Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 — DT 28060

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28060
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28060 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28060 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


This puzzle proved far more troublesome to me than would be indicated by the two stars for difficulty awarded by crypticsue. I did eventually complete the puzzle — albeit without fully parsing one clue — but I needed to set the puzzle aside a number of times for long periods of cogitation.

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   Book about Russian ready /to be/ awkward (11)

Ready[5,10] or the ready[10] (also called readies or the readies) is an informal British term for ready money[5,10] (also called ready cash), funds for immediate use or, in other words, available money or cash.

The rouble[5] (also chiefly North American ruble) is the basic monetary unit of Russia and some other former republics of the USSR, equal to 100 kopeks.

Thus, to a Brit, "Russian ready" would be ROUBLES.

7a   Upstart // hit back with place being unfinished (7)

8a   Cheese after a major component of it's turned /to/ silky stuff (7)

Overlooking the obvious, I tried to make the first three letters a reversed (turned) part (major component) of the last four letters (it). However, it didn't quite work — although it did come close.

10a   Charlie/'s/ just the thing to snare fashion designer endlessly (5)

Christian Dior[5] (1905–1957) was a French couturier. His first collection (1947) featured narrow-waisted tightly fitted bodices and full pleated skirts; this became known as the New Look. He later created the first A-line garments.

Charlie[5] is an informal British term for a fool what a bunch of charlies.

11a   Friend with top off tests // fabrics (9)

In Britain, mate[5] — in addition to being a person’s husband, wife, or other sexual partner — is an informal term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

12a   Nieces excited about first bit of chemical // knowledge (7)

Science[5] is:
  1. a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject ⇒ the science of criminology;
  2. an archaic term for knowledge of any kind ⇒ his rare science and his practical skill.
14a   Cut around edges of tile // to make smaller (7)

15a   Bad hands // move slowly on board steamship (7)

"on board steamship" = 'contained in SS' (show explanation )

In Crosswordland, you will find that a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[10]. Thus phrases such as "aboard ship" or "on board ship" (or sometimes merely "on board") are Crosswordland code for 'contained in SS'.

hide explanation

18a   Stick around liking // hot stuff (7)

20a   Sick // of commander interrupting meal (3-6)

CO[10] is the abbreviation for Commanding Officer.

Off colour[5] is a British term meaning slightly unwell ⇒ I’m feeling a bit off colour. Of course, in the UK it also carries the meaning with which we are familiar of slightly indecent or obscene ⇒ off-colour jokes.

21a   Time accompanied by one // alluring woman (5)

An houri[5] is a beautiful young woman, especially one of the virgin companions of the faithful in the Muslim Paradise.

22a   Have a close shave /as/ English exercise cut short (7)

23a   Non-drinker swallowing an alcoholic drink /in/ fit of temper (7)

"non-drinker" = TT (show explanation )

Teetotal[5] (abbreviation TT[5]) means choosing or characterized by abstinence from alcohol ⇒ a teetotal lifestyle.

A teetotaller[5] (US teetotalerabbreviation TT[5]) is a person who never drinks alcohol.

The term teetotal is an emphatic extension of total, apparently first used by Richard Turner, a worker from Preston [England], in a speech (1833) urging total abstinence from all alcohol, rather than mere abstinence from spirits, as advocated by some early temperance reformers.

hide explanation

24a   Increase in support // gives good basic training (11)

One must not only treat the wordplay as a phrase but also split the solution (7,4) and again treat it as a phrase.


1d   Stations /for/ period in India (7)

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

2d   Public // spell of cricket takes time (5)

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.

3d   Black Country man, // I'm brought up in fog (7)

Brume[5] is a literary term for mist or fog ⇒ the birds rise like brume. Brume[8] is also the French word for 'mist' — a knowledge of which proved very helpful in solving this clue.

The Black Country[7] is an area of the West Midlands in England, West of Birmingham. It became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution. The name is believed to come from the soot from the heavy industries that covered the area, although the 30-foot-thick coal seam close to the surface is another possible origin.

Brummie[5] (also Brummy) is a British term for a native of the city of Birmingham.

In her review, crypticsue emphasizes that "a Brummie comes from Birmingham. The Black Country is an area of the West Midlands North and West of (but not including) Birmingham".

4d   Lands /in/ eastern parts of USA (7)

5d   Present politician // money from church (9)

6d   Fancy // gentle rambles around area? (7)

7d   Investigates squalid hotels /as/ place to hide out (7,4)

Priest's hole[5] is a historical term for a hiding place for a Roman Catholic priest during times of religious persecution.

9d   I see batsmen playing // skiving off work (11)

Skive[5] is an informal British term meaning to avoid work or a duty by staying away or leaving early; in other words, to shirk ⇒ (i) I skived off school; (ii) she used to skive lessons.

Scratching the Surface
A batsman[5] is a player, especially in cricket, who is batting or whose chief skill is in batting.

13d   Now eat top cooked // vegetable (3,6)

16d   Boring // brief relationship after scripture lesson (7)

The abbreviation for religious instruction is RI[10]. According to Wikipedia, "In secular usage, religious education[7] is the teaching of a particular religion (although in England the term religious instruction would refer to the teaching of a particular religion, with religious education referring to teaching about religions in general) and its varied aspects — its beliefs, doctrines, rituals, customs, rites, and personal roles."

Bore[10] means to to increase the diameter of (a hole), as by an internal turning operation on a lathe or similar machine.

Rifle[10] means to cut or mould spiral grooves inside the barrel [or bore] of (a gun).

17d   Terrible investor runs out // broke? (5,2)

Stave[5] (past and past participle staved or stove) is a verb which in the phrase stave something in means to break something by forcing it inwards or piercing it roughly the door was staved in.

18d   Clergymen /showing/ posh style in old cars (7)

"posh style" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

Curate[5] can mean:
  1. (also assistant curate) a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest; or
  2. (archaic) a minister with pastoral responsibility.
19d   Nervy about head of tribunal /being/ unbiased (7)

Nervy[10] is an informal British term meaning tense or apprehensive — quite different than the North American meaning of brash or cheeky.

However, the setter applies a whimsical meaning to the word using it as though it means of or relating to a nerve or the nervous system.

21d   Pivotal point // of fishing expedition (5)

Fortunately, when the wordplay seemed inexplicable, I recalled recently having seen the following piece of sage advice When nothing makes sense, look for a hidden word.
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. This puzzle remained unfinished as there were too many strange clues for me. Never heard of Black Country, for one. I take a stab at British crosswords quite often, which may have helped, but all in all, I found this one difficult.

    1. Hi Sydney,

      After nearly six years of doing British crossword puzzles, I am still encountering new Briticisms.