Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27981
Hints and tips by pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Hola from the Vega Baja to where I returned yesterday from a very wet and windy Cornwall to find a sunny 18C at 1500CET, but this morning it’s raining! My mother is now a nonagenarian, I hadn’t realized before but she must have been about 65 when she had me!
I’m pretty sure this is a RayT puzzle and I’m also pretty sure we’ll get the usual complaints of synonyms which push the envelope a bit and definitions which are a bit on the limit but I really enjoyed it. It may be a tad tricky in places, apologies if the pennies dropping woke you up, but there are enough gimmes to get you in and with a bit of lateral thinking you’ll get there. I’ll be interested to see what the usual suspects have to say about 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 Means being enclosed in endless barrier (11)
WHEREWITHAL: You need a word used in formal letters to indicate that something is enclosed and put it into (in) a barrier without its last letter (endless). Not a good start for me. Not only did this not go straight in but it needed all the checkers before the penny finally dropped.
10a Pirouette gradually losing core speed (6)
GYRATE: Take all the middle letters out (losing core) of GraduallY and follow what’s left with another word for speed.
12a Sovereign consumed by temper, originally (7)
EMPEROR: This sovereign is hiding (consumed by) in TEMPER ORIGINALLY.
13a Pebbles unbroken round end of beach (7)
SHINGLE: Not Fred Flintstone’s daughter but the pebbles on a beach. Take a word meaning unbroken or undivided and insert (round) an H (end of beacH). I suspect this one might get a few complaints but it works for me!
14a Light seen from church on mountain (5)
TORCH: One of the usual mountains followed by one of the usual abbreviations for church. This was my first one in, I told you there are some gimmes.
15a Chinese characters, say, creating a grid some decrypted (9)
IDEOGRAMS: The word SAY is indicating that Chinese characters are just one example of these things. They’re an anagram (decrypted) of A GRID SOME.
17a Thought about love, inhibited about sex (9)
COGITATED: Start with a single letter for about and follow with O (love). After that you need a word meaning inhibited, as in confined in a Public School perhaps, placed around (about) the usual two letter word for sex.
22a Finding time’s flying (7)
TRACING: T(ime) followed by a word meaning flying as in moving fast. Certainly it’s flying for me. Where did the last 10 years go?
24a Fat detective’s gripped by a role (7)
ADIPOSE: The abbreviation for a detective is inserted (gripped by) A (from the clue) and a word which can just about mean role or a pretence. In my thesaurus role comes up as a synonym for the word you need but not vice versa. Does that make it a case of thesauritis?
25a Flamboyant men turning over palm (6)
ROCOCO: Some men from the army (2) reversed (turning over) followed by an abbreviation for a coconut palm. I’d never come across this abbreviation before but the answer was obvious from the checkers – there aren’t many possibilities when you have _O_O_O.
26a Natural gold and silver turned almost delicate (7)
ORGANIC: A word meaning natural that’s most commonly applied to food is a charade of heraldic gold, the chemical symbol for silver backwards (turned) and a word for delicate or pleasant without its last letter (almost).
27a Sheer pants aren’t fashionable to have run in (11)
TRANSPARENT: An anagram (fashionable) of PANTS ARENT with R(un) inserted (in). And there was me thinking “pants” was the anagram indicator, d’oh!
2d He painted swine with deceit, ending with hospital (7)
HOGARTH: Start with a swine (a pig, not a cad or bounder), follow with some deceit and then H(ospital) and you’ll get an English painter who lived from 1697 to 1764.
3d Chains break cut by file (9)
RESTRAINT: Take a word for a break, from work perhaps, and insert (cut by) a file, as in a file of people or a retinue.
4d What’s actually gained earning salary initially (5)
WAGES: A sort of nearly all-in-one. The answer is the first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue and they also make up the definition.
5d Shaping metal around vase with top of gold (7)
TURNING: Shaping on a lathe perhaps. You need a common metal and put it around a container where you might find flowers, but more commonly tea, and then follow with G (top of Gold).
6d Giant iguanas covering island (7)
ANTIGUA: This Caribbean Island is lurking (covering) in GIANT IGUANAS. There certainly are iguanas here as they are native to Central America and the Caribbean but whether they’re giant or not I’ve no idea.
7d Head express keeping in charge of train (11)
DOMESTICATE: Take a slang term for your head and a word meaning express or say and insert (keeping) the usual abbreviation for in charge.
8d Beggar you heard is wrapped in Telegraph? (6)
PAUPER: This person might not be a beggar but is certainly very poor. You need to insert the letter which sounds like (heard) the word YOU into what the Telegraph is an example of, indicated by the question mark in the clue.
11d Unusually spine’s erect showing determination (11)
PERSISTENCE: An anagram (unusually) of SPINES ERECT.
16d Try and goal always, we hear, follows (9)
ENDEAVOUR: Start with one of the usual goals and follow with some letters which aren’t a word but if pronounced would sound like a word meaning always. It’s also the Christian name of Kath’s favourite detective so here’s a piccy . . .
18d Allure left French love after midnight (7)
GLAMOUR: L(eft) and the French word for love follow (after) the middle (mid) letter of niGht.
19d Undecided purchasing endlessly expensive hat (7)
TRICORN: A word meaning undecided goes around (purchasing) a word meaning expensive without its last letter (endlessly) to give one of the silliest hats ever invented. Often worn by Ross Poldark so here he is . . .
20d Fly in bridge partners for a bit (7)
SMIDGEN: A type of small biting fly is between the letters for one of the two teams in a game of bridge. I always spell this with an I but apparently an E or even EO are acceptable alternatives.
21d Trouble on Navy’s decks (6)
ADORNS: Deck as in decorate. It’s the usual trouble and then the abbreviation for the Royal Navy but don’t forget the ‘S from the clue.
23d Band Queen in rise (5)
GROUP: Her Majesty finally appears! Another word for a rock band, Queen perhaps, is also the abbreviation for Queen placed in a phrase (2,2) meaning to rise.
Quite a lot of blue but favourite has to be 22a with 6d and 17a on the podium, all for their meaningful surfaces.
The Quick Crossword pun: rear+lust+hate=real estate