DT 26086

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26086

Undoing the Good Work

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

After the previous week’s encouraging puzzle it was normal service resumed with this week’s Saturday offering. So much so, that I dashed it off and it was quickly forgotten.

It’s sad to me that puzzles like this should be in when the Friday and Sunday setters produce so much better work. Most other papers treat the Saturday puzzle as the crowning glory of the week and you get a puzzle with a bit of a challenge. I am sad that this is not the case with the DT. I wouldn’t mind one of these once a month with the others perhaps rotating.

This is a hotchpotch of a few decent clues drowned by some that one wouldn’t expect to find in an on-the-shelf puzzle magazine.

I know I may be a lone voice in this, but I just feel that those who wish to improve their solving can do so on a Friday and Sunday with beautiful constructions and ideas that challenge and stretch where on a Saturday some of that is sacrificed for the sake of surface reading of a clever clue. Perhaps in the setter’s defence, it may be a brief to which he has been asked to work, but if so, it needs to be revisited, in my opinion.

At least the grid had no double unches!

As usual, I would welcome you telling me I am a lone voice, or agreeing with me and you can do so. Feel free to rate the puzzle by the star system. As the deadline has passed Saturday answers are not hidden away in the brackets.


2a Making a smashing entrance (12)
GATECRASHING – To me this is no more than a simple definition, or at best an extremely weak cryptic definition. It all depends on the word “smashing”. A cryptic definition is one that is supposed to fool you to think something else. I really don’t think it does here.

8a Be leaving rubble creating confused impression (4)
BLUR – This is a type of clue known as a subtractive anagram (or an “O-level Word Sum”!).. You have to take a word, remove a letter or two and then anagram it to form the required answer. Here you have RUBBLE minus BE, then anagrammed to form a word meaning impression. Our setter is using “creating confused” as an anagram indicator.

9a Mild way to chide (8)
MODERATE – this is one of the better clues. Mild is the definition; the remainder is a word sum of a word meaning way (MODE) + a word meaning to chide (RATE).

10a Curmudgeon sadly eg removing abrasive (8)
CORUNDUM – And this is one of the worst. It’s similar to 8 across, but the reading actually indicates anagramming the word before you remove e.g. The surface reading is already poor. How can you make an anagram of something and then remove something?

11a Tuft that is forming small cloth (6)
HANKIE – How many of you use hanky and how many hankie? May be a regional thing, but I have always used it with a “y” in singular, and “ies” in plural. Tuft = HANK + I.E. = That is. Surface reading leaves me cold.

12a What one is prepared to pay? (5,5)
READY MONEY – A better cryptic definition, but still not fully deceptive. I saw it and immediately thought of READY MONEY and nothing else.

13a Remove whitewash from continental bed (6)
DEBUNK – “Remove whitewash” is the definition. “From continental” = DE (i.e. “from” in a foreign language) + BUNK (Bed).

16a Side of hill cut in London area (5)
SLOPE – LOP (cut) inside SE (London area) gives SLOPE (side of a hill)

17a Said fellow’s boost (6)
FILLIP – A homophone of the name PHILIP refers to a word that means “boost”.

18a Consequence when I am left with damaged cane (10)
IMPORTANCE – Consequence = definition. When = filler. I am (I’M) + left (PORT) with ANCE (damaged, an anagram of CANE).

21a Discharge which Parisian? One caught outside (6)
ACQUIT – Discharge = definition. QUI (Which Parisian, or “who” in French) inside A CT (ONE CAUGHT)

23a Give up salt I had returned Felix started eating (8)
ABDICATE – – A word sum:- AB (salt, sailor – able-bodied seaman) + DI (I’d returned) +cat (Felix) + E (start eating). If you were following Ximenean principles, and a lot of solvers and setters do, these phrases like “started eating” do not mean the same as “start to eating”, which would give E. Again it’s laziness and poor setting.

24a More than one drawing on the wall (8)
GRAFFITI – Unless I am missing something here, I really don’t see what this clue has to do with the answer. Drawings on a wall are not necessarily graffiti. It may be doing the setter a favour and provide him with a defence, but I presume the cryptic nature of this is you could read it as “more than one drawing (inspiration)” but the “on” would not apply as you can draw inspiration from something.

25a Remove coarseness if found in the way (4)
SIFT – IF inside ST(the way). If you look at the Friday or Sunday setter, there are no surplus uses of “the” or “a”. If it appears in the clue then it matters. Ultimately, I can’t see why it needs “the” in it.

26a What one hopes to have in hospital after being unwell, abuse! (3-9)
ILL-TREATMENT – Probably the best clue today, with a tiny reservation about use of the word “abuse”, given its connotations. Being unwell = ILL; what one hopes to have in hospital = TREATMENT. Put those two together and you get a word meaning abuse.


1d A paramour for the most part taking large number into secluded place (6)
ALCOVE – At first I thought this was A COVE with L (500) inside, but on re-reading it turns out to be A LOVE(R) with C (100) inside.

2d Weed sprouting under logs (9)
GROUNDSEL – An anagram, indicated by sprouting, of “Under logs” gives a weed.

3d From stand emerged two-seater (6)
TANDEM – A Hidden Answer clue “stand emerged…”

4d Cold beef many people have (6,9)
COMMON COMPLAINT – A cryptic definition that actually works well. “Cold” is one half of the definition. “Beef” = complaint, as in “what’s your beef?”and if many people have it, it could be said to be common.

5d Chemical compound, highly explosive and deadly potentially going round (8)
ALDEHYDE – Hmmmm…. HE = Highly explosive and an anagram (indicated by potentially) of “deadly” going round (HE) which doesn’t work. Or, as I suspect, “potentially” is padding to make the clue work and going round is an anagram indicator for the HE and DEADLY. Like Big Dave last Saturday, this troubles me.

6d Brave man having name for wader (5)
HERON – HERO (brave man) + N (NAME) = wading bird.

7d Rent unit out providing food (8)
NUTRIENT – An anagram (indicated by out) of RENT UNIT gives a basic food supplement.

14d Bad actors ruined programme (9)
BROADCAST – An anagram (indicated by ruined) of BAD ACTORS gives a word for a radio or TV programme. I have seen it many times over the years and was the first clue I wrote in today. Nice if you haven’t seen it before.

15d Clears off after six being instinctive (8)
VISCERAL – VI = six in Roman numerals + an anagram (indicated by off) of CLEARS gives a word that can mean “using instinctive”. One up to the setter there, I have only ever used it to mean earthy and coarse.

16d Hot-tempered high-flier? (8)
SPITFIRE – A double definition where we have a cryptic element to it. If you are hot-tempered you may be said to do this. High-flier can mean either a plane or a bird or spaceship. I think the question mark, which is usually used to show something is a bit odd here and you may have to think outside the box, just about gives the clue validation.

19d It is used to 25 across through puzzle (6)
RIDDLE – A word I am only too familiar with for a variety of reasons, none of which I shall go into here. Obviously you need to solve 25 across, which can place you at a disadvantage, but here it’s not a particularly hard clue. In effect you want a double definition for something that sifts that’s a type of puzzle. It gives me an opportunity to play some of the finest British comedy. Not the one I wanted to play, which was a parody of Coronation St, but this will have you smiling all day!

20d Copper to play very loudly and end abruptly (3,3)
CUT OFF – CU (copper) + TO + FF (musical instruction for to play very loudly – fortissimo) “and” is padding and end abruptly the definition.

22d A Parisian female with sex-appeal is not suitable (5)
UNFIT – Initially A Parisian female could be UNE, but here it’s actually A Parisian + Female UN + F and add to this “IT” for sex-appeal, and you get a word meaning unsuitable.

Some good bits, too many bad bits, and overall a puzzle that left me wanting something more.

See you soon.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    With you on the main conclusions, but …

    24A surface meaning: could also be “more than one person drawing on the wall”
    5D I see your point but must admit I didn’t notice a problem when solving. If you read it as “anagram of (HE plus anagram of ‘deadly’)”, the logic works, though putting 6 of the 8 letters through the sausage machine twice over seems a bit OTT.
    20D A marginal grumble, but I thought “play very loudly” was a bit iffy, possibly as for me these days it mostly means “_sing_ very loudly”

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