Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 — DT 28249

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28249
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28249]
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


In their review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the 2Kiwis write "Jay continues the pattern for this week with a relatively gentle but still good fun offering". I can add nothing to that description.

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   Popular flower /used as/ avatar, perhaps (11)

In Hinduism, an avatar[5] is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher.

What did they say?
In their review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the 2Kiwis write that the flower referred to in the clue is often known as a pink.
A pink[1] is any plant or flower of the caryophyllaceous genus Dianthus, including carnation and sweet william.

9a   Fail to pay /for/ fallback position (7)

10a   Plod/'s/ correct about Director-General! (6)

In the UK [and the Canadian Public Service], DG[5] is the abbreviation for director general.

12a   Personal promotion /of/ European tour about to advance (3,4)

13a   Fighting fund, etc, // now no longer in use (7)

I don't recall ever before having seen the word "fighting" used as an anagram indicator. While I am not overly smitten with it, I suppose one cannot have fighting without some movement being involved.

14a   Criminalised, and collecting // litter (5)

A litter[5] is a structure that historically was used to transport people, containing a bed or seat enclosed by curtains and carried on men's shoulders or by animals.

A sedan[5] (also sedan chair) is an enclosed chair that historically was used for conveying one person, carried between horizontal poles by two porters.

15a   Protest at // fitted carpet being dumped in river (9)

The Dee[5] is either of at least two rivers in the UK:
  1. a river in northeastern Scotland, which rises in the Grampian Mountains and flows eastwards past Balmoral Castle to the North Sea at Aberdeen;
  2. a river that rises in North Wales and flows past Chester and on into the Irish Sea.
17a   Quickly prepares // to take stock and drink (7,2)

"drink" = SUP (show explanation )

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle.

As a noun, sup[5] means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

hide explanation

20a   Language /of/ trade union after veto (5)

TU[1,3,4,5,10,11] is the abbreviation for Trade Union — an entry found in American as well as British dictionaries.

Bantu[5] is a group of Niger–Congo languages spoken in central and southern Africa, including Swahili, Xhosa, and Zulu.

22a   Runs out /due to/ error in case of employees (7)

24a   Dry spell /giving/ daughter difficult time (7)

25a   Border -- // a record spinner, with number turning to trap one (6)

Hats Off
The clue as published in The Daily Telegraph and initially on the Telegraph Puzzles website in the UK contained an error, appearing as:
  • Border -- a record spinner no one backed (6)
which would lead to the incorrect result ADJION.

At some point during the day of publication, the clue was amended on the website to read as it is found today in the National Post. In Comment #7 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Jeremy Mutch (the setter of the puzzle) acknowledges that the mistake was his.

This is the first time that I can recall where corrections made to a puzzle subsequent to its publication in Britain have been incorporated into the puzzle in the National Post. I have no idea whether it is the syndication department at The Daily Telegraph or the editorial department at the National Post who we have to thank for this development, but hats off to whomever is responsible.

26a   With penetrating look, hence changing // formation (7)

27a   Half-heartedly passed a Merc stupidly conserving energy -- // one could be caught by it? (5,6)

"energy" = E (show explanation )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

Merc*[5] is an informal term for a Mercedes car.

* North Americans might be more apt to apply this term to a different automobile, the Mercury[7] — although the association may be fading as this make has now been defunct for more than six years.


2d   Temperature found in nerve cell // particle (7)

3d   Worker poised to move // down under (9)

How appropriate that the 2Kiwis should be blogging today's puzzle!

The Antipodes[5] is a term used by inhabitants of the northern hemisphere to refer to Australia and New Zealand.

4d   Took account of // empty theatre in sign of agreement (5)

5d   Fretful about // such a thing being sought by pigs (7)

6d   Soldiers new in Palestinian area /must get/ material (7)

"soldiers" = OR (show explanation )

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

hide explanation

The Gaza Strip[10] (informally often referred to as Gaza) is a coastal region on the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean: administered by Egypt from 1949; occupied by Israel from 1967; granted autonomy in 1993 and administered by the Palestinian National Authority from 1994. Pop: 1 763 387 (2013 est). Area: 363 sq km (140 sq miles).

Gaza[10] is a city in the Gaza Strip: a Philistine city in biblical times. It was under Egyptian administration from 1949 until occupied by Israel (1967). Pop: 787 000 (2005 est).

Organza[5] is a thin, stiff, transparent dress fabric made of silk or a synthetic yarn ⇒ a silk organza skirt.

7d   Sign supporting mostly inauspicious // opponents (11)

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.

8d   Manage to pay for // a car touring France (6)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for France is F[5].

11d   Agent at unit being treated /is/ getting weaker (11)

16d   A smoker's fancy // castle in Spain? (4,5)

The 2Kiwi's mark the first part of this clue as a definition. Well, perhaps one could consider it to be a cryptic definition (thus the dotted underline).

Castles in Spain[5] (or castles in the air) are visionary unattainable schemes; or, in other words, daydreams ⇒ my father built castles in the air about owning a boat.

Scratching the Surface
An article on "Castles in Spain" (to which I can no longer link) had this to say:
Nowadays, ‘castles in Spain’ means something splendid but non-existent. “Fashionable adventurers in France used to impose on the credulous and get money and social advantages out of them by telling tales of their ‘castles in Spain’, which, needless to say, they did not possess,” is the explanation of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
The expression appears to have entered the English language from French where the expression is "bâtir Châteaux en Espagne".

18d   Miss a date /with/ joker (5-2)

This is not a double definition as the numeration (5,2) for the first part of the clue does not match that which is given.

A stand-up*[5] (noun) is a comedian who performs by standing in front of an audience and telling jokes.

* This may be another example of the British penchant for turning adjectives into nouns. While North Americans do this to some extent, I find the practice to be much more prevalent in the UK. My American dictionaries show standup[3] (or stand-up) as a noun meaning standup comedy but not a standup comedian.

19d   A few, after fifty, will accept one's // able to move gracefully (7)

20d   Ally/'s/ trouble about end of war (7)

21d   Flipping short leg's silly // complaint (6)

Short[5] (noun) is a British term for a drink of spirits served in a small measure*.

* A measure[5] is a container of standard capacity used for taking fixed amounts of a substance.

A niggle[10] is a slight or trivial objection or complaint or a slight feeling as of misgiving, uncertainty, etc. Although this word does not appear as a noun in my American dictionaries, it is not a usage that sounds unfamiliar to me.

Scratching the Surface
Flipping[5] is an informal British term used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance ⇒ (i) are you out of your flipping mind?; (ii) it’s flipping cold today.

The Long and the Short of It
Since, as an adjective, short[2,10], said of a drink of spirits, denotes undiluted or neat, one might suppose that the word short as a noun when applied to a drink has a similar connotation.

However, Collins English Dictionary defines a short[10] as a drink of spirits as opposed to a long drink such as beer.

Therefore, I would conclude that short in this context merely means having little height, as I can't imagine that the term "long drink" means that the British quaff their ale diluted with water.

23d   Young man in charge /creates/ kind of boom (5)

"in charge" = IC (show explanation )

The abbreviation i/c[5] can be short for either:
  1. (especially in military contexts) in charge of ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations; or
  2. in command ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
hide explanation
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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