Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26456
A full review by Crypticsue
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
This Saturday was the turn of the mystery setter to provide some excellent entertainment – one of those puzzles where I started off thinking I might struggle, soon got into the swing of it and ended up delighted to have solved it in a good time. A very nice mix of clues…or were there too many double definitions?.
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1a Disreputable pair cons politician — get detained here? (6,4)
PRISON CAMP – an anagram (disreputable) of PAIR CONS with MP (politician) – prisoners of war are confined in these camps, although BD’s hint and the clue suggest that MPs fiddling their expenses might end up detained there too!
6a Some resistance an indication of official business (4)
OHMS – A nice double definition – the plural of the SI Unit of Electrical Resistance can also be the abbreviation for business conducted on behalf of the monarch On Her Majesty’s Service.
9a Initiate Dracula perhaps as a measure of his diet (5,5)
BLOOD COUNT – Here the definition of BLOOD is to initiate into blood sports or to war. COUNT Dracula was the antagonist in Bram Stoker’s novel vampire who reputedly fed on the blood of his victims. A blood count might, as the clue implies, measure how much he had consumed, although normal mortals tend to use it as a guide to their state of health.
10a Pie left in cooler (4)
FLAN – An open-topped pie – insert L (left) into a cooler of air – a FAN.
12a Detectives’ aid to identify culprit impresses (12)
FINGERPRINTS – detectives use an impression of the ridges of the fingertips unique to each individual person to identify a wrongdoer – a slang expression meaning to indicate or identify a guilty person FINGER plus PRINTS (impresses by using a mould or stamp).
15a Poet’s endless wonder (6)
MARVEL – Remove the last letter (endless) from the name of the seventeenth century English Metaphysical Poet, Andrew MARVEL(L) to produce a noun meaning a wonder or anything astonishing or wonderful.
16a Card game with two hands involving English artist (8)
WHISTLER – the card game is WHIST with L and R (two hands, left and right) with E inserted (involving) – Rex Whistler is the English artist in question. Thanks to Gazza who points out the artist is more likely to be James Abbott McNeill Whistler (the painter of ‘Whistler’s Mother’) rather than Rex as “English” is there to provide the E and not necessarily the painter’s nationality.
18a One batsman defends Long John Silver’s distinctive feature (3,5)
LEG STUMP – Long John Silver had, like many pirates, had his leg amputated leaving a [leg] stump. One of the three stumps defended by a batsman in a game of cricket is the leg stump (apparently the stump on the on side of the wicket which Kath and Mary may wish to note is on the same side as the batsman’s legs!!)
19a Academics take in old papers for correction (6)
PROOFS – Insert (take in) the letter O (old) into the abbreviation for Professors. Printers take a first impression or proof of an article or book in order to check it for any necessary corrections.
21a Popular cleaner source of information for Chinese (7,5)
PEOPLES DAILY – The official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party or the general public’s favourite cleaner.
24a Naughty kids head off weedy ones (4)
IMPS – Remove the first letter (head off) from ineffectual people – WIMPS -to be left with a noun meaning mischievous children or little devils or wicked spirits.
25a Rather sour ‘Panorama’ presenter making a show (10)
VINEGARISH – An adjective meaning sourish is a charade of the surname of the Panorama presenter, Jeremy VINE and GARISH, an adjective meaning showy or gaudy.
26a To right a wrong (4)
TORT – a noun meaning wrong or injury is easy to spot in this clue TO plus RT(the abbreviation for right).
27a Independent university has secure incentive (10)
INDUCEMENT – A means of persuading or an incentive – IND (independent), U (university) and CEMENT (to secure, unite or bond strongly).
1d Boozers knock back drink swallowing first of beers (4)
PUBS – Here we need the short name for those buildings in which people drink alcoholic refreshment – commonly known as a boozer. A three letter word meaning to take liquid into the mouth, ie drink – SUP – reversed (knock back) with B (first of beers) inserted.
2d Gun club (4)
IRON – A nice double definition – an iron is a type of golf club or a weapon.
3d Fanciful yarn o’ wild wild virgin and earl (3,5,4)
OLD WIVES TALE – A type of urban legend, similar to a proverb, passed down by old wives to a younger generation, usually making exaggerated or untrue claims. An anagram (wild) of O WILD plus VESTAL (one of the virgins consecrated to the goddess Vesta) and E (earl).
4d Bird with mild ailment taking in hospital (6)
CHOUGH – a mild ailment COUGH with H (hospital) inserted (taking in) produces a bird of the crow family well known to residents of Canterbury as it appears on the local coat of arms.
5d WWI battle involving principal countries’ leaders (8)
MONARCHS – The site of the WWI battle in August 1914 – MONS – around (involving) a synonym of principal ARCH – these leaders are sole hereditary leaders of state.
7d Tuck up gripping injured fallen wrestler’s hold (4,6)
HALF NELSON – The solution was obvious but I did have fun working out the wordplay – tuck is a verb meaning to eat, as is the word NOSH. Up indicates that you should reverse NOSH and insert (gripping) an anagram (injured) of FALLEN to get a wrestling hold applied to one side of an opponent.
8d Soprano on top note — strain for diva (10)
SONGSTRESS – A great female singer is a charade of S (soprano) ON, G(the fifth note of the scale of C Major) and STRESS (strain).
11d Official statement how to remove seat belt (5,7)
PRESS RELEASE – Another nice double definition – an official report supplied to the media or instructions on how to undo your seat belt.
13d Run around shopping centre with policy details (5,5)
SMALL PRINT – Many people get into trouble by not reading the details of an insurance policy which are typeset in very tiny font size. SPRINT (or run) around a shopping MALL.
14d Confusion about right climbing plant for each insect (4-6)
FROG-HOPPER – An insect which lays its young on plants surrounded by cuckoo spit – FOG (confusion) around R (about right), the climbing plant whose flowers are so essential for beer, the HOP and PER (for each).
17d Throwing out from Eastern embassy (8)
EMISSION – Here throwing out means the action of emitting – E (eastern) plus another term for an embassy, a MISSION.
20d Eating a tea usually includes this (6)
GATEAU – Hidden in eatinG A TEA Usually is the sort of cake usually found at a special or celebration tea.
22d Long tree (4)
PINE – Another double definition- to languish with longing or a tree with needle-like leaves.
23d Stab a slug (4)
SHOT – A final double definition to finish the crossword – to have a stab or go at something and a slug of metal for firing from a gun.
Almost spoiled for choice to pick favourites but I would list particularly 9a, 21a, 25a,and 7d amongst many good clues. Gnomethang will be back with you for the next two weeks’ reviews – we have altered our ‘rota’ to match that of the DT’s scheduling of one week Cephas one week Mysteron.