Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28374
Hints and tips by Mr Kitty
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **/***
Hello, everyone. In the crosswording literature one often reads that a cryptic clue should have a unique solution, so that if your answer fits both definition and wordplay you can feel confident that it’s correct. On the other hand, we hear here from time to time that the only rule is that there are no rules. Embracing the latter viewpoint, last Tuesday Mister Ron used a clue, Boring book about Kindles missing the beginning (8), which had two possible solutions (TIRESOME and MINDLESS). His goal was to use that clue twice in the crossword, but sadly the second answer did not make it into the final puzzle. Anyway, that set me off looking for other violations of cruciverbal uniqueness. I found an impressive example here, in a non-cryptic crossword published in the New York Times on the morning of Election Day 1996. Seven clues in it each admitted two answers in just the right way to allow the answer to Lead story in tomorrow’s newspaper (7,7) to read either BOBDOLE ELECTED or CLINTON ELECTED, thereby covering both possible outcomes. Then Kitty pointed me at the quite amazing Independent 8498 by Donk, in which each of the seven rows contains two answers that each solve the same clue. I can’t find the original puzzle online, but it is discussed in a blog on www.fifteensquared.net. Does anybody out there know of any other good examples of crosswords employing this multiple answer device?
Fortunately, nothing that devious was employed by this week’s setter. Overall, it’s another crossword that I’d describe as solid. I found most of this puzzle fairly straightforward, except for a couple of clues where the answer was clear but Mr Google was needed to untangle the wordplay. There’s also a homophone I thought was a bit dubious, although that could just be my accent.
1a Lacking detail of brief encounter by stretch of water in Norfolk (10)
BROADBRUSH: Follow the East Anglian name for a lake-like section of a river with a word meaning a brief encounter.
6a Boss axing one restaurant worker (4)
CHEF: Delete the Roman numeral for one from the boss of a tribe.
9a Small border plant (5)
SEDGE: Combine S(mall) and a synonym of border to get a grass-like plant.
10a Writer‘s tip after social function (9)
BALLPOINT: A social function involving gowns and dancing, followed by the tip of something sharp, such as an arrow.
12a I search out purser (7)
CASHIER: An anagram (out) of I SEARCH.
13a A key passage (5)
AISLE: The A from the clue followed by a key that’s surrounded by water (Florida has some well-known ones).
15a Stop a black bull heading off (7)
ABOLISH: Bull here is military slang for what one does to make boots shine. Remove the first letter from the usual word for that action (heading off) and put it after the A from the clue and the single-letter abbreviation for black. The video shows what’s involved in bulling one’s boots.
17a Intimate intercity train (7)
EXPRESS: A double definition. The first is a verb, the second a noun.
19a Case: travelling sort he left inside (7)
HOLSTER: An anagram (travelling) of SORT HE contains the abbreviation for left (left inside).
21a The old lady eating with the Spanish statesman (7)
MANDELA: A two-letter informal term for mother containing (eating) a synonym of “with” plus a Spanish definite article. The statesman hails from South Africa.
22a Dramatist and writer for children almost returned (5)
IBSEN: Start with the surname of an early English children’s author who wrote The Railway Children. Drop its last letter and then reverse it (almost returned) to obtain the Norwegian playwright who created Peer Gynt.
24a Biased against fine amusement park (7)
FUNFAIR: A charade of the abbreviation for fine used on pencils and an adjective meaning “biased against”.
27a Duke is to retire in ruin (9)
DISREPAIR: A charade of D(uke), the IS from the clue and a verb meaning to retire or to go.
28a Bit of help on getting out of bed (3-2)
LEG-UP: The usual cricketing synonym for “on”, followed by (getting) a short word meaning “out of bed”.
29a To attack king, assistance is required (4)
RAID: The single-letter Latin abbreviation for king followed by assistance or help.
30a Child in joint with unruly tribe (5-5)
ANKLE-BITER: Follow a joint at the bottom of the leg with an anagram (unruly) of TRIBE to get a slang Australian term for a small child.
1d Smashed sculpture (4)
BUST: A straightforward double definition.
2d Traditional dolls Choo designed (3-6)
OLD-SCHOOL: An anagram (designed) of DOLLS CHOO.
3d Clean frock (5)
DRESS: Another double definition. Clean as in prepare a chicken for the oven, for example.
4d Hurry to secure books I dismiss as worthless (7)
RUBBISH: A synonym of hurry contains two copies of the abbreviation for book along with the I from the clue.
5d Spend lavishly in plant skirting lake (7)
SPLURGE: Insert the single-letter abbreviation for lake into a large and diverse family of plants that includes poinsettia, the crown of thorns plant, and the candelabra tree.
7d Those who have inherited pretentious manners, by the sound of it (5)
HEIRS: These beneficiaries of a will are a homophone (by the sound of it) of pretentious manners that often come paired with graces.
8d Annual pop celebration? (7,3)
FATHER’S DAY: Pop here is an informal (and mostly American) term for the parent feted on the third Sunday in June. The whole clue is a cryptic definition of that day.
11d Drama training by new enclosure (7)
PLAYPEN: Concatenate another word for a drama, the two-letter abbreviation for physical training, and the single-letter abbreviation for new.
14d At hospital, female wearing brooch, attending the German pioneer (10)
PATHFINDER: Link together AT from the clue and the usual abbreviations for hospital and for female. Put that combination inside (wearing) a three-letter brooch, and then append (attending) a German definite article.
16d Extremely earnest in past, perhaps (7)
INTENSE: IN from the clue and a thing of which past is an example (perfect is another).
18d Observes appropriate military command (4,5)
EYES RIGHT: Link together synonyms of observes or watches and of appropriate or correct.
20d Do without chorus (7)
REFRAIN: Another straightforward double definition.
21d Pitman with a large soft drink (7)
MINERAL: Assemble together a coalpit worker, the A from the clue, and L(arge).
23d American brought over his cracked Oriental dish (5)
SUSHI: The two-letter abbreviation for American reversed (brought over) followed by an anagram (cracked) of HIS.
25d Spontaneous remark from daughter in ‘Ali Baba’, at the start (2-3)
AD-LIB: The first four letters (at the start) of ALIBaba contain the abbreviation for daughter.
26d Box son on equal footing (4)
SPAR: The abbreviation for son followed by a short word meaning “equal footing” or equality.
Everybody knows the original recording of this song illustrating the definition, so I’m linking instead to a great cover version.
Thanks to today’s mystery setter for an enjoyable solve. This week I’m choosing as favourite 30a because it produced by far the biggest smile during my solve. What was your number one?
The Quick Crossword pun: LAID+EASE+MADE=LADY’S MAID