Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 — DT 28165

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28165
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28165]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
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


Yesterday was a busy day and I tried to get the blog written between a multitude of other demands. I eventually threw in the towel as I found myself falling asleep at the keyboard. Awaking with a fresh mind, I was able to sort out the wordplay at 2d which up to that time had eluded me.

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   Item used to clear up // skin initially shed (6)

5a   Surveillance // post abroad (8)

There is certainly little excuse for not having solved this clue without resorting to electronic aids. Nevertheless,  I got it into my head that the first syllable of the clue must be SPACE and that the solution was an observation tower along the lines of the Space Needle[7] in Seattle. Once one is on a wrong track, it is often dreadfully difficult to force oneself off of it.

9a   Intricately connected pair // liable to suffer a mishap (8-5)

10a   Girl with fur, // with some dodgy characters? (8)

11a   Stop crossing right // line for a batsman (6)

A batsman[5] is a player, especially in cricket, who is batting or whose chief skill is in batting.

In cricket, a crease[10] is any of three lines (bowling crease, popping crease, or return crease) near each wicket marking positions for the bowler or batsman.
Note that, in cricket, a crease is a line — not an area as it is in (ice) hockey and lacrosse. Thus, in cricket, a batsman is said to be "at the crease" — unlike hockey or lacrosse, where a player is said to be "in the crease". 
12a   Soldiers in favour of mass // change for the better (6)

"soldiers" = 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.

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"mass" = M (show explanation )

In physics, m[5] is a symbol used to represent mass in mathematical formulae.

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14a   Developed as well as // tidal barriers (3,5)

16a   Gut feeling /that's/ vague, when the DI goes missing (8)

Scratching the Surface
A detective inspector (DI[5]) is a senior police officer in the UK. Within the British police, inspector[7] is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief inspector. Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or attached to their force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

19a   Paces // studies, on time (6)

In Britain, to read[5] means to study (an academic subject) at a university ⇒ (i) I’m reading English at Cambridge; (ii) he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics.

"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.

21a   Almost nicked identity, // showing no emotion (6)

Nick[5] is an informal British term meaning to steal ⇒ she nicked fivers from the till.

23a   Union /of/ a couple of students making a nice change (8)

"student" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

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When used as a link word, "of" denotes that the definition is formed from the constituent parts found in the wordplay. The preposition of[5] may be used to indicate the material or substance constituting something ⇒ (i) the house was built of bricks; (ii) walls of stone.

25a   Unacceptable, /but/ past help, ate out (6,3,4)

The phrase beyond the pale[5] denotes outside the bounds of acceptable behaviour ⇒ the language my father used was beyond the pale.

Delving Deeper
In their review of DT 27914 [The Daily Telegraph, September 23, 2015; National Post, February 19, 2016] on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the 2Kiwis pictorially relate the expression beyond the pale to an area of eastern Ireland known as the Pale.

The Pale[7], or the English Pale, was the part of Ireland that was directly under the control of the English government in the late Middle Ages. It had been reduced by the late 15th century to an area along the east coast of Ireland.

The Norman invasion of Ireland, beginning in 1169, brought much of Ireland briefly under the theoretical control of the Plantagenet Kings of England. From the 13th century onwards, the Hiberno-Norman occupation in the rest of Ireland at first faltered, then waned. The Lordship actually controlled by the English king shrank accordingly, and as parts of its perimeter in counties Meath and Kildare were fenced or ditched, it became known as the Pale, deriving from the Latin word palus, a stake, or, synecdochically, a fence. By the late 15th century, the Pale became the only part of Ireland that remained subject to the English king, with most of the island paying only token recognition of the overlordship of the English crown.

The word pale derives ultimately from the Latin word pālus, meaning stake, specifically a stake used to support a fence. From this came the figurative meaning of boundary and eventually the phrase beyond the pale, as something outside the boundary. Also derived from the "boundary" concept was the idea of a pale as an area within which local laws were valid. The term was used not only for the Pale in Ireland but also for various other English colonial settlements, notably English Calais.

By the way, the clue used by Jay in that puzzle was:
  • 25a     Fancy a blonde type? He /is/ unacceptable! (6,3,4)

26a   Lumber // that is of no use to employer (4,4)

Both the clue and the 2Kiwi's hint has left me confused. In both cases, lumber[5] clearly seems to be used in the North American sense of timber sawn into rough planks or otherwise partly prepared rather than in the British sense of articles of furniture or other household items that are no longer useful and inconveniently take up storage space.

Dead wood[2], is a colloquial term for someone or something that is no longer useful or needed.

My initial instinct was that lumber is not dead wood — but then I realized that, having been detached from its roots, it is hardly still alive.

27a   Submits // financial returns (6)

Richard, how many times have we seen this clue before?


2d   Superior-sounding business /that's/ clear, like glass (7)

Although I kicked myself for failing to solve 5a without outside assistance, I make no apologies for needing help to get the solution to this clue. Not only is the solution a word with which I which I was not familiar but the wordplay involves a non-rhotic homophone — which did not occur to me for what seemed like an eternity.

Hyaline[2] is an adjective meaning referring to or like glass; clear or transparent.

The wordplay is HYA {sounds like [when pronounced in a non-rhotic accent] (sounding) HIGHER (superior)} + LINE (business).

The word "HIGHER", when pronounced in a non-rhotic (show explanation ) accent typical of many parts of Britain, sounds like "HIGH-AH" — similar to the sound of the word fragment "HYA-".

Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

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3d   Weaknesses /of/ spokespersons lacking love (5)

The word "of" reprises the role of a link word that it first played today in 23a.

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

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4d   The French maidens must be bowled over by him (6,3)

In this semi-&lit. clue* (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), the entire clue acts as the definition while the portion with the dashed underline provides the wordplay.
* In a true &lit. clue[7] (sometimes called an 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.
"the French" = LA (show explanation )

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

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5d   Views welcoming the rise of Brown /in/ legislative assemblies (7)

In ancient times, the Senate[10] was the the legislative council of ancient Rome. Originally the council of the kings, the Senate became the highest legislative, judicial, and religious authority in republican Rome. In modern times, Senate[10] is the name given to the upper chamber of the legislatures of the US, Canada, Australia, and many other countries.

Scratching the Surface
There is no compelling reason to believe that this clue is intended to allude to any politician in particular. However, I might have said otherwise a decade ago.

Gordon Brown[5] is a British Labour statesman who was prime minister of the UK during the years 2007–10.

6d   Jelly // babies at last seen in a short film (5)

Scratching the Surface
Jelly baby[5] is a British term for a jelly-like sweet [candy] in the stylized shape of a baby.

7d   Clear // old flame on Ecstasy charge (9)

"Ecstasy" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy* or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.
* Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).
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8d   Can opener, for example, // let us in free? (7)

13d   Unfashionable editor supporting drama // excelled in game (9)

15d   Firepower /needed where there's/ trouble in vessel (9)

17d   No mountain in South Africa /is/ worthy of mention! (7)

Table Mountain[7] is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa.

18d   Experienced in love? Quite the reverse, /getting/ burnt! (7)

The "love" that went missing at 3d turns up here.

This clue employs a cryptic crossword device that we see from time to time. The setter first lays out a set of instructions and then tells us to do precisely the opposite. As you can see, the actual wordplay "love in experienced" would produce a surface reading that is nonsensical. However, the device introduced by the setter allows him to craft a meaningful surface reading.

20d   Prescribed // act, accepting European credit (7)

22d   Wild animal // shot after loud noise (5)

A dingo[5] (Canis dingo) is a wild or half-domesticated dog with a sandy-coloured coat, found in Australia.

24d   A military establishment // put to shame (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

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