Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29862
A full review by Rahmat Ali
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This puzzle was published on 18th Dec 2021
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Greetings from Kolkata. A slightly tougher Saturday puzzle from Cephas that I still enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind perusal and noteworthy comment.
The ‘love-in-idleness’ flower, otherwise known as ‘pansy’ that appears in the clue of 19a, is so called because love is created while a person is in a state of repose or in a spell of laze. This reminded me of a story that I read during my glorious days of childhood in Joseph Day School when I was seven years old and studying in Class II. More nostalgic memories crept in. I reminisced having read the event of the love potion used by Puck, the fairy in a very abridged version of the play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ of Shakespeare in Radiant Reader which had a lot of very short stories for children. I could not recall having come across the names of Oberon or Titania in that book which I presumed must have been there, but I distinctly remembered, other than Puck and Bottom with the head of an ass, four names such as Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed appearing together therein. I also remembered Mrs. D. Crusoe, our class teacher, passing away due to illness the same year. Just five years back, while doing my master’s in English, I studied the ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in detail. In Act 2, Scene 1, Oberon confessed that he saw Cupid’s arrow falling upon a little western flower which used to be as white as milk. But it had turned purple from being wounded by the arrow of love and the maidens called it ‘love-in-idleness’. I now gathered from the net that pansy as the name for several species of violet is a type of large-flowered hybrid plant cultivated as a garden flower and is derived by hybridisation from several species in the section Melanium of the genus Viola, particularly the European Johnny-jump-up or Viola tricolour and a wildflower of Europe and western Asia called the ‘heart’s-ease’. The name ‘pansy’ was derived from the French word pensée meaning ‘thought’ and imported into English in the mid-15th century as the flower that symbolised remembrance and the name Viola was given to it. The name ‘love-in-idleness’ was meant to imply the image of a lover who had no work other than to be indulged in deep thought of his beloved. The name ‘heart’s-ease’ came from St. Euphrasia, whose name in Greek signified cheerfulness of mind. The name ‘humble violet’ was given to the woman who refused marriage and became a nun that was considered a pattern of humility.
From the net, I also learnt that ‘in spades’, the answer to the clue of 5d, is an idiom having a reference to the suit in a deck of cards. There are four suits in a modern deck of cards, namely, spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Spades is the highest ranking suit in the game of bridge, a popular card game in the 1920s. The expression ‘in spades’ meaning abundance, having more than enough, a large quantity or to a large degree came into use in the United States during this time.
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4a Air dozen composed in very dry area (4,4)
ARID ZONE: An anagram (composed) of AIR DOZEN takes to the ecological definition of a dry region of latitude 15°-30° North and South in which is rainfall is so low that only desert and semi-desert vegetation occur
8a Bishop takes turn to include current film (1-5)
B-MOVIE: B (bishop) as the abbreviation for bishop in chess notation receives (takes) MOVE (turn) as a player’s turn to change the position of a piece in chess to embrace (include) I (current) as the symbol for electric current in physics, leading to the definition of a movie of lesser importance
9a Scandal, C grade is awful (8)
DISGRACE: An anagram (awful) of C GRADE IS guides to the definition of a loss of reputation or respect as the result of a dishonourable action
10a Texts left one terribly bitter (8)
LIBRETTI: L (left) as the abbreviation for left and I (one) as the Roman numeral for one is followed by an anagram (terribly) of BITTER, arriving at the definition of the texts or books of words of an opera, oratorio or ballet
11a American destined to flourish (6)
ABOUND: A (American) as the abbreviation for American and BOUND (destined) as destined or on the way to have a specified experience in a charade, taking to the definition of a verb meaning to be prosperous or rich in something or to exist in great plenty
12a Like Don is extravagantly chivalrous (8)
QUIXOTIC: Double definition of adjectives; the first meaning like Don Quixote, the character of the romance of Miguel de Cervantes who goes on quests to prove himself worthy of being a knight that leads to the second meaning extravagantly romantic in ideals or chivalrous in action
13a Love writer with reserve that’s simple to understand (4,4)
OPEN BOOK: A charade of O (love) as the score for zero in tennis, PEN (writer) as an instrument used for writing and (with) BOOK (reserve) as to make a reservation in advance, leading to the definition of anything that can be interpreted without difficulty
16a Higher part of course not going with the flow? (8)
UPSTREAM: UP (higher) as on or at a higher position or level and STREAM (part of course) as any of the sections formed when students within a grade level are grouped as according to their abilities in a charade, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning further up the stream or going against the current
19a There is love in this for Pansy (8)
IDLENESS: [LOVE-IN-]IDLENESS as another name given to the pansy flower because love is created while the person is in a spell of laze or a state of repose leads to the definition of the missing third word of the three-worded synonym
21a Steeplechaser‘s sweater? (6)
JUMPER: Double definition-; the first being an athlete who competes in a race around a track featuring hurdles, barriers and water pits as jumps that leads to the second referring to a knitted upper garment called a pullover or a sweater, originally one loose at the waist
23a Like a slow-moving creature going like a bullet? (8)
SLUGGISH: SLUG (bullet) as a bullet, especially a lead one is cryptically constructed as an adjective meaning ‘like a bullet’ or ‘like a slug’, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning slow-moving, slothful or inactive like a SLUG (creature) as a heavy, lazy person or a tough-skinned terrestrial mollusc with a rudimentary shell or none at all
24a Runner at risk we removed (5-3)
WATER-SKI: AT RISK WE displaced or moved again (removed) as an anagram, taking to the definition of a water-planing ski that is a long narrow runner of wood or metal, fastened to the foot, used in the sport of being towed at speed on skis behind a motorboat
25a Sentry stopped short holding it, stringed instrument (6)
GUITAR: GUAR[D] (sentry) as a person or contingent stationed to keep watch with its last letter removed (stopped short) and keeping inside (holding) IT from the clue, leading to the definition of a fretted musical instrument, now six-stringed with a waisted body, like the lute, but flat-backed
26a Poet‘s game reportedly working (8)
TENNYSON: TENNIS (game) as a game in which two or four players strike a ball with rackets over a net stretched across a court serving as a homophone heard by the audience (reportedly) followed by ON (working) as functioning or operating, arriving at the definition of the name of the poet who wrote The Lady of Shalott and Ulysses and who was Poet Laureate during much of Victoria’s reign in the nineteenth century
1d Large volume of transport (7)
OMNIBUS: Double definition; the first being a volume containing several books previously published separately and the second referring to a horse-drawn vehicle for carrying a considered number of passengers of the general public
2d About to come back once in the open and try too hard (9)
OVEREXERT: A combination of RE (about) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘with reference to’ or ‘regarding’ to bounce back (come back) as a reversal and EX (once) as a prefix indicating former but still living is placed inside (in) OVERT (the open) as something that is out in the open, taking to the definition meaning engage in too much or too strenuous exertion
3d Order to go away and play one’s drum? (4,2)
BEAT IT: Double definition; the second being the response to how to play one’s drum that leads to the first being a grammatical mood that is imperative or expressive of command ‘Go away!’
4d Body having check on percentage paid (5,10)
AUDIT COMMISSION: AUDIT (check) as a check or examination is placed upon (on) COMMISSION (percentage paid) as a percentage paid to an agent, leading to the definition of the body responsible for the auditing of local authorities and National Health Service bodies in England and Wales that closed on 31st March 2015
5d Suitably to a great extent? (2,6)
IN SPADES: Suitably as an adverb meaning to a degree or extent that is acceptable or right in a particular situation or, cryptically, suit-ably or worthy of being a suit of the highest ranking takes to the definition of an idiom meaning to a very high degree
6d Bishop in animal park finds fox (5)
ZORRO: RR (bishop) as the abbreviation of Right Reverend who is a bishop or a retired archbishop is placed inside (in) ZOO (animal park) as an establishment which maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or gardens for display to the public, leading to the definition of a doglike fox found in the forests and savannah of South America; the term itself being the Spanish word for ‘fox’
7d Bottle party? Impossible! (2,3,2)
NO CAN DO: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of a phrase used in speech to say that one cannot do something that he or she has been asked or told to do from NO (Bottle party?) as a negative reply to the question as a whole and CAN (bottle) as a container and DO (party) as an informal term for a party or other social event in parts
14d Converted, having come into existence a second time (4-5)
BORN-AGAIN: BORN (having come into existence) as existing as a result of birth and AGAIN (a second time) as once more in a charade, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning newly converted to and very enthusiastic about an idea or cause or having received new spiritual life
15d Fed up, sorts out and thaws out (8)
DEFROSTS: FED is going upwards (up) as a reversal in the down clue followed by an anagram (out) of SORTS, taking to the definition to a verb meaning removes frost or ice from the frozen food before cooking
17d Down mature fruit first (7)
PLUMAGE: AGE (mature) as grow old or develop the characteristics of old age preceded by or following (first) PLUM (fruit) as an oval drupe or stone-fruit with juicy, sweet-tasting yellowish flesh and typically a purple skin when ripe, leading to the definition of a bird’s feathers collectively
18d Having a second drink in pub in an accustomed way (2,5)
AS USUAL: A from the clue is followed by S (second) as the abbreviation for second and USUAL (drink in pub) as the drink one habitually prefers in a pub, arriving at the definition of a phrase meaning in a way that often happens and is expected
20d A Parisian in theatre box finding room (6)
LOUNGE: UN (a Parisian) as the French term for the masculine indefinite article ‘a’, as spoken by the people in Paris is placed inside (in) LOGE (theatre box) as a private box or enclosure in a theatre or opera house, taking to the definition of a room in a private building for sitting or waiting, often providing refreshment facilities
22d Groom occasionally cries entering enclosure (5)
PREEN: The alternate letters (occasionally) of cRiEs are going inside (entering) PEN (enclosure) as a small enclosure, especially for animals, leading to the definition of a verb meaning to groom oneself especially with evident vanity or to devote effort to making oneself look attractive and then admire one’s appearance
Some of the clues of this pangrammatic puzzle that I liked were 10a, 11a, 12a, 21a, 23a, 26a, 2d, 3d, 6d, 7d, 15d, 17d and 18d, with 21a topping the list. Many thanks to Cephas for the enjoyable moments and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to writing more reviews on the Saturday puzzles next year. Have a lovely and joyous day. Finally, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas Eve followed by Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2022.
8 comments on “DT 29862”
Thank you for this. It is great to have someone explain these crosswords after the fact. I am sure that more people read this than make the effort to comment! It is how we all learn.
I was not a big fan of this crossword. I found the clue for 5d tenuous and the letters didn’t really help. 19a clue was only useful if you knew the answer as there was no part that led you to it by another route. At least with 4d you got enough letters to get the answer without ever having heard of the group. Overall, it had the feeling of being a more old-fashioned crossword with some lax clue writing. Oh well, each to their own and all that malarkey!
I wish everyone at, and associated with, this wonderful site a very merry Christmas and a truly happy new year (and beyond).
Thank you so much, Cypher, for liking my review and season’s greetings and I heartily reciprocate to you a very merry Christmas and a truly happy new year and beyond.
Thank you, Rahmat, Greetings to Kolkata from Yorkshire. Your blogs are always informative and entertaining.
That Violet caused much consternation on the hints blog and before I had all the checkers IOLANTHE fitted. A bit of light googling of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta revealed that her name is also derived from the Violet flower which confused me even more.
It was only on getting the last checker did the LOVE-IN-IDLENESS answer come to me.
Thanks again for your reviews and seasons greetings to all.
Thank you so much, John Bee, for liking my review and season’s greetings and I also wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
liked 7D ” Bottle party? Impossible! (2,3,2) “
Thank you so much for this Rahmat.
As something of a newbie to cryptic crosswords, this is just what I need. Someone to explain how the heck they reached that answer!
Thank you for that little insight into your childhood which I loved. One of the reasons I love doing crosswords is that it teaches me things and leads me to places I never knew.
I will trade you a memory of mine if I may.
My father died when I was very young and my mother engaged a kindly old man to come and help in the garden. I don’t think we could afford to pay him but we fed him and I think he enjoyed being part of the family. He was a big crossword fan and used to sit at the kitchen table every lunchtime reading out the clues. That is how I came to love crosswords. It’s one of the few things my mother will still sit and do with me. I have done the quick crosswords for as long as I can remember and have only ever been capable of staring wistfully at the cryptic puzzle which never made any sense.
Intermittently over the years I have made various attempts at learning how to do it but life has always taken over. Recently, however, I have started getting to grips with it, learning how clues are constructed and how to spot indicators. I always struggle with the same kind of clue though so your explanations are really really helpful. Thank you and please keep going.
Mr Green, the gardener ( I know!) will be long gone but I remember him every time I dash off a quick crossword which I can now do in minutes !
Greetings of the festive season to you in Kolkata.
Thank you so much, Lady G, for liking my review and greetings of the festive season to you too. It saddened me to read that your father passed away when you were still very young and your mother had to take care of the family all alone. In a way, you were lucky that there was Mr Green in your house who enjoyed solving crossword, otherwise you might not have given a thought to the idea of starting it or might have ignored even after noticing it in the newspaper. During my early teenage life, as our family could not afford to buy a newspaper, I used to visit a free library in the evening in a nearby locality to read it. Soon I got attracted to the quick crosswords. I would sometimes copy out the whole lot of it including the grid in a notebook, solve the clues after returning home and compare my answers with those appearing in the newspaper the next day. Later, I got a grasp of the cryptic crosswords through the answers that came on the next day as I was unable to solve those in the beginning. In the library, I would write down the answers and back home, I would try to figure out how they were arrived at. Thank you once again for going through my explanations so meticulously and wish you happy reading in the times ahead.
Thank you for all your explanations to the clues of this crossword Rahmat. I enjoyed this puzzle very much and your input made it an even better experience. I didn’t know the origin of love-in-idleness. This crossword only appeared in our newspaper on 14th March – almost 3 months late!
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