Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 — DT 27873

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27873
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, August 6, 2015
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27873]
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


I wouldn't necessarily say that this puzzle rates the four stars for difficulty that Kath has awarded it. However, I do know that the stress of solving under the deadline of writing the review can certainly make the puzzle seem to be more difficult than it would otherwise be.

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   Bolted, say, ordinary passable // rubbish (12)

Bolt[3] is used in the sense of to eat (food) hurriedly and with little chewing; in other words, to gulp.

Historically, in the UK (with the exception of Scotland), O level[5] (short for ordinary level[5]) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A (advanced) level. It was replaced in 1988 by the  GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

9a   Partisan // guerrilla manoeuvres, deposing left for right (9)

10a   Open // pastry dish empty on stove (5)

Aga[2] is a British trademark for a type of large permanently lit cooking stove with multiple ovens, some models of which also heat water.

11a   Blunt? // Sharpen and sculpt edges (6)

12a   Means to save // one trapped by large cat (8)

13a   Run naked /with/ redhead in small wood (6)

"redhead" = R (show explanation )

Here we encounter a common cryptic crossword device, in which the word "redhead" is used to clue R, the initial letter (head) of Red.

hide explanation

As Vince points out in Comment #5 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog and Kath acknowledges in Comment #6, her parsing of this clue was not quite right.

15a   Criminal's priors oddly preceding Ecstasy // scheme (8)

Scratching the Surface
The meaning of "prior" which would seem to fit the context of the clue is apparently a North American usage.

Prior[5] is an informal North American term meaning a previous criminal conviction  ⇒ he had no juvenile record, no priors.

Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

18a   Watched range, as some say // it's for cooking (8)

The wordplay parses as sounds like (as some say) {SAW (watched) + SPAN (range)}.

19a   Make attractive // rear prominent feature (6)

21a   In club, let her speak -- // talks nonsense (8)

This puzzle does seem to have a bit of a Scottish flavour, so here we must choose the Scottish alternative.

Blather[5] (also blither or chiefly Scottish blether) means to talk long-windedly without making very much sense ⇒ (i) she began blathering on about spirituality and life after death; (ii) (as noun blathering) now stop your blathering and get back to work.

23a   Thrown round? (6)

26a   Consumed tuck /in/ school, reportedly (5)

Kath has skimped on the underlining in her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

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.]

Tuck[5] is an informal British term for food eaten by children at school as a snack ⇒ The projects being piloted in 500 schools across the country include a crackdown on unhealthy foods in school tuck shops and vending machines.

27a   Drunk takes in beer, half cut -- // mixed drink (9)

Snakebite[5] is a British drink consisting of draught cider and lager in equal proportions.

28a   Changing usual partner /is/ weird (12)


1d   Girls engaged in some hosting and serving initially (7)

This is a type of clue known formally as an &lit.[7] or informally as an all-in-one. The entire clue provides both the definition (according to one interpretation) as well as the wordplay (under a different interpretation).

In the definition, could we suppose that the word "initially" implies that the evening begins with hosting and serving and progresses to other activities.

2d   Heraldic symbol concerning // noble (5)

In heraldry, a bar[5] is a charge (show explanation ) in the form of a narrow horizontal stripe across the shield.

In heraldry, a charge[5] is a device or bearing placed on a shield or crest.

In heraldry, a bearing[5] is a device or charge armorial bearings.

How about that for a circular definition!

A device[5] is an emblematic or heraldic design ⇒ their shields bear the device of the Blazing Sun.

hide explanation

The nobility in Britain or Ireland (whose members are known as peers[5]) comprises the ranks of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron.

3d   Member arrives behindhand // to pass law (9)

4d   Last of Highland drink /in/ glen (4)

A glen[5] is a narrow valley, especially in Scotland or Ireland.

A dale[5] is a valley, especially in northern England.

Scratching the Surface
The Highlands[5] are the mountainous part of Scotland, to the north of Glasgow and Stirling, often associated with Gaelic culture (as modifier) a Highland regiment.

5d   Train roaring around second // station (8)

We need to find a military establishment rather than a railway depot.

6d   Harangue // over tax (5)

"over" = O (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Rate[3] (often used in the plural) is a chiefly British term for a locally assessed property tax. [Although we do not use this name for property tax in Canada, strangely we do use the derivative term ratepayer.]

7d   Clean // horrible stain on one's evening top (8)

8d   Honour // always pinned by Queen getting elevated (6)

"Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

14d   Run without hindrance /in/ game involving chance (8)

Run[5] is used in the sense of a journey accomplished or route taken by a vehicle, aircraft, or boat, especially on a regular basis the London-Liverpool run.

A let[10] is an impediment or obstruction (especially in the phrase without let or hindrance). Without let or hindrance[5] is a formal expression meaning without obstruction or impediment rats scurried about the house without let or hindrance. This is the origin of the term in tennis and other racket sports, where a let[5] is a circumstance under which a service is nullified and has to be taken again, especially (in tennis) when the ball clips the top of the net and falls within bounds ⇒ he was obstructed and asked for a let.

16d   Feeling // thrilled over blokes consumed by sex (9)

Bloke[5] is an informal British term for a man ⇒ he’s a nice bloke.

It[5] (usually written in quotation marks, "it") is an informal term for sexual intercourse or sex appeal ⇒ (i) the only thing I knew nothing about was ‘it’; (ii) they were caught doing ‘it’ in the back seat of his car.

17d   Almost loose pass before England // game (8)

I'm afraid that I approached this clue rather carelessly, and read "loose" as "lose". I supposed that "lose" might conceivably mean "lack" and therefore "almost lose" would be "lac". Having driven the Wester Ross Coastal Trail[7] in the Scottish Highlands, it did not seem far fetched that there might be a "Ross Pass". Thus, I got to the solution by assembling the Lego bricks LAC + ROSS + E — not quite what the setter seems to have had in mind.

18d   Cried // terribly putting blonde head on mattress (6)

20d   Soldiers raised balloon /creating/ UFO scare here? (7)

"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

Roswell[5] is a town in New Mexico, the scene of a mysterious crash in July 1947. Controversy has surrounded claims by some investigators that the crashed object was a UFO.

22d   Person /of/ faith indulged, essentially (5)

This clue cannot parse in the manner that Kath has shown in her review as the word "faith" is part of the hidden word fodder.

I did consider the possibility that this might be a semi-all-in-one clue where the entire clue provides the definition and the latter portion serves as the wordplay. However, I don't see any particular connection between being "indulged" and being a Hindu.

Indulge[1] can mean to grant an indulgence to or on [a Roman Catholic, rather than Hindu, practice]. Historically, it can also mean to grant some measure of religious liberty to.

24d   Heartless cricketer that is getting runs, // he declares (5)

"runs" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

hide explanation

25d   Chief /of/ staff welcoming number one (4)
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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