Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 — DT 27860

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27860
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27860]
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 a 'Wednesday' puzzle from Jay, I found this to be slightly on the more gentle side.

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   City once // second division -- third in league (6)

Sparta[5] is a city in the southern Peloponnese in Greece, capital of the department of Laconia; population 14,400 (est. 2009). It was a powerful city state in the 5th century BC, defeating its rival Athens in the Peloponnesian War to become the leading city of Greece.

Scratching the Surface
I think the surface reading of the clue is likely an allusion to Manchester City F. C.[7] (often referred to simply as City), an English professional football [soccer] club, based in Manchester, England, that that plays in the Premier League (the top level in the English football league system).

The English football league system[7], also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football [soccer] clubs in England, with six teams from Wales and one from Guernsey also competing. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the hypothetical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system. There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions. The exact number of clubs varies from year to year as clubs join and leave leagues or fold altogether, but an estimated average of 15 clubs per division implies that more than 7,000 teams of nearly 5,300 clubs are members of a league in the English men's football league system.

The names of the leagues have changed over the last 25 years. However, over the course of the club's history, Manchester City has (with the exception of one season) always played at either the first or second level. The lone exception is the 1998-1999 season in which they played at the third level (then called Division 2, but now known as Football League One). The club was promoted to the second level (then called Division 1, but now known as the Football League Championship) for the 1999-2000 season and to the first level (Premier League) for the 2000-2001 season before dropping back to the second level (Division 1) for the 2001-2002 season. In 2002-2003, the club was again promoted to the first level (Premier League) where they have remained ever since.

Manchester City currently sits in third place in the Premier League.

5a   Love Irish dancing, but duck out // feeling tetchy (8)

"duck" = O (show explanation )

In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

In British puzzles, "duck" is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

hide explanation

Liverish[5] means unhappy and bad-tempered.

9a   Close co-operation // must destroy worm found in wood (8)

10a   Begin to look embarrassed /by/ communist cell (6)

11a   Exceptional // project when split (8)

12a   Shoves // spades onto boat (6)

"spades" = S (show explanation )

Spades[2]) (abbreviation S[1]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

13a   Memo written about one group/'s/ small bit of meat (8)

A noisette[5] is a small round piece of meat, especially lamb.

15a   Head of security taken in by weak // point (4)

Wet[5] is an informal British term meaning showing a lack of forcefulness or strength of character; feeble ⇒ they thought the cadets were a bit wet.

17a   Support // delay (4)

19a   Dependable // volunteers in searches from the East (8)

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

In the UK, Territorial Army[5] (abbreviation TA[5]) was, at one time, the name of a volunteer force founded in 1908 to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined military personnel for use in an emergency. Since 2013, this organization has been called the Army Reserve.

hide explanation

20a   Vacant type with a grass // container on the table? (6)

21a   Impressive carriage /in/ attendance? (8)

22a   The man provided the Queen // a farm animal (6)

"the Queen" = 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

23a   Outburst /from/ two females united in row on the way back (8)

"united" = U (show explanation )

In the names of sports clubs, U[5] is the abbreviation for United[5] — in Britain, a word commonly used in the names of soccer and other sports teams formed by amalgamation ⇒ Man U [Manchester United].

hide explanation

24a   Offence /caused by/ dressing up as priests -- I must leave (8)

25a   Sneaks // doing nothing aboard ship (6)

In Crosswordland, you will find that a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[10]. Thus "aboard ship" or "on board ship" (or sometimes merely "on board") is code for 'contained in SS'.


2d   Glutton guzzling remainder, finishing off plate // standing (8)

3d   Popular worker sat on by strange // sort of animal (8)

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

The phrase "worker" is commonly used in cryptic crossword puzzles to clue ANT.

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

4d   Defender // meaning to follow a game (9)

5d   Fast // to appreciate those who applaud (4,3,8)

Like the clappers[5] is an informal British expression meaning very fast or very hard ⇒ she ran off like the clappers.

6d   Give a lift to // valet working in case of exposure (7)

7d   Poor // news leader protected by tricky editing (8)

8d   Truly // retreat, in sacred environment (8)

14d   Read about being adopted by posh people /in/ exchanges (5-4)

Toff[5] is a derogatory, informal British term for a rich or upper-class person.

15d   Incandescent // women strike those stupidly sacking son (5-3)

16d   Some tennis team -- including a // reserve! (3,5)

In tennis, darts, and other games, a set[5] is a group of games counting as a unit towards a match ⇒ he took the first set 6-3.

"team" = SIDE (show explanation )

Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in their side. [Note that a player is "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America]

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

hide explanation

17d   Emphasised being upset -- not Diana! (8)

18d   Amusing tale /of/ a bit of money split by European Diplomatic Corps (8)

Note[5] is a British term for a banknote ⇒ a ten-pound note.

CD[5] is the abbreviation for corps diplomatique (diplomatic corps).

19d   It's fine during awful upset // to eat one's fill (5,2)

Stoke up[5] is an informal expression meaning to consume a large quantity of food or drink to give one energy Carol was at the coffee machine, stoking up for the day.
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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