Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016 — DT 27916

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27916
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, September 25, 2015
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27916]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 27915 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, September 24, 2015.

Introduction

For a Giovanni, I would say that this puzzle falls a bit on the less difficult end of the scale.

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.

Across

1a   The Parisian should be held in scorn, journalist // considered (12)

"the French" = LA (show explanation )

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

hide explanation

9a   Worry // about a group of soldiers (4)

"soldiers" = RE (show explanation )

The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

hide explanation

10a   Ruler had meal behind shelter by river (9)

The Po[7] is a river that arises in the Cottian Alps and flows eastward across northern Italy entering the Adriatic Sea through a delta near Venice.

12a   Bad people not right at the outset, // beasts (6)

Rotter[5] is a informal, dated, chiefly British term for a cruel, mean, or unkind person ?Rosemary had decided that all men were rotters.

13a   For example, backward-looking tyrant confronting American // liberal (8)

Nero[5] (AD 37-68) was Roman emperor 54-68; full name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Infamous for his cruelty, he wantonly executed leading Romans. His reign witnessed a fire which destroyed half of Rome in 64.

15a   Mum joins team of west London rowers -- // one to fill up the number? (4-6)

Kew[7] is a suburban district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 7.1 miles (11.4 km) west by south-west of Charing Cross [considered to mark the centre of London]. Kew is the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens ("Kew Gardens"), now a World Heritage Site, which includes Kew Palace. Kew is also the home of important historical documents such as Domesday Book, which is on public display at The National Archives.

An eight[5] is an eight-oared rowing boat or its crew.

Thus the setter uses the phrase "team of west London rowers" to clue KEW EIGHT.

A makeweight[2,3,4,5,10,11] (or make-weight[1]) is:
  1. something put on a scale to make up the required weight; or
  2. an unimportant person or thing that is only added or included in order to complete something he has waited a long time to establish himself after two years as squad makeweight.
16a   Place of vice probed by a // cleric (4)

A den[5] is a place where people meet in secret, typically to engage in an illicit activity ⇒ (i) an opium den; (ii) a den of iniquity.

A dean[7], in a religious context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Lutheran Church.

In the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the dean is the chief resident cleric of a cathedral or other collegiate church and the head of the chapter of canons. If the cathedral or collegiate church has its own parish, the dean is usually also rector of the parish.

18a   Refusal to take a husband /as/ a man coming to the rescue (4)

In the Bible, Noah[5] was a Hebrew patriarch represented as tenth in descent from Adam. According to a story in Genesis he made the ark which saved his family and specimens of every animal from the Flood.

20a   'Hippy' perhaps // full and rich in tone (4-6)

Pear-shaped[5], said of a person, denotes having hips that are disproportionately wide in relation to the upper part of the body ⇒ attention to detail helps disguise a pear-shaped figure.

Pear-shaped[2], said of a vocal quality, denotes mellow, resonant and non-nasal.

What are they talking about?
In a couple of the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog [Comment #23 by Hilary, Cat's response to Comment #14], reference is made to a third meaning for pear-shaped.
Go pear-shaped[5] is an informal British expression (originally Royal Air Force slang) meaning to go wrong ⇒ everything went pear-shaped.

23a   Decidedly // trendy items in the garden shed (2,6)

24a   Man // came down with old wife (6)

Is he suffering some new disease — like coming down with measles?

26a   Attire for cur(ate) (3,6)

I really can't believe this dead giveaway of a clue! It is like an artist's preliminary sketch that was never completed.

However, I must be missing something. The Brits seemed to adore this clue and find 27a (which I rather liked) to be very weak.

Curate[5] may mean:
  1. (also assistant curate) a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest; or
  2. (archaic) a minister with pastoral responsibility.
Dog collar[5] is an informal term for a clerical collar.

27a   Fish had to be disposed of here? (4)

The wordplay (indicated by the dashed underline) is embedded in the definition (which is provided by the entire clue).

28a   Our sister is transformed by a thousand // cosmetic products (12)

Down

2d   Numerical choice /for/ a few (3,2,3)

3d   Record // run may end with it collapsing (4)

4d   Mountain // stuff, something hard (10)

The Matterhorn[5] is a mountain in the Alps, on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Rising to 4,477 m (14,688 ft), it was first climbed in 1865 by the English mountaineer Edward Whymper.

5d   Like some gentry // brought down (6)

Landed gentry[10] is a British term for upper class landowners ⇒ Most of them were the nobility and the landed gentry.

6d   Unusual Easter egg being hidden /in/ that shrub (3,4)

I interpret the phrase "that shrub" to indicate 'a type of shrub'.

7d   Rebuking // action of person in informal attire (8,4)

8d   Composer /showing/ second-rate skill 'satisfactory' (6)

Béla Bartók[5] (1881–1945) was a Hungarian composer. His work owes much to Hungarian folk music and includes six string quartets, three piano concertos, and the Concerto for Orchestra (1943).

11d   Judgment of Conqueror possibly // who made many laugh! (6,6)

The wordplay alludes to the Norman Conquest[5], the conquest of England by William of Normandy (William the Conqueror) after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Sir Norman Wisdom[7] (1915–2010) was an English actor, comedian, and singer-songwriter best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966 featuring his hapless onscreen character Norman Pitkin. The films usually involved Pitkin in a manual occupation in which he is barely competent and in a junior position to a straight man, often played by Edward Chapman (as Mr Grimsdale) or Jerry Desmonde. From 1995 until 2004 he appeared in the recurring role of Billy Ingleton in the long-running BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine. He retired from acting at the age of 90 after his health deteriorated.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat describes Norman Wisdom as Enver Hoxha’s favourite comedian.
Wisdom was a cult figure in Albania, where he was one of the few Western actors whose films were allowed in the country during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. In Hoxha's view, proletarian Norman's ultimately victorious struggles against capitalism, personified by Mr Grimsdale and the effete aristocratic characters played by Jerry Desmonde, were a Communist parable on the class war.

On a visit in 2001, which coincided with the England football [soccer] team playing Albania in the city of Tirana, his appearance at the training ground overshadowed that of football superstar David Beckham. He appeared on the pitch before the start of the Albania v England match wearing a half-Albanian and half-English football shirt. He was well received by the crowd, especially when he performed one of his trademark trips on his way out to the centre circle.

14d   Plonk down here? (4,6)

17d   Little beast, the German /seen to be/ more crafty (8)

"the German" = DER (show explanation )

In German, der[8] is one of the several forms that the definite article may assume.

hide explanation

19d   Weapon // demonstrated in class again (7)

Assagai is an alternative spelling of assegai[5], a slender, iron-tipped, hardwood spear used chiefly by southern African peoples.

21d   Dad wants ornamental fabric /in/ splendid home (6)

22d   Weird // football organisation dealt with heavy defeat (3-3)

The Football Association[7], also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football [soccer] in England. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.

25d   Fighting members (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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