Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016 — DT 27970

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27970
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, November 27, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27970]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


Typical of a Giovanni puzzle, I got off to a very slow start. Once I managed to establish a foothold, though, I began to make progress and the pace accelerated as the number of blank lights [light coloured cells in the grid] shrank. Progress then ground virtually to a halt with a couple of clues remaining to be solved. However, some intense mental effort eventually subdued them.

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.


7a   Easy target /making one/ flap (4,4)

The term barn door[5] is figuratively used to refer to a large and easy target ⇒ on the shooting range he could not hit a barn door.

A barn door[5] is a hinged metal flap fitted to a spotlight to control the direction and intensity of its beam.

9a   Joke precedes brief medical procedure /in/ subcontinental area (6)

Punjab[5] (also the Punjab) is a region of northwestern India and Pakistan, a wide, fertile plain traversed by the Indus and the five tributaries which gave the region its name.

Delving Deeper
Punjab is also the name of:
  1. a province of Pakistan; capital, Lahore; and
  2. a state of India; capital, Chandigarh. Until 1966 the Punjab also encompassed what is now the state of Haryana.
The region became a centre of Sikhism in the 15th century and, after the capture of Lahore in 1799 by Ranjit Singh, a powerful Sikh kingdom. It was annexed by the British in 1849 and became a part of British India. In the partition of 1947 it was divided between Pakistan and India.

10a   Hurry around very // busy place (4)

11a   Unwell after brief holiday, an old rocker // hesitated (10)

Vac[5] is an informal British term for vacation.

Holidays or vacation?
The British use the word holiday(s) where North Americans might say vacation[5]. Holiday[5,10] (often holidays) is a chiefly British term for a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreation (i) I spent my summer holidays on a farm; (ii) Fred was on holiday in Spain. According to the British dictionaries, the usual US and Canadian term is vacation. However, I am accustomed to hearing the two terms used almost interchangeably — in much the same manner as fall and autumn. This may not be the case in all parts of Canada, but I grew up in the Maritimes and have lived in Eastern Ontario for most of my life, both areas where British influence is likely strong.

In Britain, the word vacation[5] has a very specific meaning, a fixed holiday period between terms in universities and law courts ⇒ the Easter vacation. In North America, such a period might be called a break[7].

Ted[2] is short for Teddy boy[5], a slang term originally applied to a young man belonging to a subculture in 1950s Britain characterized by a style of dress based on Edwardian fashion (typically with drainpipe trousers, bootlace tie, and hair slicked up in a quiff* and a liking for rock-and-roll music.The name comes from from Teddy, pet form of the given name Edward (with reference to Edward VII's reign). Judging by the entry in the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, it would appear that the term Teddy boy[2] is now applied to any unruly or rowdy adolescent male.

* Quiff[3,4] is a chiefly British term for a prominent tuft of hair, especially one brushed up above the forehead.
12a   Distant sea abroad /for/ one normally on the land (6)

Mer[8] is a French word meaning sea.

14a   Positions // organised by Cambridge college? (8)

King's College[7], founded in 1441 by Henry VI, is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Formally named The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies besides the River Cam and faces out onto King's Parade in the centre of the city.

15a   Vehicle by front of shop /gets/ bashed (6)

17a   Within a week, say, business area // goes to rack and ruin (6)

"business area" = EC (show explanation )

In the clue, the setter uses "business area" to stand for for the EC postcode which serves the City of London [postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code]. The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

The City of London[7] (not to be confused with the city of London) is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City of London is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

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20a   US general with a plan // taking everyone to swampy area (8)

George C. Marshall[5] (1880–1959) was an American general and statesman. As US Secretary of State (1947-9) he initiated the programme of economic aid to European countries known as the Marshall Plan. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

22a   Perhaps a trimmer // sort of vessel (6)

Cutter[5] may refer to any of several types of boat:
  1. a light, fast coastal patrol boat ⇒ a coastguard cutter;
  2. a ship’s boat used for carrying light stores or passengers;
  3. historical a small fore-and-aft rigged sailing boat with one mast, more than one headsail, and a running bowsprit, used as a fast auxiliary;
  4. a yacht with one mainsail and two foresails.
23a   Leader of men taking a country to right /is seen as/ a plotter (10)

24a   It's the end of the game, // chum (4)

In chess, mate[5] (short for checkmate[5]) is a position in which a player’s king is directly attacked by an opponent’s piece or pawn and has no possible move to escape the check. The attacking player thus wins the game.

Mate[5] is an informal British term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

25a   A batsman's stroke, // look (6)

In cricket, glance[5] means to deflect (the ball) with the bat held slantwise or to play such a stroke against (the bowler) ⇒ Simpson glanced Statham’s fourth ball.

26a   Where milk is left /and/ a chunk of bread (8)

Doorstep[5] is an informal British term for a thick slice of bread ⇒ doorstep sandwiches.


1d   A-list chap spending hours upsetting // big characters (8)

2d   Quartet in concert /in/ days gone by (4)

3d   Perhaps maiden first wants house /to be/ clean (6)

In cricket, a maiden[5] (also maiden over) is an over* in which no runs are scored.
* In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.
"house" = HO (show explanation )

Although not found in most of the dictionaries that I consulted, ho.[10] is the abbreviation for house.

hide explanation

In the UK, hoover[5] (a genericized form of the trade name Hoover) means
  1. (as a noun) a vacuum cleaner (from any manufacturer); and
  2. (as a verb) to clean (something) with a vacuum cleaner ⇒ he was hoovering the stairs.
Delving Deeper
The Hoover Company[7] started out as an American floor care manufacturer based in North Canton, Ohio. It also established a major base in the United Kingdom and for most of the early-and-mid-20th century, it dominated the electric vacuum cleaner industry, to the point where the "hoover" brand name became synonymous with vacuum cleaners and vacuuming in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

4d   Work for top people, getting pounds and from 'ere onwards // wealth (8)

"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.

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"for top people" = 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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"pounds" = L (show explanation )

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10].

The Chambers Dictionary defines the upper case L[1] as the abbreviation for pound sterling (usually written £) and the lower case l[1] as the abbreviation for pound weight (usually written lb) — both deriving from the Latin word libra.

In ancient Rome, the libra[5] was a unit of weight, equivalent to 12 ounces (0.34 kg). It was the forerunner of the pound.

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A cockney[5] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church). Cockney is also the name of the dialect or accent typical of cockneys, which is characterised by dropping the H from the beginning of words and the use of rhyming slang[5].

5d   Native // in tin hat surprisingly embracing sailor (10)

"sailor" = 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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6d   Scoundrel // ordered to get good repeatedly (3,3)

"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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8d   Mark /in/ playing field north of old road (6)

Rec[5] is an informal British term for a recreation ground whereas in North America it is used as a short form for recreation ⇒ the rec centre. Thus Brits may conduct their sporting activities at the rec while North Americans would pursue theirs at the rec centre.

13d   What when drunk is crimson, aha! (10)

Maraschino[5] is a strong, sweet liqueur made from small black Dalmatian cherries.

16d   Small openings? // Girl being stuck inside yells (8)

18d   The female somehow hated /being/ wrapped up (8)

19d   Very happy /to be/ as one of the family but not the head of it (6)

21d   One from hot dusty place goes to the foreign // land where things can grow (6)

"the foreign" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

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In Comment #2 at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Angel remarks IMHO clue to 21d calls for a noun (where) rather than the adjective. However, unbeknownst to her, that is exactly what the solution is.

Arable[3,4,5,11] is a noun meaning arable land or crops ⇒ vast areas of arable and pasture.

Moreover, this is not merely yet another instance of the British turning an adjective into a noun (as they have a propensity to do), as this meaning appears in all my dictionaries — including the US ones.

22d   Box /of/ paintings maybe in study (6)

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

24d   Frenzy /brought by/ smell of dampness (4)

Must[5] is the frenzied state of certain male animals, especially elephants or camels, that is associated with the rutting season ⇒ a big old bull elephant in must.
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. I made a mess of the north-west corner by putting 'Tasman' in for 12a and 'shaven' in for 3d. Of course I couldn't justify them but once in they created a mental block even though I thought 'barn door' had to be the answer to 7a. And the 'rec' in 8d was too obscure for me.