Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 — DT 28137

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28137
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, June 10, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28137]
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


I found today's puzzle to be quite typical of what we have come to expect from Giovanni.

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   Bits of food // terrible, about to be eaten -- gosh! (11)

Crumbs[5] (a euphemism for Christ) is an informal British term used used to express dismay or surprise ‘Crumbs,’ said Emily, ‘how embarrassing.’.

9a   Heartless denier of his friend, // look (4)

St Peter[5] is an Apostle; born Simon. Peter (‘stone’) is the name given him by Jesus, signifying the rock on which he would establish his Church. He is regarded by Roman Catholics as the first bishop of the Church at Rome, where he is said to have been martyred in about AD 67. He is often represented as the keeper of the door of heaven. 

In the Christian Bible, all four canonical gospels recount that, during the Last Supper, Jesus accurately foretold that Peter would deny him three times before the following cockcrow ("before the cock crows twice" in Mark's account).[7]

10a   An attractive // number (11)

"Number" is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of 'something that numbs'.

Aesthetic[5] is the British spelling of esthetic.

Anaesthetic[5] is the British spelling of anesthetic.

11a   Don't hunt him with dogs -- bring back the guns! (4)

Gat[10] is a mainly US slang term for a pistol or revolver (origin: shortened from Gatling gun).

Delving Deeper
The slang expression gat does derive — directly, or indirectly — from Gatling gun[5] (the first practical machine gun which was developed during the US Civil War). Most sources seem to suggest that the term arose as gangster slang and dates from the prohibition era (the 1920s and early 1930s) in the United States. Wiktionary claims that gat is additionally an archaic slang term for a Gatling gun which was used in old westerns. However, that may simply be a case of early 20th century screenwriters misapplying what was then current-day lingo to a past period of history. The American Heritage Dictionary, Oxford Dictionaries Online. and Collins English Dictionary all define gat[3,5,10] as meaning a pistol or revolver (despite its etymology) while Wiktionary says a gat is "Any type of gun; usually a pistol". Several entries at the Urban Dictionary claim that gat was coined by American gangsters during prohibition as slang for the Thompson submachine gun (or Tommy gun). Of course, the Urban Dictionary is likely among the most unreliable sources on the Internet. The Online Etymology Dictionary perhaps gives a hint as to the evolution of the word gat which it defines as a revolver, and dates the usage to 1904 (pre-prohibition). It also says that the etymology is a "slang shortening of Gatling (gun)". Furthermore, it goes on to say that "by 1880, gatlin was slang for a gun of any sort". So, it would seem to make sense that the word Gatling meaning a specific type of machine gun (from the 1860s) might first have been shortened to 'gatlin' which came to mean a gun of any sort (by the 1880s), and — in a second stage of evolution — was further shortened to 'gat' in the early 1900s. The word would now seem to have pretty much lost its sense of a gun of any sort and refer almost exclusively to a pistol or revolver.

14a   Proceeded with difficulty, // kitchen device having leaked (7)

Hob[5] is a British term for a cooking appliance, or the flat top part of a cooker [kitchen stove], with hotplates [heating elements of an electric range*] or burners [of a gas range*].
* Brits would not refer to these appliances as 'ranges'. To them, a range is a stove with a firebox and a stove with top-mounted elements or burners is known as a cooker.
16a   The German scoundrels returning // took leading roles (7)

"the German" = DER (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

17a   Unprofessional types /showing/ sloppiness, but don't get cross! (5)

18a   Causes 'urt /to/ members (4)

The clue is a play on the cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London which is characterized by dropping H from the beginning of words.

19a   Work needed -- // this joint // has got restricted (4)

In this unusual clue construction, the setter has managed to place the definition in the middle of the clue between the hidden word fodder and hidden word indicator..

20a   Book // a sailor brought back (5)

22a   Money for job when worker is in // town (7)

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

The word "worker" is commonly used in cryptic crossword puzzles to clue ANT or BEE.

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

Wantage[7] is a market town and civil parish in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, England that is situated15 miles (24 km) south-west of Oxford.

Historically part of Berkshire, it is notable as the birthplace of King Alfred the Great in 849. In 1974 the area administered by Berkshire County Council was greatly reduced, and Wantage, in common with other territories South of the River Thames, became part of a considerably enlarged Oxfordshire.

23a   Is yours truly coming in skinny? // Organic substance // needed (7)

Once again, the setter contrives to position the definition in the middle of the clue. The word "needed" — despite coming at the end of the clue — plays a role identical to that of the link word "needing"in 12d.

Thiamin[10] is an alternative spelling of thiamine (also known as vitamin B1), a soluble white crystalline vitamin that occurs in the outer coat of rice and other grains. It forms part of the vitamin B complex and is essential for carbohydrate metabolism; deficiency leads to nervous disorders and to the disease beriberi.

24a   Famous South African /in/ a short skirt (4)

Desmond Tutu[5] is a South African clergyman. As General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (1979–84) he became a leading voice in the struggle against apartheid. He was Archbishop of Cape Town 1986–96. Nobel Peace Prize (1984).

28a   Vigorous /and/ in no need of a transfusion? (4-7)

29a   Cross /and/ offensive, by the sound of it (4)

Rood[2,3,10] denotes:
  1. a crucifix, especially a large one set on a beam or screen at the entrance to the chancel of a church; or
  2. (archaic or literary) the Cross on which Christ was crucified.
30a   Promotion /from/ publicists not ultimately enthralling Packard (11)

Vance Packard[7] (1914–1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and author.

Scratching the Surface
In The Hidden Persuaders[7] , first published in 1957, Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era. He identified eight "compelling needs" that advertisers promise products will fulfill. According to Packard these needs are so strong that people are compelled to buy products to satisfy them. The book also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. The book questions the morality of using these techniques.


2d   Managed to come before king in status (4)

"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

3d   Wild person at party losing head, // say (4)

4d   Strange dialect /in/ SA hall (7)

The Salvation Army[5] (abbreviation SA) is a worldwide Christian evangelical organization on quasi-military lines. Established in 1865 by William Booth, an English Methodist revivalist preacher, it is noted for its work with the poor and for its brass bands. A Salvation Army meeting hall is known as a citadel[5].

5d   Chemical // stuck in your ears (4)

Urea[5] is a colourless crystalline compound which is the main nitrogenous breakdown product of protein metabolism in mammals and is excreted in urine.

The surface reading certainly evokes a rather amusing — if distasteful — image.

6d   By carrying torch, maybe, /you can see/ home from afar (7)

Torch[10] — in addition to its historical meaning — is the British name for a flashlight.

Blighty[5,10] is an informal British term for Britain or England, used by soldiers of the First and Second World Wars. For troops serving abroad the term signified 'home'.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat refers to the solution to the clue as Tommy Atkins’ term for Britain when serving abroad.
The word tommy[5,10] (also Tommy or Tommy Atkins) is an informal British term for a private in the British Army. The term originates from the use of the name Thomas Atkins in specimens of completed official forms in the British army during the 19th century.

7d   Tudor yeomen looking silly /in/ old book (11)

In Crosswordland, the phrase "religious books" — or often merely the word "books" — is commonly used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). Today the setter very specifically zeroes in on an individual book within one of these set of books.

Deuteronomy[10] is the fifth book of the Old Testament, containing a second statement of the Mosaic Law.

Scratching the Surface
A Yeoman of the Guard[5] (also called beefeater) is a member of the British sovereign's bodyguard, first established by Henry VII, now having only ceremonial duties and wearing Tudor dress as uniform.

8d   Generate din, going mad /as/ one sort of actress (11)

12d   Seabirds /needing/ rare wash set out (11)

The shearwater[3,5,11] is a long-winged seabird related to the petrels, often flying low over the surface of the water far from land in search of food. Its long slender wings appear to shear the water as the bird flies along the surface.

13d   A nasty smell on road --- country // thing that's disgusting (11)

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

15d   Old Italian // smoker died making ascent (5)

Mount Etna[5] is a volcano in eastern Sicily, rising to 3,323 m (10,902 ft). It is the highest and most active volcano in Europe.

Dante[5] (1265–1321), full name Dante Alighieri, was an Italian poet. His reputation rests chiefly on The Divine Comedy (circa 1309–20), an epic poem describing his spiritual journey through Hell and Purgatory and finally to Paradise. His love for Beatrice Portinari is described in Vita nuova (circa 1290-4).

16d   Animal // rested before getting tucked in (5)

The two-letter word means "before" when one is telling time.

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.

20d   A good lot of drinks /gets one/ unable to move somehow (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

21d   Something unpleasant in bag /is/ a resin (7)

A sac[10] is a pouch, bag, or pouchlike part in an animal or plant.

25d   Run away briefly when meeting a // bloodsucker (4)

26d   Big sound /from/ the heart? Not the heart (4)

27d   Writer said /to be/ a founder of state (4)

William Penn[5] (1644–1718) was an English Quaker, founder of Pennsylvania. Having been imprisoned in 1668 for his Quaker writings, he was granted a charter to land in North America by Charles II. He founded the colony of Pennsylvania as a sanctuary for Quakers and other Nonconformists in 1682.
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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