Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26432
Hints and tips by Gazza
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Rufus told us on Monday that the Christmas Eve puzzle would be by him, and he’s given us a cracker with a seasonal theme and plenty of pies. I look forward to your comments on it.
May I take this opportunity to wish everyone in our extended blogging family (setters, co-bloggers, commenters and lurkers) a Very Happy Christmas.
Much to my surprise (which you will be aware of if you saw the hints earlier) this is a prize puzzle. I’m providing a few hints here and a full review will appear on or after the final date. Please feel free to comment but please don’t reveal any answers or part-answers otherwise the blue pencil may be activated.
1a He is, or could be, the provider of Christmas stockings (6)
Someone who provides stockings, but not just at Christmas is an anagram (could be) of HE IS OR.
17a Hasty cards I’m sending out in time for this (9,3)
It’s a bit late to be posting cards now if you expect them to arrive by this time!
31a Ecstatic when surrounded with Christmas paper, say (6)
An adjective meaning ecstatic sounds like (say) a description of a parcel under the tree.
1d Cigars he ordered — an archbishop’s entitlement (3,5)
The manner in which you would refer to an archbishop is an anagram (ordered) of CIGARS HE.
21d Nursery ones are busy at this time (6)
Cryptic definition of where would-be skiers learn how to fall over gracefully.
27d Check on the deer for Santa? (4)
A verb meaning to check can also be put in front of (on, in a down clue) deer to make Donner and Blitzen, etc.
I very much liked 20a, 2d and 27d, but my favourite clue today is 30a. Let us know what took your fancy in a comment.
Since it’s Christmas I’m going to indulge myself with the best Christmas song ever [IMHO, you are of course free to disagree!]: