Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 — DT 28130

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28130
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Petitjean (John Pidgeon)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28130]
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


I was fairly well into this puzzle before realizing that I had solved it before. I usually find that after the passage of three or four months, a puzzle can be nearly as much of a challenge as it was on the first solve.

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   Sort of morning /for/ this Christian? (5)

The clue likely should have been worded:
  • Sort of morning /for/ this Christian sect? (5)
While a Catholic is a member of the Catholic denomination and a Baptist is a member of the Baptist denomination, I don't think that a member of the Amish sect is referred to as an Amish.

The Amish[5] are members of a strict Mennonite sect founded by the Swiss preacher Jakob Amman (or Amen) (c.1645–c.1730). Now living mainly in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Amish migrated to North America from c.1720.

4a   Firm into mobile phones /and/ poultry equipment (3,5)

10a   Cook al dente // udon noodles with the German tucking in (7)

"the German" = DER (show explanation )

In German, der[8] is one of the several forms that the definite article may assume.

hide explanation

Al dente[5] denotes (of food, typically pasta) cooked so as to be still firm when bitten.

Scratching the Surface
In Japanese cooking, udon[5] is wheat pasta made in thick strips.

11a   Little Teddy bears aren't commonly // spoilt (7)

What did I say?
In my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I referred to "ain't" as a non-U way of saying "aren’t".
Non-U[5] is an informal British term meaning (of language or social behaviour) not characteristic of the upper social classes or not socially acceptable to certain people ⇒ he’s always teasing her for her Cockney accent and her non-U turns of phrase.

12a   Incomplete tenure /for/ pasture-lands (4)

Tenure[5] denotes the conditions under which land or buildings are held or occupied.

13a   That is to accommodate elderly relative -- /it's/ vacant (5)

Vacant[5] denotes having or showing no intelligence or interest ⇒ a vacant stare.

14a   Recess /in/ rap session (4)

What did I say?
In my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I described this clue as the first lurker of the day.
Lurker is a term commonly found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog to identify a hidden word clue.

17a   Sending old news out /that shows/ verbosity (4-10)

19a   Hunt of the slugs to be resettled -- /that shows/ consideration (14)

22a   A swell breaking in another way // too (4)

Scratching the Surface
A swell[5] is a slow, regular movement of the sea in rolling waves that do not break [except, apparently. in Crosswordland] ⇒ there was a heavy swell.

23a   Prayer leaders, // ones welcoming mother (5)

In British dialect, mam[5] is an informal term for one's mother ⇒ (i) my mam would have had a fit if I'd gone out dressed like that; (ii) it was better when Mam was alive.

In Islam, an imam[10] is a leader of congregational prayer in a mosque.

24a   Mad about // opera's 'fat lady'? (4)

It ain't over till the fat lady sings[7] is an expression used to convey that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event which is still in progress. The phrase is most commonly used in association with organized competitions, particularly sports.

Delving Deeper
Amalie Materna as the valkyrie
Brünnhilde (1876)
The phrase is generally understood to be referencing the stereotypically overweight sopranos of the opera. The imagery of Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and its last part, Götterdämmerung, is typically the one used in depictions accompanying reference to the phrase. The "fat lady" is the valkyrie Brünnhilde, who is traditionally presented as a very buxom lady with horned helmet, spear and round shield (although Amalie Materna played Brünnhilde during Wagner's lifetime (1876) with a winged helmet). Her aria lasts almost twenty minutes and leads directly to the end of the whole Ring Cycle. As Götterdämmerung is about the end of the world (or at least the world of the Norse gods), in a very significant way "it is [all] over when the fat lady sings."

The first recorded use of the expression appeared in the Dallas Morning News on March 10, 1976 quoting Ralph Carpenter, sports information director of Texas Tech University, after the Texas A&M Aggies had rallied for a 72-72 tie against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Southwest Conference tournament finals [basketball presumably].

27a   Japanese massage // -- it has us reeling (7)

Shiatsu[5] is a form of therapy of Japanese origin based on the same principles as acupuncture, in which pressure is applied to certain points on the body using the hands.

28a   New joke in lavatory cubicle? // Far from current (4-3)

Loo[5] is an informal British term for a toilet.

29a   Parody // personal appearances by little fellow with energy (8)

PA[10] is the abbreviation for personal appearance [there is no indication of the context in which this term is used; does it refer to personal grooming or to the attendance of a celebrity at an event?].

Tich is an alternative spelling of titch[5], an informal British term for a small person ⇒ the titch of the class.

"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

A pastiche[5] is an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period ⇒ (i) the operetta is a pastiche of 18th century style; (ii) the songs amount to much more than blatant pastiche.

30a   Cause irritation /using/ drill on previous day (5)

Although the setter uses "drill" to clue PE (show explanation ), the term could just as well be applied to mental exercise as to physical exercise.

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

hide explanation


1d   An odd girl makes // a bloomer (4,4)

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

Arum lily[3,5] is a British name for a tall lily-like African plant which bears a large showy spathe. It is also called calla lily, especially in North America.

Scratching the Surface
Bloomer[5] is a dated informal British term for a serious or stupid mistake ⇒ he never committed a bloomer.

Behind the Picture
Lily Allen[7] is an English singer, songwriter, actress, and television presenter [host]. She comes from a British show business family. Her father is British actor, comedian, musician, singer-songwriter, artist, author and television presenter Keith Allen and her mother is English film producer Alison Owen. In 2008, she received a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Alternative Music Album category for her debut album, Alright, Still.

2d   Pub's entertaining sketch // withheld (7)

I remain to be convinced that "withheld" and "indrawn" are synonyms.

3d   Rent/'s/ gone up, we hear (4)

Hire[5] is a British term meaning:
  1. to obtain the temporary use of (something) for an agreed payment ⇒ we flew to San Diego, hired a car, and headed for Las Vegas; or
  2. to grant the temporary use of something for an agreed payment ⇒ most train stations hire out cycles.
5d   Bred // clan (8,6)

This is a double definition in which the first definition is whimsical [and thus marked with a dotted underline]. As discussed on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the clue might also be viewed as a cryptic definition.

6d   Lick // cut (4)

7d   Month's work /for/ army type? (7)

Having marked the whimsical definition in 5d with a dotted underline, for consistency I should follow suit here.

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

8d   Reed/'s/ flourished in wetlands' edges (5)

Sedge[5] is any of several genus of grass-like plant with triangular stems and inconspicuous flowers, growing typically in wet ground. Sedges are widely distributed throughout temperate and cold regions.

9d   Sad // symptom of pillow-fight victim? (4,2,3,5)

Yet another whimsical definition.

15d   Admit // pained expression greets rise of wordplay (3,2)

In the words of Dr. Johnson
Samuel Johnson[5] (1709–1784) was an English lexicographer, writer, critic, and conversationalist; known as Dr Johnson. A leading figure in the literary London of his day, he is noted particularly for his Dictionary of the English Language (1755), his edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare (1765), and The Lives of the English Poets (1779–81). James Boswell's biography of Johnson records details of his life and conversation.

Johnson disparagingly referred to punning as the lowest form of humour.[7]

16d   King meets mistress /to give/ a ring (5)

"king" = K (show explanation )

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

Nell Gwyn[5] (1650–1687) was an English actress; full name Eleanor Gwyn. Originally an orange seller, she became famous as a comedienne at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. She was a mistress of Charles II.

18d   See dons get free // cut of meat (8)

"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

An escalope[5] (also escallop)  is a thin slice of meat without any bone, typically a special cut of veal from the leg that is coated, fried, and served in a sauce.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, a don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

20d   Ironic title /for/ that writer's points (3,4)

Nibs[5] is a mock title used to refer to a self-important man, especially one in authority ⇒ his nibs expects things to be organized to suit him.

"His nibs" would certainly be an "ironic title" for a pretentious writer.

21d   Eat pile -- strangely, it's one way to do this (7)

22d   A model's upset -- // this man told stories (5)

Aesop[5,10] (?620–564 BC) was a Greek storyteller and author of fables in which animals are given human characters and used to satirize human failings. The moral animal fables associated with him were probably collected from many sources, and initially communicated orally. Aesop is said to have lived as a slave on the island of Samos.

25d   A case // in perpetuity (4)

Etui[5] is a dated term for a small ornamental case for holding needles, cosmetics, and other articles ⇒ an exquisite etui fitted with scissors, bodkin, and thimble.

26d   Spell // span incorrectly (4)
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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