DT 26140

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26140

Hints and tips by Rishi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A gentle start to the week. With 1a, one plunges into the crossword.

At one stage I had these to go: 15a, 18a, 19a; 4d, 7d, 15d, 20d, 23d.

The very last were 4d, 7d, 23d.

To see the answers enclosed by curly brackets, please drag your mouse over the white space.

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.

1a Sam’s abroad, working as a diplomat (10)
{AMBASSADOR} – Anagram – By shuffling SAM’S ABROAD and rearranging (working), we get another word for ‘diplomat’.

9a Publication, one for wise men (4)
{MAGI} – Word sum – A word for “wise men” derived by adding a word , rather the abbreviation of a word that has in itself become a word , that means publication, periodical if you wish, and a single letter in sans-serif type that might suggest the figure “one”

10a Room to drink for the concierge (4,6)
{HALL PORTER} – Word sum – Put together a word that means “room”, a large room, and another that means “drink”, and you get a word for “concierge”.

11a Point to eleven the French made outcasts (6)
{EXILES] – Word sum – E (point of the compass) + the roman numeral for eleven + LES (‘the’ in French) gives us a word that means ‘outcasts’

12a Get ready and shave beforehand? (7)
{PREPARE} – Word division – The answer word is one that means ‘get ready’. If you divide it into two parts, you will get one word that means ‘beforehand’ and another that means ‘shave’, v., to cut

15a Jailbird before the bench has to toe the line (7)
{CONFORM} – Word sum – A word that means ‘jailbird’ followed by another that means ‘bench’ gives the solution that means ‘to toe the line’

16a In a ship a sailor plays a prominent part (5)
{STARS} – Container/contained – A word that means ‘sailor’ put inside a two-letter abbreviation for ship, that is steamship. Definition is ‘palys a prominent part’

17a Undreamt of money (4)
{REAL} – Cryptic and double definition – A word for money (a coin in the Brazilian currency; a former Spanish coin) also means ‘undreamt of, actual’

18a List of lists (4)
(TILT} – ‘Lists’ here are not catalogues but enclosures for jousting. In such places, ‘list’ by one combatant at another may be expected. The second letter and the fourth letter of the answer word are the same as those of the first word of the clue. And, a ship may when there is a strong wind!

19a Figures they have to be filled (5)
{FORMS} – Double definition – “they have to be filled” – or “filled up” or “filled in”. Yes, the word for those papers that we have to fill up when we deal with the government. The answer is suggested by the first word in the clue, ‘figures’. It is noun as the definition for the word required but is a verb in the surface reading of the clue.

21a Dogs in streets going mad (7)
{SETTERS} – Anagram of STREETS. Definition: ‘dogs’. Anagram signal: going mad.

22a Deserter, beset by insects, curses (7)
{BERATES} – Our deserter is a small creature that is said to quit a sinking ship instinctively, or more broadly the human equivalent. When he is ‘beset by’, or surrounded by, ‘insects’ (so it’s not strange bedfellows!) what will follow? ‘Curses’!

24a Small space in which Capone stood at bay (6)
{ALCOVE} – The first name of Capone, the American gangster when ‘stood at’, or placed on, another word that means ‘bay’ gives as a whole the answer-word that means ‘small place’ or niche.

27a Part of a shirt — collar? (10)
{BUTTONHOLE} – A word for part of a shirt, well, not a very significant part but a vital one, the slit through which a fastening device on the garment is pushed. This word, as a verb, means ‘to detain someone in talk’ by seizing the fastening device on his shirt or coat. That kind of detention is suggested by ‘collar’, the second word in the clue – another part of the shirt by which one might be seized and detained. The latter manner may not be quite as friendly as the former.

28a Scored a point — clever! (4)
{CUTE} – A word that means ‘scored’ is added to E, the point that we met in 9ac, to get the solution that means ‘clever’

29a Choose to speak for the voters (10)
{ELECTORATE} – Word sum – A word that means ‘choose’ put together with a word that means ‘to speak, to speak formally on a rostrum perhaps’ privides the answer that means ‘voters’, the people on the voting list

2d Crowd kept outside a Biblical land (4)
{MOAB} – A (which is a 19dn to us from our setter) inserted in a three-letter word that means ‘crowd’ in its nounal or verbal sense gives the name of a Biblical land, east of the lower Jordan and the Dead Sea.

3d Hibernating snake wrapped around shelter (6)
{ASLEEP} – A three-letter word meaning ‘shelter’ inserted in a three-letter word for ‘snake’ gives the answer. Definition: ‘hibernating’. The answer is in adjectival or adverbial form. Not ending in -ing.

4d Rabbles’ downfall (7)
{SHOWERS} – Double definition – Rather a tricky clue. Obtained from the definition which is ‘downfall’, in the sense of ‘downpour’. And the same word is, according to Chambers, “a disparaging term applied to particular groups of people one disapproves of”.

5d Tax office (4)
{DUTY} – Double defintion – Tax (such as the one that you pay at the Customs)/ office (holding which, one is bound to carry out certain functions)

6d Fresh red rose at the back of the altar (7)
{REREDOS} – Anagram of RED ROSE (‘fresh’ being the anagram indicator) for “[a screen or panelling”] at the back of the altar. Pops up frequently in crosswords as this must be the only available result for a certain word pattern.

7d He hopes to avoid getting chicken in the basket (10)
{BALLOONIST} – Cryptic definition – this person who enjoys unpowered flight in a basket must avoid being scared (chicken)

8d Adam and Eve as ship’s officers? (5,5)
{FIRST MATES} – Double definition – it’s so easy that I shall not explain it.

12d City copy published in France (5,5)
{PARIS MATCH} – The name of a city + a word that means ‘[to] copy’ gives the title of a French magazine.

13d Extensive property (10)
{ELASTICITY} – Don’t think of any estate spread over acres and acres. It is the quality of a product that is capable of being stretched.

14d So the reformed show spirit (5)
{ETHOS} – Anagram of SO THE. Definition: spirit. Anagram indicator: reformed

15d Someone you don’t like a little bit (5)
{CRUMB}- Double definition – ‘Someone you dont like’ / ‘a little bit’, esp. of dry bread

19d Beer, if out East, won’t cost you anything (7)
{FREEBIE} – Anagram of BEER IF + E (yet another instance of this one-letter component in wordplay). Definition: ‘[it] won’t cost you anything”.

20d A betrayal that will pack the theatre (4-3)
{SELL-OUT} – Cryptic double definition – If this happens at the ticket-counter of a theatre, it means it’s a full house. The same word also means ‘betrayal’.

23d Old soldier taking flight (6)
{ARCHER} – this soldier of yesteryear used arrows to shoot at the enemy – a flight being a device attached to the blunt end of an arrow to stabilize its trajectory

25d It is small yet strangely irritating to the eye (4)
{STYE} – A recurrent complaint in crosswords is obtained by taking S (abbreviation for ‘small’) and adding to it an anagram of YET.

26d Uninteresting piece of scenery (4)
{FLAT} – Double definition – uninteresting / ‘piece of scenery’ that might be lowered unto the stage


  1. Yoshik
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    As Rishi says a gentle start to the week. Mary and Barrie will be happy!!

    Having said that some good clues in here.

    I particularly liked 27a & 6d which suits my theological bent.

    • mary
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Mary is very happy – what a lovely crossword not only fairly easy but some lovely clues too, i really like 7d , 8d & 13d and lots of others, yes a good day for the CC members today, what do you think Barrie

  2. Jane
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I agree, an easy start to the week though I was held up getting 23d because I erroneously put ‘buttondown’ for 27a.

    • mary
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      so did I Jane :) thinking of buttondown collars

  3. gnomethang
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this Rishi – I had 18a kind of by default and still don’t really understand what is going on.
    Besides this it was quite a gentle stroll.

    • gazza
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Lists (in the plural) means combat (medieval jousts) and to “enter the lists” is to engage in combat. Tilt as a noun can mean joust.

      • gnomethang
        Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Thanks gazza, I was just running through online dictionaries and found Tilt = Joust so given List = joust then I can see it!.

        • Libellule
          Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          “Tilting at windmills” anyone?

          • Peter
            Posted January 18, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            It is indeed about jousting.

  4. Domus
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks for help. Don’t understand your email reply asking me to join up and subscribe to your blog. I just use you to check on things and explain silly clue like 4 down today.

    • Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


      I’m not aware of such an email being sent – perhaps you checked the box to be advised of further comments.

  5. Jezza
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    As gnomethang above… I also don’t really understand 18a.

  6. Vince
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    18a. I’m with gnomethang on this. I got the answer, as it was the only word I could see fitting, but, even after your explanation, Rishi, I’m still not sure??

    6d. You say this pops up frequently, but I’ve never seen it before. I worked it out from the checked letters, then resorted to the usual – Chambers!

    Otherwise, as you say, an easy start to the week.

    • gnomethang
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I have seen reredos a few times in Crosswords – In fact it is only from seeing it in a crossword that I am familiar with the word!

  7. Nubian
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    As above , a good gentle entry into the week but 18a, what can you say ?
    A list of lists in the sense of a big list as in mother of all battles,,big battle so the answer is not really a big list.
    The rest of the clues were fine but I thought this one clue let the puzzle down
    ne’er mind eh
    Thanks for blog Rishi

    • Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Nubian, I think you are guilty of reading whole clue as one. I see it as a double meaning clue. i.e. List = To lean over and of lists = of jousting. I may well be wrong but that’s how I solved it.

  8. Prolixic
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Agree with the comments on 18a – the answer went in by default. Favourite clues were 1a, 8d and soaring above the rest, 7d. Many thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and thanks to Rishi for the notes.

  9. LB
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Completed apart from 18a which even looking at Rishi`s explanation I still don`t get.The other clue I have doubts about is 7d.One of the last to put in was 4d as I had read it as Rabbies downfall and was looking how the Scottish bard had died ( probably as it is coming up to Burns night and had it on my mind, either that or I need new glasses )

    • gnomethang
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Same problem with 4d except I read it as Rabbits – even worse!

    • Libellule
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink


      I found the following definition useful.

      –noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
      1. an enclosed arena for a tilting contest.
      2. the barriers enclosing this arena.
      3. any place or scene of combat, competition, controversy, etc.
      4. enter the lists, to involve oneself in a conflict or contest: to enter the lists against the protective tariff.

  10. Rishi
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    There is more to 7d BALLOONIST than what I have written above.

    • Libellule
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I thought 7 down was a simple reference to a particular food item popular a number of years ago. Literally fried chicken and chips served in a basket.

      • gazza
        Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        I think that you used to be able to get “scampi in a basket” as well, though, for some strange reason, “soup in a basket” never really caught on. :D

        • Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Whatever happened to the Berni Inns? Chicken in a basket was 4/3 (21p) when I was a student (4/6 if you wanted leg rather than wing).

          • gnomethang
            Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            I think they became ‘Schooner Inns’ then people saw through the lack of sophistication and started eating at McDonald’s!

          • mary
            Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            Had my first steak ever in a Berni Inn, think i must have been about 17 or so at the time, don’t know what happened to them, think they were around until a few years back?

          • Libellule
            Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            From Wikipedia:
            Frank Berni and Aldo Berni founded the first Berni Inn in 1955—The Rummer public house, in Bristol. It introduced the post-war British public to the joys of prawn cocktail, steak, chips, and peas, and Black Forest Gateau.

            The chain quickly expanded, first throughout Bristol and then the rest of the country. Unlike other restaurants, they didn’t do their own butchery but brought in steaks already chopped. It was sold to Grand Metropolitan for £14.5m in 1970 and then sold to Whitbread in 1995.

            Aldo Berni died in 1997 at the age of 88, Frank died 10 July 2000. British tastes have moved on, the chain is now defunct and many former Berni Inns have since been converted to other brands owned by Whitbread such as Beefeater (restaurant) or Brewers Fayre.

            • Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

              The headquarters of the “Empire” was next door to the University (not in the Rummer). The Rummer itself was the cheapest place in Bristol to get drunk. It was a very early theme pub – with several bars, In the Smuggler’s Wine cellar wine and sherry were cheap, in the Scotch bar, whisky was cheap etc. – what you did not do was drink scotch in the wine cellar. From recollection a double whisky was about 2/- (10p) – as long as you bought it in the correct bar! When I used to go there it was in the centre of a warren of small streets. The last time I went there a new ring road had cut through the middle and the pub was adjacent to this road. It just wasn’t the same.

              • mary
                Posted January 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                thanks both that is very interesting and amusing

            • Posted January 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

              It seems that the Berni HQ is now part of the University!


  11. Michael
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I loved 7d. 4d and 13d were also amusing but to be pedantic 13d is not quite correct IMHO, extensive could be elastic or elasticated but not the actual answer which is a verb. 15d and 26d I got without fully understanding one of the meanings in each case. Completed it in a record time for me.

    • gnomethang
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      15d – Chambers gives “A worthless or contemptible person” and “A small particle of anything”

      • Rishi
        Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Re 13d
        ELASTICITY, noun, is obtainable by reading the clue as a whole – “extensive property”, that is, the property, or quality, [of something] to become extensive or to get stretched

        • Michael
          Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Oh now I really feel stupid. I should have checked that my answer – elasticate – was correct before commenting.

          • Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

            It’s easily done – if you do the puzzle online then CluedUp lets you know that you have made a mistake while pencil and paper doesn’t!

  12. Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Gentle start , I liked 8d a lot. As for 18a , maybe because I read a lot of Medieval history books it went in quickly. Henry VIII often took part in the Lists or engaged in a Tilt. (wouldn’t normally put answer here but it’s mentioned above a few times). Rerodos I agree with gnomethang. Seen it a lot of times but only ever in crosswords.

  13. LB
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Libellule, would never have got it in a hundred years ( war or otherwise )

  14. Patsyann
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Tilt was the last entry for me too. Agree it let down an otherwise excellent crossword. Never heard of crumb being used as someone you don’t like.

  15. David Howes
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Not bad today but I didn’t really get 7d at all – poor clue. got it by eliminating all other options but didn’t really ‘get it’ so to speak.

  16. BigBoab
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Nice enjoyable crossword, i had never heard of the magazine at 12d but put it in because of the other clues. Good fun!

  17. mary
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Lovely crossword, lovely clues, no actual problem with 18a, loved 7d, love chicken in a basket with chips, remember when it first became popular and ate it with fingers only! :)
    Come on CC a good one today in all ways, thanks Rishi all ‘lovely ‘as we say in Wales

    • Nubian
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      My Welsh friend always says theres tidy !

      • mary
        Posted January 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        lots more like that Nubian! I’ll tell you now in a minute! :)

  18. PJ
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I liked 7d.
    An elegant start to the week. Mathias Kneissl, when being taken out to be executed, is reported to have said: “The week’s getting off to a good start …”

    • gnomethang
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      “Same time tomorrow then!”

  19. Barrie
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle, made me think but finished in the end. Didn’t like 4d, why the apostrophe? Best clue for me 27a, very clever.

  20. Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    BTW the nesting of comments has suddenly stopped! I don’t know why, but it may have been because I deleted an earlier comment that had become superfluous.

    • gnomethang
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Nest Test!

      • Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – but I restored the original comment and now all is well!

    • gazza
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      … and comments are no longer appearing in time order!

      • Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        I removed one of Rishi’s comments as Libellule’s response was better, and then everything went haywire. Normal service is now resumed.

  21. Pixie
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I also didn’t like 18a but thought it’s got to be tilt and so put it in. I was stumped on ‘showers’ but should of got it! The clue for Elasticity was a one I thought.

  22. Posted January 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    As a novice I thought it was quite a good crossword. Got 22 clues from the 29 before I needed your help. Had a tilt at 18a, picked out 15d, flew with 7d & struck out with 12d. To name a few, as it were.

  23. Greenhorn
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    After 10 mins I had all bar 17a,18a 7d , 13d &26d and thought I was on for my first unaided solve . After 30 mins I had made no further progress and reached for the solver.

    17a,18a& 26d maybe, just maybe I should have got.
    13d was very good misredirection and I could get a bricks and mortar type of property out of my head.
    26d I don’t like at all -no real clue that we are after a balloon.

  24. Peter
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I mostly liked this.

    15d is however, appalling.

    I got Blot for 26d

    • gnomethang
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      I really liked 15d! A proper DD!

      • Peter
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        What’s DD, please?

        • Libellule
          Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Double Definition

        • Peter
          Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Ah, double definition, sorry.

          The first of them is new to me.

          • Libellule
            Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            Chambers – “a worthless or contemptible person (slang)”

            • old bill
              Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

              What does Chambers give for ‘stye’?

              Really must get myself a Chambers!

              • Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

                Any serious solver of Telegraph crosswords needs Chambers (the big one, not the smaller edition)

                STYE – a small inflamed swelling at the edge of the eyelid, caused by bacterial infection (also called (medicine) hordeolum)

  25. NathanJ
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant puzzle to solve overall, though I missed 18a.

    My favourite clue was 7d.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to Rishi for the review.

  26. David s
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Think 8d is inspirational but don’t get 7 d at all. I realise it has a basket but where is the he?

    • Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog David

      He is the balloonist – it’s what is known as a cryptic definition

      • mary
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        I suppose a difficult clue if you don’t actually remember the popularity of ‘chicken in a basket’ but I thought it was still popular?

  27. GEMINI
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    I didn’t enjoy this one much. I thought 10a and 12d were uncomfortable answers that were selected purely because they fitted the grid, and I thought the clue for 7d was poorly constructed.

    Did like 23d though….

    • mary
      Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Isn’t it amazing on reading through the comments on the blog each day, the great variations in the comments on puzzles and clues, i thought 7d was a really good clue but yet my brother agreed with you Gemini, as said before ‘different horses for different courses’ :)

  28. Frances
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable today – whizzed through it over lunch. Then went and bought a copy of 12D to read and wish I was still young and hip and living in Paris again!

  29. Derek
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Very late response as I was preoccupied on Monday – my birthday!!
    Got through the puzzle last night in record time – had a bit of delay with 7d as I was misled by thinking of the KFC chain (I’ve completely forgotten about Berni Inns) then started thinking about balloning! Still think that the clue, albeit clever, is a bit way out!
    Best clues for me were 27a & 23d.
    People not familiar with la vie française might object to 12d!!