Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26385
A full review by Gnomethang
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Afternoon All! I found this thoroughly enjoyable but not so hard. I used to struggle with Cephas until I became accustomed to his style which is odd since it is a more gentle style of setting than some. There were a few clues that caused some trouble on the day but nothing particularly contentious if you have your Crosswordland eyes open.
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1a Series of actions for engineer attached to steamship (7)
PROCESS – A charade of PRO (for) with CE (Chartered Engineer – not the usual Royal Engineer!) then SS for steamship. The definition is a ‘series of actions’ when viewed as a way to get a result
9a A metal found in choice precious metal (8)
PLATINUM – This precious metal is created from inserting A TIN (another metal, Stannum, Sn or Tin) into PLUM (for choice or favourite)
10a Run and put the boot in (3-4)
FLY-KICK – I am not quite sure how to qualify this clue – I think it is a charade and a Semi&Lit. Take FLY for run (e.g. I was flying along) then KICK for ‘put the boot in’ to give the same action carried out whilst running
11a Not to mention hindrance by solitary amateur included (3,5)
LET ALONE – A phrase for ‘Not to mention’ or ‘much less’ (thanks BD!). A charade of LET (A hindrance in racket sports and the Law) with LONE (solitary) but with Amateur included in the middle
12a A letter reportedly used in acknowledgement (6)
AVOWAL – An avowal is an oath or formal acknowledgement. It also sounds like A plus VOWEL (a homophone of a type of letter indicated by ‘reportedly’). I’ll have a P please Bob!
13a Caustic stinger ant outbreak! (10)
ASTRINGENT – A nicely worded anagram of STINGER ANT (outbreak being the indicator) gives a word meaning ‘caustic’ or in facial products ‘having the power to contract organic tissue’
15a Albert went round Ulster plant (4)
ANIL – The diminutive of Albert is placed round NI (Northern Ireland for Ulster) to define an ‘Indigo plant or the dye obtained therefrom’
16a Cutting article’s critical point (5-4)
KNIFE-EDGE – A double definition for the part of the kitchen implement that does the cutting and also a description of a situation that is hung in a critical balance. ‘Knife-edge Seat-Edge’ stuff as the great Bob Mortimer once opined!
21a The elector’s cross (4)
VOTE – A simple definition of what you need to do as an elector to make your choice. Even so – the three word phrase conveys a great deal. Nice clue!
22a Moderate Moabites struggled with you and me (10)
ABSTEMIOUS – The Moabites were descendants of Moab and Lot and mainly peaceful. Make a struggling anagram of MOABITES with US on the end to get a word meaning ‘Moderate’ or ‘Temperate; with regards to drinking habits.
“the LORD warned us, `Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’ ” – Deuteronomy 2:9”
24a Wrote in jail (6)
PENNED – A nice double definition. Used a pen and also cooped up in jail.
25a Time that should come to a stop (8)
SENTENCE – A definition and cryptic definition. Time in jail (Sentence, stretch, or bird) and also the Full Stop that should be placed at the end of a sentence
27a Appease a US sage coming unstuck (7)
ASSUAGE – One of a couple of barely concealed anagrams. In fact you only have to move the U from A US SAGE down two letters to get the answer (to appease). Not a favourite this week for me.
28a Criminal goes North of the Border with short bird (8)
GANGSTER – This is more like it! Caught a load of people out (presumably those of us in the soft South!). The criminal or hood is a charade of GANGS (a Scottish dialect word for GOES) with TERn (A bird that is short, i.e. missing its last letter). On the day Big Boab gave the best example for GANGS from Rabbie Burns (and he should know!):
” The best laid schemes o’ mice and men GANG aft agley” Rabbie Burns telling us that even the best devised plans of humans or animals can often GO awry.
29a Penny entering an Indian city theatre (7)
ADELPHI – The definition is a particular theatre on the Strand in London. Add P for Penny into A DELHI (An Indian city). Note that setters can often confuse us with the A/AN if the wordplay or light suggests an elision of the indefinite article)
2d Pertinent about part of Middle East (8)
RELEVANT – A word for Pertinent or ‘to the point’ is also a charade of RE (about) and LEVANT ( the Eastern area of the Mediterranean which forms part of the Middle East
3d Weak lack resolve for easily accomplished task (8)
CAKEWALK – A good anagram (resolve) of WEAK LACK for something that is ‘easy as pie’, a word more common in the USA
4d Doctrine bothering aimless cur (10)
SECULARISM – A bothered anagram of AIMLESS CUR is also a form of doctrine which states that the government and religion should be separated
5d This gin certainly doesn’t sound like a quick one (4)
SLOE – A gentle Cryptic definition for gin (or any spirit) that has been infused with the SLOE berry. It is a homophone of SLOW (doesn’t sound like a quick one). I’ll be having a quick one shortly.
6d Reach a remarkable Titan (6)
ATTAIN – To reach or achieve. An anagram (remarkable) of TITAN after the A which precedes ‘remarkable in the clue.
7d One might need a rest during this game (7)
SNOOKER – One of Cephas’ gentle cryptic definitions. Other setters that I know might resort to more ‘Finbar Saunders’ definitions in their current ventures!
8d Pardon lady going round home (7)
AMNESTY – A pardon or free pass . Place NEST for home in AMY, who may or may not be a lady.
11d Left one with the part that is supple (9)
LITHESOME – A good charade of Left + I + THE + SOME (part) to give Supple, lissom, flexible or bendy
14d Unwell, or just unwilling? (10)
INDISPOSED – A double definition. If the Lady of the House is unwell she is indisposed. If she just doesn’t want to see you she may be indisposed to so do.
17d Final distribution of net value (8)
EVENTUAL – An anagram (the distribution of) NET VALUE for final, as in an outcome.
18d Might be the alcohol content (8)
STRENGTH – A double definition. Mighty strength and alcoholic strength of a beer, for example
19d Step taken by wise man in hall (7)
PASSAGE- A charade of a step taken in ballet, PAS, and a SAGE (wise man) leads to the hallway in a house
20d Goofy: ‘Mickey Mouse is inane!’ (7)
ASININE – Again not a difficult anagram of IS INANE. The beauty here, and what made it my favourite clue, is the anagram indicator of Mickey Mouse. This is a slang term for poor, wrong, or messed up and works perfectly with the definition of GOOFY in a Walt Disney style
23d Extremely or partly clever? Somewhat (4,2)
EVER SO – A phrase for ‘extremely’ is hidden (partly) in ‘clEVER SOmewhat. The clue misleads on a lot of levels here as somewhat can also be a hidden word indicator.
26d Eight sounded cocky (4)
CREW – Another homophone to finish with. Eight is a common synonym for a rowing CREW which is also a synonym for ‘sounded cocky’ as in crowed or did crow in the past
Right then! Thanks to Cephas for a treat of a puzzle. I am off on Sunday to Spain for a week’s golfing with my mates (weather is looking iffy but it doesn’t rain in the bars!). I’ll hand over to Crypticsue for next week and you might see a couple of comments from me next week but don’t bet on it!