Friday, February 10, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017 — DT 28278

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28278
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28278]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr Kitty
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


A day late on parade but I expect you may not have needed much help with this one — and we have been spared the error in the puzzle that faced British solvers.

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   I am meeting criminal person I'd // put behind bars (10)

6a   Female with diary // to sell (4)

9a   Holed in one around start of tournament? // Player did it (5)

In golf, ace[5] means to score an ace* on (a hole) or with (a shot) ⇒ there was a prize for the first player to ace the hole.

* Ace[5] is an informal term for a hole in one ⇒ his hole in one at the 15th was Senior's second ace as a professional.

Scratching the Surface
One cannot know if the word "Player" is capitalized merely due to being positioned at the start of a sentence, or because it is a proper noun. However, it may well be the latter.

South African golfer Gary Player[5] has won numerous championships including the British Open (1959; 1968; 1974), the Masters (1961; 1974; 1978), and the PGA (1962; 1972).

10a   Fine tonic cured // disease (9)

12a   Lace -- it's unusually // stretchy (7)

13a   Anxious // period in American hospital department (5)

Here and There
From a British perspective, emergency room[5] (abbreviation ER[5]) is a North American term. The equivalent British term would be either accident and emergency[5] (abbreviation A & E[5]) or casualty department[5] (also casualty ward).

15a   Snubbed // westbound US soldier on retreating, blushing (7)

"US soldier" = GI (show explanation )

A GI[5] is a private soldier in the US army ⇒ she went off with a GI during the war.

Contrary to popular belief, the term apparently is not an abbreviation for general infantryman, but rather derives from the term government (or general) issue (originally denoting equipment supplied to US forces).

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17a   Man // determined to secure right type of vehicle (7)

Man[5] is a dated term for a manservant or valet ⇒ get me a cocktail, my man.

19a   Poaches // fish -- add leeks, regularly chopped (7)

"Regularly" denotes a regular sequence of letters and usually denotes every second letter (although I do seem to recall it denoting every third letter on at least one occasion). If we stick to every second letter, there are two possible regular sequences* — the even letters and the odd letters. The phrase "regularly chopped" instructs us to discard (chop) one of the regular sequences from ADD LEEKS. In this case, it is the odd sequence (A_D_E_K_) that must be discarded leaving the even sequence (_D_L_E_S).

* You may find some observers arguing that the term "regularly" applies only to the even letters and that the odd letters should be denoted by the term "irregularly". However, I have found that not to be the general practice — and it is not what we see in the puzzle today.

No Error Here
There was an error in the clue when it was published in The Daily Telegraph in the UK. However, the National Post has printed the correct version of the clue.

As the puzzle is apparently printed in some papers on the same day as it appears in The Daily Telegraph, I am fairly confident that the puzzle is distributed in syndication prior to its publication in the UK. That being said, I can think of two explanations for the error not appearing in the National Post.

First, the error may have crept into the puzzle during the production process at The Daily Telegraph subsequent to the puzzle having been distributed in syndication.

Second, the error (present when the puzzle was distributed in syndication) was subsequently corrected.

I think the former more likely, but I cannot completely rule out the latter.

21a   Storm/'s/ too darn wild (7)

22a   Reluctant to forget a // short bit of the Bible (5)

A verse[5] is each of the short numbered divisions of a chapter in the Bible or other scripture ⇒ (i) we were each required to recite a Bible verse from memory; (ii) on the walls were framed verses from the Koran.

24a   Perhaps lead // part (7)

27a   The Queen returns with gift // to exhibit (9)

"The Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

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28a   Thread // in skirt hem entangles (5)

29a   Herb /could make/ daughter poorly (4)

Here and There
Poorly[5] is a chiefly British term meaning unwell she looked poorly. While North Americans might use the word to mean 'in poor health', we would do so only in a statement such as I am feeling poorly today.

The British employ the term quite differently from North Americans, as the following usage examples from Oxford Dictionaries illustrates:
(i) I didn't manage too many lengths today but I haven't been for 2 weeks since being poorly sick.;
(ii) Zoe Bird, 26, was forced to walk for an hour to reach her home with poorly toddler son Ryan after they were forced to leave the car.;
(iii) Jakey on the other hand is poorly due to having an injection.

30a   Kind author // that has characters making an impression (10)


1d   Country // one governed (4)

2d   Fancy // study being held up after sales spiel (9)

3d   Country // tipped to help Northern Ireland (5)

"Northern Ireland" = NI (show explanation )

Northern Ireland[5] (abbreviation NI[5]) is a province of the United Kingdom occupying the northeast part of Ireland; population 1,775,000 (est. 2008); capital, Belfast.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, Northern Ireland[5] is the only major division of the United Kingdom to hold the status of province, with England[5], Scotland[5] and Wales*[5] being countries.

* Oxford Dictionaries did not always describe Wales as a country. However,they changed this after I pointed out in a previous blog that England and Scotland were described as countries while Wales was shown as a principality. Do I really have such power?

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4d   Hand in dictionary -- /it's/ left out (7)

OED[5] is the abbreviation for the Oxford English Dictionary (show explanation ).

The Oxford English Dictionary[7] (OED), published by the Oxford University Press, is a descriptive (as opposed to prescriptive) dictionary of the English language. As well as describing English usage in its many variations throughout the world, it traces the historical development of the language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers. The second edition, published in 1989, came to 21,728 pages in 20 volumes.

The OED should not be confused with the Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE). In 1998 the New Oxford Dictionary of English (NODE) was published. Having as its aim to cover current English only, without the historical focus, NODE was not based on the OED. Instead, it was an entirely new dictionary produced with the aid of corpus linguistics [the study of language as expressed in corpora (samples) of "real world" text]. NODE (under the new title of the Oxford Dictionary of English, or ODE) continues to be the principal source for Oxford's product line of current-English dictionaries, including the Concise Oxford Dictionary and New Oxford American Dictionary, with the OED now only serving as the basis for scholarly historical dictionaries.

The online version of Oxford Dictionaries on which I rely heavily is based on the ODE.

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5d   Carries out // belongings (7)

7d   A romancer specialises in  this // position in bed? (5)

Although Mr Kitty in his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog offers a different meaning, a romancer[5] is a person prone to wild exaggeration or falsehood.

It seems oddly appropriate that the romancer in the first part of the clue is someone who is "prone to lying" and the second part of the clue could refer to someone "lying prone".

8d   Argentine novel about old // age (10)

11d   Easier to understand // nurse perhaps restricting the French (7)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

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14d   Detective's reported on /being/ found out (10)

"detective" = DI (show explanation )

A detective inspector (DI[5]) is a senior police officer in the UK. Within the British police, inspector[7] is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief inspector. Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or attached to their force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

hide explanation

16d   Take away // relic, even ignoring conclusions (7)

18d   Digs // both ends of allotment, entertaining some chaps (9)

Scratching the Surface
Allotment[5] is a British term for a plot of land rented by an individual for growing vegetables or flowers. This term is also used in Canada — at least in Ottawa — although one would be more apt to hear the longer version of the name, allotment garden[7].

20d   It's what's behind ham // aroma mainly found on Eastern Railway (7)

Ham[2] is a theatrical term for a bad actor, especially one who overacts or exaggerates.

21d   Threaten manoeuvres circumventing new // base of operations (7)

A theatre[10] is a major area of military activity ⇒ the theatre of operations.

23d   Taking spin around, quietly // drive back (5)

"quietly" = 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.

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25d   Engage in // new project? Not half! (5)

26d   Animal/'s/ adorable, it's said (4)
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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