Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 — DT 28136

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28136
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, June 9, 2016
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28136]
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 has skipped DT 28134 and DT 28135 which were published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 and Wednesday, June 8, 2016.


The National Post has taken a leap forward today, landing on a fairly gentle "Thursday" puzzle from RayT. I checked and there seem to be no printing errors in the puzzle today — unlike the egregious situation yesterday where two "fielders" found religion and became "elders".

At the time that this puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph, parts of France — including Paris — were experiencing severe flooding. Thus the comment in the intro to Kath's review expressing her hope that RayT (a resident of Paris) has survived unscathed.

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   Spoilt star with nerves /getting/ cross (10)

6a   Stunner // starts to bare all becoming excited (4)

As Kath says in her review, this is "a Ray T special" — on two counts. Not only is it a trademark RayT initialism style clue but it has a mildly risqué surface reading.

The "robes" that Kath uses to illustrate the clue — while certainly stunning — are hardly ones that I would call "dresses".

9a   Sweetheart wearing sacks /for/ dresses (5)

"sweetheart" = E (show explanation )

A common cryptic crossword construct is to use the word "sweetheart" to clue E, the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

hide explanation

10a   Stop swallowing most of beer, /it's/ common (9)

12a   Insignificant // balls in over seen in Test (7)

In cricket, an over[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.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] denotes an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

13a   Knight perhaps // clear in front of Queen (5)

"Queen" = ER (show explanation ). This is another RayT trademark. Her Majesty almost invariably makes an appearance in his puzzles — although Queen is apparently actually a shout out to his favourite rock band.

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](3) — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

15a   Paragraph's opening covered /and/ checked (7)

17a   Fantastic man? Not half! (7)

After due consideration, I have decided to mark this clue a bit differently than Kath did as "fantastic" is an adjective and the solution is a noun. I would think the clue is a cryptic definition which we need to interpret as "fantastic half-man".

19a   Most indiscreet // break around tree (7)

21a   Folds /and/ quits holding King (7)

"king" = 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).

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Before being corrected, there was an error in this clue on the Telegraph Puzzles website. However, it appeared correctly in the print edition of The Daily Telegraph and it is printed correctly today in the National Post.

22a   Surprised expressions, catching front of perfect // body (5)

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

24a   Body /of/ motor first off contains dipstick (7)

Motor[5] is an informal British term for a car we drove out in my motor.

Corps[5] may denote either:
  1. a military body with a specific function ⇒ (i) intelligence corps; (ii) medical corps; or
  2. a body of people associated together the diplomatic corps.
27a   France possibly consumes the compiler's // life (9)

"compiler's" = IM (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

Today, the setter has made the scenario slightly more complicated by combining "compiler" with the verb "to be" producing "compiler's" (a contraction of "compiler is") which must be replaced by "I'm" (a contraction of "I am").

hide explanation

28a   Supporter, very ordinary // one provides uplift (5)

The solution is something (one) [that] provides uplift, i.e., a shout of approval.

Historically, in the UK (with the exception of Scotland), O level[5] (short for ordinary level[5]) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A (advanced) level. It was replaced in 1988 by the  GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

"very" = V (show explanation )

The abbreviation v (or v.)[1,2,5,10] stands for very. Although this definition is found in most of my British dictionaries, it does not appear in any of my American dictionaries. Unfortunately no explanation is given as to the specific context in which might encounter this usage. The only example that I can think of is when combined with G as a grade of VG (very good) on school tests or assignments.

hide explanation

29a   Greek god/'s/ angry being overthrown (4)

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite — the Roman equivalent being Cupid.

30a   Measure // beat in heart (10)


1d   Hasty repair securing // part of car (4)

Tyre[5] is the British spelling of tire, in the sense of a part of an automobile.

2d   Bird /by/ altar sobs uncontrollably (9)

3d   Initially some uncooked seafood's hidden in // dish (5)

I would say that this is a simple clue with wordplay and definition as marked above.

Although in other circumstances "uncooked seafood" (as Kath shows in her review) would make a fine definition, in this clue it is part of the wordplay and could, at most, be only part of the definition were one to consider this to be a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue:
  • Initially some uncooked seafood's hidden in dish (5)
in which the entire clue would serve as the definition.

4d   English politician confined /then/ cleared (7)

"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (or MP[5] for short).

hide explanation

5d   The woman will put on endless // varnish (7)

7d   Change // commercial about knights perhaps (5)

8d   Kirk's ship/'s/ log on power increase (10)

"power" = P (show explanation )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power [among other things] in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

James T. Kirk is a fictional character in the Star Trek franchise. As the captain of the starship USS Enterprise, Kirk leads his crew as they explore "where no man has gone before".

Scratching the Surface
In Star Trek, the scene was commonly set by a voice-over reading from the Captain's log as described in this entry from Wikipedia on a related subject:
A stardate[7] is a fictional system of time measurement developed for the television and film series Star Trek. In the series, use of this date system is commonly heard at the beginning of a voice-over log entry such as "Captain's log, stardate 41153.7. Our destination is planet Deneb IV..." While the general idea resembles the Julian day currently used by astronomers, writers and producers have selected numbers using different methods over the years, some more arbitrary than others. This makes it impossible to convert all stardates into equivalent calendar dates, especially since stardates were originally intended to disguise the precise era of Star Trek.

11d   Set out for Himalayas, maybe touring Everest's // heart (7)

The Himalayas[5] are a vast mountain system in southern Asia, extending 2,400 km (1,500 miles) from Kashmir eastwards to Assam. The Himalayas consist of a series of parallel ranges rising up from the Ganges basin to the Tibetan plateau, at over 3,000 m above sea level. The backbone is the Great Himalayan Range, the highest mountain range in the world, with several peaks rising to over 7,700 m (25,000 ft), the highest being Mount Everest.

14d   Tapas recipe changed, missing Southern // relish (10)

Scratching the Surface

A tapa[3,11] (often tapas, especially in British dictionaries where the singular — for the most part — does not exist [explore further ]) is any of various small, savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack or appetizer (typically with wine or beer) or with other tapas as a meal.

Oxford Dictionaries explains the etymology as Spanish tapa, literally 'cover, lid' (because the dishes were given free with the drink, served on a dish balanced on, therefore ‘covering’, the glass).[5]

Among my regular online reference sources, the singular version (tapa[3,11]) is found in the two American dictionaries, but not in the three British dictionaries (which list the word only in the plural, tapas[2,4,5,10]). However, the singular version tapa[1] is found in my hard-copy edition of The Chambers Dictionary.


16d   Delivers excellent rearing // plant (7)

"excellent" = A1 (show explanation )

A1[4][5] or A-one[3] meaning first class or excellent comes from a classification for ships in The Lloyd's Register of Shipping where it means equipped to the highest standard or first-class.

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Freesia[5] is a small southern African plant of the genus Freesia with fragrant, colourful, tubular flowers, many varieties of which are cultivated for the cut-flower trade.

18d   Pass is tantalisingly going round // teammate (9)

20d   Substantial // moggie up on roof (7)

Moggie[5] (or moggy) is an informal British term for a cat, typically one that is does not have a pedigree or is otherwise unremarkable ⇒ I have three other cats (two moggies and one Bengal/Tonkinese cross).

Tile[10] means to cover (in this case, a roof) with tiles (a common roofing material in Britain).

21d   Gold item seen in court? (7)

This is an &lit.[7] clue (sometimes called an all-in-one clue). The entire clue (when read one way) is the definition, but under a different interpretation takes on the role of wordplay.

"gold" = OR (show explanation )

Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

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"court" = CT (show explanation )

Ct[2] is the abbreviation for Court in street addresses — and possibly in other contexts as well.

hide explanation

A coronet[5] is a small or relatively simple crown, especially as worn by lesser royalty and peers or peeresses.

23d   Greek character holding smart // beast responsible for charges? (5)

Rho[5] is the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ρ, ρ).

25d   Work /for/ a pound, with hesitation (5)

26d   Model, // outsize, getting into exercise (4)

The sizes of clothing that North Americans would describe as plus-size[7] (or often big and tall in the case of men's clothing) would be called outsize (abbreviation OS[5]) in Britain.

"exercise" = PE (show explanation )

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

hide explanation
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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