Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015 — DT 27857

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27857
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27857 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27857 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (Review)
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
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


No puzzles were misplaced today — although this might have been a good one to suffer that fate.

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   Happy // to draw in Foreign Office facing America (10)

Foreign Office[5] (abbreviation FO[5]) is short for Foreign and Commonwealth Office[5], the British government department dealing with foreign affairs.

Felicitous[10] means producing or marked by happiness.

6a   Cliff /shows/ sign of injury (4)

A scar[5] is a steep high cliff or rock outcrop, especially of limestone ⇒ high limestone scars bordered the road.

What did he say?
In his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, gnomethang informs us that SCAR is short for escarpment and also abbreviated to SCARP.
Maybe not! According Oxford Dictionaries, scar comes from Old Norse sker 'low reef', while scarp comes from Italian scarpa 'slope' and escarpment comes from French escarpement, with the French word escarpe in turn coming from Italian scarpa 'slope'.

9a   South America's custom to follow // hound (7,3)

SA[5] is the abbreviation for South America.

I'll forgive gnomethang for writing "South Africa" — attributing the error to autocorrect gone mad.

10a   Country // landscape Russia provides (4)

In his review, gnomethang comes up one capital letter short of a full complement.

12a   Egg on // broadcast clearly visible (6)

13a   Eagerest to repair // poor accommodation on board (8)

Steerage[5] is a historical term denoting the part of a ship providing the cheapest accommodation for passengers ⇒ poor emigrants in steerage.

15a   One investigating bugs /with/ crafty sting -- mole too (12)

18a   Consume individual brand then second // to admit mistake (3,4,5)

Brand[5] is a literary term for a sword.

21a   Single // composer played part back (8)

Johann Sebastian Bach[5] (1685–1750) was a German composer. An exceptional and prolific baroque composer, he produced a massive body of work — not to mention twenty children.

22a   Rummage // about taking long time (6)

For[2] can mean about or aimed at ⇒ (i) proposals for peace; (ii) a desire for revenge.

24a   Join /for/ the whole year (4)

25a   Resolute // Heath comes back dressed like a lord (10)

Sir Edward Heath[5] (1916–2005) [commonly known as Ted Heath] was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1970-4. He negotiated Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community and faced problems caused by a marked increase in oil prices. Attempts to restrain wage rises [raises] led to widespread strikes and he lost a general election after a second national coal strike.

A lord[10] is a male member of the nobility, especially in Britain.

Ermine[5] is the white fur of the stoat (show explanation ), used for trimming garments, especially the ceremonial robes of judges or peers (members of the nobility in Britain or Ireland) ⇒ the men were dressed in costly ermine and sable-edged cloaks.

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.

hide explanation

26a   Make good // curse (4)

27a   Ian Hislop's oppo leaving university with grasp of second // old prime minister (10)

Oppo[5] is an informal British term for a colleague or friend ⇒ an old oppo of mine.

Ian  Hislop[7] is a British journalist, satirist, writer, comedian, broadcaster and editor of the British satirical and current affairs magazine Private Eye. He has appeared on many radio and television programmes, and is a team captain on the BBC quiz show Have I Got News for You.

Paul James Martin, known professionally as Paul Merton[7] is an English writer, actor, comedian, radio and television presenter [host, emcee, announcer, commentator or news reader] who is well known for his regular appearances as a team captain on the BBC panel game Have I Got News for You.

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston[5] (1784–1865) was a British Whig statesman, Prime Minister 1855-8 and 1859–65. Palmerston declared the second Opium War against China in 1856, and oversaw the successful conclusion of the Crimean War in 1856 and the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in 1858.


1d   Relic /of/ silver-coated ship, conceivably (6)

"ship" = SS (show explanation )

In Crosswordland, a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[5]the SS Canberra.

hide explanation

2d   Answer is to tuck into meal // to get going (6)

3d   No coast clean in resort? /Find/ another resort (7-2-3)

As an anagram indicator, "resort" is used in the somewhat whimsical sense of 'to sort again'.

Clacton-on-Sea[7] is the largest town in the Tendring peninsula and district in Essex, England, and was founded as an urban district in 1871. It is a seaside resort that saw a peak of tourists in the summer months between the 1950s and 1970s. The town's economy continues to rely significantly on entertainment and day-trip facilities and it is strong in the service sector, with a large retired population.

4d   Girl /takes/ two articles (4)

The feminine given name Thea[7], short for Theodora, Theadora, Dorothea, or Althea (also spelled Elithea) has gained popularity as a girl's name in the UK (also spelt Tia, Phfea, Therha and Teha).

5d   A French novelist cuts on the phone, perhaps -- /that's/ not usual (10)

I got the second part of the double homophone but failed to recognize the first.

"a French" = UN (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

hide explanation

The wordplay parses as UN (a French) + ORTHO {sounds like [really!] (on the phone, perhaps) AUTHOR (novelist)} + DOX {sounds like (on the phone, perhaps) DOCKS (cuts)}

7d   Mountain top -- scale it after a fashion /being/ a climber (8)

8d   Gambling game // permitted during journey (8)

11d   Back previous // member of low class (6-6)

In Britain, a form[5] is a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. Thus the fifth form would be the British linguistic counterpart (although not the academic equivalent) of the fifth grade in North America and Form One would be akin to saying Grade One — and the term second-former would be used in a similar manner  to second-grader. (show more )

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower. The sixth form is the senior form of a school, and is usually divided into two year groups: the lower sixth and upper sixth. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms.


An extraneous "la" appears to have crept into gnomethang's explanation.

14d   Cowboy film // makes hero a poser (5,5)

16d   Set cut off on ship /in/ coastal region (8)

You might want to add another A to gnomethang's recipe.

17d   Left wearing label // 'pedantic type' (8)

The solution is likely how gnomethang would think of me should he happen to read this review.

19d   Periodical on the web // a great attraction (6)

20d   'Pet' teacher /in/ college where the law gets taught (6)

In Scottish, hen[5] is used as an affectionate term of address to a girl or woman ⇒ and I really like you too, hen.

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

Hendon Police College[7] is the principal training centre for London's Metropolitan Police Service [probably better known on this side of the pond as Scotland Yard]. Founded with the official name of the Metropolitan Police College, the college is today officially called the Peel Centre, although its original name is still used frequently. Within the police it is known as just "Hendon".

What did he say?
In his review, gnomethang wonders how did our overseas friends get on?.
I can say, not very well.

23d   Steering gear /made of/ hard wood (4)

"hard" = H (show explanation )

H[5] is an abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.

hide explanation
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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