DT 26157 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26157 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26157 – Hints

Hints by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Big Dave is off on a jolly researching the latest developments in crossword theory today, so I’ve put together a few hints for the prize puzzle.
BD and Tilsit have complained often that the Saturday prize crossword, which should be the flagship product for the Telegraph, is not up to the standard of the other quality papers, and all I can say is that I agree.
Leave a comment with your views, and if you’re really stuck on a clue let me know and I’ll see what I can do. But, please don’t put any full or partial answers in your comments or they may be censored.
As usual, the full review of this puzzle will appear next Thursday, after the deadline for submitting entries has passed.

Across Clues

1a Stick tiny quantity of water on sweet (7)
Put a verb meaning to fasten with sticky stuff in front of a tiny amount of water to get a firm jelly-like sweet.

12a About fifteen in charge included are competent (9)
An anagram (about) of FIFTEEN includes the standard abbreviation for in charge to produce an adjective meaning competent.

17a Beds Scotsman (5)
This sounds a bit risqué but it’s a double definition. The name of a market town in Bedfordshire (just off the A1) is also what many Scottish men are called (think of Mr Lyle the golfer).

20a Convenience call? (3,1,5)
Cryptic definition of a coy expression meaning go to the loo.

28a Worker on short time gets a wrong mark — it’s a disease (7)
If a worker in crosswordland is not a bee then it’s probably an ANT. Follow this with an abbreviation (short) for a period of time and finish with A and the mark the teacher used to put against your homework if you got it wrong. The answer is a serious bacterial disease of animals which can be transmitted to humans.

Down Clues

1d Good girl in northwest Spain (7)
Put together G(ood) and a girl’s name (think of the Hollywood actress who starred as Batgirl in the film Batman and Robin) to get the name of an autonomous community and ancient kingdom in northwest Spain.

6d Tree French novelist climbed (5)
This small tree is a reversal (climbed) of the name of a French novelist, who was born in Algeria (and who regular features in quizzes because he played goalkeeper for his university team).

7d You reportedly found in entrance Alma reconstructed in the country (9)
You reportedly is U (i.e. a sound-alike of you). Put this inside an entrance (to a field, for example) and then add an anagram (reconstructed) of ALMA to get the name of a Central American country.

21d Cross river in outer limits of Valladolid (5)
The definition is cross or annoyed. Put the name of a Devon river between the outside letters (outer limits) of V(alladoli)D.

69 comments on “DT 26157 – Hints

  1. Well certainly one of the toughest for a while. managed about 3/4 so far but stuck on the right hand side and although I have an answer for 9a across I am not convinced (sorry Dave, putting in a a word that fits and trying to work out the answer again!!). Some clever though, I loved 12a which made me smile. Is this a pangram?

    1. am stuck on 9a too Barrie, also stuck on 2d! 5d and 18a, just cant see them for looking, help anyone?

      1. Mary
        9a. See hint from Prolixic below
        5d. Undressed? (3,2,4)
        This is meant to be a cryptic definition. Think of your car being in neutral.
        18a. Swindler put hands on instrument (4-5)
        The sort of swindler who might have an ace up his sleeve.

        1. thanks for the help gazza, i have finished it now, those last few were driving me crazy :) glad you were around today

      2. 2d. Large amount of motivational research first for head of criminal organisation (2,3)
        You want a synonym for large, and precede this (first) with initial letters (amount) of motivational research.

      3. Mary

        For 9a, see below.

        2d. Take the initial letters for motivational research and put them before another word meaning large amount to get the answer.

        5d. This is a tricky clue as it is a cryptic definition and there is nothing other than the checking letters that will help you. Think of what your car would be if you have depressed the clutch and are freewheeling along.

        18a. You need a word for hands (think of playing bridge or poker and what you use to do so) followed by a musical instrument beloved of the Welsh.

        1. thanks Prolixic have finished it now, have never heard of an 18a, liked most of todays and was going along quite well til i got stuck on those! wonder how gnomethang is getting on :)

          1. Hi Mary … if you’ve never heard of 18a, it can only mean your lifestyle has been exemplary!! :smile:

          2. I hate to say this, Mary, but you are officially “no longer clueless”. I only got 8 on this one.

            Please stay with us, because we need you? It is a bit like Wendy growing up and leaving us “Lost Boys” behind!

            I trust your convalescence continues to go well?

            1. Hi Shrike, i didn’t complete this without help and even then i was stuck on 4 clues and had to have Gazza and Prolixic to help me out, i reiterate (nice word) I shall remain clueless forever, but inten to improve gradually on that status, so rest assured, convalescence slow bit all this helps, thanks :) well done on giving COW a go, did you read the reviews?

              1. You were one of about 20 others on COW who was up for ‘final consideration’ i think that is pretty good myself out of about 83 entries, well done Gazza, I thought your clue was brilliant, by the way Shrike on COW I am pepsib

                1. Mary
                  Thanks for reminding me to go and look at the COW site, and thanks to the Gnome for his excellent write-up and for giving me joint second prize with an Old Scroat (second is ideal because if you win you seem to have to do an awful lot of work!)

                  1. “Old Scroat” – if that isn’t real ale it ought to be!

                    Very pleased to get consideration. More pleased to hear you are Life President of the Clueless Club!

                    Have a great weekend.

                  2. I agree Gazza, I have been quite pleased with the results of my efforts and really pleased as you say that i haven’t won, i am so unqualified for a job like that! cant wait to see next weeks, wonder if its up, think i’ll go take a peep

      1. So it would appear :-)
        Still stuck on 9a even with the hints above, annoying as it is the last clue! I am wondering if it’s someones name as I can’t find a word in the dictionary that matches the letters I have (assuming it is a U in 3d).

        1. Barrie
          It’s not a name and your U is right. Start with L(iberal) and add the word that the setter has given you with a gentleman (or knight) reversed inside.

        2. Barrie, have you got it, it is a funny one but once you ‘read’ it correctly you will ‘see’ it, as said above Take L(iberal) , then take the second word of the clue, this to include a three letter word for gentleman reversed (retiring) will give you your answer???

          1. Well I have a word but it’s not one I am familiar with but its obviously right because the dictionary definition agrees with the final part of the clue. So I have learned a new word today and now (thanks to everybodies patience and help!) have finished. Thanks :-)

  2. Barry,

    For 9a, if the word you have starts with an abbreviation for Liberal then has the second word of the clue with reversal of the title of address to a gentleman “as in Dear …”, inside, then you have the right answer!

    The puzzle in not a pangram today though I can see why you might think it is – lots of J’s X’s etc.

  3. I agree with Tilsit. A most enjoyable puzzle, with no contentious clues, and I particularly enjoyed 5d. Getting the girl’s name in 1d could be the KEYS to the answer – sorry, Gazza!

  4. Rather straightforward except for those unfamiliar with Bedfordshre.
    With most people having more free time at weekends, it seems a pity that the Saturday puzzles are becoming so non time consuming.
    Having had the moan, there were a lot of musical references in today’s and my favourite was 3d.

  5. Probably a notch or two above the standard of recent Prize Crosswords, but still a long way short of the quality of this week’s daily cryptics. Liked 18a and 28a.

  6. Couple of clues where my knowledge let me down,3d and 6d.
    3d I was convinced the oriental song was ‘the road to mandallay’ and I just had to get the spelling right.
    6d I have never heard of the tree or the french novelist so I was on a non starter there.

    1. i was on the road to Mandaly to Nubian, thought i saw you :), i was also climbing up the wrong tree for a while

  7. We just have to accept that the devious souls at DT use the Saturday Prize Crossword in an attempt to harvest email addresses from a targetted socio-econonic group, and then bombard them with junk mailings. I know. I am that sucker who filled in my email details.

    1. Digby
      The delay in getting your comment posted was because you’re using a different email address from previously.

      1. Yes, I work from home at weekends, otherwise in the office. Don’t get me wrong, by the way, I’m not “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”. I just wish that the Saturday puzzle was more challenging – more in line with a couple that we had during this week. But I do also understand that Mary’s Mates in the CC shouldn’t get discouraged by overcomplicated or esoteric clues.

  8. A pleasant Saturday puzzle. 18a for some reason was the last to go in after I did 16d. Actually enjoyed 16d as my favourite with 5d a close second.

    Hope Dave and Tilsit are enjoying their search for knowledge and will pass on any good tidbits.

  9. Goodness me, I finished it! But not without a little electronic help here and there and the blog of course.

    Stuck on 6d until i had twigged the anagram revealed above for 12a, as it is not in my book on trees! 21d was one of the last as it took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize that ‘cross’ was the definition …

    9a was last, even with Prolixic’s additional hinting and then only because I guessed 3d when Chris mentioned musical references, although I completely fail to see how the (3d) answer is derived from the clue.

    1. Newbie
      3d. Song or two about the Orient (9).
      The definition is song, and then you want two other words for song with E(ast) (i.e. Orient) in the middle.

      1. Thank you Gazza. Chambers online thesaurus lists the word after the ‘E’ for song, although I don’t think I’ve come across that word used for song.

        I quite agree, btw, with your ** for enjoyment, there wasn’t a lot involved.

      1. Thank you Shrike. I got lucky there from having a degree in music and the word was lurking somewhere in that part of my mind. As I said, there was no way I could work it out from the clue. Should have looked in the thesaurus earlier.

  10. Hi all,
    First time on the Blog, enjoyed todays puzzle though not sure about 19d my Oxford dictionary shows it as one word and not hyphenated, or have I got it wrong?

    1. Hi Drwho – welcome to the blog.
      In Chambers the answer is given as two words (4,3) so you can take your pick!

  11. I agree with some of the comments above; it would be better if the Saturday crossword was tougher after all most people have more time to devote to it. Much as I enjoy doing it I do find it far easier that the weekday examples. Perhaps the crossword editor will pick up on this from our comments? The Prize Crossword should, in my view, be the flagship but I’m afraid it never is. I don’t wish to bleat but it seems that a few of us have this view.

    Today’s crossword was done without grief although I did have to check 6d. Rattled off.

  12. I know what people are saying about the Saturday puzzle but I reckon the DT have got it about right. The trouble with the tough ones as seen in the week is that they will out off the occasional solver who may only get a chance to have a go at the weekends (my wife falls into this group). Anyway it’s only in theory that you have more time at the weekends, my wife see to that!

    1. Peter
      6d. try clicking on the picture of the French novelist in the blog
      10a. Full of subject-matter or beef perhaps (5)
      You want an adjective meaning substantial, and it’s how you might describe a hamburger.

        1. Peter,
          Be grateful, if you had it in your garden, specifically Staghorn ***** it would be suckering everywhere. This is “NOT” something you want!

      1. Thank you Gazza, couldn’t think what 10a was but now, for the 3rd. week running – with an awful lot of help from you all – I’ve finished before Sunday lunch !

        1. and Libellule is quite correct, I’m still digging suckers of that tree from our garden four years after our neighbour cut HER tree down !

          1. Swap you some honey fungus?

            I was in the shop in a botanical garden yesterday and looked at two books about trees. No mention of that one in either index. So I feel less bad about not having heard of it. I see it is described elsewhere though.

  13. As I said before on a previous thread about the Sat Prize crossword, I have not done it this week, preferring to have a go at one by Bert Danher (1999) in the DT hardback book ‘A display of lights’. I am finding it quite hard work, and more challenging than today’s one.

    Incidentally, did anyone see a comment in the Times this week about how cryptic crosswords have changed over the years? One of the winners of the Times CWD competition was given crosswords from 1980, 1960 and 1940 to complete. He managed the first two but only got 13 answers from the 1940s one! This was because so many of the clues relied on literary/classics knowledge.

    I should imagine the changes in the Telegraph puzzles are simllar. In fact, the other DT hardback book ’80 years of the Telegraph crosswords’ admits this.

    Sometimes it’s fun to try these older puzzles. They can be very hard work but rewarding!

    1. I remember when my Mother used to do the Telegraph crossword in the 60’s and 70’s. As well as a dictionary she always had her book of quotations near at hand for the literary questions.

  14. I enjoyed today’s puzzle. Down to 3 clues but I shall have to wait to see the answers because even with the amount of help on this blog I can’t get them *sigh*

  15. Interesting note about the change in styles/difficulty of the DT cryptic which I entirely agree with. A bit like “A” levels I suppose!

  16. A lot of colloquial phrases as well as anagrams in this one. Good word play.
    Some people are wired for anagrams and they are usually good bridge players as well!
    I liked 18a, 26a & 28a also 3d, 6d, 16d &24d.

  17. You see Dave you go away on a jolly and all sorts of things creep in. The DT Saturday Crossword has always been easier than the weekday versions. And long may it remain so. I am, I expect, one of many thousands of other people who look forward to the Saturday paper each week and having a go. Nowadays I usually complete it but occassionally I need a nudge from yourselves with the odd clue. Reaching this stage provides me with a degree of satisfaction. I was therefore pleased to see this week that regular contributors to your blog were finding something to bite on and that it was not – Oh So Easy.
    A suggestion for those that wish to change things – put on your anoraks and go out to buy the other titles with more demanding puzzles. I’m also a little worried about Mary!

    1. And a welcome from me as well

      Glad to see Gazza has been looking after the blog for me – I’ll be back home late this evening.

    1. Yes – he can tear through a crossword in no time!
      Seriously, my objections to this puzzle are not simply that it’s too easy for a prize crossword. I think that some of the clues are just not very good, for example:
      5d. Surely this needs some reference to a vehicle?
      18a. The first part of the wordplay has the same meaning as the first part of the answer.
      25a. The surface reading is poor, and “fewer than a dozen” is a bit weak.

  18. Big Dave: thank you for your kind welcome and glad you’re keeping an eye on things.

    Little Dave: it’s where you left it – on the hook behind the door!

  19. Hi
    I am a bit of a straggler – if anyone is still out there, would love some help with 14D. Thank you

    1. Penny,

      The answer is an anagram of anyone can (the anagram indicator is “remove”) to give another word for chagrin.

  20. PennyE -there’s still life in the Marches ——–just!
    14D – try an anagram (remove)

  21. To Marchesman and Mary – check your spelling occasionally when on the road to Mandalay!
    To Mary – have you printed out from Google an article on “cricket fielding positions” as I recommended some puzzles back?

    Many years ago, at Yellowstone, we were watching a family of grizzly bears on the hillside and there was a great mob of photographers wielding their heavy equipment at the animals so I took a picture of them and one guy asked me why? and I answered your antics are much more interesting! Likewise, I find that reading the comments to the blog is often more rewarding than actually solving the puzzle!

  22. Thank you for sorting me with 19D – ironically, I had to put the puzzle down soon after I wrote the posting and as I was washing up inspiration came. Still have a few more to do… but will limp along. Thank you for this website – without it I would give up trying to solve the DT – (can never do them in the week)

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