Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016 — DT 27941

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27941
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27941 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27941 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
crypticsue (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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


I would say that this is fairly typical fare for what was a Saturday puzzle in the UK.

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   Chased snipers having blown // hole in the wall (4,9)

In Britain, a hole in the wall[5] is an automatic cash dispenser installed in the outside wall of a bank and not, as in North America, a small dingy bar, shop, or restaurant.

9a   Ban // expert writer (9)

10a   Indian mystic // travelled through water to reach island (5)

In India, swami[10] is a title of respect for a Hindu saint or religious teacher.

11a   It can put out // article about Queen? On the contrary (5)

"Queen" = 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

12a   Fool told // to join up (4)

Nit[5] is an informal British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

13a   Report on one late // old item (4)

15a   Support // son beset by one running out of control (7)

17a   Old rogue on TV's energy // to write (7)

"energy" = E (show explanation )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy.

hide explanation

William Simmonite, better known by his nickname of Compo[7], is a character in the world's longest-running sitcom — the British television production Last of the Summer Wine.

18a   High-spirited girl almost reaching US city // means to gamble (7)

Tombola[5] is a British term for a game in which people pick tickets out of a revolving drum and certain tickets win immediate prizes, typically played at a fete* or fair ⇒ (i) entrance includes a tombola and raffle; (ii) traditional games such as tombola or bingo.

* Fete[5] (also fête) is a British term for a public function, typically held outdoors and organized to raise funds for a charity, including entertainment and the sale of goods and refreshments ⇒ a church fete.

20a   Match perhaps /for/ attacking footballer (7)

In soccer [football to the Brits], a forward or attacking player is known as a striker[5].

21a   Ordinary writer, // quite accessible (4)

Historically, in the UK (with the exception of Scotland), O level[5] (short for ordinary level[5]) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A (advanced) level. It was replaced in 1988 by the  GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

22a   Murphy // gets Northern Irish party's backing (4)

The Democratic Unionist Party[7] (DUP) is the largest unionist political party in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and now led by Arlene Foster, it is the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the joint fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Murphy[5] is an informal name for a potato.

23a   Plant /from/ south facing border (5)

Sedge[5] is any of several genus of grass-like plant with triangular stems and inconspicuous flowers, growing typically in wet ground. Sedges are widely distributed throughout temperate and cold regions.

26a   Grand works /using/ Oriental images (5)

"Oriental" = E (show explanation )

Eastern[5] (abbreviation E[5]) denotes living in or originating from the regions or countries to the east of Europe.

Oriental[5] denotes of, from, or characteristic of Asia, especially East Asia. Thus, in its broadest sense, Oriental is synonymous with Eastern.

hide explanation

27a   Rare ombu tree initially cultivated here? (9)

Scratching the Surface
The ombu (a variant spelling of ombú[5] or ombù) is a large evergreen tree, Phytolacca dioica, having a thick trunk with spreading buttresses at its base, native to South America and planted elsewhere as a shade tree.

28a   Trade no longer carried out /in/ conurbation (7,6)


1d   Reliable // policeman prospered keeping clear of drink (6-8)

Copper-bottomed[5] is a British term denoting thoroughly reliable; in other words, certain not to fail ⇒ a copper-bottomed guarantee. The expression derives from earlier usage referring to the copper sheathing of the bottom of a ship.

"clear of drink" = TT (show explanation )

Teetotal[5] (abbreviation TT[5]) means choosing or characterized by abstinence from alcohol ⇒ a teetotal lifestyle.

A teetotaller[5] (US teetotalerabbreviation TT[5]) is a person who never drinks alcohol.

The term teetotal is an emphatic extension of total, apparently first used by Richard Turner, a worker from Preston [England], in a speech (1833) urging total abstinence from all alcohol, rather than mere abstinence from spirits, as advocated by some early temperance reformers.

hide explanation

2d   Vice // of heartless Lothario (5)

In Christian tradition, the sins of pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth are known as the seven deadly sins[5].

Scratching the Surface
A Lothario[5] is a man who behaves selfishly and irresponsibly in his sexual relationships with women ⇒ they are seduced by a handsome Lothario who gains control of their financial affairs. The name comes from a character in The Fair Penitent (1703), a play by English dramatist Nicholas Rowe (1674–1718).

3d   Award /for/ end-of-year speech (10)

4d   Some fishing equipment catching trout finally, // a hard problem (7)

5d   Like some verse, // say, Alice gets excited about (7)

6d   Special forces -- hard // band (4)

In the UK, the Special Air Service (abbreviation SAS[5]) is a specialist army regiment trained in commando techniques of warfare, formed during the Second World War and used in clandestine operations, frequently against terrorists.

7d   Police barrier /catches/ a bold criminal in possession of precious stone (9)

The ambiguity inherent in the phrase "in possession of" is a perfect fit for cryptic crosswords. Depending on how one chooses to interpret it, it can mean either possesses (A thief in possession of stolen goods) or possessed by (stolen goods in (the) possession of a thief). The setter has made effective use of this feature by employing one sense in the surface reading and the other in the cryptic reading.

8d   Aliens // enter telling me to get knotted (6,5,3)

Scratching the Surface
Get knotted[5] is an informal British expression used to express contemptuous rejection of someone.

14d   I put on a show /with/ one Italian character entertaining president (10)

Behind the Picture
Andrew Lloyd Webber[7], Baron Lloyd-Webber Kt is an English composer and impresario of musical theatre.

Mario[7] is a fictional character in Nintendo's Mario video game franchise, the best-selling video game franchise of all time with over 210 million units having been sold. Serving as the company's mascot and the eponymous protagonist of the series, Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation. Depicted as a short, pudgy, Italian plumber who resides in the Mushroom Kingdom, his adventures generally center upon rescuing Princess Peach from the Koopa villain Bowser. His younger brother is Luigi.

16d   Failing to start sleeping, /being/ clumsy (9)

Should you choose to view the solution as an adjective (as I have done), the definition is "clumsy". On the other hand, were you to regard the solution to be a verb (as does crypticsue), the definition would be "being clumsy".

19d   Road material, // a tar spread round both ends of path (7)

20d   Short article // shows team meeting lawyers (7)

"team" = SIDE (show explanation )

Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in their side. [Note that a player is "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America]

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

hide explanation

24d   Went out with // American lawyer then Irish priest (5)

In the US, a district attorney[5] (abbreviation DA) is a public official who acts as prosecutor for the state in a particular district.

Father Ted[7] is a British sitcom that originally aired from 1995 until 1998. Written by Irish writers and featuring a predominantly Irish cast, the programme is set on the fictional Craggy Island, a remote location off Ireland's west coast. As a result of various past incidents, Father Ted Crilly, together with fellow priests Father Dougal McGuire and Father Jack Hackett, have been exiled on the island where they live together in the parochial house with their housekeeper Mrs. Doyle.

25d   A female // Wimbledon champion once (4)

Arthur Ashe[5] (1943–1993) was an American tennis player. He won the US Open singles championship in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975, and was the first black male player to achieve world rankings.
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


  1. Better today only missed the tatie (22a)

  2. Given the large number of British expressions and references, I think a fair Canadian rating for this puzzle would be about three stars.

    Not complaining, mind you. I enjoy the additional challenge and I'm often amused by the inventive way that Brits continue to evolve their version of our common language.