DT 26153 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26153

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26153

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We have a very entertaining puzzle from Ray T today, which I thought was a bit more difficult than usual. Let us know whether you agree or not with a comment!
As always the answers are concealed, so that you cannot see them accidentally. If you want to reveal one, place your cursor inside the curly brackets under the relevant clue and drag it across the white space to the other bracket.

Across Clues

1a  Labour fanatic? (10)
{WORKAHOLIC} – we start with a cryptic description of someone to whom the proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” may apply.

6a  Stand declared, changing ends (4)
{DAIS} – start with a verb meaning declared, then swap the first and last letters (changing ends) to get a stand or platform. I presume that the surface reading is meant to make us think of cricket, but it doesn’t make much sense.

9a  The French turns in show getting rude (10)
{INDELICATE} – reverse LE (the, in French) inside a verb meaning show or point out to end up with an adjective meaning just a bit coarse or rude.

10a  Liberal Republican in charge (4)
{FREE} – put R(epublican) inside the charge levied by a professional person or organisation to get a synonym for liberal.

12a  Old are going to diminish (4)
{WILT} – we want the archaic (old) second person singular form of a verb expressing intention, as in “Thou art going to”.

13a  Terribly stilted, so most uninspiring (9)
{STOLIDEST} – an anagram (terribly) of STILTED SO produces a very awkward-sounding superlative meaning dullest or most uninspiring.

15a  Officers’ mess right inside battle disaster (8 )
{WARDROOM} – the place where the officers on a warship come together to eat is constructed from a charade of words for battle (normally a series of battles) and catastrophe or disaster (as frequently foretold by Private Fraser in Dad’s Army). Finally insert an R (right).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a  Material from ‘Time’ magazine, perhaps (6)
{TISSUE} – put together T(ime) and an edition of a publication such as (perhaps) a magazine.

18a  Agent’s cover holding gun (6)
{LEGATE} – place a word meaning cover, i.e. the sheltered side, around (holding) a slang (originally U.S.) term for a revolver or pistol to get a representative or agent, especially one sent by the Pope.

20a  General accepting medal for regular (8 )
{CUSTOMER} – someone who is a client (regular) is constructed by putting OM (Order of Merit, medal) inside the name of the U.S. General who went down to defeat at the battle of Little Bighorn.

23a  Telegraph line? (9)
{EDITORIAL} – cryptic description of the line taken, or views expressed, on the leader pages of newspapers such as the Telegraph.

24a  Stomach holding large surplus (4)
{GLUT} – put L(arge) inside a synonym for stomach to get a surplus.

26a  ‘Riot Act’ suppressing scrap (4)
{IOTA} – hidden (suppressing) in the clue is a word meaning a small amount or scrap.

27a  Masculine influence produces delinquent (10)
{MALEFACTOR} – a delinquent, literally someone who has done wrong, is constructed from words meaning a) masculine and b) influence or something which needs to be taken into account.

28a  Prepare grill, moving inside (4)
{GIRD} – start with a word meaning lattice or grating (grill) and swap around the middle two letters (moving inside) to end up with a verb meaning to prepare or strengthen oneself (loins are often involved!).

29a  Hamlet’s resolution (10)
{SETTLEMENT} – double definition. Hamlet here is nothing to do with the moody prince, but a small group of dwellings.

Down Clues

1d  Howl with pain (4)
{WAIL} – put together W(ith) and a verb meaning to pain.

2d  More bloody rugby day after day? That’s right! (7)
{RUDDIER} – very amusing, and timely with the Six Nations tournament starting next weekend! The definition is more bloody. Start with RU (rugby union), then add abbreviations as detailed in the clue.

3d  Did Daniel Defoe demonstrate this? (12)
{ALLITERATION} – the last time we had a similar clue I seem to remember that a lot of people had difficulty with it. It’s an all-in-one clue to a figure of speech where consecutive words (the first four in the clue) all start with the same sound.

4d  Cause and effect (8 )
{OCCASION} – double definition – a noun meaning cause (as in “there is no cause for concern”) and a verb meaning to give rise to (effect).

5d  Appoint Rossini penning overtures (6)
{INTROS} – hidden (penning) in the clue are overtures.

7d  Close shaven, but not hard! (7)
{AIRLESS} – someone who is shaven is HAIRLESS. Take off the H (not hard) and we’re left with an adjective meaning close or stuffy.

8d  Flame adjustment to reheat stew (10)
{SWEETHEART} – an anagram (adjustment to) of REHEAT STEW produces a (normally old) flame.

11d  Setter aiding anagram break up (12)
{DISINTEGRATE} – well, nobody’s going to complain that this anagram indicator isn’t clear enough! An anagram of SETTER AIDING produces a verb meaning to break up.

14d  Hot girls went out around Spain (10)
{SWELTERING} – the definition is hot (what a scorcher!) and it’s an anagram (out) of GIRLS WENT around the vehicle registration code for España.

17d  Most twisted untruths with gruff exterior (8 )
{CURLIEST} – the definition is most twisted – a synonym for untruths has an adjective meaning gruff or abrupt around it (exterior).

19d  ‘Flash’, grand record by Queen (7)
{GLISTER} – we want a verb meaning to sparkle (flash) and it’s made from G(rand) followed by a number of consecutive things written down (record) and the usual abbreviation for the Queen.

21d  Let loose under second officer (7)
{MOUNTIE} – this is the last answer I got because I was convinced that I needed a word ending in …TLE. In fact, we want a verb meaning to let loose which follows (under, in a down clue) a short word for a brief time (second), to give us an officer in the RCMP.

22d  Stretch from detective’s overdue (6)
{DILATE} – put together a Detective Inspector (who regularly turns up in Ray T’s puzzles) and behind time (overdue) to get a verb meaning to stretch.

25d  Horror of Tory leader after support (4)
{BRAT} – a badly behaved child (little horror) is formed by putting T(ory) after a support garment.

The clues I liked included 1a, 9a, 12a and 29a, but my clue of the day is 2d. What do you think? – give us a comment!

79 comments on “DT 26153

  1. Ray T has certainly pulled out the stops for this one and come up with a blinder of a puzzle that is challenging and fun. Like yesterday’s it was a treat savour and to solve. In addition to the clues you have mentioned as top ones, I would add 7d.

  2. Really enjoyed this, despite getting into all sorts of trouble in the NW corner. Initially entered OPPOSITE for 4d, which threw me for 9a, and 15a. Grant yesterday, Custer today, Lee tomorrow..??

  3. Complete mental block on 25d! – what a muppet!.
    12a and 27a were enjoyable but I’m with you on 2d.
    Thanks gazza and RayT

  4. Must admit I found it tougher than usual .Didn`t get 16a as I had put AIRHEAD in for 7d i.e. for someone being a bit soft in the head and a slightly cryptic close shaven person.
    Thanks for the hints

      1. Eeek 16a – I actually chastised Ray T. on using a old chestnut for 16a and you are still struggling with it…… I am off to blow my nose!

  5. Excellent. No weak clues at all. I solved very few on my first run through and had a lot of headscratching on each thereafter which made it all the more satisfying when the answers did occur to me.

  6. I agree that this was harder than usual. I t took me a long time to get started and a lot longer to complete than usual. But very satisfying.

    1d. I wasn’t happy with “ail” for pain.

    11d. Was the setter showing a lack of imagination with this anagram indicator???

    Lots of good clues, but particularly liked 9a, 2d & 3d.

      1. Gazza,

        I did see the connection. My thinking was that pain may be a symptom of an ailment, but the two words (pain and ail) are not completely synonymous. Perhaps I’m being too pedantic???? Regardless of my two comments, I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, and would be happy if they were that standard every day.

    1. 11d – If it wasn’t in a clue using ‘Setter’ and alluding to the setter helping out it would have been duff/unimaginative but here I thought it read quite well!.

      1. I agree that the surface reading is fine, but often the indicators are so well disguised that you don’t realise that the answer is an anagram – or you have to look for the indicator. In this case, I found thay my eyes were immediately drawn to the word “anagram”. This made me look for an anagram, which I found straight away. I thought that, compared with the rest of the puzzle, this was not of the same standard. Ones man’s meat …?

        1. True enough – I suppose the trick would be to get the word anagram to be (part of) the anagram itself and leave a very cunning indicator!

          1. I thought it was quite clever in fact and it did throw me for a moment but luckily not too far :)

              1. Hi Barrie, it was tough today, I did about 50% with lots of help and then resorted to the blog, where even then i couldn’t understand all of it, no not a good day, maybe won’t be a good week for the CC, we’ll wait and see :)

    1. don’t worry Newbie, halfway is pretty good for todays puzzle, i only got halfway and that was using all the help i could get, had to use the blog for the rest, thanks to Gazza

  7. Really good and enjoyable puzzle with brilliant clues.(You may guess it got 5* from me.)
    So many raised a smile esp. 2d, 12ac, 14d 25d,
    Gazza… I was also last on 21d but that was because 20ac was penultimate. Even when the answer was obvious it stiil took a mo to solve!
    As a matter of interest do the setters choose their grid or are they allocated one?

    1. Chris
      I think they choose their own from a range of permitted ones. Ray normally pops in during the day, so perhaps he will confirm?

  8. High class puzzle today.

    Nothing impossible, but a lot erring on the edge of one’s cruciverbalist skills. These puzzles once in a while remind one that maybe one is not as good as one’s ego would like, there is always a learning curve to follow.

    Two good puzzles this week. Let’ s trust it continues.

  9. Loved it! Started off as a fully paid-up member of the CC but teased away at it, strating at the bottom again. Thank heavens for anagrams – they are often my way in. Favourite clues were 3d and 21d but best of the day for me was 7d

    Do those who write the hints ever really get stuck and are not able to complete it? Hats off to you – us lesser mortals could never commit to doing what you do, day after day

    1. droopyh
      We’ve never (so far) been unable to complete one, but working out the wordplay (especially on the Toughies) sometimes causes difficulties!

      1. ..and I don’t suppose BD is having too much trouble today on the Toughie! I found it at about ‘Entry Level’ myself

        1. Correct!

          Notwithstanding the difficulty level, I thought it was one of Cephas’s better puzzles and would have been ideal for a Saturday Prize puzzle.

  10. A really bad day for me today :( it was hard but having gone over the blog feel I should have done much better than 50%!! I still don’t quite see 12a & 28a even with the explainations and 13a, not even my little electronic friend could help with that! It was defnitely one for the top of the class today :) as for 1d is w an accepted abbreviation for ‘with’ ?

    1. 13a is one of those funny/clunky superlatives – I don’t think it would ever get used in conversation as you would say ‘most stolid’
      re: 1d – certainly is!

    2. Mary,
      12a is an old word that means “are going to”.
      28a take a word for a grill and then move the two letters inside (RI) around.

          1. Mary, you could always have a look at today’s Toughie, a nice example as Big Dave says should be what the Saturday prize crossword is about.

  11. Found the toughie Ok apart from 19d which I still haven`t got and another of those blessed 4 letter words i.e. 12a which I think I`ve got but it looks too simple an answer.

    1. Re 19d Its an anciant city in Italy that was destroyed by a Volcano.
      Re 12a first letter of going, and then a simple abbreviation of Ireland.

  12. Some beauties today, especially 20 and 27a, 2, 11, 14, 17 and 21d. Felt the amygdala input a couple of times.
    Not so happy with 19d, which Chambers only gives as archaic.
    I’m fascinated by your live traffic feed, which sometimes gets my location right, but more often gives another town in Bavaria within about half an hour’s drive. How does it work?

    1. I think it works from where the hosting company think the ip address is located. It gets mine wrong often, but the overall indication makes for interesting reading, which is why I keep it there.

  13. Libellule having now seen the toughie hints I know why I couldn`t get 19d as I hadn`t put the past tense for 23a so had me looking for something ending in etir i.e. a ceremony in the ascendant.

    1. LB,
      I had the same problem, but it was corrected when I realised what the answer was to 19d.

  14. I dont think Dave,s explanation of 6a is right. the key word in the clue is declared,which is meant to mean said.By changing the ends ie s and d you end up with dais.Which is the answer. Hope Ive explained that clearly.

    1. Welcome to the blog kdl

      Firstly, Gazza wrote this one not me.

      Secondly I think that is exactly what he said (sic). We have been trying to avoid the answers in the hints and sometimes this results in a misunderstanding.

    2. The explanation of 6a by Gazza makes perfect sense to me, and explains the answer perfectly, without explicitly stating it. All the bloggers draw a fine line with the hints on how much information we give away. I am more explicit than Gazza in explaining wordplay for example.

    3. kdl
      Any error is mine rather than Big Dave’s, but what I wrote (at least what I intended to write) is exactly what you’ve said.

      1. Apologies Gazza.If I had read your explanation properly I would have seen that your explanation is perfectly clear!!

  15. I got 1a and 14d straight away and thought it was going to be easy. Wrong! Resorted to the blog quite quickly.

    Am I the only one who thinks the w in 1d is unfair?

    My favourite was 29a (even though I did not get it, stuck on Bill.)

    1. Michael,
      If you look at Chambers for abbreviations of W/w you can find the following
      week, weight, wide (cricket), width, wife, with and
      weak (particle physics), Welsh, West, Western, wicket(s) (cricket), women or women’s, won (Korean currency)
      So it seemed fair to me :-)

      1. Another one to remember. I would prefer something like “initially Wednesday” but I guess that’s too easy to solve and harder to fit into the surface reading.

    2. Usually abbreviations like with => w are confined to Toughies, like take => recipe => r, but they are becoming increasingly used in the daily puzzles.

        1. Originally the word recipe, from the Latin to take, was used on prescriptions. This was an instruction to the pharmacist to “take 1 ounce of ….”. This only later became used for food recipes. The word recipe became abbreviated to ℞ or Rx and later to R. Thus TAKE => R.

  16. I spent most the afternoon with my head stuck in the thesaurus for this puzzle but I did manage to chip away at it and get 75% done before using the blog. Because it was so difficult, getting the answers was really satisfying and so very enjoyable! Liked 3d and 17d best.

  17. Thought todays was absolutely ghastly! Probably because I could not get a single clue, far far too tough for me.

    1. Barrie,
      Perhaps you should have tried the Toughie – it was by Cephas, the Saturday setter…..

  18. Late to the party again :-)

    Only got 4 or 5 of these – looking forward to using the hints to complete it. Took a long time to get more than a couple of these. Another one to put down to experience…

  19. Got to say that I’m not happy about 19d

    I remember some Shakespeare from somewhere about “all that glisters is not gold”, but that isn’t the same thing as “Flash”

    Lovely word, though. Nice to see it get an outing…

    1. I think a certain amount of licence was used for 19d – Gazza missed this opportunity!!

      “Flash” – a grand record by Queen.


  20. Thanks to Gazza for the review, and thanks to all for your comments. I’m happy that most of you enjoyed solving it as much as I enjoyed compiling it.

    Gazza is quite right regarding the grids. As far as I know, all of the ‘qualities’ provide a selection of ‘house’ grids from which the setters can choose.

    Ray T

  21. Quite a challenge today whilst most enjoyable, but have to admit to more frequent reference to Bradford’s than usual.
    Started this morning, but then had to leave it until this evening … and was left with one unsolved 25d ?R?T.
    I’ve now seen the answer above, and realise I didn’t consider a “little horror” and even missed a standard support!!
    Several favourites .. esp. 7d, 8d and 29a.

    1. sarumite
      Re your comment on 25d. It is our ‘forgetting and recalling’ – the little tricks of our memory – that gives crosswords an enduring quality.
      As you say, there is nothing novel in the clue for a little word yet it could defy some for a little while.
      If we give a little twist to this clue it’s likely that someone else may have a problem with it before they too solve it eventually.
      I didn’t have any engagement with this crossword but even reading the clues and solving some of them (a big thank-you for whoever hit upon this idea of whitening the answers) gave me great pleasure: certainly this crossword qualifies for inclusion in a book of “Fifty best DT crosswords”. (Decades ago how did editors find material for such a compilation? Now websites such as this and our blogs and comments must offer good pointers.)
      PS: Standard support? I thought it comes in different sizes, shapes, fabrics, colours…

      1. Rishi
        The answer that stumped me was by no means one of the more difficult clues, but my mind simply wouldn’t budge from its original conception of “horror”. Perhaps because it was my last clue I also didn’t refer to Bradford’s where “Brat” is clearly shown as a synonym, but instead took the easy way out and looked at the above blog.
        The quality of the DT crosswords has improved immensely in the recent past, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this site has had more than a small part to play in this development.
        PS: my reference to standard support was only in relation to crossword indicators!! :smile:

  22. my last post for this one, but 18 across showed me how outclassed I was by this crossword. My compliments to Gazza for an excellent set of hints to a very difficult puzzle.

  23. Hi Gazza

    Thanks for an excellent review of a brilliant puzzle. Thanks also for your help with 12a in the Comments section.

    My favourite clues were 1a, 2d, 3d and 21d.

    Thanks to Ray T for a top of the range puzzle. Nine and a half out of ten for quality and enjoyment.

  24. Tougher than usual! Enjoyable though. 12a held me up for a long time – I had diet in my mind and could not get the correct answer for a while.
    Best for me were : 1a, 15a & 29a. 7d, 17d &19d.

  25. Completely failed to get 28a and even now I know the answer I really don’t think I would ever have got it. Stumped me completely. I did get 12a (as a guess) but really couldn’t understand why until reading the Blog.

    Thanks Gazza for your work.

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