Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 — DT 27836

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27836
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27836]
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


Today's rather gentle offering was a welcome respite from yesterday's strenuous workout.

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   Peer regularly involved in suspect // marine business (7)

Scratching the Surface
peer[5] is a member of the nobility in Britain or Ireland, comprising the ranks of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron.

5a   Has an urge to chase answer, /getting/ letters (7)

9a   Puts a block on // would-be scouts crossing river (5)

The Cubs[5] is a junior branch of the Scout Association, for boys aged about 8 to 11. [In my youth, they were known respectively as the Wolf Cubs and the Boy Scouts — but things change.]

10a   Letter /from/ personality (9)

11a   Terrible gaffes -- some // politically incorrect! (3-7)

If a politician is off-message[5], he (or she) is departing from the official party line.

12a   Discharge // half of them with it (4)

14a   Straightforward progress // shown by student beset by troubles, suffering? (5,7)

"student" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

18a   Stunned, /seeing/ cowries pawned (5-7)

The cowrie[5] (also cowry) is any of numerous species of marine mollusc which has a glossy, brightly patterned domed shell with a long, narrow opening.

21a   Feeble men -- without women, /just/ naughty children (4)

22a   Houses /requiring/ decent connections? (10)

25a   Pillar of society, after broadcast, /is/ fit to fly (9)

Worthy[5] is an often humorous term for a person notable or important in a particular sphere ⇒ schools governed by local worthies.

26a   Unbounded fury after a second // affair (5)

"second" = MO (show explanation )

Mo[5] (abbreviation for moment) is an informal, chiefly British term for a short period of time ⇒ hang on a mo!.

hide explanation

27a   Boffin, // for example, getting good top on beer (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

Boffin[5] is an informal British term denoting:
  • a person engaged in scientific or technical research ⇒ the boffins at the Telecommunications Research Establishment; or
  • a person with knowledge or a skill considered to be complex or arcane ⇒ a computer boffin.
28a   Drug /resulting from/ criminal acts? Yes (7)

Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).


1d   Contributory cause /of/ plant being docked? (6)

2d   Bitter conflict /of/ man of God, if caught by soldiers (6)

"soldiers" = RE (show explanation )

The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

hide explanation

3d   Site really must be developed /for/ growth (6,4)

4d   Talks /of/ cash originally being invested in bovine livestock (5)

The yak[7] is a large domesticated wild ox with shaggy hair, humped shoulders, and large horns, used in Tibet as a pack animal and for its milk, meat, and hide. The domesticated Bos grunniens is descended from the wild Bos mutus which is still found on rare occasions at high altitude.

5d   What should relieve pain /of/ leasing arrangement in fact discovered (9)

The setter uses "discovered" to indicate that the outer letters of "[F]AC[T]" are to be stripped off. This cryptic device is based on the whimsical logic that if disrobe means to remove one's robe (or other clothing), then it only stands to reason that discover must mean to remove one's cover.

6d   Create a stir grabbing // drinks (4)

7d   Unwanted delivery /of/ Thai meal rescheduled (4,4)

8d   Obtain returns, covered by lost // scheme (8)

13d   Vain hopes /of/ how music might be on paper? (4,6)

15d   Succeeded // at home -- and her diet is bad (9)

16d   Worrying at praise /for/ such a letter (8)

17d   Game involving passing via backs? (8)

19d   Bush -- // 'I am very big in Massachusetts' (6)

"very big" = OS (show explanation )

The sizes of clothing that North Americans would describe as plus-size[7] (or often big and tall in the case of men's clothing) would be called outsize (abbreviation OS[5]) in Britain.

hide explanation

In official postal use, the abbreviation for Massachusetts is MA[5].

Mimosa[7] is a genus of about 400 species of herbs and shrubs, in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the legume family Fabaceae. The generic name is derived from a Greek word meaning "actor" or "mime," and the feminine suffix -osa, "resembling", suggesting its 'sensitive leaves' which seem to 'mimic conscious life'.

20d   Ring on small target /for/ bird (6)

The osprey[5] is a a large fish-eating bird of prey (Pandion haliaetus) with long, narrow wings and a white underside and crown, found throughout the world. Also called fish hawk.

23d   Recipient/'s/ exercises receiving positive vote (5)

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education [or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days]. 

24d   Carried /by/ a wave? (4)

A bore[5] is a steep-fronted wave caused by the meeting of two tides or by the constriction of a tide rushing up a narrow estuary.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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