DT 30515 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30515 (full review)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30515

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 20th Jan 2024

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A challenging Saturday puzzle from NY Doorknob that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

The etymology of ‘algebra’, the answer to the clue of 27a, was known to me since my school days. I was aware that the word was derived from the Arabic word al-jabr. But now I became inquisitive to know how it entered the English language. So I had to visit the net. I learnt that the word al-jabr literally means ‘bone-setting’ or ‘reunion of broken parts’. It comes from the treatise written in 830 A.D. by the Persian astronomer and mathematician, al-Khwarizmi, whose Arabic title, Kitab al-muhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wa al-muqabla can be translated as ‘The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing’. In his work, the term al-jabr referred to the operation of moving a term from one side of an equation to the other, while al-muqabla referred to adding equal terms to both sides. It originally referred to the surgical procedure of setting broken or dislocated bones. Arabic influence in Spain long after the time of al-Khwarizmi is found in ‘Don Quixote’ of Miguel de Cervantes, where the word algebrista is used for a bone-setter, that is, a ‘restorer’. Shortened to just algeber in Latin, the word ‘algebra’ eventually entered the English language during the 15th century, from either Spanish, Italian or Medieval Latin. However, the mathematical meaning of the word was first recorded in English in the 16th century.

India, the answer to the clue of 23d, is the name of my country that is going to celebrate its 75th Republic Day on the day this review goes for publication. I take this opportunity to wish a Very, Very Happy Republic Day to all the Indians living and staying in India and everywhere else around the world.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Best tempo not completely set in stone (7)
OPTIMAL: The definition of an adjective meaning best or most favourable for a given situation is arrived at from TIM[E] (tempo) as the rhythmic pattern of a piece of music, as expressed by a time signature devoid of its last letter (not completely) placed inside (set in) OPAL (stone) as a precious stone consisting of a form of hydrated silica, typically semi-transparent and showing many small points of shifting colour against a pale or dark ground

5a    Shown this, player has to goone from Hearts? (3,4)
RED CARD: Double nounal definition; the first denoting a card shown by the referee in a game of football to a player who has broken the rules of the game and is not allowed to play for the rest of the game and the second referring to one of the Hearts, like Diamonds, in a suit of 13 cards, with its coloristic feature

9a    Zealot in cooler upstairs room losing heart (7)
FANATIC: FAN (cooler) as an apparatus with rotating blades that creates a current of air for cooling or ventilation followed by AT[T]IC (upstairs room) as a room at the top of a building, under the roof, often used for storing things having its middle or central letter removed (losing heart) takes to the definition of a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause

10a    Too organised for failure (4-3)
ALSO-RAN: A charade of ALSO (too) as an adverb denoting too or in addition and RAN (organised) as a verb in the past tense meaning organised or managed leads to the definition of a loser in a race or other contest, especially by a large margin or failure referring to an unsuccessful person

11a    Consistency in contract (9)
AGREEMENT: Double nounal definition; the second referring to a negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action that guides to the first denoting consistency or the absence of incompatibility between two things

12a    Singer in swivel — wife going nuts (5)
ELVIS: An anagram (nuts) of S[W]IVEL following the removal (going) of W (wife) as the genealogical abbreviation for wife takes to the definition of the first name of the American singer, musician and actor whose full name was Elvis Aaron Presley and who is widely regarded as a cultural icon

13a    Spirit shown in March and November (5)
DEMON: The definition of an evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell is reached from a charade of DEMO (march) as an informal term for a public meeting or march protesting against something or expressing views on a political issue and N (November) as the letter represented by November in the NATO phonetic alphabet

15a    Former photographer the famous court? (3,6)
OLD BAILEY: A charade of OLD (former) as former or belonging to the past and BAILEY (photographer) as referring to David Royston Bailey, the English photographer and director, celebrated for his fashion photography and portraiture takes to the definition of the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales that is based in central London

17a    Most of East Anglia redeveloped — effect of numbers? (9)
ANALGESIA: An anagram (redeveloped) of almost all the letters (most) of EAS[T] and ANGLIA leads to the definition of insensibility to pain due to medications or drugs that effect numbness

19a    Bounder dying to tour Californian city (5)
ELAND: END (dying) as referring to demise, dying or death going around (to tour) LA (California city) as the abbreviation for Los Angeles that is a sprawling Southern California city and the centre of the film and television industry of the United States takes to the definition of a large spiral horned African antelope that lives in open woodland and grassland and often bounds around

22a    Enormous Scotsman in gran turismo (5)
GIANT: The definition of an adjective meaning enormous, massive or immense comes from IAN (Scotsman) as a male given name of Scottish Gaelic origin and coming from the Hebrew name that means ‘the Lord is gracious’ placed inside (in) GT (gran turismo) as the abbreviation for gran turismo

23a    Writer initially ignores Nottingham Forest (9)
ISHERWOOD: The initial or first letter (initially) of I[GNORES] followed by SHERWOOD (Nottingham Forest) as the historic forest in Nottinghamshire leads to the definition of the Anglo-American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, autobiographer and diarist whose full name was Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood

25a    Child slipped outside? Crash-helmet needed! (4,3)
SKID LID: KID (child) as an informal term for a child or young person having surrounded by (outside) SLID (slipped) as moved smoothly, quickly or unobtrusively leads to the definition of a slang term for a crash-helmet

26a    Sort unlikely to appreciate popular grid (7)
INGRATE: The definition of a person who does not show proper appreciation or thanks for something is arrived at from a charade of IN (popular) as an informal term for fashionable, popular or trendy and GRATE (grid) as a framework of parallel or crossed bars used as a partition, guard, cover or the like

27a    Subject is Gable: Tortured Artist (7)
ALGEBRA: The definition of the study of variables and the rules for manipulating these variables in formulae is arrived at from an anagram (tortured) of GABLE followed by RA (artist) as the abbreviation for Royal Academician, denoting a practising artist of the Royal Academy of Arts

28a    Marx Brother talking about whaler’s weapon (7)
HARPOON: A charade of HARPO (Marx Brother) as one of the five of the Marx Brothers whose fourteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 comedy films and ON (talking about) as talking or harping incessantly about, especially a subject or topic takes to the definition of a barbed missile attached to a long cord and hurled or fired from a gun when hunting whales etc


1d    Casual employee seen after leaving (7)
OFFHAND: HAND (employee) as a person who engages in manual labour, especially in a factory, on a farm or on board a ship preceded by or following (seen after) OFF (leaving) as leaving or starting on one’s way takes to the definition of an adjective meaning informal, casual, curt or brusque

2d    Tense worker, with odd display of temper (7)
TANTRUM: A charade of T (tense) as the abbreviation of tense, ANT (worker) as a social insect working together in groups and (with) odd (RUM) as strange or peculiar or different to what is usual or expected guides to the definition of an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child

3d    One topping cleric? Main target regularly! (5)
MITRE: The regular or alternate letters (regularly) in MaIn TaRgEt leads to the definition of the official headdress of a bishop or abbot, a tall cap having an outline resembling a pointed arch in the front and back

4d    Poor clues about protagonist with roving eye? (9)
LECHEROUS: An anagram (poor) of CLUES placed around (about) HERO (protagonist) as the male protagonist or the chief male character in a book, play or film, who is typically identified with good qualities and with whom the reader is expected to sympathise takes to the definition of an adjective meaning lustful, provoking lust or having a roving eye

5d    Meal to go bad when being eaten? (5)
ROAST: ROT (to go bad) as to decompose, decay or go bad having inside (being eaten) AS (when) as an adverb expressing while or when provides the definition of a traditional meal of meat cooked by dry heat in an oven, usually with fat added, especially as a Sunday lunch

6d    Reckless speed! Reckless speed! (9)
DESPERATE: SPEED subject to an anagram (reckless) and followed by RATE (speed) as the speed with which something moves or happens leads to the definition of an adjective meaning utterly or despairingly reckless

7d    An ABBA album is coming (7)
ARRIVAL: Double nounal definition; the second denoting an act of coming or being brought to a place that takes to the first referring to the name of the fourth studio album by the Swedish pop group ABBA that was originally released in Sweden in 1976 by Polar Records

8d    Extremely dodgy and disgusting line (7)
DYNASTY: The extreme or outermost letters (extremely) of D[ODG]Y followed by (and) NASTY (disgusting) as unpleasant, awful or disgusting takes to the definition of a line of hereditary rulers of a country

14d    Spot near Bath packing in 150 (9)
NIGHTCLUB: NIGH (near) as near or at or to a short distance away followed by TUB (Bath) as an informal term for a bath in the United States having inside (packing in) CL (150) as the Roman numeral for 150 guides to the definition of a spot that is open late at night and that provides entertainment by singers and dancers and serves alcoholic drink and food

16d    Dark desire with Hades involved? (5,4)
DEATH WISH: An anagram (involved) of WITH HADES yields the definition of an unconscious desire for one’s own death

17d    Imposing area in Georgian city (7)
AUGUSTA: A charade of AUGUST (imposing) as an adjective meaning imposing, venerable or consecrated and A (area) as the abbreviation for area takes to the definition of a consolidated city-county on the central eastern border of the state of Georgia in the United States

18d    Fantastic magazine endlessly redistributed (7)
AMAZING: An anagram (redistributed) of MAGAZIN[E] that is without the terminal or end letter (endlessly) leads to the definition of an adjective meaning fantastic or causing astonishment, great wonder or surprise

20d    Dave peeled online supermarket’s fruit (7)
AVOCADO: The inside letters after removal of the outermost letters (peeled) of [D]AV[E] and OCADO (online supermarket) as a thriving online supermarket produces the definition of a pear-shaped fruit with a rough leathery skin and smooth, oily edible flesh

21d    Faulty info about love causes resentment (7)
DUDGEON: DUD (faulty) as faulty, defective or not working or meeting standards followed by GEN (info) as a slang term for general information placed around (about) O (love) as the score for zero in a game of tennis takes to the definition of a feeling of offence or deep resentment

23d    I may represent this country (5)
INDIA: A cryptic definition of the country in South Asia that is also the most populous country of the world and that is represented by the letter I in the NATO phonetic alphabet

24d    I hear you, Mister Federer! (5)
ROGER: Double definition; the second referring to Roger Federer, a Swiss former professional tennis player who was ranked world No. 1 in singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals for 310 weeks, including a record 237 consecutive weeks and finished as the year-end No. 1 five times that takes to the first denoting a word used in signalling and radio-communication for R, in the sense of received and understood

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 10a, 12a, 15a, 17a, 19a, 23a, 6d, 14d, 16d, 20d and 21d; 23a being the best of the lot. My prayers to the Almighty for the eternal rest and peace of BD and my thanks to NY Doorknob for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Will be delighted to be here again. Have a pleasant day.

5 comments on “DT 30515 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Thank you for the explanations which I needed with a few of these.
    I must have been having a foggy brain day back on 20th!
    Much interesting detail also.

  2. Having worked on this for a week on holiday Rahmat it was a delight to read the answers I (and friends!!) just couldn’t get!! Also a treat to read the explanations. Thank you (and bigdave44.com !!)

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