DT 26261 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26261

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26261

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This is not the most difficult of Ray T’s puzzles, but really entertaining with a number of “aha” moments. Tell us what you thought in a comment and please remember to show how much you enjoyed it by clicking on one of the stars below.
As always, if you want to, you can reveal an answer by highlighting the space between the curly brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  New Labour with scanty reform for police (12)
{CONSTABULARY} – we start with what appear to be two separate anagrams, but you need to join the two together to get the answer. Make an anagram out of the combined letters of LABOUR (new) and SCANTY (reform).

9a  Covetous party leader rose before a Conservative (9)
{PREDATORY} – an adjective meaning covetous or exploitative is formed from the first letter (leader) of Party, a colour which is similar to rose, A and the shorthand term for Conservative.

10a  Rubbish government head consumed by bitterness (5)
{BILGE} – put the first letter (head) of Government inside a synonym for bitterness or irritability to get an informal word for rubbish or nonsense.

11a  Burdened Tory leader questioned (6)
{TASKED} – start with the first letter (leader) of Tory and add another word for posed a question.

12a  Sailor say, losing heart, getting stand down (8)
{ABDICATE} – the definition is stand down. Start with the abbreviation for an able-bodied sailor and add a verb meaning to say or read aloud with its middle letter removed (losing heart). “Say” is well disguised here. It might have signalled either a sound-alike or an example, but in fact does neither.

13a  Bowl I chiselled holding fruit (6)
{LICHIS} – hidden (holding) in the clue is an unusual spelling of pieces of fruit with sweet white scented flesh.

15a  Use ointment on foot (8)
{FUNCTION} – the definition is use or purpose. Put a word for ointment (generally used in a religious rite) after (on) an abbreviation of foot.

18a  Still name insect after beetle species (8)
{STAGNANT} – an adjective meaning still or motionless is formed by putting N(ame) and an insect after a species of beetle, which is so named because its branched jaws resemble antlers.

19a  More generous with beer around end of bar (6)
{LARGER} – a comparative meaning more generous (in the sense often seen on pub menus, e.g. “a generous serving of …”) is made from a type of beer around the last letter (end) of baR.

21a  A bundle of nerves? (8)
{GANGLION} – an amusing cryptic definition of a term for a collection of nerve cells.

23a  Atonement Day’s following conclusion of prayers (6)
{AMENDS} – we have an allusion to a Jewish fast-day, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). What you are making if you perform an act of atonement is formed from D(ay)’S after the traditional word, from Hebrew, used at the end of a prayer.

26a  Flight from American in slammer (5)
{STAIR} – slammer is a slang word for prison. Replace it with another slang word for prison and put A(merican) inside to get the sort of flight that you walk up and down.

27a  Kept quiet and silent (9)
{PRESERVED} – put P (piano, quiet) in front of an adjective meaning silent or shy.

28a  Nice girl? (12)
{MADEMOISELLE} – Nice has to be the first word in the clue to disguise the need for a capital letter, because it’s the French resort. So what we need is the French word for a young lady.

Down Clues

1d  Sacramento, a dump in California (7)
{CAPITAL} – probably not the way the Sacramento tourist board would describe it, and we have to assume that Ray T has no plans to visit California in the near future! Take the abbreviation for California and put a synonym for a dump inside to get the position that Sacramento holds in the state.

2d  Misses born daughter and son? (5)
{NEEDS} – depending on how you read the clue, we may be talking sex-change operation here! String together the French past participle used to indicate a lady’s maiden name (born) and the abbreviations for Daughter and Son.

3d  Actor treading out around stage centre (9)
{TRAGEDIAN} – put an anagram (out) of TREADING round the middle letter (centre) of stAge.

4d  Drop bowled toss (4)
{BLOB} – a synonym for a drop (of paint, for example) is made by combining the cricket abbreviation for Bowled and a gentle toss.

5d  Good-for-nothing yob, a cove back inside (8)
{LAYABOUT} – the definition is good-for-nothing. Start with a synonym for yob and put A and the reversal of another word for cove or inlet inside.

6d  Spiritual leader’s endless prattle (5)
{RABBI} – remove the final letter (endless) from a Cockney rhyming-slang word for prattle or talk.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d  Laundering cash’s first bent (8)
{CLEANING} – the definition is laundering. Start with the first letter of C and add a synonym for bent (like the Tower of Pisa).

8d  Dock on northern river (6)
{SEVERN} – a verb meaning to dock or cut is placed ahead of (on, in a down clue) N(orthern) to get the name of the longest river in Great Britain.

14d  Apparatus used to bring down plane? (8)
{CHAINSAW} – lovely misdirection here – what would you use to cut down a plane tree?

16d  Unappealing church lacking some members (9)
{CHARMLESS} – an adjective meaning unappealing or unpleasant is made from one of the standard abbreviations for CHurch followed by a description of someone missing two limbs.

17d  The French, after a French revolution, free (8)
{UNCOUPLE} – a verb meaning to free or disconnect is made up of three French words. The masculine definite article comes after the masculine indefinite article and a seizure of power (revolution).

18d  Most intelligent son gets a new form (6)
{SAGEST} – an anagram (new form) of S(on) GETS A.

20d  Live outside University grounds (7)
{RESIDUE} – a word meaning what’s left behind after making coffee, for example (grounds) is a verb to live or dwell outside U(niversity).

22d  Caterpillar variety’s found inside (5)
{LARVA} – an attempt at an all-in-one clue with a hidden word (found inside).

24d  Molten rock rising under North Sea (5)
{NAVAL} – a word meaning sea, as an adjective (for example in the phrase “sea power”) is made from what comes out of an active volcano (molten rock) which is reversed (rising, in a down clue) under N(orth).

25d  Capital of Uruguay (4)
{PESO} – capital here is used in a different sense from 1d. It means money, so what we want is the name of the Uruguayan currency.

The clues I enjoyed included 21a, 23a, 1d and 5d, but my clue of the day is 14d. How about you? Let us know what you thought in a comment.

32 comments on “DT 26261

  1. Definitely 14d for clue of the day – also my last in and a big ‘Aha!’ took me ages to walk away from the usual meanings of plane.
    Great puzzle today – as you say not quite as tricky as some recent RayTs, with a couple of clues excepted, but bags of fun. Honourable mentions also go to 15a, 22d and 3d.
    Thanks for the review and many thanks to RayT

  2. Thanks for the blog. I always enjoy Ray T’s puzzles. took a while for the penny to drop on 25 down!

  3. I enjoyed this, up to a point, but I wasn’t happy about a few of the clues.

    23a. The definition, “atonement” is a noun, but the answer is a verb.

    26a. Doesn’t “flight” have to be “stairs” – plural?

    24d. Again the definition, “sea” doesn’t fit with the answer, which is an adjective, meaning relating to ships or a navy, and not specifically the sea.

    Am I being too picky??

    I agree that the clue of the day was 14d.

  4. Vince
    23a Amends is a noun here, as in “make amends”.
    26a Stair can mean a flight
    24d. In the phrase “sea power”, for example, sea is being used as adjective and sea power means “naval power”.

    1. gazza,

      23a. Yes, if you use “make” or “making” with “amends”. “Atonement”, therefore, is “making amends”. But, “amends” , on its own, doesn’t mean “atonement”.

      26a. Having consulted the famous red book, I have to agree. I would have thought that for “stair” to mean a series or number of steps, it would have to be used with “case” or “way”. We live and learn!!

      24d. If you stretch a point, the way you explain it just about works. But, if you look up “naval” in the same red book, you won’t find the word “sea” at all. My Penguin Thesaurus gives “seafaring”, which isn’t the same.

      I suppose this is what makes crosswordfs interesting.

      1. If you look up “naval” in Chambers Crossword Dictionary, one of the words it gives is “sea” (though it’s not there the other way round). In the same book, “atonement” gives “amends” and “amends” lists “atonement”.

  5. Stuck on a few here but not giving up yet will return to it later, keep thinking 14d has to be choppers but don’t think that’s right somehow though it does begin with a ‘c’ – ah well back later :) – morning Gazza

  6. Really enjoyable puzzle. 14d was last one in for me too and after I’d completed the rest fairly quickly (for me anyway – probably really slowly compared to everyone else who posts here) I spent ages agonising over that one. Excellent clue. I also liked 28a. Thanks for the review.

  7. Finished with LOADS of help, not one I enjoyed today, must be the weather :) 14a, never seen it with that spelling, didn’t help that I put an a instead of an e for 4th letter 28a! did not like 14d, in fact I was useless today, never mind only been at it one year tomorrow!!! :( no fav clues today though I will admit there are several clever ones :)

  8. I knew it was a Ray T at first glance, no way in and more chance of solving the National Debt and knitting fog!!
    Heres to tomorrow!

  9. It must be me, I must be in a strange mood this week, I thought this was a truly poor puzzle, very little difficulty and even less fun. I apologise in advance to those who enjoyed it if I am causing offence, there is none intended, as I say, it’s just not my cup of tea.

    1. Sorry Gaza, I meant to say thanks for the review, particularly the 6d video.

    2. Not just you – only my second time to complete without looking anything up.
      I liked 17d. Last clue was 25d

  10. Great review Gazza! Absolutely agree about 14d and I also liked 25d.
    Got 7d by different route from your tip – if you have a bent for something you also have a leaning towards it.

  11. I enjoyed today’s crossword very much – particularly as it provided much needed distraction from the pouring rain – oh well, the garden will like it! Have never seen 13a spelt like that before although it is in Chambers, along with four other ways of spelling it! The clues I liked most were 28a, 14d and 25d – all very misleading.

    1. I was going to comment on the previous mention of the new spelling of Lichi – I tend to only raise my eyebrows whenever I see it spelt the same way twice!

  12. Like many above, I whizzed through but none the less found it enjoyable. I will go with the flow on 14d as one of the better clues.

  13. Ray T has scored a hit with me today, a great puzzle with good clues.
    Fav 28a 3d
    Thank Ray, I am getting there !

  14. Some of that was fairly straightforward and most of the top half went in quite easily. I could see ‘lichis’ in 13a, but it wasn’t in any of the online dictionaries I use, so I thought it was wrong and the SW corner stayed more or less blank.

    Enjoyed what I could do, thanks to Ray and Gazza.

  15. Yes, i enjoyed today’s offering and finished most of it around lunchtime, having already sharpened up the little grey cells with Codewords and the Quick crossword! Only three required Gazza’s expert help. I missed the horticultural meaning of ‘plane’ in 14d – great clue – and ‘blob’ and ‘stagnant’ also needed direction from Gazza.
    Thanks to Ray T and Gazza. I liked 28a and14d and also thought the answer to 24d slightly peculiar, even though
    I solved it quickly!!

  16. Setter here.

    Many thanks to Gazza for the lucid explanations, and to everybody else who took the time to comment.

    Big Boab, I’m certainly not offended, I can’t hope to please all of the people all of the time, and Nubian, see what you can do with a little perseverance!

    Ray T

  17. Thanks to Gazza for the review. Me and my top solving buddy (mother-in-law) managed all of this except 25d. This was therefore definitely easier than any of Ray T’s puzzles I have attempted before. Not that I am complaining ;). Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  18. Thanks Ray T, we have enjoyed today’s offering – started off at top speed in the top half then ground to a snails pace at the bottom! Favourite clue 28a

  19. We finished unaided. No dictionary, no key, no Big Dave.

    I realised this was something good and brought it home two-thirds done.

    Well done Ray T.

    Liked 21a, 6d, 14d, 16d.

    I am not known for heaping out praise but this was good.

  20. Excellent puzzle, top notch and done on the tube between Stratford and St James’ Park. 17d last in. Best for me was 14d – lovely clue. Very pleasing to polish this blighter off.

  21. If I had had more time today I probably would have got more than I did. Once I read the hints I was going ‘Oh yeah’ quite a lot!. Not too happy with the spelling of 13a either, but it was a hidden clue, I suppose. I liked 28a and was impressed with myself for working that one out. 12a I don’t think I would have ever worked out – the ‘say’ was putting me well wide of the mark.

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