Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015 — DT 27840

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27840
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, June 29, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27840]
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


For Miffypops, this puzzle posed only a single star of difficulty. The performance graph above would indicate that it was not quite a walk in the park for myself.

The National Post Diversions page editor has chosen not to skip any puzzles today.

The folks at Big Dave's Crossword Blog are celebrating today (actually they were celebrating on June 29) the achievement of having reached the milestone 20 million hits on the blog. This prompted me to check the stats for this blog (which has been in existence for virtually the same amount of time as Big Dave's blog). Over that period, this blog has received over 750,000 pageviews (which I presume is similar to hits). So, we are hardly in the same league at all.

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   Getting one's own back in the High Street? (6)

In the UK, high street[5] is the term used for the main street of a town, especially as the traditional site for most shops, banks, and other businesses ⇒ the approaching festive season boosted the high street. In the same way that many North American towns have a Main Street, many British towns will have a High Street.

4a   Slightly well off? // That's absurd (1,3,4)

The expression a bit rich[5] is used to describe a remark which causes ironic amusement or indignation ⇒ these comments are a bit rich coming from a woman with no money worries.

9a   In a row // boat, grasping second of paddles (6)

10a   Inducts into office /although/ answer is wrong (6,2)

12a   Male /and/ a female parent (4)

13a   Beastly impertinence /is/ a bloomer (5)

A bloomer[5] is a plant that produces flowers at a specified time ⇒ fragrant night-bloomers such as nicotiana.

The oxlip[5] is a woodland Eurasian primula (Primula elatior) with yellow flowers that hang down one side of the stem.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, bloomer[5] is used as a dated informal British term for a serious or stupid mistake ⇒ he never committed a bloomer.

What did he say?
In his review, Miffypops tells us that [t]his two lettered beast is often described as NEAT in crosswordland.
Neat[5] is an archaic term for a bovine animal or, as a mass noun, cattle.

14a   Somehow came // top (4)

17a   Fighting men who showed courage when put on a charge (5,7)

The Charge of the Light Brigade[5] was a British cavalry charge in 1854 during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. A misunderstanding between the commander of the Light Brigade and his superiors led to the British cavalry being destroyed. The charge was immortalized in verse by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

20a   Study perfume of the valley /that's/ getting better (12)

I'm afraid that Miffypops severely misinterprets the parsing of the clue, which should be CON (study) + VALE SCENT {perfume (scent) of the valley (vale)}.

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

23a   Rotten // position in the Army (4)

24a   She /will need/ a long time to get around North (5)

25a   Bill turned in // a murderer (4)

In the Bible, Cain[5] is the eldest son of Adam and Eve and murderer of his brother Abel.

28a   Irrigation project finished? // Congratulations! (4,4)

Unlike Miffypops, I would say that the clue is a charade rather than a double definition — with the wordplay being WELL (irrigation project) + DONE (finished).

It would also appear that Miffypops has forgotten to insert the illustration to which he refers in his review.

29a   Batman turns out /to be/ chicken! (6)

30a   Sweets given back // under pressure (8)

Sweet[5] is a British term for a sweet dish forming a course of a meal; in other words, a pudding or dessert.

31a   Poet /making/ uninteresting study (6)

John Dryden[5] (1631–1700) was an English poet, critic, and dramatist of the Augustan Age. He is best known for Marriage à la mode (comedy, 1673), All for Love (a tragedy based on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, 1678), and Absalom and Achitophel (verse satire in heroic couplets, 1681).


1d   King, prophet and expert, all together // dependable (8)

"king" = R (show explanation )

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

hide explanation

In the Bible, Eli[5] is a priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 1-3).

2d   One showing enthusiasm and unusual verve /for/ the dance (8)

The fandango[5] is a lively Spanish dance for two people, typically accompanied by castanets or tambourine.

3d   Arkwright/'s/ lack of response in the surgery? (4)

The setter has imagined a whimsical definition for "arkwright" as someone who builds arks. In reality, Arkwright[7] is a surname, deriving from an archaic Old English term for a person who manufactures chests.

In the Bible, Noah[5] was a Hebrew patriarch represented as tenth in descent from Adam. According to a story in Genesis he made the ark which saved his family and specimens of every animal from the Flood.
Surgery[5] is the British term for a place where a doctor, dentist, or other medical practitioner treats or advises patients. In North America, this location would be called a doctor's office and a surgery[10] would be an operating theatre where surgical operations are performed.

Delving Deeper
In Britain, surgery[10] is also the term used for an occasion when an MP, lawyer, etc, is available for consultation.

I think I would find it rather disconcerting were my MP or lawyer to invite me to drop in during surgery!

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading likely alludes to Albert E. Arkwright, usually referred to simply as Arkwright[7], a fictional character in the British sitcom, Open All Hours played by Ronnie Barker. Arkwright is the proprietor of an old fashioned Yorkshire corner shop, which in the era of the programme (1970s and 1980s) was a product of a bygone age. Arkwright is well known for his stammer.

Having discovered this much, I supposed that the lack of response in the surgery must somehow relate to Arkwright's stammer.

5d   Where a strike will be the best option (7,5)

Miffypops appears to have neglected to insert another illustration.

6d   Catch // a vehicle (4)

A trap[5] is a light, two-wheeled carriage pulled by a horse or pony.

7d   Cricket, perhaps /with/ school batting first (6)

In cricket, a player who is batting is said to be in[5]. Conversely, a player who is fielding is said to be out[5].

The Ins and Outs of Cricket

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.


What did he say?
In his review, Miffypops refers to a term meaning at the crease in cricketing terms.
In cricket, a crease is a line — not an area as it is in hockey and lacrosse. In cricket, a crease[10] is any of three lines (bowling crease, popping crease, or return crease) near each wicket marking positions for the bowler or batsman.

8d   Bach and Elgar took // this composer // to heart (6)

George Frideric Handel[5] (1685–1759) was a German-born composer and organist, resident in England from 1712; born Georg Friedrich Händel. A prolific composer, he is chiefly remembered for his choral works, especially the oratorio Messiah (1742), and, for orchestra, his Water Music suite (circa 1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749).

Scratching the Surface
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.

Sir Edward Elgar[5] (1857–1934) was an English composer who is known particularly for the Enigma Variations (1899), the oratorio The Dream of Gerontius (1900), and for patriotic pieces such as the five Pomp and Circumstance marches (1901–30).

11d   Geneva car tax fixed /as/ an excessive amount (12)

15d   Those false // beliefs (5)

16d   Edits translation // that is in Latin (2,3)

The Latin term id est[10] is usually seen in its shortened form i.e.

18d   Act, taking on central role, /then/ quit (8)

19d   One who falls for a star actor (5,3)

21d   Exults with a number in // large groups (6)

Terms such as "a number", "a large number", "many" or "a great many" are often used in cryptic crosswords as indicators that a Roman numeral is required.

22d   Fisherman /shows/ displeasure when lake is filled in (6)

I initially applied that same logic as Miffypops in interpreting the clue. However, as I composed the review, I realized that ANGLER becomes (shows) ANGER when an L is removed not when an L is inserted. Therefore, perhaps one should interpret the phrase "when lake is filled in" to indicate that we are to remove the L from ANGLER rather than insert an L in ANGER. After all, if you fill in a lake (with rock or soil), it exists no more.

26d   Advantage at which disagreement arises (4)

I see this as a cryptic definition in which we have a straight definition (the portion with the solid underline) combined with some cryptic elaboration (the portion with the dashed underline).

As Dutch explains in his response to Comment #16 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, "the 'at' in the clue is important". "Advantage" denotes "odds" (see definition below) and a disagreement arises when one is "at odds" with someone.

Odds[5] (usually the odds) denotes the balance of advantage; in other words, superiority in strength, power, or resources ⇒ (i) she clung to the lead against all the odds; (ii) the odds were overwhelmingly in favour of the banks rather than the customer.

27d   Henry's last // catch from the river? (4)

Katherine Parr[5] (1512–1548) was the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII. Having married the king in 1543, she influenced his decision to restore the succession to his daughters Mary and Elizabeth (later Mary I and Elizabeth I respectively).

A parr[5] is a young salmon (or trout) between the stages of fry and smolt, distinguished by dark rounded patches evenly spaced along its sides.
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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