DT 26112

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26112

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

If the recent Tuesday pattern is being maintained then this will be a Shamus puzzle, although I’ve no means of verifying that. We have a reasonable challenge today (though the number of place names may annoy some people), but I have a couple of quibbles.
Please leave a comment with your views or queries – let’s see if we can get a lively debate going!
As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets. Just highlight the white space inside the brackets to reveal.

Across Clues

1a  Rebel’s first support for attack (4)
{RAID} – start with the first letter of rebel, then add a synonym for support or help to get an attack or incursion.

3a  A map girl is altering — and copy of text? (10)
{PLAGIARISM} – an anagram (altering) of A MAP GIRL IS produces a word that means copying someone else’s work and passing it off as one’s own.

8a  Hot drink taken around ship produces trouble (6)
{HASSLE} – put the letter standing for hot and a drink normally quaffed in pints around the usual abbreviation for ship and you end up with both a noun and a verb meaning trouble.

9a  Enthusiasm and knowledge about English investigator (8 )
{KEENNESS} – a synonym for enthusiasm is made from a (mainly Scottish) word for knowledge with E(nglish) inside, followed by the surname of the Federal Agent famous for enforcing the prohibition laws in the US and attempting to bring down Al Capone. He and his team were known as The Untouchables, which was also the title of the 1987 film in which he was played by Kevin Costner.

10a  A deputy following director for counsel (6)
{ADVICE} – start with A and add a prefix meaning deputy which follows the abbreviation of director.

11a  Nothing to introduce religious work — something lacking? (8 )
{OMISSION} – the letter that looks like zero (nothing) is followed by an attempt by a religious sect to indoctrinate others (often abroad), to form a noun meaning something left out.

12a  Good lie concocted ending in dodgy set of beliefs (8 )
{IDEOLOGY} – an anagram (concocted) of GOOD LIE is followed by the last letter of dodgy.

14a  Utter magazine backsliding (4)
{EMIT} – the title of a current-affairs magazine is reversed (backsliding).

16a  Some quicker bikes feature by pavement? (4)
{KERB} – hidden (some) in the clue is a word for the edge of the pavement.

18a  Doug and Ben relaxed around Liberal Club (8 )
{BLUDGEON} – an anagram (relaxed) of DOUG and BEN is put around L(iberal) to get the sort of club that can do a lot of damage.

19a  A food shop containing a couple of delicacies in foreign city (8 )
{ADELAIDE} – start with A and put another A inside a shop which sells cooked meats and cheeses, then finish with the first two letters (couple) of delicacies to end up with the capital of South Australia.

20a  Sweet drink close to kitchen? Trace is spilt (6)
{NECTAR} – a sweet drink (the beverage of the gods) is formed from the last letter (close) of kitchen followed by an anagram (spilt) of TRACE.

21a  Dry appeal exhibited in much of poet’s manner (8 )
{ATTITUDE} – put the abbreviation for teetotal (dry) and a short word standing for sex appeal inside the name (minus its last letter) of an Anglo-American poet of the last century and you end up with a synonym for manner.

22a  City left in middle of boom (6)
{OPORTO} – the name of this Portuguese city is constructed by putting the naval term for left inside the middle two letters of boom.

23a  Tough rogue behind tart (4-6)
{HARD-BITTEN} – a term meaning tough and cynical is an anagram (rogue) of BEHIND TART. Clever clue – I was initially convinced that I needed something starting with ACID.

24a  Sound of bird in wind (4)
{TURN} – a synonym for wind (the verb, not the noun) sounds like a type of bird.

Down Clues

1d  Train? Leaders of railway expand late transport (8 )
{REHEARSE} – the definition is train (as a verb) – start with the initial letters (leaders) of Railway Expand and add the name of a vehicle used to convey a coffin (late meaning dead in this case).

2d  Lower enthusiasm of inspector with energy (8 )
{DISPIRIT} – a detective inspector is a DI – add a synonym for energy or determination and you have a verb meaning to dishearten or discourage. I’m not keen on this clue – it seems to me that there’s a considerable overlap between enthusiasm and energy.

3d  Fragmentary calm heard over dinner, maybe (9)
{PIECEMEAL} – a word that sounds like (heard) peace comes before (over, in a down clue) the partaking of food, of which dinner is an example (maybe).

4d  Erudition shown by chaps in deed and expression of thanks (15)
{ACKNOWLEDGEMENT} – the definition is expression of thanks – put a synonym for erudition and another word for chaps inside ACT (deed).

5d  Home woman kept as pardon for offences (7)
{AMNESTY} – the surface reading isn’t brilliant here and changing the order to “woman keeps home” would not have made it worse and would have made the wordplay clearer. We want a woman’s name (think of the troubled Ms. Winehouse) which keeps, i.e. contains, a word for home which can be used for humans as well as birds.

6d  Blini Dee chewed — like stodge? (8 )
{INEDIBLE} – an anagram (chewed) of BLINI DEE produces an adjective meaning not fit to eat.

7d  Mother with native stoneworker (5)
{MASON} – a charade of a familiar term for mother and someone belonging to his native country.

13d  Hole is found on this instrument for novice (9)
{GREENHORN} – the definition is novice. We want the part of the golf course where the hole is situated (hole is found on this), followed by a brass instrument.

15d  Creative figure favoured IOW location without note (8 )
{INVENTOR} – the definition is creative figure. Start with IN (favoured, e.g. part of the “in crowd”) and follow this with a resort on the Isle of Wight with its second N dropped (without note). Whereas the other places in the puzzle are well-known, this one is not – I imagine that most people, like me, will get the answer first, then work out the location.

16d  Eliminate competition (8 )
{KNOCKOUT} – double definition.

17d  Approach threateningly with hair now dishevelled (4,4)
{BEAR DOWN} – start with facial hair and add an anagram (dishevelled) of NOW to get a phrasal verb meaning to approach threateningly.

18d  A fair source of gifts? (4,3)
{BRAN TUB} – cryptic definition of what you might root around in at a fair to get a gift.

19d  Cause embarrassment to a party (5)
{ABASH} – the definition is cause embarrassment to and it’s an informal term for a party or social event.

The clues I liked included 23a and 17d, but my clue of the day is 13d. How about you? – let us know your opinion via a comment.



  1. alan
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Nothing very imaginative on the whole. 21a was too convoluted, but 13d was good. The only one I could not get was 18d…never heard of one of those, except I suppose it would be something to keep my breakfast cereal dry.

  2. LB
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Completed most of ok but got tied up with the SW corner.I must admit that even though I eventually got 23a I didn`t see the anagram, so I think that must get my vote although 17d ran it close.
    Completely agree re 15d i.e. got the answer then had to look for towns on the IOW.
    Thanks Gazza

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Exactly the same problem LB!
      I got 23a without even spotting the anagram and didn’t get the rest – should have got 18d.
      Agree with Prolixic regarding 6d – didn’t work for me

  3. Prolixic
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the hints, Gazza. I enjoyed this and did not find the place names a distraction. My only real quibble with the clues was with 6d where it seemed to me that Blini Dee was simply making up a potentially nonsensical name to fit the clue. Apologies to anyone who is called Blini!

    Favourite clues were 21a (sorry Alan), 22a, 23a and top of the pops today, 3d.

    Thanks to the setter – Shamus or A N Other for our puzzle today.

    • gazza
      Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      On 6d I took blini to be the thin pancake with that name, so that only Dee is a proper name.

      • gnomethang
        Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        In that case I take back what I said above!

        • Yoshik
          Posted December 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          Blini is Russian for pancake.

      • Prolixic
        Posted December 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        If Blini is a Russian pancake, it makes the clue even more nonsensical to me.

        • Prolixic
          Posted December 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          Withdraw that comment – having a CRAFT moment.

  4. Vince
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this more than I thought I was going to.

    Although you didn’t like 2d, Gazza, I liked it for the surface reading. But, like you, I was fooled by 23a, looking for sometning starting wirh “acid”. I thought it was a well-constructed clue, with the anagram not being too obvious.

  5. Touchwood
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Agree with virtually all that’s been said so far, with little to add. Favourite was 23a – didn’t spot the anagram at all until after I’d found the answer. Didn’t like 21a – needed this blog to find the reasoning; I don’t like convoluted clues with bits of letters here and there – may be valid but I always struggle with these. Similar reason I gave up on 19a – “a couple of delicacies” – could be any two letters from delicacies – or is this a convention I don’t know about? I suppose I should have spotted DELI but frankly I gave up on it.

  6. Lizwhiz
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Like others I found this easy until the bottom right corner. Got 23a but only realised it was an anagram after reading your explanation! I like 1d :)

  7. Newbie
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, didn’t get very far with this!! Is there some sort of definitive list of such as the ‘usual abbreviation for ship’ (8a) please?

    • gazza
      Posted December 15, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Newbie – welcome to the blog.
      There’s a book called Chambers XWD – a dictionary of crossword abbreviations by Michael Kindred and Derrick Knight which contains (nearly) all the abbreviations you will find in cryptic crosswords.
      Ship is normally SS (Steamship, as in SS Great Britain)

  8. deecdee
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Newbie are you aware of Bradford,s crossword solvers dictionary? Amazon circa £12 inclusive.

  9. Shamus
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Quite right, Gazza, one of mine and thanks for the blog and comments. Blini is indeed a pancake rather than an invented name – would not in any case ‘invent’ a name just to make cluing easier, however tempting that might be!

  10. Chris
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Even living on the IOW I failed on 15down!
    Also thought 19 and 21across too convoluted. 17 down had me laughing. And 18 down was a wasted opportunity for a better clue. How about ” Source of gifts but up to regulator” …..

  11. Little Dave
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Distracted too much today with the threat of BA going on strike. Not happy.

  12. Lea
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Been out all day and have just done it. Last clue I got was 15d and when it clicked I could have kicked myself. As a result I select it as my clue of the day, followed by 17d and 18a.

  13. Franny
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t enjoy this very much today. Couldn’t do more than half, and when I saw your explanations thought “Oh, for heavens sake!”
    There weren’t any that I really liked. For 1d I don’t agree that train and rehearse are synonymous, 21a was certainly far too convoluted, nor would I ever have found Adelaide — and I was born there!
    Better luck tomorrow, I hope.

  14. Derek
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    A good puzzle.
    Started well with the NW corner and 3a then decided that it was essential to get the central divider 4d to make progress which did follow!
    9a I guessed – KEEN was no problem (I lived 21 years in Bonnie Scotland) but the NESS was a blank for me!
    15d was OK for me as my parents ended their lives on the IOW.