Monday, July 26, 2021

Monday, July 26, 2021 — DT 29668 (Published Saturday, July 24, 2021)


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29668
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Setter
Unknown
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29668]
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

Had the normal rotation been followed, this would have been a RayT puzzle. However, he appears to have taken a day off and we get a substitute setter in his 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.

Markup Conventions
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of markup conventions used on this blog.

Across

1a Colourless band // that is associated with a DJ (5,3)

DJ (or  dj) is the abbreviation for dinner jacket[10], the British name for a tuxedo, a man's semiformal evening jacket without tails, usually black with a silk facing over the collar and lapels.



A black tie[5] is a black bow tie worn with a dinner jacket.

9aNag in a fight (8)

10a Beastly noise by river /in/ a desolate place (4)

Moor[5] is a chiefly British term for a tract of open uncultivated upland, typically covered with heather.

11a Praise /from/ firm met with a grunt -- working after hours? (12)

13a Business // to begin -- right for any number to get involved (8)

"any number " = N [mathematical symbol]

The letter n[10] is used (especially in mathematics) as a symbol to represent an indefinite number (of) ⇒ there are n objects in a box.

hide

15a Plane crashing close to India // in mountainous territory (6)

In this clue, the phrase "close to" denotes "next to" rather than "the final letter of".

"India " = I [NATO Phonetic Alphabet]

In what is commonly known as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet[7]*, India[5] is a code word representing the letter I.

* officially the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet

hide



Nepali[5] is an adjective meaning relating to Nepal* or its language or people [thus "in Nepal"].

* Nepal[5] is a mountainous landlocked country in southern Asia, in the Himalayas (and including Mount Everest).

16a Shut up /in/ quiet part of hospital (4)

"quiet " = P [music notation (piano)]

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

"part of the hospital " = ENT

Should you not have noticed, the ear, nose and throat (ENT[2]) department is the most visited section, by far, in the Crosswordland Hospital.

hide

17a Monster // repulsed in the course of terrible turbulence (5)

18a Blast // from modern radio echoing (4)

Blast[5] is an informal British expression of annoyance Blast! The car won't start!.

20a Was inclined /to be/ well educated, though neglecting reading? (6)

The three Rs[5] of reading, writing and arithmetic (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic) are regarded as the fundamentals of learning why couldn't they just leave well alone and let pupils concentrate on the three Rs?.

21aLight support (8)

23a Race // with dear Charles hiding in shelter (12)

Chas.[5] is an abbreviation for Charles.



Today, we know a steeplechase[5] as a horse race run on a racecourse having ditches and hedges as jumps. Originally, however, it was a cross country race in which a steeple marked the finishing point.

26a Wander // round surrounded by sheep (4)

27a Piles are arranged /in/ framework (8)

An espalier[3] is:
  • a tree or shrub that is trained to grow in a flat plane against a wall or trellis, often in a symmetrical pattern; or
  • a trellis or other framework on which an espalier is grown.
28a Expecting /to be/ quiet as a ruler (8)

Quiet reprises its role from 16a.

Down

2dWhat it's possible to get through when there's difficulty? (8)

A loophole[5] is an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules. If it is big enough, you can drive a truck through it.

3dSomething associated with the pomp of a final musical performance? (12)

I interpret the clue to be an allusion to the Last Night of the Proms[7], the second half of which traditionally consists of British patriotic pieces including Sir Edward Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1".

* I see that Weekend Wanda also espouses this view in Comment #27 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

The term prom[5] (or Prom) is short for promenade concert[5], a British name 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.

Note: Prom[5], in the sense of a formal dance, is a North American expression.

The Pomp and Circumstance Marches[7] (full title Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches), Op. 39, are a series of five (or six*) marches for orchestra composed by English composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934).

* Five were completed by Elgar during his lifetime; the sixth was completed posthumously based on work left unfinished at his death.

4d Artist // that is revolutionary (6)

J. M. W. Turner[5] (1775–1851) was an English painter; full name Joseph Mallord William Turner. (show more )

He made his name with landscapes and stormy seascapes, becoming increasingly concerned with depicting the power of light by the use of primary colours, often arranged in a swirling vortex. Notable works: Rain, Steam, Speed (1844); The Fighting Téméraire (1838).

hide

5d Vessel /in/ underground channel heading off (4)

6d Awful creep, about ten, // behaving insincerely (8)

In the definition, "behaving" is a gerund, a verb form [present participle, to be precise] which functions as a noun.

7d Sea creature // some sailor caught (4)

Orca[5] is another term for killer whale.

8d Removal // from Eden, toil being involved (8)

Scratching the Surface
Eden[5] (also Garden of Eden) is the place where Adam and Eve lived in the biblical account of the Creation, from which they were expelled for disobediently eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

12d Insect // sadly trapped in hole -- hard to get out (12)

A lepidopteran[5], is a member of Lepidoptera[5], the order of insects that comprises the butterflies and moths.

14d Match /with/ elements of supreme quality (5)

16d Column // to endure when given external support (8)

17d Plant /with/ sign of new life daughter and I found in open country (8)

Buddleia[5] is a widely cultivated shrub with clusters of fragrant lilac, white, or yellow flowers.

Origin: named in honour of English botanist Adam Buddle (died 1715)

19d Engineers try hard /to gain/ control (8)

"engineers " = RE [Royal Engineers]

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

22d The person writing leading article that is // ungenerous soul (6)

"the person writing " = ME

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, (the or this) speaker, (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

24d Spot /with/ exceptional perception an unknown character (4)

"unknown character " = Y [algebraic notation]

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.

In mathematical formulae, unknowns are typically represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.

hide

25d Fish /or/ grouse? (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]   - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced 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)
[14]   - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]   - CollinsDictionary.com (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )



Signing off for today — Falcon

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saturday, July 24, 2021 — Cox & Rathvon (Preliminary Post)

Introduction

Here is today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. I will return later with the solution.

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

Signing off for the moment — Falcon

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday, July 23, 2021 — DT 29667


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29667
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29667]
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

After Jay haven taken a one-week leave of absence a while back, there is a great deal of trepidation on Big Dave's Crossword Blog when it comes to attributing authorship of this puzzle. However, I expect if it had not been set by Jay that Telegraph Puzzles editor Chris Lancaster would have dropped by to say so.

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.

Markup Conventions
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of markup conventions used on this blog.

Across

1a Recommend // writing about odd characters in plot (7)

9a Struggle helplessly /seeing/ line adopted by father (8)

"line " = L [textual references]

In textual references, the abbreviation for line [of written matter] is l.[5] l. 648.

hide

10a Business // worry (7)

11a Bachelor's first trendy // place by the sea (8)

Political Leanings Showing?
Collins English Dictionary defines right-on[10] (adjective) as an informal term meaning modern, trendy, and socially aware or relevant ⇒ The people that come to watch the play are all those right-on left-wing sort of people, whereas Lexico (Oxford Dictionaries) defines right-on[5] (adjective) as an informal, derogatory term meaning in keeping with fashionable liberal or left-wing opinions and values ⇒ It would seem that many right-on groups have decided that we're all so stupid that we are unable to exercise our own judgement and should rely on them to do so for us.

While both dictionaries would seem to consider that right-on implies left-wing, they appear to differ on whether that makes the term derogatory.



Brighton[5] is a resort on the south coast of England, in East Sussex.

12a First part of a play with number going round // fighting (6)

13a Opportunity backed after complaint -- // game might be raised here (6,4)

Raise[5] means to drive (an animal) from its lair ⇒ the rabbit was only 250 yards from where he first raised it.

A grouse moor[5] is an area of managed moorland*for the shooting of red grouse.

* Moor[5] is a chiefly British term for a tract of open uncultivated upland, typically covered with heather.

15a Marathon // record broken by nationalist's leader (4)

16a Son's promise in front of mainly suspicious // swimmer (9)

"son " = S [genealogy]

In genealogies, s[5] is the abbreviation for son(s) m 1991; one s one d*.

* married in 1991; one son and one daughter.

hide

21a Duty /of/ old star from the east (4)

"old " = O [linguistics]

In linguistics, O[12] is the abbreviation for Old ⇒ (i) OFr [Old French]; (ii) OE [Old English].

However, a second entry from this same source shows o (lower case) meaning old (not capitalized) suggesting that the use of this abbreviation may not necessarily be confined to the field of linguistics.

Another possibility arises from the British abbreviation OAP[5] standing for old-age pensioner.

hide

22a Top bill and see off // large corporations (3-7)

Corporation[5] is a dated humorous term for a paunch.

24a Drink // connection keeping pupils regularly missing (6)

25a Mobile resonating as missing // such a noise (8)

Mobile[5] (short for mobile phone) is a British term for a cell phone[5] (short for cellular phone) ⇒ we telephoned from our mobile to theirs.

27a France is French -- nothing about // garnish (7)

"France " = F [IVR code]

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for France is F[5].

French Licence Plate
(The IVR code is on the left below the EU flag emblem)

hide

"is French " = EST

In French, est[8] is the third person singular of the present indicative of the verb être (to be). In other words, it means 'is'.

hide

28a Blow // chances finally getting question with queen (8)

"queen " = ER [regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth]

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

* A cipher[5] (also cypher) is a monogram[5] or motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person's initials, used to identify a personal possession or as a logo.

hide

29a Suggests // Independent politician is economical with the truth! (7)

"Independent " = I [politician with no party affiliation]

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, in all likelihood in the sense of a politician with no party affiliation.

hide

"politician " = MP

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

What did they say?
In their review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the 2Kiwis equate the phrase "economical with the truth" to tells porkies.
Pork pie[10] (often shortened to porky) is mainly British and Australian rhyming slang (show explanation ) 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.

* A cockney[5,10] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End[5]], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church). Cockney is also the name of the dialect or accent typical of cockneys, which is characterised by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words as well as the use of rhyming slang.

While one commonly sees only the shortened form of rhyming slang, pork pie is one of those cases where both the full expression and the shortened version seem to be in general use.

hide explanation

Down

2d Ferret cut // farmer's production in field (4,4)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, ferret[5] is used in the sense of a domesticated polecat* used chiefly for catching rabbits. It is typically albino in coloration, but sometimes brown.

* Polecat[5] denotes a weasel-like Eurasian mammal and is not used in the US sense of another name for a skunk.

3d Easy profits // from ruler seen in photos (8)

Pickings[5] is used in the sense of profits or gains that are made effortlessly* or dishonestly.

* I initially questioned the inclusion of the word "easy" in the definition as I was thinking of "easy profits" being easy pickings—thus making the word "easy" superfluous in the definition. However, in the expression easy pickings, the modifier easy seems to relate more to the magnitude of the gains than to the degree of effort required to generate them (a point that I would say is supported by easy pickings being the opposite of slim pickings).

4d Well, bread /is/ a possible starter in restaurant (6,4)

5d Slight // speech defect (4)

6d Move to employ one // Australian flier (6)

Budgie[5] is an informal name for the budgerigar[5], a small gregarious Australian parakeet which is green with a yellow head in the wild. It is popular as a cage bird and has been bred in a variety of colours.

7d Issue /could be/ treason, having killed leader (7)

8d Angry, upset about a right // sort of loaf (7)

Granary[5] (short for granary bread[5]) is a British trademark for a type of brown bread containing whole grains of wheat.

What's In Your Bread?
One of the most glaring language differences I encountered when I moved to Ontario from Nova Scotia was to hear whole wheat bread referred to as brown bread. Even close to fifty years later, this usage still seems strange to me. In in the Maritimes and New England, the term brown bread[7] implies bread made with molasses—and it truly is brown, not the pale substance that passes for brown bread here (and seemingly also in the UK).

11d Attack /and/broad do as ordered, beset by girl getting married (9)

14d Wake // selected pupils after mistake (10)

Stream[5] is a British term* for a group in which schoolchildren of the same age and ability are taught children in the top streams.

* A term I believe is also used in Canada.

17d Area covered by recasting of Hot Lips /in/ MASH? (8)

MASH
[3,4,11] is a US military acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

MASH[7] (stylized as M*A*S*H on the film's poster art) is a 1970 American satirical black comedy film based on Richard Hooker's 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.

Although the film depicts a unit of medical personnel stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War, the subtext is about the Vietnam War. The film inspired the popular and critically acclaimed television series M*A*S*H, which ran from 1972 to 1983 and is one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history.

In the book, movie and TV series, Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan[7] is the regular-army head nurse of the MASH unit.

18d Clear // instruction from Pope on sleep (8)

A bull[5] is a papal edict ⇒ the Pope issued a bull of excommunication.

19d Discourage // work on fourth estate (7)

"work " = OP [opus]

In music, an opus[5] (Latin 'work', 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 other contexts to denote an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.

hide

The fourth estate[5] is another term for the press or the profession of journalism.

Origin: The term alludes to and is an extension of the concept of the estates of the realm, an estate[5] being a class or order regarded as forming part of the body politic, in particular (in Britain), one of the three groups constituting Parliament, now the Lords spiritual (the heads of the Church), the Lords temporal (the peerage [nobility]), and the Commons. They are also known as the three estates.

20d Weapon // hurt one of Macron's (4,3)

Emmanuel Macron[5] is a French statesman who has been president of France since 2017.

"one of Macron's " [French word meaning 'one'] = UN

The French word un[8] can be translated as the cardinal number one, a pronoun meaning one, or a masculine singular indefinite article.

hide

23dTagine must be cooked for this purpose (6)

The entire clue constitutes the definition in which the wordplay is embedded.

Tagine[5] is a North African stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking in a shallow earthenware cooking dish with a tall, conical lid.

By definition, this dish must be cooked—or else, it would not qualify as tagine.

26d Christmas /will be/ held up by little ones (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]   - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced 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)
[14]   - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]   - CollinsDictionary.com (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )



Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thursday, July 22, 2021 — DT 29666


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29666
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Setter
X-Type
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29666]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog review written by
Mr K
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

Several regional English dialects are featured in today's puzzle.

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.

Markup Conventions
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of markup conventions used on this blog.

Across

1a In tears, beg chap desperately /for/ some respite (9,5)

10a Forcefully take charge: // it should increase the score (9)

The wordplay alludes to a botched defensive play in cricket. Just as an overthrow in baseball might allow a runner to advance an extra base or two, an overthrow in cricket could allow extra runs to score.

11a Factory // scheme requires time (5)

12a Oh, Keely -- in trouble? // I may see you through this (7)

Scratching the Surface
Keely[7] is an Irish female given name meaning beautiful.

13a Strong wind on northern area /reveals/ mineral deposit (6)

Galena[5] is a bluish, grey, or black mineral of metallic appearance, consisting of lead sulphide. It is the chief ore of lead.

15a Potato possibly cut // underground (4)

Underground[5] (often the Underground) is a British name for an underground railway, especially the one in London, England ⇒ travel chaos on the Underground.

The Tube[5] is a British trademark for the underground railway system in London ⇒ a cross-London trek on the Tube.

17a /Get/ paper, perhaps, /from/ halt on eastern railway (10)

"Get ... from" is a split link phrase. This can be seen more easily if one rephrases the clue as:
  • Paper, perhaps, /got from/ halt on eastern railway (10)
Halt[5] is a British term for a minor stopping place on a local railway line.

The abbreviation for railway is Ry[5].

18aSay similar-sounding sounds? (10)

I initially failed to notice that this clue is, in fact, a double definition. The entire clue is both a precise definition and a definition by example (the latter explicitly indicated by the question mark).

20a Bowl over // in test underarm (4)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading is an allusion to cricket.

In cricket, bowl[5] means (for a bowler) to propel (the ball) with a straight arm* toward the wicket defended by a batsman, typically in such a way that the ball bounces once.

* This would appear to be incorrect. In the sport of cricket, throwing[7], commonly referred to as chucking, is an illegal bowling action which occurs when a bowler straightens the bowling arm when delivering the ball.

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

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.

In cricket, an underarm delivery[7] is one in which the bowler's hand does not rise above the level of the waist.*


* Although this was the only style of bowling used in the early days of cricket, the Laws of Cricket now declare that an underarm delivery is illegal unless otherwise agreed before the match (see following box).

The Story Behind the Video
The video in Mr K's review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog shows the underarm bowling incident of 1981[7] that occured in a match between Australia and New Zealand which led to the banning of the underarm delivery in international cricket. However, this style of delivery (albeit lobbing the ball rather than rolling it on the ground) is still used extensively in recreational cricket and children's cricket.

22a /Being/ arrested, // knight became ill (6)

To enhance the surface reading, the setter has placed the gerund phrase "being arrested" at the beginning of the clue thereby causing the link word "being" to appear at the beginning.

"knight " = N [chess notation]

A knight[5] is a chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a horse’s head, that moves by jumping to the opposite corner of a rectangle two squares by three. Each player starts the game with two knights.

N[5] is the abbreviation for knight used in recording moves in chess [representing the pronunciation of kn-, since the initial letter k- represents 'king'].

As an aside, it is interesting to note that the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines: 
  • K[2] as an abbreviation used in chess for knight. 
  • K[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a king. 
  • N[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a knight.
The dictionary fails to specify how one differentiates an abbreviation from a symbol.

On the other hand, both The Chambers Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary list K or K.[1,11] as an abbreviation for knight without specifying the specific context in which this abbreviation is used. However, the context may well be in an honours list rather than in a game of chess. In the UK, for instance, KBE[5] stands for Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

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23a Charlie in holiday footwear? /That's/ a disgrace (7)

"Charlie* " = C [NATO Phonetic Alphabet]

In what is commonly known as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet[7]*Charlie[5] is a code word representing the letter C.

* officially the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet

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26a Dislikes // sending back a portion of Lebanese tahini (5)

Tahini[5] (also tahina) is a Middle Eastern paste or spread made from ground sesame seeds.

27a A quid sir, and I will mix up // cocktails (9)

A daiquiri[5] is a cocktail containing rum and lime juice.

Scratching the Surface
Quid[5] (plural quid) is an informal British term for one pound sterling we paid him four hundred quid.

28a /In/ survey, // I can see orcas swimming round northern tip of Newfoundland (14)

To enhance the surface reading, the setter has placed the prepositional phrase "in survey" at the beginning of the clue thereby causing the link word "in" to appear at the beginning. This is quite similar to the structure of 22a.

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2d Having a hearty appetite no good, /getting/ very thin (5)

"good " = G [academic result]

The abbreviation G[a] for good comes from its use in education as a grade awarded on school assignments or tests.

[a] Collins English to Spanish Dictionary

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3d Writer /achieving/ gold with mythical character (6)

"gold " = AU [chemical symbol]

The symbol for the chemical element gold is Au[5] (from Latin aurum).

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In Scandinavian mythology, Thor[5], the son of Odin and Freya (Frigga), is the god of thunder, the weather, agriculture, and the home. Thursday is named after him.

4d They bring in the crops /and/ criminally starve her son (10)

"son " = S [genealogy]

In genealogies, s[5] is the abbreviation for son(s) m 1991; one s one d*.

* married in 1991; one son and one daughter.

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5d Town produced // nothing up north (4)

Nowt[5] is a Northern English dialect term for nothing ⇒ it's nowt to do with me.

6d Concession managed by old // singer (7)

A sop[5] is a thing of no great value given or done as a concession to appease someone whose main concerns or demands are not being met ⇒ my agent telephones as a sop but never finds me work.

"old " = O [linguistics]

In linguistics, O[12] is the abbreviation for Old ⇒ (i) OFr [Old French]; (ii) OE [Old English].

However, a second entry from this same source shows o (lower case) meaning old (not capitalized) suggesting that the use of this abbreviation may not necessarily be confined to the field of linguistics.

Another possibility arises from the British abbreviation OAP[5] standing for old-age pensioner.

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The Story Behind the Picture
The picture illustrating Mr K's review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog shows characters from The Sopranos[7] , an American crime drama television series that revolves around Tony Soprano, a New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster, portraying the difficulties that he faces as he tries to balance his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organization.

7d Reduction /of/ stewed bat eaten with first bit of Marmite (9)

Scratching the Surface
Marmite[5] is a British trademark for a dark savoury spread made from yeast extract and vegetable extract.

8d This sounds a lot like Cockney // grinding up rusty hinges with ale (7,7)

A cockney[5,10] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End[5]], traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells (the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[7] church).

Cockney[5] is also the name of the dialect or accent typical of cockneys, which is characterised by dropping the aitch (H) from the beginning of words as well as the use of rhyming slang (show explanation ).

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

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Estuary English[7] is an English accent associated with the area along the River Thames and its estuary, including London. Estuary English may be compared with Cockney, and there is some debate among linguists as to where Cockney speech ends and Estuary English begins.

9d One setting off fireworks -- // maybe Stephenson? (6,8)

Stephenson's Rocket[7] was an early steam locomotive designed by English railway engineer Robert Stephenson in 1829.  (show more )

Though the Rocket was not the first steam locomotive, it was the first to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day.

It is the most famous example of an evolving design of locomotives by Stephenson that became the template for most steam engines in the following 150 years. The locomotive was preserved and is now on display in the Science Museum in London.

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14d Figures // sit back during study of bodies at rest (10)

Statics[5] is the branch of mechanics concerned with bodies at rest and forces in equilibrium.

16d Type of missile, // large, is found in sea (9)

"large " = L [clothing size]

L[5] is the abbreviation for large (as a clothing size).

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The Baltic Sea[5] is an almost landlocked sea of northern Europe, between Sweden, Finland, Russia, Poland, Germany, and Denmark. It is linked with the North Sea by the Kattegat strait and the Øresund channel.

19d The Yorkshire motive /may be seen as/ disloyalty (7)

In dialects spoken in Northern England (including Yorkshire), the word the is commonly shortened to t'. An old Yorkshire saying goes "The only good thing to come out of Lancashire is t’road back to Yorkshire".*

* Rivalry between these two northern counties dates back at least to the Wars of Roses[5], the 15th-century English civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster, represented by white and red roses respectively, during the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III.

21d Gap /giving view of/ French lake and one French area? (6)

The French word for lake is lac[8].

"one French " = UN

The French word un[8] can be translated as the cardinal number one, a pronoun meaning one, or a masculine singular indefinite article.

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A lacuna[10] is a gap or space especially in a book or manuscript.

24d Building style /of/ party with Republican in charge (5)

"party " = DO

Do[5,12] is an informal British[5] or chiefly British[12] term* for a party or other social event the soccer club Christmas do.

* Although one US dictionary (Webster’s New World College Dictionary[12]) supports the contention by Lexico (Oxford Dictionary of English)[5] that this usage is at least chiefly British, two other US dictionaries[3,11] do not.

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"Republican " = R [member or supporter of US political party]

A Republican[5] (abbreviation R[5] or Rep.[5])  is a member or supporter of the Republican Party[5], one of the two main US political parties*, favouring a right-wing stance, limited central government, and tough, interventionist foreign policy. It was formed in 1854 in support of the anti-slavery movement preceding the Civil War.

* the other being the Democratic Party

Although, in the UK, republican[5] can refer to an advocate of a united Ireland, the abbreviation does not appear to apply to that usage.

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"in charge " = IC

The abbreviation i/c[2,5] can be short for either:
  • (especially in military contexts) in charge (of) ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations
  • in command (of) ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
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Doric[5] (noun) is a classical order of architecture characterized by a sturdy fluted column and a thick square abacus* resting on a rounded moulding.

* The abacus[5] is the flat slab on top of a capital[5] (the distinct, typically broader section at the head of a pillar or column), supporting the architrave[5] (a main beam resting across the tops of columns).

25d Thought /that's/ within: inside, always (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]   - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced 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)
[14]   - CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]   - CollinsDictionary.com (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )



Signing off for today — Falcon