Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 — DT 28311

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28311
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 30, 2016
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28311]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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

For a Giovanni puzzle, this is a rather gentle workout. Moreover, despite having been published in the UK in the period between Christmas and New Year's, it contains only the most minimal of acknowledgements to the season.

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   Pointed comment by squire finally -- hint /to provide/ party food (8)

Scratching the Surface
A squire[10] is a country gentleman in England, especially the main landowner in a rural community.

In feudal history, a squire[10] was a young man of noble birth, who attended upon a knight.

9a   Lack of interest /in/ a course leading to the unknown (6)

"the unknown" = Y (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

hide explanation

10a   Uncontrolled /or/ organised party attracting thousand? (6)

11a   Hellish situation -- love's going wrong -- // collapse emotionally (8)

In Roman mythology, Dis[10] is:
  • (also called Orcus or Pluto) the god of the underworld; or
  • the abode of the dead or underworld.
The equivalent in Greek mythology is Hades[10].

12a   First opportunity for panto actor to get into gear? (5,9)

The word "panto" is superfluous and would appear to be thrown in merely as a nod to the time of year when the puzzle appeared in the UK.

Panto[5] is an informal British short form for pantomime[5], a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

15a   Missile // starts to seem costly -- unwanted deterrent? (4)

Scud[10] is an informal name for a Soviet-made surface-to-surface missile, originally designed to carry nuclear warheads and with a range of 300 km; later modified to achieve greater range: used by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War and in the Gulf Wars.

17a   Worried /and/ frightened leader getting put off (5)

19a   Set out /to give/ help to learner (4)

"learner" = 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

The rationale for "A to B" denoting B + A is similar to that of "A on B" denoting B + A in an across clue. In order for A to be given to B (or 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.

20a   Exercise influence // to withdraw an orchestral section (4,3,7)

A sort of double definition in which the second definition is a possible literal interpretation of the phrase.

23a   Not one of us // will change our diets (8)

25a   Bug /in/ weed (6)

27a   Get away /and/ pray sixty minutes after midnight? (6)

28a   After strike, seek men's // submission (8)

I presume that the use of strike as an anagram indicator may relate to a blacksmith forming a piece of iron into a horseshoe or other useful implement.

Down

1d   Grand, in the manner of // festivity (4)

"grand" = G (show more )

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.

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

2d   Tolerates // biased rambling (6)

3d   Boss // appearing in the advertisement (4)

4d   An upset you finally might get on the briny? (6)

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

5d   What may move our case (last bit of travel)? (8)

Whereas the previous clue was a true &lit. clue, this one is a semi-&lit. clue (or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue), in which the entire clue acts as the definition while only the portion of the clue with the dashed underline provides the wordplay.

6d   Put pitch on the outside of shed, // using a particular tool (10)

The wordplay parses as SLING (pitch) containing (put ... on the outside of) HOVEL (shed).

8d   Material // at bottom of river is mostly hardened clay (7)

The Cam[10] is a river in eastern England, in Cambridgeshire, flowing through Cambridge to the Great Ouse* (river). Length: about 64 km (40 miles).

* The Great Ouse[5] (which flows through East Anglia) is not to be confused with the River Ouse[5] in Yorkshire or the River Ouse[5] in Sussex — and certainly not with the Little Ouse[5], a river of East Anglia, which forms a tributary of the Great Ouse.

Cambric[5] is a lightweight, closely woven white linen or cotton fabric.

13d   Takes back // city area with feeling of delight beginning to spread around (10)

"city area" = EC (show explanation )

In the clue, the setter uses "city area" to stand for for the EC postcode* which serves the City of London. The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

* postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code

The City of London[7] (not to be confused with the city of London) is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City of London is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

hide explanation

14d   Arab maybe // sounding croaky (5)

An Arab[5] is a horse of a breed originating in Arabia, with a distinctive high-set tail.

16d   False belief /has/ us taken in by priest -- academic holds that (8)

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

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

18d   Relaxation // of French and English outside temporary accommodation (7)

"of French" = DE (show explanation )

In French, de[8] is a preposition meaning 'of'' or 'from'.

hide explanation

Detente[5] (also détente) is the easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries ⇒ his policy of arms control and detente with the Soviet Union.

21d   Getting properly organised, I tried /to be/ less messy (6)

22d   Aim to undermine international // plan (6)

24d   Play /or/ concert quietly proceeding to end (4)

The term prom[5] (or Prom) is short for promenade concert[5], a British term for a concert of classical music at which a part of the audience stands in an area without seating, for which tickets are sold at a reduced price. The most famous series of such concerts is the annual BBC Promenade Concerts (known as the Proms), instituted by Sir Henry Wood in 1895.

Here and There
Prom[5], in the sense of a formal dance, is chiefly a North American expression.

"quietly" = 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

26d   This clue is // a sort of model (4)

The implied meaning of the first definition is "[where] this clue is".
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 — DT 28310

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28310
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Setter
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28310]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
pommers
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

Today's relatively easy challenge from RayT once again largely avoids seasonal references — with the possible exception of 18d which may be an allusion to a British Christmas pantomime.

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   Anxious, // perhaps even worried about one (12)

9a   Clone // particle spinning around electron briefly (9)

The wordplay could be parsed as:
  • anagram (spinning) of PARTICLE containing (around) E (electron briefly; initial letter of Electron)
  • anagram (spinning around) of PARTICLE + E (electron briefly; initial letter of Electron)
Depending on which parsing one chooses, the particular letter E in the solution clued by "electron briefly" varies.

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers is at best ambiguous as to the placement of the letter E.

10a   Sharp // old negative contains edges of tint (5)

Nay[10] is an archaic or dialect (except in voting by voice) word for 'no'.

11a   Solitary // island faces empty inlet (6)

Herm[7] is one of the Channel Islands. It is located in the English Channel, north-west of France and south of England. It is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and under 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide and lies between the larger islands of Guernsey and Sark.

Solitary[5] (noun) means a recluse or hermit ⇒ he had something of the solitary about him.

12a   Dance /with/ passion joining new company (8)

Flamenco[5] (Spanish, 'like a Gypsy') is a style of spirited, rhythmical dance performed to flamenco music*, often with castanets.

* a style of Spanish music, played especially on the guitar and accompanied by singing and dancing.

13a   Aspen /is/ common without upper-class (6)

"upper-class" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

The aspen[5] is a poplar tree with small rounded long-stalked leaves that tremble in the breeze.

15a   One's in rush after Conservative // whip, say (8)

"Conservative" = C (show explanation )

The abbreviation for Conservative may be either C.[10] or Con.[10].

A Tory[10] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada.

Historically, a Tory[10] was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

The Conservative Party[5] is a a major British political party that emerged from the old Tory Party under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s. Since the Second World War, it has been in power 1951–64, 1970-74, and 1979–97. It governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 until the general election of May 2015, in which it was returned with a majority.

hide explanation

18a   Alternative drainage /needed for/ plant (8)

The gardenia[5] is any of several species of tree or shrub of warm climates, with large, fragrant white or yellow flowers.

19a   Chaste // but gettin' close, reportedly (6)

Verge[10] (on) means to be near (to) ⇒ to verge on chaos.

21a   One runs // small computer peripheral (8)

23a   Pull // head of radish stuck in soil (6)

26a   Looking at // some money in gamble (5)

27a   Flipping partner can start to get // repulsive (9)

Scratching the Surface
Flipping[5] is an informal British term used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance ⇒ (i) are you out of your flipping mind?; (ii) it’s flipping cold today.

28a   Show // possibly entertains with endless pop (12)

Down

1d   Zeppelin // tune's welcome on piano (7)

"piano" = 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

The Zeppelin[5] was a large German dirigible airship of the early 20th century, long and cylindrical in shape and with a rigid framework. Zeppelins were used during the First World War for reconnaissance and bombing, and after the war as passenger transports until the 1930s.

Scratching the Surface
Led Zeppelin[5], an English rock band formed in London in 1968, are widely considered one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history.. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The group disbanded following Bonham's death in 1980. In the decades that followed, the surviving members sporadically collaborated and participated in one-off Led Zeppelin reunions.

2d   One prints articles perhaps enraging readers initially (5)

In this semi-&lit. clue — or, as some prefer to call it, semi-all-in-one clue (show explanation ), the entire clue acts as the definition while the portion with the dashed underline provides the wordplay. While some might consider the word "initially" to be extraneous to the definition, if it is not included as part of the definition, the clue would violate a cryptic crossword convention on words doing double duty as definition and 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:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
hide explanation

3d   Take out // bird in exclusive surroundings (9)

Mina[2] is a seemingly rare [at least, outside the borders of Crosswordland] alternative spelling of myna (also mynah) any of various large, southeast Asian birds of the starling family, some of which can be taught to imitate human speech. Among the several dictionaries that I consult on a regular basis, this spelling is found only in The Chambers Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary[11] in addition to the cited entry from Chambers 21st Century Dictionary.

Scratching the Surface
Bird[5] is an informal British term for a young woman or a man’s girlfriend.

4d   English cow perhaps /produces/ cheese (4)

A dam[5] is the female parent of an animal, especially a domestic mammal.

Edam[5] is a round Dutch cheese, typically pale yellow with a red wax coating.

5d   Furtive /and/ bashful, embracing bird on time (8)

The teal[5] is a small freshwater duck, typically with a greenish band on the wing that is most prominent in flight.

Scratching the Surface
The girlfriend from 3d makes another appearance.

6d   Harm one violently bottling up // poison (5)

7d   Reputation // still // rising (8)

A rarely-seen triple definition.

8d   In lay-by, go near /to get/ past (6)

Scratching the Surface
Lay-by[2] is a British term for an area off to the side of a road where cars can stop safely without disrupting the flow of traffic.

14d   Realist oddly supports Left /in/ painting (8)

16d   Bit // unwell encased by cast in suffering (9)

17d   Weapons // companies checking each rifle's tip (8)

18d   Cinders follows Charming's rear /and/ splits (6)

Scratching the Surface
Cinders is likely an allusion the heroine in a British pantomime* based on the story of Cinderella. As the theatrical promo states The time has come for the real story of Cinderella to be told, warts and all! This hilarious Panto puts an interesting twist on an old familiar story, and gives us a Cinderella for the 21st Century.. In fact, there appear to be at least two British pantomimes by that name — the previously mentioned one by David Tristram and another by Geoff Bamber.

Of course, that makes "Charming" a reference to her Prince.

* A pantomime[5] (or panto[5] for short) is a traditional British theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.


While attempting to track down the elusive Cinders, I encountered the following pretenders to the role:
  • Mr. Cinders[7], a musical produced in the UK in 1928, is an inversion of the Cinderella fairy tale with the gender roles reversed. The Prince Charming character has become a modern (1928) young and forceful woman, and Mr. Cinders is a menial. The show captures the last frantic gasps of the roaring twenties before the gloom of the Great Depression settled in.
  • Ella Cinders[7], is a 1926 American silent comedy film based on the syndicated comic strip of the same name.
  • Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella is a retelling of the Cinderella story by children's author Jan Brett who sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don't recognize her.

20d   No bother about // figure (7)

A nonagon[5] is a plane figure with nine straight sides and nine angles.

22d   Country/'s/ queen mostly coming from the south (5)

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

Niger[5] is a landlocked country in West Africa, on the southern edge of the Sahara; population 15,306,300 (est. 2009): languages, French (official), Hausa, and other West African languages: capital, Niamey. Part of French West Africa from 1922, Niger became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958 and fully independent in 1960.

24d   Excuse /of/ a party, formerly independent (5)

Although formally not a "former party" — for all intents and purposes the British Liberal Party would seem to be precisely that.

The Liberal Party[5] (abbreviation Lib.[5] or L[2])* in Britain emerged in the 1860s from the old Whig Party and until the First World War was one of the two major parties in Britain. In 1988 the party regrouped with elements of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social and Liberal Democrats, now known as the Liberal Democrats.

However, a small Liberal Party still exists although it has no representation in the UK Parliament, no Members of the European Parliament (MEP), no members of the Scottish Parliament, nor any members of the National Assembly for Wales.[7]

* Although Lib.[5] may be the more common abbreviation for the Liberal Party in Britain — likely to distinguish it from the the Labour Party[5] (abbreviation Lab.[5]) — Chambers 21st Century Dictionary indicates that L[2] may also be used.

"independent" = I (show explanation )

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, likely in the context of a politician with no party affiliation.

hide explanation

25d   Part of stove, naturally (4)

This is another semi-&lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue (see discussion at 2d). However, in this case it is the wordplay which constitutes the entire clue and the definition (marked with a solid underline) which forms only part of the clue.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017 — DT 28309

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28309
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28309]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
2Kiwis
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

It seems we are finally past the Christmas-themed puzzles and are still a bit early for those with a New Year's theme.

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   A county cricket club holds record: beat Spain, /getting/ favourable reaction (10)

CCC[1] is the abbreviation for County Cricket Club.

Delving Deeper
County cricket[5] refers to first-class cricket played in the UK between the eighteen professional teams contesting the County Championship.

Inter-county cricket matches are known to have been played since the early 18th century, involving teams that are representative of the historic counties of England and Wales. Since the late 19th century, there have been two county championship competitions played at different levels: the County Championship, a first-class competition which currently involves eighteen first-class county clubs; and the Minor Counties Championship, which currently involves nineteen English county clubs and one club that is representative of several Welsh counties.[7]

"record" = EP (show explanation )

EP[10] (abbreviation for extended-play) is one of the formats in which music is sold, usually comprising four or five tracks.

hide explanation

"Spain" = E (show explanation

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E[5] [from Spanish España].

hide explanation

6a   A military force backed // at a distance (4)

The Royal Air Force[5] (abbreviation RAF) is the British air force, formed in 1918 by amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (founded 1912) and the Royal Naval Air Service (founded 1914).

9a   Steps // idiot takes in answer for university (5)

10a   Takes part in training // loyal reps at work (4-5)

12a   Unprotected fund grew in value // without recognition (13)

This was virtually the last to fall — in large part due to becoming fixated on an incorrect solution at 4d.

14a   Broadcast source of malicious lies about // old rewards scheme (3,5)

This is not an "old rewards scheme" in Canada, despite being so in the UK — not to mention the US. It is still very much a going concern here.

Air Miles[7] (often stylized as AIR MILES) is the name of separately operated loyalty programs in Canada, the Netherlands and the Middle East. The scheme was also operated in the United Kingdom until it was combined with BA Miles and Iberia Plus points and rebranded as Avios in November 2011. An Air Miles program was launched in the United States in 1992 — the same year that the Air Miles program was introduced in Canada. Unlike its Canadian counterpart, the U.S. program was unsuccessful and suspended operations in May 1993.

15a   May is able to // dance (6)

The cancan[5] is a lively, high-kicking stage dance originating in 19th-century Parisian music halls and performed by women in long skirts and petticoats.

17a   Family // court proceedings admitting bishop (6)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

19a   Quiet ones steal // such mushrooms (8)

The shiitake[5] (also shitake, shiitake mushroom) is an edible mushroom which grows on fallen timber, cultivated in Japan and China.

21a   Guess // how film noir may have been produced? (4,2,3,4)

I am never quite sure how to mark clues such as this. I have chosen to call the latter part of the clue a cryptic definition making the clue a double definition of a sort.

Film noir[5] (French, literally 'black film') is a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied (by a group of French critics) to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944–54 and to the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder.

24a   Sail /with/ a king taken in by fisherman's lure (9)

"king" = K (show explanation )

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

hide explanation

As a fishing term, spinner[5] may denote either:
  • a lure designed to revolve when pulled through the water; or
  • a type of fishing fly, used chiefly for trout.
A spinnaker[5] is a large three-cornered sail, typically bulging when full, set forward of the mainsail of a racing yacht when running before the wind.

25a   Still // at home -- ends in strife after breakfast (5)

26a   Fat // solidified across middle of cup (4)

27a   Brought up to date, // way diners must change (10)

Down

1d   Whispered comment dismissing second // political adviser (4)

One might equally well take "second" to be cluing the abbreviation for second or the second letter of the "whispered comment" — either approach will lead one to the same solution.

2d   Overcome // argument against short question (7)

3d   Adjusted pro rata invoice knocking off one zero /causes/ quibbling (13)

I have never considered prevaricate and quibble to be synonyms — but The Chambers Dictionary does.

Prevaricate[1] means to avoid stating the truth or coming directly to the point; to quibble; ...

Quibble[1] means an evasive turning away from the point in question to something irrelevant, merely verbal, trivial, or insignificant; ...

4d   Shorter // able-bodied man serving on game point, about given up (8)

I did initially try to make the solution be ABRIDGED. Even though I quickly realized that it did not parse, it became embedded in my mind creating a mental block to other possibilities, a block I was not able to clear until long after the remainder of the puzzle had long succumbed.

"able-bodied man serving" = AB (show explanation )

In the Royal Navy, according to Oxford Dictionaries, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. On the other hand, Collins English Dictionary tells us that an able seaman[10] (also called able-bodied seaman) is an ordinary seaman, especially one in the merchant navy, who has been trained in certain skills.

hide 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).

5d   Typical vegetarians keeping // produce young (5)

7d   Loud rave, sick at heart /and/ agitated (7)

"loud" = F (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

8d   Houses // team in new centres with no end of cost (10)

"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 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

11d   Government action, as it develops in hardship (13)

13d   Supporter has time and gives help on the radio /for/ make-up people (10)

These "make-up people" are not cosmeticians, but rather people who fabricate stories (à la 18d).

16d   Misshapen toes here, /and/ this may be in Oxford (4,4)

Perhaps the entire clue is the definition, as one might employ this device precisely because one's Oxfords have misshapen toes.

18d   One complete fabrication about son/'s/ hero-worship (7)

20d   Chains /of/ soldiers holding deer up (7)

A soldier[5] is a member of a wingless caste of ant or termite with a large specially modified head and jaws, involved chiefly in defence.

In Britain, elk[5] is another name for the moose* (Alces alces). The animal (Cervus canadensis) known to North Americans as an elk is generally called a wapiti[3,4,11] in the UK, although it may also be referred to as the American elk or Canadian elk.

* While I think of moose and deer as different animals, virtually all dictionaries describe the moose[2,3,4,5,10,11] as a large deer.

An anklet[10] is an ornamental chain worn around the ankle.

22d   Ridiculously crossing borders for key // capital (5)

Tokyo[5] is the capital of Japan; population 12,758,000 (est. 2007). Formerly called Edo, it was the centre of the military government under the shoguns (1603–1867). It was renamed Tokyo in 1868, when it replaced Kyoto as the imperial capital.

23d   Set fund using odds /for/ stallion (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)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017 — Musical Superstars

Introduction

Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon proved to be a fairly gentle affair.

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
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
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   Play the part of gold // lover (4)

BE|AU — BE (play the part of) + AU ([symbol for the chemical element] gold)

3a   Ancient as a wandering // Semitic tribe of old (10)

CANAANITES* — anagram (wandering) of ANCIENT AS A

9a   Desires // the first of your wages (9)

Y|EARNINGS — Y (first [letter] of Your) + EARNINGS (wages)

11a   Refusal Theodore // celebrated (5)

NO|TED — NO (refusal) + TED (Theodore; diminutive)

12a   Group of nine /or/ ten, on retreating (5)

{NO|NET}< — reversal (retreating) of TEN ON

13a   Link // South American with employment (7)

SA|USAGE — S (south; abbrev.) + A (American; abbrev.) + (with) USAGE (employment)

15a   Ruling family /that’s/ dry, heartless, and mean (7)

DY|NASTY — DY (dry heartless; D[r]Y with the middle letter [heart] deleted) + (and) NASTY (mean)

17a   Stuck around, // even catching a train (7)

T(A|RR)IED — TIED (even) containing (catching) {A (†) + RR (train; abbrev. for railroad, the US term for railway}

19a   Em and I admit // itinerant worker (7)

M|I|GRANT — M (em) + I (†) + GRANT (admit)

Scratching the Surface
Might "Em and I" be Henry referring to his fellow blogger and himself?

21a   Sick about portion of a flight with a // criminal (7)

IL(LEG|A)L — ILL (sick) containing (about) {LEG (portion of flight) + (with) A (†)}

22a   Container filled with rare new // ground (7)

T(ERRA*)IN — TIN (container) containing (filled with) anagram (new) of RARE

24a   Range // found in Arabian Desert (5)

AN|DES — hidden in (found in) ArabiAN DESert

27a   Inquire rudely about each // polar explorer (5)

P(EA)RY — PRY (inquire rudely) containing (about) EA (each)

28a   Doubt, // as a result, about model article (9)

HE(SIT|A)NCE — HENCE (as a result) containing (about) {SIT (model) + A ([indefinite] article)}

29a   Pop star/’s/ indolence I blasted (6,4)

{CELINE DION}* — anagram (blasted) of INDOLENCE I

30a   Guitar bar // stew (4)

FRET — double definition

Down

1d   Army band’s playing, including a // singer (5,5)

{BRYAN ADAMS}* — anagram (playing) of ARMY BANDS containing (including) A (†)

2d   A profit // once more (5)

A|GAIN — A (†) + GAIN (profit)

4d   General pardon // set many free (7)

AMNESTY* — anagram (free) of SET MANY

5d   Attack // a sailor verbally (7)

ASSAULT~ — sounds like (verbally) A (†) SALT (sailor)

6d   Assassin // of some men in Japan (5)

_N|IN|JA_ — hidden in (of some) meN IN JApan

7d   Fastening // both ends of tie by the loop (9)

TETHERING — TE (both ends of T[i]E) + THE (†) + RING (loop)

8d   Returning troubles /for/ pop (4)

SODA< — reversal (returning) of ADOS (troubles)

10d   DC ballplayer attached to hardwood with a // Russian name (7)

NAT|ASH|A — NAT (DC ballplayer; Washington Nationals) + (attached to) ASH (hardwood) + A (†)

14d   Youth/’s/ hand out in upward movement (10)

A(DOLE)SCENT — DOLE (hand out) contained in (in) ASCENT (upward movement)

16d   Dusk/’s/ strange half-glint (9)

NIGHTFALL* — anagram (strange) of HALF GLINT

18d   Tirade about Samuel’s teacher // counting (7)

R(ELI)ANT — RANT (tirade) containing (about) ELI (Samuel's teacher)

20d   Vandalized // storage building with abstract art on the front (7)

TRA*|SHED — SHED (storage building) preceded by (with ... on the front) anagram (abstract) of ART

21d   Playwright // is maintaining a single company (7)

I(ONE)S|CO —  IS (†) containing (maintaining) ONE (a single) + CO (company; abbrev.)

23d   Something shining on // material (5)

RAY|ON — RAY (something shining) + ON (†)

25d   Crime boss or // benefactor (5)

DON|OR — DON (crime boss) + OR (†)

26d   DeMille’s last movie // (really big show) (4)

E|PIC — E (DeMille's last; last letter of DeMillE) + PIC (movie; [motion] picture)

Epilogue

The title of today's review is inspired by 29a and 1d.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon