Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017 — DT 28523 (Published Saturday, December 9, 2017)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28523
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, September 4, 2017
Setter
Rufus (Roger Squires)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28523]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
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
This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, December 9, 2017 edition of the National Post.

Introduction

This is the week that the planets align and the puzzles appear in the National Post on the same day of the week on which they were published in the UK — an event that occurs once every six weeks. Thus today's puzzle is a "Monday" offering from Rufus.

I was held up in the southeast corner by the Spanish dance and the Indian prince. The latter was new to me (knowing him only by his alias in 6a) and the former, although it has appeared before, did not come readily to mind.

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 (//).

Across

1a   Supports a parent /but/ doesn't talk about it (5,3)

6a   Jack found among big shots, // very rich men (6)

We usually find the letters AB clued by sailor or seaman. Today, Rufus throws a less frequently used device at us.

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.

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.

Nob[5] is an informal British term for a person of wealth or high social position ⇒ it was quite a do—all the nobs were there.



Nabob*[10] is an informal term for a a rich, powerful, or important man.

* Historically, nabob was another term for nawab[10] (see 22d), a Muslim ruling prince or powerful landowner under the Mogul empire in India. The term later came to be applied first to a European who made a fortune in the Orient, especially in India and subsequently to any wealthy or influential person.

9a   Odds on wet weather /causing/ injury (6)

SP[5] is the abbreviation for starting price[7], the odds prevailing on a particular horse in the on-course fixed-odds* betting market at the time a race begins.

* To the best of my limited knowledge in this field, this term would not be encountered in North America as betting on horse racing here is based on parimutuel betting rather than fixed-odds betting.

10a   Quartet heard and observed /as/ anticipated (8)

11a   A Ford not moving // forward -- then back! (2,3,3)

12a   Assumes // parking will be limited by migrating toads (6)

"parking" = P

13a   They raise the spirits (12)

The clue may allude to the fact that the distillation process[7] increases the alcohol content of liquor.

16a   He can't help helping himself (12)

19a   Lively // turn I have put on (6)

A turn[5] is a short performance, especially one of a number given by different performers in succession ⇒ (i) Lewis gave her best ever comic turn; (ii) he was asked to do a turn at a children’s party.

21a   Approached // wanderer uneasily (4,4)

23a   Make message unintelligible /in/ mad rush (8)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops writes Those of us of a certain age may well be reminded by the answer of the likes of Arthur Lampkin and Dave Bickers.
Arthur Lampkin[7] is an English former professional motorcycle racer and Dave Bickers[7] (1938–2014) was an English Grand Prix motocross racer.

Scramble[5] is a British term for a motorcycle race over rough and hilly ground a local landowner allowed some kids to hold a motorbike scramble in the woods.

24a   Check // rower's seat (6)

25a   Add // a very quiet finale (6)

Pianissimo[5,10] (abbreviation pp[5,10]) is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) very soft or very quiet or (as an adverb) very softly or very quietly.

26a   Dance // orchestra with woman leader (8)

The saraband[5] (also sarabande) is a slow, stately Spanish dance in triple time.

Down

2d   Make use of // unfinished polymer plastic (6)

3d   Simple // sort of medieval song? (5)

Plainsong[5] (also known as plainchant[5]) is unaccompanied church music sung in unison in medieval modes and in free rhythm corresponding to the accentuation of the words, which are taken from the liturgy.

4d   Comic often aims /to make/ political statement (9)

5d   Members of Italian society breaking the rules (7)

A mafioso[10] (plural mafiosos or mafiosi) is a person belonging to the Mafia.

6d   Mean to get a // girl (5)

7d   See // man on board crushing endless grain (9)

A bishop [5] is a chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a mitre, that can move any number of spaces in any direction along a diagonal on which it stands. Each player starts the game with two bishops, one moving on white squares and the other on black.



A see[10] is the diocese* of a bishop, or the place within it where his cathedral** or procathedral*** is situated.

* A diocese[5] is a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Churchor, more precisely, episcopal churches.
** A cathedral[5] is the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is officially associated.
*** A pro-cathedral[5] (or procathedral[10] is a church used as a substitute for a cathedral.

Bishopric[5] is another term for a diocese, a district under a bishop's control.

8d   Had inspiration? (8)

13d   Not unique // type of bridge (9)

Duplicate bridge[5] is a competitive form of bridge in which the same hands are played successively by different partnerships.

14d   Queen's favourite // isle? Crete possibly (9)

Robert Dudley[5], Earl of Leicester (c.1532–88) was an English nobleman, military commander, and favourite of Elizabeth I.

Scratching the Surface
Crete[5] is a Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean.

15d   A death sentence impending /or/ just some bird? (8)

This is not a double definition as the numeration (5,3) for the first part of the clue does not match that given.

In English law, the black cap[7] was worn by a judge when passing a sentence of death. Although it is called a "cap", it is not made to fit the head like a typical cap does; instead it is a simple plain square made of black fabric. It was based on Tudor Court headgear. When worn, it is placed on the head on top of the judicial wig, with one of the four corners of the black fabric facing outward.

The death penalty has now been abolished in England and Wales, but the black cap is still part of a judge's official regalia, and as such it is still carried into the High Court by each sitting judge when full ceremonial dress is called for. It is worn every year on 9 November when the new Lord Mayor of the City of London is presented to the Law Courts.



The blackcap[5] is a mainly European warbler (Sylvia atricapilla) with a black cap in the male and a reddish-brown one in the female. In North America, blackcap is another name for the black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus).

17d   Publicity coverage /for/ speech (7)

18d   Not a Mr mistaken /as/ Mrs? (6)

A matron[5] is an older married woman, especially one who is staid or dignified.

20d   Be sent up to bed, // having gone into a decline (5)

22d   Bwana's new // title? (5)

Nawab[2,10] (also called nabob, see 6a) is a historical term for a Muslim ruling prince or powerful landowner under the Mogul empire in India.

Scratching the Surface
Bwana[5] is an East African term for a boss or master (often used as a title or form of address)he can't hear you, bwana.
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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017 — Fielding a Full Team

Introduction

Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon did not put up much of a struggle and was polished off fairly readily.

There is a bit of a Roman flavour to the puzzle what with all the Roman numerals and stopover at the Vatican. A couple of clues are timely — albeit no doubt wholly unintentionally — in that they have indirect links to accusations of sexual abuse that have been much in the news lately. I suppose one could even extend that list to include the clue related to the Church of Rome (although that is old news).

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions — including whimsical and vague 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 (//).

Across

1a   Sign sailor in, interrupting army meal/’s/ fleeting quality (13)

M(OMEN|TAR|IN)ESS — {OMEN (sign) + TAR (sailor) + IN (†)} contained in (interrupting) MESS (army meal)

9a   Army // lost soldier, taking one on (7)

M(I|LIT)IA — MIA (lost soldier; abbrev. for 'missing in action') containing (taking) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + LIT (on)}

10a   Bagel eaten by playwright/’s/ dog (7)

P(O)INTER — O ([letter that looks like a] bagel) contained in (eaten by) PINTER (playwright; English playwright Harold Pinter[7])

11a   Dog // food (4)

CHOW — double definition

12a   Inhabiting // post office, paint lug nuts (10)

PO|PULATING* — PO (post office; abbrev.) + anagram (nuts) of PAINT LUG

14a   Said, “Funny // bone” (7)

HUMERUS~ — sounds like (said) HUMOROUS (funny)

15a   Doctor with a sharp blade // scraped deep down (7)

DR|EDGED — DR (doctor; abbrev.) + EDGED (with a sharp blade)

The adjective "edged" may, but does not necessarily, imply a sharp edge. Otherwise, why would we need words such as "sharp-edged" and "blunt-edged".

16a   Erroneously call // Mac married (7)

MISTER|M — MISTER (Mac; informal form of address for a man) + M (married; abbrev.)

19a   Outfielder getting into small, divine // kind of pie (7)

S|HO(OF)LY — OF (outfielder; abbrev. for fielding position in baseball) contained in (getting into) {S (small; abbrev.) + HOLY (divine)}

Shoofly pie*[3] is a pie with a filling of molasses and brown sugar and a crumble topping.

* So called because one will supposedly have to shoo away the flies attracted to the sweet filling.

21a   Widening // street taken by actress in American Beauty (10)

B(ROAD)ENING —ROAD (street) contained in (taken by) BENING (actress in American Beauty; American actress Annette Bening[7] who co-starred in the 1999 American drama film American Beauty[7])

Life Not Imitating Art?
American Beauty stars Kevin Spacey[7] as Lester Burnham, a 42-year-old advertising executive who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela (played by Mena Suvari). Annette Bening co-stars as Lester's materialistic wife, Carolyn, and Thora Birch plays their insecure daughter, Jane.

In real life, Spacey's unwanted attentions were directed at young men rather than young women.

22a   Stealthily take // tropical tree (4)

PALM — double definition

25a   Stuck-up // literature is collected by alien (7)

E(LIT|IS)T — {LIT (literature; abbrev.) + IS (†)} contained in (collected by) ET (alien; title character from the 1982 American science fiction fantasy film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7])

26a   Commercial about some lofty real estate // was touching? (7)

A(BUTTE)D — AD (commercial) containing (about) BUTTE (some lofty real estate)

27a   Draw for Roman tourists // then is special after renovations (7,6)

{SISTINE CHAPEL}* — anagram (after renovations) of THEN IS SPECIAL

The Sistine Chapel[5] is a chapel in the Vatican, built in the late 15th century by Pope Sixtus IV, containing a painted ceiling and fresco of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo and also frescoes by Botticelli.

Down

1d   Copy // 1001 + 1001 + 100 (5)

MI|MI|C — MI ([Roman numeral for] 1001) + MI (ditto) + C ([Roman numeral for] 100)

2d   Company in shopping centre with Monsieur // X? (7)

MAL(CO)L|M — CO (company; abbrev.) contained in MALL (shopping centre) + (with) M (Monsieur; abbrev.)

Malcolm X[5] (1925–1965) was an American political activist; born Malcolm Little. He joined the Nation of Islam in 1946 and became a vigorous campaigner for black rights, initially advocating the use of violence. In 1964 he converted to orthodox Islam and moderated his views on black separatism; he was assassinated the following year.

3d   Observe // English school making a comeback (4)

NOTE< — reversal (making a comeback) of ETON (English school)

Eton College[7], often informally referred to simply as Eton, is an English independent boarding school for boys located in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is one of ten English schools, commonly referred to as public schools, regulated by the Public Schools Act of 1868.

Here and There
In Britain, an independent school[10] is a school that is neither financed nor controlled by the government or local authorities; in other words, an independent school[2] is not paid for with public money and does not belong to the state school system.

In Britain, a public school[2] is a particular category of independent school, namely a secondary school, especially a boarding school, run independently of the state and financed by a combination of endowments and pupils' fees.

Another category of independent school is the private school[2,5] which is a school run independently by an individual or group, especially for profit and supported wholly by the payment of fees.

What we in North America would call a public school[2], is known in the UK as a state school[5] or a maintained school*.

* In England and Wales, a maintained school[5] is a school that is funded by a local education authority.

4d   A pitch keeping Albert // speechless? (2,1,4)

A|T (A L)OSS — {A (†) + TOSS (pitch)} containing (keeping) AL ([diminutive form of] Albert)

The solution may come up a bit short in that "speechless" would seemingly mean 'at a loss for words'. Perhaps that accounts for the question mark in the clue.

5d   Call me Ezra /or/ shut up (7)

IM|POUND — IM (call me; I'm) + POUND (Ezra; expatriate American poet Ezra Pound[7])

6d   Role for Madonna // playing a TV pioneer (5,5)

{EVITA PERON}* — anagram (playing) of A TV PIONEER

American singer Madonna played the title role in the 1996 American musical drama film Evita[7] which depicts the life of Eva Perón (popularly known by her nickname Evita), the wife of former Argentine President Juan Perón.

7d   Holding office, /and/ smart about it (7)

S(IT)TING — STING (smart) containing (about) IT (†)

Full without bending, // in an icy way (8)

F|RIGIDLY — F (full; abbrev. found on fuel gauges) + RIGIDLY (without bending)

13d   Infielders confused // fans? (10)

FRIENDLIES* — anagram (confused) of INFIELDERS

Another question mark — and another stretched definition?

14d   Local athlete/’s/ yoga chant in Semitic language (8)

H(OM)EBREW — OM (yoga chant) contained in (in) HEBREW (Semitic language)

Om[5] is a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. It appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts. It is also a customary chant in the practice of yoga.



Home-brew[10] is an informal Canadian term for a professional football player who was born in Canada and is not an import.

17d   Southern conservatives/’/ accounts (7)

S|TORIES — S (southern; abbrev.) + TORIES (conservatives)

18d   Opera composer // breaking into Met (7)

MENOTTI* — anagram (breaking) of INTO MET

Gian Menotti[5] (1911–2007) was a US composer; born in Italy. He wrote the operas The Old Maid and the Thief (1939), The Consul (1950), and Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951).

Scratching the Surface
The Metropolitan Opera[7], commonly referred to as "The Met", is a company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

James Levine served as Music Director of the Met from 1976 to 2016 and then as Music Director Emeritus until December 2017, when the Met suspended its relationship with him  following the public revelation of accusations that decades earlier he had repeatedly sexually abused multiple young males over periods of years while they had been his music students.

19d   New Mexico town // vault with bug inside (5,2)

S(ANT)A FE — SAFE (vault) containing (with ... inside) ANT (bug)

Santa Fe[5] is the capital of New Mexico, in the north central part of the state. It was founded as a mission by the Spanish in 1610. From 1821 until 1880, it served as the terminus of the Santa Fe Trail. Taken by US forces in 1846 during the Mexican War, it became the capital of New Mexico in 1912.

20d   To-do about poor tot/’s/ short haircut (4-3)

FLA(T-TO)*P — FLAP (to-do) containing (about) an anagram (poor) of TOT

A flat-top[5] is a man's hairstyle in which the hair is cropped short so that it bristles up into a flat surface.

23d   Award // dinner or lunch accommodating 500 (5)

ME(D)AL — MEAL (dinner or lunch) containing (accommodating) D ([Roman numeral for] 500)

24d   Swamp plant // included among citrus hybrids (4)

_RUS|H_ — hidden in (included among) citRUS Hybrids

Epilogue

The theme of today's review is inspired by the baseball players found at 19a and 13d.
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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday, December 8, 2017 — DT 28522

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28522
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Setter
Mister Ron (Chris Lancaster)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28522 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28522 – 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
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

This puzzle well deserves the three stars for difficulty and four stars for enjoyment awarded to it by crypticsue in her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog. It is definitely meatier fare than we often get in what was a Saturday "prize puzzle" in the UK. A "prize puzzle" is one for which readers of The Daily Telegraph are invited to submit their solutions in the hopes of winning a small prize such as a pen or a low value gift card. Of course, this is really a scheme to mine names and addresses from which to compile a database for advertising purposes. "Prize puzzles" have customarily been on the easier side, which many observers attribute to a desire on the part of the newspaper to maximize the number of entries —  and, correspondingly, the size of the database collected.

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 (//).

Across

1a   Run place near Manchester, /and/ one in Kent (10)

Bury[7] [pronounced berry*] is a town in Greater Manchester, England.

*  Although according to Gazza* in a review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog As someone who used to live in said borough I have to say that this is not the way the locals pronounce itthey make it sound more like flurry than merry.



Canterbury[5] is a city in Kent, south-eastern England, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. St Augustine established a church and monastery there in 597 and it became a place of medieval pilgrimage.

6a   At first didn't have // feathers (4)

10a   Women in certain quantity // hunt well? (5)

Here "hunt well" is a terse way of saying "seek a source of water".

11a   Praise /in/ article ain't loud, unfortunately (9)

In her review, crypticsue gives one take on the wordplay. Alternatively, it could be A ([indefinite] article) + anagram (unfortunately) of AINT LOUD.

12a   Back everyone to move quickly around one -- /it's/ a wrap! (8)

13a   Son with money /for/ bouquet (5)

15a   Again, agent/'s/ made to take too much on board (7)

Fed[5] is an informal US term for a federal agent or official, especially a member of the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] ⇒ I don’t think he has any friends since he ratted to the Feds.

Here and There
I note that Oxford Dictionaries has modified the entry for this definition. On a previous visit to the site, the usage example read I don’t think he has any friends since he grassed to the Feds — a rather bizarre mix of British slang ("grass") and American slang ("Fed").

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

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

hide explanation



Board[5,10] is an archaic term for a table, especially one used for eating at, and especially when laden with foodhe looked at the banquet which was spread upon his board.

17a   One just looking /for/ place to surf (7)

Until I read crypticsue's review, I hadn't thought of this as a double definition but rather perceived it to be a cryptic definition. I have to say that defining a (web) browser as a "place to surf" does not sit comfortably with me. A "means to surf", yes — but a "place to surf"?

19a   Secretary's learned // piece of writing (7)

PA[5] is an abbreviation used in Britain* for personal assistant.

* It is the use of the abbreviation that is British, not the term itself. Even in North America, I don't think the abbreviation is entirely unheard of.

21a   Too much silver found in church // building (7)

"too much" = OTT (show explanation )

OTT[5] (short for over the top) is an informal British expression denoting excessive or exaggerated ⇒ presenting him as a goalscoring Superman seems a bit OTT.

hide explanation

The symbol for the chemical element silver is Ag[5] from Latin argentum.

"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

22a   English tax returns keeping about // spot on (5)

British — perhaps not so much
Spot on[5] is an informal British* term meaning (as an adjective) completely accurate or (as an adverb) accurately your reviews are spot on.

* I would think that this "British" term is well-travelled.

24a   Forcibly removed, /being/ drunk due to endless port (8)

This port is served again at 9d.

27a   Have guests // come in? The writer is in leather (9)

"the writer" = I (show explanation )

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as (the or this) compiler, (the or this) setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

hide explanation

Leather[5] (verb) is an informal British term meaning to beat or thrash (someone)he caught me and leathered me black and blue.

28a   Kid read out // letters (5)

29a   Challenge // revolutionary retailer advertising clothes (4)

30a   Money paid /for/ somewhere to live (10)

Down

1d   Start to create fuss over // ending (4)

In music, a coda[5] is:
  • the concluding passage of a piece or movement, typically forming an addition to the basic structure ⇒ the first movement ends with a fortissimo coda
  • the concluding section of a dance, especially of a pas de deux or the finale of a ballet in which the dancers parade before the audience.

2d   Crewmen so upset // latest recruits? (9)

3d   Incident/'s/ clear with papers going missing (5)

4d   Fought // rough having spilt blood outside (7)

5d   Regret broadcast jibe? // Nonsense (7)

Rhubarb[5] is an informal British term denoting nonsense*it was all rhubarb, about me, about her daughter, about art.

* The term may well come from the theatre world where the term rhubarb[5] refers to the noise made by a group of actors to give the impression of indistinct background conversation, especially by the random repetition of the word ‘rhubarb’.

7d   I love having turned // green (5)

8d   One's hopeless // car with a flat battery? (3-7)

In Britain*, flat[5] (adjective) denotes (of a battery) having exhausted its charge.

* In North America, one would describe such a battery as being dead, a term that also seems to be used in the UK, as Oxford Dictionaries defines dead[5] (adjective) as (of an electric circuit or conductor) carrying or transmitting no current the batteries are dead.

It is merely a guess on my part, but perhaps there may be a nuance in the British usage of these terms in that a flat battery can be recharged while a dead battery is beyond hope?

9d   Document // concise after-dinner instruction? (8)

Port[5] (also port wine) is a strong, sweet dark red (occasionally brown or white) fortified wine, originally from Portugal, typically drunk as a dessert wine. The name is a shortened form of Oporto, a major port from which the wine is shipped.

14d   See // MP in centre finish supporting hospital (10)

Scratching the Surface
The MP here is more likely to be a Member of Parliament[5] (see more ) than a military policeman[5].

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (abbreviation MP[5]) or, informally, as a member[5].

hide explanation

16d   Praise // cook's welcoming coffee (8)

18d   Fellow Arab, say, squandering billions /to get/ position on board (9)

On the chessboard, stalemate[5] is a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check last time I played him it ended up in stalemate.

20d   Teach // pair of Europeans about old coin (7)

A ducat[10] is any of various former European gold or silver coins, especially those used in Italy or the Netherlands.

Delving Deeper
The ducat[7] was used as a trade coin in Europe from the later middle ages until as late as the 20th century. Many types of ducats had various metallic content and purchasing power throughout the period. The gold ducat of Venice gained wide international acceptance, like the medieval Byzantine hyperpyron and the Florentine florin, or the modern British pound sterling and the United States dollar.

21d   A duke wears this // gold one in court (7)

"gold" = OR (show explanation )

Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

In heraldry, a tincture[5] is any of the conventional colours (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.

hide explanation

"court" = CT (show explanation )

Ct[2] is the abbreviation for Court in street addresses — and possibly in other contexts as well.

hide explanation



A duke[5] is a male holding the highest hereditary title in the British and certain other peerages*.

* The peerage[5] is the nobility in Britain or Ireland, comprising the ranks of duke or duchess, marquess or marchioness, earl or countess, viscount or viscountess, and baron or baroness.

A coronet[5] is a small or relatively simple crown, especially as worn by lesser royalty and peers or peeresses.

23d   Co-star, possibly, if not front of stage? (5)

The entire clue forms the wordplay in which the definition (marked with a solid underline) is embedded.

25d   Regularly go bust -- greed /is/ strange (5)

26d   Pound // where copper usually goes? (4)

An Added Flourish
The wording of the clue evokes the expression pound the beat[5] meaning (of a police officer) to patrol an allocated route or area..
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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017 — DT 28521

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28521
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, September 1, 2017
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28521]
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

My progress ground to a halt with four interlocking clues remaining (2d, 14a, 15d, and 25a). After an extended period of contemplation, they all suddenly fell into place.

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 (//).

Across

1a   Guy maybe /getting/ engineers to accept work (4)

"engineers" = RE (show explanation )

The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

hide explanation

"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



Guy[3] is used in the sense of a rope, cord, or cable used to steady, guide, or secure something.

3a   His mad idol turns out /to be/ prim and proper (3-7)

9a   Stories /offering/ element of thrill or escapism (4)

10a   One may suggest that you should compose letters differently (10)

11a   With temperature, strange little boy // walks tentatively (7)

13a   Goddess // came across, carried by stag maybe (7)

"Came across" denoting encountered — although the wordplay would also work were one to interpret "came across" to mean having satisfied a set of conditions or demands.



In Greek mythology, Demeter[5] is the corn goddess, daughter of Cronus and Rhea and mother of Persephone. Her symbol is typically an ear of corn. Her counterpart in Roman mythology is Ceres.

14a   Very small commander dealt with slavery /and/ homelessness (11)

In the Ottoman Empire, aga[10] (or agha) could be either:
  • a title of respect, often used with the title of a senior position
  • a military commander
18a   With revision needed, setter meant /to give/ an alternative form of words (11)

21a   Loose woman // Victorian novelist reported (7)

Antony Trollope[5] (1815–1882) was an English novelist. He is best known for the six ‘Barsetshire’ novels, including Barchester Towers (1857), and for the six political ‘Palliser’ novels.

22a   Building // company takes time, time, time! (7)

23a   Are its pies 'fantastique'? (10)

This is an &lit. (all-in-one) clue. The entire clue is both definition and wordplay — of course, under different respective interpretations.

Fantastique[8] is a French word meaning 'fantastic'.

A patisserie[5] (a French word adopted into English) is a shop where pastries and cakes are sold ⇒ the patisserie also specializes in cheesecakes and tortes.

24a   Composer noted for silence /in/ prison (4)

John Cage[7] (1912–1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from their presence for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is sometimes assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance.

25a   Hurry to small city /to see/ flowering plants (10)

Wells[7] is a cathedral city and civil parish in Somerset. Although the population recorded in the 2011 census was only 10,536, and with a built-up area of just 3.245 square kilometres, Wells has had city status since medieval times, because of the presence of Wells Cathedral. Often described as England's smallest city, it is second only to the City of London in area and population*, though not part of a larger urban agglomeration.

* The City of London[7] (not to be confused with the city of London[7]) is smaller both in terms of area (2.90 km2) and population (9,401; 2016 estimate).



Speedwell[5] is a small creeping herbaceous plant of north temperate regions, with small blue or pink flowers.

26a   Former PM /wanting/ power, slippery creature (4)

"power" = P (show explanation )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power [among other things] in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation



Sir Robert Peel[5] (1788–1850) was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1834-5 and 1841-6. As Home Secretary (1828–30) he established the Metropolitan Police (hence the nicknames bobby and peeler [for a British police officer]). His repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 split the Conservatives and forced his resignation.

Down

1d   Member of family // corresponding (8)

2d   Display cut short with one old car turning over /for/ example (8)

MG[7] is an English automotive marque registered by the now defunct MG Car Company Limited, a British sports car manufacturer begun in the 1920s. Best known for its two-seat open sports cars, MG also produced saloons and coupés.

Delving Deeper
The MG business was originally owned personally by William Morris, the proprietor of an Oxford automobile sales and service business (the initials MG stand for Morris Garages). In 1935, he sold MG to his holding company, Morris Motors Limited, restructuring his holdings before issuing (preference) shares in Morris Motors to the public in 1936. MG underwent many changes in ownership starting with Morris merging with Austin in The British Motor Corporation Limited (BMC) in 1952. MG became the MG Division of BMC in 1967 and so a component of the 1968 merger that created British Leyland Motor Corporation. By the start of 2000 MG was part of the MG Rover Group — along the way having passed through the hands of British Aerospace and BMW. MG Rover Group entered receivership in 2005. The assets and the MG brand were purchased by Nanjing Automobile Group (which merged into Shanghai-based SAIC Motor in 2008). Production restarted in 2007 in China, and later at the Longbridge plant in the UK under the current manufacturer MG Motor (a subsidiary of SAIC). The first all-new model from MG in the UK for 16 years, the MG 6, was officially launched in June 2011.

4d   More than one north European // drinks, we hear (5)

A Lapp[5] is a member of an indigenous people of the extreme north of Scandinavia, traditionally associated with the herding of reindeer.

5d   Mother grabs English lord -- terrible // song and dance (9)

My Lord!
In Britain, Lord[7] is used as a generic term to denote members of the peerage. Five ranks of peer exist in the United Kingdom: in descending order these are duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron. The appellation "Lord" is used most often by barons, who are rarely addressed by their formal and legal title of "Baron". The correct style is 'The Lord (X)': for example, Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, is commonly known as "The Lord Tennyson". Marquesses, earls and viscounts are commonly also addressed as Lord. Dukes use the style "The Duke of (X)", and are not correctly referred to as 'Lord (X)'. Dukes are formally addressed as 'Your Grace', rather than 'My Lord'.

"Lord" is also used as a courtesy title for some or all of the children of senior members of the peerage: for example the younger sons of dukes and marquesses are entitled to use the style "Lord (first name) (surname)". As these titles are merely courtesy titles, the holder is not by virtue of the title a member of the peerage and is not entitled to use the definite article 'The' as part of the title.

6d   Unable to get // pay, keeping quiet, needing temporary shelter (11)

I would interpret "unable to get" to mean '[mentally] incapable of understanding'.

7d   Identity destroyed almost? // Imagine! (6)

8d   Walkers // shriek when disturbed (6)

12d   Relaxed // lad is rebel, I suspect (11)

15d   Spooner's model, family girl /getting/ a piece of facial protection (9)

The Rev. W. A. Spooner has bequeathed to us the name for an oft-encountered slip of the tongue. A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking. Spooner held a Doctor of Divinity degree and thus was entitled to be called Dr. Spooner.

I thought it very poor form for the word "piece" to appear in both the definition and solution — especially when there is no shortage of alternative terms which could have been used in the definition.

16d   Derek Trotter knowing // bit of America (8)

Derek "Del Boy" Trotter[7] is the fictional lead character in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses which originally aired from 1981 to 1991 (with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003).

'Del'ving Deeper
Played by English actor and comedian David Jason, Del Boy is often regarded as one of the greatest comedy characters in the history of British Television, and is regarded as an iconic character in British culture. Encompassing everything Cockney, Del is known for his broken French quotes which are usually completely out of context and a variety of catchphrases, including: "He who dares – wins!", "This time next year we'll be millionaires", "Lovely Jubbly!", "You know it makes sense" (which he usually says to his customers after they've agreed on a deal) and "You plonker!" (which he usually says to his half-brother, Rodney).

Del Boy works as a market trader*[7], running his own company, Trotters Independent Traders (T.I.T.), either from out of a suitcase or from the back of his bright yellow Reliant Regal supervan. With a never-ending supply of get-rich-quick schemes and an inner belief in his ability to sell anything to anyone, he embroils "the firm", as he calls the family business, in a variety of improbable situations. This unwavering confidence gives rise to his oft-proclaimed ambition "This time next year, we'll be millionaires!".

* In this case, market trader[5] denotes a person running a stall at a market — not a trader on the stock market.

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat alludes to Del being the "Cockney diminutive" of Derek. While I was unable to find a satisfactory explanation for it, I was at least able to find some evidence of the existence of this practice. According to a discussion on Digital Spy Forums, it is apparently common for Cockneys to replace "R" with "L" in nicknames. Thus, in addition to Derek becoming Del, Gary become Gal, Terry becomes Tel, and Karen becomes Kal. In other parts of England, it seems that "R" is replaced with "Z" with Gary becoming Gaz or Gazza, Terry becoming Tez or Tezza, and Karen becoming Kaz or Kazza or Kazzie. One contributor comments "I grew up in Leyton [a district of east London] and have to say in general we use a mix whatever rolls of the tongue easiest at that moment hehe! [My] mum is Carol she gets called Cal, Caz, Cazzie, Cazza, however nobody calls my son Harry Hal that would sound weird its always "shortened" to Hazza, but my friend Gary is always Gal not Gaz its confusing eh".

17d   Part of Somerset here, alluring /and/ heavenly (8)

Scratching the Surface
Somerset[5] is a county of southwestern England, on the Bristol Channel.

19d   Female campaigner // drinks heavily after conclusion of crusades (6)

Marie Stopes[5] (1880–1958) was a Scottish birth-control campaigner. Her book Married Love (1918) was a frank treatment of sexuality within marriage. In 1921 she founded the pioneering Mothers' Clinic for Birth Control in London.

20d   Northern town /offers/ illegal recording -- not good! (6)

Bootle[7] is a town in Merseyside*, England.

* Merseyside[7] is a county in North West England that encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary including the city of Liverpool.

22d   Coldness // about to descend on elevated land (5)
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