Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017 — DT 28283

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28283
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, November 28, 2016
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28283]
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 we receive an enjoyable "Monday" puzzle from Rufus. I did notice that it seems to contain a rather generous number of double definitions.

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   Pound notes may be what it means to a musician! (10)

Fortissimo[5]  is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very loud  or (as an adverb) very loudly.

Scratching the Surface
The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence.

9a   Bankrupt // work of art (4)

10a   Patron /that has/ been upset by agent (10)

Miffypops and I got to the solution using different agents. He stopped at the first definition given by Oxford Dictionaries while I jumped all the way down to number five where I found that a factor[5] is an agent who buys and sells goods on commission ⇒ his father was chief factor for the Hudson's Bay Company.

11a   Yet such talkers may not be on the level (6)

This is a cryptic definition that plays upon the irony of a "smooth talker" not necessarily being an individual whom you would expect to level with you.

12a   Artillery // brass hats (3,4)

Brass hat[5] is an informal British term for a high-ranking officer in the armed forces ⇒ military brass hats proudly handed out scores of prizes.

15a   A month, just, /in/ part of London (7)

Mayfair[5] is a fashionable and wealthy district in the West End of London, originally the site of a fair held annually in May in the 17th and 18th centuries.

16a   Proceeded // to travel 100 mph (3,2)

Ton[5] is an informal British term for a hundred, in particular a speed of 100 mph, a score of 100 or more, or a sum of £100 ⇒ he scored 102 not out*, his third ton of the tour.

* Not out[5] is a cricket term, said of a side [team] or a batsman, denoting having begun an innings and not been dismissed ⇒ Hussain scored 89 not out as Essex won by three wickets. Thus when the match ended (in any of a number of circumstances), Hussain had scored 89 runs and not been dismissed. He may have been batting in the final innings of the match when the match ended due to his team amassing a score greater than the score of the opposing team. This would be similar to not completing the bottom of the ninth in baseball when the home team takes the lead.

17a   Boy takes midnight // air (4)

"midnight" = G (show explanation )

A common cryptic crossword construct is to use the word "midnight" to clue G, the middle letter (mid) of niGht.

hide explanation

18a   English county shortly linking with a // US state (4)

The Isle of Wight[5] (abbreviation IOW[5]) is an island off the south coast of England, a county since 1974; population 131,700 (est. 2009); administrative centre, Newport. It lies at the entrance to Southampton Water* and is separated from the mainland by the Solent** and Spithead***.

* Southampton Water[5] is an inlet of the English Channel opposite the Isle of Wight.
** The Solent[5] is a channel between the northwest coast of the Isle of Wight and the mainland of southern England.
*** Spithead[5] is a channel between the northeast coast of the Isle of Wight and the mainland of southern England. It offers sheltered access to Southampton Water and deep anchorage.

19a   A woman/'s/ religion (5)

21a   Boom -- // it's soundly broken! (7)

I am sorely tempted to call this a double definition, with the second definition being cryptic.

A boom[5] is a floating beam used to contain oil spills or to form a barrier across the mouth of a harbour or river.

22a   Virtue // that's cultivated (7)

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a double definition. The second definition is to be interpreted as "[something] that's cultivated".

Honesty[5] is a European plant with purple or white flowers and round, flat, translucent seed pods which are used for indoor flower arrangements.

24a   Lead on // diamonds, then duck? (6)

"diamonds" = D (show explanation )

Diamonds[2] (abbreviation D[2]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

27a   Where Hood's men gathered // petition? (5,5)

I agonized over whether to call this a double definition. The first part is clearly not a precise dictionary definition, nor is it really very cryptic. On the other hand, I can't  think of another category where the clue might fit, so in the end opted to label it a double definition (with my hesitation reflected in the dotted underline).

Robin Hood[5] was a semi-legendary English medieval outlaw, reputed to have robbed the rich and helped the poor. Although he is generally associated with Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, it seems likely that the real Robin Hood operated in Yorkshire in the early 13th century.

A round robin[10] is a letter, especially a petition or protest, having the signatures in a circle in order to disguise the order of signing.

28a   Gaelic // verses with no beginning or end (4)

Erse[5] is a dated term for the Scottish or Irish Gaelic language.

29a   Settings for old stories with misleading passages (10)

In Greek mythology [presumably, the "old stories" in the clue], the Labyrinth[10] was a huge maze constructed for King Minos in Crete by Daedalus to contain the Minotaur*.

* The Minotaur[5] was a creature who was half-man and half-bull, the offspring of Pasiphaë and a bull with which she fell in love. Confined in Crete in a labyrinth made by Daedalus and fed on human flesh, it was eventually slain by Theseus.


2d   On top /of/ the bowling unit (4)

The word "of" is used as a link word between the two definitions. (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

An over[5] is 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.

3d   Pulling, we hear, on the line -- /or/ standing by? (6)

I should have got this one without the help of electronic aids — and now have a sore toe after kicking myself for not doing so.

The solver must infer the clue to read "Pulling, we hear, on the line -- or standing by [it]?"

The idiomatic expression "toe the line"[7] — meaning to conform to a rule or standard — quite literally springs from people lining up with their toes touching a line. Although several possibilities for its roots have been suggested, the most likely origin of the term goes back to the wooden decked ships of the Royal Navy during the late 17th or early 18th century. Barefooted seamen had to stand at attention for inspection and had to line up on deck along the seams of the wooden planks, hence to "toe the line".

4d   Small dining // chairs (7)

5d   I stand up to a // Greek character (4)

To be precise, the wordplay is I (from the clue) + a reversal (stand up) of TO + A (from the clue).

Iota[5] is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ι, ι).

6d   Craft worker // posed as Roman (7)

7d   They act unthinkingly, // placing plant needing warmth in a sickly sun (10)

8d   He'd a treaty drawn up, // poised for action (2,3,5)

12d   'Snoopy' characters (10)

Scratching the Surface
The intended misdirection here, I presume, is for the solver to fixate on Snoopy[7], Charlie Brown's pet beagle in the comic strip Peanuts by American cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.

13d   Speak about nothing in particular (10)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops writes "I do not see this clue as being particularly cryptic". My first thought was to second that view. However, after thinking about it, I believe that Rufus is playing on the irony that to generalise may — or may not — involve speaking about a subject of no import (nothing), but it certainly is to do so in a non-specific manner (the very opposite of particular). This is somewhat like what he has done in 11a — although the irony is far more subtle here.

14d   Very distant // until now (2,3)

I saw the first part of the clue is a charade rather than a definition (as Miffypops has it in his review). However, I have to admit that one could construct a sentence in which "very distant" could be replaced by "so far" ⇒ London is so far from Ottawa.

15d   One hears word of it (5)

A play on the expression "word of mouth".

19d   Fear led to model // form of government (7)

20d   One saves/,/ but it's more difficult with nothing coming in (7)

23d   Order // some frozen joints (6)

25d   Check // caught and bowled, with interruption by game being held up (4)

On cricket scorecards, c & b[10] is an abbreviation for caught and bowled (by) indicating that a batsman has been caught out by the bowler.

 Rugby union[10] (abbreviation RU[5]) is a form of rugby football played between teams of 15 players (in contrast to rugby league[5], which is played in teams of thirteen).

The clue parses as {C + B} (c & b) containing (with interruption by) a reversal (being held up) of RU (game).

26d   Most important part of Spithead (4)

I first tried parsing this clue as:
  • Most important part // of Spithead (4)
in which "of" would be the hidden word indicator. However, "of" just does not work for me as a hidden word indicator.

Next I tried:
  • Most important // part of Spithead (4)
in which "part of" works very well as a hidden word indicator. However, "most important" (a phrasal adjective) doesn't satisfy the a definition of PITH (a noun).

I finally settled for calling this a semi-all-in-one clue in which the entire clue forms the wordplay with the definition (the portion with the solid underline) being embedded within it.

Scratching the Surface
Were you paying attention at 18a, you would know what Spithead is.
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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