Friday, January 1, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016 — DT 27821 (Bonus Puzzle)


Happy New Year. Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful 2016.

Here's a little something to keep you occupied today during the lulls in football games. This puzzle, DT 27821, is one for which I had prepared a review but which the National Post did not publish. I am pleased to be able to make use of the review — especially since this blog gets favourable mentions from crypticsue and Gazza in the review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27821
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27821 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27821 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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
The National Post skipped this puzzle on Monday, November 16, 2015.
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


I don't think that I have ever encountered a puzzle where my experience has diverged so markedly from that of the British reviewer as is the case today. For crypticsue, this puzzle presented a mere one star difficulty; for me, it was a four star challenge.

I must say it was very gratifying to see this blog mentioned by both crypticsue and gazza on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. In her remarks, crypticsue wonders if 15a and 5d would prove to be "'Britishisms' too far" for a North American solver. Strangely enough, although those clues did hold me up for quite some time, they proved not to be the biggest obstacles to completing the puzzle.

Complete the puzzle, I did — but only after resorting to far more electronic assistance than I have had to call upon in many a moon. Not only did I need more than the customary amount of electronic assistance, I needed it relatively early in the solving process. Moreover, the wordplay for one clue totally eluded me (although there is nothing specifically "British" about this 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   Large building // site conceals article (6)

4a   Knife // fight about where the cash is kept mostly (8)

9a   'Ring me', missing the start -- // call again (6)

Where I Went Wrong
I failed to recognize that a "ring" is an ARENA. I also spent a lot of time and effort trying to make "the start" be T — the start [initial letter] of The.

10a   Supreme // lady holding line (8)

A peeress[5] is:
  1. a woman holding the rank of a peer in her own right; or
  2. the wife or widow of a peer.
11a   Fake diamond /is/ a national symbol (8)

The shamrock[5] is a low-growing clover-like plant with three-lobed leaves, used as the national emblem of Ireland.

13a   Racehorse /getting/ one drink after another (6)

What Slowed Me Down
I did initially consider the famous British racehorse Red Rum[7] even though I thought the numeration to be incorrect — which it is.

Chaser[5] is a [seemingly chiefly British] term for a horse for steeplechasing.

15a   A comedian's accessory /has/ fishes caught in a couple of seconds (8,5)

What Slowed Me Down
I had encountered the British comedian and his accessory in a previous puzzle and was able to dredge up the solution from the deep recesses of my brain once I had sufficient checking letters in place. Arriving at the solution through the wordplay would be difficult for a North American as the synonym for "seconds" is a Briticism and I don't believe the fish is found on this side of the Atlantic — although, admittedly, neither term is uncommon in crosswords.

The ling[5] is any of a number of long-bodied edible marine fishes including various species of large East Atlantic fish related to the cod, in particular Molva molva, which is of commercial importance.

Orthographically Incorrect?
Like Angel at Comment #28 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, my initial thought was that since we are talking about a number of the same species of fish, the plural should be 'fish' rather than 'fishes' as I have always understood that one uses 'fishes' only when speaking of members of different species. Then I realized that the plural of 'ling' would be 'ling' rather than 'lings'. So might the setter actually be deliberately using an incorrect plural in the clue to denote an incorrect plural in the solution?

Tick[5] is an informal British term for a moment ⇒ (i) I shan’t be a tick; (ii) I’ll be with you in a tick.

Ken Dodd[7] is an English comedian, singer-songwriter and actor, identified by his trademark unruly hair and protruding teeth, his red, white and blue "tickling stick" and his famous, upbeat greeting of "How tickled I am!". In the 1960s his fame was such that he rivalled the Beatles as a household name. His records have sold millions worldwide. Despite his age (he recently turned 88), he is apparently still performing.

Delving Deeper
Dodd's stand-up comedy style is fast and relies on the rapid delivery of one-liner jokes. He intersperses the comedy with occasional songs, both serious and humorous, in an incongruously fine light baritone voice.

Dodd is renowned for the length of his performances, and during the 1960s he earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours (7.14 jokes per minute), undertaken at a Liverpool theatre, where audiences were observed to enter the show in shifts.

18a   Certain papers harassed // one with rich pile (7,6)

Where I Went Wrong
I fell into the trap — intentionally set or not — of supposing that I was looking for a wealthy property owner.

A pile[3] is a very large building or complex of buildings. Although not a term with which I was familiar before encountering it in previous puzzles, it is apparently not a Briticism as this definition is taken from The American Heritage Dictionary.

22a   Kind of oil /for/ wheel (6)

24a   Who'll renovate antique // luxury car round back of furniture shop (8)

The monogram RR appears on the grill of a Rolls Royce automobile.

26a   Hotly contested seat // alarming liberal (8)

Marginal[5] is a British term for a seat in a parliament or on a council [local government] that is held by a small majority and is at risk in an election ⇒ she is defending a key marginal for the Tories.

27a   Old music club // put clergyman back in prison (6)

The Cavern Club[7] is a nightclub in Liverpool, England. The original Cavern Club opened in 1957 as a jazz club, later becoming a centre of the rock and roll scene in Liverpool in the 1960s. The Beatles played in the club in their early years. The original Cavern club closed in 1973 and was demolished during construction of the Merseyrail underground rail loop. The club re-opened in 1984 after being rebuilt using many of the original bricks, to the original plans but on the opposite side of the street to the original club.

28a   Aristocrat /and/ toff leading motor race in France, failing to finish (8)

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

Nob[5] is an informal British term for a person of wealth or high social position ⇒ it was quite a do—all the nobs were there.

Le Mans[5] is an industrial city in northwestern France; population 148,169 (2006). It is the site of a motor-racing circuit, on which a 24-hour endurance race (established in 1923) is held each summer.

29a   Guard // southern access point (6)


1d   Study // South American country's broadcast (6)

2d   Ruined ancestral // seat of duke (9)

The House of Lancaster[5] is the English royal house descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, that ruled England from 1399 (Henry IV) until 1461 (the deposition of Henry VI) and again on Henry’s brief restoration in 1470-1. With the red rose as its emblem it fought the Wars of the Roses with the House of York; Lancaster’s descendants, the Tudors, eventually prevailed through Henry VII’s accession to the throne in 1485.

3d   Cloth that's white /or/ light blue one-third off put on cape (7)

In Britain, a blue[5] is a person who has represented Cambridge University (a Cambridge blue) or Oxford University (an Oxford blue) at a particular sport in a match between the two universities ⇒ a flyweight boxing blue. This usage almost certainly arises from the colours associated with these universities — and hence the colour of the uniforms worn by their athletes. Cambridge blue[5] is a pale blue colour, while Oxford blue[5] is a dark blue, typically with a purple tinge.

The abbreviation for cape is C.[5]C. Hatteras.

Cambric[5] is a lightweight, closely woven white linen or cotton fabric.

5d   Youngster not in employment, education or training on the way up (4)

Although I was not familiar with the acronym, the solution was gettable from the definition and the wordplay was then pretty obvious.

NEET[5] (acronym of not in education, employment, or training) is a British term for a young person who is no longer in the education system and who is not working or being trained for work.

6d   Charles recycled // source of wood (7)

The larch[5] is any of several species of coniferous tree with bunches of deciduous bright green needles, found in cool regions of the northern hemisphere. It is grown for its tough timber and its resin (which yields turpentine).

7d   Taking top off, force // lock (5)

Here, "force" works much better as a noun than a verb.

8d   Facing the bowling -- // out! (2,6)

My research did not turn up the specific expression "on strike" pertaining to cricket but I did find some closely related terms which suggest that the expression on strike would very likely denote (of a batsman) being in a position of facing the bowling.

In cricket, strike[1] is the position of facing the bowling, licence to receive the next delivery. Take strike[1] (said of a batsman) means to prepare to face the bowling.

12d   Group of settlers // pass over US city (6)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

hide explanation

14d   Prisoner // on good terms with officer (6)

In (with)[5] is an informal expression meaning on friendly terms (with)the Krays were in with a couple of MPs.

Thus (diverging slightly from crypticsue's parsing), I would say that the word "with" is used in the clue as a charade indicator, with the wordplay being IN (on good terms) + (with) MATE (officer).

A mate[3,4,11] (short for first mate[3,4,11]) is an officer second in command to the captain of a merchant ship.

16d   Cross // between religious groups (9)

17d   Health resort with endless fix /for/ long-distance travellers (8)

19d   Have a thing about // unusual doilies (7)

20d   Bete noire, // fear of dogs perhaps (3,4)

A pet hate[10] is a a minor annoyance that a person identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than it may be to others ⇒ Smoking is my pet hate. This may possibly be a British counterpart to the expression pet peeve[3,11].

21d   Drink // of unknown manufacture? (6)

23d   Abandon // wild country (5)

25d   Things used to cook up // long story (4)

Aga[2] is a British trademark for a type of large permanently lit cooking stove with multiple ovens, some models of which also heat water.
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)
Happy New Year — Falcon

1 comment:

  1. happy New Year's Falcon et al!
    Congrats Falcon on getting honourable mentions in the DT blog. It's nice to be recognized, even if they do have to wait 6 months to find out what you said.