Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 — DT 28144

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28144
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28144 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28144 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (Review)
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
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


This "Saturday" puzzle was not too difficult but it was a rather enjoyable solve — and I had even more fun when I came to review it and discovered some nuggets of information that had originally gone over my head.

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   Songs of Praise /requires/ additional contribution by charity (6)

Scratching the Surface
Songs of Praise[7] is a BBC Television religious programme that presents Christian hymns which first aired in October 1961. The series is one of the longest-running of its kind on television anywhere in the world.

4a   High-class fur // fit for purpose (6)

"high-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

Sable[5] is the fur of a marten (Martes zibellina), an animal having a short tail and dark brown fur, native to Japan and Siberia and valued for its fur.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, gnomethang writes that sable is fur from the coat of a winter ermine.
I'm afraid that gnomethang has the wrong animal [could this be another "Po" incident — for which you will find details at 21d]. However, as the usage example given below illustrates, the fur of both animals is used for similar purposes.

My fellow reviewer appears to be thinking of the stoat[5] (also known as the ermine, especially when in its white winter coat), a small carnivorous mammal (Mustela erminea) of the weasel family which has chestnut fur with white underparts and a black-tipped tail. It is native to both Eurasia and North America and in northern areas the coat turns white in winter. In North America, it is known as the short-tailed weasel.

Ermine[5] is the white fur of the stoat, used for trimming garments, especially the ceremonial robes of judges or peers (members of the nobility in Britain or Ireland) ⇒ the men were dressed in costly ermine and sable-edged cloaks.

8a   Sort of country // inn with something left outside (8)

10a   Tool // works without resistance (6)

In the cryptic reading, without[5] is used in the sense of 'outside' rather than 'lacking'. Big Dave clearly demonstrates his dislike of the former usage in his hint as well as in his remarks in the thread attached to Comment #39 on his blog.

Without[5] is an archaic or literary term that can be used either as a preposition or adverb meaning outside ⇒ (i) [as a preposition] the barbarians without the gates or (ii) [as an adverb] the enemy without.

Given his distaste for the foregoing usage, I wonder what Big Dave thinks of the archaic or dialect usage of without[5] as a conjunction meaning without it being the case that ⇒ he won't be able to go without we know it or unless ⇒ I'd never have known you without you spoke to me.

"resistance" = R (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

11a   That girl retaining old // trainer perhaps (4)

12a   Talk with woman, // the lady of the house (10)

Chatelaine[5,10] is a dated term for the mistress of a castle or fashionable household.

13a   More advanced // form of bingo, darling! (8,4)

The definition "more advanced" is a cryptic way of expressing 'additional funds advanced'.

A bridging loan[10] is a loan made to cover the period between two transactions, such as the buying of another house before the sale of the first is completed.

Thus a lender who provides a mortgage on the second property may also advance more funds in the form of a bridging loan that will be repaid when the first property is sold.

16a   Spend childhood entertaining grand // whim (7,5)

"grand" = G (show explanation )

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  1. Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5];
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2];
  3. Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[10] .
hide explanation

20a   Scroll I put out showing // symbol of Parliament (10)

The quasi-official emblem of the British Houses of Parliament[7] is a crowned portcullis*.
* a portcullis[5] is a strong, heavy grating that can be lowered down grooves on each side of a gateway to block it.

21a   Hospital that is offering cover for very // busy place (4)

In his review, gnomethang mistakenly includes the word "very" in the definition. It is, in fact, part of the wordplay.

"very" = V (show explanation )

The abbreviation v (or v.)[1,2,5,10] stands for very. Although this definition is found in most of my British dictionaries, it does not appear in any of my American dictionaries. Unfortunately no explanation is given as to the specific context in which one might encounter this usage. The only example that I can imagine is when combined with G as a grade of VG (very good) on school tests or assignments.

hide explanation

22a   A divine being in father/'s/ temple (6)

In India and East Asia, a pagoda[5] is a Hindu or Buddhist temple, typically in the form of a many-tiered tower.

23a   Fat // duke's excellent in old-fashioned way (8)

"duke" = D (show explanation )

A duke[5] (abbreviation D.[10]) is a male holding the highest hereditary title in the British and certain other peerages.

hide explanation

Ripping[5] is a dated informal British term meaning splendid or excellent she's going to have a ripping time.

Dripping[10] is the fat exuded by roasting meat.

24a   Crook // logged out (6)

In general, a dogleg[5] is a thing that bends sharply, in particular a sharp bend in a road or route. To golfers, a dogleg[5] is a hole at which the player cannot aim directly at the green from the tee.

25a   Iodine applied to blood around new // cut (6)

The symbol for the chemical element iodine is I[5].

Cut[3] means to refuse to speak to or recognize (someone); in other words, to snub cut me dead at the party.


1d   Claim made about Norse god // a lot (8)

Thor's Battle Against the Jötnar (1872)
by Mårten Eskil Winge
In Norse mythology, Thor[5,7] — the son of Odin and Freya (Frigga) — is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. Thursday is named after him.

2d   Severe // injury in A & E (5)

Scratching the Surface
A & E[5] (accident and emergency) is the British term for the Emergency Department in a hospital ⇒ (i) a nurse at work told me I should go to A & E; (ii) an A & E department.

3d   Hail 'Cam', spin-doctored /as/ a prophet (7)

Malachi[10] was a Hebrew prophet of the 5th century BC whose prophecies are contained in the book of Malachi in the Old Testament.

Scratching the Surface
It would appear that "Cam" is headline writer's shorthand for former British Prime Minister David Cameron[5]. He was still Prime Minister at the time that this puzzle appeared in the UK but resigned less than a week later when the British electorate voted to leave Europe (a move he opposed)[7]. Obviously, Cameron was not much of a prophet, losing a referendum that he himself called and fully expected to win.

5d   Before being grappled by Japanese wrestling // ace (7)

Sumo[5] (also sumo wrestling) is a Japanese form of heavyweight wrestling, in which a wrestler wins a bout by forcing his opponent outside a marked circle or by making him touch the ground with any part of his body except the soles of his feet.

Supremo[5] is an informal British term meaning (1) a person in overall charge of an organization or activity ⇒ the Channel Four supremo or (2) a person with great authority or skill in a certain area ⇒ an interior by design supremo Kelly .

6d   Exotic bat -- in Iran /it's/ a national symbol (9)

Britannia depicted on
a half penny of 1936
Britannia[5] is the personification of Britain, usually depicted as a helmeted woman seated with a shield and trident. The figure appeared on Roman coins and was revived with the name Britannia on the coinage of Charles II (see Britannia: Depiction on British currency and postage stamps[7]).

7d   Go wrong with // simple task (6)

9d   Having rushed around, burn /that being/ barbecued (11)

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

A rill[5] is a small stream.

14d   One's upfront in Aegean, /getting/ hot in swim with skimpy costume (9)

15d   Look for a scrap, // namely to get one’s own back (8)

The notation sc.[5] (abbreviation for scilicet[5]) means that is to say or namely (introducing a word to be supplied or an explanation of an ambiguity) ⇒ it [sc. gouache] was also popular in France.

17d   Prepared meat /with/ herb around America (7)

18d   Turn and throw//  baby in pond? (7)

19d   Dispute with Iceland died right down, /being/ one to avoid fighting (6)

While I quickly got the correct solution, it took me a while to parse the clue. I vainly attempted to conjure up explanations in which D is an abbreviation for either "died" or "down" before the pre-decimal penny (show explanation ) finally dropped.

In the British currency system used prior to Decimal Day[7] (February 15, 1971*), a penny[5] was equal to one twelfth of a shilling or 240th of a pound (and was abbreviated d, for denarius).
* the date on which Britain converted to a decimal currency system.
hide explanation

Cod war[5] is an informal term for any of several disputes between Britain and Iceland in the period 1958–76, concerning fishing rights in waters around Iceland.

21d   Aquatic creature // in Italian river (5)

The Po[7] is a river that arises in the Cottian Alps and flows eastward across northern Italy entering the Adriatic Sea through a delta near Venice.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, gnomethang characterizes the river Po as the one that is in Italy and not China.
On December 31, 2010 in a review of DT 26437, gnomethang described the Po as being a Chinese river (see his hint for 21a in that puzzle) — a faux pas he has never managed to live down (with the ribbing beginning with a comment (DT 26437 - Comment #4) from Giovanni who set the puzzle).
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. In the full review, Gnomethang misspells diphthong. Understandable, as I always need to look it up.

  2. I hadn't noticed that -- but I probably only spelled it correctly as I had to find enough letters to fill all the available spots in the grid.

    At least I am not the only blogger to make such errors in a review. This could be another opportunity for MG and her proofreading skills!