Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016 — DT 27631 (Thanksgiving Bonus Puzzle)


Today being Thanksgiving Day in Canada, the National Post did not publish. To provide readers of this 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grey matter well-tuned, I am providing a puzzle that the National Post has skipped (drawn from my reserve of reviews of unpublished puzzles). Today I offer you DT 27631 which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, October 27, 2014 and was the first of six puzzles skipped by the National Post on Friday, April 17, 2015.

I also hope you enjoy what for many of you will be the only long weekend of the fall. I am sure that it will not be turkeys alone that get stuffed today.
Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27631
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, October 27, 2014
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27631]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave
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 Friday, April 17, 2015.


Although Big Dave may have found this puzzle to be deserving of only a mere single star for difficulty, I struggled a bit with it and needed some electronic assistance to finish.

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   What sales staff record in a ledger? (6,2,5)

What is recorded in the ledger could also describe the ledger itself.

10a   Study // soft-hearted bug (7)

"soft" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

11a   Callas initially given divine voice -- /but/ little craft? (7)

An oracle[5] is a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from the gods in classical antiquity. 

Coracle[5] (a term used especially in Wales and Ireland) denotes a small round boat made of wickerwork covered with a watertight material, propelled with a paddle.

Scratching the Surface
Maria Callas[5] (1923–1977) was an American-born operatic soprano, of Greek parentage; born Maria Cecilia Anna Kalageropoulos. She was a coloratura soprano whose bel canto style of singing was especially suited to 19th-century Italian opera.

12a   After bringing it back again, // show fatigue (4)

13a   Settle // a rise in salary (3,2)

Rise[5] is the British term for an increase in salary or wages ⇒ non-supervisory staff were given a 5 per cent rise — the equivalent term in North America being raise[5]he wants a raise and some perks.

14a   Circle an island // sultanate (4)

The Isle of Man[5] (abbreviation IOM[5]) is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system.

Oman[7], officially the Sultanate of Oman, is an Arab country in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

17a   Critical stage of increasing gravity for space travellers (2-5)

18a   Shy essayist /gives/ a plant (7)

Shy[5] is a dated term meaning, as a noun, an act of flinging or throwing something at a target and, as a verb, to fling or throw (something) at a target ⇒ he tore the spectacles off and shied them at her.

Elia[5]  is the pseudonym adopted by English essayist and critic Charles Lamb[5] (1775–1834) in his Essays of Elia (1823) and Last Essays of Elia (1833).

Lobelia[5] is any of many species of a chiefly tropical or subtropical plant of the bellflower family, in particular an annual widely grown as a bedding plant. Some kinds are aquatic, and some grow as thick-trunked shrubs or trees on African mountains.

19a   Female confronts male beginning to threaten // firm (7)

22a   The second mate's boy (7)

24a   Either way it was of some worth in India (4)

The anna[5] is a former monetary unit of India and Pakistan, equal to one sixteenth of a rupee.

25a   Bill in work /is/ a different man! (5)

26a   Metrical units // preferred by opponents of metrification (4)

29a   The pound is a bit // flexible (7)

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, it is often written as L[10].

30a   Capital // boom possibly follows depression (7)

Colombo[5] is the capital and chief port of Sri Lanka; population 672,700 (est. 2007).

31a   I am sent round to perform autumn jobs /as/ factotum (4,2,3,4)

Maid-of-all-work[5] is a historical term for a female servant doing general housework. [I wonder if she hangs out with Jack of all trades[5].]

Fall[5] is the North American term for autumn.

Delving Deeper
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.


2d   Unusually verbose // remark (7)

3d   Customs // in various estates (4)

4d   Water at the mouth (7)

5d   It's real, topless or not! (7)

6d   Unusual // combination of artist and engineer (4)

"artist" = RA (show explanation )

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[10]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5] (also Royal Academy; abbreviation also RA[10]), an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. 

hide explanation

"engineer" = RE (show explanation )

The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

hide explanation

7d   There's a point in this system (7)

8d   Girl comes a cropper // somewhere in Zambia (8,5)

Come a cropper[5,10] is an informal British term meaning:
  1. to fall heavily ⇒ he came the most appalling cropper—I think he knocked himself out; or
  2. to fail completely.
Victoria Falls[5] is a spectacular waterfall 109 m (355 ft) high, located on the River Zambezi, on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. Its native name is Mosi-oa-tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’.

9d   New life /for/ an incinerator that's recycled (13)

15d   Didn't stand around to /see/ small mammal (5)

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.

16d   Went out after a rise (5)

Scratching the Surface
If one ascribes the same meaning to rise as in 13a, then the clue would appear to state that workers either went on strike after receiving a raise in pay or seeking a raise in pay.

20d   You won't remember suffering from it (7)

21d   Cockney thief // that may end up in hot water (3,4)

A cockney[5,10] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End[5]], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church). Cockney is also the name of the dialect or accent typical of cockneys, which is characterised by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words as well as the use of rhyming slang[5].

Tea leaf[5] is British [Cockney] rhyming slang for a thief.

22d   There's no alternative to castor oil being prepared /for/ patient (7)

23d   Cook's vessel? Yes and no (7)

Captain James Cook [5] (1728–1779) was an English explorer. On his first expedition to the Pacific (1768–71), he charted the coasts of New Zealand and New Guinea as well as exploring the east coast of Australia and claiming it for Britain. He made two more voyages to the Pacific before being killed in a skirmish with indigenous people in Hawaii.

27d   Common complaint // caught by aging (4)

"caught" = C (show explanation )

In cricket, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5](phrasal verb,2), that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5](1) denotes caught (by).

hide explanation

28d   Current // issue (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


  1. Hi Falcon,
    A couple of days late for the Saturday puzzle, I was happy to chance on this bonus cryptic last evening and decided to tackle it first. I was able to fill in most of the grid, but couldn't complete two of the entries - 24a and 25a - and I didn't entirely understand the clues for 12a and 6d. To be honest, I still don't understand the "bill" part of 25a. I gave myself bonus points, though, for thinking, "This has got to be Rufus," on the basis of 17a and 4d. Thank you for posting the puzzle.

  2. Carola, Well done!

    For cryptic purposes, in 25a "bill" is another word for "account", the abbreviation for which is "AC".

    Thus the wordplay is AC (bill) contained in (in) JOB (work) giving J(AC)OB who is a different man (than Bill).

    In 12a, if we were to untangle the inverted sentence structure, we would have:

    Again after bringing it back show fatigue

    which parses as RE ([prefix denoting] again) following (after) a reversal (bringing ... back) of IT giving TIRE (show fatigue).

    In 6d, remember the artist and engineer. They appear very frequently in British puzzles.

    I do see that there is an error in my review of 6d. It should read "engineer" = RE (not "soldiers" = RE) -- so I will fix that.

  3. Thank you for the explanations, Falcon. I'll try to remember RA and RE, as well as the "other" RE for "again." I wouldn't have come up with "account" for AC; I'd wondered if it was some sort of (admittedly unlikely) shorthand for "act," referring to the legislative kind of bill.