DT 26219 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26219

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26219

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A real mixture of clues from Shamus today – some I liked a lot, but others, including the cryptic definitions, didn’t really cut the mustard for me. I dithered between two and three stars for difficulty – it seemed marginally more difficult than yesterday’s. So, please tell me what you think (but I won’t be “doing a Libellule” and changing the grading in mid-afternoon!).
As always, the answers are concealed to prevent your seeing them accidentally – just highlight the space between the brackets under a clue to reveal the solution.

Across Clues

1a  Use Bob’s lad devised for instrument (6,4)
{DOUBLE BASS} – an anagram (devised) of USE BOB’S LAD produces a stringed instrument which is a bit too big to tuck under your chin.

6a  Bishops, perhaps, beginning to discourage reform (4)
{MEND} – a verb meaning to reform (often followed by one’s ways) is made from chess pieces, of which bishops are an example (signalled by perhaps), followed by the first letter (beginning) of D(iscourage). Good surface reading and an allusion, perhaps, to the current difficulties in the Roman Catholic church.

9a  Unusual lines aloud harbouring fantasies? (10)
{DELUSIONAL} – an anagram (unusual) of LINES ALOUD.

10a  Celebration held by the Italian star (4)
{IDOL} – a word for a party or celebration splits (is held by) the Italian definite article.

13a  First couple of deliveries carried by transport as part of deal? (5-2)
{TRADE-IN} – put the first two letters of DE(liveries) inside (carried by) a form of public transport to get the old banger which you may sell as part of a deal to buy a new car.

15a  Study country with extremists in senate (6)
{PERUSE} – place a South American country ahead of the outer letters (extremists) of SenatE.

16a  Chat regarding fellow in taxi (6)
{CONFAB} – an informal word for a private conversation (chat) is made by putting ON (regarding) and F(ellow) inside a synonym for taxi.

17a  I harmonise meter having changed electrical apparatus (9,6)
{IMMERSION HEATER} – an anagram (having changed) of I HARMONISE METER.

18a  Price was paid for this tearaway? (6)
{HORROR} – the genre of film that Vincent Price was paid to appear in is also an informal name for a badly-behaved child (tearaway).

20a  Possibly, vintage Cambridge college close to street (6)
{CLARET} – a dark-red wine from Bordeaux (possibly here indicates that this is just an example of vintage wines) is formed from the name of a Cambridge college followed by the last letter (close) of streeT.

21a  Sadly a sign to withdraw wine (7)
{MARSALA} – having tasted the good wine we now switch to the sweet stuff. Reverse (to withdraw) an interjection expressing dismay or sorrow (sadly) and the animal associated with the star sign Aries.

22a  Woman from Dublin perhaps rejecting hotel (4)
{IRIS} – start with the nationality of someone from Dublin and remove the H (for which the codeword hotel is used in radio communications).

25a  Control nag once very wild with no end of energy (10)
{GOVERNANCE} – an anagram (wild) of NAG ONCE VER(y) (without the last letter of energY) produces a noun meaning direction or control.

26a  Rugby club offering goods at reduced price (4)
{SALE} – double definition, the first being the name of a township in Greater Manchester which has given its name to a Premiership rugby union club known as the Sharks.

27a  A hanging for a caveman? (10)
{STALACTITE} – this is a pretty weak cryptic definition of a tapering structure hanging down from the roof of a cave and formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water.

Down Clues

1d  Queen was lazy? (4)
{DIDO} – she did nothing.

2d  Ill-natured opening to game in part of summer without leader (4)
{UGLY} – an adjective meaning ill-natured (when applied to rumours, for example) is formed by putting the initial letter (opening to) of Game inside a summer month without its first letter (leader).

3d  Change in Ulster gaining distinction (6)
{LUSTRE} – an anagram (change in) of ULSTER.

4d  A fair bit getting attention? (6,9)
{BLONDE BOMBSHELL} – cryptic definition of an extremely attractive pale-haired woman (a term first applied to the actress Jean Harlow) which is made up of a fair-haired young woman (fair bit) and a sudden and surprising piece of news which grabs one’s attention. I don’t think that this works very well since the definition of the first word overlaps considerably with the whole thing.

5d  Still enthralled by contest at ice-skating (6)
{STATIC} – hidden (enthralled by) in the clue is an adjective meaning still.

7d  Review so often dry? No further discussion needed (3,2,5)
{END OF STORY} – an anagram (review) of SO OFTEN DRY produces a phrase indicating that discussion on this matter is closed.

8d  Consider composer lacking special value (10)
{DELIBERATE} – the definition is consider or think carefully. Start with a 19th century French composer of ballets and operas, remove the final S (lacking special) and add a verb meaning to value or appreciate.

11d  Make fine distinctions composing parish list (5,5)
{SPLIT HAIRS} – a phrase meaning to make fine distinctions or be very pernickety is an anagram (composing) of PARISH LIST.

12d  Stuffy ring about serving men? That’s rudimentary (10)
{PRIMORDIAL} – an adjective meaning rudimentary or basic is constructed from a synonym of stuffy or proper followed by a verb meaning to make a telephone call surrounding (about) other ranks (serving men). It’s interesting that this verb to make a call is still in use long after the handsets which forced you to do it literally have been consigned to museums.

13d  Mad sort planned despotic rule (7)
{TSARDOM} – an anagram (planned) of MAD SORT. The surface reading is very good.

14d  Short work made by star absorbing English lines (7)
{NOVELLA} – a short literary work is composed by putting a star which suddenly increases in brightness around (absorbing) E(nglish) and LL (two lines).

19d  A recipe taken up with relish for stew (6)
{RAGOUT} – Reverse A and R(ecipe) and then add a word (from French) meaning taste or relish (dropping the circumflex en route).

20d  150 in ICU falling short in hospital (6)
{CLINIC} – stitch together the Roman numerals for 150, IN (given to you in the clue) and IC(u) with its last letter dropped (falling short). I really don’t like this clue requiring an abbreviation of an abbreviation, and the surface reading doesn’t mean very much.

23d  Opposed to prank clubs banned (4)
{ANTI} – take a word for a prank or caper and drop the final C (clubs banned) to leave a preposition meaning opposed to.

24d  Report of how things turn out in charitable event (4)
{FETE} – the sort of charitable event held outdoors in the Summer sounds like (report) what the future holds (how things turn out).

The clues I liked included 6a, 13a, 18a and 11d, but my clue of the day is 13d. How do your favourites compare? Tell us in a comment!

47 comments on “DT 26219

  1. I seemed to be looking at anagrams everywhere I looked today!. Agreed on 13d but 18a shaded it for me as I had to stop and consider the wordplay after I had the answer in. Like you I wasn’t too impressed with 27a.
    Thanks for the review and thanks to Shamus.

    1. Ha! – I’ve just seen the end of your comment on 1a!. Whenever my mum walked past one of these musicians carrying his instrument she used to say “(s)he’ll never do it! until someone asked “Never do what?”. Then she could say “He’ll never get that fiddle under his chin”.

  2. 16a wierd isn’t it that all through my fifty eight years of life in the northeast of England people here have always said ‘conflab’ or have I just been hearing them wrongly for all that time ?
    crozzys eh ! live and learn.

    1. It’s short for confabulation, but you’re right, I’m more familiar with conflab too, coming from Bamburgh.

    2. I think it’s a commonly mispronounced word. I grew up in the Northwest and always thought it was “conflab”.

        1. Me too and I’m from Yorkshire. Never heard of confab – had to check it with the explanation (nothing new there mind!)

  3. Thanks for the explanation of 2d and 18a – I never thought of film genre, since Price was capitalised at the beginning of the clue, so didn’t look like a proper noun. Favourite clues 8d and 27a.

  4. 6a stumped me, which is really annoying in hindsight! Also had “RESULT” in for 3d at first even though I knew 1a probably didn’t contain an “R”, given it was a fairly obvious anagram. Sorted it out eventually

  5. Easy peasy Mrs Tittlemouse!!! This was the easiest I’ve ever done though I have to confess that I didn’t know why I got all the answers until I read the blog, they just seemed to fall seamlessly in to place o/

    1. well done Chablis a day out from the CC for you, unfortunately I won’t be accompanying you needed Gazzas help for about a quarter of this :( lots of anagrams but still couldn’t complete it without the blog, thanks once again Gazza :)

      1. Hi Mary. I think the door’s still locked! Presumably the setter and I were on the same wavelength today – an all to rare occurance……

        1. Chablis,
          One cat, One adder bite yesterday evening, one emergency trip to the vets, thankfully he is ok! Came home this evening.

          1. Oh my god how scary. I hate snakes. Once went to a zoo with my first boyfriend and threw up on him when he took me in the reptile house (when I say took me……ah ya know what I mean, I was only 14) Needless to say he finished with me!!

  6. I loved 18a made me laugh and I’m sorry to disagree but I really liked 27a too. Reminded me of a school trip , far too many years back , to Stumps Cross Cavern.

    1. Werm
      No need to apologise – if we all thought the same it would be a very dull world (and this would be a very dull blog!).

      1. I remember a school trip to stump cross cavern and we were taught the difference between stalactites and stalagmites was that ‘tights come down’

  7. Finished this quite quickly after solving 1a. whilst eating my English breakfast on the balcony in Cyprus in 26 degs.

    Now to do the toughie tonight whilst eating that most English of meals – curry!

    Shamus as always served up a good dish.

  8. Perception is a strange thing, yesterdays was a 2* yet I only managed 7 clues, todays is 3* and I finished by 8.30 this morning!
    Apart from a couple of clues, I enjoyed todays. 6a and 16a were I thought a bit weak but my favourite was 27a, made me smile and I thought it was a clever clue.

  9. Way too hard for me today! I guessed 8d, given some checking letters, but failed to see the significance of ‘lacking special’ – ditto ‘clubs banned’ in 23d. Hopefully, one day these sort of things will dawn on me!Thanks for the review Gazza.

    1. So glad you’re staying in CC to keep me company Geoff, lots of CC members on day out today!! :)

  10. enjoyable crossword but too many anagrams for my taste( same in the toughie ), I liked 1d and 18a best.

    1. BigBoab
      I had the same feeling about the number of anagrams when I was solving it, but in fact there are only 8 out of 30 (which is a far lower percentage than we’ve had recently).

      1. Agreed Gazza, still too many for my personal taste, otherwise I enjoyed both today.

        1. I don’t mind anagrams so long as the surface reading is good, and the indicator is subtle. Many of today’s were just too ugly and obvious.

        1. Jezza,
          Just checked – it is indeed! But not a huge surprise when you know who the setter is :-)

  11. Agree with the rating. As is usual on a Tuesday, harder than the toughie. I liked 27a which made me smile. Had to look at the hints to understand why the answer to 18a and 23d fitted the clues. Two nice crosswords for a lovely sunny day.

    1. I’d say the other way round, but only just. I’m sure if Big Dave’s reviewing the Toughie today, he won’t be too pleased with the low ‘degree of difficulty’. No rush to get the blog out, as I can’t see too many eagerly awaiting help. It was somewhat too easy for that category, but I enjoyed it as a bonus Cryptic…in fact, enjoyed both today.

  12. After the comments above and completing todays, I thought I would have a look at the Toughie. Managed 1 clue!
    Def way more difficult than this one.

    1. As someone has already said, it’s all about perception. I found them about the same today. Getting 1a (in the toughie) straight away helped – often a single answer can open up lots of others, get that one easily and it makes a big difference.

  13. After a slow start on the across clues I picked up speed with the downs but still found today’s trickier than the Toughie. Many thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle and to Gazza for the notes. Nice to see my old college get a mention!

  14. Thanks to Gazza for his blog and all for comments. Seems as if one man’s cryptic definition is another man’s poison…..!
    Greetings from a warmish SW London.

  15. Thanks for the review Gazza. Couldn’t finish this today without your help :(. 18a was a great clue (but one I didn’t solve!)

  16. Tougher than yesterday’s in my view and agree that 18a was always “conflab” to me. Did not open the paper until 5.30PM so was pleased to finish it despite a taxing day for the brain cells.

  17. Enjoyed today’s crossword and although I thought there were too many anagrams I am at least good at them so they help me with letters for clues I don’t, well, don’t have a clue about really! My favourite clues were 21a, 4d and 11d. I must be the only person who didn’t like the Vincent Price clue.

    You’ve answered this question before but I still don’t know what you mean about the surface reading in 13d. Actually I just don’t know what you mean by surface reading fullstop! (Thick Yorkshire Lass once again)

    Start radiotherapy tomorrow for the next three weeks – gotta be better than chemo. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
    Helen x

    1. Helen
      The surface reading of a clue is just the way the clue reads in isolation (forgetting the cryptic element). The more smooth and sensible the surface reading, the better the clue, because it means the setter has been able to disguise the cryptic elements. So, if you read 13d as a stand-alone sentence it makes sense – you can imagine some mad power-hungry maniac planning a takeover. Whereas the surface reading of 20d is poor – if you read it as a straight bit of English prose it doesn’t make much sense.

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