Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29303
Hints and tips by pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Hola from the Vega Baja where spring appears to have sprung. After a couple of days in the UK last weekend when we had rain, hail, wind, snow on the Malvern hills and even some sunshine it’s nice to be back to normal.
I’m pretty sure today’s offering is a RayT as many of his hallmarks are here and nobody else can stretch a synonym the way he can. You can probably hear the squeals of some of the ones here. I found it a bit tricky in places, but not impossible, and it was quite enjoyable when some of the pennies dropped. I’m sure many of you will disagree one way or another.
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.
7a Lazy and idle not stirring around noon (8)
INDOLENT: Anagram (stirring) of IDLE NOT placed around N(oon). Always nice when the first across clue goes straight in.
10a Set out from port (4)
LEFT: Double definition. Set out as in went and the port side of a ship.
11a Forward perhaps without a booking (10)
UNRESERVED: Forward as in cheeky perhaps. The word also describes a restaurant table that isn’t booked.
12a Disgusting caressing skin of improper male (6)
VIRILE: Male here is an adjective. Take a word for disgusting or wicked and insert (caressing) IR (skin of ImpropeR). At one point I had the second of the I’s in place so was convinced the answer was ***IR*, d’oh!
14a Applauds sweetheart, accepting over large failure (8)
COLLAPSE: Take a word for applauds followed by E (swEet heart) and insert (accepting) an O(ver) and L(arge). This use of sweetheart really has become a RayT trademark.
15a Possibly Titian nude in sketch again (6)
REDRAW: The colour Titian represents followed by a word which can mean nude but more commonly means uncooked. Here’s a Titian nude imaginatively titled “Venus with organist and little dog”. . .
20a Pitch endless argument in a raised voice (8)
FALSETTO: Pitch as in pitch headlong but without its last letter (endless) followed by a phrase (3,2) meaning an argument. Took a while for the penny to drop on the pitch bit so this was my LOI.
22a Notices spots covering nose, oddly (6)
SENSES: Word meaning spots or notices placed around the odd letters from NoSe.
23a Discourage passing having taken exam (10)
DEMORALISE: Another word for passing or death placed around (having taken) crosswordland’s favourite spoken exam.
25a Old bag of bones (6)
OSTEAL: O(ld) followed by a word meaning bags as in appropriates or nicks.
26a In Soho line’s seen showing devotion (8)
HOLINESS: A lurker hiding in (in) SOHO LINES SEEN.
1d Painter I ordered to plaster home (8)
INTERIOR: Another lurker hiding in (to plaster?) the first three words. Personally I’m not sure about this clue. To plaster as a lurker indicator seems a bit strange and the answer doesn’t really mean home as far as I can see.
2d Hint about Labour’s leader produces shock (4)
JOLT: A hint or small amount placed around an L (Labour’s leader).
3d Shake one’s head seeing litter (6)
REFUSE: What you do if you shake your head is also litter as in rubbish.
4d Finish with detectives only claiming victory (8)
DISSOLVE: Finish a partnership perhaps. An abbreviation of a detective, don’t forget it’s plural, followed by a word meaning only or single with a V(ictory) inserted (claiming). Here’s a detective just for Kath . . .
5d Peculiarity of a train bore rambling (10)
ABERRATION: Anagram (rambling) of A TRAIN BORE.
8d Describe, describing hot old region (6)
THRACE: A word which can mean to describe as in describe the outline of something with an H(ot) inserted (describing).
13d Twisted spine is odd being laid up (10)
INDISPOSED: Anagram (twisted) of SPINE IS ODD.
16d Really perform with partner, about undressed initially (8)
ACTUALLY: To perform on stage perhaps and a partner or friend around a U (Undressed initially).
18d Apply tax cut by leading lady (8)
EXERCISE: Apply as in use. Take a word for a tax or duty and insert (cut by) the two letters for our leading lady, the Queen.
19d Second course could be cool (6)
MODISH: Cool as in fashionable is two letters for a second or short period of time followed by a course or meal.
21d Reluctant English supporting States (6)
AVERSE: E(nglish) after (supporting in a down clue) a word meaning states or says.
24d Let rip? (4)
RENT: Double definition.
Favourite for me was 17a with 22a and 3d on the podium.
Quick crossword pun: LOWER + SLAIN = LOIS LANE