DT 26270 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26270

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26270

Hints and tips by Gnomethang

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

Morning All!. I really enjoyed solving this puzzle. It was one of those that looked quite daunting on the first read through but with time and a bit of Crypticsue’s ‘cogitation’ each clue unlocked itself. As one comes to expect from Giovanni there are some lovely surface readings and images therein and a few diverting clues that require the crossword equivalent of a gentle a tap with a taffy hammer before they can be broken down.

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 and as ever, if you still feel the need, you can get the answers by dragging your cursor between the curly brackets.


1a I am poet, so am wandering in land ‘twixt rivers (11)
{MESOPOTAMIA} – This ancient Biblical region was found between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, its name  fortunately (!) meaning ‘Land between Two Rivers’ in Greek. It is an anagram (wandering) of I AM POET SO AM.

7a Something hairy? It sounds a bit intellectual for ‘Arry (7)
{EYEBROW} – Although the clue reads like a difficult puzzle for an East End bloke it is in fact a hairy facial feature. The word we need is a homophone of a word for ‘intellectual’ or the ‘educational elite’ having removed the first letter which is an H (That is treat it like Harry = ‘Arry).

8a Religious writing’s important richness not wholly apparent (7)
{TANTRIC} – The adjective for these Buddhist or Hindu educational scriptures is hidden (not wholly apparent) in ‘important richness’.

10a Manipulate a wet lot with one finally (3,5)
{TEA-TOWEL) – An &Lit or all-in-one clue. Make an anagram of  (manipulate) A WET LOT and E (one finally). If you then read the whole clue again you are asked to identify what you would use in the final step of washing up to dry all the wet crockery.

11a One cutting fruit by river (6)
{PRUNER} – Someone removing last year’s dead growth in the garden. Add an R for River to the end of a dried fruit.

13a Broken item of sculpture (4)
{BUST} – A double definition here. Think of a china ‘head and shoulders’ sculpture that has been knocked off its pedestal.

14a Dead excited (10)
{BREATHLESS} – Another double definition. Excited or in a tizzy would also describe someone who is in the unfortunate position of not being able to use their lungs anymore!

16a Being unwell, I had to conceal terrible dopiness (10)
{INDISPOSED} – An adjective meaning unwell (and also unwilling) is usually uttered by butlers to describe the Lady of the House who cannot be visited when called upon. The two letter contraction of ‘I HAD’ contains (conceals) an anagram (terrible) of DOPINESS.

18a Look at nothing with unending delight (4)
{OGLE} – Well, look lasciviously whilst rubbing ones knees anyway!. Add all but the last letter (unending) of a synonym for delight or elation to O for nothing.

21a Returning golfer has to face that difficulty (6)
{HASSLE} – An appealing (to me!) clue for a word meaning difficulty or trouble. We require the name of a South African golfer (nicknamed the Big Easy) reversed (returning). To the FRONT of this we simply add the word HAS from the clue (this is indicated by ‘to face’ i.e. to be in front of).

22a Country beat interrupted by precipitation gets finished finally (8)
{THAILAND} – A Far East Country is the definition and can be seen by adding a type of precipitation (which hurts!) into a word for beat (think leather, no not like that!) followed by the last letter of finisheD

24a New soldier taking a road back with feet suffering (7)
{DRAFTEE} – A smooth surface reading that tells the tale of a new recruit trudging back to camp. You can find him by taking A and an abbreviation of road backwards, then adding an anagram (suffering) of FEET.

25a Common sense is needed in the nation (7)
{REALISM} – The insertion of IS is needed in a synonym of ‘nation’ to get a word meaning common sense, practicality or pragmatism.

26a Plant that has been in the fire for some time? (3,3,5)
{RED HOT POKER} – A definition and cryptic definition for a plant (Kniphofia Uvaria) who’s colour and shape are reminiscent of an iron that has been in the forge for a while.


1d Frenzied females fellow notices around East (7)
{MAENADS} – This word for the frenzied female followers of Dionysus may well be unfamiliar to many of you; I knew of the word from O Level Latin and the associated ‘Classical Civilisation’ discussions. Fortunately, Giovanni has made the wordplay relatively straightforward and there is never any harm in using a dictionary to confirm your suspicions. Take MAN for fellow, the common abbreviation for notices or advertisements and insert East.

2d Sin more terrible, not one featured in church address (6)
{SERMON} – The preacher’s delivery from the pulpit, or church address, can be found by taking an terrible anagram of SIN MORE without the I (not one featured).

3d Ladies: we do romp or dance (6,4)
{POWDER ROOM} – This clue had me going for a while as I was expecting a type of dance and was trying to make an anagram of ‘ladies we do’ (romping). In fact, the definition is ‘Ladies’, as in what our American cousins would call a rest room, and this is a genteel term for the same place found via an anagram (dancing) of WE DO ROMP OR. One of my favourite clues.

4d Archbishop’s expression of disapproval of the top people (4)
{TUTU} – This seemingly ubiquitous South African Archbishop is a charade of an expression of disapproval and a single letter abbreviation, common in Crosswordland but not many other places, for ‘top people’ or the ‘Upper classes’.

5d Day at start of cunning year’s rule in UK (8)
{MONARCHY} – Another charade for the type of government that has a king or queen as its (titular) head. We require a three latter abbreviation of a day of the week, then a synonym for cunning or knowing, and finally the standard abbreviation for Year

6d A right row produced by order (7)
{ARRANGE} – You wait ages for a charade then three come along all at once!. A + R + a synonym of ‘row’, alignment or array to produce a verb meaning to order. In fact, the word row can be used as a transitive verb with the same meaning although here the wordplay is using it as a noun.

7d Traditional priest has hut — go into it (11)
{ESTABLISHED} – Take ELI, a well known biblical priest and add another word for hut on the end. To this a word meaning go or attempt is inserted (into it). The result is a word for traditional or instituted.

9d Ditch 2 Down — upset religious community (11)
{CHRISTENDOM} – First we need to solve 2Down. When we add this to DITCH and upset, i.e. an anagram made of the result, we can obtain a religious community, or rather a term meaning the entire body of people for whom Christianity is the received religion.

12d He kept a rat cruelly — gets to accept responsibility (4,3,3)
{TAKE THE RAP} – A straightforward anagram (cruelly) of HE KEPT A RAT means accept responsibility or accept the blame.

15d One so lamented died in a separate ward? (8)
{ISOLATED} – Again the smooth surface reading makes this fairly tricky to split the definition from the wordplay. The definition is ‘(kept) in a separate ward’ and the wordplay is a straight charade of I SO, a word meaning lamented or passed on, and Died.

17d Some French couple’s unhappiness (7)
{DESPAIR} – The plural of the French word for ‘Some’, when added to a synonym for couple, gives a word for unhappiness. Note that pesky apostrophe-s. It is a contraction for IS in this case meaning ‘is the same as’ to tell us that the wordplay IS the definition.

19d Sort of craftsperson who is little good — idler (7)
{GLAZIER} – This honest artisan is a charade of G, the little good, and a word for more idle.

20d Engage in hostile takeover with ‘Hello, sailor!’ (6)
{HIJACK}- To a take control of, for example, a plane by force. Start with a short word for ‘Hello!’ and add one of Crosswordland’s synonyms for a sailor. Bless you Giovanni for giving me the perfect opportunity to resurrect the single greatest Franglais pun ever, as coined by the late Miles Kington (I read this in the Time’s Letters Page shortly after the great man’s demise) :

The French Navy, Miles Kington claimed, had adopted a new, uplifting slogan, to spur its seamen on to valour and glory in France’s hour of need.

“To the water! The hour has come!”.

Or, in French: “A l’eau. C’est l’heure!”

23d This writer goes to doctor to get a note (4)
{MEMO} – A simple charade of ME (Giovanni, the person who is writing this puzzle) and MO gets a short written aide-memoire.
My favourites included 21a, 24a and 3d. Please let us know what yours were and it only remains to thank Giovanni for another excellent offering to finish off the working week, and gazza for stepping aside for the day.

35 comments on “DT 26270

  1. Great puzzle from Giovanni to finish my week;. 1d was the last to go in.
    Gnomey, I think 1a is an anagram of I AM POET SO AM, and 1d is MAN for fellow. Thanks for the review.

  2. Thanks Jezza – I just checked and wrote out the anagram fodder as I AM A POET SO AM which meant that I was trying to lose an A!. Slip of the eyes at 1d as well – less haste more speed!. I also accidentally lopped the end of 1d’s explanation which is now complete.

  3. Morning Gnomey, thanks for blog from foreign shores or are u back home? thank goodness I finished this today, without blog, was beginning to think i would have to go back to Sun crosswords this week! I got really stuck on 1a although I had all the checking letters and knew it was an anagram, just didn’t think it was spelled that way, at least with Giovanni, once you get into his way of thinking, they are almost always ‘doable’, fav clue today 7a

      1. Don’t expect to come back to nice weather – think the whole country is grey at the moment!!!

  4. A quick intervention to say that TANTRIC is defined as Religious writing’s (an adjective). Thanks for the continued encouragement.

    1. Thanks for dropping by and clarifying, Giovanni. Would you believe I misread my own dictionary when writing the review!

  5. An entertaining crossword and an entertaining review. Hard to say which I enjoyed most – love the franglais pun.

  6. The best puzzle of the week for me, quickest time, and sorry, gnomethang, I didn’t need to cogitate at all!!

      1. Oh yes, i’ve often done that, did you really not need to do it today Crypticsue – genius :)

        1. I am not a genius, honest, just someone with loads and loads of practice, who knows that if you leave a puzzle alone (for anything from 10 mins to 24 hours!) there is a funny part deep inside your brain that works out the answer for you. Served me right for showing off , as I then got stuck on the toughie which is eventually doable with cogitation and a lot of guesswork.

  7. Highly enjoyable crossword to brighten up a bleak day for me. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gnomethang for the review. The picture at 18a really brought a smile.

          1. Thanks – a decent result tonight might be a good thing! Thought Glen Johnson played very well the other day.

  8. It’s pretty bleak in this part of the world at present — cold, grey and wet. But this puzzle brightened up the day, and I managed to complete it with a bit of electronic help. Desperately tried to find an anagram for ‘females’ at 1d, got it by guesswork and the words across, but really would have had trouble with the clue. My fault. My favourites were 7a and 3d. When I taught EFL I really had fun explaining that phrase to my students. :-)

  9. Superb crossword and superb review, many thanks to both Giovanni and Gnomethang.

  10. Thanks Giovanni and Gnomethang, great crossword to finish the week, and the sun has come out !

  11. Too hard for me! Got eight done fairly easily and ten more with the blog.

    Good puzzle, good review, thanks.

  12. Best day of the week for puzzles – thanks Giovanni for an excellent one and thanks Gnomethang for the review.

    I am late today as had to go and get new tyres for my car – managed to get a knick on the side wall of one and the others would have had to be changed within a few months so went whole hog – what a horrible surprise the price was!!!!

    My facvourite clues were 1d (new word for me) and 28a.

  13. Shock horror I managed half of this notwithstanding my giovanni allergy. then I came here for help and rather enjoyed it all.

    1. Don’t fret Peter, I too had a severe case of Giovanni allergy but persistence has def brought me over to the Light Side.
      Compared to Ray T and Tuesdays horror, Giovanni is a Master.

  14. Superb puzzle today. Lots of great clues even if they are a touch religious for my taste. However, loved 4d if only because I love the man, colourful does not do him justice. Struggled with 21a, I had the alternative spelling of hazard – hasard which is what I am always falling foul of on the golf course (I hate bunkers!!). Best clue was 1a but not certain about Eli even if I got the answer without him.

  15. I found this the easiest of the week apart from 1d which was the sole sticker. Otherise no problems. I liked 21a the best – I once watched this golfer at Woburn and quite frankly have never seen anyone tonk a ball so beautifully off the tee. 7a raised a smile.

  16. A quick romp through this one after a flying start with 1A, complete with a dodgy explanation for 4D – thought of expressions like “That’s too too ridiculous”, not waiting long enough to see whether there was a homophone indicator.

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