Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017 — DT 28284

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28284
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28284]
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


Today, another Canadian joins Big Dave's blogging crew — Senf from Winnipeg. A warm belated welcome to Senf as we only learn of his arrival some two and a half months after the fact.

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   Stranded, // like Noah on Ararat? (4,3,3)

This is a style of clue that I never quite know how to classify — and consequently I have undoubtedly been somewhat inconsistent in the way that I have marked them. I have concluded that it is a double definition of a sort — one in which the portion of the clue marked with the dotted underline is a cryptic (or maybe not so cryptic) definition by example. The solution to the clue is a literal description of the situation in which Noah found himself when the flood waters receded.

6a   Stone /in/ ring friend's put on (4)

10a   Dance // band's leader entering strange area (5)

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

11a   Leading up to concert's finale, playing a tuba, who // would you like? (4,5)

12a   Yellow // bird (7)

13a   Hot? Bower /provides/ shelter (7)

14a   Complaining, // returned post incorrectly delivered (5,7)

At the risk of being labelled a complainer, I have to wonder whether the definition and the solution are really the same part of speech. It seems to me that "complaining" is an adjective while "under protest" is an adverb.

18a   Bishop, agile soul, /in/ play (6,6)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

This is the second time that this play has been presented recently. Blithe Spirit[7] is a comic play by English playwright Noël Coward (1899–1973). The play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles's marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.

21a   Mutter vaguely about piano /and/ brass instrument (7)

"piano" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

23a   Tiresome // outside broadcast (7)

24a   Sanction // demolition (9)

Unlike Senf, I had no difficulty accepting "sanction" as a synonym for "clearance":
  • Sanction[5] (noun) denotes official permission or approval for an action ⇒ he appealed to the bishop for his sanction.
  • Clearance[5] means official authorization for something to proceed or take place ⇒ the aircraft hadn't got diplomatic clearance to land in Mexico.
25a   Picture /of/ island the old lady, for example, brought back (5)

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

26a   Mount // from Newmarket, napped (4)

Mount Etna[5] is a volcano in eastern Sicily, rising to 3,323 m (10,902 ft). It is the highest and most active volcano in Europe.

Scratching the Surface
Newmarket Racecourse[7] is a British Thoroughbred horseracing venue in the town of Newmarket, Suffolk. Newmarket is often referred to as the headquarters of British horseracing and is home to the largest cluster of training yards in the country and many key horseracing organisations, including Tattersalls*, the National Horseracing Museum and the National Stud**. The racecourse hosts two of the country's five Classic Races*** — the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, and numerous other Group races. In total, it hosts 9 of British racing's 32**** annual Group 1***** races.

* Tattersalls[7] (formerly spelled with an apostrophe) is the main auctioneer of race horses in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
** A stud[3] is a stable or farm where animals, especially horses, are kept for breeding. The National Stud[7] is a United Kingdom Thoroughbred horse breeding farm located two miles from Newmarket.
*** In horse racing in Great Britain, the British Classics[7] are a series of five horse races run over the flat (i.e., without jumps) for thoroughbreds. Each classic is run once each year and is restricted to horses that are three years old. The races are the 2,000 Guineas Stakes[7] and the 1,000 Guineas Stakes[7] (both run at Newmarket), the Epsom Oaks[7] and the Epsom Derby[7] (both run at Epsom Downs), and the St. Leger Stakes[7] (run at Doncaster).
**** This number seems to have grown, a table of British Group 1 flat horse races[7] on Wikipedia lists 36 events.
***** Group One[7] (or Group 1) is the term used for the highest level of Thoroughbred and Standardbred stakes races in many countries. In the United States, Canada, Japan, South Africa, and British National Hunt racing "Grade I" is used instead. These races, whether designated as "Group One" or "Grade I", are of international importance and attract the best horses. They also offer very large stake money.
Nap[5] is a British term meaning to name (a horse or greyhound) as a probable winner of a race  ⇒ Harbinger is napped to win the Novices' Hurdle.

27a   Got us a card at sea /showing/ a maritime force (10)

Unlike North American usage, coastguard[7] in Britain is one word.


1d   Introduction to Homer, or magnificent // Roman poet (6)

Horace[5] (65-8 BC) was a Roman poet of the Augustan period; full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus. A notable satirist and literary critic, he is best known for his Odes, much imitated by later ages, especially by the poets of 17th-century England. His other works include Satires and Ars Poetica.

Scratching the Surface
Homer[5] (8th century BC) was a Greek epic poet. He is traditionally held to be the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, though modern scholarship has revealed the place of the Homeric poems in a preliterate oral tradition. In later antiquity Homer was regarded as the greatest poet, and his poems were constantly used as a model and source by others.

2d   Good scope /offered by/ opening on board (6)

In chess, a gambit[5] is an opening move in which a player makes a sacrifice, typically of a pawn, for the sake of a compensating advantage ⇒ he tried the dubious Budapest gambit.

3d   A breeze /that may be/ passing through Tivoli Gardens? (1,4,2,3,4)

This is another clue constructed along much the same lines as 1a. In fact, in the process of analyzing this clue, I went back and revised my comments on 1a.

As in 1a, the portion of the clue marked with the dotted underline is a cryptic (or maybe not so cryptic) definition by example. The solution to the clue is a literal description of a stroll through Tivoli Gardens. The key here is recognizing that while "passing" is a verb in the surface reading, it can also be a gerund and can therefore can act as a noun making it synonymous with the noun "walk".

Tivoli Gardens[7] (or simply Tivoli) is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843. In 2015, it was the fourth most-visited theme park in Europe and the second-most-popular seasonal* theme park in the world.

* The park is open from April through September as well as during a three-week period around Halloween and a two-week period over Christmas.

4d   Achieve marvellous results? // Party is curious to know (2,7)

5d   Come to // religious education supported by a church (5)

In the UK, religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[5]) is a subject taught in schools which educates about the different religions of the world.

7d   Pushed // doctor to appear in red-top needing circulation (8)

"doctor" = MO (show explanation )

A medical officer[5] (abbreviation MO[5]) is a doctor in charge of the health services of a civilian or military authority or other organization.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
In Britain, a tabloid newspaper is known as a red top[5] (or red-top[10]) (from the red background on which the titles of certain British newspapers are printed).

8d   Learned // line? Say again (8)

9d   OK // playing violin tune to mass inside (4,2,8)

"mass" = M (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

15d   Ineffectual, // like a team that always loses? (9)

Yet another clue in the style of 1a and 3d. The portion of the clue marked with the dotted underline is a cryptic (or maybe not so cryptic) definition by example. The solution to the clue is a literal description of where a team that always loses finds itself in the league standings.

16d   Old boy's yarn about cold // bar (8)

"old boy" = OB (show explanation )

In Britain, an old boy[5] (abbreviation OB[2])  is:
  1. a former male student of a school or college ⇒an old boy of Banbury County School; or
  2. a former male member of a sports team or company ⇒ the White Hart Lane old boy squared the ball to present an easy chance from 12 yards.
It is also a chiefly British affectionate form of address to a boy or man ⇒ ‘Look here, old boy,’ he said.

hide explanation

17d   Anticipate // number working (6,2)

19d   Pitched, not as a // composition for piano, perhaps (6)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Senf shows himself to be unclear on the role of the word "perhaps". I have no doubt that it is part of the definition in which the setter is being very precise as a sonata is not a "composition for piano" but a composition in which a piano may — or may not — be an accompanying instrument (so "for piano, perhaps").

The anagram indicator is "pitched".

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.

20d   Climb // a post in audition? (6)

According to several dictionaries, post[3,4,11] is a (chiefly) British term meaning to send by mail. However, the phrase "post a letter" — while certainly much less commonly used in Canada than "mail a letter" — does not sound entirely foreign to me. After all, our mail service is named Canada Post — and ironically the British postal service is known as the Royal Mail.

22d   Dance // beat on grand disc (5)

While the abbreviation G for "grand" is deemed by the Brits to be an Americanism, it seems to be one that is well known to them — undoubtedly from American gangster films. (show more )

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  1. Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5];
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2];
  3. Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[10] .
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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