Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016 — DT 28113

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28113
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, May 13, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28113]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


Today's offering from Giovanni presents us with several unusual clue constructions. Not surprisingly, I failed to notice that it is a pangram — a puzzle in which every letter of the alphabet appears at least once in the solution.

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   Unchanging factor /in/ more than half of old Istanbul (8)

Constantinople[5] is the former name for Istanbul from AD 330 (when it was given its name by Constantine the Great) to the capture of the city by the Turks in 1453. Prior to that time, the city was known as Byzantium[5].

In mathematics, a constant[5] is a quantity or parameter that does not change its value whatever the value of the variables, under a given set of conditions.

In physics, a constant[5] is a number expressing a relation or property which remains the same in all circumstances, or for the same substance under the same conditions.

5a   Gum // to chew -- but not to get devoured (6)

Mastic[5] is an aromatic gum or resin which exudes from the bark of a Mediterranean tree (Pistacia lentiscus), used in making varnish and chewing gum and as a flavouring.

9a   Settle // as conventional person at Oxford? (6,2)

Square[5] is an informal term meaning old-fashioned or boringly conventional ⇒ Elvis was anything but square.

In Britain, up[5] means at or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge ⇒ they were up at Cambridge about the same time.

10a   Scottish footballers // playing cards (6)

Heart of Midlothian Football Club[7], commonly known as Hearts, is a Scottish professional football [soccer] club based in Gorgie in the west of Edinburgh. It plays in the Scottish Premiership, the top division of the Scottish Professional Football League.

12a   Chance to participate /and/ see old relations (4-2)

"see" = LO (show explanation )

Lo[5] is an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them.

hide explanation

Look-in[5] is an informal British term denoting a chance to take part or succeed in something ⇒ they didn’t let the other side get a look-in in the final.

13a   Northern game is embraced by James, /showing/ a sort of prejudice (8)

Go[7] is a board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago (from whence it spread, first to Korea and Japan, and then worldwide). The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. According to chess master Edward Lasker: "The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go." The name Go is derived from the Japanese name of the  game "igo".

Jingoism[5] is a chiefly derogatory term denoting extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy ⇒ the popular jingoism that swept the lower-middle classes.

15a   Like measures /given by/ sittings of judges once (7)

The courts of assize, or assizes[7], were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the quarter sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes heard the most serious cases, which were committed to it by the quarter sessions (local county courts held four times per year), while the more minor offences were dealt with summarily by justices of the peace in petty sessions (also known as magistrates' courts).

16a   This old deity /makes/ sound of deer (4)

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.

20a   Financial allowance not good, /making one/ rave (4)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

21a   Carol goes round small room, // working hard (7)

The smallest room[10] is an old-fashioned, humorous and euphemistic way of referring to the lavatory [the room as opposed to the fixture] In our opinion, the smallest room can provide you with the greatest interior design challenge.

Lav[10] is an informal British short form for lavatory.

25a   Deliver place from captivity, // a capital city (8)

The wordplay is FREE (deliver ... from captivity) + TOWN (place).

Freetown[5] is the capital and chief port of Sierra Leone; population 827,000 (est. 2007).

26a   Carelessness /of/ non-specialists -- one gets cross inside (6)

The wordplay is LAITY (non-specialists) containing (one gets ... inside) X (cross). The phrase "one gets inside" can be interpreted to mean "one [the solver] places inside".

28a   Coat /with/ exceptional lustre (6)

An ulster[5] is a man’s long, loose overcoat of rough cloth, typically with a belt at the back.

29a   Way duck eats rodent // -- not too fast, not too slow (8)

"duck" = O (show explanation )

In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

In British puzzles, "duck" is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

hide explanation

30a   Give // someone at university fantastic tea (6)

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

31a   Insisted upon // chap and daughter joining in act (8)

"chap" = MAN (show explanation )

Chap[3,4,11], an informal term for a man or boy, is a shortened form of chapman[3,4,11], an archaic term for a trader, especially an itinerant  pedlar [British spelling of peddler].

hide explanation


1d   Rook /in/ ancient building? (6)

In chess, castle[5] is an informal old-fashioned term for rook.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat says no doubt the chess fans will be out in force to point out that the answer is not synonymous with rook, but is what you do with a rook and king.
In chess, to castle[5] (as noun castling) is to make a special move (no more than once in a game by each player) in which the king is transferred from its original square two squares along the back rank towards a rook on its corner square which is then transferred to the square passed over by the king.

Despite the protestations of chess aficionados that "castle" is not a proper name for a "rook", every dictionary that I consulted says the opposite.

2d   Part of one's nervous system /that makes/ one run off (6)

3d   Latest // thing to eat -- longs to get stuck in (8)

4d   Word /of/ love harboured by religious woman (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

6d   Retaliate on behalf of // archdeacon in mature years (6)

Ven.[5] is the abbreviation for Venerable (as the title of an archdeacon) ⇒ the Ven. William Davies.

Scratching the Surface
In the Church of England, an archdeacon[2] is a member of the clergy who ranks just below a bishop.

7d   Final // academic session at home a learner /needed/ (8)

"learner" = 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

The word "needed" — despite being positioned at the end of the clue — plays a role similar to that of a link word. One can interpret it to indicate that the result produced by executing the wordplay is what is needed as the solution to the clue.

8d   Irish Roger /and/ English fellows in list of actors (8)

Roger Casement[7] (1864–1916), formerly known as Sir Roger Casement between 1911 and shortly before his execution for treason, when he was stripped of his knighthood and other honours, was a British diplomat of Irish extraction, humanitarian activist, Irish nationalist, and poet. Described as the "father of twentieth-century human rights investigations", he was honoured in 1905 for the Casement Report on the Congo and knighted in 1911 for his important investigations of human rights abuses in Peru. He then made efforts during World War I to gain German military aid for the 1916 Easter Rising that sought to gain Irish independence.

11d   Underground worker, a very upset // female of great wisdom (7)

In Roman mythology, Minerva[10] is the goddess of wisdom; counterpart to the Greek goddess Athena.

14d   Like a slender person /that's/ cunning, mean inside (7)

17d   No amateur discovered /to be/ intense (8)

18d   A nurse working on // insanity (8)

Unreason[10] means irrationality or madness.

19d   Film would get put here // secretly (2,6)

22d   Dangerous tree topples -- // this road // is blocked (6)

Here the definition is placed between the hidden word fodder and the hidden word indicator. The clue might have been phrased more conventionally as:
  • Dangerous tree topples blocking // this road (6)
23d   Tease a lord, being heartless /and/ vulgar (6)

24d   Lane /needs/ sweeping round far part of county (6)

27d   Region /with/ sort of oxygen -- top oxygen disappearing! (4)

O[5] is the symbol for the chemical element oxygen.
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

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