Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016 — DT 27991

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27991
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27991]
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 has skipped DT 27990 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, December 22, 2015.


The editors at the National Post continue to shun Rufus, once again skipping his Monday puzzle. This contributed to me being a bit late on parade today. On top of that complication, I also wrote the review that appears today on Big Dave's Crossword Blog for the puzzle published in The Daily Telegraph.

In an unusual — for me — moment of inspiration, I suspected quite early that the puzzle might be a pangram (one in which every letter of the alphabet appears at least once in the solution). As was the case for Gazza, that suspicion turned out to be the key to solving 6d.

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.


8a   Don't make me laugh: // instruction to trainee bellringer? (4,3,5,3)

9a   Antelope // bagged by foreign upstart (3)

The gnu[5] (also called wildebeest) is either of two species of large dark antelope with a long head, a beard and mane, and a sloping back.

10a   Mum and dad, perhaps // oddly impersonal entertaining daughter (11)

11a   Fur, // black, entered in auction (5)

Sable[5] is the fur of a marten (Martes zibellina) with a short tail and dark brown fur, native to Japan and Siberia and valued for its fur.

12a   Evicted // Doctor of Divinity shown around island cottage (9)

My initial erroneous attempt to decipher the clue led me down the garden path to DISHOUSED, DD (Doctor of Divinity; abbrev.) containing (shown round) {IS (island; abbrev.) + HOUSE (cottage)}.

This was correct aside from having the wrong synonym for cottage. However, it certainly played havoc with my efforts in the southeast quadrant.

15a   Arab /from/ second tribe featured in article (7)

The meaning of Saracen[10] has evolved over the ages. At the time of the Roman Empire, it meant a member of one of the nomadic Arabic tribes, especially of the Syrian desert, that harassed the borders of the Roman Empire in that region. Later, at the time of the crusades, the name was used for a Muslim, especially one who opposed the crusades. Later yet again, the term came to mean any Arab.

17a   Swindler swindled? // Turn a blind eye (7)

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

As Gazza points out in his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [The] Chambers [Dictionary] doesn’t recognise the first word on its own as meaning a swindler – it usually has to be followed by another word such as ‘artist’. I might add that I came up with the same result in the several other dictionaries that I consulted.

19a   Powerful ruler /in/ old marquee introduced to head (9)

20a   Member of religious group // sitting in orchestra stalls (5)

Rasta[5] is an informal short form for Rastafarian[5], an adherent of Rastafarianism — a religious movement of Jamaican origin. Rastafarians believe that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the Messiah and that blacks are the chosen people and will eventually return to their African homeland. They have distinctive codes of behaviour and dress, including the wearing of dreadlocks and the smoking of cannabis, and they follow a diet that excludes pork, shellfish, and milk.

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading would seem to have a bit of a North American flavour — which is not unusual in a "Tuesday" puzzle.

Orchestra stalls[10] is another word for orchestra[10] in the mainly US and Canadian sense denoting what the Brits know as the stalls* in a theatre.
* Stalls[5] is a British term for the seats on the ground floor in a theatre.

21a   Carpenter's power-driven piece of machinery // noticed on flier (8,3)

24a   Break down // rubbish (3)

In the second definition, rubbish[3] is used in the sense of foolish discourse or nonsense and rot[3] is used in the sense of pointless talk or nonsense She always talks such rot.

25a   Dark horse, // any one of the last three characters? (7,8)

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]


1d   Sudden downpour /in/ Cape followed by noisy crack (10)

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

2d   Basic // flat round centre of Ripon (6)

Scratching the Surface
Flat[5] is the British term for what would be called an apartment[5] in North America.

Ripon[7] is a city in North Yorkshire, England. The city is noted for its main feature the Ripon Cathedral which is architecturally significant, as well as the Ripon Racecourse and other features such as its market. The city itself is just over 1,300 years old.

3d   Ring a teacher at university over North American // drug (10)

Bell[5] is an informal British term meaning to telephone (someone) ⇒ no problem, I’ll bell her tomorrow.

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

Subtle Distinction
In his review, Gazza quite correctly shows the NA at the end of the solution as being "the abbreviations for North and American".

This accords with my findings as all the dictionaries that I consulted show NA[1,2,3,4,5,10,11] as being the abbreviation for North America but not for North American whereas A[1] can be the abbreviation for either America or American.

Belladonna[5], another name for the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), is also the name of a drug prepared from the leaves and root of deadly nightshade, containing atropine.

4d   Small tailless fish // cause amazement (4)

5d   Awfully neat word /for/ 'destroy' (4,4)

6d   Shoot // reserve, male (4)

7d   Fully acquainted /with/ poetry with depth (6)

8d   Margaret's astride a US // steed that's legendary (7)

Peg[7] is an abbreviation of Peggy (given name), itself a diminutive of the name Margaret.

In Greek mythology, Pegasus[5], is a winged horse which sprang from the blood of Medusa when Perseus cut off her head.

13d   Acknowledged // fuss: c-clue's faulty (10)

14d   Freight carrier, // reliable type (5,5)

Goods train[5] is the British term for freight train[5], a train for carrying goods rather than people ⇒ a goods train carrying iron ore derailed near the town.

16d   Magician // working in clubs, member of panel (8)

C[1] is the abbreviation for clubs, a suit in a deck of cards.

18d   Just // ten appear in play in cathedral city (7)

The Diocese of Ely[7] is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury, headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in the city of Ely.

19d   Collect // truck (4-2)

20d   Arguing /in/ line in front of gymnasium (6)

22d   Dissolute man /in/ horse-drawn carriage blowing top (4)

Historically, a brake[5] was an open horse-drawn carriage with four wheels.

23d   Relative // lean and haggard? Not good (4)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation
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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