Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016 — DT 27874

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27874
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, August 7, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27874]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


For a Giovanni puzzle, I would say that this one is pretty well centred in his typical range of difficulty. We can always count on Giovanni to teach us a new word or two. For me, this came at 13a but the solution was workable from the wordplay so I merely had to look up the word that I had constructed to verify its existence.

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   Handsome prince saw this // pre-midnight opportunity for repose (6,5)

Beauty sleep[2,5] is a humorous term for sleep considered to be sufficient to keep one looking young and beautiful, particularly sleep taken before midnight, which is traditionally thought to be the most refreshing and beneficial to health.

8a   Mother country getting into terrible // conspiracy (11)

11a   Tall man's regularly ignored // regrettably (4)

The phrase "regularly ignored" directs us to delete a regular sequence of letters from the fodder "tall man's". The required regular sequence is most commonly either the even numbered letters or the odd numbered letters. However, on rate occasions, I have seen it used to denote every third letter (but not today).

12a   A frothy talk about // heroic doings in story form (4)

13a   Confessed /in/ quiet, having got torn apart (7)

Giovanni's new word of the day!

Shrive (past participle shriven) is an archaic term that means:
  1. (of a priest) to hear the confession of, assign penance to, and absolve ⇒ none of her chaplains knew English or French enough to shrive the king;
  2. (shrive oneself) to present oneself to a priest for confession, penance, and absolution.
15a   Drunk will hide leg // 5 Down today? (7)

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).

On the surface, this appears to be a rather clumsy cross reference clue as the setter makes no attempt to disguise the cross reference. However, the devious Giovanni is actually merely setting us up for a fall later in the puzzle.

The indication "5 Down" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 5d in its place to complete the clue. The directional indicator is customarily omitted in situations such as this where only a single clue starts in the light [light-coloured cell in the grid] that is being referenced. However, the inclusion of the directional indicator here is part of the trap.

16a   Boy, // one who wanders around (5)

Scratching the Surface
In Greek legend, it was not Damon who wandered but his friend, Pythias. Damon and Pythias[5] (or Phintias) is a legend surrounding the Pythagorean ideal of friendship. Pythias is accused and charged of creating a plot against the tyrannical Dionysius I of Syracuse. Pythias makes a request of Dionysius that he be allowed to settle his affairs on the condition that he leaves his friend, Damon as a hostage, therefore if Pythias doesn't return, Damon would be executed. Eventually, Pythias returns to face execution to the amazement of Dionysius, who because of the sincere trust and love of their friendship then lets both Damon and Pythias go free.

17a   Victor maybe /gets/ to hold nothing (4)

Victor Hugo[5] (1802–1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist. A leading figure of French romanticism, he brought a new freedom to French poetry, and his belief that theatre should express both the grotesque and the sublime in human existence overturned existing conventions. His political and social concern is shown in his novels. Notable works: Hernani (drama, 1830) and Les Misérables (novel, 1862).

18a   Star admits theft finally -- // shock! (4)

19a   Maiden is clutching a very small // bird (5)

"maiden"  = M (show explanation )

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over and denoted on cricket scorecards by the abbreviation M[5], is an over in which no runs are scored.

In cricket, an over[5] is 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. On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s).

hide explanation 

The setter uses the phrase "very small" to clue the letter "V", a shortening (small) of "very".

Mavis[5] is a literary name for a song thrush.

21a   Girl was deceitful /and/ ventured forth (7)

22a   Beasts? // A number will be found in Civil Service (7)

CS[5] is an abbreviation for Civil Service[10], the British term for the service responsible for the public administration of the government of a country. It excludes the legislative, judicial, and military branches. Members of the civil service have no official political allegiance and are not generally affected by changes of governments. In Australia and New Zealand — not to mention Canada — the term public service[10] is used.

23a   Brute heading off /in/ one direction (4)

26a   Court order // as before -- when lad falls short (4)

ASBO[5] (abbreviation of antisocial behaviour order) is a British term for a court order which can be obtained by local authorities in order to restrict the behaviour of a person likely to cause harm or distress to the public.

27a   Politicians admitting blunder with modern technology /in/ spheres of operation (11)

IT[5] is the abbreviation for information technology.

28a   Clerics // on a sacred meandering around church (11)

In the Church of England, an archdeacon[2] is a member of the clergy who ranks just below a bishop.


2d   Schoolmaster assists only some of these characters /in/ periods (4)

3d   Superior female looking bashful, // being  taken in hand? (7)

"superior" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

4d   American // 'no' upset king (4)

"king" = K (show explanation )

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

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5d   Subsequently /seen as/ not real, phoney (5,2)

6d   Hesitation to come before huge // god (4)

"huge" = 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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What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat refers to Eros as [a] greek god, popularly believed to have a statue in Piccadilly Circus.
The statue of Eros[7] atop the Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus is a well-known landmark in London, England. While the statue is generally believed to depict Eros, it apparently was actually intended by the sculptor to be an image of his twin brother, Anteros.

7d   Rickshaw set to be mended /with/ thin piece of wire (4-7)

A cat's whisker[5,10] (or cat's-whisker[1]) is:
  1. a delicate wire brought into contact with a crystal to rectify the current in some forms of crystal detector (a component of a crystal radio receiver) to produce audibility; or
  2. any wire used to make contact with a semiconductor.
8d   Singer /in/ crazy outfit meeting top people (11)

A madrigalist[5], is someone who performs a madrigal[5], a part-song for several voices, especially one of the Renaissance period, typically unaccompanied and arranged in elaborate counterpoint.

9d   Mischief // as eight nuns may go off the rails (11)

10d   Phrasing OTT possibly /for/ this final comment? (7,4)

Scratching the Surface
OTT[5] (short for over the top) is an informal British expression denoting excessive or exaggerated ⇒ presenting him as a goalscoring Superman seems a bit OTT.

14d   Diana disguised /as/ a nymph (5)

In classical mythology, a naiad[5] is a water nymph (show explanation ) said to inhabit a river, spring, or waterfall.

A nymph[5] is a mythological spirit of nature imagined as a beautiful maiden inhabiting rivers, woods, or other locations.

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15d   Most important one should get 100 /for/ this subject (5)

19d   Hero, man constructing // symbol for Judaism (7)

The Menorah[5,10] was a sacred candelabrum with seven branches used in the ancient temple in Jerusalem and now an emblem of Judaism and the badge of the state of Israel.

A Hanukkah menorah[7,10] is a candelabrum having nine branches (or, more precisely, eight branches and a shammes) that is lit during the festival of Hanukkah. A shammes[10] (or shammash), literally "helper" or "servant"[7], is the extra candle used on the Feast of Hanukkah to kindle the lamps or candles of the menorah. On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, a new branch is lit.

20d   Racist, I fancy, /could be/ using scorn (7)

24d   Sign of sorrow /or/ rage (4)

25d   Filthy place reported -- // a problem with infection (4)

26d   First of Acrosses gets one troubled /for/ a very long time (4)

Having set us up at 15a to expect a cross reference clue, Giovanni springs his trap.
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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