DT 26186 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26186

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26186

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s Friday, it’s Giovanni, it’s good – what more can I say?
We normally have lots of comments on Friday, so please don’t let this week be an exception. If you’ve been lurking here for a while and have yet to introduce yourself, now would be an excellent time to take your courage in both hands and write something in that comment box at the bottom!
For new readers, the answers are hidden so that you don’t see them by accident. If you do need to reveal one, drag your cursor through the space between the curly brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

4a  Vehicle sliding towards marsh has knocked over horse (8 )
{TOBOGGAN} – the definition is vehicle sliding, or to put it another way, a sliding vehicle, many of which (of the hi-tech variety) were seen in the recent Winter Olympics. Start with TO (towards) and add another word for marsh and a run-down horse which has to be reversed (knocked over).

8a  Fine list of items except for a final worthless thing (3,3)
{FAG END} – put together F(ine) and the list of items to be covered at a formal meeting without the second A (except for a final) to get the worthless remnants of something.

9a  Looking very thin, I arrived back and had a meal (8 )
{EMACIATE} – reverse (back) an alternative way of saying “I arrived” and add the past tense of a verb meaning to consume (had a meal) and you have an adjective meaning very thin. This word would normally have a D at the end, but without it the meaning is the same.

10a  Put at risk? Calm down! (8 )
{ENDANGER} – a verb meaning to put at risk can be read as (3,5) a request to discontinue one’s rage.

11a  Served on ship sounding vulgar (6)
{CREWED} – a verb meaning served as a member of a ship’s complement sounds like an adjective meaning vulgar or coarse.

12a  Infection no longer a secret? Relax! (5,3)
{CHILL OUT} – put together a feverish cold and a word meaning in the public domain (no longer a secret) to get an informal phrasal verb meaning to wind down and relax.

13a  Most primitive eastern paintings maybe conveying stories (8 )
{EARLIEST} – place E(astern) and a synonym for paintings around (conveying, i.e. carrying) stories which are not true.

16a  Manage call from football field? (5,3)
{BRING OFF} – double definition. A phrasal verb meaning to manage a difficult task successfully is also used in a sporting sense to mean remove (call) a player from the field (possibly in order to introduce a substitute).

19a  Friend’s returning by public transport maybe from course of study (8 )
{SYLLABUS} – reverse a word for friend’s (not forgetting that S) and add a method of public transport.

21a  On holiday the Queen’s getting presents (6)
{OFFERS} – put together an adverb meaning away (on holiday) and the Queen’s usual initials (plus the apostrophe S).

23a  I’m leader desperately trying to bring improvements (8 )
{REMEDIAL} – we’ve reached the eleventh clue before we have our first anagram (what a pleasant change!). An adjective meaning trying to make things better (bring improvements) is an anagram (desperately) of I’M LEADER.

24a  PM’s line put into diaries inaccurately (8 )
{DISRAELI} – the name of this prime minister is an anagram (inaccurately) of DIARIES with L(ine) inside.

25a  Twin’s position, one of twenty-one on the board (6)
{DOUBLE} – double definition. What an (identical) twin may be and a small area of a dartboard (if you’re wondering about the twenty-one, there’s one such area for each number in the range 1-20 plus one, in the middle, for 25).

26a  Little guy working for rotten fellow (8 )
{UNDERDOG} – put together a preposition meaning in an inferior or subsidiary position (working for) and a word used to describe an unpleasant man (rotten fellow) to get someone who has not much of a chance when competing against the big battalions (little guy).

Down Clues

1d  Fat adult, forceful going round (7)
{PAUNCHY} – put a word for forceful or vigorous (for example, a style of writing in short, sharp sentences) around A(dult) to get a description of someone with a large corporation (fat).

2d  Daughter tucking into lunch possibly with a bit of pride — chunk of lamb? (9)
{MEDALLION} – a small, flat, circular cut of meat (chunk of lamb, for example) is formed by putting D(aughter) inside (tucking into) an opportunity to eat (lunch, possibly) and adding a member (bit) of a pride. I love bit of pride.

3d  Girl and American soldier approaching love slowly (6)
{ADAGIO} – string together a girl’s name (as used by Les Dawson in the sketches with Cissie), an American soldier and O (love, as in tennis) to get a musical instruction to play slowly.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d  Preston fighter, I retrained for ballet (3,4,2,6)
{THE RITE OF SPRING} – an anagram (retrained) of PRESTON FIGHTER I produces the name of a ballet and musical composition composed by Stravinsky.

5d  Food article bad dog found in cot? (4,4)
{BEAN CURD} – put the indefinite article and a badly-behaved dog inside a synonym for cot to get a soft paste (food article) also known as tofu.

6d  Report of fellows making an appearance (5)
{GUISE} – an appearance or manner of presentation is a homophone of an informal word for fellows.

7d  It sounds like Cockney’s cruel, naive (7)
{ARTLESS} – Cockneys are well-known h-droppers so start with a word meaning cruel or pitiless and drop the initial two letters to leave an adjective meaning naïve or without guile.

14d  Here in Paris American receives praise for historical novel (1,8 )
{I CLAUDIUS} – “here” in French (in Paris) is ICI. Inside this (receives) put a verb or noun meaning praise, and finish up with US (American) to get the novel by Robert Graves detailing the intrigues and treacheries at the court of the Roman Empire. This book and its sequel were made into a brilliant BBC series with Derek Jacobi as the stammering hero.

15d  Monopolises the principal, providing a lot of booze (8 )
{HOGSHEAD} – a charade of an informal verb meaning takes or uses selfishly (monopolises) and a principal or leader gives us a large cask for holding alcohol (there are a variety of figures for exactly how much one holds, and it also varies depending on the type of alcohol, but roughly 50 gallons, so a lot).

17d  What looks pretty on choirboy, lad being a lout (7)
{RUFFIAN} – put together the traditional frill worn round a choirboy’s neck and a boy’s name (think of Mr Rankin, the crime writer) to get a violent person (lout). This is my least favourite clue because I think it’s woolly, especially “what looks pretty on choirboy” – luckily the checking letters made the answer fairly obvious.

18d  How anyone will get listened to in a university gathering! (7)
{AURALLY} – string together A, U(niversity) and a gathering or mass meeting.

20d  Brazilian dance ousting a Greek character (6)
{LAMBDA} – the Brazilian dance is the lambada. Remove (ousting) the second A to leave a Greek letter.

22d  High nest — end of the year and that is to come down (5)
{EYRIE} – string together (come down, in a down clue) (th)E (end of the), an abbreviation for year and IE (id. est., that is) to get the high nest of a bird of prey.

The clues I liked today included 8a, 13a and 2d, but my clue of the day is 14d. How about you? – give us your views in a comment!

53 comments on “DT 26186

  1. Been looking forward to this one, and it didn’t disappoint. It took me a while to get going, and I got held up in the SW corner, with the last 3 taking almost as long as the rest of the puzzle. Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

  2. Yes, another Giovanni under the belt, without the hints, still lots of reference help though! I am getting to like Giovanni crosswords, finding that you can ‘work on them’ ? fav clues 10a, 11a, 12a, 17d, quibble maybe, 23a, improvements – remedial?? come on CC once again it is ‘doable’ if you care to persevere and have the time :)

    1. thanks for hints Gazza, it is always good to read through them, apparently bean curd is a chinese dish made from soya beans? never heard of it though :)

      1. mary
        You must have heard the old joke about tofu:

        wife: We’re having tofu for dinner tonight.
        husband: What’s tofu?
        wife: It’s bean curd.
        husband: Never mind what it’s been. What is it now?

          1. I’ve heard the same joke, but it was bean SOUP, not BEAN CURD. Obviously mine’s the old-fashioned version!

    2. Not doable by me, Mary, but congrats to you! I managed 7 before the hints were posted and then quite a few more; looked at 6 answers that I couldn’t come up with.

      Thanks for the review Gazza; as ever, you explain some of my answers! 14d was also my favourite and I too thought bit of pride‘ was very good. But, I did wonder if looking was the best word to use for 9a, as to me it implies the conclusion of the process of becoming that thin… ?

      1. Geoff
        I was surprised to find that emaciate can be an adjective with the same meaning as emaciated, so, since you can look emaciated you must also be capable of looking emaciate.

        1. Fair enough; the online dictionaries I looked at permit it without the D as a verb and with the D as a verb or an adjective.

    3. Mary, Like you I finished it (eventually) with some electronic help. I did at least manage about 1/3 on my own though which I reckon is good going for a Giovanni. Still very unsure about 9a, I got the answer but feel sure it ought to have a D on the end to read properly. Had problems with 19a because I got hung up on PALS backward, never thought of Allys (shouldn’t that be spelt ALLIES? Favorite clue though def 4a, very clever and easy when you stop thinking of a motor vehicle! Still all in all better than that horror on Wednesday at least for me.

      1. Barrie
        In 19a Friend’s is not a plural but short for “friend is” so “ally is”, shortened to “ally’s” is fine.

  3. Gazza
    Re 25a, I do not think the outer (25) counts as a ******. I read the clue as “one of twenty” (Full stop) “One on the board”
    If that makes sense??

    1. Jezza
      My reading is that the bull is a double (of the 25), but, as always, I could be wrong!

      1. I have never heard of the bull referred to as a double. I always thought that the bull was a finish for 50, but not as a double for 25. The ‘one on the board’ could be ‘a double’, just as it could be ‘a treble’. Just a thought, but I am not convinced either way !!

    2. This was the only clue that bothered me. I’ve tried a few web sites, and can’t find any reference to more than twenty doubles.

        1. I always thought that the rule was that you had to finish on a double OR the bull?? The bull is never referred to as double 25.

          1. Here are the rules:

            5.11.01 In every Darts Event, each leg shall be played with a straight start from 501 to the finish at zero which must be on a “Double”, unless stated otherwise in the playing format of a particular Darts Event.

            5.11.02 The “Bull” shall count as 50 and if 50 is required to complete a leg, set or match then the Bull shall count as double 25.

            1. I played team darts years ago and never ever heard the bull referred to in this way. Just shows, crosswords puzzles are not just about words, are they????

      1. according to wilkipedia the inner bull scoring fifty is known as ‘the double’ of the outer bull which scores 25, so I guess it is double no 21! :) (think i got them right way round)

  4. A very fine balance of difficullty, enjoyment and variety, so well done Mr G.
    And to our Mr G for the debrief – I got 25a, but didn’t know why till you explained it. And I play darts!! Scratch of the Day for me – 2d. Roll on Saturday.

  5. Very enjoyable. I managed all but 3 1/2 without the blog but not without some serious cheating….. I’m not sure why 26a is a little guy surely he could be any size – failed completely on that one even with all but one of the checking letters! So many lovely clues 1d 2d 5d 19a. Favourite probably 1d as I felt so pleased with myself when I finally got it after many hours of looking…..

    1. I think “little guy” in 26a is being used figuratively, i.e. a guy with no resources or support ranged against a large corporation, say.

      1. I do understand that but was fooled by looking for some kind of dwarf!!!! I guess I take this too literally sometimes….

  6. A nice Friday outing – took me a while to get started and like Jezza got stuck in the sw corner. – only got 16a once I had 17d – not a term I was familiar with but then it is football and I hate football (sorry Mary)

    My favourites were 14d and 15d – top of the list for me.

  7. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but if Giovanni writes his own quick crosswords. Then congratulations because todays is a pangram!

    1. Hello Libellule
      After our discussion on the origins of “bad hat”, I realised that my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations might not be the last word on the subject and resolved to update my reference sources. So I sent off for the slang dictionary you mentioned.
      For anyone else interested, there are two books. The first I tried, “The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English”, was a disappointment, giving definitions but no sources or dates. So I sent it back and ordered “A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English” by Partridge, eighth edition. The first example was also returned, as about twenty pages were missing between B and C. But Amazon took it all in its stride and what I hope is a perfect example arrived today.
      Wonderful book! Thanks for the tip.

  8. Ditto Bogboab. Pretty straight forward with some great cluing nionetheless. The Toughie was the highlight of the week for me – a real workout.
    Thanks to g and G again.

    1. Thanks, gnomethang. By the way, I don’t think that your last night’s anagram in COW works (if I’ve read it right!). You seem to have fallen down on your R’s.

            1. Thanks Mary, I would have to break the good surface Reading to do that. I will consider on the way home.

  9. Good Friday workout as usual. My first in was 3d then I got 4d out of the way. The eastern half went quickly thereafter. Then slogged on with the western half.
    Very enjoyable. I liked 4a, 16a, 19a & 25a. 2d ( but I thought of veau rather than agneau), 5d,
    14d &15d.
    Re 7d, it’s not just Cockneys who drop aitches – think of the cities of ‘alifax, ‘uddersfield &
    Two nice homophones in 6d & 11a.

    1. Thank the lord there are still people in the world that don’t pronounce it “haitches”…

  10. Managed 3/4 before resorting to the blog. I too struggled with the sw corner. I’d written “taken off” for 16a, reckoning if you managed a phonecall then you took it? Never mind! Been a good week for me all in all, I can see an improvement to my solving which is in no small way thanks to the authors of this blog. Thanks to BD et al!

  11. Fantastic challenge, they all slowly fell into place, at one stage thought I wouldn’t get half.
    9a still doesn’t feel right without the d at the end imho.

  12. struggled with this today.. could it be the dissatrous trip to get my windscreen replaced and then having the most amazing pucture on route???? A perfectly good tyre ruined by a large bit of metal when it had only been replaced 2 months ago!! NOT a good day, so the concentration has been somewhat disturbed! Have finally finished and felt a bit calmer! I did find some clues very hard and had to seek your help, others I guessed!.. Monday for the windscreen and tyre.. fingers crossed!

  13. I had a “Slumdog” moment when I worked out 14d – the first to go in the grid for me. One of my neighbours years ago was a cameraman on “I Claudius”. Giovanni still too subtle for me – will have another look when I’ve got the kids to bed.

  14. found it a bit of a toughie today but a real challenge. Does anyone remember a cracking clue a few days ago. The answer was candlesticks. Was it wicked things or wicked supporters ?

  15. thanks gazza. Particulary liked the les dawson interlude have seen most of those but not this one !

  16. Top notch stuff from Giovanni again today. 4d was a highlight for me among many classy clues. Many thanks to Giovanni and thanks to Gazza for the notes.

  17. Thoroughly enjoyed this one but it took me two goes. So i felt really good about that, well until i checked Dave’s clues re 8a which I had starting with an R and had no idea how the fine was connected, being too dumb to use an F. Crosswords can be so humbling, can’t they, especially since we do it to ourselves!

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