DT 26271 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26271

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26271

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Reading the first few clues, I had to check whether I had the right day of the week, as it seemed to me that the puzzle was slightly harder than previous Saturday offerings. Once I got into it, however, and 1a’d to the compiler’s cunning plan, it turned out to be a relatively quick solve with some splendid clues, 17a, 27a, 2d being just some of my favourites.

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1a    Currently in operation? (8, 2)
SWITCHED ON – An electrical device is this when connected to the current and ready to go.

6a    Neglected child with a condition (4)
WAIF – Add the compiler’s abbreviation for With – W – and A and condition or uncertainty (IF).

9a    Lab worker’s hint: ice can lose shape (10)
TECHNICIAN – The colon threw me here initially but I eventually worked out that it was an anagram of HINT ICE CAN (as opposed to ice can lose!

10a    Secret no fix for family (4)
CLAN – The secret here is CLANDESTINE, the clue tells you to remove (no) fix or DESTINE which my dictionary says is to intend something for a particular fate. You are left with one of the favourite cryptic family words – CLAN.

13a    Opening night doesn’t stop being first used in importance (7)
PREMIER – The opening night in question is a film premiere. The clue tells you it doesn’t stop so you remove the last e and you get an adjective meaning best or most important.

15 a    Left with gazetteer in Rose’s place that had been burnt (6)
BLAZED – The rose in question is the flowering kind so you need BED, and into this you put L for left and AZ (the well known gazetteer that helps us find streets etc when in a big city), giving you a word meaning had been burnt.

16a    Husband got into shabby boat (6)
DINGHY – ‘Husband’ usually means you need an H, which you then place inside a synonym for shabby DINGY, giving you a name of a type of small boat.

17a    Spectacular purpose to leave no doubt (4,6,5)
MAKE THINGS CLEAR – I got the answer to this quite quickly from the ‘leave in no doubt’ and had to think a bit as to what this had to do with ‘spectacular’. Of course, our setter is referring to spectacles which of course make things clear! Should have been obvious really to one who has had to use aids to vision for more years than she cares to remember.

18a    Blockhead’s long strip of food (6)
NOODLE – The crossword compiler has many choices when looking for a word for idiot or blockhead. In this case, we want noodle which is of course a food item made in a long strip.

20a    Free French translation (6)
GRATIS – This clue was the subject of many posts on the Saturday blog. It was obvious to me that the answer had to be gratis but I thought this was Latin not French. Big Dave’s hint says that it’s the same in French as long as you use it as an adverb and who I am to disagree with the mighty BD!
[Chambers says that it’s from the Latin gratiis, the ablative plural of gratia (favour). My Latin is not that good; I had to look it up. BD]

21a    Worked for one’s bread (7)
KNEADED – One of today’s more obvious answers. You have to knead or work the dough to get successful bread.

22a    Bird leaves loch (4)
TEAL – It was obvious from the checking letters and the L for loch that the bird had to be teal. Bit of a groan when I realised the leaves in question were those you put in a pot for a refreshing drink!

25a    I will say again one cannot read (10)
ILLITERATE – The first clue I filled in today. I’LL (I will) ITERATE (say again) gives you a term for someone who can’t read (and write).

26a    Some weedy keck found on mound (4)
DYKE – A nice simple hidden word here, giving you a word for a mound such as that built by Offa.

27a    Disgraceful Charlie took item of footwear round lousy centre (10)
SCANDALOUS – Another word for disgraceful is built up from C for Charlie (NATO alphabet) put inside a type of shoe, SANDAL, then the ‘centre’ or middle three letters of lousy.


1d    Test out beastly place (4)
SETT – ‘Out’ tells you it’s an anagram of TEST and the beastly place in question is the badger’s home or sett.

2d    Not far from Winchester (4)
INCH – I think this is a really clever clue, so simple – you are almost led down the path of thinking you need a four letter place near Winchester, but of course there is an INCH (not far) hidden inside the word.

3d    Eccentric included an unfounded rumour (6)
CANARD – An unfounded rumour or canard is easily obtained by putting AN inside another word for an eccentric person CARD.

4d    Old message out of Rome? (15)
EXCOMMUNICATION – The usual compiler’s word for Old – EX – with a type of message or COMMUNICATION, giving you a noun meaning exclusion from the Christian (or Catholic in this case) community.

5d    Sanctioned woman’s entry in dictionary (6)
OKAYED – Where would a crossword compiler be without the good old OED. In this clue, you put a woman’s name KAY inside and get a synonym for sanctioned.

7d    Somewhat brisk – notedly so (10)
ALLEGRETTO – Here “notedly” gives you a strong hint that you are looking for the musical term for somewhat brisk, the dictionary definition being ‘at a quick tempo’.

8d    Imagine female doctor in unusual costume (5,5)
FANCY DRESS – A good charade here – take a synonym for imagine FANCY and then DR for doctor and in a similar way to a lady actor being an actress, we put the suffix ESS to get DR.ESS or dress.

11 d    Hated spending half minute in a vessel with Edward (10)
ABOMINATED – Another charade A BOAT with MIN (half minute) inside then ED (short for Edward) gives you a synonym for hated.

12d    Defenders to enter in close sequence (4-2-4)
BACK-TO-BACK – All this World Cup nonsense must have got to our compiler – the defenders are obviously backs and back to back is another way of saying in close sequence. Shame it’s 4-2-4 and not 4-4-2 (just to show I have gained a tiny bit of football knowledge from listening to my youngest son!

13d    Pal kept getting aggravated during rousing speech (3, 4)
PEP TALK – One of the few anagrams today PAL KEPT rearranged gives you a type of speech designed to generate enthusiasm.

14d    It gives high jumper an opening (7)
RIPCORD – The jumper in question is a parachutist who of course uses a ripcord to open his parachute.

19d    Ben replaced sound security device wholesale (2, 4)
EN BLOC – You are looking for a word meaning wholesale. The clue tells you to rearrange (replace) BEN and then you need a word that sounds like LOCK – LOC.

20d    Classes officer cut short (6)
GENERA – The plural of genus or class can be found by cutting short, or taking the last letter away from, GENERAL.

23d    Headlight (4)
HALO – I did like Big Dave’s hint for this one so I am unashamedly going to pinch it. You are of course looking for a headlight for an angel. Even if you hadn’t been able to spot this from the clue, the checking letters tell you it can’t be anything else.

24d    Bridge players gathering intelligence (4)
NEWS – Even I as a non bridge player know that players are either N for North, E for East, W for West and S for South, depending on where they sit round the table. The initial letters give you a synonym for intelligence or news.

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