Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016 — DT 27695 (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matter well-tuned, I am providing a puzzle that the National Post has skipped (drawn from my reserve of reviews for unpublished puzzles).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 27695 which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, January 10, 2015 and was skipped by the National Post on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27695
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27695 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27695 – 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
The National Post skipped this puzzle on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

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 is a fairly gentle "Saturday" puzzle. In the UK, the puzzle was printed correctly in the newspaper but there was initially an error in the puzzle (at 15a) on the website. As you can imagine, this generated a bit of chatter on Big Dave's blog.

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   Take over /from/ endlessly flexible worker (8)

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

5a   Irregular // money order (6)

"order" = OM (show explanation )

The Order of Merit[7] (abbreviation OM[5]) is a dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by King Edward VII, admission into the order remains the personal gift of its Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, and is limited to 24 living recipients at one time from these countries plus a limited number of honorary members. The current membership includes one Canadian (former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien).

hide explanation

The rand[5] is the basic monetary unit of South Africa, equal to 100 cents.

8a   Woman goes round new // border village (6)

Gretna[7] is a town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Because they are near the Anglo-Scottish border, nearby Gretna Green and, to a lesser extent, Gretna, are historically linked to weddings because of the more liberal marriage laws in Scotland. "Gretna" has become a term for a place for quick, easy marriages. Much of the local economy is driven by the marriage industry, where by some accounts, as many as one of every six Scottish weddings takes place in Gretna or Gretna Green.

9a   Hazy // blue liquid no American has consumed (8)

10a   Central figure that's not unusual being // into hare coursing (4-4)

An anti-hero[5] is a central character in a story, film, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes — i.e., someone who is not a remarkable individual or unusual being.

Coursing[5] is the sport of hunting game animals such as hares with greyhounds using sight rather than scent. The best explanation that I have for the use of this word as a anagram indicator is that it may allude to the quarry running all over the place while being pursued.

11a   Island // also has land in the interior (6)

Tobago is one of two islands off the northeastern coast of Venezuela that together comprise the country of Trinidad and Tobago[5].

12a   Photo/'s/ empty, we hear that adds weight (8)

I definitely encountered a "solver's block" here! But, then again, I'm not at all certain that I would consider a hologram to be a photo.

13a   Bounder in Channel Islands with a // jumpy creature (6)

"bounder" = CAD (show explanation )

Bounder[5] is a dated informal British term for a dishonourable man he is nothing but a fortune-seeking bounder.

Cad[5,10] is a dated informal British term for a man who behaves dishonourably, especially towards a woman her adulterous cad of a husband.

hide explanation

"Channel Islands" = CI (show explanation )

The Channel Islands[5] (abbreviation CI[5]) are a group of islands in the English Channel off the northwestern coast of France, of which the largest are Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney. Formerly part of the dukedom of Normandy, they have owed allegiance to England since the Norman Conquest in 1066, and are now classed as Crown dependencies

hide explanation

Do cicadas jump? I could find no evidence of it. On the other hand, I could find no proof that they do not jump.

A cicada[5] is any of a large number of species (in many genera) of large homopterous insect with long transparent wings, found chiefly in warm countries. The male cicada makes a loud, shrill droning noise by vibrating two membranes on its abdomen.

The only reference I found that might suggest they jump is the following excerpt from a Wikipedia article, "Cicadas are often colloquially called locusts, although they are unrelated to true locusts, which are various species of swarming grasshopper. Cicadas are related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs."[7]

15a   That follows // coffee before end of dinner (6)

Presented with two options, the 'latter one' is the 'one that follows' the former one. Although they convey the same meaning, 'latter' is a prepositive modifier and 'that follows' is a postpositive modifier.

In the UK, the clue was correct in the printed edition of The Daily Telegraph but on the website it initially appeared as:
  • 15a   That follows // coffee after end of dinner (6)
You can imagine the consternation that caused.

18a   Unreal -- // lotion being smeared round less than half of navel (8)

20a   Leniency /is/ unknown among the non-clerical (6)

"unknown" = X (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

hide explanation

21a   Jack played games making the introduction /for/ major celeb (8)

"Jack" = TAR (show explanation )

The entry for jack in The Chambers Dictionary would fill a page if it were not spread over parts of two pages. Among the definitions, one finds jack[1] defined as (often with capital) a sailor.

Tar[5] is an informal, dated term for a sailor. The term, which dates from the 17th century, is perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, which was also used as a nickname for a sailor at that time.

hide explanation

23a   Initiative // to stick with small part, backing number one (8)

Gum[3] is used in the sense of to fix in place with gum.

Technically, glue[3] and gum[3] are two different classes of adhesive, with the former being  obtained by boiling collagenous animal parts such as bones, hides, and hooves while the latter is exuded by certain plants and trees. However I would be more likely than not to refer to any sticky substance (or the process of using it) as glue rather than gum. I suspect the term gum may be more widely used in the UK than it is in North America.

24a   Odd characters from town meeting over street // heading in opposite directions (3-3)

"over" = O (show explanation )

In cricket, an over[5] (abbreviation O[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.

hide explanation

25a   What one could be doing with a pitch fork (6)

26a   Expelled from university /and/ locked up (4,4)

Down[5] is a British term meaning away from a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge ⇒ he was down from Oxford. Of course, if you were "sent down", you would be away not by your own choice. Send down[10] is a British term meaning to expel from a university, especially permanently.

Send down[10] is also an informal British term meaning to send to prison. Then again, send up[10] would also seem to mean to send to prison in the UK.

Meanwhile, across the pond ...
Up the river[5] is an informal North American expression meaning to or in prison we were lucky not to be sent up the river that time boy [with allusion to Sing Sing prison, situated up the Hudson River from the city of New York].


1d   Disgrace, having no time /for/ Greek character (5)

Sigma[5] is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Σ, σ).

2d   Sounds like an insignificant item of female attire (9)

3d   Dabbler /and/ a friend going to ancient city (7)

"friend" = MATE (show explanation )

In Britain, mate[5] is an informal term (1) for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve or (2) used as a friendly form of address between men or boys ⇒ ‘See you then, mate.’.

hide explanation

"ancient city" = UR (show explanation )

Ur[5] is an ancient Sumerian city formerly on the Euphrates, in southern Iraq. It was one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, dating from the 4th millennium BC, and reached its zenith in the late 3rd millennium BC. Ur[7] is considered by many to be the city of Ur Kasdim mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the birthplace of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.

hide explanation

4d   Holy orders (3,12)

In the Bible, the Ten Commandments[5] are the divine rules of conduct given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, according to Exod. 20:1-17.

Scratching the Surface
Holy orders[5] is the sacrament or rite of ordination as a member of the clergy, especially in the grades of bishop, priest, or deacon.

5d   Like the Tin Man, // mug with twitch -- 'O my heart!' (7)

Is the Tin Man a robot? Discuss.

A robot[5] is a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically.

The Tin Woodman[7], better known as the Tin Man, is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. Baum's Tin Woodman first appeared in his classic 1900 book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and reappeared in many other Oz books.

Originally an ordinary man by the name of Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman used to make his living chopping down trees in the forests of Oz. The Wicked Witch of the East enchanted his axe to prevent him from marrying his sweetheart, after being bribed by the lazy old woman who kept the Munchkin maiden as a servant, and did not wish to lose her. The enchanted axe chopped off his limbs, one by one. Each time he lost a limb, Nathan Oliver L'Esperance replaced it with a prosthetic limb made of tin. Finally, nothing was left of him but tin. However, Ku-Klip, the tinsmith who helped him, neglected to replace his heart. Once Nick Chopper was made entirely of tin, he was no longer able to love the lady he had fallen for.

Baum emphasized that the Tin Woodman remains alive, in contrast to the windup mechanical man Tik-Tok Dorothy meets in a later book. Nick Chopper was not turned into a machine, but rather had his flesh body replaced by a metal one.

So, by the definition above, he is seemingly not a robot. But, on the other hand, a robot[5] is a person — or fictional character — who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner.

6d   Less than a full team play out // miniature scene (7)

I do believe that crypticsue intended to say "Put a DRAMA (play) outside IO (ten being less than a full team of eleven players)".

Eleven[5] is the number of players on a cricket[7] side or an Association football[7] [soccer] team — and is often used as a metonym for such a team ⇒ at cricket I played in the first eleven.

7d   Nearly everyone // having greatest importance (4,2,3)

12d   Henry taking steps /in/ the gloaming (4-5)

Hal[nameberry] is a venerable nickname for Henry, Harry [itself a variant of Henry] and Harold, famously used by Shakespeare in King Henry IV as the name of the king's son, the future Henry V.

14d   Angry remark // that should make you think (9)

In clues of this structure (in which the wordplay begins with the word "that"), mentally insert the word "something" (or "someone", if appropriate) before the word "that" in the definition.

16d   VAT guy arrests one // driver (7)

A value added tax[5] (abbreviation VAT) is a tax on the amount by which the value of an article has been increased at each stage of its production or distribution. In the European Union

The European Union value added tax[7] (or EU VAT) is a value added tax on goods and services within the European Union (EU). The EU's institutions do not collect the tax, but EU member states (including the UK) are each required to adopt a value added tax that complies with the EU VAT code. Different rates of VAT apply in different EU member states, ranging from 15 to 27%.

Canada's Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) are each instances of a value added tax.[7]

17d   Common-sounding element of poetry and slang? (7)

Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in Cockney rhyming slang.

19d   For the audience, draw a number -- // get tense (7)

22d   Beam before negative response for send-up // material (5)
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. Thanks for posting this highly entertaining puzzle and your erudite commentary, Falcon. Just two-stars in difficulty, I'd say, but plenty of food for thought.

    12a was my last one in, as well.

    My mother was raised in Gretna, Manitoba, which she told me had been named for the Scottish town, both being just north of the border. Her father was a customs officer, in fact.

  2. Thank you from me, too, Falcon. I was happy to finish the puzzle in a single session, although there were a couple of elements I wasn't able to account for: the OM in 5a and the O in 24a. I also see now that I didn't fully understand the clues for 10a ("that's not unusual") and 17d ("slang"). The left side of the puzzle was much easier for me than the right, where I had to do quite a bit of after-the-fact clue unraveling. Last in were 5d (I also raised an eyebrow at this characterization of the Tin Man) followed by 5a.

    1. Your comments prompted me to take a look at the review as well over a year has passed since I wrote it. After all the work that went into researching and writing it, I am just glad that the review has finally seen the light of day.

      The abbreviations OM and O (the latter especially) appear very frequently in British puzzles.

    2. I really appreciate your detailed reviews, Falcon. I meant to say above that your tip regarding the structure of 14d is very helpful.