DT 25948 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25948 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A pretty sound puzzle of moderate difficulty. No grid gripes, no geography, no arbitary people. Rejoice! Well, there are some gripes below but it feels like fewer than usual.

Across
1 Dislike of French means of trial (6)
DETEST – DE=”of French”,TEST – a sound starter
4 Reportedly breaks the spirit (8 )
SCHNAPPS = “snaps”. Or not. I get cross with some folk who moan about dodgy homophones, but this one really is a dud. “sh” and “s” are different noises and you can surely bridge the gap with something about drunken pronunciation, specially when the next clue is …
9 Bar drink (6)
BUMPER – 2 defs – a car bumper which is a bar, and a cup/glass filled to the brim for toasting – if the container is full of drink, I don’t mind “drink” being used to define it.
10 Anita met hysteria holding purple gem (8 )
AMETHYST – hidden
11 One or two birds, the kakapo (3-6)
OWL-PARROT – an alternative name for this bird, featured recently on the BBC’s South Pacific programme
13 Composer Ravel’s returned with change of heart (5)
LEHAR – reversal of Ravel with new middle letter. If you think you don’t know any Lehar, try “Vilja-lied” on Youtube.
14 Refused to take arson seriously (4,5,2,2)
MADE LIGHT OF IT – gentle but entertaining CD
17 Crossing frontiers to cover the race (13)
INTERNATIONAL – INTER=cover,NATIONAL=race – ‘cover’ is a tad vague but the rest is fairly easy. I assume the race is the colloquial version of the Grand National, though it also works for the climax of the English cross-country season and probably some others.
21 River and loch bird (5)
OUSE=various rivers,L=Loch as well as Lake (and Lough). The ousel is a bird – that’s all you need to know about it for xwd purposes where it must be the only O?S?L option.
23 Sees Latin translation as vital (9)
ESSENTIAL – anag
24 Pessimistic part of music (8 )
DOWNBEAT – 2 defs
25 Will left it (6)
LEGACY – which doesn’t quite work for me as a will doesn’t leave a legacy – the will just records it. If it’s supposed to be 2 def’s, then “left it” doesn’t work for me.
26 Went in front after outcast turned back filled with distaste (8 )
REPELLED – REPEL=leper rev.,LED
27 Petty officer sure upsetting show-off (6)
POSEUR – P.O.+anag. of ‘sure’.
Down
1 One who has yet to settle (6)
DEBTOR – CD based on settle = “pay up”
2 Occasion to restrict period allowed (4-5)
TIME LIMIT – TIME=occasion,LIMIT=restrict
3 Enquiry agent of course (7)
STEWARD – CD based on “Stewards’ Enquiry” at a race-course
5 How wrestler will tackle the job (4,2,5)
COME TO GRIPS – 2 defs, slightly baffling if you’re like me and think it’s “get to grips”, but the dictionaries have both
6 Not allowed to accept fifth-rate paper (7)
NOTELET – E=”fifth-rate” in “NOT,LET=allowed”
7 Stimulate one with behavioural disorder no end (5)
PSYCH – as in “psych up”, from PSYCH(o)
8 Soak on Saturday using salt (8 )
SATURATE – Sat. + URATE = a salt of uric acid. If you see “salt”, an -ATE ending is worth a try, especially if it matches checking letters.
12 Free time for one confined (7,4)
RELEASE DATE – gentle CD
15 I am fluent about thunder (9)
FULMINATE – anag. Fine on the cryptic reading, but the surface is poor.
16 Riders do recreate confusion (8)
DISORDER – anag. But can “X recreate” really indicate an anagram of X?
18 Tag on for at least the second time (7)
RELABEL – cryptic def or def plus some allusive stuff. A bit poor as “tag on” and “put tag on” are not really the same thing. “Tag for at least …” would have been fairer.
19 The lady’s caught in impossibility by one who is not a brave man (3-4)
NON-HERO – “her” = “the lady” in no-no
20 Golfer? (6)
PLAYER – 2 defs, one being Gary P who was a rival of Palmer and Nicklaus 40-odd years ago. My favourite among today’s clues.
22 How seamstress will secure satisfactory result? (3,2)
SEW UP = the same thing as “stitch up” – another defintion (secure satisfactory result) plus extra material – the seamstress for the more obvious meaning of “sew”.