ST 2529

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2529

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

A notch or two harder than most of the Sunday puzzles for me. The most interesting clues for me were 1A and 1D – both as cryptic clues and as a possible controversial comparison! (BG has expressed one or two political opinions in other puzzles.)

Across
1 Mafia’s activity in central America? (9,5)
ORGANISED CRIME – a possible description of the MERIC in “America”, in cryptic clue style. This type of clue is often described as “wordplay in the answer”
9 Bet pound on favourite initially, say (7)
FLUTTER – F from Favourite, L = pound, UTTER = say
10 Stage performer in part is terrific (7)
ARTISTE – hidden word
11 Almost made it in academic stream? (3)
CAM – CAM(e) – came = “made it” = attended some event, and the Cam is the river at Cambridge
12 Immediately available to be married? (3,3,5)
OFF THE SHELF – 2 defs, one the opposite of “still on the shelf” as used (though not much these days) to describe spinsters
14 Heads off East — or way off course (6)
ASTRAY – first letters removed in (e)AST, (o)R, (w)AY
15 Stand-in NCO securing area in sudden attack (8 )
PAROXYSM = sudden attack – A = area, in (PROXY = stand-in, S.M. = Sergeant Major = N.C.O.)
17 Provide with translation, in a way, being nuanced about it (8)
SUBTITLE = provide with translation (of a movie) – IT in SUBTLE = nuanced
19 Returned shares with company that goes to the wall (6)
STUCCO = “that goes to the wall” – (reversal of CUTS=shares), CO. = company
22 Interpret objective as getting in again (11)
READMISSION – READ=interpret, MISSION=objective
23 Head organised teachers, initially (3)
NUT – 2 defs, one for N.U.T.
24 Follower of pattern, typically, making unusual trinket (7)
KNITTER – anag. of TRINKET
26 You expressed a point that’s crazy and idealistic (7)
UTOPIAN – U = “you”, anag. of ‘a point’
27 Story of one season’s play (3,7,4)
THE WINTER’S TALE – 2 defs, the play being one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known ones. The lengths of words can make some of the plays rather easy to spot – TITUS ANDRONICUS seems to be easily the most popular (5,10) answer in grids.
Down
1 Like actors, if twice involved in all-out effort? (8,6)
OFFICIAL STRIKE – anag. of “like actors if if” – the use of “if” twice is a bit of an extra twist which prevents you from counting lengths of words to identify potential anagram fodder.
2 Person of refined taste partly improving our method (7)
GOURMET – hidden word
3 Madly into animals, hence partiality for the country (11)
NATIONALISM – anag. of “into animals”
4 Confession from ring-leader secured by group of workers (6)
SHRIFT – R = Ring-leader, in SHIFT = group of workers. “shrift” is an old term for confession, “short shrift” originally being a brief moment for confession before execution. “Shrove” as in Shrove Tuesday is a past participle of shrive = to hear confession
5 No-win situation holding no more excitement (4,4)
DEAD HEAT – DEAD = no more, HEAT = excitement
6 Sailor picked up, one escaping doomed ship (3)
RAT – reversal of tar=sailor
7 Daisy’s family member is in my control (7)
MASTERY – ASTER (flower of the daisy family) in MY
8 Pomposity spoiling a PM’s reflection (4-10)
SELF-IMPORTANCE – anag. of (a PM’s reflection)
13 Unrehearsed, awful panto’s no use (11)
SPONTANEOUS – anag. of (panto’s no use)
16 End to travel, as Waterloo was (5-3)
CLOSE-RUN – CLOSE=end, RUN=travel
18 Inclined to sell, as to carry on is hard (7)
BEARISH – BEAR = carry, IS, H = hard. Bears in Stock Exchange parlance are speculators who sell shares they don’t yet have in the expectation of a price fall enabling them to make a profit by buying the shares more cheaply when required to provide them to the purchaser
20 Is able to preserve a Spanish bar (7)
CANTINA – CAN = is able to, TIN = preserve, A
21 Reflect about one’s inappropriate application (6)
MISUSE – 1’S in MUSE = reflect
25 In tug of war, starts to pull (3)
TOW – starts = first letters, in “tug of war”

3 thoughts on “ST 2529

  1. Concerning 16 down, Brian Greer left a comment last Sunday:

    “Re 16d I thought the comment by the Duke of Wellington that the battle of Waterloo was “A damned *****-*** thing” was pretty well known.”

    According to Wikipedia, what he actually said was that the battle was “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life.” and that this is often misquoted as “A damn close-run thing.”.

    You pays your money and …….

  2. My mentor Edmund Akenhead used to say “Check most carefully that of which you are most sure”. His example was “What was the first name of the Labour PM called Wilson?” — James, of course.

    It is possible that Wellington commented more than once on the closeness of the result.

    A question mark at the end of a clue can cover a multitude of sins and would have been circumspect here.

    “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes” as Oscar Wilde said … I think.

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