DT Cryptic No 25882 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT Cryptic No 25882 – Review

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 25882 – Review

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Another strange grid – if you don’t get the 15-letter answers, this is four separate crosswords, with uneven checking – the 9-letter answers are underchecked (4 of 9) and the 3s and 15s are overchecked – 3/3 and 9/15. And of course, the 4/5/7/8/10/…-letter words can’t come out to play.

Lots of the clues seem like gentle puns rather than really cryptic clues, and several of the more cryptic ones use words/definitions so close together that the clue is very easy or might lead to more than one answer

1 Idyllic opera depicting shepherds over the internet (9)
PASTORAL=”depicting shepherds+E = “over the internet” (as in e-mail, e-commerce) = PASTORALE -the idyllic opera. But pastoral and pastorale are pretty much the same thing. [Different explanation to Big Dave’s on the day for the final E – he suggested middle letter of “net” from internet. I hope that wasn’t the idea – aside from the question of whether tricks like “indeed” = “in deed” are really fair, “inter-” means “between” rather than “inside”.]
9 Match gold leaving hot line fifth-rate (6)
EQUATE=match. “hot line” = EQUATOR, losing the OR=gold. Then E=grade E as opposed to A, B, C, D = “fifth-rate”.
10 Go with chaperon (9)
ACCOMPANY – double def – or two versions of the same def – chaperon is a verb in the cryptic reading, not the noun suggested by the surface reading. It’s hard to be 100% sure that you’ve got the right answer, though unlike 15D, I can’t see another 9-letter synonym.
11 Flighty fellow (6)
AIRMAN – a fellow, and “flighty” – our first gentle pun
12 Outstanding plan (6-3)
RELIEF=outstanding (as of sculpture), MAP=plan – the next gentle pun. I was just about to say there was no proper def, but then discovered that “relief map” can mean one of those 3D map models you might find in a Lakeland youth hostel, as well as a flat map showing relief.
13 Plant to increase spectacularly (6)
ROCKET – 2 defs which I discover are different – I had this vague idea that rocket grew quickly.
17 A possessive lady (3)
A,MY=a “possessive”, along with “your”, “his”, etc.
19 Lucky drawer (9,6)
HORSESHOE MAGNET – back in the gentle pun zone here – horseshoes are lucky, and a magnet “draws”=attracts.
20 A short distance behind boat (3)
A,FT.=foot, and AFT=”behind boat”
21 Close, close, close (6)
NEARBY=close, = NEAR=close,BY=close – OK but ‘near’ and ‘nearby’ are so similar that it’s not that much of a surprise
25 Chum irate suffering this fever (9)
RHEUMATIC=anag. of “chum irate”. “Irate chum” seems to give a more meaningful surface. though still an obvious anag.
26 Extremely useful footballer (6)
WINGER – a footballer useful on the sides = extremes of the pitch
27 A workroom bloomer producing gypsum (9)
A,LAB=workroom,ASTER=bloomer. Modern-day alabaster is fine-grained gypsum (an older meaning is some kind of calcite). “producing” is a good example of a link-word between wordplay and definition – (A + LAB + ASTER) produces ALABASTER. This is much better than the “with” and “during” link-words we had last week.
28 Go into it for a break (6)
RECESS – 2 defs – a niche and a (parliamentary) holiday
29 Delightful discussion, it’s flattery (5,4)
SWEET=delightful,TALK=discussion – but the charade split is the obvious one so a very easy clue
2 Part of circle he had bent over (6)
ARC,HE’D – arched as of your back
3 Cheap American duo took part (3-3)
TWO=duo,BIT=part – “two-bit” is US for “cheap”, a bit being an eighth of a dollar I believe (from a time when they cut them into, er, bits).
4 Tearaway’s financial exploitation (3-3)
5 Extended reach in force (4,3,2,3,3)
LONG ARM OF THE LAW – gentle pun on “extended reach” = long arm, force=”the law”
6 Just as talkative perhaps having double meaning (9)
EQUI (prefix) =”just as”,VOCAL=talkative
7 Drying grass while the sun shines? (9)
HAYMAKING – same as “making hay” which you proverbially do in the sunshine
8 Put back strap, say (9)
14 Feature conscious crocks (9)
CHIN=(facial) feature,AWARE=conscious
15 Dangerously rash and injurious (9)
BREAKNECK – 2 defs, but really two of the same def., and my least favourite clue of the puzzle, as OVEREAGER, FOOLHARDY and DAREDEVIL all seem perfectly valid 9-letter alternatives – if you didn’t have checking letters to contradict it, thinking of one of these would make a quarter of the puzzle unnecessarily tough.
16 Bird’s bar rested awkwardly (9)
REDBREAST = anag. of “bar rested”. “bra rested” might have livened up the surface meaning.
17 Either way it expresses surprise (3)
AHA – a palindrome
18 Still they came up without aspiration (3)
YET = reversal of they=still, without the H=aspiration
22 Unpretentious pie? (6)
HUMBLE – gentle pun on “humble pie”
23 Beasts troubling hound (6)
BASSET = anag. of beasts – “troubling” seems more likely to point to the word following it as the anag. fodder, so it was kind of the setter not to find a 6-letter def.
24 Left potential alien transmitted by direct descent (6)
L, INEAL=anag. of “alien”.

2 comments on “DT Cryptic No 25882 – Review

  1. On 15d I don’t really see the problem – none of the other possibilities suggested have the same connotations of injury as “break neck”.

  2. The problem I’m concerned about is not whether these look like better answers when you know about ‘breakneck’, but whether they look good enough if you only think of one of them – FOOLHARDY and DAREDEVIL both suggest danger if not a specific injury. When the two defs are genuinely different, as in the ROCKET clue, this is far less likely to happen – there must be plenty of 6-letter plants, but “increase spectacularly” makes only one of them a remotely convincing answer.

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