Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015 — DT 27862

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27862
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, July 24, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27862]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave
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 finds Giovanni in a very relaxed mood. There should be little in this puzzle to cause one to work up much of a sweat, unless it is the Northern Irish poet, who — it would seem — is obscure even to the Brits.

In a couple of instances, I have shown slightly different interpretations of clues than did Big Dave in his review. This is not to insinuate that his interpretation is incorrect but, rather, to demonstrate that it is possible to have more than one valid interpretation in some cases.

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

And, finally, don't forget to stop by tomorrow to pick up your Christmas gift.

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   Love very evident in pleasant // young monk? (6)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

A novice[5] is a person who has entered a religious order and is under probation, before taking vows.

4a   Pound /made of/ metal almost entirely, right? (6)

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence.

Nicker[5] is an informal British term for a pound sterling ⇒ a hundred and twenty nicker.

8a   Getting stale /and/ falling asleep? (5,3)

10a   Arrogant // knight enters covered in muck (6)

"knight" = N (show explanation )

N[5] is the abbreviation for knight used in recording moves in chess [representing the pronunciation of kn-, since the initial letter k- represents 'king'].

As an aside, it is interesting to note that the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines: 
  • K[2] as an abbreviation used in chess for knight. 
  • K[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a king. 
  • N[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a knight.
The dictionary fails to specify how one differentiates an abbreviation from a symbol.

hide explanation

In Britain, the term muck would appear to encompass a broader range of filth than it does in North America. There muck[2] is a colloquial term for dirt, especially — [but not necessarily] — wet or clinging dirt.

11a   Foul /and/ wicked, beginning to end (4)

12a   Rodent running around poet's // sheets (10)

Tom Paulin[7] is a Northern Irish poet and critic of film, music and literature. He lives in England, where he is the GM Young Lecturer in English Literature at Hertford College, Oxford.

13a   Area east of city /or/ town // in which one may sit (12)

I have chosen to mark this clue differently than Big Dave did in his review. The latter part of the clue could have constituted a clue on its own, which I am sure could be considered to be a double definition (although cryptic definition would also be a reasonable choice).
  • Town // in which one may sit (12)
Chester[5] is a city in northwestern England, the county town of Cheshire; population 80,600 (est. 2009).

Chesterfield[5] is a town in Derbyshire, north central England; population 71,100 (est. 2009).

16a   They may examine houses, // say, going into each toilet (6,6)

The gents[5] is an informal British term for a men's public toilet.

Estate agent[10] is the British term for a real-estate agent, an agent concerned with the valuation, management, lease, and sale of property.

20a   Sweetheart /having/ fling -- I'd err terribly (10)

21a   Prod // sack -- one with pig in? (4)

Poke[5] is a chiefly Scottish term for a bag or small sack ⇒ he fished out a poke of crisps [potato chips] from under the counter.

The phrase a pig in a poke[5] refers to something that is bought or accepted without first being seen or assessed ⇒ the unwary were apt to buy a pig in the poke.

Along the lines of 13a, some might wonder if the portion of the clue with the dashed underline could be considered to be a definition in its own right — thereby making this clue a triple definition. I would think not, as it would give rise to the same meaning for POKE as does the second definition. In 13a, the two definitions in question gave rise to different meanings for CHESTERFIELD (one a city, the other an item of furniture).

22a   Island // to leave by boat possibly (6)

Tobago is one of two islands off the northeastern coast of Venezuela that together comprise the country of Trinidad and Tobago[5].

23a   Threatened punishment? // Son accepts it can upset (8)

24a   Tamper /with/ instrument (6)

I believe a couple of interpretations are possible for this clue. As Big Dave shows in his review, the first definition could be "tamper with" or, as I have chosen to show, the definition could be merely "tamper" in which case "with" would serve as a link word.

Fiddle[10] (often followed by with) is an informal term meaning to tamper or interfere (with).

25a   Change one's mind // with respect to hypocritical talk (6)


1d   Primitive tools // abandoned in hostel (8)

A neolith[5] is a stone implement used during the Neolithic Period — the later part of the Stone Age, when ground or polished stone weapons and implements prevailed.

I initially questioned the solution, but then realized that I was confusing it with monolith.

2d   Way to avoid a // scene of action (5)

3d   Laugh /and/ talk regularly during dull task (7)

5d   Establish // home overlooking country (7)

6d   Information // pack's final component currently on shelf (9)

7d   Reprimand // baddie (one no good) (6)

Rating[5] is a dated term for an angry reprimand ⇒ a servant getting a rating from his master.

9d   The fears for discarded // predecessors (11)

Anagram indicators are typically words that denote motion or rearrangement. I suppose that "discarded" fills the bill in the sense that things that are thrown out often become rearranged in the process (for instance, an old deck of cards tossed in the garbage).

14d   Musicians /need/ blast to be blasted (5,4)

15d   Post elsewhere /for/ police job (5-3)

17d   Disturbance /in/ posh room with work going on outside (7)

"posh" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

18d   A daughter in time of fast -- ultimately she // hardly cooked at all! (2,5)

19d   Why is snooker player having a problem? // Inside info // here (3-3)

Split (3,3), the solution would describe a situation that would seriously hamper a snooker player.

21d   Ex-PM requires a // particular sort of bread (5)

William Pitt[5] (1759–1806), known as Pitt the Younger, was Prime Minister of Britain 1783–1801 and 1804-6, The youngest-ever Prime Minister, he introduced reforms to reduce the national debt. He was the son of William Pitt[5], 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–1778) who was known as Pitt the Elder. As Secretary of State (effectively Prime Minister), the elder Pitt headed coalition governments 1756–61 and 1766-8. He brought the Seven Years War to an end in 1763 and also masterminded the conquest of French possessions overseas, particularly in Canada and India.

Pitta[5] (also pitta bread) is the British spelling for pita (bread), a flat, hollow, slightly leavened bread which can be split open to hold a filling ⇒ (i) low-calorie starters include tzatziki with a little pitta; (ii) flat pitta breads make perfect sandwiches.
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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