DT 26214 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26214

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26214

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Another good puzzle from Jay, although I do have issues with two of the clues (see 25a and 8d). I was surprised as Jay’s clues are usually scrupulously accurate. [It seems that I may have been wrong on one or both, but missed a possible problem with 24a!  See annotations below.]

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1a    Unlikely books to be pinched by engineers (6)
{REMOTE} – a word meaning unlikely comes from OT (Old Testament / books) inside (pinched by) the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

4a    Appropriate art form (8)
{ABSTRACT} – a double definition – appropriate in the sense of to steal and an art form which represents ideas in geometric and other designs, not the forms of nature

9a    Put down cash advance to be paid (6)
{SUBDUE} – a word meaning to put down, as in to suppress, is a charade of a cash advance, typically against wages, and owing (to be paid)

10a    Place for training shoes like this? (8)
{PLATFORM} – the place to wait for a train is also a type of shoe

11a    With caution, moved around ugly adder (9)
{GUARDEDLY} – a word meaning with caution is an anagram (moved around) of UGLY ADDER

13a    Archer’s final letter on biography from prisoner (5)
{LIFER} – put R (ArcheR‘s final letter) after (on, that silly construct that applies only to across clues and means the complete opposite for down clues) a word that is often used as an alternative to a biography to get a prisoner – one serving a somewhat longer sentence than the Lord suggested by the wordplay

14a    Manage with up-to-date power supply (6,7)
{DIRECT CURRENT} – a charade of to manage and up-to-date results in a power supply which usually comes from a battery rather than the mains

17a    Serve tea — dinner-time is a bit vague (13)
{INDETERMINATE} – a clever anagram (serve) of TEA DINNER-TIME gives a word meaning a bit vague

21a    Stop and relax after the 2nd of October (5)
{CEASE} – a synonym for to stop results from putting a word meaning relax after the second letter of OCtober

23a    Terrible experience caused by the margin being flexible (9)
{NIGHTMARE} – a bad dream or other terrible experience is an anagram (flexible)of THE MARGIN

24a    Hide from people related to Aries? (8)
{GOATSKIN} – hide, in the sense of leather, comes from the animal represented by Aries, ‘S (to indicate possession) and people to whom you are related
[It has been pointed out – thanks Pamela – that Aries is the sign of the Ram, so this should lead to SHEEP’S KIN which doesn’t fit.  Perhaps there is some mileage in that GOATS are related to SHEEP. ]

25a    Territory commanded before accepting one elected individual (6)
{EMPIRE} – this territory comes from ERE (before) around (accepting) I (one) and MP (elected individual), but not in that order – I think this construct is incorrect as it leads to the insertion of I MP; you could, perhaps, say “first elected individual” to get MP1, but that’s also not very good
[A better explanations has emerged – thanks Jezza – which gives MP as one elected and I as individual]

26a    A car spares shop may have one over a barrel! (8)
{SILENCER} – a double definition – a spare part for a car exhaust or something that can be placed over the barrel of a gun to reduce the sound

27a    Goes without periods of work (6)
{STINTS} – another double definition


1d    Rule accepting last of employees leave voluntarily (6)
{RESIGN} – put a word meaning to rule, as a monarch, around S (last of employeeS) to get what you do when you leave a job voluntarily

2d    Gave support for the mafia in large numbers (3-6)
{MOB-HANDED} – a word meaning gave coming after (support for) another name for the mafia gives “in large numbers”

3d    Aggressively announce the result of a lightning strike (7)
{THUNDER} – a double definition – to speak loudly and aggressively or the sound that you hear after a lightning strike

5d    One rings before sailing — no time for complaining (11)
{BELLYACHING} – put something that rings before a synonym for sailing, remove the T (no Time) and the result is complaining

6d    It’s back, ultra fashionable, in name only (7)
{TITULAR} – put IT reversed (back) in front of an anagram (fashionable) of ULTRA to get a word meaning in name only

7d    Ladies in a feminine environment become stand-offish (5)
{ALOOF} – the Ladies (or the Gents!) inside A and F(eminine) become stand-offish

8d    Audacity — virtue they heartlessly welcomed (8)
{TEMERITY} – a word meaning audacity is derived by putting a virtue inside (welcomed) TEY (they heartlessly) – THEY heartlessly is surely TY, not TEY
[Several of you, including Jay, have pointed out that this is THEY without the H(eart).  Being pedantic I would point out that, according to Chambers, H is the abbreviation for Hearts, not Heart!]

12d    Lost credit on air for being dogmatic (11)
{DOCTRINAIRE} – an anagram (lost) of CREDIT ON AIR gives a word meaning being dogmatic

15d    The height of joy, covering English victory (9)
{ELEVATION} – a synonym for height comes from joy around (covering) E(nglish) and V(ictory)

16d    Vital containers (8)
{RIBCAGES} – that hold people’s vital organs

18d    Finish without justification for crime (7)
{TREASON} – T (finish withouT) followed by a justification gives a heinous crime

19d    Try a case of typist embracing office worker (7)
{ATTEMPT} – a word meaning to try comes from A TT (case of TypisT) and an office worker hired from an agency

20d    Surrounds live group on top of stage (6)
{BESETS} – a word meaning surrounds is a charade of BE (live), a group and S (top of Stage)

22d    Help against area in trouble (5)
{AVAIL} – to get this word meaning to help put V (versus / against) and A(rea) inside trouble, as in upset or sicken

If I’m wrong on the two clues mentioned, perhaps someone could come up with a better explanation! [… and you did!]

45 comments on “DT 26214

      1. Digby
        H stands for Heart (in bridge notation), so heartless could be “without H”.

        1. Gazza – OK you win!! Though in today’s Toughie, 17d, the conventionally “correct” interpretation of this style of clue is in evidence.

  1. Dave I can only imagine that the H is for heart rather than the normal meaning of heartlessly

  2. Not pleased with 24across. Aries is normally the sign of a ram/sheep. Capricorn is the sign of the goat.

    1. Hi Pamela – welcome to the blog.
      Do sheep and goats not belong to the same family (kin)?

      1. Yes I know they’re Bovidae but of course I was thinking about Astrological signs. Would relations of Capricorn been too easy? Perhaps. I was cross though because I had to rub out LAMB skin when I realised it was wrong!

        1. I’m with you on this one Pam. Bit of a long jump from Aries to goat even if from the same family! Still struggling with a few in the bottom half but not giving up yet – just dropped in to read a few comments :-) Off to the garden centre now, hope to finish later.

    2. … and that lead me to get Lambskin, which of course was wrong. Wouldn’t have mattered except I had just corrected the missus for putting in Goat (oops)

  3. Is it my imagination or are there more clues using ‘first letter of’ or ‘last letter of’ or ‘case’ for first and last letters etc? When my mother taught me how to get started on Telegraph cryptics (many years ago), I don’t recall that construction being so common

    Enjoyed today and got the intersecting letters for 25a and 8d so got the answer without noticing the imprecision of the clues

    1. That was how I rationalised it Jezza. I agree with BD on 8d though. Also Pamela is right on the Ram/Goat thing.
      Apart from that it was another good puzzle from Jay.
      I enjoyed 4a, 17a and 16d.
      Thanks to BD and Jay

    2. Setter here (again)
      Thanks Jezza – that must have been my forgotten rationale! I fear senility must be setting in.

  4. Setter here
    Many thanks to BD for the analysis – I must own up to the error in 25a, and hope it hasn’t caused too many problems.
    8d was deliberate THEY without the H for hearts.Thanks to all for comments

  5. Enjoyable puzzle from Jay, I agree with most of the previous sentiments however but I still enjoyed it. Thanks to Jay and BD.

  6. Didn’t like 24a the ram/goat thing, spent ages trying to find a dictionary that had RAMSxxxx in it, which caused havoc with the other two interlocking clues! Got there in the end, although no feeling of satisfaction! Liked 5d though

    1. Welcome to the blog Elaine

      You need territory for the definition, so it can’t be part of the wordplay – but a nice idea all the same!

  7. Bit of a struggle today. Didn’t get any of NE corner. There were a few I’d almost got but just needed that helpful nudge from the blog :)

    1. That’s was where I finished Matt. The NE corner was hardest for me too, 13a the penultimate and 8d the last

  8. Would take exception to this being a 2*, much more like a 3*, some really tricky bits and misleading clues i.e. why is 26a in the plural (spares) when the answer is in the singular? But at least Jay is always fair and gives you somewhere to start unlike Ray T whose clues are fair but bizarre and very difficult to start.
    Best clue for me is 7d, made me smile:-). Didn’t really get 10a or 22d, needed the blog. And for the record Goats are NOT related to sheep,Goats are Capra aegagrus hircus and Sheep are Ovis aries, totally different families.

    1. I think if you read the whole clue 26a – A car spares shop may have one over a barrel it is ok – ‘one’ being the operative word (and you don’t ever say a car spare shop do you)

  9. Well Barrie I guess we can argue about whether goats and sheep are kin but Michael Allaby’s A DICTIONARY OF ZOOLOGY (1999) defines sheep and goats as BOVIDAE. Among those browsers and grazers there are many sub families and diversifications but technically I think the setter is correct , they are related, however many times removed as it were.

    1. But under that classification cows, bison, deer and all other cloven-hoofed animals are related to sheep which is patently absurd as a clue.

  10. Great puzzle from Jay – I’m with Barrie that some of the clues raised this to more of a 3* than a 2*. I agree that 24a was confusing. As I had done the downs first, I had the initial letter for 24a so was able to work out the answer but thought it was a weak point in an otherwise excellent puzzle.

  11. Don’t know why all the fuss about 8d. Surely it is ‘merit’ (virtue) inside ‘they’ without the H!
    And like so many of us I thought the answer for 24a was ‘lambskin’ – Aries being a ram and lamb his kin –
    so that obfuscated 16 and 22d, which were two of the last to go in. I agree Capricorn would have made the clue
    more readily solved.. Isn’t it good, though, that we’re all so different : In my case the NE section was the first to be mastered!

    1. Jerseyman

      Heartless usually means without the internal letters, which should be removed evenly.

      H is an acknowledged abbreviation for Hearts, so if this construct were to work it would need to be heartsless, which is nonsense.

      1. Dave,

        This isn’t strictly true. If a bridge hand holds only Spades, Clubs & Diamonds, it could be described as Heartless. In that case, the clue is OK. However, I do agree with you that it is uconventional.

        1. The convention to which I was referring was that all abbreviations being used are to be found in Chambers – the only one that fails this test that I can remember is P for President which is in Chambers XWD but not in the main dictionary.

          There is a further argument that constructs like Maidenhead, Birkenhead etc should not be used … but that’s for another day! As I said earlier, this is a friendly forum in which these matters can be discussed without recrimination.

  12. Enjoyed this puzzle and even more enjoyed todays blog comments personally I like 24a and for some reason did put goatskin staight away, no serious ‘ram’ifications at the end of the day :) no skin off my nose!!

    1. Me too Mary – my slightly scattergun approach to solving actually helped me that time (although I did have “portrait” in for 4a until I worked out what 5d was :0

  13. Found this very challenging 3.5* for me. What a puzzle should be – certainly had my brow furrowed.

  14. Very interesting read today! Thanks for the review, Big Dave.
    I managed to complete this (with some help from my mother-in-law).
    I thought there were some very nice clues here (4a, 26a, 6d and 16d for instance were favourites).


  15. Jay has used heartless in this way before (in DT 26119):
    Heartless trio getting birch, for example (4)

    I don’t see any problem with heartless meaning without hearts, in the same way that, for example, armless means without arms.

  16. Nice puzzle which I did in the early hours this morning!
    I liked 14a, 24a, 5d & 7d but the very best for me was 16d.

    I agree with BD re lack of strict crossword precision for 8d & 25a.
    It is always interesting to read the comments and evaluate the pros & cons!

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