Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 — DT 28173

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28173
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, July 22, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28173]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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 I became stuck in the southwest corner and had to call for help from my electronic reinforcements to tow me out of the quagmire.

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.


8a   Hands no longer cold? // Let's get on with it! (3,6,3,3)

While hockey fans would certainly have little difficulty understanding the expression, it would seem that the phrase the gloves are off,  actually alludes to boxing. According to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, the phrase the gloves are off figuratively means there is going to be a serious dispute (as if boxers had removed their gloves in order to inflict more damage).

9a   Idiot // knocking container over (3)

Nit[5] is an informal British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

10a   An altercation if meal is terrible? // I don't know what to say (5,4,2)

11a   Many in relapse, falling back, // looking less well (5)

The wordplay parses as a reversal (falling back) of a substantial number of the letters in (many in) RELAPse.

This clue is discussed in the thread arising from Comment #2 at Big Dave's Crossword Blog where Rabbit Dave asks Why does 11a need the word “many”? Doesn’t the clue read just as well without it? (a sentiment that is later echoed in several other comments). To address this question, Dutch provides the following excellent explanation:
I think it is needed because a hidden word ought not extend to the boundaries of the fodder, else it isn’t really hidden (or hidden only on one side).

So if you read “many (characters) in”, you move it away from a strict hidden clue type.

Some might still object saying there is no clarity [as to] exactly how many, but that would apply more if it were only part of the solution – here we have the enumeration.
12a   Former British firm getting irritated // moved abroad (9)

EMI Group Limited[7] (originally an acronym for Electric and Musical Industries), also known as simply EMI, was a British multinational music recording, publishing, electronics, device and systems manufacturing company headquartered in London, England from 1931 until 2011.

Delving Deeper
At the time of its break-up, EMI was the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry. Its EMI Records Ltd. group of record labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records and Capitol Records. EMI also had a major publishing arm, EMI Music Publishing—also based in London with offices globally.

The company was once a constituent of Britain's FTSE 100 Index, but faced financial troubles and USD $4 billion in debt, leading to its acquisition by Citigroup in February 2011 and subsequent breakup with its music arm being sold to Vivendi's Universal Music Group and its publishing business to a Sony/ATV consortium.

15a   /See/ bird // lay egg possibly after crossing river (7)

Despite its positioning at the beginning of the clue, the word "see" plays a role equivalent to that of a link word. Effectively, it denotes "the solution to this clue is a word synonymous with".

The greylag[5] (also greylag goose) is a large goose with mainly grey plumage, which is native to Eurasia and is the ancestor of the domestic goose. Since lag is a dialect word meaning goose, the term greylag goose is equivalent to saying "grey goose goose".

17a   Last character to leave Cornish place /in/ act of atonement (7)

Penzance[5] is a resort town in southwestern England, on the south coast of Cornwall near Land's End; population 21,500 (est. 2009). It is perhaps best known as the setting for the 1879 Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Pirates of Penzance[7].

19a   'Setter-off' // finally reached school by a hill (9)

If you are following Deep Threat's Lego assembly instructions, don't forget to throw in the A from the clue, else your construction will be incomplete.

"school" = ETON (show explanation )

Eton College[7], often informally referred to simply as Eton, is an English independent* boarding school for boys located in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is one of ten English schools, commonly referred to as public schools**, regulated by the Public Schools Act of 1868.
* In Britain, an independent school[10] is a school that is neither financed nor controlled by the government or local authorities; in other words, an independent school[2] is not paid for with public money and does not belong to the state school system.

** In Britain, a public school[2] is a particular category of independent school, namely a secondary school, especially a boarding school, run independently of the state and financed by a combination of endowments and pupils' fees.

Another category of independent school is the private school[2,5] which is a school run independently by an individual or group, especially for profit and supported wholly by the payment of fees.
What we in North America would call a public school[2], is known in the UK as a state school[5] or a maintained school***.
*** In England and Wales, a maintained school[5] is a school that is funded by a local education authority.
hide explanation

A tor[7] is a large, free-standing rock outcrop that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest. In the South West of England, the term is commonly also used for the hills themselves – particularly the high points of Dartmoor in Devon and Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.

20a   Monk not wanting important lady/'s/ soup (5)

In the Christian Church, a brother[2] is a man who is a member of a religious group, especially a monk.

This "important lady" has hung around following her appearance in yesterday's puzzle.

"important lady" = 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] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

21a   Inadequate deputy is given different duties /for/ a change of fortune (11)

The solution to this clue is not a word that one encounters in everyday use. Although I have likely been introduced to it sometime in the past, it certainly was not on the tip of my tongue. While I managed to correctly assemble the tail end of the term from the wordplay, the only "inadequate deputy" who came to mind was Barney Fife[7].

Vicissitude means[5]:
  1. a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant ⇒ her husband's sharp vicissitudes of fortune; or
  2. (literary) alternation between opposite or contrasting things ⇒ the vicissitude of the seasons.
24a   Factory laying off a thousand? /That is/ unfortunate (3)

25a   Situation when hanging's left hanging? (4,2,9)


1d   The details being spelt out /will be/ most ghastly (10)

2d   Rose, maybe, /is/ fine cow (6)

"fine" = F (show explanation )

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead [a usage that Oxford Dictionaries surprisingly characterizes as British].

hide explanation

3d   Fat // maiden, maybe, needing rest by the sound of it? (10)

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over is an over* in which no runs are scored.
* In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.
4d   Goddess // that moves through Oxford (4)

Consider the second definition to be "[something] that moves through Oxford".

In Egyptian mythology, Isis[5] is a goddess of fertility, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. Her worship spread to western Asia, Greece, and Rome, where she was identified with various local goddesses.

Isis[10] is the local name for the River Thames at Oxford, England.

5d   Ordeal having to manage // drive in a car of uncertain reliability? (5,3)

Many comments at Big Dave's Crossword Blog questioned the definition in this clue. While I admit that the definition did seem a bit strange at first, after reflection I concluded that there would be little reason to test drive a car with which one is familiar (i.e,, one of known reliability).

6d   Scientific man of law said // to seethe (4)

Robert Boyle[5] (1627–1691) was an Irish-born scientist. Boyle put forward a view of matter based on particles which was a precursor of the modern theory of chemical elements and a cornerstone of his mechanical philosophy, which became very influential. He is best known for his experiments with the air pump, which led to the law* named after him.
* Boyle's law states that the pressure of a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to its volume at a constant temperature.
7d   Sin // unacceptable -- stop! (6)

Off[5] (as an adjective) is an informal British term meaning annoying or unfair ⇒ His boss deducted the money from his pay. That was a bit off.

8d   In camp the connection one gets is ropey (4,3)

In this cryptic definition, the pronoun "one" is a specific reference to the solution — rather than to someone in general; in other words, the solution is something having a "ropey connection" rather than someone receiving poor phone service.

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading alludes to the quality of the cell phone [or, to the Brits, mobile] service when camping, ropey[10] being an informal British term meaning inferior or inadequate.

13d   Petitions /to get/ resumption organised (10)

14d   Sort of inflammation -- // nurse is pressing on it (10)

The wordplay is {TEND (nurse) + IS (from the clue)} containing (pressing; squeezing, thus wrapped around) {ON IT (from the clue)}. I initially was thinking of "pressing" in the sense of 'pushing down on' leading me to try to make the solution be TEND|IS|ON|IT — which clearly it isn't.

16d   It might get a six? // It's very unlikely (4,4)

In cricket, a six[5] is a hit that reaches the boundary* without first striking the ground, scoring six runs ⇒ he hit a six and seven fours.
* In cricket, boundary[10] denotes the marked limit of the playing area. If a ball is struck beyond the boundary, the batting team scores runs — four runs if the ball touches the ground before crossing the boundary (somewhat like a ground rule double in baseball) or six runs if the ball crosses the boundary without touching the ground (roughly similar to a home run in baseball).
18d   Level of command /in/ military formation (7)

19d   Scheme // essential to revolutionary fancies I've ditched (6)

I may have suspected the solution before seeking assistance, but if I did I failed to write it in because I couldn't parse the wordplay. I should have heeded the advice once given to me that if you can't see the solution, it may well be hidden. Of course, in this case, it is not only hidden but also reversed.

20d   Add strength to // complaint at university (4,2)

In Britain, up[5] means at or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge ⇒ they were up at Cambridge about the same time.

22d   Eat greedily /from/ hamper, but not quietly (4)

For the live of me, I could not think of a five-letter word meaning "hamper" that had a P in it. Fortunately, this task proved to be no challenge for my electronic assistants.

"quietly" = 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.

hide explanation

23d   Plan /that/ helps to give side advantage (4)
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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