DT 26237 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26237

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26237

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

It’s Ray T’s turn this week, and as usual he’s provided an entertaining puzzle with some very good clues. I know that some people find Ray’s puzzles harder than other puzzles during the week, but all I can say is keep persevering and if you can’t get the answer and have to look between the brackets make sure that you then understand the wordplay!
Your comments, as always, are very welcome.
For new readers, the answers are present in the review but concealed between the curly brackets under each clue – if you want to reveal one, highlight the space between the brackets.

Across Clues

1a  Brace and bit from builder’s toolbox (7)
{BOLSTER} – double definition – a verb meaning to support or strengthen (brace) and a heavy chisel used by builders for cutting bricks. Very nice misdirection with “brace and bit”.

5a  Alleged grass stuck inside (7)
{REPUTED} – an adjective meaning supposed or reckoned (alleged) is made from a type of grass which grows on marshy ground with a verb meaning placed or stuck inside it.

9a  Writer died before stake (5)
{DANTE} – the most famous Italian poet is D(ied) ahead of the sort of stake that you throw into the pot before the cards are dealt in a game of poker or brag.

10a  Tackle part, keeping mum for performance (9)
{RIGMAROLE} – the definition is performance (as in “a right performance”, i.e. a process involving a great deal of unnecessary time and effort). Start with a word meaning the arrangement of ropes and masts on a sailing ship (tackle) and add a part in a play or film, then insert (keeping) a familiar abbreviation for mother (mum) between the two.

11a  Uncertain rules I tore in pieces (10)
{IRRESOLUTE} – an adjective meaning wavering or uncertain is an anagram (in pieces) of RULES I TORE.

12a  Addict starts to unload smack, entering rehab (4)
{USER} – a word for a drug addict is formed from the initial letters (starts) of the last four words of the clue.

14a  Contain scare flying across the sea (12)
{TRANSOCEANIC} – an adjective meaning across the sea is an anagram (flying) of CONTAIN SCARE.

18a  Audacious break in using jemmy? (12)
{ENTERPRISING} – double definition, the second cryptic – an adjective meaning audacious or resourceful could, if you redefined it as 5,7 with a comma between the two words, mean gain access to a property (break in) using a jemmy. Excellent.

21a  Section top class imbecile (4)
{UNIT} – a self-contained section in a larger grouping is made from the letter used to mean upper-class (top class) followed by a synonym for imbecile.

22a  Trifles with femmes fatales, holding a gun (10)
{BAGATELLES} – a word meaning trifles or trinkets is constructed by putting a French word meaning very attractive women (femmes fatales) around (holding) A and a slang term (chiefly US) for a revolver or pistol. I don’t think that the word we need for attractive women has the same sense of bringing disaster as “femmes fatales”.

25a  Officer rose perhaps, accepting one grand promotion (9)
{BRIGADIER} – we want a senior army officer and the word is constructed from a prickly shrub, one variety of which (hence the “perhaps”) is a wild rose, around (accepting) I (one), G(rand) and AD (advertisement, promotion).

26a  Non-mainstream single, opening of ‘Not Fade Away’ (5)
{INDIE} – a type of deliberately unpolished music produced by small independent record companies (non-mainstream) is formed from I (single), the first letter (opening) of N(ot) and a synonym for expire or fade away. BD would not forgive me if I didn’t include this clip!
ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a  Person from Lubango landed (7)
{ANGOLAN} – a native of the country in which the city of Lubango is located is hidden (from) in the clue.

28a  Stray soldier back in outfit (7)
{DIGRESS} – reverse (back) the abbreviation for a US soldier inside what a lady may wear (outfit).

Down Clues

1d  Yield embracing single bird (6)
{BUDGIE} – a verb meaning yield or give way includes (embracing) I (single) to make the familiar abbreviation for a small cage-bird.

2d  People left solitary on ends of railways? (6)
{LONERS} – put a synonym for solitary in front of the outer letters (ends) of RailwayS to get people who prefer to be left to their own devices. This gives me another opportunity to show this picture, which, I stress, is not me!

3d  They give tender loving care (10)
{TREASURERS} – a clever and amusing cryptic definition of those people in organisations who are responsible for taking good care of the monies received (tender, i.e. what has been handed over).

4d  Source of Russian river in the country (5)
{RURAL} – the definition is “in the country”. Start with the first letter (source) of R(ussian) and add the name of a great river that flows through Russia and Kazakhstan.

5d  Good Tories hug reformed characters (9)
{RIGHTEOUS} – an anagram (reformed characters) of TORIES HUG produces an adjective meaning morally correct (good).

6d  Top dog, they say (4)
{PEAK} – the top, of a mountain for example, sounds like (they say) a dog.

7d  Grand free handouts (8)
{THOUSAND} – an anagram (free) of HANDOUTS.

8d  Pass time with prosperous actress (8)
{DIETRICH} – to get the surname of this legendary actress and singer with that wonderfully husky voice string together a verb meaning to pass away, T(ime) and a synonym for prosperous.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d Serpentine’s green, and I’m swimming (10)
{MEANDERING} – an adjective meaning serpentine is an anagram (swimming) of GREEN AND I’M.

15d  That would be telling! (9)
{NARRATION} – indeed it would..

16d  Shadow of exercise by dead artist (8)
{PENUMBRA} – to get this word meaning a partial shadow you need to string together the abbreviation for physical exercise, an adjective meaning dead or unfeeling and the abbreviation for a Royal Academician (artist).

17d  Knocking out? (8)
{STRIKING} – a double definition, which means both hitting (knocking) and withdrawing one’s labour (out).

19d  Penny left on shelf giving commitment (6)
{PLEDGE} – put P(enny) in front of (on, in a down clue) a synonym for ledge shelf [Thanks to Falcon from the National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum for pointing out the typo].

20d  Consider head of state’s surrounded by idiots (6)
{ASSESS} – a verb meaning consider or evaluate is formed from the first letter (head) of State inside (surrounded by) a synonym for idiots.

23d  A cloudy, free bitter (5)
{ACRID} – we want an adjective meaning bitter or pungent. Start with A and add C(loudy) and a verb meaning to free or clear.

24d  Sauce is good on everything (4)
{GALL} – a synonym for sauce or impudence is G(ood) plus another word for everything.

The clues which I enjoyed today included 1a, 10a, 18a  and 8d, but my favourite is 3d. How about you? Let us know via a comment.

35 comments on “DT 26237

  1. Wonderful puzzle from Ray T today. I have to agree that 3d was the best of a good bunch of clues. Many thanks to Ray and to Gazza for notes (but I think he protests a little too much about the picture for 2d!).

  2. I found this quite difficult, but satisfying when I’d completed it.

    My only grumble is that I don’t see “belles” and “femme fatalles” as synonymous (22a).

    I agree with your list of the better clues, Gazza, although I picked out 18a as my favourite.

  3. I like Ray T’s puzzles, and this was no exception. Shame we have to wait 2 weeks for the next one! Favourite clue 18a. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the notes.

  4. Didn’t finish this one, alas, but got about 3/4 done. Amongst the gaps were 22/25a and 16d, the latter being a word I didn’t know.

    3d my favourite too. Thanks to Ray T and Gazza for an enjoyable crossword and review.

  5. Another fine delivery from RayT. My favourite goes to 18a with 3d a close second. My favourite picture was the trainspotter closely followed by the budgie!.
    Excellent work gazza, thanks to you and to RayT.
    I’m in Dun Laoghaire for the week and luckily there is a shop down the road that gets the UK papers in (the times is actually cheaper over here!).

  6. Really enjoyed this, at half way I seriously thought I was completely stuck but then they all just seemed to fall into place. fav clue by miles was 18a.

  7. Best cryptic for a while, thanks RayT and Gazza, favourite clue without a doubt was 3d.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle. A perfect mix of clues, some fab answers and just the right amount of difficulty.

  9. V. much enjoyed the puzzle, didn’t get 3d without a hint and was still unsure until I got what tender is in the clue, v clever, mumble grumble.

  10. A serious mental workout today. I thought I was stuck too, but then came the breakthrough. 18a was a wonderful clue. Thank you Ray T.

  11. Have to agree it was a great puzzle, (18a was outstanding) even though I couldn’t finish it without the blog.
    As a new ‘player of this game’ I am still trying to get the hang of spotting when you just need to take the first letter of a word in the clue (rather than an accepted abbreviation), such as c (from cloudy) in 23d.
    Got the answer by default in this case, but if anybody has any tips they’d be gratefully received. Or is it just pot luck (on the basis you can’t see another way of solving it) when it comes to this tactic?

    1. Ricardo,
      Big Dave has added additional pages to the ‘blog (Top right in the menu) including a ‘Which Books?’ section. A number of these give good advice in terms of clue types and their recognition.

    2. Ricardo
      In 23d C for cloudy is an accepted abbreviation. If you have to use the first letter of a word, then there’ll be something in the clue that tells you to do this (e.g. head of, in 20d). Other words to look out for are beginner, first, foremost, initial, leader, openener, primarily, start, top….. and many more.

    3. Ricardo,
      A quick check in Chambers shows that c is a valid abbreviation for cloudy. If a setter wants you to take the first, last or any specific letters from a word, then there will be an appropriate instruction telling you to do so.

  12. Thanks all for the advice. really helpful. I clearly need to get a grip of these accepted abbreviations and maybe buy one of the ‘how to’ books. Lots to learn!

  13. Found this quite tough today. Didn’t help that I had Caliper as nice answer for 1a. Saved by this blog though.

  14. Yes, an excellent workout for the little grey cells! I thought i was stuck just before lunch but gradually, one by one, I got all the synonyms – loved serpentine and meandering in 13d – as I cooked and ate my lunch until two or three in the upstage left corner were left. Gazza helped me out with those, many thanks. I didn’t know blster was a noun as well as a verb so that’s one more for my notebook of unencountered words.

  15. I managed to find six words and could not possibly have found the rest even with your explanations. I can never do Ray T puzzles and wonder why I try. :-(

    1. Absolutely agree, the most difficult and abstruse setter for the DT. Dreadful!

  16. Managed to finish quite early today and went out for an amble round the park, followed by a leisurely lunch and a bit of retail therapy, only to come home to fine 1d and 9a wrong! I thought they were, never mind very pleased to have finished the rest without blog but plenty of electronic help :) Thanks for explanations Gazza & to Ray T for a puzzle slightly easier maybe than the last few, fav clue 3d, 15d

  17. Completed but found it infuriatingly difficult to get started………..took me half an hour to get the first one in!

    A tough one for me today


  18. Loved this. Challenging but fair. Laughed out loud when 1d clicked. Thanks to all

  19. Setter here. Nothing really to add to Gazza’s thorough explanations, so I’ll just say thanks to him and to everyone else for the kind comments.

    Ray T

    1. I have a question for you. Why do you make it so difficult to start your puzzles? Can’t you at least give the less gifted amongst a way in then we might be more inclined to try.

  20. Here we go again! No phrases, no way in, no hope!! All in all a typical Ray T.

  21. That was a difficult one to begin with. It’s that the clues don’t read superficially like clues. Ray clearly enjoys the charades and overall the vocab stretches you but is attainable. Also he’s very good at misdirection…’not fade away’ Most enjoyable particularly for Who fans. Favourite clue 5a -right on, politically.
    Enjoyment ***** Difficulty ****

  22. I thought this was hard – did it in a few sessions and was only short of half a dozen answers before resorting to the blog to help me finish. Favourite clues 10a and 8d. Maybe I should try some crossword aids – will have a look at your Crossword Guide, Dave.

  23. Well, I found this difficult. Got quite a few and then had to give up. Thanks to Ray T and Gazza for his explanations.
    I’d agree that 18a was excellent – that was one I didn’t get.
    Of the ones I managed I enjoyed 25a, 26a and 16d.
    I look forward to Ray T’s puzzles (still amused by the “chippendale” clue in a recent one!

  24. Hi all
    I’m from Port Elizabeth, sunny South Africa, where it is actually raining at the moment – this is exciting for us, because our area is experiencing our worst drought in years – water restrictions, the works! Only a couple more days until the World Cup starts …
    We get your crossword a month after you do, so I am always a month behind, but I love reading all the comments on the blog – after I have finished the crossword. Being a self-taught cryptic fan, it took me years to work out all the different types of clues etc, but I am now a complete addict. I don’t believe in ‘cheating’ though – no reference books, etc, until I totally concede defeat!
    One question – I realised pretty soon that there were different setters, by the different styles and difficulty levels, but how many are there and how do you know which one has set which crossword?
    Last word – I think crossword compilers have very twisted minds!

    1. Welcome to the blog Rupee

      The answer to your question is that, strictly speaking, we don’t know the names. However the Telegraph uses the same setter(s) each day of the week and most of them have made themselves known to us.

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