Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018 — Pistols at Dawn

Introduction

I was going to suggest that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon should not seriously eat into your Olympics-viewing time today. However, the comment from our first visitor indicates that not everyone found it as easy as I did.

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   Checkered fabric // shreds completely (10)

TATTERS|ALL — TATTERS (shreds) + ALL (completely)

Tattersall[5] (also tattersall check) is a woollen fabric with a pattern of coloured checks and intersecting lines, resembling a tartan.

8a   Due // nothing before building extension (5)

O|WING — O (nothing; letter that looks like a zero) preceding (before) WING (building extension)

9a   Card // cheat taking in press and TV (8)

CO(MEDIA)N — CON (cheat) containing (taking in) MEDIA (press and TV)

10a   Name noted orphan’s // caretakers (7)

N|ANNIE|S — N (name; abbrev.) + ANNIE (noted orphan; comic strip character Little Orphan Annie[7]) + S ('s)

11a   Gets to // see arch reconstructed (7)

REACHES* — anagram (reconstructed) of SEE ARCH

13a   Calibrate spread // of germs (9)

BACTERIAL* — anagram (spread) of CALIBRATE

15a   West Side Story character/’s/ masculine song (5)

M|ARIA — M (masculine; abbrev.) + ARIA (song; operatic solo)

Maria is the female protagonist in the musical West Side Story[7] which was originally performed on Broadway in 1957.

17a   Fork out // penny aboard ship (5)

S(P)END — P (penny) contained in (aboard) SEND (ship)

Although Canadians commonly refer to a one cent coin as a penny (or, at least, we did when we still had pennies), we don't use the British abbreviation for penny.

In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny[5] (plural pennies [for separate coins] or pence [for a sum of money]) is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound. The abbreviation for penny or pence is p[5].

19a   Assert CIA changed // flight (9)

STAIRCASE* — anagram (changed) of ASSERT CIA

21a   Old airline // empty toward the rear (7)

E|ASTERN — E (empty; abbrev. seen on fuel gauges) + ASTERN (toward the rear)

Eastern Air Lines[7] was a major American airline founded in 1926 as Pitcairn Aviation. Once one of the "Big Four" US domestic airlines, it suffered financially following deregulation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Strained by labour disputes and high debt loads and weakened by a corporate restructuring, Eastern ran out of money and was liquidated in 1991.

23a   Chant with piano /and/ snare (7)

MANTRA|P — MANTRA (chant) + (with) P (piano; abbrev. as musical direction to play softly)

In addition to being a sexually aggressive woman, a mantrap[3] is a trap for catching people, especially trespassers or poachers.

24a   Smooth, shiny quality /of/ new sax is different (8)

WAXINESS* — anagram (different) of NEW WAX IS

25a   Dramatist // ad-libs entrance near the middle (5)

_IBS|EN_ — hidden (near the middle; i.e., a bit off-centre) in ad-lIBS ENtrance

Henrik Ibsen[5] (1828–1906) was a Norwegian dramatist. He is credited with being the first major dramatist to write tragedy about ordinary people in prose. Ibsen’s later works, such as The Master Builder (1892), deal increasingly with the forces of the unconscious and were admired by Sigmund Freud. Other notable works: Peer Gynt (1867), A Doll’s House (1879), Ghosts (1881).

26a   Misplaced anger riled // crime boss (10)

RINGLEADER* — anagram (misplaced) of ANGER RILED

Down

1d   End of a joke // excited a tingle (3,4)

{TAG LINE}* — anagram (excited) of A TINGLE

In addition to meaning slogan, tag line[3,4,11] (or tagline) is also another term for punch line.

2d   Folds // formal suit for the audience (5)

TUCKS~ — sounds like (for the audience) TUX (formal suit; short for tuxedo)

Here and There
Tuxedo[5] is the North American term for a garment that Brits would call a dinner jacket.

3d   De la Mare’s funny // lady of fiction (9)

ESMERALDA* — anagram (funny) of DE LA MARES

Esméralda[7] is a fictional character in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Scratching the Surface
Walter de la Mare[5] (1873–1956) was an English poet, known particularly for his verse for children. Notable works: The Listeners (1912); full name Walter John de la Mare.

4d   Small room housing concept // weapon (7)

S(IDEA)RM — {S (small; abbrev.) + RM (room; abbrev.)} containing (housing) IDEA (concept)

5d   Heals broken // collar attachment (5)

LEASH* — anagram (broken) of HEALS

6d   Matter before foundation involving one // jazzman (5,5)

COUNT BAS(I)E — COUNT (matter) preceding (before) BASE (foundation) containing (involving) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

Count Basie[5] (1904–1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, and bandleader; born William Basie. In 1935 he formed a big band, known as the Count Basie Orchestra, which became one of the most successful bands of the swing era.

7d   Salt lodged in tree // top (8)

PIN(NACL)E — NACL (salt) contained in (lodged in) PINE (tree)

The scientific name for common table salt is sodium chloride, the chemical symbol for which is NaCl — a combination of the chemical symbols for sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl).

12d   False pretenses about a // monster of the deep (3,7)

{SE(A) SERPENT}* — an anagram (false) of PRETENSES containing (about) A (†)

14d   Phony // portion of raisins in cereal (9)

_INS|IN|CERE_ — hidden in (portion of) raisINS IN CEREal

16d   For the second time, nab // place to sit down? (8)

REAR|REST — split (4,4), the solution would denote a spot to plunk one's derrière

18d   Yale student dividing manure // in a one-on-one fight (7)

DU(ELI)NG — ELI (Yale student) contained in (dividing) DUNG (manure)

A Yale University student or alumnus is known informally as an Eli[7] (after Yale founder Elihu Yale).

20d   Shorter // dash level (7)

RUN|TIER — RUN (dash) + TIER (level)

22d   Wise guy // did laps before one (5)

SWAM|I — SWAM (did laps) preceding (before) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

In North American English*, a swami[12] is a learned person.

* Swami[12] is originally a Hindu term meaning lord or master used as a title of respect, especially for a Hindu religious teacher.

23d   Medium employed // thought (5)

M|USED — M (medium; abbrev. used to mark the size of clothing) + USED (employed)

Epilogue

The title of today's review is inspired by the symmetrically-positioned 18d and 4d.
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, February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018 — DT 28574

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28574
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, November 2, 2017
Setter
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28574]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Kath
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ / ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
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Legend:
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved

Introduction

I needed a bit of help from my electronic assistants on three clues to finish this puzzle. Of the three, two might have been "gettable" given more time but I don't think I would have gotten 19d in a month of Sundays.

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   Goes over // river expanse capsizing (6)

4a   Heckles // a bishop in seconds (8)

"bishop" = RR (show explanation )

Right Reverend[5] (abbreviation RR[2]) is a title given to a bishop, especially in the Anglican Church ⇒ the Right Reverend David Jenkins, Bishop of Durham.

hide explanation



Barrack is a British* term meaning to Jeer loudly at (someone performing or speaking in public) in order to express disapproval or to distract them (i) opponents barracked him when he addressed the opening parliamentary session; (ii) the disgraceful barracking that came from the mob.

* On the other hand, in Australia and New Zealand barrack for means to give support and encouragement to I take it you'll be barracking for Labour tonight?.

9a   Guard // dispatched by railway (6)

10a   City // over in Europe's less urbanised (8)

11a   Confound, // so a hint's in order (8)

13a   Tenant // not so level periodically (6)

15a   Simple // routine upset about including new start (13)

18a   Tireless // debating if ale is drunk (13)

22a   Authority /of/ old people holding line (6)

"line" = L (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

In modern day usage*, an oracle[5] is a person or thing regarded as an infallible authority on something he reigned supreme as the Colonial Office's oracle on Africa.

* In classical antiquity, an oracle[5] was a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from the gods.

24a   Name jerk admitting single currency /is/ unstable (8)

The euro[5] is the single European currency, which replaced the national currencies of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands in 2002. Nineteen member states of the European Union now use the euro.

26a   One dines on one's own! (8)

27a   Bore /in/ scrap round end of bar (6)

28a   Blow // from wind is astern (8)

29a   Begin reading only without serious effort initially (6)

This type of clue is variously referred to as an initialism or an acrostic. The entire clue provides the wordplay which consists of indicator (the portion of the clue marked with a dashed underline) plus fodder (the portion of the clue marked with a solid underline). The fodder also provides the definition.

Down


1d   Artist's style almost /becoming/ rogue (6)

"artist" = RA (show explanation )

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[10]) is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts[5] (also Royal Academy; abbreviation also RA[10]), an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. 

hide explanation

Style[5] is used in the sense of to designate with a particular name, description, or title ⇒ the official is styled principal and vice chancellor of the university.

2d   Understood // criminal's genuine, touching judge's heart (9)

3d   Vegetable // crop is below standard (7)

5d   Queen about to lift // port by the Med (4)

"Queen" = ER (show explanation )

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.

hide explanation



The Med[5] is an informal, British name for the Mediterranean Sea.

Acre[5] is an industrial seaport of Israel.

6d   Most optimistic /with/ one's love rising during sleep (7)

"love" = O (show explanation )

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).

hide explanation

7d   Battle on board // revolutionary ship (5)

"revolutionary" = CHE (show explanation )

Che Guevara[7] (1928–1967) was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

hide explanation

On the seas of Crosswordland, you will rarely encounter a ship that is not a steamship (abbreviation SS[5]).

8d   Uncertainty /of/ Sun's leader writers in employ (8)

Here and There
The setter has almost certainly used "writer" in the sense of an implement used for writing. While North American dictionaries define pen[3,11] as a writer or an author ⇒ a hired pen, British dictionaries do not list this meaning although they do show pen[2,4] (or the pen[5,10]) as symbolically denoting writing as an occupation.

Scratching the Surface
The Sun[7] is a daily tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland by a division of News UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian-born American publisher and media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Leader[10] (also called leading article) is a mainly British term for the leading editorial in a newspaper.

12d   Sniffs out // small change in France (6)

A cent[5] is a monetary unit in various countries*, equal to one hundredth of a dollar, euro, or other decimal currency unit. However, in Britain — despite having adopted a decimal currency system — one hundredth of a pound is known as a penny rather than a cent.

* Collins English Dictionary exhaustively defines cent[10] as a monetary unit of American Samoa, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brunei, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United States, the Vatican City, the Virgin Islands, and Zimbabwe. It is worth one hundredth of their respective standard units.

14d   The French fever /for/ Union (6)

"the French" = LE (show explanation )

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

hide explanation

Ague[5] is an archaic term for:
  • malaria or another illness involving fever and shivering
  • a fever or shivering fit



A league[5] is a collection of people, countries, or groups that combine for mutual protection or cooperation the League of Nations.*

* League[5] is an archaic term for an agreement or alliance. The League of Nations[5] was an association of countries established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles to promote international cooperation and achieve international peace and security. It was powerless to stop Italian, German, and Japanese expansionism leading to the Second World War, and was replaced by the United Nations in 1945.

16d   Upset /seeing/ husband in public squabble (9)

17d   Fell embracing fabulous creature /getting/ separated (8)

In fantasy literature and games, an orc[10] is a member of an imaginary race of evil goblins, especially in the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien.

What did she say?
In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Kath describes an orc as a mythological fierce sea-monster
I initially thought this to be a rather obscure reference that Kath has managed to dig up, only to discover that it comes directly from The Chambers Dictionary — which, by the way, is the only dictionary in which I found this meaning listed.

The only other reference that I could find to such a creature is l'Orco[7] (the orc), a gigantic sea monster that is one of the fantastic creatures in Orlando furioso[7] (The Frenzy of Orlando or, more literally, Raging Roland), an epic poem by Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533). The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532.

19d   Bolts securing practically ancient // buildings (7)

Bolt[5] is used in the sense of to move or run away suddenly in an attempt to escape they bolted down the stairs.



Folly, in this sense, is not a term with which I am familiar. After my electronic helpers suggested it as a candidate, my folly was in ignoring it for a considerable period of time, having dismissed it as improbable.

A folly[5] is a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.

Behind the Picture
In her review, Kath shows a picture of a Gothic Revival folly in Shotover Park, Oxfordshire, England. Given that Kath is a resident of Oxford, this would be pretty much in her own back yard.

20d   Simpler to accept this compiler's turning // crazier (7)

""this compiler's" = IM (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.

Today, the setter has made the scenario slightly more complicated by combining "this compiler" with the verb "to be" producing "this compiler's" (a contraction of "this compiler is") which must be replaced by "I'm" (a contraction of "I am").

hide explanation



Barmy[5] (adjective) is an informal British term meaning:
  • mad; crazy ⇒ I thought I was going barmy at first
  • extremely foolish ⇒ this is a barmy decision

21d   Southern church concealing fringe // programme (6)

"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

23d   Provokes having first cut // relations (5)

25d   Nude // apart from last item of costume (4)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
[12] - CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018 — DT 28573

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28573
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28573]
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

Introduction

Today's puzzle from Jay is a bit more gentle than the one we were served yesterday.

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   Rough guides for those needing a lift? (5,2,5)

I see this clue as a cryptic definition comprising a 'precise definition' ("rough guides") combined with 'cryptic elaboration' which I have marked with a dashed underline (see the extensive discussion on this type of clue in yesterday's blog).

9a   Giant // injured groin with sumo wrestling (9)

Ginormous[3,4] is an informal term or slang meaning extremely large.

Origin: 20th century, blend of giant or gigantic and enormous

10a   Understood // source of interest in diplomacy (5)

11a   A mistake, vacuously chasing crazy // Frenchwoman (6)

Madame[5] is a title or form of address used of or to a French-speaking woman, corresponding to Mrs.

12a   Saying /that's/ popular within total golf (8)

Golf[5] is a code word representing the letter G, used in radio communication.

13a   Greeting // mother, regrettably coming back (6)

Salaam[5] is a common greeting in many Arabic-speaking and Muslim countries.

15a   Critics /of/ these often found on the door (8)

18a   Wealth /of/ guild regularly viewed in old money (8)

Pence[5] is a plural form* of penny[5], a British bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound and the smallest denomination in Britain's modern decimal currency system.

* Both pence and pennies have existed as plural forms of penny since at least the 16th century. The two forms now tend to be used for different purposes: pence refers to sums of money (five pounds and sixty-nine pence) while pennies refers to the coins themselves (I left two pennies on the table). The use of pence rather than penny as a singular (the chancellor will put one pence on income tax) is not regarded as correct in standard English.

Scratching the Surface
A guild[10] (especially in medieval Europe) is an association of men sharing the same interests, such as merchants or artisans: formed for mutual aid and protection and to maintain craft standards or pursue some other purpose such as communal worship.

19a   Poles must anticipate urge // to grass (6)

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.

21a   The girl's in a depression, /being/ a follower (8)

23a   Enough to satisfy head of Interpol before power // boost (6)

"power" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Scratching the Surface
Interpol[10] (acronym for International Criminal Police Organization) is an association of over 100 national police forces, devoted chiefly to fighting international crime.

26a   Good communist limits Eastern // hunger (5)

"good" = G (show explanation )

The abbreviation G[10] for good likely relates to its use in grading school assignments or tests.

hide explanation

27a   Person who shares // Spooner's dislike of rodents? (9)

28a   Pair (English) confronting extravagant // forward (12)

Down

1d   Resort merges restricting island // systems (7)

As an anagram indicator, "resort" is used in the somewhat whimsical sense of 'to sort again'.

2d   Curtains may be so // connected with no end of work (5)

3d   Second offence will include periodical // brawl (9)

4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)

"fellow" = F (show explanation )

F[2] is the abbreviation for Fellow (of a society, etc). For instance, it is found in professional designations such as FRAIC (Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada).

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

5d   The man's Italian and worker/'s/ uncertain (8)

"Italian" = IT, in reference to either the country or the vermouth (show explanation )

This cluing might be explained in a couple of ways:
  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italian (or Italy).

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is an informal, dated British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.
hide explanation

"worker" = ANT (show explanation )

The word "worker" and the phrase "social worker" are commonly used in cryptic crossword puzzles to clue ANT or BEE.

A worker[5] is a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, or other social insect, large numbers of which do the basic work of the colony.

In crossword puzzles, "worker" will most frequently be used to clue ANT and occasionally BEE but I have yet to see it used to clue WASP. Of course, "worker" is sometimes also used to clue HAND or MAN.

hide explanation

6d   Time in simple // measure (5)

7d   Chance /of/ Ant and Dec being relocated around the Channel Islands? (8)

The Channel Islands[5] (abbreviation CI[5]) are a group of islands in the English Channel off the northwestern coast of France, of which the largest are Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney. Formerly part of the dukedom of Normandy, they have owed allegiance to England since the Norman Conquest in 1066, and are now classed as Crown dependencies.

Scratching the Surface
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, known collectively as Ant & Dec[7], are an English comedy TV presenting [hosting], television producing, acting and former music duo from Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

8d   Street's houses get old // steps (6)

14d   This may be canned /and/ used as medicine, proverbially (8)

By inference, the phrase "this may be" is part of the second definition which could be written as "This may be canned /and/ this can be used as medicine, proverbially".

16d   Happy to cross one new // area of our planet (9)

17d   A container like this /is needed for/ prickly plant (8)

The acanthus[5] is a herbaceous plant or shrub with bold flower spikes and spiny decorative leaves, found in warm regions of the Old World.

18d   Fruit /and/ duck on kitchen stove (6)

"duck" = O (show explanation )

In cricket, a duck[5] (short for duck's egg) is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

In British puzzles, "duck" is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

hide explanation

Here and There
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, you may note that Miffypops specifically refers to a range as "a large kitchen stove".

Brits would use the term cooker[10] in the sense that North Americans use the word range, namely a stove used for cooking food. In Britain, the term range[5] has a much more restricted meaning, being a large cooking stove with burners or hotplates and one or more ovens, all of which are kept continually hot. This latter characteristic ("kept continually hot") seems to be the determining factor in deciding whether or not an appliance is considered to be a range. Thus stoves heated by solid fuel (wood or coal) and oil would almost certainly be ranges while stoves heated by gas or electricity would generally not be ranges (provided that the burners and ovens could be turned off when not in use).

Behind the Picture
Does the illustration used by Miffypops in his review constitute his idea of breakfast in bed?

20d   Unfortunate // student in poor shape finishes at last (7)

"student" = L (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

22d   Horseman/'s/ answer ignored by attacker (5)

24d   Partly fill an order /that's/ plain (5)

Llano[5] (from Spanish) is a South American term for a treeless grassy plain.

25d   Stick around a // Pacific island (4)

Gum[3] is used in the sense of to fix in place with gum.

Here and There
Technically, glue[3] and gum[3] are two different classes of adhesive, with the former being obtained by boiling collagenous animal parts such as bones, hides, and hooves while the latter is exuded by certain plants and trees.

I personally would be more likely to refer to any sticky substance (or the process of using it) as glue rather than gum. However, I suspect the term gum may be more commonly used in the UK than it is in North America.

Guam[5] is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands, administered as an unincorporated territory of the US. Guam was ceded to the US by Spain in 1898.
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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 — DT 28572

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28572
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28572]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr Kitty
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

In an interesting fluke of timing, this puzzle which appeared in the UK on Halloween shows up in Canada on Valentine's Day.

On the day this puzzle was published in Britain, the English were bemoaning the introduction of the American custom of Halloween and reminiscing about Fireworks Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night) (show explanation ) which takes place a few days later on November 5. A Scottish commenter replies that "We have always celebrated Halloween in Scotland".

Guy Fawkes[5] (1570–1606) was an English conspirator. He was hanged for his part in the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605. The occasion is commemorated annually on Bonfire Night with fireworks, bonfires, and the burning of a guy*.

* Guy[5] is a British term for a figure representing Guy Fawkes, burnt on a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night, and often displayed by children begging for money for fireworks.

In the UK, November 5th is known as Bonfire Night[5], on which bonfires and fireworks are lit in memory of the Gunpowder Plot*, traditionally including the burning of an effigy of Guy Fawkes.

* The Gunpowder Plot[5,7] was a conspiracy by a small group of Catholic extremists to blow up James I and his Parliament during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605 by detonating 36 barrels of gunpowder hidden beneath the House of Lords. The explosives were discovered during a search of Parliament at about midnight on November 4th.

hide explanation

As for other matters, in a comment in the thread arising from Comment #34 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, BusyLizzie (a British expat living in the US) writes "We are probably too excited re Mr Mueller’s actions to concentrate". On October 31, 2017, The New York Times reported "The first charges in the investigation by Robert Mueller into Russian ties to the Trump campaign did not implicate the president but “collectively amounted to a political body blow”".

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   Track // restoration of Sacre Coeur (10)

Scratching the Surface
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris[7], commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.

6a   Dairy product // formed the wrong way (4)

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

10a   Puzzle // remnant (5)

11a   Actor, // terrible at reading (9)

A tragedian[5] is an actor who specializes in tragic roles.

12a   Smart clothes also /showing/ status (8)

13a   Bay // allowed to trail in (5)

15a   Work // in secret a reporter sent back (7)

17a   Remarkably easy, he having bagged fifty /as/ batter? (7)

Does this clue really work?
A person bats their eyelashes, but I can find no evidence that suggests that eyelashes themselves can be said to bat? Thus are eyelashes not battees rather than batters.

If they only knew!
The Brits, usually quick to pounce on any incursion by US English, appeared to be oblivious to the fact that bat[5] meaning to flutter (one's eyelashes or eyelids), typically in a flirtatious manner, is originally a US expression, from dialect and US bat 'to wink, blink', variant of obsolete bate 'to flutter'.

19a   Buried in waste, America // put off (7)

21a   Plan // talk ending in discussion (7)

22a   Person flying // towards brink, backwards (5)

24a   Short interval // in game, no time seemingly for comeback? (8)

In music, a semitone[3] is an interval equal to a half tone in the standard diatonic scale. In North America*, a semitone is also known as a half step or halftone.

* Although Oxford Dictionaries characterizes semitone[5] as a British term, that does not appear to be the case. While semitone does seem to be the only term used in Britain, other dictionaries indicate that all three terms (semitone[3,4,10,11], half step[3,4,5,10,11] and halftone[3,4,5,10,11]) are used in North America.

Another way to look at it, a semitone[12] is the difference in pitch between any two immediately adjacent keys on the piano.

27a   Faint design // ends on hot pipe, boarding cosy old ship (9)

Ark[5] is an archaic name for a ship or boat. The best known example is undoubtedly Noah's ark[5], the ship in which Noah, his family, and the animals were saved from the Flood, according to the biblical account (Gen. 6-8).

28a   Dance // beat has energy (5)

29a   River and powdered lava /in/ eruption (4)

30a   Man soon set to build -- // builder! (10)

Down

1d   Tear // grass (4)

2d   For a start, satisfaction in cryptic clues not // infinite (9)

3d   Chicken // wearing hat? (5)

Mr Kitty calls this a "male chicken" — however, one who is definitely not so male as he once was.

4d   University books on drink, // free (7)

In Crosswordland, the phrase "religious books" — or, as in this clue, merely the word "books" — is commonly used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). Today, as is frequently the case, the clue provides no indication whether the reference is to the former or the latter.

5d   Under lid of sparkly piano, view // shiny disc (7)

"piano" = P (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Spangle[10] is another term for sequin.

7d   Exercise // a bit on this? (5)

Before discussing the parsing of the clue as presented above, let's look at how I arrived at this parsing.

When I solved the puzzle, I saw this clue as a simple cryptic definition:
  • Exercise a bit on this? (5)
in which exercise[10] is being used in the sense of to put into use or employ. Thus one would use a bit on a drill in order to bore a hole in some material such as wood or metal. The expectation of the setter. of course, would be that the solver will go astray thinking of some sort of exercise apparatus such as a trampoline, for instance.

In his review, Mr Kitty points out something that had not occurred to me. That is, that the word "exercise" could be a 'precise definition' for DRILL (actually in more than one context; e.g., a military or academic training exercise).

He goes on to suggest that the phrase "a bit on this" is 'cryptic elaboration' (a term he credits to yours truly). This gave me pause to reconsider my parsing of the clue. However, as humbled as I am to see him pick up an idea from my blog, and after due consideration, I don't see how this explanation applies in the case of this clue. When I speak of cryptic elaboration, I am referring to a situation where the 'precise definition' is often anything but precise but instead is very broad and the cryptic elaboration serves to limit the range of possibilities. For example, in DT 28560 (by shear coincidence a puzzle reviewed by Mr Kitty on Big Dave's Crossword Blog) the following clue appeared:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit". Given the numeration, this could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. The 'cryptic elaboration' is "whichever way you look at it" which indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices. The part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clues). Rather it provides additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

This situation is not present in today's clue. If we take "exercise" to be a precise definition of DRILL, it is being used in an entirely different sense (i.e., a military or academic training exercise) from what Mr Kitty labels the "cryptic elaboration" which relates to a tool for boring holes.

However, as I write this, I realize that were one to make a tiny adjustment to Mr Kitty's analysis of the clue, the clue could actually be seen to be a double definition (which I believe is the best explanation of all):
  • Exercise // a bit on this? (5)
This is a construct that I have seen on occasion where a definition is cryptically phrased in the form of a question. In plain English, the latter part of this clue could be expressed as "something to which one would attach a bit".

So the first part of the clue is a precise definition of a training exercise and the second part is a cryptic definition of a tool for boring holes.

Here we have different people seeing the clue in different ways — or even one person seeing the clue in multiple ways. In my experience, it is not unusual for there to sometimes be more than one valid interpretation for a clue.

8d   Insignificant worker, // one keeping going round the clock? (6,4)

9d   Tenant perhaps /offering/ regular payment to save face (8)

14d   Engine's stable capacity? (10)

Although I have marked this clue as a cryptic definition, one could almost consider this to be a cryptic definition consisting of a 'precise definition' and 'cryptic elaboration' (see discussion at 7d) which one might mark as:
  • Engine's stable capacity? (10)
In this case, the precise definition would be "engine's ... capacity" and the cryptic elaboration would be provided by the word "stable" (which points us in the direction of HORSEPOWER versus some other measure of engine capacity such as LITRE).

After some deliberation, I chose to mark the clue as a simple cryptic definition rather than a 'precise definition' wrapped around 'cryptic elaboration', for the reason cited by Mr Kitty in his review, namely "cryptic convention does not allow for the definition to be split as that [latter] interpretation would require".

16d   Flower at the bottom of a fresh // hole (8)

Flower is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of something that flows — in other words, a river.

The River Ure[7] is a stream in North Yorkshire, England, approximately 74 miles (119 km) long from its source to the point where it changes name to the River Ouse.

18d   Copy name and numbers /in/ range (9)

The Apennines[5] are a mountain range running 1,400 km (880 miles) down the length of Italy, from the north-west to the southern tip of the peninsula.

20d   Two notes barely sufficient /for/ singer (7)

In music, the term descant[5] denotes an independent treble melody sung or played above a basic melody A soaring girl soprano descant adds another heavenly layer to the already rich texture.

Just as the terms bass, tenor, alto and soprano can refer to the singers who perform these respective voice parts, it would seem that descant can mean the singer who performs the descant part[7]. However, according to Wikipedia, this connotation was current in the late medieval period.

21d   Family after shoe, // orange leathery thing (7)

23d   Flower, // third of fourteen in a large bunch (5)

Lotus[2] is the name of several species of water lily.
  • a species of water lily sacred to the ancient Egyptians and often depicted in Egyptian art
  • either of two species of water lily belonging to a separate genus, widely cultivated as ornamental plants, one native to Asia, with pink flowers and traditionally associated with Buddhism and Hinduism, and the other native to southern USA, with yellow flowers
The lotus of Greek mythology was not a water lily but the fruit of the jujube shrub, used by the ancient Greeks to make bread and wine, consumption of which was thought to produce a state of blissful and dreamy forgetfulness.

25d   Transport minister’s first // item that’s revered (5)

26d   Sad // wife hugged by professor (4)

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