Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 — DT 28224

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28224
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28224]
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
The National Post has skipped DT 28223 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, September 19, 2016.


There is enough British content in this puzzle to make it a bit more of a challenge on this side of the pond than it was for solvers in the UK.

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   The end of play // is baffling (6)

In cricket, the umpire calls "Stumps"[7] to signal that play is over for the day.

5a   Imagine, // my dear, a rum after end of round (8)

Rum[5], used here as an anagram indicator, is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

10a   Question in church about acceptable // fruit (6)

"church" = CE (show explanation )

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

hide explanation

"acceptable" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

11a   Make-up /of/ Universal screening 'ET'? (8)

In both this clue and the following one, the word "of" is used as a link word between the definition and wordplay. (show explanation )

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

Scratching the Surface
Universal Studios Inc.[7] (known professionally as Universal Pictures and also simply referred to as Universal) is an American film studio owned by Comcast through its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. One of Hollywood's "Big Six" film studios, the company — founded in 1912 — is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States and the fourth oldest in the world.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7] (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

And yes, should you be wondering, the film was distributed by Universal Pictures.

12a   Flight /of/ rocket with this person wearing space body suit (6,9)

Once I had all the checking letters, the solution stood out. However, it took a lot longer for the parsing to emerge from the mist.

The clue parses as SPIRAL (rocket) + (with) I (this person) contained in (wearing) {STAR (space body) + CASE ([law]suit}.

"this person" = I (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation

Spiral[5] is used in the sense of to Show a continuous and dramatic increase ⇒ (i) inflation continued to spiral; (ii) he needed to relax after the spiralling tensions of the day.

16a   Line in funny // gag (8)

18a   One going into town /for/ fish? (6)

The plaice[5] is a North Atlantic flatfish which is a commercially important food fish.

20a   Common sense /shown by/ British artist? In spades (6)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I am sure that ShropshireLad intended to write "Start with the letter B (British) ...".

"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

"spades" = S (show explanation )

Spades[2]) (abbreviation S[1]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

Illuminating the Picture
The illustration in ShropshireLad's review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog depicts Brains[7], a fictional character introduced in the British mid-1960s Supermarionation television series Thunderbirds who also appears in several sequel films.

21a   Fresh and clear // schedule of events (8)

22a   As with a bareknuckle boxer, // play hardball? (3,6,3,3)

27a   Savoury dish: // ingredients in welcome letter (8)

28a   Very strong, // round number in gym (6)

29a   A gem /may be/ gleaned from his paper (8)

Illuminating the Picture
ShropshireLad illustrates his review with a picture of English actress Joanna Lumley who portrayed Sapphire opposite Scottish actor David McCallum as Steel in the British television science-fiction fantasy series Sapphire & Steel[7] which ran from 1979 to 1982 on the ITV network in Britain.

30a   Crude // burrow close to spinney (6)

An earth[5] is the underground lair of a badger or fox Foxes, chased to exhaustion and death, are often dug out of their earths and feel great pain.

Spinney[5] is a British term for a small area of trees and bushes.


2d   Rupert met fantastic // musician (9)

3d   Bond's boss at the office, cringing at // psychic's skill? (4-7)

M[7] is a fictional character in English author Ian Fleming's James Bond books; the character (who is Bond's boss) is the Head of Secret Intelligence Service—also known as MI6.

4d   Charm, // first of pieces put in auction (5)

6d   'Hello, Goodbye' as performed in 'South Pacific' (5)

Aloha[5] is a Hawaiian word used as both a greeting and a farewell.

Scratching the Surface
"Hello, Goodbye"[7] is a song released in 1967 by the English rock band the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

South Pacific[7] is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The story is based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific.

7d   Reserved reduced // object (5)

8d   Former partner has taken up painting // more (5)

9d   Pal packing revolutionary // weapon (7)

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.

Che Guevara[7] (1928–1967) was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

13d   Refined fare // tons put on cereal abroad (7)

Treacle[7] is the British name for the substance that we call molasses in North America.

Delving Deeper
Molasses is one of those words which have related — but distinctly different — meanings on either side of the pond.

Molasses (in the North American sense of the word) is a byproduct of the sugar-making process. Specifically, molasses is the concentrated syrup leftover when sugar crystals are extracted, and comes in three varieties: light, dark and blackstrap.

When sugar cane is being processed into sugar, the juice from crushed or pressed sugar cane is boiled to prompt the crystallization process. The liquid resulting from the first cooking of the sugar cane syrup is known in North America as light molasses (and in the UK as treacle[10] or golden syrup[7]). It has a relative high sugar content and a fairly mild flavor.

The liquid resulting from the second boiling of the sugar cane juice is known in North America as dark molasses (and in the UK as black treacle[7]). It has a distinctively strong, slightly bitter flavour, and a richer colour than light molasses. Black treacle is also called molasses in the UK, although it would seem this term is used primarily when the substance is not intended for human consumption.

Blackstrap molasses is the darkest, thickest and least sweet of the types of molasses and is the result of the third and final boiling of the sugar cane juice.

14d   Troublemaker on the Spanish // force (5)

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

15d   Bond character // that starts a pyramid scheme? (5,6)

As the solution is a noun, the word "that" must be included in the definition (which ShropshireLad has not done in his review). In this interpretation, a "chain letter" is the thing "that starts a pyramid scheme".

Alternatively, should one consider the term "chain letter" to denote the ongoing process of repeating sending the letter (rather than the letter per se), then it could be a synonym for "a pyramid scheme":
  • Bond character /that starts/ a pyramid scheme? (5,6)
In this case, the definition is "a pyramid scheme" and the words "that starts" (meaning "that gives rise to") is a link phrase between the wordplay and definition.

17d   Enthusiasm /one may see/ blow over (5)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being 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.

hide explanation

19d   Two chapters about a very loud and popular // bird (9)

"very loud | very loudly" = FF (show explanation )

Fortissimo[5] (abbreviation ff[5]) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very loud  or (as an adverb) very loudly.

hide explanation

The chaffinch[5] is a Eurasian and North African finch, typically with a bluish top to the head and dark wings and tail.

20d   Pantomime character, // stooge on stage at the start (7)

Buttons[7] is the name of a character in the Cinderella pantomime*. Buttons is the servant of Cinderella's father, Baron Hardup, and is Cinderella's friend. In many productions, he is in love with Cinderella and is constantly trying to express his feelings to her, only for her to remain unaware of his love for her or reply that she loves him only as the brother she never had.

The name Buttons comes from the nickname given to Victorian pageboys, whose costume the pantomime character wears — a traditional red or blue bellboy's costume with polished buttons down his front and a pillbox hat.

* A pantomime[5] is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

23d   Check out // organ at university (3,2)

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

Eye up[a] can mean:
  1. to look at someone carefully in order to make a judgment about him or her ⇒ I saw the other poker players eyeing me up, trying to figure out if I was any good.
  2. to look at someone or something in a way that indicates desire, attraction, or sexual interest ⇒ (i) You're totally eyeing up that cute blonde over there, aren't you?; (ii) I've been eyeing up the dessert menu, but everything looks so good. I can't decide what to order.

[a] Farlex Dictionary of Idioms

24d   Freeloader // in shelter? Check (5)

"check" = CH (show explanation )

In chess, ch.[10] is the abbreviation for check.

hide explanation

25d   One exercising veto by right? (5)

This is a semi-&lit. (or semi-all-in-one) clue (show explanation ) in which the entire clue serves as the definition and the portion with the dashed underline provides the 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
  • the entire clue serves as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue supplies the wordplay while a portion of the clue acts as the definition.
hide explanation

26d   More than enough // beer member's got in (5)

"member" = 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
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

No comments:

Post a Comment