Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 — DT 27891

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27891
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27891]
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


Like many of the Brits commenting at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, my money was on Petitjean (John Pidgeon) as the setter of this puzzle. However, since he does not pop in to take a bow as is his usual practice, we may all be wrong.

The difficulty level of the puzzle is definitely elevated considerably above that to which we are accustomed. In fact, I don't believe I have ever seen such vitriolic comments on a puzzle as appear on Big Dave's site today. The setter has used a lot of unusual meanings for common words which seems to have raised the hackles of many.

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   Irish broadcaster's brogue ultimately wearing thin -- // this may be considered unlucky (8)

Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ[5]) is the official broadcasting organization of the Republic of Ireland.

5a   Check then decline // cost (6)

9a   Was jumper found in H&M // loo? (8)

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

Loo[5] is an informal British term for a toilet.

Scratching the Surface
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB[7] is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children.

H&M exists in 61 countries with over 3,700 stores (of which 77 are found in Canada) and as of 2015 employed around 132,000 people. It is ranked the second largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of Zara), and leads over the third largest global clothing retailer, United States based Gap Inc.

10a   Call work flipping // imaginative (6)

12a   Masculine minced // pork pies (9)

Pork pie[10] (or porky) is British rhyming slang for a lie (in the sense of an untruth).

13a   Dispense /with/ non-universal kind of strike (5)

I wandered down a dead-end street and never found my way out. I tried to construct a solution in which the letter "A" in the solution stood for the Adult[7] film classification — designating a film that is not for everyone or, in other words, "non-universal".

Under the British system of film classification[7] a U (for 'universal') rating indicates that a film is suitable "for all the family" — or, at any rate, for those members over 4 years of age.

An all-out[2] strike is one in which everyone is participating.

14a   Deal with // company to get record when retiring (4)

16a   Skipper's first in fitting // boom (7)

19a   Beyond reproach, // Brandreth I calculate's content (7)

Scratching the Surface
Solving this clue was relatively easy. However, I had to read the clue multiple times before the surface reading made any sense at all. In part, this was due to thinking that "Brandreth I" might be the first of a line of ancient kings. I eventually concluded that the latter part of the surface reading is a contracted version of "Brandreth, I calculate, is content".

Gyles Brandreth[7] is is an English writer, broadcaster, actor, and former Conservative Member of Parliament.

21a   Performer who's likely to return a high score (4)

Here "return" is used in the sense of 'decline to perform'.

24a   Evergreen // rock idol, with energy (5)

An evergreen[5] is a person or thing of enduring freshness, success, or popularity ⇒ Monty Python and other TV evergreens.

25a   See other arrangement constricting male // trio (9)

27a   Demonstration rearranged for everyone // there (2,4)

The U that was discarded in 13a shows up here.

28a   Jam /and/ whipped creme bun (8)

In his review, pommers states I’m not sure that jam and the answer really mean the same thing. However, according to Collins English Dictionary, jam[10] and encumber[10] are both synonymous with clog and obstruct.

Scratching the Surface
I found no reference to a specific food item known as a "jam and whipped creme bun". I suspect that the French spelling of cream has been used purely to satisfy the needs of the anagram fodder.

Crème[7] or creme is a French word for 'cream', used in culinary terminology for various cream-like preparations, each often abbreviated to simply "creme". These include creams such as crème fraîche and crème Chantilly as well as custards such as crème anglaise, crème caramel, crème brulée and pot de crème.

Regulations in many jurisdictions restrict the use of the word cream[7] for foods. Words such as creme, kreme, creame, or whipped topping are often used for products which cannot legally be called cream.

29a   Roughly means to restrain a // matelot (6)

Matelot[5] is an informal British term for a sailor.

30a   Succeeded team's leading // stopper (8)

The abbreviation s[5] stands for succeeded, in the sense of to have taken over a throne, office, or other position from ⇒ he succeeded Hawke as Prime Minister. It might be seen, for instance, it charts of royal lineages.


1d   Finish off roast chop sandwiches with // buffet (6)

In his review, pommers argues that the wordplay in this clue doesn't work. Personally, I had no issue with it, interpreting "finish off roast" to denote the final letter (finish) taken from (off) the word "roasT".

2d   Avoiding A&E, bandage // injury (6)

In his review, pommers suggests that using bandage as a synonym for insulate may be a step too far. However, on closer inspection, maybe not.

In the cryptic reading, bandage is not used in the medical sense. In general, bandage[10] means to cover or bind with a strip of any soft material. For instance, the InsulationIreland website provides instructions for Lagging Pipes with Fibre Bandage where lag[5] means to enclose or cover (a boiler, pipes, etc.) with material that provides heat insulation (i) all pipes and tanks in the attic should be lagged; (ii) (as adjective lagged) a lagged hot-water tank.

Scratching the Surface
A & E[5] (accident and emergency) is the British term for the Emergency Department in a hospital ⇒ (i) a nurse at work told me I should go to A & E; (ii) an A & E department.

3d   Sound of 'The Chain' // in umpteenth 'Rumours'? (5)

This is a hallmark Petitjean clue.

Scratching the Surface
"The Chain"[7] is a song by the British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, released on their best-selling album Rumours. It is the only song from the album credited to all five members (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood); "The Chain" was created from combinations of several previously rejected materials, including solo work by Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie. It was assembled, often manually by splicing tapes with a razor blade, at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, with hired engineers Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut. It has attained particular fame in the United Kingdom, where the instrumental section is used as the theme tune for the BBC's television coverage of Formula One.

4d   Volume is turned up -- one has /to get/ sensitive (7)

Here we need to interpret "one has" as being the speaker referring to himself or herself in the third person. One[5], as a pronoun, can be used to refer to the speaker, or any person, as representing people in general ⇒ (i) one must admire him for his willingness; (ii) one gets the impression that he is ahead.

6d   Nothing in a loan sum that's out of order /or/ exceptional (9)

7d   Soldier to run away, secretly // timid creature (8)

A soldier[5] is a member of a wingless caste of ant or termite with a large specially modified head and jaws, involved chiefly in defence.

8d   Latin and so on (2,6)

11d   Like a P /in/ PDQ (4)

15d   Band/'s/ trunk carried by soldiers and gunners (9)

"soldiers" = OR (show explanation )

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

hide explanation

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery[7] (RA), is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.

17d   Exercises // a drag to set up, in charge of Seconds (8)

"in charge of" = IC (show explanation )

The abbreviation i/c[5] can be short for either
  1. (especially in military contexts) in charge of ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations; or
  2. in command ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
hide explanation

18d   Cast adore his // setting for 'Cecil's Place' (8)

To the best my knowledge, "Cecil's Place" is a figment of the setter's imagination.

Cecil Rhodes[5] (1853–1902) was a British-born South African statesman, Prime Minister of Cape Colony 1890-6. He expanded British territory in southern Africa, annexing Bechuanaland (now Botswana) in 1884 and developing Rhodesia [which was named after him] from 1889. By 1890 he had acquired 90 per cent of the world’s production of diamonds.

Delving Deeper
Rhodesia[5] is the former name of a large territory in central southern Africa which was divided into Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The region was developed, beginning in 1889, by British-born South African statesman Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902) [for whom it was named] through the British South Africa Company, which administered it until Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony in 1923 and Northern Rhodesia a British protectorate in 1924.

20d   Regularly flaunt electronic // instrument (4)

21d   Broodingly romantic /and/ persistent, by ousting companion (7)

The wordplay is CHRONIC (persistent) with BY (from the clue) replacing (ousting) CH (companion).

A Companion of Honour (abbreviation CH) is a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour[7], an order of the Commonwealth realms[7] founded by King George V in June 1917 as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion.

Byronic[5] means:
  1. characteristic of Lord Byron or his poetry;
  2. (of a man) alluringly dark, mysterious, and moody.
Delving Deeper
George Gordon Byron[5], 6th Baron Byron (1788–1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron[7], was an English poet. Byron’s poetry exerted considerable influence on the romantic movement, particularly on the Continent. Having joined the fight for Greek independence, he died of malaria before seeing serious action. Among Byron's best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812–18) and Don Juan (1819–24) and the short lyric She Walks in Beauty (1814).

22d   Doctor cuts through plaster /in/ battle (6)

"doctor" = MB (show explanation )

In Britain, the degree required to practice medicine is a Bachelor of Medicine[7] (MB, from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus), which is equivalent to a North American Doctor of Medicine (MD, from Latin Medicinae Doctor). The degree of Doctor of Medicine also exists in Britain, but it is an advanced degree pursued by those who wish to go into medical research. Physicians in Britain are still addressed as Dr. despite not having a doctoral degree. 

hide explanation

23d   Shred /is/ what blubber under stress may do (4,2)

Clearly, the clue depends on blubber meaning someone who cries. But, surely, that would be a blubberer, not a blubber. Maybe not on the other side of the pond.

Blub[2,5,10] (short for blubber) is an informal (Oxford), colloquial (Chambers) or slang (Collins) British term meaning to cry noisily and uncontrollably; in other words, to sob. By extension, a blubber would be someone who blubs — or, more formally, a blubberer.

26d   Start off trick /and/ escape (5)

In his review, pommers says See my comment on 1d.  This time it’s done correctly.

Well, I think that depends on how one interprets the instruction. Being a cryptic puzzle, instructions are open to interpretation. Here, in order to solve the clue, we must interpret "Start off trick" to mean remove ([take] off) the initial letter (start) from the word [d]ELUDE (trick) and use what remains. However, I would think that one could equally well interpret the instruction as use the initial letter (start) taken from (off) the word D[elude] (trick).
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. I can only suggest that perhaps we need a real stinker now and again, if only to put the rest in perspective. Managed it all -- with some on-line help -- except 21d and 30a. But few of them provided satisfying clues or answers.

    1. Those two (21d and 30a) -- along with the pork pies -- were my last ones to solve.