Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016 — DT 27664 (Labour Day 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matter well-tuned, I am providing a puzzle that the National Post has skipped (drawn from my reserve of reviews for unpublished puzzles).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 27664 which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, December 4, 2014 and was the first of two puzzles skipped by the National Post on Wednesday, May 5, 2015.

Today — being Labour Day — brings this series of Summer Bonus Puzzles to a close. I hope you enjoyed them. I also hope you enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27664
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27664]
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 Wednesday, May 5, 2015.


Pommers seems not to have found this puzzle difficult. I, on the other hand, found it to be quite a challenge. However, I stuck with it and very slowly managed to work my way through it without resorting to electronic aids. Judging by the comments on Big Dave's site, I am not the only one to find the puzzle difficult. However, there is no clear consensus—with opinion split between those who found it easy and the rest of us.

However, visitors to Big Dave's site do appear to concur on one point—a crêperie is not a bistro.

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   United game almost different /in/ size (9)

6a   Flavour that's enthralled wife /in/ manner of speaking (5)

9a   Movement dependent on blades? (7)

Scratching the Surface
Torvill and Dean[7] (Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean) are British ice dancers and former British, European, Olympic and World champions. At the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics the pair became the highest scoring figure skaters of all time (for a single programme) receiving twelve perfect 6.0s and six 5.9s which included artistic impression scores of 6.0 from every judge, after skating to Maurice Ravel's Bolero.

10a   Skeletal // cadet a mite upset wanting one bit of tuck (9)

Scratching the Surface
Tuck[5] is an informal British term for food eaten by children at school as a snack ⇒ The projects being piloted in 500 schools across the country include a crackdown on unhealthy foods in school tuck shops and vending machines.

11a   Consider // judge academic? Not half (7)

12a   In valley there's a journalist /to be/ picked up (7)

13a   Pedestrian facility // scarce in sloping ground (7,8)

As an anagram indicator, ground is the past tense or past participle of the verb grind[5]. An anagram indicator is a word that denotes movement or transformation. Grind denotes transformation, for example, in the sense of wheat being ground into flour.

Pelican crossing[5] is a British term for a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights operated by pedestrians. The name comes from pe(destrian) li(ght) con(trolled), altered to conform with the bird's name.

Missing Illustration
Well, it's a pelican crossing

17a   Filling for avocado pie, sticky /and/ extremely thick (7)

19a   Girl hosted by military bigwig /in/ horse race (7)

CIC[1] is the abbreviation for Commander-in-Chief.

In horse racing in Great Britain, the British Classics[7] are a series of five horse races run over the flat (i.e., without jumps) for thoroughbreds. Each classic is run once each year and is restricted to horses that are three years old.

22a   Start of the fall of the 'New Yorker'? (9)

Fall5 is the North American term for what is known in the UK as autumn[5].

Scratching the Surface
The word fall[7] actually came to North America from England. Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season, as is common in other West Germanic languages to this day (cf. Dutch herfst and German Herbst). However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.

The term fall came to denote the season in 16th century England. During the 17th century, English emigration to the British colonies in North America was at its peak, and the new settlers took the English language with them. While the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, I would think that in Canada the terms fall and autumn are used interchangeably and with roughly equal frequency.

The New Yorker[7] is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. It is published by Condé Nast. Started as a weekly in 1925, the magazine is now published 47 times annually, with five of these issues covering two-week spans.

23a   Academic talk // remains to be reviewed (7)

24a   100 taken in by enticement /for/ money (5)

25a   Feline heard to rouse // bird (9)

The kittiwake[5] is either of two species of small gull that nests in colonies on sea cliffs, having a loud call that resembles its name.


1d   Greek character mostly behind // gathering (6)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

2d   Elegant // nation in gulf represented (8)

3d   View implement, we hear, /in/ frozen form (6)

Missing Illustration
It's frozen stuff, not the kitten, that you're supposed to be looking at.

4d   Piece of fur gentlewoman's // pressing (6)

5d   Risk // making one become mellow presumably (8)

6d   Sits about around cafe, right away /giving/ order (8)

7d   Novelist /in/ Texan city for speech (6)

Austin[5] is the state capital of Texas; population 757,688 (est. 2008). First settled in 1835, it was named in 1839 after Stephen F. Austin, son of Moses Austin, leader of the first Texas colony.

Jane Austen[5] (1775–1817) was an English novelist. Her major novels are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1818), and Persuasion (1818). They are notable for skilful characterization, dry wit, and penetrating social observation.

8d   One having lead to provide vision? (5,3)

Lead[5] is a British term for a strap or cord for restraining and guiding a dog or other domestic animal ⇒ the dog is our constant walking companion and is always kept on a lead. However, the word lead[3] is found in The American Heritage Dictionary as another name for a leash.

Missing Illustration
I was unable to recover this illustration which pommers labelled "Guide dog puppy".

13d   Support /in/ gym lasted when exercising (8)

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education (or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days). 

14d   Clubs agent's taken over lake // bistro (8)

C[1] is the abbreviation for clubs, a suit in a deck of cards.

A crêperie[5] is a small restaurant, typically one in France, in which a variety of crêpes are served ⇒ Brittany’s many crêperies are a perennial favourite.

15d   Numbers, say, after revolutionary school // computer (8)

Numbers[5] is the fourth book of the Bible, relating the experiences of the Israelites in the wilderness after Moses led them out of Egypt.

 Eton College[7], often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent [private] school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is located in Eton, near Windsor in England, and is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. [Note: In Britain, "public schools" are a special class of private school; what North Americans would call public schools are referred to in Britain as state schools or by terms such as state-run or state-funded schools].

16d   It's impossible to get out in this state? (8)

18d   Spirit given sudden shake /is/ good for digestion (6)

19d   My group /in/ stiff attire (6)

My[5] is used in various phrases—or even on its ownas an expression of surprise (i)my goodness!; (ii) oh my!.

Cor[5] is an informal British exclamation expressing surprise, excitement, admiration, or alarm ⇒ Cor! That‘s a beautiful black eye you’ve got!.

Missing Illustration
I was unable to recover this illustration which pommers labelled "Corset".

20d   Old boys /from/ a liberal college defending spymaster (6)

Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party[5], Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

Uni[5] is an informal [seemingly British] term for university he planned to go to uni.

M[7] is a fictional character in Ian Fleming's James Bond books; the character is the Head of Secret Intelligence Service—also known as MI6.

In Britain, an old boy[5] is (1) a former male student of a school or college ⇒an old boy of Banbury County School or (2) a former male member of a sports team or company ⇒the White Hart Lane old boy squared the ball to present an easy chance from 12 yards. It is also a chiefly British affectionate form of address to a boy or man ⇒ ‘Look here, old boy,’ he said.

21d   Accuse // person in care (6)
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 printing this and all the other Monday puzzles over the summer.

    I'm with BD folks who found it more challenging. Needed electronic help on a few clues in order to finish.

    Please take a look at the cryptic clues I posted with the Saturday comments. I'd like to hear what you think of them.

    1. See my comments on the Saturday post.

  2. Waaaay too hard for me. I was able to fill the bottom half (happy to remember COR but stymied on how ALUMNI could be parsed) but was unable to negotiate the PELICAN CROSSING - I only knew the zebra one. In the upper tier, I could only get URGENT, AUSTEN, and SKATING: not enough crosses to help. I missed the following anagram signals: different, ground, represented. I wondered about CREPERIE and bistro, but really raise an eyebrow at the idea that an American cafe is a DINEr. Anyway, back to cryptic Kindergarten for me.

    1. No shame there ... it was a fairly difficult puzzle despite pommers two star difficulty rating. I wrote the review well over a year ago but judging by my remarks in the Introduction, I seem to have found it to be rather challenging.

      Also, I should add a note of explanation regarding the "Missing Illustrations". At the time that I wrote the review, some illustrations on Big Dave's site were not showing up and I would include them in my blog if I were able to recover them. However, I see that they are no longer "missing" on Big Dave's site. Oh, the idiosyncrasies of the Internet!

    2. Thanks for the reply, Falcon, and for posting these bonus puzzles all summer. I've very much enjoyed trying my hand at them.