Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 — DT 27829

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27829
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27829]
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


Today's setter delivers a reasonably gentle mental workout.

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

Technical Issues At Big Dave's Site

Big Dave's Crossword Blog has been offline since at least last evening due to severe technical problems at the data centre hosting his site. As a contingency in the event that this outage continues through the day, I have included a full parsing of the clues in today's review. In the parsing, the symbol "†" is used to indicate that the word is found "as is" in the clue.

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   Part of roof subsided? /Must be/ monitored (12)

EAVES|DROPPED — EAVES (part of roof) + DROPPED (subsided)

9a   That's all right // at the moment, wagons failing to start (2,7)

NO W|_ORRIES — NOW (at the moment) + [L]ORRIES (wagons) with its initial letter removed (failing to start)

A wagon[10] is any of various types of wheeled vehicles, ranging from carts to lorries, especially a vehicle with four wheels drawn by a horse, tractor, etc, and used for carrying crops, heavy loads, etc.

The vehicle known in North America as a truck[5] would commonly be called a lorry[5] in the UK [despite Oxford Dictionaries defining a lorry as being a truck and a truck as being a lorry].

10a   Sound /made by/ Virginia with pan's separate cover? (5)

VA|LID — VA (Virginia; abbrev.) + (with) LID (pan's separate cover)

"Virginia" = VA (show explanation )

There are a couple of possible explanations for this clueing:
  • The abbreviation for Virginia is Va[5].

  • In official postal use, the abbreviation for Virginia is VA[5].
hide explanation

11a   Song /and/ dance, to a degree (6)

BALL|A|D — BALL (dance) + (to) A (†) + D (degree; abbrev.)

As a charade indicator, the word "to" is used in the sense of "pressed against"—as in expressions such as "shoulder to the wheel" or "nose to the grindstone".

The abbreviation for degree is d[2].

12a   Headache /caused by/ rig collapsing in US state (8)

M(IGR*)AINE — anagram (collapsing) of RIG contained in (in) MAINE (US state)

13a   Plantation /in/ eastern part of federation (6)

E|STATE — E (eastern; abbrev.) + STATE (federation)

15a   Parisian institute, // sensitive about German university (8)

SOR(BONN)E — SORE (sensitive) containing (about) BONN (German university)

The University of Bonn[7] (German: Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn) is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. Founded in its present form in 1818, as the linear successor of earlier academic institutions, the University of Bonn is today one of the leading universities in Germany.

The Sorbonne[5] is the seat of the faculties of science and literature of the University of Paris.

18a   Pelt, after revolution, // one who changed sides (8)

TURN|COAT — COAT (pelt) following (after) TURN (revolution)

19a   Throw // aunts, nervous about ending in 'Marnie' (6)

UNS(E)AT* — anagram (nervous) of AUNTS containing (about) E (ending [final letter] in 'MarniE')

"Throw" is used in the sense of a horse throwing a rider.

Scratching the Surface
Marnie[7] is an English novel first published in 1961 which was written by Winston Graham. It is about a young woman who makes a living by embezzling from her employers, moving on, and changing her identity. She is finally caught in the act by one of her employers, a young widower named Mark Rutland, who blackmails her into marriage. Two shocking events near the end of the story send the troubled woman to the brink of suicide and she eventually must face the trauma from her past which is the root cause of her behavior.

It was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's suspense film Marnie (1964), where the setting was changed from England to the United States, details of the story were changed, and the ending was changed to a more optimistic one.

21a   Sluggish, // one inhabitant having caught cold (8)

I|NA(C)TIVE — {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + NATIVE (inhabitant)} containing (having caught) C (cold; abbrev.)

23a   Composition // from Bliss on at auditorium (6)

_S|ON|AT|A_ — hidden in (from) BlisS ON AT Auditorium

A sonata[5] is a composition for an instrumental soloist, often with a piano accompaniment, typically in several movements with one or more in sonata form.

Scratching the Surface
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).

26a   Furry creature, // small in every detail (5)

S|TO|A|T — S (small; abbrev.) + TO A T (in every detail; the description fit her to a T)

The stoat[5] (also known as the ermine, especially when in its white winter coat) is a small carnivorous mammal (Mustela erminea) of the weasel family which has chestnut fur with white underparts and a black-tipped tail. It is native to both Eurasia and North America and in northern areas the coat turns white in winter. In North America, it is known as the short-tailed weasel.

27a   Italian, in Indian state, left individual // to proceed without help (2,2,5)

GO (IT) A|L|ONE — IT (Italian; abbrev.) contained in (in) GOA (Indian state) + L (left; abbrev.) + ONE (individual)

"Italian" = IT (show explanation )

This clueing might 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

Goa[5] is a state on the west coast of India; capital, Panaji. Formerly a Portuguese territory, it was seized by India in 1961. It formed a Union Territory with Daman and Diu until 1987, when it was made a state.

28a   Crowd largely out of control /in/ area set aside for reporters (5,7)

PRESS |GALLERY* — PRESS (crowd) + anagram (out of control) of LARGELY


1d   Greek leaving French city having received new // honour (7)

_EN(N)OBLE — {[GR]ENOBLE (French city) with GR (Greek; abbrev.) removed} containing (having received) N (new; abbrev.)

Gr.[2] is the abbreviation for Greek.

Grenoble[7] is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. It was the site of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games.

2d   This could be a // pledge by the Spanish (5)

VOW|EL — VOW (pledge) + EL (the Spanish; Spanish definite article)

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

3d   Mocking // actors in Indian dress, beginning to chant (9)

SAR(CAST)I|C — CAST (actors) contained in (in) {SARI (Indian dress) + C (beginning [initial letter] to Chant}

A sari[5] (also saree) is a garment consisting of a length of cotton or silk elaborately draped around the body, traditionally worn by women from South Asia.

4d   Charge // head of racket, and assistant, from what we hear (4)

R|AID~ — R (head [initial letter] of Racket) + (and) AID {sounds like (from what we hear) AIDE (assistant)}

5d   Act I put on /for/ Greek god (8)

POSE|I|DON — POSE (act) + I (†) + DON (put on)

In Greek mythology, Poseidon[5] is the god of the sea, water, earthquakes, and horses, son of Cronus and Rhea and brother of Zeus. He is often depicted with a trident in his hand.

6d   Young fish // perpetually circling lake (5)

E(L)VER — EVER (perpetually) containing (circling) L (lake; abbrev.)

7d   Everyone intended getting rid of female /in/ partnership (8)

ALL|_IANCE — ALL (everyone) + [F]IANCE (intended; fiancé) with its initial letter removed {getting rid of F (female; abbrev.)}

8d   Stick // notice at this point (6)

AD|HERE — AD (notice; advertisement) + HERE (at this point)

14d   Herb /found in/ most of Spanish province (8)

TARRAGON_ — TARRAGON[A] (Spanish province) with its final letter removed (most of)

Tarragona[7] is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. The province's population is 888,895 (2008), of whom about one-fifth live in the capital Tarragona. The province includes several World Heritage Sites and is a popular tourist destination.

Tarragon[5] is a perennial plant (Artemisia dracunculus) of the daisy family, with narrow aromatic leaves that are used as a culinary herb.

16d   Just the building for a house-hunter? (5,4)

BINGO HALL — cryptic definition

In Britain, house[5] is old-fashioned term for bingo. Therefore, a Brit looking for a game of house would go to a bingo hall.

Delving Deeper
The British version of bingo[7] bears very little resemblance to the North American game of the same name (or one might say that they are about as similar as cricket and baseball). The British game (formerly called housey-housey) and the North American version both involve matching numbers drawn at random to those on tickets (Britain) or cards (North America). However, the format of British tickets is totally different from that of North American cards — and, consequently, so are the winning combinations. In Britain, it is common for winners to yell "House!" (rather than "Bingo!") when a winning combination is attained.

17d   Star hooked by young woman /in/ gambling centre (3,5)

LAS (VEGA)S — VEGA (star) contained in (hooked by) LASS (young woman)

Vega[10] is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra and one of the most conspicuous in the  northern hemisphere.

Las Vegas[5] is a city in southern Nevada; population 558,383 (est. 2008). It is noted for its casinos and nightclubs.

18d   Long // crumpled T-shirt (6)

THIRST* — anagram (crumpled) of TSHIRT

20d   Essay about old // play -- 'King Lear', perhaps (7)

TR(AGED)Y — TRY (essay) containing (about) AGED (old)

King Lear[7] is a tragedy by English playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The title character descends into madness after disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all.

22d   Teacher // tickled trout (5)

TUTOR* — anagram (tickled) of TROUT

As an anagram indicator, the setter may have intended tickle to be interpreted in the sense of to play as in tickle the ivories[5] (play the piano).

Scratching the Surface
Tickle[5] means to catch (a trout) by lightly rubbing it so that it moves backwards into the hand ⇒ the skill of a poacher tickling a trout. Collins English Dictionary defines tickle[10] as to catch (a fish, especially a trout) by grasping it with the hands and gently moving the fingers into its gills.

24d   A note about // worship (5)

A|DO|RE — A () + DO ([musical] note) + RE (about; concerning)

I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to parse this clue with the musical note being re[5]. Doh! How stupid was that!

Do is a variant spelling of doh[5] which, in solmization, is:
  1. the first and eighth note of a major scale in tonic sol-fa; or
  2. the note C in the fixed-doh system.
25d   Call // round (4)

RING — double definition
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. Thanks for explaining 16d. Presumably the synonym is so well-known in Britain that Gazza didn't bother mentioning it.

    You have a typo in 22d.

    15a seems like a missed opportunity for homophones. University with tender cheek, I hear. French school on angry roll, apparently. But perhaps this vein has been mined before.

    1. Re: "a typo in 22d".

      That pesky "R" has now been ousted and "T" has assumed its rightful place.

    2. You did well to access Big Dave's site. I am still having difficulty doing so.

  2. We're leaving town shortly to spend December in Palm Springs, With no National Post down south, I probably won't be posting again until the new year. Best wishes for a very merry Christmas, Falcon.

    1. You mean people from Vancouver find it necessary to go south!

      Seriously, have a great trip a very Merry Christmas.

      By the way, if you have a subscription to the National Post, you are entitled to a free ePaper subscription and, of course, the puzzle is included in it. Even though you put your subscription on Vacation Stop, you may very well continue to have access to the ePaper.

  3. December weather can be really miserable in Vancouver, despite the claims of our tourist bureau.

    No printer in PS, so the epaper isn't much use. I have a NYT Sunday crossword omnibus to keep me puzzling.