Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 — DT 28002 (Victoria Day Bonus Puzzle)


It being Victoria Day in Canada, the National Post has not published an edition today. However, for those whose day is incomplete without a cryptic crossword fix, here is DT 28002 — one of three puzzles that the National Post skipped on Tuesday, May 17 when they executed their Great Leap Forward.

This puzzle appeared on a Tuesday in the UK and was judged by Gazza as gentle even by Tuesday standards. It may be a tad more difficult for solvers on this side of the pond but it should not keep you away from your other holiday activities for long.

Happy Victoria Day. Enjoy the puzzle.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28002
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28002]
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
The National Post skipped this puzzle on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.


Although this puzzle is certainly not overly challenging, I would probably nudge the difficulty setting a bit higher than Gazza has set it.

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   See very fast // start (3,8)

Cracking[5] is an informal British expression meaning fast and exciting ⇒ the story rips along at a cracking pace.

9a   Not living together, guys before beginning to tenant // flat (9)

In Britain, the term flat[5] is used for what would be called an apartment[5] in North America. The term apartment is used in Britain, but seemingly in a more restricted sense than in North America  applying to temporary or more classy accommodation. From the perspective of Oxford Dictionaries, apartment[5] is
  1. a British term for a flat, typically one that is well appointed or used for holidays ⇒ self-catering holiday apartments; or
  2. a North American term for any flat ⇒ the family lived in a rented apartment.
10a   Master, // extremely disagreeable in a gym (5)

"gym" = PT (show explanation )

PT[5] is the abbreviation [British*, according to Oxford Dictionaries] for physical training[5], the systematic use of exercises to promote bodily fitness and strength. 
* It would appear that the abbreviation is considered to be British while the term for which it stands is not.
hide explanation

Adept[5] (as a noun rather than an adjective) means a person who is skilled or proficient at something ⇒ he is an adept at imitation.

11a   Difficult, // old emperor coming to America (7)

Nero[5] (AD 37-68) was Roman emperor 54-68; full name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Infamous for his cruelty, he wantonly executed leading Romans. His reign witnessed a fire which destroyed half of Rome in 64.

12a   Toy // dog lost during short march (3,4)

To my way of thinking, a rally and a march are almost polar opposites. A rally may be the starting point of a march or the ending point of a march — but they are hardly the same thing, even if they share a similar underlying purpose.

A rally[5] is a mass meeting of people making a political protest or showing support for a cause ⇒ a banned nationalist rally.

A march[5] is a procession organized as a protest: a protest march.

However, Collins English Dictionary does list rally as a synonym for march[10]so it would seem that my way of thinking just does not cut it.

13a   Doctor shown with maiden, a character /in/ pantomime? (9)

"maiden"  = M (show explanation )

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over and denoted on cricket scorecards by the abbreviation M[5], is an over in which no runs are scored.

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

hide explanation

Pantomime[5] denotes an absurdly exaggerated piece of behaviour ⇒ he made a pantomime of checking his watch.

Scratching the Surface
A pantomime[5] is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

Fortunately, I didn't waste an overly excessive amount of time looking for a British theatrical production entitled Rigmarole.

16a   From Elvis, anniversary // card (4)

Visa Inc.[7] is an American multinational financial services corporation that facilitates electronic funds transfers throughout the world, most commonly through Visa-branded credit cards and debit cards.

18a   Barrister cutting fine // cheese (4)

Brief[5] is an informal British term for a solicitor or barrister ⇒ it was only his brief’s eloquence that had saved him from prison.

"fine" = F (show explanation )

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead [a usage that Oxford Dictionaries surprisingly characterizes as British].

hide explanation

Brie[5] is a kind of soft, mild, creamy cheese with a firm white skin.

19a   Stew at last in bistro? // A controversial issue (3,6)

Hotpot[5] is a British term for a casserole of meat and vegetables, typically with a topping of sliced potato.

22a   Piece of deep-fried food /is/ more appropriate? That's about right (7)

A fritter[5] is a piece of fruit, vegetable, or meat that is coated in batter and deep-fried ⇒ banana fritters.

23a   Alarm // worried Rupert Bear, initially (7)

Scratching the Surface
Rupert Bear[7] is a children's comic strip character that first appeared in Britain's Daily Express newspaper in 1920. The comic strip was, and still is, published daily in the Daily Express, with many of these stories later being printed in books, and every year since 1936 a Rupert annual has also been released. Rupert Bear has become a well-known character in children's culture in the United Kingdom, and the success of the Rupert stories has led to the creation of several television series based on the character.

25a   Wine // jar I smashed tackling opening of ordinaire (5)

As a containment indicator, tackling[10] is used in the sense of 'setting about'. It is interesting to note that tackling could equally well mean 'getting stuck into'* which would produce exactly the opposite result — surely a useful ambiguity for a setter to exploit.
* although I can't conjure up a situation in which I would ever employ the word in this manner
Rioja[5] is a wine produced in La Rioja, Spain.

Scratching the Surface
Vin ordinaire[5] (French, literally 'ordinary wine') is cheap table wine for everyday use.

26a   Home eleven dismissed? Comprehensively (6,3)

Eleven[5] is the number of players on a cricket[7] side* or an Association football[7] [soccer] team — and is often used as a metonym for such a team ⇒ at cricket I played in the first eleven.
* Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in their side. [Note that a player is "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America]

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.
 In cricket, dismiss[5] means to end the innings of (a batsman or a side [team]) ⇒ Australia were dismissed for 118.

In cricket and baseball, out[5] means no longer batting or at bat; having had one’s innings or at bat ended by the fielding side ⇒ England were all out for 159.

27a   One leading the way /in/ movement -- crossword compiler (11)


1d   Allure /of/ grand Hollywood actress (7)

"grand" = G (show explanation )

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.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  1. Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5];
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2];
  3. Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[10] .
hide explanation

Dorothy Lamour[7] (1914–1996) was an American actress and singer. She is best remembered for appearing in the Road to... movies, a series of successful comedies starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

2d   Find /and/ copy (5)

3d   Clear-headed // on trial, a criminal (8)

4d   Musical // about pianist Dame Myra (5)

Dame Myra Hess[7] (1890–1965) was a British pianist who performed from 1907 to 1961 when she was forced to retire at age 71 following a stroke.

Chess[7] is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice.

Delving Deeper
The play 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".

5d   Cross // put in ground, by order (9)

Although it is hardly a connection that I would make, Collins English Dictionary does list sect as a synonym for order[10].

6d   Good variety /in/ farm (6)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

Grange[10] is a mainly British term for a farm, especially a farmhouse or country house with its various outbuildings.

7d   In charge in Italian city, // woman ... (8)

"in charge" = IC (show explanation )

The abbreviation i/c[5] can be short for either
  1. (especially in military contexts) in charge of ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations; or
  2. in command ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
hide explanation

Verona[7] is a city of approximately 265,000 inhabitants straddling the Adige river in Veneto, northern Italy. Three of Shakespeare's plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.

8d   ... set off, all upset /to see/ girl (6)

14d   Riding or running /in/ sports field in America (8)

A gridiron[5] is a field for American football, marked with regularly spaced parallel lines, so named for its resemblance to a gridiron[5], which is a frame of parallel bars or beams, typically in two sets forming a grid.

15d   Prudent to support unmarried mother // in a different way? (9)

I loved the construction "unmarried mother".

17d   Something for breakfast // time? (8)

Porridge is an informal British expression for either:
  1. jail[1]; or
  2. time spent in prison[5] I’m sweating it out doing porridge.
The term apparently derives from porridge once being the traditional breakfast in UK prisons. 

18d   Live number heard //earlier (6)

20d   Satellite perhaps // bore it out -- Russia's first (7)

21d   Sound // level in the auditorium (6)

A sound[5] is a narrow stretch of water forming an inlet or connecting two wider areas of water such as two seas or a sea and a lake.

A strait[5] (also straits) is a narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two other large areas of water the Straits of Gibraltar.

23d   Model daughter // put forward (5)

24d   Vessel // about to be destroyed (1-4)

A U-boat[3,4,11] is a German submarine, especially in World Wars I and II.
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. Thanks for providing my daily cryptic fix. A couple of odd clues. Apparently, for some people, rigmarole and pantomime are synonymous. And 12a was rather tortured logic.

  2. Falcon, thank you for posting this unexpected treat. It is humbling to read the difficulty (or lack thereof) level, as it took me three sessions of brain racking over two days to almost fill the grid - I was unable to complete the unchecked letters of 13a - I got the "doctor" part but had nooooo idea what to do with the "maiden." There were also a couple clues that remained opaque to me: 18a and 17d, so I appreciate having the explanations.

    1. Hi Carola,

      I'm pleased to hear that you found the puzzle -- and that you enjoyed it. It sounds like you did very well. As for "maiden", cricket terms feature heavily in British crosswords. Everything that I know about cricket, I have learned from doing British crossword puzzles

      "Maiden" makes a regular appearance. That is why I hide the information -- to allow frequent readers to skip it while making it readily accessible to newcomers.