Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28508
Hints and tips by pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Morning all and welcome to a non-RayThursday. The weather here continues to be stonking hot and it seems to have fried what’s left of my brain because I had a bit of a struggle getting into this one. However, it all came together eventually after just creeping into *** time. It will be interesting to see how many of you thought it was a doddle.
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 so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
4a Eurasian city, Byzantium’s capital embraced by sultan, I gathered (8)
ISTANBUL: Start with a B (Byzantium’s capital) and around it (embraced by) put an anagram (gathered) of SULTAN I to get a city in Turkey which is, apparently, the 7th most populous city in the world.. Clever clue as Byzantium is an old name for the answer.
9a Religious teachings, plain coarse (6)
RIBALD: One of the two letter abbreviations of religious teaching in school followed by a word meaning plain or hairless.
10a Star reading different script, ultimately (3,5)
RED GIANT: Anagram (different) of READING followed by a T (scripT ultimately).
12a Friend friendly, though not at first (4)
ALLY: A word meaning friendly without its first letter (though not at first).
13a Question cook (5)
GRILL: Double definition.
17a Author, William the Conqueror’s postman? (6,6)
NORMAN MAILER: A Pulitzer prize winning American author sounds as though he might be a postman from northern France.
20a Runs 101-200? One is the best! (6,2,4)
SECOND TO NONE: Split the answer (6,3,3) and it’s the one after the first hundred and then ONE from the clue. One of those that’s easier to solve than explain. Here’s a few highlights of Joe Root hitting a double ton against Sri Lanka in 2014.
23a One’s inclined to use force and power (4)
RAMP: This might be an incline for wheelchair access and it’s a word for force or push followed by P(ower).
24a Made of metal, little boxes never for opening (5)
TINNY: A word for little is put around (boxes) an N (Never for opening). Strange, the word might mean made of metal, which should be strong, but in common usage it means cheap or shoddy, unless you’re Australian when it’s a can of beer or an aluminium dinghy.
25a Kerfuffle in prison (4)
STIR: A slang term for prison is also a word meaning kerfuffle or commotion.
28a Plant where flowers grow, perfect in recess (8)
GARDENIA: The area by your house where flowers grow is followed by two letters for perfect or at least very good but they’re reversed (in recess). In my case it was more like weeds than flowers. However, a weed is only a plant growing where you don’t want it.
29a Two nil in cup, leaders in luck eventually (6)
COUPLE: The letter that looks like nil or zero is inserted (in) into CUP (from the clue) and is followed by LE (leaders in Luck Eventually).
30a Liberal or Attlee to put up with (8)
TOLERATE: Anagram (liberal) of OR ATLEE.
31a Artist — neither winner nor loser? (6)
DRAWER: This is possibly a double definition. If there’s no winner or loser what’s the result?
2d They’ll fix up pumps and platforms — with mules? (8)
COBBLERS: This one becomes fairly straightforward once you twig that pumps, platforms and mules are all types of shoe. These are the chaps who mend them.
5d Engrossing period obligatory (12)
SPELLBINDING: A charade of a word for a period of time (5) and a word meaning obligatory (7).
6d Mythical ship moving slowly, heading off (4)
ARGO: Jason’s ship is a musical term for slowly without its first letter (heading off).
7d Clever article in the main (6)
BRAINY: A rather old-fashioned slang term for the sea (main) has an indefinite article inserted.
15d African carrier has me in a state (5)
CAMEL: A beast of burden used in North Africa is ME (from the clue) inserted into the abbreviation of a western US state, the one Arnie was Governor of.
16d Devil in protest, ending in heaven (5)
DEMON: The usual protest followed by N (ending in heaveN).
18d Boxer getting up to wash potty (8)
SOUTHPAW: This boxer is probably left-handed as he leads with his right hand and his stance is right foot forward. Whatever, he’s an anagram (potty) of UP TO WASH. I say “probably” left handed as our ‘enry Cooper was left handed but he wasn’t one of these.
19d Doubly hard part of corn, I agree! (4,4)
HEAR HEAR: H(ard) followed by the top part of some corn repeated (doubly).
21d Horror film’s beginning satisfactorily (6)
FRIGHT: F (Film’s beginning) followed by a word for satisfactorily or correct.
22d Test before noon is not ethical (6)
AMORAL: Split the answer (2,4) and you’ll get a phrase which might describe a spoken test carried out in the morning.
26d Raise tail (4)
REAR: Double definition.
27d Swine — dull person, it’s said? (4)
BOAR: This swine or male pig, sounds like (it’s said) a dull person.
Some very nice stuff here but my favourite was 4a with 10a and 14a up there on the podium.
Quick crossword pun: JUNG + HAT + TART = YOUNG AT HEART