Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017 — DT 28423 (Published Saturday, July 22, 2017)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28423
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28423]
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
This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, July 22, 2017 edition of the National Post.


Today we find Jay in a rather gentle mood, although there are a few British terms which may puzzle those on this side of the pond — especially those Saturday-only subscribers to the National Post who may have only recently been exposed to British puzzles. I expect the homophone based on British pronunciation may also cause consternation in some quarters.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   Labour-shunning folk carrying Independent -- // they're seeking depth, not afraid to be wet? (4-6)

Skiver[5] is an informal British term for a person who avoids work or a duty by staying away or leaving early; in other words, a shirker.

Ind.[5] is the abbreviation for independent[5], a politician not belonging to or supported by a political party.

Scratching the Surface
The Labour Party[5] in Britain is a left-of-centre political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people that since the Second World War has been in power 1945–51, 1964–70, 1974-9, and 1997–2010. Arising from the trade union movement at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Liberals as the country’s second party after the First World War.

Wet[5] (adjective) is an informal British term meaning showing a lack of forcefulness or strength of character; in other words, feeble ⇒ they thought the cadets were a bit wet.

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].

6a   Very dry, // yet welcoming the end of winter (4)

Brut[5] (an adjective used to describe sparkling wine) means unsweetened; very dry.

9a   Loud American taken in by genuine // rejection (7)

"loud" = F (show explanation )

Forte[5] (abbreviation f[5]) is a musical direction meaning (as an adjective) loud or (as an adverb) loudly.

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10a   Capital /and/ income principally invested in new casino (7)

Nicosia[5] is the capital of Cyprus; population 233,000 (est. 2007). Since 1974 it has been divided into Greek and Turkish sectors.

12a   Doggedness /seen in/ argument with superior in error (5,5,3)

A stiff upper lip[3,5] is a quality of uncomplaining stoicism; in  other words, an attitude of determined endurance or restraint in the face of adversity senior managers had to keep a stiff upper lip and remain optimistic.

14a   Pair oddly going with villains /to get/ canoes (8)

A pirogue[5] is a long, narrow canoe made from a single tree trunk, especially in Central America and the Caribbean.

15a   Soldiers hand out // painful experience (6)

"soldiers" = OR (show explanation )

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

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17a   Popular commercial vehicle carries one // to no avail (2,4)

19a   Track information on love /and/ cause of disease (8)

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

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

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This clue adheres to the cryptic crossword convention that the word "on" — when used as a positional indicator in an across clue — signifies 'following'  (show explanation )

"A on B" Convention
An often ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already have been positioned (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it.

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

21a   Area of growth /that's/ a redneck thing, possibly (7,6)

24a   Home team resistance /shows/ the person with the lowdown (7)

"team" = SIDE (show explanation )

Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in* their side.

* Note that, in Britain, a player is "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America.

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist as well in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

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"resistance" = R (show explanation )

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

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25a   Incorporated approach /for/ bank (7)

26a   Horse backed in front of good // crowd (4)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

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27a   Looking back /with/ honour to accept the origins of this royal office (10)


1d   Type // looked for on the radio (4)

The word "sort", when pronounced in a non-rhotic (show explanation ) accent typical of dialects found in many parts of Britain, sounds like "so't" — similar to the sound of the word "sought".

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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2d   A preparer of tea // endlessly refusing to work (7)

3d   Thin disguise failed and Democrat // saw the difference (13)

"Democrat" = D (show explanation )

A Democrat[5] (abbreviation D[5]) is a member or supporter of the Democratic Party[5], one of the two main US political parties (the other being the Republican Party), which follows a broadly liberal programme, tending to support social reform and minority rights.

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4d   Slandered // if I must be taken in by poor devil (8)

5d   Accumulated // some homespun articles on the way back (3,2)

7d   12 // about to work out (7)

The numeral "12" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 12a in its place to complete the clue. The directional indicator is customarily omitted in situations such as this where only a single clue starts in the light* that is being referenced.

* light-coloured cell in the grid

8d   Vagrant with old profession /as/ a bouncer (10)

11d   Gain on the cards /and/ get ready for action (5,3,5)

In this case — it being a down clue (in contrast to 19a which was an across clue) — the word "on" is used as a positional indicator to denote preceding (i.e., CLEAR is written 'on top of' or before THE DECKS in a down clue).

13d   Few /getting/ hint after super drops regulars (10)

The wordplay is INKLING (hint) following (after) SPR {SuPeR with a regular sequence of letters removed (drops regulars)}. While today the "regulars" turn out to be the even-numbered sequence, on an another occasion they might equally well be the odd-numbered sequence.

Scratching the Surface
Super is an informal short form of superintendent[2,3,4,5,10,11] or supervisor[4,10,11].

16d   Casual // supporter of the monarchy (8)

A Cavalier[3,5] (also called Royalist) was a supporter of Charles I of England in his struggles against Parliament in the English Civil War.

18d   Elects // to offend after challenging veto (5,2)

20d   Reports // figure moving around bottom of garden (7)

22d   Bottle // opener vet stocks (5)

Bottle[5] is an informal British term denoting the courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous ⇒ I lost my bottle completely and ran.

23d   Exploit // energy in adipose tissue (4)

"energy" = E (show explanation )

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

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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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