DT 26117

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26117

Hints and tips by Rishi

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Today’s crossword from our Monday Maestro posed some difficulties which I had to surmount before completing the puzzle.  At one stage, after the initial flurry of quick fills, I had ten to go: 10a, 14a, 28a, 29a, 30a and 7d, 18d, 19d,21d and 26d.  Luckily these fell one by one: why the bottom left corner held on till the end was because of my own mistake in writing wrongly the second word in the long phrasal 11d.  I got wise to it only after some crossings wouldn’t gel.

Clues I liked especially: 20a, 1d.

1a Holy area in outskirts of Samarkand (6)
{SACRED} – We get a word that means ’holy’ by inserting a word that may mean ‘area’ in SD (these being the first and last letters of Samarkand). I think ‘acre’ is a measure of land. The Chambers dictionary, however, has “acres” (not ‘acre’) for “lands”.

4a Star skater is upset (8)
{ASTERISK} – Anagram of SKATER IS gets a word meaning ‘star’ (especially in printing).

9a Angled, and he’d caught fish (6)
{HEELED} – Put a three-letter word for fish in HE’D to get a word that means ‘angled’.

10a Peace-making counsel is put at risk (8)
{ENDANGER} – A word that means ‘[to] put at risk’ is obtained by what one might say to a person who is incensed.

12a Tax on goods and service (4)
{DUTY} – Two definitions – Tax on goods / service

13a Artist when old retires South (5)
{DEGAS} – Reverse a word that means ‘old ‘and add S (‘South’) and you get the name of an artist.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), French painter

14a Health food council (4)
{DIET} – Health food / council (think of the national legislature of Japan)

17a Not a short class in arithmetic (4,8)
{LONG DIVISION} – A word that is the opposite of ‘short’ and a word that means ‘class’ together give us a kind of operation in arithmetic.

20a Sleek coat shows Parisian chic (6,6)
{FRENCH POLISH} – Put together a word that means ‘Parisian’ and a word that means ‘chic’ and get a phrase that gives a veneer to furniture.

23a Wander over casually (4)
{ROVE} – Anagram OVER and you won’t wander away from the answer.

24a Take the plunge, but get nothing in exchange (5)
{SWOOP} – If you want the answer ‘take the plunge’ and put O (nothing) in a word that means ‘exchange’ (only take care of the spelling!)

25a A French veto soon (4)
{ANON} – Take A for what it is and add a word that means ‘no’ in French and there will be no delay in reaching the answer.

28a General resemblance to Humpty Dumpty? (3-5)
{ALL-ROUND} – A word that means ‘general’ from the shape of Humpty Dumpty.

29a It is said to have proved a hit (6)
{TOUCHÉ} – Straightforward clue – A term from fencing when the fencer claims a hit.

30a Furtive sort of hat style (8)
{STEALTHY) – Did you, like me, realise rather late that an anagram of HAT STYLE fetches us a synonym for ‘furtive’ or secret?

31a Only just get me to bank (6)
{MERELY} – Only just get me to bank but don’t expect me to withdraw any money and give it to you. For, take a word that means ‘bank’ as a verb and put ME before that and ONLY then you get the answer.

1d He’d put in cryptic clues in the list (8)
{SCHEDULE} – Put HED (from he’d) and in an anagram of CLUES and get a word that means ‘list’.

2d What a change it makes to one’s winnings! (8)
{CHEATING} – Anagram of CHANGE IT. For definition re-read the clue as a whole. Maybe what a card sharp thought.

3d There’s no advantage in breaking it (4)
{EVEN} – Cryptic definition. If a company ‘breaks even’ during a financial year, ‘there’s no advantage’, for it makes no profit.

5d So unholy cads may be converted here (6,6)
{SUNDAY SCHOOL} – In this all-in-one clue, anagram of SO UNHOLY CADS gets a phrase for a place where children get religious instruction and become better in their lives.

6d Former graduate set up test paper (4)
{EXAM} – A word or a prefix that means ‘former’ and a reversal of MA (‘graduate’) for ‘test paper’.

7d A lady well-liked on the network (6)
{INGRID} – Word sum – A word meaning ‘well-liked’ plus a word that means ‘network’ give the name of a woman.

8d Shrewish girl set about painter in unarmed combat (6)
{KARATE} – The name of a Shakespearean heroine (from The Taming of the Shrew’) taken around RA (‘artist’, abbreviation for Royal Academician) gives the name of a martial art.

11d Old maid? (7,5)
{SERVING WENCH} – Cryptic definition – A term by which a maid was known ages ago. Take care not to use it now!

15d Are about to perform worship (5)
{ADORE} – Don’t do anything to get ARE and do some work to take it around a short word that means ‘perform’ for a word that means ‘worship’ as a verb.

16d Prefer to attack (2,3)
{GO FOR} – Go for this clue! – Double definition – Prefer / To attack

18d First Lieutenant in boat gives a tip (8)
{PINNACLE} – Put L (the first letter of Lieutenant) in a word that means boat and you get a tip.

19d Opening lines in court (8)
{CHANCERY} – A word-sum that is very cleverly concealed and that I saw only now at the time of writing this – A word that means ‘opening’,, in the sense of opportunity, plus RY (which is an abbr. for railway meaning lines) gives a word that means ‘court’.

21d The distress of examinations (6)
{TRIALS} – Cryptic double definition – The distress / examinations. As the solution is in plural, should it have been “distresses”?

22d Develop and go round topless (6)
{EVOLVE} – Remove the first letter of a word begins with R and means ‘go round’ and you get a word that means ‘develop’.

26d Thin metal blade (4)
{FOIL} – Double definition – thin metal / blade (fencing sword)

27d Playboy making love in the French way (4)
{ROUÉ} – O (love) put inside the French word for way, street gives a word for a playboy or dissolute person.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with this crossword and what your thoughts were as you did it. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


  1. Nubian
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    21d I didn’t think scanned correctly
    29a there they go using foreign words again, quelle horreure!

    Pretty average today

    • Posted December 21, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      I would be generous at this time of year and say that several trials lead to distress, as in “trials and tribulations”

  2. Prolixic
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    A gentle start to the week from Rufus. Unusually for his cluing, I thought that the construction in 9a and 1d was too similar – both being insertions into HE’D. In addition to the clues you mentioned, I also enjoyed 10a and 27d.

    Compliments of the season to Rufus and to one and all.

  3. Rufus
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Re “distress” and “trials”. The Penguin Thesaurus under TRIAL : “5.(he survived many trials) suffering, distress etc”.
    Seasonable best wishes to everyone as well as thanks to Rishi for his excellent blogs. (Christmas crosswords on Christmas Eve in DT, Christmas Day onTelegraph website!)

    • Vince
      Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Sorry, Rufus, but I have to agree with Rishi. One can suffer distress from one trial or many trials, but I can’t accept “trials” as a synonym for “distress”.

  4. NathanJ
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Hi Rishi

    I completed this in good time except for 29a which I only got after reading your hint – I was kicking myself for not getting it!

    I liked 10a, 20a, 2d and 5d.

    Rufus, it is great to hear from you! I hope you have a very happy Christmas and New Year. I look forward to your puzzles in 2010 (in the DT, FT and Guardian).

  5. alan
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Stuck on 9a until I consulted you…I had “hooked”
    But 5d…a bit un-PC. “Unholy” “cads” “converted” , giving “sunday school”

  6. Tilly
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Just heard on the radio whilst driving home that on 21 December 1913 the first crossword was published. it was by Arthur Wynne.

    • Nubian
      Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I bet they were not quoting Chambers as a defence in the result page, It would be interesting to try it if anyone knows if there is a copy on line anywhere.

  7. Lea
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink


    Just checked your 13d – shouldn’t it be “serving” instead of “servant”?

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I second that, Lea – was just going to comment.

      Elsewhere I stupidly put in ‘Gotcha’ for 29a which didnt help me!.
      Also forgot the 14a although I have seen it before.

      Many Thanks to Rufus and Rishi and a ‘Merry Messy Christmas’!

      • Rishi
        Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Permalink


        The error at 11d (not 13d) has been fixed.

        • Lea
          Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Rishi – had covered up the number in the paper. Thanks.

        • Rishi
          Posted December 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          In two published crosswords one after the other, the clues I wrote required the solvers to use the words ‘strumpet’ and ‘wench’ in wordplay.

          A commenter on a blog, an Englishman on work in Kerala, India, said the setter’s view of womanhood was not glorifying!

          • Lea
            Posted December 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Now that I will agree with – but you can turn it on its head and work out that they don’t know what they are talking about!!!

  8. Lea
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Finished it now – my last two to go in were 10a and 14a (a four letter word that I didn’t think was a good clue). Some of the other four letter words were okay – at least you had to work them out. Barrie should be happy as there are 8 of them in the puzzle.

    My favourite clues were 20a and 1d.

    Thanks Rufus for a good puzzle and thanks Rishi for the review.

  9. Vince
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink


    I don’t think your explanation of 7d is quite right. I read it as “in” for popular or well-liked, on (down clue) “grid” for the network.

    • Posted December 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      The sub-editor is not having a good day – I missed that and the wench!

      • Rishi
        Posted December 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink


        Thanks very much.

        I have since made amends.

  10. Jane
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Put in hedged for 9a and then couldn’t get 2d. Should have realised 2d was an anagram then would have realised error with 9a!

  11. ian
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    21d seems fair enough to me. The one I am struggling with is 2d; I got the answer from the anagram but still can’t see a definition? If Rufus could explain it I would be most grateful! Otherwise very enjoyable.

    • Posted December 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Ian

      This clue is of a type that could be categorised as semi-&lit. The structure would not be acceptable to some purists, but resolve the anagram and then read the clue again to get the definition of the answer.

  12. Barrie
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    On the whole a very enjoyable puzzle, particulary liked 19d although I only got it after working backwards from the answer! Not sure about 28a, wasn’t Hunpty Dumpty egg shaped or oval? Liked the 4 letter clues!!

  13. ian
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dave. I am usually ok with this sort of clue but I must be having a mental block or just one of those days because I still cant see how the answer is defined by the rest of the clue!!! Unless winnings has another definition that it!!

    • Chris
      Posted December 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Agree with you . Seems unclear to say the least.

    • Posted December 21, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      The suggestion is that by cheating you can increase your winnings – it’s only a bit of fun and doesn’t stand up to over-analysis.

  14. Little Dave
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Found this tough but then agan was contacted by work at 1AM so a tad jaded. Need my bed.

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 21, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Tell ’em you don’t want any!

  15. John Billot
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Yes, got it finally – though wasn’t too sure on “Chancery” but put it in as being a “Court” as I couldn’t think of any other words with “H” as second letter (ie other starting letters could only be CPST&W). Other that that relatively straight-forward.

  16. Derek
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable with some good clues.
    Favourites were 1a, 13a, 20a &30a. 1d, 11d, 18d & 19d.
    There were three references to le français again which may have upset some Brits! You setters should always remember that accents are important in foreign languages – please don’t reply that I am being too critically diacritical!!
    I daresay that 26d would help with 29a!

  17. Chinfaces
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Didn’t really like 11d. We had ‘servant woman’ there for a while and we thought ‘wench’ was the oppostie of ‘maid.’ Anyway Amazon has assured me that my copy of Chambers is on its way so hopefully this will clear a few things up..