DT 26288 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26288

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26288

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s not the easiest Giovanni today, but it’s entertaining as usual. Let us know what you think of it in a comment.
As always the answers are concealed between the curly brackets under the clues. Drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal.

Across Clues

1a  Gym l-leaked, having wood surface on exterior walls (10)
{PEBBLEDASH} – the definition is surface on exterior walls. Start with an abbreviation for gymnastics, add a verb meaning leaked or lost liquid with the first letter doubled to match the clue and finish with a type of wood (and the name of the tree that it comes from).

6a  Such oats regularly provided for northerner (4)
{SCOT} – someone from the north of our country is formed from the odd (regularly) letters of SuCh OaTs.

9a  Little female in agreement or dispute? (10)
{CONTRADICT} – put the two-character abbreviation of a girl’s name (little female) inside a legal agreement to get a verb meaning to dispute someone’s statement or assert the opposite viewpoint.

10a  Lake is weird, one end being invisible (4)
{ERIE} – a word meaning weird has its initial E dropped (one end being invisible) to leave one of the five great lakes of North America.

12a  Priest brings healing (4)
{CURE} – double definition (but the priest has got a bit of a foreign accent).

13a  Soldier turning writer in profession (9)
{CARBINEER} – reverse (turning) an old-fashioned writing implement (writer) inside a synonym for profession or occupation to get a soldier armed with a short light rifle.

15a  Request to put shovel down in gateway? (8)
{ENTREATY} – shovel down is a graphic way of describing how someone more interested in quantity than quality might take food. We want a more neutral verb for this process – put this inside a gateway or way in to get a request.

16a  Stands and procrastinates (6)
{STALLS} – double definition. The first can be places where people stand, or it can be places where people sit (just to confuse matters).

18a  Stop that article going out about war (6)
{THWART} – we need to remove the indefinite article (article going out) from THAT and put what’s left around WAR to get a verb meaning to stop or foil.

20a  These reps could be nameless (8)
{SALESMEN} – an anagram (could be) of NAMELESS. CluedUp this morning would only accept the singular version of the answer but it’s definitely the plural that is required.

23a  Escape from habitat in which there’s nothing quiet (9)
{ELOPEMENT} – put O (nothing) and P (piano, quiet) inside a synonym for habitat or environment to get an escape or flight (to Gretna Green, perhaps).

24a  Bit of an eye for a girl (4)
{IRIS} – double definition.

26a  Spot extremists in Etonian’s party (4)
{ESPY} – we want the first and last (extremist) letters of both the last two words. I wonder which Etonian the setter can be thinking of?

27a  Flexible bag is OK and gets used in the kitchen (6,4)
{BAKING SODA} – an anagram (flexible) of BAG IS OK AND produces the common name for sodium bicarbonate.

28a  Beat down group by the sound of it (4)
{TEEM} – a verb used to describe what heavy rain does (beat down) sounds like a group of players.

29a  Tender name contrived to convey affection (10)
{ENDEARMENT} – an anagram (contrived) of TENDER NAME leads to a word expressing affection in this all-in-one clue.

Down Clues

1d  Speed and power that comes with unreturnable service (4)
{PACE} – a synonym for speed is made from P(ower) followed by a good serve at tennis.

2d  British worker eats what in Paris? Not petit déjeuner! (7)
{BANQUET} – put B(ritish) and a usual Crosswordland worker around the French word for “what” to get a meal which is neither small nor (usually) eaten in the morning.

3d  Dealer Gareth, surprisingly generous (5-7)
{LARGE-HEARTED} – an anagram (surprisingly) of DEALER GARETH means generous.

4d  Set aside time in which dice can be played (8)
{DEDICATE} – an anagram (can be played) of DICE is put inside a fixed period of time to get a verb meaning to set aside or devote to some specific purpose.

5d  Scoundrel in Durham, say, establishing firm (6)
{SECURE} – my initial thought was that Durham was being used to indicate a geographical area, so I spent some time looking in vain for a 4-character scoundrel to put inside NE. What I should have been doing is looking for a 3-character scoundrel to put inside what Durham is an example (say) of in a religious sense.

7d  American university room housing little old sailors (7)
{CORNELL} – this Ivy League university in New York State is formed from a small room holding (housing) an abbreviated version (little) of O(ld) and the abbreviation for the navy (sailors).

8d  The circle leading revolution is speculating (10)
{THEORISING} – a synonym for speculating is a charade of THE, the letter that looks like a circle and a synonym for revolution or rebellion.

11d  Small digit – five? (6,6)
{LITTLE FINGER} – what we want are synonyms for small and digit. Whether you count it as five or ten probably depends on which hand you start with!

14d  Community payment (10)
{SETTLEMENT} – double definition.

17d  Nasty ailments one gets in underground working environment (4-4)
{SALT-MINE} – an anagram (nasty) of AILMENTS produces an underground working of which there are many in Cheshire (and Siberia).

19d  Little ring being accepted? That’s wonderful! (7)
{WHOOPEE} – start with a word meaning little (used more by a 6a than others) and put a circular band (ring) inside (being accepted) to get an exclamation of delight (that’s wonderful!).

21d  Actor Roger has pocketed one old penny and gold coin (7)
{MOIDORE} – put the surname of actor Roger (he of the enigmatic eyebrow) around I (one) and the symbol used for a pre-decimalisation penny to get an old Portuguese gold coin.

22d  Seize Greek character with commotion around (6)
{DETAIN} – a verb meaning to seize or hold in custody is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet with a synonym for commotion or noise around it.

25d  Involvement in celebration cut short (4)
{PART} – drop the final Y (cut short) from a celebration or knees-up to leave an involvement or contribution.

The clues I liked included 27a, 29a, 4d and 5d, but my favourite is 15a. Leave us a comment with your views!

56 comments on “DT 26288

  1. Agree with assessment. Very entertaining today. Agree with all your good clue options – hard to pick a favourite really. 13a perhaps because its a good clue and a word I had never heard of. My only problem today was with 28a because I could only think of a pop group that had those checking letters (you probably need to be as old as me to remember the group) and couldn’t get my head round the answer any other sort of group!! Thanks Giovanni for the fun and Gazza for the hints.

  2. Fine Friday puzzle from Giovanni – I learnt a new word at 21d. My favourites included 28a, 8d and 15a and 18a.
    Thanks gazza and thanks to Giovanni for the workout, finding it as I did a tad tougher than recent Fridays.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle today apart from the spelling error in 20a on Cluedup which spoiled the finish time.

  4. An “OK” end to the week. No complaints, but it really didn’t have any “gotcha” moments for me. Thanks to G&G. Have a nice, cool weekend.

  5. I surprised myself with 21d, but would never have got 13a without your help Gazza, so thank you for that. I had a eureka moment with 14d for some reason and after that I couldn’t write the answers in quick enough which is most unusual for me. 26a was my favourite today.

  6. Usual good Friday puzzle.

    11d. Didnt like “five”. If I were enumerating, using my fingers. my little finger would be FOUR – my thumb would come into play when I got to FIVE.

    21d. Having worked out the answer, had to look it up, as I’d never heard of it.

    Difficult to pick out a fa vourite from a number of good clues.

    1. I must confess that I didn’t get the point with the ‘Five?’ bit – I had enough checking letters to throw the answer in. Having just counted on my hand I did reach my thumb on 5 as well!

        1. Thanks Geoff!
          More of a guitar man meself although I used to be able to bang out the first movement if Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on the recorder!

      1. Yes, it wasn’t difficult. I just thought that the “five” was unnecessary.

  7. Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle. 5d also confused me for a while (despite Durham being NE, I tried to justify it as SE and find an extra E), then the ‘ecclesiastical’ penny dropped!
    Favourite possibly 17d.

  8. Well, that was a good brain workout! Needed hints for9a and 4d thank you Gazza, and I was very slow to see 18a. Favourites 1a and 8d

  9. Phew, what a relief – it’s a 4*! On a first read through, I could only do two, lol! So I did something else and will work through the hints later.

  10. Thanks for blog Gazza, needed help with about 1/4 of it today, I didn’t fall into the same trap in 5d but held myself up looking for the wrong type of firm! also managed to work out 21d by the wordplay but had never heard of it, at first I thought it was going to be an easy one by Giovanni some of the clues and anagrams straight forward, should have know better! To all of you enjoying the sunshine, spare a thought for us in West Wales, can I have my sunshine back crypticsue :) no fav clue today :(

    1. That’s what I thought, too, Mary—easy—but not so (I should know better!– and will have to work hard later on if I am to solve it without looking at the hints!

    2. I will keep the sun if you don’t mind but you can have the heat and humidity. Its 27 degrees at my desk, with a fan working and the window open and I’m on the shady side of the building this afternoon. Roll on 3 when I can go home to a shady tree and a cool drink.

        1. Don’t want to depress you further but it’s 30oC in Bucks and just right for sitting in the garden with a beer :-)

          1. Same here in Uxbridge – going to sit outside with a glass of wine (don’t have any cold beer but do have cold wine).

  11. Just making a start on what promises to be a very good puzzle—have to go out so will get back to it later.

    Am determined not to look at the hints until I am really stuck!

  12. What a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Friday lunch break – thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza. Ref 2d I thought from recollections of schoolboy French hundreds of years ago that ‘que’ meant ‘whom’ or ‘what’ and ‘quel’ meant ‘who’. I am sure a cunning linguist will clarify!

    1. “que” is what and “qui” is who. So What do you want? is “Qu’est-ce que vous voulez?” (literally “what is it that you want?”)

  13. Great crossword from Giovanni, great review from Gazza, many thanks to both.

  14. I have jusr started and read the blog (haven’t looked at hints as yet and hope I don’t have to). Have only about another 10 mins before I have to go out again so will see how much I can do. So far so good and I am enjoying it – thanks Giovanni.

    1. Not me, I didn’t! But I had read your comment before looking at the puzzle …

      1. I didn’t nor should I considering that 40 years ago I came to UK from Canada. Excellent puzzle today – really enjoyed it and managed in very good time. I am on his wave length – unlike yesterday when I couldn’t “get” it.

        Very hot here (west London) today – over 30.
        Thanks for puzzle and thanks for review G&G

  15. Been through it now, obviously needing some of the hints. But I did put in 18 answers without the hints, including 21d, and I’m feeling rather pleased with that. Six months ago I probably wouldn’t even have got 6a!

    Very fine puzzle, most enjoyable and an equally fine review, thanks G&G.

  16. Excellent puzzle today for me, just needed help with 18a and 5d (kept trying to get CAD in DOH!). This just demonstrates that the difficulty is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. I would have given this 2/3 star yet can’t even start a Ray T!
    Although I got 1a across from the surface on exterior walls bit, I still can’t see the association with GYM? Best clue for me 13a, very clever. Must admit I had to ask a reverend friend of mine for the answer to 12a!

    1. Hi john – welcome to the blog.
      There’s a convention that if there’s an extra leading letter in the wordplay that is copied in the answer. So, L-LEAKED becomes B-BLED.

  17. I got to the last four clues – if I hadn’t got totally stuck on 13a, I might have got intersecting words down. Or maybe if it wasn’t 35 degrees, I’d have had more active brain cells. A good puzzle, especially after the oddness of yesterday!

  18. I enjoyed this after the disaster which was yesterday. After managing to complete both Tuesday and Wednesday I was completely stumped by yesterday which was a disaster (only about half completed). I managed to finish today and back on form. I liked 15a.

    Thanks again to this blog. Last year I would finish a crossword about once every couple of months. Now averaging about 2 a week.

    1. Welcome back to the blog Ayayay

      Glad we can help.

      Each time you change your email address your first comment needs to be moderated.

  19. This was a corker! Great puzzle, lovely clues, grey matter buzzing stuff. Top notch and capped off with the fact that i got my new job! A lovely evening in hot Hertfordshire with a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Lovely jubbly.

    Thanks to the Master Setter.

  20. Hi, first time comment stumbled across your site by accident some months ago when I was completely stumped, (I’m now a daily follower sometimes for help but mostly for the banter between the comments). I have to admit I struggled through today’s and finally got it 18a fell nicely into place once I’d had a eureka moment with 19d.

  21. Thanks for the hints, needed help with bottom left – otherwise a very happy solve in the late afternoon sun with a cool drink. (very pleased to have worked out 13a & 21d though I knew neither word :-) ) This is the life!!

  22. Great puzzle and for once I did not need any help! Becoming less frequent now I am pleased to say. While I did get 1a I do not understand where the double first letter is in the clue, i.e. the extra b.

    1. Pete, have a look at comment 21 above and gazza’s answer.
      I dont like this sort of treatment personally but it is an accepted practice.

  23. Many thanks for that gnomethang, I missed that in 21 above but I also read read it as the letter/word i and not a small case l, if that makes sense.

  24. Pleased that this got 4* – the ONLY problem with having discovered this blog is that I now allow myself to find the Friday puzzle difficult so if I can’t do up to three clues I let myself look at the hints! Today I was left with 18 and 26a and 19d. Knew that it had to be “thwart” but couldn’t see why (as usual thanks to the blogger) – should have got 26a and as for 19d – perfectly logical and would never have got it in a million years.

    Very hot here in Oxford – hope that everyone manages to sleep tonight.

  25. got stuck in the SW corner after putting in sell (cell) for 28a and not being able to get 14d. Luckily my wife saw it straightaway and that was the last one in. Still with half the toughie to do tho …

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