DT Cryptic No 25888 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25888 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25888 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment ***

A better grid than the last couple – all entries at least 50% checked, and no isolated areas of the grid. I got through most of this pretty easily, but struggled with the NE corner, where 4, 5, 9 and the last word of 6 took longer than the rest put together.

6 Ring for order? (4,3,6)
CALL THE POLICE – clearly right in retrospect, but “order” doesn’t seem much of a pointer to the police. “Call the office” seemed vaguely plausible for a while, like Dave’s “room service” idea.
8 Benevolent chap taken in by Hugh, say (6)
HUMANE – MAN in HUE=”Hugh”
9 End of disease in hospital initially exceptionally clean ( 8 )
SANITISE – -ITIS inside SAN,E=”initially exceptionally”. Couldn’t see ITIS or SAN, but that’s just down to deceptive clue-writing.
10 Not all of the crawfish had been left uncooked (3)
RAW – hidden in ‘crawfish’. Not keen on “had been” as wordplay/def joiner, but easy to solve.
11 Fit oarsman? (6)
STROKE – 2 def’s. Not sure that a fit and stroke are exactly the same, but they’re close enough to make the clue solvable.
12 One in the fiery furnace sleeping before making quarter turn ( 8 )
ABEDNEGO – sleeping = ABED,quarter=compass point=NE,turn=GO (noun, as in games). The other boys in the Biblical fiery furnace were Shadrach and Meshach, but it’s Abednego who most often appears in xwd grids.
14 Led off behind grating to find hotplate (7)
GRIDDLE – GRID=grating, anag. of LED
16 Commander embraced girl model (7)
CLASSIC – LASS in CIC=Commander-in-Chief. Classic=model when classic is “good example of its type”
20 Bob turns terribly inflexible ( 8 )
STUBBORN = anag. of Bob turns
23 Pester doctor in case (6)
MOLEST – M.O. = doctor, “in case” = LEST. Well-constructed clue.
24 Fine work affected dandy (3)
FOP – F=fine,Op.=work. Easy, but another well-made clue
25 Animals I removed from canvas sheet ( 8 )
MAINSAIL – anag. of “animals I”. I guess removed for the anag. indicator means “moved again”.
26 Gratify said animal (6)
PANDER = “panda”
27 Eager one’s hot and very enthusiastic (4,2,7)
KEEN AS MUSTARD – eager=KEEN, one’s = A’S, hot=MUSTARD. Nice surface and easy enough to solve, but strictly wrong – mustard is a noun, and hot is an adjective, so you can’t define mustard by “hot”. “hot stuff” would have been OK.
1 Rosa fled from town in Lincolnshire ( 8 )
SLEAFORD – anag. of Rosa fled. Not a very well-known place, though easy enough given the fairly obvious anagram and the common -FORD ending.
2 Oriental article authentic and heavenly (8)
3 Polish workers on increase (7)
BEESWAX – BEES=workers,increase=WAX, as of the crescent moon. Very nicely done clue.
4 Lady, not one on piano, started exercises (6)
JOANNE – JOANN(a)=piano (rhyming slang),E = “started exercises”. The first letter indicator doesn’t really work, and “Lady”, “she” or similar for a female name is not very helpful.
5 Set of parts, nearly a dozen found in litter (6)
KITTEN – KIT=set of parts,TEN=nearly a dozen. I found this hard, but no complaints.
6 Reverse charge (13)
COUNTERATTACK – solved from checking letters. No real definition in the clue, just COUNTER=reverse,ATTACK=charge.
7 Strangest idea developed in West Sussex (4,9)
EAST GRINSTEAD – anag. This feels like a missed opportunity for a really good clue. E. Grinstead is our national capital for fringe religions – the Mormons, Scientologists, and Opus Dei are all there or nearby, so something more interesting could surely have been done with “strange idea”. Less concerned about the obscurity of the place name as it’s about twice the population of Sleaford.
13 Second name included for deoxyribonucleic acid (3)
DNA – hidden. Easy enough but ‘included’ and ‘for’ don’t seem to fit properly into the cryptic reading.
15 Fingerprint expert (3)
DAB – 2 defs
17 Standard-bearer is light supporter ( 8 )
LAMPPOST – two of the same definition, or one long cryptic def? The first, I think. {thanks again, Falcon, for pointing out the typo]
18 Provided only that one’s farewell came first (2,4,2)
SO LONG AS – SO LONG = farewell, A’S = one’s
19 At home ineffective fellow included to provoke powerful response (7)
INFLAME – F=fellow, inside (IN=at home,LAME=ineffective).
21 Explosive sausage? (6)
BANGER – 2 def’s or a cryptic def
22 Level with writing about a couple I left (2,1,3)
ON A PAR – ON=about,A=a,couple I left = PA(i)R.

Like Peter, I spent longer on the northeast corner.  When preparing last weekends notes I looked for the clues most likely to cause problems, and several of them were in this corner. BD

3 comments on “DT Cryptic No 25888 – Review

  1. Thanks for your analysis. I completed this puzzle but am glad to see that the clues which I found difficult were 6a (last word of), 9a and 12a which were in the ‘tricky corner’!

  2. Yes, the NE corner was a problem.

    I thought I had 9ac early on: SPOTLESS (end of disease, ho-ho!!) which slowed me down.
    When I finally got 4dn and 9ac I wasn’t altogether sure why they were correct.

    It’s clear that “ten” will reappear as “nearly a dozen” – too good to waste.

  3. I think I considered SPOTLESS from “exceptionally clean” but although “end of disease” looks related, this would leave “hospital” doing nothing in the cryptic reading, which should be enough to rule it out.

    “exceptionally clean” is an example of what Times champ Mark Goodliffe called “lift and separate” when writing about puzzles for the Times for the Times blog. It’s a two-word phrase that seems to be a unit, but which you have to split into two to understand the cryptic reading. In the acrosses for this puzzle, 8’s “benevolent chap”, 16’s “girl model” and 25’s “canvas sheet” are other examples. Many good double def clues play the same trick – you should be able to see two of these and a couple of other “lift and separates” in the down clues.

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