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DT 29718

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29718

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 3rd July 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A very straightforward Saturday puzzle from the setter yet with good fun. I now present to you a full review on it for your kind perusal and feedback.

Glancing at the clue of and the answer to 14a, several Italian terms came to my mind. The soprano is the female singer with the highest vocal line. Next to her is him – the alto – with the second-highest vocal line. A contralto is a female alto with a lower voice. A castrato was a male singer, castrated before puberty so as to be able to retain a soprano voice; the practice of castration having made illegal after the unification of Italy in 1861. A falsetto is a vocal range or register immediately above the modal voice range. Looking at the net for such ‘nomi italiani’, I came across some more terms. Between soprano and alto is the mezzo-soprano. A soprano specialised in complex, ornamented melody is the coloratura soprano while a soprano whose voice can be pushed to a more forceful weight is the spinto soprano and a soprano who has extended her upper range beyond the usual range of a soprano is the soprano sfogato. The lower vocal line is the basso, while a very deep bass voice is the basso profondo.

Dilip Kumar, my most favourite actor of Bollywood, is no more, but I feel proud to state that my pet name, incidentally, came from his name. Here is how. While those still in touch from among my school classmates and colleagues of the bank where I have worked for around four decades call me Rahmat, several thousands of neighbours, besides friends and elder relatives including my mother, call me Dilip. I heard from my elders that in 1960, the very first year of my birth, I suffered from typhoid and the attending physician, Dr. Rebati Ranjan Bhaumick, asked my maternal uncle what my name was. To his reply that no name had yet been given, he smilingly told my uncle that Dilip Kumar was the name on everyone’s lips, so let’s call him Dilip. And so I became Dilip forever. That year, Karim Asif’s magnum opus, ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, in which Dilip Kumar played the son to Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, was released. It broke box office records in India and became the highest-grossing Indian film of all time, a distinction it held for more than a decade. Dilip Kumar holds the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian actor. He got the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1998 and the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award from the Republic of India in 2015. Sadly, Dilip Kumar refused the role of Sherif Ali offered to him for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ that overnight made Omar Sharif a star. Even afterwards, he acknowledged, in his autobiography, that Omar Sharif had played the role far better than he himself could have. He was also being considered for a leading role against Elizabeth Taylor in a film called ‘Taj Mahal’ that David Lean was working on, but the project was cancelled. The tragedy king, who was also called the method actor and many even regarded him as the ‘Kohinoor of India’, left for his heavenly abode two days ago at the age of 98. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. I pray to the Almighty to bestow upon him a place in Jannat-ul-Firdaus. Watch him as Prince Salim in a pensive-turned-happy mood in a spectacular sequence in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, as his beloved Anarkali dances and boldly sings a song that finally infuriates the emperor.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    In speculation, judge lacking (6)
BEREFT: Inside (in) BET (speculation) is REF (judge), arriving at the adjectival definition meaning deprived of or wanting

4a    Sorcerers, security against conflict? (8)
WARLOCKS: Devices providing safety or LOCKS (security) is placed next to (against) WAR (conflict), leading to the definition of persons who practise witchcraft

10a    State of ruin in Paris dire, unfortunately (9)
DISREPAIR: An anagram (unfortunately) of PARIS DIRE

11a    Very excited, reader so expressively starts poem (5)
VERSE: The initial letters (starts) of Very Excited Reader So Expressively

12a    Wrapping that woman’s mother, edges of towel warming (7)
THERMAL: Covering (wrapping) HER (that woman’s) and the contracted form MA (mother) with the outermost letters (edges) of T[O][W][E]L

13a    Rescue of vessel, vase gal damaged (7)
SALVAGE: An anagram (damaged) of VASE GAL

14a    Key thus backfiring for singers (5)
ALTOS: A charade of a key on a keyboard ALT (key) and SO (thus) in a reverse order (backfiring), leading to the definition of male singers who sing in a special way called falsetto and who sing lower than sopranos or the classical female singers who are having the highest vocal range of all voice types

15a    Fine electricity supplier, possibly? That’s pointless (8)
FUTILITY: A charade of the abbreviation F (fine) as appearing on lead pencils and an organisation supplying the community with electricity, gas, water or sewerage commonly known as UTILITY (electric supplier, possibly)

18a    Gloss covering first of bandages on part of leg (8)
SHINBONE: SHINE (gloss) embracing (covering) the first letter (first) of B[A][N][D][A][G][E][S] and ON from the clue, leading to the definition of the larger, stronger and frontal anterior of the two bones in the leg below the knee in vertebrates, also called shankbone but most commonly known as tibia, connecting the knee with the ankle bones, the other being the fibula, behind and to the outside of the tibia

20a    Stray into outskirts of Killarney in Irish county (5)
KERRY: To wander from the right way as an archaic term or ERR (stray) is put inside (into) the outskirts or the outermost letters of K[I][L][L][A][R][N][E]Y

23a    Test pulse regularly, for instance (7)
EXAMPLE: Examination in its shorter form EXAM (test) and the odd letters (regularly) of P[U]L[S]E

25a    Apes shortly scoffing last of ripe fruit (7)
ORANGES: Orang-utans or orang-outangs in their shorter form ORANGS (apes) devouring (scoffing) the last letter (last) of [R][I][P]E

26a    Greek character featuring in Goethe tale (5)
THETA: Hidden inside or part of (featuring in) goeTHE TAle

27a    Strange alien, right? Not I! (9)
EARTHLING: An anagram (strange) of ALIEN RIGHT but without any one I (not I) manifests the involvement of the whole clue not only as the wordplay, but also as the definition of a term used by aliens to refer to an inhabitant of the earth and not used by the setter or any other human to refer to any other being alien to the inhabitants of the earth

28a    One or two girls? That should add flavour (8)
ROSEMARY: Double definition; the second definition of an evergreen aromatic shrub of the mint family, its narrow leaves being used as a culinary herb, in perfumery and as an emblem of remembrance, leads us to the first definition of either one girl by the name ROSEMARY or two girls by the names ROSE and MARY

29a    Watching international cricket, declare (6)
ATTEST: Being at as a shorter expression AT (watching) a test match in its short form TEST (international cricket) in a charade


1d    County has wrong date for item in private chamber (8)
BEDSTEAD: Bedfordshire in its abbreviated form BEDS (county) alongwith (has) the anagram (wrong) of DATE, leading to the definition of the framework of a bed on which the mattress and bedclothes are placed

2d    Admire muscle in repose (7)
RESPECT: A pectoral muscle colloquially referred to as PEC (muscle) placed inside (in) REST (repose) in a charade

3d    Forenames rearranged, one’s in order (9)
FREEMASON: An anagram created (rearranged) of FORENAMES, leading to the definition of a member of an international order established for mutual help and fellowship, which holds elaborate secret ceremonies

5d    Comprehensive, where queen might go? (6,3,5)
ACROSS THE BOARD: Double definition; the first one as an adjective meaning including or dealing with all elements or aspects of something and cryptically leading to the second one referring to the move of any number of squares vertically, horizontally or diagonally across the chess board by the queen who is the most powerful piece in the game

6d    Storey that’s reached from above or below? (5)
LEVEL: A cryptic way of defining a storey of a building with its palindromic feature in a down clue

7d    Baking ingredient present, it’s said (7)
CURRANT: Current (present) serving as homophone (it’s said) to the definition meaning a small dried fruit made from a small seedless variety of grape originally grown in the eastern Mediterranean region and much used in buns and other baked goods

8d    Hit the roofstop when you do that! (3,3)
SEE RED: Double definition; the first meaning to suddenly become very angry or be seized with or express violent anger and cryptically leading to the second telling you to stop your car when you see the traffic light switching over to red

9d    Rule of law I care about damaged listener (11,3)
CAULIFLOWER EAR: An anagram (about) of RULE OF LAW I CARE, leading to the definition of an ear permanently swollen and misshapen by injury, especially from boxing, but it’s also common among wrestlers and martial artists

16d    Enjoy a drink of whisky? Willingly! (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT: Double definition; the second meaning eagerly, enthusiastically or without hesitation and cryptically leading to the first definition that synonymously involves a charade of LIKE (enjoy), A from the clue and a small drink of spirits or SHOT (drink of whisky)

17d    Sense I place in hearing? (8)
EYESIGHT: The two words EYE and SIGHT serving as homophones I from the clue and SITE (place) respectively, as heard by the audience (in hearing)

19d    Gosh! Sky! (7)
HEAVENS: Double definition; the first is used to express surprise or give emphasis and the second refers to the firmament, appearing as a great arch or vault in which the sun, moon, stars and planets are situated

21d    I’m great, playing old American music (7)
RAGTIME: An anagram (playing) of I’M GREAT, arriving at the definition of a musical style that originated among the African-American communities in St. Louis and few other cities of the United States, enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1919 and was celebrated for its syncopated or ragged rhythm

22d    Risk taker a cut above (6)
BETTER: Double definition; the first referring to a person who takes risks by betting, especially on a regular basis and the second meaning one step ahead of or noticeably superior to

24d    Song sung initially in tree (5)
PSALM: The first or initial letter (initially) of S[U][N][G] put inside (in) PALM (tree), arriving at the definition of a devotional or sacred song or hymn in Christian and Jewish worship

14a, 15a, 18a, 23a, 27a, 28a, 7d, 8d, 9d, 16d, 17d, 19d and 24d were among the clues that I liked, but 5d was the most favourite. Thanks once again to the setter for an enjoyable and entertaining puzzle and to BD for the encouragement. Hope to be here again. Have a wonderful day.


6 comments on “DT 29718

  1. Greetings from Dorking, England Rahmat (or should I address you as Ali?)
    This puzzle was solved, dare I say, disappointingly quickly
    Many thanks to our setter and to Rahmat for the review
    Wishing you a wonderful day too, thank you

    1. Thank you for your greetings and good wishes as also for words of encouragement on the review, LetterboxRoy. You can call me Rahmat, like you did in your comment in review of ST 3105.

  2. Your frequent description of Prize Crosswords as “ straightforward “ may perhaps be an overestimate of your reader’s abilities! For lesser mortals like me who do not always manage to complete the Prize Crossword – thank you for the implied compliment. It is always a pleasure to read your reviews. They have an air of old world courtesy sadly lacking from most journalistic offerings here in the UK. Thank you indeed.

    1. Welcome to the blog Iain

      It’s difficult when a crossword, like today’s (DT 29724), appears to be straightforward to appreciate that others may not find it that way. Stick with us and you should improve your solving ability.

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