Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016 — DT 27929

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27929
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27929 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27929 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (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
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


I found this to be a bit more than two star difficulty — likely due to a few Briticisms that I had not previously encountered.

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   Measuring device // for tower (10)

6a   Bookie's offer about to // finish (4)

I mistakenly tried to explain the wordplay as a reversal (about) of POTS (bookie's offer). It did seem somewhat plausible as The Chambers Dictionary defines pot[1] as a heavily backed horse.

In fact, the wordplay is actually SP (bookie's offer) contained in (about) TO (from the clue).

SP[5] is the abbreviation for starting price[5], the final odds at the start of a horse race.

10a   Martial arts expert goes round island with a // girl (5)

In martial arts, a dan[10] is:
  1. any one of the 10 black-belt grades of proficiency; or
  2. a competitor entitled to dan grading.
11a   Attacker /from/ South America, one coming in at an angle (9)

Somehow gnomethang has ended up on the wrong continent in his review.

12a   Person who's left something // on a support (7)

In cricket, the on[5] (also known as on side) is another name for the leg[5] (also called leg side), the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman’s feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg. The other half of the field is known as the off[5] (also called off side).

13a   Bag // carried by gardeners at Chelsea (7)

Scratching the Surface
Chelsea[5,7], part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. is an affluent residential district of central London, on the north bank of the River Thames.

Gardens may not be what Chelsea is best known for, but it does seem to have its share.

Chelsea is home to several open spaces including Albert Bridge Gardens, Battersea Bridge Gardens, Chelsea Embankment Gardens, Royal Hospital Chelsea: the grounds of which are used by the annual Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea Physic Garden*.
* The Chelsea Physic Garden[5] was established as the Apothecaries’ Garden in London, England, in 1673. (The word "Physic" here refers to the science of healing.) This physic garden is the second oldest botanical garden in Britain, after the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, which was founded in 1621.

14a   Become used to batting // yet seeing one beaten (3,4,3,2)

Get one's eye in[5] (or keep one's eye in) is a British expression denoting to become (or remain) able to make good judgements about a task or activity in which one is engaged ⇒ I’ve got my eye in now; I’m landing them just where I want them.

18a   Musician // performing in recitals not drinking therein (12)

"not drinking" = 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

Clarinettist[5] is the British spelling of clarinetist.

21a   Means to attract attention in row -- // I'll give better advice (7)

Read the definition in the sense of "I'll give advice to a better".

Psst[2] (or pst) is an exclamation used to draw someone's attention quietly or surreptitiously.

23a   Most gentle // criminal 'Slim Ted' (7)

24a   Cutting // ditch needs worker perhaps (9)

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

The phrase "worker" is commonly used in cryptic crossword puzzles to clue ANT.

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

25a   Regarding vehicle turning over, // it goes very fast (5)

26a   Cover // mathematical function of variable (4)

In mathematics, a cosine[5] (abbreviation cos[5]) is the trigonometric function that is equal to the ratio of the side adjacent to an acute angle (in a right-angled triangle) to the hypotenuse.

"variable" = Y (show explanation )

In mathematics, a variable[5] is a quantity which during a calculation is assumed to vary or be capable of varying in value.

In mathematical formulae, variables are typically represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.

hide explanation

27a   Good entertainer's right person /to provide/ scary tale (5,5)

Gnomethang seems to have experienced a touch of finger trouble here. His explanation should read "A charade of G for Good then HOST’S (entertainer’s) and then a TORY or right wing political type in the UK". These right wing political types also exist in Canada.


1d   Blade // theologian used in fencing (6)

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

2d   Old cooker /in/ Dutch house (6)

The House of Orange[5] is the Dutch royal house, originally a princely dynasty of the principality centred on the town of Orange in the 16th century.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, gnomethang characterizes a "range" as a cooker/hob/Aga.
Cooker[10] is a British term for a stove, an apparatus usually of metal and heated by gas, electricity, oil, or solid fuel, for cooking food. It is . In North America, any such device would be known as a kitchen range or simply a range. In Britain, however, the term range has a much more restricted meaning. There, a range[5] is a large cooking stove with burners or hotplates and one or more ovens, all of which are kept continually hot. This latter characteristic ("kept continually hot") seems to be the determining factor in deciding whether or not an appliance is considered to be a range. Thus stoves heated by solid fuel (wood or coal) and oil would almost certainly be ranges while stoves heated by gas or electricity would generally not be ranges (provided that the burners and ovens could be turned off when not in use).

The AGA cooker[7] is a high-end gas stove popular in medium to large British country houses — not to mention British crosswords. As a heat storage stove, it works on the principle that a heavy frame made from cast iron components can absorb heat from a relatively low-intensity but continuously-burning source, and the accumulated heat can then be used when needed for cooking. Thus it is considered to be a gas burning range in Britain.

Hob[5] is a British term for a cooking appliance, or the flat top part of a cooker, with hotplates or burners.

3d   A dictator there in revolt /to make/ drastic threat (4,3,4,3)

To read (someone) the Riot Act[5] is a [supposedly] British expression meaning to give (someone) a severe warning or reprimand ⇒ he read the riot act to his players after hauling them in for extra training.

Despite being characterized by Oxford Dictionaries as British, the expression read (someone or somebody) the riot act is found in the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms, and the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. So although the expression may have originated in 18th century Britain, it has clearly crossed the Atlantic and established firm roots here.

Delving Deeper
The Riot Act[5] was an Act passed by the British government in 1715 and repealed in 1967, designed to prevent civil disorder. The Act made it a felony for an assembly of more than twelve people to refuse to disperse after being ordered to do so and having been read a specified section of the Act by lawful authority.

4d   Tea for every single // person giving protection (9)

Cha (or chai) is an alternative spelling for char[5], an informal British name for tea.

5d   Love unchanged // spot that's pleasant (5)

"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

7d   After time, I tucked into slice of bacon // of worse quality (8)

8d   English trade union in factory // with bad attitude (8)

TU[3,4,11] is the abbreviation for Trade Union.

9d   Sit around in costume trousers from the Seventies, // things for an emergency (8,6)

Before seeking a second opinion from my electronic assistants, I was unable to see past ALARMS for the second word.

Delving Deep
In North America, distress flares are typically fired using a flare gun[7] — the most common type being a Very pistol which was named after Edward Wilson Very (1847–1910), an American naval officer who developed and popularized a single-shot breech-loading snub-nosed pistol that fired flares.

In countries where possession of firearms is strictly controlled, such as the United Kingdom, the use of Very pistols as emergency equipment on boats is less common than, for example, the United States. In such locations, distress flares are more commonly fired from single-shot tube devices which are then disposed of after use. These devices are fired by twisting or striking a pad on one end, but the contents are otherwise similar to a round from a flare gun, although the flares themselves are much larger and can burn brighter for longer.

Another gun control-heavy country, Russian Federation, has a special tube-shaped flare launching device called a "Hunter's Signal" which is reusable but is deliberately designed in a way to avoid resemblance to a gun.

Distress flares must be shot directly above, making the signal visible for a longer period of time and revealing the position of whoever is in need of assistance.

15d   Reckons // big cars will go about one mile (9)

In the UK, estate[5] is short for estate car[5], the British name for a station wagon[5].

16d   Jubilant // financial district staying put (8)

"financial district" = EC (show explanation )

In the clue, the setter uses "financial district" to stand for for the EC postcode which serves the City of London [postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code]. The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

The City of London[7] (not to be confused with the city of London) is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City of London is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

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17d   Fish /as/ start of meal adorned with chopped parsley (8)

My handicap was in wrongly supposing that the fish started with an M. However, my electronic assistants were not fooled.

The lamprey[5] is any of several species of eel-like aquatic jawless vertebrate that has a sucker mouth with horny teeth and a rasping tongue. The adult is often parasitic, attaching itself to other fish and sucking their blood.

19d   Again sound out // Greek character about forerunner of EU (2-4)

Rho[5] is the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ρ, ρ).

The European Economic Community[10] (abbreviation EEC[10]) is the the former western European economic association created by the Treaty of Rome in 1957; in 1967 its executive and legislative bodies merged with those of the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community to form the European Community (since 1993 subsumed within the European Union (or EU)).

20d   Yard beneath shop // floor (6)

22d   Stretch /of/ river for everyone (5)

The solution could mean 'stretch of river' but, in this clue, it simply means 'stretch'.
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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