DT 26078

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26078

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Well it’s November 5th and we have a suitably themed crossword today. First of all I don’t think the setter of this crossword is our normal Thursday setter, although if someone can prove me wrong I would appreciate it. Nope, its J. (see comment below) I think it was just me having a bad day. Secondly when I did this crossword I wasn’t particularly thrilled with it, but on reflection and on attempting to work out all the word play it did become much better than I originally thought.

As usual all comments are appreciated.


1. Diet that’s a target for 27 (10)
{PARLIAMENT} – If you know the answer to 27a then the answer to this becomes obvious, you need the other meaning of diet as in a national, federal, or provincial assembly.

6. Accommodation provided for the majority of electricians (4)
{GAFF} – Double definition. A term for one’s private accommodation, apartment, flat, room, etc. and electricians found on a film set, are GAFF(ers).

10. Reconvene outside – better go through again (5)
{RECAP} –The shortened form of recapitulate is also a word used to describe repeating something again and can be found using the outside letters of R(econven)E plus CAP (better, as in I could not cap that)

11.& 29 Don grew up developing garden scheme for 27 (9)
{GUNPOWDER PLOT} – An anagram (developing) of DON GREW UP and another word for a patch of ground is a failed conspiracy of 1605 that is celebrated tonight.

12. Left in revenge for act of reproducing recording (8)
{PLAYBACK} – Revenge is PAYBACK, now introduce an L (left) into the word, and you have a term for the “act of reproducing a recording of sound or visual material”.

13. Animal showing excessive display of hesitation (5)
{OTTER} – An abbreviation of over-the-top, plus ER (hesitation) is an aquatic fish-eating carnivore (Lutra lutra) of the weasel family with short smooth fur, a long slim body, stout tail and webbed feet.

15. Prepare to carve ham (7)
{OVERACT} – An anagram (prepare) of TO CARVE is another term for “ham” or to perform with exaggeration.

17. Concentrates for two months before finishing exams (7)
{DECOCTS} – Another word for extracting the substance of something by boiling consists of DEC and OCT (two months) and the last letter of (finishing) (exam)S

19. Extremely negative phase of the moon (3,4)
{NOT HALF} – The definition is “extremely” and the answer comes from NOT (negative) and HALF (a phase of the moon).

21.& 28 Good French spirit — almost time for today’s ritual (7)
{BONFIRE NIGHT} – BON (French for good) FIRE (spirit) and NIGH (almost) T (time) makes up what happens tonight.

22. The question of children? (5)
{ISSUE} – Double definition. A point in dispute or offspring.

24. Bill to throw out ruling used in hearing (8)
{ACOUSTIC} – AC (bill) OUST (throw out) IC (in charge – ruling).

27. Conspiring chap few ask for change? (3,6)
{GUY FAWKES} – The man in charge of the execution of 11a is GUY (chap) and an anagram (for change) of FEW ASK.

28. See 21 Across (5)

29. See 11 (4)

30. Type of fish found where rafts struggle (10)
{FRESHWATER} – Not an actual type of fish but more a type of fish described by its habitat can be found in an of anagram (struggle) of WHERE RAFTS.


1. Most of mashed potato is white (4)
{PURE} – A shortened form of food material that has been reduced to pulp – PURE(e) is also chaste or clean.

2. Remember to gather support for reasonable case (9)
{RECOLLECT} –A verb for recalling to memory and is the outside letters (case) of R(easonabl)E with COLLECT (to gather) following (support in a down clue).

3. Suggest it’s easily executed (5)
{IMPLY} – Another term for to express indirectly can be found by removing the head of (executed) (s)IMPLY.

4. Single allowance given to married traveller (7)
{MIGRANT} – M (married) I (single) and GRANT (allowance)

5. Worrying one’s kind lacked energy for such a road surface (3-4)
{NON-SKID} – An anagram (worrying) of ONES KIND, minus E (energy) is a surface designed to reduce the chance of slipping to a minimum.

7. German vehicle on time for inspection of books (5)
{AUDIT} – AUDI (a German vehicle type) and T (time).

8. Defensive structures favouring queues (10)
{FORTRESSES} – FOR (favouring) TRESSES (queues).

9. Old measure of liquid imbibed by poor Roman native of Africa (8)
{MOROCCAN} – O (old) CC (cubic centimetre) is put inside (imbibed) an anagram (poor) of ROMAN and you have a native or inhabitant of a country in northwest Africa on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

14. Gathering in increasing number (8,2)
{ROUNDING UP} – Double definition. A driving together of cattle for example, and also “the process of raising (up) a number to an approximation which has fewer decimal places”.

16. Avenues initially availing a damsel in distress (8)
{ALAMEDAS} – The initial letter (initially) of A(vailing) then A plus an anagram (in distress) of DAMSEL are according to Chambers “public walks especially between rows of poplars”

18. Striking Italian is making a load of money (7,2)
{COINING IT} – COINING (striking, as in the minting of coins) and IT (Italian) is a phrase used to describe making a lot of money rapidly. Is it me or is this clue incredibly lazy/weak?

20. Deception of one on the wing (7)
{FLANKER} – Double definition. One of a detachment of soldiers responsible for guarding the flank (wing) or to deceive, cheat someone.

21.Look into public transport for what women often wear (7)
{BLOUSES} – LO (look) placed inside BUSES (public transport).

23. States ring for authorization (3-2)
{SAY-SO} – SAYS (states) and O (ring).

25. Wines to be served with brawn (5)
{SINEW} – An anagram (to be served) of WINES is another word for physical strength or muscle.

26. Leading actor and sailor under suspicion initially (4)
{STAR} – The first letter (initially) of S(uspicion) followed by (under) TAR (sailor).


  1. gnomethang
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one. There were a few clues that stymied me for a while but the wordplay sorted things out.
    17a and 8d were favourites.

  2. mary
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    morning Libellule, this took me a while to get into and I began to think….oh no, not another one! but after a while things fell into place but I could still not have completed without your help, sometimes i think i should stick at it without, but i know when i have come to a dead end so to speak :) never heard of 17a, but appreciate the clue is clever, also had never heard 1a used that way though after getting the theme of the crossword, the answer was obvious, thanks once again, now I can get on with the rest of the day :)

    • gnomethang
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      mary , This is another example of where the science background helps – a decoction is an (albeit old) word for a concentrated solution or tincture. The only place you might have heard it elsewhere would be in some ‘Jekyll and Hyde ‘ type Victorian Chemist!

      • mary
        Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        thanks gnomething, we have one of those where i live, thay still have all the old shelves and bottles etc. perhaps i will go in and ask them for a decoction for my cough :)

  3. fran rhodes
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    re 8d Try as I might I can not find any reference to tresses meaning queues

    • Libellule
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I also wondered about that – but a quick consult with Chambers gave me:
      Queue: a braid of hair hanging down the back of the head, a pigtail
      Tress: a plait or braid of the hair of the head
      So it does work….

    • mary
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      thanks fran, i was wondering about that too, in my Chambers crossword dictionary it does not give it under tresses but does give pigtail under queue

  4. mary
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Maybe a suggestion for all those who only buy the DT for the crossword as I did and very rarely read the paper, after discovering Clued Up, I not only get my crossword as early as I like ( after midnight of course ) but save a fortune in the process and don’t have to go out of the house to get my daily crossword ‘fix’, as there is no newspaper delivery where i live, i also save on fuel :) recommend it to all

    • mary
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      sorry not sure if this comment is in the correct place?

      • Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Within reason, nothing is “off topic” here.

      • mary
        Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        at the moment clued up are offering one weeks free trial :)

  5. gnomethang
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I knew the word and thought it was French in origin – is it not French for Tail (if not all tails then certainly an elaborate tail e.g. a fox). I assumed that the word reflected the style.

    • Libellule
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      It is French for tail, my French dictionary shows this meaning: (Zoological) tail as well as others.

    • mary
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      ah bien, i am always learning something nouvelle :)

  6. bigmacsub
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t use Chambers, some of today’s clues and answers fail the ‘Google’ test (if it aint on the 1st page, it aint used), especially 16d. Do we have to rely on one book now?

    • mary
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      no but it does help :)

    • Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Put yourself in the shoes of the setter and/or editor. How do you decide if a meaning is admissible? The Telegraph has used Chambers as its Bible for many years in order to arbitrate. Googling a word that has multiple meanings just doesn’t help.

      As far as 16 down is concerned, it is usual practice to indicate foreign words, and even though this word is in the “Bible” the addition of the word Spanish would have made the clue a little fairer, athough not a lot easier.

      • bigmacsub
        Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Fair one BD, but when a word appears in Chambers, but little or never elsewhere, then its admissibility becomes more than a little tenuous imo. Agree about the Spanish reference, that is how I got it.

        • Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          I am less worried about these obscure words than I am about another trend which is to assume that every word in a group in a thesaurus is a synonym of every other. This is a bit like saying a cow is an animal and a pig is an animal therefore a cow is a pig.

          • Barrie
            Posted November 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            To be fair, the word Almedas does appear in the online free dictionary called originally enough The Free Dictionary but it describes them as “Chiefly southwestern US a public walk or promenade lined with trees, often poplars” from the Spanish Alamo meaning a Poplar tree.

  7. fran rhodes
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    re 8d tresses/queues you would not believe the amount of research I have now done on these two words (it is the french for tail and chambers does have queue for pigtail, oed has queue – plait of hair worn at back) What with this and decoct I thank you for decreasing my brain age by at least 6 months

    • gnomethang
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Thinking about Decoct it is probably paired with Concoct through the Latin (con/de)coctus est.
      A concoction is where you add things together (and is a more common word) so it would be logical to have a decoction where you are isolating or extracting from a solution.

  8. Terry
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Much more enjoyable than yesterdays. 6a beat me, 8d ditto tresses=queues?? and 16d never heard the word. Don’t see the reasoning behind 10a. A good crossword.

  9. Prolixic
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable fare today. There were some nice clues. For simplicity and surface reading, my favourite was 15a.

  10. Chrisl2k
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The Guardian is a bit of light relief when you have done this one – same theme

  11. Vince
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Another onr for the reference books! Like most, I din’t know alamedas, decocts or queues/tresses.

    14d. I had “mounting up” as the answer, but still don’t get “rounding up”, even having seen the explanation. Can anybody elaborate?

    • Libellule
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Which part of the explanation of 14d is causing a problem?

      • Vince
        Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Libellule, I think you’ve changed your comment since you first posted it, haven’t you? But, I still don’t see the connection, in the clue, for making an approximation by rounding up (or down?) to a specific number of decimal places. Perhaps I’m looking too deeply into it??

        • Libellule
          Posted November 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Vince I modified it slightly because it referenced “rounding up” and “rounding down” rather than just rounding up…. the phrase rounding up when applied to numbers is for example to do the following if something is 99.99p, then if you rounded it up it would be 100p, if you rounded it down it would be 99p for example. Does that help?

          • Vince
            Posted November 5, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            I understand the concept of finishing a mathematical calculation to a number of decimal places. But, I could have sat here until the cows came home (or were rounded up!) and still not made that connection. Even after our discussion, when I read the clue, it still doesn’t say that to me. I think that my answer of “mounting up” fits the clue as well as “rounding up”. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bad clue. However, unless the compiler joins the debate and tells us what he meant, I’ll have to bow to your experience and concede the point.

  12. Big Boab
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Fun crossword, liked the “bonfire night” clues and also 24a.

  13. Pixie
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    tresses=queues? I checked dictionary.com and OED online and couldn’t see a definition like that.

    Hair braids or shoots of plants were what I came up with.

  14. Pixie
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Oops, looking at definitions for ‘queue’ I found:

    4. A long plait of hair worn hanging down at the back, from the head or from a wig; a pigtail. Now hist. or arch.

    So that’s a tress obviously.

  15. Barrie
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, interesting one today, some easy, some clever and themed such as 1a and some just downright daft such as 16d. Would be nice if the setters didn’t resort to totally obscure definitions that only Chambers recognises. Thought 9a and 9d were not nice but loved 4d and 30a. So a bit of a mixed bag with, I suspect, something for everybody (apart from the hated 16d).

  16. Tomtom
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Well you learn something new each day. 17a and 16d . – I thought we had 7d only a couple of weeks ago, I remember having to explain it to an accountant in my local

  17. nubian
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Tony Christie should have sang ‘In the avenues and alamedas’ and we would have all got the answer straight away.

  18. nubian
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, went off in my hand

  19. Jay
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Setter here
    Many thanks for the review, Libellule – I cannot tell a lie, it was I today as usual. Interesting to read all the comments, esp. re queues/tresses

    Vince – In 14d, “mounting up” I suppose at a stretch could be gathering, but I think rounding up fits both halves of the clue better

    Thanks to all for comments

    • Libellule
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      thanks for that – for some reason it didn’t quite feel like one of yours…. perhaps I was having a bad day :-)

  20. nanaglugglug
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Excellent crossword – Hotlips favourite was 14d and I just loved 8d because I KNEW the answer!! (thanks to my secondary school french!)

  21. Little Dave
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    A nice bonfire theme for my birthday. 21 again.

    • nanaglugglug
      Posted November 5, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Happy Birthday, Little Dave

  22. Adrian
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    You have overlooked SAY-SO.
    1d & 6a were the last ones for us to get.

    • Posted November 5, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Adrian.

      Thanks for the info about the typo – now sorted.

  23. NathanJ
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    This took me a while to complete but I really loved it.

    I liked 1a – it threw me for a bit until it dawned on me that the setter was referring to the Japan legislature.

    I would rate this three-and-a-half stars for difficulty and four stars for enjoyment – really good puzzle.

    Thanks to Jay – please keep these puzzles coming.

    • Posted November 5, 2009 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Re 1a – don’t forget that other crossword favourite, the Diet of Worms