Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 — DT 28345

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28345
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28345]
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


I would say that today's puzzle from Jay sits in the lower end of the three-star range for difficulty. I did have one incorrect entry — although I think my answer is at least valid if not as good as the intended answer.

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

Error in Today's Puzzle

As Richard has informed us in his comment below, the puzzle as it appears in the National Post contains an error in which clue 17d has been truncated. The clue in its entirety should read:
  • 17d   Desperate Dan's welcoming 24 hours in Paris and retires (8)

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   Traffic noises over M1? (5,5)

M[10] is the symbol for Mach[10] (short for Mach number[10] and often not capitalized), the ratio of the speed of a body in a particular medium to the speed of sound in that medium. Mach number 1 (M1) corresponds to the speed of sound.

Scratching the Surface
The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

6a   Stamp // book (4)

The solution which I came up with was PACK, reasoning that gardeners may stamp or pack loose earth and a pack of matches could be a book of matches.

Nevertheless, apparently the setter had other ideas in mind.

A stamp[5] is a mark or pattern made by a stamping instrument, especially one indicating official validation or certification ⇒ (i) passports with visa stamps; (ii) [figurative] the emperor gave them his stamp of approval.

Mark[5] is the second Gospel in the Christian Bible, traditionally ascribed to St Mark, an Apostle, companion of St Peter and St Paul.

10a   Animal life // supporter possessing universal answer (5)

"universal" = U (show explanation )

Under the British system of film classification[7] a U (for 'universal') rating indicates that a film is suitable "for all the family" — or, at any rate, for those members over 4 years of age.

hide explanation

11a   Vessel /from/ small island carrying post (9)

A cay[5] is a low bank or reef of coral, rock, or sand, especially one on the islands in Spanish America.

12a   Issue // a note after return of important person (7)

"note" = TE (show explanation )

In music, te[5] (also ti[2]) is the seventh note of the major scale in tonic sol-fa.

Judging by a perusal of entries in American and British dictionaries, the only recognized spelling in the US would seem to be ti[3,4,11] whereas, in the UK, the principal — or only — spelling would appear to be te[2,3,4,11], with ti given as an alternative spelling in some dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries is more emphatic, giving the spelling as te[5] with ti shown as the North American spelling.

hide explanation

13a   Media lecturer covers // particular form of language (7)

14a   Data analyst /seeing/ it is as intact after processing (12)

18a   Short of cash receipts /for/ tasks (12)

Takings[10] is a [most assuredly British*] term for the income earned, taken or received by a shop, business, etc. The pub said that their takings were fifteen to twenty thousand pounds a week.

* In North America, one would say take[10]

21a   Band touring borders of Wales // becomes mature (5,2)

23a   Perfect // a point disputed by university (7)

Utopia[5] is a work of fiction and political philosophy by English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist Sir Thomas More (1478–1535) published in 1516 in Latin. The work describes the political system of an imaginary ideal island nation.

24a   In parade, mostly enlisted men /and/ flesh-eating beasts (9)

Carnival[5] is an annual festival, typically during the week before Lent in Roman Catholic countries, involving processions, music, dancing, and the use of masquerade ⇒ (i) the culmination of the week-long carnival; (ii) Mardi Gras is the last day of carnival; (iii) a carnival parade.

A carnival[5] is a public event or celebration, typically held outdoors and involving stalls, entertainment, and processions ⇒ children from Wroughton are getting ready for the village carnival. The Québec Winter Carnival[7] might be an example — on a grand scale — of such an event.

Here and There

Carnival[5] meaning a travelling fair or circus is a North American usage.

"enlisted 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

In zoology, Carnivora[5] is the order of mammals that comprises the cats, dogs, bears, hyenas, weasels, civets, raccoons, and mongooses. They are distinguished by having powerful jaws and teeth adapted for stabbing, tearing, and eating flesh.

25a   Anaesthetic // used in gene therapy (5)

26a   Minimum energy expended -- // keep going (4)

27a   People in charge push /for/ sudden increase in electricity usage (5,5)


1d   Frequently suppressed by son/'s/ temper (6)

2d   Impartial, // with no time for dealing with nerves (6)

3d   Typical // letter -- one's credit is curtailed (14)

Tick*[5] (used in the phrase on tick) is an informal British term meaning credit ⇒ the printer agreed to send the brochures out on tick.

* The term apparently originates as a short form for ticket in the phrase on the ticket, referring to an IOU or promise to pay.

4d   Torches traditionally supplying // an environment for musicians (9)

5d   Form of transport // exercise covered by Defence Ministry (5)

"exercise" = PE (show explanation )

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education [or Phys Ed, as it was known in my school days]. 

hide explanation

In the UK, the abbreviation MOD[2] (or MoD) stands for Ministry of Defence.

7d   Clubs in two areas planned to elevate // scholarly life (8)

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

8d   These cops /may see/ openers on pitch (8)

A Keystone cop[5] (also Keystone Kop*) is a person (especially a police officer) likened to one of the Keystone Kops; also used allusively and in similes describing shambolic or farcical situations.

* The Keystone Cops (often spelled "Keystone Kops") were fictional incompetent policemen, featured in silent film comedies in the early 20th century. The movies were produced by Mack Sennett for his Keystone Film Company between 1912 and 1917.

9d   Politicians' targets all at sea? (8,6)

Floating voter[5] is a British term for a person who has not decided which way to vote in an election, or one who does not consistently vote for the same political party ⇒ the party leader stepped up his efforts to appeal to floating voters.

Probing the Structure
The entire clue is a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition (solid underline) combined with cryptic elaboration (dashed underline).

15d   Encourage // last-minute changes, ignoring head of news (9)

16d   Precise as a well-rehearsed move in theatre? (8)

Another cryptic definition with a structure similar to that of 9d.

17d   Desperate Dan's welcoming 24 hours in Paris /and/ retires (8)

The French word for 'day' is jour[8].

Scratching the Surface
Desperate Dan[7] is a wild west character in the British comic The Dandy. He first appeared in its first issue, dated 4 December 1937. He is reputed to be the world's strongest man, able to lift a cow with one hand. Even his beard is so tough he has to shave with a blowtorch. Among his favourite foods is "cow pie" — which apparently is a whole cow baked in a pie, and not a "meadow muffin".

19d   Decline // accompanying the Queen (6)

"the Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

20d   Dish, /and/ how it's carried to diner, reportedly (6)

22d   Snap /if/ sweltering in Post Office (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


  1. The print edition of the Post truncated the clue for 17d as "Desperate Dan's welcoming". After filling in the checking letters, I resorted to a crossword dictionary, but couldn't parse the clue. So, that certainly pushed the puzzle into three star territory.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the error in the National Post. I wasn't aware of it as I was working from a copy of the "British" puzzle.