Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 — DT 28370

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28370
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, March 9, 2017
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28370]
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


When I read "I don’t think you’ll find this puzzle too difficult" in pommers'  intro, I couldn't believe that he could possibly be referring to the same puzzle with which I had just completed an epic struggle. Obviously he was precisely tuned to the right wavelength — and I wasn't even on the right band.

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   Initially baggy rear in evidence for some // pants (6)

Here and There
To fully savour the surface reading of this clue — as well as to understand pommers' choice of illustration — one must be aware that, in Britain, the word pants[5] does not mean trousers as it does in North America. Rather, it refers to underwear — specifically men's undershorts or women's panties (the latter otherwise known as knickers[5] to the Brits).

Thus were I to take off my pants in the UK, I would be far more exposed than were I to do so in North America!

4a   Fancy woman // resists running after male (8)

Fancy woman[5] (or, in Britain, fancy piece) is a derogatory informal term for a man's lover it's common knowledge about John and his fancy women.

9a   Threaten // current politician facing termination (6)

In physics, I[5] is a symbol used to represent electric current in mathematical formulae. 

"member | Member of Parliament | 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

10a   One gives // nearly complete care protecting this writer (8)

"this writer" = I (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation

11a   Old victory secured by sovereign // territory (8)

V[10] is the symbol for victory - the victory-freedom sign[7] is commonly associated with British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in World War II.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers suggests that we are looking for the sovereign of a country such as Monaco.
Monaco[5] is a principality* forming an enclave within French territory, on the Mediterranean coast near the Italian frontier; population 38,000 (estimated 2015); official language, French.

* so-called because it is ruled by a prince.

13a   One who loathes consuming energy /for/ fire (6)

"energy" = E (show explanation )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

Fire[5] is a British term for a domestic heating appliance that uses electricity or gas as fuel she was freezing and keeping the fire low to save money.

15a   Stickler /for/ niceties breaking down in physical training (13)

18a   A neighbour's key cut out /for/ crime (13)

22a   Hardship /of/ ship worker reportedly (6)

24a   Dispatch // square leg at Edgbaston to cover (8)

Dispatch[3] (also despatch) means to relegate to a specific destination or send on specific business.

Cricket 101
Square leg[5] is a fielding position level with the batsman approximately halfway towards the boundary (show explanation ) on the leg side (show explanation ) or a fielder at this position.

The boundary[10] is the marked limit of the playing area.

hide explanation

In cricket, the leg[5] (also called leg side) is another name for the on[5] (also known as on side), the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman’s feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg.

The other half of the field is known as the off[5] (also called off side).

hide explanation

Cover[5] (short for cover point[5]) denotes a fielding position a little in front of the batsman on the off side (show explanation ) and halfway to the boundary (show explanation ) or a fielder at this position ⇒ an easy catch by Hick at cover.

In cricket, the off side (another name for the off[5]) is the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) towards which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball.

The other half of the field is known as either the leg[5] (also called leg side) or on[5] (also called on side) ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg.

hide explanation

The boundary[10] is the marked limit of the playing area.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Edgbaston Cricket Ground[7] is a cricket ground* in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England.

* Ground[5] denotes an area of land, often with associated buildings, used for a particular sport (i) a football ground; (ii) Liverpool’s new ground is nearing completion. In North America, such a venue would be called a field or a stadium.

26a   Extensive // debts following limits being withdrawn (8)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers describes the "limits" referred to in the clue as being on council spending for example.
The council[10] (sometimes the Council) is a British [or maybe not so British] term for the local governing authority of a town, county, etc.

27a   Fortified outside pub, // like a fish? (6)

28a   Uncertainty // beginning to see pound's dropped in value (8)

I could think of only one word matching the checking letters, and a wordfinder program confirmed that there were no others. However, it seemed as though it took as long to parse this clue as it did to complete the entire puzzle.

The clue parses as S (beginning to see; initial letter of See) + {PEN (pound; enclosure for animals) + S ('s)} enclosed in USE (value; this broken chair is no longer of any use).

29a   Sex // details of French Resistance (6)

Gen[5] is an informal British term for information ⇒ you’ve got more gen on him than we have.

"of French" = DE (show explanation )

In French, de[8] is a preposition meaning 'of'' or 'from'.

hide explanation

"resistance" = R (show explanation )

In physics, R[5] is a symbol used to represent electrical resistance in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation


1d   Hollow balloons, frail inside? (6)

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

The definition alludes to the fact that a blimp[10] is a nonrigid airship as opposed to a dirigible[10] (or zeppelin[10]) which is a rigid airship.

2d   Spontaneous // rogue Trump improbably taking over (9)

"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.

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Feeling a bit IMPETUOUS, I did spend some time fruitlessly attempting to make this word fit the bill.

3d   Devotee // follower caught Queen penning single (7)

"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

"caught" = C (show explanation )

In cricket, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught (by).

hide explanation

5d   Man say, // remains superior to the French (4)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

hide explanation

The Isle of Man[5] is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system.

6d   Bombshell // split party holding power (7)

Other than both being military explosive devices, a bombshell and torpedo would seem to have little in common.

Bombshell[5] is a dated term for an artillery shell.

A torpedo[5] is a cigar-shaped self-propelled underwater missile designed to be fired from a ship or submarine or dropped into the water from an aircraft and to explode on reaching a target.

7d   Be // leaving, accepting direction (5)

8d   Settled charge with University admittance /is/ steep (8)

12d   The woman swathed in blubber /getting/ red (6)

14d   In past RAF employed // machinegun (6)

Scratching the Surface
The Royal Air Force[5] (abbreviation RAF) is the British air force, formed in 1918 by amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (founded 1912) and the Royal Naval Air Service (founded 1914).

16d   Fixed // hip secured round end of femur (9)

17d   Refrains /from/ tasks with useless content (8)

The abbreviation for unserviceable or useless is U/S[10].

19d   Learned // sweetheart's bawdy about sex (7)

"sweetheart" = E (show explanation )

A common cryptic crossword construct is to use the word "sweetheart" to clue E, the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

hide explanation

It[2,5] (usually written in quotation marks, "it") is an informal term for sexual intercourse or sex appeal ⇒ (i) the only thing I knew nothing about was ‘it’; (ii) they were caught doing ‘it’ in the back seat of his car.

20d   Record // times broken in one event's opening (7)

21d   Binge, // oddly nude, consumed by drink (6)

23d   Attack small // animals (5)

25d   Turn over secure // weapons (4)
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. I'm a little surprised that no one on the BD blog questioned sex as a synonym for gender. Probably says something about the demographic of cryptic aficionados.

    The gender warriors insist that these two words mean very different things and that those who confuse them are ignorant or prejudiced.

    1. Some did comment on the juxtaposition of 29a and 21d — suggesting that it was far from a coincidence.

  2. Hello Richard. Not sure I follow your comments about sex and gender. Aren't they the same thing?

    Had to give up on 22a and 23d. And concur that 28a was tough to parse. I didn't get there, being stopped at p for pound. Should have known better. And 5d too, not easy I thought.

    1. They might mean the same to you, but not to people in the emergent gender-bending industry.

      Among other current sources, the Canadian Institute of Health Research will spell out the difference.

  3. And for 1d I went for limp inside BS, same as UK reviewer. Thought it a tad off too.

    1. Just to be clear, the wordplay is LIMP (frail) contained in (inside) BS (hollow balloons) — which constitutes the entire clue.

      The entire clue can also be interpreted as a definition for a nonrigid airship.