DT Cryptic No 25870 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25870 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


A bit of a geography tour, this one. An easyish puzzle, though one or two words held me up a bit – finding the right “word – A = other word” at 17 in particular. * indicates an anagram in the notes below.

Across
1 Crazy report on cannabis ( 8 )
CRACK=sharp/explosive noise=report,POT=cannabis – an easyish charade to start – report=noise is a common setter’s trick – report=>BANG is maybe the commonest version
9 Rest of the players (4-4)
HALF-TIME – when players in various sports get a rest
10 Cricketer’s initial event (6)
OPENER – a cricketer and an initial event
11 Step in front of dog, the leader (10)
PACE=step,SETTER=dog
12 Spider can be found in dictionary? (7)
WEBSTER – a weaver really, but “maker of webs” = spider is easy to see and as logical as “wicked thing” for candle and other old cryptic favourites. And Noah Webster and his various commercial descendants are the best-known dictionary-makers across the pond. Mild slap for me for not seeing this first time – spider/dictionary/(7) should have been enough
14 Left one thousand on river repeatedly, river in Africa (7)
L,I,M,PO,PO – charade of stock components which should be easy as long as you know the river – the most exotic of today’s answers from the atlas. The Po is practically the only 2-letter river in xwds, though the Ob (Siberia) at last made it into the Times puzzle a month or so ago.
16 Cross with rice pudding lacking in moisture (5)
X=cross,ERIC=rice* – a techie word for dry which you might intuit from terms like xeroderma or xerostoma (dry skin & mouth respectively). “pudding” was a nice anagram indicator.
17 Show one leaving feast (5)
REVEL – reveal=show, less the A. My last answer, which I had to grind this one out by testing the whole alphabet as 3rd-letter candidates in RE?E? – and of course the clue is worded so that even if you don’t need to do that, you do need to consider both (‘show’ synonym – A) = (‘feast’ synonym) and (‘show’ synonym) = (‘feast’ synonym -A). Ideally you also need to think about whether ‘show’ and ‘feast’ are verb or noun, but only one matters. ‘show’ must be a verb here to match ‘reveal’, but ‘revel’ matches both parts of speech. This may seem like making a mountain out of a molehill, but all these aspects matter, and any one of them might be the key thought that leads you to the answer.
18 Mary-Anne, some Indo-European (5)
ARYAN – hidden in Mary-Ann. Slightly iffy word-ordering (‘XXX some’ = some of XXX) to indicate the hidden word, but then there’s only one choice for “Indo-European (5)”
20 Fifty females in town (5)
L=fifty,EWES=females (sticking to human ones would just be too dull) – East Sussex’s county town, best-known for going bonkers on Nov. 5th. Nice and easy if you once lived in Eastbourne which was in the Toughie the previous day.
22 In accordance with the facts at present and short time ago (4,3)
JUST,NOW=at present. I though ‘in accordance with the facts’ was iffy for JUST, but it’s in Chambers so just about OK
24 Avenge quieter eccentric (7)
REQUITE = quieter* – same thought here, but the “avenge” def. is implied by the Concise Oxford
26 First light music (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS – mildly cryptic def. based on ‘first light’ = dawn.
27 A match for scriptures (6)
A,VESTA=match as in the Swan kind. The Avesta are the Zoroastrian holy scriptures
28 Lady cannot accept what is socially acceptable to get her going again ( 8 )
EVACUANT – Eva=lady,U (as opposed to non-U) in CAN’T=cannot – a purgative or laxative, so it’s that kind of “going”. Maybe not in the best of taste for your Saturday breakfast table …
29 Sounds like all the sandy area in Lincolnshire ( 8 )
HOL=”whole”,BEACH=sandy area – Guessed wrongly at a “beech” ending, taking the “sounds like” a bit too far, and maybe thinking of Wisbech in the fens, in some misspelled form. An athletic powerhouse it seems – both shot-putter/strongman Geoff Capes and Beeb commentator Stuart Storey come from there. With all due respect to the locals, that’s about as interesting as Wikipedia can make it.
Down
2 Give a respite to pier ever collapsing (8)
REPRIEVE = (pier ever)* – should be easy to spot the anagram, because the surface reading’s notion that you can give a pier a respite is fairly weak. Then easy to find the anag. even if you need to work it out, as the number of anagram possibilities plummets with one letter used three times and another twice.
3 Happy to accept sibling who is compatible (10)
CON(SIS)TENT – OK as long as we know what siblings are
4 According to Penny on lake with earlier puzzle (7)
PERPLEX – bits and pieces charade of PER=according to,P=penny,L=lake,EX- = earlier. Another made easy by a surface reading that doesn’t tell a very convincing story.
5 Dense Henry got right mark going round (5)
T(H)ICK – H=Henry is from some SI measurement – inductance, Chambers tells me
6 Firm about wine that’s inferior (7)
PL(ASTI)C – one of the trickier ones, as firm=PLC doesn’t get used much, and “inferior” is a non-obvious colloquial def. And the surface makes sense in a restaurant customer context – which leads nicely to …
7 Bar ribs to be served (6)
BISTRO=(ribs to)* – a little bit iffy as the “to” is doing two jobs – as well as part of the anag fodder, bistro is really “to be served” rather than “be served” (or ‘ be served’ is just an iffy way of doing the anag.)
8 Weigh heavily on personal hair first (4,4)
BEAR DOWN = BEARD=hair,OWN=personal. If like me you start from hair=DOWN it’s
hard to make the rest work.
13 Father left Scottish town to start again (5)
RENEW – lose the Fr=Father in RENFREW. I’d forgotten this clue when I was so rude about Holbeach. Most interesting snippet here is maybe that Prince Charles is the Baron of Renfrew. Also former county town of Renfrewshire, and they have a bascule bridge.
14 Active right gland (5)
LIVE,R – checking with Mrs B who works in the medical world, “gland” may be a loose def (“glands are secretory”). On the other hand, it’s what Chambers calls your liver.
15 It’s the talk of Faro (10)
PORTUGUESE – Faro is the main city of the Algarve. Sacked by the Earl of Essex in 1596 – he gave the bishop’s books to the Bodleian library apparently.
17 Overdrawn arbiter tried again ( 8 )
REJUDGED – the arbiter=JUDGE is “in the red” = overdrawn – a bit of indirect wordplay. If this is your first sighting of one of these, watch out for retired/asleep = inside BED as another common example.
19 Aesthetically pleasing having creative person in charge ( 8 )
ARTIST=creative person,I/C. One of those ones where the meanings of the answer and main charade component are so close that you need only see one to get the idea
20 Disinclined to have Scotsman in Edinburgh area (7)
LOTH=disinclined,IAN – a Scottish region around Edinburgh
21 Start cruising? (3,4)
SET SAIL – CD based on cruising being traditionally in boats.
23 Does it matter the pig having headwear? (2,4)
SO WHAT = SOW=pig,HAT=headgear. Gentle example of the fun we can have by moving word-breaks
25 Monk unhesitatingly produces soup (5)
BROTH – a brother=monk loses his “er” = hesitation.

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