DT 26013

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26013

Hints and tips by Libellule

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

Beware of what you ask for. After last Friday’s gentle stroll, today’s crossword is certainly not a walk in the park. Today we have a much more difficult crossword, although that does not detract from its enjoyment. (Even if the grid is a bit cornery).

Please take some time to enjoy the excellent surface readings.

As usual feel free to leave your comments.

Across Clues
1. Stones incorporating Californian singer and NY players? (8)
{PITCHERS} – PITS are the hard seeds (stones) that you would find inside a fruit like a cherry or an apricot. This now needs to put around (incorporating) CHER (Cherilyn Sarkisian) a well know American singer, actor etc, and you should end up with a word that describes the men who throw baseballs e.g. the players who play for either the Yankees or the Mets (New York baseball teams) or any other baseball team.

5. Cut head off Mister in Italy (6)
{IGNORE} – Take an Italian title or form of address equivalent to Mr or Sir, and then remove the first letter (head off), and you have another word for cut or to refuse to notice or to disregard deliberately.

9. Carol drinking wine that’s awful (8)
{SHOCKING} – Another word for carol is SING, now place that around (drinking) an English word for a German wine from the Rhine, HOCK,
for an adjective that could be used when something causes dismay or disgust.

10. Depression comes with drug, after rantin’ (6)
{RAVINE} – Not sure I liked this one that much, but you need another word for ranting (that’s usually associated), then remove the last letter and add E (an abbreviation for ecstasy – a drug) and a word for a deep, narrow gorge should appear. Hmm depression equals deep narrow gorge, that requires a bit of poetic license.

12. Where randomly packed item may be found, however (2,3,4)
{IN ANY CASE} – An amusing cryptic definition, the sort of thing that happens to an object when you pack your things because you are moving and then you forget to label the boxes, also means anyway or however.

13. Plant girl on tandem? (5)
{DAISY} – A cryptic definition that refers to a song composed by Harry Dacre in 1892 about a girl on a bike, that could also be also be a common garden plant found in your lawn.

14. Rubbish in bed (4)
{BUNK} – A double definition, a bed usually found on a ship, or a shortened form of bunkum (rubbish).

16. Despot and a bit of a fruitcake? (7)
{SULTANA} – First smile today, SULTAN (despot) and A or a small, pale, seedless raisin commonly found in a fruitcake.

19. Ian read about a female in Greek mythology (7)
{ARIADNE} – An anagram of IAN READ (about) is the name of the girl who helped Theseus to overcome the Minotaur.

21. Drizzly day before noon, beginning to pour later (4)
{DAMP} – D(ay), plus AM (before noon) and the first letter of pour (beginning to), describes a day where its raining lightly. There is an excellent surface reading to this. The later at the end is probably not needed but it does make the clue sound just like a “weather forecast”.

24. Famous South American monarch bringing happiness (5)
{CHEER} – The famous South American is CHE Guevara (commonly used in crosswords) and ER (Elizabeth Regina) put together we get another word for a source of joy or happiness.

25. Her escort turns out to be a debauched earl (9)
{ROCHESTER} – An anagram of HER ESCORT (turns out) gives us the name of an earl who was known both for his riotous existence at the court of King Charles II and for being a writer of satirical and bawdy poetry.

27. Seen in book, apish animals (6)
{OKAPIS} – A hidden word can be found in the clue, that is the plural of a giraffid artiodactyl mammal found in central Africa.

28. Hinder profits with things being sold cheaply? (8)
{BARGAINS} – BAR (hinder), plus GAINS (profits) are things that are bought or sold at a low price.

29. After match, embarrassed to be in rows (6)
{TIERED} – Place RED (embarrassed) after TIE (match) for a series of rows placed one above another.

30. Very badly cut, see (8)
{SEVERELY} – Anybody remember an earlier crossword that used the word see to describe the office of a bishop? Well here is another one – ELY. Place this after SEVER (cut) and you have an adjective that can be used to describe something very dangerous, harmful or badly damaged.


1. I am after permit to get everywhere (6)
{PASSIM} – Put IM (I am) after PASS (permit) and you have a word normally used to describe a word or a passage, that occurs frequently in the work cited. e.g. Eyes passim.

2. Old boy taken in by contemptible person? There’s nothing one can do! (3,3)
{TOO BAD} – OB (old boy) placed inside (taken in) TOAD (contemptible person), for another phrase that means “what a pity”.

3. Very sentimental game in which century gets missed (5)
{HOKEY} – The definition for this clue is very sentimental. Once you have that, you now need to find a game from which you can remove (gets missed) a C (century) that fits the definition and also means overdone, contrived or phoney

4. Managed to fire rifle (7)
{RANSACK} – Another excellent surface reading. RAN (managed), SACK (to fire) for another word describing what you would do if you were searching something thoroughly.

6. Big hit winning everything (5,4)
{GRAND SLAM} – A double definition, one that is straightforward (a big hit) as in GRAND (big) and SLAM (hit) and the other that is used to describe a contract to win every trick in bridge or the team that wins all of its matches in Rugby’s six nations championship for example.

7. One spirit that’s said to hang around native (8)
{ORIGINAL} – ORAL (that’s said) placed around (hang around) I (one), GIN (spirit) for example a word that describes the first inhabitants of a place or the first substance of anything.

8. Common person accounting for about half of the population? (8)
{EVERYMAN} – A cryptic definition that describes everybody or anybody, or roughly the non female part of the world.

11. Drinks a lot of water in Geordieland from what we hear (4)
{TEAS} – A sounds like clue, note the we hear. The definition is drinks and it sounds like a lot of water in the North East (Geordieland). So think of a river that sounds like the plural of a common drink.

15. Being criticised in a burnt-out situation? (5,4)
{UNDER FIRE} – A cryptic defintion that doesn’t quite work for me. You are looking for a phrase that can be used to describe what happens if you are exposed or subjected to a critical attack or and the second reference refers to what happens if you are truly under a fire.

17. Verbalise endlessly about sly protest (5,3)
{MARCH OUT} – MOUTH (verbalise), minus the H (endlessly) is placed around ARCH (sly) for a phrase used to describe what you would do if you were protesting at something.

18. Excellent coloured drink for dog (8)
{AIREDALE} – A word sum, AI (excellent), RED (coloured), ALE (drink) for a type of terrier (dog).

20. Politician not in power in European country (4)
{EIRE} – Power in this case is EMPIRE now remove (not in) MP (politician), and you should be left with the name of a European country.

21. Voice of French nun founding order (7)
{DECLARE} – DE (french for of) followed by a nun of a Franciscan order founded by St Clare in 1212 (also a Poor Clare) for a word used when you make a statement or voice something.

22. Endeavour to contain river in Cornish resort falling short (6)
{STRIVE} – Place R (river) inside ST IVES (cornish resort), then remove the S (falling short) for another word for endeavour.

23. Like some bread that’s cold and brown? (6)
{CRUSTY} – Smile time again. C (cold), and RUSTY (brown).

26. This bore sounds keen (5)
{EAGRE} – Another word for a bore or sudden rise of the tide in a river, that sounds like eager (keen).


  1. Nubian
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    1 down was any easy clue but a new word to me, the trouble was I could not get the ‘Redsocks’ out of my mind regarding 1 across and stones and so it I kept disagreeing with myself ! I agree, todays was a very enjoyable one but I think I need a lie down

  2. gazza
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I don’t really understand the significance of NY in 1a (unless the answer is the nickname of one of the baseball teams there?). If the answer were Bowlers we would not expect the clue to refer to, for example, Midlands players.

    • Libellule
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Although the answer to 1a is generic and not specific to NY. The game in question is american in origin. Thats why I think there is a reference to NY.

      • pritchard
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        As a British female I don’t know anything much about baseball – other than that the New York Yankees are one of the top teams and the logo on their baseball caps is formed by the overlapping initials N and Y. I therefore presumed this was an indication that the clue was about baseball – but I’m afraid it didn’t help me find the answer!

      • Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        We are happy to accept “of Parisian” and “of Nice” for the Franch word for “of”, so why not New York for something American?

        I did, however, think the use of and to link wordplay and definition was a bit unfair but then again I have seen much worse

        • old bill
          Posted August 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          I’m more annoyed by Californian singer = Cher.

  3. Bellringer
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    11d. I must lodge a protest. The Tees is at the opposite end of the County to Geordieland. The definition of a Geordie is ‘one who can spit into the Tyne from his back yard’

    • gazza
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Hi Bellringer and welcome to the blog.

    • Nubian
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      wy I, we’ll cal the people wi live next tu the riva Trent ‘cockneys’

      toon army

      • old bill
        Posted August 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Quite agree – Teessiders are mackems not geordies. Geordieland is Tyneside, not the NE of England.

  4. Barrie
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Thats it I give up on the DT crossword. I take my hat off to the people who can make sense out of most of todays clues. Passim indeed!

    • Phil
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Don’t give up Barrie – today was a trickier one than usual. These blogs are a genius way to decipher and learn.

      • Barrie
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        I don’t mind them being tough but this was pretty unintelligible. I get a bit annoyed as there is always the toughie for you guys but when they put out one like this, it gives the rest of us no chance. I agree about the blog, it’s great and I have learned a lot but I don’t think I will ever have the mind to understand puzzles such as todays. I don’t think its about intelligence (I have a PhD) but it’s more to do with understanding the twisted logic!

        • Libellule
          Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          I guess as usual we can all agree to disagree. There is nothing that Giovanni does that is different to any of the other setters… he follows the same rules (nearly all the time) as does everybody else. Perhaps you need to think a bit more laterallly than normal, but his crosswords are nearly always fair and above board. Unlike some of the old Sunday crosswords.

          • Barrie
            Posted August 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            If what you say is true and I don’t disbelieve you, why is it that I can usually finish Mon-Thur (some quicker than others) but never Giovannis on a Friday? I stand by my point that if he wishes to challenge you experienced crossworders, why doesn’t he stick to the Toughie and give the rest of us a chance of ending the week not feeling worthless?

            • Libellule
              Posted August 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              By convention ( if I remember rightly) the Telegraph crossword (during the week) is meant to start nice and easily on Monday and then get harder and harder through to Friday, with Friday’s being the most difficult. Obviously it doesn’t always work like that, but thats supposed to be the general idea. This Fridays crossword is one of the most difficult that we have had for while (hence the four stars).

        • pritchard
          Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink


          It’s not about intelligence – but, as you rightly say, ‘understanding the twisted logic’.

          Have you seen Big Dave’s little guide to cryptic crosswords? It gives a synopsis of the most common features of crosswords and is excellent. I found it under Google – not sure if it is accessible from this site.

          Keep going – if you’ve done a PhD you must have lots of perseverence and be used to the feeling of getting nowhere some days and then experiencing glimmers of light and hope on others.

          From a fellow struggler.

          • Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Just click “Crossword Guide” in the sidebar. I shortened the name to stop the sidebar getting too cluttered. It is also accessible via the FAQ and the Site Map.

            You can download it in Word format, ready for double sided printing, now.

  5. Lizwhiz
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Got stuck for a while, but loved it in the end! Loved 13a and 23d!
    For me i learnt 2 new words 1d and 3d both of which I guessed and then had to look them up!
    I agree with you about 10a… somewhat of a BIG depression!! ;)

  6. Roger
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    A nice one, made me late for work this afternoon. 12A was rather pretty.

  7. bigboab
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable, never heard of 1d or 3d, liked 25a.

  8. Alasdair
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for this excellent blog which has been (and continues to be) an invaluable aid to learning how to master the crossword.

    May I be slightly pedantic and point out to Libellule that “reading’s” in his above post, “Please take some time to enjoy the excellent surface reading’s.” ought not to have an apostrophe.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the home of pedants Alasdair

      I’m sure he will change it as soon as he reads this.

      • Libellule
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Damn, didn’t even know I had done that – corrected.

        • RayT
          Posted August 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink


          It’s a good job nobody spotted ‘it’s’ in the second line of your introduction. Oops!

          • Libellule
            Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            Then perhaps I should let some other “pedants” do the blog – e.g. you, and find something better to do with my time.

  9. Giovanni
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    From the setter. As luck would have it, we have a visitor who comes from the North East, and she confirms the proper definition of Geordieland. I now feel like the southerner I am who regards the north of England as anywhere north of the Watford Gap. Forgive me!

    • Bellringer
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      You are forgiven (this time)

      I am 6ft 4in have a beard and play second row. The boys would love to hear me called ‘she’.
      As nubian says, anyone from south of Thirsk is a cockney.

      Keep it up.

      • Libellule
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        I think Giovanni was referring to somebody else.
        i.e. he “personally” has a visitor from the Northeast, who also happens to be a “she”.

        • Bellringer
          Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


  10. Edi
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    far too tricky for me today. too many americanisms. but as bigdave says we are happy with the french equivalents. but im happy to keep learning all things crossword

    • Libellule
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I assume by the “too many americanisms” you are referring to possibly – 1a, 3d and 14a? Or have I missed anything?

    • old bill
      Posted August 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Yeah… far too tricky. A lot seems just too vague or tenuous. Contemptible person = toad? And how I am supposed to know that ‘nun’ refers to a nun of the order of St Clare.
      I’m a lot slower than most on here but this was the least enjoyable puzzle for a long while. I’m much happier with two stars! :-)

  11. Little Dave
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Phew! This made my head hurt. A cracker!

  12. nanaglugglug
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading the blog more than the crossword today. Found it really testing especially as my other half has made a cricket widow out of me for the next 4 days and prefers the Oval to crosswords.

    • Libellule
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Appreciated – thanks – especially after Ray T’s comment.