Monday, July 4, 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016 — DT 27984 (Summer Monday Bonus Puzzle)


As has been its customary practice for several years, the National Post will not publish an edition on Monday between Canada Day and Labour Day. To provide readers of the blog with something with which to exercise your grey matter on Mondays, once again I will provide a puzzle that the National Post has chosen to skip. Today I offer you DT 27984 which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, December 14, 2015 and was skipped by the National Post on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27984
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, December 14, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27984]
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 Friday, April 29, 2016.


While — like most of Rufus' puzzles — this one is on the easier side, I still managed to flub the solution to one clue.

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   Contract, perhaps, /for/ engineering work (6)

I had supposed that the first definition was yet another example of the British using a modifying adjective as a noun in place of the noun it modifies — for instance, an 'Indian restaurant' would be referred to in the UK simply as an 'Indian' and an 'estate car' (station wagon) as an 'estate'. However, I was surprised to find this definition in several dictionaries — both British and US.

Contract[1,3,4,10,11] (also called contract bridge) is a variety of bridge in which the side that wins the bid can earn toward game only that number of tricks named in the contract, additional points being credited above the line.

4a   Made much of /being/ under tension (8)

9a   Get // in boat somehow (6)

10a   Inspired /by/ Diana, met when out (8)

Animate[5] is used in the sense of give inspiration, encouragement, or renewed vigour to ⇒ she has animated the government with a sense of political direction.

12a   King appears to vex // Church (4)

"king" = K (show explanation )

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

Kirk[5] is a Scottish and Northern English term for a church.

13a   In a way age is // some protection (5)

14a   State obstruction /provoking/ alliance (4)

As a link word, "provoking" is equivalent to 'leads to the result'.

17a   Fatal accuracy? (4,2,6)

20a   Innocent chap in pile-up /provides/ transport (12)

Pantechnicon is a British term for a large van for transporting furniture ⇒ I have to weave about and even step into the road, because of the cars - and vans and trucks and the occasional pantechnicon - parked on the pavement*.
* pavement is the British term for sidewalk (step off the pavement onto the road means to step off the sidewalk onto the pavement); the Brits pave with paving stones rather than asphalt
23a   Unidentified // girl accepts love (4)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

24a   In which rivals can hear a pin drop (5)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops says A pin is also a skittle..
Skittles[3,4,5,11] is a chiefly British term that can mean either:

  1. a game played with wooden pins, typically nine in number, set up at the end of an alley to be bowled down with a wooden ball or disc (also known, especially in the US, as ninepins); or
  2. the pins used in the game of skittles.

25a   Head boy's first to go, // in bygone era (4)

Bonce[5] is an informal British term for a person’s head ⇒ he will be wearing a hat to stop his bonce from burning.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, head boy[5] denotes a senior male student who is chosen to represent his school ⇒ this is not the kind of behaviour the school expects from its head boy.

This clue requires the solver to employ a technique often described as "lift-and-separate" — a play on a phrase from Playtex brassiere advertising.

The term refers to a situation in which a seemingly single conceptual unit (which can be either a word or a phrase) must be split into separate pieces playing different roles.

In the present clue, a single conceptual unit ("head boy") must be separated into two parts, with "head" comprising the fodder in the wordplay and "boy" being part of the instruction defining the action to be performed on the fodder.

28a   Insurance allowed /for/ a counterpane (8)

Counterpane[5] is a dated term for a bedspread.

In the UK, the word cover[5] is used to denote protection by insurance against a liability, loss, or accident ⇒ your policy provides cover against damage by subsidence. This is equivalent to the North American term coverage[5] meaning the amount of protection given by an insurance policy ⇒ your policy provides coverage against damage by subsidence.

29a   It's bought by the metre but worn out by the foot (6)

30a   Very French to approve // sin (8)

Trés[8] is a French word meaning very.

31a   Lower /or/ upper garment (6)

Lower is a whimsical term for an animal that lows (moos).


1d   Ordered to introduce security, // to prevent access (8)

2d   In time, learn to unwind // inside (8)

3d   Pedestrian walkway? (4)

5d   What one needs when required for court service (6,6)

6d   She /has/ them shortened by a degree (4)

The definition "she" implies that we are looking for a woman's name.

7d   The bench /is/ alight (6)

A settle[5] is a wooden bench with a high back and arms, typically incorporating a box under the seat.

8d   Conclude /it's/ a nasty deed, when copper's admitted being upset (6)

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from late Latin cuprum).

11d   Apparently they count every hole but skip the nineteenth? (12)

15d   Just // married, before the exam (5)

16d   Has plans /to make/ money (5)

In his review, Miffypops remarks "a third [definition] is intends". What does "has plans" mean if it doesn't mean "intends"?

18d   Extra comment following school game /shows/ spirit (8)

Nap[5] is a card game resembling whist in which players declare the number of tricks they expect to take, up to five. The name is an abbreviation of napoleon, the original name of the card game.

Schnapps[5] is a strong alcoholic drink resembling gin ⇒ (i) he had drunk schnapps in Paris; (ii) relax with a schnapps and a sandwich.

19d   Awkward ascent on railway // line (8)

21d   One's lucky /in/ races under mile (6)

Ascot Racecourse[7] is a British racecourse, located in Ascot, Berkshire, England, which is used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting nine of Britain's 32* annual Group 1 horse races. The course enjoys close associations with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.
* In another article, Wikipedia lists 35 Group 1 races in Great Britain[7].
Among the events held at Ascot Racecourse is the Royal Ascot[7]. Held each year in June, it comprises a series of horse races spread over a period of five days. Dating back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne, it is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing.

Thus, the Royal Ascot (or Ascot for short) is a series of races.

22d   Ventilator /in/ a foreign gallery (6)

The Louvre[5] is the principal museum and art gallery of France, in Paris, housed in the former royal palace built by Francis I. The Louvre holds the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

26d   Cut // page or chapter up (4)

27d   Lot /of/ grease going on bearing (4)

As I come to write the review, I discover that I have the wrong answer to this clue. However, too much time and too many other crosswords have passed since I solved this puzzle and I can not fully recall how I arrived at — or more to the point — why I stuck with the incorrect solution.

I entered EASE which clearly is a "lot of (gr)EASE" but, as for the wordplay, I have no idea what I was thinking — or not thinking.
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, thank you for this bonus brain-racker. I always look forward to trying my hand at these cryptics, and I always find them difficult. I smiled when you wrote about exercising our gray matter on Monday, mentally adding, "...and Tuesday...and Wednesday....". I finally threw in the towel this afternoon, defeated by 27d: I couldn't decide between "ease" or "rage" (an anagram of a lot of "grease"), neither of which seemed to have anything to do with "bearing." Otherwise, last in were 31a x 19d. If you have time and inclination, could you explain how 5d is a cryptic clue (I don't see what's cryptic about it)? Thanks!

  2. Hi Carola,

    For a relative newcomer to British cryptics, I would say that you did quite well.

    5d is style of clue that Rufus is noted for. The cryptic aspect is that the solver is expected to be misled by thinking that the clue is referring to being called for jury duty. However, if one immediately thinks of tennis, then (as you say) there is really very little that is cryptic about it.

    While not applicable to this clue, this situation often arises when the clue contains an expression well-known to the Brits but totally foreign to North Americans. We look at the clue and -- totally oblivious to the intended diversion -- focus immediately on the "hidden" meaning.

    In the "Scratching the Surface" feature of the blog, I try to give North American readers some appreciation of how the clue might be perceived by a Brit.

    By the way, there was another Bonus Puzzle on July 1 (Canada Day) and you can expect to see them regularly on Monday until September.

  3. Ah, thank you, Falcon. I hadn't considered that "court service" could be the same as our "jury duty." Yes, I'm really still only taking baby steps into British crosswords and can't imagine being at the level where I'd recognize individual setters' styles! Thanks also for referring me to the July 1 puzzle; off I go to grapple.

    1. The British term for "jury duty" is "jury service" so I expect that the term "court service" might be intended to evoke that connection. The phrase might also suggest the idea of service in a Royal court to monarchists.