Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016 — DT 27907

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27902
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27907]
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 27905 and DT 27906 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, September 12, 2015 and Monday, September 14, 2015.


After several weeks of playing nicely and keeping to the schedule, the editors at the National Post have gotten a bit frisky and jumped ahead a couple of puzzles.

I was slow to get started with this puzzle but once I had established a beachhead in the southwest quadrant, the rest of the puzzle surrendered fairly quickly. My last one in was 14a which I solved primarily based on pattern recognition from the checking letters. It then took a bit of research to uncover the several Briticisms that underlie the clue before I could explain it.

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   Onset of hail -- pergola /may provide/ shelter (7)

7a   Wheel may show this /as/ rake scoops in grand? (5)

9a   Forcefully strike // brick structure at work (6)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

hide explanation

10a   Novel // off pile I arranged (4,2,2)

Life of Pi[7] is a fantasy adventure novel by Canadian author Yann Martel published in 2001.

Delving Deeper
The protagonist of the novel, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

The novel, which has sold more than ten million copies worldwide, was rejected by at least five London publishing houses before being accepted by Knopf Canada, which published it in September 2001. It won the British Man Booker Prize for Fiction the following year as well as several other international awards. In 2012 the story was adapted into a theatrical feature film directed by Ang Lee with a screenplay by David Magee.

11a   Youngster // could get rise in benefit? Just the opposite (10)

13a   Herb, reportedly, /in/ thickening agent in sauce (4)

14a   By inference, girl who's fit /for/ nothing? (3,1,5-4)

Dicky[5] is an informal British term meaning (of a part of the body, a structure, or a device) not strong, healthy, or functioning reliably ⇒ a pianist with a dicky heart.

Bird[5] is an informal British term for a young woman or a man’s girlfriend. 

Thus a "dicky bird" would be a girl who is not fit and "not a dicky bird" would imply the opposite.

Dicky bird[5] is an informal child’s word for a bird.

Not a dicky bird[5] is an informal phrase meaning not a word or nothing at all ⇒ ‘Did you hear from her?’ ‘Not a dicky bird.’. [Dicky bird being rhyming slang for 'word']

Behind the Picture
Dickie Bird[7] is a retired English international cricket umpire.

16a   Leading performer, // bald almost (4)

Bald[5] is used in the sense of not having any extra detail or explanation; in other words, plain or blunt ⇒ the bald statement in the preceding paragraph requires amplification.

Stark[10] is used in the sense of devoid of any elaboration; in other words, blunt ⇒ the stark facts.

17a   Chief minister/'s/ in luck getting cycle back (10)

Chancellor[5] is the title of the head of the government in some European countries, such as Germany.

I thought this might possibly be a reference to a cabinet position in the British government, but I see that Gazza has opted for the German connection.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer[5] is the chief finance minister of the United Kingdom, who prepares the nation’s annual budgets — the British counterpart to the Minister of Finance in Canada or the Secretary of the Treasury in the US.
19a   Block /in/ middle of cobbled street with playing court outside (8)

20a   One considering getting rid of husband, // a rascal (6)

Tinker[5] is an informal British term for a mischievous child ⇒ little tinkers, we were.

22a   Ghostly // eastern lake (5)

It is rare to find a Canadian reference in a Daily Telegraph puzzle, but today we have been blessed with two.

23a   Lock of hair // stuck inside covering letter (7)


1d   Examination /of/ rocklike substance with no carbon content (4)

The symbol for the chemical element carbon is C[5].

2d   Created // calm (8)

3d   Chair, Italian, /could make one/ a fast buck (6)

"Italian" = IT (show explanation )

This clueing might be explained in a couple of ways:
  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italian or Italy.

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is an informal, dated British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.
hide explanation

4d   Strange our factory /being/ the source of tittle-tattle? (6,4)

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

5d   Tried // to catch leader of antelopes in group (5)

6d   Series of violent ups and downs /as/ large wave hits vessel (13)

8d   Talk about // former beat (7)

12d   Information /in/ special air letter about uranium (10)

The symbol for the chemical element uranium is U[5].

14d   Striking // number heading chart (7)

15d   Cynthia, awfully good sport (8)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

17d   Gives rise to // lawsuits involving university (6)

18d   Clear // above top of trees (5)

21d   Childish? Not half, /in/ river (4)

The required word for "childish" is often found preceding the words "delinquent" or "diabetes".

The Nile[5] is a river in eastern Africa, the longest river in the world, which rises in east central Africa near Lake Victoria and flows 6,695 km (4,160 miles) generally northwards through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt to empty through a large delta into the Mediterranean.
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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