Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017 — DT 28343

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28343
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, February 6, 2017
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28343]
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


Today we are served up the usual gentle but enjoyable Monday fare from Rufus — which, for a change, actually appears on a Monday.

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   Saw, /only/ to become a prisoner (6)

In my book, the second part of the clue is not a definition as the result does not match the given numeration. Nevertheless, Miffypops takes the contrary view.

4a   Don't weary everyone /being/ boring (8)

9a   Hidden // talent for demolition (6)

10a   Vertigo // surprises (8)

In Comment #12 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Jon questions whether vertigo and staggers are "really the same". Tstrummer replies "If you suffer from vertigo, you are likely to stagger: it means a kind of dizziness. It has nothing to do with heights. I blame Hitchcock.". Well, that might be a bit strong. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be "... It does not necessarily have anything to do with heights ...".

Vertigo[5] is a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; giddiness.

Staggers[10] (noun) is a form of vertigo associated with decompression sickness*.

* Decompression sickness[10] is a disorder characterized by severe pain in muscles and joints, cramp, and difficulty in breathing, caused by a sudden and sustained decrease in air pressure, resulting in the deposition of nitrogen bubbles in the tissues .

12a   That man heads the Spanish // list (4)

"the Spanish" = EL (show explanation )

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

hide explanation

13a   Beautiful girl // one may ring, we hear (5)

14a   Winger // who is easily outwitted (4)

Once again, Miffypops and I diverge. This time it is I who believes  the clue is a double definition.

A gull[5] is a person who is fooled or deceived.

17a   Spiteful functionary, // one with position on board (5,7)

A petty officer[10] is a noncommissioned officer in a naval service, comparable in rank to a sergeant in an army or marine corps.

20a   Creating pure liquid /is/ improving (12)

23a   Expert seen about new // ailment (4)

24a   Order /of/ letters in the dictionary (5)

25a   Bit of light // timber (4)

Finally, Miffypops and I find common ground on a double definition.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops refers to the solution as a Toughie setter.
The Toughie Crossword is a cryptic crossword puzzle that appears in The Daily Telegraph from Tuesday through Friday. It gets its name from the fact that it is intended to be a more difficult puzzle than the regular Cryptic Crossword that appears in The Daily Telegraph from Monday through Saturday — this latter puzzle being the one that the National Post carries in syndication.

Beam* is the pseudonym used by crossword compiler Ray Terrell (whom we know on Big Dave's Crossword Blog as RayT) for his Toughie puzzles.

* you may have noticed the theme here, a beam being a ray of light

28a   Criticism /for/ decent chap leading strike (8)

Brick[5] is a dated informal British term for a generous, helpful, and reliable person ⇒ ‘You are really a brick, Vi,’ Gloria said.

29a   Quit // school subject and make one's name as a writer (6)

In the UK, religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[5]) is a subject taught in schools which educates about the different religions of the world.

30a   Article seen in French newspaper -- // it's refreshing (8)

Le Monde[7] (English: The World) is a French daily evening newspaper continuously published in Paris since its first edition in December 1944. It is one of two French newspapers of record — the other being Le Figaro.

31a   Country /where you may see/ us in exotic sari (6)


1d   They may call for you at an American hotel (8)

From a British perspective, bellhop[5] is a North American term for an attendant in a hotel who performs services such as carrying guests' luggage.

As Miffypops suggests, I suppose a guest might ask a bellhop to call a cab, although I would think of that being the function of a concierge or doorman.

Perhaps I am grasping at straws, but I wonder if the clue may possibly be a play on an informal British meaning of the word "bell", in which bell[5] means to telephone (someone) ⇒ no problem, I’ll bell her tomorrow.

2d   Up to now, // best-seller is followed by other novel (8)

3d   Very small part for an actor, /but it's/ a job (4)

5d   News // that the teacher would welcome in any form? (12)

In Britain, a form[5] is [or, perhaps more correctly,was] a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. Thus what we in North America would call a grade would be — or once was — known in Britain as a form, although the numbering system for forms and grades are vastly different. (show more )

The term "form" seems to have become passé as Miffypops in his review of DT 28163 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog refers to "sixth-former" as "What a schoolchild would be during the year before university back in the old days. This would now be known as year 13 or 14*." Furthermore, Wikipedia (see table below) characterizes the term "form" as an "alternative/old name".

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower [although this would seem to apply primarily — or perhaps only — for the sixth form]. Usually the sixth form is the senior form of a school**. In England, the sixth form is usually divided into two year groups, the lower sixth and upper sixth, owing to the 3-year English college/university system. In Scotland or North America, the 6th form is usually a single year, owing to the 4-year college/university system. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms [witness Miffypops' reference to "Year 14" — a term which does not appear in the table below].

Wikipedia would appear to be at best ambiguous and at worst inconsistent on the relationship between the British and American systems of naming school years. The article from which the table below is excerpted shows that the British first form is equivalent to the American 6th grade. On the other hand, the article cited above states "In North America, the 1st Form (or sometimes 'Form I') is equivalent to 7th Grade." However, this latter statement may in fact be a comparison between the few North American schools to use the form system and the vast majority of North American schools that don't rather than a comparison between British and American schools.

 Age RangeBritish SystemAmerican System
NameAlternative/Old NameName
11-12Year 7First form6th grade
12-13Year 8Second form7th grade
13-14Year 9Third form8th grade
14-15Year 10Fourth form9th grade
15-16Year 11Fifth form10th grade
16-17Year 12Lower sixth form11th grade
17-18Year 13Upper sixth form12th grade

* Miffypops' refers to "year 14",  a term which does not appear in the table above
** although this apparently does not hold true for New Zealand where they would appear to have a seventh form 

hide explanation

6d   Extremely nervous? (4)

Once again, Miffypops and I part ways. I see the word "extremely" not as a second definition but rather as the cryptic elaboration in a cryptic definition.

7d   Speak freely /and/ reveal what's there (4,2)

Well, we're back on the same page here.

8d   They play supporting roles in the studio (6)

11d   Settled after fresh start // somewhere in N America (12)

15d   Neat residences (5)

I visited sheds and barns before arriving at the correct building.

Neat[5] is an archaic term for a bovine animal or, as a mass noun, cattle.

Byre[5] is a British name for a cowshed.

16d   Don't allow // untidy beard (5)

Debar[5] (usually be debarred) means to exclude or prohibit (someone) officially from doing something ⇒ they were debarred entry to the port.

18d   Symphonist, // British, is turning up with English composer needing no introduction (8)

Knowing the Finnish composer but not the English one, I had presumed that the "E" in the solution is being clued by the word "English" leading me to look for a 'composer' whose name matches the pattern _LIUS. Instead, we are looking for an 'English composer' whose name matches the pattern _ELIUS.

Frederick Delius[5] (1862–1934) was an English composer, of German and Scandinavian descent. He is best known for pastoral works such as Brigg Fair (1907), but he also wrote songs, concertos, and choral and theatre music.

Jean Sibelius[5] (1865–1957) was a Finnish composer; born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius. His affinity for his country's landscape and legends, especially the epic "Kalevala", is expressed in a series of symphonic poems including The Swan of Tuonela (1893), Finlandia (1899), and Tapiola (1925).

19d   This can provide an image that includes love -- for oneself? (8)

In this semi-&lit. clue — or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue (show explanation ), the entire clue acts as the definition while the portion with the dashed underline provides the wordplay.

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

In a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
hide explanation

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

21d   Medical man imprisoned /for/ harmless frolic (6)

"medical man" = MB (show explanation )

In Britain, the degree required to practice medicine is a Bachelor of Medicine[7] (MB, from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus), which is equivalent to a North American Doctor of Medicine (MD, from Latin Medicinae Doctor). The degree of Doctor of Medicine also exists in Britain, but it is an advanced degree pursued by those who wish to go into medical research. Physicians in Britain are still addressed as Dr. despite not having a doctoral degree. 

hide explanation

The setter uses the word "imprisoned" to clue the phrase "put in gaol*".

* Gaol[10] is a British variant spelling of jail.

22d   Not well // employed? (6)

After my assessment of 1a, you had to know that I would take issue with this clue being called a double definition.

26d   Not unlike // a spill of ink (4)

27d   List of items available /for/ males thought socially acceptable (4)

"thought socially acceptable" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation
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. The BD comments about "staggers" were amusing.

    I've had both types of vertigo and they differ quite markedly. The "fear of heights" causes spatial disorientation in odd situations like sudden precipices and glass floors. It's a permanent condition that occurs rarely.

    The illness vertigo lasted about three months in my case, with attacks every few weeks that were utterly incapacitating. I saw an ENT and an audiologist for a series of tests. They could discover no cause or explanation. Then it went away. For good, I hope.

    1. Sounds like the puzzle evoked some unpleasant memories. However, glad to see you commenting again.