DT 26249 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26249

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26249

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a very entertaining puzzle from Ray T today with some highly amusing clues, but without his normal ration of two hidden words. What did you think of it? Tell us in a comment, and please don’t forget to grade it by clicking on one of the five stars below.
As always the answers, for those who want to see them, are hidden between the brackets under the clues. Just highlight the spaces between the brackets to reveal one.

Across Clues

1a  Fine strip by bird? Trollop! (8)
{SLATTERN} – a charade of a thin, narrow strip (as might be used in a Venetian blind) and a seabird produces a slovenly woman.

5a  Passion of French stallion (6)
{DESIRE} – another charade, this time we want to put together the French word for “of” and a breeding stallion.

9a  Raise and support bust again (8)
{REARREST} – … and another, with a very amusing surface reading. The definition is bust again (i.e. take into custody once more), and it’s a charade of a verb meaning to raise or bring up and the sort of support that a snooker player might use on the table.

10a  Depressed having no trumps in contract (6)
{DENTED} – put the abbreviation for No Trumps in a card game inside a legal contract, especially one involving the transfer of a property.

12a  Borders with shade for butterfly (9)
{BRIMSTONE} – the name of a common yellow butterfly is constructed from borders (of hats, say) and a tint or shade.

13a  Wooden Tory leader never to return (5)
{TREEN} – an adjective meaning wooden, which is hardly ever seen except in poetry and crosswords, is made from the first letter (leader) of Tory followed by a poetic contraction of never, which is reversed (to return).

14a  French and English, European and democratic (4)
{FREE} – string together the abbreviations to get an adjective meaning not subject to despotic government.

16a  Describing female with pride? (7)
{LEONINE} – was I the only solver who initially wrote “lioness” in here? More careful reading of the clue, i.e. the presence of the word “describing”, reveals that we need an adjective (rather than a noun) which describes the lioness (or her mate).

19a  Old Stone in mellow comeback (7)
{RIPOSTE} – not Mick Jagger, what we want is a comeback in the sense of a quick, clever reply to an insult, say. Put the abbreviations for Old and Stone (the imperial unit of weight) inside a synonym for mellow.

21a  Fellow ran ahead and took off (4)
{FLED} – the abbreviation for Fellow precedes a verb meaning was at the front to make another verb meaning took off or escaped.

24a  Applaud diva retaining energy (5)
{CHEER} – this diva is a regular visitor and she turned up in last Tuesday’s puzzle by Shamus. Put E(nergy) inside (retaining) to get a verb meaning to applaud. Luckily the checking letters made this fairly easy, because I don’t think it’s really fair to expect the solver to get the name of a specific person just from “diva”.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a  Turning out to be a real complex (9)
{ELABORATE} – well, it looks like an anagram of TO BE A REAL but there are two strong candidates for the indicator. In fact the indicator is turning out and the definition is complex.

27a  He made light of his inspiration (6)
{EDISON} – cryptic definition of the man who invented, amongst many other things, the first practical electric light bulb.

28a  Support for capital punishment? (8)
{SCAFFOLD} – cryptic definition of a raised wooden platform on which public executions took place.

29a  Cattle drives (6)
{STEERS} – double definition, the cattle being castrated males from two to four years old.

30a  Bottom of the French class (8)
{DERRIÈRE} – cryptic definition of a word meaning behind, last or rear end which you may have learnt in French classes. It is used in English as a twee euphemism for buttocks (bottom).

Down Clues

1d  Sunday Express initially taking on copy writer (6)
{SCRIBE} – the definition is writer and it’s formed by putting a verb meaning to copy someone else’s answers (in an exam, say) inside the initials of the Sunday Express.

2d  Slow, unfinished farewell holds empty aching (6)
{ADAGIO} – with all the French references in this puzzle I was expecting farewell to be adieu, mais non, we have moved south to Spain. Put ADIO(s) (unfinished farewell) around (holding) the outer letters (empty) of AchinG to get the musical instruction to play slowly.

3d  Measures including right and wrongs in court (5)
{TORTS} – start with measures of spirits and put R(ight) inside to get a legal term for wrongful acts.

4d  Start to roast one’s fish croquette (7)
{RISSOLE} – the first letter (start) of R(oast) is followed by I’S (one’s) and a flatfish to get another word for croquette.

6d  Choose right lyric for conductor (9)
{ELECTRODE} – a charade of a verb to choose (a government, for example), R(ight) and an elaborate lyric or poem forms an electrical conductor.

7d  ‘Independent’ printed out in bold (8)
{INTREPID} – an anagram (out) of I(independent) and PRINTED.

8d  Hazard from green and rough (8)
{ENDANGER} – a verb meaning to hazard or put at risk is formed from an anagram (rough) of GREEN AND.

11d  It’s fine in spring (4)
{WELL} – double definition.

15d  River rose turning into lake (9)
{RESERVOIR} – an anagram (turning) of RIVER ROSE becomes an artificial lake.

17d  Groups with bass fiddles (8)
{BRACKETS} – what we want here is a verb meaning “groups with” or places in the same category. It’s a charade of B(ass) and a synonym for fiddles or dishonest schemes. A nice bit of misdirection here with “with” looking like an innocent linking word, whereas it’s part of the definition – I can’t be the only one who thought at first that we needed a synonym for groups.

18d  Secretary turned up with little eagerness (8)
{APPETITE} – a noun meaning eagerness or strong desire is formed by reversing (turned up) the usual abbreviation for a top secretary and adding an adjective (from the French) meaning little.

20d  Match, with team leader sent off, is tied (4)
{EVEN} – start with a sporting competition and remove the final T (first letter of Team) to leave an adjective meaning tied or equal.

21d  Potential trouble and strife? (7)
{FIANCÉE} – lol – think of what is meant by trouble and strife in Cockney rhyming slang. Now, what is she during the period between the time this status is agreed and the actual ceremony which makes it a fact? If he’d wanted to make it trickier Ray could have left out the “and strife” since that is what real Cockneys do.

22d  Blood surrounds gangster in abundance (6)
{GALORE} – gangster in crosswordland is more often than not Mr Capone. Put a synonym for blood around his abbreviated forename and you have a word meaning in abundance.

23d  Get at the French miss first (6)
{NEEDLE} – a verb meaning to get at or get under someone’s skin is made from the French, masculine singular, definite article preceded by a verb meaning to have a requirement for (miss).

26d  Take top off box to find present (5)
{OFFER} – take the initial (top, in a down clue) C away from a box used to hold money or treasure to leave a verb meaning present or tender.

The clues I liked today included 27a, 17d and 22d, but my joint “top clues of the day” are 9a and 21d. How do your favourites match up? Let us know in a comment!

29 comments on “DT 26249

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this today, and thought there were some splendid clues. Last to go in were 21d and 17d. Thanks to Ray T, and to Gazza for the review.

  2. Thanks for the review gazza, the answer to your first question is “No!”.
    RayT is getting more and more enjoyable and this one was tricky for me. Favourite clue was 17d for the nice misdirection as gazza mentioned and also 2a and 1a (for the laugh!).
    Thanks to RayT again!.

  3. I found this the hardest crossword I’ve done for some time, but enjoyed it and got a great deal of satisfactiion out of completing it.

    “Treen” is a new word for me. I had to check the red book for that one.

    I agree with your comments re 24a, gazza. I was initially looking for a synonym for diva, instead of a specific person.

    I don’t agree with “female” in 16a. The answer isn’t specific to female. I also almost put “lioness”. Would the clue have worked if “member” had been used instead?

    Clue of the day, for me, was 21d, closely followed by 17d.

    1. I tripped on 16 a as stated but there is a question mark at the end which might suggest a the answer is but one example of two. In any case describing definitely requires an anagram as the answer. Treen was new to me too and although I had the answer from the wordplay it was last in for me after a Red Book moment.

          1. gnomethang
            The heat? Here in Madras that is Chennai, India, it was 40.5 degrees Celsius today.

      1. I did wonder whether the question mark was there to suggest that the answer might also be a lion(ess) (LEO) with NINE cubs.

  4. I think that 16a was a bit misleading as the answer covers both male and female and it would be easy to get a wrong answer! I think that I must have left my brain elsewhere today as I needed help with quite a few!

  5. Great crossword from Ray T today. The last five or six clues to fall took more time than the rest put together. Favourite clue was 1a. Many thanks to Ray and to Gazza for the usual excellent notes to complement the usual excellent puzzle.

  6. Way beyond my basic skills today! Let’s hope I’ve learned something. Thought 16a was ‘lionise’.

    Thanks for the review.

    1. I also found it hard and would not have finished without help! I put in lioise also!

  7. Was SO glad to see that today’s puzzle had 4 stars for difficulty – it took me a very long time. 1 and 19a and 7 and 17d were the main culprits but I thought that it was generally harder than any in recent days (or perhaps even weeks)

  8. For anyone who usually feels gets frit by the Toughie – this is a good one to have a go at as there are a good few clues that get you a way in.

    1. I agree. Its all good until you get to the left hand corner and then once you get them, boy do you groan, 2d and 9a being magnificent cases in point.

  9. Missed 17d but got all the rest. Fav. clue 21d. BUT oh dear oh dear the Toughie and I are not on the same wavelength and can’t get help yet although it’s3.30pm. Try again later

  10. I agree with almost everybody – what a splendid puzzle today. I got the right side done quite quickly but had to take my time while I prepared and ate my lunchto fill in most of the left side clues. I still needed gazza – many thanks! – to point me in the right direction on the last four. I also thought we were looking for diva generically and not specifically, and was searching for synonyms of groups in 17d. I liked a lot of the clues
    today and they caused many a chuckle as the light dawned -1a,12a,27a and 30a and 2d and 21d bravo Ray t!!

  11. I thought maybe my brains were addled by the sudden (comparative) heat here in Geneva, as I could only do about half today’s puzzle. Then I turned to your hints and saw it was by Ray T — so congratulated myself on having been able to do so much all by myself.

    I put ‘lioness’ for 16a as a female was specified, and that of course caused problems. My favourite clues, of those that I solved, were 1a, 21d and 22d. :-)

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable today with a very high French component. For some reason I found it fairly straightforward, but no less fun for that. Perhaps it’s because I’ve now added to the number of DT crossworders in early summer exile in that particular country – and it was entirely due to Libellule on this blog yesterday that I discovered it was a public holiday here after having found the Super U in Vivonne closed when I went to do some shopping in the morning.

  13. Only a paltry 29 degrees down here in Carcassonne Rishi so I can’t use the temp as my excuse. Ray T always seems to be coming from left field to me but after a year or so I am finally getting to grips with him. I have Big Dave to thank for slapping my wrist in the early days and telling me to get a grip. Now I find his puzzles almost enjoyable.
    29a is an old chestnut I have not seen for a while.

  14. Struggled a tad today NW corner particularly. 21d was splendid. 4* for difficulty in my opinion.

  15. Setter here…

    Thanks as always to Gazza for the incisive dissection, and to all for your comments.

    Nubian, stick at it, and one day you may grow to enjoy them. The important thing is that at least you’re having a go!

    Ray T

  16. Most enjoyable puzzle, Ray. The right balance of misdirection and helpful pointers. Got to say i have never come across ‘treen’ but your clue made it solvable. Being picky, i did see ‘the French’ indicator once too often.

  17. Gave up with six clues to get after a few hours toiling (enjoyably though) with this. Loved 1A – that’s a word I’ve not encountered for a good ol’ while…

    Other noteworthy (for me) clues were 27/28/30A – and 9A/17D (I didn’t get either of those) surely emanated from a warped mind! Thanks Ray!! Winced like a good ‘un when I read *those* hints!!

    And I learned a new word in TREEN.

  18. They mention TREEN quite regularly on the Antiques Roadshow. Strange where you pick these things up.

  19. Set off at a rattling pace – in fact I was completing the clues in my head before I had written them in – but, alack & alas, I soon came to a shuddering halt. I too came a cropper over 16a but at 3:15am today, when I was woken by the first mail plane of the day, I finally got 30a (but I’m not entirely happy with the clue).
    The toughie’s got me beat so I’ll have to rely on the hints & suggestions of my betters.

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