Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017 — DT 28273

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28273
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28273]
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


Although today's puzzle was certainly far from difficult, I did call in the electronic reinforcements to help crack the lone remaining clue. Given more time, I might have cracked it unaided — but, had I taken more time, you might still be waiting for the review.

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   Concede // new hotel worth it having been rebuilt (5,2,3,5)

9a   Hit back and prune // plant (7)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops expresses disapproval of SNIP as a synonym for "prune". Perhaps if one were thinking of apple trees, it might not be so fitting but if one were pruning rosebushes, I would think it quite an appropriate term.

He also goes on about parsnip being a garnish. I can't say that I am familiar with this practice — parsley, yes; parsnip, no.

10a   Offer a lot for sale? (7)

11a   The Italian politician /is/ narrow-minded (9)

In Italian, the masculine singular form of the definite article is il[8].

While both Canada and the UK have Liberal parties, the one on this side of the pond has enjoyed more success of late. (show explanation )

The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2])* in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists although it has no representation in the UK Parliament, no Members of the European Parliament (MEP), no members of the Scottish Parliament, nor any members of the National Assembly for Wales.[7]

* Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party in Britain — likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5]) — Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

hide explanation

12a   Give way, // leaving space demarcated (4)

13a   Sort of music // book, one of four (6)

15a   Sinks // vessels that carry fuel (8)

Sometimes, one cannot see the forest for the trees — or the coal buckets for the steamships. I initially parsed what I presumed to be wordplay as SS (vessel; steamship) containing (carrying) CUTTLE (which I imagined to be some heretofore unheard of British term for some kind of fuel).

Alas, this was not to be.

A scuttle[5] [which I have heard of but which was slow to come to mind] is a metal container with a handle, used to fetch and store coal for a domestic fire.

18a   Food from the sea // not rejected by board (8)

19a   One who calls // 'Double'? (6)

The first definition could refer to someone who contacts you by telephone or summons you to your front door.

In the second, ringer[5] is an informal term for a person or thing that looks very like another ⇒ he is a dead ringer for his late papa.

As Miffypops suggests in his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the entire clue might be viewed as a cryptic definition alluding to a bell-ringer. This line of investigation did momentarily cross my mind (although it was no more than a stab in the dark) and was quickly abandoned when the double definition became clear.

In bell-ringing, double[5] is a system of change-ringing using five bells, with two pairs changing places each time.

Scratching the Surface
My mind was first directed to the game of bridge and BIDDER seemed to fit the bill. However, I sensed that this might well be precisely the trap that the compiler had set so I delayed filling in the grid. However, it took the solution to 7d to definitively refute this possibility.

22a   Power cut? // That's a relief (4)

"power" = P (show explanation )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power [among other things] in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

23a   Stag maybe cancelled -- // scurry along (6,3)

A stag beetle[5] is large dark beetle, the male of which has large branched jaws that resemble a stag's antlers.

Delving Deeper
Stag beetles[7] are a group of about 1,200 species of beetles in the family Lucanidae, some of which grow to over 12 cm (4.7 in) in length, but most are about 5 cm (2.0 in).

The English name is derived from the large and distinctive mandibles found on the males of most species, which resemble the antlers of stags.

A well-known species in much of Europe is Lucanus cervus, referred to in some European countries (including United Kingdom) as "the" stag beetle (it is the largest terrestrial insect in Europe).

Male stag beetles use their jaws to wrestle each other for favoured mating sites in a manner that parallels the way stags fight over females. Fights may also be over food. Despite their often fearsome appearance, they are not normally aggressive to humans.

Female stag beetles are usually smaller than the males, with smaller mandibles. Nevertheless, ladies, note that the mandibles though smaller are much more powerful than the males.

Beetle[3,4,11] is a chiefly British term meaning to scuttle [in yet another incarnation] or scurry.

26a   I get angry about working // period (4,3)

The Iron Age[5] is a prehistoric period that followed the Bronze Age, when weapons and tools came to be made of iron.

27a   Girl who's wet behind the ears, /but/ possibly genuine (7)

28a   How James Bond may be // like Jaws? (5,2,3,5)


1d   Excellent // garnish for food (7)

Topping[5] is a dated informal British expression denoting excellent ⇒ that really is a topping dress.

2d   Country // sport, with Right and Left divided over answer (5)

"sport" = RU (show explanation )

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).

hide explanation

3d   Breezeblock, when split, /may give/ shelter (9)

Scratching the Surface
Breeze block[5,10] (or breezeblock[2]) is a British term* for a lightweight building brick made from small cinders mixed with sand and cement ⇒ breeze-block huts and cabins.

* the equivalent North American term is cinder block (also spelled cinderblock) or clinker block

4d   Unusual pedantry dismissing DT // word for linen (6)

Napery[10] is a rarely used term for household linen, especially table linen.

Scratching the Surface
DT is short for The Daily Telegraph[7], a daily morning broadsheet newspaper, founded in 1855 as The Daily Telegraph and Courier, which is published in London and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally — not to mention the newspaper in which this puzzle initially appeared.

5d   Top player in rugby pack /getting/ a grip (8)

In rugby, a lock[5] (also called lock forward) is a player in the second row of a scrum.

A headlock[5] is a method of restraining someone by holding an arm firmly around their head, especially as a hold in wrestling ⇒ he had him in a headlock and was dragging him along the street.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops writes Use a word meaning top as in the top master in a school.
In Britain, head[5] is short for headmaster[5] (a man who is the head teacher in a school), headmistress[5] (a woman who is the head teacher in a school), or head teacher[5] (the teacher in charge of a school).

6d   Mark/'s/ second (4)

Tick[5] is a British term* for a mark () used to indicate that an item in a list or text is correct or has been chosen, checked, or dealt with.

* although the term tick is not unknown on this side of the pond, one would be more likely to hear it referred to as a check mark

Tick[5] is an informal British term for a moment ⇒ (i) I shan’t be a tick; (ii) I’ll be with you in a tick.

7d   Sign of giving up /after/ a few light exercises (5,4)

8d   They tweet /of/ profits attached to most of range (7)

A linnet[5] is any of three species of mainly brown and grey finch with a reddish breast and forehead.

14d   Master too excited, /getting/ such accommodation on board (9)

16d   Drunk getting to grips with a problem // feature in American car (4-5)

From a British perspective, tail-light[2] is a North American term* for a light, usually a red one, on the back of a car, train or bicycle, etc. They would refer to such a device as a rear lamp[2] (or rear light).

* This identification as a North American term is not universal in British dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries lists tail light (also tail lamp) without identifying them as North American terms and Collins English Dictionary lists tail-light[10] (or tail lamp) as simply other names for rear light.

17d   Gloomy weather's ending -- love // the hat! (8)

"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).

hide explanation

18d   Spice /of/ father welcoming pointless risk (7)

20d   Runs free in confusion before quiet // jog (7)

"runs" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

hide explanation

"quiet" = 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

21d   Angle to go round beat regularly -- /it's/ an obsession (6)

24d   Cat // formerly found around west of Ukraine (5)

Ounce[5] is another term for snow leopard[5], a rare large cat which has pale grey fur patterned with dark blotches and rings, living in the Altai mountains, Hindu Kush, and Himalayas.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops directs us to place an adverb meaning formerly or at some time in the past around the letter found on the eastern side of the word Ukraine the letter on the western side would be the letter E but that is not what is asked for.
I pity poor Miffypops were he ever to find himself lost in the woods with nothing but a compass. But, of course, this is surely his "deliberate error" of the day.

25d   Plain // wicked pinching girl's rear (4)

Nice clue even though the action described is not quite up to presidential standard!
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

No comments:

Post a Comment