Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016 — DT 28154

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28154
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Petitjean (John Pidgeon)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28154]
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 found this puzzle from Petitjean to be a fairly tricky but also highly enjoyable solve. Savour it as this may well be one of the last times — if not indeed the last time — that we get to enjoy the pleasure of solving a John Pidgeon puzzle as he passed away on July 19 of this year, less than three weeks after this puzzle appeared in the UK.

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   Greeting /from/ Chicago -- what are the odds? (4)

Ciao[5], an Italian word that has been adopted into English, is an informal expression used as a greeting at meeting or parting ⇒ see you later—ciao!. [The term is a dialect alternation of schiavo '(I am your) slave' from medieval Latin sclavus 'slave".]

3a   Someone getting up // part of the staircase (5)

6a   Leaders of radical avant garde slated /in/ tabloids (4)

Scratching the Surface
Slate[5] is an informal British term meaning to criticize severely his work was slated by the critics.

8a   Ceremony from which bride and groom emerge with double-barrelled name? (7,8)

I loved this clue. It is the ceremony which has a double-barrelled name — not the participants! This becomes obvious if one inserts the deceptively omitted punctuation Ceremony, from which bride and groom emerge, with double-barrelled name.

In response to the concern expressed by Rabbit Dave at Comment #4 (and subsequently voiced by others) on Big Dave's Crossword Blog that Surely the correct expression for 8a should have wedding as the second word, Collins English Dictionary lists shotgun marriage[10] as another name for shotgun wedding, while Oxford Dictionaries shows shotgun wedding as another name for shotgun marriage[5]. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary would appear to give the terms equal billing (shotgun wedding and shotgun marriage[2]).

9a   Supposed // setback for De Niro, tackling 'Page' instead of 'King' (6)

In soccer and [field] hockey, tackle means to try to take the ball from (an opponent) by intercepting them. Thus the word "tackling" in the clue is equivalent to "taking".

"page" = P (show explanation )

The abbreviation for page is p[5]see p 784.

hide explanation

"king" = R (show explanation )

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Robert De Niro[7] is an American actor and producer who has starred in over 90 films.

10a   Mugs // develop this flaw (8)

Mug[5] is an informal British term for a stupid or gullible person ⇒ they were no mugs where finance was concerned.

11a   Rough justice // rules when Bet ran the Rovers? (5-3)

Bet Lynch[7] is a fictional character from the UK television soap opera, Coronation Street. Portrayed by actress Julie Goodyear, the character first appeared onscreen for a few weeks in 1966. The character returned in 1970 and continued until 1995. She made brief comebacks in 2002 and 2003.

In 1970, Bet becomes a junior barmaid in the Rovers Return Inn ("the Rovers" of the clue) and in 1984 is appointed manageress of the establishment.

Lynch law[10] is the practice of condemning and punishing a person by mob action without a proper trial.

Scratching the Surface
The clue is likely intended intended to misdirect the solver's focus to soccer.

Blackburn Rovers Football Club[7] is a professional association football [soccer] club in Blackburn, Lancashire, England which has competed in the Football League Championship (the 2nd tier of English football) since being relegated from the Premier League (the top tier of English football) at the end of the 2011–12 season. 

Rovers Football Club[7] were a 19th-century football [soccer] club based in Glasgow that were one of the original 16 teams to participate in the inaugural season of the Scottish Cup. Rovers F.C. finally dissolved in 1878. 

Melchester Rovers Football Club is a fictional football [soccer] club featured in the British comic strip Roy of the Rovers[7] which ran from 1954 until 1993.

13a   Mellow // blend of tea and rum (6)

15a   Half of short-form cricket // score (6)

Twenty20 cricket, sometimes written Twenty-20, and often abbreviated to T20, is a short form of cricket. It was originally introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003 for professional inter-county competition in England and Wales. In a Twenty20 game the two teams have a single innings ( show explanation ) each [as opposed to two innings each in a regular game], which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs ( show explanation ) [as opposed to whatever number of overs are required to dismiss ten batsmen in a regular game].

In cricket, an over[5] is 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

In cricket, innings[5] (plural same or informally inningses) denotes:
  1. each of two or four divisions of a game during which one side has a turn at batting ⇒ the highlight of the Surrey innings; or
  2. a player’s turn at batting ⇒ he had played his greatest innings; or
  3. the score achieved during a player’s turn at batting ⇒ a solid innings of 78 by Marsh.
hide explanation

17a   Feel slur involved // nationalism (4-4)

Although most commenters appear to have shied away from raising the issue, this could be seen to have been a rather topical clue as it appeared in The Daily Telegraph exactly one week after the UK voted to leave the European Union. A majority of voters in both Scotland and Northern Ireland favoured remaining in Europe — rekindling thoughts of them leaving the UK and joining Europe. See also clue 20d where Wales chimes in. Although a majority of Welsh voters supported leaving Europe, the party mentioned in 20d supports Wales leaving the UK and joining Europe.

19a   Major temptation for the First Lady /in/ Manhattan (3,5)

Were one to be pedantic, one might say that the Big Apple[5] is an informal name for New York City — not merely the borough of Manhatten. But that would be uncharitable.

Scratching the Surface
Despite the capitalization, the surface reading may be attempting to misdirect the attention of the solver to a manhattan[5], a cocktail made of vermouth and whisky, sometimes with a dash of bitters.

21a   Getting through // last course? (6)

A coping[5] is the top, typically curved or sloping, course of a brick or stone wall. It would be virtually impossible for this not to be the "last course" constructed.

22a   Smoke and mirrors /in/ timeless political solution strangely not over (7,8)

"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

23a   Relation /of/ wholewheat bread without a majority of rye (4)

Granary[5] (short for granary bread[5]) is a British trademark for a type of brown bread containing whole grains of wheat.

24a   Artist's agent /is/ less flamboyant (5)

Dryer[5] is a substance mixed with oil paint or ink to promote drying.

25a   Extremely // colourful flare (4)

A Very light[10] is a coloured flare fired from a special pistol (Very pistol) for signalling at night, especially at sea [named after Edward W. Very (1852–1910), the US naval ordnance officer who invented it].


1d   Cook 'osculates' // French dish (9)

A cassoulet[5] is a French stew made with meat (typically pork, goose, and duck) and beans.

Scratching the Surface
French chef jean-luc cheval explains the surface reading in a reply to Comment #26 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. It refers to a chef's gesture of kissing his (or her) fingers to show how tasty the food is.

2d   Eternity with piercing pain arising // due to wind (7)

Aeon[10] is the British spelling of eon.

Aeolian[5] (US eolian) is a geological term meaning relating to or arising from the action of the wind ⇒ fluvial and eolian sediments [It is interesting to note that Oxford Dictionaries employs the US spelling in the usage example.]

3d   Only a rude drunken // song and dance (9)

Roundelay[5] is a literary term for
  1. a short, simple song with a refrain; or
  2. a circle dance.
4d   East Londoner's property and house in South West // anyway (7)

The cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London is characterized by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words (as well as the use of rhyming slang[5]).
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).
"house" = HO (show explanation )

Although not found in most of the dictionaries that I consulted, ho.[10] is the abbreviation for house.

hide explanation

5d   Rustic // Murray limitlessly out of sorts before middle of Wimbledon (5)

Scratching the Surface

As Kath remarks in her review, this clue was very topical when in appeared in the UK on June 30 as the Wimbledon Championships had begun three days earlier on June 27 and would continue until July 10.

Andy Murray[5] is a Scottish tennis player. In 2012 he won the Olympic gold medal for singles and, by winning the US Open, became the first British man to win a grand slam singles tournament since 1936. In 2013 he won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon — a feat he repeated in 2016.

Wimbledon[5] is an annual international tennis championship on grass for individual players and pairs, held at the headquarters of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon. Now one of the world’s major tennis championships, it has been played since 1877.

6d   Outcome of downpour /in/ rocky terrain swamping western area (9)

7d   Comedian // name-dropped Mafioso (7)

12d   It can go on spreading // disease (9)

The clue cannot parse as Kath has shown in her review as the word "spreading" is the anagram indicator. It must either parse as I have shown above or, using a different definition of contagion, as follows:
  • It can go on spreading disease (9)
In the former case, contagion[5] is used in the dated sense of a disease spread by close contact ⇒ through personal hygiene the spread of common contagions is discouraged.

In the latter case, contagion[5] denotes the communication of disease from one person or organism to another by close contact (i.e., the process or mechanism of transmitting a disease rather than the disease itself) ⇒ the rooms held no risk of contagion.

If we accept this latter definition of "contagion", then this is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue in which the entire clue is the definition and the portion with the dashed underline is the wordplay.

13d   'Minuscule // tooth-filling' clue set (9)

While there is only a single way to parse the clue, the actual assembly of the parts could take either of two forms — MOL(ECUL*)AR or MO(LECU*)LAR.

14d   Internet boon, storing information /in/ a crisis (9)

If Internet mail is eMail and Internet magazines are eZines, then the setter whimsically supposes that an Internet boon must logically be an eMercy.

A boon[5] is a thing that is helpful or beneficial ⇒ the route will be a boon to many travellers.

A mercy[5] is an event to be grateful for, because it prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.

Gen[5] is an informal British term for information ⇒ you’ve got more gen on him than we have.

16d   Women's Institute's admitting husband according to // rumour (7)

The Women's Institute[5] (abbreviation WI[5]) is an organization of women, especially in rural areas, who meet regularly and participate in crafts, cultural activities, and social work. Now worldwide, it was first set up in Ontario, Canada, in 1897, and in Britain in 1915. [I find it rather ironic that Oxford Dictionaries shows the abbreviation for this organization — founded in Canada — as being British.]

17d   Identify // mushrooms served up I fancy superficially (7)

The cep[5] is an edible European mushroom with a smooth brown cap, a stout white stalk, and pores rather than gills, growing in dry woodland and much sought after as a delicacy. Also called penny bun.

18d   Take advantage of // United match featuring oldies here and there (7)

"United" = U (show explanation )

In the names of sports clubs, U[5] is the abbreviation for United[5] — in Britain, a word commonly used in the names of soccer and other sports teams formed by amalgamation ⇒ Man U [Manchester United].

hide explanation

As Kath shows in her review, "match" and "tie" could be considered to be synonyms when used as verbs (meaning equal) as in In his final run, the driver was able to match the best time posted so far in the competition. However, in a particular British usage, some in the UK might see these words as being nouns. 

Tie[5] is a British term meaning a sports match between two or more players or teams in which the winners proceed to the next round of the competition Swindon Town have gained themselves a third round tie against Oldham.

The foregoing usage example does not mean — as a North American might presume — that Swindon Town and Oldham played to a draw in the third round. Rather, it means that Swindon Town defeated their opponent in the second round and will move on to face Oldham in the third round.

20d   Welsh party /for/ squares? (5)

Plaid Cymru[7] [Welsh for Party of Wales] officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a social-democratic political party in Wales advocating for Welsh independence from the United Kingdom within the European Union.

Plaid[10] is the Welsh word for 'party' and Cymru[10] is the Welsh name for Wales.

The second definition is not one you will find in the dictionary — but surely that is why the setter has appended the question mark.
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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