Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday, October 23, 2020 — DT 29301

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29301
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29301]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog review written by
Mr K
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


For the first time in ages, a bit of red appears in my experience graph meaning that, upon visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog, I discovered an error in the solution.

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.

Markup Conventions
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "double underline" - both wordplay and definition
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of markup conventions used on this blog.


1a   All the same // as an all-seater? (15)

All-seater[5] (adjective*) is a British term denoting (of a sports stadium) having a seat for every spectator and no standing places.

* Despite not finding this word listed as a noun in any of the several dictionaries I consulted, it is certainly not a stretch to imagine that it could be used as a noun.

9a   Smart criminal hosting party /in/ realm of emperor (7)

"party " = DO

Do[5,12] is an informal British[5] or chiefly British[12] term* for a party or other social event the soccer club Christmas do

* although Webster’s New World College Dictionary[12] supports the contention by Oxford Dictionaries Online[5] that this usage is British, two other US dictionaries do not characterize do[3,11] used in this sense as a British term


10a   Sound of country // music writer (7)

Benjamin Britten[5], Lord Britten of Aldeburgh (1913–1976) was an English composer, pianist, and conductor. He founded the Aldeburgh festival with Peter Pears in 1948, and in 1976 became the first composer to be made a life peer. Notable operas: Peter Grimes (1945), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1960), and Death in Venice (1973).

11a   A writer figures /they're/ mountains (9)

The Apennines[5] are a mountain range running 1,400 km (880 miles) down the length of Italy, from the north-west to the southern tip of the peninsula.

12a   Shy of 135 degrees, // this smells! (4)

The informal preposition o' is short for of, used to represent a pronunciation ⇒ a cup o' coffee.

South-East (SE) is the compass point corresponding to a heading of 135°. A heading shy of 135° is one that is north of South-East (N o' SE).

Post Mortem
I fell into the trap of going for ROSE (a flower renowned for its fragrant smell). Of course, I was unable to parse the wordplay despite recognizing the presence of the compass point.

13a   Polish // European, by the sound of it? (6)

15a   Old maid wrapping up nonsense // project (8)

18a   Keep scores holding a // winter celebration (8)

Hogmanay[5] is the Scottish name for New Year's Eve and the celebrations that take place at this time.

19a   Story: // epilogue on stage (6)

22a   Cheers echoed /for/ so long (2-2)

Cheers[5] is an informal British expression of gratitude or acknowledgement for something Billy tossed him the key. ‘Cheers, pal.’

Ta[5] is an informal British exclamation signifying thank you ‘Ta,’ said Willie gratefully.

Ta-ta[5] is an informal British way to say goodbye well, I’ll say ta-ta, love.

Just to Confuse Matters
Cheers[5] is an informal British expression of good wishes on parting or ending a conversation Cheers, Jack, see you later

Thus cheers can mean either ta (thank you) or ta-ta (goodbye) and, consequently, "cheers echoed" could be used to clue either TA-TA or TA-TA-TA-TA.

23a   With sovereign to invest, finding // banking system (9)

"sovereign " = ER [regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth]

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.

* A cipher[5] (also cypher) is a monogram[5] or motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person's initials, used to identify a personal possession or as a logo.


Post Mortem
The setter has laid a couple of traps in this clue and I fell into both of them. First, the sovereign turns out not be an old British coin and, second, the banking system has nothing at all to do with financial institutions.

26a   Record -- // I seem disturbed by it (7)

27a   Small group // allowed on tour (7)

28a   With north winds, east drier? // Give up! (5,2,3,5)


1d   49%? // I couldn't agree more! (3,4)

Not half[5] is an informal British expression meaning to an extreme degree or very much so she didn’t half flare up!*.

* meaning that she flared up up to an extreme degree (she was not merely "half upset" but fully upset) or, in other words, she hit the roof

2d   Job // taken up by skilled artisan (5)

3d   Country // Dane is in travelling round Odense, primarily (9)

Odense[5] is a port in eastern Denmark, on the island of Fyn; population 158,678 (2009).

4d   Drone, an English // kind (6)

5d   Terribly sore, but fine in the end // admittedly (2,2,4)

6d   Nothing to secure a // tack (4)

7d   Enter // reduction in error (9)

8d   Italian // wingers, certainly not tackled (7)

Genoese[5] means Italian as either:
  • (adjective) relating to or characteristic of the Italian seaport of Genoa or its inhabitants
  • (noun) a native or inhabitant of the Italian seaport of Genoa
14d   Strangely right, a new // pair of pyjamas, perhaps? (9)

16d   Counsellor // this time admitting cut up (9)

17d   Page soon featuring the // eminent group (8)

"page " = P [publishing]

In textual references, the abbreviation for page is p[5] see p 784.


18d  On which every item should be erased! (3,4)

A cryptic definition of a mob enforcer's work orders.

20d   Enjoy one short story // about various figures? (7)

21d   Taking refuge initially in damp church, // villain (6)

24d   Relative // is not liking angora, woolly tops (2-3)

As an initial letter indicator, top[10] is used in the sense of beginning ⇒ (i) the top of the hour; (ii) at the top of the programme; (iii) let's run through this piece one more time from the top.

25d   Struggle with wife /in/ scene (4)

"wife " = W [genealogy]

The abbreviation for 'wife' is w[1,2,12] or w.[3,4,10,11] [although no context is provided, it likely comes from the field of genealogy].


Key to Reference Sources: 

  [1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
  [2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
  [3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
  [4]   - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced 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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