Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016 — DT 27983

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27983
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27983 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27983 – 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
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.


There should be little to overly tax the grey matter in this puzzle.

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   Noble // champion? (5-6)

I see this as a double definition with the first definition, perhaps, being a bit on the whimsical side.

7a   Conjecture // in East about 'Wise Men' (7)

... after all, it was approaching Christmas when this clue appeared in the UK.

In Christianity, the Magi[2] (plural of magus) were the three wise men or astrologers from the east who brought gifts to the infant Jesus, guided by a star. Also called the Three Kings and the Three Wise Men.

8a   Callas working on aria's ending /in/ opera house (2,5)

Maria Callas[5] (1923–1977) was an American-born operatic soprano, of Greek parentage; born Maria Cecilia Anna Kalageropoulos. She was a coloratura soprano whose bel canto style of singing was especially suited to 19th-century Italian opera.

La Scala[5] is an opera house in Milan, Italy built 1776-8 on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala.

10a   Paper having no time /for/ children (5)

11a   Get rid of // last of cattle spread out round Cape (9)

C.[5,10] is an abbreviation for Cape used on maps as part of a name ⇒ C. Hatteras.

12a   Latest to pick out // popular nightclub? (7)

I would say that "latest" and "popular" amount to the same thing, thereby detracting somewhat from the effectiveness of the clue.

14a   As an example, copper // piece (7)

15a   Trade ban: // almost board ship and depart (7)

18a   Whole unit, // say, brought into Bury? (7)

Scratching the Surface
Bury[7] [pronounced berryalthough not by the locals according to Gazza in a review on Big Dave's blog] is a town in Greater Manchester, England.

20a   International // striker on trial (4,5)

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

A Test match[5] (or Test[5] for short) is an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

Scratching the Surface
For cryptic purposes, a striker is something one might use to light a fire (something with which one would literally scratch the surface).

In soccer, striker[10] is an informal term for an attacking player, especially one who generally positions himself or herself near the opponent's goal in the hope of scoring.

21a   Mark/'s/ short visit home (5)

22a   Muscle seen from both sides (7)

23a   Maine, a certain // size (7)

In official postal use, the abbreviation for Maine is ME[5].

24a   Good-time girl /from/ Malaya? Print blurred (5,6)


1d   Movement /in/ broadcast millions missed (7)

2d   Beginning of traditional ceremony, // lacking originality (5)

3d   High point of achievement /of/ the first lady and others (7)

While the solution[10] was literally true for Sir Edmund Hillary[5], it is only figuratively so for most of the rest of us.

4d   Taking vacation, // small number lacking energy to go to desert (2,5)

The wordplay parses as ON {ON[E] (small number) removing (lacking) the letter E (energy)} + (to go to; to lead to) LEAVE (desert).

The setter could have omitted the final two words of the clue, in which case the parsing would be ON {ON[E] (small number) removing (lacking) the letter E (energy)} + LEAVE (to go).

Shades of Meaning
Although the clue works well on this side of the pond, the British do use the word "vacation" in a more restrictive sense than we do in North America.

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].

5d   One opposing official policy -- // leader of Democrats insisted upon change (9)

6d   All are staggering having consumed English // booze (4,3)

Real ale[7] is the name coined by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in 1973 for a type of beer defined as "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide". The heart of the definition is the maturation requirements. If the beer is unfiltered, unpasteurised and still active on the yeast, it is a real ale; it is irrelevant whether the container is a cask or a bottle.

CAMRA does not support the promotion and sale of keg based craft beer in the UK. CAMRA's Internal Policy document states that real ale can only be served from cask without the use of additional carbonation. This policy means that "any beer brand which is produced in both cask and keg versions" is not admitted to CAMRA festivals or supported by CAMRA.[7]

7d   Girl tethers barking // dog (5,6)

As an anagram indicator, barking[5] is used in an informal British sense meaning completely mad or demented ⇒ (i) we are all a bit barking; (ii) has she gone completely barking mad?.

9d   Defoliant // spy ring dropped on field (5,6)

Agent Orange[5] is a defoliant chemical used by the US in the Vietnam War.

13d   Border // safe? Gulf ruler turns up, being welcomed in (9)

Peter[5,10] is [seemingly British] slang for a safe, till, cash box or trunk.

Emir[5] (also amir) is a title of various Muslim (mainly Arab) rulers ⇒ HRH the Emir of Kuwait.

16d   Marilyn Monroe film // kiss -- high point (3,4)

Buss[5] is an archaic or North American informal term for kiss (either as a noun or a verb). This is likely a word brought to America by early emigrants from England which has survived here while dying out in its homeland — thus explaining the lack of familiarity with this word displayed in the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

Bus Stop[7] is a 1956 American romantic comedy film starring Marilyn Monroe.

17d   Office item // available with mounted pictures going over year (3-4)

18d   Animal // smell, not pleasant, over area in pub (7)

In British and Irish slang, hum[10] (as a noun) denotes an unpleasant odour and (as a verb) means to smell unpleasant.

19d   Slow // guard, out of position by a lake (7)

21d   Small and friendly // crowd (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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