Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 100007
Hints and tips by Deep Threat
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BD Rating – Difficulty */** – Enjoyment ***
Good morning and Merry Christmas from South Staffs on a damp grey morning, with the promise of more rain to come. But the turkey’s in the oven, the family has gathered, and small grand-daughter is anxious for the present distribution to start.
A gentle seasonal offering today, not from the usual Friday maestro (Giovanni told us the other day that he was not doing the Christmas Day crossword). So thanks to today’s setter for a puzzle which should be doable even after Christmas lunch. Though having said that, I’ve found some of the parsing to be more tricky, even where the answer is obvious.
In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.
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1a Fancy Argentine Christmas fare (9)
TANGERINE – Anagram (fancy) of ARGENTINE.
5a Father to irritate in return – he won’t be celebrating Christmas (5)
PAGAN – A short word for father followed by the reversal (in return) of a verb meaning to irritate or harass. He won’t be celebrating Christmas, but may celebrate the midwinter solstice or similar.
8a Geezer, once sober, drunk – Christmas spirits transformed him (8,7)
EBENEZER SCROOGE – Anagram (drunk) of GEEZER ONCE SOBER.
10a Santa’s spritely helper (3)
ELF – Mildly cryptic definition of one of Santa’s helpers.
12a They’re just nominal attachments for the present (6)
LABELS – They have the recipient’s name on, and they’re stuck on parcels.
13a Rev counter used in annual service? (5)
ALTAR – This is the holy (reverend) table or counter used in a church service. I really don’t like this clue very much: it doesn’t work properly for me.
14a Tree lights in part that may be electric (3)
EEL – Hidden in (in part) the clue.
18a Transport for a holy man or fool (3)
ASS – Double definition, the first being the animal ridden, for example, by Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem.
20a Wise Man that’s tucked into the turkey (4)
SAGE – … usually with an admixture of onion.
21a Takes out fruit eaten at Christmas (5)
DATES – Double definition. The first being where two people go for a tête-à-tête.
22a An oral Christmas greeting under the mistletoe (4)
KISS – Not very cryptic definition of what traditionally happens under the mistletoe.
23a Found in lager, it improves wine (3)
AGE – Hidden (found) in the middle of lAGEr.
25a Bird that may be stuffed with mincemeat at Christmas (3)
PIE – This bird brings sorrow on its own, or joy in pairs.
27a Bird to tidy up? No, down! (5)
PREEN – Verb describing the act of a bird tidying its plumage (down).
29a Christmas-time may be the main issue (6)
SEASON – The part of the world known as the main, followed by some issue or progeny.
30a A capital paper decoration at party time (3)
HAT – ‘Capital’ refers to the head. Something paper worn on the head at a party.
35a Seasonal song that has a haunting effect for 8a (1,9,5)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Title of the work in which 8a appears.
36a Slip and you could fall into it (5)
ERROR – A slip, lapse or mistake.
37a It’s on the cards you’ll get these for Christmas (9)
GREETINGS – A message commonly found in Christmas cards.
1d One’s ancestors provide a Yuletide decoration (4)
TREE – One’s ancestors are one’s family —-.
2d This present on the tree for the embroiderer? (6)
NEEDLE – These are present on the tree, and will presently be all over the carpet. A different form may be used by embroiderers.
3d Still, the snow was on the Feast of Stephen (4)
EVEN – How did King Wenceslas like his pizza? Deep pan, crisp and —.
4d Holly helping to make domicile Xmassy (4)
ILEX – Hidden (helping to make) in the clue.
5d Large number in strange capers which go round the tree? (7)
PARCELS – Anagram (strange) of CAPERS wrapped around the Roman numeral for fifty.
6d Complain, seeing the bird (6)
GROUSE – Double definition, the second being a game bird which, famously, also appears on the label of a brand of whisky.
7d Christmas verse taken from book (4)
NOEL – Remove the Verse from a work of fiction.
9d The highlight of the Nativity (4)
STAR – Split the second word (4,5): it’s up in the sky.
11d Picture a winter diversion of children (5)
SLIDE – Double definition, the first being the sort of picture viewed on a projection screen.
12d It’s held to be illuminating by carol-singers (7)
LANTERN – Mildly cryptic definition of the traditional source of light for a band of carol singers.
15d Departure point for the Magi (4)
EAST – The point of the compass from which the Wise Men were said to come.
16d Publication, one for wise men (4)
MAGI – Short form of the word for a periodical, followed by the Roman numeral for one.
17d American party drink? (3)
TEA – The American party was held in Boston in 1773.
18d Tree is displayed in a small enclosure (5)
ASPEN – Put together A (from the clue), Small, and an animal enclosure.
19d Winter sport runner of various kinds (3)
SKI – Hidden in the clue.
24d Large ice formation? Not quite, out East (7)
GLACIER – An all-in-one clue. Anagram (formation) of LARGE IC(E), but with one of the Easts removed.
26d OT character who’s among bravest heroines (6)
ESTHER – Hidden (among) in the clue
27d The wine that’s left (4)
PORT – It’s only left if you’re at sea!
28d No part exchanges for this Christmas customer (6)
PATRON – Anagram (exchanges) of NO PART.
31d Christmas food for a king in church (4)
CAKE – A (from the clue) and the chess notation for a king, inside the initials used for the Established Church.
32d Character dragged up at this time of the year? (4)
DAME – A character in a seasonal entertainment who’s traditionally in drag.
33d Reindeer tail cut to a point (4)
SCUT – A point of the compass followed by CUT (from the clue).
34d Popular winter sports range (4)
ALPS – A range of mountains popular with winter sports enthusiasts.
The Quick Crossword pun WIN + TURK + OATS = WINTER COATS