Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 — DT 28276

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28276
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28276 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28276 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
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 this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.


As crypticsue notes in her review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog this puzzle exhibits an increased level of difficulty in comparison to the customary "Saturday" fare.

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   Run off with pins and needles // for a short time (10)

6a   Work a large // stone (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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9a   Constant pain /in/ store (5)

"constant" = C (show explanation )

The letter c[5] is used in mathematics to represent the the third fixed constant to appear in an algebraic expression, or a known constant.

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10a   In row, no writer /offers/ penetrating article for the household (3-6)

Here, I must offer a correction to crypticsue's explanation and point out that the parsing is {NO (from the clue) + PEN (writer)} contained in TIER (row).

You may have noticed that occasional errors such as this have crept into her reviews of late. Without getting into details, I am aware that due to personal circumstances she had good reason to be distracted at the time this review was written so I am certainly more than willing to cut her some slack.

Tin-opener[10] (or tin opener[5] ) would appear to be the more commonly used name in Britain for a can-opener[10] (or can opener[5]).

Here and There
The setter has almost certainly used "writer" in the sense of an implement used for writing. While North American dictionaries define pen[3,11] as a writer or an author ⇒ a hired pen, British dictionaries do not list this meaning although they do show pen[2,4] (or the pen[5,10]) as symbolically denoting writing as an occupation.

12a   Growth // for helping to secure our time on earth (13)

14a   Telegraph leader's cutting // becoming very popular (8)

I suppose rending produces a similar effect to cutting — just with more loose ends.

Scratching the Surface
Does the surface reading refer to a reduction in staff and budget by the publisher or to an editorial decision to eliminate a key feature of the paper? You be the judge.

The Daily Telegraph[7] is 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 being the newspaper in which this puzzle initially appeared.

 Leader[10] (also called leading article) is a mainly British term for the leading editorial in a newspaper.

15a   Look // close, I will pick up fellow (6)

"fellow" = F (show explanation )

F[2] is the abbreviation for Fellow (of a society, etc). For instance, it is found in professional designations such as FRAIC (Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada).

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Shufti*[5] is an informal British term meaning a look or reconnoitre, especially a quick one ⇒ I’ll take a shufti round the wood while I’m about it.

* originally military slang adopted from Arabic

17a   Rubbish let off // gas (6)

Tat[5] is an informal British term for tasteless or shoddy clothes, jewellery, or ornaments ⇒ the place was decorated with all manner of gaudy tat.

Tattle[5] is used in the sense of to gossip idly ⇒ according to some tattling sources, he never quite gave her up. The sense of the word with which I am familiar, to report another's wrongdoing, is apparently a North American usage.

19a   Old politician, // Liberal, in improper diaries (8)

"liberal | 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.

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Benjamin Disraeli[5], 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804–1881) was a British Conservative statesman; Prime Minister 1868 and 1874–80. He was largely responsible for the introduction of the second Reform Act (1867). He also ensured that Britain bought a controlling interest in the Suez Canal (1875) and made Queen Victoria Empress of India.

Scratching the Surface
This politician may have been "Liberal" in his diaries but to the British electorate he was a staunch Conservative. Despite the capitalization, in the surface reading we might interpret "liberal" as meaning generous or prolific which would have some considerable basis in fact as crypticsue reveals in her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog,

21a   Met men cheered in a storm -- raising this? (5,2,6)

Met[5] is an informal term for the Meteorological Office in the UK.

I am of the view that a definition cannot merely be a pronoun (as crypticsue would appear to show in her review). I would say that this is a semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue in which the entire clue provides the definition with the wordplay (marked with the dashed underline) embedded in it. The clue asks us to identify "what the employees of the weather office used to toast the arrival of a storm".

24a   Something deep in Iowa, // old-style country (9)

In official postal use, the abbreviation for Iowa is IA[5].

Abyssinia[5] is the former name for Ethiopia.

25a   Appearance /of/ men on radio (5)

26a   What rough seas do to ship (4)

Similar to 21a, this is a semi-all-in-one with embedded wordplay (marked with the dashed underline).

In Crosswordland, a ship is rarely anything other than a steamship (abbreviation SS[5]).

27a   People out to waylay those not out? (6,4)

As I am sure the setter intended, I was led down the garden path to a cricket ground only to come up empty. I thought I would start writing the blog while continuing to cogitate upon the clue but then inadvertently saw the answer in crypticsue's review.


1d   Carbon will puncture spare tyre /in/ particular (4)

"carbon" = C (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element carbon is C[5].

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Tyre[5] is the British spelling of tire, in the sense of an automobile part.

2d   Round headland, see running // fugitive (7)

3d   First piece of opera singer told he must perform? Could be (3,10)

This is yet another semi-all-in-one clue where the entire clue is the definition within which the wordplay is embedded (marked with a dashed underline). The clue tells us that the solution is an operatic piece (composition) that might be the first one a singer is asked to perform.

The Gondoliers[7] (in full The Gondoliers; or, The King of Barataria) is a Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It ran at the Savoy Theatre in London from December 1889 to June 1891 for a very successful 554 performances (at that time the fifth longest-running piece of musical theatre in history). This was the twelfth comic opera collaboration of fourteen between Gilbert and Sullivan.

4d   Tucking into bananas endlessly, there’s nothing for Frenchman /to make/ healthy bit of food (8)

Rien[8] is a French pronoun meaning 'nothing'.

5d   Spike // Milligan ultimately trapped by 'Spike' (5)

Scratching the Surface
Spike Milligan[7] (1918–2002) was a British-Irish comedian who was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show*, performing a range of roles.

* The Goon Show[7] was a British radio comedy programme featuring Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers — originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960. The show mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects to parody all aspects of British life.

7d   Church leader // needs pollsters to overturn argument (7)

NOP[1,2] is the abbreviation for National Opinion Poll — but good luck finding mention of this anywhere besides the two Chambers dictionaries.

8d   Try sailing at sea -- /it's/ a pain in the neck (10)

11d   Be reluctant to co-operate /in/ obscure piece of drama (4,4,2,3)

13d   Treat facts carelessly -- /it's/ politicians' talent (10)

16d   Path that can take one to Broadway? (8)

From a British perspective, sidewalk[5] is a North American term for a pavement[5], a raised paved* or asphalted path for pedestrians at the side of a road ⇒ (i) he fell and hit his head on the pavement; (ii) a pavement cafe.

* In Britain, pave[5] means to cover (a piece of ground) with flat stones or bricks — rather than asphaltthe yard at the front was paved with flagstones.

Broadway — by what name goest thou
Broadway[5] is a street* traversing the length of Manhattan, New York. It is famous for its theatres, and its name has become synonymous with show business.

* Broadway is just Broadway, seemingly neither a street nor an avenue. If one had to choose, it is surely the latter rather than the former as it runs in the direction of the avenues rather than the streets. The Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary identifies it as an avenue[11] . The American Heritage Dictionary and Collins English Dictionary avoid the question by calling it a thoroughfare[3,4,10]. Oxford Dictionaries stands alone in thinking it a street.

18d   Patterns on textiles /being/ drawn certainly (3-4)

20d   Old professors // turned up one occasion without sign of hesitation (7)

22d   Boredom shown by English nun confused this writer (5)

"this writer" = I (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.

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23d   It's inherited /from/ Kelly perhaps (4)

Gene Kelly[5] (1912–1996) was an American dancer and choreographer. He performed in and choreographed many film musicals, including An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952).
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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