Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 — DT 27998

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27998
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27998]
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


With today's puzzle, it certainly helps to know that it was published in the UK on New Year's Eve. It helps even more to be familiar with Scottish Hogmanay customs. Of course, even were one not privy to the information about the publication date, one might quickly suspect that it appeared on that date.

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   Delivery man who may darken your doorway tonight (5-6)

First-footer[10] (alternate form of first-foot) is a mainly Scottish term for the first person to enter a household in the New Year. By Hogmanay* tradition a dark-haired man who crosses the threshold at midnight brings good luck.
* Hogmanay[5] is the Scottish New Year’s Eve, and the celebrations that take place at this time.
Delving Deeper
There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay[7]. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake), intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall, dark men are preferred as the first-foot.

To darken someone's door[10] (usually used with a negative) means to visit someone ⇒ never darken my door again!.

9a   World-weariness // that is holding a French knight back (5)

"a French" = UN (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

hide explanation

"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

10a   In our time, military is deployed after one's left // naval department (9)

In the UK, the Admiralty[5] was the government department that formerly administered the Royal Navy, now incorporated in the Ministry of Defence and current only in titles.

11a   Quiet resort hit by rumour of zoo // animal from China (4-3)

As an anagram indicator, "resort" is used in the somewhat whimsical sense of 'to sort again'.

The shih-tzu[10] (or shitzu) is a small dog of a breed derived from crossing the Pekingese and the Tibetan apso. It has a long straight dense coat and carries its tail curled over its back. The name comes from Chinese (literally 'lion').

12a and 15a    Why nary a peep exchanged /in/ timely greeting? (5,3,4)

... or, in our case, perhaps not so timely!

14a and 19a    Cast laud Spooner's chanted lyric /in/ topical song (4,4,4)

... or not so topical!

A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers writes the second [word] is actually misspelled so for me the clue doesn’t work.
But, pommers, a spoonerism is a verbal error, not a written error. In the example cited above, 'history' gets transformed into 'mystery' just as in the clue 'line' gets transformed into 'syne'.

15a   See 12 Across

17a   Journalist provided with cool, // complex organisation (7)

An edifice[5,10] is:
  • a complex system of beliefs the concepts on which the edifice of capitalism was built; or
  • a complex or elaborate institution or organization.
19a   See 14 Across

20a   Lustier dancing — Romeo /gets/ closer (8)

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

21a   Me sporting tailored sateen? // Kind of right (8)

23a   International alliance judged /and/ ignored (7)

"international alliance" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations[5] (abbreviation UN) is an international organization of countries set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace, security, and cooperation.

hide explanation

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers asks Does [unheard] really mean ignored?.
The pleas for help from refugees and famine victims continue to go unheard.

25a and 27a    Big-hearted punters try wild // celebration somewhere in Scotland (9,6,5)

The annual Hogmanay celebration in Edinburgh[7] was originally an informal street party focused on the Tron Kirk in the High Street of the Old Town. Since 1993, it has been officially organised with the focus moved to Princes Street. In 1996, over 300,000 people attended, leading to restricting the main street party in later years to a limit of 100,000 attendees.

26a   Honour reflected by fine // online publication (1-4)

"honour" = OBE (show explanation )

OBE[5] is the abbreviation for Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

The Order of the British Empire[5] is an order of knighthood applicable to the United Kingdom and certain Commonwealth realms which was instituted in 1917 and is divided into five classes, each with military and civilian divisions. The classes are: Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE), Knight or Dame Commander (KBE/DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE). The two highest classes entail the awarding of a knighthood.

hide explanation

27a   See 25 Across


2d   Relief turns up in leading // democracy (5)

3d   Man in charge of course, // photographer needs another snooze (7)

In his review, pommers parses the clue as SNAPPER (photographer) with NAPPER (someone having a snooze) replaced by KIPPER (another word meaning someone having a snooze). He then goes on to say This doesn’t work for me as it’s about a person snoozing not the snooze itself .... Ah, but had he parsed the clue correctly he would have had SNAPPER (photographer) with NAP (a snooze) replaced by KIP (another word meaning a snooze).

He also says ... and I don’t see what the 'of course' is there for. I had presumed that a skipper would be responsible for setting and maintaining the course of a boat. However, in the thread attached to Comment #2 in a response to Gazza (who offers a similar interpretation) pommers argues the man in charge of the course would be the navigator.

Kip[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  • (noun) a sleep or nap ⇒ (i) I might have a little kip; (ii)  he was trying to get some kip; or
  • (verb) to sleep ⇒ he can kip on her sofa.
4d   Around Leamington Spa's outskirts, jolly 1950s youth // showed off (8)

Ted[2] is short for Teddy boy[5], a slang term originally applied to a young man belonging to a subculture in 1950s Britain characterized by a style of dress based on Edwardian fashion (typically with drainpipe trousers, bootlace tie, and hair slicked up in a quiff* and a liking for rock-and-roll music.The name comes from from Teddy, pet form of the given name Edward (with reference to Edward VII's reign). Judging by the entry in the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, it would appear that the term Teddy boy[2] is now applied to any unruly or rowdy adolescent male.
* Quiff[3,4] is a chiefly British term for a prominent tuft of hair, especially one brushed up above the forehead.
What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers writes ... a word for jolly, not a Royal Marine but a good time.
Jolly[10] is British slang for a member of the Royal Marines (RM)[5], a British armed service (part of the Royal Navy) founded in 1664, trained for service at sea, or on land under specific circumstances.

Scratching the Surface
Royal Leamington Spa[7], commonly known as Leamington Spa or Leamington colloquially, is a spa town in central Warwickshire, England. Formerly known as Leamington Priors, its expansion began following the popularisation of the medicinal qualities of its water by Dr Kerr in 1784, and by Dr Lambe around 1797. During the 19th century, the town experienced one of the most rapid expansions in England. It is named after the River Leam which flows through the town.

5d   Nameless theatrical awards /for/ items used in play? (4)

The Tony Award[7], (informally Tony and officially the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, a New York City-based organization "dedicated to supporting excellence and education in theatre".

6d   Stimulate anew // to download another 26? (8)

This is a double definition in which the second definition is more than a bit whimsical (as the dotted underline in meant to convey).

The numeral "26" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 26a in its place to complete the clue. The directional indicator is customarily omitted in situations such as this where only a single clue starts in the light [light-coloured cell in the grid] that is being referenced.

Kindle[10] is the trademark for a portable electronic device for downloading and reading books.

7d   First of all, I'm not intending to idle about like last year. /That's/ to begin with... (9)

8d   Gum evidently endlessly chewed — /there's/ an admission (11)

12d   Flawed heroes sully // games manual (6,5)

Hoyle's Rules is an informal reference to various books documenting the rules and play of games — one of these being Hoyle's Rules of Games by Albert H. Morehead and Geoffrey Mott-Smith.

Scratching the Surface
Edmond Hoyle[7] (1672 – 29 August 1769) was a writer best known for his works on the rules and play of card games. The phrase "according to Hoyle" came into the language as a reflection of his generally perceived authority on the subject; since that time, use of the phrase has expanded into general use in situations in which a speaker wishes to indicate an appeal to a putative authority.

Hoyle initially published a series of treatises on the rules of a number of individual games which, in 1748, were collected under the title Mr. Hoyle's Treatises of Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Chess and Back-Gammon.

Many modern card game rule books contain the word "Hoyle" in the title, but the moniker does not mean that the works are derivative of Hoyle's (in much the same way that many modern dictionaries contain "Webster" in their titles without necessarily relating to the work of Noah Webster).

Because of his contributions to gaming, Hoyle was a charter inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979 – even though he died 60 years before poker was invented.

13d   Fighting // soldiers' rations? (7)

Split  (3,4), the solution provides a cryptic definition of the latter part of the clue.

16d   Mutton dressed as lamb might appear in this // majority (9)

Split  (5,4), the solution provides a cryptic definition of the first part of the clue.

Mutton dressed as lamb[5] is a derogatory, informal British expression denoting a middle-aged or old woman dressed in a style suitable for a much younger woman.

17d   Pinpoints // signs of jewellery? (8)

Split  (3,5), the solution provides a cryptic definition of the latter part of the clue.

18d   Rusty saw perhaps // that's dropped by tree (8)

An old chestnut[5] is a joke, story, or subject that has become tedious and uninteresting through constant repetition ⇒ the subject under discussion is that old chestnut, public or private financing of the arts.

While the solution could also be a tree, we actually need the nut which drops to the ground in the autumn.

19d   Sea cub master knocked back bottles ... //  a hangover in waiting? (7)

Sambuca[5] is an Italian aniseed-flavoured liqueur ⇒ (i) a glass of flaming sambuca; (ii) a good few sambucas were consumed before he finally tottered into a taxi.

22d   What's near end of 31st? (5)

24d   Pet, we hear, /is/ shy animal (4)
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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