DT Cryptic No 25906 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25906 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A mixed bag this one. The grid has a distinctive Telegraph style to it, with the longish answers at 12, 13, 18, 21 placed in the middle of the grid rather than at one side, and quite a few double unches. But it mostly comes up smelling of roses, with fair checking all round and very generous 80% checking for the 10-letter answers. The only niggle is that we get 12 four-letter words.

Across
1 Everybody leaves superficial exhibition (4)
SHOW – take ALL=everybody from shallow=superficial. Straightforward clue with a convicing surface.
9 Not a leisurely call (7,5)
HURRIED VISIT – gentle CD – not difficult, but not terribly convincing as a phrase either – a “yellow shirt” as opposed to a “yellow jersey”. Something else like “EXPRESS VISIT” might make just as much sense to a solver.
10 In the meantime on the other side (4)
ANTI – hidden in ‘meantime’
11 Rather sour gaudy plant first (10)
VINE=plant,GARISH=gaudy. Fair enough, but the surface doesn’t quite work – “first” doesn’t look convincing. “Plant, gaudy and rather sour” seems to tell much the same story but by changing the order avoids the need for “first”.
15 Man gains speed (7)
WINS=gains,TON=100 mph=speed – OK, but “man” is a weak def.
16 Nothing coming before a number of cereals (5)
O,A,TEN=a number – nicely done, with “a number of cereals” possibly
steering us away from the def. for a while
18 Do not start to understate misconception of those putting in appearances (9)
ATTENDERS – anag. of (u)nderstate – “misconception” seems a poor anag. indicator. How about “confusion of those listening” for the second half?
19 Card to beat (4)
CLUB – 2 defs – sound clue on its own, but in this puzzle we get an “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium” effect – all the double defs are used for four-letter answers. Yes, short words are more likely to have multiple defs, but it’s good to mix things up a bit.
20 Cotton on small branch (4)
TWIG – here’s the next double def.
21 Parodist performing in Palermo resort (9)
LAMPOONER – performing=ON in anag. of Palermo. Sound enough, but “Palermo resort” is a bit of a give away.
23 Slipper with a zigzag pattern? (5)
ADDER – CD – and a really good one – adders slip around and have the pattern, and the surface is 100% convincing.
24 Could make me a lord in the peer’s domain (7)
EARLDOM – anag. of “me a lord”. Yawn from the old hands, as this is a very old gag. It’s watered down here, as “Could make me a lord” is enough, and an &lit to boot.
26 Getting others to do the fighting? (10)
RECRUITING – CD with getting = obtaining rather than persuading. A mild single pun CD, but nicely done.
29 Blunder foreman unhesitantly makes (4)
GAFF(er) – good surface. The blunder is normally a GAFFE but the E is not compulsory.
30 There’s no telling how they enforce the law (6,6)
SECRET POLICE – CD implying that they’re mysterious, which isn’t very far from the truth so not very cryptic, but it reads well.
31 Painters’ skirt? (2-2)
RA-RA or R.A.,R.A. – the only choice for R?R? without resorting to Chambers, I should think
Down
2 Temporary accommodation for those who are in the pink (7-5)
HUNTING LODGE – accomodation for those not naked or particularly healthy, but in hunting pink.
3 Firmly established after Pentecost in Kent (10)
WHITSTABLE – WHIT=pentecost (as in Whit Sunday), STABLE=established. Some folk don’t like the fairly frequent geographical answers from this setter. I don’t object to all of them, but “in Kent” seems a dull definition – maybe the best rule for whether town names can be used is whether there’s anything more interesting to say about them than “in Kent” or similar. If Whitstable’s other features are thought too obscure, maybe it’s too obscure too.
4 Cry of approval from female supporter getting round after five (5)
BRA=female supporter,V=5,O=round.
5 Leo left one in advance (4)
LION=Leo (zodiac) – L=left,I=one,ON=in advance. The last of these was news to me – it’s in Chambers but I can’t think of a sample sentence where this use makes sense to me. Unlikely to trouble anyone as the def is easy, but I don’t think Chambers-only stuff belongs in daily paper puzzles.
6 Pilot used one Roman road before getting to hill (7)
AVIATOR – A=one,VIA=Roman road,TOR=hill. Good surface.
7 Fascinating inclusion of some enlarged cells (4)
ASCI – hidden. They’re sacs in fungi which (if you look in Chambers rather than Collins or Concise Oxford) seem to be single cells. A bit of a barrel-scrape for an answer – I guess the setter decided he couldn’t think of anything good for our old friend ASTI.
8 Long to take chief item first (4)
ITCH – this seems to be IT = item,CH.=chief. I’ll buy the “chief” part, but I cannot find “it” as a meaning of item or “it.” as an abbreviation of item in any appropriate dictionary, so I can’t see that this works. Where was the xwd ed’s red pen?
12 Throw light on cover before time (9)
INTERPRET – INTER=cover,PRE-=before,T=time – inter=cover=bury is too
much of a stretch for me.
13 From Nineveh do travel to Dutch city (9)
EINDHOVEN = anag. of (Nineveh do). Same trouble as Whitstable – apart from a soccer team called PSV, there’s nothing I can remember about Eindhoven except “Dutch city”.
14 Pearl’s office organising bargain (7,5)
SPECIAL OFFER – anag. Not bad – Pearl might be the insurance company rather than just a random lady.
17 Heavenly looker? (10)
ASTROLOGER – cd hoping to make us think of some belle. A bit weak because ASTRONOMER is an equally valid answer. I entered just “ASTRO O ER” and let the rest fall out later. Cynical old solvers might say it had to be ASTROLOGER because the clue wasn’t the usual anag. of “moon starer” for the other choice.
22 Soured a new relationship having been stirred into action (7)
AROUSED – anag. – indicated by “new relationship” which doesn’t really suggest anything to do with making an anagram to me – “new deal” seems a bit better
25 A benefit on the other hand (5)
A,GAIN=benefit – sound clue
26 Hopeful lady (4)
ROSY – 2 defs., the “lady” one a bit weak though “hopeful lady” reads well.
27 Lift bird (4)
COCK – the final 2 defs clue for a 4-letter word.
28 Welshman with conditional alternative (4)
IFOR – IF=conditional,OR=alternative (or maybe a “conditional alternative” is an “if or”). Another little name, but “Welshman” helps to cut down the choices. “engine” might have been an interesting alternative though.

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Whitstable is more unique than obscure – or so us Natives like to think!

    I would validate that by saying that that it is the only town in the world with that name.

    Perhaps a clue to our popular bivalve may have been more apt!

  2. Posted April 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Brian

    I did mention the bivalve, and posted a link to this picture in last Saturday’s hints.

  3. Posted April 23, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oysters seemed the most likely reference, though “home of Peter Cushing” had a spooky appeal to it.

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