Friday, January 28, 2022

Friday, January 28, 2022 — DT 29813


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29813
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, October 22, 2021
Setter
Zandio
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29813]
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

Zandio's puzzles always exhibit an element of quirkiness and today's is no different.

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 Issue bullet that's harmless // at close range (5-5)

6a Second in // craft (4)

9a Shocking // forbidden passion -- love found by you and me (10)

"love " = O [nil score in tennis]

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

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10a Good to get massage /and/ something to eat (4)

"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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12a Like a play on words lacking core // discipline (6)

13a More intelligent // British having longer showers? (8)

15aFriend in form? (12)

In Britain, a form[5] is [or, perhaps more correctly,was] a class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number. This is similar to the North America concept of a grade although the numbering system for forms and grades are vastly different. (show more )

The term "form" seems to have become passé as Miffypops in his review of DT 28163 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog refers to "sixth-former" as "What a schoolchild would be during the year before university back in the old days. This would now be known as year 13 or 14." Furthermore, Wikipedia (see table below) characterizes the term "form" as an "alternative/old name".

A form[7] is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.

Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower [in general, this would seem to apply primarily for the sixth form]. Usually the sixth form is the senior form of a school [although this apparently does not hold true for New Zealand where they would appear to have a seventh form]. In England, the sixth form is usually divided into two year groups, the lower sixth and upper sixth, owing to the 3-year English college/university system. In Scotland or North America, the 6th form is usually a single year, owing to the 4-year college/university system. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms [in the foregoing quotation witness Miffypops' reference to "year 14",  a term which does not appear in the table below].

Wikipedia would appear to be at best ambiguous and at worst inconsistent on the relationship between the British and American systems of naming school years. The article from which the table below is excerpted shows that the British first form is equivalent to the American 6th grade. On the other hand, the article cited above states "In North America, the 1st Form (or sometimes 'Form I') is equivalent to 7th Grade." However, this latter statement may in fact be a comparison between the few North American schools to use the form system and the vast majority of North American schools that don't rather than a comparison between British and American schools.

Naming of School Years (British System vs American System)[7]
 Age RangeBritish SystemAmerican System
NameAlternative/Old NameName
11-12Year 7First form6th grade
12-13Year 8Second form7th grade
13-14Year 9Third form8th grade
14-15Year 10Fourth form9th grade
15-16Year 11Fifth form10th grade
16-17Year 12Lower sixth form11th grade
17-18Year 13Upper sixth form12th grade

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Schoolfellow[5] is a more formal term for schoolmate.

18a Feel war should be replaced, say, /in/ this social system (7,5)

21a After reflection during Whitsun, I'm retiring -- // end of the line (8)

Scratching the Surface
Whitsun[5] is the weekend or week including Whit Sunday[5] (also called Pentecost; US Whitsunday) which is the seventh Sunday after Easter, a Christian festival commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2).

22a Very cold spell -- // one bear's home, perhaps conserving energy (3,3)

"energy " = E [symbol used in physics]

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy in mathematical formulae ⇒ E = mc2.

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24a Maiden about to meet king/'s/ brother (4)

"maiden "  = M [scoreless over in cricket]

In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over and denoted on cricket scorecards by the abbreviation m.[10], is an over* in which no runs are scored.

* 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.

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25a Mail unfair in review /for/ novel (10)

26a Outstanding student /in/ head-to-head fight (4)

"student " = L [driver under instruction]

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.

Automobile displaying an L-plate

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27a Using odd bits of turkey, guys cook American -- // awesome! (10)

Possibly, cook[5] is being used in the sense of to prepare food but I wonder if it might instead be used in the sense of alter dishonestly or falsify  cook the books.

Do[5] is an informal British term meaning to swindle It was only after travelling to Amsterdam and meeting the fraudsters that she became suspicious and contacted police, who told her: ‘Sorry, but you've been done.’.

Down

1d Encourage // seafront exercises (6)

Prom[5] is an informal British short form for promenade[5], a paved* public walk, typically one along the seafront at a resort.

* In Britain, pave[5] means to cover (a piece of ground) with flat stones or bricks—not asphalt.

PT[10] is the abbreviation for physical training[10], an old-fashioned term for training and practice in sports, gymnastics, etc, as in schools and colleges.

2d Games console given without wrapping --/that's/ mean (6)

Nintendo Co., Ltd.[7] is a Japanese multinational video game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan that develops video games and video game consoles.

3d Crane's action when flying // across the Atlantic? (12)

The question mark indicates this is a definition by example; the solution would be equally applicable had the clue been phrased "... across the Pacific".

4d Told a tale /showing/ origins of love in 'Edwin Drood' (4)

Scratching the Surface
The Mystery of Edwin Drood[7] is the final novel by English author Charles Dickens (1812–1870), originally published in 1870.

The novel turned out to be more of a mystery than intended. It was scheduled to be published in twelve instalments from April 1870 to February 1871, of which only six were completed before Dickens's death in 1870. Dickens left no detailed plan for the remaining instalments or solution to the novel's mystery.

5d Sitting on the fence -- // Tyne ritual when drunk (10)

Scratching the Surface
Despite being unable to find confirmation in any of my reference sources, I presume that Tyne is a shortened version of Tyneside[5], the name of an industrial region on the banks of the River Tyne, in northeastern England, stretching from Newcastle upon Tyne to the coast.

7d Awful // run with kid falling in burrow (8)

"run " = R [cricket notation]

On cricket scorecards [not to mention baseball scoreboards], the abbreviation R[5] denotes run(s).

In cricket, a run[5] is a unit of scoring achieved by hitting the ball so that both batsmen are able to run between the wickets, or awarded in some other circumstances.

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8dKnockout round involving locals? (3,5)

Local[5] is an informal British term for a pub convenient to a person’s home ⇒ had a pint in the local.

Visitors to Big Dave's Crossword Blog propose various interpretations of the sense in which "knockout" is used in the cryptic reading of the clue. Like Margaret at Comment #19, I supposed it was alluding to the possibility that the volume of alcohol consumed might leave some participants in an unconscious state.

Scratching the Surface
Knockout[5] is a British term* for a tournament in which the loser in each round is eliminated ⇒ At the Games there will be eight teams in each competition battling it out in pools, followed by the knockout rounds.

* a British term according to Lexico, although I somehow doubt they hold exclusive rights to it

11dHitchcock, say, would do this // kind of political manoeuvre (6,6)

The first part of the clue is what I think of as a descriptive definition; a literal interpretation of the solution describes something that Alfred Hitchcock might well do during the filming of his movies.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock[5,7] (1899–1980) was an English* film director, producer, and screenwriter who has been called the "Master of Suspense". (show more )

* A British citizen by birth, Hitchcock became an American citizen in 1955.

Acclaimed in Britain for films such as The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935), he moved to Hollywood in 1939. Among his later works, notable for their suspense and their technical ingenuity, are the thrillers Strangers on a Train (1951), Psycho (1960), and The Birds (1963).

Known by the nickname Hitch[7], he is also well known for his cameo roles in most of his films.

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Direct action[5] is the use of strikes, demonstrations, or other public forms of protest rather than negotiation to achieve one's demands ⇒ protestors took direct action by chaining themselves to bulldozers.

14d Behind European athlete, // one that came first (10)

"European " = E [as in E number]

E[1,2] is the abbreviation for European (as in E number*).

* An E number[1,4,10,14] (or E-number[2,5]) is any of various identification codes required by EU law, consisting of the letter E (for European) followed by a number, that are used to denote food additives such as colourings and preservatives (but excluding flavourings) that have been approved by the European Union.

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16d Ordered to wed, Tim // was unfaithful (3-5)

17d Barrier placed around Lima or // another city (8)

"Lima " = L [NATO Phonetic Alphabet]

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

* officially the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet

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Florence[5] is a city in west central Italy, the capital of Tuscany, on the River Arno. (show more )

Florence was a leading centre of the Italian Renaissance from the 14th to the 16th century, especially under the rule of the Medici family during the 15th century.

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19d Turned over in pontoon, I sacrificed // fortune needed to win here (6)

Scratching the Surface
Pontoon[5] is a British name for the card game or vingt-et-un (known in North America as blackjack[5]).

20d Design has been put into that man's // suit (6)

23d North-bound motorway service // area for pigs? (4)

Motorway[2,5] (abbreviation M[5]) is a British, Australian, and New Zealand term for a dual-carriageway road [divided highway] designed for fast-moving traffic, especially one with three lanes per carriageway [direction of travel] and limited access and exit points [controlled access].

"service " = RAF

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).

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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, January 27, 2022

Thursday, January 27, 2022 — DT 29812


Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29812
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29812]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog review written by
Miffypops
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
Notes
* The BD Rating may be meaningless as Miffypops has frequently stated that he never changes it from its default value (***/***). In cases where the BD Rating on his reviews has been changed from the default value, it has been done by someone else such as Big Dave or crypticsue.

Introduction

There's a diverse mix of clues in this puzzle from Giovanni and I added a couple of new words to my memory bank. Unfortunately, my memory bank is a bit like my physical filing system—the fact that an item has been filed does not necessarily mean that it can readily be retrieved!

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 Act gloomily, troubled /by/ this study of global warming etc? (11)

9a Manage // to come through cardiac operation (4)

10a In favour of attacking /and/ advancing (11)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops refers to the the beginning of the solution as a thee-letter proposition ....
This would appear to be a conflation of 'pro' and 'preposition'—or, perhaps, merely a simple typo.

11a The music coming from / birds? / The opposite! (4)

The phrase "the opposite" is an inverted logic indicator which tells the solver to invert (or reverse) the logic or meaning of the statement immediately preceding it. Doing so leads one to reinterpret the wordplay as "Birds coming from the music".

This clue construction effectively places the definition in the middle of the wordplay. While this is a rarely seen phenomenon, we did see another example as recently as yesterday—albeit in a clue employing a different cryptic device.



The emu[5] is a large flightless fast-running Australian bird resembling the ostrich, with shaggy gray or brown plumage, bare blue skin on the head and neck, and three-toed feet.

14a Form of rap embraced by this unconventional // musician (7)

16a Strain to bite around // hard bit of food (4,3)

A pine nut[5] is the edible seed of various pine trees.

17a Girls with a misplaced /and/ greedy king (5)

In Greek mythology, Midas[5] was a king of Phrygia, who, according to one story, was given by Dionysus the power of turning everything he touched into gold.

The Story Behind the Picture
According to mythology, the god Dionysus granted Midas his wish that whatever he might touch should be changed into gold ("the golden touch"[7]). One of his first acts was to turn all the roses in his garden to gold. However, when he sat down to a meal, all his food and drink turned to gold and he realized that the "gift" he had been granted was in reality a curse. When his daughter came to him distraught that the roses had lost their fragrance, he reached out to console her and she turned into a golden statue.

18a Relax /and/ laugh out loud by lake (4)

LOL[5] (or lol) is an abbreviation of laughing out loud or laugh out loud and is used [principally on social media] to draw attention to a joke or amusing statement, or to express amusement.

19a Lass having left // -- a source of irritation (4)

20a High-ranking woman // to ask for alms with hesitation (5)

Begum[5] is an Indian term for:
  • a Muslim woman of high rank
  • the title of a married Muslim woman, equivalent to Mrs.

22a Like some rocks // beast knocked over by river (7)

23a Cease to be involved with // one section of newspaper? (4-3)

A pull-out[5] is a section of a magazine, newspaper, or other publication that is designed to be detached and kept.

24a One makes a noise // disappearing -- one unseen (4)

28a Is Ruth's son one sunk in depression, // being like Adam? (11)

In the Bible, Obed[7] was a son of Boaz and Ruth, the father of Jesse, and the grandfather of David. He is named as one of Jesus' ancestors in the genealogies recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.



In the book of Genesis in the Bible, God commands Adam[7] not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, Eve convinces Adam to disobey the order and they are punished by God for their disobedience.

29a Resentful // soldiers stuck in home counties (4)

"soldiers " = OR [other ranks]

In the British armed forces, the term other ranks[5] (abbreviation OR[5]) refers to all those who are not commissioned officers.

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"home counties " = SE

The Home Counties[5] are the counties surrounding London in the south-east (SE) part of England, into which London has extended. They comprise chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire.

No exact definition of the term exists and the composition of the Home Counties remains a matter of debate. While Oxford Dictionaries restrictively lists them as being chiefly Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Hertfordshire, Wikipedia tells us that the Home Counties[7] are generally considered to include Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (although Sussex does not border London).

Other counties more distant from London, such as Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire are also sometimes included in the list due to their close proximity to the capital and their connection to the London regional economy.

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30a Abused tradesmen to // walk out in protest? (11)

Down

2d Transport vehicle with central bit set aside /for/ bird (4)

Lorry[5] is the common name in the UK for the vehicle known in North America as a truck[5]; nevertheless, the word truck also seems to be used in the UK*.

* in fact, Lexico (Oxford Dictionaries) defines lorry[5] as a truck and truck[5] as a lorry



The lory[5] is a small Australasian and southeast Asian parrot with a brush-tipped tongue for feeding on nectar and pollen, having mainly green plumage with patches of bright colour.

3d Be apathetic /as/ doctor needing exercise (4)

"doctor " = MO [medical officer]

A medical officer[5] (abbreviation MO[5]) is a doctor in charge of the health services of a civilian or military authority or other organization.

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"exercise " = PE [physical education]

PE[5] is an abbreviation* for physical education.

* In my experience, phys ed[3][11][12][14] is the more common shortened form in North America.

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4dOld city is gone round by Thomas --  contributing to this? (7)

The entire clue is a cryptic definition in which the wordplay is embedded.

"old city " = UR

Ur[5] is an ancient Sumerian city formerly on the Euphrates, in southern Iraq. It was one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, dating from the 4th millennium BC, and reached its zenith in the late 3rd millennium BC. Ur[7] is considered by many to be the city of Ur Kasdim mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the birthplace of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.

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5d Some ore? // A good deal, by the sound of it (4)

6d Book // group (7)

Genesis[5] is the first book of the Bible, which includes the stories of the creation of the world, Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.



Genesis[7] are an English rock band formed in 1967 that has undergone many changes in both membership and musical style over the course of its existence. (show more )

The most commercially successful and longest-lasting line-up consisted of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. Former members include original lead singer Peter Gabriel and guitarists Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett. The band underwent many changes in musical style over its career, from folk music to progressive rock in the 1970s, before moving towards pop at the end of the decade.

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7d 'Let's hear it for the ordinary potato' -- // one expressing opinion (11)

8d New list with variety /and/ flexibility (11)

12d Classical scholar, // I go up into hilltops distractedly (11)

A philologist is an expert in or student of philology[5], the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages.

13d Initial // pain merrily dealt with (11)

15d River // bank with black content (5)

"black " = B [grade of pencil lead]

B[5] is an abbreviation for black, as used in describing grades of pencil lead 2B pencils.

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The Tiber[5] is a river of central Italy, upon which Rome stands. It rises in the Tuscan Apennines and flows 405 km (252 miles) generally southwestwards, entering the Tyrrhenian Sea at Ostia.

16d Meet one's obligations /and/, by implication, yap (3,2)

This clue contains what I like to think of as "inverse* wordplay"—to be precise, an "inverse reversal". The solution "PAY UP" could be a reversal (up in a down clue) of PAY which would be "yap" which appears in the clue itself. The phrase "by implication" is the indicator for the inverse wordplay.

In a normal clue, wordplay in the clue generates a result that appears in the solution. In the case of inverse wordplay, all or part of the solution can be interpreted as wordplay which would generate a result that is found in the clue itself.

* This type of cryptic device is more often referred to as "reverse wordplay". Perhaps due to my background in mathematics and engineering, I prefer to think of it as "inverse wordplay" as the concept parallels that of inverse functions in mathematics. In this case, labelling the device as an "inverse reversal" also allows one to avoid the inelegant label "reverse reversal".

20d Queue at the pub? // Musician will be familiar with it (3,4)

In music notation, a bar line[5] is a vertical line used in a musical score to mark a division between bars [measures].

Here and There
A bar[7] (or measure) is a segment of time defined by a given number of beats, each of which are assigned a particular note value. The word bar is more common in British English, and the word measure is more common in American English, although musicians generally understand both usages.

Originally, the word bar derives from the vertical lines drawn through the staff (or stave) to mark off metrical units. In British English, the vertical line is also known as a bar, but often the term bar line is used in order to avoid confusion between the two meanings of bar. In American English, the word bar stands for the lines and nothing else.

* In standard Western musical notation[7], the staff[7], or stave, is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces that each represent a different musical pitch—or, in the case of a percussion staff, different percussion instruments—on which a musical score is written.

For British musicians, stave[4,5,10,14] would seem to be the name of choice whereas in North America, staff[1,2,3,11,12] is likely the more commonly used term. (show more )

Among British dictionaries, both Lexico (Oxford Dictionaries)[5] and Collins English Dictionary[4,10,14] characterize stave as a British term, while The Chambers Dictionary[1] and Chambers 21st Century Dictionary[2] do not. American dictionaries[3,11,12], on the other hand, do not seem to consider stave to be a British term. Furthermore, most dictionaries show stave[1,2,3,4,10,11,12] as an alternative term for staff[1,2,3,4,10,11]. Lexico, on the other hand, takes a contrarian view, listing staff[5] as an alternative term for stave[5].

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21d Actors /given/ holiday seasons with new introduction (7)

Here and There
The British use the word holiday(s) for what North Americans (especially our neighbours south of the border) would call vacation[5]. (read more )

Holiday[5,10] (often holidays) is a chiefly British term for a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreation ⇒ (i) I spent my summer holidays on a farm; (ii) Fred was on holiday in Spain.

According to British dictionaries, the usual US and Canadian term for such a break is vacation. However, I am accustomed to hearing the two terms used almost interchangeably in this sense—in much the same manner that I would use fall and autumn interchangeably. This may not be the case in all parts of Canada, but I grew up in the Maritimes and have lived in Eastern Ontario for most of my life, both areas where British traditions are particularly strong.

In Britain, the word vacation[5] has a very specific meaning, a fixed holiday period between terms in universities and law courts ⇒ the Easter vacation. In North America, such a period might be called a break[7].

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In the British sense of the word, the traditional "holiday season" (or, as we might say, "vacation period") is summer.



A mummer[5] is an actor in a traditional masked mime or a mummers' play.

25d Crazy // Conservative entertained by gents? (4)

"Conservative " = C [member of British political party]

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

The Conservative Party[5] is a major right of centre British political party promoting free enterprise and private ownership that emerged from the old Tory Party* under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s.

* 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.

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The gents[5] is a British term for a men's public toilet.

Loo[5] is an informal British term for a toilet [either as a room or a plumbing fixture].

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops describes the synonym for gents as A regular term for the smallest room.
The Brits appear to have nearly as many words for 'toilet' as the Inuit have for 'snow' with the smallest room[10] being yet another one.

26d Alternative to road on the rise? // One's given false account (4)

27d Insect // occupying dung naturally (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