Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015 — DT 27838

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27838
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, June 26, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27838]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


One can always count on learning a new word or two from a Giovanni puzzle. Today he has been extra generous in dishing up additions to our vocabulary.

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   A series of calls // here and there (6)

Round[5] is a chiefly British term meaning a journey along a fixed route delivering goods as part of one’s job or a job involving such journeys ⇒ I did a newspaper round.

5a   Garden of Eden // is presented in display (8)

Eden[5] (also Garden of Eden) is the place where Adam and Eve lived in the biblical account of the Creation, from which they were expelled for disobediently eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge [thereby losing their innocence]. The term Eden has come to mean a place or state of great happiness; an unspoilt paradise ⇒ the lost Eden of his childhood.

9a   Clean // mince contained meat (13)

10a   Firm at this place not losing heart, // sticking together (8)

11a   Offered up // as a spheroid (6)

Oblate[1] is an obsolete term meaning dedicated or offered up. [Good luck in finding this meaning anywhere other than in The Chambers Dictionary.]

In geometry, oblate[5] is an adjective that denotes (of a spheroid) flattened at the poles.

Note: as the solution is an adjective, the definition must be "as a spheroid" rather than (as Deep Threat indicates in his review) merely "a spheroid".

12a   Strong drink // bursting old bottles (6)

Stingo[1] is obsolete slang for strong malt liquor.

14a   Dissenter // sure can't change (8)

A recusant[5] is a person who refuses to submit to an authority or to comply with a regulation. Historically, the term was applied to a person who refused to attend services of the Church of England ⇒ support for the exiled King was greatest among Catholic recusants.

16a   Group without brain /but/ with plenty of brawn (8)

19a   /In/ household // fellows can't be like Peter Pan (6)

Peter Pan[5] is the hero of Scottish dramatist J. M. Barrie’s play of the same name (1904), a boy with magical powers who never grew up.

Ménage[5] denotes the members of a household ⇒ the Clelland ménage.

21a   Mistakes // awfully rare? Thank you! (6)

Ta[5] is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you ?‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.

23a   Very hard material /found in/ two clubs (8)

In golf, an iron[2] is any of various clubs with an angled iron head, used for shorter distance shots of about 100-200 yards.

In golf, a wood[2] is a club with a head traditionally made of wood, now usually of metal, used for driving the ball long distances.

Ironwood[5] is any of a number of trees that produce very hard timber, in particular a southern African tree (Olea laurifolia) of the olive family and a North American tree (Ostrya virginiana) related to the hornbeam.

25a   Athletes who'd like to have pounds more than their competitors (13)

26a   /What's/ offered at a lower price /than/ a piece of sirloin? (8)

Undercut[5] is a British term for the underside of a sirloin of beef.

27a   In // time split with last member of family (6)


2d   Survive // first half of journey? (4,3)

3d   Two French articles about to be accepted -- /by/ this moneylender? (5)

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

 In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

Uncle[5] is an archaic informal term for a pawnbroker.

4d   Menacing // American appears at the end of party full of rage (9)

5d   Smooth // leader of people finally meeting monarch (7)

"monarch" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

Plaster[1] means to smooth (hair) down or to smooth plaster over (cracks, etc.).

6d   Beast with a thick skin /making/ money (5)

Rhino[10] is British slang for money.

7d   Sidney, lad on the rampage, // one of seven baddies (6,3)

In Christian tradition, the sins of pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth are known as the seven deadly sins[5].

8d   Son of primary school age should consume little // sugar (7)

Wee[5] is a chiefly Scottish adjective meaning little ⇒ (i) when I was just a wee bairn; (ii) the lyrics are a wee bit too sweet and sentimental. [The word may be of Scottish origin but, like the Scots themselves, the word has migrated around the world.]

13d   Shambolic canteen in which there is semi-ripe // fruit (9)

15d   Prove successful with modern technology? // Don't be daft! (4,3,2)

IT[5] is the abbreviation for information technology.

17d   Answer being not easily got // now had solver finally going mad (4-3)

18d   Poem /of/ love in litter cast to the winds (7)

"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).

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A triolet[5] is a poem of eight lines, typically of eight syllables each, rhyming abaaabab and so structured that the first line recurs as the fourth and seventh and the second as the eighth.

20d   Guy, initially woken up, // grumbled (7)

22d   Unplanned // house in a district of Washington (2,3)

"house" = HO (show explanation )

Although not found in most of the dictionaries that I consulted, ho.[10] is the abbreviation for house.

hide explanation

The District of Columbia[5] (abbreviation DC) is a federal district of the US, coextensive with the city of Washington, situated on the Potomac River with boundaries on the states of Virginia and Maryland.

While the wording of the clue might well lead one to think that we are looking for an area within Washington, in fact we need a district that encompasses all of Washington.

24d   Question of location -- // somewhere in Herts, do we hear? (5)

Herts.[5] is the abbreviation for Hertfordshire[5] , a county of southeastern England, one of the Home Counties; county town, Hertford.

Ware[7] is a town of around 18,000 people in Hertfordshire, England close to the county town of Hertford.
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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