DT 26106

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26106

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s Ray T’s turn this Tuesday and we have a typical puzzle from him, but with perhaps more cryptic definitions than usual. I didn’t think that it was too difficult, though I did initially write in Footsie for 7d.

Let us know your opinion of the puzzle, and please take the time to cast a vote by clicking on one of the stars under the review.

As usual the answers, should you need them, are hidden inside the curly brackets. Just highlight the white space inside the brackets to reveal them.

Across Clues

1a  ‘Sun’ with dire spread guaranteed (7)
{INSURED} – an anagram (spread) of SUN and DIRE.

5a  Animal meat almost tough (7)
{HAMSTER} – put together HAM (meat) and most of STER(n) (tough).

9a  Old moneybags rues cost, endlessly seething (7)
{CROESUS} – an anagram (seething) of RUES and COS(t) (endlessly, i.e. without its final letter) produces the name of the King of Lydia who was renowned for his great wealth.

10a  Thug turns on tough youth (7)
{BOYHOOD} – the synonym for the early life of a young man is made from a reversal (turns) of YOB (thug) followed by HOOD (gangster or tough).

11a  A grave procedure? (9)
{INTERMENT} – a (not very) cryptic definition of a burial.

12a  Catch girl with nothing on! (5)
{LASSO} – a charade of LASS (girl) and O (zero, nothing).

13a  Vegan Jamaican taking marijuana (5)
{GANJA} – hidden (taking) in the clue is a word for marijuana.

15a  What’s the point of a quarrel? (9)
{ARROWHEAD} – a cryptic definition of the business end of an arrow (quarrel being a square-headed arrow or bolt as used in a crossbow).

17a  Offensive weapon left in battle on board (9)
{CHARMLESS} – battle on board is CHESS – put ARM (weapon) and L(eft) inside to get an adjective meaning unattractive or unpleasant.

19a  Starts to roughly apply sand paper, say (5)
{RASPS} – the split infinitive is a strong hint that the word order is significant – we want the initial letters (starts to) of the last five words for this all-in-one clue.

22a  They’re smug swines, right, admitted (5)
{PRIGS} – put R(ight) inside PIGS (swines – although Chambers does not countenance swines as a legitimate plural of swine, other dictionaries do).

23a  Soldier on exercise, about to get cut off (9)
{PERSEVERE} – the definition is soldier on. Start with PE (physical education, exercise) and add RE (about) which contains (to get) SEVER (cut off).

25a  Egg plants? (7)
{OVARIES} – the cryptic definitions are getting better – here we have female reproductive organs.

26a  Fancy one finding silver in lode (7)
{IMAGINE} – a verb meaning fancy is constructed from I (one) and MINE (lode) with AG (chemical symbol for silver) inside. I had some difficulty equating mine with lode, but an old meaning of mine is a cavity in the earth and lode can mean an open ditch, so I suppose it just about works.

27a  View from the flats? (7)
{SCENERY} – yet another cryptic definition – flats are pieces of scenery that can be slid or lowered onto the stage in a theatre.

28a  Middle Eastern motive for serious offence (7)
{TREASON} – the middle of EasTern is the letter T – add REASON (motive).

Down Clues

1d  Chinese text takes time, getting impatient (7)
{ITCHING} – the Chinese text, known in English as the Book of Changes, is I CHING, which is the textbook for a system of divination. Put (takes) T(ime) inside to get an adjective meaning impatient.

2d  Prune unruly thorns holding end of knife (7)
{SHORTEN} – put the last letter of knifE inside an anagram (unruly) of THORNS.

3d  Step on it?! (5)
{RISER} – this clue has both a question mark and an exclamation mark (so it must be good?). We want a word for the upright, vertical, part of a step, so it’s part of a staircase but could also be a description of the whole staircase, and it’s what you step on (or over) to go up.

4d  Severe rash (9)
{DESPERATE} – double definition.

5d  Heroin rather leads to addiction (5)
{HABIT} – heroin is H – add A BIT (rather).

6d  Reshaping formal yew shrub (9)
{MAYFLOWER} – this shrub is an anagram (reshaping) of FORMAL YEW.

7d  Using baby talk, my foot! (7)
{TOOTSIE} – cryptic definition of a childish word for a foot. Hmm!

8d  Socialist deal, perhaps, for Conservative politician (7)
{REDWOOD} – put together RED (socialist) and WOOD (of which deal is an example, perhaps) to get the surname of a Conservative politician known as the Vulcan. Here is his attempt at singing the Welsh national anthem when he was Secretary of State for Wales.

14d  It’s a crime breaking ceasefire (9)
{ARMISTICE} – an anagram (breaking) of IT’S A CRIME.

16d  Others deluge Tory leader for control (9)
{RESTRAINT} – a charade of REST (others), RAIN (deluge) and T(ory).

17d  Good company’s over abundant (7)
{COPIOUS} – good is PIOUS – precede it (over, in a down clue) with CO (company).

18d  Absolute prat swallowed shake (7)
{AGITATE} – put together A(bsolute), GIT (prat) and ATE (swallowed).

20d  Type that is wearing glasses (7)
{SPECIES} – IE (id. est, that is) has around it (wearing) SPECS (glasses).

21d  Haggard woman lived on moonshine (7)
{SHEBEEN} – the name of Rider Haggard’s book is SHE (filmed in 1965 with Ursula Andress in the title role) – add BEEN (lived) and you have illicitly distilled alcohol (moonshine).

23d  Sallow old man on street, young initially (5)
{PASTY} – stitch together PA (old man), ST(reet) and Y(oung).

24d  Cancel dates with sweetheart (5)
{ERASE} – dates are ERAS – add the middle letter (heart) of swEet to get a verb meaning delete or cancel.

The clues I liked today included 15a, 8d, 14d and 21d, but my clue of the day is 23a. Let us know what you think via a comment.


59 Comments

  1. gnomethang
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – again I was foxed a few times. Favourite was 9a.

    Thanks for the review – I was wondering about the Haggard reference even after getting the result – another one of those instances when placing the word at the beginning of the sentence masks the otherwise obvious (and required) capitalisation!. I think I had one yesterday but it might not have been the Telegraph – Cunning Devils!

  2. Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I had IDOLISE for 26 across for a while.

    Enjoyable stuff, but didn’t care much for the OVARIES / TOOTSIE clues. Tootsies to me are toes, and as it is singular here, however dictionary.com gives it as a definition of foot, so fair play to the setter, to a certain extent.

    Favourite clue 15 across.

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      I wasn’t so keen on Ovaries either. Initially I had OrchIdS with those checking letters, thinking there was some obscure Ovoid meaning to the word Orchid – that was one of my foxed clues!

      • Peter Biddlecombe
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Perahps you remembered the orchid in orchidectomy – removal of the testes, male partners of 25.

    • mary
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      ditto Tilsit i had idolise too :)

  3. Vince
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    This was just testing enough to be satsifying on completion – thereforte, enjoyable.

    Today wasn’t wasted, as I learned a new definition of “flats”.

    I had to check with Chambers for two words. I thought that “tootsie” was baby talk for toe, but Chambers says either toe or foot. I also thought that “shebeen” was just the illicit drinking establishment; I didn’t realise that it was the ilicit liquor, too.

    19a. Didn’t like this. There never seems to be a clear definition with all-in-one clues. I had to get a couple of letters before the penny dropped.

    There are, however, some good clues. I particularly liked 17a.

    • mary
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Agree with Vince here, thought shebeen was where the poteen was made not the actual drink itself – anyone help out here – Gazza? For myself i found this a difficult crossword but once again on finishing and reading the blog wonder why i found it so hard, i think us CC members will struggle today, but it is worth the perseverance, never heard of 13a, or 9a and don’t think i have a favourite clue today :(

      • gazza
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        mary
        shebeen can be both an unlicensed place where liquor is sold, and the liquor itself.

        • Rishi
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Indian (by which I mean Bharat) newspapers use the term ‘hooch” for drinks illegally made. They often report multiple deaths when poor people in great numbers consume the liquor poisoned by some additive.

      • Barrie
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Mary, How did you find todays? I thought it was a stinker on the whole!

        • mary
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          On the whole Barrie i found it very difficult with lots of words i didn’t know but beacause i can afford the time i keep at it and more or less got there in the end!!!

  4. Franny
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s puzzle and managed to finish it with the minimum of help. Only needed to look at 23da and 24d as I had letters in the wrong order. Didn’t like ‘swines’ as a plural word — unnecessary surely, even if Chambers allows it. Was happy to get 15a pretty quickly, as I am a great reader of Mediaeval mysteries, where men are forever pulling quarrels from their breastplates. So that was one of my favourite clues, the others being 9d, 20d and 21d.

    • Rishi
      Posted December 12, 2009 at 1:36 am | Permalink

      Sorry, I am late in the day but then it is on the English usage and so I thought I will put it anyway, hoping someone will see it.

      When I saw this just now, I mused for a while and concluded that I would use the plural form ‘swine’ if I am talking about the animals but ‘swines’ if I am talking about a bunch of contemptible or disgusting persons.

      After this, I made trips to the dictionaries in my bookshelf.

      Chambers has only ‘swine’.

      Collins Cobuild supports my understanding hundred per cent.

      Concise Oxford has ‘swine’ for pigs and either ‘swine’ or ‘swines’ for the other meaning.

      So there!

  5. Jane
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    A liitle easier than the usual offering from Ray T.

  6. LB
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Most enjoyable though couldn`t work out 9a ( was looking for words for old purses wallets etc )
    Couple of fun ones with 13a and 18d but 23a was my favourite. Nearly made the mistake of putting SORTIES for 20d but obviously couldn`t find any link to glasses.
    Thanks again for the review

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      //( was looking for words for old purses wallets etc )//
      That was precisely why it was my favourite clue! – I did the same thing initially.

  7. Uptodat
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I liked it. Patted myself on the back lots for some speedy solving and knowledge of less common words – ganga, shebeen; guessed some answers – 1d, 27a and then learnt something from the hints; last one to go in 23a because I’d impetuously put in para for soldier early and forgot it was a guess. I only twigged “soldier on” was the definition after the penultimate solving – erase.

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Good Point! – I would like to put in a shout for this clue as well in my favourites – the ‘soldier on’ was quite well disguised by the surface reading – I was playing with Para, GI, RE and all that for a while as well.

      • mary
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        must admit to getting this answer the ‘wrong way’ i took soldier as ‘reserve’ on excercise ‘pe’ and moved the letters of ‘reserve’ ‘about’ if that makes any sense. i couldn’t make sense of the ‘cut off’ bit but nevertheless got the answer, i often get things the wrong way which is not really good is it :)

        • mary
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          pse delete the ‘it was obviously ‘ bit

          • gazza
            Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            Done it.

            • mary
              Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              thank you Gazza

        • Peter Biddlecombe
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Not really good, but not really bad either! It’s surprising how often “wrong thoughts” can get you towards the answer. For answers longer than about 7 letters, if you finish up with something that matches a possible def, and you can explain some of the wordplay (your correct P.E.), and the checking letters fit, you’ll be pretty unlucky if you haven’t got the right answer. Dangerous exception: words like SEPARATION and SEPARATING which are the same length and meaning, and only differ by one checking letter.

          • mary
            Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            thank you Peter, nice see you commenting on the blog too, glad i’m not all bad :

  8. Peter Biddlecombe
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Easy puzzle but harder than today’s Times (by 3 seconds). 23’s disguise slowed down that corner, but dealt with shebeen without even noticing the seeming misdefinition. I hope uptodat didn’t really write GANGA – it’s a bit embarrassing to misspell a hidden word, whatever your ability level!

    • Uptodat
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Oops. Just checked. Yes I did carelessly write ganga as I sped through first clues and never went back. I blame some mental short circuit around gangsta – as in rap. A benefit from my embarrassing lapse is that I now know it to be from the Hindi and not the W.Indies as previously thought.
      Having recently started noting my start time – approximately, I note that I must get a quality stopwatch and go on the b of the bang to compete with the pros here. I will use a calendar for toughies like today’s.

      • gnomethang
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        As I have previously noted, numbers-of-train-stops is a suitably vague timer for me (and possibly Prolixic) to aspire to.
        It gives generous margins for spilling tea and reading the letters page, the train rolling over the wrong type of leaves, rain, track in order that the resulting time is a warm, fuzzy and nebulous ‘about the same/one more stop/one less stop’ sort of time that would allow me to continue the puzzle without sweating and beating myself up.
        Just like commuting, a good crossword should be about the journey and not the destination and they can both help the other.

        • Prolixic
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. It’s not a race to see if I can get the crossword done asap. Indeed a two stopper often leaves me cheated. Fortunately the Toughie comes to the rescue in these circumstances. What is more often the case is that the final three or four clues take as long to complete as the rest of the crossword.

          On some rare days where the Cryptic and the Toughie are on the easier end of the spectrum there is, nonetheless, a feeling of satisfaction in completing both before the journey’s end. This happens so rarely that it is not something that I aspire to.

          • gnomethang
            Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            Are you sure that you aren’t me in disguise?

      • gazza
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Personally I’ve never understood the urge to complete a puzzle in as short a time as possible. Surely if it’s a good puzzle you want to prolong the enjoyment, tease out all the nuances and savour it like a good bottle of wine?

        • gnomethang
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          Or a spilt cup of tea in the morning!. To be honest, if I put he clock on myself I would spend more time checking the clock.

  9. Bondini
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle today for me. I thought of “ovaries” for 25a but dismissed it. Hadn’t heard of “shebeen” at all or the flats reference though suspected “scenery”.

    My good runs more often than not end on a Tuesday. Can’t blame the setter today though. A good fair crossword.

    Favourites were 17a, 16d and 20d.

  10. Prolixic
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I found this a nice challenge from Ray T. Plenty of top notch clues. Favourites were 9a, 17a, 26a, 16d and 21d. Now it head back down for Giovanni in the Toughie. He’s back with a vengance today!

  11. Lazarus
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    3d Got the answer but it doesn’t work for me. Riser is the vertical part of a straircase with the Tread being the horizontal part one steps on. Riser as a description of a whole staircase is weak and not commonly (or uncommonly) in use.

    • gazza
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lazarus – welcome to the blog.
      I wasn’t very keen on 3d either.

      • Peter Biddlecombe
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Thinking a bit more carefully about this than when solving, surely the point is that if the riser is the vertical part of the staircase, then each step is on a riser – with “on” as in “stand on your own feet” if you insist that the riser is part of the step.

        • Lazarus
          Posted December 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Hello Peter
          My point was the “tread” is on the Riser as tread not step is the name for the horizontal part. To my mind a step is a term for the riser and the tread together with any other relevant component. Pedantic maybe but it put me off.

          • old bill
            Posted December 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            I figured it meant riser as in drum-riser, where the drum kit sits on a stage… which you would step on and is a step, of sorts.. Makes more sense to me than Croesus and quarreling arrowheads! ;-)

            OB

      • Rishi
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Hi Lazarus – That’s an excellent observation! I have always understood riser to be the upright portion of a step.

        I don’t like the use of both an exclamation mark and an interrogation mark at the end of the clue. It looks so indeterminate.

        • Rishi
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Peter,

          Sorry! I am not convinced.

  12. Will
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    It felt somehow flat – or perhaps it was me.I got 25a quite quickly, but couldn’t bring myself to write it in till the end – (industrial) plants make things, but the clue seemed somehow limp although I can’t put my finger on exactly why.

    • Will
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Oddly, because I usually like this setter a lot.

  13. Chris
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou. I may be alone in not having heard of a quarrel in 15 ac but still reached arrowhead with the row being the quarrel and the point being the head of the row….one r too many I know…..but if he can have 5down and 25ac (of course orchids should be the answer!) ..then I figure the question mark allows me an extra r. However, I accept that the correct derivation is precisely as you describe. A bit of fun….rather.

    • mary
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      i like your reasoning Chris, it is on the lines of my own way of thinking :)

  14. Furius
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Wrapped this up in a free lesson period 6, as a Classics teacher was glad to get 9a! I must confess that a ‘tootsie’ has always been a toe in my book, but luckily the Physics department (?!) were in hand to help. Favourite clues probably 8d and 21d, on which the help of an Irish RE teacher also proved invaluable!

  15. Will
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Riser has grown on me a little: the step is built on the riser and you effectively step on it, but I’m struggling to see why the ? is needed – although there is apparently riser acceleration in hydrodynamics… !?

    • gazza
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Will
      I assumed that the ? was there to signal a cryptic definition different to the meaning of “step on it” as “go faster”.

      • Will
        Posted December 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        OK – so:

        ! = the step is physically, actually on the riser – ie the meaning is literal

        ? = an alternative meaning: when you use the stairs you step on it, the riser

  16. Barrie
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm! Pretty nasty one today with some awful clues such as 10a, 18d and 5a. Did like 25a even though I couldn’t get it.
    Really don’t like puzzles with no phrases, they are so difficult to start (thank the Lord for anagrams or I would still be looking at a blank grid!). Still learned a new word today SHABEEN, I thought moonshine was Potcheen.

    • mary
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      It is Barrie, there is a bit of a debate above because shebeen is usually the illegal place that makes poteen but apparently it can be the drink too, my irish grandmother didn’t think so !!

  17. PJ
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to disagree with Chambers, but the OED confirms my opinion – a shebeen is where you drink, not what.

  18. RayT
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Setter here…

    Thanks to Gazza for his review, and to all for their observations. Perhaps I did overdo it a little with 3d!?

    • mary
      Posted December 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ray what about shebeen then, nowhere can i find it to mean actual moonshine rather the illegal place where poteen or moonshine is distilled???

      • Posted December 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Places to look: Chambers English Dictionary, Collins ditto (my 1991 copy at least).

        • RayT
          Posted December 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Beat me to it!

          Mary, I agree that it’s not in common use but, ‘It’s in Chambers’…

          • mary
            Posted December 8, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            thanks Ray for taking the time to reply, thanks also Peter, I stand corrected

  19. Lea
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    That is much more like it – enjoyed that very much.

    Took me a while to get 20a and when it clicked I rate it as the best of the day. There are some lovelhy clues and really set the brain working – thank you Ray T and thanks Gazza for the excellent review.

  20. Derek
    Posted December 9, 2009 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Nice puzzle – couldn’t sleep so got on with it!
    My favourite across clues were 13a, 15a, 23a and 27a and my selection of the downs is 8d and 21d.
    Many thanks Gazza for the music of the Welsh national anthem!
    Some of the scenes in the Welsh version brought back old memories especially the station nameboard at Llanfair P.G.!

  21. Aliya
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    As a Jamaican I don’t know if I should be tickled or offended by 13a lol. I found the puzzle quite enjoyable overall