Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 100002
A Full Review by Gnomethang
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Afternoon All!. As usual around Christmas time we get puzzles with many festive references and this one is chock full of them. Many of the clues contain the word Christmas and many of the answers are Christmas related. I found it good fun to solve and not too taxing – just what you need on a busy day.
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1a Restrict Christmas goodies (6)
HAMPER – A double definition to start with. A verb meaning to restrict or get in the way of and also a large box of goodies traditionally sent at Christmas.
4a Explorer is eating last of the sledge dogs (8)
SCOTTIES – Th definition is ‘dogs’ and the answer is the abbreviation for Scottish Terriers. Start with the explorer Robert Falcon SCOTT then follow with IS, placing the last letter of sledgE inside (is EATING i.e. containing).
9a Look for a goose (6)
GANDER – A male goose is also a colloquial verb meaning to look, as in ‘have a gander’
10a Run out of decorations in packets, perhaps (8)
STEAMERS – Very nice surface reading here and we need to remember that packets are also steam packets i.e. steamers (perhaps is needed here to show that the answer is a definition by example. In any case, remove R (Run out) from the traditional Christmas paper decorations.
12a Smart fellow provides beer before the start of Christmas (4)
ALEC – The ‘smart Alec’ is a charade of ALE (beer) and the starting letter of Christmas.
13a Possibly a hiding place for the presents many yearn to find (5)
CACHE – A secret hiding place for any goods including presents, possibly. Take C for many (C is the roman numeral for 100) and add ACHE for yearn.
14a Party room? Maybe for midnight feasts (4)
DORM – A good succinct charade of DO (party) and RM (Abbreviation for Room) gives a place where Billy Bunter and his pals might have a midnight feast.
17a Some iced confection at Christmas? No problem! (1,5,2,4)
A PIECE OF CAKE – Another double meaning. The first is straightforward and also means easy-peasy or no problem.
20a Cook, nervous, serving cheap alternative to a turkey dinner? (5,7)
ROAST CHICKEN – A charade of ROAST for cook and Chicken for nervous or scared gives an alternative fowl for dinner.
23a Normal procedure exercised by Wenceslas (4)
RULE – The normal procedure, as opposed to the exception, is also what Wenceslas (or any reigning monarch) would do.
24a An antlered animal turns up on foot (5)
ANKLE – Part of the foot is found by taking AN and then reversing ELK – the antlered animal.
25a One way to cool punch (4)
BLOW – One more double meaning. You can blow on a cup of tea to cool it down and a blow is a punch or hit.
28a Present home of the partridge (4-4)
PEAR-TREE – A very gentle cryptic definition of what the partridge turned up in as the first present in the 12 Days of Christmas.
29a Game in the form of a puzzle (6)
ENIGMA – An anagram (the form of) GAME IN gives a puzzle, riddle or code.
30a Swapping presents — the impudence! (8)
PERTNESS – Another word for impudence is found by making an anagram (swapping) or PRESENTS
31a Joyous quartet leave celebration (6)
FESTAL – A synonym for joyous. Remove IV – the roman numerals for four/quartet from FESTIVAL, a celebration. In fact these words are from the same stem which make this a bit weak in my opinion.
1d Celebrated form of mahogany (8)
HOGMANAY – A feast celebrated at the New Year (particularly in Scotland) is an anagram (form of again!) MAHOGANY.
2d Chop up bird cooked and eaten at Christmas (5,3)
MINCE PIE – These are cooked and eaten at Christmas. We need a verb meaning chop up and PIE – another word for the magpie or chatterer.
3d Always right to follow the day before Christmas (4)
EVER – A gentle charade of EVE, the day before e.g. Christmas, and Right. Always is the definition.
5d How butchers get to the point and dispatch the turkey? (3,3,6)
CUT THE CACKLE – CUT THE CACKLE is a phrase meaning ‘get to the point’, cackle being extraneous chat. The cackle is also another name for the neck of the turkey so a butcher might do both!.
6d What about the end of a white Christmas? (4)
THAW – A simple anagram (about) of WHAT gives the melting process of snow, perhaps after a white Christmas (indicated by example with the question mark).
7d In the freezer find diamonds, a Christmas present (3-3)
ICE-BOX – A section of the freezer for making ice cubes. Start with ICE – a slang synonym for diamonds, then add BOX, as in a Christmas BOX which is a present or tip for workers at this time of year.
8d Seems a strange herb, openly used by Ali Baba in pantomime (6)
SESAME – A ‘strange’ anagram of SEEMS A gives the name of a herb. Ali Baba uses the magic words ‘Open Sesame’ in pantomime.
11d Waits here! (5,7)
CAROL SINGERS – Big Dave said it best on the day: “These waits are an archaic term for people who welcome in Christmas by playing or singing out of doors at night”
15d Dig out the ice-cream? (5)
SCOOP – A very gentle double meaning given that the scoop of ice-cream is so named after the implement and the action of digging it out of the tub.
16d Geese highly regarded as a group (5)
SKEIN – I had forgotten that this word is a collective noun for geese when seen flying (highly regarded).
18d It gives illumination — like the Star of Bethlehem? (8)
SKYLIGHT – The Star of Bethlehem for example (again correctly indicated as but one example with the question mark) is a LIGHT in the SKY. A SKYLIGHT provides illumination in your loft or other extension.
19d Winter dance thrown for enjoyment? (8)
SNOWBALL – A cryptic definition of a snowballing using ball as a dance, a winter dance being a snowy on perhaps.
21d Conclude it’s how to treat the present (4,2)
WRAP UP – A phrase meaning to conclude or finish is also what you do to a present prior to giving it. I believe that WRAP meaning to finish comes from the movie industry and was the abbreviation of Wind, Reel And Print – the final process of preparing the tape after shooting was finished – “That’s a WRAP!”
22d Possibly trail a star (6)
ALTAIR – an anagram (indicated by possibly) of TRAIL A gives the name of the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila and the 12th brightest star in the night sky
26d Make a hit unexpectedly by sending up crackers (4)
STUN – A synonym of ‘make a hit unexpectedly’ is a reversal (sending up) NUTS i.e crackers or mad.
27d Bet it’s neat rum! (4)
ANTE – a straightforward anagram (rum) of NEAT gives the starting bet or fixed stake in a game of cards.
Thanks to the setter for an entertaining puzzle that managed to fill the gap between the turkey and Christmas pud for me!.