DT 26310 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26310

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26310

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thank you Jay for another nice Wednesday puzzle for us to work through today. Although most of it was straightforward, there were a couple of clues which caused me problems, hence the difficulty rating.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

[Wordpress have just introduced a new feature. An extract from their announcement explains it:

“When you “like” a post two core things happen. First, the blog post’s author sees your “like” and can click-through to your Gravatar profile. Second, clicking “like” saves the post in your homepage dashboard (in the “Posts I Like” section), so you can share it with others, or just keep it around for future reference.”

Note that some of these actions only apply if you have set up a Gravatar profile at gravatar.com.  BD]


1a    Firm hold file on origin of grievance (5)
{GRASP} – A word meaning ‘firm hold’ can be obtained by putting G (the origin of grievance) with a synonym for a coarse, rough file.

4a    Offender’s terrible crimes – a case of neglect (9)
{MISCREANT} – A fairly old fashioned word for an offender is easily obtained by an anagram (terrible) of CRIMES A and the N and T (case of NeglecT).

9a     Make do – one’s better outside (9)
{IMPROVISE} – A verb meaning to make something with whatever materials are to hand is obtained by placing a synonym for to better around IS (one’s inside)

10a    Propose to take in one film (5)
{MOVIE} – The propose in this case is the word used when you propose a motion (at a board meeting for example) and if you put (take in) I inside it you get what used to be a mainly American word for film (or as we used to say, going to the pictures!)

11a    Hailstorm that’s normal (7)
{AVERAGE} – A nice charade – the Latin word for hail (greet not frozen rain) and a synonym for storm or violent passion gives you a word for the usual typical, or normal, amount of something

12a    Change includes a new act of atonement (7)
{PENANCE} – Change here refers to the small coins you have in your purse or pocket, put round (includes) A and N(new) giving you a synonym for an act of repentance for a wrong doing.

13a    Part of foot – measure part of foot (6)
{INSTEP} – You need two different types of feet here! Firstly the measurement where you need the abbreviation for a twelfth of a foot, then another word for a degree or scale of a series, the whole giving you the prominent arched middle part of your foot.

15a    Lacking confidence in organising rescue (8)
{INSECURE} – A person who is lacking confidence is said to be this – Put IN before an anagram (organising) of RESCUE.

18a    Key deficit links topless magazines (8)
{GLOSSIES} – Nice misleading here – for a couple of moments I thought I needed some word for those top shelf magazines which might have been a cue for one of Gazza’s pictures.  However, the magazines are just those printed on shiny paper – A charade of G (key) another word for deficit and a synonym for link with its first letter removed (topless) gives you this type of magazine.

20a    Time invested in top sportsmen and horses (6)
{STEEDS} – Thank you Gnomethang for rescuing me in my time of panic. I am sure if I wasn’t trying to write this review quickly and had had cogitation time I would have got this one in a reasonable time. Another word for horses is found by putting T for time (invested) into top sportsmen (think Wimbledon) giving you a word for horses that, according to Chambers are especially lively and bold.

23a    Money owed by poor society girl before start of term (3,4)
{BAD DEBT} – Another charade – a word meaning poor, the abbreviation for one of those society girls who ‘came out’ in the old fashioned way, before T (start of Term) gives you a term for money owed.

24a    Mollify idiot with salary, say (7)
{ASSUAGE} – A word meaning to make something less severe is made up with a three letter word for an idiot and a homophone for a regular weekly payment for an employee. This is another one of those clues where the second part of the answer isn’t really a word.

26a    Girl from good novel by Jane Austen (5)
{GEMMA} – A girl’s name – G for good added to one of Jane Austen’s eponymous heroines.

27a    Managing director is too enthusiastic! (9)
{OVERBOARD} – A colloquial expression for being too enthusiastic is also, when split into 4, 5 the description of the position of a managing director.

28a    People grow old and, oddly, raise animals (9)
{MENAGERIE} – Another one I have to thank Gnomethang for as I had the answer but wasn’t sure how raise fitted in. I swear I will never as long as I have the brains to solve cryptic puzzles get the hang of these pesky ever other letter clues. Take a three letter word for masculine people, add it to a synonym for grow old and then (oddly) take the first, third and fifth letters of RaIsE, the whole being a collection of wild animals caged for exhibition.

29a    Free article being rejected is a low point (5)
{NADIR} – A noun meaning the absolute depths of despair is obtained by reversing (rejected) a three letter word meaning to free yourself from something followed by AN (article).


1d    Serious bill in front of one — no good pulling faces (9)
{GRIMACING} – A nice charade a word meaning serious, gloomy or unpleasant, the abbreviation for account, I (one) and N G (no good), gives you a simpler way of saying an ugly twisting of the face.

2d    Cooking and eating custard all come before fruit (5)
{APPLE} – My favourite clue of the day, so simple yet giving cause for thought. Cooking, eating and custard are of course all types of …… !

3d    Collapse near top and put hand down (7)
{PRONATE} – An anagram (collapse) of NEAR TOP gives you a word meaning apparently ‘put hand down’. I had heard it in connection with feet during my purchase of trainers for walking. Chambers online hadn’t heard of it but I am sure someone will explain.

[Chambers 11th edition gives “To turn (the hand) palm downward or backward with radius and ulna crossed, opposite to supinate BD]

4d    Young lady requiring chaps to accept assistance (6)
{MAIDEN} – We are seeing a lot of this type of young lady in recent puzzles. Put a three letter word for assistance inside those chaps we already met in 28a.

5d    Wholesale gin for distribution by lottery (8)
{SWEEPING} – Another word for a lottery, usually followed by the word stake, with an anagram of GIN (for distribution) gives you an alternative for wholesale in the sense of on a huge scale.

6d    Italian church court (7)
{ROMANCE} – The Italian in question comes from the capital city, follow this with the usual abbreviation for Church of England and you get a synonym for to court or to try to win someone’s hand in love.

7d    Tavern due for renovation is a risky undertaking (9)
{ADVENTURE} – Another anagram (renovation) TAVERN DUE is easily made into a word meaning a risky undertaking.

8d    Subject putting edge into disheartened theatre (5)
{THEME} – A synonym for subject – the edge in this case being, for example, that at the bottom of a skirt. Put this three letter word inside the first and last letters of TheatrE (disheartened).

14d    Fencer’s second angry exchange with valet (9)
{SWORDSMAN} – Another charade S (second) a word meaning angry exchange, and a three letter word for how Wooster might have referred to Jeeves as my ***, gives you someone skilled in the art of fencing.

16d    Londoner’s objective during religious festival (4-5)
{EAST-ENDER} – The religious festival comes early in the year, put a three letter word for objective inside (during) and you get the name of a Londoner from a particular area/soap opera!

17d    Promote a new source of fuel (4,4)
{PEAT MOOR} – an anagram (new) of PROMOTE A gives you the place in, for example, Scotland where people would cut turfs for their fires.

19d    Report supporting female’s affair (7)
{SHEBANG} – An American slang word for an affair – the female pronoun is followed by the sort of report made by a gun.

21d    Examine graduate on new agreement on weapons (4,3)
{TEST BAN} – It wouldn’t be a cryptic without an abbreviation for a graduate, would it? The simplest form of exam, followed by Batchelor of Arts and N for new, gives you an agreement on stopping weapons.

22d    Composer who was bad as ever? (6)
{VARESE} – It was obvious from the clue that an anagram (bad) of AS EVER is required here. I did, however, have to check on line to make sure the resulting name I had did exist! (It’s not cheating in my opinion, its adding to my knowledge!)

[Sue is not the only one who had never heard of this composer – this YouTube clip may explain why!  BD]

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    Titled lady to plead with show of hesitation (5)
{BEGUM} – The titled lady is a Muslim of high rank. If you plead, especially for forgiveness you *** and you don’t need ER, you need the other favourite compiler’s alternative hesitation.

25d    Prize for a raffle is raised (5)
{AWARD} – A simple one to finish with – A is followed by another way of saying a raffle turned round (raised) to give you a synonym for prize.

My favourite clue today was 2d, as at first sight you think ‘cooking’ – must be an anagram’. Let me know if you agree. Back to the proper (less fun) job now, sadly, but I look forward to reading everyone’s comments throughout the day.

62 comments on “DT 26310

  1. Hi Sue, thanks for blog I haven’t read it through yet, I would actually have got out of the clueless club today if it hadn’t been for 3d!! I agree with your rating, all pretty straightforward, must be if i didn’t need my books or machines :) nearly there, fav clue 26a

      1. I listened to the first 2 minutes of the clip; that was enough! Perhaps it gets better at the end :)

          1. Can you imagine the intensity of concentration needed to keep count until it’s your turn to go “plock”? It’s extraordinarily difficult.

            1. Having watched it through now I rather pity the poor conductor, and wonder if anyone would have noticed a missed beat. It’s rather like having your head banged against a wall — lovely when it stops. :-)

          2. Having been backstage at the Barbican when the LSO performed a similar piece, I can say they on that occassion simply played what’s on the dots, then pull faces about it afterwards. I think the comment was ” No doubt he (the composer) is better than he sounds”.

      2. I’d never heard of that composer either, but googled him and found the same clip as BD. I’m a bit more familiar with this kind of music (?) as my niece is a percussionist, and although I find it very interesting I wouldn’t go out and buy a record of it.

        1. I can’t listen to this clip in the office and, because of all your comments, I am now torn between rushing to listen to it when I get back home or avoiding it like the plague

          1. I have just re-read the clue. In addition to ‘bad’ telling you its an anagram, is Jay also telling us what he think’s of the composer’s music!!

            1. After these comments I just had to listen – I think you’re right about the use of ‘bad’ crypticsue. Going for a lie down now!

          2. Put it this way, if you fancy going home, opening a crisp dry white and putting your feet up with some nice music then I would try something else!

            1. Just got home and talked to my husband about obscure composers and the resulting posts to the blog. He had actually heard of the composer and described his music as a cacaphony. Having just listened to 2 mins of the clip, I am forced to agree with his and everyone else’s views. Too early for the crisp dry white so will have a nice cup of tea instead.

  2. A reasonably straightforward, enjoyable puzzle from Jay today. Thanks to Sue for the review.
    I think the answer to 1a needs changing.

    1. i could say it’s a test to see if anyone’s awake but I think it was probably me in must get through this review quickly mode.

  3. It was my pleasure to help out, crypticsue!. The horsey one I suspect was just a rush/panic thing. The second happens to be your blind spot – mine is hidden words and 4 letter answers!!
    Very enjoyable puzzle from Jay (as ever). I had to look up 3d although the word was pretty clear and also the composer (again the anagram was well signposted.
    Favourite today was 1d with a nod to 13a as well.
    Thanks to crypticsue and Jay for the puzzle.

  4. 3d, medical dictionary online gives as ‘to turn or rotate the hand or forearm so that the palm faces down’ hope that helps

  5. Almost got this without help 3d is a new one to me and I had to check the composer for 22d also. Thanks to Sue for the review.

    1. Same here re 3d & 22d

      My opinion only, but I think that setters that need to scrape the bottom of the obscurity barrel spoil otherwise enjoyable puzzles

      1. I agree and as long as they keep doing it I will never have a day out form the Clueless Club lol :)

  6. I have to take issue with 27a. It’s the chairman who presides over the decision-making body of a company, not the managing director.

    1. I was thinking similarly when I solved it. I also considered a charade for Managing (your manager is —- you) and Director but then you would need Directors plural to form the b—-, would you not?

    2. You are as always correct. Chambers says a Managing Director is

      a director in overall charge of an organization and its day-to-day running, often carrying out the decisions of a board of directors

    3. I am late starting today but have done the bottom half and then started to read the comments here. I agree that 27a is WRONG. The MD does not have control of the board – the board is over the MD. What a shame – otherwise good puzzle so far.

  7. Very gentle today. I would downgrade difficulty to 2*. Some reasonable clues – 4a, 11a and maybe 22d. Otherwise fairly unspectacular. I will have a look at the Toughie now, accompanied by Bargain Hunt.

    1. Either my brain has completely seized, or the toughie really is! Mind you now I have admitted this, probably that dratted Gnome’s law will come into play.

        1. The dratted law has thankfully kicked in for me. I only have 6 left to get but there’s no doubt its tough.

          1. not even going to try, quite content with almost getting out of the CC today, the toughie would only bring me back down off my cloud :)

  8. Good puzzle today with one or two testing clues. 3d was a hurdle that needed clearing but most were fair and doable.
    My only contentious point was 23a. Can poor really be described as bad ? I checked Chambers on line which said ‘ not good’ but surely that is slightly different ?

  9. There are clearly not many Countdown watchers here! 2down crops up frequently and is the only reason I know it! Enjoyable crossword, but like everyone else I’ve never heard of the composer and will be happy never to listen to his ‘music’ again!

  10. A little harder than yesterdays for me. Finished it without the above hints, but needed an explanation to 29a, which I (correctly) guessed (it having featured in today’s quickie!) Can’t say I approve of ‘rejected’ meaning ‘reversed’, but I suppose that’s all part of the learning curve.

  11. Not the most difficult crossword from Jay but thoroughly enjoyable, thanks Jay and thanks Crypticsue for the review. My favourite clues were 2d and 3d.

  12. I had thought I was getting better at these, but not at all sure after yesterday and today. Not good.

    AH well, thanks for the puzzle and very good review.

  13. Yes, a very enjoyable puzzle and I managed to do it in reasonable time. Looked at 3d and immediately thought ‘protean’, but that, of course, ended up being an entirely different and new word that I had to look up. Got very stuck on 20d too, it was my penultimate solution, the last being 17d which I didn’t even realise was an anagram until the last minute. The obscure composer, and the Youtube clip reminded me of watching the young percussionists competing for Young Musician of the Year in Cardiff. You have to like it! :-)

  14. Pommette’s day today, she had heard of the composer (?) and ‘pronate’. I’d never have got either without help!
    Thanks to Jay and Crypticsue.

  15. Very late starting today – other stuff to do this morning. I enjoyed this puzzle and didn’t find it too difficult. Along with most other people 3 and 22d caused a bit of trouble having never heard of either but, having got alternate letters in both and having already decided that they were both anagrams, there were not that many possibilities. I’m not sure that I’m brave enough to watch the clip! Favourite clues today were 18 and 28a and 1 and 14d. Having read some of the comments above I think that I’ll give the Toughie a miss ….

  16. hello,Crypticsue Chadwick Ong’ara of kenya here.i just finished 26286 and my clue of the day is 27ac by miles .the surfaced reading foxed my pals who only thought along the lines of a court of law “hearing”.by the way i started this intellectually stimulating hobby in 1988 and have never given it up.

  17. Hello Chadwick – nice to hear from you. It is a great hobby isn’t it – just starting my 41st year of doing the DT Cryptic – and it definitely keeps the brain working well.

      1. In crossword years only :) struggling with the last few in the bottom of todays, maybe just posting this will bring gnomeys law into action!

        1. I had to use the law myself this morning for 16d and 26a but it worked! Two clues where you kick yourself when you get the answer.

          1. I think there was misprint in Clued Up for 16a this morning. It spoke of “David’s son” which I found misleading. Surely should have been his “song”. Would have made life easier.

            1. Its the same in the paper – you have to put S for son into the fortune teller to get what david was! Well that’s what I did anyway.

            2. I do believe you’re right Franny, that makes more sense, all credit to those of us who solved it anyway, we will wait for the blog to see, we could be wrong I am trying to ‘see’ it the other way :)

            3. As crypticsue says – the ‘s’ is required to be inserted and song would not do. The paper version is the same. I am sure the review is being published as we speak!

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