Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017 — DT 28421

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28421
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, May 8, 2017
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28421]
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


Rufus has a well-deserved reputation as the master of the cryptic definition and his talents are abundantly on display in today's puzzle. I mark cryptic definitions — when I remember to do so — with a dotted underline as compared with a solid underline for conventional definitions. With Rufus, however, it is sometimes difficult to know where the boundary is between the conventional and the cryptic.

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   Study old currency used by // this country (7)

I see the phrase "used by" as a positional indicator in a charade-type clue. My interpretation is that one must read the clue as "study; old currency used by". That is one begins with a synonym for "study", then an old currency is placed beside (used by) it — but it is the solver who does the using.

Until the introduction of the euro in 2002, the mark[5] (also called Deutschmark[5] or Deutsche Mark [from German deutsche Mark 'German mark']; symbol  M[10]) was the basic monetary unit of Germany, equal to 100 pfennig Germany spent billions of marks to save the French franc from speculators.

Delving Further Into the Past
The mark[5] was a former English and Scottish money of account, equal to thirteen shillings and four pence in the currency of the day Sir William left 500 marks for repairing the road to Cambridge.

Scratching the Surface
A literal interpretation of the surface reading will not align with the situation found in the real world. The currency used in Denmark is the krone[5] — not the mark[5].

5a   Allowance /that offers/ advantage (7)

In the first definition, benefit[5] is used in the sense of a payment made by the state or an insurance scheme to someone entitled to receive it.

9a   Gout's disrupted // one's zest for life (5)

I've marked the clue slightly differently from the way Kath has done in her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. So as not to leave it stranded, the word "one's" must be incorporated into the definition.

10a   A crowd milling around on glacier maybe /showing/ timidity (9)

The setter contravenes the often disregarded cryptic crossword convention that "on" — 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

11a   The ones who are named for the post (10)

In this cryptic definition, post[5] is a chiefly British term for mail[5], including in the sense of letters and parcels sent or received. Ironically, in Britain, the post is delivered by the Royal Mail while, in Canada, the mail is delivered by Canada Post.

12a   Customs // perceived in house styles (4)

14a   Cut // joint cooked for earlier meal (4-8)

Cut[3] is used in the sense of to refuse to speak to or recognize (someone); in other words, to snub cut me dead at the party.

Split (4,8), the solution would describe a large cut of meat left over from a previous meal. Had the numeration matched, I would have marked this as a double definition.

18a   Those in service // go on reacting strangely (12)

21a   Eggs left /in/ cricket ground (4)

The Oval[7], currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Kia Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth, South London. The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it was opened in 1845. It was the first ground in England to host international Test* cricket in September 1880. The final Test match of the English season is traditionally played there.

* Test[5] (short for Test match)[5] denotes an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

22a   It looks like one // campanologist is late (4,6)

I dithered as to whether to mark the latter part of this clue as a cryptic definition ...

What did she say?
In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath tells us that the solution could be a campanologist who’s snuffed it.
Snuff it[5] is an informal British term meaning to die the old girl's snuffed it.

25a   First striker whose attitude is offensive (9)

... however, there is no doubt about this clue being a cryptic definition.

Scratching the Surface
As Kath alludes in her review, the surface reading of this clue is intended to direct one's thoughts to soccer [football to the Brits].

In soccer, striker[10] is an informal term for an attacking player, especially one who generally positions himself or herself near the opponent's goal in the hope of scoring.

26a   Is a short account /for/ a patriarch (5)

In the Bible, Isaac[5] is a Hebrew patriarch, son of Abraham and Sarah and father of Jacob and Esau.

27a   Nero sprawled on couch // in a toga? (7)

Kath has overlooked the anagram fodder in her hint which would read in full "An anagram (sprawled) of NERO is followed by (on) a couch or divan."

Nero[5] (AD 37-68) was Roman emperor 54-68; full name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Infamous for his cruelty, he wantonly executed leading Romans. His reign witnessed a fire which destroyed half of Rome in 64.

Once again, the setter flouts the convention for the use of the positional indicator "on" in an across clue. However, this is a convention — not a law — and one that is often not observed.

28a   Sirius // follows Jack (3,4)

The entry for jack in The Chambers Dictionary would fill a page if it were not spread over parts of two pages. Among the definitions, one finds jack[1] defined as (often with capital) a sailor.

Tar[5] is an informal, dated term for a sailor. The term, which dates from the 17th century, is perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, which was also used as a nickname for a sailor at that time.

Sirius[5] (also called Dog Star) is the brightest star in the sky, south of the celestial equator in the constellation Canis Major. It is a binary star with a dim companion, which is a white dwarf.


1d   Crease // party clothes (3-3)

2d   Rugby game's finished, // lacking players? (2-4)

In rugby, the term no-side[2,10] (or no side[5]) denotes the end of a match, signalled by the referee's whistle ⇒ the whistle went for no side.

Were we to split the solution (2,4), we would have "no side" (no team) [see box following]. Of course, should one club be unable to field a team due to a lack of players because of injury (or whatever reason), the match would be finished. In fact, were we to use the Oxford spelling, this could be a double definition as the numeration for the two parts of the clue would match.

Here and There
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] can be used in a very general fashion to denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage would seem to exist 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.

3d   Honest // [description of company chairman's position (5,5)

4d   Thrills // which footballers can get (5)

In clues structured as this one, the solver must mentally insert the implied word "something" in front of the word "which".

5d   Kentucky derby? (6,3)

Here and There
This cryptic definition relies on the fact that this item of headwear is known by a different name in North America than it is in Britain.

Bowler[5] (also bowler hat) is a chiefly British name for a man’s hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown. The North American name for this item of apparel is derby[5] — said to arise from American demand for a hat of the type worn at the Epsom Derby [a prestigious British horse race — not to mention a major event on the British social calendar].

Several of those commenting on Big Dave's Crossword Blog (thread originating at Comment #1) have managed to convince themselves that there is a style of hat called a Kentucky or a Kentucky derby. My research would suggest otherwise. A Kentucky Derby hat is merely a hat (of any style) worn to the Kentucky Derby and not a particular style of hat. Witness the following entry taken from the website of American hat retailer Hats in the Belfry:
The Kentucky Derby is known the world-over for one thing above all: its fashion. And hats are at the center of it all! You may think that derby hats are the ladies’ forte, but that’s not so. We’ve got the world’s best selection of men’s Kentucky Derby hats that you can sport on the lawn while sipping a mint julep and placing your bets. From great-looking men’s straw boater hats to lightweight and breathable fedoras, Hats in the Belfry has the men’s derby hat you’ve been after.
Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, the Kentucky Derby[5] is an annual horse race for three-year-olds at Louisville, Kentucky. First held in 1875, it is the oldest horse race in the US.

Rufus would have been well within the bounds of convention had he capitalized the word "derby" thereby increasing the degree of misdirection.

6d   Grass /or/ nettle (4)

Grass[5] is an informal British term meaning:
  • (noun) a police informer; and
  • (verb) to inform the police of someone’s criminal activities or plans ⇒ (i) someone had grassed on the thieves; (ii) she threatened to grass me up.
This expression may derive from rhyming slang (grasshopper being rhyming slang for 'copper'). (show explanation )

Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example, butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in Cockney rhyming slang.

hide explanation

Nettle is used in the sense of to irritate or annoy (someone)‘I was only asking,’ Jess said, nettled.

Here and There
Nark[5] is an informal British term for a police informer ⇒ I’m not a copper’s nark.

Narc[5] (New Zealand, Australian, and British nark*) is an informal North American term for an official narcotics agent.

* Interesting that they should feel the need to change the spelling of our slang.

Nark[5] is an informal British term meaning to cause annoyance to ⇒ women like her nark me.

7d   Record turnover? (4,4)

8d   Rate for converting undoubted // wealth (8)

13d   Paying tribute to // Brussels on record, I quaver (10)

Brussels[5] (the capital of Belgium) is also considered the de facto capital of the European Union[7], having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat (officially the second seat but de facto the most important one) of the European Parliament.

Just as Ottawa, Washington, and London are used as metonyms for the Canadian, US, and UK governments respectively, Brussels serves as a metonym for the EU.

This being a down clue, the positional indicator "on" denotes 'coming before' (i.e., sitting on top of).

15d   Put aside in delivery? (9)

16d   In disorder, ace lad holds firm -- // one raises the subject at the palace (8)

An accolade[5] is a touch on a person's shoulders with a sword at the bestowing of a knighthood [this ceremony, which would be performed by the Queen and almost invariably take place at Buckingham Palace, raises the recipient subject to the status of knight].

17d   Threaten // to put stop to bad temper (8)

19d   Horrified // husband in story turning up on time (6)

Again, the positional indicator "on" denotes 'coming before' in a down clue.

20d   Missile /makes/ terrible crater (6)

A tracer[5] is a bullet or shell whose course is made visible in flight by a trail of flames or smoke, used to assist in aiming the night sky turned into a light show of artillery, flares, and tracers.

23d   Took a risk, /as/ about to interrupt father (5)

24d   First Channel swimmer /and/ flycatcher, we hear (4)

Captain Matthew Webb[5] (1848–1883) was the first recorded person to swim the English Channel without the use of artificial aids for sport purpose. On 25 August 1875, Webb swam from Dover to Calais in fewer than 22 hours.
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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