DT 26159 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26159

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26159

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed by today’s puzzle. The cryptic definitions aren’t that brilliant and some of the surface readings don’t make a great deal of sense. You may well disagree, and, whether you do or not, we’d love to get a comment from you.
As always, the answers are hidden between the curly brackets under the relevant clue – just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal.

Across Clues

1a  Outstanding wealth (7)
{CAPITAL} – double definition, the first a dated interjection meaning excellent or outstanding.

5a  Radicals protecting revolutionary paper get greetings (7)
{REGARDS} – put a term used to describe left-wingers or communists around (protecting) a derogatory description of a downmarket newspaper which has to be reversed (revolutionary).

9a  Dimwit with sheet stupidly to conform (4,4,3,4)
{SWIM WITH THE TIDE} – an anagram (stupidly) of DIMWIT WITH SHEET produces a phrase meaning to act according to prevailing opinion, go with the flow, follow the herd. The surface reading doesn’t make much sense.

10a  A longing — something that could be dropped? (5)
{AITCH} – put together A and a synonym for longing. ‘ow ‘ilarious!

11a  Public row simmering about European to grow excessively? (9)
{OVERTOWER} – start with an adjective meaning in plain view (public) and add an anagram (simmering) of ROW around E(uropean).

12a  Ready to drop tax due? He’s crafty (9)
{EXHAUSTED} – the definition is ready to drop. We want an anagram (crafty) of TAX DUE HE’S.

14a  Firm left within two years in modest fashion (5)
{COYLY} – an adverb meaning modestly is constructed from the abbreviation for company (firm) followed by two Y(ear)s with L(eft) between them (within).

15a  Headwear among team I treasured (5)
{MITRE} – hidden (among) in the clue is a bishop’s headdress.

16a  Balanced verdict finally in resolution of my crimes (9)
{SYMMETRIC} – put the final letter of verdicT inside an anagram (resolution) of MY CRIMES to get a synonym for balanced.

18a  Directions fellow left by tree — and brief update of event? (9)
{NEWSFLASH} – start with all four cardinal points (directions) and add F(ellow), L(eft) and a type of tree to get what the TV channels call “breaking news”.

21a  Noise coming from staff? (5)
{MUSIC} – a weakish cryptic description of what is produced from the notes written on or between five parallel lines (staff).

22a  Story about bell by bridge and dog (8,7)
{SPRINGER SPANIEL} – story is SPIEL. Put words for a bell and a bridge inside to get a breed of dog.

23a  Extremely neat ditties played (7)
{TIDIEST} – an anagram (played) of DITTIES.

24a  Steed, perhaps, with endless energy prancing after a victory (7)
{AVENGER} – start with A V(ictory) and add an anagram (prancing) of ENERG(y). John Steed was one of these in the cult 1960s TV series (the scripts may have been rubbish, but who cared about the script when you could watch Diana Rigg cavorting in black leather!).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

Down Clues

1d  Rotten chap nailed by legal action to fall? (7)
{CASCADE} – a verb meaning to fall, often used of water, is constructed by putting a rotten chap or bounder inside (nailed by) what gets tried in court (legal action).

2d  Wanted other pint badly? Enjoy unbridled celebration (5,3,4,3)
{PAINT THE TOWN RED} – an anagram (badly) of WANTED OTHER PINT produces a phrase meaning to celebrate to excess.

3d  Dwelling on how suet is cooked (4,5)
{TOWN HOUSE} – an anagram (is cooked) of ON HOW SUET gives us a tall, narrow, terraced dwelling.

4d  Release sign put round sides of tug (3,2)
{LET GO} – put one of the signs of the zodiac round the outside letters (sides) of T(u)G.

5d  Port and river trailed by aquatic mammal on embankment (9)
{ROTTERDAM} – this very large port in the Netherlands is made up of R(iver), an aquatic animal (Tarka?) and a barrier or embankment.

6d  Weighty set of bars, we hear (5)
{GREAT} – this adjective, meaning large or weighty, sounds like (we hear) a framework of bars, used, for example, to contain an indoor fire.

7d  Track interruption on journey? (7,8 )
{RAILWAY CROSSING} – unless I’m missing something, this is just a weakish cryptic definition of a place where road and rail share the same bit of ground, but preferably not at the same time.

8d  Put total confidence in way Serb trained (5,2)
{SWEAR BY} – an anagram (trained) of WAY SERB.

13d  A willing account? (9)
{TESTAMENT} – cryptic definition of one’s last wishes.

14d  The best couples in cafe kept teatime indulgence? (5,4)
{CREAM CAKE} – the definition is teatime indulgence (it’s naughty but it’s nice!). Start with a term for the very best and add the first two letters (couples in) of each of CAfe KEpt.

15d  Beware of group showing fixed outlook (7)
{MINDSET} – put together an injunction to beware of something (like the gap on the London Underground) and a synonym for group to get an established, fixed attitude.

17d  Unusual lack in this French king, one laughing noisily (7)
{CACKLER} – this, in French, is CE – put an anagram (unusual) of LACK inside and finish with R(ex) (king) to get someone who has an obtrusive, loud laugh.

19d  Criminal, one on course causing refusal? (5)
{FENCE} – double definition, the second a cryptic description of an obstacle to be jumped on a racecourse or in a show jumping arena.

20d  Prophet whose attraction has no bounds (5)
{HOSEA} – the name of this Old Testament prophet is hidden in the inside (has no bounds) of “whose attraction”.

I liked 12a and 2d but my favourite clue today was 24a. Let us know what you thought in a comment!

36 comments on “DT 26159

  1. Another fairly enjoyable puzzle, not too difficult generally, but a few challenges.

    I had the answer to 22a before realising the wordplay, and thought the clue was quite neat.

    Groaned when I eventually solved 24a, but it also brought back boyhood memories for me of Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. Wow!! Thanks for the link Gazza.

    Favourites probably 18a, 22a and 2d.

    1. Thanks for that – got all but 6 clues on a plane to Turkey – coming back today and at least I can now read my book!

  2. A solid if not over challenging puzzle, but then who cares when 24a brings back such great memories. Oh for those black leather cat suits again. My palpitations have started again.

  3. Second fairly straightforward puzzle this week. I especially liked 22a. My 14 year old daughter was on train with me this morning and saw the answer and asked how that could be. Once I explained it she laughed , maybe I’ve started something ! Mind you the spiel part took some explaining, not a word your average 14 year old uses I would imagine. If on the another hand it had been a word such as blood or innit, she would have been just fine :-)

  4. Re 19d; are the last two words really needed, or do they simply add to the surface reading of the clue?

  5. Good but maybe not quite as polished of some of the recent Tuesday treats. Favourite clue for me was 2d.

  6. A fairly easy puzzle with some good clues, but a number of disappointing ones.

    I agree with your comments, Gazza, re 9a & 7d.

    11a. Simmering as anagram indicator??

    14d. Didn’t like “couples”. Got the answer without inderstanding that – until I read your explanation. It seemed a bit clumsy to me.

  7. Too many anagrams that stood out like sore thumbs in the surface reading and not enough wit to balance them for me. Haven’t ejoyed a crossword less in a long time.

  8. I managed ten today before the blog was available, so still firmly in the CC! Finally had to reveal 1d, even though I thought ‘cad’ had to be in there somewhere, and 9a, not exactly a common expression and not one of the 9.6 million entries in the anagram solver.

    11a as one word is not in any dictionary I use, so that didn’t come easily. I had 20d, but didn’t know why, as with ‘cake’ in 14d.

        1. I think that soar too high is the same as grow excessively, when applied to a plant or flower, say.

  9. the more of these I do, the more i begin to appreciate and understand comments like ‘poor surface reading’ etc., i found it difficult in lots of clues today to see exactly what the setter was looking for, however I liked 10a, 14d ( I actually did understand that one ), 24a, as for 11a, i have heard of ‘towering over ‘ someone as meaning much bigger than, but have never heard of ‘overtower’ to mean to grow excessively?? cant see it in Chambers either, pretty tough for us CC today, but well worth ‘working’ at :)

  10. Must have been straightforward as I got through it quite quickly today. Not sure about 11a though I do not have a Chambers dictionary so just assumed it would be in there. I liked 24a, 2d, 14d and 19d though best clue of the day for me was 22a.
    Which Chambers should I get?

    1. droopyh
      It’s “The Chambers Dictionary”. The 11th edition is the latest (unless a new one’s come out recently!). The cover price is £35, but you can get it a lot cheaper than that if you go to Amazon or ebay.

    2. Hi droopyh, when i started these about 8 months ago, i found the ‘Chambers crossword dictionary’ one of the best things i could have, i still recommend it and wouldn’t be without it, for Christmas I got The Chambers Dictionary’ 11th edition that Gazza mentioned, which is great but I still like my crossword dictionary best :), again you can get this from Amazon for about £9.99p soft cover

  11. I found this workmanlike although not particularly inspired. Got 14d without spotting the cake device – not too enamoured with it!.
    23a and 2d were probably favourites.

  12. Now you have explained the term “surface readng”, I agree that this puzzle didn’t score too highly in this regard. 22a, 2d and 20d stood out as exceptions to this comment. Would it be pedantic of me to suggest that an anagram should not contain the same word as the solution, as with with in 9a?

    1. Were I the setter, I may (facetiously) argue that the “with” in the answer is comprised of the last three letters in “dimwit” and the second letter in “sheet”!! Prove me wrong!!

    2. My 2 cents:
      I think with small words (I an the etc) there’s no real issue. Perhaps ‘with/from etc may be considered the same way.

      Over on the DIY COW Clue Writing website I recently created ‘Tungsten’:

      Metal forged model Sten Gun (8)

      7dgunpine who was judging that week pulled me (and one other) up saying:
      “Not too keen on STEN remaining unshuffled”

      I tended to agree with him since in such a short word it is a bit of a giveaway and pretty inelegant. There is possibly a difference when creating a longer phase so long as the word in question is an article or short conjunction.

  13. Enjoying a day off today so I tackled it over a cup of tea in M and S – initially not tuned in and struggled but after a cheese and pickle roll, a few jobs at home and some cardiovascular exercise I zipped through it. I must have either energised the brain cells or M and S tea contains some mind numbing propertties.

    A fair puzzle and nice to finish it.

  14. It was a straightforward workout. I got the last one, 7d, in a meeting. Multi-tasking! One or two odd clues.

  15. I agree with you Barrie, I think it is the setters style I can’t get into. I checked on my comments two weeks ago on a tuesday and I was going barmy with the puzzle. As I said then, it is not the setters fault, I just can’t get on his wavelength.
    I finish but the enjoyment is just not there.

  16. Perhaps tomorrow’s will be better? I actually quite enjoyed today’s but perhaps too many anagrams.

  17. Found today’s crossword relatively straightforward compared to the last few days. I fully agree with the poor surface reading, but ironically I think this is what made the puzzle easier for me, the anagrams stuck out like sore thumbs, and anagrams are always good to get some checking letters in.
    The more polished setters hide their anagrams and definitions much more neatly, which I think makes a difference to the difficulty level. Trying to work out what the setter is looking for is by far the hardest battle.
    I solved the puzzle on a train journey with no access to my electronic friend or this website which forced me to use the grey matter a little more.

  18. This is the quickest I’ve whizzed through a puzzle for a while – in stark contrast to yesterdays puzzle. There were lots of anagrams today, which helps. There are oftencomments on here about “anagram indicators” being dodgy but if they’re too obvious the clues would be too easy! If I miss an anagram I kick myself rather than blame the clue.

  19. Too many anagrams in this one.
    I liked 22a and of course 24a – one had to get away from the nag to Patrick and his birds! –
    4d, 5d & 14d.
    Otherwise pretty straightforward.

    Hope today’s DT arrives this afternoon – it is snowing again on this side of the North Sea.

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