Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28290
Hints and tips by Mr Kitty
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
We don’t usually know the identity of the Tuesday setter, but I am pleased to be able to announce a debut back-page puzzle from Chris Lancaster a.k.a. Samuel, who outed himself on Facebook (this link only works if you are signed in to Facebook).
Hello everyone. I’m happy to be back in the chair after a long week filled with travel. With only six anagrams featuring in today’s crossword it took me a little while to get going, but it gradually all came together in a reasonable time with quite a few smiles along the way. There’s something of an astronomical theme running through it, which I liked. Definitely recommended.
Changing the subject slightly, I’ve observed that long clues generally don’t get a lot of respect among the commentariat. So I’ve been amusing myself recently researching just how short a clue can be made. Some here may remember the two-character clue “O? (4,6)” [pattern with checkers: L_V_L_T_E_ answer: LOVE LETTER ] that appeared 22 months ago in DT 27714 (02/02/2015). While that’s impressively concise, it’s still not enough to win the brevity stakes. Looking further back, DT 25129 (21/10/06) offered the single-letter clue “X (4,2,3,5)” [checkers: S_G_O_T_E_I_E_ answer: SIGN OF THE TIMES]. Of course, the only way to top that brilliance is a clue with no letters. Well, we find just that in DT 26060 (15/10/09), which offers “? (8)” [checkers: _L_E_E_S answer: CLUELESS ]. It’s possible that some of these clues from the past may be chestnuts for our experienced solvers, but they’re all new to this crossword fledgling and they all made me smile. Perhaps they’ll do the same for you.
In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a Cross Cheshire, say, with lift (7,3)
CHEESED OFF: Follow an edible item hailing from Cheshire, among other places, with a verb meaning to lift one’s hat.
6a Big Brother gets backing when suppressed by Brussels (4)
ESAU: The abbreviation for the political entity associated with Brussels contains (suppressed by) the reversal (backing) of a two-letter word for when. I needed Mr Google to explain that this biblical son of Isaac was big brother to Jacob. However, my database shows that he’s made two appearances here in the past year so I really should have remembered him.
9a Work hard having got rid of rodent? (6,4)
BEAVER AWAY: Taken literally the answer could be a command to remove a large dam-building rodent.
10a Left sitting next to Mum eating Eastern dinner, maybe (4)
MEAL: A two-letter mother containing (eating) E(astern) is followed by (sitting next to) L(eft).
12a Inflammation from dusty environment (4)
STYE: Crosswordland’s usual eye problem is hidden (from) inside the clue.
13a Swimmer‘s ginger hairdo (3,6)
RED MULLET: The colour associated with ginger hair followed by an infamous 1980s hairstyle gives a swimming creature.
15a Dickens character heard American coin word meaning ‘beside’ (8)
NICKLEBY: Follow two syllables which sound like (heard) the US five cent coin with a short word meaning beside or next to.
16a Deprive nameless servant when drunk (6)
STARVE: Anagram (when drunk) of SERVAnT without the one-letter abbreviation for name (nameless).
18a Commit again to stand down (6)
RESIGN: Split 2-4 the answer would mean to repeat a written commitment.
20a Tease over mostly rubbish weapon (8)
GARROTTE: Join the reversal (over) of a three-letter word meaning tease to a synonym of rubbish without its last letter (mostly).
23a Novel refreshment for energy sag (5,4)
AGNES GREY: An anagram (refreshment for) of ENERGY SAG is the first novel of Anne Bronte. Thanks again to Mr Google for helping with the parse.
24a Low-grade boat needs a horn (4)
TUBA: A disparaging term for a boat followed by the A from the clue.
26a Greek character cheers after score is halved (4)
IOTA: Start with two letters which together look like the number that is half of one score. Then append a short colloquialism meaning cheers or thanks.
27a Fancy man entered, showing sign of affection (10)
ENDEARMENT: Anagram (fancy) of MAN ENTERED.
28a Somewhat divine Roman emperor (4)
NERO: This ruler is hidden (somewhat) inside the clue.
29a Small animals hide in town (10)
SHREWSBURY: Joining some small untamed animals with a synonym of hide gives a town in Shropshire. Anyone who has spent time in New Zealand will undoubtedly associate the answer with this jam-filled biscuit.
1d Young European, perhaps twenty-seven (4)
CUBE: Concatenate a young animal with the abbreviation for European to get a special class of number. Eight and sixty-four are some other members of this class.
2d Flexible response after auction goes belly up (7)
ELASTIC: An inadvertent response follows (after) the reversal (goes belly up) of the activity which includes auction as an example.
3d Footballer in alone, meaning he plumbs the depths (12)
SPELEOLOGIST: Put the most famous Brazilian footballer inside another word for alone. Then append the meaning or important point of a story.
4d Harangue terrible-sounding family (8)
DIATRIBE: This rant sounds like an adjective meaning terrible plus an informal term for a family.
5d German woman and policeman con merchants (6)
FRAUDS: The German word for woman followed by the two-letter abbreviation for a Detective Sergeant.
7d Girl runs like a star (7)
STELLAR: A girl’s name (associated, for example, with a famous fashion designer) followed by the cricketing abbreviation for runs.
8d Peacekeepers allow one to flee in ranks with little education (10)
UNLETTERED: Combine the usual two-letter peacekeepers, a verb meaning allow, and a word for “in ranks” with its I removed (one to flee).
11d Sweet things loveless actor sprinkled with stardust (7,5)
CUSTARD TARTS: Anagram (sprinkled) of ACToR without O (loveless) and STARDUST.
14d Lack of fizz upset Frenchman, acclaim being a non-starter (10)
ENERVATION: Reverse (upset) one of Crosswordland’s favourite Frenchmen (much discussed in last Sunday’s blog) and attach a type of acclaim often delivered standing minus its first letter (being a non-starter).
17d Cast end game orbiting unknown satellite (8)
GANYMEDE: With the inclusion (orbiting) of a single-letter mathematical unknown, an anagram (cast) of END GAME gives one of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. Here it is casting its shadow on the planet.
19d Treason destroyed politician (7)
SENATOR: Anagram (destroyed) of TREASON.
21d Picture story about black gold (7)
TABLEAU: Into a four-letter story insert (about) the abbreviation for B(lack). Then attach the chemical symbol for gold.
22d Yank‘s rule broken by serving-girl? Quite the opposite (6)
WRENCH: Inverting the wordplay as instructed (Quite the opposite), a medieval serving girl contains (broken by) a single-letter abbreviation for rule.
25d Southern river lodge (4)
STAY: S(outhern) and the longest river in Scotland.
Thanks to today’s mystery setter for the fun [Not so mysterious – see prologue. BD]. I smiled most today at several of the short answers. In particular, I liked 26a a lot but the honours go to 1d for its clever misdirection that had me looking for a connection to 27a. Which clues made you smile?
The Quick Crossword pun: THAI+TAN+NICK=TITANIC