DT 26222 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26222

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26222

Hints and tips by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

[Today we have a new blogger joining the team.  I know you will all recognise him from his proliferation of comments – well now the poacher has turned gamekeeper.  Gnomethang will only be able to participate from time to time, but if his first post is anything to go by let’s hope it is a frequent occurrence.  Thanks also to Gazza for stepping aside today to make this possible.  BD]

Morning All! First of all I must say a big thank you to Big Dave and Gazza for giving me the opportunity to guest this DT review. It has been fun to do and makes you think about every clue.

Now on to the puzzle: As usual from Giovanni we have a series of smooth and fair clues with good definitions and some very nice surface reading. As with the last two weeks I think that these have been from the more gentle side of Giovanni (I am comparing with a few from the beginning of the year) and I was wavering between two and three stars for difficulty but do please let us know what you thought.

You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post. Don’t forget that you can read the answers by highlighting between the curly brackets.


8a    Young animal, a form of insect (4)
{PUPA} – Take a word for a young domestic pet, followed by A, to get a stage of an insect’s life cycle between larva and imago


9a    Something to be deciphered, not the first poem (3)
{ODE} – Another word for a cipher without the first letter (not the first) gives a poem or verse.

10a    A tortuous route cut short on river (6)
{AMAZON} – This large S American river is derived from A, all but the last letter of a labyrinth (the tortuous route cut short), followed by ON

11a    Anger shown by chaps blocking a theologian (6)
{MADDEN} – a verb meaning to enrage or anger is created by placing another word for chaps outside A DD, an abbreviation for a theologian. DD is short for the Latin phrase DIVINITAS DOCTOR or Doctor of Divinities.

12a    Practise with special vehicle about to start (8)
{REHEARSE} – what you do when you practise a play or musical prior to the first show is derived from a specialist vehicle, as used by undertakers, with one of crosswordland’s abbreviations for ‘on the Subject of’ or ‘about’.

13a    Insensible, rough — otherwise showing a helpful disposition! (15)
{NEIGHBOURLINESS} – an anagram of INSENSIBLE ROUGH (indicated by otherwise) leads to the social goodwill that we should all show towards those who live close to us.


15a    Powerful type with a good name, friend to have around (7)
{MAGNATE} – a Press or Shipping Baron. A colloquial term for a friend (Me old China Plate) is around A Good Name.

17a    Team getting silver about to be embraced by woman at match (7)
{BRIGADE} – A woman on her wedding day may be described cryptically as a ‘woman at match’. Inside this we need to reverse the chemical symbol for silver. The definition is a synonym for an organised group of people or a body of troops

20a    Eager Cardiff has excited diplomat (6,9)
{CHARGE D’AFFAIRES} – another long anagram (excited) of EAGER CARDIFF HAS gives the originally French phrase for a lesser diplomat who carries the authority of an Ambassador in their absence. Chambers gives the word count as 6-1’8 which might have made the clue too easy

23a    Insect gets to scamper around little old vegetable (8)
{BEETROOT} – A purple salad vegetable, which stains everything it touches, is a charade of a busy insect, and a synonym scamper (or rather what horses do) around O for old.


25a    Like voluntary work with international organisation, quiet help (6)
{UNPAID} – Another charade of the United Nations, quiet in musical notation and another word for help. As BD points out in the site introduction, the work done on this site is voluntary which is a euphemism for ________!. Not that I am complaining or anything having just got here!.

26a    Superficial quality of archdeacon, always poetic (6)
{VENEER} – Take the abbreviation of the description of an archdeacon (think Bede) and add this to a poetic way of writing ‘ever’. The thin superficial quality is also a type of wood finish applied to furniture.


27a    Participate in sport — almost miss out (3)
{SKI} – The sport is an alpine activity carried out on two bits of wood. Take the last letter from a verb meaning to pass over or miss out.

28a    Want to be kicked, do we hear? (4)
{NEED} – A homophone , indicated by ‘do we hear?’, of a word for kicked (typically in the groin!)


1d    Compassionate chap, in tone (6)
{HUMANE} – A word for merciful or benign can be found by putting MAN (Chap) in a word for tone of colour

2d    This garment’s been ruined by acid, gran! (8)
{CARDIGAN} – Something that your Grandad might wear is an anagram (ruined) of ACID GRAN). Quite what your gran is doing with the acid must remain undisclosed!. ‘by’ here appears to be padding to create a smooth surface reading


3d    Accepting the directors’ recommendations and getting ignored (5,2,3,5)
{GOING BY THE BOARD} – a double definition here. The first is the cryptic part. If you were accepting a judgement you would be GOING BY. Add to that the standard crossword synonym for the directors of a company. This phrase also means ignored.

4d    Reprimand after short time gets one weeping (7)
{TEARFUL} – the short time is simply T. Add to this a colloquial term for a reprimand or upbraiding to get an adjective meaning weepy or crying.


5d    A noted graduate? (8,2,5)
{BACHELOR OF MUSIC} – a cryptic definition of one who has graduated having studied composition, melody and harmony.

6d    Knight’s advantage having collected a wife (6)
{GAWAIN} – This Knight of the Round Table can be found by placing A W(ife) inside a word for advantage or accrual

7d    One usually has ten big books, not a thousand! (4)
{TOES} – It was pleasant when the penny dropped!. Barring accidents or frostbite we all have ten of these. Remove M (thousand in Roman Numerals) from large books.

14d    Mentioned one being put out and far from happy (3)
{SAD} – The definition here is ‘far from happy’ and we must remove I (one being put out) from a word for mentioned or stated.

16d    Wood — find some hyenas here (3)
{ASH} – A tree type is hidden in hyenas here

18d    Good, like certain yarns, keeping one engaged (8)
{GRIPPING} – Something that holds your interest or engagement is this. Take G(ood) and a description of a Boy’s Own book story (for example ‘Biggles Flies Undone’).

Ripping Yarns

19d    Like certain cross people living on a Mediterranean island (7)
{MALTESE} – Adjective describing the people of a small Mediterranean island and the cross associated with its famous knights.

21d    Despicable type submerging animal under river (6)
{ROTTER} – this cad or bounder employs the usual abbreviation of R(iver) followed by a semi-aquatic mammal that lives by said river.

22d    Old lover, one shown the way and deported (6)
{EXILED} – a straightforward charade of EX (old lover), I (one) and LED (shown the way)

24d    On the radio employ sheep (4)
{EWES} – our second homophone (on the radio) of a word for employ leads to a plural noun for female sheep.

There were a couple of nice ‘penny drop’ moments and although I felt that there were no real stunners today it was still an enjoyable solve.

Clues of the day for me were 10a, 7d but pipping them to the post is 2d.

Well, we had a couple of Knightly references but none for St George! Have a good Saint George’s Day everyone.

58 comments on “DT 26222

  1. As usual a good Giovanni puzzle.

    Some excellent clues but in particular 5d.

    Completed whilst eating an English breakfast as befits the day!

      1. Mine was best rare English roast beef with all the trimmings and a rather nice English wine.

  2. Welcome on board Gnome. When can we expect your first puzzle on NTSPP now that BD has caught you in his net? :)

    I agree that this was on the gentle side. It was another two stopper – has this one been published before as well! I think I must have been on the right wavelength for a Giovanni this morning. Favourite clue was 7d for me.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and thanks to the Gnome for the review.

  3. Well done, Gnome – an excellent write-up. I agree with Prolixic on 7d as favourite clue.

  4. Well done gnomey, a brilliant blog, eagerly awaited, not just cos i was stuck on 3 clues!! excellent first review in my humble opinion, i was really stuck on 20a, duh, knew it was anagram but just couldn’t get it, also had exited for 22d! and ratbag for 21d, yes i know doesn’t make sense of the clue so I also had 26a witing an answer, all sorted now thanks to your blog and excellent illustrations, well done :) not an easy one for me or the CC i would think, at least 3*

  5. Super puzzle, full of excellent clues with the odd tricky one. Esp liked 28a although it was the last I got. I think Giovanni is encouraging the less able amongst us to do well and for that my thanks :-)

  6. Congrats on your debut Gnome! A nice gentle one for what hopefully is your first of many!!

    1. Thanks Jezza!
      I must confess to a frisson of solving terror this morning as I was quite pushed to get the thing done. Although BD had sent the clues in Word format along with the answers overnight they did not materialise!. Due to the difficulty level I managed to solve and prepare some notes for typing in my 30 minute train journey with 5 mins on the platform.
      It’s another 90 minutes or so to get things down in a (hopefully) concise fashion.
      Having said all that, if the big fella comes knocking I would urge anyone to take the chance.

  7. Super puzzle, full of excellent clues some of which were tricky. The one that made me smile was 28a although it was the last I got. I think Giovanni is encouraging the less able amongst us and for that my thanks :-)

        1. Peter, having read a couple of books on the subject recently the wisdom is that punctuation can be here to fool you!

    1. having problems posting today, each time an error notice appears asking for name and email address, real nuisance

        1. Another question for you all – are you replying under the previous comment or starting a new one as these comments are not nested (unless this one does!) – No it didn’t!

  8. mary
    You varied your usual handle in your previous post which required it to be moderated. I edited it back to “mary”.

  9. When Gazza changed Mary’s comment, I deleted the subsequent test comment but not before a reply had been entered. All are now restored, so ignore above comments related to duplicates or lack of nesting!

    1. hope it wasn’t all my fault apologies if so, but i am still having to enter my name and email everytime i want to post??

      1. It was my fault – I was tidying up by deleting your test comment.. The problem was because a reply had been entered before the deletion.

  10. Had I been able to finish it, I would have enjoyed it a lot. But I got more than halfway on it and that’s an improvement.

    Great review gnomethang, loved the gif for 4d! If Giovanni is trying to help the CC along, then I’m grateful for it. I think 7d was the best and, given gt’s comment, 28a did not make me smile at all!

  11. Well done to Gnomethang for picking up the baton, a lovely blog. I enjoyed today’s puzzle and managed without the hints but with my dictionaries!!!! (not the ones that give the letters I hasten to say). As many others I liked 7d but also 18d 4d and quite a few more. I’m a little worried about the cardy reference though as I wear them and am not a granny yet – not even 50 -though very close…. Shame there are no real St George clues, where is our national pride????

    1. same on St Davids day Chablis, cardis are trendy these days, they are everywhere, in all the ‘young’ shops, so you are fine Chablis :) all styles, all colours everyone who is someone has a ‘cardi’

    2. Don’t worry about the cardy reference!
      Whilst they might be worn by ones grandad they might also be worn, for example, by attractive 40somethings with excellent tastes in crossword blogs.
      (did I get out of that ok?, phew!)

      1. Dave

        I agree with the ladies – retention of name and email is gone. Not a problem filling in but thought you would like to know.


  12. Fantastic puzzle today and a great review Gnomething, the first of many I’m sure.
    Quality crosswords just seem to flow like a smooth ride in an expensive car,,,poop poop!

  13. Great puzzle today with lots of lovely clues – particularly 5d,13a and 20a. I didn’t find ‘maze’ for tortuous route but Gnomethang’s excellent blog
    helped me with that and two others. I also liked the Arthurian touch in 6d – perhapsthat’s the St. georges Day reference!!

  14. Well done on the review Gnomethang – an excellent one for an excellent puzzle. Today has redeemed my faith in good crosswords in the DT – after the last two days it made me wonder. My favourite clues were 7d and 5 down.

    Thanks Giovanni for an excellent one.

  15. What a great puzzle. I just got stuck on 10a – put in Avalon, thinking the river was the Avon but couldn’t work out how the middle letters fitted in. Favourite clues 4d and 21d.

  16. I did try to leave a post for you earlier Gnomey thingy…but as you see from the toughie today I am completely puzzled out…a good debut..keep it up…now Big D is defo going to put me in the dunce corner if this does not come up…….

  17. Well Gnomethang,
    I am new to this blog.Thank you for recommending it as i loved reading through it and it is about time i put some effort back into the English language after forsaking it 10 years ago.
    Well done with your debut.
    I am even more impressed … if such a thing were possible.
    The first of many i hope….

    1. Thanks Sis!
      It must be stated that this fulsome praise is from my sister in Holland!

  18. Took me ages to get the long anagram (obvious!) and a new one for me: “gawain”. Good puzzle. 3*

  19. A gentler puzzle from Giovanni this Friday. Some nice witty clues – particularly the short ones.
    !2a is a bit of an old chestnut. I was going to complain that 20a should be 6,1’8 but I see that it was mentioned in the blog.
    I liked 23a, 1d, 3d, 6d, 7d (good laugh), 18d & 19d.

    Nice circular grid symmetry.

    Welcome to Gnomethang!

  20. Thanks for this Gnome. I enjoyed your review very much! The puzzle was good. I finished it (with a little help from in-laws and my pocket spell-checker!).
    Thought 5d was good – one of the last to go in. 26a was also a fave.

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