Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016 — DT 27889

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27889
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27889]
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 27888 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, August 24, 2015.


For me, this puzzle proved to be a bit more than a two-star challenge.

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   Bias /shown by/ writer with song (8)

9a   Unsuccessful // trio pulled apart by a book have to take a 50 per cent cut (8)

"book" = B (show explanation )

The abbreviation for book is b[1] (or b.) [although not stated in the source, I would guess this might be used in publishing, in particular in the context of bibliographies or footnotes and endnotes in academic works].

hide explanation

10a   Check // vertical part of glass (4)

11a   Steadfastness /needed/ for each retired priest entering spiritual meeting (12)

13a   Three notes about misbehaving class -- // it's seen by staff? (4,4)

In standard Western musical notation[7], the staff[7], or stave, is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces that each represent a different musical pitch—or, in the case of a percussion staff, different percussion instruments—on which a musical score is written. For British musicians, stave would seem to be the name of choice whereas in North America, staff is likely the more commonly used term.

In music, a clef[5] is any of several symbols placed at the left hand end of a stave, indicating the pitch of the notes written on it. The bass clef[5] is a clef placing F below middle C on the second-highest line of the stave.

15a   Purse /is/ genuine, we're told (6)

This is one of those homophone clues that works only when one adopts a British accent.

The word "pucker", when pronounced in a non-rhotic[7] British accent ("puckah"), sounds like "pukka".

Delving Deeper
Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

Pukka[5] (or pukkah), a word of Hindi origin, means genuine ⇒ the more expensive brands are pukka natural mineral waters.

16a   Body of water // in summer enlarged (4)

Mere[5] is a chiefly literary, British term for a lake or pond ⇒ the stream widens into a mere where hundreds of geese gather.

Those of us in Ottawa should be familiar with the word as the Mackenzie King Estate (the country estate of Canada’s 10th and longest-serving prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King) is located just across the river in Kingsmere, Quebec, on the shores of Kingsmere Lake (a name which surely amounts to King's Lake Lake).

17a   Intellectual // support following fashion (5)

Lest you think the wordplay has things the wrong way round (as was my first inclination), the word "following" is part of the second charade component and not a positional indicator. Thus the wordplay parses as BRA (support) + IN (following fashion).

18a   Painful sensation /in/ field with pressure gone (4)

In Britain, pitch[5] is another term for field[5] in the sense of an area of ground marked out or used for play in an outdoor team game ⇒ a football pitch.

"pressure" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation 

20a   Brood -- /and/ refuse? (6)

21a   Salesman in ground cited /as/ feeble (8)

As an anagram indicator, ground is the past tense or past participle of the verb grind[5]. An anagram indicator is a word that denotes movement or transformation. Grind denotes transformation in the sense of wheat being ground into flour.

23a   A cost to a Scot moving // throughout the country (5-2-5)

The definition is very much dependent on the country to which one is referring. It works for England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada. Not so much for Wales, and certainly not for Switzerland.

26a   Russian river /in/ country with source obscured (4)

The Ural River[5] is a river, 1,575 miles (2,534 km) long, that rises at the southern end of the Ural Mountains in western Russia and flows through western Kazakhstan to the Caspian Sea at Atyraū.

27a   Group of people put back golf feature -- // a legal omission? (8)

28a   Comedian present with degree // showing age (8)

"degree" = D (show explanation )

The abbreviation for degree is d[5] [although not stated in the source, I suspect that it may come from the field of navigation where it would be used in specifying latitude and longitude].

hide explanation


2d   Judge /having/ crooked ties with friend (8)

In Britain, mate[5] is:an informal term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

3d   MPs' incomes to get reformed? /That's/ sound (6,6)

The term compos mentis[5] (from Latin) denotes having full control of one’s mind ⇒ are you sure he was totally compos mentis?.

4d   Welsh politician facing test // without scruples (6)

AM[5] is the abbreviation for Assembly Member (i.e. a Member of the Welsh Assembly).

Delving Deeper
The Welsh Assembly[5] (also more fully Welsh Assembly Government) is the Welsh administrative and legislative body, responsible for developing and implementing policy and some legislative functions specific to Wales; any of the buildings in Cardiff, Wales, housing this; (in early use also) this proposed political body.

The Welsh Assembly was established in 1998 and in 1999 took over the functions of the newly disbanded Welsh Office and the Secretary of State for Wales; the Government of Wales Act 2006 gave the Assembly some limited powers of legislation, although subject to the veto of the central British Parliament.

5d   Uninspiring // volunteers on edges of marquee (4)

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

In the UK, Territorial Army[5] (abbreviation TA[5]) was, at one time, the name of a volunteer force founded in 1908 to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined military personnel for use in an emergency. Since 2013, this organization has been called the Army Reserve.

hide explanation

6d   Find // entry form limits this writer (4,4)

"this writer" = ME (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the) compiler, (the) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation

7d   Token // panel announcing trade? (4)

I only realized that this clue is a double definition when I read Gazza's review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. I had interpreted it as a cryptic definition, reasoning that a "token panel" might denote a panel to which "tokens" (letters of the alphabet, for instance) are affixed.

8d   Investigation -- /or/ probe by religious class? (8)

In the UK, religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[5]) is a subject taught in schools which educates about the different religions of the world.

12d   Teach recruit changes /in/ style of building (12)

14d   German woman supported by daughter /in/ crime (5)

Frau[5] (plural Frauen) is a title or form of address for a married or widowed German-speaking woman ⇒ Frau Nordern.

16d   Spot change required in clue /for/ 'tiny amount' (8)

17d   Place for drinking /and/ music, with money turning over (3,5)

19d   Guy beginning to bet in confined area /in/ card game (8)

Guy[3,4,11] means to make fun of, to hold up to ridicule, or to mock.

22d   Artist very enthralled by, say, Persian // neckwear (6)

"artist" = RA (show explanation )

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[5]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5] (also Royal Academy; abbreviation also RA[5]), an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. 

hide explanation

24d   Acknowledge // a set of five letters (not half) (4)

25d   Staff /in/ Cheshire town reportedly (4)

Crewe[5] is a town and major railway junction in Cheshire, west central England; population 77,700 (est. 2009).
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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