Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29236
Hints and tips by Mr K
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BD Rating - Difficulty ** - Enjoyment ****
Hello, everyone. As I wrote the hints for this excellent puzzle I realized that every clue (with the possible exception of 3d) has a wonderfully smooth surface reading and that many raised a smile. It was a lot of fun. I don't know who set it, but if our setter is reading today perhaps they'll take a bow in the comments section below?
Last Sunday's issue of the New York Times included a big puzzle supplement for the upcoming holidays. Its "Super Mega Crossword" has an impressive 50 x 50 grid with over 700 (mostly not cryptic) clues! I would not want to blog that. The supplement also included a bunch of True/False wordplay questions that amused me, so I'll share a few of them here. I'll add the Times' answers later today.
- "Sequoia" is the only common seven-letter word in English that contains all five vowels. True or False?
- While many words start with a silent P, like "psychology" and "pseudonym", there is no common English word that ends in a silent P. True or False?
- "Eat" is the only verb in English whose past tense is formed by moving the first letter to the end. True or False?
In the hints below most indicators are italicized and precise definitions are underlined. Clicking on the answer will be here buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus, possibly feline, illustration. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.
1a Hand over alcohol -- it'll help when leaving the EU (8)
PASSPORT: Hand over or give is followed by a fortified wine
5a Evil spirits disturbed Slough (6)
GHOULS: An anagram (disturbed) of SLOUGH
10a Euro result isn't fantastic -- embracing America is a risky game to play (7,8)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE: An anagram (fantastic) of EURO RESULT ISN'T containing (embracing) an abbreviation of American
11a Regularly acts in that place (7)
THEATRE: A nice all-in-one clue where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay. Alternate letters (regularly …) of ACTS inserted in a noun meaning "that place"
12a Went to bed really missing friend and bored (7)
RETIRED: REALLY from the clue has a friend or supporter deleted (missing) and is followed by a synonym of bored
13a Is losing first hair? Editor's anxious (8)
iS from the clue without its first letter (… losing first), a long braid of hair, and the abbreviation for editor
15a Be in power shower, by the sound of it (5)
REIGN: A homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of shower
18a More coarse fish almost about to return (5)
RUDER: A fish related to the roach loses his last letter (almost) and is followed by the reversal (to return) of a usual short word for about or concerning
20a One who gives talks about parking next to European driver (8)
OPERATOR: One who gives talks containing (about) the fusion of the single letters for parking and European
23a Red mark lethal? Not half! (7)
SCARLET: A mark from an old wound with half (not half) of LETHAL
25a England player perhaps cheers -- not out, skipper! (7)
CAPTAIN: Link together what an England player is an example of (perhaps), an informal synonym of cheers, and a short word for "not out". Click on the picture if its relevance isn't clear
26a Cook in US: I've no clue about the French type of cooking (8,7)
NOUVELLE CUISINE: An anagram (cook …) of IN US I'VE NO CLUE containing (about) "the" in French
27a Still following the Spanish team (6)
ELEVEN: Still or calm following "the" in Spanish
28a Most of a piece of cake eaten by poor farm workers (8)
PEASANTS: All but the last letter (most of) an adjective meaning "a piece of cake" contained in (eaten by) an informal word meaning poor or rubbish
1d Shame about a Republican's correspondence (6)
PARITY: Shame or disappointment containing (about) both A from the clue and the single letter for Republican
2d Thought son cut speed round the bend (9)
SUSPECTED: The genealogical abbreviation for son is followed by an anagram (round the bend) of CUT SPEED
3d Her pilot, up in the air, wanting love? This could help (7)
PHILTRE: I suspect that our setter painted themselves into a corner here, because the checking letters accommodate only this obscure (to me, at least) word defined in Chambers as a drink or spell to excite love. The setter has kindly clued it as an anagram (up in the air) of HER PIL
oT minus the usual letter for love (… wanting love), rendering it gettable from the wordplay once checkers are in place
4d Compass needle moving right to the start (5)
RANGE: A word meaning needle or annoy has the single letter for right moved to the start (moving right to the start)
6d Composer with sign of hesitation -- piece could be removed from here (7)
HOLSTER: Gustav the composer with a short word of hesitation
7d Golf club missing head, say (5)
UTTER: A type of golf club loses its first letter (… missing head)
8d Shooting pain's beginning in gardening activity (8)
SPEEDING: Insert the first letter (…'s beginning) of Pain in an activity that happens in the garden
9d Bird food (8)
PORRIDGE: A double definition, with the first being slang. In that context "bird" is short for "bird-lime", which is rhyming slang for "time"
14d Nip inside branch for business chat (4,4)
SHOP TALK: Nip or move smartly inside a branch or stem
16d Separation, to a lion, is upsetting (9)
ISOLATION: An anagram (upsetting) of TO A LION IS
17d Bearing gifts for the listener (8)
PRESENCE: An homophone (for the listener) of a synonym of gifts
19d Dull relative? That is very impolite, ultimately (7)
RELIEVE: Chain together the abbreviation for relative, the Latin abbreviation for "that is", the single letter for very, and the last letter of (… ultimately) impolitE
21d Makes a request of one eating fruit? On the contrary (7)
APPLIES: On the contrary instructs us to invert the preceding wordplay, so we find the answer as some fruit containing (eating) the Roman one
22d Starts where thespians might be (6)
ONSETS: The answer split (2,4) could be where thespians might be found
24d Occupy Vietnam? US endeavoured, to an extent (5)
AMUSE: The answer is hidden as part of (… to an extent) of the remainder of the clue
25d Hide status? No time (5)
CACHE: Delete the physics symbol for time (… no time) from a noun meaning status or distinction
Thanks to today’s setter for a very enjoyable solve. Ticked clues for me included 1a, 11a, 15a, 26a, 28a, and 14d, with the top spot going to the smooth all-in-one 11a. I also liked the Quickie pun. Which clues did you like best?
The Quick Crossword pun: END + SIN + TIERS = ENDS IN TEARS