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DT 29778

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29778

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 11th Sep 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A very nice and gentle Saturday puzzle from the setter. I feel highly pleased to present to you a full review of the same for your kind perusal and precious feedback.

Treadle as the answer to the clue of 13a took me to one of the lively days of my teens. I remember having indeed put my right foot on the treadle of a sewing machine and managed to successfully sew a new lungi that had been purchased for me for Eid, albeit guided by my uncle, a tailor by profession. The sewing of the lungi was my own wish and might have been a thing of beauty for me for that moment, but not a joy forever. I had never imagined in my wildest dreams of being a tailor. Although I was the first child from both maternal and paternal sides ever to go to school and my educational expenses were somehow borne by my maternal grandmother; that did not, however, last long and I was told to leave studies after my matriculation or secondary level and instead learn the art of tailoring for a livelihood, since my poor grandmother confided that she could no longer afford to pay for my higher studies. I had to reluctantly proceed to the workshop of a kind neighbour who had agreed to teach me the craft of cutting. But, as luck would have it, it was all over in four days. Not only exhausted, I also got bored and stubbornly decided that be whatever the circumstances, I would never leave my studies which were so dear to me for that occupation. I was already giving tuitions; so I added some more to earn more money, but it took me around two years to accumulate the required amount to take admission in a higher secondary morning school. I also worked in two private firms before getting a job in a nationalised bank through a competition. But education to me became a lifelong affair.

The applications of limewater, the answer to the clue of 14a, are tremendous. While some of them are known to most of us, I found out from the net that limewater is also used in the preparation of maize for corn tortillas and other culinary purposes in Mexico, Guatemala and some other Central American countries using a traditional process known as nixtamalization that unlocks proteins in the cornmeal, making it more nutritious for the consumer. The Aztec and Mayan civilisations developed this process using slaked lime or calcium hydroxide and ash or potassium hydroxide to create alkaline solutions, while the tribes of North America used naturally occurring sodium carbonate or ash. Eating maize-based foods without nixtamalization or supplementation with legumes or meat leads to a nutritional deficiency known as pellagra, a disease caused by a lack of the vitamin niacin.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Vivacity in dancing priest (6)
ESPRIT: An anagram (dancing) of PRIEST takes to the definition meaning the quality of being lively or witty

5a European elegance (6)
POLISH: Double definition of nouns; the first being a native of Poland (European) that is located in Central Europe and the second being sophistication or refinement in a person or thing

10a Sport in need of capital, yet to pay (5)
OWING: [R]OWING (sport) as the sport of racing boats without oars lacking (in need of) the head (capital) or the first letter

11a Most ill-advised, if nothing else (9)
LEASTWISE: Most poor in quality or deficient or LEAST (most ill) connected to having or showing experience, knowledge and good judgment or WISE (advised), leading to the definition signifying at least or leastways or a positive remark or comment about a generally negative situation

12a Contract, massive thing by the sound of it (7)
TIGHTEN: Anything gigantic or TITAN (massive thing) as a homophone heard by the audience (by the sound of it), arriving at the definition meaning to constrict or make or become shorter and tighter

13a Weave altered for loom worker? (7)
TREADLE: An anagram (weave) of ALTERED takes to the definition of a lever worked by the foot and imparting motion to a machine

14a Clear solution we later amended, I am to put in (9)
LIMEWATER: An anagram (amended) of WE LATER to have inside (put in) I’M (I am) as the contraction or short form of I am, leading to the definition of a clear and colourless solution of calcium hydroxide in water, which is alkaline and turns milky in the presence of carbon dioxide

17a Prompt author (5)
SWIFT: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning expeditious or done without delay that cryptically leads to the second being the name of the Anglo-Irish writer who is famous for his Gulliver’s Travels

18a Imagine cooler country on the borders (5)
FANCY: FAN (cooler) as an apparatus with rotating blades for cooling and ventilation and C[OUNTR]Y with the outermost letters (on the borders) take to the verbal definition meaning to picture or perceive in the mind

19a Small lamp bringing shop into vision (9)
SIDELIGHT: Taking (bringing) DELI (shop) as the short form of delicatessen or a shop selling prepared foods, especially cooked meats, pâtés and unusual or foreign foods into SIGHT (vision) gives the definition of a small light on either side of the front of a motor vehicle used in poor light when full headlights are not required

21a Conflict in road adjoining nightclub (7)
DISCORD: The abbreviation RD (road), used especially in addresses and on maps or signs, touching or following (adjoining) discotheque in its shortened version DISCO (nightclub) as a club where music for dancing is provided by records played by a disc jockey and often accompanied by special lighting effects, leading to the definition meaning hostility or disagreement between people

23a Support in reverse (7)
BACKING: Double definition; the first meaning to support at the back or support for an enterprise and the second referring to an act of moving a vehicle backwards by applying the reverse gear

25a Starting eating, article to consume (9)
LAUNCHING: LUNCHING (eating) to have inside or eat (consume) the indefinite article A (article), arriving at the definition of a present participle verb meaning initiating or setting in motion an activity or enterprise

26a One judge filled with wrath (5)
IRATE: A charade of the Roman numeral I (one) and RATE (judge) takes to the definition of an adjective denoting feeling or characterised by great anger

27a Oh gosh, weapon found in river (4,2)
DEAR ME: ARM (weapon) seen inside (found in) DEE (river) or the river that flows through parts of both Wales and England, taking to the definition of an expression of dismay or disappointment

28a Microscopic, quite a few ticks? (6)
MINUTE: Double definition; the first an adjective meaning tiny or extremely small that cryptically leads to the second being a noun meaning a period of time equal to sixty seconds that involve quite a few ticks or beats of a clock or watch


2d Change of mood in jazz-like music? (5)
SWING: Double definition; the first being a discernible change in opinion or attitude and the second being a style of jazz or dance music with a flowing but vigorous rhythm, as played in the 1930s and 1940s

3d Tory on leave immediately (5,4)
RIGHT AWAY: A member or supporter of the Conservative or Centre-RIGHT (Tory) Party in the United Kingdom and absent or AWAY (on leave) from duty with permission in a charade, leading to the definition meaning at once or instantly

4d Claw that’s attached locked on nicely, initially (5)
TALON: The initials or first letters (initially) of T[HAT’S] A[TTACHED] L[OCKED] O[N] N[ICELY] take to the definition of a claw or finger, especially one belonging to a bird of prey

5d Under the table, like the ceiling? (9)
PLASTERED: Double definition; the first being a slang term meaning intoxicated or hopelessly drunk that cryptically leads to the second providing the description of the ceiling that has been smoothened by the application of a fabric coated with an adhesive substance

6d Coffee is yet to arrive, having little time to drink (5)
LATTE: Behind the time or LATE (yet to arrive) having T (little time) to take inside (drink) leads to the definition of a type of coffee made with espresso and hot steamed milk

7d Chuck quaffing draught is performing a trick (9)
SWINDLING: Throw something casually or SLING (chuck) is drinking heartily (quaffing) or taking inside WIND (draught) as a current of cool air in a room or other confined space, leading to the definition meaning using deception to deprive someone of money or possessions

8d Human right breached by leader in theory (6)
MORTAL: Morally good or MORAL (right) broken in (breached) by the first letter or head (leader) in T[HEORY], taking to the definition of any human being who is bound to die at some future time

9d Bond money impressing me (6)
CEMENT: CENT (money) as a small sum of money implanting (impressing) ME from the clue, leading to the definition of a verb meaning to settle or establish firmly

15d Little negative thing, awful clue (9)
MINUSCULE: MINUS (negative thing) as a negative quantity or term is followed by an anagram (awful) of CLUE, giving the adjectival definition meaning tiny or extremely small

16d International desire for trial run (4,5)
TEST DRIVE: TEST (international) as the men’s international cricket with the longest match duration and urge or DRIVE (desire) in a charade, leading to the definition of an act of driving a motor vehicle that one is considering buying, in order to determine its quality or a test of a product prior to purchase or release

17d Second choice for variety (9)
SELECTION: The symbol S (second) as the basic unit of time and ELECTION (choice) in a charade, arriving at the definition of a range or group of things from which to select

18d Racket that has strings (6)
FIDDLE: Double definition; the first being an act of defrauding, cheating or falsifying and the second informally referring to a violin that has often steel strings

20d Faulty gadget identified (6)
TAGGED: An anagram (faulty) of GADGET leads to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning attached a label to

22d Happen to enter bloc, curious (5)
OCCUR: Part of or hidden inside (to enter) blOC CURious takes to the definition meaning to take place or come about

23d How might one stick things up? Crikey! (2,3)
BY GUM: The obvious answer is with the help of a sticky substance called gum or BY GUM, leading to the definition meaning an exclamation used to express surprise or determination and also serving as an example of a minced-oath and an euphemism for ‘By God!’

24d Sleep inside that thing, not suitable (5)
INAPT: NAP (sleep) or a short sleep is contained in (inside) the pronoun IT (that thing), taking to the definition meaning not appropriate in the circumstances or for a particular situation

Some of the clues that I liked in this puzzle were 11a, 12a, 13a, 19a, 21a, 23a, 27a, 5d, 7d, 15d, 18d and 24d, of which 13a was my favourite. Many thanks to the setter for the splendid and pretty straightforward puzzle and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a pleasant day.


5 comments on “DT 29778

  1. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable crossword and Rahmat Ali for an informative and interesting review.

  2. When I retired twenty years ago I resolved to master cryptic crosswords. Failed! Perhaps I just like reading Rahmat Ali’s interesting weekly review!

    1. Thank you so much, BrianB, for finding my review interesting that comes to me as a sort of big encouragement. Failure is the pillar of success and you should not lose heart. It’s never too late for crosswords and I wish you the very best.

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