Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017 — DT 28291

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28291
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28291]
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


In hindsight, I likely threw in the towel too early today, calling in electronic help prematurely. I'm sure had I cogitated a bit longer, I would have solved the three clues for which I sought assistance. Of course, you might still be waiting for the review to be posted.

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   Let off // extra duties at first (6)

5a   County // game is cut short before reserve appears (8)

Cheshire[5] is a county of west central England; county town, Chester — and the source of yesterday's cheese!.

Scratching the Surface
County cricket[5] refers to first-class cricket played in the UK between the eighteen professional teams contesting the County Championship.

A reserve[5] is an extra player in* a team, serving as a possible substitute ⇒ he was reserve hooker [position on a rugby team] for the World Cup team.

* Note that the Brits say "in a team" (or, perhaps even more often, "in a side") rather than "on a team".

9a   Politicians // finish in Lords who can't abide changes (6,7)

Were I writing the clue, I would have phrased it as "the last letter of Lords plus an anagram (changes) of WHO CAN’T ABIDE".

Shadow cabinet[5] is a British term* for a group of members of the principal political party in opposition that are chosen as counterparts of members of the government who hold cabinet positions.

* In my experience, the term Shadow Cabinet is little used in Canada. A member of the Shadow Cabinet is far more likely to be referred to as an opposition critic. Wikipedia says with regard to the situation in Canada, "Members of the official opposition [shadow cabinet][7] are generally referred to as opposition critics, but the term Shadow Minister (which is generally used in other Westminster systems) is also used."

Scratching the Surface
In the UK, the House of Lords[5] (or, more informally, the Lords[10]) is the higher chamber of Parliament, composed of peers and bishops.

10a   Abandon // plane and sit back working (8)

11a   Ambush // means gamble (6)

12a   Con // trendy officer on board (6)

14a   Carrots perhaps /in/ cooked pot roast? (8)

16a   Spain therefore accommodates journalists, /getting/ coffee (8)

"Spain" = E (show explanation

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E[5] [from Spanish España].

hide explanation

19a   Get at // person entitled to entertain bishop (6)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

Nobble[5] (verb) is an informal British term which could perhaps mean "get at" in any of several senses:
  • try to influence or thwart by underhand or unfair methods ⇒ an attempt to nobble the jury;
  • tamper with (a racehorse or greyhound) to prevent it from winning a race, especially by giving it a drug ⇒ a doping ring nobbled three of the trainer's horses in 1990;
  • obtain dishonestly; steal ⇒ he intended to nobble Rose's money;
  • seize or accost (someone) ⇒ (i) they nobbled him and threw him on to the train; (ii) people always tried to nobble her at parties.
21a   Guard // fuel, needing area for energy (6)

Petrol is the British term for gasoline[5].

"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

23a   Treat /with/ discretion (8)

25a   Dinnertime is fixed, and tea flexible, // not exactly fixed (13)

Isn't English an amazing language, one in which both "fixed" and "flexible" can be anagram indicators.

26a   Turn right in passage /for/ 'Gulliver's Travels', for example (8)

Gulliver's Travels, whose full title is Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, (1726, amended 1735), is a prose satire by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and the "travellers' tales" literary subgenre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.

27a   Rise to welcome Queen /in/ maroon (6)

"queen" = R (show explanation )

Queen may be abbreviated as Q, Qu. or R.

Q[5] is an abbreviation for queen that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

Qu.[2] is another common abbreviation for Queen.

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

Thus Queen Elizabeth signs her name as 'Elizabeth R' as seen here on Canada's paint-stained constitution.

hide explanation


2d   Dad perched on rear // part of horse (7)

3d   Joint /in/ carpet (5)

Joint[5] is a British* term for a large piece of meat cooked whole or ready for cooking ⇒ a joint of ham.

* or perhaps not so British[3,11]

Carpet[5] is British* slang meaning to reprimand severelythe Chancellor of the Exchequer carpeted the bank bosses.

* Although we do not use this expression in North America, we certainly use the presumably related expression to be called on the carpet[5].

4d   Thresholds /in/ approaches, journalistically? (9)

Doorstep[5] (verb) is an informal British term meaning (said of a journalist) to wait uninvited outside the home of (someone) in order to obtain an interview or photograph he was being doorstepped by the tabloids.

5d   Fruit // firm fiddle just using regulars (7)

Fiddle[5] (noun) is an informal, chiefly British term denoting an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying ⇒ a major mortgage fiddle.

Fiddle[5] (verb) is an informal, chiefly British term meaning to falsify (figures, data, or records), typically in order to gain money ⇒ everyone is fiddling their expenses.

6d   Joint // push (5)

7d   Pet goes on search /for/ source of sweetness (9)

8d   Withdraw // religious education pamphlet (7)

In the UK, religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[5]) is a subject taught in schools which educates about the different religions of the world.

13d   Sky link // confusing brigadier (3,6)

Air bridge[5] is a British term for a a movable bridge placed against an aircraft door to allow passengers to embark or disembark.

Such devices go by a variety of names, including jet bridge[7], jetway, gangway, aerobridge/airbridge, air jetty, portal, skybridge or its official industry name passenger boarding bridge (PBB). However, I could find absolutely no evidence of it being referred to as a "sky link". Thus, "sky link" would seem to be a cryptic definition of such a structure.

15d   Match in Naples fragmented, /occasioning/ such kicks (9)

Tie[5] is a British term meaning a sports match between two or more players or teams in which the winners proceed to the next round of the competition Swindon Town have gained themselves a third round tie against Oldham*.

* This usage example does not mean — as a North American might presume — that Swindon Town and Oldham played to a draw in the third round. Rather, it means that Swindon Town defeated their opponent in the second round and will move on to face Oldham in the third round.

In soccer, a penalty kick[5] is a free kick at the goal from a point (penalty spot) within the penalty area and 12 yards (about 11 m) from the goal, with only the goalkeeper allowed to defend it: awarded to the attacking team after a foul within the penalty area by a member of the defending team.

In rugby union, a penalty kick[5] is a kick awarded after a serious foul that can be aimed straight at the goal to score three points.

17d   King Charles // cross that is start of line? (7)

The King Charles spaniel[5]that we have seen as recently as Tuesday — is a spaniel of a small breed, typically with a white, black, and tan coat.

18d   Well-behaved // worker in hospital (7)

20d   Liberal changing recent // stand in church (7)

"Liberal" = L (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

22d   Fortune to /come from/ this game? (5)

In addition to having clear wordplay and a concise definition, the entire clue quite accurately describes why people play this game.

24d   Preside over // key and locks (5)
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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