Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27620
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **
The top half of this one was pretty much read and write for me. I did slow up a bit in the bottom half (it’s the age you know) so that pushed the difficulty rating up to two stars. Do let us know what you thought of it and how you got on.
If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so try not to do it by accident.
1a Swell dance skirt (8)
PUFFBALL – charade of a verb to swell (one’s cheeks perhaps) and a formal dance.
5a Two articles about spymaster with girl (6)
AMANDA – put two indefinite articles around James Bond’s boss and a conjunction meaning with.
9a Learning game in publication (9)
ERUDITION – insert the abbreviation for a fifteen-a-side game into a publication or issue.
11a I must enter remainder to take exam again (5)
RESIT – insert I (from the clue) into another word for remainder.
12a Spinner, bowler, maybe seen in film (3,3)
TOP HAT – a child’s plaything that spins is followed by what a bowler is an example of.
13a Start to play the part of Evita abroad (8)
ACTIVATE – a verb to play a part is followed by an anagram (abroad) of EVITA.
15a Showing off magnificent still (13)
GRANDSTANDING – charade of two adjectives, the first meaning magnificent or splendid and the second meaning still or stationary.
18a Get nothing wrong? Don’t be deceived into thinking otherwise (4,2,7)
MAKE NO MISTAKE – double definition, the second a phrase used to reinforce the validity of what’s being said.
22a Protest about informer being party member (8)
DEMOCRAT – string together a public protest, the single-character abbreviation meaning about or approximately and an informer or turncoat.
23a Complete failure hidden by Mafia’s cover-up (6)
FIASCO – as we’re unambiguously informed the answer is hidden.
26a Opening bars of 8? Take it away (5)
INTRO – a word for an 8d in church from which we’re told to remove the final IT.
27a Total made by county fair (9)
DOWNRIGHT – this is an adjective meaning total or absolute. It’s a charade of one of the counties of Northern Ireland and an adjective meaning fair or equitable.
28a List of charges resulting from squabble when crossing a river (6)
TARIFF – a squabble or spat contains (crossing) A and R(iver).
29a This, in wet areas, possibly (8)
SEAWATER – an anagram (possibly) of WET AREAS. The definition is the whole clue but it seems a bit weak to me.
1d Standing pier gets demolished (8)
PRESTIGE – an anagram (demolished) of PIER GETS.
2d Dowdy woman‘s fine bottom (5)
FRUMP – F(ine) followed by a bottom or rear end.
3d Armed thief in prison also (7)
BRIGAND – an informal word for a prison, especially one on a ship, followed by a conjunction meaning also (the same conjunction that we met in 5a).
4d Den left warm and dry (4)
LAIR – L(eft) and a verb to warm and dry (clothes, for example).
6d Swallow last of Chianti, an Italian drink (7)
MARTINI – a songbird of the swallow family precedes the last letter of Chianti.
7d Sat in gaol, distraught, longing for the past (9)
NOSTALGIA – an anagram (distraught) of SAT IN GAOL.
8d Patriotic song from worker on border (6)
ANTHEM – one of the usual working insects followed by (on, in a down clue) a border or edge.
10d Old Harry, perhaps? (8)
NICKNAME – cryptic definition. Think of who Old Harry is, then think of another common handle used for him. I wonder why all the words used to identify this character are masculine – why not Old Gertie?
14d Flag‘s pattern (8)
STANDARD – double definition, the second being a pattern or template.
16d Mother in reform school (4,5)
ALMA MATER – this a Latin phrase used to refer to one’s old school. Insert a child’s word for mother (4) in a verb to reform or amend.
17d One may get a story about drink with the Queen (8)
REPORTER – string together a preposition meaning about or concerning, a fortified wine and the cipher of the current Queen.
19d Start to stop out (4,3)
KICK OFF – a verb to stop (the habit of using drugs, for example) and an adverb meaning out or inaccurate (a measurement perhaps).
20d Small child by bank in squalid quarter (4,3)
SKID ROW – S(mall) followed by an informal term for a child and a bank or tier.
21d A meaning that’s lost (6)
ADRIFT – A (from the clue) and a meaning or gist.
24d Wonder most of the soldiers returned (5)
SIGHT – this wonder is a spectacle or something of interest. Join together most of the word TH[e] and some American ordinary soldiers then reverse (returned) it all.
25d Detailed message, precious (4)
TWEE – a modern message (one of not more than 140 characters) without its last letter. This is fast becoming an old chestnut.
The clue I liked best was 10d. Which one(s) did you like?
Today’s Quickie Pun: SPEY + SLAB + ORATORY = SPACE LABORATORY