DT 26126

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26126

A Happy New Year

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Those of us feeling a trifle fragile after last night and hoping for a gentle easing into 2010 may find this one a trifle more difficult than hoped-for. It’s well up to Giovanni’s usual standard and is highly enjoyable, but the 13a clue may be a total mystery to anyone who is not into rugby.
As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets – just highlight the white space inside to reveal.
May I take this opportunity to wish everyone – fellow bloggers, illustrious setters and all our readers – a Very Happy New Year. Let’s hope that this year brings as many enjoyable puzzles as last year.

Across Clues

1a  Animal with a bad temper — he creates disaster (11)
{CATASTROPHE} – string together a domestic animal, A STROP (bad temper) and HE to create a disaster.

9a  A component of this scheme may be A1 (4,3)
{ROAD MAP} – cryptic definition of a reference book in which the A1, and many other roads, make an appearance.

10a  Ray not trained to be a legal worker (6)
{NOTARY} – an anagram (trained) of RAY NOT.

12a  Currently available at all locations? On the contrary! (7)
{NOWHERE} – if you split the answer into two words (3,4) it’s a phrase that you may see on bookshop windows, for example, to indicate that the latest great novel (or a Jeffrey Archer book) has arrived. As a single word, however, it means not be found anywhere.

13a  Swinger at England’s rugby matches? (7)
{CHARIOT} – you may be baffled by this one if you’re not a rugby fan. England rugby supporters at Twickenham, in a vain attempt to spur their team into action, sing a dirge called “Swing low sweet chariot” with all the fervour of a cold rice pudding – it’s no wonder their team play so badly (I support Wales, by the way!).

14a  The ‘igh point for a number (5)
{EIGHT} – the initial H has been dropped from high point, so you need to do the same thing with height.

15a  A bishop with lust maybe grabbing book — may no evil ensue! (5,4)
{ABSIT OMEN} – start with A B(ishop) and add one of the seven deadly vices, of which lust is an example (maybe). Now insert a large, normally scholarly, book and you should end up with a latin phrase meaning may this undesirable thing that we’re talking about not happen (a posh alternative to saying “touch wood”).

17a  Famous runner, one very good person wrapped in flag (9)
{BANNISTER} – put I (one) and the usual abbreviation for a good person inside a synonym for a flag to get the surname of Sir Roger, who became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes in 1954.

20a  Alert in the manner of jollies (5)
{ALARM} – a jolly is an informal term for a R(oyal) M(arine) – before this put the French way of saying “in the manner of”.

22a  Once again tries to practise, having been stopped prematurely (7)
{REHEARS} – the definition is “once again tries” and it’s what a judge may do if he tries a case for a second time. It’s also a verb meaning to practise, especially in the theatrical sense, with its last letter missing (stopped prematurely).

24a  Heart transplant for uncle going to America (7)
{NUCLEUS} – start with an anagram (transplant) of UNCLE and add US to get the heart or core of something.

25a  Knit piece around front of pullover (6)
{SPLICE} – take a piece (of bread, for example) and put it around the first letter (front) of P(ullover) to get a verb meaning to join or knit together.

26a  Take back number one, current issue (7)
{EDITION} – put together NO I (number one) and the sea current that comes and goes, then reverse (take back) the lot to get an issue (of a publication).

27a  Aspirations of loony person in set (11)
{PRETENSIONS} – an anagram (loony) of PERSON IN SET produces aspirations.

Down Clues

2d  Stop restricting male — some sort of support is needed (7)
{ARMREST} – put a word meaning stop (or take into custody, in the case of the police) around (restricting) M(ale).

3d  Sweet computer program pictures? (5,4)
{APPLE TART} – a small computer program which is designed to run within other applications is an APPLET – add a synonym for pictures to get a sweet.

4d  Note something medicinal (5)
{TONIC} – double definition.

5d  Survive as racing driver at back of grid? (7)
{OUTLAST} – double definition, the second a cryptic description of the position a racing driver who has to start at the back of the field might be in, when leaving the pits to start the race.

6d  The woman with ring is getting married — there’s courage for you! (7)
{HEROISM} – stitch together a female pronoun, O (ring), IS and M(arried).

7d  German place has grain hideout with food piled up (11)
{BRANDENBURG} – the name of one of the German Länder, which was formerly part of East Germany, is made by putting together husks of grain (considered to be very healthy), DEN (hideout) and a slang word for food reversed (piled up).

8d  I grew disturbed having squashed a little insect (6)
{EARWIG} – an anagram (disturbed) of I GREW with A inside (having squashed).

It was the Insects Cup Final at Wembley and this year the Grasshoppers were playing the Earwigs. The Earwigs’ number 10 was having a shocker (as Hansen might say) and to make matters worse his shirt was so small that only half his number (O) could be fitted on it. As he sat, dejected, in the dressing room at half-time, the trainer tried to cheer him up. “The fans are right behind you.” he said, “Just listen to them!”. So they all listened and they could hear the chants ringing out “Ear-Wig-O, Ear-Wig-O, Ear-Wig-O”.

11d  Craftspeople in specially trained teams, no boys? (11)
{STONEMASONS} – an anagram (specially trained) of TEAMS NO is followed by another word for boys.

16d  Tiger seen on the run here? (9)
{SERENGETI} – the setter is obviously trying to make you think of Mr Woods and his recent troubles, but what you want in this very neat all-in-one clue is an anagram (on the run) of TIGER SEEN to get the name of a huge national park in Tanzania where countless wildlife films have been made about the big cats which live there. But, there are no tigers (at least, not in the wild) in Africa – so the answer to the question in the clue is no!

18d  Poor hen suffering, not one with good prospects (2-5)
{NO-HOPER} – an anagram (suffering) of POOR HEN.

19d  I am a soldier on the street and a writer of poetry (7)
{IMAGIST} – start with I’M (I am) and add A, an American soldier and the usual abbreviation for street to end up with a poet belonging to an early 20th-century movement which favoured precision of imagery and clear, sharp language.

20d  Sale brings excitement around university (7)
{AUCTION} – the sort of sale where lots of things are sold is made by putting U(niversity) inside a synonym for excitement.

21d  Novel from a master getting priest engrossed (6)
{AMELIA} – put the name of an Old Testament priest inside (engrossed) a secondary degree to get the title of a Henry Fielding novel, published in 1751.

23d  Gertrude is a mug (5)
{STEIN} – my hint here takes the form of an old limerick:

There’s a wonderful family called Stein:
There’s Gert and there’s Ep and there’s Ein.
Gert’s poems are bunk,
Ep’s statues are junk,
And no one can understand Ein.

The clues I liked included 12a, 24a, 8d and 16d, but my favourite today is 13a. How about you? – we’d be delighted to get your views, queries or criticisms in a comment.


  1. Giovanni
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    An early confession — I realised after I’d sent the puzzle in that there were no tigers in the Serengeti.
    Just about saved by the question mark, I think! Thanks for the blog — and happy new year, all!

    • Barrie
      Posted January 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Glad you said that, I have spent 20 minutes with a map of the Indian sub-continent trying to fit in locations!! :-)

  2. Prolixic
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a cracker of a puzzle to usher in the New Year. Many thanks to Giovanni for another treat. I would add to the list of favourite clues 20a..

  3. Yoshik
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Some tricky questions here and some that require rather “remote” knowledge.

    23d was a scratch the head clue and 21d took a lot of research.

    However as an ex rugby player 13a was of course the “up and under” clue that will catch a few out.

    A good start to the New Year.

  4. gnomethang
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a cracking workout!
    Loved 1a and all fell in to place after some head scratching.
    Another one of these excellent Giovanni puzzles where the little switch in the head can help immensely!

    Happy New Year everyone and many thanks to gazza for the review and Giovanni for starting the new year in fine fashion.

  5. NathanJ
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! What a terrific puzzle to start a new decade. Thanks Giovanni – this was a challenging and fun puzzle to solve.

    15a was the last to go in. I have never seen this phrase before but was able to derive it from the intersecting letters and word-play.

    Gazza – I am a Wales supporter as well – although I have lived in Australia since 1977, I was born in Newport, Wales in the late 1960s. I support Wales against any team except Australia.

  6. Simon
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this one quite easy although I didn’t understand 20a until I read Gazza’s explanation.

  7. Barrie
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Usual Giovanni struggle, got about 3/4 of the answers but that was about it. Sorry even after 5 years of latin, Abisit Omen is still a complete mystery. Loved 7d even though it was a case of heres the answer, how does it fit the question.
    I have to say though that the lower right corner is far too tough for me.
    Not my favourite Giovanni but I can at least see how the questions relate to the answers which is more than I could do on Tuesday!

    • Barrie
      Posted January 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Today really showed my ignorance, never heard of Gertrude Stein or the novel Amelia. The only Gertude I could think of was the duck in the Beatrix Potter books!!

      • gnomethang
        Posted January 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

        What, not even Gertrude Perkins, the famous author of “Edmund, a Butler’s Tale”?

        • Barrie
          Posted January 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Ah a fellow Blackadder fan! I had totally forgotten THAT Gertrude!

      • Peter
        Posted January 2, 2010 at 5:43 am | Permalink | Reply

        It did become a game of “I know more obscure academic stuff than you do,” I thought. Apart from the rugby clue which I got straight away!

        An unsatisfactory end to an unsatisfactory week. Which is a shame as I’ve had more time to do them. I can usually finish on Saturdays – here’s hoping!

  8. BigBoab
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you Giovanni for a great start to the New Year (other than Serengeti ) fabulous crossword as always. A Happy New Year to all.

  9. Nubian
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this pretty hard, I fell into the same old trap again with 20a, a jolly in the Royal Navy when I was in was a good run ashore. I should have remembered from the last time.
    Best wishes for the new year
    Is it “twenty ten” or “two thousand and ten” ?

    • Posted January 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      In today’s Quick Crossword Giovanni has TWENTY TENS as the first two across answers!

  10. pianydd
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Loved this crossword, though had never heard of absit omen myself. Agree 13a was a cracker, though I too am a staunch supporter of WRU. Incidentally, re the quick, it’s the first three clues- twenty tens arrived.

    • Posted January 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      They still don’t tell us on CluedUp like they do in the newspaper – thanks

    • Posted January 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A question for you and Gazza

      When was the last time Cwm Rhondda was sung at the Rugby World Cup final?

      No need to answer!

      • gazza
        Posted January 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

        We’re already practising it in readiness for 2011.

  11. pianydd
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    (Oops, forgot my name is pianydd)

    • gazza
      Posted January 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink | Reply


      • pianydd
        Posted January 1, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks very much!

  12. Giovanni
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink | Reply


    • Posted January 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply


      As I commented above, the clues making up the phrase are indicated in the newspaper, but not online. This does make it more difficult for some of us, but thanks for your help.

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