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DT 29969

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29969

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 23rd Apr 2022

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Yet again, a friendly and straightforward Saturday puzzle from Cephas that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind perusal and important feedback.

‘Semolina’, the answer to the clue of 16d, reminded me of our own sooji ka halwa, a homemade sweet dish that we love to eat so often, but also sometimes purchase it from the sweetmeat shop. In India and Pakistan, semolina is prepared either from dried durum wheat or from softer varieties of wheat. While the former is yellow in colour, the latter is white in colour. Sooji is the word used for semolina by the North Indians and Pakistanis, while rawa is the term used for semolina by the South Indians. Not only is it used as a batter ingredient in many Indian dishes, but also as the main ingredient in numerous foods, both sweet and savoury, for instance, rawa laddoo, a celebrated Indian sweet prepared on festivals like Diwali, Krishna Janmashtami and Ganesh Chathurthi. Sooji
ka halwa has a pudding like texture and is equally loved by both the North and the South Indians. Rawa is used to make idlis, rawa dosa and uttapam in South India. In India, semolina is the residue of milled material, after the flour is ground in a flour mill called chakki. The flour is passed out through a fine mesh leaving the semolina in it. I learnt more about semolina from the net. The Italians use semolina mixed with cheese, butter and milk for making a type of gnocchi. It is sprinkled over the recipe to avoid sticking. In the United States, semolina, specifically farina, is boiled to produce a porridge; popular brand being Cream of Wheat. In the United Kingdom, flour is mixed with hot milk, sugar and vanilla to make a warm pudding dessert. In Northwestern Europe, semolina is served as a dessert, boiled in milk. In Austria, Germany, Hungary, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic and Slovakia, the name of common wheat semolina is Weichweizengrieß in German and in cooked with milk and sugar or without sugar and then topped with sugar, cinnamon, ovaltine or other sweet toppings. In Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel and Russia, semolina is eaten as a breakfast porridge, sometimes mixed with raisins and served with milk. There is a lot of nutritional value in semolina. Not only is semolina rich in iron, it is rich in potassium too and improves kidney function. It is a good source of B-Complex Vitamins like folate and thiamine and Vitamin E, which helps to support metabolism and build the immune system of the body. However, semolina contains gluten and should be a strict ‘no’ for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

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1a    Cunning daughter going after animal (6)
SHREWD: D (daughter) as the genealogical abbreviation for daughter is following (going after) SHREW (animal) as a small mouselike insectivorous mammal of the family Soricidae, with a long snout, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning given to wily and artful ways or dealing

4a    Secretary in twisted braces that’s used by typist? (5,3)
SPACE BAR: PA (secretary) as the abbreviation for personal assistant who is a secretary or administrative assistant working exclusively for one particular person is placed inside (in) an anagram (twisted) of BRACES, taking to the definition of a long key on a typewriter or computer keyboard for making a space between words by a typist

9a    In the habit of having you, me and Edward as well? Almost! (4,2)
USED TO: US (you, me) as an objective pronoun referring to the speaker and another person spoken to, followed by (and) ED (Edward) as the diminutive form of Edward and TO[O] (as well) as also or in addition having most of the letters (almost) after the removal of the last letter O, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning in the habit of or adapted to

10a    Retain alcoholic drink as memento (8)
KEEPSAKE: A charade of KEEP (retain) as a verb meaning to have or retain possession of something and SAKE (alcoholic drink) as a Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice guides to the definition of a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it

11a    Yearn terribly to cover piano in table linen (6)
NAPERY: An anagram (terribly) of YEARN to have within its fold (cover) P (piano) as the abbreviation for piano as in music, giving rise to the definition of household linen, especially for the table

12a    Weariest sorts, so to speak (2,2,4)
AS IT WERE: An anagram (sorts) of WEARIEST guides to the definition of an adverbial phrase meaning in a manner of speaking or as if it were really so or used to explain that what one is saying is not to be understood exactly as stated

14a    Serving as an excuse for why it was once clear in middle of night (10)
EXPLAINING: EX (once) as a former husband, wife or other partner in a relationship, PLAIN (clear) as easy to perceive or understand, IN from the clue and the innermost or middle letter (middle) of niGht lead to the definition of a verb in the present participle form meaning giving a reason so as to justify or excuse an action or event

18a    Ern jealous about hackneyed style of writing (10)
JOURNALESE: An anagram (about) of ERN JEALOUS guides to the definition of the hackneyed style in which newspapers and magazines are written

22a    Extraordinary ordinary seaman takes the lead (8)
ABNORMAL: NORMAL (ordinary) as an adjective meaning with no special distinctive features and AB (ordinary seaman) as the abbreviation for able-bodied seaman who is an experienced ordinary seaman comes in the front (takes the lead), leading to the definition of an adjective meaning deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying

23a    Take in unpleasant barbs about Oscar (6)
ABSORB: An anagram (unpleasant) of BARBS around (about) O (Oscar) as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet letter represented by Oscar take to the definition of a verb meaning to incorporate or take control of a smaller or less powerful entity and make it a part of a larger one

24a    Rapid repair is only temporary (5-3)
QUICK-FIX: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of a noun meaning an easy remedy or solution, especially a temporary one which fails to address underlying problems from a charade of QUICK (rapid) as an adjective meaning moving fast or doing something in a short time and FIX (repair) as to put to rights or mend

25a    From barn I carried plant (6)
ARNICA: Part of or hidden inside bARN I CArried guides to the definition of a genus of perennial, herbaceous plants in the sunflower family

26a    Place on the highest of high chairs? (8)
ENTHRONE: A cryptic way of taking the entire clue as a wordplay to arrive at the definition of a verb meaning to exalt a monarch to the seat or royalty or to install as bishop from EN- (place) as a prefix meaning put or place into or onto placed upon (on) THRONE (the highest of high chairs) as a chair of state or a monarch, pope or bishop in the down clue

27a    Comment about mariner’s first boat (6)
REMARK: A charade of RE (about) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘with reference to’, ‘concerning’ or ‘about’, M as the initial or first letter (first) of M[ARINER] (mariner’s) and ARK (boat) as in the Bible the huge boat, built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the deluge leads to the definition of a verb meaning to say something as a comment


1d    Splash out on group to entertain new queen (8)
SQUANDER: SQUAD (group) as a small group of people having a particular task to take in (entertain) N (new) as the abbreviation for new as NT in New Testament and followed by 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, arriving at the definition of a verb meaning to spend lavishly or wastefully on someone or something

2d    Rush over line: get some music from it (4,4)
REED PIPE: REED (rush) as a tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family, which grows in water or on marshy ground is placed upon (over) PIPE (line) as a tube used to convey water, gas, oil, or other fluid substances, more commonly known as pipeline in the down clue, leading to the definition of a wind instrument, such as a clarinet or oboe, whose sound is produced by a vibrating brass strip known as a reed

3d    Pirate‘s charge for service reduced (5,3)
WATER RAT: WATER RAT[E] (charge for service) as a charge made for the use of a public water supply is curtailed (reduced) by removing its last letter E, taking to the definition of a pirate or a vagrant or thief who frequents a waterfront

5d    Humorous 27 from student among country-folk (10)
PLEASANTRY: The abbreviated L (student) as reflected in L-plates for learner drivers is placed inside (among) PEASANTRY (country-folk) as members of a lowly class of small holders and agricultural labourers living in the countryside, arriving at the definition of a remark, the answer provided by 27a, that is agreeable and made for the sake of politeness

6d    Heads from London perhaps when student quits (6)
CAPITA: When the abbreviated letter L (student) as appearing in an L-plate denoting a learner driver leaves (quits) from CAPITA[L] (London perhaps) as what London could be that takes to the definition of the plural of caput or heads as in anatomy

7d    More than just a smoking jacket? (6)
BLAZER: A cryptic way of forming the comparative degree (more than just) of BLAZE (a smoking) as a very large or fiercely burning fire, emitting huge smoke, by adding the letter R to it that leads to the definition of a jacket worn by schoolchildren or sports player as part of a uniform

8d    Staggered as swimmer gets left outside (6)
REELED: EEL (swimmer) as a snake-like fish with a slender elongated body and poorly developed fins, proverbial for its slipperiness has (gets) RED (left) as a person with left-wing political views as its cover (outside), leading to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning worked or moved unsteadily, as if about to fall

13d    Pub cheering new item (10)
INNOVATION: A charade of INN (pub) as a pub, typically one in the country, in some case providing accommodation and OVATION (cheering) as a sustained and enthusiastic show of appreciation from an audience, especially by means of applause guides to the definition of a new method, idea, product etc

15d    Blockage worker found going round alternative rally (8)
JAMBOREE: JAM (blockage) as an act or instance of becoming blocked or stopped followed by BEE (worker) as a four-winged insect that makes honey surrounding (going round) OR (alternative) as a conjunction used to link alternatives, leading to the definition of a large rally of Scouts or Guides

16d    Pudding from Isle of Man unhappy female leaves (8)
SEMOLINA: An anagram (unhappy) from ISLE O[F] MAN, where F (female) as the abbreviation for female comes out (leaves), guiding to the definition of a pudding made of the hard grains left after the milling of flour

17d    Stream reflecting no light, it’s very dark (3-5)
JET-BLACK: JET (stream) as a rapid stream of liquid or gas forced out of a small opening and BLACK (reflecting no light) as of the very darkest colour owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light takes to the definition of a glossy dark black colour

19d    Brand of large tent not quite finished (6)
MARQUE: MARQUE[E] (huge tent) as a large tent used for parties, exhibitions etc that is without its last or final letter E (not quite finished), arriving at the definition of a brand or make, especially of car

20d    Bless troubled nation (6)
ANOINT: An anagram (troubled) of NATION guides to the definition of a verb meaning to ceremonially confer divine or holy office upon a priest or monarch by consecrating with oil

21d    Less prosperous dealer in the City? (6)
BROKER: The definition of a person who acts for or represents another in the buying and selling of shares in companies or protection against risk or who arranges for the lending of money is arrived at through the adjective BROKE meaning not having much or enough money that is cryptically translated to the comparative degree BROKER as having even less money (less prosperous)

There were many clues that I liked in this pangrammatic puzzle such as 9a, 10a, 12a, 14a, 18a, 26a, 27a, 1d, 3d, 5d, 7d, 13d, 15d, 19d and 21d; 15d being the topper. Many thanks to Cephas for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.


17 comments on “DT 29969

  1. Super review, Rahmat Ali: it brought it all back to me. Fascinating piece about semolina, sooji, and rawa – I had no idea it plays such a part of Indian cuisine. My memories of it are limited to a sludgy semolina pudding served in the school canteen with a dollop of jam, but you have inspired me to greater things!

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, Mustafa G, for liking my review and wish you nice and memorable experiences with experiments with semolina in the times ahead, in the event you feel like going through them. I wish I could have send you a recipe of the dish we prepare at home!

  2. No matter the paean of praise nothing would make me lift a spoonful of semolina to my lips. Prep school memories, now over sixty years old, are of luke warm gloop with a hint of jam. So bad was the offering I used to pour it into a plastic bag and dump it in the bins.
    Tapioca and rice pudding are in the same category of culinary misery.
    I was scarred for life…

    1. Not to mention school bread and butter pudding, a skin so thick you could use it to resole your plimmies, and a taste and texture like something that had been decaying since the primordial gloop we descended from. The token dried fruit that resembled the rabbit droppings we assumed they were.

      Similarly scarred…

      But thanks to Rahmat for the Proustian trip down memory lane

      1. Thank you so much, Sloop John Bee, for the beautiful illustration of such an ugly experience at your school. It saddens me that you assumed the dried fruits to be the real rabbit droppings and still had to eat the same. Anyway, your matured hippocampus must have corrected it by now that those were real dried fruits making you feel happy.

    2. Thank you so much, Riley, for sharing your woeful moments of your prep school. It’s disheartening to learn that the offering did not suit your taste and you used to dump it in the bins. However, I am pretty sure not all the students did the same. The sweet dish of semolina prepared in our house has cashew, almonds and raisins in it and it tastes delicious. You can try ‘firni’, a classic slow-cooked Indian sweet pudding prepared with well-ground basmati rice, milk, cashew and almonds or ‘kheer’ from whole rice grains. ‘Firni’ is eaten chilled whereas ‘kheer’ can be taken warm or cold.

    1. Thank you once again, Colin, for finding my review informative and interesting and wish you much more happy reading in future.

  3. Thank you for going to so much trouble, Rahmat – really interesting. Always look forward to benefiting from your research.

    1. Thank you once again, jan, for finding my review really interesting and wish you much more happy and enjoyable reading in future.

  4. Like others, semolina reminds me of gloopy school puddings … though for me this was a guilty pleasure rather than culinary nightmare. I still love a rice pudding … Many thanks for the super review Rahmat

    1. Thank you once again, Fez, for liking my review and sharing your enjoyable moments with puddings in your school and still loving a rice pudding.

    1. Thank you so much, Fran, for finding my review as an interesting piece and welcome to the blog.

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