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DT 26269

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26269

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I suspect this has the hand of Campbell all over it. Very similar to his puzzles in the FT and Toughie. Not the hardest of puzzles to solve, and I suspect that many of you will feel contented at solving this. There’s nothing too contentious here, although a couple of cryptic definitions brought about some tooth-sucking. Cryptic definitions to me are almost an acquired taste. When I’m compiling, I probably use one per puzzle, but for some setters they are the main clue-type. Rufus is far and away the Master of such definitions, but even he occasionally brings about a bout of dental slurping.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


7a    Morality play always confused many (8)
{EVERYMAN} A word meaning always is added to an anagram (indicated by confused) of MANY. Checking the definition in Chambers says that the definition relates to the central character of a Middle Ages morality play, but Wikipedia (per BD!) says that it is the title of a morality play.

9a    Outspoken Voltaire tale abridged (6)
{CANDID} Find a famous novel by Voltaire, and removing the last letter will give you a word meaning outspoken.

10a    Testing hearing (6)
{TRYING} A double definition that should be straightforward. For the second definition “hearing” relates to a court case.

11a    Plan building great sty (8)
{STRATEGY} An anagram (building) of GREAT STY reveals a word meaning a plan.

12a    Novel recorder’s no good? Article little-known (4,3,7)
{JUDE THE OBSCURE} I do like to see clues to longer words that are not just relying on anagrams, but this feels a bit clunky. A word for a recorder (as in the legal meaning of the word) needs to lose a G (no good). Add to this a word for an article and one that means little-known or blocked. The whole is the title of a novel by Thomas Hardy.

15a    Badly behaved child runs into club (4)
{BRAT}    R (runs) goes inside a word for a club or similar piece of sporting equipment. This gives you a word for an ill-behaved little one.

17a    Bad time back in platoon? (5)
{TROOP} A word meaning bad, or impoverished and add to this T (for time). Reverse the whole lot and you get a word meaning a group of soldiers.

19a    Punch’s dog in play involving bishop (4)
{TOBY} B (for bishop) goes inside a verb meaning play or meddle with.

20a    Long-haired boxer’s blue tale? (6,3,5)
{SHAGGY DOG STORY} A word sum. Something that means long-haired (or Scooby Doo’s chum!) is added to a word that describes belonging to a canine (hence boxer) and a word for the political meaning of the word BLUE. This gives you a name for the sort of tale told by Ronnie Corbett when he sat in his chair on his show with Ronnie Barker.

23a    Faulty anagram about brandy (8)
{ARMAGNAC} Clever clue! An anagram (indicated by faulty) of ANAGRAM + C (circa, about) gives you a type of brandy.

25a    Horse by meadow almost fit for ploughing (6)
{ARABLE} The name for a type of horse is added to two thirds of a three letter word for a meadow (indicated by almost). This gives you a word meaning land suitable for ploughing.

27a    Sappers become weary and retreat (6)
{RETIRE} Only in Crosswordland do we still hear of the Sappers (RE for Royal Engineers) and add a word meaning become weary. The “and” is just padding and it will lead you to a definition of the word retreat. If I’m honest, I feel this is a lazy clue with the definition almost leading you to answer by starting with the same letters.

28a    Appeal of centre at York (8)
{ENTREATY} A hidden answer (of being the indicator) A word meaning appeal is hidden in “centre at York”

Back after coffee with the Downs (not I hasten to add, Mr and Mrs Down)!


1d           Finished on top (4)
{OVER}  Another straightforward double definition.  A word meaning finished, done, complete that has the same meaning as being on top or above something.

2d           Quiet lift gets approval (6)
{PRAISE}  Another word sum.  The musical abbreviation for play quietly is added to a word meaning lift.  Gets here is as in “gives”.

3d           Builder’s first to leave tip with a load (4)
{ONUS}  A word meaning a tip or gratuity needs to lose its first letter (B = Builder’s first – to leave).  This gives a word meaning a load.

4d           He drowned in the Aegean, one tenor after love rejected (6)
{ICARUS} A bit Yoda-speak here. I = One, and to this is added the name of one of the world’s most famous tenors which loses his last letter (O = love rejected).  This gives the name of a mythological character who flew too near the sun.

5d           Direct insurance on clipped wagon, last in fleet (8)
{INSTRUCT}  INS – Insurance plus a word for a wagon or articulated lorry with its last letter missing and then T (last in fleet) – the definition is to direct

6d           Not where they serve in doubles? (7,3)
{SINGLES BAR}  A cryptic definition that’s a bit hackneyed nowadays.  However what is the purpose of “in”?  Surely the clue would read better without it.  Think of a place that serves drinks and if they were half doubles they’d be…..

8d           Photograph sucker pumped full of lead (7)
{MUGSHOT}  A word meaning a photo, particularly of a criminal, is made up of one which means a sucker, or a large cup.  This is added to a word defined in Wild West slang as “filled full of lead”.

13d         Frank’s unqualified (10)
{UNRESERVED}  Another double definition.

14d         There’s nothing, nothing like an egg (5)
{OVOID} A shape that means nothing added to a word that means nothing or vacant gives a word meaning having the shape of an egg.

16d         Drink one with a girl after time (3,5)
{TIA MARIA}  T = time, + I + A + a girl’s name gives the name of the Blue Mountain Coffee Liqueur.

18d         Attendant, worker with tattoo, perhaps (7)
{PAGEANT}  A word for an attendant especially in mediaeval times added to an insect (the last three letters of ATTENDANT, which again spoils the clue for me) gives a word meaning a show, or tattoo as in Edinburgh.

21d         Herds crossing eastern river (6)
{GANGES}  A word meaning groups goes round E for eastern to give the name of an Indian river.

22d         Composer after end of concert tour (6)
{TRAVEL}  Think of a composer who helped make Torvill and Dean famous, and place his name after T (end of concerT).

24d         At the home of revolutionary leader in Zaire (4)
{CHEZ}  A word from the 60’s and 70’s (French) meaning “at the home of” is found  by taking the first name of Guevara (revolutionary) and adding it to Z (leader) for Zaire.   Z is the IVR for Zambia, so it needs the leader for the clue to work, although the use of “in” is stretching things a bit!

26d         Instrument female got rid of for another (4)
{LUTE}  Think of the name for a woodwind instrument and remove F for female to leave you with a stringed instrument.

Thanks to Campbell (probably) for today’s challenge.

32 comments on “DT 26269

  1. Although I have completed this in a reasonable time , I didn’t enjoy it that much but can’t put my finger on why. Favourite clue 23a as its an anagram of ….!!

  2. Easier than many recent DT puzzles. 6d & 24d quickly solvable but a tad dodgy. Fine though overall.

  3. I agree with Crypticsue; solved but without any great enjoyment. If I was to select a favourite, possibly 18d.

  4. This has to be one of the most enjoyable crosswords I have done in a long long time. Regardless of the first three opinions I found the clues to be just the right mix of new, old quirky, literate and testing.
    Best were 7a,9a,12, and 24d
    My overall favourite was 4d, the construction of the clue,my feeling of self-righteousness at getting the answer and the warm glow of completion.
    That is what crosswords are meant to be like, I think may even be my first 5 star decision.
    Now that’s not like me at all.
    Thanks to Campbell and Tilsit
    Happy Days

  5. I presume that 7a is the setter (if it is the one that Tilsit suspects) giving a subtle plug for his puzzle every Sunday in the Observer :D

  6. Nice enough puzzle, not particularly hard but some good fun elements – 23a, 8d and 20a were favourites.
    Thanks for the review Tilsit and thanks to our possibly outed setter!

  7. These comments all go to prove something I have always thought. All of us have different approaches to these puzzles, our brains solve them differently (some days my brain doesn’t work at all!), and we will either like them or hate them. Its one of the joys of cryptic puzzle solving that every day is different.

    1. see I can’t even type my name properly today – must have worn it out doing the puzzle!!

  8. Enjoyable but not too taxing. Many thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the notes. Favourite clue was 20a.

  9. I was going to comment on 6d as well but thought I would wait for the downs. I would agree with the ‘in’ but I would simply have written “Where they don’t serve doubles(?)” – or would that be too straightforward?

    1. The “in” is there to try to misdirect you into thinking of serving (the ball) in tennis doubles. Quite topical with Wimbledon starting next week.

      1. Thanks (yet again!) gazza, you are right of course. To be honest I didn’t read it as a tennis thing as I sort of dives straight into the answer. All very well to complete the puzzle but it does mean you miss little things that can add to your appreciation, enjoyment and blogging (if required). You’re a veritalbe ‘sensei’ this week! ;-)

  10. Really glad that you all found this an easy puzzle, I thought it was very difficult. Only managed 3 answers. Been through the blog and can someone please explain 7a. What has everyman got to do with the clue?

    1. Not easy, Barrie, but I certainly didn’t find it as hard as Tuesday’s for example.
      For 7d there is a morality play which is titled ‘Everyman’ . You can click the word to go to the Wikipedia article. The play effectively coined the term for everyman meaning Everybody or Anybody.

      1. OK I wasn’t aware of that, not even sure just exactly what a morality play is. However, that being the case, where does ‘always confused many’ come in? I would agree that it was not as hard as Tuesdays but that is a bit like saying that Hitler was a bit more right wing than Mussolini! Cannot agree with a ** for difficulty, surely it rates ****. It seems to me that the DT crossword of late is becoming quite elitist requiring an in-depth knowledge of literature, religion and archaic phrases. There are very few sporting, scientific or technical references with the consequence that younger readers are probably feeling quite excluded. Just my opinion.

            1. with you today again Barrie, I have not had time to do it today but I don’t think after reading through with the blog that i would have anyway, this week for me has been a massive step backwards into the cellar of the CC!

        1. Barrie

          If we put **** for every puzzle, what would we do when we got a really hard one? I don’t usually talk times, but this one took me about 20 minutes, while watching a recording of the Prisoner at the same time. I know that Tilsit took significantly less than that. I do appreciate that a lot of the saving in time is knowing about Everyman (to which I did post a link when the blog was published), Candide and Icarus – but how can we post a difficulty that assumes that everyone other than us has no background in Literature and Mythology? The ratings are only meant as a guide and should be taken as such.

        2. I sometimes wonder whether some readers of crossword blogs actually look at the report at the top, or just read the comments. In the report, Tilsit said “A word meaning always is added to an anagram (indicated by confused) of MANY” which (in combination with answer) is exactly what Jezza said in the comment which apparently solved the mystery. And if knowing that Voltaire wrote something called Candide, or that someone wrote a novel called Jude the Obscure counts as “in-depth literary knowledge”, “in-depth” must mean something I didn’t know about.

          1. Barrie, my guess is a broadsheet crossword setter is more likely to be an oxbridge classics graduate in the prime of life, than an angst ridden 20 something hard knocks phd from the univeristy of life… and demographically, so are most of his/her audience.

            So… expect cricket and rugby union and rowing references for your sport, and a healthy dose of literature. It is elitiest Barrie, but no more or less so than its ever been, from what i can see,if anything less so. I share your pain in many respects, but its the DT, not the Sun!

            I invariably struggle with horticulture and literature, as I have no background in either. Hopefully I piece the answers together from the rest of the clue until the penny drops, but here for example the last answers to go in were candid and jude the obscure. I presumed that voltaire had written something called candide/a/i, but i needed to google ‘novel the obscure’ (having figured the last 2 words) to get mr hardy’s work… judge for recorder was a bit obscure for me.

            I enjoy cryptic crosswords for the brain work-out, and god knows mine needs it. My only bugbear is, I like to try to complete the DT without any reference books, and I do maybe 50% of the time, so… its the obscure or out of date usage/tenuously hiding behind chamber’s definition’s that are never used in the real world that have me breaking my lead in frustration, more than having gaps in my education filled with a little English Lit GCSE lesson!

            1. As a member of the audience: LSE Economics not Oxbridge Classics. The Oxbridge Classics graduate as typical crossword solver is pretty much extinct. But there aren’t many 20-something setters in the national papers.

              With you on Chambers-only def’s – if used in a daily cryptic. (I can understand some use in a Toughie). And I always like it when other sports like football or snooker get a look-in (you missed golf in your list).

  11. I enjoyed this one, mostly because I could actually DO it! It took some time to get going and lots of help to keep going, but all done and before the blog too! Being fairly deeply stuck in the CC, I thought it must have been quite easy …

  12. Not too bad today, but lost in the literature, brandy and tenor. 14d is a regular, and I can’t say anything stood out for me.

  13. Great puzzle – a cryptic pace-setter. Some clever clues, some quiry, some easy. Done on the train home. Top notch stuff in my view. Hope England are up to this standard tomorrow.

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