DT 25984 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 25984 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25984 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

More difficult than usual – I certainly struggled with 21A, as the S_R_T_ER with possible choices for the blanks takes up quite a bit of the print-out’s white space. A slightly unsatisfactory grid – answers like 1 and 10 are underchecked, but ones like 12, 15 and 17 are overchecked.

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1 Ostentatious in a smock? (11)
OVERDRESSED – CD based on a smock being worn over other clothes for a messy activity like pottery.
9 Approach time for preparation (3-2)
RUN-UP – 2 defs
10 Stop including one pound that’s most common (9)
PREVALENT – (A,L) = “one pound” in PREVENT
11 Be at home after short break for painter (7)
HOLBEIN – painter of Henry VIII among others. HOL. = “short break”,BE,IN=at home
12 It is likely to be found at the end of the column (8 )
PEDESTAL – a barely cryptic definition – only “end” rather than “bottom” is a variation from a plain def.
14 Undignified leading character on the air performing (4-4)
ANTI-HERO = anag. of “on the air”. “undignified” seems a bit odd, but I guess dignity is one of the heroic attributes which an anti-hero could lack.
15 Part of sudden ovation is for the star (4)
NOVA – hidden word. First major gripe: the word “is” in the clue can only be surface padding. The subsequent “for the” makes it a bit worse, though these two words can be justified without “is”.
17 Supporting part of machine (7)
BEARING – 2 defs
19 Symbol for the most part split (4)
CLEF – a musical symbol, which is most of “cleft”. Just “symbol” seems a poor def., and the surface meaning doesn’t seem interesting enough to excuse a weak def.
20 Second person in Paris allowed back with plenty of time for private tuition (8 )
TUTELAGE – TU = “second person [in the grammar sense] in Paris”, TEL = reverse of let=allowed, AGE=plenty of time. Solid wordplay construction and reasonable surface meaning – one of the better clues here.
21 Spray hesitantly put on drink (8 )
SPRITZER = a drink, possibly of white wine and soda, but it depends very much where you are. The Italian variant called Spritz is a good start to an evening in Venice. SPRITZ = spray or squirt (same Germanic word origin), ER = “hesitantly”. Not too conviced by the second part, though I suppose if you say something with an “er” you do so hesitantly. I’ll buy that reason when the “er” comes first!
23 Opening in modern surgery (7)
KEYHOLE – 2 defs, though one is really “type of surgery”. We don’t yet hear that Mr Smith’s speciality is “Keyhole”.
25 Travelling considerable distance to large working farm (4-5)
LONG-RANGE – LONG=large,RANGE=working farm. Not really convinced by long=large – in cases like spaghetti, something can be long but not very large. Correction: L(arge) + ON (working) + GRANGE (farm) – courtesy of Gazza.
26 Lady accountant, about 50, soldiers on (5)
CLARA = one of Dave’s favourite unspecified ladies. L=50 in CA = (Chertered) Accountant, RA=Royal Artillery=soldiers. I quite liked “soldiers on” as a tricky bit of wordplay.
27 Usherette is a headliner (7,4)
2 Reluctant to lose a few lines (5)
VERSE = “a few lines” – (a)verse
3 I arrive dishevelled from coastal area (7)
RIVIERA – easy anag. of “I arrive”
4 Corresponding with daughter, say (8 )
RELATIVE – 2 defs
5 Henry prepared to go above third son (4)
SETH – set = prepared, H=henry (the SI unit). Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve. If you think he’s little known, spare a thought for Adam’s unnamed other 30 sons and 23 daughters
6 What is the dentist doing? Exercising (8 )
DRILLING – 2 defs
7 I name officer in most cases (2,7)
8 Nothing to write inside present for sale to highest bidder (4,2,5)
OPEN TO OFFER – PEN=write, inside OTO = “nothing to”, then OFFER = present for sale. Wordplay which took quite a while to explain.
12 Fine shot? (7,4)
PENALTY KICK – nice cryptic def. based on fine=penalty and kick=shot (in football) – and a penalty kick might turn out to be a “fine shot”.
13 Shakespearean, despite real trouble, set out (7)
LAERTES – anag. of real, anag. of set. Not impressed by this one – “despite” is surface padding, and with 40-odd plays, “Shakespearean” doesn’t help you very much.
16 My servant could have been member of parish council (9)
VESTRYMAN = anag. of “My servant” – once upon a time, parish councils met in vestries, and to this day, churchwardens are elected at “vestry meetings”.
17 Soothing oil said to come from castle (8 )
BALMORAL – BALM=soothing oil, ORAL=said. You have to like a clue where “said” is not acting as a homophone indicator.
18 Grit mixed with neon gas (8 )
NITROGEN = anag. of (grit, neon)
19 ‘Felix!’ (7)
CATCALL – nicely done cryptic def.
22 Pleaded but not initially encouraged (5)
EGGED = encouraged, from pleaded = (b)egged
24 Lamb, priest starting academy (4)
ELIA – pen name of Charles Lamb. Eli=priest,A=”starting academy”. Eli and Elia are long-standing crossword favourites.

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