Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 — DT 28271

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28271
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, November 14, 2016
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28271]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
2Kiwis
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
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└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

For the second week in a row, we are treated to Rufus puzzle. While they are fun to solve, they can  prove challenging to review as he often crafts clues that do not fit neatly into the defined categories. Thus different reviewers may well see clues differently — somewhat like the blind men describing an elephant[7].

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.

Across

1a   If better times are coming, they won't last (7)

A terrific cryptic definition. Rufus at the top of his form.

5a   It measures the flow of the current (7)

Being an electrical engineer by training, I immediately saw through the intended misdirection. For me, this clue was as poor as the previous was brilliant.

9a   Stiff /and/ thoroughly wet (5)

10a   Language /from/ Asia Frank translated (9)

Afrikaans[5] is a language of southern Africa, derived from the form of Dutch brought to the Cape by Protestant settlers in the 17th century. It is an official language of South Africa, spoken by around 6 million people as their first language.

11a   Iago cursed, getting put off? (10)

I am going to diverge from the explanation given by the 2Kiwis on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. I believe that the wordplay is given by the entire clue making this a type of semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue (show explanation ). I do not see the word "getting" being an anagram indicator. Rather, I would say that the anagram indicator is the phrase "getting put off". The definition (denoted by the solid underline) is embedded in the wordplay.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or, as some prefer to call it, all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.

In a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), either (1) the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay or (2) the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Iago[7] is a fictional character in Othello (c. 1601–04), a tragedy written by English playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The play's main antagonist, Iago, is the husband of Emilia, who is in turn the attendant of Othello's wife Desdemona. Iago hates Othello (who is also known as "The Moor") and devises a plan to destroy him by making him believe that his wife is having an affair with his lieutenant, Michael Cassio.

12a   Keen to play, // one's capped (4)

Scratching the Surface
Cap[5] (noun) is a British term for
  1. a cap awarded as a sign of membership of a particular sports team, especially a national team*he has won three caps for Scotland; or
  2. a player to whom a cap is awarded ⇒ a former naval officer and rugby cap.
To be capped[5] (verb) is a British expression meaning to be chosen as a member of a particular sports team, especially a national team*he was capped ten times by England.

* a team representing a country in international competition

14a   Introduce objectives // to achieve financial security (4,4,4)

This expression might literally mean to force two objectives to shake hands.

18a   Owner scraps // works of art (12)

In the Gallery
Vincent van Gogh — Sunflowers
(version 3, 1888)
The first painting would appear to be Sunflowers (third version, 1888) by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) in the collection of the Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany. However, I question whether it is really the original as many details do not match — for instance, the colours seem far more vibrant in the picture used by the 2Kiwis (which I thought might merely be due to the lighting under which the respective photographs were taken), but the artist's signature also appears to be slanted on a different angle in the two pictures.

The second painting is Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight (1835) by British artist J.M.W. Turner[7] (1775–1851) in the Widener Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

21a   Kind of short cut /for/ some TV or film workers (4)

22a   They may be seen at the courts, practising (10)

Scratching the Surface
The picture used by the 2Kiwis in their review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog is a caricature of Australian actor Leo McKern (1920–2002) in the role of Horace Rumpole.

Rumpole of the Bailey[7] was a British television series that ran from 1978 to 1992. It starred Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an elderly London barrister who defended a broad variety of clients, often underdogs. The TV series led to the stories being presented in other media including books and radio.

The "Bailey" of the title is a reference to the Central Criminal Court, the "Old Bailey".

25a   Army command that has to be rigidly obeyed (9)

26a   Samuel's teacher takes note // of top class (5)

In the Bible, Eli[5] is a priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 1-3).

"note" = TE (show explanation )

In music, te[5] (also ti[2]) is the seventh note of the major scale in tonic sol-fa.

Judging by a perusal of entries in American and British dictionaries, the only recognized spelling in the US would seem to be ti[3,4,11] whereas, in the UK, the principal — or only — spelling would appear to be te[2,3,4,11], with ti given as an alternative spelling in some dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries is more emphatic, giving the spelling as te[5] with ti shown as the North American spelling.

hide explanation

The definition could be either "of top class" (as I have marked it) or merely "top class" (as the 2Kiwis have elected to show it. With their choice, the word "of" becomes a link word.
  • Samuel's teacher takes note /of/ top class (5)
27a   Concentrate /in/ German city church (7)

Essen[5] is an industrial city in the Ruhr valley, in northwestern Germany.

"church" = CE (show explanation )

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

hide explanation

28a   Beg /for/ an adjustment in net rate (7)

Down

1d   More's ideal land in which // to live (6)

This is another outstanding clue due to the masterful misdirection.

Without doubt, we are meant to read "More's ideal land" as a phrase in which the hidden word is lurking. Thus I parse the wordplay as hidden in (in which) "MoRES IDEal land". This situation does arise infrequently in hidden word clues where the hidden word does not traverse all the words in the fodder. However, it can only occur in instances such as this where the phrase in which the hidden word is found is clearly a well known concept.

In fact, I was initially taken in by the clever ruse here and immediately wrote in UTOPIA as what I perceived to be the obvious solution. This misstep greatly handicapped my efforts in the northwest quadrant of the puzzle.

Utopia[5] is a work of fiction and political philosophy by English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist Sir Thomas More (1478–1535) published in 1516 in Latin. The work describes the political system of an imaginary ideal island nation.


2d   Run in to stop // batsman reaching it? (6)

Sometimes the definitions in a Rufus puzzle are more allusions than they are precise statements. I interpret the definition here to infer "something the batsman reaches for" (which you can see the batsman doing in the photo in the 2Kiwis' review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog).

In cricket, a crease[10] is any of three lines (bowling crease, popping crease, or return crease) near each wicket marking positions for the bowler or batsman. In particular, note that a crease in cricket is a line — not an area as it is in (ice) hockey and lacrosse. Thus, in cricket, a batsman is said to be "at the crease" — unlike hockey or lacrosse, where a player is said to be "in the crease".

In cricket, there are wickets at each end of the pitch (the rectangular area in the centre of the field). There is a batsman positioned at each wicket, only one of whom is being bowled to at any given time. If the batsman who is being bowled to hits the ball, both batsmen may run (but are not obligated to run) to the opposite wicket. If both batsmen are able to occupy the ground (an area enclosed by the creases) at their respective destination wickets without being put out by the fielding team (there being several ways for the fielding team to accomplish this), the batting team scores a run. If both batsmen are able to run to the opposite wickets and return to their original wickets without being put out, their team scores two runs. If they are able to safely traverse the pitch three times, they score three runs. And so on.

To occupy the ground, the batsman must touch the area within the creases with either his body or the bat. By touching it with the bat, the batsman shortens the distance he must run. Thus you see in the picture in the 2Kiwis' review, a batsman reaching to ground his bat beyond the crease in preparation to run back to the wicket from which he has come.

3d   Concerning wills // they're shameless (10)

A probate[5] is a verified copy of a will with a certificate as handed to the executors ⇒ she has been granted a probate to execute her late father's estate.

4d   A step /in the making of/ street song (5)

5d   Bluster /and/ rage on car breaking down (9)

6d   All right, see me about that // donkey (4)

Moke[5] is an informal British term for a donkey. In Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, it is a horse, typically one that is old or in poor condition.

7d   Learners /find/ bad weather in driving areas (8)

8d   Pays heed to // details (8)

13d   Men's assets put in order /for/ valuation (10)

15d   Stress // English pies and mash must be cooked (9)

Scratching the Surface
Mash[5] is an informal British term for mashed potato ⇒ for supper there was sausages and mash.

16d   I came over to get tea brewed /and/ dry up (8)

17d   A broadcast appeal about ideal // material for fire prevention (8)

19d   With passion rising during examination of the past, /see/ red (6)

In the UK (except Scotland), the CSE[5] (Certificate of Secondary Education) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14–16, at a level below O level*. It was replaced in 1988 by the GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).{Main text* }

* Historically, in the UK (with the exception of Scotland), O level[5] (short for ordinary level[5]) was a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A (advanced) level. It was replaced in 1988 by the  GCSE[5] (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

20d   Upgrade // a perfume (6)

23d   Freely traverse // mountains (5)

24d   A new number to be put up // shortly (4)
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017 — DT 28270

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28270
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28270 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28270 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Big Dave (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★ / ★★ Enjoyment - ★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- 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
Notes
The National Post has skipped DT 28269 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, November 12, 2016.
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Introduction

The National Post has skipped a Friday puzzle from Giovanni that I have been slogging away at off-and-on for several days and still have a half dozen clues left unsolved. I was expecting to see that one rated as at least four stars for difficulty but was disillusioned to see that Deep Threat gave it only two stars and commented  The NE corner held me up longest on today’s Giovanni, but otherwise there was nothing too difficult .... Strangely, I got the northeast. It is the northwest and southwest where I am struggling. In any event, by any standard, today's puzzle is much less of a challenge.

In the introduction to his hints, Big Dave explains the attacks on his site that necessitated the implementation of defensive measures that you may have observed over the last several months (and that recently have been lifted).

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.

Across

1a   Flower // festival not starting (5)

4a   I miss putting egg on first -- /it's/ wasteful (8)

It would seem that crypticsue was a bit distracted when she wrote the blog. It is the word "I" that appears in the clue — not "one".

8a   Enduring // not having a date? (8)

Presumably, this is a double definition with the second definition cryptic.

9a   Give William // printed sheet (8)

11a   Rubbish in entrance, // it's enough to take one's breath away (7)

Garotte and garrote are variant spellings of garrotte[5], a wire, cord, or other implement used to kill (someone) by strangulation ⇒ he had been garrotted with piano wire.

Historically, a garrotte[10] was a device, usually an iron collar, used by the Spanish as a method of execution by strangulation or by breaking the neck.

How do you spell that?
There is some variation across dictionaries as to which is the principal spelling.
  • Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: garrotte[2] or garotte or (US) garrote
  • Collins English Dictionary: garrotte[10], garrote or garotte
  • Oxford Dictionaries: garrotte[5], (US garotte, garrote)
  • American Heritage Dictionary: garrote[3] or garrotte
  • Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary: garrote[11] or garotte

13a   Thief // left with fire-raiser, reportedly (9)

Fire-raiser[5] is a British term for an arsonist.

15a   Cook maybe prospered thus /and/ enjoyed a long life (3,1,4,7)

Alastair Cook is an English cricketer. A left-handed opening batsman who normally fields at first slip[a] , he is the captain of the England Test[b] team and former ODI [One Day International][c] captain, and plays county cricket[d] for Essex. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most successful batsmen ever to play for England, and one of the most prolific batsmen of the modern era.

[a] In cricket, slip[5] is a fielding position (often one of two or more in an arc) close behind the batsman on the off side[e], for catching balls edged[f] by the batsman ⇒ (i) he was caught in the slips for 32; (ii) King is at first slip.
[b] 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.
[c] A One Day International[7] (ODI) is a form of limited overs[g] cricket, played between two teams with international status, in which each team faces a fixed number of overs, usually fifty.
[d] County cricket[5] refers to first-class cricket played in the UK between the eighteen professional teams contesting the County Championship.
[e] The off[5]  (also called off side) is the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch[h]) towards which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball.  The other half of the field is known as either the leg[5] (also called leg side) or on[5] (also called on side) ⇒ he played a lucky stroke to leg.
[f] Edge[5] means to strike (the ball) with the edge of the bat [remember, a cricket bat is flat — unlike a baseball bat] ⇒ he edged a ball into his pad or to strike a ball delivered by (the bowler) with the edge of the bat ⇒  Haynes edged to slip.
[g] An over[5] is a division of play in cricket consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch[h], after which another bowler takes over from the other end.
[h] The pitch[7] is the central strip of the cricket field between the wickets — 1 chain or 22 yards (20.12 m) long and 10 feet (3.05 m) wide.

In cricket, innings[5] (plural same or informally inningses) denotes:
  1. each of two or four divisions of a game during which one side has a turn at batting ⇒ the highlight of the Surrey innings; or
  2. a player’s turn at batting ⇒ he had played his greatest innings; or
  3. the score achieved during a player’s turn at batting ⇒ a solid innings of 78 by Marsh.
In the first sense, the term innings (spelled with an 's') would correspond somewhat to an inning (spelled without an 's') in baseball while the second sense would be roughly equivalent to an at bat in baseball.

Have had a good innings[5] is an informal British expression meaning to have had a long and fulfilling life or career.

18a   Share beer /and/ philosophy (9)

21a   Square // fellow (7)

Russell Square[7] is a large garden square in Bloomsbury, in the London Borough of Camden, near the University of London's main buildings and the British Museum.

22a   Backing // bridge partners when one's in action (8)

If "one's in action" then the other must be "out of action".

In the card game bridge, North[5] and South[5] comprise one partnership and play against East[5] and West[5] who form the other partnership.

24a   Greek character returned racing around // without concern (8)

Nu[5] is the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ν, ν).

25a   Incomplete sentence? // Labour can be limited this way (4-4)

26a   Sound of bird, // small, in dry surroundings (5)

Wee[5] is a chiefly Scottish* adjective meaning little ⇒ (i) when I was just a wee bairn; (ii) the lyrics are a wee bit too sweet and sentimental.

* The word may be of Scottish origin but, like the Scots themselves, the word has migrated around the world.

Down

1d   23 // in every respect (10)

The numeral "23" is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 23d 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.{Main text* }

* light-coloured cell in the grid

2d   Tropical tree /supplying/ river in Devon's source (8)

The Tamar[5] is a river in southwestern England which rises in northwestern Devon and flows 98 km (60 miles) generally southwards, forming the boundary between Devon[a] and Cornwall[b] and emptying into the English Channel through Plymouth Sound.{Main text*}

[a] Devon[5] (also called Devonshire) is a county of southwestern England; county town, Exeter.
[b] Cornwall[5] is a county occupying the extreme southwestern peninsula of England; county town, Truro.

The tamarind[5] is the tropical African tree (Tamarindus indica) which yields tamarind pods (whose pulp is widely used as a flavouring in Asian cookery), cultivated throughout the tropics and also grown as an ornamental and shade tree.

3d   Triangle to be redrawn // with reference (8)

4d   Top-class // post office shut up (4)

5d   Potter /in/ bundle, upset and led astray (6)

Things fell into place once I woke up to the fact that the solution is not spelled DODDLE.

Potter[3,4,11], a chiefly British counterpart to the North American term putter, means to move with little energy or direction ⇒ to potter about town.

6d   Ruby, perhaps, and I following popular // heavenly duo (6)

From an astronomical perspective, Gemini[5] is a northern constellation (the Twins), said to represent the twins Castor and Pollux, whose names are given to its two brightest stars.

 In astrology, Gemini[5] (also called the Twins) is the third sign of the zodiac, symbol ♊, having a mutable air classification and ruled by the planet Mercury. The sun is in this sign between about May 21 and June 20.

7d   Three students welcoming university // break (4)

"student" = L (show explanation )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide explanation

10d   Row right after broadcast -- // it gets many people up in the air (8)

12d   Strange doodle artist's framed /in/ fabulous place (8)

In initially tried to read the wordplay as "strange doodle artist has framed" causing me to attempt to put the doodle inside the artist. I eventually twigged that the correct interpretation is "strange doodle; artist is framed" meaning the artist is placed inside the doodle.

"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. 

hide explanation

El Dorado[5] is the name of a fictitious country or city abounding in gold, formerly believed to exist somewhere in the region of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers.

14d   Match steps /required in/ trial for 10? (4,6)

As was the number "23" in 1d, "10" is a cross reference indicator — this time to 10d.

If you were observant, you saw "test" defined in the footnotes at 15a [the setter is not the only one who who can throw in cross references].

16d   TV programme /from/ novel's supported by actors (8)

17d   Hooter goes before dodgy club // go into decline (8)

In Britain, hooter[5,10] is an informal term for a person's nose rather than — as in North America — vulgar slang for a woman's breast (usually used in the plural).

The setter mercifully did not cross reference this clue to 14d.

19d   Note // curdled milk on the turn (6)

I tried using every note in tonic sol-fa, obviously without success.

Rennet[5] is curdled milk from the stomach of an unweaned calf, containing rennin and used in curdling milk for cheese.

Tenner[5] is an informal British name for a ten-pound note.

20d   Choose not to take part /in/ work with solicitor (3,3)

"work" = OP (show explanation )

In music, an opus[5] (plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in a more general sense to mean an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

hide explanation

A tout[10] is a person who solicits business in a brazen way.

A couple of other meanings might fit as well:
  • Tout[5] (also ticket tout) is the British term for a scalper[5], a person who buys up tickets for an event to resell them at a profit.
  • Tout[5] is a North American term for a person who offers racing tips for a share of any resulting winnings.
22d   Call for similar // cards (4)

Snap[5] is a British card game — although one I seem to recall playing as a child — in which cards from two piles are turned over simultaneously and players call ‘snap’ as quickly as possible when two similar cards are exposed.

Snap![5] is a British exclamation said when one notices that one has or does the identical thing to someone else ⇒ ‘Snap!’ They looked at each other's ties with a smile [with obvious allusion to the card game].

23d   One discovered // coming from dune? (4)

The setter uses "discovered" in a whimsical sense meaning 'uncovered'. This is based on the logic that if disrobe means to remove one's robe (or other clothing), then it only stands to reason that discover must mean to remove one's cover.

I must admit that I failed to see this meaning. I had interpreted the clue as a semi-all-in-one with the entire clue providing the definition reasoning that naturists (or nudists, should you prefer) often frequent the dunes where they are sheltered from the ogling eyes of voyeurs.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017 — Ball Lost in the Saskatchewan Woods

Introduction

I would say that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon returns to the customary level of difficulty following some more challenging offerings over the last month.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.


Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- 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
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

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 (//).

Across

1a   Printer cable loose // somewhere in Saskatchewan (6,6)

{PRINCE ALBERT}* — anagram (loose) of PRINTER CABLE

8a   Tell // Nathaniel about a railroad (7)

N(A|RR)ATE — NATE ([diminutive of] Nathaniel) containing (about) {A (†) + RR (railroad; abbrev.)}

Railroad[10] is the US term for railway. Cox and Rathvon generally avoid the use of Americanisms but clearly railway (abbreviation Rwy or Ry[10]) would not work in the clue so, for convenience, they have presumably set the location south of the border.

9a   Tree inside California // volcano crater (7)

C(ALDER)A — ALDER (tree) contained in (inside) CA (California; abbrev.)

11a   Where Henry V won, // outracing buggy (9)

AGINCOURT* — anagram (buggy) of OUTRACING

The Battle of Agincourt[5] was a battle in northern France in 1415 during the Hundred Years War, in which the English under Henry V defeated a large French army. The victory, achieved largely by use of the longbow, allowed Henry to occupy Normandy.

12a   Flimsy kind of string // item (5)

THIN|G — THIN (flimsy) + G (kind of string)

A G-string[10] is a string tuned to G, such as the lowest string of a violin (you were expecting maybe something else ... ).

... such as this


hide explanation

13a   Mother requests // some reversible fabrics (7)

DAM|ASKS — DAM (mother) + ASKS (requests)

Damask[5] is a reversible fabric, usually silk or linen, with a pattern woven into it. It is used for table linen, curtains, etc.

15a   Golden brown // beast of burden carrying a race’s leader (7)

C(A|R}AMEL — CAMEL (beast of burden) containing (carrying) {A (†) + R (race's leader; leader [initial letter] of Race)}

16a   Bars // South American wildlife emblems on Canadian coins (7)

S|A|LOONS — S (South; abbrev.) + A (American; abbrev.) + LOONS (wildlife emblems on Canadian coins)

Many readers may consider that I'm being overly pedantic with the parsing here. However, I have not found the abbreviation SA for South American in my dictionaries (South America, yes, but not South American).

19a   New Orleans, // city on the sea (7)

SALERNO* — anagram (new) of ORLEANS

Salerno[5] is a Mediterranean port on the west coast of Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno south-east of Naples.

21a   Dadaist // essential to modern styles (5)

_ERN|ST_ — hidden in (essential to) modERN STyles

Max Ernst[5] (1891–1976) was a German artist. He was a leader of the Dada movement and developed the techniques of collage, photomontage, and frottage. He is probably best known for surrealist paintings such as L’Eléphant de Célèbes (1921).

22a   A combo, having finished, // left (9)

A|BAN(DONE)D — A () + BAND (combo) containing (having; eating) DONE (finished)

24a   Struggle // skiing path, gaining a victory (7)

TR(A|V)AIL — TRAIL (skiing path) + containing (gaining) {A (†) + V (victory; Winston Churchill's famous gesture)}

25a   Take a knife to the woman’s // snake (7)

SLIT|HER — SLIT (take a knife to) + HER (the woman's; possessive pronoun)

Alternatively, one could parse the clue as:
  • Take a knife to the woman/’s/ snake (7)
SLIT|HER — SLIT (take a knife to) + HER (the woman; objective pronoun)

The solution is a verb with snake[5] meaning to move or extend with the twisting motion of a snake ⇒ a rope snaked down.

26a   What a driver calls alien // official in the woods (6,6)

FORE|ST RANGER — FORE (what a driver [golfer] calls) + ALIEN (stranger)

Down

1d   Stop wearing styled hairdo // every day (3,4)

PER (DIE)M — DIE (stop) contained in (wearing) PERM (styled hairdo)

2d   Mr. Stern // is a top-grade Conservative (5)

IS|A|A|C — IS (†) + A (†) + A (top-grade) + C (Conservative; abbrev.)

Isaac Stern[5] (1920–2001) was a US violinist; born in Russia. He made his New York debut in 1937 at Town Hall. In 1956, he was the first American to perform in Russia after World War II, and he was invited to China in 1979. He served as president of Carnegie Hall from 1960.

3d   Audited some Europeans’ // money orders (7)

CHEQUES~ — sounds like (audited) CZECHS (some Europeans)

4d   Breaking ice, acts // very self-disciplined (7)

ASCETIC* — anagram (breaking) of ICE ACTS

5d   Proposed law includes a time period // affecting two parties (9)

BIL(A|T|ERA)L — BILL (proposed law) containing (includes) {A (†) + T (time) + ERA (period)}

6d   Metal // layer I immersed in alcohol (7)

R(HEN|I)UM — {HEN (layer [of eggs]) + I (†)} contained in (in) RUM (alcohol)

Rhenium[5] is the chemical element of atomic number 75, a rare silvery-white metal which occurs in trace amounts in ores of molybdenum and other metals.

7d   Glowing // in fire, fall (12)

IN|CAN|DESCENT — IN (†) + CAN (fire; dismiss from employment) + DESCENT (fall)

10d   Jockey // shattered leg on a record (5,7)

{ANGEL CORDERO}* — anagram (shattered) LEG ON A RECORD

Angel Cordero Jr.[7] is one of the leading thoroughbred horse racing jockeys of all time and the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the United States' Racing Hall of Fame.

14d   Track shoe ruined // pastry (9)

SHORTCAKE* — anagram (ruined) of TRACK SHOE

Oh dear! I think this could put me off shortcake evoking the image of a recycled track shoe.

17d   Yen: a Japanese board game // in the distant past (4,3)

LONG |A|GO — LONG (yen; pine) + A (†) + GO (Japanese board game)

Go[7] is a board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago (from whence it spread, first to Korea and Japan, and then worldwide). The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. According to chess master Edward Lasker: "The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go." The name Go is derived from the Japanese name of the  game "igo".

18d   Completely absorbed by spent // bulb in the kitchen (7)

SH(ALL)OT — ALL (completely) contained in (absorbed by) SHOT (spent)

19d   Birds connected with each // city in Wales (7)

SWANS|EA — SWANS (birds) + (connected with) EA (each; abbrev.)

Swansea[5] is a city in South Wales, on the Bristol Channel.

20d   Owner of a farm // operated by pop star with one name (7)

RAN|CHER — RAN (operated) + (by) CHER (star with one name)

I wonder how readers in the West will cotton to having a ranch referred to as a farm. Perhaps "owner of a spread" might have gone over better.

23d   Making // bell-like sound, including ring (5)

D(O)ING — DING (bell-like sound) containing (including) O ([letter that looks like a] ring)

Epilogue

The title of today's review is inspired by 26a and 1a.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017 — DT 28268

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28268
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Setter
Shamus (Philip Marlow)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28268]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Kath
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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

Introduction

Near the midpoint of today's puzzle, I hit a brick wall. After staring for some time at a grid that was not becoming more populated, I set the puzzle aside and went out to do some errands. As is so often the case, when I picked up the puzzle on my return, the remainder was filled in quite quickly.

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.

Across

7a   Sailor following fine friend around /to get/ something for tea? (8)

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.

"fine" = F (show explanation )

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead [a usage that Oxford Dictionaries surprisingly characterizes as British].

hide explanation

Until I saw the picture accompanying Kath's review, I had presumed tea here to be referring to what we would call supper. However, it turns out that Shamus actually has afternoon tea in mind rather than high tea. (more )

The British distinguish between afternoon tea and high tea, although both may be referred to simply as tea[10]. Afternoon tea[2,5,7,10] (or low tea) is a light afternoon meal, typically eaten between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm, at which tea, sandwiches, biscuits [British term for cookies or crackers] and cakes are served.

High tea[7] (also known as meat tea) is the evening meal or dinner of the working class, typically eaten between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. It typically consists of a hot dish such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, or macaroni cheese [macaroni and cheese to North Americans], followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam. Occasionally there would be cold cuts of meat, such as ham salad. Traditionally high tea was eaten by middle to upper class children (whose parents would have a more formal dinner later) or by labourers, miners and the like when they came home from work. The term was first used around 1825 and high is used in the sense of well-advanced (like high noon, for example) to signify that it was taken later in the day.

hide explanation

In Britain, a flapjack[5] is not a pancake (as it is in North America) but a sweet dense cake made from oats, golden syrup [light molasses], and melted butter, served in rectangles.

9a   A swine almost keeping quiet -- /that's/ unexpected (6)

If you are following Kath's instructions, don't forget to start with the A from the clue.

"quiet" = P (show explanation )

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

hide explanation

10a   Put favourable slant on // cricketer's skill? (4)

Spin bowling[7] is a bowling technique in cricket and the bowler who uses this technique is referred to as a spinner. The main aim of spin bowling is to bowl the cricket ball with rapid rotation so that when it bounces on the pitch it will deviate from its normal straight path, thus making it difficult for the batsman to hit the ball cleanly.

11a   Edgy orator at work /that's/ critical (10)

12a   Disorganised lot /in/ game played on board with first pair missing (6)

14a   Study period // out for review during test (8)

15a   Prize // pub in ancient city (6)

Public house[5] (abbreviation PH) is the formal British name for a pub.

In Homeric legend, Troy[5] is the city of King Priam, besieged for ten years by the Greeks during the Trojan War. It was regarded as having been a purely legendary city until Heinrich Schliemann identified the mound of Hissarlik on the northeastern Aegean coast of Turkey as the site of Troy. The city was apparently sacked and destroyed by fire in the mid 13th century BC, a period coinciding with the Mycenaean civilization of Greece. Also called Ilium.

17a   Performs religious duty, we hear, /producing/ acclaim (6)

20a   Note I'm enthralled by Indian instrument /and/ sword (8)

The sitar[5] is a large, long-necked Indian lute with movable frets, played with a wire pick.

A scimitar[5] is a short sword with a curved blade that broadens towards the point, used originally in Eastern countries.

22a   Emergency call /from/ PM before division in week (6)

Theresa May[5] is a British Conservative stateswoman, prime minister since 2016.

23a   In which one finds peers /and/ English bishop in a grand conspiracy (3,7)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

While the abbreviation G for "grand" is deemed by the Brits to be an Americanism, it seems to be one that is well known to them — undoubtedly from American gangster films. (show more )

Grand[5] is an informal term for a thousand dollars or pounds he gets thirty-five grand a year. While the term "grand" itself would seem to be commonly used in the UK, the informal abbreviation G[5] meaning grand appears to be regarded as a North American usage I was up nine Gs on the blackjack tables.

G is defined in various British dictionaries as follows:
  1. Oxford Dictionaries: (North American informal) abbreviation for grand, a thousand dollars)[5];
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary: (North American slang) abbreviation for a grand, 1000 dollars[2];
  3. Collins English Dictionary: (mainly US slang) a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[10] .
hide explanation

24a   Top athletes defending // course (4)

25a   Nut chewed with regret? /It's/ like a pork pie (6)

Porky[10] (also pork pie) is mainly British and Australian (rhyming) slang* for a lie (in the sense of an untruth).

* 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.

26a   Healthy bit of food /found in/ inn? Utter rubbish (8)

Down

1d   Cheek, being seen on pot in paper? /It's/ disrespectful (8)

The Financial Times[7] (abbreviation FT) is a British international business newspaper that is printed on conspicuous salmon pink newsprint.

2d   Competition/'s/ not close (4)

3d   Name // composer is given on radio (6)

George Frideric Handel[5] (1685–1759) was a German-born composer and organist, resident in England from 1712; born Georg Friedrich Händel. A prolific composer, he is chiefly remembered for his choral works, especially the oratorio Messiah (1742), and, for orchestra, his Water Music suite (circa 1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749).

4d   Urge halt in development /in/ response to cracks? (8)

5d   Female artist hereafter taking top off /for/ male bonding? (10)

"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. 

hide explanation

6d   Role in Salvation Army /in/ austere city (6)

SA[5] is the abbreviation for Salvation Army.

Sparta[2,5], a city in the southern Peloponnese in Greece, was a powerful city state in the 5th century BC, defeating its rival Athens in the Peloponnesian War to become the leading city of Greece. The city was noted for its austerity and its citizens were characterized by their courage and endurance in battle and by the simplicity and brevity of their speech.

8d   Source of kerfuffle, a judge /in/ choppy exchange? (6)

13d   Artistic quarter // flourishes with place in ground (10)

Bloomsbury[5] is an area of central London noted for its large squares and gardens and for its associations with the Bloomsbury Group*. The British Museum is located there.

* The Bloomsbury Group[5] was a group of writers, artists, and philosophers living in or associated with Bloomsbury in the early 20th century. Members of the group, which included Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Roger Fry, were known for their unconventional lifestyles and attitudes and were a powerful force in the growth of modernism.

16d   Trouble /making/ essential part of tea? (3,5)

18d   Love of old work on stage /that's/ difficult (8)

19d   Faulty // knowledge of Scotland -- brother should be on top of it (6)

Ken[5] (verb)is a Scottish and Northern English term meaning:
  1. know [in the sense of to be aware of] ⇒ d’ye ken anyone who can boast of that?; or
  2. recognize or identify ⇒ that’s him—d’ye ken him?.
21d   Persuasive // county fellow? (6)

22d   Foreign character, arts benefactor, /making/ change (6)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

The Tate Gallery[5] (commonly known simply as the Tate) is a national museum of art in London, England founded in 1897 by the sugar manufacturer Sir Henry Tate (1819–1899) to house his collection of modern British paintings, as a nucleus for a permanent national collection of modern art. It was renamed Tate Britain in 2000, when the new Tate Modern gallery opened. [I would surmise that by that time the original collection could no longer be considered "modern".]

24d   Overly formal // chief cut short (4)

Behind the Picture
Kath illustrates her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog with a picture of English actress Maggie Smith in the role of Professor Minerva McGonagall[7] from the Harry Potter film series. McGonagall is described as a tall, rather severe-looking woman, with black hair typically drawn into a tight bun. She wears emerald green robes, a pointed hat, and always has a very prim expression.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon