Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018 — DT 28575 (Published Saturday, February 17, 2018)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28575
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, November 3, 2017
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28575]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
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
This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, February 17, 2018 edition of the National Post.


Giovanni is not a very demanding taskmaster today in a puzzle that is not overloaded with recondite terms.

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 (//).


1a   Put briefly, // tot gets angry when about to get out of bed (10)

In the wordplay, tot[3] is used in the sense of to total totted up the bill.

6a   Ruler // in Bundestag hated (4)

In Muslim countries, especially under the Ottoman Empire, agha[10] (a variant spelling of aga[5,10]) could denote:
  • a title of respect, often used with the title of a senior position
  • a military commander or official

Origin: Mid 16th century: from Turkish ağa ‘master, lord’, from Mongolian aqa.

Scratching the Surface
The Bundestag[5] is the lower house of Parliament in Germany.

9a   Demanding supervisor // marks a test unreasonably (10)

10a   Simply // fair (4)

Behind the Video
The video clip used by Deep Threat to illustrate his review is an October 1927 recording by Irish tenor John McCormack (1884–1945) of "Love's Old Sweet Song (Just a Song at Twilight)".

I can but surmise that the song has been included based on the first word of the refrain which begins Just a song at twilight, when the lights are low.

12a   Before long // minister will disown leader (4)

A canon[5] is a member of the clergy who is on the staff of a cathedral, especially one who is a member of the chapter*he was appointed canon of Christ Church, Oxford.

* The chapter[5] is the governing body of a religious community or knightly order.

Anon[5] is an archaic informal term meaning soon or shortly ⇒ I'll see you anon.

13a   Board backing state? // That can be avoided (9)

Board[5,10] is an archaic term for a table, especially one used for eating at, and especially when laden with foodhe looked at the banquet which was spread upon his board.

"That can be avoided" is an adjective clause that (used postpositively) has the same meaning as the adjective "avertable" (used prepostively) ⇒ One must act at the first sign of a situation that can be avoided/One must act at the first sign of an avertable situation.

15a   Judgement /of/ City is one accepted by academic (8)

The setter uses "City" as a surrogate for for the EC postcode* which serves the City of London — which is not to be confused with the city of London (show explanation ). The EC (Eastern Central) postcode area[7] (also known as the London EC postcode area) is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London as well as parts of several other London boroughs.

* postcode being the British counterpart of the Canadian postal code or American zip code

The City of London[7] is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City of London is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status, the other being the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising "City") and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2), in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City. This is analogous to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

hide explanation

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

16a   Church stands against endless avarice /in/ country (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

18a   A market suffering setback -- you finally admitted // emotional shock (6)

20a   Place from which to look out to sea /as/ one who leads country (8)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat tells us that the first half of the solution is One who leads (a school, perhaps).
In Britain, head[5] is short for headmaster[5] (a man who is the head teacher in a school), headmistress[5] (a woman who is the head teacher in a school), or head teacher[5] (the teacher in charge of a school).

23a   Obscure // journalist admits trick in formal practice (9)

From my perspective, the solution is a good description of itself. Recondite[5] is an adjective meaning (of a subject or knowledge) little known or abstruse the book is full of recondite information.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Deep Threat describes this as A Russian doll of a clue.
A matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nesting doll, stacking dolls, or Russian doll, is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. The name "matryoshka", literally "little matron", is a diminutive form of Russian female first name "Matryona" or "Matriosha". Matryoshka dolls are often referred to as "babushka dolls", babushka meaning "grandmother" or "old woman".

Clues, such as this one, where the solution is formed by nesting one piece inside a second piece and, in turn, nesting the result inside yet another piece are often described as such.

24a   Cold joint /and/ a bit of fried potato (4)

Here and There
Chip[5] is the British term for the food item that North Americans might also refer to as a French fry*.

*Although Oxford Dictionaries claims that the North American term is French fry, the truth is that the terms chip and French fry are both used here.

The snack item that we call a potato chip (or informally a chip) is known in the UK as a crisp[5].

Thus the Brits use different terms for these two food items whereas North Americans use the word chip to mean either a French fry or what the Brits would call a crisp. While the distinction is usually clear from the context, the use of the same term for the two food items can inevitably lead to confusion in some situations.

26a   Period // house to the west of ancient city (4)

"house" = HO (show explanation )

Although not found in most of the dictionaries that I consulted, ho.[10] is the abbreviation for house.

hide explanation

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

27a   Sixteen, we deduce, /in/ sturdy vehicle (4-2-4)

A four-by-four[5,10] (also 4x4[5,12]) is a vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive.

28a   Way // female poet has expunged line (4)

Sylvia Plath[5] (1932–1963) was an American poet, wife of Ted Hughes*. Her work is notable for its treatment of extreme and painful states of mind. In 1963 she committed suicide. Notable works: Ariel (poems, 1965) and The Bell Jar (novel, 1963).

* Ted Hughes[5] (1930–1998) was an English poet. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1984, a post in which he served until his death.

"line" = L (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)

Although I had a hard time seeing bid and advance as synonyms, they apparently can be. As synonyms for bid ( in the sense of bid for a painting), Chambers Thesaurus lists offer, proffer, tender, submit, put forward, advance, propose.


1d   Beastly home /of/ crossword compiler a third demolished (4)

A sett[5] (also Australian, British, and New Zealand set) is the underground lair or burrow of a badger.

2d   Like a lodge, /with/ mum in charge protecting her boy (7)

"in charge" = IC (show explanation )

The abbreviation i/c[2,5] can be short for either:
  • (especially in military contexts) in charge (of) ⇒ the Quartermaster General is i/c rations
  • in command (of) ⇒ 2 i/c = second in command.
hide explanation

Masonic lodge[5] is a branch or meeting place of the Freemasons*.

* A Freemason[5] is a member of an international order established for mutual help and fellowship, which holds elaborate secret ceremonies. The original free masons were itinerant skilled stonemasons of the 14th century, who are said to have recognized fellow craftsmen by secret signs. Modern freemasonry is usually traced to the formation of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717; members are typically professionals and businessmen.

3d   Rebuke // hot men involved with mad sin (12)

4d   Available // numbers turning up, pursuing home on the waves (2,6)

5d   See, in Devon, // old tree crashing (6)

A see[10] is the diocese* of a bishop, or the place within it where his cathedral or procathedral (show explanation ) is situated.

* A diocese[5] is a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Churchor, more precisely, in episcopal churches such as the Church of England.

A cathedral[5] is the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is officially associated.

A pro-cathedral[5] (or procathedral[10] is a church used as a substitute for a cathedral.

hide explanation

Exeter[5] is a city in southwestern England, the county town of Devon, on the River Exe. Exeter was founded by the Romans, who called it Isca. Exeter[7] became a religious centre during the Middle Ages and into the Tudor times. Exeter Cathedral, founded in the mid 11th century, became Anglican during the 16th-century English Reformation.

7d   Good to discover the truth about // beef (7)

"good" = G (show explanation )

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

hide explanation

Rumble[5] is an informal British expression meaning to discover (an illicit activity or its perpetrator) ⇒ it wouldn’t need a genius to rumble my little game.

8d   Prepared // to be plundering supply of cash? (2,3,5)

The phrase at the ready[5] means prepared or available for immediate use the men walk with their guns at the ready.

Ready[5,10] or the ready[10] (also called readies or the readies) is an informal British term for ready money[5,10] (also called ready cash), funds for immediate use or, in other words, available money or cash.

In the wordplay, at is used in the sense of 'helping oneself to' (a sense that I have been unable to find in any dictionary) (i) the children will be at the cookies if I leave them out on the table (ii) the mice have been at the cheese again.

11d   Lady protects terrible // old creatures (12)

Strictly speaking, a pterodactyl[5] is a pterosaur* of the late Jurassic period, with a long slender head and neck and a very short tail. However, in general use, the term is applied to any pterosaur.

* A pterosaur[5] is a fossil flying reptile of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, with membranous wings supported by a greatly lengthened fourth finger.

14d   Newspaper office // changed in this period? (10)

17d   Put off /and/ fed up, having made mistake (8)

19d   Version of story // that bank may offer (7)

One interprets the second definition as "that [which] bank may offer" or "[something] that bank may offer".

21d   Unknown character about to enter a drowned valley // somewhere in USA (7)

"unknown character" = Z (show explanation )

In mathematics (algebra, in particular), an unknown[10] is a variable, or the quantity it represents, the value of which is to be discovered by solving an equation ⇒ 3y = 4x + 5 is an equation in two unknowns. [Unknowns are customarily represented symbolically by the letters x, y and z.]

hide explanation

A ria[5] is a long, narrow inlet formed by the partial submergence of a river valley.

22d   Energy // very reduced ~ I work, then start to unwind, right? (6)

25d   Poke // gently with stick (4)

"gently" = 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 — or, today, gently.

hide explanation
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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.