Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26038
The Big Ones Get Away!
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment **
Having been a solver for many years, I always looked forward to Saturday’s puzzles. Each paper usually offered you more than one puzzle, and invariably, the puzzle you got on a Saturday was something special. Sadly I don’t feel that magic with the Telegraph puzzle. It’s an OK challenge, but I don’t get to feel the magic that you get with other papers and setters. This week’s contained a couple of good clues, but they were taken down by the two long answers in the centre. Both were clued with cryptic definitions, and while you could argue one was reasonable, I simply had not heard of the expression, and the other struck me as too remote and obscure to lead to the answer. The grid itself didn’t help with the centre almost isolated. I recognised the across answer, but had to guess at the down one. Even an anagram might have helped a bit.
Anyway, whine over, off we go. Your comments as to how you coped with the puzzle are welcomed.
1a Number having necessary skill and power to be defended (10)
TENABILITY – A word sum to get underway today TEN (number) + ABILITY (having skill) = “power to be defended”
6a Priest entered a southeastern part of church (4)
APSE – P (priest) inside A SE (a south eastern) gives a part of the church for which many crossword setters are eternally grateful. Handy hint for future puzzles: another is REREDOS (a curtain).
9a Miscreant led Quentin in a muddle (10)
DELINQUENT – an anagram of LED QUENTIN that almost leaps out at you.
10a Hand is in foot (4)
FIST – IS inside FT, with hand as the definition.
13a Pretty girl or Soviet leader? (7)
REDHEAD – One of the double definition clues where one part is cryptic (indicated with the question mark).
15a Arrested two men shortly (6)
NICKED – Two men = NICK + ED. I thought it might be HAL and TED but not so.
16a A scientist, in novel fashion (6)
NEWTON – Chambers gives TON as a noun for fashion, hence new ton (novel fashion)
17a Extremely precarious situation, having been hung over in court (5,2,8)
SWORD OF DAMOCLES – A poor cryptic definition referring to the mythological tale told by Cicero in one of his books.
18a Tax this revenue away from the sea (6)
INLAND – A cryptic definition to lead to IN LAND, as in the dreaded tax people.
20a Heparin not gently dispensed for organ displacement (6)
HERNIA – A nice clue.. Take P (gently) out of the drug used as an anti-coagulant, and give it a shake and you’ll get a medical condition that probably doesn’t need that drug!
21a Start period of retirement (2,2,3)
GO TO BED – Cryptic definition. Whimsy corner, when I was nobbut a lad, I worked in a public library and one of the books we had on the shelves at Whiston Library was On Darts by Jabez Gotobed. The spine read Gotobed On Darts! I notice it has been renamed now, when I looked on Amazon to “50 Ways to improve your game”!
22a Large number in French island are unemployed (4)
IDLE – A French island (an island in French) is ILE with D (Roman numeral for 500) inside
25a Disagreement if red fence collapsed (10)
DIFFERENCE – Another anagram that leaps out at you. IF RED FENCE turns into a word for a spat, or argument.
26a Painter had no right to produce a gory mess (4)
GOYA – Like 20 across, this works in a similar manner. Take R (right) out of A GORY, anagrammatize it (indicated by “mess”) and you’ll get an artist who produced some beautiful works, often featuring disturbing and grotesque images..
27a Cork area where congestion might occur (10)
BOTTLENECK – Cryptic definition that leads you to a traffic jam.
1d Note I would be in season (4)
TIDE – I’D (I would) inside TE (note)
2d Greek character had lines that were void (4)
NULL – NU (letter of the Greek alphabet) + LL (lines = a word meaning void.
3d Sound performers were outlawed (6)
BANNED – A homophone for the word leads to a word meaning outlawed or forbidden.
4d Amusing way to maximise the pounds (5,3,4,3)
LAUGH AND GROW FAT – Hadn’t heard of this expression at all, so I had to guess this from the intersecting letters. It apparently comes from an 18th century painting by someone called Chas. Corbet.
5d Preserve type of loaf first in container (3,3)
TIN CAN – TIN is a type of loaf, and this goes before CAN (preserve).
7d Indicate unfilled space is very close (5-5)
POINT BLANK – A word sum POINT (indicate) + BLANK (a space).
8d Dine on pork-pie should the unexpected happen! (3,4,3)
EAT ONE’S HAT – Dine on pork pie equates to EAT HAT in my book, so where is the indication for ONE’S?
11d Woman shooting up is not hopeful (10)
[UNASPIRING – Word sum time again. UNA = woman + SPIRING = shooting up.
12d In which one is taught how to act? (6,4)
SCHOOL PLAY – A cryptic definition for a performance in a place of education. I once played Leonard Vole in Witness for the Prosecution. The theatre critics had better things to do that night, such as black-leading the grate or getting drunk. Fortunately.
13d Reg and I included different interpretation (7)
READING – Why included? An anagram of REG AND I.
14d Edward, after short march, was given lower rank (7)
DEMOTED – DEMO is a short march, i.e. DEMO(NSTRATION), important for the clue reading to work. + TED
19d Cloak has been spotted (6)
DOMINO – Double definition. A domino is a type of cloak and something spotted. Hmmmm……
20d Here’s a new vehicle (6)
HEARSE – An anagram of HERE’S A provides what will probably be the last vehicle you travel in. I’d rather have had a cryptic definition, though sometimes the newspapers may frown on such things.
23d Mark needed to protect joint (4)
KNEE – A hidden answer. Mark needed
24d Top speaking part (4)
PEAK – Another hidden answer speaking
All done for another week.