Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017 — DT 28342

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28342
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28342 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28342 – 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.


Most of this puzzle fell into place quickly. However, the final handful of holdout clues took as much time as and more effort than the entire remainder of the puzzle. Then to see that crypticsue rated it at one star for difficulty ...

As is usually the case, I failed to notice that the puzzle is a pangram — a puzzle in which the solutions contain at least one occurrence of every letter in the alphabet.

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   Swampy tract // spoils hot country (9)

This was one of my last ones in as I had become fixated on the idea that I was looking for a country.

6a   Wild tribe // current in Italy (5)

The Tiber[5] is a river of central Italy, upon which Rome stands. It rises in the Tuscan Apennines and flows 405 km (252 miles) generally southwestwards, entering the Tyrrhenian Sea at Ostia.

9a   Part of book allowed /to be/ circular (7)

10a   Formerly thoughtful, // dear? (9)

11a   Question about king following English // attendant (7)

"king" = R (show explanation )

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

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An equerry[5] is* an officer of the British royal household who attends or assists members of the royal family ⇒ he became equerry to the Duke of Kent.

* Historically, an equerry[5] was an officer of the household of a prince or noble who had charge over the stables.

12a   Most within range // are in the midst of retreat (7)

For the cryptic reading, most[5] is an adverb rather than a pronoun or determiner..

13a   Plant // a screw loose (4-2-3-6)

Unlike crypticsue, I have not marked this as a double definition as I believe that the numeration does not apply for the second part.

To have bats in the belfry*[1,2,3,4,5] (or have bats in one's belfry[3,4,5,11] or be bats in the belfry[1]) is an informal expression meaning to be eccentric or crazy.

* The Collins English Dictionary (2017) website does spell the phrase bats-in-the-belfry[10] with hyphens when used in this sense. However, this spelling may merely be an error on the website as the phrase is spelt without hyphens (have bats in the belfry or have bats in one's belfry)[4] in the Collins English Dictionary (12th Edition 2014) entry on website.

As I have said in the past, dictionaries are like clocks. A man with a clock knows what time it is; a man with two clocks is not sure.

Bats-in-the-belfry[10] is a hairy Eurasian campanulaceous plant, Campanula trachelium, with bell-shaped blue-purple flowers.

Delving Deeper
Campanula trachelium[7] or nettle-leaved bellflower is a species of bellflower. It is a Eurasian blue wildflower native to Denmark and England and now naturalized in southeast Ireland. It is also found southward through much of Europe into Africa.

The alternate name throatwort is derived from an old belief that C. trachelium is a cure for sore throat, and the species name trachelium refers to this old belief. There never was an actual medical benefit from the plant, which had no observable effect on the throat.

Other folknames include Our Lady's Bells because the color blue was identified with the Virgin Mary's scarf, veil, or shawl; Coventry Bells because C. trachelium was especially common in fields around Coventry; and "Bats-in-the-Belfry" or in the singular "Bat-in-the-Belfry", because the stamens inside the flower were like bats hanging in the bell of a church steeple.

17a   It travels round // place in sink with an internal twist (7)

As pointed out by crypticsue and others on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, these vehicles haven't been travelling around for nearly sixty years.

Sputnik[5] is each of a series of Soviet artificial satellites, the first of which (launched on October 4, 1957) was the first satellite to be placed in orbit.

19a   Puzzle /as/ the first person's tyres burst (7)

My is a first person possessive adjective.

Tyre[5] is the British spelling of tire as an automobile component.

22a   Staff that can work wonders if handled with charm (5,4)

In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, crypticsue calls this "A nice all-in-one cryptic definition". See my comment on this at 14d.

23a   Disorderly // suitor sadly admits nothing (7)

24a   Stretched // most of nether garments (5)

25a   It finishes just over 24 hours from tomorrow (9)

Between yesterday and tomorrow there are 24 hours — this period is known as today.


1d   Married woman/'s/ spite (6)

2d   Convert again /seen in/ study a short time ago (8)

In Britain, to read[5] means to study (an academic subject) at a university ⇒ (i) I’m reading English at Cambridge; (ii) he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics.

Just[5] (adverb) means very recently; in the immediate past ⇒ I've just seen the local paper.

3d   Rope // one pulls up? (6)

The question mark signals that the second definition is not one that is found in the dictionary but is formed through the logical process of induction* based on the verb halt. That is, if one who bowls is called a bowler and one who fields is called a fielder, then it logically follows that one who halts must be called a halter.

* In logic, induction[5] is the inference of a general law from particular instances.

4d   Pretentious, receiving the Queen /in/ this vein? (6)

"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.

hide explanation

My initial reaction was that from an anatomical perspective, an artery is not a vein and that the question mark is indicative of this being an "alternative fact"[7].

On the other hand, Jose in Comment #2 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog provides some fairly convincing arguments to support an artery being a vein.

5d   What chemists do /and/ have done (8)

Dispense (with)[5] means to manage without or get rid of [or have done (with)] ⇒ let's dispense with the formalities, shall we?.

6d   After funny turn, energy to support pet // cut short (8)

7d   Busy person must accommodate Elizabeth /in/ the country (6)

A busy bee[4] is a person who is industrious or has many things to do.

Belize[5] is a country in northeastern Central America, on the coast of the Caribbean Sea; population 359,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Belmopan; languages, English (official), Creole, Spanish. Former name (until 1973) British Honduras.

8d   Small amount of money in trust // not long ago (8)

A cent[5] is a monetary unit in various countries*, equal to one hundredth of a dollar, euro, or other decimal currency unit. However, in Britain — despite having adopted a decimal currency system — one hundredth of a pound is known as a penny rather than a cent.

* Collins English Dictionary exhaustively defines cent[10] as a monetary unit of American Samoa, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brunei, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United States, the Vatican City, the Virgin Islands, and Zimbabwe. It is worth one hundredth of their respective standard units.

13d   Humiliation, initially missing a // cellar (8)

14d   One is this through no fault of one's own (8)

In her review, crypticsue refers to this as "Another &Lit/cryptic definition". I see the cryptic definition, but I must confess that I fail to see the second interpretation that would make it an &lit. I presume by "another" she is alluding to 22a which she has referred to as "A nice all-in-one cryptic definition".

"All-in-one" is a term that I believe was introduced on Big Dave's Crossword Blog in the spirit of the site's tagline "crossword clues explained in plain English" (it being felt that the "proper" term was too pretentious). It is another name for an &lit. clue which is a clue that has two interpretations. One interpretation is a definition — which is often a cryptic definition. The second interpretation is as wordplay. Such a clue differs from a simple cryptic definition in that the latter has only a single interpretation. In the case of both 22a and 14d, unless I have missed something, I am able to see only a cryptic definition and not an all-in-one (&lit.) clue.

15d   Indian perhaps // on holiday after money coming in? (8)

Indian[5] is an informal British term for an Indian meal or restaurant.

Here and There
I have observed that the British have a high propensity to use adjectives as nouns in place of the noun which they modify. Thus "Indian restaurant" gets shortened to "Indian" and "estate car" (the British name for a station wagon) becomes merely "estate". If we were to shorten "station wagon", it would become "wagon" rather than "station".

However, we are not entirely free from this practice. For instance, growing up in Nova Scotia I was subject to writing an annual set of "provincial examinations" in high school which were commonly known as "provincials". So we certainly do it — just not as often as the Brits.

Takeaway[5] is a British term for takeout[5]:
  • a restaurant or shop selling cooked food to be eaten elsewhere ⇒ (i) a fast-food takeaway; (ii) a takeaway pizza;
  • a meal or dish bought from a shop or restaurant to be eaten elsewhere ⇒ (i) he phoned for a takeaway; (ii) he is happy to eat Chinese takeaway.
16d   Release bear // that should be given to property owner (8)

In clues of this style, the definition is interpreted as implicitly containing the word "something" making it read "[something] that should be given to property owner".

Freehold[5] is a British term denoting permanent and absolute tenure of land or property with freedom to dispose of it at will.

18d   Do not start removing impurities, /that's/ encouraging (6)

19d   Frenzied artists /in/ port (6)

The letters RA are often clued by "artist" (where RA is the abbreviation for Royal Academician) or "artists" (where RA is the abbreviation for Royal Academy). However, today the setter uses "artists" to clue RA (abbreviation for Royal Academician) + S.

* A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[10]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5] (also Royal Academy; abbreviation also RA[10]), an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain.

Madras[5] is the former name (until 1995) for Chennai[5], a seaport on the eastern coast of India, capital of Tamil Nadu; population 4,590,300 (est. 2009).

20d   Mark // one of the crew (6)

In rowing, stroke[5] denotes the oar or oarsman nearest the stern of a boat, setting the timing for the other rowers.

21d   Old agreed on dirty place /being/ in a ferment (6)
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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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