Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017 — DT 28372

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28372
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28372 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28372 – 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


This "Saturday" puzzle was not much of a challenge for the Brits. However, the references to British counties and television shows that have not existed for forty to fifty years adds an extra bit of difficulty for those of us on this side of the pond.

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   Cheat // told conundrums changing ends around (7)

5a   Wreckage /in/ half of Family Fortunes (7)

Scratching the Surface
Family Fortunes[7] is a British television game show based on the American game show Family Feud. The programme ran from 1980 to 2004, before being revived in 2006 under the title of All Star Family Fortunes.

9a   Craftily creates numerous // defensive tactics (7-8)

10a   Sovereign // that will keep one going straight (5)

11a   Goss worked with novel // romantic numbers (4,5)

Scratching the Surface
I would guess that the surface reading of the clue may allude to Sir John Goss[7] (1800–1880), an English organist, composer and teacher who was organist at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

12a   Historic vessel /takes/ PM to river (9)

Theresa May[7] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party, having served as both since July 2016. She is the second female Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader after Margaret Thatcher.

Flower is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of something that flows — in other words, a river.

The Mayflower[5] is the ship in which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from England to America.

14a   Stepped on it going round kitchen, finally /getting/ fork out (5)

15a   Some famous Yorkshiremen // lacking charisma (5)

Scratching the Surface
Yorkshire[5] is a county of northern England.

16a   Drill // cuts out round emergency room (9)

18a   Artist/'s/ distinctive design described by strange term (9)

Rembrandt[5] (1606–1669) was a Dutch painter; full name Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn.

21a   Avoid // First Lady touring area with diamonds (5)

In the Bible, Eve[5,10] is the first woman, mother of the human race, fashioned by God from the rib of Adam, companion of Adam and mother of Cain and Abel*.

* not to mention Seth and her other sons and daughters[Gen 5:4]

"diamonds" = D (show explanation )

Diamonds[2] (abbreviation D[2]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide explanation

22a   County formerly // seeking teachers' charter (15)

Huntingdonshire[5] is a former county of southeastern England. It became part of Cambridgeshire in 1974.

23a   Trips // over in performing a study (4,3)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

hide explanation

24a   Talk about southern // herb (7)


1d   Art style with strange // decency (7)

Art deco[5] was the predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colours and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.

Rum[5] is a dated informal British term meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

2d   Footballer gets millions for nothing having letter, we hear, to go on // old quiz show (6,4,5)

Wayne Rooney[7] is an English professional footballer [soccer player] who plays for and captains both Manchester United and the England national team. He is the record goalscorer for the England national team and for Manchester United.

Double Your Money[7] is a quiz show which aired on British television from 1955 to 1968.

3d   Improvement towards the end /in/ heading for one side (9)

4d   River, Russian one, // in the country (5)

The Ural River[5] is a river, 1,575 miles (2,534 km) long, that rises at the southern end of the Ural Mountains in western Russia and flows through western Kazakhstan to the Caspian Sea at Atyraū.

5d   Poetic style // produces great excitement round about Home Counties (4,5)

The Home Counties[5] are the counties surrounding London in southeast (SE) England, into which London has extended. They comprise chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire. (show more )

No exact definition of the term exists and the composition of the Home Counties remains a matter of debate. While Oxford Dictionaries restrictively lists them as being chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire, Wikipedia tells us that the Home Counties[7] are generally considered to include Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (although Sussex does not border London).

Other counties more distant from London, such as Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire are also sometimes included in the list due to their close proximity to the capital and their connection to the London regional economy.

hide explanation

6d   Place for refreshment /that's/ ordinary in its present state (5)

"ordinary" = O (show explanation )

Historically, in the UK (with the exception of Scotland), O level[5] (short for ordinary level[5]) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A (advanced) level. It was replaced in 1988 by the  GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

hide explanation

7d   Dog // chewed up grannie’s slipper (8,7)

A springer spaniel[10] is either of two breeds of large quick-moving spaniels bred to spring* game, having a slightly domed head and ears of medium length. The English springer spaniel is the larger and can be of various colours; the Welsh springer spaniel is always a rich red and white.

* Spring[5] means to cause (a game bird) to rise from cover.

8d   Half-hearted wife journalist // treated badly (7)

13d   Cavalier, to support little // free time after work (9)

Wee[5] is a Scottish adjective meaning little ⇒ (i) when I was just a wee bairn; (ii) the lyrics are a wee bit too sweet and sentimental. [The word may be of Scottish origin but, like the Scots themselves, the word has migrated around the world.]

14d   Heir // hit gold (9)

"gold" = OR (show explanation )

Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

In heraldry, a tincture[5] is any of the conventional colours (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.

hide explanation

15d   Demonstrated // with craft in sea (7)

Craft[5] is used in the sense of skill used in deceiving others her cousin was not her equal in guile and evasive craft. Thus the phrase "with craft" is synonymous with cunning.

Arch[2] is used in the sense of cunning or knowing.

The Med[5] is an informal, chiefly British name for the Mediterranean Sea.

17d   Flats etc /providing/ pleasant views (7)

A flat[5] (often flats) is an upright section of stage scenery mounted on a movable frame.

Scratching the Surface
Flat[5] is the British term for what would be called an apartment[5] in North America.

19d   Greek character carrying in // dosh (5)

Rho[5] is the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ρ, ρ).

Dosh[5] is an informal British term for money cycling saves you a heap of dosh.

Rhino[5] is British slang for money.

20d   Group of soldiers /has/ bad time in revolution (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)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

1 comment:

  1. Eventually managed to solve this without the use of on-line assistants, but well up in two-star time. Plenty of head-scratching and needed to confirm a few arcane Briticisms in the dictionary