DT 26061

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26061

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I was guilty today of breaking rule #1 in the I-SPY Crossword Solvers’ Handbook, “Read the Clue Carefully”. On 17a I decided that the answer must be the name of a plant hidden in the clue, quickly scanned the letters until I found “ERICA”, wrote it in and moved on. Only later, when I couldn’t shoehorn the answer to 15d in, did I scratch my head and revisit 17a, to find that the clue specifies “plants” and not “plant”.
We have another delightful puzzle from Giovanni, full of amusing clues, but it’s no easier than last Friday’s (sorry, Barrie!).
The answers are hidden, as always, inside the curly brackets – highlight the white space if you need to reveal one.
We’d be delighted to get your comments on the puzzle or the review.

Across Clues

1a  Negotiators faced with ruin — they’re shaken (7)
{MARACAS} – negotiators are ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) – append that to MAR (ruin) to get some percussion instruments (they’re shaken).

5a  Like a racehorse last in The Oaks — rotten! (7)
{SADDLED} – what happens to a racehorse before a race is assembled from the final letter (last) of The OakS and ADDLED (rotten).

9a  Exclusion area — in which spiders have been 100% efficient? (2,3,4)
{NO FLY ZONE} – very amusing double definition, the second cryptic – just think what spiders have for breakfast!.

10a  Lists of American soldiers at the front (5)
{MENUS} – you would see these lists in a restaurant, for example – American is US, put MEN (soldiers) in front.

11a  Makes boxes for drug containment (7)
{CREATES} – put E (Ecstasy, drug) inside CRATES (boxes) to get a synonym for makes.

12a  Superior research establishment in the French part of Switzerland (7)
{LUCERNE} – put U (upper-class, hence superior) and CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, home to the Large Hadron Collider, which scientists have still not managed to get working again since it broke down a week after its much-trumpeted official opening) inside LE (the in French) to get the name of a city and district in Switzerland. A beautifully constructed clue.

13a  Singer’s corny stuff enthralling silly mob (3,6)
{BOB MARLEY} – this Jamaican reggae singer’s name is constructed by including (enthralling) an anagram (silly) of MOB inside BARLEY (corny stuff). I love “corny stuff”!

16a  Wrinkle on new material (5)
{LINEN} – put LINE (wrinkle) ahead of N(ew).

17a  Plants contributing to atmospheric activity (5)
{CACTI} – these plants (note the plural!) are hidden (contributing to) in atmospheriC ACTIvity.

18a  London area’s leader embraces a politician, good man? (9)
{HAMPSTEAD} – a posh area of North London is formed by putting HEAD (leader) around (embraces) A MP (a politician) and ST (saint, good man).

21a  Protein book now available at the bookshop? (7)
{ALBUMIN} – when a bookshop has available stocks of a new publication it’s said to be IN – precede this with ALBUM (book) to get a protein.

22a  Member of family would make splendid secretary (7)
{GRANDPA} – put together GRAND (splendid) and PA (personal assistant, secretary).

25a  Attack taking minutes, moving west (3,2)
{SET ON} – minutes (as taken at a formal meeting) are NOTES – reverse this (moving west, i.e. reading from right to left, in an across clue) to get a synonym for to attack.

26a  Ray may be sought in this room (3,6)
{SUN LOUNGE} – cryptic definition of a room with large windows to allow the rays (more than one, I hope) of the sun to enter.

27a  After drink artist has little yen for paint (7)
{PORTRAY} – start with PORT (drink) and add RA (Royal Academician, artist) and Y(en) to get a synonym for to paint.

28a  Unstable baby with aim to get round edge of table (7)
{TOTTERY} – an adjective meaning shaky or unstable is constructed from TOT (baby) and TRY (aim) which goes round the last letter (edge) of tablE.

Down Clues

1d  Vehicle doctor keeps at home, one vehicle not right (7)
{MINICAB} – one of the many abbreviations for doctor is MB (Bachelor of Medicine) – put inside this (keeps) IN (at home) and I (one) CA(r) (vehicle without R(ight)).

2d  Toy, not the first to be put in sack (5)
{RIFLE} – to toy with is to TRIFLE – drop the T (not the first) to leave a synonym for to plunder or sack.

3d  Keen to have gym in the basement (5)
{CRYPT} – keen (as a verb) means to lament or CRY – add PT (physical training, gym).

4d  Matrimonial lapsus unfortunately stifles love (7)
{SPOUSAL} – I initially thought that lapsus was a misprint for lapses, but it’s a Latin word for slip – put an anagram (unfortunately) of LAPSUS around (stifling) O (love, zero, as in tennis) to get an adjective meaning matrimonial.

5d  Hull, with English poetry’s ultimate poet (7)
{SHELLEY} – hull is a husk or SHELL – add E(nglish) and the last letter (ultimate) of poetrY to get a famous Romantic poet. I wonder whether the compiler, in using the word Hull, is deliberately alluding to the poet Philip Larkin who was the librarian at Hull University?

6d  Travel a great distance, covering a hundred and one homes (9)
{DOMICILES} – if you travel a great distance you DO MILES. Insert (covering) CI (a hundred and one in Roman numerals).

7d  Like some weather forecasts, look — no good when going over mountains! (4-5)
{LONG-RANGE} – string together LO (look), NG (no good) and RANGE (mountains).

8d  Pick out various bits from cinders (7)
{DISCERN} – an anagram (various bits from) of CINDERS gives us a verb meaning to pick out.

14d  Bitchy sort of person, but not an incisive type (9)
{BACKBITER} – double definition, the second cryptic – someone who does not use his front teeth (incisors) for biting.

15d  Anatolia is confused with Romania (4,5)
{ASIA MINOR} – an anagram (confused) of IS and ROMANIA produces a geographical area that more or less corresponds to modern Turkey, and is also known as Anatolia.

17d  Stops talking about bashes at Oxford? (5,2)
{CLAMS UP} – an informal phrasal verb meaning stops talking is formed from C (circa, about), LAMS (bashes) and UP (at university).

18d  A plant in truth! (7)
{HONESTY} – double definition. I didn’t know that this was the name of a plant but Chambers defines it as “a cruciferous garden plant (Lunaria biennis) with shining silver or satiny white dissepiments”. So, now you know!

19d  Wise men having no time for one wanting to hold the line (7)
{MAGINOT} – a charade of MAGI (wise men), NO and T(ime) gives the surname of the French politician who was responsible in the inter-war years for the decision to build a line of defensive fortifications (which bore his name) along the French border with Germany. He did not live to see the devious Germans send their Panzer tanks round them, rather than try to go through them.

20d  Part of the diocese yearned for change (7)
{DEANERY} – an anagram (for change) of YEARNED.

23d  Respecting neighbour possessing nothing (5)
{ABOUT} – to neighbour is to ABUT – put inside (possessing) O (zero, nothing) to get a preposition meaning concerning or in respect of.

24d  Stupid person beginning to cry is buried in sand (5)
{DUNCE} – the first letter (beginning) of Cry is buried in DUNE (sand).

I loved loads of the clues, including 9a, 12a and 14d, but my clue of the day is 13a. How about you? – please leave a comment, and don’t forget to grade the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

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35 Comments

  1. Lea
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    That was a very satisfying puzzle. Didn’t finish as quickly as last Friday but part of that could be that my computer restarted for updates in the middle of entering them in clued up. Serves me right for not paying attention.

    Got the down clues easier than the across and was lost for an answer to 9a until I looked at your hint – thank you. There were a lot of really good clues but my favourites were 13a and 14d – almost equal.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Another enjoyable Friday crossword. I’m not sure about your difficultly rating this week. I found this one the easier Giovanni puzzles and completed it unusually quickly for a Friday train journey. It could be that I was simply on the right wavelenght this morning. It would be interesting to see what others think.

    My favourite clues were 9a and, although an easier one, 20d for appealing to my clerical side!

  3. Yoshik
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    A very solid crossword and of the usual Friday fare.

    Enjoyed 9a as I have lived close to one of those in Russia, by what was a closed town.

    Stimulating would be my word for this crossword.

    Worth 4*. Just!

  4. Vince
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I thought I wasn’r going to enjoy this,as I had only one answer after reading through the across clues. But, in the end, I found it very enjoyable, with lots of very good clues. I also particularly liked 9a. Strangely, as I was agonising over it, “No Woman, No Cry” came on the radio; which ws vey handy! My clue of the day,however, was 9a.

    • Vince
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Obviuously, I should have said that it ws 13a that the radio helped me with.

  5. Franny
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Apparently only the right side of my brain was working today, as that was the only side I could fill in. There were several on the left that I should have got, but I would never have found 1a or 9a. My favourites were12a and 22a. That just shows my level.

  6. Lizwhiz
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Great crossword!! Loved 14d as it appeals to the biologist in me! :)

  7. sarumite
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Very satisfying today … and after a slow start the answers were more readily found as the grid took shape.
    I thought 15d was really well formed and 9d quite amusing :smile:
    Not keen on 6d “do miles” for “travel a great distance”, but thought that the use of “no time” in 19d was perhaps a clever ploy by the setter to throw one off course. I was initially looking to remove the letter “t” from an answer!
    On the whole very enjoyable and worthy of 4 ****

  8. mary
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    having got the paper late and reading the review and comments I don’t think i will bother today :)

    • gazza
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      That’s not like you, mary.
      It’s an excellent puzzle and once you get into it you’ll really enjoy it!

      • mary
        Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        ok Gazza you spurred me on but I could only have done just over 50% without you today……thanks once more :)
        My favourite was 22a, least favourite 14d
        Hope Barrie has a go at it, at first it seems you can’t do any, then a few begin to fall into place, easiest clue 26a

        • Posted October 22, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          Why would you read the blog before trying the crossword? We are always days behind (hence my late posts), and only do two or so a week (in the bath!).

          Always like Friday’s, and finished this one completely. Had to just look at the website afterwards to check that CERN was a research establishment in 12a and couldn’t see the ‘aim’ in ‘TOTTERY’ (28a) Aim – Try ? I suppose they both sort of mean attempt. My problem was I didn’t know what edge of table we were looking at, T, E or maybe both.

          And unlike Gazza, I got CACTI straight off, but had the advantage of having the final I already (Jump around, you see – very bad form). Do you think he put the ERICA in as a deliberate red herring? Cunning swine!

          • Posted October 22, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            Why would you read the blog before trying the crossword?
            Because you can read the prologue without seeing the answers. I guess it cuts both ways in that some might see a difficult puzzle and give it a miss, others might see an easy puzzle and decide to try it.

  9. Nubian
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    An immensely pleasureable crossword today.
    “A thing of duty is a boy forever” as Dr Spooner might have said, (sounds more like Noel Coward)
    Five star

  10. Libellule
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Giovanni doing what Giovanni does well. I miss reviewing his crosswords.
    Just out of curiousity I am interested to know how long it takes Gazza to write the Friday blog. I spent longer on this blog than I currently do on Tuesday Toughie and Thursdays….

    • gazza
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Libellule,
      I’m not aware that I take any longer to write the Giovanni reviews than any others (though I do enjoy doing them more than most). I suppose if I wrote the review without interruption it would take me about 90 minutes plus the time to find suitable links and the time to actually publish it.

      • Libellule
        Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Gazza,
        Interesting, and tactful :-) Thanks for that.

  11. Barrie
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Ah Giovanni has failed today, I managed to start it!! Didn’t get many answers though. :-(

    • gazza
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Barrie
      As Confucius said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – you’ll be finishing a Giovanni puzzle before long!!

  12. nanaglugglug
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Loved this puzzle – almost succumbed to a bit of help from you on the top right hand corner, but persevered and made it without peeking. Favourite clue 18a

  13. gnomethang
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Gazza, I did exactly the same as you on 17a! Glad to be in such good company.
    Cracking Crossword!

  14. Ann
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Again I found this very easy. I think that, with the easy ones, I must be missing something. Very enjoyable.:-)

    • gazza
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Ann
      Have you done today’s Toughie, and, if so, how do you think it compared for difficulty with this one?

  15. Barrie
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I have to say that although this was HARD, it was for a change fair with the exception of 25a (how are u supposed to know that going west means reversing, is this one of those crossword rules that are never shared?) and 1d – Oh come on!!
    After several hours of brain racking I did manage some of the answers and with the help of this excellent blog I do understand most of the rest. Keep up the good work.
    PS I have read the crossword book that I was recommended but obviously there is still a lot of work to be done before I am ready for a Giovanni!!

    • mary
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      without Gazzas encouragement i wouldn’t have even started todays, i have been doing these since May now and some days i just look at it and think Oh no! I find Chambers crossword dictionary most helpful and all the reviewers on this site sooooooooo patient :)

    • gazza
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Barrie
      Going/heading/moving west is explained as an across-clue construct in Big Dave’s Little Guide to Cryptic Crosswords – see here.

  16. Tomtom
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    And there was I thinking an american soldier was a G.I.

    • mary
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      me too :)

    • mary
      Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      me too Tomtom :)

  17. elcid
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Could not get started this am but when I came back from work – bingo! Fortunately got 15d before looking at 17a or I would have gone for erica! Also had the m, n and s in 10a so did not go for gis! I got 17d but thanks for your explanation of how it comes about Gazza (lams for bashes!)

  18. Little Dave
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Best crossword of the week and some clever clues. Very satisfying and got the grey matter zipping so I have had a good mental work-out. All now done and now a glass of white burgundy to celebrate. Tomorrow’s will be far easier.

  19. Toby
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Too tough for me today – failed miserably! Some good clues once you had spelled them out Gazza. Many thanks for your efforts but I will just put this one down to experience!

  20. Claire
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Exactly the same as Franny – right side ok but wouldn’t have got the left without a few clues. Liked 22a and 19d best I think.

  21. Jane
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Still working on it! Made the same mistake with 17a, glad to know I was in good company! Resisting the temptation to look at the hints but I suspect I will have to succumb!

  22. Phil
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Loved this puzzle – it reminded me that I still have a long way to go. Managed about half the clues with a lot of headscratching and then used the BD magic to slowly divine the rest. Some of these I could have sat for another week and not solved – so thanks!