Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017 — DT 27960 (Holiday Bonus Puzzle)


Should you find yourself in need of some mental exercise on what is a holiday in many parts of Canada, here is DT 27960 which the National Post skipped on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

The holiday is known as Family Day here in Ontario but goes by different names in other parts of the country. The holiday is not celebrated in every province and those in British Columbia marked the occasion a week ago — apparently tired of always finding themselves behind the rest of the country.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27960
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, November 16, 2015
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27960]
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
The National Post skipped this puzzle on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.


It slipped my mind that the National Post was unlikely to publish today and was thus caught unawares. I found this review, only partially complete, in the back of my closet. I hauled it out, dusted it off, and finished off the review of the remaining clues.

For those of you lucky enough to have a holiday today, enjoy it — no matter what you call it.

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   Unpleasant bunch's // dismissive attitude (4,6)

6a   Labour // withdrawn (4)

I must confess that the British political party never crossed my mind.

The Labour Party[5] in Britain is a left-of-centre political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people that since the Second World War has been in power 1945–51, 1964–70, 1974-9, and 1997–2010. Arising from the trade union movement at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Liberals as the country’s second party after the First World War.

10a   Try to walk like a crab /and/ slide about (5)

11a   No longer an individual to esteem, /that's/ clear (9)

Rate[5,10] is used in an informal [almost certainly British] sense meaning to have a high opinion of ⇒ (i) Mike certainly rated her, goodness knows why; (ii) the clients do not rate the new system.

12a   One who talks one round /to compose/ some music (8)

An oratorio[5] is a large-scale, usually narrative musical work for orchestra and voices, typically on a sacred theme, performed without costume, scenery, or action. Well-known examples include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s The Creation.

13a   Clean up /in/ the lottery (5)

Sweep[5] is an informal shortened form for sweepstake[5] (also sweepstakes [the more common spelling in North America, I would say]), a race or gambling game in which the winnings comprise all the money that has been staked.

Behind the Picture

Kitty illustrates her hint for this clue with a picture of  Sweep[7], a British puppet TV character popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and other countries. Sweep is a grey glove puppet dog with long black ears who joined The Sooty Show in 1957, as a friend to fellow puppet Sooty.

Sooty[7] is a glove puppet bear, created in 1948, that appears on British television. The children's television show that bears his name has continued in various forms since the 1950s and, according to Guinness World Records, is the longest-running children's programme in the UK.

15a   Broken treadle // given a warning notice (7)

17a   Balls that may not bounce (7)

I think that these balls do bounce, but they do so at a very inconvenient spot for the batsman. I see that neveracrossword agrees [Comment #5 at Big Dave's Crossword Blog].

In cricket, a yorker[5] is a ball bowled so that it pitches* immediately under the bat ⇒ he bowls a good yorker. The name probably comes from York, suggesting this style of delivery may have been introduced by Yorkshire players.

* In cricket and golf, pitch[5] (said of the ball) means to strike the ground in a particular spot the ball pitched, began to spin back, and rolled towards the hole.

19a   Such money shows one is serious, presumably (7)

In contract law, earnest[5,10] (also called earnest money) is something given, usually a nominal sum of money, to confirm a contractthe earnest money shall be enclosed along with the sealed tender documents. According Oxford Dictionaries, this is chiefly a US term.

21a   With key one's certain /to get/ an opening (7)

22a   Aptitude/'s shown/ just around fifty (5)

24a   New poets are /producing/ works (8)

27a   Where creatures are cultivated // yet bred so badly (6,3)

28a   Cross // desert that is on either side (5)

29a   To exercise /and/ drink like a fish? (4)

"exercise" = PE (show explanation )

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education [or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days]. 

hide explanation

The definition works on more than one level (not unexpected with Rufus). The definition could be merely a common phrase or it could incorporate a double definition [I have attempted to mark the definition in a manner that shows the dual possibilities].

The expression drink like a fish[5] means to drink excessive amounts of alcohol ⇒ he stayed sober—except on Sundays when he would lock himself away and drink like a fish.

The tope[5] is either of two small greyish slender-bodied sharks*, occurring chiefly in inshore waters scored.

* the East Atlantic Galeorhinus galeus, favoured by British sea anglers, and the commercially important Galeorhinus australis of Australia

30a   Gets agreed alternative // set aside (10)


1d   Member wears it to order, perhaps (4)

Prince William,
Duke of Cambridge
wearing Garter Riband
and Star
A sash[7] is indicative of holding the class of Grand Cross or Grand Cordon in an Order of Chivalry or Order of Merit. The sash is usually worn from the right shoulder to the left hip. A few orders do the contrary, according to their traditional statute — among them being the UK's Order of the Garter and Scotland's Order of the Thistle.

2d   Clothing that is rarely worn out (9)

3d   Leader of gangsters about -- at // large (5)

4d   Declared // a number were incorrect (7)

"a number" = V (show explanation )

In cryptic crosswords,  "(a) number" is very often a Roman numeral and, in particular, terms such as "(a) large number", "many" or "a great many" are frequently used  to indicate that a large Roman numeral — generally C (100), D (500), or M (1000) — is required.

hide explanation

5d   What's needed by firm with money being splashed about? (7)

This is a semi-all-in-one clue; the entire clue is the definition while the portion with the dashed underline is the wordplay.

7d   Note overdue // transport (5)

8d   One has no right to be on land (10)

9d   Steps taken /in/ yards or metres? (8)

14d   Sea comes over prom /in/ harbour area (10)

Prom[5] is an informal British short form for promenade[5], a paved* public walk, typically one along the seafront at a resort.

* In Britain, pave[5] means to cover (a piece of ground) with flat stones or bricks — not asphalt.

As Kitty points out in her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, front[5] is a chiefly British short form for seafront or waterfront. In Comment #5 at Big Dave's Crossword Blog], neveracrossword remarks living in a seaside town, we often refer to the the esplanade as the “sea front”, whereas “waterfront” is descriptive of a harbour.

16d   Conjectures /will appear if/ he is accepted by Conservatives (8)

A Tory[10] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain (show more ) or Canada.

Historically, a Tory[10] was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

hide explanation

18d   Untax beer, possibly, /but/ with spirits remaining high (9)

20d   Take pains // to produce inconvenience (7)

21d   One tries to catch someone out (7)

Yes, as Kitty writes in her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the Brits see the solution as a cricket player. However, if your game is baseball, the clue is equally applicable.

23d   Fabulous writer /providing/ a masquerade that's uplifting (5)

Aesop[5,10] (?620–564 BC) was a Greek storyteller and author of fables in which animals are given human characters and used to satirize human failings. The moral animal fables associated with him were probably collected from many sources, and initially communicated orally. Aesop is said to have lived as a slave on the island of Samos.

25d   Imitating // the sound of a bullet? (5)

Taken as a phrase, "the sound of a bullet" would be "a ping".

What did she say?
In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kitty describes ping as the  ... noise, which the trees make in the Ning Nang Nong.
"On the Ning Nang Nong"[7] is a poem by Irish-British comedian Spike Milligan featured in the book Silly Verse For Kids published in 1959. In 1998 it was voted the UK's favourite comic poem in a nationwide poll, ahead of other nonsense poems by poets such as Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear.

In December 2007 it was reported* to be among the ten most commonly taught poems in primary schools in the UK.

* according to the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED), a non-ministerial department of the UK government

The 18-line poem opens with:
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the cows go Bong!
Various animals, plants and created objects "say" or, more often, "go" various sounds (capitalization in the original): cows go "Bong!", monkeys say "Boo!", trees go "Ping!", tea pots "Jibber-Jabber Joo", mice go "Clang!".

26d   Go ahead /with/ the roof covering (4)

Leads[5] is a British term for sheets or strips of lead covering a roof or a piece of lead-covered roof.

Although both the roof and the roofing material are known as leads rather than lead, the roofing material is, of course, made of lead.
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


  1. Thanks for the bonus puzzle. In BC today, there is no holiday and no paper.

  2. Wow - it feels like a very long time ago I was blogging Rufus puzzles! I appreciated the extra perspective from your side of the pond - thanks, Falcon.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Kitty

      Yes, I dug pretty deep in the closet to find this previously unpublished review.