DT 26313 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26313

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26313

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Afternoon All!. I solved this between a Bacon Sandwich and a round of Golf. When I got back to the ‘blog I saw a number of comments rating it as poor. Having just reviewed it for Thursday I still found it enjoyable (despite some quibbles) and not too hard, but certainly not poor.

I really would value comments on this one, particularly if you considered it poor and can give your reasons.


1a           It’s sedate travelling in America (9)
STATESIDE – An anagram (travelling) of ITS SEDATE leads to an adjective meaning ‘in America’ or ‘Over the Pond’.

9a           Artilleryman going to jetty for sword (6)
RAPIER – The abbreviation of the Royal Artillery regiment followed by pier (jetty) is also a type of fencing sword.

10a         Bird found colourful article in French port (9)
REDBREAST – Take RED (colourful) and place an A (article) inside BREST (A French seaport) to get your winter garden bird

11a         Hound, one coming from Jalalabad perhaps (6)
AFGHAN – Double Definition, a dog breed and one from Afghanistan (Afghan or Afghani are both acceptable)

12a         Police club (9)
TRUNCHEON – A cryptic definition of the Policeman’s cudgel, rather than where he has an off-shift drink!.

13a         Support for young animal (4,2)
PROP UP – A charade of PRO (for) and PUP (young animal) for a verb meaning ‘support’ or ‘shore up’

17a         Too poetic (3)
O’ER – A small quibble here. O’er is a poetic form of OVER which is a synonym for TOO (Too much/over much). Perhaps it is pushing it to ask for the poetic form of a synonym – what are your thoughts?

19a         Count getting teeth into maths? (6-9)
NUMBER CRUNCHING – A nice surface reading.  A charade of NUMBER (count, as a verb) and CRUNCHING (getting teeth into) with the definition being maths. I am one of these people who differentiate between ‘Maths’ and ‘Sums’, only the latter applying to the answer! – Thanks to gazza for putting me straight on the fact that this is a charade rather than a cryptic definition.

20a         Can leave havoc on border (3)
HEM – A subtraction of MAY (can) from MAYHEM (havoc) gives the edge of (in particular) a skirt or garment)

21a         City retreat providing cake (6)
ECLAIR – Another charade of EC (the oft-used postcode for the City of London) with LAIR , into which a predatory animal may retreat.

25a         In-form style of humour? (9)
SCHOOLBOY – I loved this cryptic definition. Misleads well on ‘In Form’ meaning ‘doing well’ or ‘current’. We want the classroom type of ‘form’ here.

26a         Just a little bit sweet (6)
TRIFLE – A mere Double Definition!

27a         More fortunate when not working (6,3)
BETTER OFF – A cryptic definition of having more money (i.e. having more fortunate) , including the reference to being OFF work

28a         Opinions of chaps leaving rental accommodation (6)
TENETS – Tenets are opinions as  in ‘Credos’, and the contents of a ‘Manifesto’. Remove MEN (chaps) from TENEMENTS (usually associated with rented accommodation). Note that the three words quoted here are all from Latin verbs = TENERE – to hold (a belief), CREDERE – to believe and ‘Manifesto’ means ‘I will show (these things that I believe). But enough of my O Levels!

29a         Blue salad plant to rise suddenly! (9)
SKYROCKET – Another charade of SKY – a very common shade of blue –  and ROCKET  – salad leaves. These things can rise quite quickly!


2d           People in general accept alternative supposition (6)
THEORY – Take a word for ‘people in general’ – the ‘THEY’ in ‘that’s what THEY say’, and include OR for alternative to get a supposition.

3d           Can pull out pipes (6)
TUBING – It took me a while to get the wordplay: a BIN is a CAN and adding TUG (for ‘pull’) outside gives a collection of pipework

4d           Be agitated up-river with explosive (6)
SEETHE – I used to miss HE = High Explosive and had to train myself to pick it up quickly. In front of this add a reversal (UP) of a common Crosswordland river (the TEES) to find a word meaning ‘be agitated’ or ‘fume’. I like the fact that ‘up-river’ is hyphenated so as you know which word to apply the UP to.

5d           Found a way to corner the king? (10,5)
DISCOVERED CHECK – This is a lovely  semi &Lit (semi all in one) clue and better than it looks on paper. DISCOVERED means ‘found a way’ and CHECK means ‘to corner the king’. The question mark indicates that the whole answer is only ONE method of cornering the King. I should have remarked on this at the time – Like it!

6d           Chef April knocked 50% off (4-5)
HALF-PRICE – A simple anagram (knocked) of CHIEF APRIL gives the required reduction.

7d           See man on board, one entering church (9)
BISHOPRIC – As BD pointed out on the day,  that little word SEE is also a diocese of the church (there is a great article on the ‘Crossword Unclued’ site regarding this – SEE BD’s link on the right hand side bar to access the site). In any case take a BISHOP (one of the men on a chess board) and then insert I into the abbreviation RC for Roman Catholic. This gives you a synonym for a SEE in this sense. See? Good!

8d           Important appearance made by boy attendant (5-4)
FRONT-PAGE – A phrase for important (as in “news” in a newspaper) is  charade of FRONT (appearance, one’s outward facade) and PAGE (a boy attendant at a wedding or royal court)

14d         Not having a will of one’s own (9)
INTESTATE – An old chestnut, and one that caused a few justified grumbles on the day. A definition of someone who has not made arrangements for their own death. Maybe it’s worth remembering that new solvers will not have seen this and it is a solid clue to introduce people to the idea of a Cryptic Definition.

15d         Calming gangster’s girl that’s going into medical field (9)
EMOLLIENT – Another very good clue. Take the gangster’s MOLL and I.E. (for that is) and place them inside the Setter’s beloved ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat hospital department). The result is an adjective for a balm (or a noun for these balms in general) that is a soothing agent on the skin.

16d         I tell sage reforming way to make laws (9)
LEGISLATE – A straightforward anagram, indicated by ‘reforming’, of I TELL SAGE leads to a verb for setting laws into the statute book.

17d         Old chief’s interjection (3)
OCH – Very straightforward if you know how. Abbreviations for Old and CHief give a Scottish interjection like ‘Oh!’

18d         Odd sort of punch (3)
RUM – A straightforward Double Definition, one for odd,/strange and the other for a type of alcoholic drink that may contain some rum (and everything/anything else if sampled at student parties!)

22d         Person expected to carry drink (6)
PORTER – Another double definition. Think of a hotel employee and a lovely bitter/stout.

23d         Priest carried by bicycle rickshaw (6)
CLERIC – Our dog-collared friend can be found in (is carried by) the two words of bicyCLE RICkshaw

24d         Sweetmeat no longer available during said meal (6)
TOFFEE – A sweetmeat is defined in Chambers as “Any confection made wholly or chiefly of sugar”. If somethnig were to be unavailable in the restaurant it would be OFF. If you insert this into (it is DURING) a homophone of a meal (Tea) TEE you then get a very sugary example of a sweetmeat.

Looking through this I found a typical Cephas puzzle with maybe a couple of oddballs but there is enough here to keep most people interested for a time. Many thanks to Cephas and I will pass you over to Crypticsue for next week’s review.

13 comments on “DT 26313

  1. Thanks for the (as usual) entertaining review, Gnomey. I thought that 19a was meant to be a charade of NUMBER (count, as a verb) and CRUNCHING (getting teeth into) with the definition being maths.

  2. I did say on the day something to the effect that I wasn’t sure what people were moaning about. As you quite rightly say a typical Cephas Saturday puzzle. It seems to me, and I had better say in my opinion too, that Saturday puzzles seem to have gone up a level in the last few months – time was I would dash through one and think now what shall I do – pre Blog finding days of course, now I have the NTSPP. We need a variety of levels of difficulty and enjoyment and the need to look stuff up – if all the puzzles were the same, it would make for very dull solving. Semi-rant over. I enjoyed both the puzzle and Gnomethang’s excellent review.

  3. I certainly don’t think it was a poor crossword, merely uninspired as I said on Saturday. Pommette and I more or less just wrote the answers in and I was left with a ‘What was all that about’ feeling. There are 3 or 4 clues that I’ve seen before quite recently which didn’t help.
    I usually like Cephas puzzles so maybe it was me being a bit hungover or something!
    Favourite clue was 5d but isn’t it a bit obscure for non chess players? Also liked 19a.
    Thanks for the review Gnomey, excellent and amusing as always.

  4. Nicely reviewed, Gnomey. Like Pommers, I found this puzzle was bland and there was no sense of achievement when I’d finished it. A creature of habit like Crypticsue, I then moved on to Saturday’s General Knowledge crossword and, when I’d finished that, I had a similar feeling so perhaps I was just having a bad day.

    1. Having looked at it again I’m not sure why I was so negative, apart from the repeated clues.Oherwise it’s actully pretty good.
      Perhaps both of us were aving an off day!

      1. But does Pommette? My husband and I do it as a joint effort – I rummage about in my brain for the general knowledge and then he takes over with his heap of trusty reference books.

        1. Hi Crypticsue,
          Pommette’s GK is different but complimentary to mine. She was a musician and me a scientist (chemist) so we usually do OK in quiz nights. However, I don’t think it’s cheating to use reference books etc for unusual words in a cryptic but in a GK surely their use defeats the object? But I suppose it’s a good way of learning. Maybe we’ll try it. Toughies are proving a bit beyond us at the moment so it might make a good diversion!

  5. Apologies for my typing in all comments! In future I will use Pommette’s full size laptop instead of my little netbook – small keyboard, fat fingers.

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