Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27951
Hints and tips by pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Hola from the Vega Baja where we’ve just about dried out from last Sunday night’s rain. We had about 3 inches in 90 minutes coupled with a fairly decent gale so it was all a bit interesting. Lots of damage in Torrevieja but Amoradí seems to have escaped unscathed.
I’m not 100% sure about the setter of this one but I did seem to need the slightly mad hat for some of the off-the-wall bits. I really enjoyed it and I almost gave it 5* for enjoyment which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I’ll be interested to see your opinions of it.
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 Blonde toupe that’s very sweet (6,5)
GOLDEN SYRUP: Another word to describe blond hair followed by a rhyming slang term for a wig or toupe gives you something that’s very sweet. I was lucky with this one as I was reminded of this term for a wig just recently in a crossword in another place. I usually call them “rugs”.
9a Placid about extremes of emotion put out (9)
RESENTFUL: A term for placid or peaceful placed around (about) EN (extremes of EmotioN)
10a Fear to depose leader? That’s a mistake (5)
ERROR: A word for great fear without its first letter (to depose leader).
11a Simple being, a snake from the East slithering over bits of me (6)
AMOEBA: You need A (from the clue) and a type of constrictor snake and reverse them (from the east in an across clue). Having done that you need to insert (slithering over) ME, but the M and E aren’t consecutive as indicated by “bits of”. Hope that makes sense. It’s one of those much easier to solve than write a hint for.
12a With business no longer on the decline, newspapers must be stored in front half of a kiosk (5-3)
APRES SKI: The business here is actually a winter sport that involves going down (on the decline) and the answer is what you do when it’s finished for the day. Take the first half of AKIOSK and insert the generic word for newspapers and then split it (5-3). A rather bizarre definition which really raised a smile when the penny dropped!
13a Party reaching Hebridean island flipped diminutive best friend (6)
DOGGIE: The usual party followed by the reversal (flipped) of an island in the Inner Hebrides gives a childish (diminutive) word for man’s best friend. I spent far too long trying to find a breed of small dog.
18a Invincible Arsenal’s wingers could centre for players (8)
ALMIGHTY: AL (ArsenaL’s wingers) followed by a word meaning could or perhaps and the centre letter of plaYers.
19a Smother the Spanish attacks in retreat (6)
STIFLE: The Spanish definite article followed by some attacks or seizures but all reversed (in retreat).
21a One passing through border in record time? (8)
EPHEMERA: One passing through as in not being around very long. It’s a border or edge, of a piece of clothing perhaps, inserted into one of the usual records and a long period of time, not an age but the other one.
23a Hair product — one that sets containing nothing American succeeded (6)
MOUSSE: By “one that sets” the setter is referring to himself. Insert (containing) an O (nothing), US (American) and S(ucceeded).
26a Extra bus shelters working (5)
BONUS: Insert (shelters) the usual two letters for working into BUS (from the clue).
27a Significant I’m left with a nutcase? (9)
IMPORTANT: IM (from the clue) followed by the nautical left and then A (from the clue) and lastly NT (the case of NuT).
28a Ultra-Conservative unmitigated moaner leaving hospital (5-6)
RIGHT WINGER: You need a phrase which could describe an “unmitigated moaner” and remove (leaving) the H(ospital). I’m not sure the “ultra” bit is really necessary here.
2d Girl’s put on ring that’s designed to catch a filly (5)
LASSO: It could also be used to catch a colt. It’s a girl with an O (ring) on the end.
3d Bringing dignity to opera company embracing new flashy opulence (9)
ENNOBLING: Abbreviation for the English National Opera with N(ew) inserted (embracing) followed by some flashy jewellery.
5d Hero of the Rovers absorbing French articles about pressure and acting out situations (4-4)
ROLE PLAY: The eponymous hero of the comic strip about Melchester Rovers goes around (absorbing) two French definite articles and P(ower).
6d Vice-President turns up — English brass off (5)
PEEVE: Slang term for the US Vice-President reversed (turns up in a down clue) followed by E(nglish).
7d Short way one fillets normal fish (7)
SARDINE: Abbreviation for a way or thoroughfare (not street but another one) and I (one) inserted into (fillets) a word meaning normal or, at least, not mad. I love these when they’re done on a BBQ on the beach.
8d British exit quickly bringing snub (5-3)
BRUSH OFF: B(ritish) followed by a phrase meaning to leave quickly.
14d I pulled out of mad haymaking contest you have to be up for (8)
GYMKHANA: This is a contest you have to be up on a horse to take part in. It’s an anagram (mad) of HAYMAKING but without the I (pulled out of).
16d Medley to enhance air from Queen in rocking pop tour one … (9)
POTPOURRI: A mixture of fragrant stuff to sweeten the atmosphere is R(egina) inserted into an anagram (rocking) of POP TOUR and I (one).
17d … can call lively (8)
STIRRING: Another slang term for can as in prison followed by to call on the phone.
18d Bitter outstanding resistance meeting writer (7)
ACERBIC: A charade of a word for outstandingly good, R(esistance) and a brand of ball-point pen. Hands up those who thought this would end with PEN as the writer.
20d One who chooses role reversal over playing etc (7)
ELECTOR: Reverse ROLE and place it around (over) an anagram (playing) of ETC.
22d Commiserate with loss of mutual friend and skinflint (5)
MISER: This is a sort of lurker as the answer is hidden in the clue. A mutual friend might be described as this (2-4) and he needs to be removed from the word COMMISERATE (with loss of) to leave the skinflint. The answer to this was obvious from a couple of checkers but it took a few seconds for the penny to drop on how it works.
24d Are patois and argot among ‘les langues de France’? (5)
SLANG: Another word for PATOIS or ARGOT is lurking (among) in the rest of the clue so the answer to the question is “yes they are”.
25d Regular characters sacked from support position (4)
SPOT: Remove (sacked) alternate characters from the word SUPPORT.
I’m not sure about a favourite as I liked most of this puzzle but, if pushed, I would go for 18a with 24d and 14d on the podium.
Quickie pun: RUE + BAR + BAND + CURSE + TARRED = RHUBARB AND CUSTARD