Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 — DT 28311

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28311
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 30, 2016
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28311]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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


For a Giovanni puzzle, this is a rather gentle workout. Moreover, despite having been published in the UK in the period between Christmas and New Year's, it contains only the most minimal of acknowledgements to the season.

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.


7a   Pointed comment by squire finally -- hint /to provide/ party food (8)

Scratching the Surface
A squire[10] is a country gentleman in England, especially the main landowner in a rural community.

In feudal history, a squire[10] was a young man of noble birth, who attended upon a knight.

9a   Lack of interest /in/ a course leading to the unknown (6)

"the unknown" = Y (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

hide explanation

10a   Uncontrolled /or/ organised party attracting thousand? (6)

11a   Hellish situation -- love's going wrong -- // collapse emotionally (8)

In Roman mythology, Dis[10] is:
  • (also called Orcus or Pluto) the god of the underworld; or
  • the abode of the dead or underworld.
The equivalent in Greek mythology is Hades[10].

12a   First opportunity for panto actor to get into gear? (5,9)

The word "panto" is superfluous and would appear to be thrown in merely as a nod to the time of year when the puzzle appeared in the UK.

Panto[5] is an informal British short form for pantomime[5], a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

15a   Missile // starts to seem costly -- unwanted deterrent? (4)

Scud[10] is an informal name for a Soviet-made surface-to-surface missile, originally designed to carry nuclear warheads and with a range of 300 km; later modified to achieve greater range: used by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War and in the Gulf Wars.

17a   Worried /and/ frightened leader getting put off (5)

19a   Set out /to give/ help to learner (4)

"learner" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

The rationale for "A to B" denoting B + A is similar to that of "A on B" denoting B + A in an across clue. In order for A to be given to B (or for A to be placed on B), B must already have been positioned (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it.

20a   Exercise influence // to withdraw an orchestral section (4,3,7)

A sort of double definition in which the second definition is a possible literal interpretation of the phrase.

23a   Not one of us // will change our diets (8)

25a   Bug /in/ weed (6)

27a   Get away /and/ pray sixty minutes after midnight? (6)

28a   After strike, seek men's // submission (8)

I presume that the use of strike as an anagram indicator may relate to a blacksmith forming a piece of iron into a horseshoe or other useful implement.


1d   Grand, in the manner of // festivity (4)

"grand" = G (show more )

While the abbreviation G for "grand" is deemed by the Brits to be an Americanism, it seems to be one that is well known to them — undoubtedly from American gangster films.

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  1. Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5];
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2];
  3. Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[10] .
hide explanation

2d   Tolerates // biased rambling (6)

3d   Boss // appearing in the advertisement (4)

4d   An upset you finally might get on the briny? (6)

In an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue) such as this, the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

5d   What may move our case (last bit of travel)? (8)

Whereas the previous clue was a true &lit. clue, this one is a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), in which the entire clue acts as the definition while only the portion of the clue with the dashed underline provides the wordplay.

6d   Put pitch on the outside of shed, // using a particular tool (10)

The wordplay parses as SLING (pitch) containing (put ... on the outside of) HOVEL (shed).

8d   Material // at bottom of river is mostly hardened clay (7)

The Cam[10] is a river in eastern England, in Cambridgeshire, flowing through Cambridge to the Great Ouse* (river). Length: about 64 km (40 miles).

* The Great Ouse[5] (which flows through East Anglia) is not to be confused with the River Ouse[5] in Yorkshire or the River Ouse[5] in Sussex — and certainly not with the Little Ouse[5], a river of East Anglia, which forms a tributary of the Great Ouse.

Cambric[5] is a lightweight, closely woven white linen or cotton fabric.

13d   Takes back // city area with feeling of delight beginning to spread around (10)

"city area" = EC (show explanation )

In the clue, the setter uses "city area" to stand for for the EC postcode* which serves the City of London. The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

* postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code

The City of London[7] (not to be confused with the city of London) is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City of London is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

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14d   Arab maybe // sounding croaky (5)

An Arab[5] is a horse of a breed originating in Arabia, with a distinctive high-set tail.

16d   False belief /has/ us taken in by priest -- academic holds that (8)

In the Bible, Eli[5] is a priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 1-3).

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

18d   Relaxation // of French and English outside temporary accommodation (7)

"of French" = DE (show explanation )

In French, de[8] is a preposition meaning 'of'' or 'from'.

hide explanation

Detente[5] (also détente) is the easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries ⇒ his policy of arms control and detente with the Soviet Union.

21d   Getting properly organised, I tried /to be/ less messy (6)

22d   Aim to undermine international // plan (6)

24d   Play /or/ concert quietly proceeding to end (4)

The term prom[5] (or Prom) is short for promenade concert[5], a British term for a concert of classical music at which a part of the audience stands in an area without seating, for which tickets are sold at a reduced price. The most famous series of such concerts is the annual BBC Promenade Concerts (known as the Proms), instituted by Sir Henry Wood in 1895.

Here and There
Prom[5], in the sense of a formal dance, is chiefly a North American expression.

"quietly" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

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26d   This clue is // a sort of model (4)

The implied meaning of the first definition is "[where] this clue is".
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


  1. Re 12a I read it slightly differently, as men often take the female lead parts (and vice versa) in pantos.

    1. Well, that would certainly add another dimension to the term "dress rehearsal" for an actor.