Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016 — DT 28132

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28132
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28132 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28132 – 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.


The National Post delivers a not-too-testing "Saturday" puzzle to wrap up the workweek.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

The "Not Ready for Prime Time" Dictionary

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I frequently cite Oxford Dictionaries in my reviews. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, Oxford Dictionaries suffers from a chronic obsession to fiddle with its website. Invariably, these changes cause existing links to its website to fail. If that were the only impact, it might not be so bad; but that is far from the worst consequence. I would presume that the restructuring is accomplished using some (unfortunately poorly thought out) automated algorithm to convert existing website code to the format demanded by the new structure. This can produce rather bizarre results and downright errors in the content — a couple of which I ran across today.

For instance, lord[5] is now defined as:
  • lord NOUN 1.2  (in the UK) the House of Lords, or its members collectively.
Before the most recent fiddling, the definition would have appeared something like:
  • lord NOUN 1.2 (the Lords) (in the UK) the House of Lords, or its members collectively.
Somehow during the conversion process, the crucial information that this definition applies only when the word is capitalized and preceded by the word "the" has been lost.

As a second example, haw[5] is now defined as:

  • haw3 VERB see omitted unresolving XREF to "hum and haw " at hum.
There is a common expression (that I could not find in Oxford Dictionaries) "not ready for prime time" denoting an artistic production (or commercial product) that is rushed to stage or screen (or the marketplace) without adequate rehearsal (or testing). It seems apropos in the circumstances.

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   Set // Heath back like a member of the House of Lords (10)

Sir Edward Heath[5] (1916–2005) [commonly known as Ted Heath] was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1970-4. He negotiated Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community and faced problems caused by a marked increase in oil prices. Attempts to restrain wage rises [raises] led to widespread strikes and he lost a general election after a second national coal strike.

In the UK, the House of Lords[5] is the higher chamber of Parliament, composed of peers [nobles] and bishops.

Ermine[5] is the white fur of the stoat (show explanation ), used for trimming garments, especially the ceremonial robes of judges or peers (members of the nobility in Britain or Ireland) ⇒ the men were dressed in costly ermine and sable-edged cloaks.

The stoat[5] (also known as the ermine, especially when in its white winter coat) is a small carnivorous mammal (Mustela erminea) of the weasel family which has chestnut fur with white underparts and a black-tipped tail. It is native to both Eurasia and North America and in northern areas the coat turns white in winter. In North America, it is known as the short-tailed weasel.

hide explanation

6a   Restrain // youngster crossing road initially (4)

9a   A politician like Gladstone, one // being in another place (5)

William Ewart Gladstone[5] (1809–1898) was a British Liberal statesman, prime minister 1868–74, 1880-5, 1886, and 1892-4. At first a Conservative minister, he later joined the Liberal Party, becoming its leader in 1867. His ministries saw the introduction of elementary education, the passing of the Irish Land Acts and the third Reform Act, and his campaign in favour of Home Rule for Ireland.

"liberal" = LIB (show explanation )

The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2]) in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists.

Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party in Britain—likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5])—Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

hide explanation

Although I initially questioned the precision of the definition, a bit of research turned up an example sentence for the word alibi[5] on the Oxford Dictionaries website in which the phrase given in the clue could be directly substituted ⇒ a defense of alibi.

10a   Second villain taking small wood // decoration (9)

In Australia and New Zealand, crim[5] is an informal short form for criminal.

Shaw[10] is an archaic or dialect term for a small wood, thicket, or copse.

Scrimshaw[3,10] is the art of carving or incising intricate designs on whalebone, shells, ivory, etc. often done by sailors as a leisure activity.

I arrived at the solution via a slightly more circuitous route than did crytpicsue, having parsed the wordplay as:

S (second; abbrev.) + CRIM (villain) + S (small; abbev.) + HAW (wood)

Haw[10] is another name for hawthorn[5,10] (in Britain, also called may, may treemayflower, quickthorn, or whitethorn), any of various thorny trees or shrubs of the rose family (especially Crataegus oxyacantha) having white, pink, or red blossoms and small dark red fruits (haws). Native to north temperate regions, it is commonly used for hedging in Britain.

On reflection, I suppose that the wood of the hawthorn is not useful in the same way as the wood of a cherry or oak tree and thus the word hawthorn (or haw) is likely used only in the sense of a plant and not in the sense of a material used in woodworking.

12a   A carefulness I cultivated /for/ security (4,9)

Assurance[10] is a mainly British term for insurance providing for certainties such as death as contrasted with fire or theft.

14a   Sailor's piece of literature // a form of art (8)

"sailor" = AB (show explanation )

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

hide explanation

Abstract[10] is an adjective denoting art characterized by geometric, formalized, or otherwise nonrepresentational qualities.

15a   Work with the grain (6)

If your first thought was woodworking, this clue was cryptic for you; if your mind immediately focused on farming, it was not so cryptic.

17a   Changed one's position /with/ pronounced diplomacy (6)

Tack[10] (with allusion to sailing) means to to follow a zigzag route or keep changing one's course of action.

19a   Point out clearly // what you shouldn't need to do in paperless office (8)

Post[5] is a chiefly British term for mail[5], including in the sense of letters and parcels sent or received. Is it not rather ironic that the post is delivered in Britain by the Royal Mail while the mail in Canada is delivered by Canada Post? 

Signpost[10] (as a verb) means to indicate direction towards ⇒ the camp site is signposted from the road.

21a   Controlling influence // deployed in emergencies (8,5)

An éminence grise[10] is a person who wields power and influence unofficially or behind the scenes.

24a   Outwit dealer, perhaps /using/ public spirit and pressure (9)

"pressure" = P (show explanation )

In physics, p[5] is a symbol used to represent pressure in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

In card games such as bridge and whist, overtrump[5] (another term for overruff[5]) means to play a trump that is higher than one already played in the same trick ⇒ there was a danger that West would be able to overruff.

25a   Small figure /offered by/ popular group (5)

26a   Fork part /of/ river to be sounded (4)

The Tyne[5,10] is a river in northeastern England, formed by the confluence of two headstreams, the North Tyne, which rises in the Cheviot Hills, and the South Tyne, which rises in the northern Pennines. It flows generally eastwards, entering the North Sea at Tynemouth. Length: 48 km (30 miles)

27a   It's normal to hold gun mostly /for/ what sentry does (5,5)


1d   Chapter head /for/ a penetrating study (4)

A dean[7], in a religious context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Lutheran Church.

In the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the dean is the chief resident cleric of a cathedral or other collegiate church and the head of the chapter of canons. If the cathedral or collegiate church has its own parish, the dean is usually also rector of the parish.

2d   Weapon carried in street over // minor matters (7)

3d   Check with regard to concrete // support (13)

Strictly speaking, cement is a component of concrete. However, in common parlance, the two words are used interchangeably. For instance, one is far more likely to hear the term "cement truck" than the more correct term "concrete truck".

4d   Example // that could be provided by ancients (8)

5d   Wound up holding top-class // currency (5)

"top-class" = 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

7d   International body's pivotal point // to make slightly mad (7)

"international body" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations[5] (abbreviation UN) is an international organization of countries set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace, security, and cooperation.

hide explanation

8d   Cricketer has to secure tons /in/ derbies (6,4)

In cricket, a bowler[5] is member of the fielding side who bowls or is bowling — bowling[7] being  the action of propelling the ball toward the wicket defended by a batsman.

Derby[5] is the North American name for a bowler hat — bowler[5] (also bowler hat) being a chiefly British name for a man’s hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown. The North American name is said to arise from American demand for a hat of the type worn at the Epsom Derby [a prestigious British horse race — not to mention a major event on the British social calendar].

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading obvously alludes to cricket, although the finer points may be lost on a North Amerian audience.

Ton[5] is an informal British term for a hundred, in particular a speed of 100 mph, a score of 100 or more, or a sum of £100 ⇒ he scored 102 not out, his third ton of the tour.

I would think that it is likely far more common for a cricketer to score 100 runs in a match than it is for a player to score a hat trick in hockey. After all, a cricket match takes five days to play while a regulation hockey game lasts a mere sixty minutes.

Derby[5] (or local derby) is a British term for a sports match between two rival teams from the same area.

11d   Advertising material // reaching minds in original way (13)

Merchandising[5] is used in the sense of branded products used to promote a film, pop group, etc., or linked to a fictional character ⇒ the characters are still popular and found on a wide variety of merchandising.

13d   Endure holiday centre // when nothing else is available (4,6)

16d   Gets vessel holding starter of guacamole /for/ jumbo spread perhaps (8)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, starter[5] is a chiefly British term [according to Oxford Dictionaries, but certainly a term that is by no means foreign to Canada] meaning the first course of a meal.

18d   Take offence over an // old war (7)

The wordplay parses as CRIME (offence) positioned before (take ... over; in a Down clue) AN (from the clue)

The Crimean War[10] was a war fought mainly in the Crimea between Russia on one side and Turkey, France, Sardinia, and Britain on the other (1853-56).

20d   Golf tournament spot, reportedly // somewhere far out in the main (4,3)

An open[10] is a sports competition which anyone may enter. In golf, the four major championships for men[7] are considered to be (in order of play date) the Masters Tournment, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship. The third of these — the only one of these four events to be played outside the US — is known around the world as the British Open but in typically British fashion is known within the UK as simply The Open.

The main[5] is an archaic or literary term for the open ocean.

22d   Tell // nobleman (5)

Tell[5], accord to Oxford Dictionaries, is an archaic term meaning to count (the members of a group) ⇒ the shepherd had told all his sheep. Collins English Dictionary reveals that tell[10] can mean to count (votes). From The American Heritage Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, we learn that tell[3,11] can mean to enumerate or count ⇒ (i) telling one's blessings; (ii) 16 windows, all told.

A count[5] is a foreign [from a British perspective] nobleman whose rank corresponds to that of an earl.

23d   Breeding establishment // boss (4)

Stud[3] can denote not only a male animal, such as a stallion, that is kept for breeding, but also either:
  1. group of animals, especially horses, kept for breeding; or
  2. a stable or farm where these animals are kept.
I have always supposed that the latter two usages were British, but these definitions all come from an American dictionary.

A few years ago, on a visit to Ireland, I could not resist purchasing a sweatshirt across the front of which was emblazoned the name of the establishment where it was purchased "Irish National Stud". It proved to be a great conversation piece back in Canada.

A boss[5] is a stud on the centre of a shield.
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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