DT 26294 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26294

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26294

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today’s Giovanni is a bit of a pussycat (of course you may disagree, and if you do please feel free to say so in a comment). But as we’ve said so often in the past puzzles do not have to be difficult to be entertaining, and this one has some very enjoyable clues.
The answers are hidden between the curly brackets under each clue. Just highlight the space between the brackets to reveal one.

Across Clues

1a  A saint is repeatedly going around his town? (6)
{ASSISI} – the Italian birthplace of the founder of the Franciscan order of friars is constructed from A, a single-character abbreviation for saint and then IS reversed (going round) twice (repeatedly).

4a  Irregular picadors getting into trouble (8)
{SPORADIC} – an anagram (getting into trouble) of PICADORS. It’s pretty obvious what the anagram fodder is here (i.e. picadors) but there is a strong temptation to see irregular as the anagram indicator rather than the definition.

9a  Twist vehicle around in underground tunnel (6)
{SUBWAY} – a verb meaning to twist or deviate from a straight course (used of a ship or aircraft) is followed by a public service vehicle and the whole thing is then reversed (around) to form an underground tunnel.

10a  Give account of some French bed to English (8)
{DESCRIBE} – a charade of a French word meaning some, a synonym for bed and E(nglish).

11a  Damaged net at home could be this (4-5)
{MOTH-EATEN} – a semi-all-in-one clue. It’s an anagram (damaged) of NET AT HOME.

13a  Dance as part of rehearsal, say (5)
{SALSA} – hidden (part) in the clue is a Latin-American dance.

14a  State must act as she’s in a mess (13)
{MASSACHUSETTS} – a state in New England is an anagram (in a mess) of MUST ACT AS SHE’S.

17a  Bird ends with sign of approval, being something offered with nibbles (8,5)
{COCKTAIL STICK}  – a pointy thing with something to eat on the end (something offered with nibbles) is a charade of a male bird, the rearmost parts of things (ends) and the mark a teacher may make to signify a correct answer (sign of approval).

21a  Beautiful female from America following archdeacon (5)
{VENUS} – the epitome of female beauty is an abbreviation for America (the country rather than the continent) after the abbreviation for the title given to an archdeacon.

23a  Sweet liquid taken round by Reg nicely (9)
{GLYCERINE} – an anagram (taken round by) of REG NICELY produces a colourless, sweet liquid which is a by-product of soap manufacture and is used to make explosives and anti-freeze.

24a  Computer turned on needs to be working all right (8)
{NOTEBOOK} – a type of computer is made by reversing (turned) ON and following this with an anagram (working) of TO BE, then finishing with an abbreviation for all right. The derivation of the last two letters is still the subject of debate with theories ranging from a shortened form of “oll korrect” to a French claim that it derives from “au quai”, indicating that goods to be loaded on a ship have arrived at the quayside.

25a  Female gets various medals (6)
{DAMSEL} – an anagram (various) of MEDALS.

26a  In the final bit this writer is improving (8)
{EMENDING} – a word meaning altering or improving a text is made by putting the objective (accusative) form of the first personal pronoun (this writer) inside the conclusion or final bit.

27a  Focus attention on son with long hair (6)
{STRESS} – the definition is focus attention on and it’s a charade of the abbreviation of S(on) and a long lock of hair.

Down Clues

1d  A second amount of money? Ecstasy! Take it! (6)
{ASSUME} – a verb meaning to take (command or responsibility, for example) is made by stringing together A, S(econd), a word for an amount of money and E(cstasy).

2d  Very tiny coat – bum is suffering! (9)
{SUBATOMIC} – an adjective meaning extremely tiny is an anagram (suffering) of COAT BUM IS.

3d  Members with ability to survive rough voyages (3,4)
{SEA LEGS} – cryptic definition of limbs (members) which are often only acquired after a few days of suffering on board a ship, but once acquired they allow you to walk steadily on deck and be immune from seasickness.

5d  Food on plane journey is something you’d dream of being good (3,2,3,3)
{PIE IN THE SKY} – a phrase describing something good but almost certainly unobtainable in the future could also be, if taken literally, your dinner on a plane.

6d  Rescue organisation is blocking street making people prejudiced (7)
{RACISTS} – the definition is people (who are) prejudiced. Start with one of the breakdown organisations and then put IS around (blocking) the abbreviation for street.

7d  Make a hole in material (5)
{DRILL} – double definition, the material being a coarse twilled cotton or linen fabric.

8d  Cleric, fool in church producing split (8)
{CREVASSE} – I’m not sure whether this is Giovanni’s comment on the recent shenanigans on the subject of women bishops. Put the abbreviation for a cleric’s title and a synonym for fool inside the usual abbreviation for the Church of England to make a split in a glacier.

12d  Destroying Spooner’s courageous community (7,4)
{TEARING DOWN} – we want a phrasal verb meaning razing to the ground or destroying, which is how the Rev. Spooner, who was famous for transposing his leading letters, might have pronounced daring town (courageous community).

15d  Don’t agree to buy edition of magazine? (4,5)
{TAKE ISSUE} – a phrase meaning disagree or enter into dispute could mean, if interpreted literally, to purchase an edition of a magazine.

16d  Special constable on avenue, one character going wrong in search (8)
{SCAVENGE} – a verb meaning to search for anything usable in discarded waste is made by combining the abbreviation for special constable and the word AVENUE (given to you in the clue), but with one of its letters changed to something else (one character going wrong). I don’t like this “one character going wrong” construct – what do you think?

18d  Experimental set-up to examine what sleeping conditions might be like? (4,3)
{TEST BED} – cryptic definition of a piece of equipment used for trialling new machinery (experimental set-up).

19d  Rough during performance, grabbing old lover (7)
{INEXACT} – the definition is rough. Start with synonyms for during and a theatrical performance and put the informal term for a former partner (old lover) inside (grabbing).

20d  Lands in which you’ll find authentic Modern Miss (6)
{REALMS} – put together a synonym for authentic or actual and the title used by some women who don’t want to be called Miss or Mrs.

22d  Explosive that’s inert surprisingly (5)
{NITRE} – an anagram (surprisingly) of INERT. This could have been linked to 23a.

The clues which I enjoyed included 17a, 5d, 6d and 8d, but my clue of the day is 3d. Let us know what you liked in a comment!

64 comments on “DT 26294

  1. Agree the BD rating, enjoyable but not very taxing. Must be reading the chat on this site that has helped me improve.

  2. A Pussycat you say Gazza– and their was I thinking I was getting smarter-think they must be being gentle today to give us mental strength for tomorrow’s.
    Fave clue 17a and 5a

  3. More of a kitten than a pussycat! Favourite clue 17a.

    Barrie – following your success yesterday, I have spent the last two hours wondering whether to recommend today’s Toughie to you. Its do-able in a good to reasonable time for an old hand and , although toughie-level, there are some very well signed anagrams. Have a go, but don’t blame me….!!!

    1. Have to go to one of my sons to wait for delivery, on your recommendation Sue I will take the toughie with me to see how I get on, will report progress later :)

    2. I found the toughie harder than yesterday; solved on and off during the morning at work. Waiting to see the blog, as I have no idea how I got to the answer to 9a.

      1. Jezza,
        I read it as: The first name of Ban Ki-moon inside an anagram (version) of a panto, definition what a UN Secretary General is :-)

        1. Thanks Libellule. I guessed the anagram, was unsure of the BAN in the middle, and even more unsure of the answer being the definition of a UN Secretary General ! :)

    3. Been out all day Sue but managed to find time to finish this excellent Giovanni but I’ll try my hand at the Toughie this evening (nothing worth watching on the telly and went to the pub last night)

  4. Glad I’m on Cluedup, I had a dozen goes at spelling 14a.
    Is 6d plural ? I suppose it can be.
    Fav 12d
    Thanks for the blog Gazza and Gio for the test. The Toughie is a bit tougher today.

      1. Is it different in the paper? On CluedUp it’s “people prejudiced” i.e. people who are prejudiced.

            1. I don’t really see what you’re getting at? People prejudiced … (against minorities, say) must be plural.

        1. Thoroughly enjoyable despite being a little easy. Gazza, I’ve only just subscribed to CluedUp. How does it help?

          1. Collywobbles,
            Two main benefits as far as I’m concerned:
            1) I can get the puzzles at any time after midnight and do not have to get a paper.
            2) When you enter the answers and submit the puzzle it reports any answers that you have got wrong. i always print out the puzzles, do them on paper, then key in the answers, but you can avoid the printing out bit and key the answers straight in, if you want.

            Those are the main benefits to me, but there are a number of other puzzles (e.g. sudoku) on there, plus old crosswords that you can play and, if you’re that way inclined, you can compare your solving times against other users.

  5. Morning Gazza, yes, yes, yes, a lovely puzzle from Giovanni, as you say, not too difficult, unlike yesterdays, even if I didn’t know the word I could see what the setter wanted and could work it out, fav clues 5d, 15d, 24a ,26a, very enjoyable just one ‘issue’ 12d shouldn’t there be a homophone indicator there because if the 1st letters are swaooed around, surely it sounds like ‘daring’ it doesn’t read the same way?? Going to read blog now, thanks once again Giovanni and Gazza, nice doable one for us CC today :)

        1. Mary,
          Daring rhymes with Tearing and Town rhymes with Down. Spooner transposed the initial letters so Daring Town becomes Tearing Down.

          1. If I’m understanding Mary’s problem correctly, the spoonerism works in speech, but not in print. Therefore, “daring town” would become “taring down”, whch is nonsense. Or, conversely, “tearing down” would become “dearing town”.

            I hope I’ve got that right, Mary?

            1. You have Vince, so are we both muddled or are we both right :)
              thank goodness someone understands me, i have difficulty understanding myself sometimes! Thanks

              1. Mary,
                I understand the problem now. It’s the sound rather than the spelling that’s important. One of the statements actually attributed to Spooner was when he intended to say “you missed my history lecture” but actually said “you hissed my mystery lecture”.

                1. Oh ok I see, that’s why I asked should there have been a homophone indication, but I realise we are supposed to know a spoonerism is the way it sounds and not how it is written, thanks Vince and Gazza :), hope i’m not muddling anyone else!

                  1. Don’t worry Mary, I had exactly the same problem but even so it was a lovely clue :-) How the weather, has the rain stopped yet?

  6. I agree it must be a fairly gentle one today as it was one of the very rare occasions when I was able to finish it with no help at all!

    1. Is that a good feeling Dave, I always need some help not necessarily from the blog but usually my thesaurus or electronic friend comes into play :) Well done you

  7. Gentle indeed – even I could do it! But didn’t get 12d, alas. Most enjoyable, favourite moments would certainly include 17a, 3d (now that I understand it!), 5d, 6d. There were here that have cropped up before in my time and was pleased I could remember them at last!

    Many thanks for puzzle and review.

  8. Haven’t finished it yet but finding it easier than usual and enjoyable.

    Sure I have seen 7a and 14a before

  9. Not sure about the kitten or even the pussy cat although it was a bit easier than the usual Friday. I had trouble in the bottom left hand corner – was eventually left with 24a which I absolutely couldn’t do even with the hint – total mental block! Having looked at the answer realised that it wasn’t a term I know – in our house my husband’s “notebook” is generally referred to as his “brain” as he is SO lost without it! Had several attempts at spelling 14a, then gave in and looked it up – loved 17a and 12d.

  10. Disappointing for a Giovanni puzzle, I thought. It didn’t take me very long to complete.

    16d. Although the answer was obvious, I din’t particularly like the “one character going wrong”.

  11. As a fan of Giovanni, I was very disappointed with this, not really Telegraph standard. ( Just my personal opinion.)

  12. Too many obvious, clumsy anagrams for my tooth. Not what we expect of Mr G, but we all have off days I suppose?

    1. surely not clumsy Digby? obvious maybe, and certainly not an off day, Giovanni obviously caters for everyone :) Thank you Giovanni

      1. Hi Mary. Hope you’re enjoying the weather in Wales. Very windy in West Sussex, and at St Andrews, apparently. But back to business – I don’t feel that I can retract my earlier comment. Take 2d – it’s obviously an anagram, and the wordplay (I think that’s what BD and the cogniscenti call it) I can only call clumsy at worst, awkward at best. But if it’s OK for you, we will just have to agree to differ on this one. Have a great weekend, and to all the CC too!!

        1. Cheers Digby, weather report in West Wales, very wet and windy, though the sun has come out for a while :)

        2. I quite liked 2d. It draws a picture of someone suffering from the cold in winter with a tiny coat too short to cover their essentials :D

    1. I’d be very surprised if it’s not. As well as some smooth clues, it’s got his usual ration of religious references.

  13. Very enjoyable and not so hard but not as easy fir me as some have suggested.
    Thanks to gazza and Giovanni!

    1. Did you do it early as usual or post golf in a southwesterly gale as this may have affected the brain cells!!

      1. I solved it with a pint after the golf. Was a bit windy though! We played Austin Lodge at Eynesford.

  14. Mrs Tub is a noted crossword hater and when I explained 24a to her she said ‘that’s the sort of clue that makes me want to throw my tea over you’. I quite liked it, and I quite liked the rest if it too as it’s the first Daily Telegraph crossword I’ve managed without hints or a dictionary. And I did the whole thing on the train before I got to the beer festival in Exeter, which is just as well because I don’t think I’d have had as much luck if I started it now. Clue of the day: 5d. Beer of the day: Arundel’s Sussex Gold. Cheers!

    1. I am jealous Mr Tub!
      Turn up at the White Horse in Parson’s Green for the Cruciverbalist’s Convention.
      Good beers there, too!

  15. Beer, Beer, is it cold ? It just went passed 39 degrees in Carcassonne….I’m fading fas…

  16. Come on Guys, please don’t upset Giovanni, the CC are very grateful for todays offering, thank you Sir for an enjoyable stroll.

  17. Finished it, unlike yesterday’s 2* offering. What’s wrong with having a spectrum of difficulties? If all were 4* (do you have 5*?) you would not draw new members to the CC. If some people are so good then they should just do the toughies and not knock those that give others pleasure.
    I liked 12d and didn’t even think of Mary’s problem, but if you think that Spoonerisms are meant to be heard perhaps the homophone indicater is implied.
    Also liked 11a and learnt 2 new words; I’ll forget them by tomorrow.

    1. Ah thanks Wingnut that makes three people that understand me, as you say it doesn’t detract from the clue though :)

  18. I enjoyed this and finished without assistance.
    I thought 12d was very fair. I’m surprised this sort of Spooneristic (is that a word) construction doesn’t appear more often.

    I agreed with Nubian on 14a. Never has a word caused so much difficulty despite knowing the answer and having all the letters! In the end I had to wait until I had all the cross check letters.

    1. Why not more Spoonerism clues? Probably because there’s no way to disguise the wordplay – any fair indication of Spooner tells you very clearly what you need to do.

      1. Hello Mr Biddlecombe.I am a xword buff in Kenya.I do read your comments and I salute your genius.This Giovanni was way too easy for me,unlike his usual fare.Even his spoonerism did not fox me.

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