Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016 — DT 27702 (Summer Monday Bonus Puzzle)


For several years, the practice of the National Post has been not to 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matter well-tuned, I am providing a puzzle that the National Post has skipped (drawn from my reserve of reviews for unpublished puzzles).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 27702 which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, January 19, 2015 and was the first of two puzzles skipped by the National Post on Friday, July 3, 2015.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27702
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, January 19, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27702]
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, July 3, 2015.


While I can't argue with Gazza's assessment of two-star difficulty, I would say that the puzzle sits at the upper limit of that range. Several clues required a good deal of thought — some of it well outside the box. Nevertheless, it was a very satisfying exercise — especially when I finished it unaided after thinking about halfway into it that I would soon need to be calling in the electronic helpers.

I also fully concur with his observation "More than with any other setter I have difficulty in deciding exactly what to underline in some of Rufus’s clues". His clues frequently straddle the boundary between clue types — and sometimes seem not to match any recognized clue type.

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   It may be the // thing required (7)

I am marking this as a double definition, although Gazza has not done so. The accuracy of his observation is already becoming clear.

5a   He swears he's a soldier (7)

Like Gazza, I reached the conclusion that this clue is a cryptic definition rather than a double definition. I see it as a type of cryptic definition in which we are given a fairly broad straight definition (in this case, "a soldier") which is augmented by a bit of cryptic elaboration (provided by the remainder of the clue) which serves to narrow the scope of the definition. In this case, the setter has told us that the solution is a soldier who's known for swearing.

The other approach would be to look at the clue as a double definition in which the two definitions are "He swears" and "he's a soldier". However, both definitions effectively lead us to the same meaning of the solution (TROOPER). I don't believe this satisfies the requirements for a double definition — in which the two definitions must lead to different meanings for the same word (as we can see in 1d).

Swear like a trooper[5] means to swear a great deal ⇒ his fists were clenched and he was swearing like a trooper.

9a   Goat-like figure heads a // list of animals (5)

In Roman mythology, a faun[5] is one of a class of lustful rural gods, represented as a man with a goat’s horns, ears, legs, and tail.

10a   Not a single female will go out in this outfit (9)

11a   Give up /using/ catapult -- i.e. playing around (10)

12a   High-class // sort of shop (4)

14a   We need to find our own fare for these holidays (4-8)

Self-catering[5],  a British term which is used in reference to a holiday or accommodation, signifies offering facilities for people to cook their own meals ⇒ guests stay in self-catering apartments.

18a   Turbulent masses resent // another property valuation (12)

21a   Lazy, // appearing backward in fielding (4)

22a   Slump /causing/ gloom (10)

25a   Starting place for the three-legged race? (4,2,3)

The Isle of Man[5] (abbreviation IOM[5]) is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system.

It seems that this clue does not refer to the famous International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) Race[7], an annual motor-cycle racing event held on the Isle of Man. Nor does it allude to a yacht race of three legs departing from the Isle of Man. Of course, I did expend considerable time and effort going down both those blind alleys.

Flag of the Isle of Man
For centuries, the island's symbol has been the so-called "three legs of Mann", a triskelion of three legs conjoined at the thigh. Thus the Manx can be considered to be a race of people represented by three legs, or "a three-legged race".

On May 6, 2013, 649 pairs of runners completed a 200m three-legged race in Douglas, Isle of Man. This event has been certified by Guiness World Records as the world record for the largest three-legged race in a single venue [see: Guinness confirms record set at Isle of Man three-legged race].

26a   Something cast in gold -- // the last word in France (5)

"gold" = AU (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element gold is Au[5] (from Latin aurum).

hide explanation

Adieu[8] is a French word meaning 'goodbye' or 'farewell'.

27a   Board carriage // herd aren't in (7)

Carriage[5] is a British term for any of the separate sections of a train that carry passengers ⇒ the first-class carriages.

28a   Increase // in general disorder (7)


1d   Pretend // to influence (6)

2d   A superior suit (6)

I initially thought the solution might by SPADES, the highest-ranking suit in bridge — at least until TRUMPS are established!

3d   Plan to recycle // liqueur (10)

Chartreuse[5] is a pale green or yellow liqueur made from brandy and aromatic herbs.

4d   Former tax reduced by a pound -- // celebrate (5)

"pound" = L (show explanation )

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10]

hide explanation

5d   Where to see the beginning -- and end -- of the rainbow? (5,4)

6d   Give marching orders to // us to put out (4)

Like Gazza, I also initially thought that this was a hidden word clue. However, as he points out in his review, it is actually an anagram.

7d   Capital // turn of a pierrot (8)

Pretoria[5] is the administrative capital of South Africa; population 1,679,200 (est. 2009). It was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (1819–1901), the first President of the South African Republic, and named after his father Andries.

Scratching the Surface
Pierrot[5] is a stock male character in French pantomime, with a sad white-painted face, a loose white costume, and a pointed hat.

8d   It aids digestion /if having/ hard time (8)

13d   Racketeers' go-between? (6,4)

15d   She parts company with an // angler (9)

16d   /Take/ care -- if it changed, /it's/ a trick (8)

The word "take" is part of the infrastructure of the clue — the framework which supports the definition and wordplay. This infrastructure most often takes the form of a link word or link phrase between the definition and wordplay. However, it can sometimes be a bit more elaborate — as in this clue. The idea in this clue could be expressed (far more verbosely) as:
  • Consider (take) 'CARE IF IT changed'; this is wordplay leading to a solution that is a synonym for the definition 'a trick'.
17d   Don't stand round /showing/ what a bad crack will do (4,4)

19d   Old court official, // specifically one over the Queen (6)

Viz.[5] is a chiefly British term meaning namely or in other words (used to introduce a gloss or explanation) ⇒ the first music-reproducing media, viz. the music box and the player piano. It is an abbreviation of videlicet, z being a medieval Latin symbol for -et.

"the Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

Historically, a vizier[5] was a high official in some Muslim countries, especially in Turkey under Ottoman rule.

20d   Guarantee // Rex is about to succeed? Quite the opposite (6)

"rex" = R (show explanation )

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

hide explanation

It is not uncommon to see this construction in a puzzle. The setter begins by telling us one thing, then uses a phrase such as "quite the opposite" to indicate that he really intends exactly the inverse of what he has just finished telling us. This is used when the surface reading of the required wordplay would be utter rubbish but the inverse would be meaningful. This device allows the setter to achieve a meaningful surface reading, while still conveying the directions needed to solve the clue.

23d   Limit // the area for stock (5)

24d   Served up in Norway, osprey /is/ a source of protein (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


  1. Hi Falcon, I was pleased to complete the grid in one session and without help, but I knew I'd need both the DT review and your explanations to understand 25a and 20d. For 25a, I remembered the "TT" clue from last Monday, but that, of course, is the wrong "race" here. Last week's puzzle was definitely a help with 14a and its similar "fare." I understood how 16d worked, but I wasn't sure that was "legal" in cluing. I'll try to remember the clue pattern for 20d. I'm still not sure I entirely get the clue for 1a: I figured ARTICLE "may be 'the,'" but I had to Google "article thing required" and came up with requirements for university exams - is that what's meant? This is now the 3rd Rufus puzzle I've done and I think I've gotten a bit of a feel for his least, while solving it, a couple of the clues had me wondering, "Rufus?"

    1. Well done Carola.

      Rufus definitely has a distinctive style which appeals to some and not to others. Personally, I really enjoy his puzzles. Apparently, the same cannot be said for the editors at the National Post who skip virtually all of his puzzles (which explains why I have such a large inventory of unpublished reviews of his puzzles).

      The style of clue in 16d is not something that you would likely see from Cox and Rathvon but some of the British setters sometimes get a bit more adventuresome. Usually a clue will be structured either as:

         wordplay // definition (or vice versa)

      in which there is no link word or link phrase, or:

         wordplay /link/ definition (or vice versa)

      in which a word or phrase is used to link the wordplay and definition.

      [Note: I have had to use bold text to mark the definition as underlining seems to be forbidden in comments.]

      However, sometimes the setter will employ a more complex sentence structure in the clue causing the link word or phrase to appear either at the beginning or end of the clue or (in the case of a link phrase) be split. In the case of 16d, the term 'link phrase' may not accurately describe the role that the phrase "take ... it's" is playing in the clue. Thus, I have referred to it with what I view as a more inclusive term "clue framework" -- something that supports the definition and wordplay.

      My comment in 1a "The accuracy of his observation is already becoming clear." refers to the following remark in the introduction to Gazza's review "More than with any other setter I have difficulty in deciding exactly what to underline in some of Rufus’s clues".

      In 1a, you could think of the first part of the clue as "It [i.e., the solution] may be the" -- where "the" is a [definite] article.

      In the second part, consider the clue to infer "thing required [as the solution]".

      Reflecting on what I have written above on the subject of "framework", perhaps I could have marked this clue as:

         /It may be/ the // thing /required/

      in which the two definitions are "the" and "thing" and the phrase "it may be" and the word "required" are both merely bits of "framework" which each convey the idea of "the solution is something that means ...".

      Glad you are enjoying the Monday puzzles.

  2. Thank you, Falcon, for all. For ARTICLE, I see that I got so focused on "required" that I overlooked the obvious "thing." Re Rufus: I'm quite taken with his quirky humor, but I can see why editors might balk at some of his un-pin-down-able clues.