Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27979
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty */** – Enjoyment ***
This was almost a read and write for me and was heading for a single star for difficulty, but I needed to ponder over my last answer (18d) even with all the checkers in place, so I’ve given it an extra half. I thought that it was quite enjoyable. Do let us know what you thought and how you fared.
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.
7a Work in outskirts of Tobruk on a very good film (7)
TOPKAPI – put the abbreviation for an artistic work between the outer letters of Tobruk than add A (from the clue) and an abbreviation meaning very good or holier-than-thou.
9a Lacking imagination, Ms Klebb in film? (7)
PROSAIC – the forename of Ms Klebb (the villainess with the pointy shoes in ‘From Russia with Love’) goes inside an abbreviation for a film.
10a Follow suit, holding hearts (5)
CHASE – a suit, of the legal kind, contains the abbreviation for hearts (as used in bridge and other card games).
11a Game to Israel, I suspect (9)
SOLITAIRE – an anagram (suspect) of TO ISRAEL I.
12a A problem wearing religious symbols? Take an irrevocable step (5,3,7)
CROSS THE RUBICON – this is a phrase meaning ‘take an irrevocable step’ or ‘burn one’s boats’ based on Julius Caesar’s act in marching his troops across a river in 49 BC. Put a problem (3,3), as identified by Hamlet, between two religious symbols.
13a 6, rose-red possibly (7)
REREDOS – this is an example of 6d found in a church. It’s an anagram (possibly) of ROSE-RED.
16a Anecdotes from leader of Scottish Conservatives (7)
STORIES – the leading letter of Scottish and another word for Conservatives.
19a Vet, Leo, with derringer, shot dog (6,9)
GOLDEN RETRIEVER – an anagram (shot) of VET LEO and DERRINGER.
23a Police officer in precinct keeping quiet (9)
INSPECTOR – start with IN (from the clue) and add a precinct or district containing the musical abbreviation for quiet.
24a Mouse-like creature, wily, no end (5)
SHREW – an adjective meaning wily or canny without its end letter.
25a Irritable Dickens character coming back to collect six shillings (7)
PEEVISH – the surname of a very ‘umble Dickens character is reversed and contains (to collect) the Roman numeral for six and the abbreviation for shillings.
26a Sherry in a musty room’s old (7)
AMOROSO – string together A (from the clue), an anagram (musty) of ROOM , the ‘S and the abbreviation for old.
1d Vehicle in street, a crock, reconditioned (5,3)
STOCK CAR – start with the abbreviation for street and add an anagram (reconditioned) of A CROCK.
2d Touched up a des res abroad, below Cape (8)
CARESSED – an anagram (abroad) of A DES RES follows (below, in a down clue) C(ape). I’d have said that ‘touched up’ meant something a bit more crude than the answer but Chambers defines it as ‘to ******, touch or molest sexually’.
3d Sample of fakir’s cherry brandy (6)
KIRSCH – hidden (sample of) in the clue. Although the definition could be ‘cherry brandy’ it’s not because that would have cherry doing double duty.
4d Large bath as focal point — too much inside (3,3)
HOT TUB – a focal point or core with an abbreviation meaning too much or excessive inside it.
5d Musical heroine, Greek character, street singer (8)
MARIACHI – put together the heroine from West Side Story and the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet to make a singer of traditional Mexican folk music.
6d Shelter made from loose stones found on bottom of tarn (6)
SCREEN – a word for the loose stones that cover a mountain slope is followed by the last (bottom) letter of tarn.
8d Artist under pressure to visit art museum (5)
PRADO – the usual abbreviation for a recognised artist follows (under, in a down clue) the abbreviation for pressure. We finish with a general purpose verb which, informally, can mean to visit or tour.
9d Missile‘s power staggered sailor (7)
POLARIS – the abbreviation for power precedes an anagram (staggered) of SAILOR.
14d Enjoys sauces etc (8)
RELISHES – double definition, the first a verb meaning enjoys or delights in.
15d Withdraw with slight injury (7)
SCRATCH – another double definition with the first meaning to withdraw or pull out of a competition.
17d Neglect? Ring embassy (8)
OMISSION – the letter that resembles a ring or circle is followed by an embassy or representation abroad.
18d Bottle party in bar (8)
SCREWTOP – a party or group (especially one of sailors) goes inside a verb to bar or prevent.
19d Influenza under control? Almost (6)
GRIPPE – an old term for influenza comes from a past participle meaning under control or in a firm grasp without its final letter. This one should present no problems for our friends in Hyères.
20d Raised in crocodile? Yes, a fold of skin (6)
EYELID – hidden (in) and reversed (raised, in a down clue).
21d Danger that must include sappers (6)
THREAT – the word ‘that’ (given to us in the clue) contains the abbreviation for the sappers or army engineers.
22d Sign first of reports in Spanish port (5)
VIRGO – the first letter of reports goes inside a port in North-West Spain to make a sign of the zodiac.
I liked 12a best today. Which one(s) did you have a fondness for?
If you normally steer clear of the Toughie because you think it will be beyond you then today is definitely the day to stick your toe in the water.
Today’s Quickie Pun: TAPPED + ANSWER = TAP DANCER