Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29136
Hints and tips by a mostly dried out pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Hola from a rather soggy Vega Baja. No, I’ve not signed the pledge (as if I ever would) but I have dried out a bit. In the early hours of yesterday we had over four inches of rain in about two hours so everywhere was more than a bit moist. At least the weather has since returned to normal service and both me and the village have (mostly) dried out. It don’t rain here very often but when it does it’s best to batten down the hatches and make sure the drains are running free.
I don’t know who today’s setter is but he or she has provided us with a very nice puzzle with more than a usual number of cryptic definitions. It’s not too tricky and there a few anagrams to give you a start if you need it. I really enjoyed it so I’ll be interested to hear your views of it.
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.
5a Guiding light to join Tories? (6)
BEACON: Split the answer (2,1,3) and you have an instruction to join the Conservative party.
9a Very old and wise person circling pitch (5-3)
STONE AGE: Put the usual wise person around the pitch of a musical note perhaps and split it (5,4). I’ve only just noticed that “note perhaps” would indicate an anagram of NOTE which would give you the pitch
12a Focal point in long poem with short introduction (9)
EPICENTRE: A word for a focal point commonly applied to earthquakes. It’s a word for a long poem or film followed by an introduction without its last letter (short).
13a Finest in comparative literature (5)
ELITE: Its a lurker hidden in (in) the last two words.
14a Long piano in conservatoire at last (4)
PINE: P(iano) followed by the IN from the clue and then an E (conservatoirE at last).
16a Servant keeps donkey in corridor (7)
PASSAGE: Insert (keeps) the usual donkey into a young servant. Why did I waste a lot of time trying to put the donkey in a corridor to get a servant? The wordplay is quite clear.
19a Seaman loves convoluted excuse (7)
ABSOLVE: A two letter seaman followed by an anagram (convoluted) of LOVES.
21a Wimbledon winner, English, on roll (4)
WADE: Start with a slang term for a roll of banknotes. Put an E for English on the end of it and you get the last English Wimbledon singles winner way back in 1977. This is quite clever as English is there to give the E but it could also be a part of the definition.
24a Personage finally opening show (5)
EVENT: Personage finally is, of course, an E so put an opening on it to get a show.
25a Festival holds purpose for Walford resident (9)
EASTENDER: A purpose or aim inside (holds) a festival of the Christian faith.
27a Hero outlaw guarding cash machine (6)
BATMAN: Take a word meaning to outlaw or veto and put it around (guarding) your Automated Teller Machine (cash machine).
28a Old Yankee traps park-keeper in hothouse (8)
ORANGERY: O(ld) and the letter represented by the word Yankee in the phonetic alphabet are placed around (traps) a keeper of a National Park.
29a Cleaning item badly rusted (6)
DUSTER: Anagram (badly) of RUSTED.
30a Sane? Completely so! (3,5)
ALL THERE: Double definition.
1d Drawing up as telephone rings (6)
PASTEL: Another lurker hidden in (rings) the middle three words. For no discernable reason this was my last one in.
2d Rich Irish forged coin (6)
IRONIC: Abbreviation of Irish followed by an anagram (forged) of COIN.
3d Relative close to collapse in French city (5)
NIECE: Put an E (close to collapsE) in a city on the French Riviera.
6d Non-stop news boss communicated (9)
EXPRESSED: A non-stop train followed by the usual newspaper boss.
7d Fellow consumer? (8)
CANNIBAL: A cryptic definition of someone who eats people.
15d Bad military command makes you nervous (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE: A three letter word for bad or unwell followed by a military command to relax.
17d Where one relaxes over many pints? (8)
WATERBED: No, not your local but somewhere that you can sleep on top of very many pints of liquid. I always thought this would be two words or at least hyphenated but no it is one word.
18d Answer SOS to protect finest building material (8)
ASBESTOS: A(nswer) and the SOS from the clue around (to protect) a word for finest gives a building material. I don’t think this stuff is used nowadays.
20d Eve’s initial place of retreat? (4)
EDEN: Eve’s initial is an E so follow it with a place of retreat or a study to get the place where you would find Eve initially, before she got chucked out after the episode with the serpent and the forbidden fruit. Very nice all-in-one methinks.
21d Layabout was on line after time (7)
WASTREL: WAS from the clue followed by T(ime). After that you need two letters for on or about and an L(ine).
22d Stick heard to shatter — brittle at the end (6)
ADHERE: Anagram (to shatter) of HEARD followed by E (brittlE at the end).
26d He painted birds heading to the south (5)
ERNST: Start with some seabirds and move the first letter (heading) to the end (south in a down clue) to get an artist.
A lot of really nice clues here but my favourite is the excellent &lit at 20d. Up there on my podium are 21a and 4d but there’s a lot of other great clues so I won’t be surprised if you all pick different favourites.
Quickie pun: TRAY + DUE + NEON = TRADE UNION