Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28512
Hints and tips by Mr Kitty
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BD Rating - Difficulty *** - Enjoyment ***
Hello, everyone. For me, today's puzzle was about average difficulty for a Tuesday back page and it delivered the expected number of penny drops and smiles. So on the BD scale of one to five I'm giving it three stars for both difficulty and enjoyment.
This paragraph has some crossword statistics. Readers not interested in such things may click to jump to the Across or Down Hints, the Quickie Pun, or the Comments. On Sunday's blog there was a discussion about whether 32 was the largest number of clues seen in a back-page puzzle. I think it's interesting to understand the constraints that our setters operate under, so I investigated that question. The short answer is that the number of clues in back page crosswords since 2001 has ranged from 26 to 42. For the long answer, complete with charts and data, click the expandable spoiler box.
Here is a histogram showing the distribution of the number of clues in all back-page puzzles since November 2001. Click to enlarge these charts.
So, 28, 30, and 32 are the most common number of clues in a back-page puzzle. This histogram zooms in on the relatively small number of puzzles that have contained more than 32 clues:
So far, 42 is the maximum number of clues used in a back-page puzzle. The most recent example is DT 100007, which appeared on Christmas Day 2015. Remarkably, that 42-clue grid (shown below) included two 15-letter answers.
At the other end of the distribution, 26-clue puzzles are not uncommon: in recent weeks DT 28476 (11 July 2017) and DT 28485 (21 July 2017) both had only 26 clues.
These clue count distributions reflect an underlying distribution of the set of grid patterns that the Telegraph allows its setters to use. I will probably have more to say about that in a week or two.
1a Give Commanding Officer salute with unknown number involved (10)
CONTRIBUTE: A usual letter for an unknown number inserted into (with ….involved) the concatenation of the abbreviation for Commanding Officer and a salute or homage
6a Troublesome situation created by return of moderate Conservatives (4)
STEW: The answer is found by reversing (created by return of) a derogatory term coined by Margaret Thatcher for Conservatives who disagreed with some of her policies.
9a Extremely glad to eat our fruit (5)
GOURD: The outer letters (extremely) of GlaD containing (to eat) OUR
10a I dash back with money to purchase old habit (9)
TRADITION: Start by joining I from the clue to a four-letter synonym of dash. Then reverse that object (back), and append (with) a slang term for money that contains (to purchase) the abbreviation for old.
12a Most difficult dart he's thrown (7)
HARDEST: An anagram (thrown) of DART HE'S
13a Jobs for Poles (5)
POSTS: A double definition. Poles has been capitalised to mislead the solver – these poles might be made of wood.
15a Trouble with method that should follow right lines (7)
RAILWAY: Put synonyms of trouble and of method after (that should follow) the abbreviation for right
17a Bird table with nothing in it (7)
ROOSTER: A table assigning duties contains (with …. in it) the letter that looks like zero (nothing)
19a Resent a drunk getting sober (7)
EARNEST: An anagram (drunk) of RESENT A
21a Perhaps Carmen then regularly avoided work (7)
OPERATE: The musical form of which Carmen is an example (perhaps), followed by T
hE n without its even letters (regularly avoided)
22a Coarse grass restricts runs (5)
HARSH: Another slang name for marijuana contains (restricts) the cricket abbreviation for runs
24a You're looking for these responses (7)
ANSWERS: A part-cryptic double definition. The first is what you're looking for when solving the puzzle.
27a For instance, boxers inferior to women are unusual (9)
UNDERWEAR: Glue together a preposition meaning "inferior to", the abbreviation for women, and an anagram (unusual) of ARE
28a Hitting lob, Edberg nets ball (5)
GLOBE: The first three words in the clue are hiding (nets) the answer
29a Bring in vase, by the sound of it (4)
EARN: A homophone (by the sound of it) of a type of vase
30a , used this? (10)
TYPEWRITER: A synonym of mark or variety, followed by the type of artist that Twain is an example of (say). Since Mark Twain did indeed use a 30a the definition is the entire clue, which makes this a clever semi-all-in-one clue.
2d A Turing -- he cracked what could be more difficult (9)
NAUGHTIER: An anagram (cracked) of A TURING HE
3d Passenger, Irish from the South, turned crimson (5)
RIDER: Glue together the reversal (from the South in a down clue) of the abbreviation for Irish, and the reversal (turned) of the primary colour of which crimson is a shade
4d Treat criminal in neighbouring cell (7)
BATTERY: An anagram (criminal) of TREAT inserted into (in) a preposition meaning neighbouring.
5d 18 for field trip? (7)
TRACTOR: A form of 18d suitable for driving across a farmer's field
7d Gets little bits of wood (5)
TWIGS: A double definition. The little bits of wood come from a tree.
8d Engineer screwed in new part of car (10)
WINDSCREEN: An anagram (engineer) of SCREWED IN and N(ame).
11d Progress seen in this writer's show (7)
IMPROVE: A contraction of "this writer's" seen from the setter's perspective, followed by a synonym of show or verify
14d Coveting top of hill by river as suitable place for plants (10)
GREENHOUSE: Link together the colour associated with envy, the first letter (top of in a down clue) of Hill, and a Sussex (or Yorkshire) river that's a favourite of our setters
16d If that man enters outskirts of Wainfleet, that woman's following (7)
WHETHER: A pronoun for "that man" goes inside (enters) the outer letters (outskirts) of WainfleeT, followed by (…'s following) a pronoun for "that woman"
18d Bear managed small drink after end of jaunt (9)
TRANSPORT: After the last letter of (end of) jaunT, assemble a usual synonym of managed, the abbreviation for small, and a fortified wine
20d Attempt to catch ancient play (7)
TRAGEDY: A three-letter attempt contains (to catch) an adjective meaning ancient
23d It detects signals from north and south (5)
RADAR: From north and south in a down clue tells us that we are looking for a palindrome. This one detects signals that measure the position of, for example, an aeroplane
25d Keen, for example, to roll up and be entertained by organ (5)
EAGER: Take the Latin abbreviation for "for example" and reverse it (to roll up). That's then inserted into (… be entertained by) the organ that listens
26d Expensive honey (4)
DEAR: A double definition. Honey here is a term of endearment.
Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve. My favourite is 16d. Which clues did you like best?
The Quick Crossword pun: PAY+PER+WAITS=PAPERWEIGHTS