Friday, December 25, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015 — DT 27852 (Bonus Puzzle)

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to readers of the blog. Should you happen to find a few spare moments between opening presents and sitting down to your Christmas feast, here is a little something I found on the shelf which may help you occupy your time. DT 27852 is a puzzle for which I prepared a review, but which the National Post did not publish.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27852
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, July 13, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27852]
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
On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, the National Post skipped this puzzle which had been published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, July 13, 2015.


"Monday" puzzles are always a challenge for me to review. First we have a setter in Rufus whose clues — while very inventive and most enjoyable — do not always lend themselves to strict classification or rigorous parsing. Second, we have a reviewer on Big Dave's Crossword Blog in Miffypops who writes in a very casual style. While his reviews are highly entertaining, they are more often than not lacking somewhat in precision. As I am a bit of a pedant, I feel obligated to try and correct the more egregious errors — not out of a wish to make him look bad but to avoid having the readers of this blog be misled or confused. It is hard enough trying to cope with the Briticisms in the puzzles without also having to contend with inaccuracies in the review.

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   One helps to define the goal /of/ angry lawyers (8)

Although I am sure it never entered Miffypops's mind, the definition works equally as well for hockey as it does for soccer.

6a   I eat outside /in/ German city (6)

The solver is always held responsible to insert missing punctuation — as well as to delete extraneous punctuation. Here, one must read the wordplay as "I; eat outside".

Munich[5] is a city in southeastern Germany, capital of Bavaria; population 1,294,600 (est. 2006).

9a   /It's/ not just // a mixture of fun and music (6)

The definition finds itself in the middle of the clue because — from a cryptic point of view — the clue has been formulated with an inverted sentence structure. Examined from the perspective of cryptic analysis, the clue would read "It's not just, a mixture of fun and music" which, when rephrased with a normal sentence structure, becomes "A mixture of fun and music is not just" — putting the definition at the end of the clue (where one would expect to find it).

10a   Room isn't fitted /for/ display units (8)

11a   Maybe more cuts will attract one (8)

This is an all-in-one clue in which a bit of wordplay (marked with a dashed underline) has been embedded.

12a   Where seconds do the work of a minute (6)

A second[5] is an assistant, in particular an attendant assisting a combatant in a duel or boxing match.

In boxing and wrestling, a corner[5] is each of the diagonally opposite ends of the ring, where a contestant rests between rounds ⇒ when the bell sounded he turned to go back to his corner.

In boxing, each fighter is given a corner of the ring[7] where he rests in between rounds for one minute and where his trainers stand. Typically, three men stand in the corner besides the boxer himself; these are the trainer, the assistant trainer and the cutman (a cutaneous doctor responsible for keeping the boxer's face and eyes free of cuts and blood).

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops states that the solution is A boxing term for one of the men who assists (seconds) a boxer or wrestler ....
Rather than being merely "one of the men", corner (see below) is actually the collective term for all of a boxer's or wrestler's assistants. However, this is clearly not the sense in which the term is used in this clue.

The term corner[5] denotes a contestant’s supporters or seconds ⇒ Hodkinson was encouraged by his corner.

13a   It's strictly true, /but/ unimaginative (6-2-4)

Unlike Miffypops, I have chosen not to mark this as a double definition since something that is "strictly true" is a "matter of fact". As this phrase contains no hyphens (as he himself states in his review), it does not match the numeration given and therefore (to my understanding) this clue cannot be a cryptic definition.

16a   Private eye /puts/ query in novel to a male (7,5)

Enquiry agent[5] is a dated British term for a private detective.

19a   Replace points /in/ part of car engine (6)

A piston[5] is a disc or short [solid] cylinder fitting closely within a tube [hollow cylinder] in which it moves up and down against a liquid or gas, used in an internal-combustion engine [such as that found in a car] to derive motion, or in a pump to impart motion.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, points[10] refers to the two electrical contacts that make or break the current flow in the distributor of an internal-combustion engine We'll need to clean the points.

21a   Old coach // station (8)

Identified by Oxford Dictionaries as a historical term, a victoria[5] (named after Queen Victoria) was a light four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with a collapsible hood, seats for two passengers, and an elevated driver’s seat in front ⇒ Atlanta 's finest could promenade in phaetons, victorias and tallyhos pulled by gleaming horses.

London Victoria station[7], generally known as Victoria, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground [subway] complex named after nearby Victoria Street the latter being named after Queen Victoria. London Victoria is the second-busiest terminus in London (and the UK) after London Waterloo.

23a   Authorise // coercive measure (8)

Contrary to what Miffypops says in his review, the first definition is clearly a verb (not a noun).

24a   Powerful // Russian fighter gains height reaching capital of Yemen (6)

A MiG[7] is a type of Russian jet fighter. The name comes from the initials of the two founders (Mikoyan and Gurevich) of the organization that designs the planes.

25a   Venerate // an American patriot (6)

Paul Revere[5] (1735–1818) was an American patriot. In 1775 he rode from Boston to Lexington to warn fellow American revolutionaries of the approach of British troops.

26a   Girl holds chap back // somewhere in Denmark (8)

Elsinore[5] is a port on the northeastern coast of the island of Zealand, Denmark; population 61,053 (2009). It is the site of the 16th-century Kronborg Castle, which is the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Does anyone find Miffypops' comment regarding the lack of preciseness in this clue to be somewhat ironic?


2d   Come to an end -- like someone's innings? (3,3)

In cricket, innings[5] (plural same or informally inningses) can denote:
  1. each of two or four divisions of a game during which one side has a turn at batting ⇒ the highlight of the Surrey innings; or
  2. a player’s turn at batting ⇒ he had played his greatest innings; or
  3. the score achieved during a player’s turn at batting ⇒ a solid innings of 78 by Marsh.
In this clue, the term is used in the second sense — a player's turn at batting (roughly akin to an 'at bat' in baseball). A batsman can be dismissed (i.e., his innings can come to an end) in any of several ways, one of which is to be run out.

In cricket, run out[7] (abbreviation ro[2]) denotes the dismissal of a batsman by [a fielder] hitting a wicket with the ball while the batsman is out of his ground[10] (the area from the popping crease back past the stumps, in which a batsman may legally stand).

What did he say?
In his review, Miffypops says To come to an end is to sell all you have of a product.
Miffypops owns a pub, so to have "run out" of beer would certainly not be a situation in which he would like to find himself. However, the term "run out" could just as well apply in many other contexts.

Behind the Video
The anecdote recounted by the cricket player in the video in Miffypops review is presumably rather amusing — if you understand the game of cricket.

The player being interviewed is England cricketer Ian Botham. The incident being discussed occurred in a cricket match between England and New Zealand played in New Zealand in 1978. Botham and his teammate Geoffrey Boycott were batting as a partnership when Botham deliberately caused Boycott to be run out.

This action may seem bizarre but you have to understand that to win a cricket match a team must not only score more runs than their opponent, they must also allow their opponent to complete two innings before time runs out. Otherwise the match is declared a draw.

Boycott was known for scoring a lot of runs but doing so very slowly. Thus by prolonging the England innings he was accumulating terrific personal stats but risking having the match declared a draw because there would not be sufficient time for New Zealand to complete their innings. Thus the strategy of his teammates was to cause him to be run out so the England innings could be finished earlier allowing more time for the New Zealand innings to be played.

3d   Well-kept // public transport to get backing (5)

4d   Glass // or beer-mat needs changing (9)

Glass[5] is a dated term for a weather glass. What is a weather glass[5]? Why, it is a dated term for a barometer. Does this constitute double dating?

By the way, glass[5] is also an archaic term for an hourglass. When, I wonder, does a term cease being dated and pass into the realm of the archaic?

5d   Ruth // Rendell's first English detective (7)

Inspector Endeavour Morse[7] is a fictional character in the eponymous series of detective novels by British author Colin Dexter, as well as the 33-episode 1987–2000 television drama Inspector Morse[7], with the character played by John Thaw. Morse is a senior CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officer with the Thames Valley Police force in Oxford, England.

Ruth[5] is an archaic term for a feeling of pity, distress, or grief.

Scratching the Surface
Ruth Rendell[5], Baroness Rendell of Babergh (1930–2015) was an English writer of detective fiction and thrillers. She was noted for her psychological crime novels and her character Chief Inspector Wexford; she also wrote under the pseudonym of Barbara Vine.

6d   Hyperactive // chap in charge (5)

"chap" = MAN (show explanation )

Chap[5] is a [well-travelled] informal British term for a man or a boy he sounded like a nice, caring sort of chap

hide explanation

"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

7d   What a fisherman actually gains from his work? (3,6)

8d   Transference /of/ money? (8)

I fail to comprehend how transference equates to CURRENCY. A fair number of those commenting on Big Dave's site expressed similar bewilderment. A few attempts were made to offer an explanation, but I found none of them compelling.

In his review, Miffypops completely glosses over the first definition. While this makes it appear that the definition is so self-evident that it does not warrant explaining, I think it is abundantly clear from his later comments that he has not the slightest inkling of an explanation.

13d   Growing row over speaker? (9)

14d   Prevails /in/ arranging some cover (9)

15d   Pass on information /that's/ personal (8)

17d   Go ahead /with/ borrowed money (7)

18d   Pride may come before, but what comes after a fall? (6)

The first part of the clue plays no part whatsoever in the cryptic analysis. It would seem to be present solely for the purpose of misdirection.

One Person's Fall is Another's Autumn
According to Oxford Dictionaries, fall[5] (also Fall) is the North American term for autumn while Collins English Dictionary characterizes fall[10] as a mainly US term for autumn.

The word fall[7] actually came to North America from England. Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season, as is common in other West Germanic languages to this day (cf. Dutch herfst and German Herbst). However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.

The term fall came to denote the season in 16th century England. During the 17th century, English emigration to the British colonies in North America was at its peak, and the new settlers took the English language with them. While the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, I would think that in Canada the terms fall and autumn are used interchangeably and with roughly equal frequency.

20d   I've an alternative /that's/ simple (5)

22d   An ear, perhaps -- for music? (5)

In his review, Miffypops shows this as being a double definition. However, I do not see how "for music" can possibly be considered to be a definition of ORGAN. For want of a better explanation, I have marked it as an all-in-one clue in which we have a straight definition (the portion of the clue with the solid underline) which tells us that the solution is something of which an "ear" is an example. The portion of the clue with the dashed underline provides some additional cryptic elaboration, playing (pun intended) on the fact that an organ is a musical instrument as well as being an allusion to the expression "an ear for music".
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)
Merry Christmas Everyone — Falcon

1 comment:

  1. ...and a Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all readers of the blog!