DT 30269 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30269 (full review)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30269

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 8th Apr 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Kolkata. A very nice and straightforward Saturday puzzle from Cephas that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

By the time this review goes for publication, Mrs. BD would have been laid to eternal rest and peace. I again pray to the Almighty to bestow upon the departed soul a nice place in Heaven and to give BD and their family the patience and courage to withstand this tragic and irreparable loss. I also pray to the Almighty to grant BD quick and complete recovery and strength so that he is in a position to often come to his crossword mansion and we are able to chat with him and seek his guidance.

Last week, I received the master’s degree in Political Science, that I passed last year, at the 36th Convocation of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) at R.N.C. Auditorium, Vidyut Bhavan, Salt Lake, Kolkata from Professor Ranjan Chakrabarti, former Vice-Chancellor, Netaji Subhas Open University and Vidyasagar University in the presence of Dr. Shiva Kumar G.N., Senior Regional Director, Kolkata Regional Centre, IGNOU. Morning India, a Kolkata daily, reported the event of Convocation in its issue the next day, followed by another publication, two days later, that was exclusively about me.

The next day to the publication of this review, the 15th of April, will be Poila Boishakh or the 1st day of Boishakh that is also the Bengali New Year since Boishakh is the 1st month of the year. My mother tongue is Bengali. So I wish শুভ নববর্ষ (Shubho Noboborsho) or ‘Happy New Year’ in advance to all. Bengali is the name given by the British to Bangla, which is the actual name of the language used by the native speaker.

How the Bengali calendar got its year will surely make one nonplussed! There had never been 1 Bônggabdo or Bengali Year 1 in history although the people in the past were familiar with their twelve Bengali months of a solar year. The Gregorian calendar, though standardised in the late 16th century, is a solar calendar of 365 days a year and followed by most countries around the world. The Hijri calendar or the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar of 354 days a year and followed by most Islamic countries. However, Bônggabdo or Bengali Year is somewhat a mixture of these two. Celebrations of Poila Boishakh or Bengali New Year started from the reign of Akbar, the-then Mughal emperor who was then ruling over a vast part of the Indian subcontinent. The new Fasli San or ‘Agricultural Year’ was introduced on the 10th of March 1584, but was dated from Akbar’s ascension to the throne in 1556. In 1584 Anno Domino (AD), it was 992 Hijri Era (HE) and in 1556 AD, it was 963 HE. Fatehullah Shirazi, a renowned scholar and astronomer, formulated the Bengali Year, that came to be known as Bônggabdo, on the basis of both the Hijri lunar and Hindu solar calendars. Shirazi took only the Hijri lunar calendar year 963 as the base year for Bônggabdo. Thus, Bônggabdo started with 1st of Boishakh 963 that corresponded with 1556 AD. Boishakh always falls in the middle of April, 14th or 15th. Last year, on the 15th of April 2022 of the Gregorian solar calendar, it was the 1st of Boishakh 1429 according to the Bengali solar calendar and the 13th of Ramadan 1443 according to the Hijri lunar calendar. This year, on the 15th of April 2023, it will be the 1st of Boishakh 1430 according to the Bengali solar calendar, but 24th of Ramadan 1444 according to the Hijri lunar calendar. Now, despite the adaptation of the lunar-based Hijri or Islamic year 963 as its own base year, Bônggabdo did not adapt the months of the lunar calendar of 354 days, but retained the practice of the region following the solar calendar of 365 days. Thus, in a way, it could not keep up its pace with the Hijri or Islamic lunar calendar year of 354 days that was 11 days short to the solar calendar year and hence completing a year quicker. Hence, for every year, the Hijri lunar calendar gained 11 days or, in other words, it gained 354 days or one lunar year in 354 / 11 = 32.1818181818 years. That is to say, it completed 33 years in every 32.181818181818 years of solar calendar. Now, from base April 1556 AD to coming 15th day of April 2023 AD, there is a difference of 2023 – 1556 = 467 years. So, in 467 years, the Hijri calendar gained 467 x 11 = 5137 days or 5137 / 354 = 14.511299435028 years. But in these 467 years, there were also 113.75 leap years of 366 days (1 extra day) a year [1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years and hence not included in calculation]. So the Hijri calendar also gained 113.75 days or 113.75 / 354 = 0.321327683615 year, making a total gain of 14.511299435028 + 0.321327683615 = 14.832627118643 years. Thus, 963 + 467 + 14.832627118643 = 1444.832627118643 or 1444 HE that is the current Hijri or Islamic lunar calendar year that already started on 30th day of August 2022; 0.832627118643 being the approximate percentage of days of the year covered since that date, which will also come to near perfection if we take the exact duration of a lunar year that is equal to 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes and 34 seconds. And, 963 + 467 = 1430 Bônggabdo that will fall on the 15th day of April 2023 and celebrated in Bangladesh and in the state of West Bengal here in our country as Poila Boishakh or the 1st day of Boishakh 1430 (Bengali Year based on solar calendar; its base year being a lunar year).

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1a    Son seen in excited crowd (4)
HOST: S (son) as the genealogical abbreviation for son noticed inside (seen in) HOT (excited) as a slang term for an adjective meaning sexually excited, taking to the definition of a noun meaning a great multitude

3a    Skip comic a performer introduces (5)
CAPER: Part of or hidden inside (introduces) [COMI]C A PER[FORMER] guides to the definition of a verb meaning to skip or dance about in a lively or playful way

6a    Where to take the plunge in city (4)
BATH: Double nounal definition; the second being a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England that was founded in the first century AD by the Romans who used the natural hot springs as a thermal spa that takes to the first referring to a building that has a public swimming pool in which one can take the plunge

8a    Easy pickings from food only emperor ordered (5,3,3,4)
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE: An anagram (ordered) of FOOD ONLY EMPEROR guides to the definition of money that is obtained without effort

9a    Top mark in German? (6)
UMLAUT: A cryptic definition of a diacritical sign (¨), that shows dots placed on the top of a vowel, especially in German, to indicate a change brought about by a vowel or semivowel in the syllable that follows

10a    Last one to make third score (8)
SIXTIETH: A cryptic way of defining an adjective meaning ending in series of sixty that is arrived from ‘third’ score denoting the ordinal feature, that is, ‘sixtieth’, unlike the nounal, cardinal representation of ‘three’ scores amounting to ‘sixty’

11a    Pull back, having left a track when retreating — that’s harsh (8)
GUTTURAL: TUG (pull) as to pull forcibly coming back from the other side (back) as a reversal in the across clue having a combo of L (left) as the abbreviation for left, A from the clue and RUT (track) as a furrow made by wheels when returning or coming back (retreating) as another reversal in the across clue, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning harsh, rough or gruff

13a    Heavenly body modelled with vase (6)
SATURN: A charade of SAT (modelled) as posed for being photographed or served as a model and (with) URN (vase) as a vase with rounded body, usually a narrowed mouth and often a foot leads to the definition of the second largest planet in our solar system that has rings around it

15a    Country lady getting behind Romeo (6)
RWANDA: WANDA (lady) as a female given name of Polish origin is following or preceded by (getting behind) R (Romeo) as the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO phonetic alphabet, arriving at the definition of a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley of Central Africa

17a    Enduring wrong to arrest president, ultimately (8)
IMMORTAL: IMMORAL (wrong) as inconsistent with accepted moral principles or standards to capture or take in (arrest) the ultimate or last letter (ultimately) of [PRESIDEN]T, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning living forever, perpetual or everlasting

19a    Dangerous material as used by top mapmakers (8)
ASBESTOS: AS from the clue has beside (used by) a combo of BEST (top) as that which is the most excellent, outstanding or desirable and OS (mapmakers) as the abbreviation for Ordnance Survey who were responsible for the preparation of maps of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, taking to the definition of a fine fibrous form of certain minerals capable of being woven into incombustible cloth or felted sheets for insulation etc

21a    Important person‘s large hairpiece (6)
BIGWIG: A charade of BIG (large) as large or great and WIG (hairpiece) as an artificial covering of hair for the head worn to conceal baldness guides to the definition of a colloquial term for a powerful person or a person of some importance

22a    Fellow in charge tending to weaken, often feeling down (5-10)
MANIC-DEPRESSIVE: A charade of MAN (fellow) as an adult male human being, IC (in charge) as the abbreviation for in charge and DEPRESSIVE (tending to weaken) as tending to let down or weaken takes to the definition of an adjective meaning related to a mental disorder characterised either by an alternation between extreme euphoria and deep depression or by depression on its own

23a    Dismal shade (4)
BLUE: Double definition; the first being an informal adjective meaning melancholy, sad or depressed, especially of a person or mood and the second a noun referring to a colour or pigment

24a    Band‘s flier, part missing (5)
RIDGE: The definition of a narrow raised band on a surface is arrived at from [PART]RIDGE (flier) as a short-tailed game bird with mainly brown plumage, found chiefly in Europe and Asia, that is devoid of PART (part missing)

25a    Show poor average (4)
MEAN: Triple definition; the first being a verb meaning to serve or intend to convey, show, denote or indicate, the second an adjective meaning poor in quality and appearance, especially of a place or inferior, as of a person’s mental capacity or understanding and the third a noun referring to an average amount or value


1d    Meat and food sent up before queen — fast food (9)
HAMBURGER: HAM (meat) as the meat from the thigh of an animal, especially of a pig salted and dried and GRUB (food) as a colloquial term for food going upwards (sent up) as a reversal in the down clue placed before (before) ER (queen) as the abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina, the name taken on by Queen Elizabeth upon ascending the throne; the word ‘regina’ being the Latin name for queen, arriving at the definition of a sandwich consisting of a flat fried cake of minced beef, often served in a bread roll and is also known by the name Hamburg steak

2d    Items of underwear making one tense (7)
SINGLET: A charade of SINGLE (one) as anything one or consisting of one part and T (tense) as the abbreviation of tense takes to the definition of an undershirt or sleeveless vest

3d    No waiting in this eatery? (9)
CAFETERIA: A cryptic definition of a restaurant where customers serve themselves and usually pay at a counter before sitting down to eat

4d    It is held up despite there being no rain (7)
PARASOL: A cryptic definition of a sunshade that resembles an umbrella and is held up or used, for example, on beaches or outside restaurants to protect people from the hot sun

5d    Take it easy — king will tour US city (5)
RELAX: REX (king) as the Latin word for ‘king’ that is used as the official title of a reigning king in the United Kingdom will go round (tour) LA (US city) as the abbreviation for Los Angeles that is a US city to arrive at the definition of a verb meaning to rest from work or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious

6d    Advocate in Scotland putting railing round street (9)
BARRISTER: The definition of a person who is qualified to plead at the bar in a law-court and who is called advocate in Scotland is arrived at by putting BARRIER (railing) as a fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access around (round) ST (street) as the abbreviation for street that is a type of paved way in a city, town or village

7d    Favourite forecaster? (7)
TIPSTER: A cryptic definition of a person who makes a living by providing tips, especially about horses on which to bet

12d    Sort of Argentine fruit (9)
TANGERINE: An anagram (sort of) of ARGENTINE guides to the definition of a small citrus fruit with a loose skin, especially one of a variety with deep orange-red skin

13d    Note house on British river tempted woman (9)
SEMIBREVE: The definition of a note having the time value of two minims or four crotchets, represented by a ring with no stem is arrived at from SEMI (house) as a semidetached house placed upon (on) a combo of B (British) as an abbreviation for British, R (river) as the written abbreviation for River, used especially on maps and EVE (tempted woman) as the name of the first woman who was tempted by the devil to eat the fruit forbidden by God

14d    Pale colour of engineer working to contain loch (4,5)
NILE GREEN: An anagram (working) of ENGINEER to hold or take inside (contain) L (loch) as the abbreviation for Loch, guiding to the definition of a very pale green colour, thought of as the colour of the River Nile

16d    Cry about donkey in drinking bout (7)
WASSAIL: WAIL (cry) as to lament or express sorrow or pain audibly, especially with prolonged high-pitched mournful cries placed around (about) ASS (donkey) as a donkey or a foolish, stupid or stubborn person, taking to the definition of a drinking bout or a salutation formerly given in drinking the health of a person, as at a festivity. 

17d    At home, little drink I had is tasteless (7)
INSIPID: A charade of IN (at home) as present at one’s home, SIP (little drink) as a small amount of liquid taken into the mouth with the lips and I’D (I had) as a contracted form of ‘I had’ leads to the definition of an adjective meaning tasteless or without a satisfying or definite flavour

18d    Bird I found in net damaged cable (7)
TOWLINE: A combo of OWL (bird) a nocturnal bird of prey with large eyes, a facial disc, a hooked beak and typically a loud hooting call and I from the clue is seen inside (found in) an anagram (damaged) of NET, arriving at the definition of a noun meaning a line, rope of cable used in towing

20d    Some royals finally abdicated in revolutionary defeat (5)
TUDOR: The final or last letter (finally) of [ABDICATE]D is placed inside (in) ROUT (defeat) as an utter defeat that is turned upside down (revolutionary) as a reversal in the down clue, taking to the definition of the House or its members belonging to the English royal dynasty which held the throne from the accession of Henry VII in 1485 until the death of Elizabeth I in 1603

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 10a, 13a, 19a, 21a, 24a, 1d, 5d, 13d and 16d; 13d being the best of the lot. Thanks to BD for the encouragement, to Cephas for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Would be delighted to be here again. Have a pleasant day.

7 comments on “DT 30269 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your valuable knowledge with the readers. I am a Bengali but didn’t know about the origin of the Bengali calendar before reading this blog. Wish you and whole family of Big Dave’s Crossword Blog শুভ নববর্ষের প্রীতি শুভেচ্ছা ও অভিনন্দন (Shubho Noboborsher Priti o Shubhechchha) from Kokata. This day we celebrate with lots of sweets like ‘rosogolla’ and ‘laddu’.

    1. Thank you so much, Sudipta, for your Bengali New Year greetings and good wishes and we reciprocally wish the same to you and your family.

  2. Congratulations on another great achievement, Rahmat. What an enduring thirst for knowledge!
    New Year greetings to you and your family.

    Thank you for another interesting, though complicated explanation of the date of Bengali calendar even though the maths defeated me!

    1. Thank you so much, Essar, for your kind gesture of appreciation and adding joy. My family also joins me in thanking you for your New Year greetings and heartily reciprocating the same to you and your family. As regarding the Bengali calendar, it is interesting in the sense that although its base year was the Islamic lunar year that remained merely as a number, in essence it followed the Hindu solar years as usual.

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