DT 26103 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26103

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26103

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s Friday, so it’s Giovanni day and we have another excellent puzzle from many people’s favourite setter. As is often the case it was a couple of the short, four-letter, words which gave me most trouble – being a bit of a philistine in matters operatic, I had never heard of 1d, and I was held up for a while by 23d.

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As usual the answers are hidden so that you do not see them by accident. If you do want to see an answer, highlight the white space inside the curly brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  The anger when cleaner breaks this piece of apparatus (10)
{THERMOPILE} – put together THE and RILE (to anger) with MOP (cleaner) inside and you have a piece of apparatus used for measuring minute changes in temperature or for generating thermoelectric current.

6a  Old rodent seen around plant (4)
{TARO} – a tropical Asian plant cultivated for its edible root stock is made from O(ld) RAT reversed (seen around).

9a  Mistreated a pony — girth is shrinking (10)
{ATROPHYING} – an anagram (mistreated) of A PONY GIRTH produces a word meaning shrinking or wasting away.

10a  Long underwear to be cut short (4)
{PANT} – a verb meaning to long or yearn is formed by shortening your PANT(s).

13a  Call promises of payback ‘suspect’ (7)
{DUBIOUS} – a charade of DUB (call) and IOUS (promises of payback).

15a  Cafeteria is hit (6)
{BUFFET} – double definition.

16a  Whisper when saint breaks law (6)
{RUSTLE} – put ST (saint) inside RULE (law).

17a  Get into all-night dancing somewhere in London (7,4,4)
{NOTTING HILL GATE} – one of the main roads in London, in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is an anagram (dancing) of GET INTO ALL-NIGHT.

18a  Pin in end of frock picked by seamstress? (6)
{SKEWER} – put the last letter of frocK inside SEWER (seamstress).

20a  Soil say turning to mire after start of September (6)
{SMUDGE} – the definition is to soil – reverse EG (saying, for example) and append it to MUD (mire), all coming after the first letter of September.

21a  Glamour brought by Catholic to Church of England (7)
{ROMANCE} – stitch together ROMAN (Catholic) and CE (Church of England).

22a  Cheese omelette finally produced by mother (4)
{EDAM} – this Dutch cheese, which crossword setters must be very fond of, is made from the final letter of omelettE and DAM (mother).

25a  Duty of American soldier seen in retrospect in sacrifice (10)
{OBLIGATION} – a sacrifice (in the sense of an offering to the god(s)) is an OBLATION. Put GI (American soldier) reversed (in retrospect) inside.

26a  Do away with expertise, not requiring leader (4)
{KILL} – decapitate (s)KILL (expertise).

27a  Priest not awfully good kicking up a fuss? (10)
{PROTESTING} – an anagram (awfully) of PRIEST NOT is followed by G(ood).

Down Clues

1d  Tenor with good sense of music! (4)
{TEAR} – a clever all-in-one clue leading to the surname of a distinguished Welsh tenor. Start with T(enor) and add EAR (good sense of music).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d  Win a vase, from what they say (4)
{EARN} – a sound-alike (from what they say) of URN (vase) means win.

3d  Sketch makes mother pull a face (3,3)
{MAP OUT} – put together MA (mother) and POUT (pull a face) and you have a phrasal verb meaning to sketch.

4d  Medical practitioner, quietly I stop hysteria spreading around hospital (15)
{PHYSIOTHERAPIST} – start with P (piano, quietly) and follow this with an anagram (spreading) of I STOP HYSTERIA around H(ospital).

5d  Monkey showing fatigue, not getting round (6)
{LANGUR} – fatigue is LANGUOR – take out the O (not getting round) and you are left with a long-tailed monkey.

7d  A very small insect on ground by house, lacking tail and not boringly normal? (5-5)
{AVANT-GARDE} – a charade of A, V(ery), ANT (small insect) and GARDE(n) (ground by house without its last letter) produces a description of something or someone given to experimental, out-of-the-box thinking.

8d  Fair sited in an area of flat land (2,3,5)
{ON THE LEVEL} – double definition, the first a synonym for fair, in the sense of honest.

11d  Cooked meat served in special basket, note (1-4,5)
{T-BONE STEAK} – [on Clued Up this is incorrectly shown as 1,4,5] it’s an anagram (special) of BASKET NOTE which was banned for two years at the height of the BSE scare.

12d  Outlandish description of Humpty after accident (3-3-4)
{OFF THE WALL} – double definition – a North American phrase meaning unorthodox or outlandish is where H Dumpty ended up after his fall.

13d  Important contest — journalist turns up with drink (7)
{DECIDER} – the definition is a match which produces a definite winner. Reverse (turns up) ED (editor, journalist) and add CIDER.

14d  Grand vessel with a green colour (7)
{SUBLIME} – put together SUB (submarine, vessel) and LIME (colour).

19d  Garment right for concealing British criminal (6)
{ROBBER} – join ROBE (garment) and R(ight) and put a second B (for British) inside.

20d  Fights for morsels of food (6)
{SCRAPS} – double definition.

23d  Small bird, one in shrub in US (4)
{TITI} – this is the last clue I got, and, having ?I?I in the grid I spent some time trying to justify kiwi (yes, I know it’s not very small) and mini (which is small!), before realising that it’s TIT (small bird) followed by I (one). The definition is a shrub native to the southern USA.

24d  Problem with erstwhile commentator John on the radio (4)
{SNAG} – my favourite clue! – “on the radio” both signals a homophone of the surname of John SNAGGE and describes where he made his reputation. He was the BBC’s senior announcer and was wheeled out to deliver important news like the death of King George VI, but he also commentated each year on the university boat race. I remember, as a child, listening to his commentary and being totally baffled by his wonderful deep voice intoning “In out, one out, two out, three out…..”.

Among the clues I liked today were 1d, 12d and 13d, but my clue of the day is 24d. Let us know what you think, and please take the time to grade the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

40 comments on “DT 26103

    1. Me too!! Or, for that matter 21d – thought, like mary it was KIWI. Love the picture of the Langur, Gazza!!

  1. If my memory serves me correctly, John Snagge was a Governor of my old school – probably as an excuse to get him to come and speak for free at Speech Night! Unfortunately his name will probably be unknown to the under-forties, but at least Mary will be able to tick this one off.

    1. …i’m over 40 (just!), but never heard of him. I got the answer from the clue, but did have to google John Snag, and John Snagg, before I finally got it!

      1. John Snagge’s voice was heard at the start of each episode of Dad’s Army as the radio announcer / newsreader.

  2. Very Enjoyable!.
    Failed on 1d and had Kiwi in (Lightly) for 23d. Glad to be in good company!.

    Thanks for the Review!

    1. One of the advantages of CluedUp is that you can enter a guess and then press Submit – I did this with both 1d and 23d as, although the answer was obscure, the wordplay was clear. I would also add 6a and 5d to the list of those to work out and then look up – a bit difficult if you are on a train at the time (unless, of course, there’s an i-phone app for it!).

      1. There is indeed BD, There is indeed!. In fact, I Googled both 6a and 7d having written them both in due to the wordplay!.

        I have a ‘Crossword Solver’ app which is very poor (no proper nouns, foreign words etc). I allow myself the use of this on the Toughie only, and only when I have admitted defeat. So far used twice this week.

      2. There is something that I treated myself to yesterday for the Iphone – trying to use up my existing Iphone vouchers before someone gets me another batch for Xmas.

        There is an app that puts Chambers onto your Iphone which is useful for checking odd words. It even has “Niffnaff”. As it works completely offline it is very useful – used it this morning to confirm 1a was a word. Ideal for use on the train.

        At about £5 to download it is reasonably priced. It may not have the full wordlist from the 11th edition but it seems to be fairly comprehensive.

    2. Ditto.

      Incidentally, Gazza, 11d was correctly clued as 1-4,5, not 1,4,5 – at least in my edition!

      1. Touchwood
        Thanks for that. I was doing it from Clued Up – obviously it’s correct in the paper.

  3. Been below the radar for several days, so this is the first crossword for a while. What a great way to restart. Started with 4d and 17a and had good fun.

  4. A great outing from Giovanni today. Lots to challenge and bring a smile to the face. Like you 23d was the last to fall into place. My favourite was 17a today.

    On 20a, I wondered initially whether the answer was composed of S + MUDGE as Chambers defines MUDGE as as mud or sludge. I think that your solution fits the surface reading much better. Not something to get bogged down in.

    My favourite John Snagge anecdote concerns the boat race. Before there were live TV feeds, John could not see the whole of the course from the commentary box. At one point on the river bank someone was posted to raise a light blue or dark blue flag to let John know who was in the lead. One day, before the race, John went up to thank the person who did this and noticed that from his vantage point it was impossible to know who was leading. He therefore asked how the person knew which flag to raise. Oh that’s simple he said, I listen to that John Snagge on the radio.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for today’s treat. Thanks Gazza for the blog.

  5. 21a No doubt you will tell me that glamour is the same as romance in ‘Chambers’ but sometimes I think I am speaking a different language. Where would you all be without my daily moan ?
    The puzzle overall was great BTW.

  6. Just shows the you can’t please all th people all the time. Didn’t enjoy this much. Mainly because I didn’t complete it. Didn’t get 1d, 23d & 24d.

    1d. I’m not a fan of all-in-one clues. This didn’t work for me. And I’d never heard of Robert Tear. I thought there could have been a number of better clues for this word.

    23d. I came up with “titi”, but discarded it as a nonsense word, as I’d never heard if this.

    24d. Looked up John Snag, but didn’t even get “Did you mean…?” And I don’t like “on the radio” or “on the phone” as indicators of “sounds like”.

    1a. Although I got the answer, I thought we could have had a better definition than “piece of apparatus”. Anything answer to this description. It could have been narrowed down to an area perhaps??

    10a. I don’t see “long” and “pant” as meaning the same. To “long for” and “pant for” can mean the same, but I don’t think that the two words on their own do.

    TGIF! Looking forward to that Guinness again!

    1. My comment on 10a should read: To “long for” and “pant for” can mean the same, but Idon’t think that the two words on their own do.

  7. What a lovely way to spend Friday in the coffee shop after my exercise at the gym. Had to wait till I got home to finished 1d and 7d and confirm 23d. I got hung up on 1a for a while as kept wanting to put in steam as the start of the word and of course couldn’t work out why I couldn’t work it out. Restarted and it fell in to place.

    Giovanni likes his four letter words – again this week there are 4 in the across and 4 in the down – some very clever ones though but still hate them!!!!

    There were a lot of excellent clues but my favourite is 12a.

    Thank you Giovanni for an excellent crossword and Gazza for a superb review.

  8. This was a toughie for me. Now educated about exotic flora – titi and taro, and opera – Tear, and still kicking myself about missing the wordplay in 1A. Guessed the monkey but never heard of that either. Thankful for getting the 17A anagram early on!

  9. Enjoyed most of it but agree that 21a was a bit of an obscure relationship to glamour.
    Managed 1d but got confused at first as to what I was looking for as tenor and sense can mean something similar (also had never heard of the gentleman)
    New words for me in 6a and 23d

  10. I often feel culturally isolated doing these crosswords. Today was one of those days. Are all the setters opera fans who like gardening and exotic animals? Where are the sci-fi fans who watch NASCAR?

        1. As a cricket playing Classics teacher who enjoys a game of bridge, I guess I can’t complain!

          We really enjoyed today’s at my place of work, as we do every Friday.

          1. Hi Furius
            Welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve found us I hope that you’ll come back often – and get all your co-workers to visit as well!

  11. Well, I could never have finished this one without this blog. Thank you, Gazza. There were too many words I’d never heard of. I thought ‘Thermopile’ was a famous Greek battle — alternative spelling, perhaps, never heard of the apparatus. And I’d never come across ‘langurs’, ‘titis’ or John Snagge. Good puzzle, though. I specially liked the two long words quartering the grid because I worked them out first :-)

  12. Great crossword which for once I completed 90% of while at the hairdressershiding my grey! Like most I spent ages trying to get kiwi to fit! Likewise I’d put taro and had to come home and check that! Enjoyed it a lot! :)

  13. I think today a very tough one for us Clueless Club members, couldnot have done it without all your help Gazza, about 3/4 way through before resorting to blog :( 1d, 23d, never heard of them and sorry Dave but I couldn’t tick 24d either :) , ah well no more crosswords til Monday, off for the weekend to Cardiff to see Only Men Aloud in the CIA and a bit of Christmas shopping etc. Happy weekend solving everyone – see you Monday
    Good luck with this one Claire, Barrie and all cc colleagues!!
    Nubian – thought you had gone to Carcisonne for a few days?

    1. Going on Sunday Mary, have to drive down to E Midlands first. Enjoy your w/e in Cardiff and don’t spend too much, my wife just had a day in Edinburgh and got drenched, came home miserable but enjoyed by Lamb hotpot.

  14. Just got in from work -( do the rest of you work at all?!!) had a quick look and it looked rather difficult thought I would check the comments to see whether worthwhile getting started and I think I might be struggling. Will give it a go and if no joy will resort to watching Gavin and Stacey which I recorded last night!

  15. Very good puzzle Giovanni!
    1a took a bit of time until I got away from char and recalled Tommy Handley’s Mrs. Mop!
    4d no problem but I expect 17a would make your American complainant grind his teeth!
    23d & 24d no trouble but for 1d I fiddled with trad before getting it.
    My favourite was 5d.

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