' as seen here on Canada's paint-stained constitution.

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15a   Present song lacks core // evidence of pedigree (8)

18a   Charlie is mainly sore wearing smalls /providing/ grip for legs (8)

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

Scratching the Surface
Smalls[5] is an informal British term for small items of clothing, especially underwear.

Given the mention of another member of the band in 17d, perhaps we have a reference in this clue to Charlie Watts[7], an English drummer, best known as a member of The Rolling Stones.

19a   Timothy and Rafe shedding pounds /in/ health resorts (4)

The solution was obvious from the definition even though the duo in the wordplay were unknown.

Timothy Spall[7] is an English actor and occasional presenter [television host]. He became a household name in the UK after appearing on British television in the 1983 comedy-drama series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Rafe Spall[7] is an English actor. He is best known for his roles in The Shadow Line, Pete versus Life, One Day, Anonymous, Prometheus, and Life of Pi. He is the son of Timothy Spall.

"pound" = L (show explanation )

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10].

The Chambers Dictionary defines the upper case L[1] as the abbreviation for pound sterling (usually written £) and the lower case l[1] as the abbreviation for pound weight (usually written lb) — both deriving from the Latin word libra.

In ancient Rome, the libra[5] was a unit of weight, equivalent to 12 ounces (0.34 kg). It was the forerunner of the pound.

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21a   Shy bridesmaid's content /to be/ cross (6)

23a   A rat and mice dissected -- /it's/ educational (8)

Cad[5,10] is a dated informal British term for a man who behaves dishonourably, especially towards a woman her adulterous cad of a husband.

In her review, Kath says "Unless I can’t count this is our one and only anagram today – and even this is only a partial anagram". Sorry, Kath. We've already encountered a second partial anagram at 5a.

25a   Fine due over // brawl (4)

"fine" = F (show explanation )

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead [a usage that Oxford Dictionaries surprisingly characterizes as British].

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26a   Cliff pursuing hit ideally // neither intellectual nor downmarket (10)

Brow[5] is used in the sense of the summit of a hill or pass ⇒ the cottages were built on the brow of a hill.

In cricket, middle[2] means to hit (the ball) with the middle of the bat, therefore to hit it firmly and accurately.

Middlebrow[5] is an adjective (often derogatory) used to describe something demanding, involving, or having only a moderate degree of intellectual application ⇒ middlebrow fiction.

Scratching the Surface

A comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog suggests that the surface reading of the clue may allude to British pop singer Cliff Richard[7], the third-top-selling singles artist in UK Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

27a   A time to regret initially pining over // lawyer (8)

In her review, Kath says "I think the last three letters which are reversed is a noun – I can’t make ‘pining’ into a noun – any better ideas anyone?". "Pining" is a gerund, a verb form that can be used as a noun.

28a   Harvesters may do this // run in the small hours (6)

"run" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

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2d   Musical compositions // are humourless in retrospect (5)

Po[1] is a shortened form of po-faced[2], a derogatory colloquial term used to describe someone wearing a disapproving or solemn expression.

3d   Ineffective /and/ also extremely tough? Not as much (9)

4d   Birthplace of rock? (6)

In her review, Kath says "I think this is a double definition. I could be missing something here." No, you are not missing anything. However, I needed to do a bit of research to convince myself of that.

As a noun, cradle[10] can mean a place where something originates or is nurtured during its early life the cradle of civilization.

As a verb, cradle[10] can mean to rock or place in or as if in a cradle; hold tenderly cradle a baby in one's arms.

5d   Some farming /can be/ brutal -- with onset of rain disrupting better half year (6,9)

Animal husbandry[5] is the science of breeding and caring for farm animals.

6d   Fashionable drinks by the sound of it -- // these could have an edge (8)

7d   Fanny Cradock's heart almost flipped /for/ Austen hero (5)

Fitzwilliam Darcy, generally referred to as Mr. Darcy[7], is one of the two central characters in English author Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. He is an archetype of the aloof romantic hero, and a romantic interest of Elizabeth Bennet, the novel's protagonist. Usually referred to only as "Mr. Darcy" or "Darcy" by characters and the narrator, his first name is mentioned twice in the novel.

Scratching the Surface
Phyllis Nan Sortain Pechey (1909–1994), better known as Fanny Cradock[7], was an English restaurant critic, television cook and writer frequently appearing on television, at cookery demonstrations and in print with Major Johnnie Cradock who played the part of a slightly bumbling husband.

Delving Deeper
Fanny Cradock came to the attention of the public in the postwar-utility years, trying to inspire the average housewife with an exotic approach to cooking. She famously worked in various ball-gowns without the customary cook’s apron, averring that women should feel cooking was easy and enjoyable, rather than messy and intimidating.

In her early anonymous role as a food critic, working with Major Cradock under the name of ‘Bon Viveur’, Fanny introduced the public to unusual dishes from France and Italy, popularising the pizza in England. She is also credited as the originator of the prawn cocktail. She and Johnny worked together on a touring cookery show, sponsored by the Gas Council, to show how gas could be used easily in the kitchen and, as their fame increased, Fanny's shows transferred to television, where she enjoyed 20 years of success.

In the course of her shows Fanny made frequent concessions to the economic realities of the era, suggesting cheaper alternatives which would be within reach of the housewife’s purse. The BBC published her recipes and suggestions for dinner-parties in a series of booklets, consolidating her reputation as the foremost celebrity chef of her day.

Fanny adopted a combative persona, with dramatic make-up and waspish comments to Major Cradock and her assistants, and would advise viewers, when showing them how to pierce a turkey with forks, to think of a neighbour they didn’t like. Her theatrical style was ripe for parodies, such as English comedy actress Betty Marsden's 'Fanny Haddock' radio-sketch on the BBC radio programme Beyond our Ken. It also led, at the height of her fame, to a spectacular crash-and-burn on the BBC television programme The Big Time, where Fanny disastrously brought her acid wit into play when dealing with housewife Gwen Troake (see The Gwen Troake incident[7]).

As a result of The Big Time incident, Fanny alienated the public, lost her contract with the BBC and became fair game for a drubbing by the media, which revealed that she and Major Cradock were not married. A brutal and insufficiently researched entry in the Dictionary of National Biography suggested that she embellished her surname as Primrose-Pechey, when it derived from her paternal grandfather John Thomas Primrose Pechey. Subsequent celebrity chefs have brought a sophistication to British cooking which was not a part of Fanny's repertoire, but have acknowledged her pioneering work, when purple piped potato brought excitement to a Britain of liver and bacon suppers.

8d   Band /of/ men with revolutionary talents on the rise (9)

"men" = OR (show explanation )

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

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Che Guevara[7] (1928–1967) was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

14d   A longing to travel /given/ ticklish verbal undertaking (5,4)

16d   Tony Hancock's sidekick, returned MP? // Pull the other leg (or both) (9)

I used to watch Hancock's Half Hour but I had forgotten that his sidekick was none other than Sid James.

Tony Hancock[7] (1924–1968) was an English comedian and actor. Popular during the 1950s and early 1960s, he had a major success with his BBC series Hancock's Half Hour, first on radio from 1954, then on television from 1956, in which he soon formed a strong professional and personal bond with comic actor Sid James.

The solution means to very literally pull a leg (or two).

17d   Expression of surprise in the wake of 'Rolling Stone Ron's // outdoor type!' (8)

Ronnie Wood[7] is an English rock musician, singer, songwriter, artist and radio personality best known as a member of The Rolling Stones since 1975, as well as a member of the Faces and former member of the Jeff Beck Group.

20d   One must be soft in the head to play the xylophone (6)

I thought that one played the xylophone with hammers. However, it turns out that they are actually known as mallets.

Do xylophone mallets have soft heads? Some comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog would suggest that to be the case. However, according to Wikipedia, "Xylophones[7] should be played with very hard rubber, polyball, or acrylic mallets. Sometimes medium to hard rubber mallets, very hard core, or yarn mallets are used for softer effects. Lighter tones can be created on xylophones by using wooden-headed mallets made from rosewood, ebony, birch, or other hard woods."

22d   Right how-d'ye-do now and then // where western types compete (5)

24d   Characters presented by critic on silent // pictures (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

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