Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018 — DT 28782

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28782
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28782]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
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 presents another fairly gentle mental workout.

The chatter on Big Dave's Crossword Blog largely concerns the 2018 FIFA World Cup being contested at the time in Russia. The evening before the puzzle was published in the UK, England had advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Columbia in a match played in Moscow  — a cliff-hanger that was tied after extra time and decided on penalty kicks.

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.

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.

The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.


The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "<" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)

Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television programmes, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be a "precise definition" (a definition that is either taken straight from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion) or it may be a "cryptic definition" (a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition).

The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and cryptic definitions by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.
In future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that 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 clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide explanation


1a   Going in, as poorly /and/ fretting (9)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, poorly[5] (adjective) is being used in a British* sense meaning unwell she looked poorly.

* Although Oxford Dictionaries Online characterizes this usage as British, it is also found in US dictionaries where poorly[3,11] (adjective) is defined as meaning in poor health or somewhat ill ⇒ feeling poorly. In fact, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language characterizes poorly used in this sense as a chiefly Southern US term.

I don't believe the usage cited by the American Heritage Dictionary is necessarily confined to Britain or the Southern US. I would certainly not be surprised to hear someone say I am feeling rather poorly today. On the other hand, Oxford Dictionaries provides examples of British usage that I am sure one would never hear in North America:
  • I didn't manage too many lengths today but I haven't been for 2 weeks since being poorly sick.
  • Zoe Bird, 26, was forced to walk for an hour to reach her home with poorly toddler son Ryan after they were forced to leave the car.
  • Jakey on the other hand is poorly due to having an injection.

6a   Quick // runs help around start of play (5)

Scratching the Surface
I think the surface reading makes the obvious observation that the chances of success for a cricket team are greatly enhanced by scoring runs early.

9a   Extent /of/ blubber on lass's rear? (5)

10a   Yields on hybrid // weapons (9)

11a   Live dangerously /and/ shoot after drama (4,4,4)

While the word with does not necessarily denote followed by, it may do so in some contexts ⇒ a turkey dinner with dessert.

14a   Famously, // how Bach perhaps composed? (7)

A double definition, the second being whimsical.

Johann Sebastian Bach[5] (1685–1750) was a German composer. An exceptional and prolific baroque composer, he produced a massive body of work — not to mention twenty children. (show more )

Bach produced works ranging from violin concertos, suites, and the six Brandenburg Concertos (1720–1) to clavier works and sacred cantatas. Large-scale choral works include The Passion according to St John (1723), The Passion according to St Matthew (1729), and the Mass in B minor (1733–8). He had twenty children: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–88) wrote church music, keyboard sonatas, and a celebrated treatise on clavier playing, and Johann Christian Bach (1735–82) became music master to the British royal family and composed thirteen operas.


A Deeper Meaning
Apparently, for serious students of music, there may be a deeper meaning hidden in the clue — one which I don't profess to fully understand — as noted by Rabbit Dave in Comment #3 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

16a   Effects /of/ turns on single politician (7)

Turn[5] could have a couple of meanings (either of which is synonymous with act):
  • a short performance, especially one of a number given by different performers in succession ⇒ (i) Lewis gave her best ever comic turn; (ii) he was asked to do a turn at a children’s party 
  • a performer giving a short performance ⇒ Malton’s comedy turn, Mark Poole, takes to the stage tonight in Cinderella
"politician" = MP (show explanation )

In Britain (as in Canada), a politician elected to the House of Commons is known as a Member of Parliament[10] (abbreviation MP[5]) or, informally, as a member[5].

hide explanation

17a   Watch /for/ ability to judge (3)

18a   Country // fair e.g. laird might hold back (7)

Algeria[5] is a republic on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. (show more )

Algeria was colonized by France in the mid 19th century and was for a time closely integrated with metropolitan France, but following civil war in the 1950s the country achieved independence in 1962. A brief period of multiparty democracy was ended by a military takeover in 1992 after the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front had won the first round of the national elections; violent civil strife ensued until 2000, when the armed segment of the Islamic Salvation Front was dissolved.


Scratching the Surface
In Scotland, a laird[5] is a person who owns a large estate.

20a   Feeling // as pride is shattered? (7)

In this case, the entire clue would constitute an apt description of the definition.

22a   Expert/'s/ finished (12)

26a   Question /from/ church everybody English expects initially (9)

27a   Pretext /of/ chaps on the radio (5)

28a   Put off // doctor accepting summer in France (5)

The French word for summer is été[8].

29a   Gives the green light to // restrictions (9)


1d   Primate must welcome son /in/ this section of church (4)

In zoology, a primate[5,10] is a mammal of an order that includes the lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, marmosets, monkeys, apes, and humans. They are distinguished by having hands, feet that are similar to hands, and forward-facing eyes, and, with the exception of humans, are typically agile tree-dwellers.

An apse[5] is a large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof and typically at the church's eastern end.

Scratching the Surface
In the Christian Church, a primate[5] is the chief bishop or archbishop of a province ⇒ the primate of Poland.

2d   Working around the setter /is/ a sign (4)

"the setter" = ME (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, (the or this) speaker, (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.

hide explanation

3d   I married and went white, // transfixed (7)

Transfix[5] is used in the sense of to pierce with a sharp implement or weapon a field mouse is transfixed by the curved talons of an owl.

4d   Spiteful when bishop leaves, // causing irritation (5)

"bishop" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for bishop that is used in recording moves in chess.

A bishop[5] is a chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a mitre, that can move any number of spaces in any direction along a diagonal on which it stands. Each player starts the game with two bishops, one moving on white squares and the other on black.

hide explanation

5d   Lacking time, flier got ID forged /and/ inflated (9)

6d   Got up with it /for/ such fruit (7)

A hip[5] (also rose hip) is the fruit of a rose, especially a wild kind ⇒ the hips and haws* in the hedges.

* A haw[5] is the red fruit of the hawthorn.

7d   Rural type // in favour of French wine agents left (10)

The French word for wine is vin[8].

"agents" = CIA (show explanation )

The Central Intelligence Agency[5] (abbreviation CIA) is a federal agency in the US responsible for coordinating government intelligence activities. Established in 1947 and originally intended to operate only overseas, it has since also operated in the US.

hide explanation

Provincial[5] (noun) denotes an inhabitant of the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded a town populated by money-grubbers, philistines, and self-satisfied provincials.

8d   Writer on board covered by log -- // get medication here (10)

"on board" = 'contained in SS' (show explanation )

In Crosswordland, you will find that a ship is almost invariably a steamship, the abbreviation for which is SS[5]. Thus phrases such as "aboard ship" or "on board ship" (or sometimes merely "aboard" or "on board") are Crosswordland code for 'contained in SS'.

hide explanation

Who is he talking about?
On Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the 2Kiwis describe the "log" as one that Pepys might have written.
Samuel Pepys[5] [pronounced 'peeps' (1633–1703) was an English diarist and naval administrator. He is particularly remembered for his "Diary" (1660–9), which describes events such as the Great Plague and the Fire of London.

Here and There
The use of the word "writer" to clue PEN would likely be slightly more cryptic to the Brits than it is to us on this side of the pond. 

The setter has almost certainly used "writer" as a cryptic allusion to an implement used for writing. While North American dictionaries also 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.

12d   Like some accounts maybe, // one-sided (10)

I waffled [in the North American sense (see the explanation for 19d)] for a while on whether to call this a double definition — and, if so, whether to label the first definition as cryptic.

13d   Skill /that sees/ cast get far, possibly? (10)

Stagecraft[5] is skill or experience in writing or staging plays.

15d   Horses? // The old dears head off (9)

Ye[5] is a pseudo-archaic term for theYe Olde Cock Tavern. The character "y" in this word was originally not the letter "y" in the modern English alphabet but a variant representation of the Old English and Icelandic letter thorn (þ or Þ). (show more )

The word 'ye' in this sense was originally a graphic variant of 'the' rather than an alternative spelling.

Thorn[5] is an Old English and Icelandic runic letter, þ or Þ, representing the dental fricatives /ð/ and /θ/. It was eventually superseded by the digraph th — and thus þe (the old spelling of 'the') became the modern spelling 'the'. 

In late Middle English þ (thorn) came to be written identically with y, so that þe (the) could be written ye. This spelling (usually ye*) was kept as a convenient abbreviation in handwriting down to the 19th century, and in printers' types during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was never pronounced as ‘yee’ in the past, but this is the pronunciation used today.

* I interpret the phrase "usually ye" to mean that the word was customarily not capitalized because the character "y" is not being used to represent the letter "y" in the modern English alphabet but rather as a graphic variant of thorn. Thus, in bygone days, the name of the drinking establishment above would presumably have been written ye Olde Cock Tavern (and pronounced "the old cock tavern").


The question mark indicates that we are looking for a particular category of horses rather than horses in general.

19d   Rose possibly // to waffle on right (7)

Here and There
Waffle[5] is used in the British sense meaning to speak or write at length in a vague or trivial manner he waffled on about his problems rather than the North American sense meaning to fail to make up one's mind ⇒ Joseph had been waffling over where to go.

21d   Vacant school needing cardinal /to show/ manual dexterity (7)

Cardinal[2,3,4,10,11] is another term for cardinal number.

23d   Part of vessel // featuring in register nowadays (5)

Scratching the Surface
The "register" could well be the one mentioned in the explanation of the following clue.

24d   Parting word /from/ company about returning first-class (4)

A1[4][5] or A-one[3] meaning first class or excellent comes from a classification for ships in The Lloyd's Register of Shipping where it means equipped to the highest standard or first-class.

Ciao[5] is an informal exclamation used as a greeting at meeting or parting ⇒ see you later—ciao!.

Origin: Italian, dialect alteration of schiavo ‘(I am your) slave’.

25d   Four points /for/ intelligence (4)
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)
[14] - (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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