Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017 — DT 28407

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28407
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, April 21, 2017
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28407]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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 had been fearful that the recent string of rather gentle crossword offerings might be setting me up for a fall and today I got my comeuppance. I had to call for considerable aid from my electronic assistants to complete this puzzle.

I was relieved to see that Deep Threat and crypticsue — along with many others — also found the puzzle to be more challenging than usual. Unlike them, I completed the upper right and lower left corners and then struggled with the other two corners.

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   Some ropy stuff // that's found along the coast (6)

Strand[2] is a literary term for a shore or beach.

5a   Things hanging down /having/ power to exterminate insects (8)

"power" = P (show explanation )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power [among other things] in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

9a   Legal procedure to pursue company member -- /it comes to/ the crunch? (10)

"member" = 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   Good old-style politician, // smooth-tongued (4)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

For all practical intents and purposes, the Liberal Party is virtually extinct in the UK. The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2])* in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats. However, a small Liberal Party still exists although it has no representation in the UK Parliament, no Members of the European Parliament (MEP), no members of the Scottish Parliament, nor any members of the National Assembly for Wales.[7]

* Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party in Britain — likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5]) — Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

11a   Oblique // dishing of dirt -- nice! (8)

12a   Come down by river /in/ the country (6)

The Po[7] is a river that arises in the Cottian Alps and flows eastward across northern Italy entering the Adriatic Sea through a delta near Venice.

13a   Has a sleep, rolling over /for/ a length of time (4)

15a   Notice // worker with medieval weapon (8)

A bill[5] is a medieval weapon like a halberd with a hook instead of a blade.

18a   Attractive nibble /with/ balti I've prepared (4,4)

Scratching the Surface
Could the dictionaries disagree more! According to Oxford Dictionaries, balti[5] is a term used in Pakistani cooking for a spicy dish cooked in a small two-handled pan known as a karahi. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary defines balti[10] as a spicy Indian dish, stewed until most of the liquid has evaporated, and served in a woklike pot. Finally, Chambers 21st Century Dictionary tells us that balti[2] is a term used in Indian cookery for a style of curry, originating in Britain, in which the food is cooked in and eaten out of the same wok-like dish (which is also known as a balti).

19a   The ultimate // plastic bottles (4)

21a   An eight-day celebration -- // one goes from do to do (6)

An octave[5] is:
  • the seventh day after a Church festival; or
  • a period of eight days beginning with the day of a Church festival
23a   Seaside accommodation // chore getting wife to run around (8)

Fag[5] is an informal British term for a tiring or unwelcome task ⇒ it’s too much of a fag to drive all the way there and back again.

Hare[5] is a British expression meaning to run with great speed ⇒ he hared off between the trees.

Wharfage[5] is accommodation provided at a wharf for the loading, unloading, or storage of goods.

25a   Animals // from those parts to the west (4)

26a   Bring him around in the morning /in/ the city (10)

Birmingham[5] is an industrial city in west central England.

27a   Take food, including meat // given special heat treatment (8)

28a   Wily // characters represented in statue (6)

The word "represent" is deceptively used in lieu of re-present[5], meaning to present (something) again, especially for further consideration or in an altered form.


2d   Deity with short name, // an old character (5)

In Norse mythology, Thor[5,7], the son of Odin and Freya (Frigga), is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. Thursday is named after him.

Thorn[5] is an Old English and Icelandic runic letter, þ or Þ, representing the dental fricatives /ð/ and /θ/. It was eventually superseded by the digraph th.

3d   IT company shortly to introduce a nice new // gadget (9)

Apple Inc.[7] is is an American multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services.

4d   Part of formal attire // not in good condition (6)

Dickey is an alternative spelling of dicky[10], a man's false shirt front, especially one worn with full evening dress.

Dickey (or dickie) is an alternative spelling of dicky[2] (also called dicky bow), another name for a bow tie.

Dickey is an alternative spelling of dicky[10], an informal British term meaning in bad condition; shaky, unsteady, or unreliable ⇒ I feel a bit dicky today.

5d   How attender with pint is out // to have a wild celebration (5,3,4,3)

6d   Square cut up /in/ game (8)

Ninepins[4,11] (more commonly known in the UK as skittles) is a bowling game described by Webster as tenpins played without the head pin.

7d   A new girl, as some would say, /is/ a darling (5)

Perhaps the clue should read:
  • A new girl, as some would say, is a da'ling (5)
Gel[5] (pronounced with a hard G) is an informal British term for an upper-class or well-bred girl or young woman fastidiously reared Home Counties gels. The spelling represents a [presumably upper class] pronunciation of girl.

8d   What could be construed into gnarliest // shapes (9)

14d   Head /gives/ general rule to those listening (9)

In Britain, head[5] is short for headmaster[5] (a man who is the head teacher in a school), headmistress[5] (a woman who is the head teacher in a school), or head teacher[5] (the teacher in charge of a school). 

Judging by the comments of Deep Threat in his review, the equivalence of "head" and "principal" would seem to extend beyond the field of education.

16d   Inner circle coming down on terror, lacking resistance /in/ beastly contest (9)

Bull[5] is a British term for a bullseye ⇒ aim for the bull!.

"resistance" = R (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

17d   Like some wild animals // Matabele treated (8)

Scratching the Surface
The Matabele (now known as Ndebele) are a formerly warlike people of southern Africa, now living in Zimbabwe, who were driven out of the Transvaal by the Boers in 1837.

20d   American show girl embracing any number /in/ a place for sailors (6)

Maria is the female lead in the American Broadway musical West Side Story.

Delving Deeper
"Maria"[7] is a song from the Broadway musical West Side Story [Deep Threat includes a rendition in his review]. The music was written by Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim. The song was published in 1956. "Maria" is sung by the male lead Tony when he learns the name of the girl he's fallen in love with is "Maria". The name "Maria" is spoken or sung in the song 27 times.

The letter n[10] is used (especially in mathematics) as a symbol to represent an indefinite number (of) ⇒ there are n objects in a box.

22d   Tea // service set up after start of afternoon (5)

Assam[10] is a high-quality black tea grown in the Indian state of Assam.

24d   Making a horticultural insertion /is/ hard work (5)

Graft[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  • (noun) hard work ⇒ success came after years of hard graft
  • (verb) work hard ⇒ I need people prepared to go out and graft
I do have a minor quibble with this clue. To my mind, "making a horticultural insertion" would be "grafting" whereas "graft" would be "to make a horticultural insertion". However, as none of the pedants raised this matter on Big Dave's blog, I have to conclude that I am the only one bothered by it.
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. A dose of obscurantism from the Don. Gave me and the dictionary a real workout.

    Re 24d: perhaps the reading is "Making a graft is hard work".