Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017 — DT 28312

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28312
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28312 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28312 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
gnomethang (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.


Despite appearing in the UK on New Year's Eve, this puzzle contains no seasonal references. Well, that is not entirely true, there is a reference to the season in which we are currently in the midst of.

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   Clears bed/'s/ clothes after a loss (5)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, gnomethang has gone beyond the edge of the bed in marking the first definition.

Weeds[5] is short for widows weeds[5], black clothes worn by a widow in mourning.

4a   Misleadingly articulate // girl goes to gallery (8)

"gallery" = TATE (show explanation )

8a   French author's second // risque character (8)

Jean Racine[5] (1639–1699) was a French playwright. Central to most of his tragedies is a perception of the blind folly of human passion, continually enslaved and unsatisfied. Notable works: Andromaque (1667) and Phèdre (1677).

9a   Press for // a meeting about war hero admitting nothing (8)

The Victoria Cross[5] (abbreviation VC[5]) is a decoration awarded for conspicuous bravery in the Commonwealth armed services, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856.

11a   That woman's name recalled // one with unorthodox views (7)

The wordplay parses as HER (that woman) + ('s; contraction for has) reversal (recalled) of CITE (name).

13a   Infatuation /shown by/ part of conference, say, supporting old boy (9)

"old boy" = OB (show explanation )

In Britain, an old boy[5] (abbreviation OB[2])  is:
  1. a former male student of a school or college ⇒an old boy of Banbury County School; or
  2. a former male member of a sports team or company ⇒ the White Hart Lane old boy squared the ball to present an easy chance from 12 yards.
It is also a chiefly British affectionate form of address to a boy or man ⇒ ‘Look here, old boy,’ he said.

hide explanation

As a charade indicator, I can only conclude that "supporting" must mean "following" in the sense of  being a fan (of  a sports team, for example) rather than in the physical sense of bearing the weight of or holding up as it would if this were a down clue.

15a   What a person must do to get into Oxford? // Commit a faux pas (3,4,4,2,2)

A double definition in which the first is cryptic, stating what the phrase constituting the solution might mean if interpreted literally.

18a   Left-winger may take such // editing (9)

As gnomethang indicates in his review, the wordplay must be considered as an entire phrase.

21a   Source of better advice, // priest gets conversion after time (7)

Here "better advice" is information provided to those wagering on the outcome of horse races.

22a   Spray disease of plant /that's/ suspect (8)

Rust[5] is a fungal disease of plants which results in reddish or brownish patches.

24a   Clears of building, /getting/ outside (8)

25a   Wicked woman // cast off vice (3-5)

26a   Was inclined /to make/ fast time covering area (5)

While this clue may not have been very seasonal when it appeared in the UK on New Year's Eve, that is certainly not the case today as we find ourselves precisely at the midpoint of Lent.


1d   Someone in church /with/ proper wish to reform (10)

In his review, gnomethang generously adds a letter to the fodder that neither appears in the clue nor is necessary to form the solution.

2d   Starter of escalope Cliff obtained // that may be served in bistro (8)

A scar[5] is a steep high cliff or rock outcrop, especially of limestone ⇒ high limestone scars bordered the road.

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

An escalope[5] (also escallop)  is a thin slice of meat without any bone, typically a special cut of veal from the leg that is coated, fried, and served in a sauce.

3d   Maybe bar // contains nuts (8)

Sanction[5] is an interesting word, being effectively its own antonym. It can mean either official permission or approval for an action or a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule. Thus, it may denote either bar or the opposite of bar.

4d   The rise // of James Anderson (4)

Scratching the Surface
To the Brits, the surface of this clue suggested cricket. The only thing that came to my mind was Jim Anderson, the title character from the 1950s American sitcom Father Knows Best[7]. Now, that rather dates me!

James Anderson[7] is an English cricketer who plays for Lancashire and the England cricket team. He is England's all-time highest international wicket-taker* when combined across all three international cricket match formats**, being the country's leading wicket taker in Test match and One-Day cricket. He is the first English bowler to reach a 400 wicket-haul in International Test Cricket, and is currently the 6th highest Test wicket-taker of all time. He has been recently ranked No.1 in the International Cricket Council Test Bowler's Rankings.

On 25 July 2016, during the second Test of an England Pakistan series at Manchester, he became the first seamer*** to take 50 wickets against all other 7 Major Test playing nations, i.e. Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

The surface of the clue may allude to the rough start to Anderson's career. He made his international debut at the age of just 20, on England's 2002-2003 tour of Australia. Later in 2003 he experienced a dip in form and confidence against South Africa. After this he was in and out**** of the team and experienced numerous injuries, including a stress fracture of the back which kept him out of action for most of the 2006 season. He returned to action and features regularly in England's international cricket teams.

* To take a wicket[5] (said of a bowler or a fielding side) means to dismiss a batsman.
** Test matches (a four-innings match — two innings per team — which may last up to five days), One Day Internationals (a form of limited overs cricket in which each team faces a fixed number of overs, usually 50), and Twenty20 Internationals (a form of limited overs cricket in which each team faces 20 overs).
*** short for seam bowler[10], a fast bowler who makes the ball bounce on its seam so that it will change direction.
**** In Britain, one is said to be in or out of a team rather than on or off a team.

5d   Games being taken up // gives sharper edge (6)

6d   Part of jacket seen on an independent // fashion designer (6)

"independent" = I (show explanation )

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, perhaps in the context of a politician with no party affiliation.

hide explanation

Giorgio Armani[5] is an Italian fashion designer.

7d   Nick/'s/ advantage (4)

In his review, gnomethang says that the first definition means a cut. While nick can certainly mean cut, I am not aware that edge means cut?

In cricket, edge[10] means to to hit (a bowled ball) with the edge of the bat. I am not sure if this is an intended outcome or an inadvertent one, but I suspect it may well be the latter.

In baseball, if I were to swing poorly and not make good contact with a ball, I might say I just nicked it. However, apart from the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary which defines nick[11] as to hit or injure slightly and Webster’s New World College Dictionary which defines nick[12] as to strike lightly and glancingly, I could not find this sense of the word in my dictionaries. By the way, both of the dictionaries cited are American.

10d   Money off // record released around November (8)

November[5] is a code word representing the letter N, used in radio communication.

12d   Lower undergarments -- bloomers (8)

Lower is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of something that lows (moos) — in other words, a bovine animal.

The cowslip[5] is a European primula with clusters of drooping fragrant yellow flowers in spring, growing on dry grassy banks and in pasture. It is also the name of any of a number of other herbaceous plants.

14d   Flask placed in bag // at the bottom (10)

16d   Rhythm really oddly // unspiritual (8)

17d   Oil-bearing region // on earth's being developed (5,3)

The North Sea[5] is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that lies between the mainland of Europe and the coast of Britain, important for its oil and gas deposits.

19d   Party -- wise /to get/ amount of drug? (6)

20d   Minister's assistant /and/ copper going over charge (6)

"copper" = CU (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from late Latin cuprum).

hide explanation

Curate[5] can mean:
  • (also assistant curate) a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest; or
  • (archaic) a minister with pastoral responsibility.
22d   Assemble /for/ service (4)

23d   Follow // story as told (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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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