DT 26035 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26035

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26035

A Grumpy Old Man writes……

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Greetings from the Calder Valley  where I have been largely incarcerated in my flat , as the old illness has been playing up.  One of the joys of my imprisonment, apart from the chance to get my blood nice and angry watching the Jeremy Kyle Show and other daytime delights, has been that I have been solving (and compiling) quite a few crosswords from all of the national newspapers.

This has left me in a bit of a dilemma about today’s cryptic.  While I am sure that a few of you will feel happy about it because you have been able to solve it, I actually feel cheated of a challenge with it. I just felt it was not worthy of its place in a national newspaper. Some of the clues were utterly dreadful and downright unfair.    If you are asked to name a little boy, would you think of the answer NAT?  An answer worthy of the new BBC2 daytime quiz show Pointless, where the object is to get answers no-one thinks of.

I am not sure who the setter was today but it was almost my fastest Telegraph solve of all time.

Time for you to feel the love.

8a      Drain pipe? (7)
{EXHAUST}  A double definition to start today.  A pipe found on a car and to drain and in to be a drain on resources.

10a     A singer, half cut at party, demands fruit (7)
{AVOCADO}   A singer = A VOCALIST and half cut means remove half and add it to DO for party.  This will give you a fruit which enjoyed popularity at 1970’s and 80’s dinner parties. Probably the best clue today.

How to plant an Avocado tree

11a     Cigar little boy found in dish (9)
{PANATELLA} I suspect this will be a clue most get from knowing the name of the cigar, or from crossing letters.  Small boy = NAT (see my disgust above) inside PAELLA.

12a     Child, one in cowshed (5)
{BAIRN}  Cowshed = BARN with I (for one) inside reveals a name for a Scottish child.

13a     King, say — one responsible for a line? (5)
{RULER}  One of those double definition clues, where one of the definitions is sort of cryptic.  A word meaning a king, and something that you draw lines with.  Laugh?  I nearly did.

14a     Affinity in harbour after strike (7)
[RAPPORT}    RAP  = strike + PORT = harbour.  “In” here has no obvious use except to make the clue read nicely.

17a     Actress Catherine, milder possibly (7,8)
[MARLENE DIETRICH}          At least have the decency to produce an anagram that makes sense!

Mind you I suppose my clue “ACTRESS WHO POSSIBLY MADE HITLER NICER?” wouldn’t have found its way into a national newspaper!  Time for a song…….

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a     Disgusted no end, receiving a bronze — that’s diabolical (7)
{SATANIC}   SIC(k) = Disgusted, no end, with A TAN = a bronze inside.

21a     A wide, perhaps, in over (5)
{EXTRA}  A nonsensical cryptic definition for what the Australians used to call “a sundry” in cricket.

24a     Approach enclosure on horseback (3-2)
[RUN-UP}  A word sum.  Enclosure = RUN (as in Chicken Run) + UP = on horseback.  The definition is APPROACH.

26a     Smuggled whisky? That’s a foolish notion (9)
{MOONSHINE}  Chambers defines MOONSHINE as being “illicit spirits” (mainly American) and “nonsense” (inf[requently]).  A  grumpy pedant writes: should “whisky have had an “e” and should the second half of this double definition have “sometimes” or ”occasionally”? A reviewer writes:  Who cares, I’ve lost the will to live!

27a     Bowler from South London borough (7)
{SPINNER}  S = South  London borough = PINNER, home to aspiring parent  E John Esq.  Here’s one of his belters.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a     Daughter Laura raving about chapter in novel (7)
{DRACULA}  An anagram (indicated by raving) of D LAURA with C inside.  I was going to treat you to “Fangs for the memory” or “Fangs can only get better” but I won’t.


1d      Moderate a fit of ill-humour (6)
[TEMPER} Double definition:  to moderate and a bad mood.

2d      Candlemaker caught coach (8)
{CHANDLER}  C = caught + HANDLER = a trainer as in a dog handler.

3d      Vegetable that could make a bun better (6,4)
[BUTTER BEAN}  I shall merely say that it’s an anagram (could make) of A BUN BETTER.

4d      Tactless, to admiral at sea (9)
{MALADROIT}  An anagram (indicated by “at sea”) of TO ADMIRAL gives someone who is tactless.

5d      Tease company doctor (4)
{COMB}  A word sum.  CO =  company  MB = one of the many abbreviations for doctor: Bachelor of Medicine.

6d      Where one can display a vice among company! (6)
{CASINO}  This is one of those clues known as “&lit” where the whole clue defines the word required and provides the indications.  The exclamation mark means that the compiler thinks it’s a smart clue.  You can be the judge of it.  A vice =  A SIN inside  COMPANY = CO for the second clue running.

7d      Superb 27 cut (3-5)
{TOP-NOTCH}  “27” is SPINNER, so the clue reads  “Superb spinner cut”.  Superb is the definition.  Spinner =  TOP (as in child’s toy) + cut = NOTCH.

9d      Story’s end read aloud (4)
{TALE}  A homophone (read aloud) for TALE and TAIL

15d     Where workers in clay drink in Herts town? (7,3)
{POTTERS BAR}  The last time I saw this answer it was in the clue “Where snooker-players drink in Herts town?”.  It didn’t make me smile then, either.  “Workers in clay” are POTTERS, so where they drink is….. you guessed it.  The Rose and Crown.  You’ll all vote for this as your favourite, no doubt.

16d     Standard score from judges? (9)
{BENCHMARK}  As with the last one, the question mark indicates something a bit “dodgy”, so a group of judges is  a BENCH, therefore the score they give is a ……

17d     Maiden, Welsh flower girl, is a rambler (4,4)
{MUSK ROSE}  After considering Moss Rose and Mary Rose, I finally settled on M (Maiden) + USK  (A welsh flower, i.e. river)  Remember Crossword Rule 14.2  Flowers and Bankers are usually rivers.  The girl is ROSE.  However, guess what?  The answer really is a flower (defined as “rambler”).  My, how we laughed.

18d     Love affair sparks interest (8)
{INTRIGUE}  A  double definition.  Check Chambers.  You’ll see it defined as both of the above.

20d     Group outside tavern turned up for a game (6)
{TENNIS}  SET = group with INN = tavern inside, all reversed, gives a sport which produced some memorable sporting moments last weekend. Including this one:-

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22d     Guitarist, celebrity, coming over after a kiss (6)
{AXEMAN}  A  X = a kiss.  A celebrity is a NAME (reversed).  However the cult of the celebrity has been tarnished by all these none-entities from such reality shows as Big Brother and X Factor.  Discuss……

23d     Join agent (4)
{BOND}  Double definition.  A word meaning to join, and the world’s most famous agent (should it be capitalised?).  Anyway, my favourite bit of Bond is this:-

ARVE Error: need id and provider

I should point out that at the end of this film, I wept buckets as that nasty Telly Savalas killed the love of my adolescent life, the delightful Diana Rigg.  I refused to watch Kojak in protest.

25d     Evergreen in gap in Epping (4)
{PINE}  Hidden answer   “Gap in Epping” hides the name of a tree.

Here endeth today’s Odyssey……

See you tomorrow, in a better mood hopefully.

31 comments on “DT 26035

  1. My, my! I’m guessing you’re still in bed, so getting out of it the wrong side can’t be the reason…
    It has been an odd week. Normally I find the crosswords start easy and then get harder throughout the week. This time they seem to be getting easier.
    I thought this one was okay.
    I liked the anagram of 4d and the simplicity of 8a. 11a was a case of getting the answer then working backwards – the clue may as well have just been ‘cigar’ and moved to the quick crossword.

  2. I liked todays crossword, although that is mainly due to me still being a relative beginner with them, so any crossword that I can nearly finish is a good one, had problems with 17d and 22d though and really drew a blank untill I checked here. Although I can see the disappointment of having a easy one for the more experienced solvers amongst you, yet I dream of those days where I feel disappointed with an easy crossword although that is probably going to be a long time in the future.

    1. andy. i too long for the day when i can easily finish a crossword. i found todays tricky. sometimes the answers come quickly other times its headscratching all the way. keep at it

      1. Tell me about it Edi some days the answers seem to jump out at me and others they -well- just don’t appear at all. Today was one of the good ones. I’m still at the stage of where if i get more than half of the crossword completed I’m happy and if i complete or nearly complete (as I did today) then my wife finds me impossible to live with due to ego problems. :)

  3. I thought it was a nice crossword.

    I did not think of NAT as the boy, but it fell into place when the relevant downs were solved. That’s a beauty of crossing words.

    My only little quibble is that Pinner is not a London Borough, it’s part of the London Borough of Harrow.

  4. Not difficult to fill in the words but not that quick to finish because so many clues were a tad lazy so it took a while to feel happy that I wasn’t missing something (same quibble as Rollo re Pinner and Moonshine is not really smuggled in my book). Worried too long over 22d as I had never heard of a Guitarist called Axeman, probably says something about my taste in music!

  5. In keeping the nautical flavour of 4d and being an old salt (RN Retired), I found this clue surfaced well ahead of the rest of fleet. A lot of them should have sank without trace.

    Capn Dave will not be pleased…slip!

  6. Have just returned from lunch in the New Forest, but did find time this morning to “complete” the puzzle. I agree that overall the solutions were probably easier than usual, although one or two were perhaps a little imprecise!
    Thanks for the answer to 17d … initially I put Miss (maiden) Rose, but was not happy with that for obvious reasons!!
    I didn’t particularly like 28a, thought this was weak and agree with previous comments ref. 11 across.
    This is my first visit to your site … keep up the good work.

      1. Thanks for the welcome gazza, and yes Big Dave I do frequent the depths of AnswerBank when time permits.

  7. “Axeman” was my favourite although I was stuck for ages trying to work out “ax” and “star” as opposed to “name”. Found this trickier than yesterday’s. 3* for me.

  8. And we are supposed to know that how? I can’t help feeling that there is little place for US slang anywhere let alone in the DT X-word

    1. Well, according to my copy of Chambers AXEMAN is British slang. The US version is usually spelt AXMAN.

      If I don’t know a word I look it up. Crossword would not be very enjoyable if I knew everything in them.

      Just my view.

      1. … and of course you’re quite right Rollo … I’ve just checked in Chambers.

        When looking for its meaning earlier, I took a short cut by looking at my up-loaded (or is it down-loaded) Collins English Dictionary and failed to pick up the abbreviated variation of the US slang. :O(

  9. I got to the little boy clue using plate and alan as the little boys name. Not sure which reasoning is correct.

    1. Welcome to the blog Sarah

      It’s a nice idea, but the clue calls for a name inside a dish, and you have constructed an indirect anagram which has no anagram indicator.

      An anagram is said to be indirect if it includes one or more words which are not actually present in the clue, and they are prohibited by most crossword publishers. Even abbreviations used in the fodder are frowned upon, which is why you will usually find that abbreviations are positioned. Take 28a in today’s puzzle:

      Daughter Laura raving about chapter in novel (7)

      this is D(aughter) + an anagram of LAURA with C(hapter) inserted, although most of us would think of it as an anagram of D + LAURA + C the constraints that have to be applied are that it starts with D and cannot end with C.

      1. Thanks Dave, that’s really helpful. I’m still finding my way with how to deconstruct clues, so that is just the kind of thing I need explained to me. I’ve done the crossword on and off, but probably only every other Saturday up until last month. I’m now beginning to get the paper at least three times a week, and I think I might resort to joining the crossword club so I can just do the puzzles and not have to get to the shop on my way home from work!!! Thanks again.

        1. I agree with you about the puzzle today though, I just didn’t find it as fun as some of the others, there weren’t any clues that I thought ‘ahh, that’s clever/funny/cool’ about.

  10. Thank you so much you were so scathing that I still struggled with some of your answering tips. Was great, I got to cheat and still have to work at it!

  11. Not the best DT crossword ever- clues definitely not top notch today as compared to yesterday! Disagree about Bond- surely Thunderball is the best ever!

  12. Thank you all for the comments. It takes all sorts to make a world and I am pleased that some of you found enjoyment where I failed to

    A special big welcome to the new posters, as well.

  13. I’m new to cryptic puzzles, been doing this for a couple of months. When I (nearly) finish one from the DT I do expect to see a caustic comment here. The heading said it all today! The Welsh flower had me stuck but I guessed at an “O” and and “S” in the first word (rather than “U” and “K”). I could also see the “diabolical” but couldn’t get back to the clue – thanks tilsit, it’s clear now.

  14. Whilst I’m generally in the “if I can finish it I’m happy” camp, I’ve got to say on this occasion I enjoyed the review more than I enjoyed the crossword. Hilarious! Keep up the excellent work, and thank you.

  15. I’m with Ali P on this one.
    Didn’t get the Axman, but threw panatella in and never bothered to work out the pathetic NAT.

    Loved the Marlene extract. Thanks a bunch. Keep up the good work

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