DT 26243

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26243

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a pleasurable 5d from Shamus today with only two anagrams (that’s a plus point for me and earns it an extra enjoyment star!). I can’t remember a Telegraph puzzle with fewer than this. As always we’re very keen to hear your views, so please keep the comments coming.
If you can’t get an answer even with the hint, drag your cursor through the space between the curly brackets under the clue and it should reveal itself.

Across Clues

8a  Superficial exhibition entertaining everyone (7)
{SHALLOW} – an adjective meaning superficial or skin-deep is made from a display or exhibition around (entertaining) another word for everyone.

10a  Fruit and eggs backed by poster in firm (7)
{AVOCADO} – the definition is fruit. Start by reversing (backed) the latin word for eggs and follow this with an abbreviation for a poster which is inside (in) the standard abbreviation for a firm or company.

11a  Uncomfortable line volunteers recalled in middle of big contract (3,2,4)
{ILL AT EASE} – a phrase meaning uncomfortable or anxious is constructed by putting L(ine) and the abbreviation for the Territorial Army (volunteers) reversed (recalled) inside the middle letter of bIg and a contract relating to the letting of property.

12a  Maybe baby — one to tinkle? (5)
{PIANO} – cryptic description of a type of musical instrument, which you play by tickling (or in a less common expression, tinkling) the ivories.

13a  Cream? End of regime low in calories (5)
{ELITE} – we want a noun meaning the pick or cream. Start with the last letter (end) of regimE and add advertising-speak for low in calories.

14a  Warship bringing doom loaded with gear (7)
{FRIGATE} – a type of relatively small warship is made by putting a synonym for destiny or doom around (loaded with) a noun meaning gear or equipment.

17a  Modicum of pleasure amid mad ladies’ greed sadly — trait of men in forties? (6,3,6)
{MIDDLE AGE SPREAD} – put the initial letter (modicum) of P(leasure) inside an anagram (sadly) of MAD LADIES’ GREED to get a phrase indicating that everything is going pear-shaped.

19a  One taking in hotel and feature on beach? (7)
{SHINGLE} – start with a word meaning sole (one) and put inside it (taking in) the letter that hotel stands for in the Nato phonetic alphabet.

21a  Love region for bracing air (5)
{OZONE} – put together the letter that approximates to a score of love in tennis and a synonym of region to get what we (and nobody else, apparently) call fresh invigorating air blowing in from the sea.

24a  Some loathe artist’s spirit (5)
{HEART} – hidden (some) in the clue is a synonym for spirit or courage.

26a  Rakish sign about singer in front of us (9)
{LECHEROUS} – we want an adjective meaning rakish or lustful, and we make it by putting one of the signs of the zodiac around an American singer and actress, finishing with US.

27a  Distinguished artist beginning to engage conservationists (7)
{EMINENT} – the definition is distinguished. Start with the artist most famous for displaying her unmade bed and add the first letter (beginning) of Engage and the abbreviation for the National Trust (conservationists).

28a  Effective activity of gossip? (7)
{TELLING} – double definition.

Down Clues

1d  Hope a father placed around opening of playschool (6)
{ASPIRE} – a verb meaning to hope is made by putting A and a father (mainly used these days to describe a breeding stallion or bull) around the first letter (opening) of Playschool.

2d  One used to a cooler environment? (8)
{JAILBIRD} – this was the first answer I wrote in, but unfortunately my “prisoner” was incorrect (but on the right lines). It’s a cryptic definition of someone accustomed to being incarcerated, cooler being an informal term for prison.

3d  Put in an appearance in patriotic style? (3,3,4)
{FLY THE FLAG} – cryptic definition of a phrase meaning to turn up at some “do” (especially abroad) to represent one’s country or company.

4d  Resemble escort to the rear with queen (4,5)
{TAKE AFTER} – a phrasal verb meaning to resemble could be broken down to conduct someone to the back end of a ship (4,3) followed by the usual abbreviation for the Queen.

5d  Esplanade with parking at other end for frolic (4)
{ROMP} – this is a simple but amusing clue. Start with PROM (promenade, esplanade) and move the P from first to last letter ( with Parking at other end).

6d  Country defended by American adamantly (6)
{CANADA} – the name of a Commonwealth country is hidden in (defended by) the clue.

7d  Become run-down? Visit daughter (2,2,4)
{GO TO SEED} – a phrase meaning to visit is followed by D(aughter) to make another phrase meaning to become run-down or shabby.

9d  Display pottery for audience (4)
{WEAR} – a verb meaning to exhibit or display (an expression, say) sounds like (for audience) articles of fine workmanship, such as pottery.

15d  Prime ploy devised to detain King in unseemly fashion (10)
{IMPROPERLY} – the definition is in unseemly fashion and it’s an anagram (devised) of PRIME PLOY with R(ex) inside (to detain).

16d  A marksman entering place, inferior community (9)
{SATELLITE} – put A and the surname of the Swiss folk hero and marksman inside a synonym of place to get a subordinate or dependent community.

17d  Spymaster is leading source of harm (8)
{MISCHIEF} – the definition is source of harm and it’s a charade of James Bond’s boss (spymaster), IS and an adjective meaning leading.

18d  Cheap number in English children’s magazine (8)
{ECONOMIC} – put NO (number) in E(nglish) and the sort of magazine read by children (and quite a few adults) to get a synonym for cheap or low-budget.

20d  Type that’s inclined to appear in paper? (6)
{ITALIC} – cryptic definition of a type.

22d  Chaps without leader mark flag (6)
{ENSIGN} – we want a flag, and it’s made from (m)EN (chaps without leading letter) and a mark or token.

23d  Northener, one seeking new recruits ignoring university (4)
{SCOT} – whether this person is a Northener or not depends on which direction you’re looking from. Take the U (ignoring university) out of a word for someone on the lookout for new talent (for a football club, for example).

25d  Drop reported in rank (4)
{TIER} – a word meaning rank or row sounds like (reported) the sort of drop which may fall from your eye.

The clues I enjoyed included 17a, 2d, 4d and 7d, but my clue of the day is 5d. Tell us what you thought of it in a comment!


  1. Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Agreed with the enjoyment factor!. Favourite for me was 2d narrowly pipping your 5d gazza. I got held up a bit in the SE corner until i spotted the singer.
    Thanks for the review and many thanks to Shamus.

  2. Jezza
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable today! I got totally bogged down in the SW segment, and my last three to go in were 17d, 19a, and 16d.
    Many thanks to Shamus, and to Gazza.

  3. Sue
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Enjoyably easy for a Tuesday. Nothing particularly stood out apart from a groan when I realised that the singer wasn’t a tenor or an alto or similar!!

  4. Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    If this was a prize crossword, I guess they would have to accept the alternative spelling of GAOLBIRD for 2d!

  5. Haplogy
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this much more than most of Shamus’ puzzles, favourite clue 2d. last one in was 16d. ‘inferior’ really threw me

  6. Prolixic
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle from Shamus today. Favourites were 17a, 26a and 15d. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the notes.

  7. Vince
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Agree with your pick of the clues, Gazza, except for 17a. Shouldn’t the distribution of letters be 6-3,6?

    • gazza
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Chambers agrees with you.

    • Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      As does the OED.

  8. Libellule
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone else think that the clue for 4a in the Quick is incorrect….
    On another note the Cryptic was a very enjoyable solve. Like Gnomethang, I got a bit lost on the SE corner until a few pennies dropped.

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      No. I think that the clue is OK. Although not in Chambers, another dictionary gives the definition “..especially the main branch…”

      • Libellule
        Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Ta for that Prolixic.

  9. Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 4* from me too. Gazza – I assume you were hinting that there ought to be two correct solutions for 2d. Only those using CluedUp will know which is the ‘preferred’ version……

    • Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – missed BD’s comment above on same….

    • Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      CluedUp has JAILBIRD.

    • gazza
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      No, I literally wrote in PRISONER at first, and I never even thought of the GAOLBIRD spelling.

  10. BigBoab
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable 5d today, favourite clue was 2d and for once I smiled at an anagram (17a ) Thanks to Shamus and thanks to Gazza.

  11. Mr Tub
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed that: there was bit more ‘to do’ than yesterday and it was all the better for it. Knowing how to spell 10a would’ve speeded things up a bit. 13a was a personal favourite.

  12. TheFSG
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Found this quite straightforward today (25 minutes, which for me is fast). Didn’t even have to look up any words for once! I note 5d with ESPLANADE in the clue – there was some debate the other date whether this meant walk or not. Very enjoyable overall

  13. Nora
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Gazza, what’s your objection to anagrams? I love them to the extent that I often read anagrammatically. For example, I read a sign years ago for ‘Low cost mountain bikes’ as ‘Lost cow mountain bikes’.

    • gazza
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I don’t mind if the anagram is well disguised but too many seem to stick out like a sore thumb (e.g. last week we had “In jug skimp exercising for winter sport (3,7)”) and once you’ve identified the anagram fodder it becomes a fairly mechanical process. In some recent Telegraph puzzles up to 40% of the clues have contained anagrams. Two per puzzle would be an ideal number for me. :D

      • Jezza
        Posted May 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        I seem to remember commenting on that one… probably the worst anagram i’ve ever seen!

  14. digby
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    30 minutes of good fun. Usually have trouble with 4-letter answers, but these were all fair, with 5d the “pick”. 26a was a bit tenuous I thought. It’s acceptable to be rakish, less so the answer. Though I’m sure Mr Chambers won’t agree with me.

  15. mary
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gazza, late today, but couldn’t complete without your help, got stuck on 5d!! and 16d, although i thought of that answer but didn’t associate it with an inferior community, no real favourite clues today

  16. Nubian
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    started with trepidation but soon realized it was quite an amiable puzzle which I enjoyed

  17. Barrie
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Very tricky one today, much too difficult for me, managed only one answer! Unlike Gazza I bemoan the lack of anagrams, for me they are a great way into a puzzle especially one this difficult.

  18. Geoff
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    The SE corner came together quite well, plus several others, 17a, 3d, 7d. But then I was stuck and going out for the day.

    Came back to the hints and got quite a lot more, but I could see that without the hints, the answers would have really needed coaxing out. 11a was a sheer guess and as I read Gazza’s hint, I actually wondered if the construct could have been more complex! And that’s how it was for several more. Obviously not my day – but the warmth, the sunshine! Wonderful!

  19. Dave
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Liked 5d but did not really get my head around 16d without your help! By the way, how do you know who the compiler is for each day?

    • gazza
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Because the Telegraph normally works to a regular pattern, and individual setters have visited the blog and “owned up” in the past. Currently we don’t know who the setter(s) is/are on Thursdays.

    • Geoff
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Permalink
    • Geoff
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      I came across a DT crossword book in a charity shop a few weeks ago that listed the compilers and mentioned a possible name for Thursday; it could have been something like Jeremy Mutch (should have paid more attention). The book was published about 5 years ago, I think, and might be reliable.

  20. Little Dave
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    All done save 2d – kicked myself.

    • Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Ha!Ha! – So did I!
      4th last in but favourite!

    • James N.
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      I too had “PRISONER” in for 2d initially – had to get all bar one of the intersecting across clues before I got the required answer. Even so, I struggled today (missed on on 9 answers in all) – bogged down NE corner especially. Fave clue was 12a (even though I didn’t get it – it elicited the biggest groan from me).

  21. mark
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one! Looked at hints (but not the actual answers) for 16d and 26a. Favourite clues were 12a and 13a.

  22. Shamus
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza for his excellent blog and others for their comments. May not be able to keep to two anagrams per puzzle every time but will certainly try to ration them! Some solvers do find them helpful as reasonably easy starting points so it’s a delicate balancing act.

  23. Derek
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle from Shamus..
    I liked 10a, 12a, 17a & 26a. 1d , 2d, 3d, 6d (delusion with Panama!), 16d & 17d.

  24. pollythecat
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I too was caught out with prisoner at 2d. Threw me for quite a while.