Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016 — DT 27931

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27931
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27931]
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 27930 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, October 12, 2015.


After speeding through most of this puzzle, I became mired in the southwest corner. With most of 7d in place, I should have been able to finish it but encountered a complete mental block. Oh well, I have Jay to look forward to tomorrow.

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   Brass groom spent on foremost of dinners /and/ a buffet (11)

When I ran out of space for the solution, I came to the realization that I was trying to spell it with an English table rather than a Swedish one — a mistake I have likely been making all my life. Judging by the existence of a Wikipedia redirection for the incorrect spelling, I must be far from alone in making this error.

This clue contravenes the convention that, in an across clue, the result of "A on B" is B + A — the logic being that for A to be placed on B, B must have been placed first.

Scratching the Surface
Brass[5] is an informal British term for money ⇒ they wanted to spend their newly acquired brass.

7a   Girl // from Lancashire (Nelson) (5)

Scratching the Surface
Lancashire[5] is a county of northwestern England, on the Irish Sea; administrative centre, Preston.

8a   Wicked (excellent) playing // game (9)

North Americans would be familiar with mint[5], as an adjective, denoting (of an object) in pristine condition; in other words, as new ⇒ a pair of speakers, mint, £160. In Britain, however, mint[5] is also used in a broader sense to mean very good ⇒ there was Dean, looking really mint in his new jacket.

10a   A theologian in valley /brings/ cheer (7)

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.

A glen[5] is a narrow valley, especially in Scotland or Ireland.

11a   Retire abroad, going to a // country in Africa (7)

Eritrea[5] is an independent state in northeastern Africa, on the Red Sea; population 5,647,200 (est. 2009); language, Tigre and Cushitic languages; capital, Asmara. Eritrea was an Italian colony from 1890 to 1952, when it became part of Ethiopia. After a long guerrilla war it became internally self-governing in 1991 and fully independent in 1993.

12a   Extremely nice, after work, I // suppose (5)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

hide explanation

13a   Row with senior sorted? // That's OK (2,7)

16a   Society member/'s/ unusual forenames (9)

A Freemason[5] is a member of an international order established for mutual help and fellowship, which holds elaborate secret ceremonies. The original free masons were itinerant skilled stonemasons of the 14th century, who are said to have recognized fellow craftsmen by secret signs. Modern freemasonry is usually traced to the formation of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717; members are typically professionals and businessmen.

18a   Amaze leader of gang, /being/ taken for a ride (5)

19a   Urgent-looking letters /in/ capitals I scrawled Pa sent back crossed out (7)

22a   Primate taken in by newspaper // seller in the high street? (7)

The loris[5] is any of several species of small, slow-moving nocturnal Asian primate with a short or absent tail, living in dense vegetation.

The Financial Times[7] (abbreviation FT) is a British international business newspaper that is printed on conspicuous salmon pink newsprint.

In the UK, high street[5] is the term used for the main street of a town, especially as the traditional site for most shops, banks, and other businesses ⇒ the approaching festive season boosted the high street. In the same way that many North American towns have a Main Street, many British towns will have a High Street.

23a   Dither on rising ground /in/ Suffolk town (9)

Haver[5] is a British term meaning to act in a vacillating or indecisive manner ⇒ she was exasperated by all this havering.

Haverhill[7] is a market town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England, next to the borders of Essex and Cambridgeshire. It lies 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Cambridge and 47 miles (76 km) north-east of central London. Haverhill has a population of 27,041 (2011 census).

Similar to 1a, this clue contravenes the "A on B" convention.

24a   Very keen to employ old // dodge (5)

25a   Released pent-up emotions, /then/ forgave second XI, perhaps (3,3,5)

Eleven[5] is the number of players on a cricket[7] side or an Association football[7] [soccer] team — and is often used as a metonym for such a team ⇒ at cricket I played in the first eleven.


1d   Favourite's upset privately // to make room for a replacement (4,5)

2d   Extra owed /is/ yet to arrive (7)

3d   Crack crackers /and/ become very angry (2,7)

Crackers[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  1. insane ⇒ if Luke wasn’t here I’d go crackers; or
  2. extremely angry ⇒ when he saw the mess he went crackers.
4d   Grass-like plant /in/ small 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.

5d   Famous actor, // one in 'Cromwell', for example (7)

Oliver Cromwell[5] (1599–1658) was an English general and statesman, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth 1653-8. Cromwell was the leader of the victorious Parliamentary forces (or Roundheads) in the English Civil War. As head of state he styled himself Lord Protector, and refused Parliament’s offer of the Crown in 1657. His rule was notable for its puritan reforms in the Church of England. He was briefly succeeded by his son Richard (1626–1712), who was forced into exile in 1659.

Laurence Olivier[5], Baron Olivier of Brighton (1907–1989) was an English actor and director. Following his professional debut in 1924, he performed all the major Shakespearean roles; he was also director of the National Theatre (1963–73). His films include Rebecca (1940), Henry V (1944), and Hamlet (1948).

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading of the clue is designed to suggest the appearance of a famous actor in a film titled 'Cromwell'.

Cromwell[7] is a British 1970 historical drama film based on the life of Oliver Cromwell. It features Richard Harris as Cromwell and Alec Guinness as King Charles I — but no appearance by Laurence Olivier.

6d   Put off, // cleaner gent jilted (5)

7d   Elected charitable trust // with perfect sincerity (2,4,5)

Methinks I gave up too early on this one. I had the first two words and the first letter of the third word — and the solution still would not pop to mind.

9d   Being this causes a problem seeing // the reading's wrong (4-7)

14d   Yield after a powerful blow? (9)

15d   Fashionable, even, // like nurses on the wards? (2,7)

The nurse who illustrates Gazza explanation of the clue would seem to have most of her body out of her uniform.

17d   French solver // playing ragtime (7)

I did have to look up the correct spelling of this detective's name.

Jules Maigret[7] (Maigret to most people, including his wife) is a fictional French police detective, actually a commissaire or commissioner of the Paris "Brigade Criminelle" (Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris), created by Belgian writer Georges Simenon (1903–1989).

Seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories about Maigret were published between 1931 and 1972. The Maigret stories were also adapted for television and radio.

18d   Warehousing charge // could be so great (7)

20d   Metal block // in Victorian village (5)

21d   Large // firm (5)

I thought Kitty might have a comment on this clue — but it was Jean-Luc who chimed in [Comment #34 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog].
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 comment:

  1. My mother used to say "shmorgusborg", sending my older brothers into gales of laughter. She'd take a stick to them.

    My only problems were not knowing Suffolk towns or obscure lemurs, sending me off to Wikipedia, as well.