DT 26123 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26123

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26123

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

It looks like we can look forward to a week of very gentle puzzles, if the pattern for yesterday and today is continued. Perhaps this is to be Clueless Club week!!

Gazza’s new broadband connection has broken, so I am filling in for him today (and Tilsit is doing battle with the Toughie).  [15:30 – Gazza is now back online, and all set to tackle tomorrow’s Toughie.]

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


3a    Contention if rest is disturbed (6)
{STRIFE} – a word meaning contention gets us off to an easy start with an anagram of IF REST, signalled by “is disturbed”

6a    Nervous characters among trained gymnasts (4)
{EDGY} – I told you it was easy today! – this word meaning nervous is hidden inside (characters among) trained gymnasts

8a    Scholars associated with fine African people (5)
{MASAI} – a charade of post-graduates with a representation of fine, in the sense of first-class, leads to these African people of the highlands of Kenya and Tanzania

9a    Poor area losing hospital getting good number for meeting (3-8)
{GET-TOGETHER} – lose the H(ospital) from the poor area of a city, and then add G(ood) and a colourless, transparent, volatile liquid used as an anaesthetic (number – get it?)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Son reluctant to show sluggishness (5)
{SLOTH} – the usual abbreviation for S(on) is followed by a word meaning reluctant to get a synonym for sluggishness

11a    Leading representative of cause and Olympic figurehead? (11)
(TORCHBEARER} – a double definition, the second part of which is a description of the athlete carrying the Olympic flame

16a    Hints of indiscipline definitely infecting older college youths — dim conduct? (6)
{IDIOCY} – Hint is often used to indicate the first letter of a word, and here the plural means that you need the first letter of several words are required to get dim conduct

17a    Tale told mischievously and given out for a purpose (8)
{ALLOTTED} – an anagram of TALE TOLD is indicated by mischievously and the result is a word meaning given out for a purpose

19a    Lee’s talk reviewed as very thin? (8)
{SKELETAL} – a similar clue has an anagram of LEE’S TALK, signalled by reviewed, giving a word meaning very thin

20a    Retired Irish singer in part of Venice (6)
{RIALTO} – IR. is a common abbreviation for Ireland or Irish – this is to be reversed (retired) and followed by a operatic singer to get a in part of Venice with a well-known bridge

22a    Sailor thoroughly protected and actively recovering? (3,3,5)
{OUT AND ABOUT} – today’s sailor is Able-Bodied and he is inside (protected) a phrase meaning thoroughly to give another phrase, this one meaning actively recovering or convalescent

25a    Opening in resort, nightclub’s backed (5)
{INTRO} – the opening passage of a piece of music is hidden inside resort, nightclub, but reversed (backing)

27a    Minute prosaic comic faltered without sign of appreciation (11)
{MICROSCOPIC} – a word meaning minute, in the sense of extremely small, is an anagram (faltered) of PROS(A)IC COMIC without the A (sign of Appreciation – I’m not too sure about this one, do you think it works?)

28a    Love a party with pair of regulars (5)
{ADORE} a word meaning to love is a charade of A party and the first two letters (pair of) REgulars – this last construct is a refreshing change from usual “about” or “of”

29a    Part of car, exhaust by the sound of it (4)
{TYRE} – this essential part of a car sounds like a word meaning to exhaust

30a    Posh Northern supplier of water experiencing complaint? (6)
{UNWELL} – run together crosswordland’s term for posh, N(orthern) and a source of water and you get a word meaning experiencing complaint, in the sense of being ill


1d           Nice friends perhaps for English writer (4)
{AMIS} – easy when you know how! – how you might describe friends if you lived in Nice (see how the required capitalisation is disguised by putting this word as the first in the clue) is also the surname of father and son English writers Sir Kingsley and Martin, so you can take your pick as to which of them is the answer

2d           Play offering liberal scope? (2,3,4,2)
{AS YOU LIKE IT} – the title of one of Shakespeare’s plays could also be a phrase meaning offering liberal scope

3d           Assistance required when receiving a delivery? (5,6)
{SIGHT SCREEN} – a cryptic definition of a large, usually white, screen placed on the boundary behind the bowler, providing a backdrop against which the batsman can more easily see the approaching ball (thank you to Chambers for the description of this feature found on a cricket ground)

4d           Official statement showing profit (6)
{RETURN} – a double definition

5d           Purchase grub around hotel abroad lacking energy (8)
{FOOTHOLD} – a word meaning  purchase, in the sense of a means of exerting force advantageously, is constructed by putting FOOD (grub) around an anagram (abroad) of HOT(E)L without the E (lacking energy)

6d           Minor part in late edition (5)
{EXTRA} – a double definition – a minor part in a film or play or a late edition of a newspaper

7d           Bird close to lapwing, rising type without tail (5)
{GREBE} – this bird is created from G (close to lapwinG) and REBE(L) (rising type without tail)

12d         Conceited logic I state to be wrong (11)
{EGOTISTICAL} – a word meaning  conceited is an anagram (to be wrong) of LOGIC I STATE

13d         Retired boxer into a terrible tit-for-tat? (11)
{RETALIATION} – add together RET (the abbreviation for retired), former World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad ALI and an anagram (terrible) of INTO A to get a word meaning  a tit-for-tat

14d         Tabloid reported in a mess, about to disappear (3-3)
{RED-TOP} – a term used to describe a tabloid newspaper is an anagram (in a mess) of (RE)PORTED without the RE (about to disappear)

15d         Disaster in motor racing? A shadow initially put over company (6)
{FIASCO) – this disaster is built up from F1 (Formula one motor racing) S (a Shadow initially) and CO(mpany)

18d         Preserve road by prison belonging to island? (8)
{JAMAICAN} – another word sum – JAM (preserve, as a noun) A1 (the road from London to Edinburgh and CAN (slang term for prison) gives a resident of a Caribbean island

21d         Item left in car (6)
{COUPLE} – two people living together can be described as an item – just insert L(eft) inside a two-door motor car with a roof sloping towards the back

23d         Whole property having domestic fixture by yard (5)
{UNITY} – the property of being whole is built up from a kitchen UNIT and Y(ard)

24d         Get on with a southern European largely (5)
{AGREE} – a word meaning  to get on with is formed from A GREE(K), a southern European without the final letter (largely)

26d         Old timeless outlet producing kitchen feature (4)
{OVEN} – O(ld) and VEN(T), an outlet without the T (Time less), give an essential feature of any kitchen

It seems from the early comments that some of you have struggled with this one, but apart from the definition for 22 across it still looks relatively straightforward to me, but your views are always welcome.

It certainly looks like the same setter that has alternated with Ray T in recent weeks – maybe we will know for certain later.

30 comments on “DT 26123

  1. Perfectly pleasant puzzle!.
    I agree that the A in 27a is a bit iffy – I was looking to remove something like Aah to get the answer. Having said that the anagram pretty much jumped off the page at me.
    I thought 9a was good.

  2. Where can I find a list of such things as ‘crosswordlands term for …’ and that indicates such as IR referring to Ireland or Irish or that ‘retired’ means reversed, please? I’m sure something like it would be a great help!

  3. Beats me how you can say this is gentle, it’s a stinker! Highly complex clues, very little humour, after yesterdays brilliant puzzle, it’s the follow-up to the Lord Mayors Show!!

    1. I agree it is a stinker.

      9a: I got this but could not fully understand it and still don’t. Since when was an anaesthetic a number? Serious question.

      1. it depends how you pronounce ‘number’. One way it can mean a figure ie 1,2,3, etc. The other way it is something that takes away all feeling ie numbs, as in anaesthetic.

          1. The Telegraph once carried the following clue: “The number of the hospital (12)”. The answer was ANAESTHETIST.

        1. Thanks Tilly – I didn’t get that either! I’m agreeing with Barrie and Peter here – found it quite tough and failed miserably with all the downs in bottom left corner. Yesterdays was much more enjoyable and the clues were more satisfying.

  4. I am always slightly intimidated when you say the crossword is easy or gentle, cos easy or gentle it aint! Maybe I’m just too thick. This one took me ages and I still can’t find the answer for 21d

    1. Helen

      If two people are together, they are described as being an item. Just put L(eft) inside a two-door motor car with a roof sloping towards the back (like my old Ford Capri).

  5. I think this is a bit like quiz questions, easy if you know the answer and impossible if you don’t. After nearly 2 hours I had got 5 clues!! After finishing yesterdays in under an hour, I find this an absolute horror!

  6. I’m with Barrie on this one . Unlike most days when I’m at work and trying to do this in my lunchbreak, I had all the time in the world but had to reach for the anagram solver and crossword solver to make any progress.
    22a It may be a regional thing but “out and about” has no meanign to me of actively recovering.The usage would be “Where’s Dave”-“I don’t know he’s out and about” Meaning he is somewhere near by but I don’t know where.
    13d I was looking for an anagram involving tit for tat
    9a I’m afraid that poor area =ghetto just never came to mind.
    Have solved 7d& 26d but await explanation as I can’t see it.

    1. I must say that the phrase “up and about” is probably more common for ‘actively convalescing’ but I have heard both.

    2. Chambers gives the following:

      out and about
      * able to go out, convalescent
      * active out of doors

      Our setter chose the former definition – he is under no obligation to select the more common usage.

  7. Fantastic puzzle today though I agree with the comments about this not being a gentle puzzle. For favourite clues I would select 1d, 12d, 20a and at the top 18d.

  8. Hi Big D. and Seasons Greetings to all, been away for a few weeks so have not been in touch. Thought todays was a nice one and I quite enjoyed it, I found the Toughie easier than this however yet it was the Maestro himself. ( Giovanni)

    1. Big Boab

      The seasons greeting to you as well – we’ve missed you.

      I have Tilsit’s review of the Toughie, but I am hoping to finish it myself before looking at it, so it should be up soon.

  9. Hi Big Dave

    I greatly enjoyed this puzzle and agree with you that it looks like a Shamus one.

    I liked 8a, 9a, 1d and 3d.

    I notice that Big Boab found today’s Toughie easier than this puzzle so I will give the Toughie a try later on.

  10. Greetings everyone – been out of touch just recently and back today. Dave you may have found it easy but I was definitely not on this setter’s wave length – it took me ages to get anything other than the anagrams and a few others. Can’t rate it as enjoyable.

    If the Toughie is by Giovanni may give that a try as I enjoy his setting.

    If I don’t get back to the blog again this year – I wish everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

  11. Thanks to Big Dave for the blog and others for comments. Happy New Year to all solvers and bloggers and here’s to more cruciverbal tussles in 2010!

  12. I got 1d very quickly and I thought at the time “alors il faut parler français encore une fois!”
    27a – I thought that this clue was a bit weak.
    I did not know that a couple is an item – one never ceases to learn!
    My favourite was 7d – I see a lot of them at my daughter’s – she lives on the edge of a lake.
    Vuut in het nederlands!
    I am going back there to fire off the rockets at midnight on Thursday.

    Wishing you all a very guid New Year.

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