Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 — DT 27945

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27945
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, October 29, 2015
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27945]
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 is certainly not the most difficult of RayT puzzles. However, I chose to throw in the towel and call out the electronic assistants earlier than I would have preferred in order to get on with the review.

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   Person, say, with a // drinks outlet (6)

Bod[3,4,11] is chiefly British slang for a person ⇒ he's a queer bod. In North America (and also in the UK), bod[3,4,11] is slang for the physical human body or build ⇒ likes brainy men who maintain a good bod (Catherine Breslin).

A bodega[5] is a cellar or shop selling wine and food, especially in a Spanish-speaking country or area.

4a   Penniless, // goes back to pick up penny (8)

"penny"  = P (show explanation )

In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny[5] (plural pennies [for separate coins] or pence [for a sum of money]) is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound. The abbreviation for penny or pence is p[5].

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9a   Expression includes good acceptable // language (6)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

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"acceptable" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

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Expression[2] is the indication of feeling, e.g. in a manner of speaking or a way of playing music.

Tone[2] is a quality or character of the voice expressing a particular feeling or mood.

10a   Beat's incorporating vintage // blues (8)

11a   Scaremonger // putting body part in a roll (8)

13a   One keeps tabs on him! (6)

Tab[5] is an informal Northern English term for a cigarette.

I did get the correct solution but my initial supposition that 'tab' might be a British term for a nicotine patch proved to be incorrect.

15a   Record corruption surrounds blokes /in/ show business (13)

Bloke[5] is an informal British term for a man ⇒ he’s a nice bloke.

18a   Rude // bits on unaired broadcast (13)

22a   Bring out // gun without any resistance (6)

"resistance" = R (show explanation )

In physics, the symbol R[5] is used to represent electrical resistance.

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24a   Drunk on lager, imbibing one /in/ local (8)

Scratching the Surface
Local[5] is an informal British term for a pub convenient to a person’s home ⇒ a pint in the local.

26a   Current time by more offensive // burglar (8)

27a   Stealthily follows // small rabbits (6)

As a noun, rabbit[5] is an informal British term for a conversation ⇒ we had quite a heated rabbit about it. As a verb, rabbit[5] is an informal British term meaning to talk at length, especially about trivial matters ⇒ stop rabbiting on, will you, and go to bed!.

The term comes from the Cockney rhyming slang "rabbit and pork" meaning "talk" [yes, 'pork' rhymes with 'talk' when pronounced in some English accents]. In Cockney rhyming slang, the slang word is obtained by replacing a word (in this case, "talk") by a phrase with which it rhymes ("rabbit and pork") and then dropping the rhyming word from the phrase. Through this process, "talk" becomes "rabbit".

28a   Hit /by/ scam in endless mail (8)

29a   Gently beam before Queen // request (6)

"gently" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly — or gently.

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"Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

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Scratching the Surface
The clue is a bit of an inside joke as Beam is the pseudonym used by the setter of today's puzzle, Ray Terrell, for his Toughie puzzles. On Big Dave's Crossword Blog we know him as RayT.

The Daily Telegraph carries a number of cryptic crossword puzzles, principally among them being the Cryptic Crossword and the Toughie Crossword. The former is the puzzle which appears in syndication in the National Post. It is published in The Daily Telegraph from Monday to Saturday — customarily on the back page of the paper (and thus is commonly referred to on Big Dave's blog as the 'back-pager'). The latter puzzle is published from Tuesday to Friday and is found somewhere in the middle of the paper. A separate series of Cryptic Crossword puzzles appears in The Sunday Telegraph.

I would also guess that "Queen" in the surface reading is — in all likelihood — a reference to the British rock band.

Queen[5] [reportedly RayT's favourite band] is a British rock group that in its heyday featured camp vocalist Freddie Mercury (1946–1991). Queen are known for their extravagant, almost operatic brand of rock, as exemplified by the hugely successful ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (1975).


1d   Stay with board with food /in/ desert (6)

Be[5] means to stay in the same place or condition ⇒ he’s a tough customer—let him be.

2d   Trailing manure a wise man turns up // overalls (9)

I have discovered that while Brits and North Americans share many of the same names for articles of clothing, the meaning of those terms is often quite different on either side of the pond.

 In North America, overalls[3,11] are loose-fitting trousers, usually of strong fabric, with a bib front and shoulder straps, often worn over regular clothing as protection from dirt. The British definition of overalls[4] is broader, including not only garments with a bib and shoulder straps but also those having a jacket top. These latter garments are also known as boiler suits in the UK and would likely be called coveralls[3] in North America.

Whereas, the term dungarees[3,4,11] is used in North America to refer to either trousers or North American style overalls, in the UK it is used solely to mean the latter, i.e., a suit of workman's overalls made of dungaree [denim] consisting of trousers with a bib attached.

Note that I have avoided using the North American term "pants" in favour of the more universal term "trousers". In Britain, the term "pants" refers to underwear. Thus when I take my pants off in the UK, I am far more exposed than when I do so in North America!

3d   Diner /with/ rigour, methodically eating? (7)

5d   Gadget // raised toilet seat's edge (4)

Loo[5] is an informal British term for a toilet.

6d   Corporation /making/ salt head north (7)

Salt[3] is an informal term for a sailor, especially when old or experienced.

"salt" = AB (show explanation )

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.

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Corporation[3,4,5,11] is a dated humorous term for a large paunch or pot belly.

7d   Play guitar /or/ piano getting fortune (5)

"piano" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

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8d   Unattached // girl with naughty secret (8)

Di, a diminutive for Diana, is — without doubt — the most popular girl's name in Crosswordland.

12d   Socrates' art really involves // philosopher (6)

Jean-Paul Sartre[5] (1905–1980) was a French philosopher, novelist, playwright, and critic. A leading existentialist, he dealt in his work with the nature of human life and the structures of consciousness. He refused the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964. Notable works: Nausée (novel, 1938), Being and Nothingness (treatise, 1943), and Huis clos (play, 1944).

Scratching the Surface
Socrates[5] (469–399 BC) was a Greek philosopher. As represented in the writings of his disciple Plato, he engaged in dialogue with others in an attempt to define ethical concepts by exposing and dispelling error (the Socratic method). Charged with introducing strange gods and corrupting the young, Socrates was sentenced to death and died by drinking hemlock.

14d   Glib /providing/ account in case (6)

16d   Nearly let off // for all time (9)

17d   These bowled over in game? (8)

As was the case for Kath, the first word to come to my mind was skittles.

Ninepins[5] can mean either:
  1. the traditional form of the game of skittles, using nine pins and played in an alley; or
  2. skittles used in the game of ninepins.
Skittles[5] can mean either:
  1. a game played with wooden pins, typically nine in number, set up at the end of an alley to be bowled down with a wooden ball or disc; or
  2. the pins used in the game of skittles.
19d   Be in vast outdoors using alfresco camp initially (7)

A bivouac[2,5] is a temporary camp without tents or cover, used especially by soldiers or mountaineers. However, this is contradicted by the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary which defines bivouac[5] as a military encampment made with tents.

20d   Pilot // ace through until end of war (7)

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

21d   More evenly matched, // caught runner-up (6)

"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).

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23d   Sort of fur /that's/ sexier topless (5)

25d   Present /for/ the woman's sweetheart (4)

"sweetheart" = E (show explanation )

Here we encounter a common cryptic crossword device, in which the word "sweetheart" is used to clue E, the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

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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. A rare day when I managed to get on Ray T's wavelength. After finding the three lurkers and 19d (lovely clue) I was able to solve the two long entries -- 15a and 18a -- and that really opened up the puzzle.

    Almost wrote in "fivepins" before recalling that it's only played in Canada.

    Like others, my last few were in the upper left corner. A very cryptic spot. Fun, though!

  2. For me, it was the lower left that held the longest. For some reason, at 23d I got it in my head that I had to remove the initial letter from a type of fur to get a word meaning sexier -- which, of course, is the opposite of what is needed.