Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 — DT 28340

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28340
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28340]
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


According to pommers, this puzzle just edged into the two-star range for difficulty. In my case, I would say that it was pushing three-star territory.

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   Programme // putting retired friend in second vehicle (8)

6a   Men trailing tight-knit group /in/ field of operations (6)

"men" = OR (show explanation )

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

hide explanation

9a   It's comical to dismiss a // thought? (6)

10a   A son straying in shot, /showing/ surprise (8)

11a   Three notes on commonly-spoken bully, // person changing sides (8)

Terms such as "common-spoken" are often used by setters to indicate that the initial aitch is to be dropped from a word. This speech characteristic is commonly associated with the cockney* dialect spoken in the East End of London. However, as once pointed out in a comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog "it’s not just Cockneys that don’t pronounce initial aitches – Yorkshire folk for example!".

* 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 (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church).

The setter fails to respect the cryptic crossword convention that "on" — used as a charade indicator in an across clue — signifies 'following'  (show explanation )

"A on B" Convention
An oft ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order 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.

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

12a   Expenditure /in/ station previously disclosed (6)

13a   Illegitimately placed // like drainpipes? (5,3,4)

The second definition is a literal description of where one would find this article of clothing.

Drainpipes[5] (or drainpipe trousers) are trousers with very narrow legs.

16a   Caterer found ground /for/ sporting event (4,2,6)

As an anagram indicator, ground is the past tense or past participle of the verb grind[5]. An anagram indicator is a word that denotes movement or transformation. Grind denotes transformation, for example, in the sense of wheat being ground into flour.

The Tour de France[5] is an annual long-distance race for professional cyclists first held in 1903 and taking place primarily on the roads of France over a period of about three weeks. It consists of multiple stages which are separately timed, several of these stages encompassing mountainous terrain in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

19a   Neglect // the old man's drink (4,2)

"drink" = SUP (show explanation )

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle.

As a noun, sup[5] means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

hide explanation

21a   King in style is unstable, /needing to be/ mutually supportive (8)

"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).

hide explanation

23a   Red voice stirred up // one formerly in union (8)

24a   Showy // culinary decoration with no end of chicken (6)

25a   Male entering hairdressing establishment /in/ pink (6)

26a   Study session /in/ University closed during court case (8)

To[5] is an adverb denoting (so as to be) closed or nearly closed ⇒ he pulled the door to behind him.


2d   Stake put under tree reportedly? // Certainly (3,3)

The yew[5] is a coniferous tree which has red berry-like fruits, and most parts of which are highly poisonous. Yews are linked with folklore and superstition and can live to a great age; the timber is used in cabinetmaking and (formerly) to make longbows.

3d   Learning about island /and/ river abroad (5)

The Loire[5] is a river of west central France. France’s longest river, it rises in the Massif Central and flows 1,015 km (630 miles) north and west to the Atlantic at St-Nazaire.

4d   Live to possess country-house oven -- confess /that's/ a trifle (9)

The AGA cooker[7] (trademark) is a high-end gas stove popular in medium to large British country houses — not to mention British crosswords. As a heat storage stove, it works on the principle that a heavy frame made from cast iron components can absorb heat from a relatively low-intensity but continuously-burning source, and the accumulated heat can then be used when needed for cooking.

5d   Flier /in/ queue weighed down by box (7)

Queue[5] is a chiefly British term meaning a line or sequence of people or vehicles awaiting their turn to be attended to or to proceed. As Collins English Dictionary states, the usual US and Canadian term is line[10] (in this sense of the word).

6d   Fight // arranged with pair in audience (3-2)

7d   Old artist /seen in/ studies list (9)

"study"= CON (show explanation )

Con[5] is an archaic term meaning to study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)  ⇒ the girls conned their pages with a great show of industry.

hide explanation

John Constable[5] (1776–1837) was an English painter. Among his best-known works are early paintings such as Flatford Mill (1817) and The Hay Wain (1821), inspired by the landscape of his native Suffolk.

8d   Floating boats on sides of channel close to huge // dam (8)

13d   Lawyers joined by good man in standard // campaign? (9)

Barnstorm[5] (verb) is a North American term meaning:
  • to tour rural districts giving theatrical performances, originally often in barns ⇒ he barnstormed up and down both coasts and eventually played New York
  • to make a rapid tour of an area as part of a political campaign ⇒ (i) he was barnstorming down in Georgia; (ii) with object ‘the speech he gives as he barnstorms the country
  • to travel around giving exhibitions of flying and performing aeronautical stunts ⇒ barnstorming had become a popular occupation among many trained pilots
14d   Place part of rifle to follow deer /in/ retrospect (9)

15d   Animal so restless /as/ subject of painting (4,4)

The Mona Lisa[5] is a painting (now in the Louvre in Paris) executed 1503–6 by Leonardo da Vinci. The sitter was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo; her enigmatic smile has become one of the most famous images in Western art.

17d   Particular // consideration (7)

18d   State /as/ parochial as Kansas in part (6)

20d   Nut // about to get inside enclosure (5)

22d   Haul up some dancer or reveller /making/ slip (5)

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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