Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29712 (Hints)
The Saturday Crossword Club
Hosted by Tilsit
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Greetings from Warrington, where we seem to be stuck in a weather cycle of neither one thing nor the other.
Today’s teaser is an enjoyable puzzle that is not too taxing and good fun to tackle and solve, although there are a couple of head-scratching moments. There are no obscure words used, and all in all, one of the most enjoyable back-page puzzles for a while. Please note that a couple of clues are different in the online and print versions – we have added explanations for each version.
My new helper Dexter the cat, has chosen to go and try and invite some of the garden birds for breakfast by sitting on the wall close to the bird table, but they are politely, or in the magpie’s case, rudely refusing the invite.
As usual, remember to play nicely and don’t reveal answers. The naughty step beckons for those who do, and there’s no ice cream for you.
Thanks to our mystery setter today, who’ll hopefully come out and identify themselves later on, though I do have a good idea who it might be….
If you are looking for more brain workouts, there’s a lovely Picaroon puzzle in the Guardian and Redshank, the Guardian setter Crucible. Picaroon is one of the younger setters who have made great advances and again produces thoroughly enjoyable puzzles. They can be found here:
Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.
A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions. Thank you to our setter for an enjoyable solve this morning!
Some hints follow:
1a Declined rubbish diamonds (7)
We start today with something that means rubbish, plus the abbreviation for the suit in cards.
5a Army securing large essentially superior case for weapon (7)
This may have you scratching your head. You are looking for an old word that means a host, think of the ‘heavenly ___’ in the Bible, and then add the middle two letters (essentially) of SUPERIOR..
9a Stick with cold response one’s covered up with lip (9)
Your definition here is stick. After the abbreviation for ‘cold’ is a word for an (involuntary) response and the abbreviation for one’s, all inside something meaning the lip of something.
11a Pave with stones and waterproofing material (5)
We have two definitions here quite nicely welded together. Your Big Red Book (other crossword-solving aids are available) will tell you that this word can mean to pave somewhere with small stones and also a type of gooey material that can make your shed roof waterproof.
13a Trembling, from mum: ‘I’m engaged?’ (9) / Trembling chant about winter in Paris (9) [Two different versions of the clue]
After a short way of saying ‘keep mum’ goes what you might say and have if you are engaged to be married. OR A word meaning chant goes around the word for ‘winter’ in French
18a Lost and found note with too much inside (9)
An alternative way of saying found as in to make something from scratch, with the abbreviation for note. Inside goes an abbreviation meaning way too much
20a Style of last bit of music Callas is performing (9) / Style of music in clubs Callas is performing (9) [Two different versions of the clue]
Probably my favourite clue today. A style of music is found by taking the last letter of music and adding an anagram (performing) of CALLAS IS.
Alternatively, after the abbreviation for Clubs, goes an anagram [performing] of CALLAS IS.
26a Unable to part, detective leaves unseen (9)
A word meaning unable to part needs to lose the abbreviation for a detective to give you something meaning can’t be seen.
28a Superlatively gloomy day ship set out (7)
The abbreviation for a day, plus a (biblical) ship and an anagram of the word SET.
1d Unusually precise instructions (7)
An anagram (unusually) of PRECISE.
2d Threatened strike that comes to nothing? (5) / On the radio, feeble pretence (5) [Two different versions of the clue]
A cryptic definition, I think, for a boxing term. OR A homophone for the word feeble can mean a pretence (in some sports).
3d Most insignificant website regularly supporting insult (9)
After a word for an insult goes the alternative letters of website.
6d Dishonesty mostly in government houses (5)
Amusingly topical hidden answer.
14d Version of totalitarianism LA star rejected as fake (9)
This is a slightly complex clue. You need to remove the letters of LA STAR from the word totalitarianism and rearrange the rest to give a word meaning a fake.
17d Tranquil, in the main? (7)
Two definitions, one slightly cryptic. The name of a very large sea is also something that means tranquil or calm.
22d Rising dust storm continued (5)
The name for an Australian dust storm is reversed.
24d Check on the French set of data (5)
The name for a restaurant check plus the name of an article in French.
Hope you found it as entertaining and enjoyable as I did. A good way to start the weekend.
The Crossword Club is now open.
Music today is from the subject of 20 across. Probably her most famous role.
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The Quick Crossword pun: when+slid+ale=Wensleydale