Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 — DT 28240

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28240
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28240 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28240 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (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 has skipped DT 28235 through DT 28239 which were published in The Daily Telegraph from Monday, October 3, 2016 to Friday, October 7, 2016.
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.


The editors at the National Post must be feeling especially frisky after the holiday season as they leap over an entire week's worth of puzzles today. I needed a bit of help from my electronic assistants to complete this one — which I will blame on having slept poorly last night.

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   Doctor's job // forces leader to behave when in charge (7,8)

9a   Casual zen deployed /in/ part of Passage to India (4,5)

The Suez Canal[5] is a shipping canal connecting the Mediterranean at Port Said with the Red Sea. It was constructed between 1859 and 1869 by Ferdinand de Lesseps. From 1888 it was a neutral zone under British protection; its nationalization by Egypt in 1956 prompted the Suez crisis. The canal was considerably expanded between 2014 and 2015.

Scratching the Surface
A Passage to India[7] is a 1924 novel by English author E. M. Forster set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s.

The novel is based on Forster's experiences in India, deriving the title from Walt Whitman's 1870 poem "Passage to India" in Leaves of Grass.

10a   Expert in road // went fast (5)

11a   Good-for-nothing /makes/ Bette lose her head (5)

Bette Midler[7] is an American singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer.

12a   Transport magnate/'s/ shown ripe bananas (4-5)

13a   Fortification // arranged by having US soldiers coming round working (8)

The clue parses as {ARR (arranged by) contained in (having ... coming round) GIS (US soldiers)} + ON (working; functioning)

The abbreviation arr.[7] denotes (with respect to a piece of music) arranged by ⇒ Variations on a theme of Corelli (arr. Wild).

"US soldiers" = GIS (show explanation )

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war.

Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather derives from the term government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

hide explanation

14a   Swear summer in Cannes /makes you/ exhausted (6)

Warning: The explanation for the first part of the wordplay involves coarse language (show explanation ).

Eff[5] (noun and verb) is a euphemism for 'fuck' ⇒ he told plenty of journalists to eff off.

Eff and blind[5] (which appears in gnomethang's explanation of the wordplay) is an informal British term meaning to use obscene language ⇒ I scrabbled for my clothes, effing and blinding. The term comes from eff (fuck) and blind is related to blimey ("God blind me")[a].

The expression eff and jeff (also mentioned by gnomethang) is apparently another way of saying the same thing.


hide explanation

Cannes[5] is a resort on the Mediterranean coast of France; population 71,526 (2006). An international film festival is held there annually.

The French word for summer is été[8].

Effete[10] is used in the sense of exhausted of vitality or strength; worn out; spent. The word is derived from the Latin effetus meaning worn out by bearing young.[5]

16a   Venetian leader receives thanks /in/ declining years (6)

Historically, a doge[5] was the the chief magistrate of Venice or Genoa.

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

18a   American wrestler hiding in one tree /or/ another (8)

The implied definition is "another [tree]".

Hulk Hogan [7] is the ring name of American semi-retired professional wrestler Terrence Gene Bollea.

May[10] (also may tree) is a British name for hawthorn[5], a thorny shrub or tree of the rose family, with white, pink, or red blossom and small dark red fruits (haws). Native to north temperate regions, it is commonly used for hedging in Britain.
22a   Scaring // bird round top of tree (9)

23a   Crash /has/ queen in pain (5)

"queen" = R (show explanation )

Queen may be abbreviated as Q, Qu. or R.

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

Qu.[2] is another common abbreviation for Queen.

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

Thus Queen Elizabeth signs her name as 'Elizabeth R' as seen here on Canada's paint-stained constitution.

hide explanation

Prang[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  1. (verb) to crash (a motor vehicle or aircraft) ⇒ Ernie pranged his sports car last month;
  2. (noun) a crash involving a motor vehicle or aircraft ⇒ he had numerous prangs and near misses in his motoring life.
24a   A lottery returned // prize (5)

25a   Dark Blues briefly set off in racing // boat (9)

I immediately noticed the reference to Oxford University in the surface reading but failed to recognize that it carried over into the cryptic reading of the clue.

The Boat Race[7] is an annual rowing race between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club, rowed between competing eights on the River Thames in London, England. It usually takes place on the last weekend of March or the first weekend of April.

The athletes from both universities wear blue — Cambridge blue[5] is a pale blue colour, while Oxford blue[5] is a dark blue, typically with a purple tinge.

26a   Suffer poverty // cultivating hostile farmland (4,2,4,5)


1d   Youngster /requires/ energy drink (7)

A sling[5] is a sweetened drink of spirits, especially gin, and water.

2d   One makes points // to goad Republican (7)

"Republican" = R (show explanation )

A Republican[5] (abbreviation R[5])  is a member or supporter of the Republican Party[5], one of the two main US political parties (the other being the Democratic Party), favouring a right-wing stance, limited central government, and tough, interventionist foreign policy. It was formed in 1854 in support of the anti-slavery movement preceding the Civil War.

In the UK, republican[5] can refer to an advocate of a united Ireland but the abbreviation does not seem to apply to that usage.

hide explanation

A needler[10] is a needle maker.

3d   Do truer discoing possibly from its output? (9,6)

In this semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), the entire clue acts as the definition while the portion with the dashed underline provides the wordplay.

4d   Outsider /has/ hot pants the wrong way round (4,4)

Pant[5] is used in the sense of to long for or to do something ⇒ the opening song makes you pant for more.

5d   Like newly turfed pitch? // Spinning bowler not half needs supporting help (6)

In cricket, the pitch[5] is the strip of ground between the two sets of stumps ⇒ both batsmen were stranded in the middle of the pitch.

Scratching the Surface
In cricket, a spin bowler[5] is an expert at bowling with spin.

6d   Botanic Prof torn suffering // damage to environment? (6,9)

7d   What some churches use // to arouse passion (7)

8d   Back // last runner at 'Aydock? (7)

Haydock Park Racecourse[7] is a racecourse in Merseyside, England.

One Dropped Aitch Deserves Another
Clues of this style are customarily described as being written in the cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London which is characterized by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words and the use of rhyming slang[5]. A cockney[5,10] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End[5]], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church).

However, as once pointed out in a comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog "it’s not just Cockneys that don’t pronounce initial aitches – Yorkshire folk for example!".

Of course, the device being used is that an aitch dropped in the clue implies an aitch dropped in the solution. 

15d   Criminal, // German, concealing disquiet (8)

16d   Detective workers // on woman's side (7)

"detective" = DI (show explanation )

A detective inspector (DI[5]) is a senior police officer in the UK. Within the British police, inspector[7] is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief inspector. Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or attached to their force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

hide explanation

17d   Track laid round area -- very // hard work (7)

In titles, the abbreviation V.[10] stands for Very as in V. Rev.[10] (abbreviation for Very Reverend).

19d   Molten rock goes skywards carrying aluminium // alloy in liquid form (7)

Aluminium[5] is the British spelling of the chemical element aluminum, the symbol for which is Al[5].

Dental amalgam[7] is a liquid mercury and metal alloy mixture used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay.

20d   Dairy products // sort guy out (7)

21d   Put a stop to // glitch so bike keeps up (6)
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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