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DT 26231

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26231

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

We have a very gentle puzzle from Shamus today to get us back into the groove after the bank holiday. Members of the CC should have no excuses for not completing this one, but as we’ve said often in the past, being relatively easy does not mean that it cannot be entertaining, and this one has some very enjoyable clues.
Let us know your opinion in a comment, and please take the time to indicate how much you enjoyed the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.
New readers may not be aware that the answer to each clue is concealed between the curly brackets under the clue – just highlight the space between the brackets to reveal it.

Across Clues

1a  Give up office plan after initial change (6)
{RESIGN} – start with a plan or drawing and replace the initial D with an R (after initial change) to get a verb meaning to give up office voluntarily.

4a  A factor in trouble around wife, end to peace? (3,2,3)
{ACT OF WAR} – a hostile move (which may mark the end of peace) is an anagram (in trouble) of A FACTOR around W(ife).

9a  Smart support in back of hostelry (6)
{BRAINY} – the definition is smart. Begin with a female support garment and add IN and the last letter (back) of hostelrY.

10a  Excellent part of tennis player’s repertoire? (8)
{SMASHING} – double definition, the second describing a tennis shot, one variety of which involves bringing the racket above one’s head and hitting a dropping ball without letting it bounce.

11a  Very unlike vermouth? On the contrary (3,4,2)
{FAR FROM IT} – we want a phrase meaning on the contrary, which, if taken literally, could mean nothing like (very unlike) IT(alian) vermouth.

13a  Backing of amateur men befitting a King? (5)
{ROYAL} – the definition is befitting a King. Put an adjective meaning amateur (not having professional qualifications) and the abbreviation for other ranks (men) together and reverse (backing) the whole lot.

14a  Support stirred game encounter (13)
{ENCOURAGEMENT} – an anagram (stirred) of GAME ENCOUNTER.

17a  Source of notes and triumphant cry in time cut in room (4,2,3,4)
{HOLE IN THE WALL} – the informal name for a place where you can get banknotes (as long as you’ve remembered your pin!) is constructed by putting together a Spanish triumphant cry, IN, T(ime) and a verb meaning to cut, and placing them all in the room which you normally enter when you go in through your front door.

21a  Dutiful page facing signs of debt (5)
{PIOUS} – we want an adjective which can mean dutiful or loyal. Start with P(age) and add signed documents acknowledging a debt.

23a  Clue? I’d none solved except puzzle’s second, showing sluggishness (9)
{INDOLENCE} – this is an anagram (solved) of CL(u)E I’D NONE (with the second letter of puzzle removed).

24a  Trouble given by one of the taps? (3,5)
{HOT WATER} – weakish cryptic definition identifying what you may be in if you’re in trouble.

25a  Grab fragment of song (6)
{SNATCH} – double definition.

26a  Cause of flat needing repair? (8)
{PUNCTURE} – another gentle cryptic definition, flat here being something which is no longer inflated.

27a  Made a profit with some wonga in Edinburgh (6)
{GAINED} – there’s a hidden word (some) meaning made a profit.

Down Clues

1d  Slight fan following Liverpool player endlessly (6)
{REBUFF} – for one horrible moment I thought that I was going to have to find the name of a Liverpool player, but it’s the nickname of each player that we want (which is derived from the colour of their playing strip). Remove the final D from this colour (endlessly) and follow this with a synonym for fan or enthusiast to end up with a slight or snub.

2d  Wire replaced amid stop? It’s integral to a flight (9)
{STAIRWELL} – flight, as so often in crosswordland, is nothing to do with birds or aircraft. Put an anagram (replaced) of WIRE inside a verb meaning to stop (as your car engine may do, if you’re not careful, at the traffic lights).

3d  Kelly perhaps, mainly well-off, characterising a class (7)
{GENERIC} – “perhaps” indicates that we need a specific Kelly and this time it’s the actor and hoofer best remembered for singing in the rain (though, personally, I prefer the Morecambe and Wise version). Take his forename and add all but the last letter (mainly) of an adjective meaning well-off or wealthy.

5d  Reach a critical point and face a leading educational authority? (4,2,1,4)
{COME TO A HEAD} – a phrase meaning to reach a critical point could literally mean pay a visit to the person in charge of a school.

6d  Honour entertaining special queen with very clipped comment (7)
{OBSERVE} – an honour (one of the ones dished out twice a year) is put around (entertaining) S(pecial), the initials of Elizabeth Regina and V(ery) (clipped to a single letter) to form a verb meaning to make a remark or comment.

7d  Plaintive question about home (5)
{WHINY} – an adjective meaning plaintive or whimpering is formed by putting an interrogative adverb (question) asking for a reason around IN (home).

8d  Control nervous laughter? Not hard close to magistrate (8)
{REGULATE} – a verb meaning to control comes from an anagram (nervous) of LAUG(h)TER (without the H, not hard) followed by the last letter (close) of magistratE.

12d  A negotiator on a grand scale? (11)
{MOUNTAINEER} – a good cryptic definition of someone who negotiates and scales high peaks.

15d  Band leader and pianist in familiar way maybe including a lot of jargon (9)
{ELLINGTON} – the surname of the bandleader known as Duke is made by putting LING(o) (a lot of jargon) inside the way you might refer to the pianist Reginald Dwight familiarly, i.e. by using just the first part of his stage name. Lovely clue.

16d  Policeman going about joint, quiet place for takeaways? (4,4)
{CHIP SHOP} – a retail outlet that you might go to for takeaway meals is constructed by putting a nickname for policeman around a joint of the body and SH (quiet!).

18d  Tick popular numerical fact about Norway (7)
{INSTANT} – a brief period of time (tick) is made from a short word for popular followed by a numerical fact (e.g. 13 people a year are killed by vending machines falling on them) around the International Vehicle Registration code for Norway.

19d  US city worker invested in endless series of maps (7)
{ATLANTA} – this US city has one of the usual workers in crosswordland inside a set of maps without its final letter (endless).

20d  System encountered by daughter round house (6)
{METHOD} – a synonym for encountered is followed by D(aughter) with the usual abbreviation for house between the two.

22d  Awkward tone about female regularly (5)
{OFTEN} – an adverb meaning regularly or frequently is an anagram (awkward) of TONE around F(emale).

The clues I particularly liked today (strangely, all in the Down column) were 1d, 3d, 12d and 16d, but my favourite was 15d. How about you? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!

31 comments on “DT 26231

  1. This is one I finished on time but with no idea why I got some of the answers correct! Hence on the blog to seek understanding!

  2. “Very gentle” ?? Really hard for me; taken 2 hours. 1d was the last.
    No more like this I hope!

  3. Quite an easy puzzle today. The only slight difficulty I had, like you Gazza, was with 1d. I spent some time racking my brains going through lists of Liverpool players, past and present, before the penny dropped.

    Particularly liked 17a, 12d & 15d.

  4. Morning Gazza, yes a nice fairly easy crossword today, which i completed in what is one of my best times, however it still left me reaching for my books etc. in places, so i remain in the CC :) liked lots of clues but can’t say i had a favourite today

  5. I found a few clues a bit tricky but this might have been due to the weekend’s excesses.
    Agreed that 15d was a great clue and I also liked 8d and 12d.
    Thanks to Shamus and gazza!.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this, I thought one or two were verging on the difficult and one or two on the simple side, a lovely mixture. My favourite clue was 17a. Great review again Gazza, loved the Jimmy Edwards pic. Whacko was ever a favourite.

  7. I got there eventually, but did need a couple of hints. Some of the answers were sheer guesswork with no idea how they came out of the clue – still unsure about 18d!

    I didn’t find it all that gentle either, partly because there are things, like the significance of ‘flight’ in 2d, that are new to me. But I have learned the other meaning of ‘close’, as in 8d, some progress then! Thanks for the explanations.

    1. Hi Geoff a tick is an instant, popular is ‘in’ , numerical fact is ‘stat’ about Norway ‘N’ gives you insta(n)t

      1. Doh! I was stuck on popular being IT for first and last letters (about) and thought it can’t be STAT, there aren’t enough ‘T’s …

  8. Just the right difficulty for me –almost did it in time—not too easy but not hard enough to be discouraging or give in and look at the tips–or worse the answers

  9. Needed help on the last few, but probably because I didn’t enjoy it enough to work them out, for me a huge disappointment after the excellent puzzles of the previous 2 days.

    1. Same here – I did enjoy yesterday’s puzzle but had to have help with some of today’s (but then it is Tuesday which used to be one of the more difficult days of the week.

  10. Hmm. I’m dubious about this being only a 2*. There were a handful of clues that i think tipped this into 3* territory given their complexity.

    Many thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and to Gazza for the notes.

  11. An enjoyable puzzel which I made difficult for myself by carelessly putting 1a and 1d in each others places and so looking for something with ‘gin’ in it for 11a!!!! It was a lot easier once I realised though even having got it on my own and also read the explanation I’m still not really understanding 11a…. Re 1a I thought it was the Liverpool keeper (Reina, I think – not my team though I was supporting them on Sun purely to keep Chelski at bay). Like Mary, I needed my books but not the blog so a good day.

    1. On 11a, IT is the abbreviation for Italian vermouth, so something that is very unlike vermouth is far from IT. But as a phrase “far from it” means “I don’t think so” or “on the contrary”.

      1. Ok. Thankyou. I realise I have been labouring under a misapprehension for quite some time I thought ‘It’ was another name for gin or possibly tonic neither of which really make sense now I’ve thought about it. You live and learn…. Thanks again.

        1. Yes – I’d always thought that the ‘IT’ stood for Indian Tonic, until Gazza put me right on this very same thing a few weeks ago………….

  12. Enjoyable puzzle from Shamus today. I was somewhat taken aback by Gazza’s 2* degree of difficulty assessment. ‘Very gentle’ – that was yesterday. All very subjective, I know – this one took me just under 30 mins, but would have rated it as one of the more challenging of the Mon-Sat Cryptics as they currently are with the present group of setters.
    Had to come and seek out your analysis of 15d after completion – the answer was rather obvious, but very cryptically constucted clue-wise.

    1. Particularly clever as the Duke played the piano – I was lucky enough to seem him and his orchestra playing live several times back in the Sixties.

  13. Enjoyable puzzle but for me def nor 2* at least not the top left corner which was close to impossible!! What on earth has the answer to do with a liverpool fan? On the whole an OK puzzle but parts of the top were pretty tough.

    1. 1d is RE(d) (Liverpool player) followed by BUFF (fan, as in “an Opera buff”) to make a verb meaning slight.

  14. Well, my difficulty rating seems to have polarised views, with slightly more people (currently) thinking that it was harder than **. All I can say is that I zipped through it fairly quickly, but as we always say, these ratings are purely subjective. Often getting (or not getting) one or two strategically placed answers can change one’s view of the difficulty quite dramatically.

    1. I missed a couple in the NW and also ‘Hole in the Wall’ for quite some time which certainly made it FEEL harder than perhaps it was.

      1. I agree. The NW area took me a while, as did 17a. It certainly took me considerably longer to complete than I would have expected, although looking back at it, there is nothing too tricky. Maybe just one of those days!

  15. I got through this in a reasonable time, without help, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. There were some irritating clues – for example, I though the magistrate was significant in 8d, but all that was required from the word was the final e. Bit like a red herring in a murder mystery. As a fan of the anagram, I liked 14a. Did you know that mother-in-law is an anagram of woman Hitler? My son-in-law likes that one.

  16. I found this very tricky and agree with some of the above comments that it was certainly not a 2*. NW corner had me stumped. I was convinced 1a started with a “C” which completely wrecked my attempt at 1d. Not tuned in today.

  17. Late comment from me – as usual – last night I had first decent shut-eye after goggling at the snooker until the early hours these last few nights.
    Gentle puzzle.
    I liked 11a, i7a & 24a. 2d, 3d, 5d,12d, 15d & 16d.

  18. Belated thanks to Gazza for his very entertaining blog and all for comments – until the next time!

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