Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016 — DT 28177 (Bonus Puzzle)

Lest We Forget


Today being Remembrance Day, the National Post did not publish. However, should you have time on your hands after paying your respects to our veterans and fallen heroes, here is DT 28177, the puzzle which the National Post skipped on Monday, November 7, 2016.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28177
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28177]
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


In my books, this puzzle was certainly beyond the two-star difficulty threshold. It was, however, a very satisfied feeling that I was left with upon finally completing it without having had to roust out the electronic helpers.

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   Scheme /of/ theft by Tories (10)

"Tories" = CONS (show explanation )

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

A Tory[10] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada.

Historically, a Tory[10] was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

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The word "of" (show explanation ) is used as a link word between the definition and wordplay.

When used as a link word, "of" denotes that the definition is formed from the constituent parts found in the wordplay.

This is based on the word of[5] being used as a preposition indicating the material or substance constituting something ⇒ (i) the house was built of bricks; (ii) walls of stone.

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6a   Round of applause /for/ writing (4)

Hand[5] denotes a person's handwriting he inscribed the statement in a bold hand.

10a   Mellow, going topless // on so many occasions (5)

11a   Uncontrollable elation, boxing copper/'s/ jab (9)

"copper" = CU (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from late Latin cuprum).

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12a   Extend // time spent in gaol (7)

Gaol[10] is a British variant spelling of jail.

13a   Statesmen /must make/ bets (7)

A Yankee[1,5] (also Yankee bet) is, according to Oxford Dictionaries, a bet on four or more horses to win (or be placed) in different races while, according to The Chambers Dictionary, it is a multiple bet on four horses in four races, consisting of six doubles*, four trebles**, and one accumulator***.
* a double[1] is a combined bet on two races, stake and winnings from the first being bet on the second.

** a treble[2] is a type of cumulative bet that involves the better choosing three horses from three different races; the original stake money plus any winnings from the first race then goes on the horse from the second race, after which, if the second horse wins, the total is laid on the horse from the third race.

*** accumulator[2] (also accumulator bet) is a British term for a bet on four or more races, where the original money bet and any money won are bet on the next race, so that the better either wins a lot of money or loses it all.
Shall We Digress
The word Yankee[10] perhaps originates from Dutch Jan Kees (John Cheese), a nickname used derisively by Dutch settlers in New York to designate English colonists in Connecticut. [The derivation becomes obvious once one remembers that the letter "J" would be pronounced like a "Y".]

14a   Island country about to delay // military base (12)

I spent ages trying to identify an island country such as Malta or Sri Lanka that might work here.

18a   Spreading one's interest /in/ sporting venue (7,5)

The verbal phrase referred to by the 2Kiwis in their review includes an article that is missing from the solution — a point that is also noted in several comments on Big Dave's site. I have therefore hedged my bets and given the first definition a dotted underline.

I did not find the phrase playing the field in any of my regular stable of dictionaries although a search on Wikipedia did lead me to an article on promiscuity[7] — which is the meaning that comes to mind for me. However, I do believe that Angel in the thread at Comment #4 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog undoubtedly has quite a different meaning in mind when she confesses that this is something that she may do at Goodwood this week!. Goodwood Racecourse[7] is a British horse-racing track.

On the other hand, Kitty at Comment #19 tells us that she had 18a down as a charade. The verbal phrase would be a bit naughty!. She doesn't explain how spreading equates to playing — and any explanation that I can imagine is just as naughty as the phrase she rejects.

I was surprised to see that Collins English Dictionary characterizes playing field[10] as being a mainly British term. It seems that those of us on this side of the Atlantic failed to get the memo establishing that condition.

21a   Remedy /for/ lack of spirit across street? (7)

The phrase "lack of spirit" gives rise to NO RUM.

23a   Chap with assignation /getting/ authority (7)

"chap" = MAN (show explanation )

Chap[3,4,11], an informal term for a man or boy, is a shortened form of chapman[3,4,11], an archaic term for a trader, especially an itinerant  pedlar [British spelling of peddler].

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24a   Floating voter's accommodation? (9)

Scratching the Surface
In the cryptic definition, the voter quite literally resides in floating accommodation. However, in the surface reading, floating voter[5] is a British term for a person who has not decided which way to vote in an election, or one who does not consistently vote for the same political party ⇒ the party leader stepped up his efforts to appeal to floating voters.

25a   Bush // exposed in registered letter from the East (5)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading may be intended to evoke the thought of either of two former US Presidents — George W. Bush[5] (President 2001–2009) or his father George Bush[5] (President 1989–1993).

26a   Ferret circling European // animal that's hunted (4)

27a   Roughly revise unfamiliar test // items from table (10)


1d   Difficult to please, /but/ house has snug covering (6)

"house" = HO (show explanation )

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

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2d   Fundamental character /of/ the forces that form the world (6)

This is the second appearance of the word "of" as a link word in today's puzzle (see 1a).

3d   One sign suppressed by shamefaced // prisons (14)

In astrology, Aries[10] (also called the Ram) is the first sign of the zodiac, symbol , having a cardinal fire classification, ruled by the planet Mars. The sun is in this sign between about March 21 and April 19.

4d   Chamber once // putting right case wrong (9)

Diverging ever so slightly from the 2Kiws' explanation, I would say that we have a split anagram indicator "putting ... wrong".

Reichstag[5] denotes:
  1. the main legislature of the German state under the Second and Third Reichs;
  2. the building in which the main German legislature met, badly damaged by fire on the Nazi accession to power in 1933.
5d   Shed tears about working /for/ a mate (5)

In Britain, mate[5] — in addition to being a person’s husband, wife, or other sexual partner — is an informal term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

7d   Theoretical // type at university (8)

8d   Sauce that may be put on either of window tables? (8)

This is a cryptic definition comprising a precise definition (solid underline) in combination with some indicative wordplay (dashed underline). Such indicative wordplay, or cryptic elaboration, while not constituting a second precise definition (as one would have in a double definition) does allude to an aspect of or attribute associated with another definition for or usage of the solution.

The solution is a sauce for salads rather than a stuffing for turkey. With (Canadian) Thanksgiving recently behind us, it was the latter that came to mind initially when it became clear from the checking letters what the solution must be — and I was naturally having considerable difficulty trying to equate it to sauce. I discover that dressing[5] in the sense of stuffing is a North American term.

How Does It Work
There is an adage associated with cryptic crosswords that one ignores punctuation in a clue — unless, of course, it should not be ignored. The corollary to this is that one inserts punctuation in a clue where it is missing. Of course, the setter would claim that the punctuation is not really missing, it is merely implied.

I think this is a case where the corollary applies. We must read the clue as "Sauce that may be put on either of: window, tables?". That is, the words "window" and "tables" comprise a list of words to which the solution can be added to form meaningful terms. The question mark serves as a flag that something a bit out of the ordinary is afoot (i.e., in this case, the existence of an implied list).

9d   Takes no notice /of/ potential blunder in Yeats (5,1,5,3)

Unlike the 2Kiwis, I haven't included the word "of" in the definition as to do so would seemingly require that the solution be "turns a blind eye to". For instance, the phrase "turns a blind eye" could be substituted in the sentence He waves his arms wildly trying to attract her attention, but she takes no notice but not in the sentence She takes no notice of his attempts to attract her attention. The word "of" would then serve as a link word as in 1a and 2d.

Scratching the Surface
W. B. Yeats[5] (1865–1939) was an Irish poet and dramatist; full name William Butler Yeats. His play The Countess Cathleen (1892) and his collection of stories The Celtic Twilight (1893) stimulated Ireland’s theatrical, cultural, and literary revival. Notable poetry: The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair (1929). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

15d   Musical device // ruining movie title that's unfinished (9)

Leitmotiv (alternate spelling of leitmotif[5]) denotes a recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation ⇒ there are two leitmotifs in his score marking the heroine and her Fairy Godmother.

16d   Non-union business // starts on hotel work (4,4)

Hotel[5] is a code word representing the letter H, used in radio communication.

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

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Open shop[5] denotes:
  1. a system whereby employees in a place of work do not have to join a trade union;
  2. a place of work following an open-shop system.
17d   Service function absorbing English // manipulator (8)

Mass[5] is the celebration of the Christian Eucharist, especially in the Roman Catholic Church.

19d   Armed thief losing head for quiet // Hindu scholar (6)

"quiet" = 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.

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A pandit[5] is a Hindu scholar learned in Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy and religion, typically also a practising priest.

20d   Organs // try suppressing test, oddly (6)

22d   Animal // doctor poses naked (5)

"doctor" = MO (show explanation )

A medical officer[5] (abbreviation MO[5]) is a doctor in charge of the health services of a civilian or military authority or other organization.

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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. Thanks Falcon - Raise a glass to our fallen heroes.

  2. Thanks for posting the bonus puzzle. Jay never disappoints.

    My mother did not allow her sons to "go steady" while we were in high school because she believed we were too young to become seriously involved with one girl. She insisted that we would learn more about women and life in general by "playing the field".

    This was in the early sixties. Nowadays, the idea might strike most people as rather quaint, if not kooky. But I think she was right. The girls I dated seemed to accept the limits on our relationship and I wasn't distracted from my studies.

    1. Richard,

      Your story throws a whole new light on the meaning of the term. As is so often the case, it is all about context.

  3. I add my thanks, Falcon, for posting. This was a tough one for me - taking me several sessions over two days - and I was very pleased to complete the grid with no help. Still, I was left with 4 clues I hadn't been able to parse completely, as your notes anticipated: 13a (bets), 24a (voter's), 1d (house=HO), and 8d (those "tables"). Thanks also for explaining how "of" works. As a former German professor and a Wagner fan, I couldn't believe how long it took me to get 4d and 15d, even seeing that they were anagrams; pattern recognition doesn't get you too far if you're thinking in the wrong language!