Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017 — DT 27624 (New Year's Day Bonus Puzzle)


For those in need of some mental exercise to help work off the lingering effects of the New Year's celebrations, here is DT 27624 which is drawn form my archive of unpublished reviews for puzzles that the National Post has skipped. You might notice that I am digging deeper and deeper into the bin to find reviews — with this puzzle having been skipped on April 9, 2015. As this review was written some twenty months ago, you may also detect some differences in style from present day reviews.

I had prepared this post to appear on Boxing Day and was then surprised to find that the National Post publishing an edition on that day. The seasonal theme of the first clue is still fairly fresh — certainly more so than when the puzzle first appeared in the UK in October 2014.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27624
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Cephas (Peter Chamberlain)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27624 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27624 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
gnomethang (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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 skipped this puzzle which otherwise would have appeared on Thursday, April 9, 2015.

As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


It would seem that the Brits did not find this puzzle difficult (witness crypticsue's two star rating), but I certainly did.

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   Not even // Irishman goes to church before start of Yule (6)

Most of the Irishmen whom one encounters in Crosswordland seem to be named Pat.

4a   Result /of/ lifts getting heated (6)

8a   Deluge with literature, // receiving dazzling illumination (8)

10a   Lay in wait /and/ enticed king to get drawn in (6)

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

11a   Stare, seeing women in space (4)

Gawp[3] is a chiefly British term meaning to gawk.

12a   Some savant gardener // breaking new ground (5-5)

13a   Recovering // fleece found by valley track (12)

16a   Vulgar riches /seen in/ international club? (12)

20a   Melting ice lolly // that could be used as a bribe? (5,5)

Lolly[5] is an informal British term for money ⇒ you’ve done brilliantly raising all that lovely lolly.

Scratching the Surface
To the Brits, lolly[5] can refer to either a lollipop or an ice lolly[5] (also called iced lolly), a piece of flavoured ice [a popsicle[5] to North Americans] or ice cream on a stick.

21a   Robin dropping end off new // pen (4)

In Britain, a biro[5] is a kind of ballpoint pen. Although it is a British trademark, the name is used generically (in the same way that kleenex has become a generic term for facial tissue). It is named after László József Bíró (1899–1985), the Hungarian inventor of the ballpoint pen.

22a   Cycle at university given precedence -- /that's/ an improvement (6)

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

23a   Tour ended /in/ fall (4,4)

Scratching the Surface
While North American (especially US) readers might interpret "fall"[5] to be a reference to a season of the year, this would not be the case for British readers to whom the season is known as autumn[5].

24a   Fusion of the rod // at a very high temperature (3-3)

25a   Invite to come over // stream to get on (6)

Beck[5], in Northern English dialect, means a stream.


1d   Pattern /of/ work over, aimlessly talk about party (5-3)

In music, Op.[5] (also op.) is an abbreviation meaning opus (work). It is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication.

How's that again?

In her review, crypticsue shows op to be a short form for operate (and thus synonymous with work as a verb). However, I can find no evidence to support that contention. Op[5] can be used as an informal short form for (1) a surgical operation ⇒ a minor op, (2) a radio or telephone operator, or (3), in the plural (ops), for military operations ⇒ the ops room. However, none of these would be applicable in the context of this clue.

2d   Soldiers // right to work outside (5)

As for work, I can only say "Ditto".

3d   Only item of luggage needed? (7)

Holdall[10] is a British term for a large strong bag with handles (known in Canada and the US as a carryall[10]).

5d   Head holds permit /for/ painting device (7)

6d   Infusion // mixed at heel bar (6,3)

Scratching the Surface
Heel bar[5] is a [seemingly British] name for a small shop or stall where shoes are repaired, especially while the customer waits.

7d   Attempt to guard goal // with it (6)

Scratching the Surface
To the Brits, the surface reading undoubtedly refers to football [soccer]. However, in Canada (especially at this time of year), the clue can certainly allude to no other sport than hockey.

9d   Had a ripping time? // What a nuisance! (5,4,2)

Ripping[5] is a dated informal British term meaning splendid or excellent she's going to have a ripping time.

That's torn it[5] is an informal British expression used to express dismay when something unfortunate has happened to disrupt one’s plans ⇒ Oops, that’s torn it. Costa Rica have scored again.

If one applies a literal interpretation to the wordplay, "had a ripping time" would denote having spent time tearing something to shreds.

14d   Second team /in/ force for red-light district? (4,5)

15d   Doctor has consumed last of flat // fish (8)

17d   It reminds // me repeatedly not to get drunk (7)

18d   I swayed over // edge of road (7)

19d   Intended taking flight (6)

21d   Second-class security device /for/ group of buildings (5)

This is specifically a group of buildings bounded by four streets.

Delving Deeper
It would appear that in the UK, block[5] refers very specifically to a group of buildings bounded by four streets.

In North America, on the other hand, the meaning of block[5] has expanded to include (1) any urban or suburban area bounded by four streets or (2) the length of one side of a block, especially as a measure of distance ⇒ he lives a few blocks away from the museum.

Thus, it would seem, one could never have an undeveloped block in the UK as we might in North America.
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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