Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 — DT 27867

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27867
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27867]
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


A confluence of events has kept me offline for a few days. On top of having house guests visiting over the Christmas period, we had a major snow storm in Ottawa. However, the principal contributing factor was having my computer (recently updated to Windows 10) suddenly decide that it no longer wished to connect to the Internet. The good news is that there is so much free advice on the Internet on how to resolve such issues. The bad news is that the vast majority of such advice either does not apply to one's specific situation or is just downright inaccurate. In the end, I got online by reinstalling the operating system — a process that took the better part of a day.

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   Going out once temperature's dropped for run /is/ foolhardy (6)

4a   Dreadful odds, with expert missing a // figure out (6)

8a   Overlook in accounts // numberless Irn-Brus pinched in a hotel (8)

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

The "accounts" here are not financial in nature.

Airbrush[5] is used in the sense of to represent or describe as better or more beautiful than in reality ⇒ many lived through the disasters and know that the past has been airbrushed.

As dutch points out in a reply to Comment #16 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, The Chambers Dictionary (affectionately known as the BRB or Big Red Book) gives the meaning of airbrush[1] as to remove (a person) from a story or account.

Scratching the Surface
Irn-Bru[7] (pronounced "iron brew") is a Scottish carbonated soft drink, often described as "Scotland's other national drink" (after whisky). In addition to being sold throughout the United Kingdom, Irn-Bru is available throughout the world and can usually be purchased where there is a significant community of people from Scotland. Innovative and sometimes controversial marketing campaigns have kept it as the number one selling soft drink in Scotland, where it competes directly with global brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

10a   Hat with dent in crown felt soft? (6)

Heno, in Comment #18 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, suggests that this clue is a cryptic definition expressed in Yoda speak. Translated to normal English, this construction would presumably read "Soft felt hat with dent in crown".

Although such a construction would certainly be non-standard English, I am not convinced that it is truly Yoda speak. I would describe it as a noun ("hat") modified by a postpositive adjective ("felt") which in turn is modified by a postpositive adverb ("soft").

Scratching the Surface
Star Wars franchise creator George Lucas attributed to his fictional character Yoda a native language [popularly referred to as Yoda speak[7] ] featuring object-subject-verb[7] (OSV) grammatical order, as reflected in the character's instinctive application of the OSV template to Galactic Basic vocabulary in generating statements such as "Your father he is, but defeat him you must."

11a   Sour // man who painted Parliament but not the Queen (4)

J. M. W. Turner[5] (1775–1851) was an English painter; full name Joseph Mallord William Turner. He made his name with landscapes and stormy seascapes, becoming increasingly concerned with depicting the power of light by the use of primary colours, often arranged in a swirling vortex. Notable works: Rain, Steam, Speed (1844); The Fighting Téméraire (1838).

The Palace of Westminster, the medieval royal palace used as the home of the British parliament, was largely destroyed by fire on 16 October 1834. The fire was the biggest conflagration to occur in London between the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz of the Second World War. The event attracted large crowds which included several artists who provided pictorial records of the event. Among them were J.M.W. Turner, the landscape painter, who later produced two pictures of the fire, and the Romantic painter John Constable, who sketched the fire from a hansom cab on Westminster Bridge.[7]

"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

What did she say?
In her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath says ... remove the last two letters of his surname which are the letters by which our Queen is known (not the Queen).
I can only surmise that she meant to write "not HM" rather than "not the Queen".

12a   Notice // tautology? (10)

I remain to be convinced that the words "notice" and "redundancy" — although certainly related — are entirely interchangeable.

Notice[10] is a mainly British term meaning dismissal from employment. Synonyms are the sack (informal), dismissal, discharge, the boot (slang), the push (slang), marching orders (informal), the (old) heave-ho (informal), and your books or cards (informal).

Redundancy[5] is a British term denoting the state of being no longer in employment because there is no more work available (i) the factory’s workers face redundancy; (ii) the car giant is expected to announce around 5,000 redundancies.

13a   Coming down due to an unexpected bug // perhaps fall asleep by the top of the stairs (5-7)

16a   Tempo flagging according to Spooner /in/ activity that takes place against the clock (4-8)

Clock[5] is an informal British term for a person’s face ⇒ I thought I recognized your clock.

A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

20a   Instruction at the Bournville factory how to safeguard recipe? (4,2,4)

Here "Bournville" refers to a British chocolate bar — one made from dark chocolate.

Bournville[7] is a model village on the south side of Birmingham, England, best known for its connections with the Cadbury family and chocolate – including a dark chocolate bar branded Bournville.

Keep something dark[5] is a British expression meaning to keep something secret ⇒ you’ve kept your plans very dark.

21a   Top // dog announced (4)

Peke[5] is an informal term for a Pekinese[5] (also Pekingese) dog, a lapdog of a short-legged breed with long hair and a snub nose, originally brought to Europe from the Summer Palace at Beijing (Peking) in 1860.

22a   Thingummybob /emerging from/ back-to-back parties –- oh dear (6)

Ah[5] is an exclamation used to express a range of emotions including surprise, pleasure, sympathy, and realization.

"Thingummybob" is a British spelling for thingumabob.

Delving Deeper
Thingy[5] is another term for thingummy[2,5] (also thingamy, thingummyjig, thingummybob; North American thingamajig[2,11]thingumajig[2,11], thingamabob[2], or thingumabob[2]), a person or thing whose name one has forgotten, does not know, or does not wish to mention ⇒ one of those thingummies for keeping all the fire tools together.

If the above should provide an insufficient selection from which to choose, one might also use doohickey, doojigger, gimmick, gismo, gizmo, gubbins, thingmabob, thingmajig, whatchamacallit, whatchamacallum, whatsis, or widget.[WordNet 3.0]

Doodah[5] is an informal British expression used to refer to something that the speaker cannot name precisely ⇒ from the poshest potpourri to the humblest dangly doodah. The equivalent North American term is doodad[5].

23a   Gnomes /and/ imps rage away with the fairies (8)

A gnome[5] is a short statement encapsulating a general truth; a maxim.

Away with the fairies[5] is an informal British term denoting giving the impression of being mad, distracted, or in a dreamworld.

24a   Hose // only sprinkled borders of nasturtiums (6)

25a   A longing /to get/ settled (6)


1d   Opening half of Dame Kiri in recital /is/ spirited stuff (8)

In order to account for the first "I" in the solution, the homophone indicator must apply to the entire charade and not merely to the latter part as Kath indicates in her review. Thus we have a homophone (in recital) of {DA (opening half of DAme) + KIRI}.

A daiquiri[5] is a cocktail containing rum and lime juice.

Scratching the Surface
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa[5] is a New Zealand operatic soprano, resident in Britain since 1966. She made her debut in London in 1970 and since then has sung in the world’s leading opera houses.

2d   Fancy dressing no good /for/ this bird (5)

Fancy dressing is ROBING from which we must remove the G (no good).

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Kath illustrates her clue with a picture of an Australian robin.

A robin[5] is:
  1. European Robin
    any of numerous species in several genera of small Old World thrush related to the chats, typically having a brown back with red on the breast or other colourful markings, in particular the European robin or redbreast (Erithacus rubecula), which has an orange-red face and breast;

  2. American Robin
    a large New World thrush of the genus Turdus, in particular the American robin (Turdus migratorius); or
  3. Australian robin
    any of several genera of small Australasian songbird related to the flycatchers.

3d   Dull // time aboard to do with nerves (7)

5d   East Fife surprisingly overwhelming noted sides /to secure/ title (7)

Historically, effendi[5] was a title of respect or courtesy in Turkey.

Scratching the Surface
East Fife Football Club[7] (known informally as The Fife or The Fifers) are a Scottish football [soccer] club based in the Fife coastal town of Methil. They are members of the Scottish Professional Football League and currently compete in the Scottish League Two (the fourth tier in the Scottish football league system).

Fife[5] is a council area and former county of east central Scotland; administrative centre, Glenrothes.

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] (expand explanation )

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 expanded explanation

6d   Well-informed and bitter? // It's probably hot air (2-7)

Bitter[5] is a British name for beer that is strongly flavoured with hops and has a bitter taste ⇒ (i) a pint of bitter; (ii) the company brews a range of bitters.

7d   Grace, // initially, Henry and I leave his German counterpart (6)

Heinrich[7] is a given name of Germanic origin and cognate of the English name "Henry".

The setter uses "initially Henry" (the initial letter of Henry) to clue the letter "H". This is a generous gesture, as the setter could have used merely "Henry" as, in physics, the henry[5] is the SI unit of inductance, equal to an electromotive force of one volt in a closed circuit with a uniform rate of change of current of one ampere per second. Don't be surprised to see this term (deceptively capitalized) appear in clues.

9d   Battering fish is said // to provide protective cover (6-5)

The plaice[5] either of two species of North Atlantic flatfish which is a commercially important food fish. The European Pleuronectes platessa is often found in very shallow water while the American Hippoglossoides platessoides is found in deeper waters.

14d   Gently does it /with/ piano part (4-5)

Sometimes I solve a clue without giving it a second thought only to find when I sit down to write the blog that the clue presents a great deal of difficulty when it comes to parsing it. Such is the case here.

If one attempts to parse this clue as a double definition (with the latter definition being a noun), the numeration for the latter part does not match that given in the clue. According to my understanding, this precludes the clue from being a double definition.

I also tried parsing the clue as:
  • 14d   Gently does it // with piano part (4-5)
However, this does not work as "with piano part" is an adjectival phrase.

Perhaps, one could categorize this clue as a cryptic definition:
  • 14d   Gently does it with piano part (4-5)
in which the phrase "with piano part" serves as cryptic elaboration on "gently does it" (itself being rather cryptic).

A soft pedal[5] is a pedal on a piano that can be pressed to make the tone softer.

As a verb, soft-pedal[1] means to play with the soft pedal down.

Soft-pedal[5] also means to refrain from emphasizing the more unpleasant aspects of or to play down ⇒ the administration’s decision to soft-pedal the missile program.

15d   Hard breaking into defenceless // safe (8)

"hard" = H (show explanation )

H[5] is an abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.

hide explanation

17d   Get big // problem with leg (5,2)

In cricket, the leg[5] (also called leg side) is another name for the on[5] (also known as on side), the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman’s feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg. The other half of the field is known as the off[5] (also called off side).

18d   Clue /is/ second missing first couple of twists (7)

19d   In retrospect some boffin won erudite // fame (6)

In Comment #7 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, oddjob points out that Kath has misplaced the hidden reversal which she acknowledges in her reply.

Scratching the Surface
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.

21d   Break down // as per projected (5)
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

1 comment:

  1. Welcome Back Falcon. A Happy New Year to you and all the Eyasses!