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DT 26150

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26150

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s Friday and Giovanni produces what is the highlight of the week for many solvers. I’ve given this four stars for difficulty mainly because of 3d and, especially, 24d. How did you find it? – comments, as always, are most welcome.
The answers, should you find my hints even more confusing than the clues :D, can be found between the curly brackets beneath the relevant clue. Just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal.

Across Clues

7a  Prejudice about French author’s grand schemes (3,5)
{BIG IDEAS} – put a word meaning prejudice or unfairness around the surname of the French author André Gide who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1947, and you end up with a phrase, often used ironically, meaning grand schemes.

9a  Employs old piano at first for compositions (6)
{OPUSES} – take a synonym for employs and precede it (at first) with O(ld) P(iano) to get musical compositions.

10a/11a  Stay cheerful, displaying a certain amount of neck? (4,4,4,2)
{KEEP ONE’S CHIN UP} – a phrase meaning to remain cheerful in spite of disappointments or setbacks could mean, if taken literally, that part of one’s neck is visible. In phrases like this there’s always a dilemma about whether the pronoun required is ONE’S or YOUR – unless there’s something in the clue which personalises it, it will probably be the former, but it’s a good idea not to be commit yourself until you have a checking letter in place.

12a  Basic food no longer fit for consumption round back of shop (6)
{STAPLE} – a description of something, bread for example, that is no longer fresh has the last letter (back) of (sho)P inserted to make a basic food.

14a  Rags soon looking awful when brought to light (8 )
{LAMPOONS} – an anagram (looking awful) of SOON is suffixed (brought to) a type of light and together they make a verb meaning rags, holds up to ridicule or satirises.

15a  Reward for capturing knight, very important fellow (6)
{PRINCE} – start with a synonym for reward and put N (knight in chess notation) inside and you end up with a royal or someone pre-eminent in their field (very important fellow).

17a  A poem’s terminal pieces (6)
{ANODES} – these are the electrodes of an electrolytic cell by which current enters the electrolyte (terminal pieces). Alternatively, think of another way of saying “a poem’s”.

20a  Spare jam (8 )
{PRESERVE} – double definition.

22a  Goes away with stuff aboard ship (6)
{SCRAMS} – put a synonym for to stuff inside (aboard) SS (steamship) and you get an informal verb meaning goes away.

23a  Chap’s toe is awkwardly placed in coach (4-6)
{POST-CHAISE} – a horse-drawn coach once used for transporting passengers and mail is an anagram (awkwardly) of CHAP’S TOE IS.

24a  Do business, as you might say, in tiny premises? (4)
{CELL} – the sort of tiny premises inhabited by a monk or a prisoner sounds like do business as a retailer.

25a/26a  Several things that could make one cry? (6,2,6)
{STRING OF ONIONS} – a cryptic description of a collection of vegetables tied together to make them easier to carry, traditionally sold by the stereotypical Frenchman on a bicycle.

Down Clues

1d  One can have variable water temp and variable air temp around ten (5,3)
{MIXER TAP} – an anagram (variable) of AIR TEMP around the Roman numeral for ten gives you a domestic device for getting water at just the right temperature.

2d  Speech problem in school is problematical (4)
{LISP} – hidden in the clue is a speech problem.

3d  Undercooked sole to be cooked again? (6)
{REDONE} – put together the colour of undercooked (rare) steak and the number of people in a compartment if it has a sole occupant, and you get a verb meaning cooked again.

4d  Train fellow to become a driver (8 )
{COACHMAN} – a charade of a verb meaning to train and a synonym for fellow gives us a driver (of a 23a?).

5d  Give purchase requirements to shop to get sorted out (3,2,5)
{PUT IN ORDER} – double definition.

6d  About to go to performance — ticket required (6)
{RETURN} – put together RE (about) and a word for an act or performance on stage to get a type of travel ticket.

8d  The female one associates with loud-mouthed Australians primarily? (6)
{SHEILA} – laugh out loud time. Start with a female pronoun and add I (one) and the initial letters (primarily) of Loud-mouthed Australians to get the personification of womanhood down under.

13d  Note is a tip about what can provide floral decoration (10)
{POINSETTIA} – an anagram (about) of NOTE IS A TIP.

16d  Vehicle with silver in the old city (8 )
{CARTHAGE} – for a change the old city is not UR but a North African city which was eventually destroyed by the Roman armies after many wars. Start with a vehicle and add THE with the chemical symbol for silver inside.

18d  Testing support when a politician enters (8 )
{SAMPLING} – the definition is testing. Put A and a Westminster representative inside the sort of support you wear if you have a broken arm.

19d  Sheep seen in brief time going around Ireland (6)
{MERINO} – a fine-woolled Spanish breed of sheep is made from MO (brief time) with a literary name for Ireland inside.

21d  Birds finally settling in bits of trees (where they like to be) (6)
{ROOSTS} – the definition is where they (birds) like to be. Put the bits of trees which are normally underground around the final letter of birdS.

22d  Boy has favourite pinned up — ‘crush’ (4,2)
{STEP ON} – a phrasal verb meaning to crush underfoot is constructed by putting a reversed (up) favourite inside (pinned) a male offspring (boy).

24d  Confusion about energy supplier (4)
{COIL} – this is the last clue I got and it seemed to take me ages. Start with C (circa, about) and add the source of energy (sometimes known as liquid gold) which is brought up from underground (or undersea) wells. This gives us an archaic word meaning tumult or confusion, which Shakespeare, in Hamlet, qualified with “mortal” to produce a phrase meaning the toil and trouble of human life. Here’s a verse from “Everytime a Churchbell Rings” by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine (the indie rock band of the 1990s) :

Well I remember Micky Doyle
he shuffled off this mortal coil
with no message for “that special girl”
just thank you and goodbye cruel world
then for the sake of Auld Lang Syne
he put his head on the railway line
looked up at the morning sun

and waited for the train to come.

My favourite clues today included 10a and 12a, but my clue of the day (I bet it’s yours too!) is 8d. Please leave us a comment to tell us what you thought of the puzzle.

46 comments on “DT 26150

  1. This puzzle should have a warning triangle for Barrie!

    My experience was almost identical to yours, Gazza, although I found 24d a lot easier after solving 24a. How many of us were trying to put E(nergy) inside a three-letter word before getting the answer?

    Favourite, by a long way, was. of course, 8d.

    1. Me, for starters! Managed to polish off the rest but never did get COIL even with the C and the I in place. Was still trying to put an E in it.

  2. Enjoyable as always from Giovanni; Got the answer to 24d early on, but it was the last one I entered, after I found a dictionary reference to confirm it.

  3. Another sterling challenge from Giovanni. Favourite clues were 3d, 17a and 25/26a. 24d was the last to go in! Many thanks to Giovanni and thanks for the notes Gazza.

  4. What an excellent challenge.

    Loved the topicality of 13d, but did struggle in SE corner.Thought I knew the answer to 24d bur recoiled when I should have plugged it in!

  5. An excellent crossword from Giovanni, last to go in for me were both 24a and 24d. 24d with a eureka moment. As such it also has to be my favourite, especially since we have a quote from Carter USM, one of my favourite bands. I even saw them at Reading Festival once!

  6. I do so enjoy Friday’s – the challenge and eureka moments are wonderful. For some reason I got 24d quite easily but took a lot longer to get 24a and though yesssss when I did. My favourites were 8d (agree with Dave) but I also liked 16d.

    Now I have to go back to my tax return – yuck…..

    1. Which reminds me, on the same Carter USM album as the words above, there is a track called
      Sheriff Fatman, a thinly veiled attack on a real estate magnate that has its amusing points.

  7. We failed to get a couple of these, REDONE and COIL. It was very enjoyable though, four stars in each category would be my assessment also.

  8. Don’t know why I even bothered to look at it, thank the Lord for yesterdays excellent puzzle. As for this one, good luck everybody, apart from 3 clues the rest mean absolutely nothing to me.

    1. haven’t started yet Barrie, just thought i’d read the comments first, is it that bad? i’m not sure if i’ll have time today, busy day and busy weekend ahead, don’t know if i’m in right frame of mind, we’ll see :)

      1. Thank goodness for Barrie.

        I got 10 & 11a unaided. Better than the last Giovanni I tried where I answered one clue and got it wrong.

        That’s it.

        I’m not doing Giovanni puzzles any more.

        I wish DT would put the compliler’s name at the top, as the Guardian does/did. Then I would know not to bother. We are just not on the same wavelength. :(

  9. I wasn’t sure whether 24a began with an “s” or a “c” and eventually plumped for the former with 24d being spin as in “spin energy”. I did have “coil” as the alternative but didn’t have the reference to confusion.

    That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it. A great puzzle otherwise. Too many good clues to mention.

    1. Bondini
      I did hesitate over 24a, but decided that it had to be cell rather than sell because of the positioning of the “in”.

  10. Really enjoyed this, but …

    Got 3d without understanding why. I’m still not sure if it’s a very clever clue or a terrible one???

    Never heard of coil as confusion, tumult, etc. Yes, I know it’s in Chambers!

    My favourite was 8d. Most unsatisfactory was 10 & 11a. I’d opted for “your” instead of “one’s”, which obviously put me off for a while. If the clue had started: To stay cheerful …, then “one’s” is appropriate. But this has the imperative: Stay cheerful. This makes me think that “your” should be the correct word – except, of course, that it doesn’t fit with the checked letters!

  11. The only real difficulties I found were COIL, and whether it was YOUR or ONES in 10/11a. A gentle solve after the Toughie and the Times.

    Harry Shipley

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable. Last 2 to go in were 21d and 23a. I took a long time to get 1d !! I read it as 3,5 and not 5,3 , a loud DOH followed when I realised.
    I have to see it gave my confidence a boost after a thoroughly demoralising effort at the Toughie yesterday.

  13. Enjoyed this even though it was easy, but spent most time pondering the bottom right corner! Its funny how with some setters i instantly see the word needed even before I understand why! Nice entertainment to brighten up a dull day here in Canterbury!
    Makes up for this morning which I spent searching for a tiny screw which had fallen out of the bathroom lock… or so I thought.. turned out to be a ‘hidden screw’ needing a very small allen key ;(

  14. Glad it’s not just me!
    Failed on those two before my round of golf and checked the blog when I got back to the 19th.
    8d favourite of course but honourable mention for 14a which I liked.
    Excellent stuff as ever

  15. What a great crossword!
    Was defeated by 24d but still gave it 5*….( never wondered before why “this mortal coil” had not made much sense..)
    Thankyou to Gazza and Giovanni.
    Favourites apart from 8d were 17 and 25ac.
    Didn’t take to 9ac as (whatever Chambers may say) the plural of opus is opera!…here we go on Latin again.

  16. I had a nightmare on today’s puzzle. Filled in half and resorted to the blog, only to find I’d filled in quite a few answers incorrectly. These included “conserve”, “carriage”, “pact” for 24a and for some reason I put “head” in 11a. I hope I’m not the only one who is sometimes a hindrance unto himself!!

    1. Matt

      I had three of your errors on first pass (conserve, carriage and keep your head up). The secret is to remember the slightly dodgy ones and to be ready to change them if you get stuck on the clues that intersect.

    1. We’ll be on to Latin declensions again soon!
      Chambers gives opuses or opera (in that order) as the plural of opus.

      1. According to my copy of “A-Z of Crosswords” John McKie (Myops), who helped us out the other day, is a former Classics master. Perhaps he can give us a definitive answer.

        1. I’m a Classics teacher, and it is a 3rd declension neuter noun (opus, operis, n) with nom/voc/acc plural ‘opera’. I do try not to be a pedant about such things though! Really enjoyed today’s, as I do every Friday.

  17. didn’t get 24 down and having just read the explanation would have never have got it. I was looking at chip, chic, clip etc. 8d was a beaut

  18. definitely not one for me today, i am afraid i am with Barrie on this one, i have slid right down to the bottom of the class, i also put head in for 10a, this is my worst effort for a very long time, oh dear, definitely in the CC for a long time to come :( , i found it really difficult to decipher the clues in this puzzle, surely not just me & Barrie?????

  19. Daily Telegraph 26,150. 8 down is definitely my favourite clue, as I’ve never been the answer to a clue before.


  20. I finished it, but without any feeling of admiration because some of the clues were a little obtuse and gave no real satisfaction when the answers stumbled out.

  21. Definitely not for me today. Have only solved 3 clues including 2 anagrams. I have neither the time nor the patience to try to unravel the other clues. Am now about to read Gazza’s blog for enlightenment.

    Hopefully tomorrow will be more straightforward as usual.

  22. Very enjoyable but tricky puzzle!
    Best clues for me were :7a, 17a & 25a. 1d, 3d, 16d & of course 24d.
    At first, I had sell for 24a and couldn’t get anywhere with 24d until the cent (not penny) dropped!

  23. Was out most of yesterday but got home and zipped through 3/4 of it in 45mins (very very quick for me!), got stuck on 3d and sw corner! Still in the CCs…..

  24. Gazza

    Thanks very much for a first-rate review of a first-rate puzzle. Thanks for the help with 3d and 24d (see my reply to you in “Comments”). I would not have got those two without your very helpful hints.

    Apart from 3d and 24d I managed to solve the rest on my own so I am happy with that given that this was a four-star puzzle. I think Giovanni’s puzzles are good because they are very challenging but still solvable (mostly).

    Thanks Giovanni – looking forward to next Friday’s challenge.

    By the way – my favourite clue was 8d – I live in Australia so it gave me a smile.

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