Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 — DT 28160

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28160
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, July 7, 2016
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28160]
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 we have a very enjoyable RayT puzzle that leans toward the more difficult end of the spectrum. I did manage to complete it unaided but the last three or four clues took nearly as much time to solve as I had spent on the rest of the puzzle. As usual, RayT presents us with words used in senses that are far from being their most frequently encountered meanings.

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   Combat /with/ lives in balance (6)

4a   Radio set used /to find/ celestial body (8)

9a   Physical // resistance found in Tube (6)

"resistance" = R (show explanation )

In physics, R[5] is a symbol used to represent electrical resistance in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

A canal[5] is a tubular duct in a plant or animal, serving to convey or contain food, liquid, or air ⇒ the ear canal.

Scratching the Surface
The Tube[5] is a British trademark for the underground railway system in London ⇒ a cross-London trek on the Tube. The term "the tube" can also refer to a train running on the TubeI caught the tube home.

10a   Lady // exposes Mellors's rear, holding on (8)

Lady[10] is a title of honour borne by various classes of women of the peerage. The peerage[5] is the nobility in Britain or Ireland, comprising the ranks of duke or duchess, marquess or marchioness, earl or countess, viscount or viscountess, and baron or baroness.

Oliver Mellors is a fictional character in English author D. H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Between the Covers
Lady Chatterley's Lover[7] is a novel by English author D. H. Lawrence, first published in 1928, relating the story of a love affair between an upper-class woman and her gamekeeper.

The story concerns a young married woman, Constance (Lady Chatterley), whose upper-class husband, Clifford Chatterley, described as a handsome, well-built man, has been paralysed from the waist down due to a war injury. In addition to Clifford's physical limitations, his emotional neglect of Constance forces distance between the couple. Her sexual frustration leads her into an affair with the gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors

The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words. The first edition was printed privately in Florence, Italy.  Although a private edition was issued by Mandrake Press in 1929, an unexpurgated edition could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960.

11a   More corpulent /and/ porky right after drink (8)

Porky[10] (also pork pie) is mainly British and Australian (rhyming) slang* for a lie (in the sense of an untruth).
* 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. Similarly in the present example, porky — short for pork pie — means 'lie'.

Port[5] (also port wine) is a strong, sweet dark red (occasionally brown or white) fortified wine, originally from Portugal, typically drunk as a dessert wine. The name is a shortened form of Oporto, a major port from which the wine is shipped.

13a   Films // covert agency employing flipped operatives (6)

The Central Intelligence Agency[5] (abbreviation CIA) is a federal agency in the US responsible for coordinating government intelligence activities. Established in 1947 and originally intended to operate only overseas, it has since also operated in the US.

15a   Ban nude star sketchily covering up -- // too common (13)

18a   Erudite men sat around giving // inferior judgement (13)

22a   Aircraft // proceeds slowly following battle's opening (6)

24a   Queen backing about arrangement /for/ instrument (8)

"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

A recorder[10] is a wind instrument of the flute family, blown through a fipple in the mouth end, having a reedlike quality of tone. There are four usual sizes: bass, tenor, treble, and descant.

26a   United, wearing team colour, // worked out (8)

Manchester United Football Club[7] (often referred to simply as United — and often as Man Utd or Man U) is an English professional football [soccer] club, based at Old Trafford [football stadium] in Old Trafford [district of Manchester], Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League (the top level in the English football league system).

While the team is officially nicknamed The Red Devils, it is also referred to informally as the Reds (see "Reds unveil new away kit", a posting on the team website in which the Reds ironically introduce a blue and black away uniform).

27a   Burn // energy taking runs (6)

Steam[5] is used in the sense of energy and momentum or impetus ⇒ the anti-corruption drive gathered steam.

"runs" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

hide explanation

In Scottish and Northern English dialects, a burn[5] is a small stream.

28a   Tortured artist swallows Ecstasy before English // essay (8)

"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).
hide explanation

29a   Defeated // European saint buried in part of garden (6)


1d   Formula // developed about energy and speed of light (6)

"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

In physics, the symbol c[5] is used to represent the speed of light in a vacuum ⇒ E = mc2.

2d   'Shocked' // almost certainly peeped hiding Sun (9)

Scratching the Surface
I am really at a loss to fully explain the surface reading of this clue.

"Sun" almost certainly refers to The Sun[7], a daily tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland by a division of News UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian-born American publisher and media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The Sun was once known for its Page 3[7] feature,  a large photograph of a topless, bare-breasted female glamour model which was usually published on the print edition's third page — although it has been nearly two years since this feature last appeared.

The quotation marks around the word "Shocked" suggested to me that it might refer to a literary or musical work. However, the lone contender I can find is Shocked[7], a song by Australian recording artist and songwriter Kylie Minogue, taken from her third studio album Rhythm of Love (1991) — and I could not see how this might factor into the surface reading of the clue.

However, RayT (the setter of the puzzle) explains at Comment #33 that these are "scare quotes", quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to signal that a term is being used in a non-standard, ironic, or otherwise special sense.

Nevertheless, even this information does not completely alleviate my confusion. So, while I can see that some might be shocked should they take a peek at Page 3, and some might possibly hide the paper so as not to be seen in possession of it, the surface reading of the clue just does not seem to come together in a coherent manner.

3d   Cooked sliced potato // ring in dip (7)

Behind the Image
The photo of "Beer battered scallops" which pommers uses in his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog bears no resemblance whatsoever to any scalloped potatoes that I have eaten.

My idea of scalloped potatoes is a dish consisting of potato slices baked in a casserole with milk or a sauce and often with bread crumbs on top (scallop[2,3,4,5,10], escallop[11]).

Nevertheless, Chambers 21st Century Dictionary tells us that a potato slice fried in batter is also called a scallop[2], while Collins English Dictionary informs us that scallop[4,10], is a chiefly Australian term for a potato cake fried in batter.

5d   False // alarm ends -- quiet ahead (4)

6d   Movement // Number One with volume turned up (7)

The Chambers Dictionary defines movement[1] (among other things) as motion of the mind; emotion.

7d   Overly big? Excessive size evident initially (5)

There is a minor typo in the clue as it is printed in the National Post today (which I have corrected above). This typo also appeared in the UK — both in the printed edition of The Daily Telegraph as well as on the Telegraph Puzzles website (an error which continues to exist to this day). I confess that I may never have noticed the error had pommers not pointed it out in his review — although I do note that my spell checker was vainly doing its best to draw my attention to it by placing a wavy red line under the word (which I had ignored).

This style of clue has become a standard feature of a RayT puzzle. It is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue in which the entire clue constitutes the wordplay while the portion with the solid underline provides the definition.

8d   Horror /from/ nudist as 'textiles' gathered round (8)

Stripping Down
In Comment #4 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Rabbit Dave writes "I’m always somewhat suspicious when a setter resorts to using quotation marks, and both examples today resulted in clunky surfaces". While I would certainly agree with him on 2d, I would say that he is way off base with respect to this clue. He clearly does not understand the meaning that nudists ascribe to the word "textile".

"Textile" is the name that nudists and naturists (the later being the preferred term in much of Canada as well as Europe) apply to people who wear clothing, especially those who wear clothing (including bathing suits) on nude or "clothing optional" beaches.

The few beaches in Canada where nudity is officially permitted are designated "clothing optional" as elected officials seemingly could not bring themselves to declare these areas to be "nude beaches" but fell back on the euphemism "clothing optional" beach. However, "semantic literalists" have seized on this terminology to justify an invasion of these areas by "textiles".

Not only does a large segment of this "textile" invasion not demonstrate the same respect for the environment as do the naturists, but it includes a significant element of voyeurs and worse — groups that the naturists consider to be "pervs" (perverts).

As one naturist writes about her (I presume) experience on Wreck Beach in Vancouver:
In a lot of ways, arguing about something as superficial as clothing is silly. The concerns of the nude beachers could easily be dismissed in this way, however, I think there is a deeper cultural issue affecting the beach nowadays. The demographic of the beach is changing–during my first summer there, I luxuriated in the quiet of the beach; I could hear nothing but waves, eagles, and the occasional live group of (naked) musicians, playing fun and friendly summer tunes. There was no glass, no garbage, and hardly anyone was clothed. In the past couple of years, new groups of clothed bathers have frequented the beach, and have brought with them boats and engine noise, loud crappy pop music blasting from iPod docks, and glass (super dangerous on a beach my friends!). I am all for new groups of people learning to enjoy the beach, in fact I encourage it, but it is important to me that they learn to appreciate its atmosphere. Wreck Beach is a beach unlike any other, and I want to keep it that way.  I think the more militant nude beachers do too, and for them, it’s easiest to identify those who don’t “get” the beach by their clothing. Thing is, if you’re on Wreck Beach, maybe you shouldn’t have any.
You can read the entire article at Wreck Beach and the true meaning of “clothing optional”.

12d   Trespasser gendarme traps climbing // exit (6)

Scratching the Surface
A gendarme[5] is a paramilitary police officer in France and other French-speaking countries ⇒ he was hauled off by a gendarme to the police station.

14d   Make // liquid boil, say, for serving up (6)

16d   Close partners in heartless mistrust after a // change (9)

I thought that "partners" as a synonym for MEN was a bit of stretch. The clue could have used a question mark — if not a basketful of question marks! I see that pommers has expressed similar reservations in his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

The Chambers Dictionary — or, as pommers calls it, the BRB (Big Red Book) — defines partner (in part) to be a husband or wife; either member of a couple living together in a sexual relationship.

17d   Grate temperature rising in fire/'s/ flare-up (8)

This was my last clue to be solved.

19d   Relationship /of/ Left under attack (7)

Port[5] denotes the side of a ship or aircraft that is on the left when one is facing forward ⇒ (i) the ferry was listing to port; (ii) the port side of the aircraft.

Rap[5] is used in an informal sense meaning to criticize severely ⇒ certain banks are to be rapped for delaying interest rate cuts.

20d   Evangelist // to lapse improperly (7)

An evangelist[5] is a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching.

The apostles[5] were the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ.

21d   Conceived /and/ nourished eating butter? (6)

In this case, "butter" is an animal that butts.

Frame[5] is used in the sense of to formulate (a concept, plan, or system) ⇒ staff have proved invaluable in framing the proposals.

23d   Rodent caught inside that is // furious (5)

25d   The French start to strike? // Not so much (4)

"the French" = LES (show explanation )

In French, the plural form of the definite article is les[8].

hide explanation
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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