DT 26111 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26111

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26111

Hints and tips by Rishi

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable outing on Monday morning.


1a Hot stew taken in by medical orderly (10)
{METHODICAL} –  Anagram of ‘hot’ inserted in the word ‘medical’, given free, leads us to a word that means ‘orderly’. Easy, but the beauty is in the use of the phrase ‘medical orderly’ where orderly is a noun. The definition is only ‘orderly’, which is an adjective.

9a Insect observed round apple core (4)
{WASP} – Reversal of a word that means ‘observed’ and the middle letter of ‘apple’ gives an insect. The use of ‘apple core’ for the central letter of apple is nice. “round” is the reversal indicator.

10a Penitentiary with unlimited accommodation (4,6)
{OPEN PRISON} – None-too-cryptic definition. In such a jail there is no sense of confinement as in small cells.

11a He went round filling pot-holes (6)
{TINKER} – Again a none-too-cryptic definition. Reference to one of an itinerary group of people who went round mending kettles, pans, etc.

12a Conveyed how a vote was successful (7)
{CARRIED} – Double definition “Conveyed”/ When a vote is successful.

15a A crop is knocked flat (7)
{PROSAIC} – Anagram of A CROP IS gives us a word that means “flat”.

16a Battle for the chairman’s seat? (5)
{SEDAN} – Double definition – a famous battle fought during the Franco-Prussian War that resulted in the capture of Emperor Napoleon III and his army and practically decided the war in favour of Prussia and its allies /a  covered chair for one person, carried on two poles

17a A slight touch of the devil (4)
{NICK} – Double definition, one “a slight touch” and the other “devil”

18a Aide contrived a plan (4)
{IDEA} – Anagram of AIDE gives a word meaning “plan”

19a A nymph puts a spell on one (5)
{HOURI} – Word sum – A word that means spell, or a short period, on I (which in a sans-serif type is 1 (0ne) leads us to a word that means “nymph”.

21a Insinuates one politician isn’t truthful (7)
{IMPLIES} – Word sum – Again, I and a two-letter abbreviation that is not military police but a member of Parliament (“politician”), added to a word that means “isn’t truthful” leads us to a word that means “insinuates”.

22a Pull out grenade and prepare to fight (2,5)
{EN GARDE} – Anagram of GRENADE yields a word that means “prepare to fight”. This term from fencing actually means “a warning to assume a defensive position in readiness for an attack”.

24a Lose this and you won’t finish the yarn (6)
{THREAD} – Cryptic definition – When you are telling a tale (“yarn”) if you lose this, you are lost in the narration.

27a Ship wrecked in lone race (5,5)
{OCEAN LINER} – Anagram IN LONE RACE for a word that means “ship”.

28a Promise a hot soup (4)
{OATH} – Anagram again? Yes! This operation on A HOT for a word that means “promise”.

29a Untrustworthy advice for cheaper air travel (3-2-5)
{FLY-BY-NIGHT} – Double definition – Untrustworthy / What you may tell someone when they seek your advice for travelling by air with less cost. That they may get ‘red eye’ in the process is a different matter!


2d           See a key agent (4)
{ESPY} – Add a single letter that is a (musical) key to a word that means (espionage) agent and get to see!

3d           An unsustained desire (6)
{HUNGER} – A word that means “desire”. When you feel its pangs, it is “unsustained”. To sustain it, order a pizza, perhaps!

4d           Comes from the revised version (7)
{DERIVES] – Anagram of “revised” gives us a word that means “comes from”. If a solver thought that “revised” was the instruction to anagram and if he were jumbling “version” (which also may provide a –s termination) he _____ not the answer! (Fill up the blank, please!)

5d           Players’ pitch (4)
{CAST} – Double definition – The word that means “players” (a team of drama actors not your cricket or football players) and also “pitch” (not tar but in a verbal sense; a cricket ball may, to the batsman’s discomfiture!)

6d           A case for travelling light (7)
{LANTERN} – Cryptic definition – What you carry in the dark when there is not enough light. Forget the tourist bag that you merrily drag, shooing off the porter whom you once hailed when you had heavy luggage.

7d           A gift for dishonesty? (10)
{BACKHANDER} – Cryptic definition – Another word for the bribe that you offer sometimes; you may think that it is a baksheesh that youa re giving but the receiver may be dishonest in accepting it.

8d           Enjoy increase in value (10)
{APPRECIATE} – Double definition – “Enjoy” / “increase in value”

12d         Firm belief of criminal’s guilt (10)
{CONVICTION} – definition – “Firm belief” / “criminal’s guilt”; when established, punishment follows.

13d         Create pure chaos, but improve (10)
{RECUPERATE} – Anagram of “create poor” (in “chaos” we have a nounal anagram indicator) gives us a word that means “improve”, “but” in the clue sentence added for improves surface reading

14d         The populace protests (5)
{DEMOS] – Double definition – Really? Is the Master taking some liberties here? One meaning is “protests”; no problem here, though it is an abbreviation that become a word in itself.. “The populace” is supposed to be the other but actually demo- is a prefix that means the populace (as in ‘democracy’) and how it can take a plural is a puzzle for me.

15d         Chaplain making home with soldiers (5)
{PADRE} – Word sum – A slang word that means “house” and an abbreviation for Royal Engineers (soldiers), and there comes a “chaplain”.

19d         Intercept an order to execute? (4,3)
{HEAD OFF} – What a cruel emperor may say when he wants someone decapitated; the phrase also means “intercept” (I invite comment whether this is quite appropriate)

20d         Childhood in dreams (7)
{INFANCY} – For a word that means “childhood” take IN, a biscuit thrown at the pet, and a singular word that means “dreams” ( as in “footloose and __ free”)

23d      Highly trained Italian soldiers? (6)
{ALPINI} – Cryptic definition – This plural form of a word means soldiers trained for mountain warfare, hence “highly trained” in the cryptic connotation.

25d         Fed up youngsters beginning to flout authority (4)
{DEFY} – Word sum – A word that means “to flout authority” derived by reversing “fed” (with which we are fed by our kind setter) and adding to it the letter that begins the word “youngsters”

26d         Become engaged in some sharp practice (4)
{MESH} – A word that means “become engaged” is hidden in the words “some sharp” – “In” is the weak hidden indicator. If we thought “some” was the hidden indicator, we will be looking at the words “sharp practice” for eternity, well, not eternity, just a few seconds. And after reaching the answer, well we might think “practice” is hanging there.

My apologies for the late posting of the down hints – caused in part by email problems as a result of my upgrade to Office 10 (Beta).   It was not the upgrade itself, but a method of sending attachments direct from some other software (that bypassed Outlook), which I won’t be using again!!  BD

38 comments on “DT 26111

  1. Agreed
    A nice start to the week.
    Last one to fill in was 23d as I`d never heard of them ( tried numerous Italian words for air sevice ,paras etc before finding the answer.
    Favourite was 11a but enjoyed the topicality of of 21a , but only one ????.
    Thanks Rishi

  2. Very nice puzzle from Rufus this morning. Either my brain was slow to warm up or this was a slightly more challenging puzzle from him today. Anyone who ventures to his Guardian puzzle today will have a curious sense of deja-vu as 4d in the DT puzzle also appears as 21d in the Guardian. Favourite clues were 11a, 15a and 5d.

    If anyone tries the Guardian puzzle from Rufus, beware – he is on top form with some superb clues, well hidden answers and unexpected constructions. Rufus with teeth!

    Many thanks to the setter and thanks for the hints.

  3. I was more on wavelength with his one than last week.
    I very much agree with Rishi’s assessment of 1a which was my favourite for that reason.
    Not particularly enamoured with 10a and 11a.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. Morning Rishi
    at first i looked at it and could do just two, so i grudgingly wrote out my christmas cards (a job i hate ) and put up my christmas tree, on sitting down once more with the crossword it almost all fell into place, maybe first thing in the morning isn’t the best time to do it??? the one i was stuck on was 23d and i would be interested to know how many people have heard of these obscure people, also 14d without the checking letters?? a lovely monday puzzle for us CC on the whole i think :)

  5. 23d, the Arditi were a crack (highly trained) Italian force in the late 1910s to 1920s, and it fits.

    1. I thought they were called the ‘alpini’ and thus the ‘highly’ part of the clue, not arditi – Rishi???

      1. With due respect to bigmacsub who has every right to think ARDITI is the answer (as the word pattern at 23d with checked letters and unchecked letters – especially with the notorious double unches – allows it), I stand by my answer.
        Alpine is probably derived from the Alps and as these are tall mountains, the answer ALPINI has some crypticity (crypticness? crypticality?) in “highly trained”.

        1. In chess problems such as two- and three-movers, when a solver spots a correct solution that was never intended by the setter, we call it “cook”.
          Now what is the term for a possible solution that the crossword setter never had in their mind?

        2. Definitely Alpini, but if you had entered Arditi you would have no reason to think it was wrong until you saw the correct answer.

          If you look at the loose cryptic definitions in 10a and 11a, you could be forgiven for thinking that highly trained in 23d meant well trained. I await with much interest the opinion of Mr Biddlecombe – what would he have thought if this one came up in a competitive crossword? OK, someone should perhaps have picked it up during checking but I, for one, had never heard of either.

          1. me neither, this is very interesting isn’t it, what would happen in a competitive crossword, i guess the setters word is final in these matters???

          2. I’m happy that its Alpini, otherwise the clue is much too literal but it is an interesting amgiguity nonetheless. Glad to have provoked a little debate!

  6. Rishi,

    14d. “Demos” is another word for “the people”.

    I was defeated by 23d. I wonder how many solvers, out there, had “alpini” on the tip of the tongue???

    1. Thanks, Vince.

      I didn’t know! It is in Chambers. But marked derog
      for derogatory.

      As for ALPINI, my own view is this: we cannot expect the crossword setters
      to be always putting in “popular” words. Occasionally, we should expect an obscure term.

      Remember that a setter, after putting in some words in the grid, is forced to fill the rest of it with words from given patterns. So with A??I?I he chose ALPINI.

      From “highly trained” to “mountains” we can perhaps jump to ALPS and from there work out
      the answer.

      We then look it up and learn a new word. Not that we will ever get a chance to use it in everyday conversation even if we are on the said mountains with some Italians in our company.

    2. ‘Demos’ is a word I remembered from Ancient Greek history as a word for ‘the people’ and source of ‘democracy’.
      ‘Alpini’ had me stumped to the end — I tried to think of the name of those Italian soldiers with the cock-feathers in their hats, and could only think of the home of St Francis, but with no idea why.
      Maybe someone will give me a Chambers for Christmas :-)

  7. Enjoyable puzzle. Guessed Alpini but failed to come up with tinker and backhander. Self kicking time.

  8. 23d was frustrating for someone who tries to solve crosswords without having to resort to reference books or internet searches. Too obscure for me.

  9. Hello – I’m back after a long break away and have to confess 19a and 23d both had me beaten plus I figured demos for 14d but not with sufficient confidence to actually write it in. As my old school reports used to say – must try harder!

  10. Nice puzzle today. Although I was hampered (well it is nearly Christmas) for a while by convincing myself that 6d was “handbag”.

  11. How about “hanker” for 3d. Not quite as intense as “hunger” but still implies a long felt want.

    1. So we have another slot where with the available crossings we can consider a second solution not intended by the setter?

      At first I thought that clue as written demands an answer in noun form and that ‘hanker’ might not suit. But Chambers has ‘hanker’ as a noun (apart from ‘hankering’ about which I had no doubt).

      So, Stew, your suggestion HANKER is acceptable, though I would think that the composer’s intended solution is HUNGER and I as a solver stand by it.

      Congrats on a discovery!

  12. Apologies for ALPINI/ARDITI and HUNGER/HANKER. The Alpini were well-known to me from WWII, but of course, I am getting on in years so it would be difficult for most solvers. There are still five divisions of Alpini operating in Italy. I regret I had never heard of the Arditi, so I’ve got a new word too!

    1. Thanks on HANKER, Rufus. ARDITI fits the clue, but the ? surely means ‘highly’ has to be cryptic – ARDITI would belong in the GK crossword.

  13. Rufus,

    Thank you. It is so kind of you to drop by. It gives us bloggers a great feeling to know that the setters take notice of their writings.

  14. Fantastic!!! I got them all except 23d (which i’m still convinced by…) which sleep beat me to.
    But my best day for ages – I feel on a par with the rest of you today for a change! hehe

    My favourite was 6d – people looked at me as I groaned audibly on the Tube!

    Right to 50 – 60% success as normal today I reckon.


  15. Did no-one think houri was obscure? We’d never heard of the ‘Qur’anic virgins’ although guess we should have got it from the clue..otherwise thought this was quite enjoyable and not too difficult.

    1. To anyone who does crosswords regularly, HOURI is not an obscure term. Of course, we are not going to use this word in everyday conversation (what with our wives keeping a close guard on us) but as we do crosswords we pick up new words.
      My own clue in a crossword published in India was
      Sixty minutes with one beautiful woman (5)
      Can’t we setters have some dreams that can never be fulfilled?

      1. i’d not heard of them (sadly…) but got the word from the clue & other letters… and a dictionary confirmed it.

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