Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016 — DT 27965

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27965
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27965 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27965 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (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 27964 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, November 20, 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.


I would say that this is a fairly typical example of what was a Saturday puzzle in the UK. It does contain a considerable  number of terms and references that are likely to be unfamiliar to solvers on this side of the pond.

I have been to the Cathedral city mentioned in 9a but do not recall if I visited the cathedral. There are so many big churches in England; of course, not so many as in Rome where they seem to lie around every corner.

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   Supports // daughter in university exam (7)

A tripos[5] is the final honours examination for a BA degree at Cambridge University : Part II of the English tripos.

Delving Deeper
The term tripos originated in the late 16th century as an alteration of Latin tripus 'tripod', with reference to the stool on which a designated graduate (known as the ‘Tripos’) sat to deliver a satirical speech at the degree ceremony. A sheet of humorous verses (at one time composed by the Tripos) was published on this occasion until the late 19th century, on the back of which the list of successful candidates for the honours degree in mathematics was originally printed; hence the current sense.

5a   Some maths /to give/ a broken leg support (7)

In Britain, the short form for mathematics is maths[5]her mother was a maths teacher, rather than math[5] as is the case in North America ⇒ she teaches math and science.

9a   Inscription for tombstone adorning // cathedral (5)

Ripon Cathedral[7] is a seat of the Bishop of Leeds and one of three co-equal mother churches of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, situated in the small North Yorkshire city of Ripon, England.

10a   Sprinter /representing/ America during race (5,4)

Usain Bolt[5] is a Jamaican athlete. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing he won gold medals in the 100 metre and 200 metre races, setting a new world record time for each. He defended his Olympic titles in 2012, winning gold in the 100 metre and 200 metre races.

11a   Moving // crazy subject for debate (10)

12a   Hairdo // for every male (4)

14a   Extremely old, // frolicking nude in Latvia (12)

Antediluvian[5] is an adjective meaning of or belonging to the time before the biblical Flood ⇒ gigantic bones of antediluvian animals. The term is also used figuratively in a chiefly humorous fashion to denote ridiculously old-fashioned ⇒ they maintain antediluvian sex-role stereotypes.

18a   Trick // Yank, one such as 10 (4,1,4,3)

The numeral "10" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 10a in its place to complete the clue. The directional indicator is customarily omitted in situations such as this where only a single clue starts in the light [light-coloured cell in the grid] that is being referenced.

21a   Key followed by old // singer (4)

22a   Two points for this // change of religion (10)

In rugby, a conversion[5] is a successful kick at goal after a try*, scoring two points.
* A try[5,10] is the act of an attacking player touching the ball down behind the opposing team's goal line, scoring five or, in Rugby League, four points and entitling the scoring side to a kick at goal.
25a   What could trouble retina? Yes! (9)

I would say that this has to be a semi-all-one clue. However, as I see it, the way that crypticsue has explained it does not quite seem to work.

If the definition is "What could trouble retina?" (which is only part of the clue) as she has shown, then the entire clue must be the wordplay making the anagram indicator "What could trouble" rather than merely "trouble" as she has indicated.

I prefer to view the entire clue as the definition with the wordplay being as indicated by crypticsue. Under this interpretation, the exclamation "Yes!" would merely be one of those affirmation-seeking filler phrases — like "You know (what I mean)" or "Doncha' think" — that pepper some people's conversation.

At a stretch, I suppose one might even call this an all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

26a   Bird // one shot above albatross (5)

In golf, albatross[5] is another term for double eagle[5], a score of three strokes under par at a hole.

In golf, an eagle[5] is a score of two strokes under par at a hole.

27a   Nick appears in TV -- /that's/ feasible (7)

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to arrest (someone) ⇒ Stuart and Dan got nicked for burglary.

Nick, did you say?
Nick seems to be an all-purpose word in the British underworld.

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to steal ⇒ she nicked fivers from the till.

Nick[5] is an informal British name for a police station ⇒ he was being fingerprinted in the nick.

 The nick[5] is an informal British term for prison ⇒ he’ll end up in the nick for the rest of his life.

Furthermore, nicker[5] is an informal British term for a pound sterling ⇒ a hundred and twenty nicker.

Thus one could imagine the following scenario, The cops took her to the nick after nicking her for nicking a thousand nicker which they found stuffed in her knickers [panties]. They judge sentenced her to 6 months in the nick.

28a   Make money holding a scripture lesson /in/ religious building (7)

I wonder if "scripture lesson" is an accurate definition for religious education — it sounds too much like proselytizing.

In the UK, religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[5]) is a subject taught in schools which educates about the different religions of the world.


1d   Hour in work /provides/ excitement (6)

2d   Influence // one legislator to do something (6)

3d   Fancy // celebrity books being taken into test! (10)

In Crosswordland, the word "books" is often used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). Today, as is often the case, the clue provides no indication whether the reference is to the former or the latter.

4d   Sidetrack // to avoid centre of Stratford (5)

Scratching the Surface
Stratford-upon-Avon[5] is a town in Warwickshire, central England, on the River Avon; population 23,100 (est. 2009). Famous as the birth and burial place of William Shakespeare, it is the site of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

I am certain the setter did not have in mind Stratford, Ontario[7], well known as the the home of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and for giving us — or inflicting upon us — Justin Bieber.

5d   Scientist /makes/ a military alliance fret (9)

Fret[5] (also sea fret) is a Northern English term for a mist coming in off the sea; in other words, a sea fog.

6d   Leaving without International // medal (4)

I.[10] is the abbreviation for International.

Gong[5] is an informal British term for a medal or award.

Scratching the Surface
International[5] is a British term for a game or contest between teams representing different countries in a sport ⇒ the Murrayfield rugby international.

This may—or may not—be the context in which the abbreviation arises.

7d   Non-biker somehow // prepared for riding (6,2)

... prepared for riding as in the case of a horse, for instance.

8d   Athenian character gets in some // sort of metal (8)

Timon of Athens[7] (The Life of Tymon of Athens) is a play by William Shakespeare, published in the First Folio (1623) and probably written in collaboration with another author, most likely Thomas Middleton, in about 1605–1606. It is about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon (and probably influenced by the philosopher of the same name). The central character is a well beloved citizen of Athens who through tremendous generosity spends his entire fortunes on corrupt hangers-on only interested in getting the next payout.

Antimony[5] (symbol Sb) is the chemical element of atomic number 51, a brittle silvery-white semimetal.

13d   Shoot head // gardener's product (6,4)

Runner bean[5] (also runner[2]) is a British name for the plant (Phaseolus coccineus) also called scarlet runner (the name by which we know it in North America).

15d   Build up // English party address (9)

The Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5]) in Britain is a left-of-centre political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people that since the Second World War has been in power 1945–51, 1964–70, 1974-9, and 1997–2010. Arising from the trade union movement at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Liberals as the country’s second party after the First World War.

16d   Father turns up with mother perhaps // in sight (8)

17d   Coffee consumed by nurse, // a messy type (8)

Crossword setters are not ones to discard useful terms merely because they have ceased to exist in the real world.

State Registered Nurse[10] (abbreviation SRN) was was a designation formerly used in Britain for a nurse who had extensive training and passed examinations enabling him or her to perform all nursing services. It would appear that this designation has now been replaced by the term Registered General Nurse[10] (abbreviation RGN).

19d   It's grand aboard ship, // delay departure (6)

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

In the UK, the clue appeared in the print edition of The Daily Telegraph and initially on the Telegraph Puzzles website with a typo as:
  • 19d   It's grand abroad ship, delay departure (6)
If past experience is repeated, readers of the National Post will also be presented with the typo.

20d   Camping // set (6)

"Set" as in She was set on going to the concert no matter what.

23d   Have no mercy showing // spite (5)

24d   Stick // salad starter on bill (4)
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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