DT 26032

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26032

A full analysis by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment: ***

My first bite at the Saturday Puzzle, and until this week it has tended to be the last of the weekend puzzles that I solve, simply because the others usually have themes or gimmicks that I love to solve.  In most papers the Saturday puzzle is usually the most difficult of the week, but I don’t think this applies to the DT.  However, it will now be the top of the list each week.  I hope my reviews are as helpful as Peter’s were and if not, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

This was an interesting puzzle and is a curious mix of clues with some fine ones, plus one or two duds.  The Telegraph is spoilt for cryptic definition clue writers, as Monday’s Maestro is probably one of the finest exponents of this genre around, and I sometimes think that even he overeggs the pudding occasionally.  As a result, other attempts at cryptic definitions often hit the target, but not the bull, to use an expression from archery.

Anyway, let’s have a look at last Saturday’s challenge.  One of the first things I notice is the brevity of clue writing in most cases.  On first inspection that suggests to me a preponderance of cryptic definitions.  Let’s see if I’m right.

Across

1a      Oddly silly hotel employee, cunning person (8)
SLYBOOTS –  To start today, we need to take the odd letters from the word “silly” to get SLY and the hotel employee is an obscure American word for a hotel employee who cleaned shoes or ran messages, they used to be called Bootblacks or“Boots” for short.  This leaves “cunning person”, which is the definition.

Here’s a cunning hotel employee.

9a      Set of vanes to turn by factory (8)
WINDMILL –  I can’t make my mind up whether this is an attempt at an “all-in-one” clue, as we have “set of vanes” as a definition.  The rest of the clue is a word sum.  WIND = to turn and a factory is a MILL.  The whole thing could be a definition of a windmill, and it seems a bit clumsy to me.

10a     Like stay-at-homes at heart (6)
INMOST –  This was the last clue I solved and even now, I still don’t like it.  I think it’s one of those clues where we have two definitions, and one is cryptic, although here I think both are “cryptic”.  Our setter seems to be saying if you are a “stay-at-home” you are “in most”, i.e.  you go out least.  Likewise, “at heart” is the “most in” you can be.  Not my cup of tea at all, and I hate tea.

11a     Flood the market too flexibly (10)
OVERSUPPLY – Another double definition.  If you flood the market, you oversupply things, and if you are too flexible or lithe, you are over supple, or here adverbially.

12a     Reveal secret, spell it out (3,4)
LET SLIP –  An anagram of SPELL IT gives an expression meaning to inadvertently reveal a secret.

14a     Huntsman travelling on Metro (7)
MONTERO –  An anagram of ON METRO gives a Spanish huntsman, famed for his hat.

16a     Foot alongside containing claw (5)
TALON –  A hidden answer, although the indicator is afterwards which doesn’t really make sense to me without some additional punctuation.  “fooT ALONgside”

17a     Grass snake, sort of (5)
SNEAK –  An anagram of  SNAKE reveals a type of grass, as in informer.

18a     Hide drug inside yarn (5)
SKEIN –  E is the drug (as in ecstasy) inside a word meaning hide “SKIN”.  This will lead you to a word for a large reel of yarn.

20a     Cause trouble when part of play has finished (3,2)
ACT UP –  “Cause trouble” is the definition  and “part of play” = ACT and “is finished” = UP.

22a     Gloss over the woodwork (7)
VARNISH –  Nothing to do with ignoring woodwork.  (You weren’t fooled, were you?).  A cryptic definition for the finish you apply to woodwork with a brush.

24a     Arachnid, say, coming in towards end of day onto open framework (7)
LATTICE –  I got the answer straightaway, but then couldn’t twig the explanation as I kept thinking the arachnid was “lice”.  However it’s  TIC(K) inside LATE.

26a     Bronze finish (5,5)
THIRD PLACE –  Nothing to do with suntans.  If you win a Bronze medal, where do you finish?

27a     He leaves the US soldier in broken-down car — that’s sad (6)
TRAGIC –   One of the better clues.  Read it literally.  HE leaves THE =  T  + GI (US Soldier) inside an anagram of CAR.  From a reading point of view, why not say American instead of “US”?

28a     Graduate queueing on principal route (4,4)
MAIN LINE –  a SIMPLE WORD SUM.  MA (graduate) + IN LINE (queueing) = principal route.  “on” here is not a surplus word.  It reads  “Graduate (with) queueing on”.

29a     Family in dilapidated barge parting (8)
BREAKING –  An anagram (shown by dilapidated) of BARGE with a word for “family” (KIN) inside.

Down

2d      Meat served at midday meal? (8)
LUNCHEON –  A double definition.  A type of meat and a time  to eat it.  Not one of my favourite meats, and not one of my favourite clues today.

3d      Mark of the killer? (10)
BLOODSTAIN –  Good job there’s a question mark at the end of the clue, which shows that the answer is “a bit suspicious”.  Albert de Salvo was a killer and may not have left too many bloodstains.

4d      Excluded from participation without a chance (3,2,2)
OUT OF IT –  I think our Saturday Setter likes to take two definitions and stitch them together to try and make a clue out of it.  Here’s another one, although  I think the second half of the clue “without a chance” is a bit on the weak side.

5d      Not much between the odds in gamble (5)
SWEEP –  WEE = not much inside SP = Standard crossword definition for “odds” (Starting Price in racing terms)

6d      Also, before long, etc. (3,2,2)
AND SO ON –  What does this mean?  It’s a very poor clue.  Also = AND  Before long = SOON and the definition is “etc.”.  Sorry but this is shoddy, lazy clueing.

7d      Wife’s easy, removing top veil (6)
WIMPLE –  W = wife + (S)IMPLE = easy, removing top i.e. first letter.  The whole leads to a word meaning veil, or a nun’s headdress.  Am I the only one to find this clue a bit offensive with the use and implication of the word “easy”?

8d      Minimise quiet surrender (4,4)
PLAY DOWN – P = quiet (piano in music) + LAY DOWN = surrender, and PLAY DOWN = MINIMISE.

13d     Irishman on church plot (5)
PATCH –  Irishman = PAT  + CH = church =  Plot = PATCH

14d     Magnate to pull up after Maureen (5)
MOGUL –  MO (Maureen) +  a reversal of LUG  (i.e. “pull”  – up)

15d     Child under Kate struggling as Kelvin starts to tick off (4,2,4)
TAKE TO TASK –  Far too convoluted for my liking.  An anagram of KATE followed by TOT + AS + K(elvin)

17d     Don’t take so long to rescue the enemy? (4,4)
SAVE TIME –  I presume there is a famous quotation about “time being the enemy”.  Google gives a film quote from the excellent film “The Enemy Within” and one from Elizabeth I, plus several obscure pop songs.  Don’t take so long is the definition, and then the clue is a word sum of SAVE (rescue) and TIME (enemy).  I’m buffaloed and would welcome your comments.

19d     Cut in Channel Islands’ second charge (8)
INCISION –  Another word sum.  IN CI (In Channel Islands) + S (second) + ION (charge).  I know I failed physics badly, despite the best efforts of Messrs Freestone and Frank “The Twank” Webster, but an ion is a particle that is charged, rather than a charge, surely?

20d     Space? It became sterile (7)
ASEPTIC –  An anagram of SPACE IT leads to a word for sterile, lacking infection.

21d     Papa let Terence enter board for painters (7)
PALETTE –   A hidden answer clue, poorly indicated by “enter”,  surely it should be “entered” but that would destroy surface reading.  PaPA LET TErence…..   The Sunday Supremo does these so much better.

23d     Growing no end of fruit (6)
RAISIN –  Growing without its last letter (“no end of”) =  RAISIN(g)  –  I think I’d have liked  “Growin’ fruit” more.

25d     Hebrew leader snapped cable (5)
CALEB –  My Biblical knowledge is poor, as a lapsed agnostic.  But Caleb was one of a gang sent by Moses, along with Joshua who became leader.  Anyway, it’s an anagram (snapped) of CABLE that leads to a “”Hebrew leader”.

Thanks to the Saturday Setter for the challenge.  See you a bit later!

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One Comment

  1. Libellule
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Tilsit,
    re. Time is the enemy,
    I did a little bit of googling, and perhaps the best comment on this was found on Fifteen Squared in reference to an answer “TIME” for Guardian 24539 by Araucaria
    mhl says:
    “The phrase “time is the enemy” always interests me when it comes up. The definition of enemy in the online version of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is “Time is the enemy of man, especially of those who are behind time”, but there’s no indication of where it’s from. There are other suggestions on the web that it’s from a 1789 play called “The Dramatist” by Frederick Reynolds, but I wonder if it goes back even further? (Chambers lists “how goes the enemy?” as a synonym for “what’s the time?”, I see, but with no more helpful information.)”