Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27010
Hints and tips by pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
Hola from the Vega Baja on a bright but chilly morning. Those of you who like anagrams will be well pleased with this puzzle as there are four fifteen letter ones around the outside of the grid. If you solve those first, as I did, they’ll make the rest of the puzzle fairly straightforward.
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 Working in shed, hence best in private (6,3,6)
BEHIND THE SCENES: Anagram (working) of IN SHED HENCE BEST.
9a Summary in a poor state (3-4)
RUN DOWN: Double definition.
10a Playwright Oscar’s detained, giving needle (7)
POINTER: Put the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet into the surname of a famous playwright and you’ll get a needle, on a speedometer for example.
11a Unemployed star on radio (4)
IDLE: Sounds like (on radio) a star or revered person. It’s also an excuse for a bit of Monty Python . . .
12a Man at top of order? (5)
ABBOT: This order is an order of monks.
13a Mist in west London area reported (4)
HAZE: This mist sounds like (reported) a town in West London. Apparently it’s the home of EMI records and the Beatles’ albums were manufactured there in the “Old Vinyl Factory”.
16a Bachelor, in place of car, gets American rubbish (7)
GARBAGE: Put a B(achelor) into the place where you keep your car to get an American term for rubbish. Personally I’ve never had enough room in my place of car to actually get the car inside – you know, the junk expands to fill the available space.
17a Note stout fellow catching a criminal (3,4)
TEA LEAF: Start with a note of the Sol Fa scale and follow with another word for stout or beer. Follow that with an F(ellow) and insert (catching) the A from the clue to get rhyming slang for a thief. The answer was fairly obvious but it took a while for the penny to drop on how this works. I was looking for something to do with a fat person!
18a Posh doctor with anger giving offence (7)
UMBRAGE: Not offence as in what 17a does but as in outrage or insult. It’s a charade of the letter indicating posh, one of the two letter doctors and another word for anger.
23a Bar return of vessels (4)
STOP: Not a Mars Bar but bar as in block or forbid. It’s a reversal (return) of some vessels found in the kitchen.
25a Warriors in football team, say, surrounding lawmaker (4)
IMPI: A regiment of Zulu warriors is two letters which look like eleven (football team say) put around (surrounding) a member of the house which passes laws (lawmaker).
28a Consumption perhaps less in ground with fifty inside (7)
ILLNESS: If you remember that consumption in another name for tuberculosis all will become clear. It’s an anagram (ground) of LESS IN with the Roman numeral for fifty inserted (inside).
29a Elevated land recently seen in French city (7)
PLATEAU: A word for recently inserted (seen in) a French city on the northern edge of the Pyrenees.
30a Inaction reveals varied activity abandoned in UK (8,7)
NATIONAL SERVICE: Anagram (varied) of INACTION REVEALS.
1d Convert boring quiet nuns? An urgent issue (7,8)
BURNING QUESTION: Anagram (convert) of BORING QUIET NUNS.
2d Spy usually has one name, right? (7)
HANDLER: This is a term for the chap who looks after a spy and is his point of contact with those he is spying for. It’s a slang word for your name (especially on a CB radio) followed by R(ight).
3d Two common answers given in recess (4)
NOOK: Two replies to a question, one meaning yes and the other the reverse, give you a recess as in a sheltered place.
4d Figure left in Lincoln characterising a sound principle (7)
TENABLE: A number (figure) followed by the nickname of the American president Lincoln with L(reft) inserted.
5d Take advantage of heroic achievement (7)
EXPLOIT: Double definition.
6d Curtail section of programme (4)
CLIP: Another double definition. The programme is a TV programme or film.
7d Teachers’ group action is a daft one (7)
NUTCASE: The daft one is a daft person. The teacher’s union followed by an action in a court of law.
14d Fare in Texan city put up half-heartedly (5)
SALAD: Reverse a Texan city (put up in a down clue) but without one of its middle letters (half-heartedly).
15d Husband with a young dog not raised in fortunate way (5)
HAPPY: H(usband) followed by A (from the clue) and then a young dog but without two letters which could mean raised.
19d Reserve rental accommodation in small publication (7)
BOOKLET: A word meaning to reserve, a table in a restaurant perhaps, and then a rental property.
20d A ruse devised on road heading north in huge region (7)
EURASIA: Anagram (devised) of A RUSE followed by the designation of the road from London to Edinburgh but reversed (Heading north in a down clue). This road is part of Euroroute E15 which goes from Inverness in Scotland to Algeciras in Spain and it passes less than a kilometre from where I’m sitting. Why anyone would want to go from Inverness to Algeciras is shrouded in mystery!
21d Work after month to find sea creature (7)
OCTOPUS: Start with a month and then a musical work Nice to see the whole work for once and not just the abbreviation.
22d Religious leader holding mass before two in Latin community of old (7)
POMPEII: This was a Roman community and you need to put the leader of the Roman Catholic church around (holding) an M(ass) and then add the Roman or Latin way of writing the number two.
26d Imperial figure, part of fine royalty (4)
NERO: Another Roman reference. It’s an Emperor and he’s lurking in fine royalty.
27d Item that’s cut, we hear (4)
PAIR: An item as in a couple sounds like (we hear) a word meaning cut or peel.
There’s no stand-out favourite for me but I think I’ll award the podium top step to 8d for it’s silly mental image.