DT 25966 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25966 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

A pretty easy puzzle, which will have disappointed those who want a bit more to chew over on a Saturday. In its favour, the surface readings are nearly all convincing. The grid seems to be a direct match of a Times one, dreamt up by their former xwd editor Edmund Akenhead, with a big black E as a “signature”. It’s now a bit eccentric at the Times – their only grid with any fully checked answers – but much better than some of the DT ones.

Across
1 One time in Italy revert to previous speed (1,5)
A TEMPO – a musical direction to resume the normal speed after using a different tempo. Because “time” as in “In your own time, Peter” is so close to “tempo” in the musical sense, barely cryptic for anyone who can read music.
5 One has difficulty seeing through such a downpour (8 )
CATARACT – 2 defs – not sure that a shower and a waterfall are really the same.
9 Pair of spectacles taken after dance at youth hostel causing confusion (8 )
BALLYHOO – BALL=dance,Y.H.=Youth Hostel, OO=”pair of spectacles”, either visually, or because it means two ducks in cricket.
10 Bring up again the smell in the river (6)
EXHUME – HUM=smell, in the river EXE
11 The man’s row at the back reportedly causing wild excitement (8 )
HYSTERIA = “His tier rear” – a slightly dodgy homophone, which bothers me less than some. I’d worry more about the solver getting from “at the back” to the single word “rear”.
12 Excited revolutionary more than just warm (3-3)
RED-HOT – RED=revolutionary, HOT=more than just warm
13 Rip off the villain (8 )
TEARAWAY – TEAR=rip, AWAY=off.
15 Disorientated seamen mislaying a name for the duck (4)
SMEE – this is a dialect name for the smew, pochard, wigeon or fantail, according to Chambers. anag. of “seamen” without “a,n(=name)”. The weakest surface in the puzzle – you can forget a name for something, but you can’t mislay it.
17 Mention some organic items (4)
CITE – hidden word
19 In an excited state has a small speculation (8 )
AFLUTTER – A,FLUTTER=bet.
20 Eastern European – or French? (6)
POLISH – one of the oldest chestnuts in the book, punning on carpenter’s “French Polish”.
21 Open feast nun prepared (8 )
UNFASTEN – anag. of “feast nun”
22 A second amount of money on the way up (6)
ASCENT – A,S=second,CENT=amount of money. A grumble here: “on” is surface padding – it plays no role in the cryptic reading.
23 Surrender face up (4,4)
BACK DOWN – logical implication of “face up” as applied to (e.g.) a playing card.
24 Person who is accommodating (8 )
HOTELIER – hardly cryptic def.
25 Rudd’s colourful feature (3-3)
RED-EYE – I thought this was a duck to match the smee, but the goldeneye and ruff (ducks) are both near misses. The red-eye or rudd is actually a fish.
Down
2 Sycophancy to dismay eccentric (8 )
TOADYISM = anag. of “to dismay”. I briefly looked for a “charade” interpretation with “eccentric” as the def.
3 Old way to serve as a soldier and fight for a cause (8 )
MILITATE – slightly obscure but not very cryptic
4 Person one joined for better or for worse or for health rundown (5,4)
OTHER HALF = anag of “for health”. I quite liked the clue’s variation on “in sickness and in health”.
5 Very calm and unexcited like hothouse plant surprisingly (4,2,1,8 )
COOL AS A CUCUMBER – easy but enjoyable CD
6 Any exit taken out of nervous apprehension (7)
ANXIETY – anag. of “any exit”
7 A new growth Henry, sailor, and I found in the capital (3,5)
ABU DHABI – A,BUD=new growth,H=henry,A.B.=sailor,I. Henry without capital letter because H=henry is from the SI unit.
8 A time one’s entering plant and finding work (8 )
TREATISE = work – (A,T,I’S) inside TREE=plant, which can still fool me after years of solving.
14 Craftsman, if erratic, breaks down (9)
ARTIFICER = anag. of “if erratic”
15 Careless hit, it’s a blow (8 )
SLAPDASH – SLAP=hit,DASH=blow
16 Previous partner Penny allowed to be outspoken (8 )
EXPLICIT=outspoken. EX=prev. partner,P,LICIT=allowed
17 Went on an expedition and found rude cads rioting (8 )
CRUSADED – anag. of “rude cads “.
18 Acquire a route from restaurant (8 )
TAKEAWAY – TAKE=acquire,A,WAY=route
19 Magazine found on the Piccadilly Line (7)
ARSENAL – military “magazine” and the stop between Holloway Road and Finsbury Park.  A doddle for a former resident of Turnpike Lane, Southgate and Palmers Green.  I used to feel underground stations weren’t too obscure because of the maps included in diaries, but that doesn’t count now that the British diary makers like Letts are much less popular – Taschen and Moleskine don’t give you a tube map.
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