Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016 — DT 27904

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27904
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, September 11, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27904]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


As is not unusual with Giovanni puzzles, it took a while to establish a foothold but, once that had been accomplished, the solutions revealed themselves in a steady progression.

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   Tear off to be entertained by thin // relation (5-4)

9a   Clothes // are left, found behind a piano more than once (7)

"piano" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

10a   Attribute /of/ a writer (7)

11a   Time to argue /for/ disloyalty (7)

12a   Virtue of a disciplined // pet (9)

14a   Strange folk // dances led by old theologian (8)

Doctor of Divinity[7] (abbreviation D.D. or DD, Divinitatis Doctor in Latin) is an advanced academic degree in divinity.

Delving Deeper
Historically, the degree of Doctor of Divinity identified one who had been licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects. In the United Kingdom, Doctor of Divinity has traditionally been the highest doctorate granted by universities, usually conferred upon a religious scholar of standing and distinction. In the United States, the Doctor of Divinity is usually awarded as an honorary degree.

15a   Fool is last to accept // help (6)

17a   A piano in small room is used by a // star (7)

The piano from 9a gets used for a third time.

Capella[5] is the sixth-brightest star in the sky [the third brightest in the northern hemisphere according to Deep Threat's sources], and the brightest in the constellation Auriga. It is a yellow giant.

20a   One shouldering heavy burden -- tons // at the end (2,4)

In Greek mythology, Atlas[5] was one of the Titans, who was punished for his part in their revolt against Zeus by being made to support the heavens. He became identified with the Atlas Mountains.

23a   Don't yet try to kill // the fellow hugging ancient tree! (4,4)

25a   Coming by northern river /for/ exciting experience (9)

The River Ure[7] is a stream in North Yorkshire, England, approximately 74 miles (119 km) long from its source to the point where it changes name to the River Ouse.

26a   One of three kids // scattering litter round front of park (7)

27a   Greek character thus joins leader of Gang // Show (7)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

Al Capone[5] (1899–1947) was an American gangster of Italian descent. He dominated organized crime in Chicago in the 1920s and was indirectly responsible for many murders, including the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.

28a   Hair // that could be inch long with initial cut (7)

A chignon[5] is a knot or coil of hair arranged on the back of a woman’s head ⇒ her hair was drawn back from her face into a chignon.

29a   Quality of ungainly person /offering/ weak signs taken amiss (9)


2d   Allocates new chairs to // each in the course of breaks (7)

3d   Possible claim of abbot's number two, // based on logic (1,6)

A prior[5] is the male head of a house or group of houses of certain religious orders, in particular:
  1. the man next in rank below an abbot; or
  2. the head of a house of friars.
Thus a prior (an abbot's number two) might say (à la Yoda, as Deep Threat points out) A prior, [am] I.

A priori[5] is an adjective that means relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge which proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience ⇒ a priori assumptions about human nature.

4d   A right uninteresting person leading volunteers /in/ the woods (8)

"volunteers" = TA (show explanation )

In the UK, Territorial Army[5] (abbreviation TA[5]) was, at one time, the name of a volunteer force founded in 1908 to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined military personnel for use in an emergency. Since 2013, this organization has been called the Army Reserve.

hide explanation

5d   Food should be // put under grill? Not egg (6)

6d   Essence of sung message to encourage escape of Prince /in/ vessel (9)

"The Skye Boat Song"[7] is a Scottish folk song recalling the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The song tells how Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a serving maid, escaped in a small boat after the defeat of his Jacobite rising of 1745, with the aid of Flora MacDonald. The song is a traditional expression of Jacobitism and its story has also entered Scotland as a national legend.

The chorus of the song is:
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.
7d   What could make lass cry // in a silly manner? (7)

The usage example given by Oxford Dictionaries would seem very appropriate to the clue.

Crass[5] is an adjective (adverb crassly) meaning showing no intelligence or sensitivity ⇒ the crass assumptions that men make about women.

8d   Area misunderstood /puts/ learner in annoying situation, awkward position (5,4)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

13d   Rose /and/ Dorothy after upset were kept inside (7)

Dot is a diminutive form of the given name Dorothy[7].

15d   Designer /of/ the thing seen in sly form of therapy (9)

ECT[5] is the abbreviation for electroconvulsive therapy[5], the treatment of mental illness by the application of electric shocks to the brain ⇒ a course of electroconvulsive therapy.

16d   Support for injury having got hit /in/ fighting? (9)

18d   Lady Fortune, for Spooner, // one no longer effective (4,4)

A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

A lame duck[5] is an an ineffectual or unsuccessful person or thing ⇒ most of her boyfriends have been lame ducks. In a chiefly North American — one might say US — usage, the term can mean a politician or administration in the final period of office, after the election of a successor ⇒ [as modifier] a lame-duck president. The term is likely not seen so much in Canada as we effect the transition of government following an election rather quickly as compared to the US.

19d   Channel Islands in grip of evil Italian // breaking the law (7)

The Channel Islands[5] (abbreviation CI[5]) are a group of islands in the English Channel off the northwestern coast of France, of which the largest are Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney. Formerly part of the dukedom of Normandy, they have owed allegiance to England since the Norman Conquest in 1066, and are now classed as Crown dependencies.

"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

21d   European // valiant in battle (7)

22d   Do better than // basic success in exam after teacher is listened to (7)

It is common practice for British school students to call their male teachers "Sir", as in To Sir, with Love[7], a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner-city school.

24d   Sailor // chattering, not quiet at first (6)

The piano quietly makes a fourth appearance.

"quiet" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

Rating[5] is a British term for a non-commissioned sailor in the navy the rest of the new crew was made up of naval ratings. [So named from the position or rating held by a sailor, recorded on a ship's books.]
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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