DT 26303

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26303

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Two clues turned this Shamus puzzle, for me, from a 3* to a 4* for difficulty – 14a which was the last to go in and which I’d have got much quicker if I’d realised earlier that it contained the one letter necessary to turn the puzzle into a pangram, and 30a which I made much more difficult by foolishly writing in 23d as a noun rather than a verb. Let us know how you got on in a comment.
If you need to see the answers, they are hidden between the brackets under the clues. Just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal one.

Across Clues

1a  Fix bell out of order by back of office — denoting some working hours? (8)
{FLEXIBLE} – an anagram (out of order) of FIX BELL is followed by the last letter (back) of officE to get a description of working hours which can be set, within certain constraints, by the worker.

5a  Ridiculous muscle on French director (6)
{ABSURD} – the definition is ridiculous and it’s a charade of the abbreviation for a muscle, the French word for “on” and the abbreviation for director.

9a  Awkward rig left in wharf producing standstill (8)
{GRIDLOCK} – a standstill on the roads is an anagram (awkward) of RIG followed by a synonym for wharf with L(eft) inside.

10a  One in France detained by hard German showing strong desire (6)
{HUNGER} – a strong desire is formed from the French number one inside (detained by) the abbreviation for hard (as used for pencils) and the abbreviation of German.

12a  Posh doctor in modern surroundings lying back (9)
{RECUMBENT} – we want an adjective meaning reclining or lying back. Put the letter used to signify upper-class or posh, followed by one of the qualifications for a medical doctor inside a synonym for modern or fresh.

13a  Abandon middle of hot capital (5)
{QUITO} – a verb meaning to abandon or give up is followed by the central letter of hOt to form the capital of Ecuador.

14a  Much is seen of bar associate (4)
{JOIN} – double definition. We want all but the last letter (much is seen) of a, mainly US, slang term for a downmarket bar, which also gives us a verb meaning to associate or be linked with.

16a  Initial replacement for Russian government’s mischievous agent (7)
{GREMLIN} – start with the set of buildings just off Red Square which are the seat of the Russian government and change their first letter (initial replacement) to get a mischievous creature.

19a  Pair set out for long walk (7)
{TRAIPSE} – an anagram (out) of PAIR SET gives us a long tiring walk.

21a  Artist showing yard in Indian place (4)
{GOYA} – put Y(ard) inside a state (once a Portuguese colony) on the west coast of India to get a Spanish painter famous for his depictions of the horror of war.

24a  One who’s avoided record in the French resistance (5)
{LEPER} – a social outcast (one who’s avoided) is formed by putting the abbreviation for an outdated record format inside the French masculine definite article and then finishing with the abbreviation for R(esistance).

25a  Show disapproval of last character in English ship drinking heavily (9)
{BOOZINESS} – the definition is the drinking of large quantities of alcohol. Start with a verb to show disapproval vocally (when the pantomime villain appears on stage, for example), then add the last letter (character) in the English alphabet, IN, E(nglish) and the abbreviation for a steamship.

27a  Perhaps, Italian style is seen around German university (6)
{TONGUE} – Italian is an example (perhaps) of this. Put a word meaning style or quality around the abbreviations for G(erman) and U(niversity).

28a  A fixed time to entertain very old college lawyer (8)
{ADVOCATE} – a synonym for lawyer is A and an identifiable (fixed) time in the past or future around (to entertain) V(ery) O(ld) C(ollege).

29a  Unusually cruel start to war for flier (6)
{CURLEW} – an anagram (unusually) of CRUEL is followed by the first letter (start) of W(ar) to get a wading bird.

30a  Innocent act around river close to spinney (4-4)
{DEWY-EYED} – this term appears to have two distinct meanings, depending on which dictionary you consult. It means childishly innocent or naïve, but it can also mean emotional or nostalgic. To get it put a synonym for act around a Welsh river which flows into the Severn estuary at Chepstow and the last letter (close) of spinneY.

Down Clues

1d  Imagine a personality (6)
{FIGURE} – double definition.

2d  Cable perhaps beneath end of table for show (6)
{EVINCE} – the forename of Mr Cable, our newish Business Secretary goes after (beneath, in a down clue) the last letter (end) of tablE to produce a verb meaning to show or make clear.

3d  Religion succeeded in revolutionary country (5)
{ISLAM} – reverse (revolutionary) a landlocked African country and put S(ucceeded) inside to get the predominant religion in that country. S stands for succeeded in the sense of came after, as used in lists of kings and queens.

4d  Support for reading latest in investigation trailing killer (7)
{LECTERN} – a stand (support) for resting reading matter on is formed by putting the last letter (latest) of investigatioN after the surname of the cannibalistic anti-hero of several novels by Thomas Harris.

6d  Student in bus query dealt with in abrupt fashion (9)
{BRUSQUELY} – a adverb meaning in abrupt fashion is constructed by putting the letter associated with a learner or student inside an anagram (dealt with?) of BUS QUERY. What do you think of “dealt with” as an anagram indicator?

7d  Peacekeepers lying badly about article? That’s awkward (8)
{UNGAINLY} – the abbreviation for the international organisation, one of whose tasks is acting as peacekeepers in war-torn areas, is followed by an anagram (badly) of LYING around an indefinite article. The result is an adjective meaning awkward.

8d  Party on street beginning to grow in single region abroad (8)
{DORDOGNE} – the definition is region abroad and it’s a department in South-West France. Start with a synonym for a party or knees-up and add an abbreviation for street (not the direct abbreviation, but an associated one) and another word for single with the first letter (beginning) of Grow inside.

11d  Second label for animal (4)
{STAG} – string together S(econd) and a synonym for label.

15d  Convenient drink after work, one taken in brasserie? (9)
{OPPORTUNE} – we want a synonym for convenient or favourable. Put a fortified wine (drink) after the abbreviation for an artistic work, then finish with how the feminine form of one would be said by someone in a brasserie (bearing in mind the country where you’d be most likely to find a brasserie).

17d  Strong chalet? It is rebuilt (8)
{ATHLETIC} – an anagram (is rebuilt) of CHALET IT.

18d  It stifles study about a politician about to return (8)
{DAMPENER} – something that stifles or tones down is a synonym for study or hideaway with A and an elected politician inside, finishing with a reversal (to return) of a word meaning about.

20d  Story fellow put out turning up in island (4)
{ELBA} – the sort of story that Aesop wrote loses (put out) its initial F(ellow) and is then reversed (turning up in a down clue) to get an island off the west coast of Italy, which we’d probably have never heard of if Napoleon had not been exiled there.

21d  Regional native consumed by binge or dieting (7)
{GEORDIE} – this native of an English region is hidden (consumed by) in the clue.

22d  Evidence of a willing character? (6)
{LEGACY} – think of willing as making a will.

23d  A dispatch reported in climb (6)
{ASCEND} – A is followed by a sound-alike (reported) of dispatch to make a verb meaning to climb.

26d  Gold held by woman is hunted item (5)
{IVORY} – put one of the abbreviations for gold inside a woman’s name (think of Mrs Tilsley in Corrie) to get the substance for which certain wild animals are illegally hunted.

I liked 9a, 3d and 6d but my clue of the day is 15d. How about you? Tell us which clues you liked in a comment!



  1. Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’m with you on both of those gazza!. I kicked myself on 23d when I realised my mistake and was also kicking around 14a with another blogger until I fell on the correct answer – as usual I don’t even consider pangrams which would have helped.
    29a among the favourites in a head scratching puzzle.
    Many thanks to you and to Shamus.

  2. Jezza
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle today. I had a lucky guess at 14a, which took me almost as long to solve as the rest of the clues!

  3. crypticsue
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with your BD rating for this puzzle. I’d also like to thank Gnomethang for his assistance with 14a while we were waiting for the blog. I had toyed with it possibly being a pangram – if only, like you, I had given it a bit more thought, I might have got there without his help. I liked 30a best.. Thanks for the blog and to Shamus for the great Tuesday mind work out. Now if only I could get the last two I need for today’s really tough Toughie, I could actually get on with doing what I am being paid to do!!

    • Jezza
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Is today’s toughie by Giovanni ?

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes. And boy is it tough!

        • Jezza
          Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, I thought so…

          • gazza
            Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            It has his trademark three or four religious references.

            • crypticsue
              Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

              and a couple of those clues that make you groan out loud when you finally get them, 1d being a major case in point.

              • gazza
                Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

                Agreed – that was the last one I got.

                • gnomethang
                  Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

                  I got 1d quite early but limped home on the remaining NW clues. Just finished after some consultation.

  4. BigBoab
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Having been away for a week or so I resumed my labours with this humdinger of a crossword from Shamus, it stretched me to my limit I’m afraid as I had to use your clues for 14 and 30a. Thanks Shamus for the great crossword and Gazza for the equally great review. Loved 25a and 15d.

  5. Collywobbles
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Why is OP an abbreviation for an artistic work and my understanding of a pangram is that is contains all the letters of the alphabet. Is that right.I don’t know about anybody else but I am finding this very difficult

    • gazza
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      OP is short for OPUS (work), and you’re right about the pangram.

  6. alan
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Cable is too parochial perhaps for our solvers who live abroad and with no desire or reason to know our Business Secretary.

    • Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      I’m not too fussed about it either (in the regular DT’s that is, I wouldn’t mind Private Eye or the Toughie) but since the election and its run-up he has appeared a few times.

    • Collywobbles
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      That’s right, I think that it should be more international with French references and more sporting with cricket references. Who is Cable?

      • Nora
        Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        There’s far too much cricket, I think. And usually a surfeit of sailors.

        • Kath
          Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          And football ….

        • Nubian
          Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Us sailors have to stick together Nora, safety in numbers and all that. Left hand down a bit !

      • gnomethang
        Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        I strongly suspect that Collywobbles’ tongue was heading cheekwards at the time of posting!!

        • Nubian
          Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink


        • Collywobbles
          Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink


  7. mary
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Am still struggling here and determined not to look at your hints yet Gazza, have completed all l/h side apart from14a, as for r/h side i have solved just two clues 30a and 23d, back after pub lunch, with one of the sons and 2 of the grandsons, to try again :)

    • Franny
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you’ll manage, Mary. Bon appétit! :-)

      • mary
        Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Franny, refreshed after several games of pool, losing of course to the grandsons :)

  8. Nubian
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I thought with 14a the link was a bit tenuous and took a while to justify, other than that a perfectly enjoyable puzzle. Looks like the garden may eventually get some attention

  9. Kath
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Hugely relieved to see that this has 4*. It has taken quite a long time and I got completely stuck on 30a – even having swapped the ‘T’ that I had at the end of 23d for a ‘D’ having read Gazza’s comments at the beginning of the blog I still couldn’t do it. Couldn’t even do it having read the hint – had to look at the answer. Best clues today – 9a, 12a, 16a – actually so many that it’s probably not worth writing all the others!

  10. Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    This was an excellently constructed DT cryptic, unfortunately blown away by 14a. I thought this of a much different style and context to the rest of the clueing and well into tough Toughieland.
    I also think we’ve been slightly over-cabled of late, and hope the setters soon get it out of their collective system….

  11. Sarah F
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Too difficult for my brain today===obviously not thinking cryptically!

    • Peter
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Too difficult for me today.

  12. Jorandy
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Stuck on 14a and 30a – I was convinced that I must have 22d wrong – gave in in the end and checked here – glad it was a 4*!

    One question – how do you know who the setter is?

    • gazza
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      We don’t absolutely know, but the Telegraph runs to a set weekly pattern, and currently Shamus is the setter on alternate Tuesdays. He very often drops in to confirm authorship.

  13. Xerses
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Phew…glad you gave this 4* struggled but eventually got it, 14a and 30a last to go in.

  14. Xerses
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Oh and as for the toughie…I’ve given up for now

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Leave it to cogitate for a bit and then try the NE and SW corners. Its taken me on and off all morning, including a big groan or two when realisation struck, but when I got to the end, I appreciated the brilliance of some of the clues.

  15. Franny
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Same here. I needed your help to get both 14a and 30d. Would never have managed otherwise. I rather mucked up the bottom left-hand corner in fact, mainly because I put ‘estate’ for 22d. It took me a long time to get 27a and 20d, but I was pleased to be able to do as much of the puzzle as I could. My favourites were 21a, 28a and 15d. :-)

  16. Dee Harrison
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Like many 14a across has kept the back of my aging mind occupied for most of the morning! Had to look at the clue in the end – even with letters in place they didn’t jog visual inspiration.

    Didn’t pick up on the anagram for 6 down until I had solved clues around it and had some letters in place. will have to remember that one.

    Enjoyed piecing together 8d!


  17. Geoff
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    The NE corner came together quite easily for me, plus about three more, but that was it. Way beyond me. Quite happy with dealt with, it indicated an anagram straight away for me.

    Lovely puzzle and fine review, thanks.

  18. ashley wilkes
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Mostly enjoyable today……….

    ……….but in the end spoilt by 14a and 30a which are desperately poor clues


  19. mary
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with the 4* rating, this was more of a ‘toughie’ for me, some of the clues still don’t make sense to me although i have the answers, without looking at the blog, whew, i must admit to a slight cheat by reading it was a pangram which helped me immensely with 14a and 25a when the only letters i hadn’t used were a J and a Z, just a minor quibble in 8d is it quite ‘ximean’ hope that’s spelt correctly, to say party on street, which would be dost, then use rd instead?? Good luck to any CC ers who are still struggling with this :)

    • gazza
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s ok. Chambers Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations gives the following abbreviations for street: AV; AVE; BLVD; CLO; CRES; DR; DV; GDNS; GRO; LA; PK; PL; RD; ST; TER; TERR; WY.

      • mary
        Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza, yes I suppose it could be any of those then?

      • Franny
        Posted July 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Heavens, that reminds me of the list of possible two-letter words in Scrabble! How many dictionaries will I have to buy before I can do these puzzles?!

  20. splatcat
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Phew, not easy today. As a cryptic newbie some of the ‘rules’ are still obscure to me. As last week, a completion on Monday is followed by frustration on Tuesday. I’ll keep on truckin’…

    • mary
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Keep at it splatcat, this time last year i was a newbie too, i now consider myself a one year old newbie, learning all the time that these ‘rules’ aren’t always constant!! In the mythical Clueless Club, the CC, we newbies struggle along with the help of the more experienced on the blog who are all very helpful and extremely patient with us, I have promised myself that i will get out of the CC when and if the day comes that i can complete a puzzle with no help at all, there are often days now that i can complete one without the blog and i never thought a year ago that i would ever say that! however i do use all kinds of ‘help’ Chambers crossword dictionary being my Bible! This blog and everyone on it is invaluable for its help, so keep at it, I often get Phew! days too :)

    • gazza
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      If you haven’t already found it, BD has put together a lot of very useful stuff here.

  21. Mr Tub
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoyed what I call the ‘crow bar’ clues today, all the ones where you really had to prise the answer out of the clue: 5a, 8d, 9a and so on. Great fun, thank you to the setter and again to Gazza.

  22. Shamus
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza for his excellent review and all for feedback which is very helpful. With regard to Vince Cable, I don’t think he can be considered as too parochial or obscure – he has been regarded as something of a national economics sage (having predicted long before others the recession because of debt problems), was acting leader of the Lib Dems before Nick Clegg’s arrival and is now one of the more prominent members of the coalition Cabinet. I take the point that it may be overly tempting to refer to him in words ending in ..cable so will definitely vow to rest him in my puzzles for the foreseeable future!

    • gazza
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Shamus,
      Your comment was initially directed to the spam folder (presumably because of the presence of “d*e*b*t p*r*o*b*l*e*m*s” ) in case you were wondering why it didn’t appear straight away.

      • Posted July 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        The workings of the spam filter are a mystery! The only certain way of finishing up in there is to insert two or more hyperlinks.

    • Libellule
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      If cryptic crosswords cannot refer to modern, older culture, politics, sports etc where would we be?

      • Miles
        Posted August 16, 2010 at 4:41 am | Permalink

        I guess since the Crossword is intended primarily for UK residents it’s hard for us overseas who do the crossword a month later in a foreign paper to complain that we may never even have heard of Mr Cable…that said, I still managed to answer the clue only getting stuck on 14a.

        • gazza
          Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          Hi Miles – welcome to the blog.

  23. Lea
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Well I didn’t think I would get this done but following crypticsue’s advice – go away and leave the brain to think about it – seems to have worked. Once I finally got 4d then 14a was easy BUT I wasn’t sure why – thanks for explanation Gazza. As usual your review is excellent and a lovely puzzle Shamus. Definitely a 4* today.

  24. Pete
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    A struggle today, not finished yet and so far avoiding the temptation to look at the hints.

  25. Posted July 27, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Great crossword today – confess I had to check 14A here, my those four letter words are always the hardest to get!

    Excellent review, Gazza. Many thanks.

    • gazza
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Hi Dan – welcome to the blog.

  26. Casca
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    really annoying crossword: americanisms (figure for imagine is horrible and brits should not have to think of it – go figure, go f””k yourself); proper names (Vince Cable/Dordogne); and plain solecisms (opportune is not a synonym for reasonable). Getting fed up of these b-grade setters.

    • gazza
      Posted July 29, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Hi Casca
      “Reasonable” does not appear in the clue. Opportune is a synonym for convenient (which does appear in the clue).

  27. Posted August 25, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I thought this was a Ray T but i completed it.Barrie has not commented which speaks volumes of what he thinks of this.