ST 2510

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2510

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

 

Another dose of quality, this week with a govt/military flavour in quite a few of the long answers – Magna Carta, Victoria Cross, esprit de corps, and secret service. Overall difficulty matched an easy but not very easy Times puzzle.

Across
1 Catamaran at sea carrying key historical document (5,5)
MAGNA CARTA – G = (musical) key in anag. of catamaran – a fairly easy start, as the queston “why catamaran?” should occur to the solver and betray the anag. fodder
6 It slows down horses when oats get cut by 50% (4)
WHOA – 50% each, of WHen and OAts – first of several nicely done multi-word definitions – “It slows down horses” – these should add a little to the clue’s difficulty
9 Last longer than guy dismissed first (7)
OUTSTAY – another multi-word def (Last longer than), and OUT = dismissed, STAY = guy (verb, as of tent ropes)
10 Courts imprisoning you and me in part of Europe (7)
AUSTRIA – US = “you and me” in ATRIA = (building) courts – not too hard now that all new buildings are required to have atriums or atria.
12 Reward to soldier is burden on state (8,5)
VICTORIA CROSS – VICTORIA = state (Aus.), CROSS = burden as in “we all have our cross to bear”
14 Dread making mistake on final part of test (6)
TERROR – T = end of “test”, ERROR = mistake – one that seems like a little joke about contestants in crossword competitions
15 Use ‘Pam’ or ‘Ned’ in a way, in attempt to impress (8)
NAMEDROP – magnificent all-in-one and an exception to the usual rule that arbitrary names in anag fodder are a sign of poor clue-writing
17 Record holder recovered after accident (5,3)
BLACK BOX – CD whose surface reading might suggest Usain Bolt and his car crash earlier this year, rather than an aircraft component
19 States with processed fuel coming in handy (6)
USEFUL – U.S. = “States” (a classic case of putting a word where you won’t notice its initial capital letter), EFUL = anag of fuel
22 Dire prospects ruined solidarity of group (6,2,5)
ESPRIT DE CORPS – anag of “dire prospects” and another super surface reading
24 Help to catch bird — booby or loon (7)
AIRHEAD – RHEA (S American emu/ostrich equivalent) in AID – the fact that various names of birds are synonyms for “daft person” is rich territory for setters – at least the noddy and gull are other candidates, plus “cuckoo” if we allow adjective too
25 Wine I had during and after singing in church (7)
CHIANTI – I both inside (during) and after CHANT = “singing in church” – Gregorian chant most obviously, but also “Anglican bumps
26 Fish you can see in eyeglass, oddly (4)
EELS – letters in odd positions of EyEgLaSs
27 Old-fashioned print worker kind to dog (10)
TYPESETTER – TYPE = kind, SETTER = dog – the surface might have been better with “kind to puzzle writer”, but self-references can pall if used too often
Down
1 Low temperature up in the air (4)
MOOT – MOO = low (cows!), T = temperature – and “up in the air” is another cracking definition to make the surface – if you think I’m going on about this, try writing a puzzle with such consistently good surface meanings in fair clues.
2 Recovered from attempt to upset clergyman (3,4)
GOT OVER – GO = attempt, TO = to, VER = rev. of Rev.(!)
3 Hands are moved thus to adjust for fall (13)
ANTICLOCKWISE – cryptic definition referring to putting the clocks back a few weeks ago – as described by the mnemonic “Spring forward and fall back” for those struggling to remember whether we gain or lose an hour (fall = autumn (US))
4 A New York house former president put together haphazardly (6)
ANYHOW – A = a, N.Y., HO. = House, “W” = George “Dubya” Bush – and “put together” has to be separated from “haphazardly” – it’s an instruction about the previous stuff. The entertainment value surley outweighs any quibbles about “W”, just in case anyone moaned on Sunday
5 Trains frantically, like top Russian women (8)
TSARINAS – anag. of trains, AS = like
7 Shelter in part of garden attached to hospital (7)
HARBOUR – H = hospital, ARBOUR = part of garden – “shelter” is the def., and the fact that an arbour is arguably a “shelter in part of garden” too is part of the fun
8 Chap’s projection president with computer company got (5,5)
ADAM’S APPLE – ADAMS = U.S. President, APPLE = computer co.
11 Spy organization about to infiltrate cult ceremony (6,7)
SECRET SERVICE – RE = about in SECT = cult, SERVICE = ceremony
13 Colleague in final chess position taking bishop (10)
STABLEMATE – B = bishop in STALEMATE – a “final chess position” as it means the end of the game.
16 Otherwise acted in cunning and in sleazy way (8)
SORDIDLY – (OR = otherwise, DID = acted) in SLY = cunning – apiring setters might note that “in …. way” is one way of bridging an adjective/adverb gap like the one between between “cunning” and “sordidly”
18 Outrage about queen turning up in dress (7)
APPAREL – APPAL = outrage (vb.), outside reversal of E.R. = queen – nothing to do with drag queens, though that would get you into the right subject area
20 Angle on clear fabric for hose (7)
FISHNET – FISH (vb.) = angle, NET = clear (i.e. earn a particular amount of money) – “fabric for hose” is the def.
21 One group losing revenue, initially, as drops accumulated in freeze (6)
ICICLE – I, CI(r)CLE = group
23 Attach to river bank (4)
TIER – TIE = attach, R = river
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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    It seems such a shame that these excellent puzzles get hidden away in the Sunday paper. I spoke to a former crossword editor the other day who, on being told the identity of the “new” Sunday setter, said that these puzzles should be in the daily paper. Maybe one day.

    To illustrate what I am saying, at the time of writing there have been 1445 hits on my Saturday Hints post against 310 for Sunday – not far short of a ratio of 5 – 1.

    Thanks again Peter for your clear and comprehensive review.

  2. Posted November 20, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I see your and the former xwd ed’s point, but there’s no reason for me why a paper’s Sunday puzzle shouldn’t be a good one. On my recent holiday, the tour guide was keen to have a chat about xwds when he found out about my Times championship wins. He told me that he and his wife did the Telegraph cryptic and GK puzzles at the weekend – the Fri, Sat and Sun cryptics if I remember right – so unless SunSetter became SatSetter, he’d lose a good puzzle if it was moved.

    I don’t know how the ST and DT readership compare – this might be a factor in the numbers. So might the long history of ST crosswords in a rather different style – I wouldn’t have tackled the previous puzzle unless a free ST happened to be around, and then only for long enough to conclude that nothing had changed. If others voted with their feet in the same way, it could take years to get them back.

    • Posted November 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Funnily enough the latest circulation figures that I can find give the DT at 836,410 and the ST at 619,182 copies. Perhaps it’s the prominent position of the Daily puzzle that makes the difference. Or is it that the Saturday puzzle is easier? I’m glad I don’t work in market research.

      • Posted November 20, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        And what makes people read the blog? – A difficult clue which they can’t answer, a really good puzzle that they want to praise or to see what other people thought of, a bad puzzle for the same two reasons, or … you get the idea …