DT 26134 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26134

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26134

Hints and tips by Rishi

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A crossword that is mostly easy but also with some half-a-dozen clues which may hold you up for some minutes until you see light.  Among the last to go in were 23a, 28a and 31a and 8d, 16d, 18d, 21d and 27d. Do enter a comment to say if one man’s poison was another man’s (or woman’s) meat.

Those who come here after having got the answers may find them superfluous. Those who come here for the answers they have not, may appreciate some hints that will help them to derive them themselves. That is why the solutions are whitened (not whitewashed!). Please drag your mouse over the space between the curly brackets so the answers may come in blue.

You can add your assessment of the puzzle by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

1a Supporter of half-day closing (6)
{FRIEND} – Container/contained – Fifty per cent of a weekday added to a word meaning ‘closing’. Definition: Supporter

4a Second drink I have makes me frisky (8)
{SPORTIVE} – Word sum – A single-letter abbreviation for ‘second’ plus a word for a ‘drink’ plus a syncopation for “I have”.   Definition: frisky. Smooth surface reading and plausible in the case of some persons (I might not need even the second!)

9a Not out of touch but performing publicly? (2,4)
{IN PLAY} – Double definition – Not out of touch [still engaged] / performing [in drama] publicly

10a Girls maybe right to accept glamorous underwear (8)
{FRILLIES} – Container/contained – A single-letter abbreviation for ‘right’ goes in a word that means ‘girls’, rather lively or frisky as mares might be. Definition: ‘glamorous underwear’ more likely to be worn by the said gender. I like this clue – not for any prurient interest in it but for good surface reading and the fact that container/content wordplay is handled in not-so-obvious a manner.

Ruffled or unruffled?

12a One is put out when shown this (4)
{DOOR} – Cryptic definition – When you are forcibly ejected, you are said to have been shown the {door}

Hazards of drivers and divers (5)
{BENDS} – Straightforward – Dangerous corners on the roads that the drivers face and ‘the decompression sickness’ that the divers might experience unless they are careful

14a Pen a note making personal complaint (4)
{STYE} – WS – A word that means ‘pen’ (n., in the sense of ‘enclosure’) plus a single letter denoting a note, a musical note. Definition: complaint in the sense of an ailment. Nice surface reading without bringing in pigs and eyesores!

The look of a complaint

17a Inexperienced hands reveal growing talent (5,7)
{GREEN FINGERS} – Cryptic definition – What successful gardeners are said to have is derived from the phrase ‘inexperienced hands’

Gardener's talent

20a Company with some of the stocks sought by mountaineers (4,8)
{FIRM FOOTHOLD} – What mountaineers want when they are scaling heights is derived from a word meaning ‘firm’ and another meaning ‘stocks’ – I don’t know how ‘foot’ is obtained. [They probably didn’t have these in India! – stocks were a device for holding a delinquent by the ankles, an old form of punishment, and the clue is referring to one of the two restraints.  BD]

23a Just open – so have a glass of ale (4)
{AJAR} – A word that means ‘just open’ (as a door maybe) comes from combination of A (a) and a three-letter word for ‘glass’ [of ale]

24a Not standing for falsehoods (5)
{LYING} – Cryptic and Double definition – Not standing / what one does when one is uttering falsehoods

25a Two identical notes she sings in opera (4)
{MIMI} – A girl’s name from a musical note with the same added to it – the heroine of La bohème

28a Such a seat may be alarming to M P (8)
{MARGINAL} – Anagram of ALARMING for the sort of seat won by a candidate with very little lead over the rival

29a Display by top-class band (6)
{AIRING} – AI (from A-one, meaning top-class) plus a word meaning ‘band’ (not musical!). Definition: display

30a The naughty time when Einstein was around (8)
{NINETIES} –  A term in plural denoting the years of a decade to which we gave the sobriquet “naughty” is an anagram of Einstein. Good anagram indicator in ‘was around’. I invite comments from my readers as to how they think these years were naughty.

31a Peter’s involved with Meryl (6)
{STREEP} – Meryl who? Anagram PETERS for the surname of a Hollywood actress. Sorry, I don’t know of the personal entanglements of celebrities. I invite comment from readers whether anyone concerned can take offence from this clue, innocuous though it may be from the wordplay point of view.

1d Breakfast ingredient fresh from fridge, for example (5,3)
{FRIED EGG} – Anagram of FRIDGE EG for what may be laid (well, cooked anyway) on the breakfast table

2d Prays for urchins without learning (8)
{IMPLORES} – A word meaning ‘prays’ is obtained by taking a word meaning ‘urchins’ around a word meaning ‘learning’ (n., as of the traditional kind)

3d He didn’t take single boarders (4)
{NOAH} – referring to the pairs that went on the Ark.

Who took the animals aboard in pairs

5d A drilling site (6,6)
{PARADE GROUND} – Cryptic definition – Location where a military exercise or training takes place, not one where oil exploration goes on.

6d Part or parts of the fish left in (4)
{ROLE} – A word meaning fish eggs (parts of the fish?!) with a single-letter abbreviation for ‘left’ going into it gives a word meaning ‘part’ (such as the one that an actor plays). Clue might have been written to tread no beaten track but I don’t like this.

7d Fools do, and it is silly (6)
{IDIOTS} – A word meaning ‘fools’ is derived by anagrammatising DO and IT IS. The anagram indicator is ‘silly’. Though the definition and the anagram fodder are not unusual, the construction of this clue is refreshingly handled.

8d Proceeded to take legal action in extremity (6)
{ENSUED} – Word meaning ‘ to take legal action’ in word meaning ‘extemity’. Definition: proceeded, followed

11d Reckless villain can show solicitude (5-3-4)
{DEVIL-MAY-CARE} – Word sum – Words meaning villain, may, solicitude, if added one after the other, give a phrase meaning ‘reckless’

15d Forger’s block (5)
{ANVIL} – Cryptic definition but barely cryptic. Unless you thought ‘block’ was in the sense of what writers usually suffer from.

16d Box kite? (5)
{CRATE} – Double definition – Box/a decrepit aeroplane

18d Certain to be optimistic (8)
{POSITIVE} – Double definition – Certain, as a result might be; optimistic as an attitude of a person towards life may be

19d Calculating a pudding mixture (6,2)
{ADDING UP} – Anagram of A PUDDING gives a phrase for ‘calculating’

21d Forces servant to be a comic character (6)
{BATMAN} – The name of a character in the comics is from adding an abbreviation for battalion (‘forces’) and a word meaning ‘servant’ [I rather think the setter was referring to an officer’s personal attendant, but the charade is an interesting alternative.  BD]

22d No part exchange for this customer (6)
{PATRON} – Anagram of NO PART give a word meaning ‘customer’

26d Steal a free ride (4)
{LIFT} – Double definition – Steal (v.) / free ride

27d Widely grown but it’s not used (4)
{MINT} – Double definition – The name of a plant for a word that means ‘not used, remaining fresh’ (cars in showrooms will be in such a condition).

What was your experience with this crossword from our Monday maestro? I am sure you must have had your own faves. And maybe you had some niggles as well. We would love to hear from you.

43 comments on “DT 26134

  1. A fairly straightforward offering. I was on the wrong track for a while with 1a; I became convinced the “supporter” translated as “FOR” and was looking for the wrong definition – I mention this only to highlight how easy it is to go down the wrong route and how difficult it can be to switch tracks.

    A minor niggle with 27d – where does the “widely” fit? The clue stands perfectly well without it. Also I don’t understand your dislike of 6d – not wonderful but I found it quite acceptable.

    1. I agree with your comment on1a, i was on the wrong track thinking that supporter was *fan*
      as for 27d i can only think that widely is used because mint is such a prolific grower? widespread so to speak? also minor point here does not used mean the same as unused?

  2. I liked 3d and 5d. I got 30a easily enough but I was not aware that they were naughty (which century?). 9a and 31a require some general knowledge.

    1. Michael,

      The Naughty Nineties was an Abbot & Costello film. The decade referred to was the 1890s, but I don’r know why they were naughty, as I haven’t seen the film.

  3. Enjoyable today!.

    Rishi, I figured that Foot is derived from the fact that stocks have both foot and hand restraints (at least some do!) so ‘some of the stocks’ would indicate this.
    4a and 28a were favourites for me.

  4. I normally enjoy Monday’s puzzle but didn’t enjoy this one at all. Too many four letter words – clues which were irritating – 10a, 15d and 16d in particular but did enjoy a couple – 17a and 31a.

    Hope tomorrow is nicer. After doing yesterday’s this morning I thought it would be a good day – but was wrong. Oh well I see that a couple of you enjoyed it.

  5. Well we liked this very much! Favorite clues were 3d,27d,9a and particularly 23a because for some reason anything with this word in makes Hotlips curl up laughing! (I think its the old schoolboy joke ‘when is a door not a door?’!!
    Liked your pic for 10a, that’ll warm a few hearts this cold Monday!

  6. I really enjoyed this but didn’t understand fully 20a until reading the blog.

    On a separate note, thanks to this Blog my success rate (without help) has gone through the roof , from probably finishing 2/7 a week to 5/7 now. Still room for improvement of course :-) . My interest is much greater in finishing now too. Thanks everybody.

  7. Many thanks to Rufus for an engaging puzzle. What I like about his crosswords is that you have a gentle introduction with some tougher clues just when you think you are getting to grips with it. Favourite clue today was 10a but also liked 3d and 15d. Thanks too for the notes Rishi.

  8. I must be improving because I only got stuck on 3 clues today:
    25a Not familiar with this name (must brush up on my opera!)
    29a Got the A1 but the ‘band’ fooled me, I tried to fit ‘gang’ in there & got a mental block! (looked simple when I checked the answer!)
    & 27d Don’t think the penny would have dropped with me on this one so I make my ‘clue of the day’ because it works in the context of widely meaning extensively.
    Once again thank you for your invaluable help & brilliant blog…

  9. started off quite well until 3/4 way through then got stuck on the rest, wouldn’t have completed without the help of the blog, thanks Rishi

  10. Quite a nice puzzle to start the week, challenging but on the whole fair (would take exception with the definition of 1a), loved 11d very clever but can’t make sense of 20a, whats it got to do with foot? I must admit to getting some of the clues by filling in the blanks then checking with the blog for the explanation i.e. 10a and 29a. Loathe opera so wouldn’t have got 25a without help. On the whole enjoyable.

    1. Barrie

      20a has been explained above – the stocks were a punishment device which held the feet (and sometimes the hands), hence part of the stocks being a foot hold.

      25a I am not a fan of opera, but there are certain things that you just learn – for me this was one of them

  11. Did anyone else think that 9a has a sporting connotation, contrasting “in touch” (i.e. not in play) with “in play”?

  12. It’s all still an uphill struggle for me, I try not to use the blog so end up getting my daughter to give small hints of your hints!!!!! It’s great at the end to get the explanations, I’ve never heard the word for 10a, probably too old, so would never have got it.

  13. HELP please, as my free trial period for Chambers on line has expired, I have tried to purchase a further twelve months usage, but every time I try to do so it comes up ‘shop closed’!.Have any of you come across this problem?, if so how did you solve it?,as physically carrying the dictionary around with me is impossible!

    1. Kram

      It has been “shut” for some time – as has the Edinburgh office of Chambers. I have been looking at purchasing WordWeb pro with the Chambers addon, but my subscription does not expire until July. Any info on this product is welcome.


      Please don’t mention the iPhone app as I use my mobile about once every 3 months and have no intention of purchasing an expensive replacement.

      1. I wont BD, but having purchased on Prolixic’s recommendation it really is ‘Veerr Goood!’
        £4.99 for the Dictionary – slightly less for the Thesaurus.
        Thanks for the head’s up!

      2. Cheers for the info Dave, but their price of £25 is more than the purchase price of a new Chambers Dictionary via Amazon!.

    2. According to the web site:
      “At this time we are not accepting any new free trial or pay subscribers except for those who have a code from a printed book. In that case please go HERE to register.”

  14. failed on 1a -had to begin with for as others have noted
    9a in ? in view?
    29a Never connected band with ring
    2d Utterly lost
    3d Ditto
    18d Definite? No doesn’t fit with 20a
    27d Lost

    So all bar 7 -one day I’ll get it all out without a solver or anagram solver

  15. First comment of the New Year for me. Completed the crossword with a small amount of help from reference books. An untidy puzzle to my mind; even with over half the clues solved didn’t feel I was progressing. Most likely as a result of the grid used; yes I know I have complained before. Only one clue brought a smile-3d.

  16. Nice puzzle today. I got through 28 clues very quickly but was held up by the last 4. I missed 1a and 3d. My favourite was 20a.

  17. Ref 14a and Rishi’s comment:
    I am reminded of a recent edition of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ on Radio 4.
    Contestants were asked to provide humorous rebuffs to cheesy chat up lines:

    Chat Up Line: “I could lose myself in your eyes…”
    Barry Crier : “You’ll be right at home, there’s a stye in one of them”

    I urge you all to listen!

  18. A jolly entertaining puzzle in the style of bygone years. Many of the clues were based on play on the meaning of words so one had to think! A few anagrams and a few word sums – I call them dissections – not difficult.
    Full marks from me to the setter (Rufus?).
    I usually do the crossword in the early hours of the morning as I always wake up after 4 – 5 hours sleep and have to tackle the cryptic quietly so as not to upset the neighbours in the apartment block.
    Next week – DV – i enter my 87th. year!

  19. Struggled a bit with this one – probably because I had 7d as ERRAND (even fools err sometimesl). Thanks as always for the hints to clear it up.

  20. Thanks as always to Rishi for his fair and comprehensive blog. and all the comments.
    Re the Naughty NINETIES. The crossword editor and I discussed whether this was fair as we now have had another recent decade of the “Nineties”. The phrase is in Chambers under NAUGHTY defined as: “the 1890s, renowned for gaiety and high living”. Collins has a separate entry, viz.:”the 1890s, considered to be a period of fun loving and laxity, esp. in sexual morals”. Sounds more interesting than the one we’ve just had. I was hoping that the anagram indication of Einstein (“when Einstein was around”) not only gave the solution but Einstein was indeed at university during this decade.

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