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DT 26083

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26083

Weak after the event ……..

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

After the ferocity of last Wednesday, we are back to a more reasonable puzzle that I am sure most of you will enjoy. The clues are nicely written and should not prove too much trouble for the majority of solvers. However, we are here to point you in the right direction, if a nudge is needed. Apart from a couple of dodgy anagram indicators, I found it very reasonable fare.

However, this is where I get to be controversial. As I have said, this is quite an elegant puzzle with the anagram clues invariably written with a little thought and style. However, this puzzle is almost entirely filled with these and word-sum clues, of which there are over a dozen. It provides an ideal challenge for those learning to solve cryptics, but I prefer a variety of clue types, with an occasional mind-stretcher. This sits firmly at the opposite ends of the universe inhabited by last Wednesday’s and I am happy for these puzzles, as long as we are treated to an occasional difficult one.

The answers, if you are really stuck, are hidden between the squiggly brackets and highlighting the space between them will reveal the answer.


1a    Fielder, not long a member (5,3)
{SHORT LEG} We start with the game of cricket today and one of the fielding positions is the answer needed. A simple word sum provides the answer. SHORT (Not long) + LEG (Member, when it appears in crosswords often refers to a limb of the body.)

9a    Womaniser reluctant to visit a Brazilian port (8)
{LOTHARIO} Another word sum. LOTH (reluctant) + (to visit) A RIO (A Brazilian port)

10a    Criminal slot machine? (6)
{BANDIT} Double definition. The name of a criminal, think Mexican and a type of slot machine, think one-armed.

11a    Appalling mutterer? Pa must get a hearing aid! (3,7)
{EAR TRUMPET) Some will love this, some will see it as a bit forced. My opinion: Bit of a forced appropriate anagram. It’s an anagram (indicated by appalling) of MUTTERER & PA.

12a    Seemingly endless English learnt abroad (7)
{ETERNAL} Another anagram (indicated poorly by “abroad.” Anagram indicators are supposed to indicate motion of some description.

14a    New trees planted in centre of Auckland will attract bird of prey (7)
{KESTREL} An anagram of TREES inside KL (centre of Auckland) gives a bird of prey.

16a    No mixer, one from our capital fellow ignored (5)
{LONER} “No mixer” is the description of the person you are looking for. Take the name of someone who lives in the Capital of England and remove (ignore) DON (fellow).

17a    Boy girl bowled over (5)
{BASIL} To make this work, you have to take the phrase “girl bowled”, which is a girl’s name plus B for bowled, and then reverse it all (over) to get a boy’s name. Here you need Homer Simpson’s eldest daughter for the girl’s name which should lead you to……

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a    Quick and inclined to bite? (5)
{NIPPY} Two definitions, one of which is cryptic. A colloquial word for quick and if something (say a small dog) is inclined to bite, it may be said to be…..

20a    Go with suit and tie (5)
{MATCH} This answer appears in the clue to 15ac, which could have been replaced with the clue number. It’s a double definition If you go with suit in a card game, or tie in other games, you could be said to do this.

22a    Girl could give a grown-up trouble (7)
{ABIGAIL} A word sum. A BIG (A + grown—up) + (trouble) AIL gives a girl’s name.

24a    Cope with French general in coach (7)
{HACKNEY} HACK (cope as in “to hack something”) + NEY (Famous French marshal).

26a    Bird, with end of beak, snapped his finger (10)
{KINGFISHER} An anagram of K + HIS FINGER, gives the name of a bird found near riverbanks.

27a    Receiving attention at home, manual worker (2,4)
{IN HAND} Receiving attention is the definition

28a    Shed, old ramshackle hut by river (8)
{OUTHOUSE} Shed is the definition needed. Old = O + anagram of HUT + name of UK river found in Yorkshire.

29a    Nutty, it is a rum dessert (8)
{TIRAMISU} Nice clue with an anagram that works well. An anagram (indicated by “nutty”) of IT IS A RUM gives a dessert found on many menus, but especially Italian ones.


2d    Hero of poem, Will’s second, Hathaway, mostly, edited (8)
{HIAWATHA} Our setter today is trying very hard to make his anagrams appropriate, but occasionally he (for it is probably a he) is trying a bit too hard. This is an anagram of I (the second letter of “will”) + HATHAWA, which produces the poem by Longfellow.

3d    Misleading clue embarrassed husband getting it wrong (3,7)
{RED HERRING} A word sum that leads to a phrase for a misleading clue that Alfred Hitchcock called a “maguffin” in his films. RED (embarrassed) + H (husband) + ERRING (getting it wrong). Nice surface reading.

4d    Actual misprint (7)
{LITERAL} Two definitions. Bradford’s will probably be your friend here.

5d    First sign of grey parrot and crow? (5)
{GLORY} Another word sum G (first sign of grey) + LORY (type of parrot)

6d    Race official from course (7)
{STARTER} Unless I am missing something, a weak cryptic definition for the starter of a race course. Not terribly misleading.

7d    In favour of training, right? Right (6)
{PROPER} Hmmm. Surely the second “right” needs some punctuation such as an exclamation mark? Another word sum. PRO (In favour of) + PE (training) = R (right) = a word meaning “right”.

8d    Inn, shortly to be refurbished, accommodating European (8)
{HOSTELRY} Nice surface reading. A word for an inn or tavern is needed here. An anagram of SHORTLY + E for European inside.

13d    Colonel knocked over a litre in one’s pub (5)
{LOCAL} COL (reversed) + A L (a litre) gives a word for one’s 8 down of choice.

14d    In woodwork, finally gets to carve a ship (5)
{KETCH} A word sum. K (woodwork, finally) + ETCH (to carve) = gives the name of a multi-masted ship.

15d    I knew match ground — this one? (10)
{TWICKENHAM} Probably the best clue of the puzzle – An anagram (indicated by ground) of I KNEW MATCH gives the name of the Home of Rugby Union in England.

17d    Usher in dark bar (5,3)
{BLACK ROD} Another word sum. BLACK (dark) + ROD (bar) = a man who gets paid by the State to wear fancy brocade and knickerbockers.

19d    Pauper at first feels bitter about handouts (8)
{PRESENTS} And another word sum. P (Pauper, at first) + RESENTS (feels bitter)

20d    Short skirt? Mother points to bottom! (7)
{MINIMUM} Word sum encore une fois. Is “points to bottom” a good definition here. MINI (popular short skirt of 60’s and 70’s) + MUM (mother).

21d    One who harasses a runner (7)
{HARRIER} Two definitions. The name given to many cross country athletes, plus a word meaning one who harasses.

23d    Fuel left out burst into flames (6)
{IGNITE} The type of fuel is one that is wood-based, and if you leave out L (left out), the first letter, you get a word meaning burst into flames.

25d    Rope male into group (5)
{SHEET} HE (male) inside SET (group) gives a nautical name for a type of rope.

Thanks to today’s setter for an entertaining challenge and I shall see you all for a Toughie battle tomorrow.

40 comments on “DT 26083

  1. Agreed that this was a pussy cat of a puzzle after recent ones. I had not spotted the sameness of many of the clues so it did not detract from the crossword for me. No one clue stood out as a favourite.

    By the way, all of the answers are visible in the brackets at the moment.

  2. Tilsit
    Re 6d, when you say are you missing something, you have not mentioned the starter as the first course of a meal..

  3. thank you Tilsit, well said, personally i like all the anagrams at least it gives me a chance :)
    I didn’t like 5d and still don’t really understand 23d, otherwise apart from not knowing for a while if 1a was short leg or short arm – not being a cricket fan – i enjoyed todays puzzle :)

      1. And there I was, trying to make an anagram of ‘fuel’ with the ‘l’ left off! Got it in the end, though :-)

    1. Hi Mary – agree with you on 5d – sorry- just left a comment about it below before seeing your comment.

  4. This is a gentle stroll in the park but one or two which made one think a touch.

    20d reminded of the rather vertically challenged mother in law. The only bad part to the crossword.

  5. Well I’m never too disappointed to see “a gentle stroll in the park”. It restores the confidence to whip through one every now and again.

    I hadn’t recognised the reliance on word-sum clues and perhaps this explains why I found it easier than other puzzles.

    I clearly need to work on my double definitions. I had all the letters for Vampire yesterday and still couldn’t see it.

    1. Agreed. I have no problem with a well-balanced and enjoyable puzzle that is at the easier end of the scale. I often say that I have crossword biorhythms that mean I have days when I can tackle all that day’s newspaper puzzles in next to no time, and there are days when I can spend all day on just one puzzle.

      However I do draw the line at anagrams such as the one at 1 down. Turning I HATHAWA into HIAWATHA seems a bit of an insult to me, and almost smacks of laziness.

      For those who have a little time to spare today now, may I suggest today’s Guardian puzzle which is by our Sunday Supremo and is a bit special.

      Click to access gdn.cryptic.20091111.pdf

      1. Thanks for the pointer to the puzzle by Nadnerb (1 down 17) – it was great fun and, once the interplay between the clues was cracked, not too difficult. I agree with you that it was a special treat.

        In relation to 1d , as you have to get to the anagram indirectly from the clue, I’m happy to give the setter some leeway on the initial arrangement.

  6. Oh you grump, Tilsit! Just because you found it easy. Some of us are pleased to complete one. This is a lovely crossword, with many elegant clues. For once we have finished on the day, having had a couple of hours in the car on the way to Oxford and back.

    Re 20d, the definition is ‘bottom’ (=minimum), not ‘points to bottom’, and it is a great clue, in that miniskirts also lead you to think of bottoms (well in my case, certainly)

    Several of the clues are reflexive; eg 19d where ‘Pauper’ not only provides the ‘P’, but is so appropriate to resenting the hand-out. Similarly your derided 11a . ‘Appalling’ is a perfectly good anagram indicator, and a hearing aid is all the more needed if listening to a mutterer. Lovely!

    Also enjoyed 28a ‘Ramshackle’ being not only the anagram indicator, but also painting the picture of this dilapidated shed/hut/outhouse.

  7. I don’t mind being called a grump, but I wasn’t referring to the quality of the anagram indicator in 11ac, I felt the use of Pa gave the clue a sort of old fashioned look.

    I am happy to praise the apposite nature of some of the clues and have done so, but just occasionally the pudding is over-egged and some look a bit forced and spoil the effectiveness of the others.

    I rather suspect I know who the setter is and if so, he produces some really enjoyable puzzles at a variety of levels fropm here through to the Listener Crossword, and all are accessible.

  8. I enjoyed doing this puzzle very much. It was just my level and very encouraging, though I was a bit put off by the cricket reference to start with — and that made me distrustful of 17a, thinking it was another. I only needed your help with 28a, as my knowledge of British rivers is limited. A number of the clues made me smile, especially 3d and 11a.

    Thanks to the setter. Please do it again! :-)

    1. Franny I’m with you here – a great puzzle and many clues I liked 3d, 9a, 20d amongst others. Would love one like this each week – it would make me feel less of a dolt!

  9. I didn’t really enjoy this one. 17a seems to be a clue you can only solve once other letters are in place to indicate that you have the correct name. As someone who is fairly new to Crosswords I thought that normally there are two ways of coming to the answer within a clue – i.e. find the synonym and then confirm it with the word sum as in 9a. Or am I just nit picking?!

    1. You make a very good point, Fi. A couple of us here have expressed that we feel uncomfortable about using Christian names in a puzzle, and then expecting you to solve the clue by finding another name seems a tad unfair.

      It would be nice to hear from someone like Giovanni as to what he feels about such a device.

  10. You are right, Fi. When it a question of two names, one as an anagram, you just have to wait until you have a few letters. Otherwise it is a guess. If you have a good guess, try confirming one or two of the letters by putting them in as possible in the crossing clues.

    Tilsit – sorry to call you a grump, I accept you said that the clues were elegant. It is just that some were so good that it made me laugh out loud. Not being a great expert, I don’t mind if they are a bit ‘samey’.

    But I do disagree with you about the anagram indicator in 12a. Who says they have to imply motion? (Where’s the motion in ‘appalling’? ‘Abroad’ can mean ‘out and about’ and definitely implies mixing things up.

    By the way, ‘Red Herring’ (3d) might have been my favourite clue. As you say it reads nicely. And 17d is also excellent. Too many to mention!

  11. Being a sports nut, it ticked the right boxes for me from the outset (with 1a), although I appreciate many will not share this view!! :smile: I agree that the use of unsupported christian names is not particularly welcome.

    Whilst it was fairly gentle in nature, several of the clues read extremely well, and I enjoyed it considerably.

  12. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. Having never managed to complete a whole crossword without help before it’s great to have one to really sink your teeth into. Unfortunately I’ll have to wait for another chance to complete one on my own as 17a and 28a had me stumped. 28 as I had “Minimal” instead of “minimum” thinking that “mother” was “MA” and that “points” referred to “L(EFT)”. In my eagerness I managed to overlook the fact that “points” is plural. Next time…

  13. Enjoyed this puzzle and whizzed through it! Where are you Barrie? I thought there were some very clever clues but agree with comments re christian names. However there couldn’t be many words that would fit in 17a, given the crossing letters- perhaps a reference to herbs rather than a reliance on christian names would have been better.
    I thought 22a was contrived to say the least! I didn’t care for 5d – “crow” is a verb and whilst I realize that the answer could be a verb if “in” is put after it, to me it is a noun!
    (I am sure some of you will disagree on this!)
    Having been critical on these small points I did enjoy the puzzle as a whole. I liked all the anagrams, particularly 15d which seemed very clever (and involved rugby!). If every day was as good as this I would have no complaints!

  14. Out of interest, are there any female cryptic crossword setters? or is it a male only thing?
    I enjoyed todays even if it was simple. Not sure I lked 5d? Oh well helped fill the lunch break!

    1. Excalibur, who set today’s Toughie, is female. She used to set the Sunday Telegraph cryptic. I’m sure that there must be others but cannot point to them!!

    2. Hi Liz

      There are a few female setters around.

      One of them all set today’s Toughie. The Daily Telegraph used to have two female setters AnnTait who sets for the Yorkshire Post as well. The Friday slot used to be occupied by the wonderful Ruth Crisp, who has quite a life story which can be read in Val Gilbert’s book A Dsiplay of Lights, which also features our Monday Maestro.

      I’d forgotten about this photo: –


      You can see some of our whizzkids there.

      I’ll reply to you privately about others if that’s ok.

  15. When I immediately got the first 4 across clues I thought this was the crossword for me and I would whip through it! Not to be – finished all but 29a (of which I have never heard) I finished with a guess but put the ‘u’ in the wrong place. 14a and 17d were my favourites., Most enjoyable.

  16. Toby,

    Agree about rugby and cricket although the missus got ‘short leg’ before I did! I was too busy thinking of things ending in ‘off’

    The Twickenham clue was very neat in that ‘ground’ was both part of the definition and the anagram indicator.

  17. Couldn’t decided which was the worst answer, gap of yesterday or basil of today, in the end it had to be yesterdays ‘gap’, sorry Ray. Apart from the mentioned 17a, a lovely and well thought out crossword, sorry for you re the cricket one Mary, but loved the other sport clue in 15d.

  18. After yesterday’s toil this was a gentle jog. I was beginning to think my abilities to solve were going in reverse.

  19. As it happened I solved today’s puzzle. I romped through it very quickly, but then I should, shoudn’t I? I Since I’ve been asked, I had no problem whatever with the clue to BASIL!

  20. Straight forward puzzle today. Thanks for the explanation for 17a, I got it right but didn’t see where the girl was in the solution. Should have done though!

  21. Superb puzzle today, finished it before starting filimg. Some very clever clues but always fair. Loved it!

  22. Hola from Spain.
    I have left my brain at home and the Telegraph costs €3.20!
    so not buying every day.
    Liked this, missed 3 of them but loved 15d.

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