Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27656
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty * – Enjoyment **
I can’t believe that there’ll be much need for the blog today – I found this the easiest back-pager for some time with several old chestnuts. The grid does look as if it should have a Nina running round the outside and I thought we might have one when I saw the word climbing the right-hand column but that was as far as it went. 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 only do that as a last resort.
5a Old king‘s reasonable line in speech (7)
PHARAOH – this old king sounds like (in speech) two homophones joined together – firstly an adjective meaning reasonable or equitable, then a line or tier.
7a After hour, girl returned hair dye (5)
HENNA – the single-letter abbreviation for hour is followed by the reversal (returned) of a girl’s name.
9a Endless talk about flat circular object (6)
DISCUS – a verb to talk about without its final letter.
10a French daily swallowing a fizzy drink (8)
LEMONADE – the name of a prestigious French daily newspaper contains A. I was surprised to find that the paper has only been going since 1944, when it was started up following the liberation of Paris.
11a Source of easy money earned by English poet penning verse on coach (5,5)
GRAVY TRAIN – the surname of an eighteenth century English poet (composer of “Elegy written in a country churchyard”) contains (penning) V(erse). After that we need a verb to coach or instruct. I pondered over the ‘earned’ here – is it part of the definition or is it just there for linking purposes? I ended up deciding on the second because this source of money is normally unearned.
13a Male chasing female Ark passenger (4)
SHEM – M(ale) follows a female pronoun to make the son of Noah and brother of Ham.
14a Medal winner, one on the other side (8,5)
VICTORIA CROSS – string together a word meaning winner, the Roman numeral for one and a preposition meaning on the opposite side.
16a Beat backs in game (4)
GOLF – reverse (backs) a verb to beat or whip. Well, we are in the chestnut season and this one has been roasted to a crisp over the years.
17a Plant, iris, adapts to change (10)
ASPIDISTRA – an anagram (to change) of IRIS ADAPTS.
19a Gradually overcome blue on river (4,4)
WEAR DOWN – an adjective meaning blue or depressed follows (on) a river in the North-East of England.
20a Excuse made by the Parisian to fine female (3,3)
LET OFF – string together a French definite article, TO (from the clue) and the abbreviations for fine and female.
22a Suspension of fighting in East — short, on reflection (5)
TRUCE – E(ast) is followed by an adjective meaning short or brusque then it all gets reversed (on reflection).
23a Former spouse given enough warning (7)
EXAMPLE – this is a warning in the sense of a deterrent. The short word used for a former spouse is followed by an adjective meaning quite enough.
1d Mineral used in dental clinics (4)
TALC – hidden (used) in the clue.
2d Raised voice in argy-bargy following short trip (8)
FALSETTO – an argy-bargy or argument (3-2) follows a trip or tumble without its final letter.
3d Article supporting bogus priest (6)
SHAMAN – an indefinite article comes after (supporting, in a down clue) an adjective meaning bogus or fake.
4d Alert, notes noose loose (2,4,4)
ON ONE’S TOES – an anagram (loose) of NOTES NOOSE.
5d Former abbot’s deputy (5)
PRIOR – double definition, the second being the second-in-command of an abbey.
6d Musical based on ‘The Threepenny Opera’? (4,1,8)
HALF A SIXPENCE – cryptically this could be a threepenny bit.
8d Notice groom making speech (7)
ADDRESS – charade of an abbreviated notice and a verb to groom or style.
12d Noisy and very ferocious bats (10)
VOCIFEROUS – V(ery) is followed by an anagram (bats) of FEROCIOUS.
14d Wild flower seen across North (7)
VIOLENT – a common flower with five petals contains (seen across) N(orth).
15d Caught by commercial, I phone up for a car (8)
CADILLAC – string together the abbreviation for caught as seen on cricket scorecards, the short form of a commercial, I (from the clue) and the reversal (up, in a down clue) of a verb to phone or ring.
17d Held dear socialist, say, after a party (6)
ADORED – how one may describe a socialist, for example, follows A and a festive party.
18d Cap removed from toy firearm (5)
RIFLE – remove the top letter (cap) from a verb to toy or treat frivolously.
21d Recording — first to take copy (4)
TAPE – the first letter of T(ake) followed by a verb to copy or mimic.
My top clues today were 14a and 12d. How about you?
Today’s Quickie Pun: CANNER + PAYS = CANAPÉS