Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26427
A full review by Crypticsue
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ****
I was really glad that it was my turn to do the review this week as this very enjoyable crossword was the perfect example of what a prize puzzle should be. My average difficulty rating of 2.5* reflects the fact that it wasn’t a difficult solve for the very experienced solver but with very entertaining clues throughout to keep us amused, so 2*. Slightly more difficult for the less experienced but achievable through cogitation and Mary’s hints, hence the 3*. Thanks to the Saturday Mysteron for a great crossword.
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1a Legislator from European Parliament in service (6)
DEPUTY – Insert the abbreviation for European Parliament into a synonym for service – this legislator is a member of a chamber of deputies.
4a Lumpy gazpacho perhaps left a little earlier (8)
CLODDISH – Gazpacho is, of course, a COLD DISH (soup). The clue instructs you to move the L (left a little earlier) – an adjective meaning lumpy in the sense of earth or turf or as a stupid person.
9a Wickerwork covering for ‘ocks and ‘aunches? (6)
OSIERS – The removal of the initial H from words usually indicates that the answer you are searching for will need to be said in Cockney accent. Hocks and haunches (leg joints) would in humans be covered by socks and tights made by a hosier. Remove the H – osiers are willow twigs used in making baskets.
10a Racing vehicle back in grid places to rest (5,3)
STOCK CAR – A strengthened saloon car used in races – reverse (back) COTS (places to rest) and RACK ( rack – grating or framework) = STOC KCAR – then all you do is move the K.
11a Drugged-up leaders of escapade are fined without hearing (5-4)
STONE DEAF – Totally deaf – an adjective meaning very high on drugs followed by the leaders of Escapade, Are and Fined.
13a Enact a kitchen-sink performance and forget one’s lines (3,2)
DRY UP – An actor is said to do this when they forget their lines; it’s also what someone has to do when the washing up of dishes has been done.
14a Chair with support to pick up capsized fishers so (13)
PROFESSORSHIP – Another term for the position of professor is a Chair – a type of support a PROP with an anagram of FISHERS SO inserted (pick up).
17a Where thudding produces many pounds (13)
HUNDREDWEIGHT – A very clear anagram indicator (produces) WHERE THUDDING – as those of us who received a pre-metric education know – 112lb equal a hundredweight.
21a Houses’ architect makes joke about soldier (5)
PUGIN – The Houses here are the Houses of Parliament which were designed by August Pugin – the joke is a PUN and the soldier in this clue is the American GI.
23a Measure of warmth ancient city’s lacking — not too hot or cold (9)
TEMPERATE – the compiler’s favourite useful ancient city UR removed from a measure of warmth (TEMPERATURE) – the second part of the clue is exactly how the word is defined in Chambers.
24a Old politician and sailor to propel boat — one may land here (8)
HEATHROW – The old politician and sailor is, of course, Ted HEATH, known as Sailor Ted. To propel a boat using oars you ROW. Planes normally land at Heathrow but not while we were solving this crossword – too much snow!
25a Chemical extracted from chalk — a lime (6)
ALKALI – A substance with a PH of more than seven can be ‘extracted from’ chALK A LIme
26a Officers to lead British and German forces (3,5)
TOP BRASS – The most important army officials were called this – the reference comes from the gold braid on the brim of their caps and dates back to the Boer War. TO plus PB the chemical symbol for lead), RA (Royal Artillery) and SS (German elite Nazi corps).
27a Cloth put over second exit (6)
EGRESS – reverse a type of strong twilled fabric SERGE – EGRES and add an S (second). This exit can be the way out, the act of going out or a departure.
1d Medicine doses given to unknown accumulation of fluid in the body (6)
DROPSY – a dose of liquid medicine could be taken in DROPS, add Y (mathematical symbol for an unknown number) – Dropsy is known these days as oedema.
2d Malicious writer is opponent endlessly stirring (6,3)
POISON PEN – an anagram (stirring) of IS OPPONENT without the T (endlessly) – these malicious letters were usually written anonymously.
3d One shot from sub — do Port Vale finally get beaten? (7)
TORPEDO – a submarine weapon. An anagram (get beaten) of DO PORT and E (vale finally).
5d Reprieves side to give vent to feelings (3,3,5)
LET OFF STEAM – A let-off is an act of letting off or reprieve so the plural would be LET-OFFS, remove the hyphen and add another word for a side (in a sports game) TEAM – some solvers use the blog as a means of venting their feelings and letting off steam when they don’t like a particular crossword.
6d Detectives probing Bambi’s sudden death perhaps (7)
DECIDER – An action that proves decisive, such as a sudden death goal in a football match. The detectives CID are inserted (probing) into DEER (Bambi being probably the most famous of these animals).
7d Very small, not starting to be irritating (5)
ITCHY – an informal expression for very small TITCHY with its first letter removed (not starting) – this adjective relates to the irritation sensation in the skin.
8d Dance with her pop in jigging about (8)
HORNPIPE – The sailor’s favourite dance – an anagram (jigging about – anagram indicators just get better and better!) of HER POP IN.
12d Denominates with alterations and corrections (11)
EMENDATIONS – another anagram (with alterations) of DENOMINATES – the removal of errors or faults.
15d Chart overthrow of apartheid (3,6)
HIT PARADE – The third anagram in a row (overthrow) APARTHEID – these charts reflect the most popular music of the time.
16d Things to gamble with — in-form golfer’s speciality (4,4)
CHIP SHOT – CHIPS are used represent money to place bets in a casino, someone in form could be said to be HOT. Remove the S from the first word to the second – chip shots are apparently golf shots played from close to the green, giving the ball a low trajectory so that it runs forward. Being a golfer, Gnomethang could probably have explained this better than me, I relied on Chambers!
18d Cowboy managed singer and actress (7)
RANCHER – The past participle of run in the sense of managed added to CHER – this American singer/actress hadn’t been seen in a Cryptic for a while!
19d Old man serving bird? Goose (7)
GREYLAG – GREY (old, mature or belonging to the elderly) and the slang term for a prisoner, a LAG – a large greyish European goose probably named for its lateness (lag) in migrating.
20d Composer — source of good cheer to you and me (6)
DELIUS – One of the meanings of good cheer is ‘food and drink’ which can be obtained from a delicatessen or DELI for short; you and me are of course US – the English composer Frederick Delius
22d Understand Greek as poetry primarily (5)
GRASP – Grasp has a number of dictionary definitions, including to understand. The abbreviation for Greek, GR, plus AS and P (poetry primarily).
I don’t have a particular favourite clue this week – the whole solving process was just thoroughly enjoyable. Either Gnomethang or I will be back to review the next puzzle in due course. Happy New Year to all our ‘readers’.