Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 — DT 28360

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28360
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28360 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28360 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (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.


Aside from the clue with the error, this puzzle is not too taxing.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Error in Today's Puzzle

There is an error in clue 20d which should read:
  • Criticise one politician over international body that’s holding good (6)

In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, crypticsue reports that the error was acknowledged in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, February 27, 2017.

As usual, the editors at the National Post spare no effort to give us the authentic British experience, publishing the puzzle warts and all.

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   Reach route through mountains -- // result! (4,2,4)

6a   Eats // fast food item around one third off (4)

9a   Lucky shape: // clubs logo's origin on next page (10)

"clubs" = C (show explanation )

C[1] is the abbreviation for clubs, a suit in a deck of cards.

hide explanation

10a   Clinton/’s/ draft law (4)

Bill Clinton[5] is an American Democratic statesman, 42nd President of the US 1993–2001.

12a   Cooked a nice lobster /for/ special occasions (12)

15a   Person playing // is taken in by android that won't start (6)

16a   Women I am with get very hot outside /in/ beach clothes (8)

My parsing varied somewhat from that which crypticsue shows in her review. For me, it was {W (women) + IM (I am [contracted to I'm]) + W (with)} contained in (get ... outside) SEAR (very hot).

I did make an attempt to justify crypticsue's explanation. In her review, she interprets "women" as denoting specifically "two women (W and W)" and "with" as meaning "between". Apart from the stretch involved in equating "with" and "between", dictionaries (in particular, The Chambers Dictionary) show W as an abbreviation for women and women's (the later being a clothing size), but not woman.

18a   Depression shown by North American spies /in/ Spanish city (8)

"American spies" = CIA (show explanation )

The Central Intelligence Agency[5] (abbreviation CIA) is a federal agency in the US responsible for coordinating government intelligence activities. Established in 1947 and originally intended to operate only overseas, it has since also operated in the US.

hide explanation

Valencia[5] is a port in eastern Spain, on the Mediterranean coast.

19a   Agreement // with current line (6)

21a   Man sent tweet spinning // religious writing (3,9)

24a   For seamstress it’s the case // in perpetuity (4)

Etui[5] is a dated term for a small ornamental case for holding needles, cosmetics, and other articles ⇒ an exquisite etui fitted with scissors, bodkin, and thimble.

25a   Another case // concerning money running short before end of voyage (10)

26a   Pretentious rubbish displayed by English // gallery (4)

Tat[5] is an informal British term for tasteless or shoddy clothes, jewellery, or ornaments ⇒ the place was decorated with all manner of gaudy tat.

"gallery" = TATE (show explanation )

27a   Make bloomer over // biscuit (6,4)

A bloomer[5] is a plant that produces flowers at a specified time ⇒ fragrant night-bloomers such as nicotiana.

The British use the term biscuit[3,4,11] to refer to a range of foods that include those that would be called either cookies or crackers in North America. A North American biscuit[5] is similar to a British scone.

Brandy snap[5] is a British term for a crisp rolled gingerbread wafer, usually filled with cream.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, bloomer[5] is a dated informal British term for a serious or stupid mistake ⇒ he never committed a bloomer.


1d   Bird /found in/ pile of hay (4)

2d   Tie up // North African (4)

A Moor[5] is a member of a northwestern African Muslim people of mixed Berber and Arab descent. In the 8th century they conquered the Iberian peninsula, but were finally driven out of their last stronghold in Granada at the end of the 15th century.

3d   Leader of excavation in ancient city, keen to break out spades /as/ just what's needed (3,4,5)

Thebes[5] is the name of two ancient cities.
  • It is the Greek name for an ancient city of Upper Egypt, whose ruins are situated on the Nile about 675 km (420 miles) south of Cairo. It was the capital of ancient Egypt under the 18th dynasty (circa 1550–1290 BC) and is the site of the major temples of Luxor and Karnak.
  • It is the name of a city that was situated in Greece, in Boeotia, north-west of Athens. This Thebes became a major military power in Greece following the defeat of the Spartans at the battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. It was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 336 BC.
"spades" = S (show explanation )

Spades[2]) (abbreviation S[1]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

Insignificant Joints No More
I had long supposed the expression the bee's knees to be US slang dating from the flapper era of the 1920s. Surprisingly, not only is the term not to be found in my American dictionaries, but none of my British dictionaries considered it to be a dated term. Moreover, Collins 21st Century Dictionary characterizes the bee's knees[2] as a colloquial British term and the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary identifies be the bee's knees as an informal British and Australian expression. On the other hand, Oxford Dictionaries (in a notation that has vanished in the current incarnation of its website) at one time alluded to the present meaning of the term being American in origin.

The meaning of this term has undergone a reversal over time. The Farlex Trivia Dictionary tells us that the expression bee's knees has been used from 1797 for "something insignificant". Oxford Dictionaries (prior to the revamp of its website) stated that the term was first used to denote something small and insignificant, and was transferred to the opposite sense in US slang. This is not unlike cool becoming synonymous with hot (popular) and sick meaning excellent.

4d   China leased // equipment used in warehouse (6)

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

* In Britain, mate[5] — in addition to being a person’s husband, wife, or other sexual partner — is an informal term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

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.

hide explanation

Let[5] is a chiefly British* term meaning to allow someone to have the use of (a room or property) in return for regular payments ⇒ (i) she let the flat [apartment] to a tenant; (ii) they’ve let out their house.

* However, I seriously doubt that this word is quite as British as Oxford Dictionaries would have us believe.[3,11]

5d   Birds /make/ disturbance in yards (8)

A yard[10] is a cylindrical wooden or hollow metal spar, tapered at the ends, slung from a mast of a square-rigged or lateen-rigged vessel and used for suspending a sail.

7d   Frightful horn is core /to identify/ this animal (10)

I would think that one might well be justified to categorize this as a semi-&lit. clue (or, if you prefer, semi-all-in-one clue) where the entire clue forms the definition and in which the wordplay (marked below with a dashed underline) is embedded.
  • Frightful horn is core to identify this animal (10)
8d   Rail /links/ globe endlessly with American business (10)

I suppose "links" must be the ultimate in link words!

11d   Sort of power // my generation endlessly put out without carbon (6,6)

"carbon" = C (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element carbon is C[5].

hide explanation

13d   Handy // place where nuns stay around eastern Ulster (10)

Properly Ulster[10] is an area that was a province and former kingdom of northern Ireland which passed to the English Crown in 1461. Following centuries of conflict, Ulster was partitioned in 1921, with six counties [Antrim, Down, Armagh, Londonderry, Tyrone, and Fermanagh] forming Northern Ireland (a region within the United Kingdom) and three counties [Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan] joining the Republic of Ireland. Despite this, Ulster is a widely-used (albeit inaccurate) name for Northern Ireland.

14d   Do like everyone else /and/ take interest in court case (6,4)

17d   Special equipment for police /in/ South American city with great rampaging (4,4)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast. The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

20d   Criticism /made by/ one politician over international body that's holding good (6)

Presumably, the clue was meant to be parsed as I have marked it above. However, the definition is a noun and the intended solution is a verb, so the clue does not work.

As pointed out earlier, the clue should have read:
  • Criticise // one politician over international body that’s holding good (6)
"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (abbreviation MP[5]) or, informally, as a member[5].

hide explanation

"international body" = UN (show explanation )

The United Nations[5] (abbreviation UN) is an international organization of countries set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace, security, and cooperation.

hide explanation

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

22d   Member of clergy losing head /in/ a short time (4)

A canon[5] is a member of the clergy who is on the staff of a cathedral, especially one who is a member of the chapter*he was appointed canon of Christ Church, Oxford.

* The chapter[5] is the governing body of a religious community or knightly order.

23d   Look up and down (4)

I see this clue as a cryptic definition in which a "straight" definition (marked with a solid underline) is combined with cryptic elaboration (marked with a dotted underline). The clue states that the solution is a synonym for "look" that furthermore happens to be a palindrome ([reads the same] up and down).
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)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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