Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 — DT 27968

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27968
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27968]
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


If you view crosswords as a competition between the solver and the setter, then I was soundly beaten by Jay today. Whether it was due to the phase of the moon or the medication that I took for my cold, I was anywhere but on the right wavelength today. As a result, my electronic assistants received their most strenuous workout in a long, long time.

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   Take steps to neutralise // new trace on number (10)

6a   Important small // islands in the Caribbean (4)

10a   Knotty // question, ultimately spreading load (5)

11a   Programme // thus preceding a quiet period after work? (4,5)

"quiet" = 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.

hide explanation

"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.

hide explanation

12a   Finished /with/ a b-boyfriend? (3,4)

13a   Cover // from sun's heat here (7)

14a   At home // creating a diversion (12)

At home[3,5] means ready to receive and welcome visitors ⇒ (i) at home on Thursdays; (ii) she took to her room and was not at home to friends. [I have included references from both a US and a British dictionary to show that the expression is used on both sides of the pond.]

18a   Pressuring for reform to keep case of strict // financial control? (5,7)

21a   You should see if they're open (7)

23a   Discover // rebellious nature with missing card (7)

It took me a long time to concoct an explanation for the wordplay here — and then what I came up with proved to be incorrect!

I parsed the wordplay as an anagram (rebellious) of NATURE + H (missing card)

My rationale was that only one of the four suits would complete the solution and it, therefore, must be the "missing card". Admittedly, it did seem a bit of a stretch — but not necessarily more of a stretch than I have encountered from time to time.

See the 2Kiwi's review for the correct explanation.

24a   Trace // calls in it on the move (9)

25a   Bound to cross river? // Made an effort (5)

26a   Black // Knight seen in Disney regularly (4)

I am starting to see lurkers where none exist. After flushing out the one hiding here, it turned out not to be a Black Knight but merely the heroine of a Charlotte Brontë novel.

"knight" = N (show explanation )

A knight[5] is a chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a horse’s head, that moves by jumping to the opposite corner of a rectangle two squares by three. Each player starts the game with two knights.

N[5] is the abbreviation for knight used in recording moves in chess [representing the pronunciation of kn-, since the initial letter k- represents 'king'].

As an aside, it is interesting to note that the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines: 
  • K[2] as an abbreviation used in chess for knight. 
  • K[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a king. 
  • N[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a knight.
The dictionary fails to specify how one differentiates an abbreviation from a symbol.

On the other hand, both The Chambers Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary list K or K.[1,11] as an abbreviation for knight without specifying the specific context in which this abbreviation is used. However, the context may well be in an honours list rather than in a game of chess. In the UK, for instance, KBE[5] stands for Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

hide explanation

27a   Novices may take these // papal bulls (4,6)

A novice[5] is a person who has entered a religious order and is under probation, before taking vows.

Orders[5] denotes the rank of a member of the clergy or an ordained minister of the Church he took priest’s orders.

Holy orders[5] is the sacrament or rite of ordination as a member of the clergy, especially in the grades of bishop, priest, or deacon.
The phrase take holy orders[5] means to become an ordained member of the clergy his first ambition was to take holy orders.

A papal bull[5] is an edict issued by a Pope.


1d   One who does /provide/ staff to support Conservative (3,3)

"Conservative" = CON (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

Do[5] is an informal British term meaning to swindle ⇒ a thousand pounds for one set of photos — Jacqui had been done.

2d   Too rowdy, with Democrat replacing Republican (6)

"Democrat" = D (show explanation )

A Democrat[5] (abbreviation D[5]) is a member or supporter of the Democratic Party[5], one of the two main US political parties (the other being the Republican Party), which follows a broadly liberal programme, tending to support social reform and minority rights.

hide explanation

"Republican" = R (show explanation )

A Republican[5] (abbreviation R[5])  is a member or supporter of the Republican Party[5], one of the two main US political parties (the other being the Democratic Party), favouring a right-wing stance, limited central government, and tough, interventionist foreign policy. It was formed in 1854 in support of the anti-slavery movement preceding the Civil War.

hide explanation

3d   Such preachers // still get even, as being broadcast (14)

4d   Press discovered pressing // given new life (9)

Fortunately, I quickly realized that RESURRECT was not the word I was looking for. While it matches the checking letters and is not a bad fit for the definition, it fails when examined against the wordplay.

5d   Standing /for/ a period (5)

7d   Charged /for/ type of chair nobody wants to end up in? (8)

8d   Modern // sort of Green embracing speed (5-3)

9d   Communication // that insures lessor? (8,6)

Let[5] is a chiefly British term meaning to allow someone to have the use of (a room or property) in return for regular payments ⇒ (i) she let the flat [apartment] to a tenant; (ii) they’ve let out their house. [I doubt that this word is quite as British as Oxford Dictionaries would have us believe.[3,11]]

A letter[1] is a person who lets, especially on hire. [Among my stable of dictionaries, this definition is found only in The Chambers Dictionary.]

The wordplay is COVERING (that insures) + LETTER (lessor). While the first part may be a bit difficult to see, I think it becomes abundantly clear if we rephrase the clue as:
  • Communication // insuring lessor? (8,6)
The revised wording has exactly the same meaning as the original wording and the parsing — COVERING (insuring) + LETTER (lessor) — is much easier to grasp.

We're Covered — On Both Sides of the Pond
Despite differences in terminology between Britain and North America, the clue does work on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cover[5] (in reference to insurance) means to protect against a liability, loss, or accident involving financial consequences ⇒ your contents are now covered against accidental loss or damage in transit. While the same verb form is used in Britain and North America, we use a different form of the noun on this side of the pond. In the UK, the word cover[5] is used to denote protection by insurance against a liability, loss, or accident ⇒ your policy provides cover against damage by subsidence. This is equivalent to the North American term coverage[5] meaning the amount of protection given by an insurance policy ⇒ your policy provides coverage against damage by subsidence.

Since the clue uses the verb form (which is the same in Britain and North America), the clue is bound to work equally well here as in the UK. However, even were the clue to rely on the use of the noun form, it would still work as a "covering letter" could whimsically be said to provide either "cover" or "coverage".

15d   Subsidiary course? (9)

... a watercourse, that is.

16d   Squeeze last of pack into first-class /for/ such entertainment (5-3)

17d   What's cheaper than a cheap thrill /in/ play at Wembley? (4,4)

Wembley Stadium[7] is a football [soccer] stadium in Wembley, London, England, which opened in 2007, on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002–2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including the FA Cup Final and home matches of the England national football team.

In soccer and rugby, a free kick[5] is an unimpeded kick of the stationary ball awarded to one side as a penalty for a foul or infringement by the other side.

19d   Holiday at sea /for/ outspoken groups of rowers (6)

20d   Colours /of/ blinds? (6)

22d   Fiery outburst // from Nabokov lass, upset (5)

Scratching the Surface
Vladimir Nabokov[5] (1899–1977) was a Russian-born American novelist and poet. He is best known for Lolita (1955), his novel about a middle-aged man’s obsession with a twelve-year-old girl.
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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