Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016 — DT 27893

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27893
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27893 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27893 – 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
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.


This puzzle presents a fairly gentle exercise after some testing challenges earlier in the week.

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   Note sum charged in unauthorised occupation /of/ quantity of floor space (6,4)

In music — specifically, in tonic sol-fa — re is the second note of a major scale. In Britain, where the more common spelling is ray[5], re[5] is seen as a variant [or even worse, American] spelling.

6a   Fraud /from/ flipping computers (4)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, flipping[5] is an informal British term used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance ⇒ (i) are you out of your flipping mind?; (ii) it’s flipping cold today.

9a   Dandy // to get fat (5)

Swell[5] is dated slang for a fashionable or stylish person of wealth or high social position a crowd of city swells.

10a   Eccentric directors /of/ stiff material (9)

12a   The woman records trial // wherein some get fleeced (5-8)

"records" = EPS (show explanation )

EP[10] (abbreviation for extended-play) is one of the formats in which music is sold, usually comprising four or five tracks.

hide explanation

14a   In support, learner left with care of // plumbing item (8)

"learner" = 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

A ballcock[5] is a valve which is linked by a hinged arm to a ball floating on top of a liquid and opens or closes a tap automatically according to the height of the ball, especially in the cistern [tank] of a flushing toilet.

15a   Artist /has/ entry cut short (6)

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres [5] (1780–1867) was a French painter. A pupil of Jacques-Louis David, he vigorously upheld neoclassicism in opposition to Delacroix’s romanticism. Notable works: Ambassadors of Agamemnon (1801) and The Bather (1808).

17a   Austen novel // to get from office (6)

Scratching the Surface
Jane Austen[5] (1775–1817) was an English novelist. Her major novels are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1818), and Persuasion (1818). They are notable for skilful characterization, dry wit, and penetrating social observation.

19a   Ecstasy /gets/ a hip roue smashed (8)

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

21a   Where one's tried to get round // report of royals (5,8)

In Britain, the Court Circular[5] is a daily report of the activities and public engagements of royal family members, published in some newspapers.

24a   An elector undermined // liberal position (9)

25a   Detective // on public transport (5)

The Inspector Rebus[7] books are a series of detective novels by the Scottish author Ian Rankin. The novels, centred on the title character Detective Inspector John Rebus, are mostly based in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.

26a   Rejected love // that produces pain (4)

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite — the Roman equivalent being Cupid. The name is synonymous with sexual love or desire Eros drives us to transcend ourselves through desire.

27a   Estimate on repairing // starter home? (10)

Maisonette[3,4,11] (or maisonnette) is a chiefly British term for self-contained living accommodation often occupying two floors of a larger house and having its own outside entrance.


1d   Window frame /made by/ son, with wood (4)

2d   Able to take a stretch briefly after university, // one's employed in the kitchen (7)

3d   Bloomer after posh car company /gives/ scary ride (6-7)

Roller[5] is an informal British term for a car made by Rolls-Royce.

4d   Oppose rugby forwards /getting/ cosmetic treatment (4,4)

In rugby, pack[5] denotes a team’s forwards considered as a group ⇒ I had doubts about Swansea’s pack at the beginning of the season.

5d   Make electrics safe /in/ underground shelter (5)

Electrics[5] is a British term for the system of electric wiring and parts in a house or vehicle ⇒ there’s something wrong with the electrics.

The Brits earth their electrics whereas we ground our wiring.

In Britain, earth is used as a noun[5] to mean an electrical connection to the ground, regarded as having zero electrical potential ensure metal fittings are electrically bonded to earth and as a verb[5] to mean to connect (an electrical device) with the ground the front metal panels must be soundly earthed. The equivalent term in North American is ground (both as a noun[5] and a verb[5]).

I can't help but note the irony that Oxford Dictionaries displays in defining earth as a British term meaning an "electrical connection to the ground" and ground as a North American term meaning an "electrical connection to the earth".

In the second definition, earth[5] is the underground lair of a badger or fox.

7d   Caught old tennis star pocketing one // keyboard (7)

I made progress here once I had eliminated Arthur Ashe[5].

Rod Laver[5] is an Australian former tennis player. In 1962 he became the second man (after Don Budge in 1938) to win the four major singles championships (British, American, French, and Australian) in one year; in 1969 he was the first to repeat this.

"caught" = C (show explanation )

In cricket, similar to baseball, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught or caught by.

hide explanation

Clavier[5] is a term used in music for a keyboard instrument.

8d   Island // bananas to be put on old Turkish officer's vehicle (10)

In the Ottoman Empire, an aga[10] (or agha) was a military commander.

Madagascar[5] is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa; population 20,653,600 (est. 2009); official languages, Malagasy and French; capital, Antananarivo.

Delving Deeper
Settled by peoples of mixed Indo-Melanesian and African descent, Madagascar was visited by the Portuguese in 1500 but resisted colonization until the French established control in 1896. It regained its independence as the Malagasy Republic in 1960, changing its name back to Madagascar in 1975. Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world, and many of its plants and animals are not found elsewhere.

11d   Original ideas /from/ hit issue (13)

The solution is a word that I have never before seen used in the plural — suggesting this is something that rarely has siblings.

Brainchild[5] (plural brainchildren) is a informal term for an idea or invention which is considered to be a particular person’s creation ⇒ the statue is the brainchild of a local landscape artist.

13d   Arranges a best focus? Not at all! (10)

I would classify this clue as a semi-&lit. (or, if you prefer, semi-all-in-one). The latter part of the clue "Not at all!" instructs us that the definition is the very opposite of what has previously been stated. The portion of the clue with the dashed underline doubles as wordplay. This type of clue would have been termed a WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) by scchua, a former blogger on Big Dave's site.

16d   More masculine, given second // look (8)

Butcher's[10] is Cockney rhyming slang for a look. In Cockney rhyming slang, the slang word is obtained by replacing a word (in this case, "look") by a phrase with which it rhymes ("butcher's hook") and then dropping the rhyming word in the phrase. Through this process, "look" becomes "butcher's".

Butch[10] is an adjective meaning (of a woman or man) markedly or aggressively masculine. As a noun, butch can mean:
  1. a lesbian who is noticeably masculine; or
  2. a strong rugged man.
[However, in current usage, the term would seem to be used almost exclusively in the former sense.]

18d   One has a row /in/ kitchen mostly (7)

20d   Snack, // lightly cooked -- something boring (7)

Rarebit[5] (also Welsh rarebit) is a dish of melted and seasoned cheese on toast, sometimes with other ingredients.

22d   Vacation I arrange includes // ancient region of Eastern Mediterranean (5)

In classical times, Ionia[5] was the central part of the west coast of Asia Minor, which had long been inhabited by Hellenic people (the Ionians) and was again colonized by Greeks from the mainland from about the 8th century BC.

23d   Man perhaps // that follows Carl in Northern city (4)

Carlisle[5] is a city in northwestern England, the county town of Cumbria; population 73,600 (est. 2009).

The Isle of Man[5]  is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system.
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. Thanks, as always, for your erudite commentary. I'd never encountered either meaning of 5d. Vaguely recall having encountered the rhyming slang in 16d in earlier puzzles. And resorted to a crossword dictionary for 7d. So, perhaps a bit more than one star in difficulty for me.

    My 11d are produced so many years apart that no one would think they were siblings.

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