DT 26168 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26168

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26168

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

You may have gathered that Giovanni is not exactly flavour of the week on parts of this site, but he invariably produces exceedingly good puzzles, and this one is well up there. Let us know in a comment whether you enjoyed it as much as I did.
For new readers, the answer to each clue is hidden in the curly brackets under the clue. Drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal it.

Across Clues

1a  Underground location? Graves may be found here (4,6)
{WINE CELLAR} – the careful positioning of Graves in the clue so that its capital letter does not stand out is an attempt to disguise the fact that what is meant is bottles of wine rather than tombs (Graves being wines from the Bordeaux region). So where would you store your wine bottles underground?

6a  Are parliamentarians sorting expenses initially in recess? (4)
{APSE} – a topical surface reading – a church recess is spelled out by the first letters (initially) of the first four words.

9a  Student beginning to spurn female artist — ‘heretic’ (10)
{SEMINARIAN} – the definition is student (one training to be a priest). Start with the initial letter (beginning) of Spurn, add the surname of the female artist (and Royal Academician) who achieved notoriety by exhibiting her unmade bed a decade ago, and finish with ARIAN (an adherent of Arianism, whose beliefs on the nature of Christ differ from the orthodox Christian view).

10a  Last bit of crossword somebody finished (4)
{DONE} – put the last letter (bit) of crossworD in front of an impersonal pronoun.

12a  This could lead to baker performing acrobatic moves (12)
{BREAKDANCING} – the definition is performing acrobatic moves – it’s a reverse anagram, because if you read the answer as a clue (consisting of anagram fodder followed by anagram indicator, in this case) then the answer to that clue (this could lead to) is baker. If you’ve never come across this sort of clue before, I know that it’s a bit difficult to grasp, but it’s worth getting to grips with because we do seem to be getting more of them. Once you’ve twigged what is going on in this clue you can be pretty sure that either the first or last five letters of the answer will be an anagram of BAKER.

15a  Ladies trained to become models (6)
{IDEALS} – an anagram (trained) of LADIES.

16a  Accounts by means of verbal expressions (8 )
{INVOICES} – accounts, which may arrive through your door in brown envelopes, could also , if split as (2,6), be ways of speaking.

18a  Being persistent, snatching a kiss outside (8 )
{EXTERNAL} – being persistent describes something that never stops. Inside (snatching) put X (a kiss) to get an adjective meaning outside.

19a  Achieve two top grades having kept off the booze at home (6)
{ATTAIN} – the definition is achieve. I initially thought that two top grades would be A and B, but we actually want two of the former – between these (having kept) put the abbreviation for teetotaller and finish with a short word meaning at home, i.e. not out.

21a  What an expensive hired assassin will do in more ways than one (4,1,7)
{MAKE A KILLING} – literally this is what a hired assassin will do, but figuratively, because he’s expensive, he’ll also earn a lot of money. This phrase is often used in the stock market to describe a very successful deal.

24a  Was aware of modern sounds (4)
{KNEW} – a verb meaning was aware of sounds like another word meaning modern.

25a  Issue showing senior police officer’s commendation (10)
{DISTRIBUTE} – the senior police officer, as so often, is Detective Inspector, so we start with DI’S, then add a synonym for commendation.

26a  Part inside petrol engine (4)
{ROLE} – hidden (inside) in the clue is a word meaning part. Part, which is normally a hidden indicator, is this time the definition.

27a  No drone can move in a systematic pattern (10)
{ORDONNANCE} – an anagram (move) of NO DRONE CAN produces a word, new to me, which means the proper arrangement of figures in a picture or design.

Down Clues

1d  Coat of paint wife put on wood (4)
{WASH} – the definition is coat of paint. Start with W(ife) and add a tree.

2d  English fellow’s rising reputation (4)
{NAME} – reverse (rising) E(nglish) and a synonym for fellow.

3d  Bossy sort who demands choice of TV channel? (7,5)
{CONTROL FREAK} – cryptic definition of someone who is obsessive about being in charge (bossy sort) – just the sort who insists on keeping hold of the TV remote.

4d  Song introduced by army officer — it’s ropy (6)
{LARIAT} – put a song inside (introduced by) the abbreviation for lieutenant.

5d  Presenting the silver when interrupted by strife and noise (8 )
{AWARDING} – the definition is presenting – start with the chemical symbol for silver and inside this (interrupted by) put WAR (strife) and a synonym for noise.

7d  Unsophisticated friend keeps wanderin’ about on island (10)
{PROVINCIAL} – the definition is unsophisticated (it being a well-known fact that anyone living outside the M25 cannot possibly know how to handle a knife and fork!) – start with a synonym for friend, and inside this put ROVIN (roving with the final G dropped, to match wanderin’ in the clue) and the abbreviation for the group of islands, which though British, is geographically nearer to France. This abbreviation is not normally used for an individual island but for the group as a whole. [Vince has pointed out (see his comment) that the CI is more likely to come from C(irca) and I(sland) – I agree]

8d  Encouraging green sign — I must get moving (10)
{ENERGISING} – an anagram (must get moving) of GREEN SIGN I.

11d  Striving to be successful and happy, one getting round in pub (2,10)
{IN CONTENTION} – the answer is a phrase meaning striving to be successful. Build it up from a synonym for happy followed by I (one) and O (round) all inside another word for pub.

13d  One may relax with a churchwarden (4-6)
{PIPE-SMOKER} – amusing cryptic definition of someone who enjoys a quiet puff. Up until 2004 (when it was discontinued) there was an annual award given to someone noted for doing this, and over the years this was won by such diverse individuals as Harold Wilson, Patrick Moore and Stephen Fry.

14d  Terminal strikes (5,5)
{DEATH KNELL} – another cryptic definition, this time of the tolling of a bell to announce someone’s passing.

17d  Impertinent female friend in Paris, dishonest type (8 )
{FAMILIAR} – the definition is impertinent, for example a child addressing an older person by their first name. It’s a charade of F(emale), a (male) friend in French and someone who tells porkies.

20d  British before game the worse for wear (6)
{BLOTTO} – put B(ritish) before a game similar to bingo to get a slang term for what Private Eye might call “tired and emotional” (the worse for wear). The surface reading invokes images of British football fans abroad.

22d  Revolution in Italian city (not Italy’s capital) (4)
{TURN} – we want a revolution (in the sense of a twirl, not a rebellion) – so remove the I (Italy’s capital) from the name of an Italian city (for football fans, it’s where Juventus live; for motoring aficionados it’s the home of Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo; for cold-weather types it’s where the 2006 Winter Olympics were held; and for Christians it has a shroud).

23d  Charity event making money over short time (4)
{FETE} – put what is charged by professional types (money) around (over) T(ime) to get a summertime charity event, often punningly coupled with “worse than death”.

The clues I liked included 1a, 9a, 12a, 11d and 14d, but my clue of the day is 13d. What do you think? Let us know via a comment.

66 comments on “DT 26168

  1. I really enjoyed this. Took me a long time to solve, with 9a causing me all sorts of problems. 11d and 12a my favourites. Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable mental workout!

  2. Bravo Dave– Some of these i would never have got without your help. Found 9a, 5d and 13a most confusing, but am beginning to learn the setters crafty ways.Cheers!

    1. Gazza wrote this one, not me.

      I did, however, comment elsewhere that this was, in my opinion, an excellent puzzle and I hope that yesterday’s Toughie was just a blip.

  3. This is a classic Giovanni. Top drawer puzzle.

    However it was by no means easy, and for me it came in spurts. Once I had done 1/3rd the rest fell into place, but what a struggle to get going.

    As I patently hate Graves I had put that to the back of my mind thus making a grave mistake.

    13d was the clue of the day. Many will say that for them this was how this puzzle feels. It will sound the death knoll on their efforts.

  4. Lovely puzzle. I agree with Jezza about 9d (and12a) holding me up in the top half.
    Favourites were 13d, 1a and 7d.
    Thanks to gazza for the review and Giovanni for the puzzle.

  5. Really enjoyable.For some reason the NE corner was the last to go in.
    Favourites 16a and 7d.
    Can`t entirely agree with you Yoshik, I must admit I`ve been close to 20d on a few occasions from the old red version.

  6. Excellent puzzle, but very difficult for this level, I thought. Got a great deal of satisfaction from completing it.

    Before this, I knew “ordnance” and “ordinance”; now I know “ordonnance”!

    Gazza, I thought that the CI in 7d came from C(irca) for “about”, on I(sland)??

    1. I thought that too Vince – I think you could probably read it both ways though. If you take wanderin’ about as rovin’ then CU will work, if wanderin’ for rovin’ then your C + I will work.

  7. As you say at the top, Gazza, exceedingly good puzzle. 13d a lovely clue, but one I’ve a feeling I’ve come across in the past by the speed at which the answer went in. 9a very clever. Like you, struggled to link CI to single island, but with this clue construct it’s either that or ‘endless spies’ for CI, or whatever.
    Thanks for analysis – no time for Toughie today – and I’ve still got yesterday’s two to catch up with later.

  8. I think there must be a gap in my knowledge – can someone tell me the relevance of Church Warden in 13d?

    1. I think it is a type of pipe – I vaguely remember it being referred to in a Sherlock Holmes story. Hope this helps.

        1. Shrike1313

          Don’t worry about it – it happens all the time. If you had tried posting on some other sites you can find that you are beaten to the punch by 5 or 6 others.

  9. Cracking puzzle from Giovanni today. Great fun to solve and some tricky clues. I kept wanting to put “standing” in 11d for one getting round in pub! Favourite clues were 12a, 16a, 3d and 11d. Many thanks to Giovanni and thanks for the notes Gazza.

        1. Fi
          Quite often, if you click on a picture in the reviews you’ll get more information. But not always – sort of lucky dip, really!

          1. I do normally – I think I was so far up the wrong path that it didn’t occur to me that the Church Warden could be the name of a pipe. Which is why I am in the CC!

            1. Thank you for asking Fi. I didn’t know to click on the picture so I was wonderin’ the same thing! I still don’t really get all the reverse anagram stuff on 12a either. Needed help today. CCs unite!!!

              1. Chablisdiamond
                On 12a the answer is breakdancing. You can see this as an anagram (indicated by dancing) of BREAK, and an anagram of BREAK is BAKER – so as the clue says “This (i.e. the answer) could lead to baker”.

  10. Very enjoyable, much better than yesterday’s Toughie. Nice precise clueing that is always fair and yet elegant.

    Top drawer stuff.

  11. I also needed a lot of help with this and then only got 20 finished. A reverse anagram is new to me, so thanks for the explanation. As usual some of the constructions are still too complex for me, eg 7d, 11d; still not seeing the significance of words like ‘about’ and ‘on’ to produce CI.

    I liked 1a and 21a, but 13d was also my favourite and brought back fond memories as an ex-smoker of nearly six years now. 22d was pretty easy, but the hints were fun!

    1. Geoff, I stopped smoking a pipe about ten years ago but kept my Church Warden for nostalgia sake, I got it in a specialist tobacco shop in Bath many years ago, one with bulls eye windows and a sign saying purveyors of fine tobacco to HRH. I just can;t throw it out.

      1. Nubian, I’ve still got some of my pipes as well, along with some very old black cherry baccy! Aren’t those little specialist shops wonderful? I recall visiting one in the lanes close to Hereford cathedral some years ago. Long gone days … probably just as well.

    2. Geoff,

      Circa is the Latin for about – abbreviation C. I is the abbreviation for island. This is a down clue, so the C goes “on” I.

    1. Ann
      We don’t always, but sometimes they visit the blog and tell us. Currently, Rufus does Mondays, Jay does Wednesday, Giovanni does Fridays, Cephas does Saturdays and Virgilius does Sundays.
      Tuesdays alternate between Ray T and Shamus, and we don’t know on Thursdays.

      1. Are any of these setters “easier” than others? I seen here and there lists of Guardian setters and those considered harder or easier.

        1. I’m not quite sure what your “sin” was, Sarah, but you were intercepted by the spam filter!!

          Monday and Saturday are generally regarded as the easier days, and sometimes Thursday. No formula applies to every week, however.

          1. Sorry Dave – no idea what set the bells ringing tho I did wonder why it flew away and didnt appear – cant recall my exact words – unless it was naming another newspaper being with G ending in N, 8 letters – apologies anyway. Have had the most blissful half-term since finding your website. Am now grinding my teeth at the thought of having to wait next week till the evening to get to the paper and the blog – roll on Easter hols.

  12. I really enjoyed the puzzle today, all quality clues and answers, I think you are right Dave, hopefully the other offering was just a blip.

  13. Struggled like mad with that. Finally did it by getting 7d but had no idea that it means unsophisticated but it was the only word I could make fit. 12a was my favourite and I’ve learnt a new word ‘ordonnance’. So that’s a week where I have done one in 7 minutes and one in 3 hours.

    1. I’ll admit to looking up 27a as the wordplay was clear and I was also ignorant of this spelling

      1. I spend half my time inventing words and looking them up in the dictionary to see if they exist.

  14. I realy enjoyed todays puzzle, & managed to finish without hints, fav clues 19a & 16a, though slight quibble here, are invoices actual accounts, as someone who frequently writes out invoices and keeps the accounts I would beg to differ? :) also for 23d, although it was obviously ‘fete’ doesn’t the clue read to give ‘feet’ money – ‘fee’ over short time ‘t’ = feet? how does over mean around? For a Giovanni crossword I found it to be one of his easier ones, thanks for blog Gazza

    1. Mary
      16a My Oxford Dictionary of English has for account: (chiefly British) a bill for goods or services provided over a period.
      23d Over can mean around (as well as before in a down clue).
      Well done on finishing it!

          1. now thats a handy hint – thanks Gazza – sometimes I think i could cut and paste these gems but then the list would just grow and grow and …………………….. and I’d never find the one I want ……….. will just keep on doing puzzles and hope it becomes more automatic.

  15. Thought this a brilliant puzzle. Giovanni should be flavour of century.
    5 stars for me.
    Favourite clues were 1a,16a, 25a and 5d
    Struggled with 16a.

  16. Normally Fridays are my favourite puzzle of the week but for this one I can’t say it was. There were interesting clues – liked the 12a construct as it is always nice to learn a new type of clue. Also a new word in 27a but my pet hate – 4 letter words – always put me in a bad mood when I am doing puzzles and this was full of them. Liked 1a for its word play.

    As a point of interest for any who are thinking about electronic devices there is an offer in today’s Telegraph for an Advanvced Chambers Crossword Solver. – £34.95 + p&p. Number is 0844 871 1499 or http://www.shop.telegraph.co.uk/v7800.

  17. Really enjoyed todays though it took me a while to get into it. Thanks Giovanni! Favourite clues – 1a,25a,3d & 14d. Thanks to to Gazza – like many of the CC I guessed (or maybe should say cleverly worked out!) several clues without having any idea of the resulting word (27a) or how I got there (9a). All good fun though! :-)

  18. In 5d I get most of your explanation – Silver being AG? argent/argentium and strife yes i see why war but synonym for noise IF iam following would be the letter I – prob. me being daft here.

      1. oh goodness yes – as i thought – me being daft. Still about 3/4 before heading for Big D’s blog so not too bad.

  19. Does anyone else have a brain that doesn’t appear to understand a clue at first, but seems to work on it in the background while you’re doing something else, and then gives you the answer easily an hour or so later? No? Just me, then.

  20. After my comment yesterday about how I felt I was improving, I only managed to solve about 1/2 of the clues today! I had 2 hours to wait while my car was being serviced so thought I was in with a good shot. Never mind, there’s always tomorrow. Oh, how I would love to win that pen! Thanks to Gazza for the explanation about ‘over’. I’ll try to remember that. I liked 9a (quite pleased with that one!) and 25a.

  21. Stuck all day with 7d then realised I had the answers for 6a and 10a in the wrong part of the grid. What a buffoon I am. Great crossword – a masterchef example. Tomorrow fish and chip standard probably.

  22. Good morning to all, we really enjoyed this puzzle from Giovanni. We started after a late dinner at 11pm and finished at 1am, albeit progressively slowied-down with wine and Leffe.
    His puzzles are sometimes more difficult than the toughies however the clueing does seem to be consistently fair.
    Thank you Giovanni, please keep right on as you are….and thank you to Big Dave and all of the bloggers for such a wonderful site.

  23. Another rollicking good treat from Giovanni!
    1a was the best clue for me but there were plenty of other good ones 13d & 22d for example.

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