Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29885
A full review by Rahmat Ali
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This puzzle was published on 15th Jan 2022
BD Rating – Difficulty **– Enjoyment ****
Greetings from Kolkata. Once again, a friendly and straightforward Saturday puzzle from Cephas that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind reading and important feedback.
‘Primrose path’ as the answer to the clue of 26a reminded me of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. The coinage of the phrase was of Shakespeare himself. Primrose path is ironically a flowery path that appears from the surface, but is actually a metaphor with reference to the road to hell. Shakespeare was steeped in the knowledge of both the Old and New Testaments and might have extracted the idea from the Gospel of Matthew 7:13 that says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” In ‘Hamlet’, Shakespeare speaks of ‘the primrose path of dalliance’ through Ophelia who warns her brother, Laertes not to take the easy and attractive path of sin to hell, rather than the difficult and arduous path of righteousness to heaven. Again, with the same meaning in mind, Shakespeare has used the phrase ‘the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire’ in ‘Macbeth’.
I gained enlightenment through the net about the etymology of ‘liquorice’ that formed part of the wordplay to the clue of 1d. The word ‘liquorice’ or ‘licorice’ via Anglo-French lycorys was derived from late Latin liquiritia and means ‘sweet root’. The English common name is spelt ‘liquorice’ in most of the Commonwealth and ‘licorice’ in the United States.
I also learnt that the word ‘hazel’ as part of the wordplay to the clue of 3d, has come from the Old English word ‘hæsel’. It was originally used as a habitational surname for people who lived by a hazel tree, dating back to the 12th century, but is now primarily a female name.
I further learnt that the ‘New English Bible’, the answer to the clue of 4d, was further revised as the ‘Revised English Bible’ in 1989.
‘Cheese’ as the answer to the clue of 20d was known to me since my teenage days but now the word made me realise the importance of that ‘ee’ sound in its long syllable that necessarily takes the mouth to the smile-like shape and so I became inquisitive to learn how photographers of other countries, if also into the habit of instructing their subjects before taking their shots, proceeded to do so. I found out to my satisfaction that barring a few, the photographers of most countries of the world have words in their languages that have the same magical ‘ee’ sound in the final syllable to produce the desired impact. In Argentina and Colombia, the instructed word to the subjects is ‘Whisky’, while in most of the Latin American countries, it is Diga whisky, the Spanish to ‘Say whisky’ and in Brazil, Digam X, the Portuguese translation of ‘Say X’ and where the letter X is pronounced as ‘eeks’. For the Bulgarians, the word is Zele meaning ‘Cabbage’ and pronounced zeyley. The French people have to say Ouistiti pronounced oweestiti meaning ‘Marmoset’, the Italians Dì cheese meaning ‘Say cheese’ and for the Iranians, the word is Saeeb meaning ‘Apple’ in Persian. For the Chinese, the word is Qiezzi that is written in kanji script and pronounced somewhat like chietzee very akin to the pronunciation of ‘cheese’, though meaning ‘Brinjal’ and for the Koreans, the name of a vegetable dish called Kimchi is the word that is written in hangeul script and pronounced as kimchhee. As the Japanese cannot pronounce any consonant without the addition of any vowel to it, with the exception the consonant ‘n’ if it happens to appear at the end of a word, they use the English word ‘cheese’, but pronounce and write it as Cheezu in katakana script, the script reserved by the Japanese for writing only the foreign words, though only the first syllable is long and stressed and the second is soft and short. In our country, besides ‘Say cheese’, the Hindi word Paneer, of course a kind of cheese, are, inter alia, the most favoured one. And what’s my choice as both a photographer and a subject? Well, of course, it’s ‘Say cheese’.
Finally, I found out that ‘Rom’, the answer to part of the wordplay to the clue of 22d, had his ancestors living in our very own country in the north-western regions as the net enlightened and surprised me with the information that the Romani as a people originated from the states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab of modern-day India.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
2a Prolonged drama, it’s an old record (8,4)
EXTENDED PLAY: A charade of EXTENDED (prolonged) as lasting longer than is usual or expected and PLAY (drama) as a dramatic performance for the stage or to be broadcast leads to the definition of a gramophone record that plays for longer than most singles and famously known by its abbreviated version EP
8a Female in north? (4)
FINN: A combo of F (female) as the abbreviation for female, IN from the clue and N (north) as the compass point corresponding to the direction indicating the north as a whole adding up to the definition of a female member among a group of peoples living in Finland that is in northern Europe
9a Talcum powder shaken, team withdrawing in international competition (5,3)
WORLD CUP: From an anagram (shaken) of [TA]LCU[M] POWD[E]R giving [TEAM] WORLD CUP, TEAM is coming out (withdrawing), giving the definition of a competition between teams from several countries in a sport, in particular an international soccer held every four years in which the participating teams usually having qualified from preliminary round to determine a world champion in the finals
10a Right during month to have soup (8)
JULIENNE: LIEN (right) as a right to retain possession of another’s property until the owner pays a debt or fulfils a contract is placed inside (during) JUNE (month) as the sixth month of the year, taking to the definition of a clear soup with shredded vegetables
11a Agent going round ebbing river fast (6)
SPEEDY: SPY (agent) as a secret agent employed to watch others or to collect information, especially of a military nature is embracing (going round) DEE (river) as the river flowing through parts of Wales and England retreating (ebbing) as a reversal in the across clue, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning swift or moving quickly
12a Permission to begin, motorists go on it (5,5)
GREEN LIGHT: Double definition; the first being the permission to go ahead with any project or any hint of consent or encouragement and the second referring to a green traffic light as a signal indicating that waiting motorists and other drivers may proceed with their vehicles
13a Deal with bout of illness (6)
ATTACK: Double definitions; the first being a verb meaning to begin to deal with a task or problem in a determined and vigorous way and the second a noun referring to a sudden onset or episode of illness
16a After Friday hear he will leave monk (5)
FRIAR: After FRI (Friday) as the abbreviation of Friday, [HE]AR is placed as HE will go away (leave), arriving at the definition of a member of a religious community of men living together under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
17a Range of knowledge boy had back in town in north-west (6)
KENDAL: KEN (range of knowledge) as one’s range of knowledge, sight or understanding LAD (boy) as a young man had directed in a reverse course (back) as a reversal in the across clue, taking to the definition of a town in South Lakeland district of Cumbria in north-west of England
18a Hatred of each reborn eccentric (10)
ABHORRENCE: An anagram (eccentric) of EACH REBORN guides to the definition of a feeling of aversion or disgusted loathing
21a Part of email address of commissioner Dorothy to start with (6)
DOTCOM: COM (commissioner) as the abbreviation for commissioner preceded by or following (to start with) DOT (Dorothy) as one of the several pet forms of Dorothy, leading to the definition of a URL or domain name that ends as ‘.com’ and appears as the final part of an email address
23a Knew, having been told (8)
INFORMED: Was enlightened after having been supplied with some facts, information or notification
24a Gained access after one’s turned round? (8)
DOORKNOB: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of a handle on a door that is turned to release the latch to enable one to gain access into a room, flat or any interior accommodation
25a Over tense (4)
PAST: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning gone by in time or no longer existing and the second a noun referring to the past tense or form of a verb
26a Flowery way to describe life of pleasure (8,4)
PRIMROSE PATH: PRIMROSE (flowery) as an adjective meaning pale yellow, like a primrose flower and PATH (way) as a way trodden out by the feet, arriving at the definition meaning the pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring disastrous consequences
1d Drink that’s sweet without ice (6)
LIQUOR: LIQUOR[ICE] (sweet) as a sweet, chewy, aromatic black substance made by evaporation from the juice of a root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, a papilionaceous plant of the bean family Fabaceae and used as a flavouring in candies and in medicine having removed (without) ICE, taking to the definition of a beverage, especially a strong alcoholic drink
2d Be taken in by fellows not starting with Edward to be excited (9)
ENLIVENED: LIVE (be) as to be alive or lead one’s life in a certain way is placed between (taken in by) [M]EN (fellows) as male persons associated with a particular place, activity or occupation without its starting letter (not starting) and (with) NED (Edward) as one of the familiar forms of Edward, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning exhilarated or invigorated
3d Perhaps Hazel and Leonard both turned up in passage (6)
TUNNEL: NUT (perhaps Hazel) as an example of a round brown hard-shelled nut that is the edible fruit of the hazel tree is directed from a girl’s name when capitalised and LEN (Leonard) as a nickname for Leonard both moved upwards (turned up) as reversals, seriatim, in the down clue, arriving at the definition of an artificial underground passage, especially one built through a hill or under a building, river or sea
4d Ben, his wellbeing could originate from modern translation of Scriptures (3,7,5)
NEW ENGLISH BIBLE: An anagram (originate from) BEN HIS WELL BEING guides to the definition of a modern English version of the Bible and Apocrypha, supervised by a committee formed of representatives from all the major British Christian denominations, first published in 1970
5d Train continental celebrity (8)
EUROSTAR: A charade of EURO (continental) as the informal adjective meaning relating to Europe or the European Community or European Union and STAR (celebrity) as a very famous or talented entertainer or sports player or an outstandingly successful person who is supposed to draw the public, leading to the definition of the high-speed passenger rail service that links London with various European cities via the Channel Tunnel
6d Priest to shave round bottom of beard (5)
PADRE: PARE (shave) as to cut or shave off the outer edges of something is placed around (round) the bottom or the last letter of [BEAR]D in the down clue, taking to the definition of a title given to a priest or chaplain in some countries
7d Adult taking that Parisian channel bridge (8)
AQUEDUCT: A charade of A (adult) as the rating of motion pictures meant for only the adult viewers in some countries taking QUE (that Parisian) as the relative pronoun denoting ‘that’ in the French language, as spoken by the people of Paris and DUCT (channel) as a hole, pipe or channel for carrying a fluid, leading to the definition of an artificial channel for conveying water, typically in the form of a bridge across a valley
14d Great help arranged for rapid communication (9)
TELEGRAPH: An anagram (arranged) of GREAT HELP directs to the definition of an apparatus, system or process of swift communication at a distance by electric transmission over wire
15d No time apparently when operation starts (4,4)
ZERO HOUR: A charade of ZERO (no) as a cipher or nothing and HOUR (time) as a period of time equal to sixty minutes takes to the definition of the exact time in hour, minute and second that is fixed for launching an attack or beginning an operation
16d Dance with officer supporting female hobbling (8)
FLAMENCO: NCO (officer) as the abbreviation for non-commissioned officer preceded by or following (supporting) a combo of F (female) as the abbreviation for female and LAME (hobbling) as disabled, specifically in the use of a leg, arriving at the definition of a type of emotionally gypsy song, or the dance performed to it, originating from Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain
19d Strange affair, it’s binding (6)
RAFFIA: An anagram (strange) of AFFAIR guides to the definition of the fibre from the leaves of the raffia tree, principally used as a binding and basketwork material in garden and fruit cultivation as also for weaving baskets, rugs, hats, mats etc
20d Say it with a smile (6)
CHEESE: The instruction of a photographer to his subject or subjects “Say cheese” or simply to utter the one-word definition before clicking the photograph will take to people forming their mouths into what will each automatically appear to be a smile-like shape, irrespective of whether they really smile or not
22d Reportedly seedy gypsy’s disk (2-3)
CD-ROM: A charade of CD (seedy) as a homophone reported to the audience (reportedly) and ROM (gypsy) as a gypsy man or a member of the Romani people, colloquially known as Roma, who were traditionally nomadic itinerants living mostly in Europe leads to the definition of the more-commonly-used abbreviated version of Compact Disk Read-Only Memory or a compact disk that is used as a read-only optical memory device for a computer system
There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 2a, 10a, 11a, 12a, 24a, 26a, 1d, 3d, 6d, 15d, 16d, 20d and 22d; 24a being the best of the lot. Tonnes of thanks to Cephas for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Would love to be here again. Have a nice day.