Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26068
A Really Grumpy Old Man writes ……
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment *
I manage to enjoy most puzzles that I solve, but this just left me completely cold. I am sure there are some of you who will have enjoyed this but I just found some of the cluing lazy and lacking any wit or imagination. There are few decent clues there but they are swamped by the dross. I won’t comment on the double unches in the grid as one of my esteemed colleagues will come on and point out they are OK, suffice it to say I do not.
Fortunately there are better Saturday puzzles and I shall seek solace in those. In fact, this puzzle limps a long way behind all of the others. I have no problem with an easier puzzle if the clues are elegantly written (see every Monday in the Telegraph), but most clues here today are uninspired and in a few cases hackneyed. It would be the sort of puzzle I would expect to see in a magazine such as The Puzzler rather than a serious newspaper.
1a Word of hesitation in record large sum (4)
LUMP – UM (a word of hesitation) inside LP (record). “Large sum” is the definition.
3a One takes a backward view in it (10)
RETROSPECT – A cryptic definition for viewing things with hindsight.
8a All the food remains as announced in Warwickshire (8)
NUNEATON – Homophone clues are notoriously dangerous ones to write and this is an example of where it can go wrong. When I pronounce NONE EATEN, it is not the same as the Warwickshire town that is needed here. I am sure that at least 60% of my fellow Brits will be in the same boat.
9a Avoid backing small school included (6)
ESCHEW – Small = WEE, reversed with SCH for School inside. Avoid is the definition.
10a Jay’s misplaced hopes for carpenter (6)
JOSEPH – Jay = J + an anagram (shown by misplaced) of HOPES to give the name of the Biblical carpenter. In the first five clues we have had a place name and a first name, Big Dave will be thrilled as well!
11a Fellow working with a will (8)
EXECUTOR – I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this clue. Most of the time it leads to the answer here. Occasionally a setter tries to make it lead to TESTATOR. Anyway up, if I never saw it again, it would be too soon.
13a Interjection of annoyance when sacred snug retreat is surrounded (8)
HONESTLY – Probably one of the clues that caused most trouble, I would guess. The setter is trying to say it’s a word for sacred (HOLY) around snug retreat (NEST), but I can’t get it to read that way.
14a Much bid for (3,3)
THE LOT – A cryptic definition, and a rotten one. If you bid for “much”, you can’t bid for the lot, because much implies there is some left over.
16a Joined, gently removed cut (6)
SLICED – Joined in nautical terms is SPLICED and “quietly removed” means take the P out of it.
19a Afro to be incorrect wearing no shoes (8)
BAREFOOT – An anagram (shown by “incorrect”) of AFRO TO BE.
21a Short distance behind river has included broken part of engine (8)
CAMSHAFT – CAM = river + an anagram of HAS + FT (short distance). I don’t get the surface reading of this clue.
22a Bird coming from that French 17 down (6)
QUELEA – Today’s word you never knew you never knew. A simple word sum. QUE = “That” (in) French + LEA, the answer to 17 down.
23a Listen to dance round and see dancing partner (6)
GIGOLO – Another word sum. GIG (dance) + O (“round”)+ LO (see). Two questions. Since the clue is ostensibly about dancing why the need to repeat “dancing”? I think I may have just answered my second clue which was why “Listen to”? I assume the setter is using GIG, which I took to be a dance or function, as a homophone of GIGUE.
24a Principal route used by Lynne it is reported in US state (4,4)
MAIN LINE – My dislike for clues that contain random names is well-documented. This one is a homophone of Lynne (LIN) inside MAINE (US state). Poor fare.
25a Lowest possible boulder wild tot in mob removed (4,6)
ROCK BOTTOM – Lowest possible = definition. ROCK = boulder. Add to this anagrams of TOT and MOB (anagrams indicated by wild and removed) My crossword compiling software has over 500 anagram indicators. Removed is not one of them.
26a Clearly it cannot be seen through in the heat (4)
HAZE – Cryptic definition.
1d Yearns to see fellow in underwear (4,5)
LONG JOHNS – JOHN (fellow) inside LONGS (yearns)
2d Choice flower that’s an investment (10,5)
PREFERENCE STOCK – Not a phrase I’d heard of (have heard of preferential stock). Choice = PREFERENCE + STOCK = flower, unusually not a river! The whole is some sort of investment. Do remember your home is at risk if you use dynamite to clear a blocked drain.
3d Deserter had revolutionary square toothed bar (7)
RATCHET – When you encounter DESERTER in a puzzle, it will usually be looking for the word RAT, as in “desert rat” and “rats deserting a sinking ship”. It is so here, plus another old favourite CHE = revolutionary. Add to this T for square (A T square in geometry).
4d Skin treatment centre (7)
TANNERY – And another one as old as the hills. A cryptic definition for somewhere where skins or hides are treated.
5d Make a pig of oneself on the other side each time (7)
OVEREAT – Word sum. “On the other side” = OVER + “EA” = each + T =time.
6d Moorland photograph includes lake showing perfect fitness (7,2,6)
PICTURE OF HEALTH – A moorland photograph is a PICTURE OF HEATH with L for lake inside. This clue contains a good idea but is spoilt by a definition that gives the clue a slightly odd surface reading. A shame.
7d Keep tractor perhaps (5)
TOWER – A keep in a castle is a tower, and tractors tow things. Geddit?
12d No hope of confining surprised expression (3)
OHO – It’s hidden in “No hope”.
15d Four identical notes about a get-together (4-1-4)
TETE-A-TETE TE four times with A inside
17d Partly clearing part of the countryside (3)
LEA – Another hidden answer. “Clearing”
18d Help up then hit up taking nothing from game (7)
DIABOLO – More poor surface reading. Using “Up” twice in one clue as a reversal indicator is dreadful. “Help” (AID) reversed + “hit” (LOB) reversed + O.
19d One can step on it out of the wet (4,3)
BATH MAT – A cryptic definition for something you find just outside your shower. My how we laughed. Not.
20d Not right to ask maiden at mass (7)
REQUIEM – Ask = REQUIRE minus R = REQUIE + M (maiden)
21d Smoke 101 fish (5)
CIGAR – CI = 101 + GAR = fish.
I hope you managed to get more enjoyment out of it than me. See you soon.