ST 2528

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2528

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

This puzzle has a grid that looked a bit scruffy but grew on me after I looked harder – every word length from 4 to 12 is included, and 11, 12 and 13-letter words can easily be under-used, so 3 of these is a good feature. And of course someone who contributed to the Times puzzle’s exemplary set of grids is not going to give us one with isolated sections or under-checked words. Quite a tricky puzzle by Sunday standards, taking me about as long as an average Times cryptic.

Across
1 Dish son removed from middle of dangerous location (6)
HOTPOT – S = son is deleted from HOTSPOT
4 Increase in speed as favourite’s back in the lead (4,2)
STEP UP – reversal of PET’S = favourite’s, then UP = “in the lead”
8 One doesn’t believe in coasting haphazardly (8 )
AGNOSTIC – anag. of ‘coasting’
10 Is lying, for crowned head, so difficult? (6)
UNEASY – mostly a cryptic definition based on a Shakespeare quote – “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” (Henry IV Part 2). But if you don’t see the quote allusion, you’ve also got “difficult”, a fairly clear plain definition
11 Abraham Lincoln, primarily as one killed early (4)
ABEL – ABE = Abraham, L = “Lincoln, primarily” – and Abel was of course “killed early”, though I’m not sure that the word “early” is really necessary – can you be killed too late?
12 Financial checks of assets men assembled over time (5,5)
MEANS TESTS – T=time, in anag. of “assets men” – in the one-dimensional geometry of a grid entry, something that goes “over” something else has to go either side of it.
13 It allows us to make capital transfers between banks (6,6)
LONDON BRIDGE – cryptic def with a misleading square mile financial surface meaning and three punning words – capital, transfers, banks – two of which mean different things in cryptic and surface meanings
16 State paper’s opinion – one high point in English dailies, possibly (12)
EDITORIALISE – E = English, then (I = one, TOR = high point) in anag. of “dailies”. “State” is pretending to be a nation in the surface reading
20 Flowers linked with a lot of shops by girl (5,5)
DAISY CHAIN – DAISY = girl, CHAIN = “a lot of shops”. “Flowers linked” is the def.
21 London team at first briefly hit (4)
WHAM – London soccer team West Ham, with the first word abbreviated – hence “at first briefly”. There must be another clue based on WHAM being both a hit and a pair of blokes who had some hits.
22 European city corruption a politician has concealed (6)
NAPOLI – hidden word, with nice coincidence that Naples is associated with a bit of corruption
23 Run or short walk with dog (4,4)
TURN TAIL – TURN = short walk (Brit. colloq., esp. in “take a turn around the upper deck” or similar), TAIL = dog = to pursue.
24 What inevitably happens, over time, to chaps in household (6)
MENAGE = “men age”
25 Runs into a charlatan in religious community (6)
ASHRAM – R=runs, in A SHAM = a charlatan – ‘sham’ has the necessary noun meaning, which I wasn’t completely sure of before checking the dictionary
Down
1 Egghead’s excited, standing on summit (8 )
HIGHBROW – HIGH = excited, BROW = summit
2 Crossing river with adverse effect for fish (5)
TROLL – R = river, inside TOLL = adverse effect – the def. is “fish” (verb) – trolling is a method of fishing
3 Seat, initially not British — an Asian type (7)
OTTOMAN – (b)OTTOM,AN
5 Bound to believe pronouncement (7)
TRUSSED = “trust” = believe
6 Banquet taken by knight, say, one bite at a time (9)
PIECEMEAL – PIECE = knight, say, MEAL = banquet
7 Currency in Europe set aside (6)
PESETA – hidden word, and former currency of Spain
9 Seeing what’s coming, actor vainly switching parts (11)
CLAIRVOYANT – anag. of ‘actor vainly’
14 Shift to lower gear? Hence reprimand (5,4)
DRESS DOWN – motoring-based cryptic definition, and plain definition, for different meanings of this phrase
15 Attempt to avoid reality, caught in dreadful impasse (8 )
ESCAPISM – C = caught (by) – from cricket scores, in anag. of impasse
17 Keen to get insight, finally found in prophetic Eastern work (7)
ITCHING – T = last letter of ‘insight’, in I CHING, the Chinese “Book of Changes” – a system of divination
18 Turns a blind eye to infernal regions (7)
IGNORES – anag. of regions
19 Arab’s greeting unfortunately upset American (6)
SALAAM – rev. of ‘alas’, Am. = American
21 What, when you analyse it, is central to bathhouse? (5)
WATER – if you take the middle 3 letters of ‘bathhouse’, you have to H’s and one O, or “H2O” – an ingenious bit of wordplay which I didn’t spot until after stopping the clock.
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One Comment

  1. Mark
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Peter. I’ve been sitting on this puzzle all week and enjoyed your explanation of the ones I couldn’t get!
    I really like the “bathhouse” one – it was one I solved myself :)
    mark