Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016 — DT 28163

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28163
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, July 11, 2016
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28163]
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


Today the National Post deviates from its pattern of skipping "Monday" puzzles and publishes one by Rufus — one that is particularly gentle even by his standards.

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   Member of the upper class (5-6)

In Britain, a form[5] is [or, perhaps more correctly,was] a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. Thus what we in North America would call a grade would be — or once was — known in Britain as a form, although the numbering system for forms and grades are vastly different (see table below).

The term "form" seems to have become passé as Miffypops refers to the solution to the clue as "What a schoolchild would be during the year before university back in the old days. This would now be known as year 13 or 14." Furthermore, Wikipedia (see table below) characterizes the term "form" as an "alternative/old name".

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower [in general, this would seem to apply primarily for the sixth form]. Usually the sixth form is the senior form of a school [although this apparently does not hold true for New Zealand where they would appear to have a seventh form]. In England, the sixth form is usually divided into two year groups, the lower sixth and upper sixth, owing to the 3-year English college/university system. In Scotland or North America, the 6th form is usually a single year, owing to the 4-year college/university system. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms [in the foregoing quotation witness Miffypops' reference to "year 14",  a term which does not appear in the table below].

Wikipedia would appear to be at best ambiguous and at worst inconsistent on the relationship between the British and American systems of naming school years. The article from which the table below is excerpted shows that the British first form is equivalent to the American 6th grade. On the other hand, the article cited above states "In North America, the 1st Form (or sometimes 'Form I') is equivalent to 7th Grade." However, this latter statement may in fact be a comparison between the few North American schools to use the form system and the vast majority of North American schools that don't rather than a comparison between British and American schools.

 Age RangeBritish SystemAmerican System
NameAlternative/Old NameName
11-12Year 7First form6th grade
12-13Year 8Second form7th grade
13-14Year 9Third form8th grade
14-15Year 10Fourth form9th grade
15-16Year 11Fifth form10th grade
16-17Year 12Lower sixth form11th grade
17-18Year 13Upper sixth form12th grade

9a   Came back with a diet designed /for/ the undernourished (9)

10a   Isle // everyone goes round to (5)

11a   Fool it's silly // to help (6)

12a   One who would lose status as union member (8)

13a   Capacity /to get/ on after bitterness? (6)

15a   Freshly appointed person // that will make a clean sweep? (3,5)

New broom[2] is a seemingly British term [judging by its absence from American dictionaries] meaning a new person in charge, bent on making sweeping improvements. The expression — which alludes to the proverb a new broom sweeps clean — dates to the late 18th century with its earliest use found in a work by playwright Frederick Reynolds (1764–1841)[5].

18a   Mystery involved number entering // regular correspondence (8)

"number" = M (Roman numeral for 1000) (show explanation )

In cryptic crosswords,  "(a) number" is very often a Roman numeral and, in particular, terms such as "(a) large number", "many" or "a great many" are frequently used  to indicate that a large Roman numeral — generally C (100), D (500), or M (1000) — is required.

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19a   A French diet blended // together (6)

"a French" = UN (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

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21a   Attractive // worker takes part (8)

23a   They are employed in the theatre // or in religious work (6)

In the Bible, Acts[6] (or Acts of the Apostles) is a New Testament book immediately following the Gospels and relating the history of the early Church. [This definition seems to have vanished from the British version of Oxford Dictionaries and is now found only in the US version.]

26a   Call for // peace and quiet (5)

27a   Leave out // priest adaptable team should welcome in (9)

In the Bible, Eli[5] is a priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 1-3).

28a   Eaten cold it could provide // enjoyment (11)


1d   The female fringe in American // business (7)

The wordplay parses as SHE (the female) + BANG (fringe in American [parlance])

Bang[2] (usually bangs) is a North American, especially US (according to Chambers 21st Century Dictionary — although I would dispute that claim), term for hair cut in a straight line across the forehead. The British term for this hairstyle is fringe.

2d   They show you the bones /of/ an unknown number of fish (1-4)

"an unknown" = X (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

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3d   One part of a frozen waterfall? (9)

4d   Darn // possibly visible in coat hem (4)

5d   Press, for example, set up // referees (8)

6d   Arrive at // straight stretch of river (5)

A reach[5] is a continuous extent of water, especially a stretch of river between two bends, or the part of a canal between locks ⇒ the upper reaches of the Nile.

7d   Rising impudence over dour // traveller (7)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops describes the traveller mentioned in the clue as one who progressed in John Bunyan’s novel.
The Pilgrim's Progress[7] (in full The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream) is a 1678 Christian allegory written by English writer and Baptist preacher John Bunyan (1628–1688). It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print.

8d   Firm needs a line going to Shanghai, say, /in/ China (8)

Shanghai[5] is a city on the east coast of China, a port on the estuary of the Yangtze; population 11,283,700 (est. 2006). Opened for trade with the west in 1842, Shanghai contained until the Second World War areas of British, French, and American settlement. It was the site in 1921 of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Coalport[5] is a kind of porcelain, frequently decorated with floral designs, produced at Coalport in Shropshire, England, from the late 18th century.

14d   French newspaper accepts article // that's refreshing (8)

Treat the definition as thought it were "[something] that's refreshing".

Le Monde[7] (English: The World) is a French daily evening newspaper continuously published in Paris since its first edition in December 1944. It is one of two French newspapers of record — the other being Le Figaro.

16d   Graduate entertains a slimmer's objective // -- eating off this? (4,5)

17d   Oliver /sees/ worm wriggling in retreat (8)

Oliver Cromwell[7] (1599–1658) was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England (which, at the time, included Wales), Scotland and Ireland. Cromwell[5] was the leader of the victorious Parliamentary forces (or Roundheads) in the English Civil War (1642-49). As head of state he styled himself Lord Protector, and refused Parliament’s offer of the Crown in 1657. His rule was notable for its puritan reforms in the Church of England. After his death from natural causes in 1658 he was buried in Westminster Abbey, but after the Royalists returned to power in 1660 they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.

18d   Trains // groups of like-minded philosophers (7)

Whatever you do, don't miss the video that Miffypops includes in his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

20d   See // Cinders in transformation (7)

Scratching the Surface
Cinders is likely an allusion the heroine in a British pantomime* based on the story of Cinderella. As the theatrical promo states The time has come for the real story of Cinderella to be told, warts and all! This hilarious Panto puts an interesting twist on an old familiar story, and gives us a Cinderella for the 21st Century.. In fact, there appear to be at least two British pantomimes by that name — the previously mentioned one by David Tristram and another by Geoff Bamber.
* A pantomime[5] (or panto[5] for short) is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.
While attempting to track down the elusive Cinders, I encountered the following pretenders to the role:

Mr. Cinders[7], a musical produced in the UK in 1928, is an inversion of the Cinderella fairy tale with the gender roles reversed. The Prince Charming character has become a modern (1928) young and forceful woman, and Mr. Cinders is a menial. The show captures the last frantic gasps of the roaring twenties before the gloom of the Great Depression settled in.

Ella Cinders[7], is a 1926 American silent comedy film based on the syndicated comic strip of the same name.

Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella is a retelling of the Cinderella story by children's author Jan Brett who sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don't recognize her.

22d   Ribbon /of/ quiet deep colour (5)

24d   Took a picture showing // animal in the zoo (5)

The okapi[5] is a large browsing mammal (Okapia johnstoni) of the giraffe family that lives in the rainforests of northern Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire). It has a dark chestnut coat with stripes on the hindquarters and upper legs.

25d   The last character to join in Conservative // element (4)

"Conservative" = C (show explanation )

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

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Zinc[5] (symbol Zn) is the chemical element of atomic number 30, a silvery-white metal which is a constituent of brass and is used for coating (galvanizing) iron and steel to protect against corrosion.
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. I forget the term but did you notice this puzzle nearly used all the alphabet except the q.

  2. The term you are looking for is 'pangram'. The operative word in your statement is "nearly". Besides the Q, the solution to the puzzle is also missing J and V.

  3. A google search reveals that 14d has appeared in at least six DT cryptics in recent years, including as recently as March 11 2016 -- only four months earlier.

    I fondly recall the days when newspapers employed editors. Among other things, they served as institutional memory, curtailing plagiarism and hackneyed repetition.

    1. Yes, we often see clues repeated (in many cases with slight variations). These are often referred to as "old chestnuts" or perhaps "familiar friends".

      I wasn't able to duplicate your success but did turn up a few variations of this clue:

      Friday, March 11, 2016 (Giovanni) 2d Drink in article in French paper (8)

      Thursday, September 23, 2010 (Unknown Setter) 11a Article in French daily exposing drink (8)

      Tuesday, December 31, 2013 (Unknown setter) 15d Article in French newspaper promoting drink (8)

      Rufus is known to recycle his own clues (often with subtle variations). However, none of the older clues I found were his.

      Of course, Rufus has been setting clues for so long and in so many different publications that it is hard to imagine that material does not get reused.