DT 26141 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26141

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26141

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a Ray T puzzle today with some entertaining clues and one good belly laugh. As usual with Ray’s puzzles, the difficulties are not so much with the wordplay as in working out the relationship between the definition and the answer, and in a couple of clues today I thought that the elastic between the two was stretched a bit far. Do you agree or not? – in either case we’d love to get your comments.
For new readers, the answer to each clue is hidden between the curly brackets – just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal it.

Across Clues

1a  American power gripped by feeling apprehension (8 )
{SUSPENSE} – we want a word meaning apprehension or anxious uncertainty – put US (American) and P(ower) inside (gripped by) a synonym for feeling.

5a  Bush, party leader preceding boss (6)
{PRIVET} – this is nothing to do with ex-Presidents – the bush required is the green shrub which is seen in garden hedges everywhere. Put P (first letter of party) in front of a stud (boss) used to join two pieces of metal.

9a  Lively maiden at ground (8 )
{ANIMATED} – an adjective meaning lively is an anagram (ground) of MAIDEN AT.

10a  Empty pub about noon (6)
{BARREN} – start with another word for pub, then add RE (about) and N(oon) to get a word meaning empty.

12a  Real thin with a cute bust! (9)
{AUTHENTIC} – an anagram (bust) of THIN A CUTE produces an adjective meaning real or genuine. Amusing surface reading!

13a  Right weakens and complains (5)
{RAILS} – the definition is complains. Start with R(ight) and add a verb meaning weakens or sickens.

14a  Supplier of pork pies? (4)
{LIAR} – cryptic definition of someone who deceives, based on the meaning of pork pies in Cockney rhyming slang.

16a  Bloke with escort on order (7)
{MANDATE} – put together a male person (bloke) and his companion (escort) on a romantic assignation to get an order.

19a  Bond, topless, producing excitement (7)
{ELATION} – the definition is excitement and you’re meant to think of a stripped-off James Bond stirring up female hearts. Remove the initial letter (topless) of (r)ELATION. I’m not convinced by this one. Relationship is a bond, but is relation? I did consider the possibility that the word requiring beheading might be Gelation which means solidification by cooling, but I don’t think that this matches bond any better.

21a  Totter returning dirty look (4)
{REEL} – This is another of those infuriating clues where you have no means of knowing which bit is the definition and which is the wordplay until you have the first checking letter from 21d. As it turns out, you need a verb meaning totter which is a reversal (returning) of a dirty look.

24a  Rock fish on pole (5)
{SHAKE} – append HAKE (fish) to one of the poles to get a verb meaning rock.

25a  Drop journalist in dispute (9)
{REDUCTION} – a disturbance or dispute is a RUCTION – put the usual abbreviation for journalist inside.

27a  Wedding tackle of a horse, say! (6)
{BRIDAL} – laugh out loud time! We want a word that sounds like (say) bridle (equipment or tackle used in horse riding) – this is not an adjective (which is the way it would normally be used these days) but an archaic noun meaning a marriage feast or a wedding.

28a  Church cabal is worried about Italy (8 )
{BASILICA} – an anagram (worried) of CABAL IS goes around I(taly) to get a large church.

29a  Informer in time making mistakes (6)
{ERRATA} – the informal name for an informer, someone who betrays his comrades, is put inside a long and distinct period of history (time) to produce mistakes in a book.

30a  Go over tries again by English (8 )
{REHEARSE} – a verb meaning to go over or practise is formed from what a judge does if he tries a case for a second time, followed by E(nglish).

Down Clues

1d  Beetle, second hand motor’s kept inside (6)
{SCARAB} – put a vehicle or motor inside S(econd) and AB (able-bodied seaman, deck hand) to get the sacred dung-beetle of the ancient Egyptians.

2d  Furtive and hesitant taking Independent newspaper (6)
{SHIFTY} – hesitant is SHY – inside this (taking) put I(ndependent) and the pink paper.

3d  Wipe out cholera, seemingly contained within (5)
{ERASE} – there are unusually explicit pointers (contained within) to there being a hidden word meaning wipe out in the clue.

4d  Lieutenant in rank providing cover (7)
{SHELTER} – rank is being used here in the sense of absolute (as in a rank outsider). We want another word for absolute (which might be used, for example, to qualify bliss) with the abbreviation for lieutenant inside.

6d  Bottom line leads to change (9)
{REARRANGE} – a charade of a synonym for bottom or backside and a product line gives us a verb meaning to change.

7d  Immaculate old instrument (8 )
{VIRGINAL} – double definition, the second being an old keyboard instrument like a harpsichord.

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8d  Barrel with good gun metal (8 )
{TUNGSTEN} – string together a word for a large barrel for beer or wine, G(ood) and a type of lightweight sub-machine gun to get a metal also known as wolfram.

11d  Racket from missile going around speed of light (4)
{SCAM} – C is a constant standing for the speed of light (as used in Einstein’s famous equation). Put a surface-to-air missile around it to get a racket or swindle.

15d  One can rave accepting European refugee (9)
{ITINERANT} – string together I (one), TIN (can) and RANT (rave) around (accepting) E(uropean) to get someone who travels from place to place, like a preacher or a pedlar. Such a traveller could, I suppose, be a stateless person or refugee, i.e. someone who goes from place to place seeking refuge, but I’m not really convinced – what do you think?

17d  Changing a belief’s possible (8 )
{FEASIBLE} – an anagram (changing) of A BELIEF’S.

18d  He may be so on his high horse? (8 )
{CAVALIER} – double definition – an adjective meaning haughty or superior (on his high horse) is also a noun meaning a horseman.

20d  Spy Noah initially on his ship (4)
{NARK} – a slang word for a police informer (spy) is formed from N(oah) followed by his ship.

21d  Ace detective in charge for branch (7)
{RADIATE} – place A(ce) and DI (detective inspector) inside RATE (charge) to get a verb meaning to diverge or branch out.

22d  Daughter more distant and more difficult (6)
{DICIER} – put D(aughter) ahead of ICIER (more distant or aloof) to get a comparative meaning trickier or more difficult.

23d  Crazy and stupid taking on skinhead (6)
{INSANE} – place the first letter (head) of S(kin) inside a synonym of stupid.

26d  Take cover after Conservative lecture (5)
{CHIDE} – the definition is to lecture or reprove – put HIDE (cover) after C(onservative).

The clues I liked included 12a, 7d, 8d and 18d, but way out ahead, as my clue of the day, is 27a. What about you? – leave us a comment with your thoughts!

56 comments on “DT 26141

  1. Aargh! Failed in the SW corner as I had superior – I thought it was wrong as I was struggling on 19a and 24a but couldn’t see the way out.
    Superior would just about work as an answer IMO since he would be your superior (more likely to be on a horse in the army) and also above you in height.
    Great puzzle in any case with the Wedding Tackle being favourite!.

    Thanks gazza.

  2. Fantastic puzzle from Ray T today – one of those crosswords when the joy of completing it is tempered by the wish that there was more to be solving! I originally had “scarp” for 24a as another word for escarpment or rock but realised the error of my ways when 15 fell into place. I will go with the flow on favourite clues. 27a was a corker.

  3. Wow, obviously a punishment for the CC for yesterdays great puzzle. Far too tough for me, most clues make little or no sense.

    • I agree it was really tough Barrie and it took me a lot of time with all the electronic help etc. I could find, in the end i was left with two i had wrong and two i couldnt do, not straightforward at all

  4. A good crossword spoilt by a couple of clues.

    I share your reservations, Gazza, about 19a & 15d. I also didn’t like 21a, for the reasons you give.

    Particularly liked 12a & 27a.

  5. I’ve now had time to go through the answers and compare them with the clues and I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the worst ever published by the DT! How can ‘ground’ be an anagram indicator? How can you possibly equate a bar with a pub? And as for 19a, words fail me. ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL!

  6. I found this quite hard today and it took a lot more working out to see what the setter wanted as far as i was concerned, i went way off on 18d and though i really knew we were looking for a double definition put in ‘canadian’ as in mounties!!, which meant i couldn’t get 29a, though i don’t think i would have anyway :), strangely enough I don’t know if I enjoyed this one, the jury is out, what about the rest of us CC members, I am really pleased to finish it and will now read your hints Gazza to see if i got the explainations right, thank you once more

  7. Tough, but very enjoyable… another one of those days where the Toughie is easier than the normal cryptic.

  8. Great fun, I particularly liked 27a and 7d but enjoyed the whole thing. the toughie was also great today. Smashing day so far!

  9. Yet another great puzzle. All the clues were justified as well as having some gems among them. I sense Mary is on the verge of handing in her CC membership as she is wavering on the enjoyability of this one. Come on Mary, you know you liked it.

  10. A nice enjoyable puzzle today, the only slight hiccup was getting to sheer for rank, but I had so many crossing letters I just had to put in shelter.

  11. Well I would like to start a new sub club, the RCC (Really Clueless Club). I am still plugging away trying desperately hard not to cheat and only use the site for confimation. I really liked 20 down, it made me laugh but struggled in the SE corner as I had 21a the wrong way round and was trying to use Levy! Funnily enough the only bit I have completed so far is the SW corner. Horses for courses….

    • I dont think anyone who does even part of the DT crossword deserves to be in the RCC chablisdiamond, although sometimes we feel totally clueless, if you enjoy them and get hooked like i did last June, hang on in there and keep at it, i use all the help I can get i.e. books and electronic thesaurus and on occasion even google, as we progress (hopefully) we will come to use these aids less and less, don’t forget lots of people have been doing these crosswords for unimagineable years, as you plug at it you get a little more understanding of how the clues work, though lots of days if there was an RCC i would be in it too :)

        • I am in that club too (which is why I’m always a day or two behind on here) – if i get more than half done that it is a really good day! But then to read on here that it was ‘really easy one today, finished it during the shipping forecast’ kind of thing I think bah!!

          Anyways, I’m certainly less clueless than I was a year or two ago. But i think i may have reached my peak!

          Anyways, on this one ‘skinhead’ for ‘h’ really irked me. Surely ‘skin head’ would have been better…?

          • Skinhead…

            A touchy subject! Gateshead for G, midnight (also G) forefront (F), the list goes on. At a rough guess you’d have to say 50% of solvers are fine with it, the other 50% can’t stand it, and at will probably always be like that. FWIW I don’t like it but, ultimately, the newspaper’s house rules dictate what is/isn’t acceptable.

  12. Only one word for this; magic darts.
    Really terrific puzzle from Ray with a glut of LOL moments. There is a consensus that 27a tops the lot and I’d go along with that, although as a setter I’d have been inclined to omit the exclamation mark. The cleverness of the clue deserves it but it ONLY highlights the cleverness – it doesn’t actively warn of anything unusual in the wordplay, which would be its typical use.

  13. I thought this was a great puzzle which seemed tough to get going on and then fell into place. I liked it all with the exception as mentioned above of 19ac. One of those clues where the answer is obvious but the reason for it too obscure. It seems the setter wanted another clue for the boys so introduces Bond and topless in one clue(see Mary’s contribution above).

    • Hehe. I don’t see how “Bond, topless, producing excitement” can be one for the b…. – oh, you must mean THOSE boys.

        • Relation is not being used as in “blood relation”, e.g. Mother, Father etc, it is being used in the sense of “a way in which one thing is connected with another”… and bond can also mean “a link, connection, union or (chemistry) attraction”

          • Libellule’s wording is what’s in Chambers and it’s hard to argue that “bond” wouldn’t fit the def in that sense. Even so, I guess that for many people “relationship” is the word that would more readily spring to mind. Can’t argue with the big red book though.

            • ok ….but the contribution from Libellule didn’t give you a chance to answer my question of how you would have phrased the clue.

              • Unless I went for a completely different treatment (I’m looking at O in E+LATIN, or English language) I might have used Bond as well. It’s a difficult one to answer since all setters have different approaches according to what they want to achieve; each setter will focus on at least one of originality, humour, brevity, difficulty – and of course the more of these you can fit into one clue the better.

                You’ve given me a challenge. Time for some head-scratching.

                • Parable about one on high (7)
                  Lift broken toe-nail (7)
                  Heavy wheels thrown into lift (7)

                  Not shining examples, merely the 10-minute symptoms of a fevered brain.

                  • wow.
                    Thankyou.
                    Parable one is brilliant.
                    Third clue is so clever I don’t understand it…..anag of into…..so heavy wheels?
                    Sorry if being thick

                    • I was a bit nervous about including that one. Heavy = ALE (beer) which “wheels”, i.e. turns round. Nasty, I know.

          • OK, I’m persuaded on the relation/bond connection, but “Cousin, possibly topless, producing excitement” would still have been a good clue!

  14. I started badly – waiting for the dentist – and have toiled on and off all day. Only succeeded by guessing and then trying to work out some clues – and failing sometimes: 19a.
    Liked 12a, 27a 9not knowing it could be a noun). I had forgotten hand = AB for 1d and, having guessed correctly, spent a long time angry that I couldn’t work the clue out. 22d was the last to fall after I resorted to working through options alphabetically for the second time! I’m too worn out to even look at the Toughie. Enjoyed it though.

  15. Setter here,

    Thanks to Gazza for the review and to all you solvers for your comments.

    I even made myself laugh when I came up with the ‘Wedding tackle…’ clue!

    See you again soon.

  16. Found thus a great one – not 4* but 3* in terms of difficulty. Failed to get 27a – doh! OBVIOUS!! Also learnt something new with 7d. Thanks to the setter. Good fun.

  17. a great puzzle which I failed to finish, missing one. Got stuck with 7d and even though I had all letters I had a complete and utter mental block. As always, once I saw the answer wasn’t actually some word I had never heard of (which I convinced myself it must be ) I kicked myself repeatedly and sent myself to the naughty corner :-) Thoroughly enjoyed he puzzle though.

  18. Good puzzle. I had no qualms re bond = relation! Nice to see P being power as well as pressure (think of HP as well as the sauce!). I liked 5a, 27a and 28a. Also 7d, 8d & 18d.

    I get the DT in the afternoon each day and usually do the crossword late at night – but I always finish it before seeing the blog posting – unless totally flummoxed of course!

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