Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 — DT 27879

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27879
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Petitjean (John Pidgeon)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27879]
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


Given the lengthy amount of time that passes between when I review a puzzle on Big Dave's Crossword Blog and when it eventually makes its appearance in the National Post, I am sometimes well through solving a puzzle before I realize that it is one that I have already reviewed. That was not the case with today's puzzle as I got that déjà vu feeling with the first clue. However, as I had absolutely no recollection of other clues, I began to have second thoughts about whether I had, in fact, seen the puzzle before. As was the case in August, 22d proved to put up the biggest challenge. I set the puzzle aside and came back to it several times before the solution just seemed to materialize out of nowhere. I think it was my subconscious finally dredging up the previous solution from the deep, dark recesses of my mind.

Should you choose to peruse the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog you will find that there is a clear consensus that I underrated the difficulty level of the puzzle — and probably the enjoyment level as well.

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.


5a   Core of schools covered by bad language // syllabus (6)

8a   One beset by longing over losing head /is/ go-getter, typically high (8)

9a   Cold duck I sent back in Spanish snack // food (7)

"duck" = O (show explanation )

In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

In British puzzles, "duck" is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

hide explanation

A tapa[3,11] (often tapas) is any of various small, savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack or appetizer (typically with wine or beer) or with other tapas as a meal.

Delving Deeper
Oxford Dictionaries explains the etymology as Spanish tapa, literally 'cover, lid' (because the dishes were given free with the drink, served on a dish balanced on, therefore ‘covering’, the glass).[5]

Among my regular online reference sources, the singular version (tapa[3,11]) is found in the two American dictionaries, but not in the three British dictionaries (which list the word only in the plural, tapas[2,4,5,10]). However, the singular version tapa[1] is found in my hard-copy edition of The Chambers Dictionary.

10a   Surplus Sun // deliveries (5)

S[1] is the abbreviation for sun [although no context is provided, I presume it would be in astronomy or astrology].

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled [or delivered] by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

Thus, for example, two overs would constitute twelve deliveries (six deliveries per over).

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, The Sun[7] is a daily tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland by a division of News UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

11a   Yearn for change after smart // deception (9)

13a   Reduce // high rent with a cut (8)

14a   Flamboyant // jumper worn by company Charlie (6)

Roo[5] is an informal Australian term for a kangaroo.

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

The phrase "worn by" denotes "containing".

Rococo[5] is an adjective denoting furniture or architecture characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration prevalent in 18th-century continental Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving motifs and scrollwork.

Scratching the Surface
In Britain, a jumper[5] is a knitted garment typically with long sleeves, worn over the upper body (in North American parlance, a sweater — in particular, a pullover).

What those of us in North America would call a jumper, the Brits would call a pinafore[5] (a collarless sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or [British] jumper [i.e., North American sweater]).

Thus, if a British lass were to wear a pinafore over her jumper and a North American gal were to wear a jumper over her sweater, they would be dressed identically.

The terms sweater[5] and pullover[5] would also appear to be in common use in the UK. Although the definitions given for sweater in British dictionaries would seem to imply that the term applies only to a pullover, Collins English Dictionary defines a cardigan[10] to be a knitted jacket or sweater with buttons up the front.

 Charlie[5] is possibly being used in an informal British sense meaning a fool what a bunch of charlies.

17a   Duty /to get/ nails, as quoted (3)

19a   Psychology professor making a case /for/ pain (3)

Gyp[5] is an informal British term meaning pain or discomfort one of her Achilles tendons had begun giving her gyp.

20a   Part of the ear we note –- // this may be a trap! (6)

23a   Scotch following chocolate: // it could get you high (8)

The British term aerofoil[5] (North American airfoil[5]) denotes a structure with curved surfaces designed to give the most favourable ratio of lift to drag in flight, used as the basic form of the wings, fins, and tailplanes of most aircraft.

Yes, they have Aero chocolate bars in the UK — in fact, they are British immigrants to Canada.

Delving Deeper
Aero[7] is a chocolate product originally introduced to the North of England as the "new chocolate" by English confectionery company Rowntree in 1935. By the end of the year, it had proved so popular with consumers that sales were extended throughout the UK. By 1936, the popularity of the chocolate, due no doubt in part to its unique bubbly texture, had extended to New York City, and has since spread to many other countries including Canada, Australia, South Africa and Japan. Aero has been manufactured by the Swiss food and beverage company Nestlé since its 1988 acquisition of Rowntree Mackintosh.

Known for its unique "bubbly" texture that collapses as the bar melts, it is available in many different forms including Aero Bars and Aero Biscuits, and originally had a mint flavour.

26a   The altogether // bald  head (9)

I reviewing my review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I can't believe that I passed up such a glorious opportunity for an illustration!

Ness[5] (a term usually found in place names) means a headland or promontory Orford Ness.

28a   Sycophant undergoes change of heart /but provides/ hot drink (5)

29a   A bash /that's/ the opposite of friendly (7)

Bash is certainly among the last words that I would think of as being a synonym of social.

30a   Drone can put out // weapons (8)

31a   Stress // causes regret regularly (6)


1d   Plan /for/ elephant keeper to be given parking avoiding hospital (3,3)

In South and Southeast Asia, a mahout[5] is a person who works with and rides an elephant.

2d   Console // learner disconnected to help cure failing (5,2)

"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

3d   Intrinsically Latin adorable // hound (9)

Per se[5] is a term of Latin origin meaning by or in itself or themselves; in other words, intrinsically ⇒ it is not these facts per se that are important.

4d   Discover // mistake -- time to oust female! (6)

5d   Shy about once dropping round // High Court (8)

In the UK, the Chancery[5] (or Chancery Division) denotes the Lord Chancellor’s court, a division of the High Court of Justice.

6d   Wedding /is/ sore point when bride's top goes missing (5)

7d   Football managers' least favourite competition? (4,4)

In British football [soccer] — as in other sports — a poor start to the season can mean termination of employment (sacking) for the manager or coach. The following article from the website of the Daily Mirror, a British newspaper, should give you a pretty good understanding of how the term is used.

Sack race: Which Premier League manager will be the first to lose their job?

The pressure is mounting on a number of Premier League bosses, but who will be the first to be handed their P45 [see below] this season?

The sacking season is well and truly under way in the Football League, with Peterborough, Doncaster and Oldham [three clubs that play in League One or tier three of the English football league system] all having ditched their managers this month.

Posh boss Dave Robertson was first to go , with Paul Dickov and Darren Kelly both getting their marching orders soon after.

Premier League [the top tier of the English football league system] chairman have so far kept their powder dry, but patience is likely to be running short in the boardrooms of early strugglers.

With two games to go before the next international break, managerial changes could come sooner rather than later as clubs look to save their seasons.

But just who is the favourite for the chop? Here's how the bookies see the sack race panning out. (should you care to, you can read the rest of the article here)
In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, a P45[5] is a certificate given to an employee at the end of a period of employment, providing details of their tax code, gross pay, and the tax paid for that year, to be passed to a subsequent employer or benefit agency.

Scratching the Surface
A sack race[5] is a race in which competitors stand in sacks and jump forward.

12d   Grant, we hear, /is/ cut (3)

Hugh Grant[7] is an English actor and a film producer. Despite already having appeared in more than a dozen films over the course of twelve years, he first achieved major acclaim for his role in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

15d   Happy // pop fans or what they're likely to be listening to (9)

16d   Bittersweet stuff, /with/ old Left dividing people generally (8)

Molasses is one of those words which have related — but distinctly different — meanings on either side of the pond. The substance known to North Americans as molasses is known in the UK as treacle[7].

Molasses (in the North American sense) is a byproduct of the sugar-making process. Specifically, molasses is the concentrated syrup leftover when sugar crystals are extracted, and comes in three varieties: light, dark and blackstrap.

When sugar cane is being processed into sugar, the juice from crushed or pressed sugar cane is boiled to prompt the crystallization process. The liquid resulting from the first cooking of the sugar cane syrup is light molasses (known in the UK as golden syrup[7]). It has a relative high sugar content and a fairly mild flavor.

Dark molasses (known in the UK as black treacle[7]) is the liquid resulting from the second boiling of the sugar cane juice. It has a distinctively strong, slightly bitter flavour, and a richer colour than light molasses. Black treacle is also called molasses in the UK, although it would seem this term is used primarily when the substance is not intended for human consumption.

Blackstrap molasses is the darkest, thickest and least sweet of the types of molasses and is the result of the third and final boiling of the sugar cane juice.

Thus British molasses with its "distinctively strong, slightly bitter flavour" could be termed "bittersweet".

18d   Full // tuna ban arranged involving Germany (8)

"Germany" = D (show explanation )

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Germany is D[5] [from German Deutschland].

hide explanation

21d   This might make you laugh: // old school pudding is served up and there's no end to it (3)

Sago[7] is a starch extracted from the spongy centre, or pith, of various tropical palm stems. It is a major staple food for the lowland peoples of New Guinea and the Moluccas.

Sago is often produced commercially in the form of "pearls". Sago pearls can be boiled with water or milk and sugar to make a sweet sago pudding. Sago pearls are similar in appearance to tapioca pearls and the two may be used interchangeably in some dishes. In the UK, both sago and tapioca have long been used in sweet milk puddings which, apparently, are an unwelcome staple ("there's no end to it") at British boarding schools.

Laughing gas[5] is a non-technical term for nitrous oxide, a colourless gas with a sweetish odour that produces exhilaration or anaesthesia when inhaled.

22d   /It's/ biting /as/ Spooner's sleeping? (7)

Mordant[5] is an adjective denoting (especially of humour) having or showing a sharp or critical quality; in other words, biting ⇒ a mordant sense of humour.

24d   Accompany // some corpse's cortege (6)

25d   Bet on troops /being/ amateurs (6)

27d   A host /(or/ half of them) give up –- no depth (5)
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. Too difficult and time-consuming to be enjoyable.

    1. Good to hear from you, Richard.

      I'll be interested to see how you find tomorrow's puzzle.

  2. Tough one today. But I got them all in the end except 1d. I could not parse 7d and 21d although I got the answers. The football term and the old school pudding were unknown to me. Thanks Falcon.