Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 — DT 28189

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28189
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, August 9, 2016
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28189]
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


As usual, Jay delivers a very enjoyable puzzle.

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   Food! // Change course, grabbing food, for example on the way back (10)

6a   Language /from/ jumper getting undressed (4)

In Britain, a jumper[5] is a knitted garment typically with long sleeves, worn over the upper body. In North American parlance, such a garment would be called a a sweater — in particular, a pullover  (or, as we see today, jersey).

What those of us in North America would call a jumper, the Brits would call a pinafore[5] (a collarless sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or [British] jumper [i.e., North American sweater]).

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.

The terms sweater[5] and pullover[5] would also appear to be in common use in the UK. Although the definitions given for sweater in most British dictionaries would seem to imply that the term applies only to a pullover, Collins English Dictionary defines a cardigan[10] to be a knitted jacket or sweater with buttons up the front.

When applied to sports uniforms, the now current term in North America would seem to be jersey. I can remember when hockey players wore sweaters rather than jerseys.

Erse[5] is a dated term for the Scottish or Irish Gaelic language.

10a   Bound to miss the end of autumn // shoot (5)

11a   Uncontrollable urge isn't a // mark of identification (9)

12a   High spirits /of/ auntie, perhaps going topless (7)

The word "of" is used as a link word between the definition and wordplay. See here for an explanation of this usage.

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.

hide explanation

13a   Experiencing // a pain on the right side of chest (7)

"on" = following (convention for charade indicator) (show explanation )

"A on B" Convention
A sometimes ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already exist (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it. .

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

14a   Exciting scenes /from/ people who abseil? (12)

Abseil[5] is a British term meaning to descend a rock face or other near-vertical surface by using a doubled rope coiled round the body and fixed at a higher point ⇒ (i) team members had to abseil down sheer cliffs to reach the couple; (ii) (as noun abseiling) there are facilities for abseiling and rock climbing. The term used in North America is rappel[5], which is also an alternative term in the UK.

18a   Restore // a Blairite? The changes! (12)

Scratching the Surface
A Blairite[10] is a supporter of the modernizing policies of Tony Blair[5], British Labour statesman who was Prime Minister 1997–2007.

21a   Throw a sickie -- /in/ bed, on holiday (4,3)

The informal term sickie[2,3,4,10,11] is used in the British (originally Australian and New Zealand) sense of a day of sick leave from work, whether for genuine sickness or not, rather than the North American sense of a deranged, psychotic, morbidly obsessed, or perverted person.

Although I did not find the specific phrase "throw a sickie" in any of my dictionaries, throw[2] is clearly being used in the sense — or similar sense — of to have or suffer ⇒ throw a tantrum.

Bunk[10] (usually bunk off) is British slang meaning to play truant from (school, work, etc).

23a   Managed returns merit // recount (7)

24a   Reuters arranged to cover a king/'s/ finance officer (9)

"king" = R (show explanation )

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Reuters[5] is an international news agency founded in London in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter. The agency pioneered the use of telegraphy, building up a service used today by newspapers and radio and television stations in most countries.

25a   Join // fool in backing European Union (5)

Might Jay be declaring his position on Brexit?

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

26a   Special Forces must cross east of enemy // states (4)

In the UK, the Special Air Service[5] (abbreviation SAS[5]) is a specialist army regiment trained in commando techniques of warfare, formed during the Second World War and used in clandestine operations, frequently against terrorists.

27a   Fur /needed if/ friend catches cold (10)

China[5] is an informal British term for a friend (or, as the Brits would say, a mate*). This usage comes from Cockney rhyming slang (show explanation ), where china is the shortened form of china plate which rhymes with 'mate'.
* 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.

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.

hide explanation
In Britain, chill[5] can mean a feverish cold [illness] ⇒ we had better return before you catch a chill.


1d   Ship/'s/ container (6)

2d   Manager managing to absorb // the language (6)

3d   Wimp // massaged legs, rubbing oils with no end of caution (3,5,6)

After deciphering the anagram, I supposed that wimp must be a British term for an item of clothing for well-endowed women. However, I was to discover that the reality was just the opposite.

Big girl's blouse[5] is an informal British term for a weak, cowardly, or oversensitive man ⇒ no matter how a lad feels, it's just not the done thing to display his emotions—he might be accused of being a big girl's blouse.

Unfortunately, the dictionaries fail to provide any explanation of the origin of the term — which I am sure would be fascinating.

4d   Bitter, /but/ relaxed about two points (9)

5d   Crew /needing/ altitude without hydrogen (5)

The symbol for the chemical element hydrogen is H[5].

An eight[5] is an eight-oared rowing boat or its crew.

7d   Itineraries must incorporate popular // acts (8)

8d   Green is bad -- source of emotional // charge! (8)

9d   In transit, /but/ approving hotel during depression (7,7)

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

15d   Nasty accident -- /it's/ touch-and-go (3-3-3)

16d   Attempts to box contrary to expectation /will get/ testimonials (8)

17d   Risky to circumvent the Queen/'s/ court (8)

"the 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] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

In the UK, the Chancery[5] (or Chancery Division) denotes the Lord Chancellor’s court, a division of the High Court of Justice.

19d   Like some tyres // artist set up (6)

Tyre[5] is the British spelling of tire, in the sense of a part of an automobile.

"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

Lay[5] is a British term meaning to set cutlery, crockery, etc. on (a table) in preparation for a meal ⇒ she laid the table for dinner.

20d   Groups /of/ fifty despatched by senior officer (6)

The word "of" is used as a link word (as explained at 12a).

In biology, a genus[10] (plural genera or genuses) is any of the taxonomic groups into which a family is divided and which contains one or more species. For example, Vulpes (foxes) is a genus of the dog family (Canidae).

22d   Estuary // English ultimately suppressed by fail rate, oddly (5)

A firth[2], especially in Scotland, is a river estuary or an inlet.

Scratching the Surface
Estuary English[5] is a British term for a type of accent identified as spreading outwards from London and containing features of both received pronunciation* and London speech ⇒ the upper-class young already talk Estuary English.
* Received pronunciation (also received standard) is the standard form of British English pronunciation, based on educated speech in southern England, widely accepted as a standard elsewhere [and definitely not what you hear on Coronation Street].
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 comment:

  1. Some days, I just have to accept that the Briticisms have defeated me. A disappointing end to an otherwise entertaining puzzle.