Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016 — DT 27877

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27877
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Shamus (Philip Marlow)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27877]
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
The National Post has skipped DT 27876 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, August 10, 2015.


The puzzles published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesdays are believed to come from at least two — if not more — mystery setters. Thus the style and quality can vary markedly from week to week. I would think that today's puzzle is one of the better ones. The setter certainly pulled the wool over my eyes in 1a.

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   Pass very large southern American // figure of epic size (8)

I only had to read the first sentence — in fact, merely the first half of the sentence — of the introduction to Gazza's review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog to send me back to the drawing board.

Similar to Gazza's initial attempt, I had parsed the clue as:
  • Pass very large southern American figure // of epic size (8)
with the wordplay being COL (pass) + OS (very large) + S (southern) + A (American) + L (figure; Roman numeral for fifty) and the solution being COLOSSAL (of epic size).

However, the correct wordplay is COL (pass) + OS (very large) + S (southern) + US (American) with the solution being COLOSSUS (figure of epic size).

"very large" = OS (show explanation )

The sizes of clothing that North Americans would describe as plus-size[7] (or often big and tall in the case of men's clothing) would be called outsize (abbreviation OS[5]) in Britain.

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A colossus[5] is:
  1. a statue that is much bigger than life size ⇒ two statues known as the Colossi of Memnon;
  2. hence, a person or thing of enormous size, importance, or ability ⇒ the Russian Empire was the colossus of European politics.
The Colossus of Rhodes[5] was a huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built circa 292–280 BC, it stood beside the harbour entrance at Rhodes for about fifty years.

6a   Heading west, shooter needs to grab // some gold (6)

It took me a long time to correctly parse this clue. The wordplay is NUG {reversal (heading west) of GUN (shooter)} + (needs) GET (to grab). It was the latter part of the wordplay which I had difficulty seeing.

9a   Current // group of pupils (6)

Stream[5] is a British term meaning to put (schoolchildren) in groups of the same age and ability to be taught together streaming within comprehensive schools is common practice. [I think this term may possibly also be used in Canada.]

As a noun, stream[5] is a British term meaning a group in which schoolchildren of the same age and ability are taught children in the top streams.

10a   A comment found about largely neat // remedy (8)

I wasted time here working on the erroneous supposition that neat[5] might have been used in the archaic sense of a bovine animal or, as a mass noun, cattle.

11a   Poor clot that's violated // etiquette (8)

12a   Footballing action /in/ item at top of page (6)

Of course, when the setter and Gazza mention "football", they are referring to what we — not to mention Oxford Dictionaries — would call soccer.

In soccer, a header[5] is a shot or pass made with the head.

Upon seeing Gazza's illustration, I wondered if "header" might be the British term for "headline". However, as best I can determine, the Brits use the words "header" and "headline" in the same way we do with "header" being a more general term and "headline" a more specific term. Thus, all "headlines" can be considered to be "headers", but not all "headers" are "headlines".

13a   Show command // as a decisive photographer does? (4,3,5)

16a   Side's visit taking in hotel twice // very late? (8-4)

"side" = team (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.

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Eleven[5] is the number of players on a cricket[7] side or an Association football[7] [soccer] team — and is often used as a metonym for such a team ⇒ at cricket I played in the first eleven.

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

19a   Revered figure, // a Spanish chicken? (6)

In Greek mythology, Apollo[5] is a god, son of Zeus and Leto and brother of Artemis. He is associated with music, poetic inspiration, archery, prophecy, medicine, pastoral life, and the sun.

The Spanish word for chicken is pollo[5].

21a   Good soldier stuck in liquid mud, // slow-moving (8)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

"soldier" = GI (show explanation )

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war.

Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather derives from the term government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

hide explanation

Apparently, slush[1,2,3,4,5,10,11] can be watery mud as well as partially melted snow or ice.

23a   Best support, we're told, /for/ calorific meal (5,3)

This support would find use on a golf course.

Cream tea[5,10] is a British term for a a meal taken in the afternoon consisting of tea to drink with bread or scones served with clotted cream and jam. Clotted cream[5] is a chiefly British term for thick cream obtained by heating milk slowly and then allowing it to cool while the cream content rises to the top in coagulated lumps.

24a   Course // in French service, perhaps (6)

This course would most likely be taken at a dining-room table.

In French, en[8] is a preposition meaning 'in'.

The service[10] (also service tree[5]) is either of two species of Eurasian tree of the rose family, closely related to the rowan.

25a   Circle // note at end of letter to return present (6)

Ditto to Gazza's comment on this clue.

26a   Set off /to make/ school in time (8)

Time as measured by the calendar, not by the clock.

"school" = ETON (show explanation )

Eton College[7], often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent [private] school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is located in Eton, near Windsor in England, and is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. [Note: In Britain, "public schools" are a special class of private school; what North Americans would call public schools are referred to in Britain as state schools.]

hide explanation


2d   On strike about railway, /getting/ public disapproval (6)

3d   In Dover, terminal /is/ open (5)

Scratching the Surface
Dover[5] is a ferry port in Kent, in England, on the coast of the English Channel; population 35,200 (est. 2009). It is mainland Britain’s nearest point to the Continent, being only 35 km (22 miles) from Calais, France.

4d   Mark // left in some coin that's reproduced (9)

5d   Note liberal expression of annoyance upset // young celebrity (7)

Having the wrong solution at 1a made this clue impossible to solve. I even thought of the correct solution here but dismissed it, so sure was I of my solution at 1a.

In music, te[5] (also ti[2]) is the seventh note of the major scale in tonic sol-fa. Judging by a perusal of entries in American and British dictionaries, the only recognized spelling in the US would seem to be ti[3,4,11] whereas, in the UK, the principal — or only — spelling would appear to be te[2,3,4,11], with ti given as an alternative spelling in some dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries provides less leeway, giving the spelling as te[5] with ti shown as the North American spelling.

"liberal" = L (show explanation )

The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2]) in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists.

Although Lib. may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party in Britain—likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5])—Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

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6d   Nick // books put in Northern church (5)

In Crosswordland, the word "books" is often used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT).

Scratching the Surface
Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to steal ⇒ she nicked fivers from the till.

7d   Follow retired fellow with dodgy heart, // criminal mastermind (9)

"fellow" = F (show explanation )

F[2] is the abbreviation for Fellow (of a society, etc). For instance, it is found in professional designations such as FRAIC (Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada).

hide explanation

A godfather[5] is a person directing a criminal organization, especially a leader of the American Mafia the Mafia godfather believed to be behind the murder of two judges.

Behind the Image
The picture used by Gazza to illustrate his review on Big Dave's Crossword blog is of Marlon Brando in the role of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather[7]. The second person in the picture may possibly be Robert Duvall in the role of adopted son and consigliere Tom Hagen.

8d   Request // Eastern feast in US city (8)

Feast[10] is used in the sense of something extremely pleasing or sumptuous a feast for the eyes.

13d   Sparkling wine left by trainee short of time /in/ procession (9)

Cava[5] is a Spanish sparkling wine made in the same way as champagne.

14d   Menu motel devised /for/ profit (9)

Emolument[5] (usually emoluments) is a formal term denoting a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office the directors' emoluments.

15d   Leave friend with cold on reflection? /That's/ nonsense (8)

17d   Save // partner in match (7)

18d   Face // pressure entering a schismatic religious group (6)

"pressure" = P (show explanation )

In physics, the symbol p[5] is used to represent pressure.

hide explanation

20d   Revealed note /that's/ rather shocking (5)

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.

22d   Manage // board (3,2)
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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