DT 26113

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26113

How do you like your curate’s eggs in a morning?

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Greetings from the Calder Valley. A curate’s egg of a puzzle today, nice in parts but in others… One or two clever clues, but a couple of the definitions were of the “hits the target but not the bullseye” sort; 17 down. for example. My other grumble is the use of almost similar words in 2d and 9 across. This is just laziness by the setter and could fairly easily have been altered.

Feel free to have your say after the blog, and mark the puzzle using the star system. New posters are always welcomed, but you may have to wait a little for your first post to appear as it has to be moderated, to ensure no silly spammers get through peddling their rubbish.


1a        I acted in odd way to show where I am going in a car (8)
{INDICATE}  An anagram (shown by ODD WAY)  of I ACTED IN to get things underway today.  The remainder of the clue is the definition.

5a        Compelled Chancellor of the Exchequer to get involved initially with car manufacturer (6)
{FORCED}  Must admit I haven’t seen CE as an abbreviation for Mr Darling ( of Westminster, not Never-Never Land, although the two are easily confused). My copy of Chambers XWD which is the bible for my abbreviations is in the car (which is a Skoda, and not the big American manufacturer you need here.  Put one inside the other to get a word meaning “compelled”.

9a        Carpenter, say — one who makes plenty of cuts (8)
{DIRECTOR}  for most people, this will probably seem a clever and smart clue.   For a few though, the two definitions in this are identical.  In a double definition clue, the two definitions really, per Ximenes and Azed, should be listed under separate headwords in Chambers.   Here the Carpenter referred to is a person, John Carpenter and “the making of cuts” refers to his job.  Add to that the issue with 2 down, and it’s all a bit lazy to me, though the clue is quite original……

10a      Dramatic divisions? (6)
{SCENES}  …unlike this one, which I seem to have encountered several times over the past few weeks, and in truth is a weak cryptic definition.  Think of the physical divisions in a play and what they may be called, apart from ACTS, for which I also have seen this clued previously.

12a      Former lover with money and diamonds returned (9)
{EXCHANGED}  A word sum.  A former lover + money, as in assorted coinage + Diamonds (abbreviated as in bridge) = a word meaning returned.

13a      Panic when temperature drops, making a mistake (5)
{ERROR} The definition here has to be “a mistake” and you want a word for panic or fear, and remove T for temperature from it.  This makes (hence validates the clue) the word for “a mistake”.

14a      I’m to order skip (4)
{OMIT}  I wonder about using four-letter anagrams in a puzzle of this nature.  I personally would go against them but we have a couple in this puzzle.  An anagram of I’M TO will give you a word meaning skip.

16a      Makes final payments and becomes calmer (7)
{SETTLES}  This time a double definition that works.  Two distinct definitions.

19a      The French certainly have a bit of interest in time off work (7)
{LEISURE}  Another hackneyed clue.  LE (The French) plus SURE (certainly) with I (a bit of interest) inside, gives a word mean time off for relaxation.

21a      Chair one found in class (4)
{SEAT}  A is used as one here, inside the word for a class or form at school   This gives you a word for a chair.

24a      Where you might see pebbles thrown around edge of ocean (5)
{COAST}  “Where you might see pebbles “ comes from a word meaning thrown around O (the edge of Ocean)

25a      In bed eating bits of ravioli, risotto, eggs and crisps? That’s improper (9)
{INCORRECT}  Too contrived by miles, the first letters of the foodstuffs listed placed inside  “IN + COT” (IN BED)

27a      Keep getting bottoms of costume wet in bad weather (6)
{RETAIN}  Bottoms of ”costume wet” =  ET placed inside a type of weather for which GB is renowned, and you’ll be left with a word meaning “Keep”

28a      I save the change that’s least easy to carry (8)
{HEAVIEST} An anagram (indicated by “change”) of I SAVE THE reveals a word that means “least easy to carry”.

29a      Most pleasant street at the end of French city (6)
{NICEST}  A French city on the Cote d’Azur (I think!) + an abbreviation for Street = a word meaning “most pleasant”

30a      Left alone, is brewing old tea (8)
{ISOLATED}  IS + an anagram (brewing) of OLD TEA reveals a word meaning “left alone”.


1d        Certainly I want to hug daughter (6)
{INDEED} An alternative to” I want” (I NEED – do they mean the same??) with D for daughter inside.

2d        Control bad credit (6)
{DIRECT}  An anagram (indicated by “bad”) of CREDIT gives a word meaning “control” which is similar to 9 across.  Shoddy, lazy cluing.

3d        Two Commanding Officers given a drink (5)
{COCOA} Probably what passes for my favourite clue today.  Two abbreviations for Commanding Officer + A gives a warm bedtime drink.

4d        Fancy, but ultimately modest (7)
{THOUGHT}  The definition is “fancy” with a word for “but” + T (modest, ultimately)

6d        Rattle might encourage one to play music (9)
(ORCHESTRA)  Probably on a par with 3d as a good clue.  This is similar to part of 9 across’ definition.  If I tell you that Rattle refers to Sir Simon, then if you find his job you’ll get the subject of this cryptic definition.

7d        Checks rules (8)
{CONTROLS}  Another one I have seen recently in a puzzle.  Double definition, a word meaning “checks” and “rules or restrictions placed on something”.

8d        Worry it’s wrong to wear women’s clothing (8)
{DISTRESS}  I guess most of you will like this as your favourite today.  I am a bit more reserved about it.  An anagram of ITS surrounded by a word for (women’s) clothing leads to a word for “worry”.  My argument is that if you use the word “women’s” in the clue, it should read “an item of women’s….”

11d      Dad’s excited tots (4)
{ADDS}  An anagram (indicated by “excited”) of DADS.  See my comment on 14 ac.

15d      Climbers might be here in large quantities (9)
{MOUNTAIN}  A  double definition.  “Climbers might be found here” and “in large quantities”.

17d      Pick on boy — one’s very tiny (8)
{ELECTRON}  I really don’t like the definition of this.  “One’s very tiny” is just too weak and vague for a crossword.  It’s a word sum (“Pick”) + (a shortened boy’s name)

18d      Huge rock concert — can’t I turn up? (8)
{GIGANTIC}   GIG (Rock concert) + an anagram of CAN’T I reveals a word meaning “Huge”.

20d      Be turning wicked (4)
{EVIL}  There’s a certain Mr Green of St Albans, who absolutely hates these clues, and I’m with him.  You can’t solve this clue unless you solve either 19a across or 25 across.  The word “turning”, which indicates a reversal sits between the two definitions, so you do not automatically know which to reverse.  It’s also another hackneyed clue.

21d      Radical cusses about Conservative win (7)
{SUCCESS}  An anagram of “cusses” around C for Conservative leads to a word meaning “win”.

22d      Salesman to dispose of quote (6)
{REPEAT}  Salesman is a REP and add to it a word meaning “dispose of”, which is a very loose definition of the word required (think CONSUME) and “quote” is the definition of the whole thing.

23d      Held land on top of Dartmoor (6)
{STATED}  A definition of “land” as in “large federated land”, and add to it D (top of Dartmoor)

26d      In war I valiantly seek adversary (5)
[RIVAL}  A hidden answer  “war I valiantly” reveals an adversary.

Another day done, I’ll see you tomorrow!

Here are the answers:


  1. Bloater
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Great for thee moral. I kept waiting for the sting but it never arrived.

    • gazza
      Posted December 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bloater – welcome to the blog.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    The highlight of this puzzle was that it was over so quickly – it did not even qualify as a two stopper. There were some bright spots – 5a, 9a, 4d and 21d but let down by some pretty weak definitions – 10a, 2d, 6d, 18d etc and other clues that did not tickle the imagination but trumpeted the answer – 14a being the most obvious. Gazza has already commented on the Toughie about clues where it is not clear which bit is the definition and which bit is the subsidary; 20d suffered that problem.

    Obviously different puzzles will appeal to different people; I hope that others found it more enjoyable than I did.

  3. Chris
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Not up to DT cryptic standard. Nothing to learn from this. For me part of the joy is to find words or meanings that I had never come across before.

  4. Lazarus
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Very poor. I kept thinking it was going to get harder but it didn’t. More like a “quickie ” than a cryptic.

  5. Franny
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I knew there’d be reactions like the two previous ones! This, however, was a lovely one for a clueless type like me — I managed to do the whole thing within the time allotted by Clued Up, with no recourse from outside aids, nearly twisted a shoulder patting self on the back. The only word that gave me any trouble at all was 17d, which for a long time I thought was plectrum.
    I know it was too easy for the experts, but I enjoyed it all :-)

  6. gnomethang
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Yep, same two-stopper for me and not much to write home about.

  7. Barrie
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Not my favourite, no phrases and some very weak clues. 17d YUK!

  8. gnomethang
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought re 1d,Tilsit ( and thanks for the review):
    Want and Need do mean the same thing when they are nouns.
    That was how I viewed it in retrospect.

  9. Derek
    Posted December 17, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    After 2d, i was a bit puzzled by 9a until I thought of the film industry so I looked up Carpenter in the Cinema section of my 2005/2006 edition of Pears’ Cyclopaedia but he wasn’t mentioned! So I Googled him from Wikipedia!! 6d was no trouble – I used to be an avid orchestral concertgoer.
    I concur that this puzzle is not up to standard.

    I find that the current day chopping up of words and setting sometimes delusive – but occasionally excellent – clues is a bit of a bore.
    Oh for the magnificent clues of the 1940s!

  10. Sandra MacDonald
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    It must be the easiest one ever. And there I was thinking my brain had got better!!

  11. Sandra MacDonald
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I should have added that this crossword appeared in today’s paper here in Hong Kong.