Monday, October 29, 2018 — DT 28759 (Published Saturday, October 27, 2018) (2024)

Puzzle at a Glance

Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph

DT 28759

Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph

Thursday, June 7, 2018



Link to Full Review

Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28759]

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


Well, this puzzle certainly got the Brits up on their high horses! The non-rhotic hom*ophone — not to mention the Spoonerism — really set them off. I have heard said that there are some fifty or more regional dialects in the UK — not to mention class-based dialects. It's no wonder they can't agree on what sounds like what. I had to laugh at the comment from HoofItYouDonkey in the discussion of whether the Rs are pronounced in the word "darter" when he says "Where I come from it hasn’t even got a ‘t’ in it!!".

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 First sign of contentment, marital partner /getting/ plump (6)

4a Stopped // benefit coming into home (6)

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers questions the use of the word "benefit". I see use[5] as being used in the sense of a purpose for or way in which something can be used the herb has various culinary uses. Should that option not be convincing, use[5] is also a historic legal term denoting the benefit or profit of lands, especially lands that are in the possession of another who holds them solely for the beneficiary.

8a Means of paying // Spooner's frosty captor (4,4)

The Rev. W. A. Spooner has bequeathed to us the name for an oft-encountered slip of the tongue. (show more )

A spoonerism[5] is a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures. It is named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

Spooner held a Doctor of Divinity degree and thus was entitled to be called Dr. Spooner.


What did he say?

In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers writes the second part [of the Spoonerism] isn’t a real word but a hom*ophone with no indication. I dislike Spooner clues in general and especially ones where they include bits that aren’t real words..
I would say that the term "Spoonerism" is in and of itself a hom*ophone indicator. Surely "Spooner's frosty captor" denotes "sounds like frosty captor" with the added constraint pertaining to the interchange of the initial letters. After all, Rev. Spooner made these errors when speaking — not when writing.

10a Return your dreadful // uniform (6)

Yes, yr[5] is a recognized abbreviation for 'your'.

Livery[5] is a special uniform worn by a servant, an official, or a member of a City Company*(i) yeomen of the guard wearing a royal red and gold livery; (ii) pageboys in scarlet and green livery.

* City Company[5] is a British term for a corporation descended from an ancient trade guild of London.

11a Ladies' man // rejecting 50% of people at university? (4)

12a Ignored // cut in price (10)

13a Kitchen appliance // beginning to rattle inside, fear griddle's defective (6,6)

In his review, pommers asks ⇒ Does anyone actually use this term for a fridge without an icebox?. Certainly, the term appears to be used by very few dictionary editors as I found it in only one dictionary, that being The Chambers Dictionary.

A larder fridge[1] is a type of refrigerator without a freezer compartment.

16a French city by Rhone is desperate /for/ churchgoers (12)

Scratching the Surface

The Rhône[5] is a river in southwestern Europe which rises in the Swiss Alps and flows 812 km (505 miles), through Lake Geneva into France, then to Lyons, Avignon, and the Mediterranean west of Marseilles, where it forms a wide delta that includes the Camargue.

20a Attempt to resolve dispute about Charlie/'s/ treatment (10)

Charlie[5] is a code word representing the letter C, used in radio communication.

21a That's reflected in heart of benevolent characters (4)

The entire clue is both wordplay and



22a Cook // endless seabird stew (6)

23a Sound from turkey // eating (8)

24a Reserved a little // fairground stall in school holidays, initially (6)

Shy[2] is another term for coconut shy[2,5], a British term for a fairground stall where people throw* balls at coconuts to try to knock them off stands and thereby win a prize.

* Shy[5] is a dated term meaning:

  • (noun) an act of flinging or throwing something at a target
  • (verb) to fling or throw (something) at a target ⇒ he tore the spectacles off and shied them at her

25a Liberate // secure complex (6)


1d Ordered raincoat /from/ European country (8)

Croatia[5] is a country in south-eastern Europe, formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia.
(show more )

Apart from a period of Turkish rule in the 16th–17th centuries, Croatia largely remained linked with Hungary until 1918, when it joined the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia). After a period in the Second World War as a Nazi puppet state (1941–5), Croatia became part of Yugoslavia once more and remained a constituent republic until it declared itself independent in 1991. The secession of Croatia led to war between Croats and the Serb minority, and with Serbia; a ceasefire was called in 1992. Croatia joined the EU in 2013.


2d Revoked // some sound ideas (5)

3d Split in fabric underneath black // bag (7)

In Britain, ladder[5] denotes:

  • (noun) a vertical strip of unravelled fabric in tights or stockings one of Sally’s stockings developed a ladder
  • (verb) with reference to tights or stockings, to develop or cause to develop a ladder ⇒ (i) her tights were always laddered; (ii) they laddered the minute I put them on

"black" = B (show explanation )

B[5] is an abbreviation for black used in describing grades of pencil lead 2B pencils.

hide explanation

5d Nobody is in the dark // totally (3,4)

The first definition is a literal interpretation of the expression denoted by the second definition.

You may recall from the review of DT 28756 (which appeared in the National Post last Wednesday) that all told denotes 'all counted' (show more ).

In the expression "all told", the word "told" has nothing to do with the recounting of a story.

Tell[3,5,11] is an archaic term meaning to enumerate or count (the members of a group) ⇒ (i) the shepherd had told all his sheep; (ii) telling one's blessings; (iii) 16 windows, all told.Tell[10] can also mean to count (votes), especially in a parliament.
This is also almost certainly the sense of the word which gives rise to the term teller[5], a person employed to deal with customers' transactions in a bank [in other words, someone who counts money].


6d Figure // observed boxing tournament, perhaps (9)

7d Some people's statistics reported /for/ diving bird (6)

The word 'darter' , when pronounced in a non-rhotic (show explanation ) accent typical of dialects found in many parts of Britain (especially southeastern England), sounds like an alternative pronunciation of the word 'data' (a pronunciation which The Chambers Dictionary characterizes as US or technical English).

Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

hide explanation

This hom*ophone is even more challenging than usual for those of us with rhotic accents as there are two Rs which must be dropped.

The setter specifies "some people's statistics" as there are two pronunciations for the word 'data' (the principal British one being ).

In his review, pommers asks Is this the worst hom*ophone ever?. Despite his misgivings, the pronunciation of 'darter' and the alternative pronunciation of 'data' are so similar that Collins English Dictionary actually uses a sound file for the word 'darter' to provide the alternative pronunciation of the word 'data'.

A darter[5] (also called anhinga or snakebird) is a long-necked fish-eating bird related to the cormorants, typically found in fresh water, where they frequently swim submerged to the neck.

9d Deplorable // grids in sets to be reworked (11)

14d Treachery // of the French place, far from warm welcoming in Italian (9)

In French, when the masculine singular definite article le[8] ('the') follows the preposition de[8] ('of'), the combination is replace by du[8] ('of the').

Pl.[5] (also pl.) is the abbreviation for Place (in street addresses) ⇒ 3 Palmerston Pl., Edinburgh.

"Italian" = IT, in reference to either the language or the vermouth (show explanation )

This cluing might be explained in a couple of ways:

  • It.[10] is an abbreviation for Italy or Italian [language].

  • Italian[10] is another name for Italian vermouth. It[5] is a dated informal British term for Italian vermouth ⇒ he poured a gin and it.

hide explanation

15d Royal holding nothing against // region (8)

17d People like you // are composed, I'd be cross now and then (7)

18d Worthless // cast in Globe (7)

Scratching the Surface

The Globe Theatre[7] was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men and was destroyed by fire in 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed by Ordinance in 1642*. A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare's Globe", opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet (230m) from the site of the original theatre.

* In September 1642 the Long Parliament ordered a closure of the London theatres. The order cited the current "times of humiliation" and their incompatibility with "public stage-plays", representative of "lascivious Mirth and Levity". The ban, which was not completely effective, was reinforced by an Act of 11 February 1648. It provided for the treatment of actors as rogues, the demolition of theatre seating, and fines for spectators. In 1660, after the English Restoration brought King Charles II to effective power in England, the theatrical ban was lifted.

19d Gentleman with teaching qualification -- flipping // rubbish (6)

A Bachelor of Education[7] (B.Ed.) is an undergraduate professional degree which prepares students for work as a teacher in schools, though in some countries additional work must be done in order for the student to be fully qualified to teach.

Rubbish[5] is a British* term for waste material, refuse, or litter — what North Americans would refer to as garbage**[5] or trash**[5].

* Oxford Dictionaries considers the word rubbish[5] (in all senses) to be British — despite it not being characterized as such by American dictionaries. I would think that, as a noun, the word has long ago become accepted in North America. That is not the case, however, when used as an adjective or verb.
** From a British perspective, both garbage[5] and trash[5] are North American terms — but apparently ones (at least, in the case of trash) well-known to Brits.

21d Shout about one climbing // tree (5)

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

Monday, October 29, 2018 — DT 28759 (Published Saturday, October 27, 2018) (2024)


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