DT 26183

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26183

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A fairly straightforward puzzle from Shamus today, but one with which I have a couple of niggles. Firstly, I don’t think that the cryptic definitions (12a, 19a and 24a) are really that good, and, secondly, “sign” is used in two clues to mean a letter (in 3d it’s used for “first letter”). I can’t really see how “sign of worse” (3d) can be stretched to mean W. Of course you may have a different view – all comments are welcome.
As always the answers are hidden so that you don’t see them by accident. Drag your cursor between the curly brackets under a clue to reveal the relevant answer.

Across Clues

1a  Examine closely tailoring of nicer suits (10)
{SCRUTINISE} – we start with an anagram (tailoring) of NICER SUITS.

6a  Depression not ending for poor neighbourhood (4)
{SLUM} – remove the final letter (not ending) from the sort of depression that most developed countries have been in during the last couple of years to leave a poor, run-down neighbourhood.

10a  Enthusiastic person close to exhaustion after march (5)
{DEMON} – the answer means a person of great energy or enthusiasm (although this is probably not the first meaning you’d think of for it). Put the last letter (close) of exhaustioN after a protest (march).

11a  Challenger, perhaps, following judge a source of new ideas? (5,4)
{THINK TANK} – Challenger is an example, signified by perhaps, of a land-based, enclosed armed vehicle (other examples might be Chieftain, Sherman, Tiger). Before this put a verb meaning consider or judge, and you end up with a group charged with coming up with new ideas.

12a  A runner’s base? (5,3)
{RIVER BED} – weakish cryptic definition of the bottom of something that runs, but only downhill.

13a  Glam headwear? It is pulled back by Middle Easterner mostly (5)
{TIARA} – reverse (pulled back) IT and add ARA(b) (Middle Easterner mostly).

15a  Favour eluding rogue (7)
{INDULGE} – a verb meaning to treat with favour is an anagram (rogue) of ELUDING.

17a  Presumption shown by six-footer, dashing figure (7)
{GALLANT} – a word meaning presumption or barefaced cheek is followed by a creature with six legs to get a dashing, debonair young man.

19a  A listener’s complaint? (7)
{EARACHE} – another weak cryptic definition – it’s a pain in the hearing organ.

21a  Singer with glasses in front of new instrument (7)
{BASSOON} – we want a large woodwind instrument which is constructed from a male singer with a low voice, followed by a visual clue for a pair of spectacles (o^o) and finishing with the first letter (front) of New.

22a  Stout doctor essentially makes you better (5)
{OUTDO} – a verb meaning to be better than someone else is hidden (essentially) in the clue.

24a  It provides a false outlook on events? (5,3)
{GLASS EYE} – cryptic definition of an artificial organ.

27a  Drunk around boozy spot beginning to exclaim as it were (2,2,5)
{SO TO SPEAK} – a phrase meaning as it were is constructed from SOAK (a drunk) around an anagram (boozy) of SPOT and the first letter (beginning to) of Exclaim.

28a  Peer defined by rare qualities (5)
{EQUAL} – a noun meaning peer or of the same rank is hidden (defined by) in the clue.

29a  Sluggish learner associated with young devil (4)
{LIMP} – combine L(earner) and a young devil to form an adjective meaning sluggish.

30a  Sickly patient is taking in first sign of organic plant (10)
{POINSETTIA} – an anagram (sickly) of PATIENT IS includes (taking in) the first letter (sign?) of O(rganic) to make a popular house plant.

Down Clues

1d  Players expressed relief, we hear (4)
{SIDE} – a sound-alike of a verb meaning expressed relief is a sports team (players).

2d  Nudge about a number of copies unsold (9)
{REMAINDER} – put a nudge or an alert around (about) A to get a copies of a book left unsold due to lack of demand (this seems to happen a lot to political memoirs – I can’t think why!).

3d  Momentary pain but no sign of worse colouring (5)
{TINGE} – start with TWINGE (momentary pain) and remove the first letter (no sign?) of Worse.

4d  Famous feature of busy restaurant? (7)
{NOTABLE} – double definition, the first an adjective meaning famous, the second (2,5) the probable response if you try to get a meal at a busy restaurant without a prior booking.

5d  Language kept within confines of sailing party (7)
{SHINDIG} – put one of the official languages of India inside (kept within) the outer letters (confines) of S(ailin)G to get a large, lively party.

7d  A shopping centre held up one loaded with pack? (5)
{LLAMA} – reverse A and a shopping centre (an American usage, but increasingly being used here) to get a pack animal.

8d  Form a partnership and fight one’s corner? (4,1,5)
{MAKE A STAND} – double definition, the first what two batsmen who stay at the wicket together for some time do.

9d  Dramatic entertainment and stories one abandoned for game (8 )
{SKITTLES} – a game that can be played in an alley or (in miniature form) in a pub is made from a short comedy sketch (dramatic entertainment) followed by T(a)LES (stories with one removed).

14d  Conclusive changes for diplomat (4-6)
{VICE-CONSUL} – a diplomat whom you might be pleased to see if you got into trouble abroad is an anagram (changes) of CONCLUSIVE.

16d  A vote dividing the French in sport (8 )
{LACROSSE} – put A and a sign that you make when casting your vote inside (dividing) the French definite article to get a team game (originally played by Native Americans).

18d  Work among some a nut disrupted – giver of advice needed? (5,4)
{AGONY AUNT} – put a verb meaning work or function (as a machine does) inside an alternative for some (e.g. in a sentence like “Do you have some cakes today?”) and follow this with an anagram (disrupted) of A NUT. You should end up with a person (usually a woman) who gives advice on personal and relationship matters to “Desperate of Doncaster” or “Worried of Worcester”.

20d  English composer missing a company around English artist of old (2,5)
{EL GRECO} – start with the name of an English composer (who was pretty good in his pomp) and remove (missing) the A. Now add the standard abbreviation for Company and put E(nglish) between the two to get the name of a Spanish painter (artist of old) who was born in Crete.

21d  Feature of heath and mountain crossed by timeless path (7)
{BRACKEN} – put t(RACK) (path without time) inside a Scottish word for mountain to get a tall fern which grows abundantly on moorland (heath).

23d  Carry male symbol (5)
{TOTEM} – put a synonym for carry ahead of M(ale) to get this favourite crossword symbol.

25d  Part of play noticed in audience (5)
{SCENE} – a division of a play sounds like (in audience) another word for noticed.

26d  Request made by quiet star without director (4)
{PLEA} – the definition is request and you get it by putting together P (piano, quiet) and the star role in a play or film without the final D(irector).

The clues I liked today included 21a, 8d and 20d, but my clue of the day is 21d. What about you? – let us know what you think via a comment.

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59 Comments

  1. LB
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Tend to agree with you Gazza, I was scratching my head for a while with 12a trying to think of something in the garden that one grows vegetables in. i.e. I recall on several occasions that runner has been used to indicate a particular vegetable and flower is more used in this case.
    Liked 4d and 5d

  2. Jezza
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I quite liked it. Mostly good, a couple not so good; in particular I didn’t like the wording of 18d. On the whole an enjoyable accompaniment to my morning coffee!

  3. Geoff
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    It’s 3 months today (I think) since I found this site and started doing the crossword. Maybe this was easier than *** or maybe I’ve learned something, but I managed 24 answers before the review was posted. Didn’t stand a chance with a construction like 27a though!

    Favourite clue was 21a. Don’t understand/know how BRACKEN relates to feature of health; would someone care to explain?

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      21d. It’s HEATH not Health

      • gnomethang
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Hah! – I read ‘Health’ about 4 times before the D’OH! moment!

        • weetie
          Posted March 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          I made the same mistake gnomethang. Made it MUCH harder to solve!

      • Nubian
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        I saw ‘health’ for ages and decided the answer was connected to the Romany gypies bye line ” lucky heather deary ?” and so heather, bracken QED. I will have to start wearing my glasses more often!

        • gnomethang
          Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          I’m blaming the high speed train goggling my eyes!

    • Jezza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Geoff.
      You’re not the only person who read it as Health. Even when I realised it was Heath, I still keep seeing it as Health!!

      • Geoff
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        :oops: Being slightly dyslexic doesn’t help!

  4. Prolixic
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Shamus gave us a relatively straightforward crossword today. My favourite clue was 4d.

    I was not overly bothered about the cryptic references in 12 and 24 across though 19a was a familiar one.

    I wondered about the use of sign to indicate the first letter of a word. In some respects this is no different to “a touch of” or a “hint of” which have passed without comment in earlier blogs where these phrases have been used to indicate the first letter of a word. Given that “sign” can mean “a trace of something”, maybe this is acceptable. My only observation on this is that with “a hint of” or “a touch of”, you have a direct reference to how you have to treat the key word. With “sign of”, you have to take a two step approach, “sign = trace = first letter of key word”. Perhaps this is one step too far?

    Many thanks to Shamus for the crossword and to Gazza for the notes.

  5. Vince
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Didn’t like this much. It was made difficult by some poor clues. I agree with most of your coments, Gazza.

    12a. Shouldn’t this be either all one word or hyphenated? Chambers gives it with a hyphen, but I’ve also seen it as one word.

    8d. Cricket again!!! I got this from “fight one’s corner”.

    9a. SKIT – dramatic entertainment???

  6. gnomethang
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Straightforward and fairly interesting puzzle from Shamus today. I agree with the Cryptic Definitions as gazza pointed out, well, certainly 19a.

    Thanks for the review, gazza, and to Shamus for the puzzle

    • Geoff
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Another :oops: Also should have said thanks for the review, always helpful in unravelling my guesses; 18d was one of them, as I had no idea the construct was GO within ANY.

  7. Lea
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the comments so far – not difficult – quite straightforward – some nice clues but did not like 12a – had to look at your explanation Gazza to find out why.

    I agree with your clue of the day – 21d – possibly because I had my glasses on so I read “heath” straight off and got the answer using that definition then had to work out why.

    Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and Gazza for the review.

  8. Nubian
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    20d I almost complained that El Greco was not an English artist, that is why the Spanish called him The Greek. That is two clues misread today, I must be on some kind of trip,
    Overall the puzzle was good and clues fair but 12a was a bit naughty.

  9. droopyh
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I found this one a little odd. I finished quite quickly before coming online but was curious about some clues.
    For 11a is think really the same as judge?
    For 17a does ‘figure’ not imply thatthe answer should be a noun?
    For 9d does ‘one’ not mean to remove the letter i?
    For 21d, how does ‘crossed by’ mean inside?

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      droopyh
      11a. I judge it to be so.
      17a. Gallant is a noun as well as an adjective
      9d. A can stand for one
      21d. Cross in the sense of going across, bridging the gap.

    • gnomethang
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      droopyh:
      1) I think it is OK as a synonym
      2) Chambers goves gallant as both an adjective and a noun (A dashing, debonair young man)
      3) Snide one this – there are a number of instances in puzzles where one = i or a. Some people grumble about this.
      4) Anyone want to comment – I always get this the wrong way round!

      Hope that Helps!

  10. Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Not sure about the use of “no sign” in 3d, unless it’s perhaps referring to a sign-post, with W(est) removed? A bit tenuous, methinks!

  11. nikki
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I love glasses in a cryptic crossword it always makes me chuckle! fave clue then for me has to be 21a

  12. Posted March 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Managed to complete whole crossword before hints came up…thats a first for me..Partically liked 4d 5d and 21d…..feeling brave enough to tackle the toughie…

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      jayne – I presume that you’re no longer moonstruck. :D

  13. LB
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Hope you have more success than myself with the toughie Jayne. I`ve come to a complete standstill with 9 to do.Think possibly I`ve made a mistake somewhere in the SW corner and can`t see it !!

    • Jezza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      LB
      I’ve completed the SW corner, if you want any confirmed…

      • Posted March 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        The Toughie post is now published. Thanks for not putting answers here as many people read this one before tackling the Toughie!

  14. Vince
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Forgot to comment on 22a. Why does “essentially” indicate a hidden answer?

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Vince
      It means the essence (i.e. core). Often it means, literally the middle letters, but here it must mean “somewhere in the middle”.

      • Vince
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I see! I was thinking more of along then lines of “fundamentally”. Thanks, Gazza.

    • gnomethang
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      The essence can be considered as the core – roughly speaking “the bit in the middle”

      • gnomethang
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Baah! Beaten again by the flash-fingered gazza. When I had started typing your comments weren’t there!

        • Vince
          Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          Gnomethang,

          That’s always happening to me!

  15. BigBoab
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one a lot, great review, thanks to Shamus and Gazza.

  16. mary
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I must be on my own today in not really enjoying it, I always look forward to the Tuesday crossword by Shamus,but today i got completely stuck on most of the right hand side, left hand side came together quickly but had to have lots of help for r/h, favourite clue 4d, otherwise not on the same wave length today, disappointed :(

  17. Nora
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    12a had me thinking of running shoes or beans. I thought this was a really weak clue. I got skittles from the pattern of letters, but even with the explanation, I can’t see how skit can be defined as a dramatic entertainment. Some nice anagrams at 1a, 14d, 30a.

    • Vince
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Nora,

      I agree with you re “dramatic entertainment”. I commented on it this morning, but, as nobody else has picked up on it, I assume that only you and I think that this is a bad clue??

      • Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        In Chambers, the first definition of skit is:

        a satirical sketch in dramatic or literary form

        It also came up a week or so ago (last Friday to be precise, in Toughie 314, but as a literary satire)

      • gazza
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see a problem with skit being dramatic entertainment. For skit Chambers has “a satirical sketch in dramatic or literary form”.

  18. Helen
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I started learning all about the cryptic world at Christmas so please bear with me… I have just discovered your site whilst looking for any kind of clue to 12a and 3d and STILL can’t get them despite your hints!

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi Helen – welcome to the blog.
      I’m not sure whether you’ve realised that the answers are actually in the review? Drag your cursor through the white space between the curly brackets under the relevant clue.

      • Helen
        Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much – finished at last, 6 hours later lol! If I can’t read the answer instructions carefully what hope have I got!!! (I didn’t like 12a either).

  19. Michael
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I am another one who misread “health” in 21 down. After getting all the crossing clues it came down to blacken or bracken, neither of which seemed right.

    I got 18d from the second half of the clue but had to read the blog to understan the first half. Seems rather over-contrived to me.

    28a was easy enough but I dont like the construction. Why not “Peer has some rare qualities”? (Equal can be a noun)

    Did anyone get 12a without any crossing letters? Congratulations from me if you did.

  20. Collywobbles
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Gazza, some of the cryptic clues were naf. I still needed two or three of your explanations to finish but it is satisfying when you do

  21. Shamus
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza for his excellent review (including great pictures) and others for comments which are most helpful as feedback. I do try to use cryptic definitions fairly sparingly and will probably be even more sparing in future! Sorry Mary in particular didn’t seem to enjoy it – hope she may find it more to her liking next time.

  22. Barrie
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle today, esp loved 4d, it made me smile.

    • mary
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      well done Barrie, i got realy stuck on it today :(

  23. Roger C
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I thought 3d meant ‘twinge’, no sign of worse (w) leaving tinge

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi Roger – welcome to the blog.
      But how does worse = W ?

  24. moonstruckminx
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree barry 4d was the best for me!

  25. Little Dave
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Prolixic, Barrie and Moonstruckminx – 4d being the best of a straightforward crossword that I was pleased to finish without too much angst. I always struggle with the spelling of 30a though!

    Back home with it done and in time for my son’s birthday tea and I will soon be relaxing with a nice glass of white. Lovely.

  26. Chablisdiamond
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Shamus, you are currently my fave, I loved this puzzel, it was the high spot in an otherwise lousy day as I managed to do it without any of my ‘special’ dictionaries. My only hiccup was putting ‘blind eye’ which held me up in the SW corner. Best clue 5d but showing naivety again I expect….

  27. Marian
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Completed this pretty quickly except for 12a, which had me completely stumped! Thanks for the blog, as it has really helped me improve since I found it last year…

  28. sarumite
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed today’s (or maybe tonight’s) offering, with 4d possibly being my favourite clue of the month!
    I had no problem with the cryptic definitions of 12a and 19a … if anything the type of clues I favour.
    Thanks Shamus, and also Gazza for the review.

  29. Derek
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Quite a reasonable puzzle in my opinion. I did the top half rather quickly this afternoon when the DT arrived but then had to stop due to an unexpected visitor so finished it tonight.
    I liked 11a, 27a & 30a. 4d, 6d, 18d & 20d. 13a, 16d & 23d are really old chestnuts.

    I presume that Shamus is a Scot from the Gaelic Seamus for James? Or ameringue?
    Sort that one out if you never lived over the border!

    • gnomethang
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Top quality Derek!
      Thanks for reminding me!

    • Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Shamus gets his name from American fiction!!

  30. mary
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    well it definitely was me! everyone else seemed to love it today, oh dear :(

    • sarumite
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Mary, we all get days like that … you’ll probably sail through it tomorrow whilst others are floundering!

      • mary
        Posted March 10, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        thanks Sarumite, hope so