Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27759
Hints and tips by Pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s nice and sunny but there is what my Grandad used to call a “Lazy wind”. It’s too idle to go round you so it just goes straight through you!
What put this puzzle into 3* territory is that some of the synonyms are really stretching things to the limit. To be fair though if you look up the answers in a thesaurus you’ll always find the definition from the clue listed as a synonym so one can’t really complain. I enjoyed the head scratching (nits perhaps?) but I’ll be interested in your comments. I don’t know who the setter is but I have my suspicions.
As usual the ones I liked most are in blue. The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons. 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.
1a Producer of stamps in Spain? (8,6)
FLAMENCO DANCER: Not only do these people stamp a lot, they also do a lot of rather weird wailing. One of the drawbacks of living in Spain . . .
10a Tastefully restrict endless urge to check former bald patch (9)
EXPURGATE: Start with the usual two letters for former and then a word for a bald head and insert (to check) URG (endless URGe)
12a What John Peel might have called house record previously (5-2)
TALLYHO: Not the DJ but the hunstman, subject of the song D’ye Ken John Peel. An abbreviation for house has a record or count placed before it.
13a Insecure United fans agitated with point (6)
UNSAFE: U(nited), an anagram (agitated) of FANS and then a point of the compass. I’ll leave you to work out which one.
17a Twirls rake, with mine about set to go west (10)
PIROUETTES: Start with a rake or libertine and place around it (about) a slang term for a coal mine. Then TES (SET to go west).
18a Urbane sect I quit without a cent (10)
CULTIVATED: Another word for a sect followed by I (from the clue) and then a word meaning quit or left but with A and C(ent) removed (without).
20a Sharapova’s losing start causing strain (4)
ARIA: Take the first letter off her Christian name (losing start) and you’re left with a strain or song.
22a Head of Penguin right to sack author (6)
PROUST: Head of Penguin is a P so start with that. Then it’s R(ight) and a word meaning sack or expel and you get a famous French author who was born in 1871. He had this unlikely set of Christian names – Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel
23a Got away with drugs wearing part of Superman costume (7)
ESCAPED: Start with one of the usual drugs and then an S because it’s plural. Then an adjective describing someone wearing the most famous bit of Superman’s costume. You know, the wotsit crusader.
26a Quality cup of tea? (5)
THING: Double definition? The second is another way of saying “It’s my cup of tea” or “it’s my bag”. I think it must be a double definition but I can’t see how the first bit works. Perhaps someone will enlighten me.
27a Express can unexpectedly echo opinion (9)
UTTERANCE: A word for express or say followed by an anagram (unexpectedly) of CAN and then what echo represents in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
28a Gently embracing Dicky her date in jest (14)
LIGHTHEARTEDLY: Start with a word meaning gently, think touch, and insert an anagram (dicky) of HER DATE.
2d Collar partly tailored from chinchilla pelt (5)
LAPEL: It’s another hidden answer. At least this one isn’t reversed.
3d Meagre try intermittently meeting resistance and torment (6)
MARTYR: The alternate letters (intermittently) of MeAgRe TrY followed by the symbol for electrical resistance.
4d Elton with a piano cut short broadcast from somewhere in Italy (10)
NEAPOLITAN: Anagram of ELTON with A PIAN(o) (cut short) gives a person from an Italian city. NAPLES if you want to know which one.
5d Ancient history that could be all spin (4)
OVER: A word describing something ended or finished with could indeed be all spin, or medium pace. It’s up to the bowler really.
6d Managed to get into terrible rage in class (7)
ARRANGE: A three letter word meaning managed is inserted into (to get into) an anagram (terrible) of RAGE.
9d Cultivate pear hybrid to secure new funding (7,7)
VENTURE CAPITAL: Anagram (hybrid) of CULTIVATE PEAR with N(ew) inserted (to secure).
14d Zero character shown in billet-doux (4,6)
LOVE LETTER: Zero in tennis followed by a character of the alphabet.
16d Love line in continuous suite (9)
FOLLOWING: Insert (in) O (love in tennis) and L(ine) into a word meaning continuous.
19d Showing awareness (7)
INSIGHT: Double definition. To get the first you have to split the answer (2,5).
21d Southern concern about cold is rare (6)
SCARCE: S(outhern) followed by a word for concern or worry placed around (about) the usual abbreviation for cold.
24d Corrective pressure on the way up (5)
PENAL: P(ressure) and then a reversal (on the way up in a down clue) of a way, or in this case a country road.
A lot of good stuff here but I think my favourite is 1a (not the video!) or perhaps 12a. What about you?
Quick crossword pun: SHEIKH + SPEAR = SHAKESPEARE