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DT 29897

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29897

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 29th Jan 2022

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Once again, a lovely and straightforward Saturday puzzle from Chalicea that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

I was familiar with names like Ellington and Wellington even during my school days, but it’s the first time I saw them appearing together and that too as one of the wordplays to the clue of 10a. In fact, their rhythmic pulchritude had me so mesmerised that in the twinkling of an eye, two more names, though local, namely, ‘Kaankatani’ and ‘Maankatani’, flashed into my mind and I rushed down memory lane. Unlike Ellington and Wellington, the two late but celebrated western gentlemen from the United States and United Kingdom respectively, ‘Kaankatani’ and ‘Maankatani’ were two brothers notoriously infamous for their ungentlemanly acts, at least what the folklores percolated. In those days, people would go to bed much earlier, preferably between 8 and 9 pm and mothers and sometimes grandmothers, maternal or paternal, would sing folk songs in a soft low voice that were no less than soothing lullabies for babies required to go to sleep, too. My maternal grandmother was the only person with whom I stayed since I was two years old till her death when I was twenty-five and it was she who showered upon me her angelic love, care and nourishment all along. She would cuddle me before bedtime and hypnotise me to sleep through her folk songs that were melodious and mellifluous. But sometimes, they also contained dreaded messages so that obdurate children not willing to go to sleep too soon would, as a sequel to their apprehension, be compelled to come round. One such sweet-toned but horrific message came as a confession from ‘Kaankatani’ and ‘Maankatani’, which, in Bengali, went as follows: “Aek hatete nooner kouto, aek hatete chhoori; Kochh kore kaan kete niye gaaler bhitore poori.” [(Carrying) in one hand a casket of salt, knife in the other; By the way, we cut the ears (of a child) and put them (in the mouth, on one side) inside the cheek.] The names of ‘Kaankatani’ and ‘Maankatani’ which were so frightful to a toddler some sixty years ago, are no longer the same to a child of today.

‘Inamorata’, the answer to the clue of 11a as the Latin word for a person’s female lover reminded me of ‘innamorata’, ‘enamorada’ and ‘namorada’, the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese word respectively for a girlfriend.

‘Hood’, as a synonym to ‘outlaw’ that is part of the wordplay to the clue in 13a, is itself a slang term for ‘hoodlum’ that is the answer to the clue.

I was aware that the name Ian, appearing as response to part of the wordplay in the clue of 24a, was of Scottish Gaelic origin. But what I did not know is that it was a Scottish version of the name John that itself comes from the Hebrew name ‘Yohanan’ meaning ‘God is gracious’; courtesy of the net. I also learnt that it was one of the top 10 male baby names throughout the 1960s but now had failed out of the top 100 names in the United Kingdom, though every year since 1982, it had been in the top 100 in the United States.

Badlands, appearing as answer to the clue of 1d, develop in arid to semi-arid areas where the bedrock is poorly cemented and rainfall generally occurs as cloudbursts. The dry, granular surface material and light vegetation is swept from the slopes during showers, leaving the gullies bare. The term ‘badland’ was first applied to a part of southwestern South Dakota, which French-Canadian trappers called the ‘mauvaises terres pour traverser’ or the ‘bad lands to cross’; later it was applied to other areas with similarly eroded topography. 

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1a    Puzzle — cattle disease grips bird (6)
BEMUSE: The abbreviated version of bovine spongiform encephalopathy BSE (cattle disease) as an infectious degenerative brain disease of cattle, originally caused by cattle feed processed from scrapie-infected sheep remains and commonly known as the mad cow’s disease takes a firm hold of (grips) EMU (bird) as a large flightless fast-running Australian bird Dromaius novaehollandiae and the second-largest living bird by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich, taking to the definition of a verb meaning to confuse or bewilder someone

4a    Jettisons rotten, mostly base publicity items (8)
OFFLOADS: OFF (rotten) as of food no longer fresh, LO[W] (base) as debased or degraded with most of the letters (mostly) of ADS (publicity items) as advertisements lead to the definition of a verb meaning discards or gets rid of something that is no longer wanted

10a    Raised fists of Ellington and Wellington? (5)
DUKES: Double definition; the second being the plural term for duke, the name shared by Edward Kennedy Ellington, the American composer, pianist and bandleader and Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington and twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom that take to the first representing the fists, especially when raised in a fighting attitude

11a    Exceptional animator, ace lover (9)
INAMORATA: An anagram (exceptional) of ANIMATOR is followed by A (ace) as the abbreviation for ace, leading to the definition of a female lover of a person

12a    Three articles right, substantially (2,5)
AT HEART: A combo of A as the indefinite article, THE as the definite article and A again as the indefinite article (three articles) is followed by RT (right) as the abbreviated version of right as used in Rt Hon., the honorific title of ‘The Right Honourable’, arriving at the definition of a phrase meaning in one’s real nature or essentially

13a    Tough outlaw left, facing hesitation (7)
HOODLUM: HOOD (outlaw) as a kind of outlaw or a person who has broken the law is followed by L (left) as the abbreviation of left placed in front of (facing) UM (hesitation) as an exclamation expressing hesitation or a pause in speech, taking to the definition of a rowdy street bully or a small-time criminal or gangster

14a    Total collapse is sadly disorientating (14)
DISINTEGRATION: An anagram (sadly) of DISORIENTATING guides to the definition of a noun meaning complete destruction or the process of coming to pieces

17a    Building anew, deplorably cutting corners (14)
RECONSTRUCTING: An anagram (deplorably) of CUTTING CORNERS leads to the definition of a verb in the continuous form meaning building or making something again after it has been damaged or destroyed

21a    Kind of rice; a bit ma’s cooked (7)
BASMATI: An anagram (cooked) of A BIT MA’S guides to the definition of a variety of long-grain Indian rice with a delicate fragrance

23a    Some cricket starts with appeal ignored (7)
INNINGS: [BEG]INNINGS (starts) as the initial parts or the starts of something having (with) BEG (appeal) as to ask someone earnestly or humbly for something discarded (ignored) with the removal of the letters, taking to the definition of turns of batting for both teams in cricket

24a    Scotsman caught breaking into fruit machine (9)
APPLIANCE: A combo of IAN (Scotsman) as a name for a boy or man of Scottish Gaelic origin and C (caught) as the abbreviation for caught by as in cricket is going inside (breaking into) APPLE (fruit) as an edible fruit produced an apple tree of species Malus domestica and having the colour of the skin as generally red, yellow, green, pink or russet when ripe, leading to the definition of a noun meaning an instrument or tool used for a particular purpose

25a    A step at full tilt (5)
APACE: A from the clue is followed by PACE (step) as a single step taken when walking or running, leading to the definition of an adverb meaning swiftly or at a quick pace

26a    Adventurously hanging round centre of Hebrides (8)
DARINGLY: DANGLY (hanging) as hanging loosely or with a swinging motion is placed around (round) the central or the innermost letters (centre) of [HEB]RI[DES], arriving at the definition of an adverb meaning in an audaciously bold manner

27a    Girl checks email on vacation (6)
DAMSEL: DAMS (checks) as obstructs or holds back and E[MAI]L vacated or emptied out (on vacation) by removing the inner letters, leading to the poetic definition of a young girl or unmarried woman


1d    Orchestras welcoming American Democrat (Liberal) in South Dakota region (8)
BADLANDS: BANDS (orchestras) as colloquial term for orchestras or groups of instrumentalists, especially each one comprising string, woodwind, brass and percussion sections and playing classical music entertaining or taking inside (welcoming) the abbreviations, seriatim, A (American) for American, D (Democrat) for Democrat and L (Liberal) for Liberal, taking to the definition of a heavily eroded arid region known for its colourful rock formation and prehistoric fossils that is in the USA in South Dakota of approximately 2,000 square miles that stretches east and west for 100 miles along the Jackson-Washabaugh and Pennington-Shannon county lines

2d    Roughly shake mate to get a move on (4,5)
MAKE HASTE: An anagram (roughly) of SHAKE MATE leads to the definition of a phrase meaning to hurry on or speed up

3d    Undergo shame surrounding us (7)
SUSTAIN: STAIN (shame) as the taint of guilt or a cause of reproach is encircling (surrounding) US from the clue, taking to the definition of a verb meaning to suffer or undergo something unpleasant, especially an injury

5d    Frivolous exploit the lady’s intellect emptily engineered (7-7)
FEATHER-BRAINED: FEAT (exploit) as an achievement that requires great courage, skill or strength, HER (the lady’s) as a determiner meaning belonging to or associated with a female person, BRAIN (intellect) as the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively and E[NGINEERE]D as in a way showing nothing inside (emptily) with the removal of the inner letters, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning silly or often forgetting things

6d    Be vigilant, toilet lock ultimately not in use (4,3)
LOOK OUT: LOO (toilet) as a colloquial term for a lavatory followed by [LOC]K as its ultimate or last letter (ultimately) and OUT (not in use) as no longer in fashion, arriving at to the definition meaning to be on one’s guard or to be watchful

7d    Make use of a thing that conceals, we’re told (5)
AVAIL: A from the clue and VEIL (a thing that conceals) as a covering of fine fabric for the head, face or both, for concealment or other purposes or anything that serves to conceal or disguise, serving as a homophone heard by the audience (we’re told) lead to the definition of a verb meaning use or take advantage of an opportunity or available resource

8d    Sun at first heats up bodies of bees (6)
SWARMS: The first letter (at first) of S[UN] followed by WARMS (heats up) as makes or becomes hot take to the definition of bodies of bees going off to establish new communities

9d    Regularly admit emphasis on remarkable flare, for example (8,6)
DISTRESS SIGNAL: The evenly-placed letters (regularly) of aDmIt is followed by STRESS (emphasis) as special importance or emphasis that is given to something is placed upon (on) SIGNAL (remarkable) as notable or striking in the down clue, arriving at the definition of an example of a device producing a very bright flame, used especially as an indicator or marker to show that a ship or aircraft or anything is in danger and help is sought for

15d    Eccentric relations, those from the Far East? (9)
ORIENTALS: An anagram (eccentric) of RELATIONS leads to the definition of persons of East Asian descent or natives of East Asian countries

16d    Incites havoc, a truly fragile thing (8)
EGGSHELL: A charade of EGGS (incites) as urges on or stirs up and HELL (havoc) as widespread destruction, taking to the definition of the thin, brittle exterior covering of the egg of a bird or reptile or anything that is delicate and vulnerable or easily broken or damaged

18d    Old renegade working to support independent speech (7)
ORATION: O (old) as the abbreviated version of old as in OT or Old Testament is followed by RAT (renegade) as one who deserts their party, side or cause and ON (working) as functioning or operating or active to take care of (support) by embracing I (independent) as the abbreviation for independence, arriving at the definition of a formal speech, especially one given on a ceremonial occasion

19d    Insincere talk advanced with thanks for choral work (7)
CANTATA: A charade of CANT (insincere) as hypocritical affected or perfunctory style of speech or thought, A (advanced) as the abbreviation for advanced and TA (thanks) as the colloquial interjection denoting ‘thank you’ used to or by young children, or affectedly, leading to the definition of a choral work, oratorio or opera intended for concert performance

20d    A group of directors at sea perhaps (6)
ABOARD: A from the clue and BOARD (group of directors) as a formal group or committee, especially one that administers a company etc, arriving at the definition of sailing on the sea as an example of an adverb meaning on or into a ship

22d    Pleasant little drink with queen (5)
SUPER: A charade of SUP (little drink) as to drink, especially by taking small amounts and ER (queen) as the abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina, the name taken on by Queen Elizabeth upon ascending the throne; the word ‘regina’ being the Latin name for queen, takes to the definition of adjective meaning delightful or exceptionally good.

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 10a, 11a, 23a, 24a, 27a, 1d, 5d, 8d, 9d, 15d, 16d, 19d and 22d; 24a being the topper. Thanks to Chalicea for the enjoyment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.

12 comments on “DT 29897

  1. Thanks for your usual informative review Rahmat. As you are aware from my name I am indeed a John but I am also of Scots Gaelic descent. My family name (Black becomes not very cryptically Bee) is one that ancestors on the Island of Mull assumed to conceal their clan heritage during the clearances. I have always known that Ian was of Scottish derivation but prefer the Iain spelling as it seems just a little bit more Gaelic to me. If it wasn’t for a certain ancestor many moons ago I might have been Iain Maclean.

    1. Thank you once again, John Bee, for your words of encouragement. Thank you also for sharing your details. I understand your preference for the Iain spelling and am aware of both the spellings. As a matter of fact, John is one of the most common given names in English-speaking countries and appears as derivatives of the original Hebrew name ‘Yohanan’ in many countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. But I was surprised when I saw in the net that even countries as far as Vietnam, China, North Korea, South Korea and Japan also have their Johns, albeit each one in the form of a derivative.

  2. In my view ‘feather-brained'(5d) is not really a valid synonym for ‘frivolous’. Likewise ‘super’ (22d) is only a distant relation to ‘pleasant’. Or am I merely demonstrating a narrow mind?

  3. Thank you for a comprehensive analysis.
    10a. I would question the derivation of ‘dukes’ from the D of Wellington. It’s probably from Duke of York = ‘fork’ being already a slang term for fist. This meets the usual use in rhyming slang of the non-rhyming element to become the (non-connected) code for the original.

    1. Thank you once again, Gaffer, for liking my review. As regards the dukes, however, I could not have thought in that fashion.

  4. Chambers Thesaurus doesn’t have those specific synonyms in the list but I think they are close enough for cruciverbalists.
    great, excellent, superb, wonderful, outstanding, marvellous, magnificent, glorious, incomparable, peerless, matchless, sensational colloq. smashing, terrific, top-notch, neat, ace, brill; slang mega, cool, wicked
    ANTONYM poor; colloq. lousy
    trifling, trivial, unimportant, petty, shallow, superficial, inane, light, merry, zany, flippant, jocular, light-hearted, juvenile, puerile, flighty, facetious, foolish, silly, idle, vain, pointless, senseless, futile
    ANTONYM serious, sensible

    oops that was a reply to Rod misdirected due to my stupidity

    1. I wonder if Superman would have achieved the same following if he’d been called Pleasantman? Synonymous it definitely ain’t!

  5. Rahmat Ali, your reviews are works of art and I really enjoyed reading about your granny (who sounds rather like mine who taught me to read when I was tiny and filled my mind with nursery rhymes but was a dragon with my mother, her daughter-in-law). However, mine died when I was eight.
    Yes, Rod, the synonyms were stretching things but as John Bee says (thank you) we cruciverbalists try to stay ‘close enough’ and need to avoid giving the most obvious word. Our editors strike out anything that is ‘far too easy’.

    1. With respect, Chalicea, if we start accepting words with vaguely the same meaning as synonyms we are entering a bit of a grey area. However, I’m still a learner with DT crosswords and am in awe of the general knowledge and mastery of language required to be a setter. More power to your elbow.

      1. There are many websites, Rod Burdon, that list feather-brained as frivolous and super as pleasant; (i) thesaurus.com exhibits feather-brained as frivolous under subheading dizzy (adjective flighty, scatterbrained); and featherbrained as frivolous under several subheadings: empty-headed (adjective flighty, scatterbrained); flighty (adjective fickle, irresponsible); gaga (adjective giddy); harebrained (adjective stupid, unthinking); light-hearted (adjective silly, feeling faint); lightheaded (adjective silly); scatterbrained (adjective not thinking clearly); shallow (adjective unintelligent, ignorant); shallower (adjective unintelligent, ignorant); silly (adjective absurd, giddy, foolish) and under subheading frivolous itself (adjective trivial, silly); vocabulary.com and thefreedictionary.com show featherbrained as frivolous or not serious in content or attitude or behaviour; and merriam-webster.com and thesaurus.yourdictionary.com manifest frivolous as one of the synonyms of featherbrained; and (ii) thesaurus.com gives pleasant for super under various subheadings: marvelous (adjective superb, great); more wonderful (adjective great, extraordinary); ripping (adjective marvelous); wonderful (adjective great, extraordinary); yummy (adjective delicious); and google.com and lexico.com display super as an adjective meaning very good or pleasant; excellent.

    2. Thank you once again, Chalicea, for your pleasant words of appreciation. I have always enjoyed solving your crosswords. It was, however, a sad moment for me to learn that your grandmother passed away when you were only eight. Had she lived a decade or two more, you could have had many more memorable moments to share.

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