Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017 — DT 28406

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28406
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28406]
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


Today we get another gentle workout that I fear may serve to falsely boost our confidence in our puzzle-solving skills.

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   Perks with scary novel // that has lots of American's stories (10)

Here and There
Although British dictionaries do not identify it as such, Webster considers skyscraper[12] to be a US term. However, that is not the reason behind the inclusion of the word "American" in the clue. The clue uses the US spelling for the floors of a building ("stories") rather than the British spelling ("storeys").

6a   Vehicle // returned at eleven (4)

9a   Felicity's mouth organ /is/ roughly pitched? (5)

10a   Came first /or/ came after? (9)

12a   Divine being female! (7)

The Divine[4,11] is another term for God.

13a   Floods /in/ Somerset I'd escaped (5)

Scratching the Surface
Somerset[5] is a county of southwestern England, on the Bristol Channel; county town, Taunton.

15a   Offers /from/ artist to leave extra borders (7)

"artist" = RA (show explanation )

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[10]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5] (also Royal Academy; abbreviation also RA[10]), an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. 

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17a   More corrupt // detective runs bank (7)

"detective" = DI (show explanation )

A detective inspector (DI[5]) is a senior police officer in the UK. Within the British police, inspector[7] is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief inspector. Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or attached to their force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

hide explanation

"runs" = R (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

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19a   Recipe // class given by university west of Los Angeles (7)

In Britain, a form[5] is [or, perhaps more correctly,was] a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. Thus what we in North America would call a grade would be — or once was — known in Britain as a form, although the numbering system for forms and grades are vastly different. (show more )

The term "form" seems to have become passé as Miffypops in his review of DT 28163 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog refers to "sixth-former" as "What a schoolchild would be during the year before university back in the old days. This would now be known as year 13 or 14." Furthermore, Wikipedia (see table below) characterizes the term "form" as an "alternative/old name".

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower [in general, this would seem to apply primarily for the sixth form]. Usually the sixth form is the senior form of a school [although this apparently does not hold true for New Zealand where they would appear to have a seventh form]. In England, the sixth form is usually divided into two year groups, the lower sixth and upper sixth, owing to the 3-year English college/university system. In Scotland or North America, the 6th form is usually a single year, owing to the 4-year college/university system. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms [in the foregoing quotation witness Miffypops' reference to "year 14",  a term which does not appear in the table below].

Wikipedia would appear to be at best ambiguous and at worst inconsistent on the relationship between the British and American systems of naming school years. The article from which the table below is excerpted shows that the British first form is equivalent to the American 6th grade. On the other hand, the article cited above states "In North America, the 1st Form (or sometimes 'Form I') is equivalent to 7th Grade." However, this latter statement may in fact be a comparison between the few North American schools to use the form system and the vast majority of North American schools that don't rather than a comparison between British and American schools.

 Age RangeBritish SystemAmerican System
NameAlternative/Old NameName
11-12Year 7First form6th grade
12-13Year 8Second form7th grade
13-14Year 9Third form8th grade
14-15Year 10Fourth form9th grade
15-16Year 11Fifth form10th grade
16-17Year 12Lower sixth form11th grade
17-18Year 13Upper sixth form12th grade

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21a   When lids should be closed? (7)

22a   Jockey/'s/ dire, thrown before start of race (5)

24a   A crime engineered by a // country (7)

27a   Former prison abutting part of hospital /in/ capital (9)

I have often remarked that the ear, nose and throat (ENT[2]) department is the most visited section, by far, in the Crosswordland Hospital — and that observation has never been more true than it is today.

28a   Former lover I left, meeting European /in/ bar (5)

29a   Irritating // proverb we're told (4)

You may recall from Tuesday that the word "sore", when pronounced in a non-rhotic (show explanation ) accent typical of many parts of Britain, sounds like "saw".

Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

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30a   Pastures /made from/ marijuana plants (10)

In his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers questions the use of "plants" as a synonym for "lands". Think of a boxer planting a punch squarely on his opponent's chin.


1d   'Mellow // Yellow'? (4)

To address pommers' uncertainty concerning the second definition, I would say that soft[5] is used in the sense of (said of a person) weak and lacking courage soft southerners.

Scratching the Surface
"Mellow Yellow"[7] is a song written and recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. It reached No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 and No. 8 in the UK in early 1967.

2d   Kid/'s/ toy gun's broken with little hesitation (9)

3d   Locked up // composer with daughter (5)

John Cage[7] (1912–1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from their presence for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is sometimes assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance.

4d   Returns // what you're looking for? (7)

5d   Fifty per cent of ex-cons applied /to be/ let off (7)

7d   Viper with new tail // attached (5)

The adder[5] (also called viper) is a small venomous Eurasian snake (Vipera berus) which has a dark zigzag pattern on its back and bears live young. It is the only poisonous snake in Britain.

8d   Ancient civilisation taxes // businesses (10)

The Indus[5] is a river of southern Asia, about 2,900 km (1,800 miles) in length, flowing from Tibet through Kashmir and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. Along its valley an early civilization flourished from circa 2600 to 1760 BC.

11d   Went in // hospital department with foot in bandage and inflamed (7)

See remark at 27a.

14d   Actors for each previous scene, initially (10)

16d   Indifferent // ale -- turn groggy (7)

18d   Disadvantage to lose top // copy (9)

20d   Ham /and/ game served up -- a friend looks down on that (7)

"game" = RU (show explanation )

Rugby union[10] (abbreviation RU[5]) is a form of rugby football played between teams of 15 players (in contrast to rugby league[5], which is played in teams of thirteen).

 Rugby union[7] is is the national sport in New Zealand, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Madagascar.

hide explanation

In Britain, mate[5] — in addition to being a person’s husband, wife, or other sexual partner — is an informal term for a friend or companion ⇒ my best mate Steve.

21d   Exchanged the bras /for/ pants (7)

Here and There
To fully savour the surface reading of this clue, 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 you to take off your pants in the UK, you would be far more exposed than were you to do so in North America!

23d   Medic purchasing green // colour scheme (5)

25d   I hand out cards // best (5)

26d   Where men might eat // dog's dinner (4)

A dog's dinner[5] (or a dog's breakfast) is an informal British expression for a poor piece of work or, in other words, a mess we made a real dog’s breakfast of it. I would think that the latter version of the expression is more common in North America; the former not so much.
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

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