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DT 26321

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26321

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This is a typical Ray T puzzle which I was getting through pretty well, only to be held up in the bottom right-hand corner. When I spotted “at sea” in the middle row I thought that there was going to be a Nina, but nothing else appeared. The puzzle gets an extra enjoyment star from me for having only two anagrams. Agree or disagree? Let us know your views in a comment. Incidentally this appears to be one of those days when the Toughie is a bit easier than this one.
If you need to see an answer drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets in the line under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Sole supplier? (10)
{FISHMONGER} – cryptic definition of someone supplying sole.

6a  Someone called, alternatively, blackleg initially (4)
{SCAB} – an all-in-one clue leading to a synonym for blackleg obtained from the leading letters (initially) of the first four words.

9a  Stays out too long? (10)
{OVERSLEEPS} – a cryptic definition of being dead to the world too long.

10a  Contest expected by left (4)
{DUEL} – a contest between two parties is a synonym for expected followed by L(eft).

12a  Contracting obscure fever (4)
{AGUE} – this fever is obtained by removing the initial V (contracting) from an adjective meaning obscure or unclear. I would normally expect contracting to indicate the deletion of the last letter rather than the first.

13a  One new guy embracing secretary is impotent (9)
{INCAPABLE} – the definition is impotent. Start with I (one) and N(ew) and follow this with what a guy can be (on a campsite for example) around an abbreviation for secretary. It makes a change to have no mention of our Business Secretary.

15a  Scatter coppers and wallet, say (8)
{DISPERSE} – we want a verb meaning to scatter and it’s a charade of the abbreviation for senior coppers and a sound-alike (say) of a container used to hold money (wallet).

16a  Enthusiast taking rook for mate (6)
{FRIEND} – we want an alternative word for a devoted enthusiast. Inside this put (taking) R(ook) to make a mate. Nice surface reading relating to chess.

18a  Stuffing a dead fish outside (6)
{LADING} – the definition is stuffing (cargo into the hold of a ship, for example). Around A and D(ead) put one of Crosswordland’s favourite fish.

20a  Profligate MP has issues about priority (8)
{EMPHASIS} – a word meaning priority or prominence is hidden (about) in the clue.

23a  Fight eruption ends in front of bar (9)
{ENCOUNTER} – the two end letters (ends) of eruption go in front of the type of bar you might find in a café for example.

24a  Amazon I leapt bridging river (4)
{NILE} – hidden (bridging) in the clue is Africa’s longest river. The surface reading does not make a great deal of sense.

26a  Chances overdose before drugs case (4)
{ODDS} – the abbreviation of overdose is put before the outer letters (case) of DrugS.

27a  Obtain fortune without getting praise (10)
{FELICITATE} – what we want is a verb meaning to praise or congratulate. Put a verb meaning to obtain or draw out (information, for example) inside a synonym for fortune or destiny.

28a  Team complained to the audience (4)
{SIDE} – another word for team sounds like (to the audience) a verb expressing dissatisfaction (complained).

29a  Cutting line in a hospital department (10)
{ASTRINGENT} – an adjective meaning cutting or caustic is formed by putting a series or sequence (line) between A and the usual hospital department. An amusing surface reading with its hint of drug taking.

Down Clues

1d  Birch producing fine timber (4)
{FLOG} – a verb meaning to administer a beating (birch) is constructed from F(ine) and a piece of timber.

2d  Abuses batsman from line boundary in seconds (7)
{SLEDGES} – this verb describes how a fielder in cricket verbally abuses a batsman in an attempt to disconcert him and thus get him out, and it requires L(ine) and a synonym for boundary to be put inside two S(econds). The chat can be humorous as well as abusive and occasionally the batsman gives as good as he gets – here’s an edited version of one exchange. Bowler to new batsman: “Why are you so fat?”. Batsman to bowler: “Because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit.”.

3d  Giving offence, I’m due a sermon, unfortunately (12)
{MISDEMEANOUR} – an anagram (unfortunately) of I’M DUE A SERMON produces an offence.

4d  Most impoverished juvenile raised and ends inside (8)
{NEEDIEST} – the definition is most impoverished. Reverse (raised, in a down clue) an adolescent (juvenile) and inside put a verb meaning comes to an end.

5d  Anticipate former record being brought up before court (6)
{EXPECT} – we want a verb meaning to anticipate. Start with a prefix meaning former, follow this with an old record format reversed (brought up, in a down clue) and finish with the abbreviation for court.

7d  Conservative brawl leading to break up (7)
{CRUMBLE} – after C(onservative) we want a North American slang term for a gang fight (brawl).

8d  Hint following more outright gibberish (10)
{BALDERDASH} – the definition is gibberish and it’s a charade of a comparative meaning blunter (more outright) and a small amount (hint).

11d  Taking fright? (12)
{APPREHENSION} – double definition. Taking here could either mean laying hold of or becoming aware of (i.e. taking in).

14d  Cheating ruled out as dodgy (10)
{ADULTEROUS} – an anagram (dodgy) of RULED OUT AS means cheating on one’s spouse.

17d  More bootlicking, that’s right, under officer with weapon (8)
{SMARMIER} – a comparative meaning more bootlicking or more obsequious is formed from the abbreviation for that is and R(ight) which follow (under, in a down clue) a (non-commissioned) officer and weapon.

19d  Firm action restricting plainclothes police (7)
{DECIDED} – an adjective meaning firm or resolute comes from a synonym for action around (restricting) the plainclothes department of a police force.

21d  Violent Labour leader’s in recovery (7)
{SALVAGE} – a synonym for violent has the first letter (leader) of Labour inserted to make recovery (of the cargo of a wrecked ship, for example).

22d  Highlight for small pigtail (6)
{STRESS} – a verb meaning to highlight or emphasise is S(mall) followed by a long lock of hair (pigtail).

25d  Criminal proclivity (4)
{BENT} – double definition – a word which is an informal adjective meaning criminal or dishonest is also a noun meaning tendency or proclivity.

My favourite clues included 16a, 26a, 29a and 4d, but the one I liked best was 13a. Tell us what you liked in a comment.

66 comments on “DT 26321

  1. Agree entirely with your comments and rating for this puzzle. All started well until I got to the RH corner which had some Tippex and ‘writing over’ before I finished. Lots and lots of good clues but 8d gets my vote because its one of my favourite words. Thanks Ray T and Gazza too.

  2. Amazingly enough I have managed to finish a quarter of this Ray T but now totally stuck! Why does he have to make his puzzles so damned obscure?

  3. I am really enjoying Ray T’s puzzles these days, all the clues were fair.Too many favourites to single one out, maybe 20a.
    Thanks to Ray T (I never thought I’d see the day I was saying that and meaning it ) and to Gazza for the tips.

  4. Good morning Gazza, so pleased to see it was a 4* and that I finished without the blog :) 18a and 27a were the last to go in for me, I was happy to see that I got them right, fav clue 15a, A tough one for us CCers today and perservation is the name of the game ;-) It all depends how much you want to, needless to say I needed all my usual ‘aids’ today

    1. Good morning Mary, if you have finished this with or without the blog I expect your resignation from the CC with immediate effect :-) I thought even by Ray T standards it was absolutely horrid!

      1. No No Barrie, I can’t resign from the CC, I like it too much and anyway before anyone can ‘escape’ they must be able to complete at least one crossword without books, machines etc. I am just happy to be able to complete them with :)

            1. I’d say more often than not, but perhaps at least once a week. I mean I’ve done it perhaps twice in all the time I’ve been doing these puzzles and consider myself permanently Clueless.

  5. Hi again Gazza, its probably me being completely thick but in 8d, although I had it right, I would have thought the first part of the word was bolder not balder???

      1. Thanks Gazza, and there is an actual word ‘balder’ in that respect?? not in having less hair! Which brings to mind ‘qualmier’ from a puzzle last week, nowhere was it to be found!!

    1. I agree. Also I can find no definition of fiend as an enthusiast 16a, I thought a rumble was a low frequency noise 7d, where are the police in 15a, how does ‘case’ in 26a mean to take the ends of the word, how does side sound like dissatisfaction etc etc etc. Just too many poor clues to be enjoyable for me.

      1. Chambers says a fiend is an enthusiast for something. Rumble is N American slang for a street fight. the police in 15a are Detective Inspectors DIs. A case surrounds something. And sighed (side said out loud) is what I did when I read your post.

      2. I do see what you mean Barrie and agree with a lot but you just have to accept that this is what they mean/do etc. the one that I thought read really poorly was 24a

  6. Jolly fine crossword, what a shame I couldn’t do it! I had a dozen or so answers, largely the NW corner, before the blog was available, so not bad going for me and a 4* puzzle. Completely foxed by ‘about’ in 20a.

    Good one, thanks to Ray T and Gazza.

            1. You probably need to take about as meaning ‘engaged in’ as in ‘I’ll be about my business’.

  7. Enjoyed this after yesterday’s events. Stuck for some time on 27a. Part way through the toughie so high hopes for today.

  8. That took me longer than normal (and longer than it should have). I took agfes to get on Ray T’s wave length and really struggled with 2d (even with cross check letters). I didn’t like 17d (and of course there were too many 4 letter words for my liking although they were reasonable – mostly).

    Thanks to Ray T and thanks for the review GAzza.

  9. An enjoyable puzzle but I am somewhat surprised to see it rated as four star for difficulty. As always I enjoyed the hints even though on this occasion they were not needed.
    Thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  10. Certainly one to exercise the ‘little grey cells’ but apart from SE corner, which I struggled with, straightforward. A good mix of cliues. Quite liked 15a.Couldn’t quite fit the clue to 27a at first, but then the penny dropped. Obvious, really!

    I have to say I found the Toughie harder today. Maybe it’s all about ‘wavelengths’

  11. Lovely crossword from RayT, I managed both today before I went out at 10am so I was dead chuffed, both enjoyable and fair in my opinion though I enjoyed the cryptic slightly more than the toughie. Great review Gazza.

      1. I try not to Mary but if I need to I am not ashamed to do so, for me the whole point of doing crosswords is enjoyment, I am not fit enough to participate in the pursuits of my youth any more so I started doing the cryptic and with the assistance of the fabulous bloggers on this site , progressed to the toughies. I also like to do the GK crosswords but invariably need to use books or computer to finish them. I am particularly rubbish at modern music and mathematics.

        1. You like my brother are obviously more intelligent than myself, he very rarely needs to use any help but will do if necessary, I think you said it all when you said that the whole point is enjoyment and even when they are seemingly beyond me, I do enjoy the challenge, my problem is that even when I understand what the setter is looking for I do not always know the right word and even if I do, I do not necessarily think of it in that context, so I think I will continue to use my books etc.

  12. Spot on with the review – this was a challenging and highly enjoyable treat from Ray T. Many thanks to setter and reviewer. Favourite clue was 16s but there were lots to choose from today. The Toughie was a breeze after this workout :)

  13. I got stuck into this over breakfast, did a diagonal half and then thought “this must be by Ray T, Oh dear!” But I eventually managed to finish with a good deal of electronic help, so maybe our wavelengths are beginning to harmonise. When a solution surprises me after staring at it for a while I put an exclamation mark beside the clue. The two today were 16 and 20a. I found 12a only through the downward letters and would never, ever, have guessed 2d.
    There were a number of very good clues. I enjoyed 13a and 11d, but especially 8d as it is one of my favourite games. Thank you, Ray T. Maybe I’ll try the Toughie later. :-)

  14. Conflicting views above as to which was more difficult between today’s Cryptic & Toughie. Using “Time to Completion” as the yardstick, then I would award 4* and 3* respectively. But I think ChrisH has it right when he talks about wavelengths – sometimes you almost feel a wireless synchronisation with the setter, and I must have had one with Messinae today. A bit of a Naval theme (5, 14, 16, 24) maybe helped too!

  15. Surprised at the 4* rating for this as Pommette and I did it in a bar in town over a lunchtime sandwich. Only had to check 27a in the dictionary when we got home as I thought felicitate means to make things easier! Apparantly not!

    1. Pommers,
      The difficulty rating is only meant to be a guideline. I base it roughly on the time it takes me to solve the puzzle, making allowances for any interruptions. Often it’s the case that getting (or not getting) a strategically placed answer early on can make a big difference. Today I was held up at the end in the bottom r-h corner where 27a, 29a and 22d took me longer than they should have.

      1. Hello Gazza
        Fair point and also someone commented earlier about being on the same wavelength as the setter and I’m sure this is important. I found this one fairly straightforward but then sometimes I struggle on ones rated only 2*. I guess it’s what makes Xwords interesting!

  16. I actually finished this one without any help and only checked with Gazza to see if the mind processes had been correct.Thank you Ray T. and Gazza for an enjoyable late morning, pre-lunch puzzle – I’d already done codewords and the Quickie!! I agree with mary about anagrams – I love ’em!!

  17. Top quality puzzle once again from RayT!
    Took me ages to get 1a & d for no good reason. SW corner took some thinking about but I managed it without any hiccups. 20a a clear favorite.
    Thanks to gazza and to RayT for the entertainment.

  18. For some reason I don’t usually find Ray T’s puzzles too difficult although I know from all the comments that a lot of people do – I think the point made earlier about it being all to do with wavelengths is spot on. Managed this, even though it got a 4* rating, apart from 27a (needed the hint) and 2d – never heard of the word in this context – Gazza – loved the exchange between the bowler and the batsman in your hints! Reminds me of something similar although not to do with cricket. Two men in a bar, one is completely bald – the other one goes over to him, feels the bald head and says “Your head feels just like my wife’s bottom” The bald man runs his own hand over his head and says “Good heavens, so it does”!! Anyway, back to the crossword now – favourite clues today include 1 and 13a and 7 and 8d (didn’t know rumble was a fight)

  19. Enjoyed solving this Ray T job!
    Am clearly recovering from my two month’s absence from crosswords.

    Best clues for me were 15a, 16a, 29a, 7d, 8d & 19d.

    Shall be off again in September for cataract removal – one eye at a time.

  20. Evening all, and thanks to Gazza for the analysis, also to all who took the time to comment. I take your point about 12a Gazza, but I was thinking that if you take the contractions of ‘will’ and ‘had’ in ‘I’ll’ and ‘I’d’, the first letters are missing.

    That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

    Ray T

  21. Thanks Ray – nice crossword that lulled me into originally thinking it was going to be easy peasy – started to rattle it off then hit the buffers with 27a and 29a – was convinced 29a started with an “E”. SE corner was the sticker – as football cliches go – this was a puzzle of 3/4.

    Off to the Oval for a few days.

      1. ‘Coomentary’? That might be another one for Mary’s new words list. I really must get a full size keyboard! Meaning a commentary which covers a lot of things – least of all that which is going on on the pitch but which is very entertaining nonetheless!

  22. I seemed to fly through this and then came to a grinding halt on 17d and 22d, took me ages to work out that I had got 23a wrong, I put in exclusion as my brain was thinking bar in the clue was of the definition of barring something or somebody, got there in the end at about midnight as I was having my break at work.

    thanks Gazza for the breakdown’s on the clue helps to understand some of the more obscure ones.

  23. Seem to be a lot of negative comments about this one however I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  24. Playing catch up from last week, I really enjoyed this one, except for 21d. I am not keen on this type of clue, where A, B’s in C, requires B to be put into A. (If that makes sense?) Thanks to Ray T for a super puzzle.

  25. Re 18a, I would prefer: Stuffing a dead Heather outside (6)
    Maybe not suitable for the DT :)

  26. Funny that some find Ray T hard.I really enjoy his style so more grease to his elbows. I thought that the figurative use of fiend is automatic to native Brits,Gazza?Got all save FELICITATE which was slipshod on my part.

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