Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 — DT 27927

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27927
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27927]
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


This puzzle fell into place fairly smoothly. However, it was the most Canadian of expressions which tripped me up.

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   Treat superficially books penned by Carry On actor (6)

Jim Dale[7] (given name Jimothy) is an English actor, voice artist, and singer-songwriter. He is best known in the United Kingdom for his many appearances in the Carry On series of films and in the US for narrating the Harry Potter audiobook series, for which he received two Grammy Awards, and the ABC series Pushing Daisies, as well as starring in Pete's Dragon.

4a   National institution // operating amid protest ending in rally (8)

10a   Philosopher's vocal character /proving/ a heavy burden (9)

In her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath tells us that the clue refers to "one of two British philosophers". I think we could say "one of three ..." — all closely related.

James Mill[7], born James Milne, (1773–1836) was a Scottish historian, economist, political theorist, and philosopher. He is regarded as a founder of classical economics, together with David Ricardo and Adam Smith, and was the father of John Stuart Mill, the philosopher of liberalism.

John Stuart Mill[5] (1806–1873) was an English philosopher and economist. Mill is best known for his political and moral works, especially On Liberty (1859), which argued for the importance of individuality, and Utilitarianism (1861), which extensively developed this theory which had originally been proposed by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham.

Harriet Taylor Mill[7] (1807–1858) was a British philosopher and women's rights advocate. She is largely remembered for her influence upon her second husband, John Stuart Mill, one of the pre-eminent thinkers of the 19th century.

11a   Extra payment /that's/ good in France and America (5)

The French word for good is bon[8].

12a   Speciality shown by husband and father /in/ ME city (7)

Bag[10] is slang for a person's particular taste, field of skill, interest, activity, etc blues is his bag.

ME[1] is the abbreviation for Middle East.

Baghdad[5] is the capital of Iraq, on the River Tigris; population 6,194,800 (est. 2009). A thriving city under the Abbasid caliphs in the 8th and 9th centuries, it was taken by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman in 1534 and remained under Ottoman rule until the First World War. In 1920 it became the capital of the newly created state of Iraq.

13a   Soften a // medium for artists (7)

Tempera[11] is a water paint in which an emulsion consisting of water and pure egg yolk or a mixture of egg and oil is used as a binder or medium, characterized by its lean film-forming properties and rapid drying rate.

14a   Smallest amount // learner's put down with bridge player (5)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various countries (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

In the card game bridge, North[5] and South[5] comprise one partnership and play against East[5] and West[5] who form the other partnership.

15a   Wholesale // responsibility of a street cleaner (8)

18a   Successful show perhaps with leading character keeping time // up to now (8)

20a   Religious follower /and/ a famous performer cycling (5)

Rasta[5] is an informal short form for Rastafarian[5], an adherent of Rastafarianism — a religious movement of Jamaican origin. Rastafarians believe that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the Messiah and that blacks are the chosen people and will eventually return to their African homeland. They have distinctive codes of behaviour and dress, including the wearing of dreadlocks and the smoking of cannabis, and they follow a diet that excludes pork, shellfish, and milk.

In her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath wonders whether "cycling" might be an anagram indicator. However, for this to be the case, the clue would be an indirect anagram (one in which the anagram fodder is not explicitly provided in the clue) and, by convention, such clues are not permitted in cryptic crosswords. Thus she is correct in her original explanation, in which "cycling" indicates that the final letter of ASTAR is moved (cycled) to the beginning to form RASTA.

Some may argue that clues such as this are scarcely different from an indirect anagram. However, you will occasionally see them. I would say that it is a case of the setter walking up to the very edge of the precipice without actually stepping over.

23a   Station that's a centre of heat? (7)

American English, British English, or Criminal English
This clue involves a couple of terms, one of which may be American and one of which may be British, but both of which would seem to be well understood by members of the underworld on both sides of the pond.

As Kath points out in her review, heat[1] is US slang for the police (at least that is the view of The Chambers Dictionary). However, the term heat[1,2,10] does seem to be used colloquially in the UK in the closely related sense of a police investigation following a crime ⇒ The heat is on. Moreover, Collins English Dictionary defines the heat[10] as slang for the police without characterizing it as a non-British term.

Cop shop[5,10] (also copshop[1] or cop-shop[10]) is an informal British term for a police station. I was surprised to see this expression characterized as British as it is an expression with which I am very familiar. However, it may well be a British term as it is not found in either of the two American dictionaries that I commonly consult. On the other hand, the term cop-shop does appear in McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions.

25a   Hours in ground /showing/ support (7)

As an anagram indicator, ground is the past tense or past participle of the verb grind[5]. An anagram indicator is a word that denotes movement or transformation. Grind denotes transformation in the sense of wheat being ground into flour.

26a   Take on // party in suitable surroundings (5)

27a   I study note with equipment /that's/ formulaic (9)

Although Identikit would seem to be an American product, I suspect it may be better known in the UK than it is on this side of the pond.

Identikit[5] (trademark in the US) denotes a picture of a person, especially one sought by the police, reconstructed from typical facial features according to witnesses' descriptions ⇒ an identikit photograph.

The term identikit[5] is commonly used as an adjective in the often derogatory sense of  having typical features and few unique ones; in other words, formulaic or standardized ⇒ the pub was transformed by identikit ‘Victoriana’.

Noted in Passing
Identikit[7] (also known as The Driver's Seat) is a 1974 Italian film directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi.

Based on the novella The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark, it is a psychological drama starring Elizabeth Taylor, Ian Bannen and featuring Andy Warhol.

In music, te[5] (also ti[2]) is the seventh note of the major scale in tonic sol-fa. Judging by a perusal of entries in American and British dictionaries, the only recognized spelling in the US would seem to be ti[3,4,11] whereas, in the UK, the principal — or only — spelling would appear to be te[2,3,4,11], with ti given as an alternative spelling in some dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries provides less leeway, giving the spelling as te[5] with ti shown as the North American spelling.

28a   Neat help devised /for/ one with trunk (8)

29a   Relating to a post-imperial system? (6)

In response to the question posed by Kath in her review (I’m not sure how cryptic this is – am I missing something?), I would think that the cryptic element in the clue is the intended misdirection to a system of government rather than a system of measurement.


1d   Stupid clanger? // It's raised in gym (4-4)

Scratching the Surface
Clanger[5] is an informal British term for an absurd or embarrassing blunder ⇒ the minister had dropped a massive political clanger*.

* To drop a clanger[10] means to make a blunder.

2d   Record number in neckwear /in/ Italian city (7)

Bologna[5] is a city in northern Italy, capital of Emilia-Romagna region; population 374,944 (2008). Its university, which dates from the 11th century, is the oldest in Europe.

3d   A good man with depression under 50 /is/ desperate (4-5)

5d   What's up among public opposing // how some drugs are sold? (4,3,7)

I failed to parse this clue and I''m Canadian, eh!

I think my problem may lie in the fact that Canadians do not use the expression eh[3,11] so much to ask for repetition of a statement but more as a general conversation filler, equivalent to “you know” or “you see” I was on my way, eh, when I realized I had forgotten to call you.

6d   A large, worthless // musical collection (5)

7d   Is youth able to // dine here? (7)

8d   Variable names devised /for/ compliant figure (3-3)

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, unknown variables are typically represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

What did she say?
In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath describes the initial letter of the solution as a variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity in maths ....
In Britain, the short form for mathematics is maths[5]her mother was a maths teacher), rather than math[5] as it is in North America ⇒ she teaches math and science.

9d   Outline of a post (3,11)

16d   Special number on course to take in alien // dance movement (9)

Pi[5] is the numerical value of the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (approximately 3.14159).

"alien" = ET (show explanation )

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7] (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

hide explanation

17d   Poor // footway with name displayed upside down (8)

19d   Dim Pole disorientated /in/ collapse (7)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, I would presume that Pole[5] denotes a native or inhabitant of Poland, or a person of Polish descent. As the butt of jokes, Poles seem to be the Newfoundlanders of Europe.

21d   Label // son's found on watch (7)

22d   Bark /in/ southern river cutting through headland (6)

24d   Check under lid /for/ opening in deck (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

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