February 25, 2021


Gamers News, Forum and Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 — DT 29397

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle number in The Daily Telegraph

DT 29397

Publication date in The Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, June 23, 2020



Link to full review

Big Dave’s Crossword Blog [DT 29397]

Big Dave’s Crossword Blog review written by

Mr K

BD rating
Difficulty – ★★★ Enjoyment – ★★★
Falcon’s experience
– solved without assistance
– incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
– solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
– solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
– solved but without fully parsing the clue
– unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave’s Crossword Blog
– solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave’s Crossword Blog
– reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave’s Crossword Blog
– yet to be solved
The National Post has skipped DT 29396 which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, June 22, 2020.


I thought I was ahead of the game today, having a full review all queued up and ready to go, only to open the paper to find the editors at the National Post had — as the Brits would say — thrown a spanner in the works by skipping a puzzle. This action does realign the puzzles with the day of the week and day of the month on which they appeared in the UK (albeit eight months delayed).

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today’s Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave’s Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

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


1a One clearing throat loudly? /It’s/ the chest (6)

4a Place for one not taking flight? (8)

Post Mortem
I initially wrote in ELEVATOR despite some misgivings that it is an Americanism — the Brits would call this device a LIFT, although I have seen the term used in British puzzles. Fortunately, 7d came to my rescue before an overly lengthy amount of time had passed.

9a Approximately // the other way (6)

10a Musician // changed into rags (8)

12a Considerate // sort (4)

13a Looking back and forth, finding apparatus (5)

I am pleased to see that Mr K, in his review on Big Dave’s Crossword Blog, concurs with my marking of this clue as a cryptic definition — the solution being a “finding apparatus” (e.g., an apparatus used to find incoming enemy bombers).

The first part of the clue elaborates on an attribute of the solution — i.e., that it is palindrome — rather than provide a second independent route to the solution.

14a House // knocked over in Mumbai — messy! (4)

Semi[5,10] is an informal British* term for a semi-detached house ⇒ a three-bedroomed semi.

* Although both Lexico (new name for Oxford Dictionaries Online) and Collins English Dictionary consider this to be a British term, it is definitely in common usage in Canada. However, we would most certainly say ⇒ three-bedroom semi rather than three-bedroomed semi.

Scratching the Surface
Mumbai[5] is a city and port on the west coast of India.

17a Essentials, // those used in construction (4,3,5)

20a Head inserted, shifted // down (12)

23a Irritating student // starts to name every racing driver (4)

24a Thug // like a charging animal? (5)

The second part of the clue is an inferred definition rather than a precise definition (one you might find in a dictionary). The setter infers (for example) that if woody means like wood then bully must mean like a bull (an animal that charges).

25a Female attending a // charity event (4)

From a British perspective, gal[5] is an informal North American term* for a girl or young woman.

* Although one that usually does not draw flack from the guardians of British English.

A gala[5] is a social occasion with special entertainments or performances ⇒ a gala performance by the Royal Ballet. It may be — but is not necessarily — a charity event.

28a Call team // watching boxing match? (8)

team ” = SIDE

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” or “in a team” 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.


The definition alludes to a location where those with deep pockets might sit to watch a boxing match.

29a Sea // otter’s tail in 16 Down (6)

“16 Down” is a very explicit cross reference indicator. To complete the clue, a solver must replace the cross reference indicator with the solution to clue 16d.

The directional indication here is a bit unusual as one is generally provided only when there are both Across and Down clues originating in the light* being referenced.

* light-coloured cell in the grid

30a Something to play? // Opener not interested, reportedly (8)

31a Shock, /finding/ first of falsehoods true (6)


1d Marvellous // solving (8)

Cracking[5] is an informal British* term meaning excellent ⇒ (i) he is in cracking form to win this race; (ii) a cracking good story.

* Although British dictionaries consider it to be British, this usage of cracking[3] is also found in the American Heritage Dictionary.

2d Pay for part of score // that’s relatively unimportant (8)

3d Bird // a little concerned (4)

Erne[5] is a literary name for the sea eagle[5], a large Eurasian fish-eating eagle that frequents coasts and wetlands.

5d Exorbitant // lease on urban complex (12)

6d Stimulate // progress with promotion (4)

7d Hang about, // there’s nothing in the measure of an American (6)

Liter is the US spelling of litre[5].

8d Fashionable // comedian, success (4-2)

11d Where one might stop cruel bear (4,8)

Hard shoulder[5] is a British term for a hardened strip alongside a motorway [highway] for stopping on in an emergency.

* I would have said that the equivalent North American term is paved shoulder; however, my sources inform me that hard shoulder is synonymous with shoulder[5] and therefore includes gravel shoulders as well as paved shoulders. Wikipedia[7] indicates that gravel shoulders are sometimes referred to as soft shoulders which is different from my understanding of soft shoulders as specifically being freshly laid gravel shoulders during road construction before they have been firmly packed.

15d Posed wearing // shiny material (5)

16d Panic // country (5)

18d Attractive // taking on new employee (8)

19d A depression engulfing knave almost // touching (8)

Knave[5] is another name for a jack in a deck of cards.

21d Coat /with which/ a king dresses girl (6)

king ” = K [playing card or chess notation]

K[5] is an abbreviation for king that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.


An anorak[5] is a waterproof jacket, typically with a hood, of a kind originally used in polar regions*.

* Although the terms anorak and parka[7] are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually quite different garments. Strictly speaking, an anorak is a waterproof, hooded, pull-over jacket without a front opening, and sometimes drawstrings at the waist and cuffs, and a parka is a hip-length cold-weather coat, typically stuffed with down or very warm synthetic fiber, and with a fur-lined hood.

22d In // conclusion, effort’s welcomed (6)

Once must read the wordplay as “conclusion that effort has welcomed” or, a little more clearly, “conclusion that has been welcomed (taken in) by effort”.

26d On sale, oddly, old // European city (4)

old ” = O [linguistics]

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

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

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


Oslo[5] is the capital and chief port of Norway, on the south coast at the head of Oslofjord (show more ).

Founded in the 11th century, it was known as Christiania (or Kristiania) from 1624 until 1924 in honour of Christian IV of Norway and Denmark (1577–1648).


27d Just // transport charge, it’s said (4)

Key to Reference Sources: 

  [1]   – The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
  [2]   – Search Chambers – (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
  [3]   – TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
  [4]   – TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]   – Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   – Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced American Dictionary)
  [7]   – Wikipedia
  [8]   – Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
  [9]   – Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10]   – CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11]   – TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary)
[12]   – CollinsDictionary.com (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13]   – MacmillanDictionary.com (Macmillan Dictionary)
[14]   – CollinsDictionary.com (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]   – CollinsDictionary.com (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )

Signing off for today — Falcon