Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017 — DT 28302

Posted Sunday, March 12, 2017 but back-dated to maintain sequence.

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28302
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28302]
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


In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Mr Kitty states that he suspected that the setter might be Shamus (Philip Marlow). He received a lot of support for this view in the comments section of the blog. However, as Kath points out in a reply to Comment #31, "Shamus always pops in to lay claim to his crosswords" which he didn't do. In a prior comment in the same thread, Merusa speculates that the setter might be Samuel.

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   Take over /from/ journalist one judge initially gets imprisoned (6)

Away from Crosswordland, a hack may be — but is not necessarily — a journalist. A hack[5] is a writer or journalist producing dull, unoriginal work ⇒ Sunday newspaper hacks earn their livings on such gullibilities.

"judge" = J (show explanation )

J[2] (plural JJ) is the abbreviation for judge.

hide explanation

4a   Backing students /is/ mistake (4-2)

8a   Small pronged thing /used in/ ear-piercing (8)

The trident[5] is a three-pronged spear, especially as an attribute of Poseidon (Neptune)* or Britannia**.

* In Greek mythology, Poseidon[5] is the god of the sea, water, earthquakes, and horses, son of Cronus and Rhea and brother of Zeus. He is often depicted with a trident in his hand. His equivalent in Roman mythology is Neptune.
** Britannia[5] is the personification of Britain, usually depicted as a helmeted woman seated with a shield and trident. The figure appeared on Roman coins and was revived with the name Britannia on the coinage of Charles II.

10a   Pageant // in August at Tooting (6)

Behind the Picture
The picture illustrating Mr Kitty's review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog depicts The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which this year will be held August 4-26.

Scratching the Surface
Tooting[7] is a district of South London, England, forming part of the Wandsworth borough. It is located 5 miles (8 kilometres) south south-west of Charing Cross*.

* Charing Cross is considered to mark the centre of London

11a   Annoying child /making/ racket? That's about right (4)

In tennis, etc, bat[1] is an informal term for a racket.

However, both The Chambers Dictionary and Chambers 21st Century Dictionary formally define a racket as a bat.

A racket (or racquet)[1,2] is:
  • a bat with a handle ending in a roughly oval head, made of a frame of wood, metal or other material, with a network of strings (originally catgut, now usually a synthetic material), used for playing tennis, badminton, squash, etc.
  • a snow-shoe of similar shape
12a   Not fit, // being ill, i.e. needing exercise (10)

13a   Mushroom // cap (6,6)

The checking letters suggested the solution; however, I thought that this was a pepper not a mushroom — and Oxford Dictionaries confirmed this fact. It was only when I checked further afield that I discovered that the solution is the name of a mushroom as well as a pepper. This suggests that the unsuspecting diner might be in for a rather hot surprise!

The Scotch bonnet[7], Marasmius oreades, is a mushroom also known as the fairy ring mushroom or fairy ring champignon. The latter names tend to cause some confusion, as many other mushrooms grow in fairy rings (such as the edible Agaricus campestris, the poisonous Chlorophyllum molybdites, and many others).

The Scotch bonnet[5] is a small chilli pepper (also called habañero) which is the hottest variety available.

Both of the above, as well as the Scotch bonnet[7] sea snail are named for the Tam o' Shanter[7] cap (also known as a Scotch bonnet[1] ), a traditional Scottish bonnet worn by men. The name of the cap derives from Tam o' Shanter, the eponymous hero of the 1790 Robert Burns poem.

16a   I deem cavalry ludicrously // reckless (5-3-4)

20a   Light user of alcohol, // an item associated with Aladdin? (6,4)

A double definition, in which the second is definitely cryptic and even the first leans in that direction.

21a   Fellow /in/ hospital wearing hat (4)

Although the dictionaries show chap[3,4,11] to be an informal British[5] or chiefly British[3] term for a man or boy, the term would certainly be familiar to most North Americans. (show more )

Chap[3,4,11], an informal British[5] or chiefly British[3] term for a man or boy, is a shortened form of chapman[3,4,11], an archaic term for a trader, especially an itinerant pedlar[a,b].

[a] Pedlar is the modern British spelling of peddler[c] which, in most senses, is a US or old-fashioned British spelling. The exception is in the sense of a dealer in illegal drugs which the Brits spell as drug peddler.
[b] The current meaning of chap[2] dates from the 18th century. In the 16th century, chap meant 'a customer'. The dictionaries do not explain how a shortened form of 'chapman' (pedlar) came to mean 'customer'.
[c] Collins COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

hide explanation

22a   Alternative route after onset of digging? (6)

23a   American word /for/ journey's end? (8)

24a   Governess // of the French princess returned (6)

In French, when the preposition de (meaning 'of') would otherwise be followed by the masculine form of the definite article (le), the combination is replaced by du (meaning 'of the').

Princess Anne[5], (full formal name Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, the Princess Royal) is daughter of Elizabeth II. She is a skilled horsewoman (riding for Great Britain in the 1976 Olympics) and is president of Save the Children Fund. Her two children are Peter (b.1977) and Zara Philips (b.1981), by her former husband Captain Mark Philips. [I note that her own father does not rate a mention.]

A duenna[5] is an older woman acting as a governess and companion in charge of girls, especially in a Spanish family; a chaperone.

25a   Patient with it seen first, // as a precaution (2,4)

I suppose that "with it" and "in" both mean fashionable, but I am not really convinced that they are synonyms. Someone who is "with it" wears, buys, and does things that are "in". However, could one really reverse those words and still retain the same meaning? Someone who is "in" is surely someone who is popular with others — whether, or not, they themselves are "with it".


1d   Bit of magic involving a bowler? (3,5)

In cricket, a hat trick[5] is the taking of three wickets by the same bowler with successive balls.

Cricket 101
In cricket, to take a wicket[5] (said of a bowler or a fielding side) means to dismiss a batsman.

In cricket, the term wicket[5] can have any of several meanings:
  • each of the sets of three stumps with two bails across the top at either end of the pitch, defended by a batsman;
  • the prepared strip of ground between two sets of stumps ⇒ when they inspected the wicket, they found it being rolled by some prisoners;
  • the dismissal of a batsman; each of ten dismissals regarded as marking a division of a side’s innings ⇒ Darlington won by four wickets.
A hat-trick[5] occurs in cricket when a bowler dismisses three batsmen with consecutive deliveries. The deliveries may be interrupted by an over bowled by another bowler from the other end of the pitch or the other team's innings, but must be three consecutive deliveries by the individual bowler in the same match. Only wickets attributed to the bowler count towards a hat-trick; run outs* do not count.

* In cricket, run out[7] (abbreviation ro[2]) denotes the dismissal of a batsman by hitting a wicket with the ball while the batsman is out of his ground** while running. Should this occur while the batsman is out of his ground for any reason other than running, the batsman would be said to have been stumped rather than run out.
** Ground[10] denotes the area of the cricket pitch from the popping crease back past the stumps, in which a batsman may legally stand.

2d   Meet on time /in/ disreputable bar (5)

3d   Nurse, // that woman one's seen in church (7)

Nurse[5] is used in the sense of to harbour (a belief or feeling), especially for a long time ⇒ he still nursed a secret desire to try and make amends.

Cherish[5] is used in the sense of to keep (a hope or ambition) in one's mind ⇒ he had long cherished a secret fantasy about his future.

5d   European, // valiant invalid (7)

I certainly seemed to have encountered an inexplicable mental block here. However, it did not take much of a nudge from my electronic helpers for me to see the light.

6d   Flag-waving // threesome in pact, I fancy (9)

7d   Dog // lead for Dalmatian got in Dorset resort (6)

Poole[5] is a port and resort town in Dorset on the south coast of England, just west of Bournemouth; population 135,800 (est. 2009).

Scratching the Surface
Lead[5] is a British* term for a strap or cord for restraining and guiding a dog or other domestic animal ⇒ the dog is our constant walking companion and is always kept on a lead.

* Despite being characterized as a British term by Oxford Dictionaries, the word lead[3] is found in The American Heritage Dictionary as another name for a leash.

9d   Collected another belt, // boxing (3,5,3)

Having initially written THE MANLY ART here caused no end of difficulty with 13a.

The noble art (of self defence)[5] and the noble science (of self-defence)[5] are archaic terms for boxing.

14d   English emblem /out of/ order to us abroad (5,4)

The Tudor rose[5] is a conventionalized, typically five-lobed figure of a rose used in architectural and other decoration in the Tudor period, in particular a combination of the red and white roses of Lancaster or York adopted as a badge by Henry VII.

15d   Wealth /may provide/ endless delight, of course (8)

17d   Animal doctor near sick // warhorse (7)

Warhorse[5] is an informal term for a soldier, politician, or sports player who has fought many campaigns or contests ⇒ an old political warhorse.

Here and There
Were one to rely solely on entries in British dictionaries*, one might well conclude that vet[2,5,10] is used only in North America as an informal term for a veteran. On the other side of the pond, vet[2,5,10] is deemed to be a chiefly British term for a veterinary surgeon.

* Collins English Dictionary is somewhat less definitive on this point than the others

Nevertheless — contrary to the views of dictionary editors — vet is certainly used in the latter sense in North America and its usage in previous puzzles strongly suggests to me that it is likely also used in the former sense in the UK.

A difference does exist between the UK and North America in the meaning of veteran[10] which, in Britain, means solely a soldier who has seen considerable active service unlike North America where it can also — and is more likely to — mean a former member of the military.

18d   Bad sprain? I could get you this? (7)

This is a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, a semi-all-in-one clue), a type of clue in which the entire clue provides the definition while a portion of the clue (the part marked by a dashed underline) serves as the wordplay.

As a definition, the clue implies "What someone might get you for [the pain arising from] a bad sprain.".

19d   Study after odds // get bigger (6)

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.

SP is the abbreviation for starting price[7], the odds prevailing on a particular horse in the on-course fixed-odds* betting market at the time a race begins.

* To the best of my limited knowledge in this field, this term would not be encountered in North America as betting on horse racing here is based on parimutuel betting rather than fixed-odds betting.

21d   Check in with a // mate from Bow? (5)

"check" = CH (show explanation )

In chess, ch.[10] is the abbreviation for check.

hide explanation

The setter uses "Bow" as a stand-in for cockney.  Bow[7] is a district in east London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is built-up and mostly residential, and 4.6 miles (7.4 km) east of Charing Cross [considered to mark the centre of London].

A cockney[5,10] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End[5]], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells. Many take "Bow Bells" to be the bells of Bow Church in the heart of Bow. However, the saying actually refers to the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church which is approximately three miles west on Cheapside, in the City of London.

The cockney[5] dialect spoken in the East End of London is characterized by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words as well as the use of rhyming slang*.

* Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example, butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in cockney rhyming slang.

In Britain, china[5] is an informal term for a friend (or, as the Brits would say, a mate[5]). This comes from cockney rhyming slang, where china is the shortened form of china plate which rhymes with 'mate'.
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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