Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 — DT 27959

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27959
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27959 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27959 – 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.


I made very little headway with this puzzle on my first attempt but, after a period of cogitation, everything fell into place with relative ease.

The puzzle appeared in the UK against the backdrop of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris[7] which had occurred the previous evening.

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   Charge // independent politician separately (7)

"independent" = I (show explanation )

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, likely in the context of a politician with no party affiliation.

hide explanation

"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (or MP[5] for short).

hide explanation

Impeach[5] means:
  • (in Britain) to charge (someone) with treason or another crime against the state.
  • (in the US) to charge (the holder of a public office) with misconduct.
9a   Tree // maintenance (7)

The service tree[5] is either of two species of Eurasian tree of the rose family, closely related to the rowan.

10a   Conservative inclined towards socialism /is/ divided (5)

"Conservative" = C (show explanation )

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

hide explanation

11a   Complain and put down // joiner (9)

... put down information on a form.

12a   Confined // below, lay, knocked out (5,4,3,3)

13a   Followed across river, /being/ towed (7)

16a   Income // steady in Parisian's street (7)

The French word for street is rue[8].

19a   The // Express newspaper's report? (8,7)

The Daily Express[7] is a daily national middle market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom.

23a   Dessert with my new // vegetable (9)

Sweet[5] is a British term for a sweet dish forming a course of a meal; in other words, a pudding or dessert.

Cor[5] is an informal British exclamation expressing surprise, excitement, admiration, or alarm ⇒ Cor! That‘s a beautiful black eye you’ve got!.

Sweetcorn[5] is a British term for:
  1. maize [corn to a North American] of a variety with kernels that have a high sugar content. It is grown for human consumption and is harvested while slightly immature.
  2. the kernels of sweetcorn eaten as a vegetable.
Delving Deeper
The word "corn" has quite a different meaning in Britain than it does in North America. The plant known in North America (as well as Australia and New Zealand) as corn[5], is called maize[5] in the UK. In Britain, corn refers to the chief cereal crop of a district, especially (in England) wheat or (in Scotland) oats.

24a   Shows the way in speech /in/ English city (5)

Leeds[5] is an industrial city in West Yorkshire, northern England; population 441,100 (est. 2009). It developed as a wool town in the Middle Ages, becoming a centre of the clothing trade in the Industrial Revolution.

25a   Right about returned item -- // proof of purchase /required/ (7)

The word "required", despite coming at the end of the clue, plays essentially the same role as a link word.

26a   Mechanic, // in part, is answerable (7)


1d   Volume is to include // nobleman (8)

Volume as one book from a set.

A viscount[5] is a British nobleman ranking above a baron and below an earl.

2d   Former exam // relating to the countryside (8)

3d   Decisively beat Oscar? // Jolly good! (6)

Oscar[5] is a code word representing the letter O, used in radio communication.

Jolly good[5] is an informal British expression denoting:
  1. very good or enjoyable ⇒ you’re free to have a jolly good time;
  2. very thorough ⇒ the desire to give a house a jolly good clean; or
  3. an expression of agreement or consent ⇒ jolly good, let’s press on.
Whacko[5] is a dated informal British term used to express delight and enthusiasm ⇒ Home on Friday. Whacko!.

4d   Encourage // operator to release latest of numbers (4,2)

5d   Male elected to keep investment, // in error (8)

I would say that Crypticsue is 5d in her marking of the definition to this clue.

6d   Back with fish // to sell down the river (6)

To my way of thinking, back means 'bet on' rather than merely 'bet' and I have been unsuccessful in my quest for evidence to the contrary.

8d   Appeal /of/ polytechnic's first principal (5)

Scratching the Surface
A polytechnic[5] is an institution of higher education offering courses at degree level or below, especially in vocational subjects.

In Britain the term polytechnic has largely dropped out of use. In 1989 British polytechnics gained autonomy from local education authorities and in 1992 were able to call themselves universities.

9d   Attacker /in/ match (7)

In soccer [football to the Brits], a forward or attacking player is known as a striker[5].

In the second definition, the match is something that one might use to light a cigarette.

14d   Caught wearing muddy loafers // outside (8)

A rather novel anagram indicator, I thought.

15d   Tried to set off /for/ US city (7)

17d   Go // against country importing it (8)

18d   Regular air // service (8)

In the Christian Church, evensong[5] is a service of evening prayers, psalms, and canticles, conducted according to a set form, especially that of the Anglican Church ⇒ choral evensong.

19d   Abandon /in/ wilderness (6)

20d   Can appearing upside down humour // blockhead? (6)

21d   Declare invalid must be taken round area // once a year (6)

22d   Musical // game (5)

Chess[7] is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a politically driven, Cold War-era chess tournament between two men—an American grandmaster and a Soviet grandmaster—and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.

Like several other productions, namely Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, a highly successful concept album was released prior to the first theatrical production in order to raise money. In the case of Chess, the concept album was released in the fall of 1984 while the show opened in London's West End in 1986 where it played for three years. A much-altered U.S. version premiered on Broadway in 1988, but survived only for two months.

The play is obviously far better known in the UK than in North America. Chess placed seventh in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the U.K.'s "Number One Essential Musicals".
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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