ST 3207 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3207 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3207

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 9th Apr 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A magnificent Sunday puzzle of Dada that I loved solving and thereafter writing a full review of his puzzle for your kind perusal and important feedback.

Well done, the answer to the clue of 21a, reminded me of all the six stages of steak doneness, or the degree to which the steak is cooked, namely, blue, rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well done that I learnt earlier during the process of writing a review for this blog after coming across the word ‘rare’ as a wordplay in a crossword puzzle clue that refers to still dark red in colour of steak not cooked for very long.

Agatha Christie, the celebrated English writer and the answer to the clue of 8d, reminded me of my early days in the bank where I worked. Soon after joining the bank, I became a borrowing member of the British Council Library which was at a walking distance from my place of work. I made it a habit to visit the library every Saturday in the afternoon because it used to be a half day office in the bank on Saturdays in those days that is now a full day office on the first, third and fifth Saturdays of the month. Inside the library, I would read books on various subjects that particularly included medicine and surgery. As a borrowing member, I was also permitted to bring home four books from the library and keep them with me for four weeks. Members, reading or borrowing, were also allowed to watch movies in the auditorium which the library had on its premises. They would get two free passes for each film on a first-come first-served basis. While I got to read some of the novels and short stories of Agatha Christie (1890-1976) that revolved around Hercule Poirot, the fictional detective created by her, I also watched in the auditorium some of the movies that were based on her novels featuring the detective. Two films, in particular, based on her novels of the same name that I remember having watched in that auditorium were Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express. Even during my school days, there was one short story that I remember I studied had Miss Marple, another fictional character of Agatha Christie, in it. Now I wanted to know more about her and from the net, I came to learn that her full name was Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie. She is celebrated for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. She also penned the world’s longest-running play, the murder mystery The Mousetrap which has been performed in the West End since 1952. In 1971, she was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to literature. Guinness World Records lists her as the best-selling fiction writer of all time; her novels having sold more than two billion copies. Her novels based on crime were so successful that she acquired many titles like ‘Duchess of Death’, ‘Mistress of Mystery’ and ‘Queen of Crime’, the last of which was even trademarked in 2013 by Agatha Christie Ltd, run by her great-grandson, James Prichard.

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1a    Each winning (5)
AHEAD: A HEAD (each) as each and every one separately considered or per head, when quoting the price of a ticket or a fixed meal in particular for every one individual that leads to the definition of an adverb meaning to be winning or in a superior position

4a    Party drink, big hit (5)
PUNCH: Double nounal definition; the first being a party drink traditionally of spirits, water, sugar, lemon juice and spice and the second referring to a vigorous blow or striking power

10a    Author recreated role and plot (8)
TROLLOPE: An anagram (recreated) of a combo of ROLE and PLOT guides to the definition of an English novelist and civil servant of the Victorian era whose full name was Anthony Trollope

11a    Country girl’s back in an Indian state (6)
ANGOLA: The terminal or back letter (back) of [GIR]L (girl’s) is placed inside (in) a combo of AN from the clue and GOA (Indian state) as a tiny emerald land on the west coast of India and the 25th state of the Union states of India, leading to the definition of a country located on the west coast of Southern Africa and sharing its borders with Namibia, Zambia and Democratic Republic of the Congo

12a    Snatch some shuteye after child (6)
KIDNAP: NAP (some shuteye) as a short or casual sleep preceded by or following (after) KID (child) as a colloquial term for a child or young person takes to the definition of a verb meaning to abduct someone and hold them captive, typically to obtain a ransom

13a    Very hot oven in arena (8)
ROASTING: OAST (oven) as a kiln to dry hops or malt placed inside (in) RING (arena) as an arena or a space set apart for boxing, wrestling, circus performance, riding display of animals etc, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning very hot and dry, as of the weather or a place

14a    Revolutionary sharing decoration (7)
GARNISH: An anagram (revolutionary) of SHARING guides to the definition of a noun meaning decoration or embellishment

16a    Worthless tree-hugging endeavour (6)
TRASHY: The definition of an adjective meaning inferior in quality, useless or worthless is arrived at from tree-hugging endeavour, that is, tree hugged by endeavour, whereby ASH (tree) as a well-known timber tree of the olive family is being embraced or held round (-hugging) by TRY (endeavour) as an attempt, effort or endeavour

17a    Private near front in theory (6)
CLOSET: CLOSE (near) as very near to someone or something followed by the front or first letter (front) in T[HEORY] takes to the definition of an adjective meaning secret or covert

19a    Praise transfer by bank that’s returned (7)
WORSHIP: The definition of a verb meaning to show reverence and adoration for a deity or to feel great admiration or devotion for someone is arrived at from SHIP (transfer) as to ferry, convey or transfer placed after (by) ROW (bank) as a line or rank of people or things like seats, houses etc so arranged that has come back (returned) as a reversal in the across clue

21a    Preference for steak? I applaud you (4,4)
WELL DONE: Double definition; the second being an exclamation used to express congratulations or approval that leads to the first referring to one of the six stages, and thereby preferences, of steak doneness, where a steak has only a trace of pink colour but not dry, has charred blackening on the outside and feels spongy and soft and slightly springy

22a    Fancy horse that’s catching leader in race (6)
FRILLY: FILLY (horse) as a young mare that is the female of the horse that’s holding (catching) the leading or first letter (leader) in R[ACE], taking to the definition of an adjective meaning showy, decorated or overly fancy

23a    An upright character welcomed by worker in woolly hat (6)
BEANIE: A combo of AN from the clue and I (upright character) as the ninth letter of the English alphabet known for its verticality is taken inside (welcomed) by BEE (worker) as a four-winged insect that makes honey, leading to the definition of a hat made from wool with a small round wool ball on top

24a    Red flower in front of blue, somewhere to go (8)
LAVATORY: LAVA (red flower) as the red molten material that flows or pours out of a volcano placed before (in front of) TORY (blue) as Conservative or a member of a party whose colour is blue, taking to the definition of a room containing, besides a wash-basin, a bowl, usually fitted with a wooden or plastic seat and flushed by water that can be used by a person to go, that is to urinate or defecate

25a    Blade with nick by the ear? (5)
STEEL: STEAL (nick) as a verb meaning to take another person’s property without permission or legal right and without intending to return it serving as a homophone heard by the audience (by the ear) guides to the definition of the literary term for a sword

26a    Voice back in order, one thinks (5)
TENOR: Part of or hidden inside (in) [ORDE]R, ONE T[HINKS] that is seen going backwards (back) as a reversal in the across clue, leading to the definition of the adult male voice intermediate between baritone and alto


2d    Swimmer heading for home going off course (7)
HERRING: The leading or head letter (heading) for H[OME] followed by ERRING (going off course) as making a mistake, doing wrong or going astray takes to the definition of a small silvery sea-fish Clupea harengus of great commercial value, found moving in great shoals in northern waters

3d    Are fighters exhausted in this? (3-2,9)
ALL-IN WRESTLING: A cryptic definition of an amateur style or freestyle of wrestling with no restrictions on hold that is arrived at from ALL IN (exhausted) as an informal adjectival phrase meaning very tired and unable to do anything more and WRESTLING (fighters … in this) as the sporting activity that involves two fighter-sportsmen, struggling to throw and pin each other to the ground

5d    Discover a little gnu near Thetford (7)
UNEARTH: Part of or hidden inside (a little) [GN]U NEAR TH[ETFORD] takes to the definition of a verb meaning to find something in the ground by digging

6d    Letter — or card? (9)
CHARACTER: Double nounal definition; the first being a printed or written letter or symbol and the second a person, especially one noted for eccentricity or distinctive personality

7d    Liquid food thus finished (4)
SOUP: A charade of SO (thus) as an adverb meaning in a way described or demonstrated and UP (finished) as another adverb denoting so as to be finished or closed leads to the definition of any liquid food made by stewing pieces of meat, vegetables or grains

8d    Writer of clues, each straight: a cryptic suffocating yours truly (6,8)
AGATHA CHRISTIE: An anagram (cryptic) of EACH STRAIGHT: A containing I (yours truly) as also sometimes represented by ‘yours truly’ that is used by a speaker in a letter to mean themselves takes to the definition of the English authoress who was famous for her detective novels, even more for leaving clues for her readers in plain sight, yet setting them off on the wrong track

9d    Grapple with first of lines in child’s play (6)
CLINCH: The definition of a verb meaning to grapple at close quarters, especially of boxers so as to be too closely engaged for full-arm blows is arrived at with the first or leading letter (first of) L[INES] placed inside (in) CINCH (child’s play) as a card game in which the five of trumps ranks highest

15d    Mouse at home with dog in middle of settee (9)
INTROVERT: IN (at home) as present at one’s home followed by (with) ROVER (dog) as a generic name for a pet dog placed inside (in) the central or innermost letters (middle) of [SE]TT[EE], arriving at the definition of loosely, a shy or reflective person

18d    German songs told a story: let me think (6)
LIEDER: A charade of LIED (told a story) as told something that is not true, particularly with intent to deceive and ER (let me think) as used to express or represent a pause, hesitation, uncertainty etc guides to the definition of the plural form of a German lyric or song, especially an art-song

19d    Part of foot that is bearing weight in bike stunt (7)
WHEELIE: A combo of HEEL (part of foot) as the hind part of the foot below the ankle and IE (that is) as the abbreviated form of the Latin phrase id est meaning ‘that is’ or ‘that is to say’ preceded by or following (bearing) W (weight) as the abbreviation for weight in physics, guiding to the definition of a manoeuvre, for example, on a bicycle, motorbike or skateboard, involving travelling for a short distance with the front wheel or wheels off the ground

20d    Sprawling Rome south of intimate Italian city (7)
PALERMO: An anagram (sprawling) of ROME preceded by or appearing below (south of) PAL (intimate) as a colloquial term for partner, mate, chum or a close friend in the down clue, arriving at the definition of the capital city of the island regione of Sicily in Italy

22d    Most preferred, Freud and Van Eyck, primarily (4)
FAVE: The primary or first letters (primarily) of F[REUD] A[ND] V[AN] E[YCK] guide to the definition of a youth slang term for an adjective meaning favourite

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 1a, 16a, 17a, 21a, 23a, 24a, 2d, 3d, 8d and 15d; the best of the lot being 15d. Thanks once again to BD for the encouragement, to Dada for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Would be happy to be here again. Have a nice day.

3 comments on “ST 3207 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Thank you for your dissertation on Dame Agatha, very interesting. I always loved her books and believe I’ve read them all.

    1. Thank you so much, Merusa, for finding my write-up on Dame Agatha Christie very interesting. And wow! I am much more delighted to read that you have read all her books. That goes to prove that you truly love her work.

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