Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 (DT 26254)

This puzzle, by Rufus, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, May 31, 2010

The National Post has skipped DT 26253 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, May 29, 2010


Crypticsue awards this puzzle only two stars for difficulty, which I guess seems about right as I had only three clues remaining unsolved when I dipped into the Tool Chest.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

Airdrie - a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Used in Solutions:

daft - adjective British informal silly; foolish: don't ask such daft questions.

Dakota - a World War II military transport aircraft developed from the Douglas DC-3 civilian airliner.

kick over the traces - Figurative to do what one is meant not to do; to rebel against authority. (Alludes to a horse that steps on the wrong side of the straps that link it to whatever it is pulling.)

laird - noun (in Scotland) a person who owns a large estate.

OM - abbreviation (in the UK) Order of Merit.

penitentiary - 1 North American a prison for people convicted of serious crimes. [Note: this word would obviously not be unfamiliar to North Americans, but the fact that the term is uniquely North American may well be - as it was to me]

RAF - abbreviation (in the UK) Royal Air Force.

rota - noun 1 British a list showing when each of a number of people has to do a particular job: a cleaning rota.

snip - noun 2 British informal a surprisingly cheap item; a bargain: the wine is a snip at £3.65

Truro - a city in Cornwall, England whose most recognisable feature is its gothic-revival Cathedral.

Today's Links

Crypticsue (a new recruit to Big Dave's stable of reviewers) provides the review of today's puzzle at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26254].

There is an interesting discussion on Big Dave's blog regarding the use of the word "on" in down clues. Among those who chime in are Rufus (the setter of today's puzzle), Phil McNeill (the crossword puzzle editor at The Daily Telegraph) and Anax (the author of a set of cryptic crossword "rules" posted on Big Dave's site).

As background, there is a convention that in across clues "A on B" means A added onto B, which customarily is BA. Seemingly, the rationale is that one can only add A to B if one has first written B. Since English is written left to right, that means that A must be written following B. Some proponents argue that this construction should also be allowed in down clues, as there is nothing inherent in this construction to limit its use to across clues.

In down clues, "A on B" may mean A on top of B. In this case, "A on B" produces AB, since we read the solution top to bottom. This construction clearly works only in a down clue. Some proponents argue that this is the only use of "A on B" that should be permitted in down clues, in order to avoid confusion between the two possible interpretations of "A on B". This argument seems a bit disingenuous to me as the whole genre of cryptic crosswords is founded on obfuscation and misdirection. How is having two possible interpretations for "A on B" different from having two possible anagram indicators in a clue (something I am sure compilers strive for, given the frequency with which this situation occurs).

In the relatively brief time that I have been solving cryptic crosswords, I have learned that there is only one "rule" that one can count on, "There is an exception to every rule" or phrased in another manner, "Rules are made to be broken".

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

30a A number in quiet surroundings provide music (8)

This device usually appears as "large number" but here it is just "number". The number we need is five hundred - but as it would appear in ancient Rome (i.e., D).

8d Joint may be worn out (6)

For me, this was the second last clue left standing. The definition is "joint" (in the sense of a marijuana cigarette) for which the solution is REEFER. Although new to me, a reefer is also a type of jacket which is obviously something which "may be worn [when one goes] out".

Three British dictionaries agree that reefer is a short form for the full name of this jacket, but they don't agree on what that full name is. Oxford has it as reefer jacket (two words), Chambers claims that it is reeferjacket (one word - although that might just be an error on the website), and Collins says that it is reefing jacket.

19d The control of the stockholder? (4,4)

Crypticsue offers one interpretation of this clue. Let me add a second possibility. One definition of stock is "the handle of something such as a whip or fishing rod". Thus the stockholder would be one's whip hand (the hand holding the whip). I note that Gazza has made a similar observation.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010 (DT 26252)

This puzzle, by Giovanni, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, May 28, 2010


Although Gazza awards this puzzle three stars for difficulty, I would have to think that it is at the lower end of the three star range. Being away from home for the day, I had no option but to persevere without the aid of my Tool Chest and I eventually succeeded in completing the puzzle. I was surprised as I worked on the review to see how many British expressions it contains. Luckily, I had seen most - if not all - in previous puzzles. However, it does show that my vocabulary of Briticisms is expanding - and hopefully my readers are similarly benefiting.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

maiden - noun 2 (also maiden over) Cricket an over in which no runs are scored.

Used in Solutions:

Arden - an area in Warwickshire, England once heavily forested and formerly known as the Forest of Arden (supposedly the setting for William Shakespeare's play As You Like It).

CC - abbreviation Cricket Club.

CS - abbreviation British Civil Service.

don1 - noun 1 British a university teacher, especially a senior member of a college at Oxford or Cambridge.

grass - verb 2 British informal inform the police of someone's criminal activities or plans: [no object] someone had grassed on the thieves; [with object] she threatened to grass me up.

L - abbreviation archaic pound(s). [Note: archaic according to Oxford]

M2 - abbreviation Cricket (on scorecards) maiden over(s).

Norman Mailer (1923 – 2007) - an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter and film director.

OS - abbreviation (as a size of clothing) outsize.

RA - abbreviation (in the UK) Royal Academician

RR - abbreviation Right Reverend, a title given to a bishop, especially in the Anglican Church.

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26252].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

12d Wolves getting on — part of the drive for promotion? (9)

Gazza says "this is nothing to do with football in spite of the surface reading". To understand his comment, one must be aware that Wolves is the name by which the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is commonly known. The remainder of the clue continues the football imagery, with promotion taking the meaning "in sport, especially football, the transfer (of a team) to a higher division or league".

Signing off for today - Falcon

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010 - Cardinal Points


In today's puzzle from Cox and Rathvon, we find the four cardinal points of the compass.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Solutions:

East River - in reality, not a river at all, but a tidal strait located in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island (including the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn) from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the mainland.

Theodore Dreiser (1871 – 1945) - an American novelist and journalist.

North Star - a member of the Minnesota North Stars, a professional hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 26 seasons, from 1967 to 1993.

Orson Welles (1915 – 1985) - an American filmmaker, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio.

Schroeder - a fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, created by Charles M. Schulz. He is distinguished by his precocious skill at playing the toy piano, as well as by his love of classical music and the composer Ludwig van Beethoven in particular.

South Park - an American animated sitcom intended for mature audiences, which has become infamous for its crude, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics.

widgeon - [American Heritage Dictionary] noun Either of two wild, freshwater ducks (Anas americana of North America or Anas penelope of Europe) having a grayish or brownish back and a white belly and wing coverts. The European widgeon has a reddish-brown head and creamy crown, and the American widgeon has a shiny white crown.

Vancouver - a coastal city located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941) - an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century, whose works include the novel Mrs Dalloway.

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

23d Dead relative's cow (5)

In the surface reading, the 's is interpreted as a possessive ending. However, in the cryptic analysis, the 's is a contraction for is and serves as a link word joining the wordplay (dead relative) to the definition (cow). That is, the clue is to be read "Dead relative /is\ cow".
25d Plain going back above everything (5)

My first impression was that "going" = ON with "back" serving as the reversal indicator. However, there was no way to make that combination produce the correct solution. Finally, I realized that the wordplay is "above" = ON with "going back" being the reversal indicator.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "CD" Cryptic Definition; "DD" Double Definition

"*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted

1a _TALISM|AN_ - hidden in (displays) capiTALISM ANomalously

5a SWEETS - sounds like (in audition) SUITES (pieces for a musician)

9a {NORTH STAR}* - anagram (playing) of START HORN

11a OR|SON - OR + SON (descendant)

12a LASS|O - LASS (gal) + (with) O (loop)

13a COME (FIRS)T - COMET (one of Santa's reindeer) containing (around) FIRS (some Christmas trees)

14a WIDGEON* - anagram (transformed) of WINE GOD

16a M|OVER - M (em) + OVER (running across)

18a POSER - double definition

19a DREISER* - anagram (stirred) of REDS IRE

21a ARCH|I|BALD - ARCH (waggish) + (with) I (one) + BALD (hairless)

24a A|LLOT< - A + reversal (regressive) of TOLL (tax) 26a TO(AD)Y - AD (notice) contained in TOY (play) [Note: clue utilises an inverted sentence structure]

27a {SOUTH PARK}* - anagram (swimming) of UP TO SHARK

28a RAT|TLE* - RAT (vermin) + (and) anagram (loose) of LET

29a STUD|IOUS - STUD (poker) + IOUS (debts; IOUs)


1d T|ANGLE - T (tail of wet; i.e., last letter of the word "wet") + ANGLE (fish)

2d LYRES - sounds like (heard) LIARS (fabulists)

3d SCHROEDER* - anagram (arranged) of RECORD HES

4d AN|TIC - AN (one) + TIC (mannerism)

6d WOOL|F - WOOL (material) + F (failing; as a grade at school)

7d EA|ST RIVER - EA (each) + STRIVER (trying one; i.e., one who tries); [Note: in the definition, current is used to mean a flow of water]

8d SANITARY* - anagram (recycled) of NASTY AIR

10d _ROM|ANCE_ - hidden in (in the interior) fROM ANCEstors

14d {WEST COAST}* - anagram (reconfigured) of TWO CASTES

15d ENDE(A)RS - A (one) contained in (among) ENDERS (finishers)

16d MUST|ACHE - MUST (has to) + ACHE (hurt)

17d S|PLATTER - S (small) + PLATTER (serving dish)

20d S|TAKES - S (front of store; i.e., first letter of the word "store") + TAKES (requires)

22d IDYLL~ - sounds like (for the audience) IDLE (not doing anything)

23d D|AUNT - D (dead) + AUNT (relative)

25d {LLA|NO}< - reversal (going back) of {ON (above) + ALL (everything)}

Signing off for today - Falcon

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010 (DT 26251)

This puzzle, by an anonymous setter, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, May 27, 2010


I rather enjoyed doing this puzzle - perhaps, in part, because I was able to complete it without touching my Tool Chest. Libellule remarks on the number of anagrams as well as on "just how much first and last letters are used". I also noticed this latter attribute, but I would also point out that the number was about the same as appeared in yesterday's puzzle by Jay (see my blog on DT 26250) - without drawing comment from the Brits.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

gaol - [Collins English Dictionary] noun & verb British a variant spelling of jail.

Used in Solutions:

chemist - noun 1 British a shop where medicinal drugs are dispensed and sold , and in which toiletries and other medical goods can be purchased [Note: in North America, a drug store or pharmacy]; a person authorized to dispense medicinal drugs [Note: in North America, a druggist or pharmacist].

tyre - [American Heritage Dictionary] noun Chiefly British variant of tire2.

Today's Links

Libellule's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26251].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

25a Buyers must score to get high (9)

Here, we have what I thought to be a rather unusual anagram indicator, the phrase "to get high", which operates on the fodder MUST SCORE to produce a word meaning "buyers".

3d Accepted foreign coins with greed (10)

We have yet another anagram indicator, "foreign", which I found to be a bit alien. It operates on {COINS + (with) GREED} to create a word meaning "accepted".

5d So there! Something Norman shouted? (9)

Australian golfer Greg Norman might shout something other than "So there!" if his tee shot should go astray. The definition is "so" and the wordplay is THERE + FORE (something Norman shouted).

Greg Norman's nickname is The Great White Shark, and the Brits were like sharks in a feeding frenzy attacking this clue which clearly did not resonate with readers on the other side of the pond.

6d Thin piece taken from cheese dish (4)

The definition is "thin" with the solution being RARE (as might be said in referring to the atmosphere at high altitudes). The wordplay is BIT (piece) deleted from (taken from) RAREBIT (cheese dish).

16d Be prompt after pub meal (8)

The definition is "meal" with the wordplay being {BE + CUE (prompt)} following (after) BAR (pub) producing the solution BARBECUE.

By the way, Oxford lectures us as follows: "Barbecue is often misspelled as barbeque. This form arises understandably from the word's pronunciation and from the informal abbreviations BBQ and Bar-B-Q. Although almost a quarter of citations in the Oxford English Corpus are for the -que spelling, it is not accepted in standard English". This must surely make it one of the most misspelled words in the English language!

Most dictionaries either don't list the barbeque spelling, redirect one to the barbecue listing, or define barbeque as a variant spelling of barbecue. Wiktionary is the only other reference source I found which suggests that the barbeque spelling may not be acceptable, saying "This spelling [barbeque] is often considered incorrect and a result of misunderstanding".

19d I trap barque finally at sea? (6)

I am sure the setter intended this to be an & lit. (all-in-one) clue, although Libellule will acknowledge only that it is "an attempt at an all in one – but its a bad attempt". Read as wordplay, the clue is an anagram (at sea) of I TRAP E (barque finally; i.e., the final letter of the word "barque"). Read another way, the clue is a statement that a pirate might make as a hint to someone trying to guess his occupation.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010 (DT 26250)

This puzzle, by Jay, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I found this puzzle relatively easy, completing it without needing to haul out my Tool Chest. I was surprised to see that many of the Brits found it so difficult. I guess I must have been tuned into the right wavelength today.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Solutions:

Desperate Dan - a wild west character in the British comic The Dandy.

DI - abbreviation (in the UK) Detective Inspector.

Oxbridge - noun Oxford and Cambridge universities regarded together: [as modifier] Oxbridge colleges.

p - abbreviation British penny or pence.

rt - abbreviation right.

u - abbreviation British universal (denoting films classified as suitable without restriction).

Today's Links

Big Dave's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26250].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

It would almost appear that Jay has set out today with the deliberate intention of providing us with a lesson on partial word indicators, as there is an extensive collection of them present in today's puzzle. Here is a list (abbreviations and contractions not included):
  • 2a TRAN - I (one) dropping out of TRAIN (school)
  • 8a WE - case of WASTE [outside letters of the word "waste"]
  • 13a EXT - TEXT (script) that lacks start [what remains after the first letter of the word "text" is deleted]
  • 16a D - start drinking [first letter of the word "drinking"]
  • 21a T- originally thought [first letter of the word "thought"]
  • 25a GENE - GENERALS (senior officers) cut by half [the first half, in this case, of the word "generals" or, more precisely, what is left after the second half is deleted (cut)]
  • 6d V - value initially [first letter of the word "value"]
  • 7d T - source of trouble [first letter of the word "trouble"]
  • 14d TRAPPINGS - STRAPPING (robust) start to finish [remove the first letter from the word "strapping" and append it to the end of the remaining letters]
  • 19d LIO - LION (beastly king) mostly [what remains after the final letter of the word "lion" is deleted]
One might argue that 14d does not belong in this list, but it is close enough that I decided to toss it in. The wordplay does start by deleting a letter from the beginning of the fodder.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 (DT 26249)

This puzzle, by Ray T, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, May 25, 2010


With two clues remaining to be solved, I flipped open my Tool Chest. That helped with one of them, but I caved in and sought guidance from Gazza on the other.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

fiddle - noun 2 informal , chiefly British an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying: a major mortgage fiddle.

no trumps - noun Bridge a situation in which no suit is designated as trumps.

Sunday Express - a British tabloid newspaper, the Sunday version of the Daily Express.

Used in Solutions:

B2 - abbreviation 2 music bass.

Brimstone - a butterfly in the genus Gonepterux.

NT - abbreviation Bridge no trump(s).

rissole - noun British a compressed mixture of meat and spices, coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

st - abbreviation stone (in weight).
  • stone - noun 4 (plural same) British a unit of weight equal to 14 lb (6.35 kg): I weighed 10 stone.
tot1 - noun 2 chiefly British a small amount of a strong alcoholic drink such as whisky or brandy: a tot of brandy.

treen - adjective chiefly archaic wooden: a treen snuffbox.

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26249].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

1a Fine strip by bird? Trollop! (8)

Even with all the checking letters, I could not find the solution without a bit of help from my Tool Chest. In large part, my difficulty was due to having (wrongly) convinced myself that the solution must end in TART.

9a Raise and support bust again (8)

This clue has nothing to do with brassieres. The solution might well lead to time spent in jail.

16a Describing female with pride? (7)

If this clue had been merely "Female with pride" then my initial attempt of LIONESS might have been correct. However, that one extra word ("describing") found in the clue changes the solution - as I discovered when 8d wouldn't fit.

25a Turning out to be a real complex (9)

The wordplay is an anagram of TO BE A REAL. However, is "turning out" the definition and "complex" the anagram indicator, or vice versa? I was initially leaning the wrong way. I hope you fared better.

30a Bottom of the French class (8)

In 5a, "of French" indicates the French word meaning "of" and, in 23d, "the French" denotes the French word meaning "the". Consequently, "the French" in this clue must adhere to the same pattern, n'est-ce pas? Or maybe not!

4d Start to roast one's fish croquette (7)

In Britain, a rissole may be a croquette but that is apparently not necessarily the case in other parts of the world, at least according to recipetips.com.

17d Groups with bass fiddles (8)

Even my Tool Chest let me down here - or, maybe, I just didn't try hard enough. Perhaps, I can blame my failure on the word "fiddle" being used with a British connotation. In North America, one may fiddle with the books but here I think the crime committed would be called a fraud and not a fiddle.

21d Potential trouble and strife? (7)

This clue is definitely my favourite today. It took a long time for the penny to drop, but it certainly brought a broad smile to my lips when it finally did. Being able to solve this clue was even more of an achievement, in my view, in that I was labouring under the additional handicap of not being aware of the Cockney rhyming slang expression on which the clue is based.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 (DT 26248)

This puzzle, by Rufus, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, May 24, 2010

The National Post has skipped DT 26247 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, May 22, 2010


I solved the top two-thirds of this puzzle without much difficulty, but I certainly got myself into a terrible muddle in the southeast corner.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Solutions:

demob - abbreviation British informal verb [with object] demobilize (troops); noun [mass noun] demobilization: we were waiting for our demob.

Eton - in full, Eton College, an independent (public, in the British sense) school for boys located in Eton, Berkshire, England.

Lancashire - a county in the North West of England.

rota - [Collins English Dictionary] noun Chiefly British a register of names showing the order in which people take their turn to perform certain duties.

yellow card - noun (in soccer and some other games) a yellow card shown by the referee to a player being cautioned.

Today's Links

Libellule's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26248].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

27a Suitable music for the hairdressers' ball? (10)

Having put GARB at 25d instead of BRAG, there were no possible words that matched the checking letters here. If 19d had been incorrect, CHARLESTON would have fit (given the incorrect entry at 25d) - but I could not establish any connection between that word and hairdressers. Eventually, through a process of eliminating checking letters, I stumbled upon the correct answer, thereby also identifying the fact that my solution at 25d was wrong (unfortunately, I failed to realize that I only need reverse it for it to be correct).

29a Stevedore who doesn't carry as much weight as others? (10)

The error at 25d also impacted me here. The only word that seemed remotely possible was LOBSTERMAN, although I could not see how a lobsterman could be considered a stevedore. At this point, I should have pulled out the eraser and performed a thorough scrubbing of this corner of the puzzle, starting over from scratch. However, I failed to do so and therefore found myself at an impasse with the wrong solution at 29a and now no solution at 25d. In frustration, I looked to Libellule for guidance.

25d Boast about dress (4)

I interpreted this clue as:
  • Boast about /\ dress (4)
when it should be:
  • Boast /\ about dress (4)
That is, we are looking for a word meaning "boast" (BRAG) that is reversal (about) of a word meaning "dress" (GARB) - and not the other way around, as I had it.

However, it still seems to me that my original interpretation is the most natural one and that the setter's choice is rather forced.

In any event, my "error" here really messed me up on 27a and 29a.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010 (DT 26246)

This puzzle, by Giovanni, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, May 21, 2010


I found today's puzzle to be a bit easier than those of the last few days. Gazza seems to agree, having awarded it 2.5 stars for difficulty.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

- noun 3 cricket a score of 100 runs made by a batsman in a single innings.

duck1 - noun 5 cricket a batsman's score of zero.

Used in Solutions:

Hull - informal name for a city in Yorkshire, England which is formally called Kingston upon Hull.

plater - noun 3 horse-racing a horse entered for a minor race, especially a selling race.

RE - abbreviation religious education.

shaw2 - noun archaic, chiefly Scottish a small group of trees; a thicket.

steam radio - chiefly UK informal radio, as opposed to television; a radio set, especially an old fashioned one; a radio broadcast.

topping - adjective British informal, dated excellent: that really is a topping dress.

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26246].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

15a Slower way to Scotland? (4,4)

This cryptic definition refers to the traditional Scottish song The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond, in which the chorus goes as follows:
O ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love will ne-er meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomon'.
29a The wireless? Ma adores it, when bustling about (5,5)

Steam radio is a British name for radio which seemingly came into use in the 1950s as television made its appearance. The idea behind the phrase is that radio would be obsoleted by television in the same way that steam engines were replaced by diesel locomotives. Today, apparently, some commentators in the U.K. refer in a similar manner to steam television which they see being superseded by programming broadcast over the Internet. For a more complete discussion, see the entry on steam radio at World Wide Words.

8d He is ardent? Dismay changes that (10)

British puzzles, unlike their American counterparts, sometimes embed definitions in the middle of the clue. That is the case here, where the definition is "dismay" and the solution is DISHEARTEN. The wordplay is an anagram (changes) of HE IS ARDENT. Actually, the anagram indicator would seem to operate directly on the pronoun "that" which of course stands for HE IS ARDENT in the cryptic reading. Thus, we would seem to have an indirect anagram, if such a term exists (and, if not, I guess I've just invented it).

25d Bats getting a century, a half-century and two ducks possibly (4)

The surface reading is about cricket, where a century is "a score of 100 runs made by a batsman in a single innings" and a half-century is naturally half of that. On the other hand, a duck is "a batsman's score of zero".

In the cryptic analysis, one must substitute the Roman numeral C (one hundred) for "century", L (fifty) for "half-century", and O for each of the "two ducks". Thus we have an anagram (possibly) of L + C + O + O which gives us LOCO (bats).

Signing off for today - Falcon

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010 - At the Olympic Games


In today's puzzle, Cox and Rathvon take us to the Olympic Games - seemingly (judging by 1a) to the 2004 games held in Athens. We get to see eight Olympic events, including one which will not be included in the 2012 games in London.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

Dapper Dan - 1. A very swanky and neatly-groomed man. [Warning: Those who are not broad-minded may wish to avoid following this link as, in addition to the definition cited, the site contains some sexually explicit definitions for this expression.]

Paul Tracy - Canadian race car driver.

Used in Solutions:

corncob - the hard cylindrical core that bears the kernels of an ear of corn [thus the inner part of an ear of corn].

fungo - baseball a fly ball hit for fielding practice by a player who tosses the ball up and hits it on its way down with a long, thin, light bat.

Indra - [Collins English Dictionary] Hinduism the most celebrated god of the Rig-Veda, governing the weather and dispensing rain.

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

1a Drive off before sound of a bell in Athens event (8)

Why Athens specifically? Who knows. I think it could just as well be any Olympics.

4a Dapper Dan's latest attorney (5)

Sometimes a reference in a clue is obvious or readily tracked down. In other cases, it can entice one off on quite a protracted investigation.

The latter is the case today as I pondered the question "Just who or what is Dapper Dan?" Is he, perchance, an American cousin to Desparate Dan, the west west character in the British comic The Dandy, who makes frequent appearances in The Daily Telegraph puzzles. A search at Onelook.com returns only a single hit, a link to a Wikipedia article on American actor Dan Duryea (which, unfortunately, provides no elaboration on the connection of this expression with the actor). That article does provide a cross reference to an article on American underworld figure "Dapper" Danny Hogan. A Google search returns a host of possibilities, but few, if any, definitive sources. The expression has obviously been in use for a long time in a variety of contexts. Given this seemingly widespread and longstanding use, I was surprised that I did not find the term defined in any major dictionary. The one source that I could find is the Urban Dictionary, hardly what I would consider to be the most reliable or definitive source of information. One of the definitions given there is "A very swanky and neatly-groomed man", which closely matches my preconceived image of what the term might mean. It also contains several other definitions - but more on that later.

Among the usages that I managed to glean from these various sources are:
  • "Dapper Danny" Hogan (also apparently known as Dapper Dan) was a charismatic underworld figure and boss of Saint Paul, Minnesota's Irish Mob during Prohibition;
  • Dapper Dan Charities is a major charitable organization in Pittsburgh benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania;
  • Dapper Dan is a doll manufactured by the Playskool division of Hasbro;
  • Dapper Dan is a toy (similar to a Wooly Willy) in which metal filings are moved about with a magnetic wand to add features to a cartoon face;
  • Dapper Dan Coon Jigger is a wind-up child's toy manufactured by the Louis Marx Company in the early years of the twentieth century (one that would surely be regarded as extremely politically incorrect today);
  • Dapper Dan is a fictitious hair pomade mentioned in the Coen brothers 2000 comedy film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
As for the latter reference, here is a bit of dialogue from the film in which the hair product is mentioned:
General Store Clerk: I can get the part from Bristol. It'll take two weeks. Here's your pomade.
Everett: Two weeks? That don't do me no good.
Clerk: Nearest Ford auto man's Bristol.
Everett: Hold on, now. I don't want this pomade. I want Dapper Dan.
Clerk: I don't carry Dapper Dan. I carry Fop.
Everett: Well, I don't want Fop, goddammit. I'm a Dapper Dan man.
Clerk: You watch your language, young fella. This is a public market. If you want Dapper Dan, I can order it for you, have it in about two weeks.
Everett: Well ain't this place a geographical oddity! Two weeks from everywhere! Forget it! [slams money on the counter] I'll have a dozen hair nets.
While this dialogue is seemingly innocuous, the choice of the name Dapper Dan may be a crude gag perpetrated by the screenwriters of the film. According to the Urban Dictionary, a Dapper Dan is a kinky sex practice involving the hair (graphically described here). The more sensitive members among my readership may wish to skip this link (or, at least, take a peek when no one is looking). However, I expect that fans of the Coen brothers' are not likely to be offended and may find that it provides an additional layer of context for the bit of dialog shown above.

Finally, Dapper Dan is song by Michael Jackson:

13a Vehicles picking up a cold one in world capital (7)

To a Canadian, the phrase "a cold one" has to refer to a beer. However, that is not the case (or even a single bottle) today.

29a Fat slob mistakenly left game (8)

Ironically this women's sport left the Olympics (or, more accurately, was ejected) following the 2008 Beijing Olympics - a decision many consider a mistake. Then again, perhaps the solutions to clues 1a and 29a, when taken together, are a reference to the removal of this sport.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "CD" Cryptic Definition; "DD" Double Definition

"*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted

1a SHOO|TING - SHOO (drive off) + (before) TING (sound of bell)

5a P(RIM)AL - PAL (buddy) containing (taking) RIM (lip)

9a _UL|TRA_ - hidden in (exhibited by) paUL TRAcy

10a TAEKWOND*|O - {anagram (changed) of TAKEDOWN} + {O (start of Olympic; i.e., the first letter in the word "Olympic")}

12a ARCHERY* - anagram (disturbed) of HEAR CRY

13a CAR(ACA)S - CARS (vehicles) containing (picking up) {A C (cold) A (one)}

14a EQUESTRIAN* - anagram (new) of REQUEST IN A

17a STUN - reversal (on the way back) of NUTS (fans)

19a SO|H|O - SO (extremely) + H (hot) + O (old)

20a TRAM|POL(IN)E - TRAM (streetcar) + {POLE (Eastern European) containing (takes inside) IN (?)}

23a C|OR|NCO|B - C (captain) + OR + NCO (sergeant, perhaps; i.e., an example of a non-commissioned officer or NCO) + (with) B (bee)

24a FEN|CI(N)G - FEN (wet area) + {CIG (smoke; i.e., cigarette) containing N (new)}

26a BAD|MINT|ON - BAD (ill) + MINT (fortune) + ON (concerning)

27a AU|D(I)O - {I (one) contained in (in) DO (party)} following (pursuing) AU (chemical symbol for the element gold)

28a TEN(AN)T - TENT (simple shelter) containing (acquiring) AN (article)

29a SOFTBAL*|L - {anagram of FAT SLOB} + L (left)


1d SA(USA)GE - SAGE (wise) containing (about) USA (Yankee)

2d OPT|I|C - OPT (choose) + I (current; i.e., symbol used in physics to represent electrical current) + C (camera's front; i.e., first - or front - letter of the word "camera")

3d TRA<|VERSE - reversal (retrograde) of ART (painting) + (and) VERSE (poetry)

4d N|ATTY - N (Dan's latest; i.e., last - or latest - letter in the word "Dan") + ATTY (abbreviation for attorney)

6d REWARD< - reversal (returned) of DRAWER (artist) 7d MANIC|OT|TI< - {OT (overtime) + reversal (flipped) of IT (Italian)} following (after) MANIC (frenzied) [Note; the setter uses an inverted sentence structure which, for sake of clarity, I have ignored]
8d LO(OKS) ON - LOON (Canadian diver; i.e., a diving bird emblematic of Canada which appears on our one dollar coin) containing (gains) OKS (endorsements)

11d E(XC)L|AIM - {XC (Roman numeral for ninety) contained in (aboard) EL (city train; most famously, the elevated railway operated by the Chicago Transit Authority)} + AIM (point)

15d US|HERE|D IN - US (our group) + HERE (in this place) + DIN (loud noise)

16d R|ARE|BIT - R (piece of Romano; i.e., first letter of the word "Romano") + ARE + BIT (nibbled)

18d DOWN|CAST* - DOWN (feathers) + an anagram (agitated) of CATS

19d SACK|BUT - SACK (fire) + BUT (save; as in "All, save two, of the cakes were eaten.")

21d EGGROL*|L - anagram (ordered) of LOGGER + L (large)

22d _ACTION - FACTION (contingent) with the first letter deleted (with no leader)

24d FUN|GO - GO (run) following (after) FUN (enjoyable)

25d INDRA - IN (popular) + DR (doctor) + (connected with) A

Signing off for today - Falcon

Friday, August 20, 2010 (DT 26245)

This puzzle was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, May 20, 2010


I didn't feel that this puzzle was quite as gentle as Big Dave seemed to find it. Then again, having fallen behind in my blog postings, I was working under a bit of pressure to complete it.

Americanisms and British English

Are some Americanisms slipping into British English. In his review, Big Dave asks "don’t you go to the movies these days?" to which Vince replies "No, Dave, Americans go to the movies – I still go to the pictures!". However, there was nary a peep concerning the use of the word mezzanine to mean balcony. According to Collins English Dictionary, the word mezzanine in Canada and the U.S. is "the first balcony", while in Britain it is "a room or floor beneath the stage".

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

Cathay - the name by which China was known to medieval Europe.

Fair Isle - an island in northern Scotland, lying midway between the Shetland and the Orkney islands.

Used in Solutions:

chaser - noun 2 a horse for steeplechasing.

china - noun 2 British informal a friend [from rhyming slang china plate ‘mate’].

dice - [Collins English Dictionary] verb 3. (intransitive) to take a chance or risk (especially in the phrase dice with death).

Guillemot - the common name for several species of seabird in the auk family (part of the order Charadriiformes). In British use, the term comprises two genera: Uria and Cepphus. In North America the Uria species are called "murres" and only the Cepphus species are called "guillemots".

mezzo - adverb music moderately, quite or rather, as in mezzo-forte rather loud, and mezzo-piano rather soft.

outsize (abbreviation os) - adjective (also outsized) over normal or standard size. noun anything, especially a garment, that is larger than standard size. [Note: in North America, such clothing may be referred to as plus size or, in the case of menswear, as big and tall]

River Lune - either of two English rivers, the River Lune in Cumbria and Lancashire, or the River Lune in County Durham.

River Ouse - any of several English rivers, the River Ouse in Yorkshire, the River Great Ouse or the River Little Ouse in East Anglia, or the River Ouse in East Sussex.

Today's Links

Big Dave's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26245].

There is a fair bit of discussion on Big Dave's site today concerning the Cockney rhyming slang reference in 15a.

And I must tip my hat to gnomethang for his complimentary reference to my own blog.

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

9a Birds moult - one's leg is broken (10)

The definition is "bird" with the solution being GUILLEMOTS. The wordplay is an anagram (is broken) of MOULT IS LEG. The IS in the anagram fodder actually comes from "one's" (I + S) rather than from the word "is" in the clue.

25a In France, it is Moon River (4)

It is not a French river that we are seeking, but an English one. In this double definition, the two parts are "In France, it is moon" and "river". The capitalization of "Moon River" in the clue is a ploy to deceive.

8d Being 16, mad on the church (9)

A numeral appearing in a clue is usually a cross reference to the solution of another clue. However, that is not the case today. In this clue, we have to replace the numeral "16" by the word "sixteen". The definition is "being" having the solution EXISTENCE. The wordplay is {an anagram (mad) of SIXTEEN} + (on) CE (the Church; this being a British puzzle, the Church is the Church of England).

Signing off for today - Falcon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010 (DT 26244)

This puzzle, by Jay, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I have managed to fall a day behind on the puzzles - too many sunny days, perhaps, with golf courses and beaches beckoning. Yesterday, I tried to work on this one in bits and pieces between other activities and made slow progress (only about a third of it completed). Today, a concentrated attack bringing into play all the weapons in my arsenal (Tool Chest) succeeded in vanquishing it.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

gangway - noun 2 British a passage between rows of seats , especially in a theatre or aircraft.

Used in Solutions:

Girl Guide - noun British a member of the Guide Association. [Note: Although Oxford seems to think that this is a British expression, let me assure British readers that we certainly have Girl Guides in Canada. The counterpart organization in the U.S. would be the Girl Scouts of the USA].

Sten gun - noun a type of lightweight British sub-machine gun.

toad-in-the-hole - noun British a dish consisting of sausages baked in batter.

Today's Links

Big Dave's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26244].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

1a Study on prisoner's moral scruples (10)

Early on, I felt that the solution likely started with CON, but was uncertain if it was CON = study or CON = prisoner.

2d Wanting massage, say, left after four, forgetting regulars (7)

This clue perhaps could have been terminated after only three words - but then it would have led to a different solution. In the clue "Wanting massage, say", the definition would be "wanting" with the solution being NEEDING and the wordplay would be sounds like (says) KNEADING (massage). However, there are a lot more words in this clue which leads to a different (though similar) solution.

By the way, I note from Big Dave's site that at least one or two of the Brits also strayed down the NEEDING route.

5d Caught a kid - what language! (5)

With the first letter being C (caught; cricket terminology) and the definition "what language", I was sure the solution must be CURSE or something equivalent. Instead, I should have been thinking of tropical islands.

8d One's responsibility to pick members (10)

This is one of those clues where I feel that surely I am missing something in the wordplay, as neither the surface reading nor the cryptic reading resonate with me. I presume that in the cryptic reading the "'s" (apostrophe-s) is intended to be interpreted as "has" so that the clue becomes "One has responsibility to pick members".

20d Green's leader worried about source of material (7)

I thought maybe this clue was an attempt to address complaints that the Green Party had been ignored in puzzles published during the run up to and aftermath of the British general election. I therefore spent time trying to find a current or former leader of the Green Party that might fit here. It turns out that this was a red herring (or perhaps a green herring). In this clue, "Green" is the definition.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 (DT 26243)

This puzzle, by Shamus, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I spent a beautiful, sunny summer day at the lake basking in the sun and doing this puzzle. My Tool Chest was not accessible, so every time I felt I was at an impasse, I would set the puzzle aside and take a dip in the lake. When I returned to the puzzle, I would always seem to be able to solve at least two or three additional clues. This pattern continued until I had managed to solve every clue. I am sure that if my Tool Chest had been handy, I would have succumbed to the temptation to dip into it instead of the lake. However, just because I found all the solutions, it doesn't necessarily follow that I understood all the wordplay.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

hotel - code word for the letter "H" in the ICAO spelling alphabet (also called the NATO phonetic alphabet or the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet).

Used in Solutions:

(Tracey) Emin - British artist

National Trust (abbreviation NT) - a trust for the preservation of places of historic interest or natural beauty in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, founded in 1895 and supported by endowment and private subscription. The National Trust for Scotland [a separate organization] was founded in 1931.

- Anybody who lives north of Nottingham. [Note: I have serious doubts whether such a word actually exists - see Commentary below.]

ozone - noun 2 British informal fresh invigorating air, especially that blowing on to the shore from the sea. [Note: this meaning seemingly has nothing to do with the "colourless unstable toxic gas with a pungent odour and powerful oxidizing properties, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light"]

prom - noun informal 1 British short for promenade (sense 1 of the noun): she took a short cut along the prom.

Territorial Army (abbreviation TA) - noun (in the UK) a fully trained volunteer force intended to provide back-up to the regular army in cases of emergency.

Today's Links

Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26243].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

27a Distinguished artist beginning to engage conservationists (7)

By my count, this marks the "distinguished" Ms. Emin's third appearance in DT puzzles. She previously showed up in DT 26168 (Tuesday, June 8, 2010) and DT 26060 (Tuesday, February 2, 2010). In these appearances, she has been variously FEMININE, a SEMINARIAN, and now EMINENT.
Note to self: pay a visit to the National Gallery of Canada to see Pop Life: Art in a Material World that features some of her work. This exhibition runs to September 9 and Ottawa is the only North American stop on its world tour.
5d Esplanade with parking at other end for frolic (4)

This is the clue for which I needed to flip open my Tool Chest when I arrived home in order to figure out why my solution was correct. Another name for an esplanade is promenade, which the Brits refer to as a prom for short. The wordplay in this clue is PROM (esplanade) with P (parking) moved from the start to the end (at other end) producing (for) ROMP (frolic).

6d Country defended by American adamantly (6)

Surely, no one missed this one - if you did, you must be kicking yourself.

7d Become run-down? Visit daughter (2,2,4)

I failed to see the wordplay that Gazza points out which is GO TO SEE (visit) + D (daughter). In fact, I had a different take on the wordplay. Since seed can mean "offspring or progeny", the phrase "visit daughter" could mean GO TO (visit) + SEED (daughter).

23d Northener, one seeking new recruits ignoring university (4)

I had assumed that "northener" must be a misspelling of "northerner". Oxford, Chambers, Collins and virtually every other dictionary - save one - would appear to side with me on that point. I was surprised to see that no one disputed the spelling on Big Dave's site, so I did further research and managed to find one lone source (the Urban Dictionary) that listed the word "northener". Frankly, I would give more credence to Oxford.

Signing off for today - Falcon

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 (DT 26242)

This puzzle, by Rufus, was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, May 17, 2010

The National Post has skipped DT 26241 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, May 15, 2010


I had a sense of déjà vu as I worked through this puzzle. I was sure I had seen some of these clues before - or, at least, very similar variations of them. I was able to track down one of them:

[DT 26040] 25a Backing – but not what driver wants? (11)

(published Tuesday, September 22, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph and Friday, January 8, 2010 in the National Post) which is very similar to clue 13d in today's puzzle. Perhaps I saw variations of the other familiar clues in puzzles from another paper.

In his review, Libellule asks, "How many of you were left with 18a and 19a as the last clues to go in?" Well, I managed to get 18a about midway through solving the puzzle, but 19a was definitely the last clue remaining - and I did not even come close with my attempt at a solution.

Today's Glossary

Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle

Used in Clues:

drum1 - [Collins English Dictionary] noun 4. an object that resembles a drum in shape, such as a large spool or a cylindrical container.

Used in Solutions:

baulk - verb & noun Chiefly British Variant of balk.

Cape Wrath - a cape in Sutherland, Highland, in northern Scotland. It is the most northwesterly point on the island of Great Britain.

dice - [Collins English Dictionary] verb 3. (intransitive) to take a chance or risk (esp in the phrase dice with death). [Note: likely British]

earth - verb 1 British connect (an electrical device) with the ground: the front metal panels must be soundly earthed. [Note: the equivalent term in North America is "ground"]

endorsement - noun 2 (in the UK) a note on a driving licence recording the penalty points incurred for a driving offence.

Tote - noun (the Tote) British trademark a system of betting based on the use of the totalizator, in which dividends are calculated according to the amount staked rather than odds offered.

Today's Links

Libellule's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 26242].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

9a Son of Adam said to sound archaic (4)

Here is yet another homophone type clue that does not transport well across the Atlantic. In Britain, the word "saith" (an archaic word meaning says) is pronounced "seth", whereas in the United States, it is pronounced "say-eth". You can listen to both pronunciations here by clicking on the respective British and American flag icons. In Canada, it is often possible to find both British and American pronunciations in use - and that is no doubt the case with saith.

There is some debate amongst the Brits about whether saith is pronounced as one syllable or two. However, Big Dave provides a link to a web page that seemed to make all the two syllable proponents quickly back down. Unfortunately, as the link no longer works ("You have either reached a page that is unavailable for viewing or reached your viewing limit for this book"), I have no idea what evidence is provided there. Perhaps it saith that the word is pronounced as two syllables in America - which would surely cause the Brits to disown that pronunciation.

19a Wrath possibly shown by head (4)

I had never heard of Cape Wrath (or, if I had, I didn't recall it). As a result, I entirely missed the mark on this clue. The best of a poor lot of candidates seemed to be RAGE (which fit what I supposed was the definition, namely "wrath") but which failed miserably in satisfying the wordplay.

15d Bed for many a Russian (5)

In this clue, the word "many" is used by the setter to indicate a large Roman numeral - in this case, D (five hundred); ...

20d A large number put the charge on account (7)

... however, in this clue, the phrase "a large number" does not mean a large Roman numeral (which one might expect) but serves as the definition.

21d His mark was made in India (7)

I initially pegged this clue to be a cryptic definition and wasted copious amounts of time searching for a wealthy German who made his fortune in India.

Signing off for today - Falcon