Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016 — DT 28172

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28172
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, July 21, 2016
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28172]
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 28168 through DT 28171 which were published in The Daily Telegraph from Saturday, July 16, 2016 to Wednesday, July 20, 2016.


The editors at the National Post appear to be in a particularly frisky mood today, having leaped over a total of four puzzles to get to this one — which happens to be one that I reviewed on Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

The ramifications of the Brexit[7] vote constitute a theme running through this puzzle. Ironically, my previous blogging assignment for Big Dave had been on June 23, 2016 — the date on which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union!

I also note that the captions have disappeared from the illustrations that are included in my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. Normally, when one hovers the mouse over the picture a caption is displayed — but this feature is not working for my review of the puzzle which appears today in the National Post. While most of the illustrations are pretty self-evident, I have added explanatory notes in today's review in a couple of cases.

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   Balance // cost in Europe being reorganised (12)

The usage example appearing at Oxford Dictionaries alone justifies inclusion in today's blog.

Counterpoise[5] denotes a factor or force that balances or neutralizes another ⇒ the organization sees the power of Brussels as a counterpoise to that of London.

8a   Inspirational passage? (7)

9a   Carried on quietly, perhaps? (7)

"quietly" = 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

"on" = following (convention for charade indicator) (show explanation )

"A on B" Convention
A sometimes ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already exist (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it. .

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

11a   Actor // Hardy taking lead in 'Inception' (7)

Laurel and Hardy[5] were an American comedy duo consisting of Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson) (1890–1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). British-born Stan Laurel played the scatterbrained and often tearful innocent, Oliver Hardy his pompous, overbearing, and frequently exasperated friend. They brought their distinctive slapstick comedy to many films from 1927 onwards.

Laurence Olivier[5], Baron Olivier of Brighton (1907–1989) was an English actor and director. Following his professional debut in 1924, he performed all the major Shakespearean roles; he was also director of the National Theatre (1963–73). His films include Rebecca (1940), Henry V (1944), and Hamlet (1948).

Scratching the Surface
I must say that it is rather difficult to imagine Oliver Hardy in the role originated by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Inception[5] is a 2010 science fiction heist thriller film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a professional thief who steals information by infiltrating the subconscious, and is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for a task seemingly-impossible: "inception", the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious.

12a   Demanding // euro's scrapped after negative vote's returned (7)

13a   Power push /producing/ witch hunt (5)

"power" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Workers (and caption) Purged
The picture which illustrates this clue on Big Dave's Crossword Blog shows public service workers being arrested following the attempted coup d'état in Turkey[7] this past summer.

14a   Almost tense and hurt bearing // ordeal (9)

"tense" = T (show explanation )

Grammatically speaking, t.[10] is the abbreviation for tense.

hide explanation

16a   Grass accepting villain's regret backing // storyteller (9)

Grass is an informal British term meaning:
  1. (as a noun) a police informer[5]; and
  2. (as a verb) to inform the police of someone’s criminal activities or plans[5](i) someone had grassed on the thieves; (ii) she threatened to grass me up.
This expression may derive from rhyming slang (grasshopper being rhyming slang for 'copper'). (show explanation )

Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example, butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in Cockney rhyming slang.

hide explanation

19a   Small prongs urging rider's steed initially (5)

This is a trademark RayT semi-&lit. (or semi-all-in-one) clue (show explanation ) in which the entire clue constitutes the wordplay and the definition (marked by the solid underline) is embedded in the clue. If one could manage to justify including the word "initially" in the definition then it would be a full-fledged &lit. (or all-in-one) clue (show explanation ).

In an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

In a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), either (1) the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay or (2) the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.

hide explanation

21a   Shot // -- remain in sack (7)

23a   English meat and French // 'appellation' (7)

"and French" = ET (show explanation )

In French, et[8] is a conjunction meaning 'and'.

hide explanation

Appellation[5] is a formal term meaning a name or title ⇒ the city fully justifies its appellation ‘the Pearl of the Orient’.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, the word "appellation" takes on a different connotation.

Appellation[5] is another term for:
  1. an appellation contrôlée* about 20 per cent of French wines with an appellation come from Alsace; or
  2. a wine bearing an appellation contrôlée ⇒ the top appellations Saint-Émilion and Pomerol; or
  3. the district in which a wine bearing an appellation contrôlée is produced ⇒ the north-east corner of the appellation.
* Appellation contrôlée[5] (also contrôlée or appellation d'origine; in full appellation d'origine contrôlée[7], abbreviation AOC[5]) is a description awarded to French wine guaranteeing that it was produced in the region specified, using vines and production methods which satisfy the regulating body.

24a   Pay for // former wife, French dish squeezing one (7)

Pâté is a word (and a dish) that we borrowed from the French.

Expiate[5] means to make amends or reparation for (guilt or wrongdoing) ⇒ their sins must be expiated by sacrifice.

25a   Cool iron leading to oddly random // blaze (7)

The symbol for the chemical element iron is Fe[5] (from Latin ferrum).

Up in Flames
The caption for the picture that illustrates this clue on Big Dave's Crossword Blog appears to have self-immolated. The picture depicts the flight from the Fort McMurray wildfire[7] in May of this year.

26a   Changing line electing // wit (12)


1d   Bank clerk /in/ middle of stick-up, looking greyer (7)

2d   Country leaving EU shower -- start of European // state? (7)

3d   Leniency // later on dispensed by Church (9)

"church" = CE (show explanation )

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

hide explanation

4d   Come-uppance for Queen virtuoso's // imitation (5)

Although the word 'repro' appears in American dictionaries, it is not a usage that I am familiar with.

A repro[5] is:
  1. a reproduction or copy, particularly of a piece of furniture ⇒ a Georgian repro cabinet; or
  2. the reproduction of a document or image ⇒ in-house repro and some finishing.
5d   Rich, // old and posh covered with endless wealth (7)

"queen" = ER (show explanation )

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

"upper class" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

6d   Foreign lady // dressed up in sarong, I suppose (7)

I got the wordplay correct when I solved this clue in July. However, on the second time through I carelessly supposed that it was an anagram of SARONG I. Were that the case, then the anagram indicator would have to be "suppose" which doesn't seem very likely.

Signora[5] is a title or form of address used of or to an Italian-speaking married woman, corresponding to Mrs or madam ⇒ good night, Signora.

7d   Detailed interest over lesson/'s/ unmatched (12)

The setter uses "detailed" in a whimsical cryptic crossword sense meaning having the tail removed — based on an analogy with words such as deflowered or defrocked.

A parable[5] is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

10d   Special permission // over wearing fashionable pants inside (12)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being 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.

hide explanation

There exists lots of opportunity for misdirection in this clue. The anagram fodder consists of two words that are commonly used as indicators in their own right — "pants"* as an anagram indicator and "inside" as a containment indicator.
* Pants[5] is an informal British term meaning rubbish or nonsense ⇒ he thought we were going to be absolute pants.
15d   Finally digging a hole within enclosure? (9)

On the second time around, this was the last one in — a position it may well have held on the first time around as well.

This must surely be one of the vaguest definitions ever perpetrated on a solver.

17d   Spiked attachment/'s/ trick to take on slope (7)

18d   Fertiliser // can's tipped controlled amount (7)

Nitrate[10] can mean:
  1. any salt or ester of nitric acid, such as sodium nitrate, NaNO3; or
  2. a fertilizer consisting of or containing nitrate salts.
Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, tip[5] means to cause (the contents of a container) to be emptied out by holding it at an angle ⇒ Sarah tipped the washing-up water down the sink.

19d   Reinforce // part of post if fencing (7)

The hint on Big Dave's site was written with Kitty in mind so it was gratifying to see that she appreciated it (Comment #35 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog).

20d   A French redhead in stockings // upset by stallion (7)

"a French" = UN (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

"redhead" = R (show explanation )

A common cryptic crossword construct is to use the word "redhead" to clue R, the initial letter (head) of Red.

hide explanation

22d   Stay // fit to support daughter (5)
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. Solved without assistance in reasonable time, though I did bung in a couple of answers. Thanks for parsing the clues and posting such dramatic illustrations.

    I prefer your explanation for 6d, though I solved it as an anagram and consider "suppose" an acceptable indicator.

    15d is certainly a strange definition, unless one is accustomed to gardening with someone like my wife, who reduces my role to performing simple and mundane tasks.

    1. I could almost buy "suppose" as an anagram indicator. I think the past participle "supposed" would be much better, though.

      As for gardening, I learned long ago -- after a misguided attempt at weeding -- to keep my hands off the garden.