DT 26138 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26138

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26138

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I hope that you enjoyed today’s treat from Giovanni as much as I did. Do, please, give us a comment with your brickbats, bouquets, gripes or queries.
For new readers (and, based on the viewing figures we must be getting some every day) the answer to each clue is hidden inside the curly brackets under it. Drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets if you want to reveal it.

Across Clues

1a  England cricketer’s remarks? They can be cutting and lethal! (11)
{BROADSWORDS} – the England cricketer is pace-bowler Stuart BROAD (currently battling against what seems likely to be a defeat in South Africa) – his remarks will give you weapons.

7a  Fair women appearing? Old Ben’s excited (7)
{BLONDES} – an anagram (excited) of OLD BEN’S produces the fair women who are gentlemen’s favourites (according to the Anita Loos novel).

8a  Rodent responsible for mouldy smell round floating Ark (7)
{MUSKRAT} – the mouldy smell is MUST – put this around a reversal (floating, i.e. being floated or put forward) of ARK. I’m not certain whether floating is meant to signal a reversal or an anagram, but it makes little difference.

10a  Book about one Conservative — see it on the computer? (8 )
{EMOTICON} – reverse (about) a synonym for book and add I (one) and the abbreviation of Conservative. :D

11a  Ornament to stay in fixed position, we’re told (6)
{FRIEZE} – to stay in a fixed position is to freeze – that is a homophone (we’re told) of what Chambers describes as “the part of the entablature between the architrave and the cornice, often decorated with figures (classical architecture); a decorated band along the wall of a room”.

13a  Lifeless, having lost heart in service (4)
{DUTY} – lifeless or dull is DU(s)TY – take out the middle letter (having lost heart) to leave a synonym for service.

14a  Familiar with Bill, olde-worlde journalist (10)
{ACQUAINTED} – the definition is familiar with, and we want a charade of the abbreviation for an account or bill, a word meaning olde-worlde or charmingly old-fashioned and the usual short form of editor (journalist).

16a  Gatecrash and fit in later, having mingled (10)
{INFILTRATE} – an anagram (having mingled) of FIT IN LATER produces a verb meaning to gain access surreptitiously (I’m not sure that gatecrash has the same sense of gradually working oneself in).

18a  ‘Go away!’ we say — with this being thrown? (4)
{SHOE} – an exclamation used to drive away an unwanted invader (shoo) sounds like (we say) something that that may be thrown at him.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

21a  Deny entrance to one appearing without leader (6)
{NEGATE} – the definition is deny. We need to put GATE (entrance) after (to) (o)NE (appearing without leader, i.e. first letter).

22a  Band in church allowed after initial support (8 )
{BRACELET} – the type of band that may be worn around your wrist is constructed from CE (Church of England) and LET (allowed), all coming after the initial BRA (support).

24a  Train crack unit here, not hard (7)
{RETINUE} – an anagram (crack) of UNIT (h)ERE (after the H (hard – type of pencil) has been removed) produces a train or accompanying group.

25a  Place below will do for Rob (7)
{PLUNDER} – string together PL(ace) and a synonym for below to get a verb meaning to rob.

26a  Mere losers battered by society that’s cold-hearted (11)
{REMORSELESS} – an anagram (battered) of MERE LOSERS is followed by S(ociety) to get an adjective meaning cold-hearted or without pity.

Down Clues

1d  Obscure group involved in attack (4,3)
{BLOT OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning to obscure (as a cloud may obscure the sun) is formed by putting LOT (group, as in a lot of people) inside BOUT (attack, of flu for example).

2d  Decree from Iran — do get troubled (6)
{ORDAIN} – an anagram (troubled) of IRAN DO gives us a verb meaning to decree.

3d  Prior to musical event duke is upset (10)
{DISCONCERT} – there’s a lovely bit of misdirection here – upset is so often an anagram indicator, but here it’s the definition. So, we want a verb meaning to upset, and it’s constructed from a word for a musical performance or gig with D(uke) IS in front of it (prior to).

4d  Wet group of women meeting someone at Westminster (4)
{WIMP} – put the women’s organisation lumbered with the reputation for “Jam and Jerusalem” in front of an elected member.

5d  Hold back from short break — weather not suitable? (8 )
{RESTRAIN} – a charade of a short time of relaxation followed by wet weather produces a verb meaning to hold back.

6d  Gent healthy, would you say? Maybe not, if he’s eaten this (7)
{SURFEIT} – a sound-alike of SIR (gent) and FIT (healthy) is just too much.

7d  Get rid of this worker and there may not be any bloomers at home! (11)
{BREADWINNER} – cryptic definition using the word for loaves (bloomers) that we had just two days ago.

9d  I’m in today, preparing for others to be in tomorrow (11)
{TRENDSETTER} – a lovely cryptic definition which is nothing to do with cricket or being at work – think of “in” as meaning trendy.

12d  Crook is captured — a feature of pantomime? (7,3)
{CUSTARD PIE} – an anagram (crook) of IS CAPTURED produces what traditionally gets thrown in every pantomime. Crook is here being used in the Antipodean sense, meaning dubious or broken.

15d  A can given a coating of red metal (8 )
{PLATINUM} – a valuable metal is made by putting A TIN (a can) inside (given a coating of) a reddish-purple colour.

17d  Boxer beginning to feel less heavy with pounds shed (7)
{FIGHTER} – a synonym for boxer (the pugilist, not the dog) starts with F(eel) which is followed by (L)IGHTER (less heavy with the L (pounds sterling) shed).

19d  The man’s getting hold of a cover for chemicals (7)
{HALIDES} – the man’s is HE’S. Inside this (getting hold of) put A LID (a cover) to get binary compounds of a halogen with another element.

20d  Duck that’s cold in stew (6)
{SCOUSE} – to immerse or duck something is to SOUSE it. Put C(old) inside to get the stew or hash from which the usual nickname for a Liverpudlian derives.

23d  The woman’s right, sir, in Germany (4)
{HERR} – the woman is HER – add R(ight) to get the German word for Mr.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

The clues I liked today included 16a, 26a, 3d and 6d, but my “clue of the day” is 9d. Let us know your views via a comment!

23 comments on “DT 26138

  1. Clue of the day was 20d for me and the last to go in – great diversion and unusual use of duck.
    Great puzzle today, as usual.

  2. As always a great Friday crossword.

    20d made me think hard, but then of course all L’pool fans i.e scousers are in a stew over their football team today!

    Must say 19d is new to me.

    Great end to the week.

  3. I agree with Gnomethang this was quality as usual from the setter.
    1a might be a problem for our non cricket loving players
    19d was a new word for me but a joy to discover
    As Gnomethang said his fav was 20d I thought it did not scan too well and the answer is easier if you come from Liverpool I would imagine.
    10a was my fav. I did not know the word but took great pleasure in working it out.

    Like last Friday I was sad when I finished it as I was having so much fun.

  4. Thouroughly enjoyed this. Lots of good clues – too many to mention.

    20d was a gift to me, coming from that fair city!

    8a. I took “floating” to be an anagram indicator, but, as you say, Gazza, in this case it makes no difference.

    18a. Although the answer was obvious, I’m not sure about the significance of the shoe being thrown??

      1. I hadn’t thought of that! I’ve done my best to remove Bush from my memory in the past year. Difficult, I know, with the current inquiry.

  5. Lovely crossword today. Struggled with 7d as my first thoughts were of bee (worker) linked with flowers (bloomers) and since this was supported by the first two checking letters it took me some time to change track. Deliberate mis-direction? Very clever if so.

  6. Lovely end to the week – I always seem to enjoy Friday crosswords. 20d was last to go in and I really liked 7d and 9d. 22a confused me as I had ‘brace’ as support and took some time to get ‘bra’ and ‘ce’ as I was looking for a ‘band in church’ – doh! Nice diversion,

  7. Sorry a Giovanni special that leaves me cold and bewildered. Shame after yesterdays excellent puzzle. He could at the very least have told us it was an england bowler in 1a!! Lord knows the clue was difficult enough as it was. Didn’t like this one at all!

  8. Whew, so glad i have plenty of time, i worked my way back and fore through this puzzle almost giving up but not quite, i was soooo pleased to finish it and believe it or not the last one to go in was 18a, i took this to mean ‘throw’ as in a horse throwing a shoe Gazza – maybe not, difficult it was for me but sorry Barrie i actually enjoyed it :)

    1. Well done, Mary. You should have a go at the Toughie. Unusually for a Friday it’s slightly easier (in my opinion) than this one, but very entertaining.
      On 18a, I suspect that Giovanni was alluding to the George Bush shoe-throwing incident.

    2. I simply cannot fathom Giovannis reasoning at all. 11a, 18a, 21a and 22a are completely beyond me even after I have read the explanation. In all the time I have been doing the DT crossword, the best I have ever done with a Giovanni is 1/2 finish it. I am no better with the ones in his book either. I am just going to have to accept that he and I will never be on the same astral plane and buy another paper on Fridays.

      1. maybe the secret is Barrie not to try and make too much sense out of it all :) maybe, dont give up on the Fridays, i nearly did today but i got there in the end, do you use chambers crossword dictionary or electronic thesaurus? i have to use both most days and i think thats ok, its just like learning anything else, in the beginning you need all the reference books etc. to enable you to understand your subject, but as you go on, memory power and a better understanding hopefully develop and you become less reliant on the books, i am happy these days to be able to understand what the setter is looking for even happier if i then get the right answer, some good days some not so good :)

  9. What a pleasure it is to do Friay’s crossword – really enjoyed it even though I struggled with 1a and had to seek help. I had several favourites but overall I liked 9d best.

  10. Couldn’t finish today. I think once again it was harder than the toughie which didn’t take too long.

  11. This was a fun puzzle thanks to Giovanni.
    I also had trouble with 18ac and didn’t like 13 ac much either.
    While I agree lifeless can mean dull it cannot (I think) mean dusty!

    1. Chris
      Chambers has the following for dusty
      (adjective) covered or sprinkled with dust; old-fashioned; dull; lifeless; like dust; contempible; bad.

      1. ok
        .some of us cope without Chambers.
        Dusty may indeed mean lifeless but the point is does it have lifeless meaning dusty??
        Seems that is the way the clue read, not the other way round.
        On reflection it probably does….so what the ??
        there are more important things in life
        the toughie was easy wasn’t it

  12. The thing about Giovanni is that he throws lots of red herrings in, which is why he isn’t as easy to understand as some, and why Barrie is probably a bit frustrated. You have to work outside the obvious rules. eg 20d sounds at first as though the letter ‘c’ is in a word for stew, and means duck, but it is the other way round. “That’s'” means “That has, not “that is”.

    By the way, on 22a , did we need the bit about ‘in church’? “Brace” is just as much a support as “Bra” is. Maybe he included the church bit to obfuscate.

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