DT 26118 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26118

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26118

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

It’s Ray T’s turn this week and we have a typically entertaining puzzle, although I felt that a couple of the cryptic definitions were a bit weak, and I do have a gripe with 12a.

As always the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets under each clue – just select the white space inside the brackets to reveal.

Since this is my last Cryptic review before the big day (although for Toughie addicts, I will be back tomorrow), may I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas.

Across Clues

1a  It produces fir cone, possibly (7)
{CONIFER} – we start with a nice all-in-one clue, with an anagram (possibly) of FIR CONE.

5a  Varnish the woman will put on endlessly (7)
{SHELLAC} – the definition is varnish – we want a contraction of SHE WILL and then a verb meaning to assume a character (put on) with its last letter dropped.

9a  Got together catching old time musical composition (5)
{MOTET} – a verb meaning got together or held a meeting has O(ld) T(ime) inside.

10a  Change end getting run (9)
{REARRANGE} – put together a word for back-end and a verb meaning to run freely.

11a  Criminal set up and thwarted (10)
{CONFOUNDED} – a charade of CON (criminal) and a verb meaning set up or established.

12a  Display stand (4)
{BEAR} – double definition. I originally had “wear” here (until Clued Up refused to wear it) and I still think that it is just as good as, if not better than, the actual answer.

14a  One gets hammered, making a noise! (12)
{GLOCKENSPIEL} – a (weakish?) cryptic definition of a musical instrument having a set of tuned metal pieces which are struck with small hammers.

18a  Plate with one large helping containing hunger (12)
{ILLUSTRATION} – the definition is a picture in a book (plate) – we start with I and L(arge) and then have a synonym for a measured helping of food, and we need LUST (hunger) inside.

21a  Jeer, getting heated about nothing (4)
{HOOT} – put O (zero, nothing) inside a synonym of heated.

22a  Some peers are dithery, are erratic (10)
{HEREDITARY} – an anagram (erratic) of DITHERY ARE for a description of some peers who have done nothing to earn their title. Very amusing!

25a  Does her bum look big in this? (9)
{CRINOLINE} – the answer is probably yes, since it’s a cryptic definition of a hooped petticoat or skirt made to stand out all round. I’m a bit surprised that this clue made it past the Telegraph blue pencil – what do you think?

26a  Strike with ace bowled in practice (5)
{HABIT} – the definition is practice or custom – put a synonym for strike around A(ce) and B(owled).

27a  Pack animal in tack before grand departure (7)
{PASSING} – the pack animal is a synonym for donkey – put this inside PIN (tack) and add G(rand).

28a  Sole offspring? (7)
{TIDDLER} – the offspring of a sole (or other fish).

Down Clues

1d  Lads’ mags? (6)
{COMICS} – an amusing cryptic definition of what young boys read, though girls do have these as well.

2d  Stating love, lacking heart (6)
{NOTING} – love, in tennis scoring, is zero or nothing – take out the middle letter (lacking heart).

3d  Holmes fast becoming enigmatic (10)
{FATHOMLESS} – an adjective meaning so deep that you cannot get to the bottom of it (enigmatic) is an anagram (becoming) of HOLMES FAST.

4d  Repeat endless rubbish, usually naff initially (5)
{RERUN} – an all-in-one is made from the initial letters of the first five words.

5d  Report MPs ditching socialist leader before time (9)
{STATEMENT} – the premise here is that MPs are statesmen (discuss!) – take out the second S (ditching socialist leader) and add T(ime) at the end.

6d  Gross desire, losing head (4)
{EARN} – a verb meaning to make or take in before any deductions is YEARN (desire) without its leading character.

7d  Stall that is providing underwear (8 )
{LINGERIE} – a verb meaning to hang around or play for time (stall) is followed by I.E. (id. est., that is).

8d  With a smile, weirdly following church (8 )
{CHEERILY} – start with CH (church) and add a synonym for weirdly to get an adverb meaning with a smile or in good spirits.

13d  Bowled over and knocked for six (10)
{ASTONISHED} – double definition, shocked and stunned. The two definitions are almost identical.

15d  Covering darling in fond embrace (9)
{CARPETING} – embrace a term of endearment (darling) with an adjective meaning fond or solicitous to get a floor covering.

16d  Calming tot before bedtime? (8 )
{NIGHTCAP} – a gentle cryptic definition of a (normally alcoholic) drink taken before turning in.

17d  Makes gory corpses, left with nothing inside (8 )
{BLOODIES} – the definition is makes gory – put L(eft) and O (zero, nothing) inside BODIES (corpses).

19d  Caper put heartless gang in prison (6)
{GAMBOL} – put M(o)B (gang without its middle letter) inside a synonym for prison.

20d  Boy’s terrified catching sea creature (6)
{OYSTER} – this sea creature is hidden (catching) in the clue.

23d  Standing before court (5)
{ERECT} – a charade of ERE (before) and the abbreviation for a court produces a word meaning standing or upright.

24d  Desert soldier carrying old boy (4)
{GOBI} – put a US soldier around the standard abbreviation of old boy to get a large desert which covers Southern Mongolia and parts of Northern China.

The clues which I liked included 22a, 1d and 19d, but my favourite today is 1a. How about you? – leave us a comment!

24 comments on “DT 26118

  1. This was a good challenge from Ray T today. Many thanks to him for the puzzle and thanks for the hints. I agree with you on 12a, I had wear originally until Clued Up refused to accept it. I thought that 1a was a bit long in the tooth to be the top clue for today. 1d was good, but my favourite was 3d.

    Seasons greetings to Ray T and thanks for all the fun you have given us this past year.

  2. Nice puzzle from Ray T. He and Shamus always make Tuesdays enjoyable. My favourite clue was 22a.

    Seasons greetings to Ray T – thanks for all your great puzzles this year. I look forward to tackling your puzzles in 2010 – they are always an enjoyable challenge.

    Gazza – thanks for your comprehensive reviews. I have really learned a lot from your blogs and appreciate the work you have done. You have helped me and a lot of others to become better solvers and gain a deeper appreciation of these puzzles. A very Merry Christmas to you and I look forward to reading your blogs in 2010.

  3. I thought some of the clues today were a bit weak.
    16d Could be a GK clue without the word calming.
    21a I thought getting heated was heating, got heated mighted have worked better.
    12a Although I prefer B*** as in ” I just can’t b*** this anymore” , I think W*** should be just as acceptable.
    25a was a bit naughty for the DT

    18a was my favourite clue.

    Hark the herald angels sing!

  4. I didn’t see “wear” for 12a, but I see that it would work as well. But, I had a similar problem with 28a. I couldn’t decide between “tiddler” and “toddler”, and settled on the latter. A tiddler isn’t an offspring, but a small fish, such as stickleback. I thought that a toddler is a child (offspring?) and being on one’s own is being on one’s “tod”, therefore, “sole”. Maybe???

        1. I still think the question mark indicates any variety of baby fish. I got this from the net.
          tiddler [ˈtɪdlə]
          n Brit informal
          1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Animals) a very small fish or aquatic creature, esp a stickleback, minnow, or tadpole
          2. a small child, esp one undersized for its age
          [from dialectal tittlebat, childish variant of stickleback, influenced by tiddly1]

          Maybe we need a ruling from Big Dave

          1. I agree with Nubian re. 28a
            The use of sole in the clue is indeed a reference to fish, but it is used to create a surface reading that looks like “only”.
            Chambers definition of the answer:
            a small fish, eg a minnow or a stickleback
            any very small person or thing

          2. The tiddlers that i used to catch as a child were minnows and sticklebacks, but it seems that we are becoming too finicky – the clue is intended to put a smile on your face when you solve it. :roll:

  5. Put me in the “wear” club for 12a – also rejected by clued up!

    Was astonished, bowled over and knocked for six by 13d – could easily have been a clue in a non-cryptic. I liked 14a, agree the cryptic definition was a bit weak but what a lovely word to find! Thought the answer to 25a was a type of material, not a style, so didn’t see the relevance of the clue ’til I read this – and surely that style had the advantage for many females of disguising a perhaps larger than wished for part of the anatomy?

  6. I enjoyed this, put the B word in without considering the W word at 12a but I agree with you all.

    I didn’t much like 25a for the reasons stated above – it was the last to go in after checking that it was the only word that COULD go in.

    Thanks to Ray T and Merry Christmas. Thanks gazza, will see you for the Toughie.

  7. I agree with everyone about “wear” (which I had after considering both), and I agree also that “astonished was weakly clued for a cryptic. Too many little quibbles to be really satisfying for me.

    Harry Shipley

  8. I thought that while show could be bear or wear, the case for wear meaning stand never occurred to me, just as it never occurred to the compilers of Chambers Thesaurus. Mrs Bradford scores it at one all however!

    1. fortunately I didn’t get to w in my mental pattern and settled for b instead!
      However, 13 down seemed so poor that I still haven’t put it in.
      My favourite was 26ac.

  9. Thanks as always to Gazza for the review, and everybody who took the time to comment.

    Best wishes to all the solvers out there, and to Dave and his cohorts for all their time and effort.

    See you next year.

  10. Pleasant fare today not quite finished so will soldier on. I agree that there were a few weakish clues but overall enjoyable although I was slightly put off by the fact that a fellow commuter was tackling it as I was and her pen seemed a little busier than mine.

  11. I enjoyed that. Thanks Gazza for the good reviews you do and to Ray T for the xword.

    I wish you and all bloggers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

  12. Sorry I am late at the table, but I have been having problems accessing the deeper levels of the site. Enjoyable pouzzle, but spoilt by a couple of clues, especially the WEAR / BEAR answer, plus the STUNNED “double definition”.

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