Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016 — DT 27966 (Summer Monday Bonus Puzzle)


As has been its practice for several years, the National Post does not publish on Monday between Canada Day and Labour Day. To provide readers of the blog with a bit of mental exercise to keep the grey matter well-tuned, I am providing a puzzle that the National Post has skipped (drawn from my reserve of reviews for unpublished puzzles). Today I offer you DT 27966 which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, November 23, 2015 and was skipped by the National Post on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27966
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, November 23, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27966]
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, April 12, 2016.


Kitty seems to have found this puzzle a stroll in the park. However, I have found that although I can often scale lofty peaks, I tend to stumble over molehills.

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   Reverse the charge? (7-6)

I immediately twigged to the fact that I was looking for a military action rather than a financial transaction. However, it took a long time to flush out the solution that was hiding in the deep recesses of my mind. Unlike Kitty, being bombarded with tiddlywinks never occurred to me.

10a   Dazed // American general in retreat, and encircled (7)

Robert E. Lee[5] (1807–1870) was an American general; full name Robert Edward Lee. He was the commander of the Confederate army of Northern Virginia for most of the American Civil War. His invasion of the North was repulsed at the Battle of Gettysburg (1863) and he surrendered in 1865.

11a   Very involved // psychological state (7)

12a   Try // to listen! (4)

13a   Old hat /found in/ bar by a lake (5)

14a   Look /for/ an equal (4)

17a   Kissed perhaps -- // what starts usually between girl and boy (7)

18a   Notes // the time (7)

19a   Note answer /in/ book (7)

In music — specifically, in tonic sol-fa — re is the second note of a major scale. In Britain, where the more common spelling is ray[5], re[5] is seen as a variant [or even worse, American] spelling.

Answer[5] is used in the sense to be suitable for fulfilling (a need) or to satisfy ⇒ entrepreneurship is necessary to answer the needs of national and international markets.

22a   It makes current measures possible (7)

An ammeter[5] is an instrument for measuring electric current in amperes.

24a   Turn to leave /in/ vehicle (4)

A trap[5] is a light, two-wheeled carriage pulled by a horse or pony.

25a   Part of clergyman's estate? (5)

This is an &lit.[7] (or, if you prefer, all-in-one) clue — one in which the entire clue serves as both the definition and (read another way) the wordplay.

26a   Dance lacking nothing /in/ tastefulness (4)

The tango[5] is a ballroom dance originating in Buenos Aires, characterized by marked rhythms and postures and abrupt pauses.

29a   Partly cover // more than circuit (7)

30a   Called in a long time back // to put in order (7)

31a   Get the job /and/ be accepted for a union (6,7)


2d   General /shown in/ protective garment (7)

The British overall is not to be confused with British overalls — nor, for that matter, with North American overalls.

While Brits and North Americans share many of the same names for articles of clothing, the meaning of those terms is often quite different on opposite sides of the pond.

In North America, overalls[3,11] are loose-fitting trousers, usually of strong fabric, with a bib front and shoulder straps, often worn over regular clothing as protection from dirt. The British definition of overalls[4] is broader, including not only garments with a bib and shoulder straps but also those having a jacket top. This latter garment is also known as a boiler suit[5] in the UK and would likely be called coveralls[3] in North America.

Overall[4] is a British term for a protective work garment usually worn over ordinary clothes. It would seem to be a general term that includes not only overalls (both British style dungarees* and boiler suits) but also coat and smock type garments (such as lab coats perhaps).
* Whereas, the term dungarees[3,4,11] is used in North America to refer to either trousers or North American style overalls, in the UK it is used solely to mean the latter, i.e., a suit of workman's overalls made of dungaree [denim] consisting of trousers with a bib attached.

Note that I have avoided using the North American term "pants" in favour of the more universal term "trousers". In Britain, the term "pants" means men's or women's underwear.
3d   Boy /is/ right to keep up (4)

4d   Defile and glen /in/ the country (7)

Scratching the Surface
A defile[5] is a steep-sided narrow gorge or passage (originally one requiring troops to march in single file*) ⇒ the twisting track wormed its way up a defile to level ground.
* As a verb, defile[5] means (of troops) to march in single file ⇒ we emerged after defiling through the mountainsides.
A glen[5] is a narrow valley, especially in Scotland or Ireland.

5d   Chasing a double century, I will have hit all round -- to get this? (7)

I may stand alone in this view but, contrary to Kitty, I see the entire clue as the definition with the wordplay being the portion with the dashed underline. I know that I would never be able to solve the clue given only the single word "this".

A century[5] is a score of a hundred in a sporting event, especially a batsman’s score of a hundred runs in cricket ⇒ he scored the only century of the tour. This usage may not be entirely British as the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary defines century[11] as any group or collection of 100 — although I am hard-pressed to think of a North American sport in which a participant might rack up one hundred points in a contest.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, I thought that "hit all round" might be a meaningful cricket expression — similar to the baseball term "batting around (the order)" meaning that a team's entire batting order comes to the plate in a single inning. I envisaged that the cricket term might denote that a batsman faced the entire roster of opposing bowlers in a single innings. However, I could find no evidence to support this hypothesis.

The other possibility that occurs to me is that the batsman has hit balls to every corner of the field — if cricket ovals can be said to have corners!

6d   Not wildly exciting (4)

The correct solution did occur to me almost immediately but I dismissed it as being implausibly simplistic and not very cryptic (I should have known better; after all, the puzzle was set by Rufus). Had I written it in, I might well have been able to solve 11a without turning to my electronic assistants. As it was, once I had the solution to 11a, there appeared to be no alternative for 6d. The final two holdouts (1a and 3d) then quickly succumbed.

7d   Pick up /as/ part of the service (7)

In church use, collect[5] denotes a a short prayer, especially one assigned to a particular day or season.

8d   A chorister not involved /in/ an arrangement (13)

... a musical arrangement, of course.

9d   How to make a speedy apology? (7,6)

15d   Tale /of/ Troy's undoing (5)

Scratching the Surface
In Homeric legend, Troy[5] is the city of King Priam, besieged for ten years by the Greeks during the Trojan War. It was regarded as having been a purely legendary city until Heinrich Schliemann identified the mound of Hissarlik on the northeastern Aegean coast of Turkey as the site of Troy. The city was apparently sacked and destroyed by fire in the mid 13th century BC, a period coinciding with the Mycenaean civilization of Greece. Also called Ilium.

16d   Three points going to my // opponent (5)

20d   Sesame crackers one's fed to // cat (7)

As an anagram indicator, crackers[5] is used in an informal British sense meaning:
  1. insane ⇒ if Luke wasn’t here I’d go crackers; or
  2. extremely angry ⇒ when he saw the mess he went crackers.
21d   Model // student allowed in gym after test (7)

"student" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

"gym [class]" = PE (show explanation )

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education [or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days]. 

hide explanation

22d   Don't vote /and get/ a black mark (7)

23d   New Aintree // apprentice (7)

Scratching the Surface
Aintree Racecourse[7] is a racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England. The racecourse is best known for annually holding the world-famous Grand National steeplechase.

27d   Singer/'s/ altered a lot (4)

28d   A touching article /or/ tract (4)

Touching[5] is a preposition meaning concerning or about ⇒ discoveries touching the neglected traditions of the London Boroughs.
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. Falcon, thanks for printing the Monday puzzles and providing our daily fix. Thought this one was a little above one star in difficulty. Otherwise, how would one rate the Saturday puzzle?

    My recent cryptic was an attempt at a topical reference: Bow out through bedroom door (6)

    Abbreviation for bedroom, followed by a synonym for door.


    1. Good one, Richard

      Doh! It has finally dawned on me. I was thinking that the synonym for door must be GATE and that you were alluding to some new -gate scandal that I had not yet heard of.

  2. We've read lot about Brexit, watched some of the TV debates, talked to people across the pond. A watershed moment for Britain and the EU. Still not certain how I might have voted. I hope they dial down the rhetoric, maybe take the summer off and take a fresh look in the fall.

  3. Hi Falcon and all,
    A day when it was too hot and sticky to be outdoors meant it was a perfect day for me to tackle this cryptic, which I found plenty difficult. After several sessions, I had the grid filled and all but one of the clues successfully parsed (21d: I thought the P was for "pupil," and was left with an inexplicable LE for "gym." After reading your explanation, Falcon, I recalled that you've explained "Learner" before). Last in: 3d, once I saw that "keep up" wasn't a phrase; I'd wanted an "R" for "right" for the longest time. Otherwise, most difficult for me were 17a with its two random names and the various double definitions. I also resisted writing in 6d for a long time but then got 11a and went with it. Re: "touching" ( :) ) in 28d - diabolical! I was sure it meant adjacent to...until I remembered Shakespeare. Thanks for the bonus puzzle!