Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 — DT 28424

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28424
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Dada (John Halpern)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28424]
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's puzzle — according to the banter in the thread arising from Comment #19 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — is the first "back-pager" Cryptic Crossword*.to be crafted by John Halpern who, under the pseudonym Dada,  is one of the setters for the Toughie Crossword** in The Daily Telegraph.

* The Cryptic Crossword is published Monday through Saturday in The Daily Telegraph. It appears on the back page (unless displaced by advertising). 
** The Toughie Crossword is published Tuesday through Friday in The Daily Telegraph. It appears on an inside page and gets its name from the fact that it is intended to be a more difficult puzzle than the regular Cryptic Crossword.

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   Ground amid spring, // moisture inside (6,4)

Rising damp[5] is a British term for moisture absorbed from the ground into a wall ⇒ he is looking at ways to halt rising damp.

Behind the Video
Rising Damp[7] is a British sitcom produced by Yorkshire Television for the British commercial TV network ITV. ITV originally broadcast the programme from 1974 to 1978. The series was the highest-ranking ITV sitcom in BBC's 100 Best Sitcoms poll of 2004.

The programme revolves around a miserly, seedy, and ludicrously self-regarding landlord* of a run-down Victorian townhouse and the tenants to whom he rents out his shabby bed-sitting rooms.

* The landlord is played by English actor Leonard Rossiter (1926–1984), thus Jane's reference to "Leonard and his lodgers" at Comment #10.

6a   Ultimately, self-righteous face shown to be this? (4)

In this semi-&lit (or, should you prefer, semi-all-in-one) clue, the entire clue serves as the definition into which the wordplay (marked with a dashed underline) is embedded.

10a   Characteristic of a city viewed from either direction (5)

The primary indication in this clue is a precise definition (indicated by a solid underline). The subsidiary indication is an elaborating phrase (marked with a dashed underline) that specifies that the solution is a palindrome. In this case, the subsidiary indication does not provide a separate means to obtain the solution but rather imposes a constraint on the primary indication.

11a   Massive // binding material (9)

12a   In a gale, struggling to maintain cold // plant (8)

Angelica[5] is any of many species of tall aromatic plant of the parsley family, with large leaves and yellowish-green flowers, used in cooking and herbal medicine.

13a   Standard // scheme ending in betrayal (5)

Standard[2] is used here in the sense of accepted as supremely authoritative ⇒ the standard text of Shakespeare rather than taking the more common meaning of having features that are generally accepted as normal or expected; typical; average; unexceptional. Ironically, the two meanings are close to being direct opposites of each other.

15a   Coming down hard, // leaderless regiment gets beaten (7)

17a   Stupid, // as I figure (7)

19a   Get loan out /to acquire/ fruit (7)

The tangelo[5] is a hybrid of the tangerine and grapefruit.

21a   God longing /for/ spirit (7)

In Greek mythology, Pan[5] is a god of flocks and herds, typically represented with the horns, ears, and legs of a goat on a man's body. His sudden appearance was supposed to cause terror similar to that of a frightened and stampeding herd, and the word panic is derived from his name.

22a   Pensioner keeps books // handy (2,3)

In Britain, the abbreviation OAP[5] stands for old-age pensioner.

In Crosswordland, the word "books" is commonly used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). Today, as is frequently the case, the clue provides no indication whether the reference is to the former or the latter.

24a   Possible description of sudoku, // kind of finished (8)

27a   Vegetable /that's/ popular restricted by hotel (9)

An auberge[5] is an inn in France or other French-speaking country.

Aubergine[5] is a British name for eggplant.

28a   Message /of/ some vitriol I am expecting back (5)

29a   Measure // enclosed area (4)

Here and There
The terms yard and garden are used somewhat differently in Britain than they are in North America.

In Britain, a yard[10] is a piece of enclosed ground, usually either paved [covered with paving stones] or laid with concrete and often adjoining or surrounded by a building or buildings.

In Britain, a garden[2,10] is an area of land, usually one adjoining a house, where grass, trees, flowers and other ornamental plants, fruit, vegetables, etc, are grown (i.e., what one would call a yard in Canada and the US).

Note that a British garden includes the lawn as well as everything else whereas a North American garden would comprise only the flower and vegetable beds and any trees or shrubs contained therein and exclude the lawn and any trees or shrubs growing there.

30a   Short distance // putting fourth dimension in focus (10)


1d   People // hurry (4)

2d   Number // observed hosting sporting competition, perhaps (9)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers writes of the sporting competition equestrians have just been doing a three day one at Badminton.
Eventing[7] (also known as horse trials) is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combination compete against other combinations across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. The competition may be run as a one-day event (ODE), where all three events are completed in one day or a three-day event (3DE), which is more commonly now run over four days.

The Badminton Horse Trials[7] is a three-day event, one of only six annual Concours Complet International (CCI) Four Star **** events as classified by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). It takes place in April or May each year in the park of Badminton House, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort in South Gloucestershire, England.

3d   Mother-of-pearl /in/ new area of land (5)

4d   Stylish // sprinting (7)

5d   Bar with style of // Italian drink (7)

In cooking, à la[5] denotes (with respect to a dish) cooked or prepared in a specified way ⇒ fish cooked à la meunière. The term is also used informally to mean in the style or manner of ⇒ afternoon talk shows à la Oprah.

Marsala[5] is a dark, sweet fortified dessert wine that resembles sherry, produced in Sicily. It is named after Marsala, a town in Sicily where it was originally made.

7d   Chief over European // state (5)

8d   Staring wildly /given/ crack, goods you popped in Leeds when not all there (6-4)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Leeds[5] is an industrial city in West Yorkshire, northern England; population 441,100 (est. 2009). It developed as a wool town in the Middle Ages, becoming a centre of the clothing trade in the Industrial Revolution.

9d   One's patients may not be looking well (8)

14d   Still // writing stuff for the radio? (10)

16d   Get // in old forward, /appearing as/ amateurish (8)

Neither the cryptic reading nor the surface reading of this clue is particularly clear to me.

In the cryptic reading, I would think that "get ... appearing as" must act is a split link phrase which envelops the wordplay.

In the surface reading, I presume the clue insinuates that a sports club brings in (gets in) an over-the-hill player to fill a forward position. Perhaps his play is so bad as to appear amateurish. On the other hand, perhaps the manager appears amateurish for having brought in such a player.

18d   Unfortunate instances, // uninterrupted (9)

20d   Rotten team // illegally positioned (7)

Off[10] (said of food or drink) means having gone bad, sour, etc ⇒ this milk is off.

"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.

hide explanation

21d   Something to open // here (7)

23d   King Edward, perhaps, /taking/ bath with the Queen (5)

Here we need to think of bath as a noun being a fixture in the bathroom.

"the Queen" = ER (show explanation )

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

hide explanation

King Edward[5] denotes an oval potato of a variety with a white skin mottled with red [named after King Edward VII].

25d   Fantasy -- // in short, ecstasy (5)

Short[5] (noun) is a British term for a drink of spirits served in a small measure* or, as Collins English Dictionary puts it, a short[10] is a drink of spirits as opposed to a long drink such as beer.

* A measure[5] is a container of standard capacity used for taking fixed amounts of a substance.

"Ecstasy" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy* or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.
* Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).
hide explanation

26d   Dirty // colour (4)

Although pommers has not marked it as such in his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I would classify this as a double definition with the first being an adjective meaning pornographic.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Okay, I'll bite. Why do you mention "oculist" when it has nothing to do with the clue or solution?

    1. I have no idea. I guess I was half asleep when I wrote the blog.

      At one time, I do know that I was trying to make the solution (to clue 9d) end in -IST and I guess when I wrote the blog I remembered that term instead of the the term that I eventually entered in the grid.

      The phantom entry has now been expunged.