DT 29730 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29730

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29730

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 17th Jul 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A really straightforward yet entertaining Saturday puzzle from the setter. I now feel happy to present to you a full review of it for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

Pitta as the answer to 7d reminded me our own ‘pitha’ here in West Bengal, as also in other Indian states like Assam and Tripura and the nation Bangladesh. ‘Pitha’ is a traditional winter dish of steamed rice cake made out of the freshly ground rice flour with filling of coconut and date molasses. There is also an expression in Bengali, “Porer badir pithay, khete lage mithay” meaning that the ‘pitha’ prepared in the household of others or neighbours, tastes sweeter. And why so? The obvious reason is that they come for free. Of course, there are also hot ‘pithas’ with filling of meat or vegetables made throughout the year, though less frequently and in lesser quantities, for they are not as popular as the sweet ones.

The pH scale, as in chemistry, was devised by the Danish chemist, Søren Peder Lauritz Sørensen at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1909. It is a logarithmic scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. The H in pH stands for hydrogen. Although the Carlsberg Foundation itself says that pH means ‘power of hydrogen’, the German chemists claim it stands for ‘potenz’, the word for power in German, whereas the French insist it’s ‘puissance’, their word for power. I got to know the claims of the German and the French from the net after having a glimpse of ‘power’ as part of the clue of 16d and the urge to know more about its symbol, which, in physics, represents Power expressed in Watts, or P=W/t, where W stands for the amount of work done or energy transferred per unit time.

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Across

1a    Uncertain, decide about a time to commit (8)
DEDICATE: An anagram (uncertain) of DECIDE around (about) a combo of A from the clue and the symbol T (time)

5a    Line on map runs into field (6)
TROPIC: R (runs) as the abbreviation for runs scored in cricket is inserted into (into) TOPIC (field), leading to the definition of parallel of latitude 23°26′ north or south of the equator

10a    Game where ultimate risk taken by spinner? (7,8)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE: A cryptic way of arriving at a lethal game of chance, supposedly originated in Russia, or rather an act of bravado (game) in which (where) a player loads a revolver with only one bullet and his or her final (ultimate) fate (risk) is decided (taken) by the revolver’s cylinder (spinner), similar to a roulette wheel, which he or she spins before firing at his or her own head, leading the revolver, if its loaded chamber happens to align with the barrel, to seriously or fatally injure the player in the process

11a    Beautiful thing that’s on the table at Christmas (7)
CRACKER: Double definition; the first being something exceptionally good or fine of its type and the second being a festive table decoration that make a snapping sound when pulled open and often contain a small gift and a motto

12a    Blade caused girl to fetch plaster? (7)
CUTLASS: A little injury or CUT (caused to fetch plaster) for the LASS (girl) of Northern England or Scotland leads to the definition of a short, broad sword, with one cutting edge, formerly used in the navy

13a    Father remaining hoarse ultimately — here’s a lozenge! (8)
PASTILLE: A charade of a childish or familiar word PA (father), lying or being STILL (remaining) and the last letter (ultimately) of [H][O][A][R][S]E, leading to the definition of a small and often medicated sweet

15a    Mark stores record in warehouse (5)
DEPOT: DOT (mark) keeps inside (stores) an extended play record or EP (record)

18a    Loudly sand wood (5)
BEECH: A homophone (loudly) of BEACH (sand) as heard by the audience, leading to the definition of a hard, pale fine-grained timber of the large tree of the same name

20a    People after ground spice, for example (8)
SPECIMEN: MEN (people) follows or comes after (after) an anagram (ground) of SPICE

23a    Singer nailing musical’s opening, quiver (7)
TREMBLE: TREBLE (singer) with a high-pitched voice putting inside (nailing) the first letter (opening) of M[U][S][I][C][A][L]

25a    Basket girl found in seaside attraction (7)
PANNIER: A girl named ANN (girl) seen inside (found in) a name for a platform on pillars projecting from the shore into the sea, typically incorporating entertainment arcades and places to eat or PIER (seaside attraction), leading to the definition of a container, especially one of a pair that hang on either side of a bicycle or a motorcycle or animal such as a horse or a donkey

26a    Theatre work possibly faced? (8,7)
COSMETIC SURGERY: A cryptic way of arriving at a surgical treatment carried out in an operating theatre, conceivably involving a face or appearance of a person, with reasons for improvement including restoration of damaged areas of skins, removal of wrinkles or blemishes etc.

27a    Join up squiggly lines, straight finally (6)
ENLIST: An anagram (squiggly) of LINES is followed by the last letter (finally) of [S][T][R][A][I][G][H]T

28a    Hunter parted, or set off (8)
PREDATOR: An anagram (set off) of PARTED OR, leading to the definition of an animal that naturally preys on others or a person who ruthlessly exploits others

Down

1d    Show filth around middle of deck (6)
DIRECT: DIRT (filth) covering (around) the inner letters (middle) of [D]EC[K]

2d    Different fruit, one box collected (9)
DISPARATE: A sweet, dark brown oval fruit, usually eaten dried or DATE (fruit) having a combo of the Roman numeral I (one) and SPAR (box) inside (collected)

3d    A game, chirpy little thing? (7)
CRICKET: Double definition; the first the name of a sport that originated in South East England in the mid-16th century and basically involves hitting a ball with a hand-held implement called bat and the second the name of a jumping Orthopteran insect, the male of which makes a chirping sound by rubbing its forewing together

4d    Caught swimmer, one with a good ear? (5)
TUNER: A homophone (caught) as heard by the audience for the fish TUNA (swimmer), leading to the definition of a person who, seconded by his accurate sense of hearing, tunes musical instruments, covering several aspects of music such as melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, music production, audio quality, effects etc.

6d    In crimson, dead similar (7)
RELATED: Inside (in) RED (crimson) is LATE (dead)

7d    Bread mine, thanks! (5)
PITTA: A charade of PIT (mine) and the colloquial TA (thanks), leading to the definition of a flat, hollow, slightly leavened bread which can be split open to hold a filling

8d    Oily liquid worryingly rose inside bird’s shelter (8)
CREOSOTE: An anagram (worryingly) of ROSE is contained in (inside) COTE (bird’s shelter), leading to the definition obtained by destructive distillation of wood-tar and used as an antiseptic

9d    Real party island (8)
CONCRETE: A charade of Conservative in its abbreviated form CON (party) followed by the Grecian CRETE (island)

14d    Bug is real, it spreads (8)
LISTERIA: An anagram (spreads) of IS REAL IT, leading to the definition of a type of bacterium which infects humans and other warm-blooded animals through contaminated food

16d    Leader in power, citizen (9)
PRESIDENT: A charade involving the symbol P (power) and RESIDENT (citizen)

17d    Difficulty undoing case with bolt (8)
OBSTACLE: An anagram (undoing) of CASE and (with) BOLT

19d    That man prepares book (7)
HEBREWS: The pronoun HE (that man) makes a drink like tea or coffee by soaking, boiling and fermentation or BREWS (prepares), leading to the definition of one of the books of the New Testament

21d    Ridge on rocks overlooked (7)
IGNORED: An anagram (rocks) of RIDGE ON

22d    Act of devotion, through catching fish (6)
PRAYER: The Latin preposition PER (through) taking inside (catching) a flat-bodied elasmobranch fish RAY (fish)

24d    Some applause, as eloquent stand taken by artist (5)
EASEL: Hidden inside or part of (some) applausE AS ELoquent, arriving at the definition of a wooden frame for holding an artist’s work while it is being painted or drawn

25d    Model puzzle (5)
POSER: Double definition; the first being a person employed to pose for an artist, photographer or sculptor and the second being a difficult or perplexing question or problem

The clues that I liked were 11a, 12a, 18a, 25a, 26a, 2d, 4d, 7d, 8d, 19d and 22d, but 10a was the topper. Many thanks to the setter for a really enjoyable puzzle and to BD again for the encouragement. Would love to be here again. Have a nice day.


 

9 comments on “DT 29730
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  1. Worth expressing appreciation for a very comprehensive review. None of us novices could possibly complain that we were uncertain about parsing any answers after a review of this quality. A pity that the puzzle itself scarcely needed it this week although I agree it was entertaining.

    1. Thank you so much, Gordon Mabb, for your words of encouragement on the review and welcome to the blog.

  2. It was interesting reading your comments about pH…..one of my bugbears is hearing people say the oceans are becoming more acidic. This is just plan wrong as the pH of the ocean is still 8+, so alkaline. They may be getting less alkaline but definitely not acidic! Rant over!
    Thanks for a good review of an enjoyable crossword.

  3. 2*/4*….
    liked 10A ” Game where ultimate risk taken by spinner? (7,8)”…..
    also liked the pictures in the review.

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