Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015 — DT 27630

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 27630
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27630 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 27630 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat (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
- 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
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.


Although crypticsue awarded only two stars for difficulty to this puzzle, there are more than enough Briticisms in it to drive it firmly into three star difficulty territory for those on this side of the pond.

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 all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.


1a   Manager plunged into Eastern sea // showing relief (8)

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

5a   Dish /for/ alcoholic drink (6)

Dish[5] is an informal, chiefly British term denoting to utterly destroy or defeat ⇒ the election interview dished Labour’s chances.

10a   Move fast // to suppress dissent (3,4,4,4)

In the first definition, one applies the required action to the gas pedal.

11a   Work too hard /to get/ public a vote (7)

12a   King rejected an extremely // wicked activity (7)

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

13a   English journalists gripped by such // strong drink (8)

Such[3] is used as an adverb meaning to so extreme a degree or so ⇒ (i) such beautiful flowers; (ii) such a funny character. Perhaps the synonym is a bit difficult to see because if one were to use the word "so" in place of the word "such", I believe these examples would read ⇒ (i) flowers so beautiful; (ii) so funny a character.

15a   Knight -- alias covering fine // author (5)

I did a bit of a double-take here as N[5] is the usual abbreviation for knight used in recording moves in chess [representing the pronunciation of kn-, since the initial letter k- represents 'king']. However, Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines K[2] as an abbreviation used in chess for knight as well as a symbol used in chess to represent a king. The dictionary fails to specify how one differentiates an abbreviation from a symbol.

On the other hand, both The Chambers Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary list K or K.[1,11] as an abbreviation for knight without specifying the specific context in which this abbreviation is used. However, the context may well be — as Deep Threat indicates in his review — "in an honours list rather than in chess".

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead [a usage that Oxford Dictionaries Online surprisingly characterizes as British]. 

Franz Kafka[5] (1883–1924) was a Czech novelist, who wrote in German. His work is characterized by its portrayal of an enigmatic and nightmarish reality where the individual is perceived as lonely, perplexed, and threatened. Notable works: The Metamorphosis (1917) and The Trial (1925).

18a   London police arresting a knight // on purpose (5)

Sticking with Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, N[2] is a symbol used in chess to represent a knight.

The Met[5] denotes the Metropolitan Police in London — otherwise known as Scotland Yard.

20a   Various items held by doctor // in the house (8)

23a   Give job to // petty officer splitting a beer (7)

A petty officer[5,10] (abbreviation PO[5]) is a rank of non-commissioned officer in the navy, above leading seaman or seaman and below chief petty officer and comparable in rank to a sergeant in an army or marine corps.

In Britain (as well as elsewhere), the pint[5] is the traditional measure for a serving of beer ⇒ we’ll probably go for a pint on the way home.

25a   Get hold of // backward-looking people who like fairies (7)

Snaffle[5] is an informal British term meaning to take (something) for oneself, typically quickly or without permission ⇒ shall we snaffle some of Bernard’s sherry?. [Although this is apparently a British expression, it certainly does not sound unfamiliar to me.]

26a   Here you'll find White Stripes // music that's rather bland (6-2-3-4)

Scratching the Surface
The White Stripes[7] were an American rock duo, formed in 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. The group consisted of the husband and wife team of Jack and Meg White [contrary to convention, Jack Gillis took his wife's surname when they married]. The White Stripes rose to prominence in 2002, as part of the garage rock revival scene. Their successful and critically acclaimed albums White Blood Cells and Elephant drew attention from a large variety of media outlets in the United States and the United Kingdom, with the single "Seven Nation Army" and its now-iconic guitar line becoming a huge hit. The band recorded two more albums, Get Behind Me Satan in 2005 and Icky Thump in 2007, and dissolved in 2011 after a lengthy hiatus from performing and recording.

27a   Tell /of/ churchman losing head (6)

Prelate[5] is a formal or historical term for a bishop or other high ecclesiastical dignitary.

28a   Bliss perhaps // as Clegg's friend's meeting the Queen (8)

If you thought that this clue is a reference to a British politician, you have joined me in the trap that the setter has laid. Fortunately, even without knowing the right Clegg, I was still able to arrive at the correct solution.

Scratching the Surface
Nick Clegg[7] is British Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government of which British Conservative Leader David Cameron is the Prime Minister.

Norman Clegg[7], often nicknamed Cleggy, is a fictional character from the British sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine.

William Simmonite, better known by his nickname of Compo[7], is a character in the British sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine.

Delving Deeper
Last of the Summer Wine[7] is a British sitcom that was originally broadcast on the BBC from 1973 to 2010 making it the longest-running sitcom in the world. Repeats of the show are still being broadcast in the UK as well as in more than twenty-five other countries, including various PBS stations in the United States and on VisionTV in Canada.

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.

Sir Arthur Bliss[5] (1891–1975) was an English composer. He moved from the influence of Stravinsky, in works such as A Colour Symphony (1922), to a rich style closer to Elgar, as in his choral symphony Morning Heroes (1930).


1d   Use // my pole when rambling (6)

2d   Pound -- main // place for stray dogs (9)

The main[5] is an archaic or literary term for the open ocean.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home[7] is the United Kingdom's oldest and most famous home for dogs and cats and is situated in the Battersea area of London, England.

Battersea[7] was a civil parish and metropolitan borough in the County of London, England. In 1965, the borough was abolished and its area combined with parts of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth to form the London Borough of Wandsworth.

3d   Politician // organised treason (7)

4d   Elizabeth's favourite // fearless explorer embraced (5)

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex[7] (1565– 1601) was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599. In 1601, he led an abortive coup d'état against the government and was executed for treason.

6d   Saving // Trades Union Congress apparently (7)

This is an example of inverse wordplay — an inverse reversal to be precise. The solution to the clue (CUTBACK) if numerated (3,4) would constitute wordplay indicating a reversal (back) of CUT. I describe this as inverse wordplay because the indicator and fodder are in the solution with the result of the wordplay being found in the original clue — the inverse of the usual situation in which the indicator and fodder are in the original clue and the result of the wordplay is found in the solution.

You will see many bloggers referring to this type of clue as "reverse wordplay". However, I prefer the term "inverse wordplay" as it is closely analogous to inverse functions in mathematics. My terminology also avoids the awkward label "reverse reversal" for the present clue.

Scratching the Surface
The Trades Union Congress[7] (TUC) is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales, representing the majority of trade unions.

7d   Time to get around /for/ hidden treasure (5)

8d   The Queen embracing Murray, an // all-round performer (8)

In the UK [not to mention other Commonwealth Realms], HM[5] is the abbreviation for Her or His Majesty('s) ⇒ HM Forces.

Andy Murray[5] is a Scottish tennis player. In 2012 he won the Olympic gold medal for singles and, by winning the US Open, became the first British man to win a grand slam singles tournament since 1936. In 2013 he won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.

9d   Avid reader of Bellow getting over work being rewritten (8)

Scratching the Surface
Saul Bellow[5] (1915–2005) was a Canadian-born American novelist, of Russian-Jewish descent. Notable works: The Adventures of Augie March (1953) and Herzog (1964). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976.

14d   Small publication // promoting revolution (8)

16d   Footwear for beach // somersault is a failure (4-5)

17d   He helped make mummy // glower when accepting endless charity (8)

19d   Group of three // making small journey? (7)

The wordplay is a whimsical definition based on an extension of the word "trip" in an manner analogous to the formation of words such as "piglet" and "booklet".

21d   Have evening meal traditionally including fish /for/ a change (5-2)

The hake[7] is any of several species of large-headed elongated fish with long jaws and strong teeth. It is a valuable commercial food fish.

The inclusion of the word "traditionally" indicates that the setter is referring to a rather old-fashioned word for "have evening meal".

22d   Vulnerable // bid (6)

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading suggests a bid made in the game of bridge when a partnership is vulnerable.

In bridge, the adjective vulnerable[5] is used to describe a partnership liable to higher penalties, either by convention or through having won one game towards a rubber ⇒ the authors advise a variable no-trump opening bid which means weak non-vulnerable and strong vulnerable.

24d   Ride bike // round bend finally, ring bell (5)

25d   Fight // aquatic creatures coming up leaving river (3-2)
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

1 comment:

  1. Certainly three stars for me. Last one in was 20a, for which I resorted to a cw dictionary. This setter has a gift for writing opaque clues.


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