Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017 — DT 28293

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28293
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 9, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28293]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


As is typical of a Giovanni puzzle, it took a while to establish a foothold, but once having done so, the solution progressed steadily.

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   Optimistic European, // one inclined to go north (8,4)

A positive pole[5] is a north-seeking pole of a magnet (the pole of a freely suspended magnet which points north).

Delving Deeper
The north-seeking (or positive) pole of a magnet is also often referred to as its north pole. Similarly, the south-seeking pole is also referred to as the south pole or negative pole.

It is generally well-known that the magnetic north pole of the earth is not located precisely at the geographic north pole.

What may be less well-known is that, when the earth is considered as a magnet, the north magnetic pole is a negative pole or south-seeking pole or, in other words, a south pole.

9a   What's odd in a politician, almost // the thinker? (9)

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

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

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

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.

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10a   Scoundrel, one brought before a // church court (5)

The Curia[5] is the papal court at the Vatican, by which the Roman Catholic Church is governed. It comprises various Congregations, Tribunals, and other commissions and departments.

11a   Like escaped criminal // worker caught during day (6)

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

The word "worker" and the phrase "social worker" are commonly used in cryptic crossword puzzles to clue ANT or BEE.

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

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12a   Prisoners stuck in 'ollow place /must be/ sympathised with (8)

One Dropped Aitch Deserves Another
The cryptic device being used here is that an aitch dropped in the clue implies an aitch dropped in the solution.

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 as well as the use of rhyming slang (show explanation ).

Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example, butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in Cockney rhyming slang.

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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!".

* 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).

13a   Try and be still, hugging a // player on the field (6)

Goalie[5] is an informal term for goalkeeper or goaltender. Given that this is a British* puzzle and the clue clearly specifies "player on the field", we can assume that the reference is to the former, a goalkeeper[5] being a player in soccer or field hockey whose special role is to stop the ball from entering the goal.

* From a British perspective, goaltender[5] is a North American term for a goalkeeper, especially in ice hockey.

15a   Insane trick by Jolson /in/ song (8)

Rig[5] (noun) is an archaic term meaning a trick or swindle.

Al Jolson[5] (1886–1950) was a Russian-born American singer, film actor, and comedian; born Asa Yoelson. He made the Gershwin song "Swanee" his trademark, and appeared in the first full-length talking film, The Jazz Singer (1927).

18a   Identifies fellow /as/ one likely to hit target (8)

19a   Coming // ahead of the festive season (6)

After considerable deliberation, I have opted to mark this clue as a double definition reasoning that the noun "Advent" can be used as a modifier denoting "ahead of the festive season" (the "Advent period" being the "period ahead of the festive season"). My hesitation in doing so is indicated by the dotted underline used to mark the second definition.

The first definition could refer either to advent[2,5,10] in the general sense meaning the arrival of a notable person or thing (the advent of television) or to the Christian theological term Advent[2,5,10] denoting the coming or second coming of Christ. In the second definition, Advent[2,5,10] is the first season of the Church year in Christianity, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

A Harbinger of Things to Come
This puzzle was published in the UK on December 9, 2016 meaning it appeared in the midst of Advent. We get another taste of the approaching Christmas season at 8d.

21a   Letter // to settle status of ennobled man (8)

A lord[10] is a male member of the nobility, especially in Britain.

A letter[1] is a person who lets*, especially on hire. [Among my stable of dictionaries, this definition is found only in The Chambers Dictionary.]

* Let[5] is a chiefly British term meaning to allow someone to have the use of (a room or property) in return for regular payments ⇒ (i) she let the flat [apartment] to a tenant; (ii) they’ve let out their house. [However, I seriously doubt that this word is quite as British as Oxford Dictionaries would have us believe.[3,11]]

23a   Graze // a bit, needing energy (6)

26a   Back /being/ tough (5)

27a   Native -- // one getting drink in a hole in the ground? (9)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat refers to gin as mother's ruin.
Mother's ruin[5] is British slang for gin. The name may derive from the reputed ability of gin, if consumed in large quantity, to induce abortion in pregnant women. An eye-opening account of the effects of gin-drinking on English society in the mid-eighteenth century can be found here.

28a   Adulterer // agreeing to lose one of two rights (2-10)

Co-respondent[5] (also corespondent) is a person cited in a divorce case as having committed adultery with the respondent.

Behind the Picture
Deep Threat illustrates his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog with a picture of some interestingly-named men's footwear. Co-respondent shoes[5,10] (also co-respondents) is a humorous, dated [presumably British] term for men's two-tone shoes, usually black and white or brown and white. Unfortunately, the dictionaries do not explain the origin of the term.


1d   Hair /and/ metallic thread upsettingly swallowed by farm animal (7)

Periwig[5] is an archaic term for a wig[5] (in fact, the word 'wig' is merely a shortening of the word 'periwig' introduced in the late 17th century). Thus the term 'periwig' was used in the 17th century because the word 'wig' had yet to be invented.

2d   This person's entertained by boy, // simple lad? (5)

"this person's" = IM (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

Today, the setter has made the scenario slightly more complicated by combining "this person" with the verb "to be" producing "this person's" (a contraction of "this person is") which must be replaced by "I'm" (a contraction of "I am").

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"Simple Simon"[7] is a popular English language nursery rhyme.

3d   Woman with shots going round // hides in these workplaces (9)

The definition could be stated more clearly as "workplaces in which hides may be found" — but that would spoil the surface reading.

4d   Prohibit // nothing after check (4)

5d   Private // agent set up new salon (8)

6d   Secures // hair (5)

7d   Fresh role -- go up /giving/ introduction to play (8)

8d   Composer // to manage being heard (6)

George Frideric Handel[5] (1685–1759) was a German-born composer and organist, resident in England from 1712; born Georg Friedrich Händel. A prolific composer, he is chiefly remembered for his choral works, especially the oratorio Messiah (1742), and, for orchestra, his Water Music suite (circa 1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749).

14d   Planned // a road to bypass mountains (8)

16d   Cut // last bit of learner’s instruction with head of academy absent (9)

The clue published today in the National Post is is the one that solvers in the UK saw in the printed edition of  The Daily Telegraph. A different clue appeared on the Telegraph Puzzles website:
  • Introduce woeful // cut (9)
This does bolster my confidence in my observation that the syndicated puzzle is distributed prior to publication in the UK — despite not appearing here until months later.

17d   Bearing /of/ one in anger following vehicle (8)

18d   Trouble // created by furry creature on street (6)

Lost in Translation
The Spanish word for disturb is 'molestar'[5]. I once had a Mexican employee, newly arrived in Canada, who walked into a co-worker's office and innocently asked if he could molest her.

20d   There is time /for/ those not yet considered (3,4)

22d   Words /coming from/ Heather with love (5)

Ling[5] is another name for the common heather[5] (Calluna vulgaris), a purple-flowered Eurasian heath that grows abundantly on moorland and heathland.

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

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24d   No. 51 in avenue /becomes/ animated (5)

25d   Work up and down /in/ part of ship (4)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

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The poop[5] (also poop deck) is the aftermost and highest deck of a ship, especially in a sailing ship where it typically forms the roof of a cabin in the stern ⇒ there on the poop stood Captain Meech.

Delving Deeper
The word poop[5] (in the sense of a deck on a ship) dates to Late Middle English coming from Old French pupe which in turn comes from a variant of Latin puppis 'stern'.

Many people seem to believe that the toilets on a sailing ship were located on or below the poop deck thereby giving this part of the ship its name. However, the term has nothing to do with excrement — in fact, in the sense of excrement, poop[5] is a North American term. Moreover, in sailing ships, the toilet area for the regular sailors was placed in the bow somewhat above the water line with vents or slots cut near the floor level allowing normal wave action to wash out the facility. Only the captain had a private toilet near his quarters, at the stern of the ship in the quarter gallery. This explains why the toilets on a ship are called heads[7].
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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