DT 26085

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26085

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a fairly difficult puzzle today with a couple of words new to me, but it’s very fair and entertaining in the usual Giovanni style. If you found this one tricky then I hope the hints help; if you found it a piece of cake, then try today’s Toughie – I guarantee that you won’t find that so easy!
As usual the answers are hidden so that you don’t see them by mistake. To reveal one, select the white space inside the curly brackets beneath the clue.
I think that this is the sort of puzzle that should generate lots of discussion – so let’s go for a good crop of comments!

Across Clues

1a  Speak pompously in an office in Rome (11)
{PONTIFICATE} – double definition, the second relating to the office of a pope.

8a  Romanticise about anti-evolutionary theory of the universe (11)
{CREATIONISM} – an anagram (about) of ROMANTICISE gives us this theory of how the universe was created by supernatural means. Nowadays its adherents tend to use the term “Intelligent Design” instead.

11a  Book by a tennis champion (4)
{ASHE} – start with A and add SHE, the novel by Rider Haggard, to get the surname of a Wimbledon champion.

12a  Rubbish drunkard’s fallen over by side of path (4)
{TOSH} – a drunkard is a SOT – reverse this (fallen over) and add (pat)H.

13a  Rodents in boarding-house bedroom? Kill! (7)
{DORMICE} – an abbreviation for a boarding-house bedroom is DORM – add ICE (an informal North American term for to kill).

15a  Son, a dandy and one with great charm (7)
{SMASHER}  – put together S(on) and MASHER (a dandy in Edwardian times).

16a  The pick of English literature, No. 1 for enthusiasts (5)
{ELITE} – this word meaning the pick or the best is constructed from E(nglish), LIT(erature) and the first letter (no. 1) of Enthusiasts.

17a  Explorer, angry leader going out (4)
{ROSS} – start with CROSS (angry) and remove the first letter to leave this Arctic explorer.

18a  Test in which a learner gets nothing right to start with (4)
{ORAL} – precede A L(earner) with O (zero, nothing) and R(ight).

19a  Man with Russian name is after British gold (5)
{BORIS} – put IS after B(ritish) and OR (gold).

21a  Content of oceans seen in new atlases (3,4)
{SEA SALT} – an anagram (new) of ATLASES.

22a  Puzzled volunteers look inside a ship (2,1,4)
{AT A LOSS} – volunteers are TA (Territorial Army) and look is LO – put these inside A and SS (steamship).

23a  Take out love maiden with oomph (4)
{OMIT} – string together O (zero, love in tennis scoring), M(aiden) and IT (sex appeal, oomph).

26a  Frank is very cold, lacking in vitality (4)
{FREE} – very cold is FREEZING – drop the zing (lacking in vitality).

27a  Stylish fellow given payment, a paltry amount (11)
{CHICKENFEED} – a charade of CHIC (stylish), KEN (fellow’s name) and FEED (given a payment or fee).

28a  Matter I need to get sorted, being decisive (11)
{DETERMINATE} – an anagram (sorted) of MATTER I NEED leads to an adjective meaning decisive, which is rarely encountered although its opposite, indeterminate, is.

Down Clues

2d  There’s nothing good about wicked person (4)
{OGRE} – this wicked person is a very common visitor to crosswords – it’s a charade of O (zero, nothing), G(ood) and RE (about).

3d  Slag off copper standing up in traffic (7)
{TRADUCE} – a verb meaning to slag off or speak badly of is formed by putting CU (chemical symbol for copper) backwards (standing up) in TRADE (traffic).

4d  Thin metal sword (4)
{FOIL} – double definition, the first being what you wrap the turkey in.

5d  Eat ice cream? Something tot will tuck into (7)
{CONSUME} – a verb meaning to eat is constructed from CONE (sort of ice cream) with SUM (tot) inside.

6d  Irritable with no yen for ordeal (4)
{TEST} – irritable is TESTY – drop the Y (no Yen).

7d  A case exemplifying ‘ignorance is bliss’? (8,3)
{PANDORA’S BOX} – brilliant cryptic definition of a container in Greek mythology. Curiosity got the better of its owner and she opened the box (this is beginning to sound like a game show) to allow evils and diseases to escape into the world. So it would have been better if she had done as instructed, left the box unopened and remained ignorant of its contents.

8d  Home-worker is dull, one about to become alluring (11)
{CHARISMATIC} – a charade of CHAR (daily, home-worker), IS, MAT (dull), I (one) and C (circa, about).

9d  Something in the computer? Mum’s not interested, we hear (11)
{MOTHERBOARD} – the main circuit board in a personal computer sounds like (we hear) MOTHER BORED.

10d  This oldster unexpectedly chosen for second interview? (11)
{SHORTLISTED} – an anagram (unexpectedly) of THIS OLDSTER produces a description of someone who has got to at least the second stage in a selection process.

14d  Poet, one entertained by English group (5)
{ELIOT} – put I (one) inside (entertained by) E(nglish) and LOT (group) to get this poet.

15d  Fine line gone over by industrialist (5)
{STRIA} – a word (previously unknown to me) for a threadlike line or furrow is hidden (gone over) in the clue.

19d  Woman in New Orleans became pale having lost daughter (7)
{BLANCHE} – became pale is BLANCHED – drop the D (having lost daughter) to get the forename of Ms. Dubois, the main character in A Streetcar Named Desire, a play by Tennessee Williams which is set in New Orleans.

20d  Pet embraced by senior set (7)
{STIFFEN} – a pet is a display of irritation or TIFF – around this (embraced) put SEN(ior) to get a verb meaning to become stiff or hard (to set).

24d  Second person’s article on drug (4)
{THEE} – the accusative or objective form of the old second person pronoun “thou” is constructed by putting THE (article) before E (Ecstasy, drug).

25d  Joint that’s little short of sordid (4)
{SEAM} – sordid is SEAMY – drop the last letter (little short).

26d  Achievement of female before lunch? (4)
{FEAT} – a synonym for achievement is made from F(emale) and EAT (lunch). The question mark indicates that lunch is just an example of what may be eaten.

I liked 8a, 18a and 9d today, but my favourite clue is 7d. What do you think? – leave us a comment and please remember to give your opinion of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.


37 Comments

  1. Prolixic
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    This was a great workout to get the grey cells working with lots of great clues. 7d foxed me for quite a while as I tried to make a charade ending in Joy!

    Favourite clues were 1a, 8a, 13a and by a long margin 7d.

    Thanks for the write up and many thanks to Giovanni.

  2. LB
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Dave

    Thanks for the explanation of 15a although I do find the links a bit tenuous i.e. `smasher` is probably more accepted as meaning someone or something that is extremely impressive as opposed to a charmer and according to the definitions I`ve found of `masher` it would seem that he was more of a louche than a dandy, but heh hoh it fits .

    Did like 7d and 9d

    • gazza
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      LB
      Chambers gives smasher as “a person of dazzling charm”, and masher as “a man who dresses showily to attract attention, a dandy, a flirt”.

    • Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      LB

      Gazza wrote this one!!

  3. Jezza
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Another corker from Giovanni; I always look forward to the Friday puzzle. The one that gave me the most trouble was 15a.

  4. Tilly
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    An excellent brain work-out. One of my children had lichen striatus, which was a rash which came out in a straight line, so I guess that helped me with the answer to 15d. Otherwise I might have been 22a!

  5. mary
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Morning Gazza – finished about half an hour ago and have been waiting patiently to read your explainations, I liked 10d, 7d, though that was the last one I got, 19a, I didn’t understand 26a, 13a, 23a though I got the answers, until I read your write up, lots of nice long 11 letter clues today, at first I thought I couldn’t do any then got started with 28a, come on fellow ‘clueless club’ it’s a good one today but not beyond us, with a little help of course from Chambers and electronic friends, which I’m assured is not ‘cheating’ :) it’s just great to finish it

  6. Paul
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. Had to get help with 25d as I was thinking meat/drugs/anatomy.

    Didn’t like the answer because I was thinking of sewing.

    Then it dawned that it works for welding.

  7. LB
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Dave

    Apologies
    Just re-read my comment and it reads as if I was doubting your links, absolutely not , it is the compiler who I was questioning.

  8. LB
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Gazza

    Double apologies

  9. Raphael Nonsenso
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Great Crossword. 7d was fantastic. chuckled at the homophone in 27a:)

    • gazza
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Raphael Nonsenso
      I missed the poultry/paltry connection completely. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • mary
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes, now I see it too

  10. mary
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    today is the first time i have atually taken any notice of the way the grid is laid out, very uniformly today, very interesting ,is this usually the way?? :)

  11. Lea
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    This was the best puzzle of the week – I really enjoyed it. Started late today but finished in a nice time.

    Thank you Giovanni for such an excellent outing for a Friday and thank you Gazza for good descriptions.

    My favourites were three of the down clues – 7d, 8d and of course 9d.

  12. Yoshik
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this enormously.

    One could almost say it was a 7d.

    Being a Theologian 8a was not only a good clue, but also very topical.

  13. Vince
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this as much as the rest of the week.

    27a. Never seen “fee” used as a verb before. Had to check that with Chambers.

    19d. Got the answer from the second half of the clue. Couldn’t see the New Orleans connection. Thought there might have been a mistake, as there was a Blanche, Duchess of Orleans!

    23a. Have to take issue with this clue, as “omit” is to “leave out”, not “take out”. I got the answer from the rest of the clue, but not a very good clue, I thought.

  14. Terry
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Excellent crossword. Just one ‘complaint’. 13a – ice = kill!! Are we supposed to know American gangster slang? As for ‘dorm’ – boarding ‘school ‘OK but boarding ‘house’ or was that part of the joke and I missed it?

    • Posted November 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Gangster slang comes in quite a bit. Didn’t we have ‘gat’ for gun last week? And ‘piece’ is also gun. So nothing wrong with ‘ice’. Sometimes one objects just because you missed it.

      And boarding schools often have separate houses where the pupils sleep in dormitories, so that is fine as well.

      Gazza – re ‘stria’, that was also new to me in that form, but we are all probably familiar with the adjective ‘striated’ to mean marked with straight lines, and which is derived from ‘stria’

  15. Big Boab
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Typical of the Maestro (Giovanni), best cryptic of the week. Loved 7d, great review Gazza.

  16. Kram
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Don has produced another superb end to the week, a really enjoyable puzzle completed in a longer time than normal!, like almost everyone 7d was my favourite, reminded me of the scene in ‘Notting Hill’ with Spike giving his worldly advice on the subject!

  17. Barrie
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Is this a Giovanni special? Found it pretty tough and needed help. Out of interest, how are you meant to know that the book referred to in 11a is by Rider Haggard, have I missed something?

    • nanaglugglug
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Think its a case of making the answer fit the clue! Good work out today, and like everyone this took us a bit longer.

    • gazza
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Barrie
      In my view it is slightly more difficult than the usual Giovanni Friday puzzle.
      “She” is fairly well known, but the clue can be solved without knowing it. Three of the four letters of the answer are checked, and there cannot be many tennis champions with 4-letter surnames.

    • Prolixic
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that you are meant to know that the book is by Rider Haggard, simply that there is a book called “She”. I have never read the book and, at a push I might have remembered the author, but I was aware of the title.

  18. Lizwhiz
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Managed it all by myself!!! feel SO ggod. Having said that i guessed a few answers then had to look them up! vey enjoyable! :)

    • Lizwhiz
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Oops! spelling a bit adrift! Is it the glass of wine?

    • gazza
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations, Lizwhiz. Was the glass of wine the catalyst which smoothed your path to completing it, or your reward for having done it?

  19. Barrie
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Without doubt most difficult Giovanni I have seen. I would not have been able to complete this on my own under any circumstances as many of the answers contain words unknown to me such as Stria and Traduce and most of the charades were very obscure. I hope you experienced guys enjoyed this one, I shall just look forward to tomorrows which is always much fairer.

    • Prolixic
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this was one of the more difficult Friday Giovanni puzzles – but then you should see his Toughies! One of the nice things about the Big G is his ability to set puzzles at different levels of ability all of which are scrupulously fair in the way in which the clues are constructed, often witty, and at first reading often baffling until you see what is hidden under the surface of the clue.

      I agree that the Saturday Cryptic is usually more approachable to a wide range of solvers in its level of difficulty (I would not say fairer) but be careful what you wish for. There are some Cephas puzzles that have real teeth!

  20. Toby
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Struggled on that – no problem with the clues – just the answers!

    27a made me laugh – many years ago whilst a student, the Union was looking for money from the college to host a ball at which the Dean would be bringing some dignitaries. When we asked for a monetary contribution the college offered a derisory amount. I dictated a letter (over the phone) to our somewhat cerebrally challenged secretary describing the amount as “paltry”. She pp’d the letter on my behalf and the next day I was summoned by the Dean. “So you think we are offering chicken feed do you?” (a man of humour) he said to me in a rather condescending manner. Yes- she had written “poultry” (- great for a vet student!!!) Have always signed my own letters since then.

  21. gnomethang
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Loved this puzzle.
    Hard and fair with some great clueing. 7d was the favourite and although I got 15a I didn’t know the dandy word.
    Hats off to the Don!
    Flying home tomorrow.

  22. sarumite
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I seldom have time on a Friday to look at crosswords owing to other commitments, but having read so many good reports of its high quality in recent weeks, I made an extra effort to find time (eventually) today.
    It was well worth it, a number of decent clues esp. 7d, 13a and 22a, so maybe I should try to reschedule my workload on Fridays in future?

    • gazza
      Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Sarumite
      Friday is my favourite day of the week for crosswords. We normally have an entertaining Cryptic from Giovanni (as today) and most weeks a really good Toughie (today’s was brilliant).

  23. sarumite
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the endorsement gazza.
    The problem I face as a carer 24/7 is simply a lack of time. However, I will make the effort to reorganise schedules to accommodate the Friday cryptic in future :wink:

  24. Giovanni
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the kind comments. The starting point was Boris J. telling us that he was paid chickenfeed — remember? What he’d call the pay for crossword setters I don’t know!

  25. mary
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Did no one else notice today that no matter which way you turned the grid it was the same??? very observant of me i thought :)