Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016 — DT 28176

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28176
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28176]
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


This is a case of had I persevered, I might eventually have completed the puzzle unaided — but had I done so, the blog may not have appeared today.

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   Name behind hand // puppet (4)

I suspected the answer might be the name of some British puppeteer which dissuaded me from putting much effort into this clue. Of course, once all the checking letters were in place, the solution was pretty obvious.

3a   TV drama series // provided that about Father Time? (4,6)

Once again I suspected a British reference — this time the name of a particular television programme — and so avoided tackling this clue. As above, it was the checking letters which gave the game away.

9a   Correct // current flowing back (4)

This old chestnut was my first one in.

10a   Watch and record /in/ paper covering American parade? (6,4)

11a   Obscure // English pieces of jewellery taken to Spain (7)

"Spain" = E (show explanation

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E[5] [from Spanish España].

hide explanation

13a   Embarrassed about attention after hospital // listened to again (7)

14a   Idealists // seeing sign (11)

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.

18a   Novel /from/ Hardy, for example, with surprise ending (6,5)

This comedian seems to have become a featured regular.

Laurel and Hardy[5] were an American comedy duo consisting of Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson) (1890–1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). British-born Stan Laurel played the scatterbrained and often tearful innocent, Oliver Hardy his pompous, overbearing, and frequently exasperated friend. They brought their distinctive slapstick comedy to many films from 1927 onwards.

Oliver Twist[7], subtitled The Parish Boy's Progress, is the second novel by English author Charles Dickens (1812–1870), published in 1838. The story is about an orphan, Oliver Twist, who is born into a life of poverty and misfortune in a workhouse.

Scratching the Surface
Thomas Hardy[5] (1840–1928) was an English novelist and poet. Much of his work deals with the struggle against the indifferent force that inflicts the sufferings and ironies of life. Notable novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1896).

21a   Top // expert on the crest of a wave? (7)

There is a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog (the thread arising from Comment #3) as to whether this might be some sort of all-in-one clue. However, the consensus there is that this is — as Jose expresses it — "just a bog-standard 'cryptic clue' with a (precise) definition and some indicative word play". That is also how I see it.

However, I do have a different take on the wordplay than that which appears on Big Dave's site. There the wordplay is shown as a charade of ACE (expert) preceded by (on; by convention, on signifies 'following' in an across clue) SURF (the crest of a wave). I would say that it is, at best, a considerable stretch to think that surf means the crest of a wave. I interpreted the wordplay to be a cryptic definition in which the solution is taken as a phrase split (4,3) giving us SURF ACE — someone who is an expert on the crest of a wave.

22a   Number with forwards /displaying/ well-developed abs ... (3-4)

In rugby, pack[5] may denote a team’s forwards considered as a group ⇒ I had doubts about Swansea’s pack at the beginning of the season.

The term pack[10] may also denote, in the sense used by ShropshireLad in his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blogthe forwards of both teams collectively, as in a scrum* or in rucking**.
* A scrum[5] is the act or method of restarting play after an infringement when the two opposing packs of forwards group together with heads down and arms interlocked and push to gain ground while the scrum half throws the ball in and the hookers attempt to scoop it out to their own team. A scrum is usually called by the referee (set scrum) but may be formed spontaneously (loose scrum [or ruck]).

** A ruck[5,10] is a loose scrum formed around the ball when it is on the ground or around a player with the ball on the ground players will be encouraged to go to the ground when tackled to form a ruck. As a verb, ruck[10] denotes the action of trying to win the ball by advancing over it when it is on the ground, driving opponents backwards in the process.
23a   ... dictates changes after their game // suspended (10)

Sometimes, ellipses between clues are merely present for the sake of the surface reading. However, today they convey the fact that the "game" referred to in 23a is indeed the one played by the "forwards" in the preceding clue.

Rugby union[10] (abbreviation RU[5]) is a form of rugby football played between teams of 15 players (in contrast to rugby league[5], which is played in teams of thirteen).

Rusticate[5] is a British term meaning to suspend (a student) from a university as a punishment (used chiefly at Oxford and Cambridge)  ⇒ Shelley was rusticated for co-writing an atheistic pamphlet.

24a   To gain access to computer, short // symbol required (4)

25a   Cause of structural damage // in digs angrily received by artist and one sitting (6,4)

"artist" = RA (show explanation )

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[10]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5] (also Royal Academy; abbreviation also RA[10]), an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. 

hide explanation

"one sitting" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (abbreviation MP[5]) or, informally, as a member[5].

hide explanation

Rising damp[5] is a British term for moisture absorbed from the ground into a wall ⇒ he is looking at ways to halt rising damp.

26a   International // try (4)

International[5] is a British term for a game or contest between teams representing different countries in a sport ⇒ the Murrayfield rugby international.

Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] denotes an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

Scratching the Surface
In rugby, a try[5,10] (also called touchdown[5]) is the act of an attacking player touching the ball down behind the opposing team's goal line, scoring, in Rugby Union, five points or, in Rugby League, four points and entitling the scoring side to a kick at goal for a conversion[5], which (if successful) would score an additional two points.


1d   Keep up /with/ twelfth man after start of point-to-point (8)

Eleven[5] is the number of players on a cricket[7] side or an Association football[7] [soccer] team.

 A reserve[5] is an extra player in a team, serving as a possible substitute ⇒ he was reserve hooker [position on a rugby team] for the World Cup team.

Scratching the Surface
Point-to-point[5] is a British term for an amateur steeplechase for horses used in hunting, over a set cross-country course ⇒ a point-to-point meeting.

As a link word, I would guess that with[10] might be used in one of the following senses:
  1. using or by means of;
  2. possessing or having; or
  3. in a manner characterized by.
2d   Injury /caused by/ a couple of cats (8)

Cat[5] is short for cat-o'-nine-tails[5], a rope whip with nine knotted cords, formerly used (especially at sea) to flog offenders

4d   Girl // charged nothing at first (5)

... electrically charged, maybe.

5d   Cried out after prod /in/ game (5,4)

Poker dice[5] is a gambling game, based on poker hands, played with five dice each of which is marked on its six faces with the pictures of the playing cards from ace to nine.

6d   Starch up? Axe ridiculous // old levy (8,3)

Purchase tax[7] was a tax on 'luxury' goods sold in the UK from 1940 until 1973. In preparation for joining the European Economic Community (EU) on 2 April 1973, Purchase Tax was abolished and replaced by Value Added Tax (VAT).

7d   Uncontrolled anger involving a // former president (6)

Ronald Reagan[5] (1911–2004) was an American Republican statesman, 40th President of the US 1981-9. He was a Hollywood actor before entering politics. His presidency saw the launch of the Strategic Defense Initiative and cuts in taxes and social services budgets, as well as the Irangate scandal and the signing of an intermediate nuclear forces non-proliferation treaty, both in 1987.

8d   Soon achieved /in/ property originally having shabby exterior (6)

12d   Expert calling /for/ action intended to cause anger (11)

15d   Canal bed I treated /for/ lock-keeper? (5,4)

Alice band[5] is a [seemingly British] term for a flexible band worn by women and girls to hold back the hair. The term comes from the name of the heroine of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, two books by Lewis Carroll, pen name of English writer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898).

16d   Sleeveless garment // stocked by shop in a forecourt (8)

Pinafore[5] is the British name for a garment that is known in North America as a jumper, namely a collarless sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or a sweater. But the difference in terminology does not stop with the dress. In Britain, a jumper[5] is a knitted garment typically with long sleeves, worn over the upper body (in North American parlance, a sweater — in particular, a pullover).

Thus, if a British lass were to wear a pinafore over her jumper and a North American gal were to wear a jumper over her sweater, they would be dressed identically.

17d   Seconds to destroy // place under surveillance (5,3)

19d   Loan shark // certain to be found in ancient city (6)

Ur[5] is an ancient Sumerian city formerly on the Euphrates, in southern Iraq. It was one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, dating from the 4th millennium BC, and reached its zenith in the late 3rd millennium BC. Ur[7] is considered by many to be the city of Ur Kasdim mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the birthplace of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.

20d   Conservative makes progress /in/ times of intense trouble (6)

"Conservative" = C (show explanation )

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

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.

hide explanation

22d   Energy // shown by head of search party (5)

Steam is used figuratively as in I had hoped to finish raking the leaves today, but I ran out of steam. Oh, well! Not to worry, they'll still be there tomorrow.
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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