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Introduction
Here is today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. I will return later with the solution.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.
Signing off for the moment — Falcon
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28908
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Setter
Jay (Jeremy Mutch)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28908]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
2Kiwis
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
IntroductionToday's puzzle was not that difficult but one clue clearly does not parse and a second is rather problematical.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   Still wearing specs to take in constant // opportunities for learning (7,7)

In mathematics, C[5] (or c) is a symbol used to represent either the third fixed constant to appear in an algebraic expression, or a known constant (show more ).

In mathematics, a constant[5] is a quantity or parameter that does not change its value whatever the value of the variables, under a given set of conditions.

In physics, a constant[5] is a number expressing a relation or property which remains the same in all circumstances, or for the same substance under the same conditions.

hide

9a   Charlie plays around with love // song (7)

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

"love" = O [tennis term] (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide


As well as being a genre of music, calypso[5] can also denote a song of that style ⇒ a man was playing a calypso on a double bass.

10a   Part of Vermont -- an awful // state (7)

11a   Just beat // seed (3)

Pip[5] is an informal British term meaning to defeat by a small margin or at the last moment you were just pipped for the prize.

12a   Almost doomed by family // secret (11)

14a   Queen once rejected after struggle /for/ city in Europe (6)

Anne[7] (1665–1714) became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death.

Oops!
Should you think the clue doesn't parse, you would be correct.

The wordplay is a reversal of (rejected) ANNE (queen once) following (after) VIE (struggle) which, of course, produces a surplus letter E.

As the setter, Jay, confesses at Comment #16 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, he has misspelled the name of the queen.

With the addition of one word, the clue could have been perfect:
  • Queen once rejected after unending struggle for city in Europe (6)

15a   Cadge /from/ miser, importing one in France for nothing (8)

"one in France" = UN (show more )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

hide

17a   Sort of clue needed in case of love // game (8)

19a   Unusual Monday // person full of energy (6)

22a   Church collecting ancient stone, gold and silver in abeyance (4,7)

"church" = CE [Church of England] (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

The stone[5] (abbreviation st[5]) is a British unit of weight equal to 14 lb (6.35 kg) ⇒ I weighed 10 stone.

"gold" = OR [heraldic term] (show explanation )

Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

In heraldry, a tincture[5] is any of the conventional colours (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.

hide

The symbol for the chemical element silver is Ag[5] from Latin argentum.

Cold storage[5] denotes the temporary postponement of something ⇒ the project went into cold storage.

23a   People in line for audience /must be/ prompt (3)

Queue[5] is a chiefly British term meaning a line or sequence of people or vehicles awaiting their turn to be attended to or to proceed. As Collins English Dictionary states, the usual US and Canadian term is line[10] (in this sense of the word).

24a   High roller/'s/ note about star in the morning (7)

"note" = TI (show more ).

From a perusal of entries in American and British dictionaries, I gather that the only recognized spelling in the US would seem to be ti[3,11] while British dictionaries are split into two camps. On one side, Chambers 21st Century Dictionary and Collins English Dictionary give the principal spelling as te[2,4,10] with ti[2,4,10] being an alternative spelling. The Chambers Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries take the contrary position, giving the spelling as ti[1,5] with te[1,5] shown as an alternative spelling.

Note that the sister publications, The Chambers Dictionary and Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, are diametrically opposed on the issue and Oxford Dictionaries has done a complete about face as I have notes in my files from a previous review showing that "Oxford Dictionaries decrees that te is the British spelling with ti being the North American spelling".

hide explanation


A roller[5] is a long swelling wave that appears to roll steadily towards the shore.

26a   Military man // disposed of one facing Her Majesty (7)

"Her Majesty" = ER [regnal cipher of Queen Elizabeth] (show more )

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
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28907
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28907]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr K
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
IntroductionI hesitate to comment on this puzzle as I interrupted writing my review in order to review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog the puzzle which appears today in The Daily Telegraph in the UK. At the moment the two puzzles form a melange in my mind. Readers of the National Post will likely see today's Daily Telegraph puzzle in late November.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   Tributaries beginning to split // farms (7)

The decapitation indicator, split[5], is used in the sense of to leave a place, especially suddenly ⇒ ‘Let's split,’ Harvey said.

5a   Gave // away European wine? (7)

"European" = E (show explanation )

E[1,2] is the abbreviation for European (as in E number*).
* An E number[1,4,10,14] (or E-number[2,5]) is any of various identification codes required by EU law, consisting of the letter E (for European) followed by a number, that are used to denote food additives such as colourings and preservatives (but excluding flavourings) that have been approved by the European Union.

hide

9a   Singular and tense -- a politician/'s/ character (5)

"singular" = S [grammar term] (show explanation )

To a grammarian, s[5] is the abbreviation for singular.

hide explanation

"tense" = T [grammar term] (show explanation )

Grammatically speaking, t.[10] is the abbreviation for tense.

hide explanation

"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


Stamp[10] is used in the sense of a hallmark or characteristic feature or trait ⇒ the story had the stamp of authenticity.

10a   Meeting // in French bar (9)

In French, en[8] is a preposition denoting 'in'.

11a   Holding uniform, tailor scans best // materials (10)

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

12a   Banker goes to check // on that account (4)

14a   Still // at sea, he resents vile island having left (12)

18a   Notice I intended to limit chapter/'s/ importance (12)

"chapter" = C [publishing term] (show explanation )

The abbreviation for chapter (likely in textual references) is c.[2]

hide explanation

21a   Wrong // answer precedes mocking (4)

22a   Criticism with transport // manual for drivers in America? (5,5)

Stick[5] is an informal British term denoting severe criticism or treatment ⇒ I took a lot of stick from the press.


From a British perspective, stick shift[5] is a North American term for a gear lever or manual transmission.

25a   A student depressed before dance, missing first // grant (9)

"learner" = L [driver under instruction] (show more )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide

26a   Wise men promoting one European // picture (5)

In Christianity, the Magi[2] (plural of magus) were the three wise men or astrologers from the east who brought gifts to the infant Jesus, guided by a star. Also called the Three Kings and the Three Wise Men.

The European from 5a reprises its role.

27a   Basic quality /of/ perfume? (7)

28a   Sharp // witticism by chap (7)

"chap" = GENT (show explanation )

Chap[3,4,11] is an informal British[5] or chiefly British[3] term for a man or boy — although a term that is certainly not uncommon in Canada. It is a shortened form of chapman[3,4,11], an archaic term for a trader, especially an itinerant pedlar[a,b].
[a] Pedlar is the modern British spelling of peddler[14] which, in most senses, is considered by the Brits to be a US or old-fashioned British spelling. The exception is in the sense of a dealer in illegal drugs which the Brits spell as drug peddler.
[b] The current meaning of chap[2] dates from the 18th century. In the 16th century, chap meant 'a customer'. The dictionaries do not explain how a shortened form of 'chapman' (pedlar) came to mean 'customer'.

hide
Down
1d   Repose cut short -- it's bad // weather (6)

2d   Terrible barney /is/ close (6)

Scratching the Surface
Barney[5] is an informal British term for a quarrel, especially a noisy one ⇒ we had a barney about his being drunk.

3d   Eighty shops, roughly? Not good // assumption (10)

"good" = G [academic result] (show reference )

The abbreviation G[a] for good comes from its use in education as a mark awarded on scholastic assignments or tests.
[a] Collins English to Spanish Dictionary

hide

4d   Shandy maker perhaps almost // sober? (5)

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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28906
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, November 26, 2018
Setter
Campbell (Allan Scott) ?
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28906]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★ Enjoyment - ★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
IntroductionThe Daily Telegraph has done some shuffling of setting duties with Dada (John Halpern) moving from setting alternate Monday puzzles to serve full-time in the Sunday slot (a puzzle we don't get in the National Post) and Chris Lancaster moving from setting alternate Monday puzzles to occasional appearances on Tuesdays. Although there is no definitive attribution of today's puzzle, Rabbit Dave may well be correct in suggesting that it was set by Campbell (Allan Scott) who is to become the full-time Monday setter.

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.

Legend:

The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "&lt;" 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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   Reveal love /in/ declaration of intent (9)

"love" = O [tennis term] (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide

6a   In addition, // luxurious hotel not included (4)

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

10a   Bobby's first to explore // thicket (5)

In Britain, bobby[5] is an informal name for a police officer. The name comes from a nickname for Robert, the given name of Sir Robert Peel[5] (1788–1850), British Prime Minister 1834-5 and 1841-6, who as Home Secretary (1828–30) established the Metropolitan Police [perhaps better known as Scotland Yard].

11a   Boy, // a youth who drowned saving ten (9)

Hero and Leander[7] is the Greek myth relating the story of Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont (show explanation ), and Leander, a young man from Abydos on the opposite side of the strait. Leander fell in love with Hero and would swim every night across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way.

Hellespont[5] is the ancient name for the Dardanelles, a narrow strait between Europe and Asiatic Turkey, linking the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea. It is named after the legendary Helle, who fell into the strait and was drowned while escaping with her brother Phrixus from their stepmother, Ino, on a golden-fleeced ram.

hide

Succumbing to Leander's soft words and to his argument that Venus, as the goddess of love, would scorn the worship of a virgin, Hero allowed him to become "special friends" with her. These trysts lasted through the warm summer. But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero's light; Leander lost his way and was drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him.

12a   Left behind, // a group one day (9)

14a   Spicy dish, // Latvian perhaps -- time for lunch? (5)

A Balt[5] is a native or inhabitant of one of the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The denizens of Crosswordland customarily eat a late lunch.


According to The Chambers Dictionary and Chambers 21st Century Dictionary*, balti[1,2] is a term used in Indian cookery for a style of curry, originating in Britain, in which the food is cooked in and eaten out of the same wok-like dish (which is also known as a balti).
* Collins English Dictionary essentially concurs with the definition given by Chambers, defining balti[4,10] as a spicy Indian dish, stewed until most of the liquid has evaporated, and served in a woklike pot. However, Oxford Dictionaries seems to head off on another tack, telling us that balti[5] is a term used in Pakistani cooking for a spicy dish cooked in a small two-handled pan known as a karahi.

15a   Vegetable /from/ Spain that's stewed? Check (7)

"check" = CH [chess] (show explanation )

In chess, ch.[10] is the abbreviation for check*.
* Check[5] means to move a piece or pawn to a square where it attacks (the opposing king) ⇒ he moves his knight to check my king again.

hide

16a   Famous // artist, English, not without heart (7)

Tracey Emin[7] is an English artist and part of the group known as Britartists or YBAs (Young British Artists).


Highlights of her work include Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995[7], a tent appliquéd with names*, exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and My Bed[7] (shown above), an installation at the Tate Gallery consisting of her own unmade dirty bed with used condoms and blood-stained underwear.
* the names of, literally, everyone she had ever slept with, but not necessarily in the sexual sense

Fact Check
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops refers to Emin as a Turner prizewinning artist.
Sorry, Miffypops, although she received a nomination for the Turner Prize* in 1999 for her exhibit My Bed (see above), she did not win.
* The Turner Prize[7], named after the English painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the UK's most publicised art award. The award represents all media.

18a   A permit secured by the // gymnast, perhaps (7)

20a   Delivery worker // in the south of France going around with iron (7)

Midi[5,7] is a colloquial name for the south of France.
Origin: The term Midi literally means midday in French, comparable to the term Mezzogiorno for the south of Italy. The time of midday was synonymous with the direction of south because in France, as in all of the Northern Hemisphere north of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun is in the south at noon.

The symbol for the chemical element iron is Fe[5] (from Latin ferrum).



This worker delivers the same goods as the stork.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops describes the Midi asan area in the south of France.
In fact, the "area" of which Miffypops speaks apparently constitutes the entirety of the south of France.

21a   Spinner in charge /provides/ talking point (5)

"in charge" = IC (
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28905
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Setter
Navy (Lucy Evans)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28905 – Hints]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28905 – Review]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Tilsit (Hints)
crypticsue (Review)
BD Rating
Difficulty - Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
Notes
As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.
IntroductionToday sees the debut of a new setter, Navy, a rare female in the field of setting cryptic crossword puzzles. You can find out a bit more about her in the thread at Comment #2 on crypticsue's review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog in which she mentions that "Navy clues" is an anagram of her name — which is Lucy Evans. You can find out a lot more about her in an interview, Meet the Setter - Navy, published on The Guardian Crossword Blog. What is truly amazing is that this remarkable young woman is only seventeen years old and received her first introduction to cryptic crosswords a mere seven months prior to having her first puzzle published in The Telegraph.

Navy (Lucy Evans)

The puzzle may have rated only a single star for difficulty but I encountered a mental block on 12a and needed to resort to a bit of electronic assistance.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   Mortgage deal not usually//  collected (12)

9a   Spiritual vessel? (4,5)

10a   A large individual /yet/ solitary (5)

"large" = L [clothing size] (show explanation )

L[5] is the abbreviation for large (as a clothing size).

hide

11a   Turn up // at start of the finale (6)

12a   Fashions without diamonds covering new // veils (8)

It is a relief to see that this clue was also a challenge for Tilsit. I did decipher the wordplay fairly readily once my electronic assistants had assembled a lineup of possible suspects from which to choose.

"diamonds" = D [card suit] (show explanation )

Diamonds[2] (abbreviation D[2]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide

"new" = N [in place names] (show explanation )

N[5] is an abbreviation (used chiefly in place names) for New ⇒ N Zealand.

hide

13a   One living a bare existence // playing in dust (6)

15a   Moves // modern steeples (8)

What did she say?
In her review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, crypticsue writes I should point out that they aren’t quite the same thing, as you can have a steeple without a spire but you can’t have a spire without a steeple!.
I believe she is basing her statement on a strict interpretation of the word "steeple" as meaning the tower on a church with the word "spire" denoting the pointed or conical structure that sits atop this tower.

Collins English Dictionary defines steeple[10] as:
  • a tall ornamental tower that forms the superstructure of a church, temple, etc*
  • such a tower with the spire above it
  • any spire or pointed structure
* Oxford Dictionaries Online characterizes this sense of the word as archaic[5]

Thus steeple can seemingly mean either the tower alone, the tower plus the spire, or the spire alone. The latter might be the case where a spire is affixed directly to the roof of a building rather than to a tower.

18a   Path through Scottish mountains /gets/ wider (8)

Ben[5] (used especially in place names) is Scottish for a high mountain or mountain peak ⇒ Ben Nevis*.
* Ben Nevis[5] is a mountain in western Scotland. Rising to 1,343 m (4,406 ft), it is the highest mountain in the British Isles.

19a   Got in a tizzy // with being carried by horse (6)

The Story Behind the Picture
Tilsit illustrates his hints with a photo of Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg in the roles of John Steed and Emma Peel from the British espionage television series The Avengers[7] (1961–1969).

21a   Main outfit /for/ nightcap? (8)

23a   Update // regarding temptress (6)

26a   Openings of very old legends encourage strangling // rodents (5)

27a   What's often used in evidence /and/, strangely, in frescos (9)

28a   Did like others /and/ pursued executive (8,4)

What did he say?
In his hints on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Tilsit describes the second word in the solution as a nickname for an executive or businessman (often used in the City).
The City is the financial district of London — the British counterpart of Wall Street in New York or Bay Street in Toronto. (show more )

The City[5] [or simply City] is short for the City of London[5] (a borough of — and not to be confused with — the city of London).

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 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.

It 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

The photo used by Tilsit to illustrate his hints shows British comedian John Cleese performing in "The Ministry of Silly Walks"[7], a sketch from a 1970 episode of the British television comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Down
1d   Playing tabs in a // refrain (7)

2d   Type of writer /that gives/ good present? (5)

"good" = G [academic result] (show reference )

The abbreviation
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28904
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Friday, November 23, 2018
Setter
Giovanni (Don Manley)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28904]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Deep Threat
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
Notes
This puzzle appears on the Monday Diversions page in the Saturday, May 18, 2019 edition of the National Post.
IntroductionThis puzzle certainly provided a vigorous mental workout. While Deep Threat rated it at only three stars for difficulty, I would say that in my case it was nudging into four star territory.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   County team/'s/ disadvantage (8)

Down[5] is one of the Six Counties of Northern Ireland.

"team" = SIDE (show explanation )

Side[5] is a British term for a sports team ⇒ there was a mixture of old and young players in* their side.
* Note that, in Britain, a player is said to be "in a side" rather than "on a team" as one would say in North America.

In North America, the term side[3] is used in a very general fashion that can denote one of two or more opposing individuals, groups, teams, or sets of opinions. While this same general usage is also found in the UK, the term side[5] is also used there in a much more specific sense to mean a sports team, as we can clearly see from the following usage examples ⇒ (i) Previous England rugby sides, and England teams in many other sports, would have crumbled under the weight of such errors.; (ii) They'll face better sides than this Monaco team, but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

hide

5a   Catholic services /getting/ lots (6)

Mass[5] is the celebration of the Christian Eucharist*, especially in the Roman Catholic Church.
* Eucharist[5] (also known as Communion[5]) is the Christian service, ceremony, or sacrament commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.

9a   Favourite child /in/ difficult situation in African country (8)

Benin[5] is a country of West Africa, immediately west of Nigeria. (show more )

The country was conquered by the French in 1893 and became part of French West Africa. In 1960 it became fully independent. Former name (until 1975) Dahomey.

hide


In the Old Testament, Benjamin[10] is the the youngest and best-loved* son of Jacob and Rachel. (Genesis 35:16–18; Genesis 42:4)
* presumably best-loved by his father as Rachel died in giving birth to him

10a   Arrive at // total (4,2)

12a   Various bits of velour /in/ art gallery (6)

The Louvre[5] is the principal museum and art gallery of France, in Paris, housed in the former royal palace built by Francis I. The Louvre holds the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

13a   Those who criticise // devices to attract attention of residents (8)

15a   Shook /as/ one shown the way ahead (7)

The conjunction qua[5] means in the capacity of or as being ⇒ shareholders qua members may be under obligations to the company.

You Be The Judge
Has the setter, perchance, confused quake with quail?
  • Quake[5] means to shake or shudder with fear ⇒ those words should have them quaking in their boots.
  • Quail, on the other hand, means to shrink back with fear or cower[10] or to lose courage, be apprehensive with fear, or to flinch[1,2].
Does cower or flinch denote the same action as shake?

16a   North African // place of desolation? (4)

A Moor[5] is a member of a northwest African Muslim people of mixed Berber and Arab descent. In the 8th century they conquered the Iberian peninsula, but were finally driven out of their last stronghold in Granada at the end of the 15th century.


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

20a   Contemptible person? // Just a bit, hiding love (4)

"love" = O [tennis term] (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide


Although the particulars vary from one dictionary to another, toad would seem to be a term of contempt on both sides of the pond (show more ).

Toad is defined in various dictionaries as:
  • The Chambers Dictionary[1]: a hateful or contemptible person or animal
  • Chambers 21st Century Dictionary[2]: an obnoxious or repellent person
  • Collins English Dictionary[4,10] : a loathsome person
  • Oxford Dictionaries[5]: a contemptible or detestable person (used as a general term of abuse) ⇒ you're an arrogant little toad
  • American Heritage Dictionary[3]: a person regarded as repulsive
  • Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary[11]: a disgusting person or thing
  • Webster’s New World College Dictionary[12]: a person regarded as loathsome, contemptible, etc.
hide

21a   The curt drunk /in/ foreign city (7)

Utrecht[5] is a city in the central Netherlands, capital of a province of the same name.

25a   Fish /and/ chips mostly cooked with lard (8)

The pilchard[5] is a small, edible, commercially valuable marine fish of the herring family.

26a   Composer /to give/ a verse new setting (6)

Edgard Varèse[5] (1883–1965) was a French-born American composer. His music explored dissonance, unusual orchestration, and (from the 1950s) tape-recording and electronic instruments.

What is an "ARVE Error"?
Those who visit Big Dave's Crossword Blog will see an "ARVE Error" message in place of the video that Deep Threat presumably included in his review.

ARVE (Advanced Responsive Video Embedder) is a plugin for the WordPress content management system — the platform on which Big Dave's Crossword Blog operates.

I would guess that parameter values that were valid at the time that Deep Threat's review was written in November 2018 are no longer ..
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Introduction
Here is today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. I will return later with the solution.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.
Signing off for the moment — Falcon
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28903
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28903 ]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Kath
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
IntroductionThe mystery setter of today's puzzle has dialled up the intensity level of our mental workout a notch or two.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   Energy Ringo barely whipped up /for/ Beatles tune (7,5)

"energy" = E [symbol used in physics] (show reference )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy in mathematical formulae ⇒ E = mc2.

hide


"Eleanor Rigby"[7] is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, released on their 1966 album Revolver and as a single with "Yellow Submarine"*. It was written primarily by Paul McCartney, and credited to Lennon–McCartney.
* The songs "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yellow Submarine" were released as a double A-side[7] single meaning that both sides of the record were labeled the A-side. This format was pioneered by the Beatles with their 1965 release of of "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper",


Scratching the Surface
Ringo Starr[5] is an English rock and pop drummer; born Richard Starkey. He replaced Pete Best in the Beatles in 1962. After the band split up in 1970, he pursued a solo career as a musician, singer, and actor.}

9a   Retrieved // blanket laying in grass (9)

10a   Generous // starter lacking in taste (5)

Scratching the Surface
Starter[5] is another name* for an appetizer or the first course of a meal.
* although British dictionaries consider this term to be British[5] (or chiefly or mainly British[4,10,14]), this usage of the word would seem to have become well established in North America[3,12]

11a   A pair of learners joining university on // appeal (6)

"learner" = L [driver under instruction] (show more )

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

hide

12a   Star // screened by broadcaster is knowledgeable (8)

This extremely well-disguised lurker was my last clue solved.

13a   Intrepid // choir touring round Spain (6)

"Spain" = E [IVR code] (show explanation )


The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain is E*[5] (in the photo, seen on the left hand side of the licence plate below the European Union symbol).
* from Spanish España

hide

15a   Crossing street, observe reversing // car (8)

A dragster[5] is a car built or modified to take part in drag races*.
* A drag race[5] is a race between two cars over a short distance, usually a quarter of a mile, as a test of acceleration.

18a   Plant // beginning to sag, promptly prod ground (8)

As an anagram indicator, ground is used as the past tense or past participle of the verb grind[5]. An anagram indicator is typically a word that denotes movement or transformation. Grind denotes transformation, for example, in the sense of grain being ground into flour.

19a   Supplies // bombed aboard ship (6)

"aboard ship" = '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

21a   A Parisian complained after leader's dismissed // eccentric (8)

"a Parisian" = UN (show more )

In French, the masculine singular form of the indefinite article is un[8].

hide

Here and There
Whereas North Americans merely whine, it would seem that Brits both whine and whinge.

Whinge[5] is an informal British term that means:
  • (verb) to complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way ⇒ stop whingeing and get on with it! 
  • (noun) an act of complaining persistently and peevishly ⇒ she let off steam by having a good whinge
This would seem to connote a stronger level of complaint than a whine[5] which is defined as:
  • (verb) to complain in a feeble or petulant way ⇒ (i) she began to whine about how hard she had been forced to work; (ii) My legs ache,’ he whined
  • (noun) a feeble or petulant complaint ⇒ a constant whine about the quality of public services

You Be The Judge
Are eccentric and unhinged synonymous?
  • Eccentric[5] (said of a person or their behaviour) denotes unconventional and slightly strange ⇒ he noted her eccentric appearance.
  • Unhinged[5] means mentally unbalanced or deranged ⇒ the violent acts of unhinged minds.

23a   In charge, keen to shorten // period of hostile conditions (3,3)

"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

26a   Fly keeping close to trail // from light source (5)

The solution is an adjective, thus the word..
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28901
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Setter
Unknown
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28901]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Mr K
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
IntroductionThis is a fun puzzle that provides a not overly taxing mental workout.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
1a   Account by about 21 // people in court? (7)

The numeral "21" is a cross reference indicator to clue 21a (show more ).

To complete the clue, a solver must replace the cross reference indicator with the solution to the clue starting in the light* identified by the cross reference indicator.

The cross reference indicator may include a directional indicator but this is customarily done only in situations where there are both Across and Down clues originating in the light that is being referenced.
light-coloured cell in the grid

hide

5a   Recover /from/ fresh miracle (7)

9a   Spontaneous remark /from/ District Attorney upset lawyers in Boston, initially (2-3)

In the US, a district attorney[5] (abbreviation DA) is a public official who acts as prosecutor for the state in a particular district.

10a   Cause of increase in damage? (9)

Damage[5] is an informal term for cost or expense (especially in the phrase what's the damage?).

11a   Specialist almost spoilt niece/'s/ encounter (10)

12a   Fish // deep (4)

14a   Provoke colleague // from time to time (12)

18a   Results /obtained from/ prisoner with chains (12)

21a   Bond ignoring female with diamonds, // pre-owned (4)

"diamonds" = D [card suit] (show explanation )

Diamonds[2] (abbreviation D[2]) is one of the four suits of playing-cards.

hide

22a   Appeal again /for/ rehearsal (10)

25a   Put out fire -- enter // block (9)

26a   Financial help rejected by one northern // country (5)

27a   Do shout to limit male/'s/ sleeping (7)

28a   Some get here safely /in/ May? (7)

Theresa May[7] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party, having served as both since July 2016. She is the second female Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader in the UK after Margaret Thatcher.
Down
1d   Inspire // article about what follows funeral (6)

I am familiar with a wake occurring before a funeral but I discover that a wake[5] can also (especially in Ireland) be a party held after a funeral.

2d   Spiritual leader // lacking energy in chapel I roused (6)

"energy" = E [symbol used in physics] (show reference )

In physics, E[5] is a symbol used to represent energy in mathematical formulae ⇒ E = mc2.

hide


Caliph[5] is a historical term for the chief Muslim civil and religious ruler, regarded as the successor of Muhammad. The caliph ruled in Baghdad until 1258 and then in Egypt until the Ottoman conquest of 1517; the title was then held by the Ottoman sultans until it was abolished in 1924 by Atatürk.

3d   Paper is after loan before editor/'s/ removed (10)

Sub[5] is a British term for an advance or loan against expected income ⇒ ‘I've got no money.’ ‘Want a sub?’.

4d   Go // right inside disreputable bar (5)

5d   Thought to take out large // meal (9)

6d   Cleaner // reluctant to scrub yard (4)

Char[5] is an informal British term for charwoman[5] (or charlady[5]), a dated British name for a woman employed as a cleaner in a house or office.

7d   Before noon, one Liberal Democrat/'s/ friendly (8)

British politician Sir Vince Cable[7] is the Leader of the Liberal Democrats*.
* The Liberal Democrats[7] (often referred to as the Lib Dems) are a liberal British political party, formed in 1988 as a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a splinter group from the Labour Party.

8d   Imagination // Disney stirred up inside me (5,3)

The phrase in one's mind's eye[5] denotes in one's imagination ⇒ his face was very clear in her mind's eye.

13d   Unsettled // at home and fed up, I fool with ecstasy (10)

Nit[5,10] (short for nitwit)  is an informal British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

"Ecstasy | drug" = E (show explanation )

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy* or a tablet of Ecstasy ⇒ (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.
* Ecstasy[5] is an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressant. Also called MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

hide

15d   A goddess intended to be heartless /for/ fun (9)

In Greek and Roman mythology, the Muses[5] are the nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. (show more )

The Muses are generally listed as Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flute playing and lyric poetry), Terpsichore (choral dancing and song), Erato (lyre playing and lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Thalia (comedy and light verse), Polyhymnia (hymns, and later mime), and Urania (astronomy).

hide

16d   Oscar caught by copper and possibly spotted /getting/ tied up (8)

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

"caught" = C [cricket notation] (show explanation )

In cricket, one way for a batsman to be dismissed is to be caught out[5], that is for a player on the opposing team to catch a ball that has been hit by the batsman before it touches the ground.

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c.[2,10] or c[5] denotes caught (by).

hide

"copper" = CU (show explanation )

The symbol for the chemical element copper is Cu[5] (from late Latin cuprum).

hide explanation

Pied[5] is an adjective..
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Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28900
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Monday, November 19, 2018
Setter
Mister Ron (Chris Lancaster)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28900]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
Miffypops
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
█ - 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
IntroductionAs Miffypops informs us in his intro, this is likely the final Chris Lancaster puzzle in the "Monday" slot, as his puzzles will henceforth appear occasionally in the "Tuesday" slot. However, this change will not greatly affect us as puzzles can show up on any day of the week in the National Post.

Naturally, I failed to recognize that the puzzle is a pangram — a puzzle in which every letter of the alphabet appears at least once in the solutions to the clues.

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.

Legend:

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.
Examples

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
Across
7a   Turned round // to talk (8)

Post Mortem
I tried to make the first part of the clue be a charade with "round" (a type of song, as Row, row, row your boat ...) cluing VERSE. Of course, I was then at a loss to explain how "turned" might be cluing CON.

9a   A cross heading off trouble? (6)

Here the entire clue is not only a (somewhat cryptic) definition but also the wordplay.

A mule[5] is the offspring of [or cross between] a donkey and a horse (strictly, a male donkey and a female horse), typically sterile and used as a beast of burden.

10a   Frenchman /in/ short trousers? (4)

The Story Behind the Picture
Miffypops illustrates his review with a photo of Big Dave and Jean-Luc Cheval who is a regular contributor to the Comments section of Big Dave's Crossword Blog. Jean-Luc is the proprietor of a restaurant in Hyères on the French Riviera.

11a   Club after crack // athlete (4-6)

12a   By crossing nobleman, Charlie forfeited // reward (6)

A count[5] is a foreign [from a British perspective] nobleman whose rank corresponds to that of a British earl.

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

14a   Living well // at home with constant sweetheart (2,6)

In mathematics, C[5] (or c) is a symbol used to represent either the third fixed constant to appear in an algebraic expression, or a known constant.

The idiom in clover[3] means living a carefree life of ease, comfort, or prosperity.

15a   Hold back // Greek character during row (6)

Eta[5] is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet (Η, η).

17a   Hat wife discarded, and old // jacket (6)

Bowler[5] (also bowler hat) is the British name for a man’s hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown. The North American name for this item of apparel is derby[5] — said to arise from American demand for a hat of the type worn at the Epsom Derby*.
* a prestigious British horse race — not to mention a major event on the British social calendar

"wife" = W [genealogy] (show explanation )

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

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A bolero[5] is a woman's short open jacket.

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops describes the hat as one once worn by businessmen in the city.
The term "the city" (usually capitalized The City[5] ) is short for the City of London[5] (a borough of — and not to be confused with — the city of London) (show explanation ). The name is commonly used as a metonym for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries which are largely based there, similar to the use of the terms Wall Street and Bay Street to refer to the financial institutions located in New York and Toronto respectively.

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 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.

It 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.

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20a   Case /of/ Greek wine sent back by foremost of customers (8)

Retsina[5] is a Greek white or rosé wine flavoured with resin.

22a   Prior // in favour of me and king (6)

"king" = R [abbreviation for Rex] (show explanation )

In the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms*, Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George — often shortened to GR) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).
* A Commonwealth realm[7] is a sovereign state that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and shares the same person, currently Elizabeth II, as its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch, but retains a crown legally distinct from the other realms. There are currently sixteen Commonwealth realms, the largest being Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom with the remainder being smaller Caribbean and Pacific island nations.

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Scratching the Surface
A prior[5] is the male head of a house or group of houses of certain religious orders, in particular:
  • the man next in rank below an abbot
  • the head of a house of friars

23a   Incontrovertible evidence of bad habit /shown by/ one on a shoot? (7,3)

What did he say?
In his review on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Miffypops tells us we need the term for one on a shoot (not a beater).
A beater[5] is a person employed to raise [cause to fly into the air] game birds for shooting by striking at the ground cover.

24a   Cast // of 'Jaws' he directed (4)

Cast[3] (verb) is used in the sense of to shed or molt ⇒ the snake cast its skin.

Scratching the Surface
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