Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 — DT 28217

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28217
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, September 12, 2016
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28217]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

Like Miffypops, I found that "[t]oday’s puzzle took a little more teasing out than usual although once I got going it soon fell into place".

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.

Across

1a   An odd escort /for/ an older person (8)

6a   Saucy antics? (6)

This is vintage Rufus. A cryptic definition comprising a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration.

9a   Squirm /and/ wither, wanting right to advance (6)

"Advance" meaning to move toward the head of the pack.

10a   Talk /of/ cut after backing strike (8)

11a   Their job is to certify, // not sign (8)

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.

12a   Keep thanks in check (6)

Ta[5] is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you ‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.

13a   Confidence shared by the whole house (5,7)

16a   Got up and blushed // pink (4-8)

19a   Fly /in/ different directions after trial's overturned (6)

The tsetse[5] (also tsetse fly) is an African bloodsucking fly which bites humans and other mammals, transmitting sleeping sickness and nagana*.

* Nagana[5] is a disease of cattle, antelope, and other livestock in southern Africa, characterized by fever, lethargy, and oedema, and caused by trypanosome parasites transmitted by the tsetse fly.

21a   Blunt criticism /of/ decent chap joining club (8)

"chap" = man or boy (show explanation — should you need to!)

Oxford Dictionaries characterizes chap[5] as an informal British term for a man or a boy he sounded like a nice, caring sort of chap. However, among the several dictionaries — both British and American that I consulted, it is the only one to characterize the term as British.

hide explanation

Brick[5] is a dated informal British term for a generous, helpful, and reliable person ⇒ ‘You are really a brick, Vi,’ Gloria said.

23a   They are empowered to go over our heads (8)

24a   Song about sailor /in/ desert land (6)

"sailor" = AB (show explanation )

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

hide explanation

25a   For one to laze is unusual (6)

This is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue (show explanation ) with embedded wordplay.

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

In a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), either (1) the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay or (2) the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.

hide explanation

26a   Olympic riding event // outfit will get silver with ecstasy (8)

The symbol for the chemical element silver is Ag[5] from Latin argentum.

"Ecstasy" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy* or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.
* Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).
hide explanation

Dressage[5] is the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance ⇒ (i) she was learning dressage on a black mare; (ii) Britain 's top dressage rider.

Down

2d   Raced over line // with not much room to spare (6)

3d   Non-striking bonus (5)

In cricket, an extra[5] is a run scored other than from a hit with the bat, credited (in most cases) to the batting side rather than to a batsman. The types of extra[7] are no ball, wide, bye, leg-bye, and penalty runs.

4d   Mike had to play // leading part in operetta (3,6)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops comes up a bit short on the definition. We want not the name of the operetta but the name of the leading character in the operetta — although, granted, they are one and the same.

The Mikado (emperor) of Japan is the leading role in The Mikado[7] (in full The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu), a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations. Opening in 1885 in London, it remains the most frequently performed Savoy Opera. Setting the opera in Japan, an exotic locale far away from Britain, allowed Gilbert to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese.

5d   A verbal // thrust? (7)

I had interpreted this as another cryptic definition containing cryptic elaboration and had marked it as follows before reading Miffypops's* review:
  • A verbal thrust? (7)
A riposte[5] (noun) is:
  1. a quick, clever reply to an insult or criticism;
  2. a quick return thrust in fencing.
When I saw that Miffypops had marked the clue as a double definition, I was certain it was an error. Surely, verbal cannot be a noun. Well, as I was to discover, it can be in the UK.

Verbal[5] (noun) is an informal British term meaning abuse or insults ⇒ just a bit of air-wave verbals.


* I had always believed that the possessive form of words such as Miffypops is formed by merely adding an apostrophe to get Miffypops'. However, from comments on my most recent review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I learned that one must add 's to get Miffypops's [or does one; I'm not sure a consensus was actually reached].

6d   One provides seedless apples for cooking (5)

7d   Perfectly proficient? (9)

Well, I may have had to rethink my position a couple of clues back, but this clue really is another cryptic definition comprising a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration.

The trick is to read "perfectly" not as PERFectly but as perFECTly (although I believe the correct word might actually be 'perfectedly').

Perfect[2,5] (verb) means to to develop (a technique, etc) to a reliable standard ⇒ he's busy perfecting his bowling technique.

8d   Criminal // set? (8)

13d   Unwilling to give credit (9)

The American spelling would also work — which I fully expect some may have employed. Or am I being sceptical.

14d   WWII fighter // that gets the wind up (9)

The Hurricane[5] is a single-seat, single-engined British fighter aircraft of the Second World War, produced by the Hawker company and remembered in particular for its role in the Battle of Britain along with the Spitfire.

15d   Plan // to study piece of church architecture (8)

"study"= CON (show explanation )

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

hide explanation

17d   Journeyed round the world? (7)

18d   Phone about account // that's for betting on? (6)

Ring is a British[5] or chiefly British[3]* term meaning to call by telephone ⇒ (i) I rang her this morning; (ii) Harriet rang Dorothy up next day; (iii) she rang to tell him the good news.

* The characterization of this term as British was a bit surprising to me. It would appear that I have been doing these crosswords for so long that I no longer know which expressions are British and which are not British.

20d   Compel payment /to be/ precise (5)

22d   Cook steak /for/ a poet (5)

John Keats[5] (1795–1821) was an English poet. A principal figure of the romantic movement, he wrote all of his most famous poems, including ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, and ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, in 1818 (published in 1820).
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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