Sunday Telegraph Christmas Day Cryptic No 100,003
A full review by Gnomethang
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Afternoon All! Suddenly this excellent festive puzzle on Christmas Day by Virgilius seems an awfully long way away as my nose is well and truly back on the grindstone!. All of the across clues can have the word CHRISTMAS either before or after them as described in 16a. I found this an excellent puzzle and was just right for the Christmas morning.
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7a Platform at journey’s end for flower-girl (5)
DAISY – A charade of DAIS (platform) and Y – the end of journe(Y) gives a girl’s name which is also a flower (hence flower girl).
8a Time for world revolution found in diary, oddly (3)
DAY – The odd letters of DiArY give a festive date fixed for a revolution. Here’s a section of the Wikipedia article for the lowdown:
“The Christmas Day plot was a conspiracy made by the Indian revolutionary movement to initiate an insurrection in Bengal in British India during World War I with German arms and support. Planned for Christmas Day, 1915, the plan in Bengal was led by the Jugantar group under the Bengali Indian revolutionary Jatindranath Mukherjee and was planned to be coordinated with simultaneous uprising in the British colony of Burma and Kingdom of Siam under direction of the Ghadar Party, along with a German raid on the South Indian city of Madras and the British penal colony in Andaman Islands.”
9a Willing to insert pages in stack, perhaps (5)
HAPPY – Stack, perhaps is a definition by example of the HAY that might be contained therein. Insert PP – two pages – inside to get an adjective meaning willing or glad (to help, for example).
10a Farcical situation — at one p.m. I’m drunk (9)
PANTOMIME – A farcical festive stage production is an anagram (drunk) of AT I ONE PM I. A bit cheeky here as the final ‘M needs expanding and indicates that the preceding letters are the anagram fodder – I IS drunk might be more correct but would only lend itself to Ali G style of clues!
11a Boy holding ring for girl (5)
CAROL – The boy is CARL. Add O (ring) to get a girls name and a Christmas song.
12a Plant used in magic act, usually (6)
CACTUS – Easy enough. The Christmas CACTUS is found in the last three.
14a Submits quietly, then bears a grudge (8)
PRESENTS – P(iano) and RESENTS (bears a grudge) gives a Christmas gift that one must receive graciously. This one reminded me of the ‘Secret Santa’ exercises at work where one donates a set of expensive cufflinks and gets a cheap tie!.
16a Enjoying it so far? Some across answers come before this, and the rest after (9)
CHRISTMAS – Halfway through the across clues(and for me partway through Christmas Day itself) we have a gentle nudge from the setter that every across clue can take the word CHRISTMAS either before or after it to create a seasonal reference, be it specific or seasonal in terms of flora.
22a Stupid people taking power with guns did wrong (8)
PUDDINGS – More seasonal fare – literally here!. An anagram (wrong) of GUNS DID after P (an abbreviation of Power) leads to a familiar term for daft people.
24a A long way to go, carrying the priest (6)
FATHER – Padre, Friar or Father are all terms for a priest. The latter is constructed from placing THE (from the clue) inside FAR (a long way to go).
26a Deck on which something is likely to happen (5)
CARDS – If something is likely to happen
27a Garments wild Scots put monarch in (9)
STOCKINGS – A wild anagram of SCOTS with KING, for monarch, put in, creates the children’s sacks that Santa puts presents in and also the tights that desperate husbands on Christmas Eve hope that their wives will wear….
29a All families have these elders, for example (5)
TREES – A straightforward Cryptic Definition of the Family Tree and the Christmas Tree, elders being both one’s ancestors and also a variety of tree.
30a Uniform cut for first offender (3)
EVE – Cut the last letter from EVE(n) to get the illegal fruit provider and original sinner from the Bible
31a Bloodless coup hidden by geopolitical enemies (5)
WHITE – Bloodless here relates to a pale complexion rather than a ruddy one. Place HIT (coup) inside W(est) and E(ast) – the traditional geopolitical enemies of the US and the Soviet Union.
1d Leg cane damaged is tender (7)
PINNACE – A rather definition of ‘tender’ for pinnace – this is a “A light boat propelled by sails or oars, formerly used as a tender for merchant and war vessels”. The wordplay, however, is reasonably straightforward with PIN (leg) going before a damaged anagram of CANE.
2d Rookie using two-way radio, being extremely selective (4)
TYRO – Selecting the outside letters (being extremely selective) of Two-waY RadiO gives a Rookie, novice or learner
3d It’s kind and appropriate, say, to perform key operations (9)
TYPEWRITE – A charade of TYPE (kind or sort) and WRITE (a homophone, say, of appropriate or meet) leads to the act of successively pressing keys on a keyboard.
4d Investigates threats against king (6)
CHECKS – Two meanings – the first is checks or vets as in investigates and the second is the declared threat to a king on a chess board.
5d Frank paid in advance (7)
UPFRONT – Another double meaning. The first is Frank or forthright and the second is descriptive of money paid ‘in advance’.
6d Rider with a saddle but no horse (7)
CYCLIST – A fairly simple cryptic definition, particularly with the checking letters.
7d Show excerpt from old epic tonight (6)
DEPICT – A verb meaning to show is hidden (is an excerpt from) the last three words.
8d Finally shed tear, let drops fall (4)
DRIP – The last letter (finally) of sheD and RIP for ‘tear’ gives a verb meaning ‘let drops fall’. There is a well observed ‘lift and separate’ forces us to not read ‘shed tear’ as meaning cry.
13d Grant, for example, initially cut — that’s horrible! (3)
UGH – Cut the head of Hugh Grant (given as an example) to get a word of disgust.
15d Acted about poor guests being awfully put out (9)
DISGUSTED – DID (acted) around (about) a poor anagram of guests. The result is a feeling that may make you declare 13d!
17d Contents of bag she had producing surprised reaction (3)
AHA – The middle letters (contents) of the three letter words bAg sHe and hAd makes an expression of surprise or enlightenment.
18d Lack of clarity in article, in work referenced by unknown (7)
OPACITY – Lack of Clarity (in) is the definition I believe. Then place A (the indefinite article) inside OP CIT (an abbreviation for ‘opus citatum’ meaning ‘in the work already cited) and follow this with Y – the usual Crosswordland abbreviation for one of the three mathematical unknowns – X, Y & Z. One of those clues that is easier to solve than explain!
19d Beloved embracing knight all dressed up (7)
ADORNED – The Knight here is the N abbreviation ans used in chess notation (to distinguish from the King). Place him inside ADORED for beloved to get a word meaning all dressed up or bedecked.
20d Party using second language? Good (7)
SHINDIG – A charade of S(econd), HINDI (a language) and G(ood) is also a festive knees-up or party.
21d One shipwrecked as result of error in course (6)
CRUSOE – A simple but very satisfying clue. An anagram, or error, in COURSE is the eponymous shipwrecked protagonist in the Daniel Defoe novel.
23d Demand isn’t changing externally, is internally (6)
INSIST – Change the letters in ISNT and place them outside (externally) to IS (which is internal) for a verb meaning demand.
25d Flower grew (4)
ROSE – Every rose has its thorn, and many crosswords have a cliché or chestnut!
28d Bird that has hairy skin and green flesh (4)
KIWI – I offered this as a description of a female friend from New Zealand – it didn’t go down well! Its the flightless bird and also the fruit!
This will be my last ‘Merry Christmas’ of the season but thanks are due to Virgilius for the pleasure he has given us all over the last year, both here and in other publications.