Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 — DT 28365

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28365
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, March 3, 2017
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28365]
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


My experience with this puzzle certainly does not jive with Shropshirelad's assessment. I found it quite difficult, certainly pushing well into the upper end of three-star territory. To top matters off, I failed to notice that it is a pangram* — which I expect can largely be attributed to having completed the puzzle over the course of multiple sittings.

* a puzzle in which every letter of the alphabet appears at least once in the solutions to the clues

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   Muffling // sound of modern music-making (8)

5a   Chess move // in contest finally eliminated piece (6)

In chess, a gambit[5] is an opening move in which a player makes a sacrifice, typically of a pawn, for the sake of a compensating advantage ⇒ he tried the dubious Budapest gambit.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, ShropshireLad writes I so wanted this to be RD’s favourite chess bugbear but – alas – it isn’t.
RD (Rabbit Dave) is a regular commenter on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. His "favourite chess bugbear" is the (in his opinion) 'inaccurate' use of the word castle to describe a rook (a chess piece shaped like a crenelated castle tower). See the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28359] (which appeared in the National Post a week ago yesterday) for the most recent episode in this saga.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, castle[5] is an informal old-fashioned term for rook.

In chess, castle[5] (often as a noun castling) means to make a special move (no more than once in a game by each player) in which the king is transferred from its original square two squares along the back rank towards a rook on its corner square which is then transferred to the square passed over by the king.

9a   Doris with Nan dancing /in/ the club (4,4)

In golf, sand iron*[5] is another name for a sand wedge[5], a heavy, lofted iron with a flange on the bottom, used for hitting the ball out of sand.

* Among my regular collection of dictionaries, I found this term (which is new to me) only in Oxford Dictionaries. Judging by the date on the club in the picture in ShropshireLad's review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, it may well be a term that has fallen into disuse.

10a   Meaner // Conservative, one suffering defeat (6)

"Conservative" = C (show explanation )

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

A Tory[10] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada.

Historically, a Tory[10] was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

hide explanation

Close[10] is used in the sense of miserly or not generous, especially with money.

12a   Bird // left home to get fish? (6)

ShropshireLad would more accurately have completed his hint with "... and add the action you would use to land a fish" as fish and net are both verbs in this case.

A linnet[5] is a mainly brown and grey finch with a reddish breast and forehead.

13a   Gained // release, almost looking embarrassed (8)

15a   Celebrations /for/ groups at Westminster (7)

I will support ShropshireLad in his contention that this clue is a DD (double definition).

Westminster*[5] is a metonym for the British Parliament ⇒ Westminster must become more effective in holding the government to account.

* Westminster[5] (full name City of Westminster) is an inner London borough which contains the Houses of Parliament and many government offices.

16a   Worry /making/ feeble folk roll over (4)

Wet[5] is an informal British term for a person lacking forcefulness or strength of character ⇒ there are sorts who look like gangsters and sorts who look like wets.

Delving Deeper
In British political circles, the name wet[5] is applied to a Conservative with liberal tendencies ⇒ the wets favoured a change in economic policy. It was a term frequently used by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for those to the left of her in the British Conservative Party [which must have been just about everyone].

20a   Old fellow /in/ Middle East location (4)

Oman[5,7], officially the Sultanate of Oman, is an Arab country at the southeastern corner of the Arabian peninsula.

21a   Enthusiasts' publication /that is/ excellent, circulating around a country down under (7)

A fanzine[5] is a magazine, usually produced by amateurs, for fans of a particular performer, group, or form of entertainment ⇒ a football fanzine.

25a   Music // once played, engaging performance (8)

A turn[5] is a short performance, especially one of a number given by different performers in succession ⇒ (i) Lewis gave her best ever comic turn; (ii) he was asked to do a turn at a children’s party.

A nocturne[5] is a short musical composition of a romantic nature, typically for piano.

26a   Seem /to be/ a listener, keeping very quiet (6)

Contrary to what ShropshireLad shows in his review, I would say that the definition is merely the word "seem" as I can think of no instance where I could not directly substitute the words "seem" and "appear". Granted I might equally well say "seem to be" or "appear to be".

Pianissimo[5,10] (abbreviation pp[5,10]) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very soft or very quiet or (as an adverb) very softly or very quietly.

28a   Hundred yobs /in/ strikes (6)

Yob[5] (back slang* for boy) is an informal British term for a rude, noisy, and aggressive youth.

* Back slang[5] is slang in which words are spoken as though they were spelled backwards.

29a   Cunning, keeping one period of abstinence // without talking (8)

As ShropshireLad alludes in his review, this puzzle was published in the UK two days after the start of said "period of abstinence".

30a   Surviving // no longer with blemish, having lost heart (6)

31a   Happen // to regret meeting with space traveller (4,4)


1d   Desire cut short, see, // as befits a sage (6)

A see[10] is the diocese of a bishop, or the place within it where his cathedral or procathedral is situated.

The Diocese of Ely[7] is a Church of England diocese in the (ecclesiastical) Province of Canterbury, headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in the city of Ely.

2d   Shelter // beginning /to be needed/ with day fading (6)

The phrase "to be needed", despite being situated in the middle of the wordplay, effectively plays a role very similar to that of a link phrase as one would clearly see if the clue had been phrased as:
  • Shelter /needs/ beginning with day fading (6)
Of course, the surface reading of the rephrased clue is far less satisfying, which explains why the setter wrote the clue as he did.

3d   Very early /in/ toilet, turning up after five, say (8)

Lav[10] is an informal British short form for lavatory.

In mathematics, prime[5] is another term for prime number[5], a number that is divisible only by itself and 1 (e.g. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11).

4d   End of bout in ring possible, upsetting // corner (4)

KO[5] is a short term for a knockout in a boxing match.

On[5] is an informal term denoting impractical or unacceptable ⇒ it's not on. I suspect one would only see the word used in this sense in the negative.

6d   Fully committed, // like a cricket team soon to be fielding? (3-3)

The solution, were it split (3,3) all out[7], would denote the situation in cricket when 10 of the 11 members of the batting team have been dismissed thus completing the innings*. At this point, provided that the innings just completed was not the final innings of the match, the batting team would take the field.

* Although this is described as "all out", one member of the batting team is always "not out". This is because batsmen always bat in pairs, and once 10 have been dismissed, there are no longer sufficient batsmen remaining to form a pair.

Ain't It Strange ...
... that all out[3] and all in[3] mean the same thing.

7d   Meaner goddess /engenders/ a measure of interest (4,4)

I saw this clue as a simple charade in which the wordplay parses as BASER (meaner) + ATE (goddess). However, see the box below for a contrary view.

In Greek mythology, Ate[10] is a goddess who makes men blind so that they will blunder into guilty acts.

In the UK, the base rate[5] is the interest rate set by the Bank of England for lending to other banks, used as the benchmark for interest rates generally.

Alternative Facts
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, ShropshireLad has parsed the wordplay as {BASER (meaner) + TE (goddess)} containing (engenders) A (from the clue).

Te (or Te Fiti) is supposedly a Maori goddess. A bit of fact checking by the New Zealand blogging team, the 2Kiwis, "seems to suggest that she was invented by Disney for the movie Moana".

8d   Perform again in urban community /that's/ destroyed (4,4)

11d   Fast movement /of/ crazy horse, sadly unseating Ray (7)

In music, scherzo[5] (noun) denotes a vigorous, light, or playful composition, typically comprising a movement in a symphony or sonata.

14d   Tries very hard /to produce/ tunes (7)

I have no argument with ShropshireLad's analysis of this clue.

17d   Coastal road // firm gets Rex ideal position (8)

"Rex" = R (show explanation )

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

hide explanation

The expression one's niche[5] denotes a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment he is now head chef at a leading law firm and feels he has found his niche.

A corniche[5] is a road cut into the edge of a cliff, especially one running along a coast.

18d   Reveal as phoney // what fielder may claim, wanting verdict against batsman (5,3)

Cricket 101
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.

However, even though the ball may have been caught, the batsman is not actually dismissed until the fielding team appeal to the umpires for a decision, traditionally using the expression "How's that" (or "Howzat").

That is, the fielder will claim a catch out by appealing to the umpires for a decision.

In cricket, it seems, umpires do not deliver a decision until requested to do so by the players.

I now see that all these hockey players making appeals to referees are merely wannabe cricket players!

19d   A particular queen, possibly /in/ type of swimsuit? (3-5)

Ain't It Strange ...
... that a "queen" is considered to be "one of 32 men on a chessboard". He must be in drag!

22d   Name of man // recently elected (6)

No, ShropshireLad, "not Mr Trump" but perhaps Mr. Trudeau — although it is questionable if the adverb "recently" is still applicable.

23d   Shakespearean fool has little right // to be sore (6)

In his review, ShropshireLad shortchanges the definition. Since the solution is a verb, the definition must be "to be sore".

Feste[7] is a fool in the William Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night.

Behind the Picture
ShropshireLad illustrates his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog with a picture of Uncle Fester[7] from the Addams Family, a fictional household created by American cartoonist Charles Addams.

Says ShropshireLad  Yes, I know that this isn’t the Shakespearean character.

24d   Pattern // exceptionally large framing edge of doorway (6)

27d   Beginner // starts to think it's really obvious (4)

Tiro is a variant spelling of tyro[5], a beginner or novice.
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. Yes, at least three stars. Good choice of photos by Shropshirelad, especially the Sarazen wedge.