Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016 — DT 27901

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27901
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27901]
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 27900 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, September 7, 2015.


I found that this puzzle demanded a fair effort to solve with the southeast corner, in particular, putting up a spirited fight.

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   Fancy // the Parisian coming over, for example with soldier (7)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

hide explanation

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.

5a   Tilted // Sally's mouth -- dental upset (7)

9a   Cocoa, stale sandwiches: // description of Skegness? (7)

Skegness[7] is a seaside town and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Located on the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea, 43 miles (69 km) east of the city of Lincoln, it has a resident population of 18,910.

The first Butlin's holiday resort was opened in Skegness in 1936. Partially owing to this, the resort is one of the best known seaside resorts in the United Kingdom.

10a   Leave bags? (7)

I spent a long time trying to decipher a double definition which doesn't exist.

11a   Truth /from/ headteacher on the radio (9)

A principle[5] is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning ⇒ the basic principles of justice.

12a   This compiler set fantastic // answers (5)

"This compiler" = ME (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation

13a   Second bird/'s/ tail (5)

The tern[5] is any of many species of seabird related to the gulls, typically smaller and more slender, with long pointed wings and a forked tail.

15a   Assembled // dogs are in, barking (9)

As an anagram indicator, barking[5] is used in an informal British sense meaning completely mad or demented ⇒ (i) we are all a bit barking; (ii) has she gone completely barking mad?.

17a   Total to exhibit, we hear, /in/ an unknown place (9)

19a   One meekly follows // the woman and weeps regularly (5)

22a   Cushy start to paper // round (5)

I had this decoded the wrong way around with "cushy" being the definition and the wordplay being P (start to Paper) + LUMP (round). Despite thinking that this was — at best — an extreme stretch, I failed to examine it further in search of the far better explanation.

23a   Cleaner // put off fellow (9)

25a   Sea creature // company sent back to kill us (7)

Top[5] is an informal British term meaning to kill ⇒ I wasn’t sorry when he topped himself.

26a   Former lover, male, seen in bay, possibly // desperate (7)

The bay[5] (also known as laurel[5], bay tree, bay laurel, or sweet bay) is an evergreen Mediterranean shrub (Laurus nobilis) with deep green leaves and purple berries. Its aromatic leaves are used in cookery and were formerly used to make triumphal crowns for victors.

27a   Old // shrub left by yard (7)

The elder[5] is any of numerous species of small tree or shrub with pithy stems, white flowers, and bluish-black or red berries.

28a   Before you can say Jack Robinson // in an offhand manner (7)

In the first definition, shortly[5] means soon, which can be expressed informally by such expressions as before one knows it, before one can say Jack Robinson, in a jiffy, or in two shakes of a lamb's tail ⇒ she will be with you shortly.

In the second definition, shortly[5] means curtly, sharply, bluntly, in an offhand mannerI know that,’ he replied shortly.


1d   Flees /from/ larks, avoiding flier? (7)

2d   Dig into // pit after picking up tool for cutting (7)

3d   Old Greek/'s/ room (5)

Attic[5] is the dialect of Greek used by the ancient Athenians. It was the chief literary form of classical Greek.

4d   Call // box fake? Not quite (9)

The box[2] is a colloquial British [or, perhaps, not so British[3]] term for a television set.

Tele-[10] is a combining form meaning television ⇒ telecast.

Scratching the Surface
Call box[5,10] (also telephone box or telephone kiosk) is a British term for a public telephone booth, a soundproof enclosure for a public telephone.

Behind the Picture
Gazza illustrates his review with a picture of the TARDIS from Doctor Who.

Doctor Who[7] is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC which has had widespread distribution in North America. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior appears as a blue police box.

A police box[5] is a telephone (or earlier, telegraph) kiosk specially for the use of police or members of the public wishing to contact the police.

5d   Find the answer to // one in five? On the contrary (5)

6d   Fights // ain't about glue sniffing, initially (9)

Were One To Be Pedantic
Technically, glue[3] and gum[3] are two different classes of adhesive, with the former being obtained by boiling collagenous animal parts such as bones, hides, and hooves while the latter is exuded by certain plants and trees.

I personally would be more likely to refer to any sticky substance (or the process of using it) as glue rather than gum. However, I suspect the term gum may be more commonly used in the UK than it is in North America.

7d   Time to go over French composer's // passages (7)

Maurice Ravel[5] (1875–1937) was a French composer. His works are somewhat impressionistic in style, employing colourful orchestration and unresolved dissonances. Notable works: the ballets Daphnis and Chloë (1912) and Boléro (1928) and the orchestral work La Valse (1920).

8d   Put a bandage on -- // doctor judged no ass (7)

14d   Snapper at sea we picked up inside -- // you could be holding it (9)

The snapper[5] is a marine fish that is typically reddish and is valued as food.

16d   Lacking energy, once sat with Greene's novel // The Power And The Glory (9)

Scratching the Surface
Yes, Greene actually did write a novel titled The Power and the Glory.

Graham Greene[5] (1904–1991) was an English novelist. The moral paradoxes he saw in his Roman Catholic faith underlie much of his work. Notable works: Brighton Rock (1938), The Power and the Glory (1940), and The Third Man (written as a screenplay, and filmed in 1949; novel 1950).

17d   Expect // drink with model (7)

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle. As a noun, sup[5] means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

18d   Climbed // hill to pen note (7)

In music, te[5] (or, in North America, ti) is:
  1. the seventh note of a major scale in the tonic sol-fa system of solmization; or
  2. the note B is the fixed-doh system of solmization.
20d   Suspicion /from/ first bit of evidence? Men let off! (7)

Element[5] is used in the sense of a small but significant amount of a feeling or quality ⇒ it was the element of danger he loved in flying.

21d   China // swan: ultimately tacky (7)

Swan[5] is an informal British term meaning to move about or go somewhere in a casual, irresponsible, or ostentatious way ⇒ swanning around Europe nowadays are we?.

Potter[3,4,11], a chiefly British counterpart to the North American term putter, means to move with little energy or direction ⇒ to potter about town.

23d   Dirty // spades put in office (5)

"spades" = S (show explanation )

Spades[2]) (abbreviation S[1]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

24d   South American city without a temperature // scale (5)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.
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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