DT 26206 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26206

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26206

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I’ve had a very frustrating morning. Libellule was due to write today’s blog but the never-ending problems with CluedUp (is there a worse commercial web site?) meant that he had no access to the puzzle, so I agreed to swap with him and he’ll be doing this Friday’s. So I went to my usual shop to get the paper, only to find that they were not yet open (it being a Bank Holiday). I eventually got a paper and carefully transcribed all the clues, only to find, just when I’d finished, that CluedUp was back!
Anyway, enough of my difficulties, what of the puzzle? Rufus has produced a nice, gentle themed crossword, which I think that most solvers should enjoy. We’d love to hear from you via a comment.
For new readers, 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  Claims keen cook made traditional Easter fare (6,4)
{SIMNEL CAKE} – an anagram (cook) of CLAIMS KEEN produces something that is traditionally eaten at Easter, although I seem to remember having been given one on 2d Sunday after I’d been dragged, kicking and screaming, to Sunday School.

6a  Knock back some gin (4)
{TRAP} – take a word meaning some and reverse it to get something for catching wild animals (gin).

10a  Bert and Jack seen in church (5)
{ALTAR} – put together an alternative short form of Bert (Albert rather than Bertram) and another word for a sailor (Jack).

11a  Sort of roll, A-E, etc? (9)
{ELECTORAL} – an all-in-one clue which is an anagram (sort) of ROLL, AE and ETC.

12a  VAT files go astray? A time for celebration! (8 )
{FESTIVAL} – an anagram (go astray) of VAT FILES.

13a  Jokers perhaps, conveying Easter greetings (5)
{CARDS} – double definition, firstly where you may find a couple of jokers and secondly the sort of greetings that you may have received through the post.

15a  Gets off with a slight upset (7)
{ALIGHTS} – a dated verb meaning gets off (from a form of transport) is an anagram (upset) of A SLIGHT.

17a  Notice dad in study, poker-faced (7)
{DEADPAN} – a synonym for poker-faced is formed by putting a short notice and PA (dad) inside a synonym for a study.

19a  Got legs broken? Wooden pins provided! (7)
{TOGGLES} – an anagram (broken) of GOT LEGS.

21a  They become high when there’s more than one (4-3)
{DEEP-SEA} – the answer is a sea in the Middle East which is a long way below sea-level (hence low). The open ocean is often referred to as “the high seas”, i.e. the opposite. I’m not totally happy with this explanation – has anyone got any better ideas? , Sorry, that was all rubbish. Even though I knew the answer, I put in the first word from the answer above it (17a) and then tried to justify it. The open ocean is known as the high seas (so a sort of opposite of this). [Thanks to Rufus, via Phil McNeil, for the explanation that, whereas deep-sea and high seas are virtually synonymous, the first is only ever seen in the singular and the second is nearly always in the plural]

22a  Puzzle concerning public transport (5)
{REBUS} – a puzzle in which words are represented by a combination of pictures and individual letters (and also the name of Ian Rankin’s hero) is a charade of a word meaning concerning and a form of public transport.

24a  Sounding completely muted, this period is actually very sacred (4,4)
{HOLY WEEK} – this period sounds like wholly (completely) and weak (muted).

27a  Revolutionary development in naval firepower (3,6)
{GUN TURRET} – a very smooth cryptic definition of structures on warships which can revolve in order that weapons can be trained on enemy aircraft.

28a  Singers of low songs (5)
{BASSI} – a barely cryptic definition of singers with deep voices (this is the plural of the Italian form of the word).

29a  Classic flower clings to the ear (4)
{STYX} – the name of the river in the underworld in Greek mythology (across which Charon ferried the souls of the dead) sounds like (to the ear) a verb meaning clings or adheres.

30a  Virtuous servant observed in 24 across (4,6)
{GOOD FRIDAY} – one of the days of 24a is a charade of a synonym for virtuous and Robinson Crusoe’s servant.

Down Clues

1d  Hands up for those wanting change (4)
{SWAP} – reverse (up, in a down clue) a word meaning hands (which applies to animals more often than to humans) to get the sort of change which I have arranged with Libellule this week.

2d  Young producer with gin cocktail describes a mid-Lent Sunday (9)
{MOTHERING} – re-order “young producer” to someone who produces (gives birth to) young and add an anagram (cocktail) of GIN.

3d  Regretted caging a bird (5)
{EGRET} – a bird is hidden (caging) in the clue.

4d  Sticks together or splits apart (7)
{CLEAVES} – double definition. This verb can means both sticks together and the complete opposite.

5d  Got down to making a proposal? (7)
{KNEELED} – what a suitor traditionally did prior to popping the question. I think that this form of the past tense is used more in the U.S. than here, but Chambers is happy with it.

7d  The right are right less often (5)
{RARER} – put two abbreviations for right around ARE.

8d  Paul’s and my arrangement for start of 24 across (4,6)
{PALM SUNDAY} – an anagram (arrangement) of PAUL’S AND MY gives the first day of 24a.

9d  Stakes raised for the defence (8 )
{STOCKADE} – cryptic definition of a barrier made of stakes, built to protect a defensive position.

14d  Possibly segregates articles that may be present in April (6,4)
{EASTER EGGS} – an anagram (possibly) of SEGREGATES leads to what you may have been given as a present yesterday.

16d  Continues to resist offers (5,3)
{HOLDS OUT} – double definition, i) continues to resist, ii) offers.

18d  Mad, being had (9)
{POSSESSED} – another double definition, with had meaning owned.

20d  Half the school get zero, unusual for music (7)
{SCHERZO} – put together the first half of school and an anagram (unusual) of ZERO to get a lively movement in triple time (music).

21d  Weakened the spirit, perhaps (7)
{DILUTED} – a watered-down cryptic definition.

23d  Sort of girl to take to the hop at Easter? (5)
{BUNNY} – I think that the best sort of hint I can provide here is a picture!

25d  He wrote music for the Internet with hesitation (5)
{WEBER} – the name of a composer is made from the usual abbreviation for the Internet followed by a word of hesitation.

26d  It’s purely symbolic, especially for Irish Republicans after Easter (4)
{LILY} – put this symbol of purity after Easter to get the badge worn by Irish Republicans in memory of those killed in the Easter Rising of 1916.

My favourite clues included 6a, 11a and 23d, but my clue of the day is 27a. What about you? Let us know what you think in a comment!

41 comments on “DT 26206

  1. I could not do 26d because I had put bases for 28a (bases is an old form of bass according to my dictionary).

    Apart from 28a (ugh!) I enjoyed it. I liked 30a best.

  2. Having no interest in music whatsoever, 20d,25d& 28a were always going to be difficult.
    Still not convinced by 24a Why does more one than deep sea become high?
    Peculiar crossword -about half the clues I wrote in and the other half I would have sat and stared until midnight and never got..

    1. Greenhorn,
      ‘deep sea’ is singular, there’s only one of it. ‘High seas’ are plural, because there’s more than one of them

  3. I hope that CluedUp gets itself sorted because I’m off to live in France on Wednesday and I will be relying on it

      1. It’s in the Langudoc, near to Pezenas. There was a god article about it in yesterdays’ Sunday Times. I’ll still be doing the Xword and using BDs’ blog

      2. My sister-in-law used to live in the Longuedoc region, she has moved to Brittany now, but it was beautiful, there, she converted an old mill next to a stream, lovely

  4. Well that sound you can hear is me shrieking for joy as I have actually finished it and its not even evening! Had to have 3 hints from Big D but no books etc. So I am feeling very pleased with myself …. tho how long before it happens again is anyone’s guess :grin: :grin: :grin:

      1. Thanks Gazza and thanks also to Rufus who pitched it perfectly for me …. oooh so chuffed!

    1. Me too Sarah! Finished all but 3 clues before breakfast and then went off to Box Hill and Denbies winery for the day; & then the (grown-up) kids came round for a meal this evening – Thanks Rufus for a great start to a great day!! :-) 28a would never have got – I’d got bases therefore didn’t get 26d. Also struggled with 29a and didn’t understand 21a so thanks to Gazza too. Favourites were 11a, 18d & 30a. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

  5. Hello, Telegraph Puzzles Editor here.

    Another apology before I go and chuck myself off a cliff. Sorry to all subscribers who could not access CluedUp this morning. I can assure Collywobbles that CluedUp will “get itself sorted” — we are genuinely making efforts to ensure that this weekend’s problems won’t happen again.

    Our Monday setter is on a well-deserved break, so let me give you his explanation for the contentious 21a (with the answer edited out, so this may make no sense at all…):

    The dictionaries use the phrase “xxxx-xxx” (with hyphen) relating to where the xxx is xxxx. But for some strange reason one never uses the plural in conversation or writing, it is always the “high” xxxs. Just a play with the unusual vagaries of the English language.

    The compiler’s break will not entail a break in his Monday service, I hasten to add!

    Apologies again
    Best wishes

  6. I didn’t really enjoy this one but I’m not sure why. I really disliked 21a, I suppose if deep is another name for sea then together they make it plural and high seas is used to describe the open sea then it almost fits, horrible. I quite liked 27a, 24a and 26d.

  7. Too many anagrams for my liking.. and thought I d be finished far too quickly.. but then got stuck on all 4 short answers in each corner Would still be looking in books if it was not for you!! Back to painting walls ;(

  8. Where does ‘knock’ come into 6a, I thought it was rap backwards but then where does the t come from? if it is ‘part’ backwards for ‘some’ then where does the knock come in? if that makes sense, completed all but 3 without blog, liked 10a, though that was one of them also like 30a, thanks Gazza once again

        1. “Some” is “Part” – reverse it (knock it back) to get trap – and a gin is a type of trap (a definition by example, which would probably be better with a “perhaps” or similar).

    1. mary
      The reversal indicator is “knock back”. It helps the surface reading as that sounds as if it’s to do with boozing.

          1. We played various hymns and the mass for the Easter Family Mass, it went really well , no complicated stuff :)

  9. I really enjoyed todays crossword especially 11a, 18d and 7d. needed to look on hints page for 29a and 26d…but all in all it gave me a few laughs.

  10. Nearly finished!

    Generally enjoyable. Liked the Easter themes

    Would never have solved 28a 29a and 26d

  11. A thoroughly-enjoyable and cleverly-themed crossword which kept me out of the garden, I’m pleased to say, as there is a very unpleasant cold wind here. I shall now indulge myself further by watching another match in the Indian Premier League on ITV4…

  12. Just 28a and 26d left over from what was otherwise a pretty straightforward puzzle.

    Without having 26d, and I didn’t have it, I would never have come up with 28a – I even wondered if it was BASS’S at one point! Not sure I would have got 10a so easily if we hadn’t had a recent reference to JACK and TAR. Thanks for the review, Gazza.

  13. I enjoyed today’s themed puzzle very much and was whizzing happily through it until I got stuck on 21a and 26d. Now solved with your help, for which much thanks. I liked all the anagrams, and my favourite clue were 29a and 30a.

  14. Yes, I enjoyed today’s puzzle. I love anagrams, so I had plenty to solve today and after 50 years as a professional musician, I particularly relished the couple of musical ones. Let me just clarify the term ‘bassi’
    for those still slightly puzzled. Of course, as English speakers we refer to the deepest male voice as a bass, of which the plural is basses but so many musical terms and musicians are Italian. Hence we have the plurals formed with an ‘i’ as in soprani, tenori, baritoni and bassi! And while I’m elucidating Italian terms can I please ask
    all the educated readers and solvers of the ‘Telegraph’ crosswords to make sure that the title of Mozart’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ – ‘All Women Do It’ – is not mispronounced with the masculine plural ‘tutti’, as we all know that ‘All Men Do It’!!!

  15. Easter break started for me today so it was pleasant doing this without work demands! I agree that 21a is weak and 28a was far too obvious. A lovely day with the family with Classic Fm countdown as well. Am off to Rome on Wednesday for a spot of culture and the odd class of wine. 2.5* for me – very enjoyable ands thanks to the setter. 30a was my favourite.

  16. Didn’t start this till late with the problems with Clued Up so did other things – listening to Classic FM countdown has been enjoyable all day – all weekend for that matter.

    Didn’t know the answer to 26d but guessed it – thanks for the explanation. A nice start to the week.

    Thanks Gazza – what a nightmare this weekend has been with getting papers and Clued Up being messed up. Let’s hope the editor is right and they will get Clued Up sorted out.

  17. Personally, having attempted and often completed the DT cryptic for 50 years, I found today’s a bit sad.

  18. A much better effort from me than yesterday’s fiasco. I didn’t get (or like) 21a but the rest quite restored my faith in my (lack of) ability!
    Was enjoying a slice of – – – – – – / – – – – with a hot cup of tea while completing today’s offering – propa lush as we say up north!

  19. Loved it. My anagram solving is getting better all the time. Did it on a long car journey with no reference books and only needed to check here for a couple today!
    Particularly liked 30a and 10a

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