ST 2553

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2553

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

This was a very easy puzzle for me – apart from the beginning of an indecipherable jotting for 7A, presumably interrupted by spotting the answer or deciding to move on, my copy has no writing other than the completed grid and the timing. Part of the easiness probably came from the two long answers which are old crossword favourites. The clues include some of BG’s lively twists on cryptic wordplay, and as usual they make good sense in both the cryptic and surface readings.

Across
7 Where chest may be found with gold for person seeking wealth (8)
INVESTOR – “in vest” = “Where chest may be”, OR = gold – the heraldic version is a bit commoner in crosswords than Au – with silver it’s the other way round, Ag beating argent hands down
9 Travel north or east, at first, in this state (6)
OREGON – OR,E = East, GO = travel, N = North – a niftily assembled charade for the setter’s adopted home state. Given the location of Oregon, I’m slightly surprised not to see “West”, but then the wordplay wants you to think of state=condition. Also slightly surprised that BG didn’t include PORTLAND in the grid too.
10 Way of producing pictures occurred to artist (6)
CAMERA = “way of producing pictures” – CAME = “occurred”, R.A. = artist
11 I must appear ahead of time in job I have, for certain (8)
POSITIVE = certain – (I,T=time) in (POST=job, I’VE = I’ve had)
12 For whom lowering weapon in trap is a dangerous act (5,9)
SWORD-SWALLOWER – cryptic def. trying to make you think of something like clay-pigeon shooting (not quite, as it’s only the clay-hurling gismo that’s a trap) or hunting with traps, but you need trap=mouth to see the light
15 Astonish trio in front of VW heading north (4)
STUN – STU = “trio in front of VW” (alphabetically),N=north
17 Ponder, making most of the writer’s material (5)
THINK – TH(e),INK
19 Cut flower for stage (4)
DAIS – DAIS(y) is the cut flower
20 Indication of forthcoming match in fight arena (10,4)
ENGAGEMENT RING – ENGAGEMENT=fight, RING=arena, and “match” = “wedding” in the cryptic reading
23 Generating lots of interest, it makes us inquisitive, first off (8)
USURIOUS – US,(c)URIOUS – here the interest is loan interest in the cryptic reading – watch out for U?U?Y as an impossible-looking set of checking letters for a 5-letter answer
25 Top performance in form (6)
RECORD – two defs – “top performance”, and “form” in the horse-racing / police sense
27 Work shown in section for modern paintings (3,3)
POP ART – OP. = work, in PART = section – an easy clue, but there’s still a good surface reading to look at
28 People watching interview (8)
AUDIENCE – 2 defs, one of which could be a timely reference to an interview with a pope
Down
1 Old American from main cabin calling repeatedly (4)
INCA – hidden twice over in maIN CAbIN CAlling
2 Never wrong about European’s superficial appearance (6)
VENEER – E=European, in anag. of ‘never’
3 For power, part of old aircraft that’s forward (4)
PROP – PRO=for, P=power – a clue that deceives mostly by getting the whole of the wrordplay done in the first two words
4 Little bit inspector left, finally (6)
MORSEL – Morse = Inspector, L = left – there’s a cheeky “finally” at the end to encourage you to think there must be a T in the answer.
5 Most outstanding, could be taken for granted (8)
BESTOWED = granted – BEST=most, OWED=outstanding, with “could be taken for” as a linking phrase. I think this is a slight improvement on my first interpretation – BEST = most outstanding, OWED = “could be taken” (if I owe you a fiver and you see one in my wallet, you’re entitled to take it!), leaving “for” as a link-word and “granted” as the def. But it doesn’t really matter which version you thought of.
6 A couple of extra points in Tory interpretation (10)
CONVERSION – CON. = Tory, VERSION = interpretation. The def. is from Rugby (League or Union)
8 Partners carried by characteristic conveyance (7)
TRANSIT – N,S = (bridge) partners, TRAIT = characteristic – the surface is trying to make you think of a tandem or other vehicle for two
13 Comedian with point on TV as place for swearing, initially (7,3)
WITNESS BOX = “place for swearing, initially”- this is a cheeky misleading “initially” to match the “finally” at 4D. WIT = comedian, NESS = point (Orford Ness is the example I remember most easily), BOX = TV
14 Man supporting a vote that’s assumed to be valid (5)
AXIOM = “that’s assumed to be valid” – A=a,X=vote,I.O.M. – Man or Mann is recognised short-hand for the island, e.g. in the notion that you can see seven kingdoms from the top of Snaefell – those of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Mann, Earth (in some answers Neptune) and Heaven. I think one visitor also claimed Norway, but that must have been a clearer day than I can remember – if you ever go up on the mountain railway, take a raincoat!
16 Corruptly earning income primarily from part of Africa (8)
NIGERIAN – anagram of “earning” + I = “income, initially”, with “initially” back in its usual role – I guess there’s a reference here to those e-mails about the “partial payment of your contract/inheritance fund” or some unknown but wealthy person’s unfortunate death in a hideous plane crash
18 Good-natured socialist family (7)
KINDRED = family (noun or adjective) – KIND = good-natured, RED = socialist
21 Spirits provided by good landlords (6)
GHOSTS = spirits – G=good, HOSTS = landlords – another easy clue but crisp surface meaning
22 Criminal activity that’s skilfully handled in court (6)
RACKET – 2 definitions, one the alternative to a tennis racquet
24 Recalled country in Asia, monarchy (4)
SIAM = former name for Thailand, now remembered through cats and twins. Hidden in “Asia, monarchy”
26 Shake foundation (4)
ROCK – two definitions again, one with another possible indirect hint of the papal visit about it – St Peter (“On this Rock I will build my church”) is accepted by Catholics as the first pope.
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6 Comments

  1. Jake
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for blog. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Solving time 8:02. A record for me. A lot of this could be solved via the quick crossword way. All clues were of a consistency which made solving a pleasant ride ride through.

    Who set’s on Sunday? Are there different setters or just one?
    Who ever it is, thank you for such a pleasant puzzle to solve.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      The setter on Sundays (since about April last year) is Brian Greer – a former Times crossword editor. As well as anonymous appearances in the Times (theoretically subject to editorial change but I doubt much happens), he’s ‘Virgilius’ in the Independent, ‘Brendan’ in the Guardian, and ‘Jed’ for Telegraph toughies, though he may have stopped doing these when he got the Sunday slot. (If you can make it to London on 3rd October, you can actually meet him – check the ‘hints’ report for this puzzle for more information).

      • Jake
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Hi Peter, cheers for that info. The 3rd is a bit too soon for me to get down to London. I only live in Suffolk – so not too far a journey, but relatives (who live in London) are not there, so I have no place to stay. i know you organise Dinners for solvers/setters, which I will try to come to the next one. It’s something I’d like to do.

        • Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          OK – I’ll work on finding an big reason for another one before the end of the year – seeing a fair number of my crossword buddies at the Times Championship on 10th October means I’m not in a huge rush.

        • Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          Jake

          The get-together has been arranged for 2.00pm so that people like me can get there and back the same day, and the Bree Louise is very near Euston Station.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Agreed it was an easy quick solve but great fun. One of those puzzles where you are sorry to finish as you would like the entertainment to go on.