Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 — DT 27953

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27953
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27953 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27953 – 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
The National Post has skipped DT 27950 through DT 27952 which were published in The Daily Telegraph from Wednesday, November 4, 2015 to Friday, November 6, 2015.
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.


Did the editors at the National Post return from their long weekend and forget where they left off? In any event, they have skipped ahead four puzzles.

Fortunately, today's puzzle is not too difficult and I was able to knock it off fairly quickly. Unfortunately, I had a lot on my plate today causing the appearance of the blog to delayed far later than usual.

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   Settles business promptly /and/ honestly, a pain to administer (4,2,3,4)

On the nail[10] [a British expression, it would seem, based on the dictionaries in which it is found]  means (with respect to payments) at once (especially in the phrase pay on the nail).

Delving Deeper
Four bronze tables — called nails — are located outside The Exchange in Bristol, England. These were probably modelled after mobile tables which were taken to trade fairs and markets. The bronze nails, with their flat tops and raised edges which prevent coins from tumbling onto the pavement, were made as convenient tables at which merchants could carry out their business. The oldest of the four is undated but believed to be from late Elizabethan times while the newest is dated 1631.

Deals could be closed by payment on the nails—the popularly supposed origin of the saying "pay on the nail" or "cash on the nail". However, this origin of the term is disputed.

9a   I have to follow dreadful court // order (9)

"court" = CT (show explanation )

Ct[2] is the abbreviation for Court in street addresses — and possibly in other contexts as well.

hide explanation

10a   Happened upon old // carving (5)

The wordplay is CAME (happened) + (upon) O (old; abbrev.) making the word "upon" a charade indicator. This clue would work much better as a down clue. As an across clue, it contravenes the convention that A on (or upon B) is BA — not AB as we have here.

11a   Publication /for/ children (5)

12a   Insect // bite's upset (4)

13a   Flag // from European country cut down (4)

A flag[5] is any of various plants that have long swordlike leaves, especially the iris Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag).

15a   Good youngsters // sparkle (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

17a   American explorer brought back to company ... this! (7)

I would say that the entire clue provides the definition with the portion marked with the dashed underline also supplying the wordplay. In other words, the clue is a semi-all-in-one. Should you disagree, I defy you to solve the clue based solely on the single word "this".

John Cabot[5] (circa 1450-circa 1498) was an Italian explorer and navigator; Italian name Giovanni Caboto. He sailed from Bristol in 1497 in search of Asia, but in fact landed on the mainland of North America, the first European to do so.

Sebastian Cabot[5] (circa 1475–1557) was the son of John Cabot. Sebastian accompanied his father on his voyage in 1497 and made further voyages after the latter’s death, most notably to Brazil and the River Plate (1526).

18a   Individual entertains male party // before audience (2-5)

20a   Cutter // was returning after mist at sea (7)

Fret[5] is a Northern English term for a mist coming in off the sea; a sea fog.

A fretsaw[2] is a narrow-bladed saw for cutting designs in wood or metal.

21a   Small ship /in/ bay (4)

Bark[10] is a variant spelling (especially US) of barque, which is:
  1. a sailing ship of three or more masts having the foremasts rigged square and the aftermast rigged fore-and-aft; or
  2. a poetic term for any boat, especially a small sailing vessel.
22a   Feel the loss of // girl (4)

23a   Taken in // school's report (5)

"school" = ETON (show explanation )

Eton College[7], often informally referred to simply as Eton, is an English independent [private] boarding school for boys located in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is one of ten English schools, commonly referred to as "public schools*", regulated by the Public Schools Act of 1868.

* In Britain, "public schools" are a special class of private school; what North Americans would call public schools are referred to in Britain as state schools.

hide explanation

26a   Change /in/ Germany meeting approval (5)

"Germany" = D (show explanation )

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Germany is D[5] [from German Deutschland].

hide explanation

27a   Old Lib-Dem leader tucks into lean bit of steak /and/ sauces etc (9)

Sir Walter Menzies Campbell[7], often known as Ming Campbell, is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1987 to 2015 and was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2 March 2006 until 15 October 2007.

The Scottish name Menzies is correctly pronounced /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss, and a shortened form is "Ming" (because the letter typed 'z' is actually the letter yogh (Ȝ ȝ), which is still used in the 27-letter Scottish alphabet; but typewriters throughout the UK only use 26).[7]

28a   Arrange other matter in // Arnie's vehicle (3,10)

The Terminator[7] is a 1984 American science fiction action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.


1d   Visitor from Peru // abandoned trip having got lost round centre of Chingford (10,4)

Paddington Bear[7], a polite immigrant bear from Deepest, Darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase, duffle coat and love of marmalade sandwiches, has become a classic character from English children's literature. In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington railway station in London by the Brown family, sitting on his suitcase (bearing the label "WANTED ON VOYAGE") with a note attached to his coat which reads, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." Author Michael Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during the war, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington.

Scratching the Surface
Chingford[7] is a suburban area in east London, situated 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Charing Cross [considered to mark the centre of London].

2d   Stories // for instance set up to entertain the Navy (5)

"sailors" = RN (show explanation )

The Royal Navy[5] (abbreviation RN) is the British navy. It was the most powerful navy in the world from the 17th century until the Second World War.

hide explanation

3d   Like some music // Clare Short arranged (10)

Scratching the Surface
Clare Short[7] is a British politician, and a member of the Labour Party. She was a Member of Parliament from 1983 to 2010; for most of this period she was a Labour Party MP, but she resigned the party whip in 2006 and served the remainder of her term as an Independent. She stood down as a member of parliament at the 2010 general election.

Short was Secretary of State for International Development in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair from May 1997 until her resignation from that post in May 2003. Shortly before her retirement from Parliament in 2010, she was strongly rebuked by her own party when she announced her support for a hung parliament, a situation which subsequently occurred at the 2010 General Election.

4d   Set off /with/ Pooh's friend round river (7)

Tigger[7] is a fictional tiger character — and friend of Winnie-the-Pooh — originally introduced in English author A. A. Milne's book. The House at Pooh Corner. Like other Pooh characters, Tigger is based on one of Christopher Robin Milne's stuffed animals. Nowadays he is also widely recognized as reinterpreted by the Disney studios, with distinctive orange and black stripes, large eyes, a long chin, a springy tail, and (the one detail originating from A. A. Milne) his love of bouncing. As he says himself, "Bouncing is what Tiggers do best."

5d   Fancy // a gentle rambling (7)

Rather bizarrely, the numeration was shown on The Telegraph website as (0,7). Since the numeration is correct in the version published in the National Post, I would guess that the error in the numeration was introduced during the production process at The Daily Telegraph after the puzzle had been distributed in syndication.

6d   Main // section of bridge (4)

Contrary to gnomethang's assertion, I would say that the first definition is a straight definition — not a cryptic definition.

Arch[10] is an adjective meaning chief; principal; leading his arch rival.

7d   Strains bearing fruit /in/ verses (9)

8d   Royal family // habit to be protected by foot soldiers following Tornados (5,2,7)

"soldiers" = OR (show explanation )

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

hide explanation

The House of Windsor[7] is the royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I. The most prominent member of the House of Windsor is its head, Queen Elizabeth II.

Scratching the Surface
The deceptive capitalization of "Tornados" is likely meant to direct our attention to some meaning of the word other than a strong wind. Perhaps it is intended to suggest the Hawker Tornado[7], a British single-seat fighter aircraft design of World War II for the Royal Air Force as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane. The planned production of Tornados was cancelled after the engine it was designed to use—the Rolls-Royce Vulture—proved unreliable in service. Only a single production model of the plane was ever built (in addition to three prototypes).

14d   Member of crew /with/ muscle, skinny, casing joint (4,6)

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

16d   Rebel // is pressing to capture north (9)

19d   Religious instruction // Eastern sanctimonious saint let out (7)

Pi[5] is an informal British short form for pious.

"saint" = S (show explanation )

S[5] (chiefly in Catholic use) is an abbreviation for SaintS Ignatius Loyola.

hide explanation

20d   Authoritarian rule /of/ football administrators split when Hearts leaves (7)

The Football Association[7], also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football [soccer] in England. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.

"hearts" = H (show explanation )

Hearts[2] (abbreviation H) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

24d   Opinion that can be reversed (5)

25d   Python // at rest (4)

Eric Idle[7] is an English comedian, actor, voice actor, author, singer-songwriter, musician, writer and comedic composer. Idle is a member of the English surreal comedy group Monty Python, a member of The Rutles on Saturday Night Live, and the author of the Broadway musical Spamalot.

Note: I would say that the mention of Saturday Night Live in the above citation would seem to be nothing short of  ridiculous — not unlike a Monty Python sketch. The Rutles[7] association with Saturday Night Live extends to two guest appearances on the American television program (in 1976 and 1977). This is like saying that John Lennon was a member of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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