Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016 — DT 28227

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28227
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, September 23, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28227]
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


Typical of a Giovanni puzzle, I solved a handful of clues very quickly before progress ground to a virtual stop. Next followed a stretch of very slow advancement, after which the pace began to pick up again as the grid filled in.

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.


7a   More than one wild animal // in river by vessel delights (14)

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.

9a   Sober /and/ at ease, consuming water (10)

11a   Quiet time /to get/ something to read? (4)

"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.

hide explanation

12a   What fuels boiler? (3)

In an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue) such as this, the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

13a   What you see in cycle velodrome // at different heights (5-5)

I would classify this as a combination clue[7] which intermixes a hidden word clue[7] with a visual clue. Thus hidden in (in) cycLE VELodrome we "see" the word LEVEL but it is split between the two words in which it is hidden. In cryptic crosswords, the same rule applies to spaces as applies to punctuation — one ignores them except when they are not to be ignored.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat describes this clue as being like one of the clues in ‘Dingbats’.
Dingbats[7] (known in America as Whatzit?[7])  is the name of a board game that is currently manufactured by German game and toy company Ravensburger. The game, for two or more people, involves solving rebuses (puzzles in which a common word or saying is hidden in a cryptic or otherwise unique arrangement of symbols).

16a   Girl, // one facing endless peril (4)

17a   Six books in a set sitting beside mature // wine (7)

"books in a set" = NT (show explanation )

In Crosswordland, the phrase "religious books" — or often merely the word "books" — is commonly used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). In today's clue, we see a variation on the theme as the setter employs the phrase "books in a set".

As is frequently the case, the clue provides no indication as to which of the two possible sets of books it is referring.

hide explanation

18a   These played harps, but not the // harp-playing types! (7)

A seraph[5] (plural seraphim or seraphs) is an angelic being, regarded in traditional Christian angelology as belonging to the highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardour, and purity.

20a   Celebrity /that's/ knocked over by despicable people (4)

I did myself no favours by initially entered RATS in the grid, parsing the clue as:
  • Celebrity that's knocked over /by/ despicable people (4)
I still don't like the wordplay. I could accept a STAR being "knocked over despicable people" where "knocked over" is an adjectival phrase. However, I do not see how "knocked over by despicable people" can possibly give one STAR. Maybe it's a British turn of phrase. However, I do note that my fellow Thursday bloggers from Big Dave's Crossword Blog (Kath [Comment #13] and pommers — as reported by his wife, pommette [Comment #18]) both express similar misgivings about this clue.

21a   Household collections // famous Frenchman featured in odd bits of text (10)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau[5] (1712–1778) was a French philosopher and writer, born in Switzerland. He believed that civilization warps the fundamental goodness of human nature, but that the ill effects can be moderated by active participation in democratic consensual politics. Notable works: Émile (1762) and The Social Contract (1762).

23a   Garland /from/ the French island (3)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

hide explanation

24a   After first half of month perform /in/ sport (4)

As Deep Threat says this is a four-letter month. There are only two — and either one will do.

Judo[5] is a sport of unarmed combat derived from jujitsu and intended to train the body and mind. It involves using holds and leverage to unbalance the opponent.

25a   Greek character thus transformed Italy, /showing/ ability to bring harmony? (10)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

28a   A lot may be // about to be getting a hit from above? (5,3,6)

A double definition, the second of which is cryptic.


1d   Manoeuvring of vehicle /makes/ pet run riot, then collapse (5-5,4)

A three-point turn[5] is a method of turning a vehicle around in a narrow space by moving forward, backward, and forward again in a sequence of arcs.

2d   See // best standing on head (4)

3d   Within a part of India lurks unknown // artist (4)

Goa[5] is a state on the west coast of India; capital, Panaji. Formerly a Portuguese territory, it was seized by India in 1961. It formed a Union Territory with Daman and Diu until 1987, when it was made a state.

"unknown" = Y (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

hide explanation

Goya[5] (1746–1828) was a Spanish painter and etcher; full name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. He is known for his works concerning the French occupation of Spain 1808–14, including The Shootings of May 3rd 1808 (1814) and The Disasters of War (1810–14), depicting the cruelty and horror of war.

4d   Scheme // to set bar up in secluded seaside location (7)

5d   Belts with ammunition // stop soldier moving (10)

6d   Sue /being/ agile, catching one pet? (10)

8d   Laundress might need to shift // gloopy yellow stuff (7,7)

English mustard[5] is a kind of mustard made from mustard seeds milled to a powder, having a very hot taste and typically bright yellow in color.

10d   Go off // hill after climbing (3)

"hill" = TOR (show 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.

hide explanation

Off[10] (said of food or drink) means having gone bad, sour, etc ⇒ this milk is off.

14d   Bury run, leader in race /being/ unwelcome visitor (10)

Scratching the Surface
Bury[7] [pronounced berryalthough not by the locals according to Gazza in a review on Big Dave's blog] is a town in Greater Manchester, England.

15d   Member getting very friendly with name not provided /is/ recognised (10)

19d   Fellow hiding love /is/ a bit more wet (7)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

22d   Son meeting father /in/ spring (3)

26d   Heartless trick /will make you/ gossip (4)

The phrase "will make [for] you" is another way of saying "produces".

27d   Writer // that one associates with a certain Mary (4)

When I initially solved this clue, I totally missed the obvious allusion to the nursery rhyme, instead thinking of the writer's sister Mary. It is only now as I write the review that this aspect of the clue jumps out at me.

Charles Lamb[5] (1775–1834) was an English essayist and critic. Together with his sister Mary he wrote Tales from Shakespeare (1807). Other notable works: Essays of Elia (1823).

The double meaning of Mary could well have been intentional on the part of the setter.
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. Back home from five weeks on Maui, where I took a holiday from cryptics and now find I'm a little rusty. Needed online help to finish this one.

    I concur about 20a; Giovanni got it back to front.

  2. Welcome back Richard,

    I wondered where you had disappeared to. Five weeks on Maui -- now that is quite a vacation!

    1. Yes, we are very fortunate to be able to take holidays like this. Rented a beautiful condo in a park-like development with hundreds of different tropical plants, amazing bird-life, on a hill overlooking the ocean and a short walk to the beach. Played most of my golf at the Waiehu county course, which has the only oceanside holes on the island and where they still allow walking. Take a look here:

      Hope you are keeping well. Best wishes for a very merry Christmas.