Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday, July 23, 2021 — DT 29667

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 29667
Publication date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to full review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 29667]
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


After Jay haven taken a one-week leave of absence a while back, there is a great deal of trepidation on Big Dave's Crossword Blog when it comes to attributing authorship of this puzzle. However, I expect if it had not been set by Jay that Telegraph Puzzles editor Chris Lancaster would have dropped by to say so.

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
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of markup conventions used on this blog.


1a Recommend // writing about odd characters in plot (7)

9a Struggle helplessly /seeing/ line adopted by father (8)

"line " = L [textual references]

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


10a Business // worry (7)

11a Bachelor's first trendy // place by the sea (8)

Political Leanings Showing?
Collins English Dictionary defines right-on[10] (adjective) as an informal term meaning modern, trendy, and socially aware or relevant ⇒ The people that come to watch the play are all those right-on left-wing sort of people, whereas Lexico (Oxford Dictionaries) defines right-on[5] (adjective) as an informal, derogatory term meaning in keeping with fashionable liberal or left-wing opinions and values ⇒ It would seem that many right-on groups have decided that we're all so stupid that we are unable to exercise our own judgement and should rely on them to do so for us.

While both dictionaries would seem to consider that right-on implies left-wing, they appear to differ on whether that makes the term derogatory.

Brighton[5] is a resort on the south coast of England, in East Sussex.

12a First part of a play with number going round // fighting (6)

13a Opportunity backed after complaint -- // game might be raised here (6,4)

Raise[5] means to drive (an animal) from its lair ⇒ the rabbit was only 250 yards from where he first raised it.

A grouse moor[5] is an area of managed moorland*for the shooting of red grouse.

* Moor[5] is a chiefly British term for a tract of open uncultivated upland, typically covered with heather.

15a Marathon // record broken by nationalist's leader (4)

16a Son's promise in front of mainly suspicious // swimmer (9)

"son " = S [genealogy]

In genealogies, s[5] is the abbreviation for son(s) m 1991; one s one d*.

* married in 1991; one son and one daughter.


21a Duty /of/ old star from the east (4)

"old " = O [linguistics]

In linguistics, O[12] is the abbreviation for Old ⇒ (i) OFr [Old French]; (ii) OE [Old English].

However, a second entry from this same source shows o (lower case) meaning old (not capitalized) suggesting that the use of this abbreviation may not necessarily be confined to the field of linguistics.

Another possibility arises from the British abbreviation OAP[5] standing for old-age pensioner.


22a Top bill and see off // large corporations (3-7)

Corporation[5] is a dated humorous term for a paunch.

24a Drink // connection keeping pupils regularly missing (6)

25a Mobile resonating as missing // such a noise (8)

Mobile[5] (short for mobile phone) is a British term for a cell phone[5] (short for cellular phone) ⇒ we telephoned from our mobile to theirs.

27a France is French -- nothing about // garnish (7)

"France " = F [IVR code]

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for France is F[5].

French Licence Plate
(The IVR code is on the left below the EU flag emblem)


"is French " = EST

In French, est[8] is the third person singular of the present indicative of the verb être (to be). In other words, it means 'is'.


28a Blow // chances finally getting question with queen (8)

"queen " = 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.


29a Suggests // Independent politician is economical with the truth! (7)

"Independent " = I [politician with no party affiliation]

I[1] is the abbreviation for independent, in all likelihood in the sense of a politician with no party affiliation.


"politician " = MP

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].


What did they say?
In their review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, the 2Kiwis equate the phrase "economical with the truth" to tells porkies.
Pork pie[10] (often shortened to porky) is mainly British and Australian rhyming slang (show explanation ) for a lie [in the sense of an untruth].

Rhyming slang[5] is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example, butcher’s, short for butcher’s hook, means ‘look’ in cockney* rhyming slang.

* A cockney[5,10] is a native of East London [specifically that part of East London known as the East End[5]], 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 aitch (H) from the beginning of words as well as the use of rhyming slang.

While one commonly sees only the shortened form of rhyming slang, pork pie is one of those cases where both the full expression and the shortened version seem to be in general use.

hide explanation


2d Ferret cut // farmer's production in field (4,4)

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, ferret[5] is used in the sense of a domesticated polecat* used chiefly for catching rabbits. It is typically albino in coloration, but sometimes brown.

* Polecat[5] denotes a weasel-like Eurasian mammal and is not used in the US sense of another name for a skunk.

3d Easy profits // from ruler seen in photos (8)

Pickings[5] is used in the sense of profits or gains that are made effortlessly* or dishonestly.

* I initially questioned the inclusion of the word "easy" in the definition as I was thinking of "easy profits" being easy pickings—thus making the word "easy" superfluous in the definition. However, in the expression easy pickings, the modifier easy seems to relate more to the magnitude of the gains than to the degree of effort required to generate them (a point that I would say is supported by easy pickings being the opposite of slim pickings).

4d Well, bread /is/ a possible starter in restaurant (6,4)

5d Slight // speech defect (4)

6d Move to employ one // Australian flier (6)

Budgie[5] is an informal name for the budgerigar[5], a small gregarious Australian parakeet which is green with a yellow head in the wild. It is popular as a cage bird and has been bred in a variety of colours.

7d Issue /could be/ treason, having killed leader (7)

8d Angry, upset about a right // sort of loaf (7)

Granary[5] (short for granary bread[5]) is a British trademark for a type of brown bread containing whole grains of wheat.

What's In Your Bread?
One of the most glaring language differences I encountered when I moved to Ontario from Nova Scotia was to hear whole wheat bread referred to as brown bread. Even close to fifty years later, this usage still seems strange to me. In in the Maritimes and New England, the term brown bread[7] implies bread made with molasses—and it truly is brown, not the pale substance that passes for brown bread here (and seemingly also in the UK).

11d Attack /and/broad do as ordered, beset by girl getting married (9)

14d Wake // selected pupils after mistake (10)

Stream[5] is a British term* for a group in which schoolchildren of the same age and ability are taught children in the top streams.

* A term I believe is also used in Canada.

17d Area covered by recasting of Hot Lips /in/ MASH? (8)

[3,4,11] is a US military acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

MASH[7] (stylized as M*A*S*H on the film's poster art) is a 1970 American satirical black comedy film based on Richard Hooker's 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.

Although the film depicts a unit of medical personnel stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War, the subtext is about the Vietnam War. The film inspired the popular and critically acclaimed television series M*A*S*H, which ran from 1972 to 1983 and is one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history.

In the book, movie and TV series, Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan[7] is the regular-army head nurse of the MASH unit.

18d Clear // instruction from Pope on sleep (8)

A bull[5] is a papal edict ⇒ the Pope issued a bull of excommunication.

19d Discourage // work on fourth estate (7)

"work " = OP [opus]

In music, an opus[5] (Latin 'work', plural opuses or opera) is a separate composition or set of compositions.

The abbreviation Op.[5] (also op.), denoting opus, is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication. The plural form of Op. is Opp..

Opus[5] can also be used in other contexts to denote an artistic work, especially one on a large scale ⇒ he was writing an opus on Mexico.


The fourth estate[5] is another term for the press or the profession of journalism.

Origin: The term alludes to and is an extension of the concept of the estates of the realm, an estate[5] being a class or order regarded as forming part of the body politic, in particular (in Britain), one of the three groups constituting Parliament, now the Lords spiritual (the heads of the Church), the Lords temporal (the peerage [nobility]), and the Commons. They are also known as the three estates.

20d Weapon // hurt one of Macron's (4,3)

Emmanuel Macron[5] is a French statesman who has been president of France since 2017.

"one of Macron's " [French word meaning 'one'] = UN

The French word un[8] can be translated as the cardinal number one, a pronoun meaning one, or a masculine singular indefinite article.


23dTagine must be cooked for this purpose (6)

The entire clue constitutes the definition in which the wordplay is embedded.

Tagine[5] is a North African stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking in a shallow earthenware cooking dish with a tall, conical lid.

By definition, this dish must be cooked—or else, it would not qualify as tagine.

26d Christmas /will be/ held up by little ones (4)

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)
[15]   - (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )

Signing off for today — Falcon

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