Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 — DT 27825

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27825
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, June 11, 2015
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27825]
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 puzzle does not seem to exhibit that je ne sais quoi that we have come to expect from his creations. Not only does Her Majesty fail to make an appearance but the usual level of innuendo is lacking.

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   Spoil male embraced by frivolous // sweet thing (11)

9a   Old bishop accompanying minister // to see (7)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

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

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10a   Draw // French painter framing first of gouaches (6)

Édouard Manet[5] (1832–1883) was a French painter. He adopted a realist approach which greatly influenced the impressionists, using pure colour to give a direct unsentimental effect. Notable works: Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863), Olympia (1865), and A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882).

Scratching the Surface
Gouache[5] means:
  1. a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance;
  2. an opaque watercolour of the type used in gouache painting; or
  3. a picture painted using the gouache method.

12a   Waspish // matron bustling about end of ward (7)

Waspish[10] would appear to be used in its literal sense of relating to or suggestive of a wasp rather than its figurative sense of easily annoyed or angered.

Mordant[5] is an adjective denoting (especially of humour) having or showing a sharp or critical quality; biting [or stinging] ⇒ a mordant sense of humour.

13a   Endless lure shown by strange // modesty (7)

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

14a   Crack // opening round side of pants (5)

15a   Church and State split by new // problem (9)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading alludes to the relationship between Church and State — an issue that seems to have plagued mankind throughout recorded history.

17a   Begrudge suppressing endless desire // rising again (9)

20a   Heads of titled old families for starters (5)

This is an &lit.[7] clue (sometimes called an all-in-one clue). The entire clue (when read one way) is the definition, but under a different interpretation takes on the role of wordplay.

As a definition, it specifies that the "heads of titled old families" would be among those who are considered to be toffs — but they are not the only ones who fall into this category (thus "for starters", as one could go on to list others who fit the label).

Toff[5] is a derogatory, informal British term for a rich or upper-class person.

22a   Muscles // shake ends of pectorals (7)

Shake[10] is an informal term denoting a very short period of time; in other words, jiffy ⇒ in half a shake. In two shakes (of a lamb's tail)[5] is an informal expression signifying very quickly ⇒ I’ll be back to you in two shakes.

24a   Strange // France initially overturned monarchy (7)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for France is F[5].

25a   Victoria, perhaps, in Australia? (6)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers refers to this clue as an all-in-one (&lit.) clue. However, that is not the case as the clue is a cryptic definition.

Sheila[5] is an old-fashioned, informal Australian and New Zealand word for a girl or woman.

26a   Cold? The man with spray is needed! (7)

However, pommers is correct in labelling this clue as an all-in-one (&lit.).

In Britain, the term chemist[5] can mean
  1. a shop where medicinal drugs are dispensed and sold, and in which toiletries and other medical goods can be purchased antihistamine tablets are freely available in chemists; or
  2. a person authorized to dispense medicinal drugs.
In North America, the former would be known as a pharmacy or drug store and the latter as a pharmacist or druggist.

27a   Forward motion /seeing/ prisoners go free (11)


2d   Sailor on leave engaging adult /to get/ acquainted (7)

"seaman" = AB (show explanation )

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

hide explanation

"adult" = A (show explanation )

The A (Adult) certificate is a former film certificate[7] issued by the British Board of Film Classification. This certificate existed in various forms from 1912 to 1985, when it was replaced by the PG (Parental Guidance) certificate. [Despite its demise in the real world, it continues to find widespread use in Crosswordland.]

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3d   Show/'s/ act peels, dancing around clubs (9)

C[1] is the abbreviation for clubs, a suit in a deck of cards.

4d   Marks by the compiler's editor // made a charade (5)

"marks" = M (show explanation )

M[10] is the symbol for mark(s).

Until the introduction of the euro in 2002, the mark[5] (also called Deutschmark[5] or Deutsche Mark [from German deutsche Mark 'German mark']) was the basic monetary unit of Germany, equal to 100 pfennig Germany spent billions of marks to save the French franc from speculators.

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"compiler's" = IM (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the) compiler, (the) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

Today, the setter has made the scenario slightly more complicated by combining "compiler" with the verb "to be" producing "compiler's" (a contraction of "compiler is") which must be replaced by "I'm" (a contraction of "I am").

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5d   Reasonable, /getting/ grip oddly in pub (7)

Local[5] is an informal British term for a pub convenient to a person’s home ⇒ a pint in the local.

6d   Stormed // taking part in undercover ransom (7)

7d   Sympathise /with/ company partner employing tight person (11)

8d   Seeing that rehearsal missing one // of the stars (6)

11d   Wasting spare time on // ape (11)

16d   Best cafe trattoria boxing up // handmade products (9)

An artefact[5] (US artifact) is an object made by a human being, typically one of cultural or historical interest ⇒ gold and silver artefacts.

Scratching the Surface
A trattoria[5] is an Italian restaurant.

18d   Small, more sinuous // snake (7)

19d   Swimming // round catching fish (7)

The definition has nothing to do with propelling oneself through water; it refers to the state one's head is in having imbibed a few too many.

20d   Missile // flew containing power discharge (7)

"power" = P (show explanation )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power (among other things).

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21d   Frozen // fingertip's stiff (6)

23d   Tones rising maybe, // caught in traffic (5)

"caught" = C (show explanation )

In cricket, similar to baseball, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught or caught by.

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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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