Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016 — DT 27949

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27949
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27949]
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 27946 through DT 27948 which were published in The Daily Telegraph from Friday, October 30, 2015 to Monday, November 2, 2015.


After an extended period — by National Post standards — of adhering to a predicable schedule, the editors have taken a hop, ship and a jump before the long weekend and relegated a trio of puzzles to the cutting room floor.

This puzzle — which appeared on a Tuesday in the UK — is certainly not overly challenging (as is typically of "Tuesday" puzzles).

The National Post will not publish tomorrow, Easter Friday, nor on Easter Monday. However, I will be at my post so drop by for a brace of bonus puzzles should you find yourself with time on your hands.

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   Some French couple /in/ a hopeless state (7)

In French, des[8] is a determiner[5] meaning 'some'.

5a   Spice Girl embraced by part of UK and a // foreign country (7)

English pop singer-songwriter Geri Halliwell[7] came to international prominence in the 1990s as Ginger Spice, a member of the successful girl group the Spice Girls.

"part of UK" = NI (show explanation )

Northern Ireland[5] (abbreviation NI[5]) is a province of the United Kingdom occupying the northeast part of Ireland; population 1,775,000 (est. 2008); capital, Belfast.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, Northern Ireland[5] is the only major division of the United Kingdom to hold the status of province, with England[5] and Scotland[5] being considered countries, and Wales[5] a principality.

hide explanation

9a   Sign exasperated expression will return /in/ tight outfit (7)

In astrology, Leo[10] (also called the Lion) is the fifth sign of the zodiac, symbol , having a fixed fire classification and ruled by the sun. The sun is in this sign between about July 23 and Aug 22.

10a   Second occupant of tent /in/ brisk run (7)

11a   Very famous // general abroad seen round degree ceremony finally (9)

It took me a long time to realize that "general abroad" is not a reference to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

"degree" = D (show explanation )

The abbreviation for degree is d[2] [although not stated in the source, I suspect that it may come from the field of navigation where it would be used in specifying latitude and longitude].

hide explanation

12a   Stoop /in/ Norse figure that's pronounced (5)

13a   Intuitive feeling // in search unchanged (5)

15a   Make speech about loud // bore (9)

A new word to me, perorate[5] is a formal term meaning to speak at length ⇒ he perorated against his colleague.

"loud" = F (show explanation )

Forte[5] (abbreviation f[5]) is a musical direction meaning (as an adjective) loud or (as an adverb) loudly.

hide explanation

17a   Note to cut a hem not mended -- // like some old gear? (4-5)

In music, te[5] (or, in North America, ti) is:
  1. the seventh note of a major scale in the tonic sol-fa system of solmization; or
  2. the note B is the fixed-doh system of solmization.
19a   Two foreign articles put together /for/ seasoned church figure (5)

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8] while, in German, der[8] is one of the several forms that the definite article may assume..

An elder[5] is an official in the early Christian Church, or of various Protestant Churches and sects ⇒ he left the Church of which he had been an elder.

22a   Bird, // chicken, not caught (5)

"caught" = C (show explanation )

In cricket, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught (by).

hide explanation

23a   Time for fewer packages? (3,6)

25a   Fruit /and/ a lot of staple food put in container (7)

26a   On retiring, skinny front of garment /reveals/ zip (7)

Scratching the Surface
Zip[5] (also zip fastener) is the British term for what is known in North America as a zipper[5].

27a   Outspoken writer of records, // dealer in breakdowns? (7)

I failed to recognize the blatantly obvious homophone indicator and needed Gazza's explanation to understand my answer.

An annalist[5] is a person who writes annals; an analyst[5] (or psychoanalyst[5]) is a person who deals with mental disorders.

28a   Expand // a green meandering around lake (7)


1d   Biblical woman // acclaimed uprising with fifty involved (7)

In the Bible, Delilah[5] was a woman who betrayed Samson to the Philistines (Judges 16) by revealing to them that the secret of his strength lay in his long hair.

2d   Warlord with grip on front of trigger /in/ weapon (7)

A shogun[5] was a hereditary commander-in-chief in feudal Japan. Because of the military power concentrated in his hands and the consequent weakness of the nominal head of state (the mikado or emperor), the shogun was generally the real ruler of the country until feudalism was abolished in 1867.

3d   A trap, covering ace // once more (5)

A gin[2] (also gin trap) is a wire noose laid as a snare or trap for catching game.

"ace" = A (show explanation )

A[5] is an abbreviation for ace (in card games).

hide explanation

4d   Northern racecourse favourite /getting/ star treatment (3,6)

Redcar Racecourse[7] is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Redcar, North Yorkshire, England.

5d   Inquisitive // lad brought up easily discontented (5)

The setter uses "discontented" to indicate that the inner letters of "EasilY" are to be removed. This cryptic device is based on the whimsical logic that if disembowel means to remove one's insides, then it only stands to reason that discontent must also mean to remove one's contents.

6d   A do singer ruined /being/ bombastic (9)

7d   Copy // businessman in charge in US city (7)

"in charge" = IC (show explanation )

The abbreviation i/c[5] can be short for either
  1. (especially in military contexts) in charge of ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations; or
  2. in command ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
hide explanation

8d   Put in order // a shooting venue, we hear (7)

14d   Loud clamour // exploding near duchy (3,3,3)

16d   Call criminal /for/ reserve funds? (4-5)

Ring-fence[5] is a verb meaning to enclose (a piece of land) with a ring fence[5] — a fence completely enclosing a farm or piece of land. Ring-fence[5] is also a British term meaning to guarantee that (funds allocated for a particular purpose) will not be spent on anything else ⇒ the government failed to ring-fence the money provided to schools.

17d   Sweet wine /from/ area consumed by gentleman sadly laid up (7)

Marsala[5] is a dark, sweet fortified dessert wine that resembles sherry, produced in Sicily. It is named after Marsala, a town in Sicily where it was originally made.

18d   Retired vicar enters function by a // dining establishment (7)

A vicar[5] is a member of the clergy.

Delving Deeper
The meaning of the term vicar varies among religious denominations. The term may mean:

  • in the the Church of England, an incumbent of a parish where tithes formerly passed to a chapter or religious house or layman;
  • in other Anglican Churches, a member of the clergy deputizing for another;
  • in the Roman Catholic Church, a representative or deputy of a bishop;
  • in the US Episcopal Church, a clergyman in charge of a chapel;
  • a cleric or choir member appointed to sing certain parts of a cathedral service.

Reverend[5] (abbreviation Rev.[5]) is:
  1. an informal term for a member of the clergy ⇒ a retired reverend; or
  2. a a title or form of address to members of the clergy ⇒ the Reverend Pat Tilly.
Scratching the Surface
As a title Reverend is used for members of the clergy; the traditionally correct form of address is the Reverend James Smith or the Reverend J. Smith, rather than Reverend Smith or simply Reverend. Other words are prefixed in titles of more senior clergy: bishops are Right Reverend, archbishops are Most Reverend, and deans are Very Reverend.

In mathematics, tan[5] is the abbreviation for tangent[5], the trigonometric function that is equal to the ratio of the sides (other than the hypotenuse) opposite and adjacent to an angle in a right-angled triangle.

A taverna[5] is a small Greek restaurant or cafe.

20d   Party rises unexpectedly, /in/ brief (7)

In British law, a brief[5,10] is a document containing all the facts and points of law of a case by which a solicitor instructs a barrister to represent a client.

21d   Deny // Frenchman visitor, no saint (7)

It would seem that most Frenchmen in Crossworldland are named René.

Renegue[4] is a variant [seemingly British] spelling of renege.

23d   One calls this eight troupers principally (5)

I don't follow Gazza's comment that this is a semi-all-in-one where the whole clue is the definition. Since the entire clue provides the wordplay, if the whole clue were also the definition then this would be an all-in-one clue — not a semi-all-in-one clue.

On the other hand, if the definition were to be less than the whole clue, then the clue would be a semi-all-in-one.

However, I will opt for this being an all-in-one with the whole clue as the definition. Certainly the most commonly used (principal) name for a troupe of eight would seem to be an "octet" — although I suppose one could come up with other names to apply to such a group.

24d   Praise next old-fashioned sandwiches (5)
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. Easy, but the annalist, race course and renegue are all new to me. Thanks for filling in the blanks.

    Plenty of celebrity today, so here's a cryptic for you:

    Disreputable, but not Conservative, we say (9)