Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017 — DT 28304

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28304
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Shamus (Philip Marlow)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28304]
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


As we edge ever closer to Christmas, the seasonal theme picks up day to day. This puzzle appeared in The Daily Telegraph only three days before Christmas.

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   Reportedly take out attractive women /as/ festive adornments (6,5)

9a   Legendary British // paintings mostly damaged by Scotsman (9)

Ian[7] (also Iain) is a name of Scottish Gaelic origin, corresponding to English/Hebrew John. It is a common name for a Scotsman — and especially so in Crosswordland.

Arthurian[5] (adjective) denotes relating to or characteristic of the legendary King Arthur* of Britain, or any of the stories of his life ⇒ the Arthurian literary tradition.

* Arthur[5] was a legendary king of Britain, historically perhaps a 5th- or 6th-century Romano-British chieftain or general. Stories of his life, the exploits of his knights, and the Round Table of his court at Camelot were developed by Malory, Chrétien de Troyes, and other medieval writers and became the subject of many legends.

10a   First person cut solitary // fruit (5)

11a   Republican commercial about victory /for/ believer in survival of the fittest (6)

"Republican" = R (show explanation )

A Republican[5] (abbreviation R[5])  is a member or supporter of the Republican Party[5], one of the two main US political parties (the other being the Democratic Party), favouring a right-wing stance, limited central government, and tough, interventionist foreign policy. It was formed in 1854 in support of the anti-slavery movement preceding the Civil War.

In the UK, republican[5] can refer to an advocate of a united Ireland but the abbreviation does not seem to apply to that usage.

hide explanation

Charles Darwin[5] (1809–1882) was an English natural historian and geologist, proponent of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin was the naturalist on HMS Beagle for her voyage around the southern hemisphere (1831–6), during which he collected the material which became the basis for his ideas on natural selection. His works On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) had a fundamental effect on our concepts of nature and humanity's place within it.

12a   Christmas month, an endless period -- // it's useful to hold one's drink (8)

13a   Mass with incense /is/ focus of time-honoured scene? (6)

"mass" = M (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

15a   One who followed a heavenly star? (8)

18a   Seasonal accessory // possibly shown so close to tree (4,4)

19a   Decorative item // wrapped by aunt in sellotape (6)

Scratching the Surface
Sellotape[5] is a British* trademark for transparent adhesive tape.

* The equivalent North American product is Scotch tape[5]. It would seem that the Brits use the name "sellotape" as a generic term for this class of product in the same manner as we use the name "scotch tape".

21a   Female police relocated by Yard -- // it's officially recorded (4,4)

Scratching the Surface
The Metropolitan Police Service[7] (widely known informally as the Met[5]) is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement in Greater London, excluding the "square mile" of the City of London which is the responsibility of the City of London Police. The Met also has significant national responsibilities such as co-ordinating and leading on counter-terrorism matters and protection of the British Royal Family and senior figures of Her Majesty's Government.

The Met is also referred to by the metonym Scotland Yard (or simply the Yard) after the location of its original headquarters in a road called Great Scotland Yard in Whitehall. The Met's current headquarters is New Scotland Yard, in Victoria.

23a   Paratrooper /is/ Hebridean fellow, we hear (6)

Skye[5] is a mountainous island of the Inner Hebrides, now linked to the west coast of Scotland by a bridge; chief town, Portree. It is the largest and most northerly island of the group.

Skyman[10] is slang [likely British] for a paratrooper.

26a   Role /to get/ clock put back? (5)

Remit[5] (noun) is a British term for the task or area of activity officially assigned to an individual or organization ⇒ the committee was becoming caught up in issues that did not fall within its remit.

27a   Traditional place for hops? (5,4)

At one point early on in the solve, I was faced with |_|_|_|_|_|  |_|A|_|_| which led to a valiant effort to make the second word OAST.

28a   Tubby tailless dog having eaten bounds around unguarded // dessert (4,7)

A dingo[5] is a wild or half-domesticated dog with a sandy-coloured coat, found in Australia.

Plum pudding[5] is a rich boiled suet pudding containing raisins*, currants, and spices.

* The dish is so named because the pudding was originally made with plums, the word plum being retained later to denote ‘raisin’, which became a substituted ingredient.

Delving Deeper
Christmas pudding[7] is a type of pudding* traditionally served as part of the Christmas dinner in Britain, Ireland and in other countries where it has been brought by British emigrants. It has its origins in medieval England, and is sometimes known as plum pudding or just "pud", though this can also refer to other kinds of boiled pudding involving dried fruit. Despite the name "plum pudding," the pudding contains no actual plums due to the pre-Victorian use of the word "plums" as a term for raisins. The pudding is composed of many dried fruits held together by egg and suet, sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses and flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and other spices. The pudding is aged for a month, months, or even a year; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.

* Whereas in North America, the term pudding[5] denotes specifically a dessert with a soft or creamy consistency, in Britain the term pudding refers to either:
  • [seemingly any] cooked sweet dish served after the main course of a meal; or 
  • the dessert course of a meal ⇒ what’s for pudding? [to which the response might be Apple pie].


1d   Government department traitors rising /in/ renown (7)

In the UK, the abbreviation MOD[2] (or MoD) stands for Ministry of Defence.

2d   Advent errand, purchasing // record (5)

Based on definitions provided by Oxford Dictionaries, I initially concocted a somewhat complicated explanation for the use of "purchase" as a hidden word indicator. As a noun, purchase[5] can mean a firm contact or grip ⇒ (i) the horse's hooves fought for purchase on the slippery pavement; (ii) an attempt to gain a purchase on the soft earth. Thus, I reasoned that the setter might make the "leap of logic" (not unknown in cryptic crosswords) to suppose that as a verb "purchase" must mean to grip (of course, evidence to support this is not found in dictionaries).

However, there may be a simpler explanation, as The Chambers Dictionary provides a broader range of meanings from which to choose — the most relevant likely being simply "to acquire".
  • purchase[1] verb transitive to buy; to obtain by effort, risking danger, etc; to seek to bring about (obsolete); to acquire; to get in any way, other than by inheritance (law); ...
Scratching the Surface
Advent[5] is the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundayswhich also happens to coincide with the period during which most Christmas shopping is customarily undertaken.

3d   Architect's put on cape /to give/ showy display (9)

Antonio Gaudí[5] (1853–1926) was a Spanish architect; full name Antonio Gaudí y Cornet. He was a leading but idiosyncratic exponent of art nouveau, known mainly for his ornate and extravagant church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (begun 1884).

Ness[5] (a term usually found in place names) means a headland or promontory Orford Ness.

4d   Starter with bread sauce // a minor error (4)

A blip[5] is an unexpected, minor, and typically temporary deviation from a general trend ⇒ the Chancellor dismissed rising inflation as a blip. I suppose, in some circumstances, it could constitute an error.

Scratching the Surface
Starter[5] is a chiefly British* term meaning the first course of a meal.

* according to Oxford Dictionaries, British, but certainly a term that I would say is by no means foreign to Canada

5d   Basques fit this designation, French in origin (8)

The word lingerie[8] has been adopted into English directly from French. The original French word derives from linge[8] meaning 'linen'.

A basque[2] is a tight-fitting bodice for women, often with a continuation below the waist to the hips, worn either as an undergarment or as a lightweight top. The name basque[5] derives from Basque (see box), referring to Basque dress.

Scratching the Surface
The Basques[2] are a people living in the western Pyrenees, in Spain and France who speak Basque, a language that is unrelated to any other European language.

6d   Set of steps // taken in by Swiss ambassador (5)

The samba[5] is a Brazilian dance of African origin.

7d   Worry /and/ run, even, after disorder (7)

8d   Aquatic creature, // a sort almost visible in addition (8)

A platypus[5] (also called duckbill or duck-billed platypus) is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal which frequents lakes and streams in eastern Australia. It has a sensitive pliable bill shaped like that of a duck, webbed feet with venomous spurs, and dense fur.

14d   Light /needs/ minute fitting in plan one devised (4,4)

16d   Young bird, tiny, heading for daffs -- // it's unwelcome in garden? (9)

Chickweed[5] is a small, widespread, white-flowered plant of the pink family, often growing as a garden weed, and sometimes eaten by poultry.

Scratching the Surface
Daff[5] is an informal short form of daffodil.

17d   Former President /making/ pledge for all to see after ceremony (8)

"for all to see" = U (show explanation )

Under the British system of film classification[7] a U (for 'universal') rating indicates that a film is suitable "for all the family" — or, at any rate, for those members over 4 years of age.

hide explanation

Georges Pompidou[5] (1911–1974) was a French statesman, prime minister 1962–8 and president 1969–74. He was instrumental in ending the conflict in Algeria between French forces and nationalist guerrillas.

18d   Orange shade // for fans is developed (7)

Saffron[5] is the orange-yellow colour of saffron, a flavouring, food colouring, and dye made from the dried stigmas of saffron, an autumn-flowering crocus with reddish-purple flowers, native to warmer regions of Eurasia. Enormous numbers of flowers are required to produce a small quantity of the large red stigmas used for the spice.

20d   Stage in event that's extended // one in field (4,3)

The wordplay could also be expressed as "LONG (extended) + LEG (stage in event [such as a road race])".

In cricket, long leg[5] denotes either a fielding position far behind the batsman on the leg side or a fielder playing that position.

Cricket 101
In cricket, the leg[5] (also called leg side) is another name for the on[5] (also known as on side), the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman’s feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg. The other half of the field is known as the off[5] (also called off side).

22d   Severely criticise // workers' organisation, conceivably (3,2)

I found cut up[3,4,10] meaning to subject to severe criticism in two dictionaries, one American and one British (there are three citations as two different editions of Collins English Dictionary are cited).

The Trades Union Congress[7] (TUC) is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales, representing the majority of trade unions.

The wordplay in this clue is what is generally referred to as reverse wordplay. Customarily, the wordplay is found in the clue and the result of executing the wordplay is found in the solution. However, in reverse wordplay, the solution consists of or contains what could be wordplay (i.e., an indicator that defines the operation to be performed and fodder on which the operation is performed) and the result of performing that operation is found in the clue itself.

In the case of this clue, the solution is CUT UP. As this is a down clue, the word "up" could be a reversal indicator and the solution could therefore be interpreted as a reversal "up" of CUT giving us TUC. In other words, TUC (workers' organization) could be (conceivably) a reversal (UP) of CUT (or CUT UP).

Personally, I would prefer to call this type of clue structure inverse wordplay rather than reverse wordplay as the structure parallels that of inverse functions in mathematics. Besides, would not inverse reversal be a far more elegant term for this particular type of clue than reverse reversal. However, the term reverse wordplay seems to be firmly established and so presumably we are doomed to live with it.

24d   Note foreign friend /in/ US city (5)

British dictionaries are split on the question of whether this musical note should be spelled MI or ME. On the other hand, American dictionaries come down firmly on the side of MI. (show more )

In sol-fa notation, me[2,5]* (or mi[2,5]) is the third note of a major scale.}

* With respect to spelling, two other British dictionaries take the contrary position, listing mi[1,10] as the principal spelling with me as a variant[10] or anglicized[1] spelling. The US dictionaries list only one spelling — mi[3,11].

hide explanation

Ami[8] is the masculine form of the French word meaning 'friend'.

25d   Photograph // unexpected // wintry spell (4)

Like Kath, I supposed that this was intended to be a double definition — even though I questioned whether a "cold snap" in winter is really unexpected. However, I failed to pursue that gut feeling further. Had I done so, I might have surmised that this is actually a triple definition — a fact that Shamus (the setter of the puzzle) discloses in Comment#29 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog.
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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