Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,459
Hints and tips by Shabbo
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment *****
Welcome to Thursday’s puzzle, which I think is of the highest order, but that is just my opinion! Please let us know what you thought of it.
Plenty of football, music and TV/cinema in the clues, but before you complain, no specialist knowledge of these subjects is required! I was only vaguely familiar with the expression at 1a but, other than that, there is no obscure vocabulary. Instead, an array of very smooth “surface reads”, with all definitions readily attainable, provided that one follows the clever wordplay. What’s not to like?
In a blatant bit of self-publicity, a puzzle of mine will appear in the Independent on Sunday. If you find yourself at a loose end, you can find it online at: https://puzzles.independent.co.uk/games/cryptic-crossword-independent
In the blog below, the definition element of each clue has been underlined and anagrams are CAPITALISED. The answers are concealed under the “Click Here” buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Why keep stale bread? It’s of little value (3,3,5)
FOR THE BIRDS: a double definition to get us started today.
7a Checks parts of chair moggy originally scratched (7)
ARRESTS: take parts of a chair and remove the first letter (originally scratched) of moggy. “Checks” here means “stops” rather than “inspects”.
8a Retired soccer ace disinclined to accept cocktail (7)
SIDECAR: a hidden word (to accept) backwards (retired) clue. The answer is concealed backwards within words 2, 3 & 4.
10a Model, one on short-term contract possibly, departed (8)
TEMPLATE: a synonym for someone working on a temporary basis + a synonym for departed (as in passed away).
11a Comes across European about to get honour (6)
ESTEEM: a reversal clue (about). Take an abbreviation for European + a synonym for “comes across” and turn the whole thing round.
13a Visiting Northumberland area, working for nothing (4)
NONE: a two-letter synonym for working (think an electric light, perhaps) inside (visiting) the part of the country where one will find Northumberland.
14a Vegetable banger isn’t cooked! (6,4)
STRING BEAN: our first anagram (cooked). Mix up the letters of BANGERISNT.
16a One predicting exciting future perhaps, right after great solo plays (10)
ASTROLOGER: London bus time – here is another anagram (plays). Rearrange the letters of GREATSOLO and add the abbreviation for right at the end.
18a Contends movie star is inspiring (4)
VIES: another hidden word clue (is inspiring). You will find the answer hiding in plain sight in words 2 & 3.
21a Popular breakfast TV programme broadcast (6)
CEREAL: “broadcast” here is a homophone indicator. Think of a genre of TV programme (shown weekly or daily, perhaps?) and then spell it differently to find the definition.
22a Friend of bully I’d avoided (8)
INTIMATE: bully here is a verb masquerading as a noun. Think of a word meaning to bully and omit (avoided) ID.
24a Sausage made from veal, liberally dipped in sauce (7)
SAVELOY: anagram (liberally) of VEAL inside (dipped in) a dark, salty sauce.
25a Not keeping time musically? That’s unusual (7)
OFFBEAT: double definition.
26a Attractive sort, just acquiring oddly vacant bedsit using deceit (11)
DISHONESTLY: a word meaning an attractive person + a word meaning “just” outside (acquiring) the even letters (oddly vacant) of “bedsit”.
1d Sack employee, old member of train crew (7)
FIREMAN: a verb meaning sack + a synonym for employee.
2d Final score left United going over amongst support (6)
RESULT: abbreviations for “left” and “united” reversed (going over – note this is a down clue) in the middle of (amongst) a word meaning support (think snooker?).
3d Delay ambassador appearing on TV channel outside Italy (10)
HESITATION: abbreviation for ambassador (His/Her Excellence) next to a generic term for a TV channel outside the abbreviation for Italy. The definition is a noun, even if it looks like a verb!
4d Forest player on the bench, upset, attracting Hearts? (4)
BUSH: don’t worry, you don’t need to trawl through a list of past or present Nottingham Forest players! Forest here is the definition. Take the abbreviation for a player starting on the bench and turn him upside down (upset). Then add the abbreviation for hearts (the capitalisation can be ignored).
5d Style differently flag British vessel flies, removing name (8)
REDESIGN: you need to take the two word name for the British naval flag, remove the abbreviation for name and join the result together.
6d Hide from view regularly car seat’s splits (7)
SECRETE: a three letter verb meaning “view” outside (splits) every other letter (regularly) of CaRsEaTs
7d Numbers turning up taking part in several discos? (11)
ATTENDANCES: join together synonyms for “taking part in” + “several” (a number) + “discos”.
9d Nostalgic of late describing archetypal 1960s cars (11)
REMINISCENT: a word meaning late (or modern) outside (describing) iconic 60s cars.
12d Ahead of Cup winger shows class (10)
PIGEONHOLE: we can again ignore the capitalisation here. A synonym for cup (think golf), ahead of which is a bird (winger). The definition is a verb as in “classify”.
15d Sign of maybe permanently closed restaurant for celebrities (8)
NOTABLES: a double definition – the first bit being cryptic.
17d Got on with extremely top-notch diver at sea (7)
THRIVED: take the first and last letters (extremely) of top-notch and add an anagram (at sea) of DIVER.
19d This writer’s indeed including German figures of speech (7)
IMAGERY: take a two-letter word meaning “this writer is” + a two letter-word meaning “indeed”, join them together and insert (including) a three-letter abbreviation for German.
20d Almost fail to get strong fish out of water (6)
MISFIT: a synonym for “fail” without the final letter (almost) + a synonym for “strong”.
23d Key error admitted by party-pooper (4)
TYPO: a hidden word clue. You will find a keyboard error hidden inside party-pooper
Quickie Pun: EDDY + READ + MAIN = EDDIE REDMAYNE