Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 — DT 27982

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27982
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 11, 2015
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27982]
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


I thought that Giovanni was emulating the styles of RayT and Rufus in some of the clues in today's puzzle. In any event, the puzzle was a pleasure to solve.

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   Do something magical // that changes all aspects (4,1,5)

6a   Track // used by top athletes (4)

9a   Twin /reveals/ birds by river (5)

The emu[5] is a large flightless fast-running Australian bird (Dromaius novaehollandiae) resembling the ostrich, with shaggy gray or brown plumage, bare blue skin on the head and neck, and three-toed feet.

In Roman mythology, Romulus[5] and Remus[5] are the traditional founders of Rome. The twin sons of Mars by the Vestal Virgin Silvia, Romulus and Remus were abandoned at birth but were found and suckled by a she-wolf and brought up by a shepherd family. Remus is said to have been killed by Romulus during an argument about the new city.

10a   Tying up again with string /or/ tape? (9)

Double definition; the first likely being whimsical.

12a   Conservative diplomacy /in/ meeting (7)

"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

13a   City // feels great pity when bishop goes (5)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

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.

15a   Little relative somewhere in church // being ill again? (7)

An apse[5] is a large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof and typically at the church’s eastern end.

17a   Item of furniture /for/ one who has just got up? (7)

I would say that the second definition here is slightly whimsical. Moreover, as the question mark indicates, the solution may not be representative of all situations. Some may loll about in a robe for half the day and nudists may never don a stitch.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat refers to this item of furniture as being often Welsh.
In the UK, a dresser[5] is not a chest of drawers as in North America. Rather, it is a sideboard with shelves above for storing and displaying plates and kitchen utensils.

Welsh dresser[5] is a British term for a piece of wooden furniture with cupboards and drawers in the lower part and open shelves in the upper part.

19a   Sun about to go? /Here's/ the wind and rain (7)

21a   Expensive article in Paris -- // riders raced to get to one (7)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Today, we know a steeplechase[5] as a horse race run on a racecourse having ditches and hedges as jumps. Originally, however, it was a cross country race in which a steeple marked the finishing point[5].

22a   Short drink -- then there's a // turbulent episode (5)

Said of a drink of spirits, short[2,10] denotes undiluted or neat. As a noun, short[5] is a British term for a drink of spirits served in a small measure* or, as Collins English Dictionary puts it, a short[10] is a drink of spirits as opposed to a long drink such as beer.

Based on the latter definition, I had presumed that short merely meant having little height. I can't imagine that the term "long drink" means that the British quaff their ale diluted with water.
* a container of standard capacity used for taking fixed amounts of a substance
A dram[5] is a small drink of whiskey or other spirits (often used in humorous imitation of Scottish speech) ⇒ a wee dram to ward off the winter chill.

24a   Vessel//  discharged mates to meet the Queen (7)

Here, Giovanni steals a page from RayT.

"Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

27a   Boss /as/ individual with less feeling (6,3)

28a   Angry // word of disapproval delivered to railway (5)

Fie[5] is an archaic or humorous term used to express disgust or outrage ⇒ if people don’t answer your first letter, fie on them!.

29a   Agreements to exclude piano // performances (4)

"piano" = 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

30a   Old nana set to suffer // without extra support (5-5)


1d   Stop up /in/ Irish city (4)

Cork[5] is:
  1. a county in the Republic of Ireland, in the province of Munster, on the Celtic Sea;
  2. the county town of Cork, a port on the Lee River; population 190,384 (2006).
2d   Mark // half of internal passage? (9)

I dithered over whether or not to mark the second part of the clue as a whimsical cryptic definition. In the end, I decided to do so.

3d   Minister losing head /in/ criminal act (5)

4d   Left time /to make/ payment for carrying goods (7)

5d   See bounder having a grip on the heartless // set (7)

"see" = LO (show explanation )

Lo[5] is an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them.

hide explanation

Bounder[5] is a dated informal British term for a dishonourable man he is nothing but a fortune-seeking bounder.

Cad[5,10] is a dated informal British term for a man who behaves dishonourably, especially towards a woman her adulterous cad of a husband.

7d   Insects sat on by a // girl (5)

8d   Shopping thoroughfare? // You could get tights here (4,6)

In the UK, high street[5] is the term used for the main street of a town, especially as the traditional site for most shops, banks, and other businesses ⇒ the approaching festive season boosted the high street. In the same way that many North American towns have a Main Street, many British towns will have a High Street.

11d   Free from obligation /and/ religion, not half, naughty woman! (7)

In the Bible, Eve[7] is the first woman, created by God from the rib of Adam, the first human. God created her to be Adam's companion. Disobeying God, she succumbs to the serpent's temptation to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and shares the fruit with Adam. As a result, the first humans are expelled from the Garden of Eden.

14d   First lady to make a song and dance? (5,5)

A prima donna[10] (Italian, 'first lady') is:
  • a female operatic star; a diva
  • (informal) a temperamental person
Song and dance[5] is an informal, chiefly British term for a fuss or commotion ⇒ she would be sure to make a song and dance about her aching feet. The North American meaning of the term song and dance[5] is a long explanation that is pointless or deliberately evasive.

16d   Gas // for energy brought across hollow in the ground (7)

A pan[5] is a hollow in the ground in which water may collect or in which a deposit of salt remains after water has evaporated.

18d   Really great guy // working in our sphere (9)

20d   It could be a clue for ones // to detect (4,3)

Literally, nose out[10] denotes to discover by smelling. Figuratively, it means to to discover by cunning or persistence ⇒ the reporter managed to nose out a few facts.

The wordplay is what I prefer to call an inverse anagram (and which Deep Threat refers to as a reverse anagram in his review). The solution to the clue (NOSE OUT) could be seen as anagram fodder and indicator respectively which produces the result "ones" that is found in the clue itself.

21d   Observed absorbing short NT book /in/ drinking den (7)

The Epistle to the Hebrews[5] (commonly known as Hebrews; abbrev. Heb.[5]) is a book of the New Testament, traditionally included among the letters of St Paul but now generally held to be non-Pauline.

Especially in Ireland, Scotland and South Africa, a shebeen[5] is an unlicensed establishment or private house selling alcohol and typically regarded as slightly disreputable.

23d   Notice US university /offering/ welcome? (5)

"US university" = MIT (show explanation )

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology[5] (abbreviation MIT) is a US institute of higher education, famous for scientific and technical research, founded in 1861 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

hide explanation

25d   End being upset when a female joins in // criminal gang (5)

26d   Some frothy persuasiveness put into this? (4)

I would say that this is a semi-all-in-one clue in which the entire clue serves as the definition with the wordplay being supplied by the portion with the dashed underline.

In the UK, a typo (in which the word "this" was changed to "his") appeared in this clue, both in the printed edition of The Daily Telegraph as well as on the Telegraph Puzzles website — although in the case of the latter the error was corrected during the course of the date of publication. Given that this error does not appear in the clue published in the National Post, it would appear that it crept into the puzzle during the production process in the UK after the puzzle had already been distributed in syndication.
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. Replies
    1. If I remember well, that was my last one in -- and even after having arrived at the correct solution, it took some time before I realized why it was correct.