DT 26235 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26235

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26235

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Morning All! Following our recent meeting at the White Horse, Parson’s Green (where we were discussing the cutting edge of crossword theory) BD asked if I might like to take on the Saturday review. Working full time precludes getting a review out on the day so this is a perfect compromise as I have 4 days to get the writing done. Thanks to BD for the opportunity (I was going to suggest it anyway!).

Whilst there were a few obscure and abstruse words here they were in general clued sufficiently clearly to allow solving (with maybe a dictionary confirmation afterwards). The two star rating reflects my solving experience as compared to some recent Cephas puzzles but please let us know what you think.


1a    Difficult to understand Jack’s real point that had been accepted (8)
ABSTRUSE – We start off with a charade with an insertion for a word meaning ‘difficult to understand’. The ‘Jack’s’ here is AB’S (Able Bodied seaman’s) with TRUE (real) with S (a point) inserted in it.

5a    Confusion when yours truly has second drink (4-2)
MESS-UP – A confused situation is created by adding ME (yours truly) to Second and SUP (drink).

9a    That female’s race record included on grazing land (5,3)
SHEEP RUN – A tract of land given over to grazing sheep is a charade of SHE (that female), RUN (race) with an insertion of Extended Player (a record included)

10a    Crumbs! Right to take the Parisian shrub (6)
MYRTLE – a straightforward charade of MY (crumbs! or crikey!), RT and LE (the French / Parisian). Don’t forget that Right can be R or RT as in ‘RT angle’

11a    Shriek when debris is found in front of church (7)
SCREECH – SCREE is a word for loose stone debris, particularly found at the base of cliffs and mountains. Add to this CH (one of the standard abbreviations for Church) to get a shriek or high pitched scream

12a    Collapse round you and me is crippling (7)
RUINOUS – A word for crippling, in the financial sense, is (yet!) another charade of RUIN (collapse) with O (round) and US (you and me). Did anyone else consider Ruin and Ruinous to be a bit close to be included in both the wordplay and definition?

13a    Attempt at mother’s Latin hymn (6,5)
STABAT MATER – This thirteenth century Roman Catholic sequence variously attributed to Innocent III and Jacopone da Todi is a charade of STAB (attempt), AT and MATER (the Latin for mother). An obscure phrase, sure, but the wordplay allows everyone to have a stab at it.
I’ll get me coat….

16a    Hackneyed poetry rewritten about horse? On the contrary (11)
STEREOTYPED – A synonym for hackneyed is created by placing an anagram of POETRY inside STEED (another word for a horse). Some comments on the day wondered if the phrase ‘on the contrary’ was in fact required. It is an integral part of the wordplay instruction since the preceding direction is to place the horse inside the poetry anagram and ‘On the Contrary’ tells us to instead place the poetry anagram inside the horse.

21a    Cork’s undecided voter? (7)
FLOATER – Something that is buoyant is this. The word also applies to the undecided electorate that the politicians were chasing last minute on the 6th May. Note that the apostrophe S here is used to mean ‘cork is’ and not to indicate the possessive. This is one of those little devices that our setters have at their disposal to confound and confuse.

22a    Philosopher from Rugby’s to be a retailer (7)
RUSSELL – This 20th century mathematician and philosopher is a charade of RU’S (Rugby Union’s) plus the four letter word for what a trader does. The apostrophe S here does nothing more than allow the setter to add the S to RU.

23a    Book shelf has little resistance (6)
LEDGER – A nicely disguised charade requiring us to ‘lift and separate’ the definition and part of the wordplay . The definition is ‘Book’ and is a charade of another word for a shelf and R (symbol for Resistance)

24a    Gradually get pieces lined up (3,2,3)
BIT BY BIT – The definition here is gradually. If you take two bits and line them up you would have one BY the other.

25a    Australian talk (6)
YABBER – A barely cryptic definition of an Australian word for jabber.

26a    Proceeding taking the low road (8)
UNDERWAY – A double definition. The first meaning ‘on the move’ at the start if a journey and the second a cryptic description of a road that is below another one.


1d    Aid musician starting late (6)
ASSIST – Take (B)ASSIST (a musician who plays the largest stringed fiddle – our own Anax is an exponent of the electric variety) and cut his head off! (starting late). The result is a word meaning ‘aid’ or ‘help’.

2d    Look at Ireland, say, from these mountains (6)
SIERRA – A homophone of two words, SEE (look) and EIRE (Ireland), indicated by the usual ‘say’, leads to a range of mountains in America

3d    Hold back engineers and reporters (7)
REPRESS – The usual abbreviation for the army engineers (RE), and PRESS (a word for the newspaper community) lead to a verb meaning to hold back or rule through tyranny.

4d    Said type later much in demand (6-5)
SOUGHT AFTER – A phrase for a highly collectable antique, for example, is a homophone (said) of SORT (type, as in kind), in front of AFTER (later, as in after the event)

6d    Blissful place, city individual getting in the money (7)
ELYSIUM – This area (also known as the Plains or Fields of Elysium) is in the Greek Underworld and is the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous. Take ELY (a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire) and then SUM (an amount of money) with I (individual) inside.

7d    Start journey determined to go over river (3,5)
SET FORTH- An antiquated phrase for starting a journey is SET (determined’) before (going over – this is a Down clue) the FORTH (a Scottish river with a Firth!)

8d    Super ale brewed for enjoyment (8)
PLEASURE – An anagram (indicated in an apposite fashion by ‘brewed’) of SUPERALE gives a word for enjoyment.

12d    Harvest part to divide again (11)
REAPPORTION – The definition, ‘to divide again’, pertains to a sharing among people. Take REAP (harvest) followed by PORTION ( a part or serving of food).

14d    Sue moved around completely to her advantage (8)
USEFULLY – An anagram of SUE, followed by FULLY (completely or wholly) leads to a word meaning ‘to her (or anyone else’s) advantage.

15d    Fish and fruit expert (5,3)
LEMON DAB – This food fish is also known as the Lemon Sole. Dab is a word for a fish and also a word for ace, as in ‘dab hand’

17d    Pin removed in dangerous experiment — the result is most violent (7)
EXTREME – Removing PIN from EXPERIMENT then making an anagram (dangerous) of the result will lead to a synonym for violent. Note that “most” here is not padding as you can say “I found him most violent” where most is used adjectivally not comparatively.

18d    Duke can put something out of action (7)
DISABLE – Remember that D is an abbreviation of Duke. Another way of writing ‘can’ might also be IS ABLE. The definition is the remainder of the sentence.

19d    Admiral, big timer on front of ship (6)
BENBOW – This 17th Century Naval Officer fought the perfidious French and was also the name of a fictional pub in ‘Treasure Island’ (although there are a few pubs with this name still in existence). The big clock (timer) is at the North face of the Palace of Westminster and is followed by BOW (front of the ship).

20d    Absolutely tunelessly (6)
FLATLY – A Double Definition. The second related to singing or whistling below the pitch of the note

Cephas has given us another enjoyable puzzle but do you think it is hard enough for a prize puzzle?

9 comments on “DT 26235

  1. Good review, Gnomethang! The answer to your final question is no.
    (I think that there’s a typo in 19d, where BEN should be BOW).

  2. Gnomethang

    Good to see you here as a permanent fixture… and congrats for getting a mention in today’s cryptic !!

  3. Good review Gnomethang and nice to be able to put a face to the name after meeting you last weekend.

  4. Many thanks, the girls above!. Nice to meet Tilly and the Minxster on Saturday. Looking forward to the next one (if I am not still in Qatar!)
    I must admit that BD set me straight on the form for these and made appropriate amendments to this one (so thanks!) – make the wordplay plain as I am not giving hints but answers – makes things a lot easier.

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