Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 — DT 27861

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27861
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, July 23, 2015
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27861]
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


This is a fairly typical RayT puzzle. I did resort to a smidgeon of electronic assistance to decipher one clue.

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   Munch, eating a small // nut (6)

4a   Charlie, poorer swallowing start of soft // soap (8)

Charlie[5] is a code word representing the letter C, used in radio communication.

9a   Native American // swiftly catches horse's head (6)

The Apache[5] are an American Indian people living chiefly in New Mexico and Arizona. Under the leadership of Geronimo, the Apache were the last American Indian people to be conquered by the European settlers.

10a   Hymn about America facing American // abomination (8)

A[1] is the abbreviation for America or American [among a long list of other possibilities].

11a   Fan with no time /for/ act (8)

To be precise, this "fan" loses only one of its two instances of "time" so it hardly seems correct to say that the solution is "with no time".

13a   Reportedly longs /for/ wife (6)

15a   Dessert in diet unusually // generous (13)

To me, it seems a fair stretch to equate generous and disinterested. However, using the concept of the parlour game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon[7], one can actually get there in two steps. Generous and disinterested are both synonyms of unselfish, so a mathematician would argue that if A=B and C=B, then A must also equal C. However, this is a linguistic question — not one of mathematics.

Disinterested[5] denotes not influenced by considerations of personal advantage ⇒ a banker is under an obligation to give disinterested advice.

Delving Deeper
According to Oxford Dictionaries:
Nowhere are the battle lines more deeply drawn in usage questions than over the difference between disinterested and uninterested. According to traditional guidelines, disinterested should never be used to mean ‘not interested’ (i.e. it is not a synonym for uninterested) but only to mean ‘impartial’, as in the judgements of disinterested outsiders are likely to be more useful. Ironically, the earliest recorded sense of disinterested is for the disputed sense. Today, the ‘incorrect’ use of disinterested is widespread: around a quarter of citations in the Oxford English Corpus for disinterested are for this sense.

18a   Awkward /and/ formal once but relaxed (13)

22a   Capital // haunt's empty around old inn (6)

Hobart[5] is the capital and chief port of Tasmania (show explanation ); population 209,287 (2008).

Tasmania[7] is a state of Australia consisting of the mountainous island of Tasmania itself and several smaller islands; population 497,529 (2008); capital, Hobart. It was known as Van Diemen’s Land until 1855.

hide explanation

24a   Sultry // redhead seen in local (8)

"redhead" = R (show explanation )

Here we encounter a common cryptic crossword device, in which the word "redhead" is used to clue R, the initial letter (head) of Red.

hide explanation

Topical[2,10] is used in the medical sense (said of a drug, ointment, treatment, etc) meaning for application to the body or local.

26a   Later on I fancy // Chinese, possibly (8)

27a   Medical containers restricting temperature /for/ organs (6)

28a   Sweet product, // Polo centre, consumed by loads (8)

What did she say?
In her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath remarks ... loads of or, if you happen to be one of the Famous Five, lashings of something (usually ginger beer). .
The Famous Five[7] is the name of a series of children's adventure novels written by English author Enid Blyton. The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children – Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) – and their dog Timmy.

Lashings[5] is an informal British term for a copious amount of something, especially food or drink ⇒ chocolate cake with lashings of cream

Five Go Mad in Dorset[7] is a British television special first broadcast in 1992. The film, in which the children are portrayed by adult actors, is an extreme parody of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books.

The satire on display parodies established aspects of Blyton's books in addition to placing newer, sinister overtones onto them. Examples of the former include ... their [the gang's] taste for outdoor picnics of "ham and turkey sandwiches, bags of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, heaps of tomato, and lashings of ginger beer". (Indeed, the film's catchphrase "lashings of ginger beer" became so well known that it is now often mistakenly attributed to Blyton herself, although it never appears in any of the Famous Five books.)

The film also portrayed Uncle Quentin as a "screaming homosexual" and his wife Fanny as an "unrelenting nymphomaniac", as well as implying a homosexual relationship between Dick and Julian and a bestial one between George [Georgina] and Timmy [their dog].

In addition, much was made of the children's apparently racist and extreme right-wing views – a reference to the controversy that has retrospectively haunted Blyton's work. Blyton's estate were nevertheless said to have "loved" the film.

29a   Guard // posted next to railway (6)


1d   Obscene // programme for the audience (6)

2d   Erratic // cop tormented with sadism (9)

3d   Blows out // former wife then husband drinks ... (7)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, I have no idea what "blows out former wife" is supposed to mean. Perhaps "blows out" means that she leaves her husband. However, that interpretation would lead to a rather awkward reading result.

5d   ... left single? (4)

I interpret this clue to be an &lit. (all-in-one) in which the definition is "left single" (LONE) and the wordplay is L (left) + ONE (single).

6d   Like this, when finally sat on horse? (7)

I interpret this clue to be a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) in which the entire clue provides the definition and the portion with the dashed underline serves as the wordplay which is AS (when) + T (finally sat; final letter of saT) + (on) RIDE (horse).

Ride[5] is used in the sense of the horse, vehicle, etc on which one rides.

7d   Spot on manuscript // appears (5)

8d   Epic poem // of perhaps 'Odyssey' (8)

In ancient Greece, a rhapsody[5] was an epic poem, or part of a poem, of a suitable length for recitation at one time.

Scratching the Surface
The Odyssey[5] is a Greek hexameter epic poem traditionally ascribed to Homer, describing the travels of Odysseus during his ten years of wandering after the sack of Troy. He eventually returned home to Ithaca and killed the suitors who had plagued his wife Penelope during his absence.

12d   PA /is/ tense with anger (6)

I spent a good deal of time trying to construct a solution which used PA[5] in the British sense of an abbreviation for personal assistant.

Grammatically speaking, t.[10] is the abbreviation for tense.

Tannoy[5] (trademark) is a type of public address system. In Britain, the term has become a generic term for a public address system to such an extent that it is even used as a verb meaning to transmit or announce over a public address system ⇒ the news was tannoyed one afternoon.

14d   Clergyman // bound by direct order (6)

"clergyman" = RECTOR (show explanation )

A rector[5] is a member of the clergy, although the meaning of the term varies among religious denominations. The term denotes:
  • in the the Church of England, an incumbent of a parish where all tithes formerly passed to the incumbent,
  • in other Anglican Churches, a member of the clergy who has charge of a parish;
  • in the Roman Catholic Church, a priest in charge of a church or of a religious institution.
hide explanation 

16d   Biting // fish catching river insect (9)

The tench[5] (Tinca tinca) is a European freshwater fish of the carp family, popular with anglers and widely introduced elsewhere.

17d   Sprout // puree on jumper missed opening (8)

Roo[5] is an informal Australian term for a kangaroo.

19d   US state's protecting Republican // force (7)

In the US, a Republican[5] (abbreviation R[5])  is a member or supporter of the Republican Party.

Marines[7], also known as a marine corps and naval infantry, are an infantry force that specializes in the support of naval and army operations on land and at sea, as well as the execution of their own operations. In the majority of countries, the marine force is part of the navy, but it can also be under the army like the Troupes de marine (French Marines) and Givati Brigade (Israeli Marines), or form an independent armed service branch like the United States Marine Corps and Royal Marines.

20d   Bishop inclined -- one's given English // name? (7)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

21d   Expressionless // girl embraced by heartless bloke (6)

"girl" = LASS (show explanation )

Lass[5] is a chiefly Scottish and Northern English term [although one that is certainly extremely well-known in Canada] for a girl or young woman ⇒ (i) he married a lass from Yorkshire; (ii) village lasses.

hide explanation

Initially, I presumed "heartless bloke" to be clueing B(lok)E. When it became obvious that the final letter is Y, I set my sights on B(o)Y. Eventually, I needed a nudge from my electronic assistants to find the right G(u)Y.

23d   Cool // source of babbling brook (5)

Brill[5] is an informal British term meaning excellent or marvellous ⇒ (i) a brill new series; (ii) She says I can spend half-term [midterm break] with you.’ ‘Hey, brill!’.

25d   Scarce // record album initially by Queen turned up (4)

"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 
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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