Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 — DT 27817

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27817
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27817]
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


I completed this puzzle over the course of several solving sessions — which may largely explain my failure to recognize it as a pangram (a puzzle whose solution contains at least one instance of every letter of the alphabet).

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

Error in Today's Puzzle

As Richard has pointed out in his comment below, there is a misprint in clue 24d in the National Post. The correct clue is:

  • 24d   Fellow judge and I touring independent country (4)
rather than the way it appears in today's paper:
  • 24d   Fellow judge and I touring in dependent country (4)

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.


7a   First name for Arnold/'s/ proclamation on Scottish peak (8)

Benedict Arnold[5] (1741–1801) was an American general and traitor. During the American Revolution, he was instrumental, with Ethan Allan, in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga but later planned to betray West Point to the British. He fled behind British lines and lived the rest of his life in Britain. His name became synonymous with ‘traitor’.

Ben[5] (used especially in place names) is Scottish for a high mountain or mountain peak ⇒ Ben Nevis. 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.

9a   Tigress /in/ river? (6)

The Amazon[5] is a river in South America, flowing over 6,683 km (4,150 miles) through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil into the Atlantic Ocean. It drains two fifths of the continent and in terms of water flow it is the largest river in the world.

The river bore various names after it was first encountered by Europeans in 1500 and was finally called Amazon after a legendary race of female warriors believed to live on its banks.

An Amazon[5] is a member of a legendary race of female warriors believed by the ancient Greeks to exist in Scythia (show explanation ) or elsewhere on the edge of the known world.

Scythia[5] was an ancient region of southeastern Europe and Asia. The Scythian empire, which existed between the 8th and 2nd centuries BC, was centred on the northern shores of the Black Sea and extended from southern Russia to the borders of Persia.

hide explanation

The word Amazon was explained by the Greeks as 'without a breast' (as if from a- 'without' + mazos 'breast'), referring to the fable that the Amazons cut off the right breast so as not to interfere with the use of a bow, but probably a folk etymology of an unknown foreign word.

10a   Make a mistake /getting/ backing of students (4,2)

11a   Avoid, therefore, winning // film (4,4)

Duck Soup[7] is a 1933 comedy film starring what were then billed as the "Four Marx Brothers" (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo).

Delving Deeper
Duck Soup was the last Marx Brothers film to feature Zeppo, and the last of five Marx Brothers movies released by Paramount Pictures.

While contemporaneous critics of Duck Soup felt it did not quite meet the standards of its predecessors, critical opinion has evolved and the film has since achieved the status of a classic. Duck Soup is now widely considered among critics to be a masterpiece, and the Marx Brothers' finest film.

12a   Article penned by blues musician, // to make things more confusing (5,3,6)

Muddy Waters[5] (1915–1983) was an American blues singer and guitarist; born McKinley Morganfield. Waters impressed new rhythm-and-blues bands such as the Rolling Stones, who took their name from his 1950 song.

15a   Horse circling male // groom (4)

A cob[5] is a powerfully built, short-legged horse ⇒ he’s got a nice young bay cob if you want to hack [where hack[10] is a British term meaning to ride (a horse) cross-country for pleasure].

17a   Stubborn // son spat (5)

19a   Helpful hint about river // excursion (4)

20a   Problems ahead for company that makes beer? (7,7)

This is a cryptic definition of the type which is made up of a straight definition ("problems ahead") combined with a bit of cryptic elaboration (the portion of the clue marked with a dashed underline).

23a   Complete // game of golf away (5,3)

Round off[5] means to complete something in a satisfying or suitable way ⇒ a pint at the pub will round off the day nicely.

25a   Organ at the side of hot // fireplace (6)

27a   Got into // English poet, foremost of Dadaists (6)

John Donne[5] (1572–1631) was an English poet and preacher. A metaphysical poet, he is most famous for his Satires and Elegies (circa 1590-9) and his love poems. He also wrote religious poems and, as dean of St Paul’s from 1621, was one of the most celebrated preachers of his age.

Scratching the Surface
Dada[5] was an early 20th-century movement in art, literature, music, and film, repudiating and mocking artistic and social conventions and emphasizing the illogical and absurd.

Dada was launched in Zurich in 1916 by Tristan Tzara and others, soon merging with a similar group in New York. It favoured montage, collage, and the ready-made. Leading figures: Jean Arp, André Breton, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp.

28a   Garment // bound to fit (8)


1d   Screen /showing/ part of festive illuminations (4)

2d   Remote, perhaps // essential, placed on cushion (6)

3d   Examine clipped // earring (4)

4d   Intrigued, not half, over a // panel (6)

5d   Knock male in group /with/ criminal record (3,5)

Rap sheet[5] is an informal North American term for a criminal record ⇒ he had not joined a gang or acquired a rap sheet.

Its counterpart across the pond might be form[5], an informal British term for a criminal record ⇒ they both had form.

6d   Small number to interrogate? // Undoubtedly (2,8)

8d   Representative put in cracking suite, /as/ an incentive (7)

In Britain (as in Canada), a member of the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (or MP[5] for short).

13d   Bridge player, old, in duo trained by // eccentric (10)

In the card game bridge, North[5] and South[5] comprise one partnership and play against East[5] and West[5] who form the other partnership.

14d   Pick /of/ the Spanish, Italian, and English (5)

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

"Italian" = IT (show explanation )

This clueing can be explained in a couple of ways:
  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italian or Italy.

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is an informal, dated British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.
hide explanation

16d   Bishop having argument about Northern // poet (8)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

Robert Browning[5] (1812–1889) was an English poet. In 1842 he established his name with Dramatic Lyrics, containing ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ and ‘My Last Duchess’.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning[5] (1806–1861) was an English poet; born Elizabeth Barrett. She established her reputation with Poems (1844). In 1846 she eloped to Italy with Robert Browning.

18d   Get on with poor actor /in/ Hants town (7)

Hants[5] is the abbreviation for Hampshire[5], a county on the coast of southern England; county town, Winchester.

Fareham[7] is a market town at the north-west tip of Portsmouth Harbour, between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton in the south east of Hampshire, England. It gives its name to the borough that comprises the town and its surrounding area. It was historically an important manufacturer of bricks (notably used to build the Royal Albert Hall, London) and a grower of strawberries.

21d   Meditative, // family close to bankruptcy (6)

22d   Swears, cooking // fish (6)

The wrasse[5] is any of numerous species of marine fish with thick lips and strong teeth, typically brightly coloured with marked differences between the male and female.

24d   Fellow judge and I touring independent // country (4)

"fellow" = F (show explanation )

F[2] is the abbreviation for Fellow (of a society, etc). For instance, it is found in professional designations such as FRAIC (Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada).

hide explanation

"judge" = J (show explanation )

J[2] (plural JJ) is the abbreviation for judge.

hide explanation

"independent" = I (show explanation )

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, likely in the context of a politician with no party affiliation.

hide explanation

Fiji[5] is a country in the South Pacific consisting of a group of some 840 islands, of which about a hundred are inhabited; population 944,700 (est. 2009); languages, English (official), Fijian, Hindi; capital, Suva.

Delving Deeper
First visited by Abel Tasman in 1643, the Fiji Islands became a British Crown Colony in 1874 and an independent Commonwealth state in 1970. In 1987, following a coup, Fiji became a republic and withdrew from the Commonwealth, rejoining in 1997.

26d   Dapper // tenor on edge (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Not clear what you are getting at with 20a. I think it's a double definition, as there is a British craft beer company of that name. No one mentioned this on BD's blog, perhaps because it's so well know in the UK.

    To add a little more difficulty to this puzzle, my print edition of the Nat Post gave the clue to 24d as "... touring in dependent country".

  2. Hi Richard,

    Yes, there is an obscure craft brewer -- Irish not British (unless you have found another that is even more obscure). Thus, I would say that no one mentioned it because it is unknown -- not because "it's so well known".

    Granted, with the knowledge that this company exists, one could justifiably parse the clue as a double definition. However, I seriously doubt that the setter had that in mind. The brewer seems to be far too obscure to find its way into a cryptic crossword clue.

    I will therefore stand by my parsing of the clue as a cryptic definition "made up of a straight definition ... combined with a bit of cryptic elaboration". This is a type of clue that we often see in puzzles set by Rufus -- in fact there were two or three in yesterday's puzzle. At a stretch, a couple of yesterday's clues (10a and 16d) could be pounded into double definitions by mentally inserting some implied wording that was not actually present in the clue. However, there is no question about 5d (Foreign girl who drops in after marriage (9)). Here, "foreign girl" is the straight (although vague) part of the definition. The solution could just as easily be senorita or mademoiselle as signorina. The remainder of the clue ("who drops in after marriage") can in no way be interpreted as a second definition. What it does do is provide cryptic elaboration that allows us to narrow the foregoing choices to a single entity. If we drop "in" from "signorina" (unmarried Italian woman), we get "signora" (married Italian woman).

    In today's clue, the expression "trouble brewing" is a way of saying that one may expect "problems ahead". There are undoubtedly other expressions conveying a similar meaning ("ask for trouble", perhaps, although admittedly a poor example). The final part of the clue ("for company that makes beer") is the cryptic elaboration that points us in the direction of "trouble brewing" as opposed to any other possible choices.

    You will also note that Gazza parsed the clue as a cryptic definition (and I would never venture to dispute his analysis).

    I hope this better explains what I was attempting to get at.

    As for 24d, the typo that you mention also appears in my print edition of the National Post -- and likely in all the various regional editions. There was no mention on Big Dave's blog of the typo having been present in the print edition of The Daily Telegraph, so it may have been introduced at the Post.