ST 2560

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2560

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Not much obvious high drama in the clues this week, though three hidden words is a bit unusual. Just (just?) the usual impeccable clues, and a very kind grid for the solver. The use of two commercial names among the clues and answers is a bit unusual for a British crossword, though the Americans are much less shy about this. Memorable mistake by a famous solver in the final stages of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament: Black and white killer [ O??? ] = OREO (correct answer: ORCA).

There are also some clever uses of words with common meanings in cryptic clues, playing other roles this time, other stuff to give the blogger more to write about than he initially expected, and the chance to link to a bit of music.

Across
1 House redesigned in scale that’s not silly (14)
COMMONS = House, ENSICAL = anag. of “in scale”
9 Indians may feature in this movie not from Asia (7)
WESTERN – 2 defs. First the movie with (Red) Indians, then the “contradefinition” – not from Asia
10 Material that’s thick wrapped around cheese (7)
TAFFETA – reversal of fat = thick, then FETA = cheese. “wrapped around” is a cheeky indicator that could indicate “sandwich” wordplay – hence the __BRIE__ in pencil next to the clue on my copy
11 Publicity used by Dorothy Perkins (4)
HYPE – hidden appropriately in Dorothy Perkins
12 Prattling away in happy band (10)
BLITHERING – BLITHE = happy, RING = band
14 Diameter of town or city, one in Africa (6)
DURBAN – D = diameter (maths), URBAN = of town or city
15 Make smaller number of spades, for example (8)
CONTRACT – double definition. “make smaller” = contract (verb), and “number of spades, for example” = contract (noun) from bridge or similar card games
17 Painter securing a houseboat’s bow for islander (8)
TAHITIAN = islander – (A, H from “houseboat”), in TITIAN – painter and islander together might have you thinking of Gauguin, especially if the island is in the Pacific
18 Sharpens end of point, I assure you! (6)
HONEST = I assure you – HONES = sharpens, T from “point”
21 Finds by chance what this answer does (4,6)
RUNS ACROSS – another double definition, one def. referring to the answer itself, which is a favourite device of many setters
22 Revolutionary movement giving biased interpretation (4)
SPIN – another double definition, one def. as in “spin doctor”
24 Revision partly improved it, in general (7)
EDITING – a 7-letter hidden word using all four words in “improved it in general”
25 Complaint I will set before head (7)
ILLNESS – I’LL = I will, NESS = head = headland – here’s my own favourite example
26 After one, late listening broadcast for highbrows (14)
INTELLIGENTSIA = highbrows – I = one, anag. of “late listening”
Down
1 Intimidate cast in accommodation not fit for pigs? (7)
COWSHED = accomodation not fit for pigs – COW (vb.) = intimidate, SHED = cast = throw (off)
2 False belief in omens, perhaps, I demolished (15)
MISAPPREHENSION – anag. of “in omens, perhaps, I” – having “perhaps” in the anagram fodder is a clever bit of work because it’s one of those words with multiple frequently-used meanings in cryptic clues
3 Outstanding poetry recital (4)
OWED = outstanding – sounds like “ode” = poetry
4 Run in one direction only (6)
SINGLE – cryptic def. based on the fact that if you score a single run in cricket, you only run in one direction only.
5 People retaining old-time method of recording music (8)
NOTATION – (O = olod, T = time) in NATION = people.
6 Stress produced by disease engulfing hospital, finally (10)
INFLECTION – L from “hospital” in INFECTION
7 One source of plastic originally in camera, say (8,7)
AMERICAN = anag. of “in camera”, EXPRESS = say. More deceptive word choices here – “originally” and “say” both often play other roles in cryptic clues
8 Worked in school, audibly showing strain (6)
TAUGHT = worked in school, sounding like “taut” = showing strain. As the homophone indicator is in the middle, the answer could equally well be TAUT, but as that’s impossible to write in a 6-letter slot it doesn’t matter
13 Discards lots of players on a team (5,5)
CASTS ASIDE = discards – CASTS = lots of players, A = a, SIDE = team
16 Crazy over a girl recollected in old song (8)
MADRIGAL = old song – MAD, then anag. of “a girl”. Anyone else waste time trying to think of 8-letter girls, probably ending in A, named in old songs?
17 Changed gear time after time getting to destination (6)
TARGET = destination – T = time, anag. of (gear, T = time) – one of those clues where it helps to imagine algebra-style brackets added to the clue, amd make sure you put them in the right places – “(Changed (gear time) after time) getting to (destination)”
19 A unit is transforming state of Africa (7)
TUNISIA = state of Africa – anag. of “A unit is” – this should be easy meat, partly because once you see that you’re looking for an African country, you mentally cross out two letters of anagram fodder and assume the -IA ending unless the letters just aren’t there. (A quick look suggests that of 20 single-word African country names containing I and A, 10 end in -IA. Of the other 6, 4 include at least one Z, and 3 of the others start with M. So watch out for Eritrea, Guinea, and Libya.)
20 Wanting to know how a man rules (6)
ASKING = wanting to know – “as King” = how a man rules
23 Flair coming from France, or from Ireland (4)
ELAN = flair coming from France – hidden in “Ireland” – and the setter being Irish himself, this makes a good sign-off.