DT 26225 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26225

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26225

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have another very entertaining Ray T puzzle today. Apart from the very strange coincidence of 20a (which is obviously not down to the setter, and which I’m sure we’ll hear more of) there are a number of really entertaining clues. For those who can never get started on Ray’s puzzles (Good morning, Barrie) could I suggest that some easier clues to get into the puzzle are 10a, 15a, 24a and 4d.
As always we’re very keen to get your thoughts and opinions, so please keep the comments coming.
The answer to each clue is concealed between the curly brackets beneath it – just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets if you want to reveal the solution.

Across Clues

7a  Sloppy kiss embracing the French (8 )
{CARELESS} – put an embrace or kiss around a French definite article to get a synonym for sloppy or slipshod.

9a  Joint American and Labour leaders misrepresented (6)
{ALLIED} – the definition is joint, in the sense of combined. Start with the initial letters of American and Labour and add a verb meaning misrepresented or was economical with the truth.

10a  Fair charge getting time inside (4)
{FETE} – put T(ime) inside a charge for professional services.

11a  Brief Conservative following terrible strain (10)
{TRANSITORY} – the definition is brief. Put another word for Conservative after an anagram (terrible) of STRAIN.

12a  Truth, really, about sex (6)
{VERITY} – a synonym for really, when used for emphasis as in “a really large fortune”, is placed round an informal euphemism for sex.

14a  Fish, rice and kelp rolled together (8 )
{PICKEREL} – an anagram (rolled together) of RICE and KELP gives us a young pike.

15a  Sabbath with high tea? (6)
{SUPPER} – combine the abbreviation for Sabbath with a synonym for high (or, more accurately, higher) to get an evening meal. Presumably the question mark reflects the fact that the answer can be used in different places to mean anything from the main meal of the day to a light bedtime snack.

17a  Mount offensive initially taking Italian dictator (6)
{BENITO} – the definition is dictator and we want the forename of the late, unlamented, Italian one. Put a Scottish word for mountain in front of the first letter (initially) of Offensive and insert (taking) the abbreviation for Italian.

20a  Small crack or heroin pipe (8)
{HAIRLINE} – as hinted by Ray T in a comment yesterday, here we have the same answer in the third consecutive DT puzzle (shurely shome mishtake as an old Telegraph editor might have said). Put the letter standing for heroin in front of the sort of pipe that you might find on a garage forecourt, with the secondary meaning of crack providing a nice bit of misdirection. So, we have a variety of clues for this word – if you were judging a clue of the week competition which of the following would you give the prize to? (or should we wait for tomorrow’s entry?)
(26223, Cephas) Crack above the forehead (8)
(26224, Rufus) An almost invisible marking that recedes with age (8)
(26225, Ray T) Small crack or heroin pipe (8)

22a  Mourn Romeo with bird (6)
{REGRET} – in radio communications Romeo stands for R. Add a white heron (bird) to make a verb meaning to mourn or feel sad.

23a  Tip Cameron somehow to get power (10)
{IMPORTANCE} – an anagram (somehow) of TIP CAMERON leads to a word meaning power or significance.

24a  Rapidly obese eating seconds (4)
{FAST} – put S(econds) inside a synonym for obese.

25a  Try Sunday Express? (6)
{STRAIN} – the answer has been used in the wordplay for 11a. Put S(unday) in front of a vehicle, of which express is just a variety (hence the question mark) to get a verb meaning to make an effort (try).

26a  Phantom unstable particles, lacking nucleus (8 )
{SPECTRAL} – remove the central letter (lacking nucleus) of particles and make an anagram (unstable) of what remains.

Down Clues

1d  Hardy girl’s last word in docility (8 )
{TAMENESS} – the definition is docility and we need to put the last word of a prayer inside one of Thomas Hardy’s heroines. The surface reading is very smooth and justifies the Yoda-like word order.

2d  Joined end of line on dole (4)
{METE} – this was the last answer I got, and having ?e?e in the grid made it tricky. We want a verb which is normally used with “out” to mean dole out or allot. Put the last letter (end) of linE after (on) a verb meaning came together or joined. The use of “on” in this way in a down clue is somewhat ambiguous since it could equally well mean on top of, i.e. in front of.

3d  A key opening top drawer (6)
{GENTRY} – put a musical key in front of an opening to get people of a high social class (out of the top drawer).

4d  Slaughter large number over large area (8 )
{MASSACRE} – put a large number gathered together in front of (over, in a down clue) an area of land. I’m not sure about large area – I suppose it depends what you’re comparing it with.

5d  Pitch accommodating perfect batting (10)
{FLUTTERING} – the definition is batting (as you might your eyelids). Put an adjective meaning perfect or absolute inside (accommodating) a verb meaning to throw or pitch. The surface reading is excellent, misdirecting you into the cricket field.

6d  Inside it remains to be carried out (6)
{HEARSE} – cryptic definition of a vehicle used to transport human remains.

8d  Wet politician in control (6)
{SWAMPY} – put the usual abbreviation for an elected politician inside a verb meaning to control or influence to get an adjective meaning wet. It’s also the name given to a famous eco warrior and anti-road protester.

13d  Starchy prison meal’s sloppy (10)
{IMPERSONAL} – an anagram (sloppy) of PRISON MEAL.

16d  Living single after former wife? Smart! (8 )
{EXISTING} – the definition is living. Put I (single) after one’s former partner and finish with a verb meaning to smart.

18d  Lovers easily embracing in France, perhaps (8 )
{OVERSEAS} – hidden (embracing) in the clue is a word meaning across the ocean, in France being an example.

19d  Returning clear fault for game (6)
{TENNIS} – It’s not clear from the clue that you have to reverse (returning) two separate words – firstly an amount clear of all deductions, and secondly a fault or moral offence.

21d  Lets in and lets out? (6)
{ADMITS} – double definition, the second meaning to confess to.

22d  Wound in a sea fish (6)
{REELED} – the definition is wound in the sense of coiled. Inside a Middle Eastern Sea (once supposedly parted by Moses) put a long thin fish.

24d  Starts to finally install toilet seat (4)
{FITS} – an attempted all-in-one (although the answer doesn’t give the full sense of the clue) is a verb made from the initial letters (starts) of the last four words.

The clues I liked included 7a, 12a, 17a, 20a (the best of the three contenders, for me), 1d and 8d, but my favourite clue of the day is 5d. What do you think? Tell us in a comment!

58 comments on “DT 26225

  1. Thanks for the review gazza. Very enjoyable and again quite tough in places from RayT. Ray’s entry gets my nod at 20a due to the nice deception. Speaking of the hairlines, is it not something that the DT Crossword editor would check for?. As well as cracks appearing everywhere we have had two Pupae and an Imago recently!. I guess its tricky to keep the eye on the ball!
    1d was my favourite otherwise.
    Thanks again to RayT for continuing to deliver the goods.

  2. I too noticed the continuing variations on a theme in 20 a. Perhaps the crossword ed is trying to see how many variations of clues one can have for the same answer! As Gazza says an entertaining crossword, which I found easier than a lot of Tuesday offerings. (Before any starts on the “genius” track, I don’t claim to be a crossword genius its just that I worked out the other day that I have been doing the DT cryptic for 40 years and so my brain is now trained to work cryptically, although strangely I have to start a crossword before 3 pm or the cryptic bit refuses to cooperate.)

    1. Agree with that Sue, I am definitely a morning person for Cryptics. Telegraphs are always done in the morning but I try to tackle any others over lunch; if I leave it to the journey home I am much worse.

    2. I need an early start on it as well! Must’ve left it a bit late today as there was some wailing and gnashing off teeth… 20a presented no serious problems though!

  3. Phew, remembered to put my details in this time, keep forgetting and having to post twice, this one was pretty straightforward for myself but I have been patiently awaiting the blog because i just could not get 5d, all is now clear, as i had 9a wrong! had ‘abused’ thinking the definition was ‘misrepresented!’ now i can begin the rest of my day, thanks once more Gazza, good luck Barrie and all CC members :)

  4. One query on 24d, although it was the first to go in for me, I don’t quite see what the definition is? obviously ‘starts’ indicates that we use the initial letters but is starts supposed to be the definition to, because i can’t quite see that, although ‘fits and starts’ comes to mind, if the def is install then should it be in the middle of the clue, the answer was obvious but not the wordplay/definition??

    1. mary
      It’s meant to be an all-in-one, so the definition is the whole clue (but it doesn’t quite work, for me).

      1. No, nor me, thanks Gazza, funny I probably wouldn’t even have noticed if I hadn’t started doing COW where the definition has to be pointed out :)

          1. Liz
            Yes, starts = fits, but if it’s just a straightforward clue with definition = starts, where is the instruction to take the first letters of the last four words? That also has to be “starts”, but starts can’t be doing double duty unless the intention is that it’s an all-in-one clue.

  5. Thanks to Gazza for the review and explanations, and just a quick word about the recent abundance of hairlines. Of course our editor spotted this bizarre coincidence some time ago, and thought that it would be fun for the solvers to have three different clues for the same word in three consecutive weekly Cryptics.

    Ray T

    1. You mean we aren’t going to get “hairline” again tomorrow. Surely our setters can come up with more than three clues with that answer!

      1. Hi Sue – it was in on Sunday as well – I was hoping the setters would manage a whole week!

    2. I laughed when hairline came up again. I’d forgotten it was due for another outing!

      These Tuesday crosswords are mind-splitting but good exercise for my 62 year old brain! I was determined to finish today’s before I looked on here and it was gratifying to see that the word I thought I’d made up for 14a was in fact a real word.

  6. How about: Animals’ say descendants Hare line! sorry ok no more wrong site i know, couldn’t resist :)

  7. Many thanks to Ray T for a great crossword this morning. It was great fun to solve and satisfying when the final clue went in. Thanks to for the notes Gazza.

  8. Ah a dreaded Ray T puzzle, I’m going to go to the dentist I think which I will find much more enjoyable. Again, NO HOPE, NO CHANCE, NO FUN FOR ME. See you tomorrow.

  9. Rats, didn’t finish it again! But pleased to be left with only six unsolved clues, easily sorted with the hints, except for 17a, couldn’t come up with ‘ben’. Not sure I’m going to tempt fate by saying I’m getting better at these!

    To my slight shame and possibly your huge amusement, I did spend an awfully long time trying to find out if ‘hairline’ is some sort of slang for heroin pipe (oh dear!) and I even considered ‘reeled’ at one point for 22d but couldn’t see what it had to do with any sort of injury, cut, graze, etc.

    Thanks to Ray T and Gazza, most enjoyable.

    1. By the way this was at least 4 times more difficult than todays so called toughie by Warbler, perhaps a good one for the less experienced amongst us.

      1. Agree it wasn’t the toughest toughie – Tuesdays are normally much worse than this, but I enjoyed completing it. Was waiting for the post to come up so I could comment on it directly.

    1. W are trying to resolve the problem with comments.

      This is the reply I have just received from WordPress support:

      Hi Big Dave,
      I have been able to reproduce the problem with the theme you are using and I have submitted a bug ticket to our theme team. We’ll let you know when we have a fix.

      Automattic | WordPress.com

  10. Got down to 4 clues and had to throw in the towel. Didn’t spot 18d – most annoying!! Missed 20a having written in “remits” for 21d.
    After getting 1d I decided to read wikipedia’s ‘summary’ of tess of the d’urbervilles. Half an hour later I got back to the crossword.

  11. Yes, an enjoyable puzzle for a Tuesday. I got ‘mete’ for 2d but couldn’t make it work till Gazza explained it! Same with 5d – I was torn between flattering and fluttering. With 18a , I realised it was Mussolini but spent ages trying to work ‘duce’ into the answer without realising we were looking for his Christian name!! I too like to do my ‘Telegraph’ crosswords before lunch but I do find that the odd answer may elude me till later in the afternoon. My brain has obviously been mulling it over meanwhile!

  12. Most excellent! Last to go, 2d, but took ages for the penny to drop on 5d – superbly misleading wording.

  13. Hi there – not a bad effort from this Thick Yorkshire Lass. Was expecting Hairline as Ray T commented on my post yesterday! What with that answer three days running and then Base Line yesterday and Tennis today, I’m liking the themes from one day to another. Will we get another hairline tomorrow? Or even a Service Box?

    I love answers that are hidden so 18d was a good one for me. Enjoyed 1d but it was easy and 16d too. Didn’t get 2d, 8d or 22d until I looked at the blog.

    Thanks for your help,
    Helen x

  14. Failed on 2d, 3d& 5d and had to use copious amounts of aids for others. I don’t like 7a kiss=caress -surely “I kissed her” and “I caressed her” are completely different?

    1. Improver10,
      think of of a caress as fleeting touch (such as two snooker balls) and I think that the synonym holds up.

  15. six hours, four clues done. Something is seriously wrong here. Why can’t I get onto this mans wavelength ?

    1. Seriously not like you NUbian! You will have to come back to the CC I’m afraid :) lots coming back after a few days out

      1. It’s a fact Mary, I have lost the will to carry on. I have never left a puzzle unfinished for as long as I can remember. I don’t think it is Ray T’s fault it;s just that I cannot justify to myself certain answers to clues like 13d. and 26a , phantom I know is spectre but spectral is an uncomfortable translation for me.
        I think I need my old desk back.

        1. Nubian, I find RayT puzzles up the harder end of the spectrum.
          Regarding phantom it can be an adjective as well as a noun (a phantom horseman can be a spectral horseman)
          agood tip when stuck is to consider the definition word in isolation to see if there is another interpretation.
          Also try speaking the word to find a different meaning e.g tower – one that pulls and a minaret in a castle.

          1. Excellent advice!

            Also remember that the surface reading, as in 5d, is designed to mislead, so break the clue down into its component parts and forget that it’s a sentence.

            Hope this helps…

            Ray T

            1. Thanks to you all for responding. I have the same problem with maths when I have to stretch mental arithmetic. I must be a little dyslexic if that is possible.
              I will stick with and get Ray T’s mindset eventually.
              Thanks again

            2. But then having got the answer remember that it is a sentence and thank the setter, as in 5d ;-)

  16. Most contributors seem to like this puzzle very much and so did I. Kept falling asleep due to golf in morning. Eventually left with 7a, 12a,2d,5d. Pleased they were among Gazza’s favourites.
    Deserves 4*, 5* rating.

  17. Hummm! Found this very tricky in parts and toiled all day being left with 4 of the blighters. That despite spending lots of the day on the tube. A challenging crossword in my view and thanks to the setter.

    Off to read to my children to let the brain relax.

  18. A good fair puzzle and lots of fun. Chortled when I came upon 20a – of those printed I still like Saturdays best but think Gazza’s is best of all though I know I wouldn’t have got it! In my youth I spent many a happy time in a pub called the Pickerel in Cambridge……

  19. Thanks for all the advice. I am new to the website, but have found it very helpful over the last few days. Thank you.
    Just one question. How do you know who the setters are when the Telegraph crosswords are always anonymous?

    1. Hi Peter – welcome to the blog.
      We know, for most days, who the setters are, because they leave comments on the blog. Generally it’s the same setter for each day (except on Tuesdays when two alternate). We don’t know who the setter(s) is/are on Thursdays.

  20. Hi – this was a really hard one. I gave up fairly early on in the proceedings. My in-laws managed most of the rest, but were left with 3 not done.
    Oh well! Thanks to Gazza for the illuminating review!

  21. Well, I didn’t finish. Hints above confirm a wavelength problem, though maybe I’m slightly better tuned in than Barrie, with whom I frequently agree.

    I put SUNDAE for 15a which did not help.

  22. Nice puzzle once again from Ray T.

    I liked 26a and 5d best.
    6d is like 20a – getting a bit well-used!

    Back to the goggle box shortly for today’s snooker.

  23. Just got back on line – power surges here yesterday when I was out managed to destroy the power pack for my router so couldn’t get my daily fix sof the blog until I had gone to Maplins.

    Did most of this on the train on the way home from London yesterday but 2d, 12a and 8d were my sticking blocks. Also for ages I kept thinking of kedgeree for 14a – horrible when you get something stuck in your brain so left it for a while and then realised with a duh.

    Thanks for the review Gazza – 2d really fouled me up.

    I am mucfh better doing crosswords in the morning – by afternoon my brain has started to wind down and doesn’t think laterally.

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