Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2573
A full review by Crypticsue
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
As I said to Gnomethang, we are going to have terrible trouble reviewing Sunday Prize Puzzles as Virgilius gives us such wonderful entertaining clues that we are going to run out of superlatives. Today’s puzzle was no exception – it had a theme, a variety of wonderful clues and was enjoyed by all.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.
7a Reacted aggressively in end of letter the writer sent (8)
RIPOSTED – Here, as suggested by ‘aggressively’, riposted refers to a quick return thrust of the sword – a charade of the last consonant of the word letter: R plus I (Virgilius, the writer) and POSTED.
9a Fall in midst of ruin, mutually overturned (6)
AUTUMN – The first clue in today’s theme – hidden but reversed (overturned) in ruiN MUTUAlly is the third season of the year.
10a Wife put in grave situation when Richard was discontented? (6)
WINTER – Our next themed season – W and INTER (put in grave) – the opening words of Shakespeare’s Richard III are, of course, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York”.
11a Those who make money on line as students (8)
LEARNERS – Another term for students – L (line) and EARNERS (people who make money).
12a Composition of the year, a set of concertos (3,4,7)
THE FOUR SEASONS – The theme! A set of four violin concertos composed by 20a in 1723.
15a Extent of coverage in article incompletely perused (4)
AREA – The extent of a piece of ground – A (article) and REA (perused or READ with the last letter omitted – incompletely).
17a Lift taking a lot of people? I squeezed in (5)
HOIST – If I was inserted or squeezed into another term for a crowd a HOST, we would have a verb meaning to lift or heave upwards.
19a Fellow in North (4)
FINN – F (fellow) IN and N (North) or a man from Finland.
20a New arrangement for violin, to an avid composer (7,7)
ANTONIO VIVALDI – the full name composer whose works make up the theme of today’s puzzle is a ‘new arrangement’ or an anagram of VIOLIN TO AN AVID.
23a Like those recently delivered from one disorderly former province (8)
NEONATAL – An adjective relating to the newly born child is an anagram (disorderly) of ONE and NATAL , the former British colony now a province of South Africa.
25a Bound to get out of jail (6)
SPRING – Double definition – to procure the escape of a prisoner or to start up suddenly or bound gives us another of today’s themed answers.
27a Person with something to add when things get most heated? (6)
SUMMER – The final themed solution – we are usually, but not always, at our most warmest at this season of the year. Someone who does sums could also be called this.
28a Test broadcast on TV channel for minister (3,5)
SKY PILOT – a slang term for a clergyman – the TV channel that is in the news for all the wrong reasons at present – SKY, together with a term for the trial of a television or radio series to assess its probable popularity – PILOT.
1d Car, note, missing second motorway (4)
MINI – A note equal to two crotchets – MINIM – with the second M (missing Motorway) removed gives us the name of a well-known small car.
2d Soft, or daft, in a way (4,2)
SORT OF – Lovely anagram indicator – daft – SOFT OR rearranged makes an informal expression meaning as it were or to an extent.
3d One old-fashioned hero (4)
IDOL – I (one) followed by another anagram (fashioned) of OLD. As well as being images of gods, these can be heroes – objects of love or admiration in an extreme degree.
4d State north of Washington and New York (6)
CANADA – Today’s talking point on the blog – I thought this a very clever clue, leading me into trying to work out which US States were north of Washington and New York, until I looked at the checking letters and the penny dropped. The large state or territory that borders both these US States.
5d Take part in protest and offer inconclusive outcome (5-3)
STAND OFF – Hidden in proteST AND OFFer is another term for deadlock, a tie or draw.
6d I’m forced to open up about boy punished for crime (10)
IMPRISONED – The usual punishment for a crime is to be imprisoned – IM PRIED (forced open) with SON (boy) inserted.
8d Audible cast, from beginning to end (7)
THROUGH – The checking letters made this obvious but, of course, if you don’t think past participle of cast, you will, like me, be thinking of entirely the wrong homophone – throw instead of threw. Through is, of course, a preposition meaning from end to end or side to side.
13d Like certain plants about to be put in awfully bare house (10)
HERBACEOUS – an adjective meaning relating to, or of the nature of plants such as herbs, dying down in winter but surviving underground, is an anagram (awfully) of BARE HOUSE with C (circa, about) ‘put in’ or inserted.
14d Ring heartless females up in part of Ireland (5)
SLIGO – Up in a down clue tells you that you reverse the parts of the wordplay – so O GI(R)LS (girls with the middle letter or heart removed) becomes the Irish county of SLIGO.
16d What’s upsetting to many in a paradox (8)
ANTINOMY- Yet another anagram indicator – upsetting. TO MANY IN A produces a word meaning the mutual incompatibility, real or apparent of two laws – ie a paradox. Lots of people including me went a bit cross-eyed when looking this one up in the dictionary. I think on my part it had something to do with knowing about antimony which appears as a definition on its own, unlike the word we wanted which is not so obvious at first glance.
18d Wanting a drink, son gets stuck into a lot of XXXX (7)
THIRSTY – I was initially confused by all those Xs, which are presumably there to remind you of a certain Australian beer, but of course you don’t need all of them, just most or ‘a lot’ of them. XXX in Roman numerals is of course THIRTY and if you insert S for son inside you get an adjective meaning being in need of a drink.
21d So-called mother providing environment that’s kind (6)
NATURE – The qualities of anything that make it what it is, its NATURE or disposition. Mother Nature is the personification of the life giving or nurturing aspects of the natural world.
22d Cowed as a force goes on attack (6)
AFRAID – Intimidated – A F (force) and RAID (attack).
24d Openings for lawyer examining some testimony in case (4)
LEST – the first letters or openings of Lawyer Examining Some and Testimony put together make a conjunction meaning for fear that or so that not.
26d Contradictory responses to request for peaceful retreat (4)
NOOK – A lot of people struggled with this one but there was a similar clue in one of the (many) cryptic puzzles I solved last week so I had no trouble putting NO and OK (contradictory responses) together to produce this secluded retreat.
One of the best things about being a reviewer is that you get twice the chance to enjoy the crosswords with all the clever clues, the nice misleads and the ingenious anagram indicators – daft being possibly one of the best yet! What’s more, under the new Gnomethang/Crypticsue rota system, I will be back next Sunday to enjoy myself all over again sorting out the cryptic wordplay of the crossword genius that is Virgilius.