ST 2543

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2543

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

It’s the fourth of July and the puzzle is from a setter who likes to do themes and has worked in the US for the last decade or so. So no surprise that there’s stuff about Independence Day and the USA, past and present. I guess this is a pretty wide thematic range, but I’m still impressed by the 3 very relevant 15-letter acrosses and a grid where the effect of the thematic material is small – the single extra black square in the top and bottom rows. (The 3-word columns at the edges don’t matter as there are only 29 grid entries.

Across
8 US general giving computer to President (9)
MACARTHUR = US General – MAC=computer, ARTHUR = president
10 American leader usually very cool – zero degrees (5)
OBAMA = “American leader usually very cool” – O=zero, M.A.,B.A.=degrees
11 Day for celebration, like the 7th of January, 8th of February, and 3rd of May (3,6,2,4)
THE FOURTH OF JULY – clued by identifying all 3 other Y’s at the end of month names, which seemed rather a giveaway
12 Deceive in LA, with dimes wrongly distributed (7)
MISLEAD – anag. of (LA, dimes)* – if the answer isn’t American (the only across one that isn’t), the surface reading has to be!
13 Drink, including regular American soft drink (5,2)
SEVEN UP = American soft drink – EVEN=regular, in SUP=drink
15 Standard indications of rank in US army (5,3,7)
STARS AND STRIPES – 2 defs – “standard”=flag, and the military symbols
19 Harmony in town where fight for independence began (7)
CONCORD – 2 defs again – “harmony” and this town
22 An unalienable right one’s not bound to have (7)
LIBERTY – another pair of defs, one getting a little bit of help from the other. Like life and the pursuit of happiness, liberty is an “inalienable right” in the Declaration of Independence, and if you have it, you’re not bound
24 Sci-fi movie being celebrated now in US (12,3)
INDEPENDENCE DAY – a sci-fi movie and another name for the Fourth of July
26 Crazy person finally back in Texan city (5)
WACKO – a “chiefly N Amer” word for ‘crazy’, and K from bacK in WACO, Texas
27 Top US golfer demolished milk scone (9)
MICKELSON – anagram of “milk scone”
Down
1 Drop out of old American university (4)
OMIT – O=old, M.I.T. = American university
2 Love I had, in part, for Baltimore singer (6)
ORIOLE – O=Love (tennis), I in ROLE=part – the Baltimore connection is from the local baseball team
3 Union leader, dramatic Irishman (8 )
SHERIDAN – 2 defs – (US Civil War) Union leader, and dramatic Irishman. This is the only clue I didn’t understand in full without looking up the first def
4 Republican beset by pains in parts of feet (6)
ARCHES = ‘parts of feet’, not the National Park which is high on my list of US National Parks to visit some day. R=Republican, in ACHES=pains
5 In non-U American way, help party with a supporter’s badge (2,1,5)
DO A FAVOR = “in a non-U American way, help”, as we’d expect ‘favour’ rather than ‘favor’. DO=party,A=a,FAVOR=supporter’s badge
6 American space rocket, as sent up to go around (6)
SATURN = American space rocket (the Saturn V was used in Apollo missions) – SA = as reversed, TURN = to go around
7 Founder of New York store with raincoat on display, finally (4)
MACY = founder of New York store – MAC = raincoat, Y from displaY
9 The young Clinton in part of New York or London (7)
CHELSEA = the young Clinton and a district of both New York and London
12 Male in charge introducing US blues, for example (5)
MUSIC = blues for example – US, in (M=male,I/C = in charge)
14 School exercises on TV channel bothersome for Americans (5)
PESKY = bothersome for Americans – P.E. = school exercises, SKY = TV channel
16 Clearing vehicle in US currently parking without haste outside (8 )
SNOWPLOW = clearing vehicle in US – (NOW,P=parking) in SLOW=without haste
17 Striking quality in US alien certainly spotted (8 )
SALIENCE = “striking quality” – hidden in ‘US alien certainly’ – for me, salient=striking has American overtones, as I saw the phrase “salient points” used rather grandiosely in promotional material for US-published trombone music years before I noticed the word “salient” anywhere else.
18 A spread organized for 11 events (7)
PARADES, which may take place on the Fourth of July – anagram of ‘a spread’
20 Reason for not gambling? Certainly not in America (2,4)
NO DICE – two definitions
21 People in party holding up in cowboy gear (6)
DENIMS – reversal of IN, in DEMS = Democrats = people in party
23 Dollar alien found in container (6)
BUCKET = container – BUCK=dollar, E.T.=alien
24 Some letters from Ohio, Washington, and another state (4)
IOWA – hidden word, and reminder of a competitive disaster. At my first Times championship final in 1992, a clue in the second or third puzzle was “Island on a state (4)”. I couldn’t get rid of “I ON A” as a reading of “Island on a”, and wrote it in despite my reading having two islands and no state. On the tube home, someone from the audience with no competitive ambitions said something like “That was easy. If it says ‘state’ and has four letters, you just have to choose between Iowa, Utah and Ohio.” A slight exaggeration (I aver!) but well worth remembering, as one checking letter always settles the choice between these three.
25 American setting up king? No (4)
YANK – K=king,NAY=No, all reversed