Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017 — DT 28292

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28292
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Shamus (Philip Marlow)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28292]
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


This is one of those occasions where I was well into the puzzle before it dawned on me that the clues seemed very familiar.

There is almost a mini-theme in today's puzzle which morphs from a tear drop (21a), to an inflammation of the eye (23a), to an eyesore (6d), and finally to a seedy joint (1d).

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   Wander // about with son in lodgings (7)

5a   Starter, perhaps, requiring study /to get/ flavour (7)

Starter[5] is a chiefly British* term meaning the first course of a meal.

* chiefly British  according to Oxford Dictionaries, but certainly a term that is by no means foreign to Canada

"study"= CON (show explanation )

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

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A soupçon*[5] is a very small quantity of something ⇒ a soupçon of mustard. Thus a subtle flavour.

* Soupçon[8] is a French word meaning 'suspicion'.

9a   Drink round lake chap's left /for/ cold meal (10,5)

Lough*[10] is an Irish word meaning lake.

* pronounced identically to the Scottish word  loch[10] which also means lake

"chap" = MAN (show explanation )

Chap[3,4,11], an informal British*[5] or chiefly British[3] term for a man or boy, is a shortened form of chapman[3,4,11], an archaic term for a trader, especially an itinerant pedlar[a,b].

 * Despite being identified by British dictionaries as a British term, I would say that the term is far from unknown in Canada.

[a] Pedlar is the modern British spelling of peddler[c] which, in most senses, is deemed to be a US or old-fashioned British spelling. The exception is in the sense of a dealer in illegal drugs which in Britain is a drug peddler.

[b] The current meaning of chap[2] dates from the 18th century. In the 16th century, chap meant 'a customer'. The dictionaries do not explain how a shortened form of 'chapman' (pedlar) came to mean 'customer'.

[c] Collins COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

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Ploughman's lunch[5] is a British term for a meal of bread and cheese, typically with pickle and salad.

10a   Mo not leader? // Doubtful (4)

Mo[5] (abbreviation for moment) is an informal, chiefly British term for a short period of time ⇒ hang on a mo!.

11a   Hundred students hope to pass this // rock? (5)

12a   Drooping // fruit cut close to shop (4)

What did I say?
In my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I hinted that "fruit cut" was a detailed citrus fruit.
This was a use of "detailed" in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of having the tail removed — in juxtaposition to "decapitate" used in the hint two clues earlier.

15a   Improve // two bridge players by luck? Not principally (7)

In the card game bridge, North[5] and South[5] comprise one partnership and play against East[5] and West[5] who form the other partnership.

16a   Individual entering seaside venue /is/ trail-blazer (7)

17a   Article on port, // town in Hampshire (7)

Dover[5] is a ferry port in Kent, England, on the coast of the English Channel. It is mainland Britain’s nearest point to the Continent, being only 35 km (22 miles) from Calais, France.

Andover[7] is a town in the English county of Hampshire. The town is on the River Anton some 25 miles (40 km) north of the city of Southampton.

What did I say?
In my review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I stated that the wording of the clue is in contravention of the convention for the use of on in an across clue.
"A on B" Convention

A sometimes ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already exist (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it. .

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

19a   Dry wind /is/ over African country -- medic takes flight (7)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

hide explanation

"medic" = 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

A sirocco[5] is a hot wind, often dusty or rainy, blowing from North Africa across the Mediterranean to southern Europe.

21a   Drop, we hear, /is/ level among others (4)

22a   A learner falls behind American university // standard (5)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

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23a   Inflammation? // Sadly, yes -- temperature must be contained (4)

26a   What could be rhetorical skill -- /or/ lack of certainty (15)

The wordplay is an allusion to the term rhetorical question[5], a question asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.

27a   Support // aim by Arab, say, in East End (7)

An Arab[5] is a horse of a breed originating in Arabia, with a distinctive high-set tail.

The East End[5] is the part of London [England] east of the City as far as the River Lea, including the Docklands, an area whose residents are known as cockneys. The cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London is characterized by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words.

28a   What customers want a shop to be -- // 'customary'? Editor needed! (7)


1d   Strip /in/ seedy joint interrupted by English priest (7)

2d   Hit the roof? // Some do it when diving (2,3,3,4,3)

3d   Limit // club -- bar women! (4)

A wedge[5] is a golf club with a low, angled face for maximum loft.

4d   Mention of amount secured /for/ an unknown person (7)

5d   Tanning device // plus man for a massage (7)

6d   Like an eyesore, // unedifying largely at the edges? (4)

7d   Unexpectedly eccentric kind of // swindle (10,5)

Confidence trick[10] (informal shortened form con trick) is the British term for a confidence game (informal shortened form con game).

8d   Loser // prone to sprawl around house (2-5)

A no-hoper[10] is a useless person; a failure.

13d   Rogue // part of church given hearing (5)

14d   Seek to win over // legal institution (5)

17d   What might be quaint and last in furniture? (7)

This is an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue), a type of clue in which the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

18d   Gentleman put up with single // fried dish (7)

Rissole[5] is a British term for a compressed mixture of meat and spices, coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

19d   Soprano with energy, a singer /and/ swimmer (3,4)

"soprano" = S (show explanation )

In music, the abbreviation for soprano is S or s[2].

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"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Sea bass[7] is a common fish name. Many fish species of various families have been called sea bass.

20d   Ace I had cited // with singular vision? (3-4)

24d   Revolutionary deserters /showing/ sign of military rank (4)

The only explanation that I could come up with for this clue was that it was referring to the stars used by the US military as an insignia of rank. However, the British military uses "pips" rather than stars and the Canadian military uses maples leaves.

In Comment #24 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Mike suggests that the clue is referring to a 'Star of the Bath'.

Plunging In
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath[7] (formerly the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) is a British order of chivalry founded by George I in 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath".

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant).

The insignia[7] of the order includes a star, the design of which varies by rank and division.

25d   Lush // part of meadow in Oxfordshire (4)

Oxfordshire[5] is a county of south central England; county town, Oxford.
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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