Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016 — DT 27922

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27922
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, October 2, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27922]
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
The National Post has skipped DT 27920 and DT 27921 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 and Thursday, October 1, 2015.


Once again, I had a review ready to post only to discover that the National Post had not published the puzzle. This time they have skipped ahead two days.

Fortunately, the puzzle is not too difficult allowing me to polish it off fairly quickly and produce a review before lunch.

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   Dignitary // to ramble endlessly when installed in position (7)

A provost[5] might be considered to be a dignitary in any of several senses, including:
  1. a British term for the head of certain university colleges, especially at Oxford or Cambridge, and public schools;
  2. a Scottish term for a mayor; or
  3. the head of a chapter in a cathedral.
However, the link may not occur to North Americans who know a provost[5] as a senior administrative officer in certain universities.

7a   Regular journeys — according to report // they go underground (5)

9a   Haul ruler back, /showing/ esteem (6)

"ruler" = 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

10a   Within list there's commercial // type of vehicle (8)

11a   Branch of medicine // that could make one stay chirpy (10)

13a   Go downhill having imbibed a // Japanese drink (4)

Saki[5] is a variant spelling of sake[5], a Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice, traditionally drunk warm in small porcelain cups.

14a   Finest lass — she unfortunately /manifests/ disloyalty (13)

16a   Black stuff on the front of old // plant (4)

Taro[5] (also called dasheen or cocoyam) is a tropical Asian plant (Colocasia esculenta) of the arum family which has edible starchy corms and edible fleshy leaves, especially a variety with a large central corm grown as a staple in the Pacific.

17a   Prince Otto sacked // personal bodyguard maybe (10)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading may be an allusion to Otto von Bismarck[5], Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1815–1898), a Prussian minister and German statesman, Chancellor of the German Empire 1871–90; known as the Iron Chancellor. He was the driving force behind the unification of Germany, orchestrating wars with Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1870-1) in order to achieve this end.

A more remote possibility might be Prince Otto: A Romance[7], a novel written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894), first published in 1885.

However, Prince Otto may be nothing more than a convenient arrangement of the letters in the anagram.

19a   Party people // present (8)

20a   City hospital /in/ district with church (6)

22a   Stuck in car, a certain // person in a hurry (5)

23a   Soldiers /in/ French city by river (7)

Angers[5] is a town in western France, capital of the former province of Anjou; population 156,965 (2006).

A ranger[5] is a member of a body of armed men, in particular a mounted soldier or (in the US) a commando.


1d   /That's/ a bit // I love — thanks! (4)

If you think about it carefully, you should see that this clue has a link word ("that's") at the beginning. From the standpoint of cryptic analysis, the clue adopts an inverted sentence structure (much like this sentence, in which the phrase "from the standpoint of cryptic analysis" has been placed at the beginning of the sentence rather than at the end).

Were we to write the clue in a straightforward wordplay-linkword-definition order, it would read:
  • I love -- thanks /that's/ a bit (4)
Of course, while this order clarifies the cryptic analysis, it totally destroys the surface reading of the clue.

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

Ta[5] is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you ?‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.

2d   Game is hard, daughter admitted — // swimmer with severe limitations? (8)

"hard" = H (show explanation )

H[5] is an abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.

hide explanation 

The "severe limitations" being the swimmer's restricted range of movement.

3d   Dull /and/ uninteresting? Listener needs to be engaged (6)

4d   Harmonious /and/ happy old Bob is kept inside (10)

Although deceptively capitalized in the clue, bob[5] is an informal British term for a a shilling[5] (abbreviation s[5]) which, in the British currency system used prior to the introduction of the current decimal currency system, was a coin and monetary unit equal to one twentieth of a pound or twelve pence.

5d   Word sometimes worn by journalist /in/ crowd (5)

6d   Go past critical point /and/ mark page in book? (4,3,6)

8d   Religious types entertaining ambassador /and/ rulers (7)

A Sikh[5] is an adherent of Sikhism[5], a monotheistic religion founded in Punjab in the 15th century by Guru Nanak.

HE[2] is the abbreviation for His or Her Excellency, where Excellency[2] (usually His, Her or Your Excellency or Your or Their Excellencies) is a title of honour given to certain people of high rank, e.g. ambassadors.

A sheikh[5] is an Arab leader, in particular the chief or head of an Arab tribe, family, or village.

12d   Greek character and gypsy outside front of circus // fortune-telling (10)

Chi[5] is the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet (Χ, χ).

Romany[5] is the language of the Gypsies. An Indo-European language related to Hindi, it is spoken by a dispersed group of about 1 million people, and has many dialects.

Romany can mean Gypsy in either of the following senses:
  1. (as a noun) another term for a Gypsy;
  2. (as an adjective) denoting relating to Gypsies or their language.
Chiromancy[5] is another term for palmistry, the supposed prediction of a person’s future from interpreting the lines on the palms of their hands.

Scratching the Surface
A Gypsy[5] (also Gipsy) is a member of a travelling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling. Gypsies speak a language (Romany) that is related to Hindi and are believed to have originated in South Asia.

14d   Characteristic quality /of/ learner in act of kindness (7)

"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

15d   Cleaning? // Carol's keen to get stuck in (8)

17d   Privilege of preferential treatment, the thing lacking /in/ religious house (6)

A priory[5] is a small monastery or nunnery that is governed by a prior or prioress.

18d   Forces out /in/ old-fashioned combats without leader (5)

Historically, a joust[5] was a medieval sporting contest in which two opponents on horseback fought with lances ⇒ the king and the young knights at court passed their time in jousts, tournaments, and the chase.

21d   Nonconformist losing heart /in/ dance (4)

A reel[5] is a lively Scottish or Irish folk dance.
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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