Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013 — DT 27169

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27169
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Cephas (Peter Chamberlain)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27169 - hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27169 - review] 
Big Dave's Review Written By
crypticsue (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
- 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
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's blog

 As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, July 27, 2013 edition of the National Post.


As the Brits might say, I was chuffed [very pleased] at having finished this puzzle without the help of my electronic assistants — albeit over the course of three solving sessions. However, the wind quickly went out of my sails when I looked at crypticsue's review and found that she awarded it merely a single star for difficulty. My pride was further battered upon discovering that I had made a mistake at 13a.

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.


1a   Mum's outfit, with antique flower (8)

5a   Peg and I obtained starting price first (6)

Despite getting the correct solution, a bit of research was needed to explain it. A spigot[11] is a small peg or plug for stopping the vent of a cask. Spigot[4], in the sense of a tap, is a North American usage.

9a   Reserve team up to take a dive? (8)

In the UK, a reserve[4] is a member of a [sports] team who only plays if a playing member drops out; a substitute. In the surface reading, reserve team[10] is the British term for a second team of a sports club, such as a football club, made up of emerging and young players [in North American parlance, a farm team[10]].

10a   One in seven in need of a tissue? (6)

Sneezy is one of the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney's 1937 animated musical fantasy film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[7] based on a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The story had earlier been made into a Broadway play that debuted in 1912. The dwarfs are not given names in the fairy tale. In the 1912 production they were named Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee. Disney renamed them Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

11a   Cups set out -- perhaps he did it (7)

12a   Cold, icy floor leads the French to crease up (7)

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

13a   One's installed to observe production (7-4)

I had THEATRE-DOOR. Besides the result being somewhat nonsensical, the hyphen should have been a dead give-away — but, of course, it doesn't appear in the grid.

In her review, crypticsue points out that the word "installed" in the clue is "referring to the fact that a theatrical production might be viewed from the stalls". For those, like myself, who may be somewhat challenged by theatre terminology in general — not to mention British variations, here is a bit of a primer:
While the dictionaries can't get together on the precise definition of a stall, they do at least agree that the term is British. The American Heritage Dictionary says that a stall[3,4,11] is a seat in the front part of a theater, the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary has it as a chairlike seat in a theater, especially one in the front section of the parquet [see following], and Collins English Dictionary defines it as a seat in a theatre or cinema that resembles a chair, usually fixed to the floor. In the plural, stalls is variously defined as the seats on the ground floor in a theatre[5] (Oxford Dictionaries Online), the seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema[2] (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary), or the area of seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema nearest to the stage or screen[4] (Collins English Dictionary).
  • the parquet[11] is the front part of the main floor of a theater, opera house, etc., between the musicians' area and the parterre [see following] or, especially in the U.S., the entire main-floor space for spectators; Collins English Dictionary defines parquet[4] as the US term for the stalls of a theatre
  • in the US, the parterre[11], also called the parquet circle, is the rear section of seats on the main floor of a theater, opera house, etc., under the balcony; in Britain, the parterre[4] is the pit in a theatre [the ground floor of the auditorium of a theatre]
16a   Collapse and wake up by good fire, confused (4,2,5)

21a   Up the longest? (7)

22a   Astronomer from Italy caught between girl and stars (7)

Galileo Galilei[5] (1564 – 1642) was an Italian astronomer and physicist. He discovered the constancy of a pendulum’s swing, formulated the law of uniform acceleration of falling bodies, and described the parabolic trajectory of projectiles. He applied the telescope to astronomy and observed craters on the moon, sunspots, Jupiter’s moons, and the phases of Venus.

Leo[5] is a large constellation (the Lion), said to represent the lion slain by Hercules. It contains the bright stars Regulus and Denebola and numerous galaxies.

23a   Sounded similar, conclusively (6)

24a   Journalist resisted changes (8)

I had not heard this dated or humorous term for a journalist before, but concluded that since a female actor is an actress, a female editor would naturally be called this.

25a   Rambling diatribe by the Queen! (6)

The 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 cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina

26a   Elaborate presentation of badger's domestic tranquillity for audience? (3,5)

The burrow of a badger is known as a sett[5].


1d   Ponder about one's ill-treatment (6)

2d   Inverted or broken strapping (6)

3d   Yet Reg's prepared to become most gloomy (7)

In Britain, grey[3,4,11] is the traditional and preferred spelling of what is more commonly spelled gray[3,4,11] in the US. Surprisingly, this distinction is recent, reportedly having only arisen in the 20th century[Farlex Trivia Dictionary].

4d   A contender? One cannot be serious! (11)

6d   Thinking of pounds I have laid out (7)

7d   Orthodox deity? (5,3)

The Greek Orthodox Church[5] (also known as the Greek Church) is the Eastern Orthodox Church which uses the Byzantine rite in Greek, in particular the national Church of Greece.

8d   Terence goes round bay getting wild fruit (8)

A tayberry[5] is a dark red soft fruit produced by crossing a blackberry and a raspberry.

12d   Cockney's doing topiary, using latest technology (7-4)

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

14d   Secret of criminal that's completely unpunished (4-4)

15d   Engaging person (8)

17d   Neither liquid could be contained by that (7)

18d   Writer touched on mine being turned round (4-3)

19d   Rip off  coat (6)

Fleece[4] — in addition to being a fabric — may also be a jacket or top made from such a fabric (at least in Britain).

20d   Whipped us some dessert (6)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (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] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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