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ST 3131

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3131

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 24th Oct 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Solving this Sunday puzzle of Dada provided a lot of enjoyment inasmuch as writing thereafter a review that I now present to you for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

I wanted to know more about Real Madrid, the answer to the clue of 10a and so visited the net. I first heard the name of this club when I was in my twenties and sometimes I used to childishly wonder whether any other club by the name False Madrid also existed. Although I did not come across this imaginary name in any of the books that I went through at the British Council Library where I was a member, I did come to know, much later in life, when the internet had arrived, the real meaning of the word ‘real’ which was not English but Spanish meaning ‘royal’. I now learnt that ‘real’ as an honorific title was bestowed by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the royal crown in the emblem to Madrid Club de Fútbol that was founded in 1902. It thus came to be officially known as Real Madrid Club de Fútbol or Real Madrid CF, earning, with the passage of time, several nicknames, viz., Los Blancos (The Whites), Los Merengues (The Meringues), Los Vikingos (The Vikings) and La Casa Blanca (The White House). The club has traditionally worn a white home kit since inception, except for one season for an unusual reason when the shirts and shorts were not both white. That was in 1925, when travelling through England and noticing the elegant kit worn by the London-based Corinthian Football Club, both Patricio Escobal, the captain and Félix Quesada, the defender of Real Madrid, in an attempt to replicate the English team, decided that Real Madrid would wear black shorts. Ironically, Real Madrid suffered a massive setback at home itself at the hands of Barcelona with a 1-5 defeat in Madrid and 0-2 defeat in Catalonia. Blaming the black shorts for bringing bad luck, Pedro Parages, the President of the club, decided to return to an all-white kit that remained till date. Incidentally, despite the addition of the honorific title, the three initials of the club, MCF for Madrid Club de Fútbol as part of the logo have also remained till date.

Coaching as the answer to the clue of 12a, turned me nostalgic and I remember having started to coach students when I was myself twelve and studying in Class VII. I would now like to share some glorious moments. When I was in Class IX, one of my students, who was studying in Class V, was the younger brother of one of my classmates. One evening, when I was teaching him, I overheard his eldest brother, who studied in Class XI, telling his younger brother, my classmate, that since his tutor had not come to teach him that day, he was unable to solve problems on mathematics given as homework and was sure to be scolded the next day in class. My offer to help him came as a surprise to him, since I was myself two class junior. But my classmate gave me the green signal. I saw that the branch was geometry and the chapter named ‘Locus’ which I myself was unaware of. Nevertheless, I quickly went through the chapter, perfectly understood it and showed him how to solve the problems. The next time when I visited their home, I felt happy to see his happy face. When I was in my late teens, one of my students was a boy of Class IV. His rank jumped from 28th to 7th at his next term-end examinations. Both his parents wanted to thank me in their own ways. His father, who owned a particular-route number bus which plied on a specified route in the city, gifted me with a card which enabled me to enjoy free rides in any bus of that very route number for a period of two years! His mother invited me to dinner and it came to me as a surprise after reaching there to learn that she had cooked fourteen types of dishes, all by herself and for me alone. However, I could treat myself with only four of them. History repeated itself ten years later, when I was twenty nine and doing a Junior Certificate Course in Arabic in a language institute with classes in the evening. Thereat, noticing me in good command over the language in the class, one of my classmates, who was an air hostess and a vegetarian, sought my help. Since she was my classmate, I refused to take any remuneration from her but guided her well. Finally, I topped in the exam and she passed with flying colours, too. She invited me to a vegetarian lunch at home which I accepted. When I went there, I was really astonished to see the number of dishes. They were thirty-three! Smilingly, she told me that she had herself prepared all those dishes that were meant for me only. I complimented and thanked her for making a tremendous effort in such a vast preparation that was really amazing. But since I was not the person to enjoy a feast that was apparently meant for a gourmand, I relished myself as a gourmet with only four dishes.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a Drink: case of daiquiri in shade of pink (7)
CORDIAL: The edges or the outermost letters (case) of D[AIQUIR]I put inside (in) CORAL (shade of pink) as the pinkish-red colour of red coral, leading to the definition of a soft drink with a fruit base, usually diluted before being drunk

8a Ghastly horse circling vehicle (7)
MACABRE: MARE (horse) as the female of the horse embracing (circling) CAB (vehicle) as a motor car, usually fitted with a taximeter, licensed to carry passengers, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning gruesome and horrifying

10a Married lad drunk in European club (4,6)
REAL MADRID: An anagram (drunk) of MARRIED LAD leads to the definition of a Spanish professional football club based in Madrid

11a Book marked for my attention? (4)
TOME: Directed TO ME (marked for my attention) by way of a remark as on a business letter or an official note that cryptically leads to the definition of a large book or volume

12a A feature held by gear wheel for guidance (8)
COACHING: A combo of A from the clue and CHIN (feature) as the jutting part of the face below the mouth, the front of the lower jaw retained (held) by COG (gear wheel) as a wheel or bar with a series of projections on its edge, which transfers motion by engaging with projections on another wheel or bar, arriving at the definition of a process of giving a student extra teaching in a particular subject as a preparation for examination or a sportsperson the required training as a preparation for upcoming sporting event

14a Cut in magnitude, reportedly? (6)
INCISE: IN from the clue and SIZE (magnitude) as the greatness or extent of something in the form of a homophone heard by the audience (reportedly) take to the definition of a verb meaning to engrave or cut a mark or decoration into a surface

15a Where seed located, briefly (2,1,8)
IN A NUTSHELL: Two definitions. The first denoting inside a hard woody covering around the kernel of the nut or seed, the second is an idiomatic expression for the clue’s last word (briefly) meaning in short or in the fewest possible words

19a Intimate clothing is reborn, quite possibly? (6)
UNDIES: The definition meaning articles of underwear, especially those of a woman or girl is arrived at from UN-DIES or UNDIES (is reborn) as does not die or comes back to life where the prefix UN- represents ‘not’, with the second syllable being pronounced in a different way (quite possibly)

20a Divide pair: lose fake (8)
POLARISE: An anagram (fake) of PAIR LOSE leads to the definition of a verb meaning to split or cause to split into opposing groups or sets of opinions or beliefs

22a Quote position on the radio? (4)
CITE: A homophone heard by the audience (on the radio) of SITE (position) as a place where a particular event or activity is occurring or has occurred that takes to the definition of a verb meaning to mention as an example or to adduce as proof

23a Criminal activity: kind inspiring knave (10)
CARJACKING: CARING (kind) as compassionate or concerned professionally with social or medical welfare taking in (inspiring) JACK (knave) as a playing card ranking below a queen, leading to the definition of an action of hijacking a road vehicle and its occupants or violently stealing an occupied car

25a On-going stream (7)
CURRENT: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning belonging to the period of time now passing and the second a noun referring to a portion of water or air moving in a certain direction

26a Glue, perhaps, joining two animals? (7)
SEALANT: Combining (joining) SEAL and ANT (two animals) gives the definition of a cement-like substance, as an example, that helps in sealing a gap to make it airtight or watertight


1d Lack of satisfaction in bedroom, unfortunately (7)
BOREDOM: An anagram (unfortunately) of BEDROOM leads to the definition of a noun meaning the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest or content

2d Image of god doing nothing, by the sound of it? (4)
IDOL: Avoiding work, lazy or IDLE (doing nothing) as a homophone heard by the audience (by the sound of it) takes to the definition of an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship

3d Middle Eastern country importing endless tat from the south? (6)
QATARI: IRAQ (country) as a West-Asian or Middle-Eastern country bringing in (importing) TA[T] without its last letter (endless) with both going upwards or northwards (from the south) as a reversal in the down clue; arriving at the definition of a native or inhabitant of Qatar, another West-Asian or Middle-Eastern country

4d Jam in snack (8)
SANDWICH: Double definition; the first meaning to force someone or something into a very narrow space between two other people or things and the second referring to an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with a filling between them, eaten as a light meal or a snack

5d Fussy point (10)
PARTICULAR: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning fastidious in taste or minutely attentive and careful and the second a noun meaning a single item or detail in an extended discussion, list or text

6d Writing includes odd parts of main contract (7)
PROMISE: PROSE (writing) as a written language in its ordinary form rather than in the form of poetry contains (includes) the odd letters (odd parts) of M[A]I[N], taking to the definition of an undertaking to do or keep from doing something

9d Live wire possible cause of ignition? (6,5)
BRIGHT SPARK: Double definition; a small fierce fiery particle from a spark-ignition engine or an internal combustion engine that could be the probable reason for the process of something starting to burn (second definition) serves as a phrase meaning a clever or witty person (first definition)

13d Measure supposed healer in heart (10)
CENTIMETRE: TIME (supposed healer) believed to be a great healer lessening emotional pain in intensity is placed inside (in) CENTRE (heart) as the central or innermost part of something, arriving at the definition of a metric unit of length or a measure equal to one hundredth of a metre

16d Not a soul has kept dry in front of aircraft (4,4)
NOSE CONE: NO ONE (not a soul) or not a single person has inside (kept) SEC (dry) or dry as said of wine, leading to the definition of the cone-shaped nose of a rocket or aircraft

17d Very old article, quite flexible (7)
ANTIQUE: AN (article) as an indefinite article is followed by an anagram (flexible) of QUITE, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning of a good old age or belonging to ancient times

18d A crime, in essence, originally daft (7)
ASININE: A combo of A from the clue, SIN (crime) as a moral offence, IN from the clue and the original or first letter (originally) of E[SSENCE] leads to the definition of an adjective meaning silly, idiotic or foolish

21d Lazybones, one goes on foot (6)
LOAFER: Double definition; the first being the definition of a person who avoids work and spends their time idly and the second referring to a leather shoe shaped like a moccasin, with a flat heel

24d Vegetable in stock, a leek (4)
KALE: Part of or hidden inside stocK A LEek reveals the definition of a hardy cabbage of a variety which produces erect stems with open curled leaves

There were several clues that were worth of mention, such as 8a, 11a, 12a, 14a, 15a, 19a, 23a, 3d, 4d, 9d, 13d and 16d, of which my favourite was 3d. Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Would love to be here again. Have a pleasant day.

9 comments on “ST 3131

  1. Many thanks Rahmat Ali, another fabulous review – very much appreciated. 3d was my favourite too. (Old joke: Salvador Dali’s favourite football team?)

  2. I loved the puzzle and love your review even more. Real Madrid’s kit and performance was an inspiration to “my” football team as well.

    In 1961 Leeds changed their kit to white shirts, shorts and socks – Real Madrid was the model. Since 1934, their kit had been blue and yellow, and before that white and blue. Not long after changing to the Whites they secured promotion to the First Division.
    Thanks to the setter and Rahmat Ali.

  3. Once again I take my hat off to you for the comprehensive review. I really struggled with this one and had to concede defeat. Having said that, I laughed out loud at 19A.
    Thanks to you and the setter. I look forward to your next outing

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