DT 26162

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26162

A Year of Living Dangerously

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Libellule’s comment yesterday, about it being near the anniversary of his first review, prompted me to check through the archives to find my first, and, surprise, it was done on 12/02/2009. So I have been doing these reviews for a year, during which time I must have written about 140 – I’ve certainly learnt a lot and derived a good deal of enjoyment from doing them.
Today’s puzzle from Giovanni is full of cultural references, ranging from grand opera to nursery rhymes, via music hall and children’s comics. I enjoyed it – how about you? Leave us a comment.
As usual, the answer to each clue is hidden between the curly brackets under it. Just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal it.

Across Clues

1a  Cads now ardently grilled in police department (3,8,4)
{NEW SCOTLAND YARD} – an anagram (grilled) of CADS NOW ARDENTLY produces the name of the famous headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, with the rotating sign so beloved by TV News producers. I’m not sure in what way it can be called a department.

9a  The old woman shielding a fellow in battle (7)
{MAGENTA} – “the old woman” is MA. Put a male inside (shielding) to get the name of a battle, fought in Northern Italy in 1859. Later that same year a newly-discovered colour was named after the battle.

10a  Worker depriving freedom fighter of power (7)
{ARTISAN} – remove the initial P(ower) from an alternative name for a freedom fighter to leave a worker.

11a  Second journey made by Heather as a youngster (9)
{STRIPLING} – if you see heather in a clue, with or without a capital H, then the first possibility to check out for it is LING. In this case we want to precede this with S(econd) and a synonym for journey.

12a  Female who got frozen outside a city in America (5)
{MIAMI} – the heroine of Puccini’s opera La Bohème (to whom Rodolfo sings Che Gelida Manina – “your tiny hand is frozen”) needs to be put around (outside) A to get a city in Florida.

13a  Peculiar stone on grassland (7)
{STRANGE} – the definition is peculiar. Start with the abbreviation for stone (as in 14 lbs) and add a word for a large area of grassland.

15a  Craft with which contrary girl ensnares boy (7)
{MASONRY} – put the name of the quite contrary nursery rhyme girl around (ensnares) a male child (boy) to get the craft of working with stone. I hope that Giovanni is not having a go at one of our favourite Welsh contributors!

17a  Decomposed matter containing monarch’s bone (7)
{HUMERUS} – place the Queen’s initials inside decomposed matter to get a funny bone.

19a  Rod gets led astray by slanted presentation (7)
{SPINDLE} – an anagram (astray) of LED follows (by) a slanted presentation (perhaps by a politician or his doctor) to get a synonym for rod.

21a  Collapse leader of Government may be regretting (5)
{RUING} – the definition is regretting and we want a word meaning collapse or devastation followed by the first letter (leader) of Government.

23a  Mama rants about fellow carrying weapon (3-2-4)
{MAN-AT-ARMS} – an anagram (about) of MAMA RANTS gives us an archaic term for a heavily armed, mounted soldier.

25a  Sort of builder hugging Dad, not a little fellow (7)
{TIDDLER} – the sort of builder who finishes off a roof surrounds (hugging) D(a)D (without the A) to get a little chap.

26a  Worry about small library’s quality (7)
{CALIBRE} – put a synonym for worry or concern around an abbreviated (small) LIBrary to get a word meaning quality or standard.

27a  Bird given long peer with fancier excited (9,6)
{PEREGRINE FALCON} – an anagram (excited) of LONG PEER and FANCIER produces a bird of prey.

Down Clues

1d  Downfall of one lacking love, one in disarray (7)
{NEMESIS} – a word for an inescapable downfall is constructed from (o)NE (one without the zero score in tennis) followed by I (one) inside a word for disarray or an untidy state.

2d  Venture can bring remuneration, right? (5)
{WAGER} – a venture or risky speculation is assembled from a weekly remuneration followed by R(ight).

3d  Pence Nora shelled out for kitchen item (3,6)
{CAN OPENER} – an indispensible kitchen item is an anagram (shelled out) of PENCE NORA. I’m not at all keen on shell out as an anagram indicator! – what do you think?

4d  Four or five may suggest such a break is needed (7)
{TEATIME} – cryptic definition of the hour at which cucumber sandwiches or other light refreshments may be taken.

5d  Combination offered by a bad French school (7)
{AMALGAM} – a mixture or blend (combination) is formed by a charade of A, a French word meaning bad (as seen in “malaise”) and a collective noun (school) for whales.

6d  A bit upset over hesitation to provide piece of information (5)
{DATUM} – this is one of these words (like die, the singular form of dice) which is scarcely used these days because its plural form has evolved to encompass the singular as well as the plural. It means a piece of information and it’s made from TAD (a bit) which has to be reversed (upset) and followed by a filler word expressing hesitation.

7d  Dean’s a bit squiffy — should have this? (9)
{ABSTAINED} – an anagram (squiffy) of DEAN’S A BIT produces what he should have done if he wanted to remain sober.

8d  Smarten up if appearing in children’s publication (7)
{DANDIFY} – put IF inside (appearing in) the name of the comic which used to boast characters like Desperate Dan, Keyhole Kate and Korky the Cat.

14d  Prompt, having snatched a rest (9)
{REMAINDER} – a prompt (as used in the theatre) has A inserted (having snatched) to make a word meaning rest, what’s left over.

16d  I can still turn out to be a bright spark (9)
{SCINTILLA} – an anagram (turn out) of I CAN STILL.

17d  Dance across a road, beginning to thump car (7)
{HARDTOP} – a type of car with a rigid roof is made from a dance which has inside (across) A, an abbreviated road and the first letter (beginning to) of Thump.

18d  Man with musket coming to old city, excellent warrior (7)
{SAMURAI} – man with musket is a reference to a character in a monologue which Stanley Holloway used to recite in the days of Music Hall. Start with the character’s name and add the usual old biblical city and AI (A1, excellent) to get a member of the military caste in feudal Japan.

19d  Plant is clean after treatment (7)
{SANICLE} – an anagram (after treatment) of IS CLEAN gives us a woodland plant.

20d  Festival given name in Japan for instance? (7)
{EASTERN} – Add N(ame) to a Spring festival to get a word meaning oriental (in Japan for instance).

22d  Good university to fall behind, becoming a nasty camp (5)
{GULAG} – a charade gives us a forced labour camp in the Soviet Union.

24d  Old music-maker is dissident Liberal turning Conservative (5)
{REBEC} – start with a word for a dissident, and by changing the final L(iberal) to C(onservative) you get a mediaeval instrument with three strings, shaped like a mandolin.

The clues I enjoyed included 12a, 14a and 8d, but my favourite is 18d. What do you think? – leave us a comment!


  1. Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations on your “anniversary” Gazza

    This is actually your 161st post according to the stats!

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Dave. You know what they say about statistics!

      • mary
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

        congrats Gazza and very well done, you made me feel really welcome when i first found the blog and were full of encouragement, thank you, by the way what do they say about statistics?? :)

        • gazza
          Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

          There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

          • shrike1313
            Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Many happy returns, Gazza.

            As Vic Reeves said, 88.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

            • Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

              These are Kosher!

              Anax 21
              Big Dave 357
              Gazza 161
              Libellule 67
              petebiddlecombe 47
              Prolixic 1
              Rishi 13
              Tilsit 80

              but note that they are not all crosswords.

              • mary
                Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

                if not crosswords then what? can’t possibly be ages, except maybe Annax :)

                • Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  In the early days of The Puzzler magazine there was a quotation puzzle whose answer was:

                  Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal may be enticing but what conceal is vital.

                  To this day I’ve wondered if the author of that was on drugs.

  2. Kram
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations Gazza, and many, many thanks for your excellent evaluation of the 161 crosswords, but thanks also go to all of the team of ‘Bloggers’.

  3. Jezza
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    As always, a belter from Giovanni. Took me a little longer than normal; had never heard of 24d. Wish all the Telegraph puzzles were of this standard…

    • gnomethang
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink | Reply

      I knew 24d from Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’. Who says sci-fi nerds don’t get old artistic references!

    • Vince
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      How many of us will have heard of this, Jezza??? Will you remember it for the next time?

      Had also never heard of 19d.

      • Jezza
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink | Reply

        … I will add it to my list of “unheard of musical instruments for crossword puzzles”… I seem to recall there have been 2 or 3 in recent weeks.

  4. Mike (Touchwood)
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent puzzle today, and excellent review as usual.

    I found this a little more difficult than usual – and was held up by 26a, for which I tentatively had SA(L)VAGE (worry about small library) but of course couldn’t get to quality. Also 19d is unknown to me – I could see the anagram but had to resort to electronic assistance for the answer.

  5. Yoshik
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    As always Giovanni comes up trumps.

    It took me longer than normal but I do not mind, as the quality was high and some words which were at the back of my mind.

    Loved the reference in 8d to Dandy. Can someone create a clue for Beano. Two great childhood memories.

  6. gnomethang
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    Happy ‘Blogday gazza!.
    Fridays with Giovanni is like jumping into yer old school swimming pool: A pit of a shock at first if you are cold, but once you warm up it becomes very pleasant and nostalgic.

    COD for me went to 25a for the splendidly contrary diversion in the surface reading. Second was 18d.
    Thanks to gazza and Giovanni for the entertainment.

    • mary
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      trouble is gnomething, if you can’t swim, as i couldn’t when i had to get into that horrible old outdoor pool, covered in ice and algae, you remain shivering in the shallow end :)

  7. shrike1313
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I actually “finished” this one (with the help of all five Clued Up hints, Chambers online, Best for Puzzles, Big Dave’s “Mine” and The Crossword Solver – I don’t think they will get me out of the CC yet!). Learned some new meanings to two words – “Gam”, which I didn’t think referred to a fish (a fish like mammal, anyway), and “Ling”, which I did think referred to a fish.

    My favourite was 18down for the Stanley Holloway reference. There is a great quote from him about Rex Harrison when they were starring in the stage production of “My Fair Lady” (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001322/bio) – you will need to scroll down to get the story.

    There were a couple of alternative spellings too, 19 and 21 across made more difficult because of this.

    Overall, I found it entertaining and informative.

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the link, Shrike. That quote was later used by Private Eye to headline a story about a football manager (Tommy Docherty, I think) being thumped by a supporter.

      • Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I remember that. A little voice in my head says it was Brian Clough but I may be misremembering.

  8. Libellule
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Happy birthday :-) I wondered if 12a was a reference to this http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186363/, but I did think it was highly unlikely :-)

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Libellule. I think it’s highly unlikely as well.

  9. mary
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No, no, no, I didn’t like it, i appreciate it and the reading of most of the clues, but too many things i hadn’t heard of, i, like Shrike completed it with so much help that i will not graduate from CC for a long time to come, sometimes i find them hard but still enjoy them, sorry to say that today i didn’t enjoy at all, for myself i think we have had easier toughies, how you doing Barrie?? :)

    • Barrie
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Amazingly enough for the second week running I’ve finished a Giovanni! Struggled with 20d until I realised I had mispelt 26a ending it with er instead of re DOH! Would perhaps take a little issue with 1a, surely this is not a department of police rather the HQ of the MET, perhaps a little picky. Best clue for me without doubt 17d, very clever but I had already tried every make of car I could think of before going a little sideways! Nice to see the Craft get a mention, those of you on the square will know what I mean.
      Found it hard going but in the end very satisfying.

      • mary
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

        well done Barrie, maybe its a change of attitude towards the Giovanni crosswords, now you know you can do them, that helps, because the two that you finished, last weeks and this, i think have been two of the toughest, i also put er instead of re! :)

  10. prolixic
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It is only me or did Giovanni turn up the heat today? I sweated over a few of these clues.

    As ever, quality stuff from Giovanni and great fun to solve. Happy Blogday to Gazza and thanks to Giovanni for keeping us on our toes and entertained.

    Favourite clues were 12a and 25a.

    • Vince
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I found 25a frustrating. I tried for ages to fit “toddler” to the clue, before I remembered that this has come up before. Previously, a tiddler was a fish to me!

  11. Newbie
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hopeless today, utterly hopeless! But well done, Shrike! I managed just 3 all on my own: 11a, I supposed Heather was probably ‘ling’; 23a, an easy anagram; 3d, another easy anagram, where I thought the indicator was quite good. I did get 5d, with help and looking up ‘gam’, a new word. Possibly bottom of the CC today … how embarrassing is that!!

    • Barrie
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Stick it with my friend, I have only just in the last 2 weeks managed to begin to untangle a Giovanni. I know how frustrating it is believe me.

      • shrike1313
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks newbie – I used every cheat in the book, though..

        • mary
          Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

          me too Newbie (but its not cheating, its learning :) )

        • gnomethang
          Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink | Reply


          Intersesting thoughts on ‘cheating’ or not.

          My motto is “Unto thine own self be true”

          • mary
            Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

            excellent article gnomething, i think as i’ve said before as the article does as long as we are learning from it, its fine :)

            • gnomethang
              Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Permalink | Reply


          • gazza
            Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Thanks for that, gnomethang – very interesting. I can’t believe that there are some people who consider it cheating to verify an answer in a dictionary after they’ve found it. They can’t learn much, and it makes you wonder why they own a dictionary at all.

            • mary
              Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

              I feel i have learnt an awful lot from so called ‘cheating’ :)

            • gnomethang
              Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

              “Rebec” in the DT today was a classic example.
              The wordplay was clear (REBEL) changing Liberal to Conservative = REBEC.
              BUT if you did not know the word you would surely look it up and confirm.
              If one was in a ‘blind’ competition I would hope that one would write the word in (hoping for 100% instead of 97%)
              As stated by Vince & Jezza in the ‘blog – How many people have heard of it?.
              I happen to know of the instrument, so I am alright Jack!, but Jezza has committed it to memory and will know the word upon the next clue. The fact that he may have searched for the answer is irrelevant (unless he paraded the puzzle around the pub shouting “I did it!, I did it!”)

  12. sarumite
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations on your year in office Gazza, and thanks for yet another fine review.
    As usual a cracking puzzle from Giovanni … so enjoyable to unravel one quality clue after another!
    Lots of favourites esp. 19a, 1d, 7d, 14d and 18d.
    How many others initially thought that 10a probably started ANT????, I certainly did, and wondered if Giovanni had purposely worded the clue in this way as a red herrring?

    • Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Certainly I did. This was my final clue, and I thought one of the harder challenges in a fairly difficult, but very fair puzzle. Agree with others that 25a is up there with “clues to remember”.

  13. Roger
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This was tough one. Never heard of rebec and whatever that plant was. Some very nice clues though, quite enjoyable.

  14. Nubian
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another quality puzzle from the Maestro.
    25a has got to be the pinnincle of the art of crossword clues.
    I must read up on Napoleon’s battles. Ive now got Magenta as well as Marengo to remember.

    • Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink | Reply


      A small glitch in the .com department (now amended) sent your last two comments into moderation!!

      • Nubian
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Dave

    • Libellule
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You have a lot more than two to remember..
      Heres a list of all the battles fought during the Napoleanic Wars. Mind you Napolean didn’t fight all of them. His other Generals fought Wellington in the Peninsular war. The first time Wellington met Napolean was at Waterloo.

      • Nubian
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Libellule, I think I have hit a nerve somewhere,there is a thin line between bloggers giving gentle hints and reminders to being bombarded with facts. Nevertheless I am always grateful for any help I get. Looks my summer reading list in Carcassonne will be sorted.

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      ..and Magenta certainly wasn’t fought by the little corporal. It took place in 1859, long after he’d breathed his last.

      • Nubian
        Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Gazza
        Is this a different Napoleon ?
        Magenta – a battle in 1859 in which the French and Sardinian forces under Napoleon III defeated the Austrians under Francis Joseph I

        • gazza
          Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Yes. The Corsican was Napoleon I.

          • Nubian
            Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Merci a vous!

          • Libellule
            Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Ahh of course – thats the Napolean who surrendered duriing the Franco-Prussian War, which precipated the Siege of Paris and the Commune.

  15. Nubian
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats on a year in the Big Dave’s Blogasphere Gazza

  16. Nubian
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry Dave, just noticed I had entered myname.cmo

  17. David Howes
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I spoke too soon. After finding yesterday’s puzzle and absolute doddle I was completly stumped today. 16d?

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I presume that you’re on a device which won’t allow the answers between the brackets to be revealed. 16d is scintilla.

    • gnomethang
      Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Chambers gives Scintilla as either a Spark or a Trace, Hint as in “Not a scintilla of truth”. We want the former.
      BTW, did you go to the Maths School?

  18. Giovanni
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks one and all

  19. Chris
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent puzzle thanks to Giovanni.
    Loads of great clues with deliberate (?) distractions like the worker in 10ac and decomposed in 17ac.
    19 and 24 down were both new to me.
    1ac and 4d seemed less scintillant than the rest.

  20. Little Dave
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great crossword and all done save 19d, 26a and 24d. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  21. Claire
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great one – tricky but very satisfying! Only needed help with three. Spent ages thinking the ‘answer to 13a was a grassland and the only one I could think of was Savanna. Oh well! Liked 1d & 19a,26a. Thanks Gazza,happy days!

  22. Philbro
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Taxing crossword today, really had to work at it and had to resort to reference books. Didn’t get 19d even though I knew it was an anagram.

  23. Derek
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable – as usual from Giovanni! Many good clues.
    I liked 9a, 12a, 15a, 17a as well as the two 15-lettered clues. 1d was my best choice followed by 4d & 16d.
    Teatime in GB is traditionally at 4PM but the French call it le five-o’clock pronounced feeve!

  24. Posted February 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m having trouble finishing this one, but is 4d really as poor as I think it is?

    • gazza
      Posted February 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m assuming that you know that the answers are hidden between the curly brackets!
      In the comment above yours Derek names 4d as one of his favorite clues and he includes the answer in his comment.

      • Posted February 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Gazza, I do know that, but I don’t look at the answers until I’ve given up!

        I think 4dis a very poor cryptic clue, I’m afraid. I was interested to see whether there was a clever angle to it that I hadn’t spotted, but there doesn’t seem to be.

        BTW, now finished without reference to the brackets. Never heard of sanicle, but just went through the possible anagrams until one came up trumps. Ditto rebec.

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Comment on the menu) first. If you are asking a question, please check if it is already answered in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *