DT 26097 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26097

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26097

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

The Friday Cryptic is often the highlight of the week and, once again, Giovanni does not disappoint. It’s full of entertaining clues, but I did find it quite tricky – let us know whether you agree or not!

As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets so that you cannot see them accidentally – just highlight the white space inside the brackets and say “abracadabra” to reveal one.

Across Clues

1a  Expert with conspicuous wealth is playing around (8 )
{DABBLING} – expert, whether used as a noun or an adjective, is DAB – add BLING (an ostentatious display of wealth).

9a  Gradually pay off pounds to a miser (8 )
{AMORTISE} – a verb meaning to pay off a debt in regular instalments is an anagram (pounds) of TO A MISER.

10a  Drug addict in ploy, first to last (4)
{USER} – a ploy is a RUSE – now move the first letter to the end (first to last).

11a  Retired with such energy? It could make you see red! (12)
{TIRELESSNESS} – quite a complicated clue – the definition is energy, and if you apply the answer to the word REtireD you end up with just red.

13a  Cad’s clue is dreadful — it doesn’t get you anywhere (3-2-3)
{CUL-DE-SAC} – an anagram (is dreadful) of CAD’S CLUE.

15a  Possibility of work pursued by one in fashion (6)
{OPTION} – the definition is possibility – start with OP (work) and add TON (fashion) with I (one) inside.

16a  Sunny Wednesday? Not entirely when it turns wet (4)
{DEWY} – hidden (not entirely) and reversed (when it turns) in the clue is a word meaning wet.

17a  State may provide protection for very old theatre (5)
{SAVOY} – state is SAY – put V(ery) and O(ld) inside (provide protection) to get the name of a London theatre which was originally set up to put on the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan.

18a  Load of extra money but not a billion (4)
{ONUS} – quite a topical clue – extra money is a BONUS – drop the B (not a billion).

20a  Track down commander coming in after due time (6)
{LOCATE} – put OC (officer commanding) inside LATE (after due time).

21a  ‘Friday — I could do with your help!’ one said? (8 )
{CASTAWAY} – a clever clue which doesn’t quite work for me. The answer is a description of what Robinson Crusoe was, and his quote can be read in two ways depending on whether you put the emphasis on do or could.  With the second he’s saying that he could get off the island (cast away) with Man Friday’s help. However, I don’t think that cast away really means the same as cast off.

23a  Good old car once seen as a paragon of excellence (4,8 )
{GOLD STANDARD} – a description which is used to mean a yardstick of excellence, derived from the time when our currency was linked to the value of gold, is constructed from G(ood), OLD and the name of a British make of car from the past (car once).

Standard Ten

26a  Pedigree oddly missing in the country (4)
{EIRE} – if you take away the odd letters (oddly missing) of pEdIgReE then you’re left with the name of a country.

27a  The future is mostly grave — sadness with no sun (8 )
{TOMORROW} – put together TOM(b) and (s)ORROW.

28a  Medical examination that’s most poor, might one suppose? (4,4)
{SKIN TEST} – if poor is skint, then most poor would be …….. (groans all round!).

Down Clues

2d  Pure Sir Anthony? (8 )
{ABSOLUTE} – double definition, the second giving the surname of a character from Sheridan’s The Rivals.

3d  Communication that may be stiff coming with name and number? (8,4)
{BIRTHDAY CARD} – cryptic description of what arrives in the post once a year, though after you reach a certain age you may not be too keen on seeing the number written on it.

4d  Trendy type coming up with jazzy passages (6)
{INTROS} – string together IN (trendy) and a reversal of SORT (type).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d  Bitterness when local girl has left (4)
{GALL} – a synonym for bitterness is constructed from GAL (local, i.e. dialect, term for a girl) and L(eft).

6d  Boy’s sort to be moved by sad tale (3,5)
{SOB STORY} – an anagram (to be moved) of BOY’S SORT.

7d  Superb penalty (4)
{FINE} – double definition.

8d  Birds to be bagged? Not hard for country folk (8 )
{PEASANTS} – these game birds are PHEASANTS – take out the H (hard, as in the description of a lead pencil).

12d  End battalion possibly on account of country’s financial problem? (8,4)
{NATIONAL DEBT} – another very topical clue alluding to possible cuts in the military – an anagram (possibly) of END BATTALION.

14d  City’s unaffected by upset (5)
{CIVIC} – an adjective meaning related to a city (city’s) is palindromic (unaffected by upset).

16d  Remove barrier for representative (8 )
{DELEGATE} – a mark written on a document during proofreading as a direction that a letter or word is to be removed is DELE. Add GATE (barrier).

17d  Repair tears and sew garments (8 )
{SWEATERS} – an anagram (repair) of TEARS and SEW.

19d  Warn Esau about how Jacob would plan to catch him? (8 )
{UNAWARES} – anagram (about) of WARN ESAU with a clever biblical reference.

22d  Scot’s served up very good dish (6)
{SCAMPI} – if a Scotsman is not named Ian or Iain then, by the laws that we operate under, he must be Mac, so reverse (served up) MAC’S (Scot’s) and add PI (pious, very good).

24d  Feeble hit with little energy (4)
{LAME} – put LAM (hit) and E(nergy) together.

25d  Sound made by wild animals to indicate intelligence? (4)
{NEWS} – … and so we reach the end of the gnus.

The clues I enjoyed include 9a, 4d and 12d, but my clue of the day is 19d. Let us know your opinions on the puzzle via a comment, and please remember to vote by clicking on one of the stars below.

42 comments on “DT 26097

  1. 11a reminded me of that clue which read as follows: E (13). Answer: SENSELESSNESS. Who devised that one?

  2. Well I got thoroughly stuck with this about two-thirds of the way through, and couldn’t possibly have finished it without your help. A number of the clues I found very clever and amusing, but others would have been quite beyond me.

    I didn’t like ‘pounds’ as an anagram indicator in 9a, and would never in a hundred years have worked out 11a. And as for 21a — horrors! However, I enjoyed 2d as I recently directed a production of that play, also 17a and 12d, and I agree with you that the best clue of today way 19d.

    Thanks to Giovanni, and even more to you :-)

  3. This has been a week of pure quality although 28a takes some justifying, I can’t work the first half of the answer back to the clue.

  4. I can’t say that this is the worst crossword I’ve ever done, as I completed it! But, it comes very close. I got a number of the answers from the definitons and checked letters, without fully understanding the clues. Talking of checked letters, what about the double unchecked ones?

    I thought that 11a and 21a were far too clever for this level of puzzle. I got the answer to 9a before I realised it was an anagram, then concluded that “pounds” must be the indicator. Is there any word that isn’t considerd acceptable as an anagram indicator? It seems to me that if it fits with the surface reading, it will do!

    I thought that 28a was the best clue – simply because it was the only thing about the puzzle that made me smile.

  5. Quality stuff this morning from Giovanni. Lots of penny dropping moments to savour. 12d was my favourite.

  6. Another High Quality jaunt from Giovanni. I didn’t think it was exceptionally fiendish but it was certainly worth three more train stops this morning.
    I have to agree with gazza on 21a – it tried a bit too hard and didnt really work for me either.
    12d and 3d were enjoyable but favourite for me overall was 9a.

    Thanks for the review, gazza

  7. Intervening early to defend ‘pounds’ which means beats into fine pieces or a pulp — which is what ‘amortise’ does to ‘to a miser’. I’m very fussy about anagram indicators and would never use one just for the sake of surface meaning. Thanks so far (now carry on talking amongst yourselves please).

    1. But shouldn’t an anagram indicator suggest that something should be rearranged, not beaten to a pulp?

      1. Considering some of the anagram indicators we’ve had recently, I think that “pounds” is pretty good – it does have the sense of changing the state of something.

        1. Gazza,

          I agree that, compared to some we’ve had recently, this wasn’t too bad (I wouldn’t say “pretty good”). But does this mean that any word or phrase that suggests changing the state of something is OK? We could have words such as: pulverise, disintegrate, dissolve, decompose, demolish … The list could be endless.

          I’ve had along week. I’ll feel better after a few pints of Guinness tonight!

  8. I really enjoy Fridays – thanks for an excellent crossword Giovanni.

    I had several that I enjoyed – 1a, 27a, 28a (loved it!!) and 3d but my clue of the day is 11a – it made me smile when I got it.

    The one that took me the longest was 4d for whatever reason and 2d was on instinct of the definintion of “pure”. Thanks for the review Gazza – now I know why.

    9a didn’t worry me about the anagram indicator as once you worked oiut the definition it couldn’t be anything else,.

  9. Really enjoyed this week and today was a great way to finish. Took me a while to work out why 11a was what it was having got the answer from the checking letters

    1. Hi droopy
      Welcome to the blog. The best thing about it is that we can start all over again next week!

  10. Well i really liked that one though i found it difficult in places and couldn’t have completed the top L/H corner without your help Gazza, started off completely wrong with robinson for 21a!!! realisation set in when i got 12d, liked 28a ahd 23a, CC members – its a bit of a struggle but worth it in the end :) Thanks once more for all the great help Gazza, got 9a but had never heard the word!

    1. …me too! I entered half a dozen answers, and then scrapped it. It seemed more like a sudoku puzzle!!

  11. I always like Giovanni crosswords because whilst I think they are often difficult they always seem fair and if I persevere I can generally finish them.
    Today I felt that there were too many words which surely only crossword addicts would know:- 15a “ton” 16d -“dele”, 22d “pi”, 24d “lam”.
    There were some really good clues- 28a, 21a, 26a, 12d and some which I felt to be too convoluted – 27a, 11a.

    Wouldn’t have got close to finishing without Gazza’s clues. Thanks Gazza!
    Where are you Barrie? Mary seems to be moving out of our league!

    1. No way Toby, today was a real struggle for me and i didn’t complete without Gazzas help, i struggle most days, some days i get there others i don’t, i am still firmly a member of the clueless club :)

  12. Still don’t understand answer to 25d – I like your comment Gazza but still don’t see how this fits with the answer! Help anybody?

  13. A little too tough for me without your hints. 22d PI for very good is new to me. 1a Surely an expert is not just a ‘dab’ but a ‘dab hand’. Why did I spend so much time messing around with ‘Ace’?

  14. You folk all get this done early in the day so you have already posted most of the points that I feel worth making.
    “Dele” for remove (delete) and the logic behind “tirelessness” for 11ac. were beyond me and almost induce a feeling of “not fair” which is no way to start a weekend. But amortise skintest and dewy all were great clues and made up for it. Always have looked forward to Friday’s as the best cryptic so thanks to Giovanni.

  15. Mr C and I were over the moon to have completed all but 3 clues before resorting to the blog; though there were several more that we got but had no idea why! My favourite this time was 19d also like 17a and 27a. Thanks Giovanni for a great puzzle and Gazza for the explanation!

  16. That was tough. You could immediately see this was one that would pull you in lots of different directions. There were several I got and then had to take even longer figuring out why. I never felt comfortable I was going to finish it, till I did.
    But there were more than a few thoroughly satisfying answers to reward me along the way.

  17. A good Friday puzzle.
    Giovanni, I come back to your reply to me a week ago (26091) – I saw it only last night as I have been preoccupied with eye problems.
    I am amazed that an American should consider DT crosswords as extremely UK orientated!
    In my experience, US crosswords are dreadfully slanted to life in the USA. One has to be well-versed in local events, celebrities of stage, screen & TV to get on with theirs! The large ones (not 15 x 15 square) often without rotational symmetry can be very tough indeed.
    One has to be a bit of a sleuth to enjoy solving puzzles – remember Inspector Morse?
    No I am not a xenophobic Little Englander!
    We have to encourage fresh solvers to “Keep going on to the end of the road” as Harry Lauder used to sing! En forgeant on devient forgeron!

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