DT 25954 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25954 – back into the atlas

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Decent grid, harder clues than usual for me – say 50% longer than a typical Saturday timing. Quite a few place-names, though I’d only count one as difficult. Last few answers in approx order for me: 11, 8, 1A, 5, 2, 4. (Dave says I should put A or D next to all the numbers, but I’m too good at choosing the wrong one and generating “You did really mean 8A didn’t you?” comments. So no letters from me except where they’re essential. Tough answer words or wordplay elements were: 8 (medlar), 11, 5, 23. Most of the clues were good, but some really let the side down.

Across
1 Cautious man’s cutting edge? (6,5)
SAFETY RAZOR – cryptic def which should have been much easier than I fiound it.
7 Badly torn, too, in the city (7)
TORONTO – very obvious anagram – three Os and two Ts are hard to hide.
8 One interfering with fruit report (7)
MEDDLER = “medlar” – a tree and its apple-like fruit
10 Another food store said to be in the capital (3,5)
NEW DELHI = “new deli”, or new,”deli” as you wish. In theory “capital” is horribly vague, but (3,5,) cuts down the choices.
11 Knife used by one in accident (6)
PARANG – A in “prang”. A parang is a Malayan machete – file with da, kukri and kris.
13 Very black in an American state (4)
INKY – IN,KY=Kentucky
14 Push a man who can get you covered (5,5)
PRESS AGENT = press a gent. “Covered” = reported on.
16 Look on the face of old persons I upset (10)
EXPRESSION – EX=old,anag of (PERSONS I)
18 Jamaica, Virginia or island farther east (4)
JAVA – should you ever see a vehicle from Jamaica, JA is their IVR code. Then VA=Virginia
21 Heard freeman had something to eat (6)
BURGER = “burgher” = a freeman or citizen of a borough.
22 Overindulged recklessly — Nero refused, it was made known (8 )
DIVULGED = made known. Take “overindulged”, remove “Nero” and anagram. But when does “Nero refused” mean “Nero is removed”? There’s a military sense that works according to Chambers, which I suppose lets this usage squeak through. Not impressed.
24 Fine weather, little bit preceding festival (7)
WHIT=little bit as in “not one whit”,SUN=good weather. Whitsun = “White Sunday” is an old name for Pentecost – a festival in the old religious sense.
25 Her dove fluttered and floated (7)
HOVERED – anagram of “her dove”. If you thought “her” indicated one of those unspecified ladies, not this time.
26 Liquid container requested was properly arranged (4-7)
WELL-ORDERED – WELL=liquid container,ORDERED=requested
Down
1 Lady to come to losing energy in Malaysia (7)
SARAWAK – here’s that lady! SARA this time,plus WAK(e). One of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. (Sabah is the other). A bit tricky but plucked from the mental atlas after seeing the WAK bit.
2 Offence readily included by sportsman (6)
FENCER – hidden word. Not hard, but a shoddy clue because it says “A included by B” when it means “A includes/included B”. I don’t mind the tense change, but the addition of BY is “surface padding” of the worst kind – unfairly misleading as well as contributing nothing to the cryptic reading. Where’s that parang?
3 Cleaner Ruth Booth’s upset (10)
TOOTHBRUSH – anagram. This is poor for a different reason. There are inevitably real people called Ruth Booth, but none well-known enough to make “Ruth Booth” much more convincing than “Doris Kiosk”. Made-up names make giveaway clues, especially in anagram fodder.
4 Be inclined to swindle (4)
RAMP – 2 defs, both verbs where related nouns are more familiar, but both verbs are in Chambers.
5 These signs are heavenly (8 )
ZODIACAL – cryptic def. Funky word but easy to invent if you don’t know it, once 1A is in place to give the Z.
6 Engineers let loose (7)
RELEASE – R.E.=the trusty Royal Engineers – Sappers=RE and Gunners=RA were the first things I spotted as xwd clichés when I started solving back in the (cripes!) 1970s. Back in the noughties, the rest is let=LEASE
7 Courtier’s joint complaint? (6,5)
TENNIS ELBOW – CD based on xwd-style reinterpretation of “courtier”. The setter might have had some extra fun by putting “Cour(t)ier’s” for a reference to former player Jim Courier.
9 Best passed clockwise (5-6)
RIGHT-HANDED – RIGHT=best,HANDED=passed. Chambers has Right-handed=clockwise – presumably because a clockwise circle is effectively a long right-hand bend, or because clockwise movement is to the right for someone in the middle. But I can’t get C to convince me that right=BEST, in the entry for either word
12 Amazed a shed is not damaged (10)
ASTONISHED – a very easy anagram, with “shed” in both answer and fodder.
15 Slaverer turning, turning in the wrong direction (8 )
REVERSAL = anag of “Slaverer”. Poor surface – why should this drooling person be turning, any more than any one else from an archer to a zookeeper? And is reversal turning in the wrong direction? That depends on whether you were previously going in the right direction. I’ve checked reverse/revsersal in C and there’s nothing about “wrong” in there.
17 Range of experience according to said survey (7)
PURVIEW = “per”=according to,VIEW (vb.)=survey
19 Enraged terribly (7)
ANGERED – old chestnut anag. &lit. Watch out for DERANGE as another anag. with similar meaning
20 Case of the shakes (6)
QUIVER – CD based on 2 def’s – quiver=shake and quiver=case for arrows
23 One Parisian officer found it strange (4)
UNCO = strange Scots word for “strange”. UN=”one Parisian”,C.O.=(Commanding) Officer

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