DT 26273 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26273

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26273

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We have a challenging and very entertaining puzzle today from Ray T with some very amusing clues. It’s well worth persevering with, but, if you want something a bit easier Prolixic informs me that today’s Toughie is not as difficult. Let us know what you think of this one, and how you think it compares with the Toughie.
If you want to see the answers, they’re hidden between the curly brackets under the relevant clues. Highlight the space between the brackets to reveal.

Across Clues

1a  Sobbing Tory leader in weak state (11)
{LAMENTATION} – the definition is sobbing, an audible expression of grief. String together  an adjective meaning weak or feeble and a synonym for state or country and then put the first letter (leader) of T(ory) inside.

9a  Feel grief for dead and record traditions (7)
{DEPLORE} – more grief, this time a verb meaning to feel grief for something. It’s a charade of D(ead), an outmoded record on disc and traditions passed down through the generations.

10a  Worker housed in modest shack (6)
{SHANTY} – put one of the insects which are signalled by worker in Crosswordland inside an adjective meaning modest or retiring to get a small shack.

12a  In a cult, turning psychotic (7)
{LUNATIC} – an anagram (turning) of IN A CULT.

13a  Prodigal son before getting servile (7)
{SLAVISH} – start with an adjective meaning prodigal or extravagant. Now put S(on) before it to end up with another adjective meaning servile or submissive.

14a  Sunday setter’s hiding last of clue riddle (5)
{SIEVE} – in the surface reading the ‘s is short for “is” but in the wordplay it’s short for “has”, and since it’s the setter talking what we want is “I have” in its abbreviated form. Precede this with S(unday) and put the last letter of cluE inside to get a riddle (a utensil used to separate powder from solids).

15a  Where you may find dead end? (9)
{SEPULCHRE} – cryptic definition of a tomb.

17a  Elaborate couturier returns in glowing form (9)
{EMBROIDER} – reverse (returns) the surname of a famous French couturier inside the glowing remains of a fire to get a verb meaning to elaborate or add fictitious detail to a story.

20a  Constituent of ropes is a long fibre (5)
{SISAL} – hidden (constituent of) in this very neat all-in-one clue is a fibre used for making ropes.

22a  Engage pop star with hidden talent (7)
{CHARTER} – a verb meaning to engage or hire (a boat or plane, for example) is constructed from an American pop star and actress (who turns up remarkably frequently in my reviews) with a word for creative skill or talent inside (hidden). Here she is with her greatest hit (and the future mayor of Palm Springs) from 45 years ago.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a  Hunger, it really grips country (7)
{ERITREA} – hidden in the clue (grips) is a famine-ridden African country on the Red Sea. Both today’s hidden words have been incorporated in very well-constructed and appropriate clues.

25a  Fabulous woman afterwards consumed by case of anorexia (6)
{ATHENA} – the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom is formed by putting an adverb meaning afterwards inside the outer letters (case) of A(norexi)A. We had the same goddess with an alternative spelling in Toughie 372 last week.

26a  Ace female, fine, fit and obliging (7)
{AFFABLE} – start with standard abbreviations for the first three words, then add a synonym for fit or proficient to get an adjective meaning obliging or good-natured.

27a  Army in peril regrouped for advance (11)
{PRELIMINARY} – the definition is advance as an adjective, as in an advance copy. It’s an anagram (regrouped) of ARMY IN PERIL.

Down Clues

2d  Supporter after drink outside (7)
{APOSTLE} – a supporter or champion (someone who goes forth to spread the gospel) is formed from a prefix meaning after which has an alcoholic drink outside it.

3d  Practised cut outside emergency room (9)
{EXERCISED} – a verb meaning practised (self-control, for example) is constructed from another verb meaning cut out or purged around the abbreviation for Emergency Room.

4d  Question Time with head of state about jobs (5)
{TASKS} – the definition is jobs. We want a verb meaning to (pose a) question with T(ime) and the first letter (head) of State surrounding (about) it.

5d  Labour scent seizing a victory (7)
{TRAVAIL} – a verb meaning to labour or work hard is formed from a scent or track around (seizing) A and V(ictory).

6d  Very big tenor followed by ample bird (7)
{OSTRICH} – the clue paints an amusing picture of a pair of well-proportioned opera singers. String together the abbreviation for very big in clothing sizes, T(enor) and a synonym for ample or abundant to get the largest living bird.

7d  Youth caught in a benefit environment (11)
{ADOLESCENCE} – the definition is youth, i.e. the period of transition from child to adult. Put C (caught, in cricket) inside a charade of A, an informal word for benefit paid to the unemployed and a synonym for environment or setting.

8d  Wash flapping on pegs (6)
{SPONGE} – an anagram (flapping?) of ON PEGS.

11d  During the game, she’s no reserve! (11)
{CHEERLEADER} – once again we need to read the ‘s as “has” rather than “is” to understand this cryptic definition of a young lady who is an energetic, and eye-catching, supporter of her team. Now, it may take me some time to select a suitable picture!

16d  China core thrown with undecorated exterior (9)
{PORCELAIN} – an anagram (thrown) of CORE has a synonym for undecorated or simple around it (exterior) to get a white, thin type of china.

18d  He shows off hat around Sabbath (7)
{BOASTER} – someone who brags is a type of straw hat around S(abbath).

19d  Prepared to do porridge? (7)
{OATMEAL} – a lovely cryptic definition of what porridge is prepared from.

20d  Tighter second row, leaders of English rugby (7)
{STIFFER} – a comparative meaning tighter or firmer is made from S(econd), a minor row or argument and the initial letters (leaders) of English Rugby.

21d  Ends of short dress giving quick flash (6)
{STROBE} – a verb meaning to flash on and off quickly is formed from the outside letters (ends) of ShorT followed by another word for dress. Hilarious!

23d  Very masculine domain (5)
{REALM} – an informal adverb (chiefly North American and Scottish, according to Chambers) meaning very is followed by M(asculine) to get a domain or kingdom.

I have a host of excellent clues to pick from today including 24a, 26a, 6d, 7d, 11d and 19d, but my favourite is 21d. Tell us what you think in a comment!

44 comments on “DT 26273

  1. Plenty of Ooer Missus! Loved, 21d, 26a sounds like my kinda girl, but my clue of the day goes to 24a for the surface reading an hiding-in-plain-viewmanship. I initially thought this was going to be very hard but it ended up coming together quite quickly – sieve being the final sticking point until I worked out the apostrophe’s particular significance
    Another excellent puzzle from RayT so thanks to him and to gazza for the review.

  2. I must say I thought they had got the toughie and the cryptic the wrong way round today-had me flummexed good and proper. Only managed about half before I conceded and got help!

  3. One look was enough to convince me to go and watch grass grow, it would be more fun!!!

      1. At least I could always start a Giovanni!! This guy gives you no way in. I’m afraid he and I are on different wavelengths and his stubborn refusal to include any phrases at all puts me off.

        1. Barrie – easiest way in is to see if you can find any anagrams – eg 27a is a nice easy way to start on the bottom,.

  4. Am halfway through, going across road to pub for lunch will have a glass of wine and see if that helps, back later :)

      1. Oh you mean another glass of wine, thought at first you meant another crossword, lovely country pub literally across the road :) don’t use it much of course, guess what, i think the blog is back to remembering our details, at least it has this time

        1. I’m with you Mary but am going to sit in the garden in the sunshine and have lunch and a glass of wine to finish this one. Am actually skiiving from cleaning out cupboards!!!

  5. I plunged in confidently with ‘graveyard’ for 15a then realised my mistake as soon as I looked at 16d. I particularly enjoyed 9a but the whole puzzle was most rewarding.

  6. As gnomey says above, another excellent puzzle from Ray T; very enjoyable! The SW area held me up the longest.
    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza for the notes.

  7. I can remember the days when like Barrie I used to look and think this is not for me and complain till I was blue in the face. Then Big Dave gave me a kick and I started to persevere and do know what, even Ray T was blogging and saying stick with it.
    To my utter amazement I finally started getting it and although Ray’s puzzles take me three times longer to finish, they now give me three times the entertainment value so COME ON BARRIE ! get you finger out and start thinking, you never know, but one day somethink will go click and you will realize you have sounded like a tattie long enough and revel in the joy of the chase for the answer.
    Come On ! buck UP.
    Do you think that was a bit strong ?, sorry Bazz

    1. Looked at it and thought ‘No way’ but will do as you suggest and try again.

      Very hot here in Lothian, so am keeping cool inside and about to watch Budget, so will try the puzzle again—probably with some help from the review—afterwards, to take my mind off said Budget!

    2. Sorry I have tried and I go through the answers on the blog but just can’t make the connection. Can’t get any enjoyment out of puzzles that are obscure. I just get very disappointed when I see its a Ray T (easy to spot no phrases and no way in!), just find his puzzles very unpleasant I’m afraid. So everybody enjoy them whilst I am going to mow the lawn.

      1. Sorry Barry, it is a hard puzzle but the enjoyment level is greater, once you get one or two the rest fall like dominos or in this case seven or eight, they fall like the odd domino but it really is a state of mind rather than difficulty. Anyway I hope you stick with it as we are all rooting for you.

        1. Thanks for your support Nubian, I really do appreciate it. :-) I do realise that it probably is a state of mind as I can usually make a good fist of 95% of the DT crosswords, just the odd one like last week or Ray T have me completely stumped. I have just looked at one at random, 9a and although I can follow the excellent explanation given on the blog, I would have very little chance of making the connection between traditions and lore, didn’t realise that D stood for dead and the last time I saw an EP was in 1968! I find this typical of the convulated way in which Ray T presents his clues. I do the DT crossword as a pleasant diversion, not as the entry test for MENSA! But as I said, for those that enjoy his puzzles, good luck. I’ll just wait for tomorrows!

  8. I was very relieved that this was given 4* – thought I was just having yet another bad crossword day! I didn’t understand 14a until I read the hints – again thanks. One quick question – are “lunatic” and “psychotic” really synonymous? Not quite sure. Couldn’t get 1a for ages, mainly because, although I hadn’t written it in, I wanted 4d to be “posts” – don’t know why – no logic at all! Really enjoyed the whole puzzle – challenging but do-able, just!

    1. Kath, the lunatic/psychotic thing did occur to me, but psychosis is a severe mental disorder, and lunatic is a person who is mentally ill, so I decided that it was ok.

  9. I just noticed they have fixed the email address, name thingy at the bottom.
    “Rejoice at that news !” (M Thatcher,1984, Union Jack flyng over the Falklands once more)

    1. WordPress fixed it yesterday. Apparently it was an error that only affected blogs that used redirection, i.e. bigdave44.com is redirected to bigdave44.wordpress.com. This would explain why I was unable to repeat the error on my test site.

  10. This took me six times as long as yesterday’s puzzle (quick) but I did enjoy the tussle. Some lovely clues. Agree with Nubian’s comments above re perseverence. Anyone struggling now should treat it as a “cogitator” – do the lawn or if I wasn’t at work, my preferred option, drink some wine (lucky Mary) and then come back to it later as your subconscious is bound to have worked at least some of the answers out.

  11. I found this tricky but not impossible, not a favourite setter. But I really didn’t get 14a (the significance of the apostrophe bit). Having read the blog I understand it, but it still seems awkward and not very logical; there must have been a plethora of less tortured clues for this word. Also in 15a does the inclusion of ‘end?’ have any point to it. Although without it it would be a non-cyrptic definition.

    Okay enough griping, thanks for the blog.

    1. As you say 15a wouldn’t be cryptic without the “end”. I suppose that you’re meant to equate “end” with “finish up”.

  12. I found this a very hard puzzle and had to admit defeat before my brain exploded. A couple of hints and I breezed through with the exception of 14 across which I’m still getting my head round.
    I agree with Lea’s comment to Barrie that anagrams are the way in, 27a was the second clue I got.
    Like anything, it takes a while to become consciously competent at something.
    Barrie, I too struggle with Ray T’s puzzles and more often than not I don’t get half the answers. But when I started doing cryptic puzzles I couldn’t get a quarter of Ray T’s answers so the way I see it is that I’ve made a 100% improvement and will continue to do so until one day I’ll get them all.
    So will you, but you’ve got to be in it to win it.

  13. Well the wine didn’t help much, I was still left with three that I just couldn’t see, like Kath above, i had put posts in for 4d, so that left me with no way in to 1a, also was stuck on 17a, 9a, and 22a!!can’t say there was a clue there that I really liked today and it did take me ages to get into, I wonder Barrie if they mixed the days up and put this on a Friday, would you be able to do it???

    1. Mary, if you see “pop star” or equivalent in a puzzle that I’m reviewing you can be pretty sure that it’ll be Cher. :D

  14. Great value from Ray today. I found this huge fun and more challenging than usual. I think it took twice as long to do this than Busman’s Toughie! Many thanks to Ray T and to Gazza for the notes. Lots of top notch clues. I will buck the trend with 17a being one of my favourites.

  15. Good heavens! I’ve astonished myself by almost doing it, with lots of help and some of the hints. Couldn’t get 1a or 9a, but having looked at those and established a lot of checking letters, it more or less fell into place.

    Lots of good clues, very enjoyable, great review.

  16. Just finished this with a bit of help from the blog. Enjoyed it v much once I got in to it. Thanks to Ray and also for the review.

  17. Setter here. Thanks again to Gazza for the expert dissection and to everybody else for your comments.

    True, sometimes the puzzles take some time to get into, but I’m pleased that most of you found this one worth the effort!

    Ray T

  18. I feel really stupid today as I just can’t get going on this one at all. I suppose it serves me right for my ‘eezy peezy lemon squeezy’ comment yesterday.

  19. A rare day spent lazing in the garden, with DT cryptic for company.

    Several small “bites at the cherry” led to a satisfying conclusion, and I really appreciated the quality of the wordplay on several clues, favourites were too many to mention! Thank you Ray T.

    However, I have to admit referring to the blog for the full reason I had “Sieve” for 14a, other than the fact it’s a riddle! :smile: Thanks Gazza.

  20. Tough, challenging and enjoyable. I enjoyed this one but I did miss 15a. Hats off to the setter.

  21. That titillated the little grey cells. Most enjoyable. I never knew 6d had teeth like that – what a horrible image!

Comments are closed.