Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 — DT 27824

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27824
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27824]
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


Speaking for myself, this was a puzzle of two halves. The bottom portion went in with little effort but I struggled in the top half and needed considerable assistance from my electronic aids to complete it. I seemed to step into every trap possible — even some that the setter may not have intentionally set.

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   Soldiers going in with child/'s/ medicine (11)

"soldiers" = 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.

hide explanation

Where I Went Wrong
I might try to blame my failure to solve this clue unaided on the cold from which I am suffering. On the other hand, some may suggest that the medicine in question should be top of mind.

I parsed the clue perfectly but could not think of a synonym for "with child" other than pregnant, gravid or enceinte[5] (archaic or French) — surely a clear case of seeking out the obscure while overlooking the obvious. Moreover, I was leaning in favour of the soldiers being MEN rather than OR, with the solution ending in -MENT.

9a   Basic education // keeping youth at home (9)

Where I Went Wrong
I initially tried to make this a containment type clue with the definition being "basic" and "keeping" as the containment indicator.

10a   Millions must be invested in science facilities, // dearies (5)

I knew that this clue would appeal to Kath (who shares Thursday blogging duties with pommers and myself on Big Dave's Crossword Blog). She often refers to her two daughters as her "pet lambs". Kath has even relaxed her prohibition against having more than one favourite by declaring 10a and 8d (which includes the word "pet" in the solution) as joint favourites (see Comment #13).

11a   Mature // women employed by band (4,2)

12a   Chap on schedule, /but/ sounding mournful (8)

Plangent[5] is a chiefly literary term denoting (of a sound) loud and resonant, with a mournful tone ⇒ the plangent sound of a harpsichord.

Where I Went Wrong
Immediately spying the seemingly blatant homophone indicator (sounding), I fell — nay, dove — into the trap of thinking that this must surely be a homophone (sounds like) clue.

13a   In bed I'm withdrawn, // what a fool (6)

I would say that the word "what" is part of the definition, acting as an intensifier. Thus what a fool (he is) is equivalent to (he is) an utter fool.

15a   Looking angry, /seeing/ monk's hood covered in grass (8)

Grass is an informal British term meaning:
  1. (as a noun) a police informer[5]; and
  2. (as a verb) to inform the police of someone’s criminal activities or plans[5]someone had grassed on the thieves.
This expression may derive from rhyming slang (grasshopper 'copper').

Sing[10] is a mainly US slang term meaning to confess or act as an informer.

18a   Soldier at sea welcomes a time // to soak (8)

The Royal Marines[5] is a British armed service (part of the Royal Navy) founded in 1664, trained for service at sea, or on land under specific circumstances.

19a   Paddled // furiously once a day (6)

21a   Damned // low returns in flashy jewellery (8)

Blooming[5] is an informal British term used to express annoyance or for emphasis ⇒ (i) of all the blooming cheek!; (ii) a blooming good read.

23a   China // trophy given to most of side (6)

"side" = TEAM (show explanation )

Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in their side. [note that a player is "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America]

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

hide explanation

26a   Deal with // unexpected pleasure (5)

27a   Extrovert son's // expenditure (9)

Outgoings[5] is a British term denoting a person’s regular expenditure ⇒ if your outgoings regularly exceed your incomings, you have a problem.

28a   Arguments // from females in residence out of control (11)


1d   No ring -- /and/ due to be married! (7)

Engaged[5] is a British term denoting (of a telephone line) unavailable because already in use ⇒ she rang Mrs Tavett but the line was engaged [the equivalent North American term being busy[5]]. There is "no ring" since one would receive an engaged tone (also called engaged signal[5]) in this situation.

2d   Paid sportsman on doctor/'s/ publicity material (5)

A medical officer[5] (abbreviation MO[5]) is a doctor in charge of the health services of a civilian or military authority or other organization.

3d   Misunderstanding /caused by/ argument against merger (9)

Where I Went Wrong
With a few key checking letters in place, I initially jumped to the erroneous conclusion that the solution must end in -UNION (merger).

4d   Old Tory leader in charge // of hearing (4)

"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

Scratching the Surface
A Tory[10] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada. Historically, a Tory was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679-80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

5d   Treasure nameless old South American // plant (8)

An Inca[5] is a member of a South American Indian people living in the central Andes before the Spanish conquest.

Angelica[5] is any of many species of tall aromatic plant of the parsley family, with large leaves and yellowish-green flowers, used in cooking and herbal medicine.

Where I Went Wrong
I thought the solution might be BRASSICA (a plant of the cabbage family) based on brass[5] being an informal British term for money ⇒ they wanted to spend their newly acquired brass.

6d   What makes some Catalonians grasping? (5)

The entire clue is the definition while the portion of the clue with the dashed underline provides the wordplay. As scchua (a former reviewer on Big Dave's Crossword Blog) would have described it, a WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) type clue.

I was not able to identify any bird of prey that is especially associated with Catalonia.

7d   Mess that's ending with a good // link to tweet (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

8d   Condition /of/ motorway on the way up, dear? I leave (8)

In Crosswordland, a condition is quite often something that demands medical attention.

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

Impetigo[5] is  a contagious bacterial skin infection forming pustules and yellow crusty sores ⇒ the children all have impetigo.

14d   Little monkey // confusing some in market (8)

The marmoset[5] is any of three species of small tropical American monkey with a silky coat and a long tail.

16d   How baleen changes? (9)

Here we have the inverse of the situation that we encountered in 6d. Using scchua's terminology, this is a DIWW (definition intertwined with wordplay) style of clue. The entire clue provides the wordplay, while the portion with the solid underline is the definition.

Baleen[5] is another name for whalebone ⇒ the baleen plates of a Greenland right whale.

17d   Stay away from // poor Don, surrounded by personnel (5,3)

18d   Mafia type // almost serious, supporting crowd (7)

20d   Boots from office // of French models (7)

In French, de[8] is a preposition meaning 'of'' or 'from'.

22d   Belly up, journalist /becomes/ less emphatic (5)

Tum[10] is an informal or childish word for stomach.

24d   Bankruptcy nicely protecting // a scoffer (5)

25d   Visual impairment /causing/ line to go out of fashion (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

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