Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017 — DT 28251

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28251
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, October 21, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28251]
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


Perhaps had I had the luxury of setting the puzzle aside for a period of cogitation I might have cracked a couple of more clues on my own. However, under pressure to get on with writing the blog, I called out the electronic reinforcements to help conquer the last four clues still standing. After all, they needed the exercise as they had seen no action for a considerable period of time.

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   Fool, silly chap /in/ one type of headgear (5,3)

Clot[5] is an informal British term for a foolish or clumsy person ⇒ Watch where you’re going, you clot!.

Cloth cap[10] (also called flat cap) is a British term for a flat woollen cap with a stiff peak*.

* Peak[5] is a British term for a stiff brim [visor] at the front of a cap [a usage that is hardly entirely foreign to North Americans].

6a   Game defender // to move towards his own goalkeeper? (2,4)

Go[7] is a board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago (from whence it spread, first to Korea and Japan, and then worldwide). The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. According to chess master Edward Lasker: "The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go." The name Go is derived from the Japanese name of the  game "igo".

A back[5] is a player in a team game who plays in a defensive position* behind the forwards ⇒ their backs showed some impressive running and passing.

* except, of course, in North American football where there are both offensive backs and defensive backs.

9a   Sweet // request to note blessing all around (6)

A boon[10] is something extremely useful, helpful, or beneficial; a blessing or benefit ⇒ the car was a boon to him.

As Deep Threat notes in his review, boon[10] is an archaic term for a favour or request ⇒ he asked a boon of the king.

Sweet[5] is a British term for a small shaped piece of confectionery made with sugar ⇒ a bag of sweets. In North American parlance, sweets would be candy[5] and a sweet would be a piece of candy*.

* In Britain, candy means sugar crystallized by repeated boiling and slow evaporation ⇒ making candy at home is not difficult—the key is cooking the syrup to the right temperature.

A bonbon[2] is a sweet [piece of candy], especially a fancy chocolate- or sugar-coated piece of confectionery.

10a   Doctors /in/ service taking a long time (8)

11a   Boy with a time at home given a // piece to play (8)

A sonatina is a simple or short sonata*.

* A sonata[5] is a composition for an instrumental soloist, often with a piano accompaniment, typically in several movements with one or more in sonata form.

12a   Noticing // headless insect in grass (6)

Grass[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  1. (noun) a police informer; and
  2. (verb) to inform the police of someone’s criminal activities or plans ⇒ (i) someone had grassed on the thieves; (ii) she threatened to grass me up.
This expression may derive from rhyming slang (grasshopper being rhyming slang for 'copper'). (show explanation )

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.

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Sing[10] is a mainly US slang term meaning to confess or act as an informer.

13a   More trying to set out // some mathematics (12)

16a   Soldiers // organise line in conflict (12)

I suspected at least a partial anagram, but was trying to use "organise" as the indicator.

A legionnaire[5] is a member of a legion, in particular an ancient Roman legion or the French Foreign Legion*.

* The Foreign Legion[5] is a military formation of the French army founded in the 1830s to fight France’s colonial wars. Composed, except for the higher ranks, of non-Frenchmen, the Legion was famed for its audacity and endurance. Its most famous campaigns were in French North Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

19a   Some believers /getting/ back to America (6)

As a charade indicator, the word "to" is used in the sense of "pressed against"—as in expressions such as "shoulder to the wheel" or "nose to the grindstone".

A Hindu[5] is a follower of Hinduism*.

* Hinduism[5] is a major religious and cultural tradition of South Asia, which developed from Vedic religion. According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practices Hinduism.[7]

21a   Gun -- // method it needs to get duck, but it's missing duck! (8)

"duck" = ZERO (first instance) and O (second instance) (show explanation )

In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

In British puzzles, "duck" is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

hide explanation

A howitzer[5] is a short gun for firing shells on high trajectories at low velocities.

23a   Arrogant // one laughing in a London art gallery? (8)

Of course, I tried desperately to implicate the Tate Gallery.

The Laughing Cavalier[7] (1624) is a portrait by the Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals in the Wallace Collection in London, which has been described as "one of the most brilliant of all Baroque portraits". The title is an invention of the Victorian public and press, dating from its exhibition in the opening display at the Bethnal Green Museum in 1872–75, just after its arrival in England, after which it was regularly reproduced as a print, and became among of the best known old master paintings in Britain. The unknown subject is in fact not laughing, but can be said to have an enigmatic smile, much amplified by his upturned moustache.

24a   Decided // holy book needs editor (6)

Mark[5,10] (or St Mark) is the second Gospel in the Bible attributed to St Mark, an apostle and companion to St Peter and St Paul.

25a   Old-fashioned officer, // busy type grabbing naughty lad (6)

Historically, a beadle[5] was a minor parish officer dealing with petty offenders.

26a   One's upset by muck /in/ underground rooms (8)


2d   Watch // diving bird getting submerged all right (4,2)

3d   Bone, // black one buried in small island to the north (5)

Ait[5] (also eyot) is a British term (in place names) for a small island in a river ⇒ Raven's Ait.

4d   State // prisoner getting delivery, about to break free (9)

5d   Fish /in/ river with member, getting a number (7)

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.

"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

The pompano[5] is an edible butterfish that lives in shoals along the west coast of North America.

6d   Maybe oxygen starts to prevent such? (5)

This is an  &lit.[7] (all-in-one) clue, a type of clue in which the entire clue not only provides the definition (according to one interpretation) but also serves as the wordplay (according to a different interpretation).

7d   Innocent /and/ weak, restricted by sanction (9)

I was fixated on the wrong meaning of sanction, trying to work BAR or BAN into the solution. Sanction is one of those strange words which is its own antonym, meaning both prohibit and permit.

8d   Certain office workers // less productive in Civil Service (8)

CS[5] is an abbreviation for Civil Service[10], the British term for the service responsible for the public administration of the government of a country. It excludes the legislative, judicial, and military branches. Members of the civil service have no official political allegiance and are not generally affected by changes of governments. In Australia and New Zealand — not to mention Canada — the term public service[10] is used.

13d   It's certainly not new, // what some clocks have (5-4)

It is rather ironic that the "second hand" on a clock is actually this.

14d   Female involved in a row (9)

15d   Loathing having to be injected with drug, take a seat /and/ dither (8)

"drug" = 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

17d   Outside this place a theologian // held fast (7)

"theologian" = DD (show explanation )

Doctor of Divinity[7] (abbreviation D.D. or DD, Divinitatis Doctor in Latin) is an advanced academic degree in divinity.

Historically, the degree of Doctor of Divinity identified one who had been licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects. In the United Kingdom, Doctor of Divinity has traditionally been the highest doctorate granted by universities, usually conferred upon a religious scholar of standing and distinction. In the United States, the Doctor of Divinity is usually awarded as an honorary degree.

hide explanation

18d   River // always descending between two points (6)

The Severn[5] is a river of southwestern Britain. Rising in central Wales, it flows north-east then south in a broad curve for some 290 km (180 miles) to its mouth on the Bristol Channel. The estuary is spanned by a suspension bridge north of Bristol, opened in 1966, and a second bridge a few miles to the south, opened in 1996.

20d   Filth /from/ birds finally landing on tree (5)

The citrus grove was obscured by PINE trees. Of course, the result didn't parse and I didn't write it into the grid but I couldn't seem to fully erase it from my mind.

22d   Number // at that place a bit confused inside (5)
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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