DT 26338 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26338

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26338

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Libellule is powerless this morning, so he and I have swapped and he’ll be tussling with tomorrow’s setter. It’s a cliché to say that Rufus provides us with a nice, gentle start to the week, but that’s exactly what he does. The puzzle may not be as difficult as some we’ll get later in the week, but mixed in with the easy clues are some excellent cryptic definitions – just what I needed, in fact, on a miserable, dark, rainy morning. My dog had the right idea – he took one look outside then went straight back to bed.
Please feel free to let us know your thoughts in a comment, and if you need to see an answer highlight the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Counterfeit next year’s coins and prosper (5,5)
{FORGE AHEAD} – double definition, the first cryptic – what a counterfeiter taking a long-term view might do, and to make headway.

9a  Stagger back and get a dirty look (4)
{LEER} – reverse (back) a verb meaning to stagger.

10a  Island with many debts is unstable (10)
{CAPRICIOUS} – the definition is unstable or fickle. It’s a charade of an Italian island (where Gracie Fields lived for many years), the Roman numeral for one hundred (many) and the abbreviation for promissory notes written against debts.

11a  Handy article one can get for a pound (6)
{PESTLE} – cryptic definition of a hand-held tool used to crush and grind (pound).

12a  Journals I’d taken back to sign (7)
{DIARIES} – reverse (taken back) I’D and add one of the signs of the zodiac to form journals.

15a  An oppressive blow for the Italians (7)
{SIROCCO} – cryptic definition of a hot, dusty wind blowing from North Africa which oppresses the Italians and other southern Europeans.

16a  Cut and share out (5)
{SHEAR} – an anagram (out) of SHARE.

17a  Having gone astray see a way to follow (4)
{LOST} – a short exclamation meaning see or behold is followed by an abbreviation for a way or road to make an adjective meaning gone astray.

18a  Place to use deception at university (4)
{LIEU} – a noun meaning place or stead is a verbal deception followed by (at) U(niversity).

19a  Mind someone else’s business? (5)
{SNOOP} – cryptic definition of what someone not minding his own business might do.

21a  Group of three attempt to go round in it (7)
{TRINITY} – put a synonym for attempt around IN IT.

22a  Kind of shirt with frill — very tasteful (7)
{TRUFFLE} – a short-sleeved casual type of shirt is followed a frill on a garment to make a culinary delicacy that grows underground. In the surface reading tasteful means stylish, but as the definition it describes something tasty.

24a  Cold state of something oven-baked (6)
{ALASKA} – double definition – the most northerly US state and a rapidly-baked pudding.

27a  The prodigal son’s return fare (6,4)
{FATTED CALF} – the feast (fare) prepared for the return of the prodigal son in the biblical story.

28a  He opposed Stalin and survived to write about it (4)
{TITO} – the name by which the long-time Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz was known. He opposed Stalin in 1948 and this resulted in a split with the Soviet Union. Write TO around IT. Beautifully constructed clue!

29a  The shooting season (10)
{SPRINGTIME} – the season of the year when shoots appear. It’s interesting that the answer was the required word in one of the DIY COW competitions earlier this year. Prolixic proposed virtually the same clue as this one, but he didn’t win – because he was the judge that week!

Down Clues

2d  After first of October turn collar up in Scottish port (4)
{OBAN} – the name of a port and tourist resort on the west coast of Scotland (where it does indeed get a bit chilly in the Autumn) is the first letter of O(ctober) followed by a verb meaning to collar or arrest reversed (up, in a down clue).

3d  Acquire husband (6)
{GARNER} – a verb which means both to gather or acquire and to store or conserve (husband).

4d  Makes legal charges (7)
{ACCUSES} – (barely) cryptic definition of a verb meaning brings charges against.

5d  Mark turned up for school (4)
{ETON} – we want a 4-letter school. Now, what could that possibly be? It’s a reversal (turned up, in a down clue) of a word meaning mark (as in a mark of respect).

6d  Padre is sunk in gloom (7)
{DESPAIR} – an anagram (sunk) of IS PADRE means gloom.

7d  Features of wild scenery portrayed in Brontë novel (10)
{HEATHCLIFF} – the name of the hero of  Emily Brontë’s only novel contains two features of wild scenery. I know it’s supposed to be a classic but I have to admit that I never managed to wade through it to the end.

8d  Lacking resolve, Tories rule badly (10)
{IRRESOLUTE} – an anagram (badly) of TORIES RULE produces an adjective meaning lacking resolve. Possibly a general statement, possibly a prediction of what is to come, but in any case a very well worked-out anagram.

12d  Girl allowed aunt in Paris to be a dabbler (10)
{DILETTANTE} – this is a charade of an abbreviated girl’s name, a synonym for allowed and the French word for aunt.

13d  They attack with wild Alsatians with safety first (10)
{ASSAILANTS} – an anagram (wild) of ALSATIANS is followed by the first letter of S(afety). The double use of “with” in the clue detracts from its smoothness.

14d  Shy in disposition, but bright (5)
{SHINY} – an anagram (disposition) of SHY IN.

15d  Boast about hand-made footwear (5)
{SABOT} – an anagram (about) of BOAST produces a French word for a clog made of wood.

19d  RAF’s set to scramble in attacks (7)
{STRAFES} – and, for our fourth anagram in a row, scramble the letters of RAF’S SET to make a verb meaning attacks ground targets with low-flying aircraft, derived from a German word meaning to punish.

20d  For one in ten it is essential to the diet (7)
{PROTEIN} – start with a prefix meaning in favour of and add TEN with I (one) inside to get an essential dietary component.

23d  Portly pet — one getting too much bread? (3,3)
{FAT CAT} – double definition, the second a cryptic definition of someone (a banker perhaps?) getting paid excessive amounts of money (bread).

25d  It’s up to Rex to make a move (4)
{STIR} – reverse (up, in a down clue) IT’S and add R(ex) to form a verb meaning to rouse oneself (make a move).

26d  Shellfish left in river (4)
{CLAM} – the name of the river that flows through Cambridge has L(eft) inserted to make a shellfish.

The clues I enjoyed included 11a, 19a, 29a, 2d and 8d, but my clue of the day is 28a. Let us know your favourites in a comment.

54 comments on “DT 26338

  1. Good morning Gazza, well not really a good morning because the weather here is atrocious too, my dogs had exactly the same idea as yours! The good thing I find about Rufus clues, apart from the wit, is that almost always they read properly and make sense, thank you Rufus, the last one to go in for me was 11a, lots of favourites today, 28a being one of them also 7d, too many too mention really, off to read the blog now, thanks once again Gazza

    1. Yes I remember ‘Springtime’ being one of the COW words not so long ago, do you think setters read and use some of those clues because as you say Prolixic gave the same clue??

  2. Agreed that this was a gentle start to the week but also smooth and silky in its construction. I came an initial cropper on 11a putting in hammer – right idea, wrong implement – and hovered between “Gather” and the correct answer for 3d until the checking letters in 10a assisted!

    Favourite clue was 1a. I thought that the clue for 29a sounded familiar :)

    On the subject of Birthdays – Many happy returns to Anax today as well.

  3. Many thanks to Rufus for a gentle, but engaging puzzle, and to Gazza for the notes. Now to see what Rufus has to offer in the guardian today.

  4. 1a and 11a had me going for a while and 3d took a bit of convincing.
    Thanks for the blog, gazza, thanks to Rufus and Happy Birthday Geoff (and Anax if he is dropping by).

  5. Thanks Rufus for a pleasant start to the week, not too taxing for a Monday morning, and thanks to Gazza for his entertaining blog.
    Fav is 8d – I like ‘apposite’ anagrams.

    1. 15d is where the word saboteur comes from. The original saboteurs destroyed machinery by throwing their wooden clogs into it to make it break down.

    2. French for clog but I think it’s sufficiently widely used in English not to upset anybody who objects to the use of foreign words.

  6. As you say, Gazza, not too dificult.

    6d. This was the right answer in more ways than one, as I do despair with some of the anagram indicators used by setters. Sunk????

    1. I was going to comment on “sunk” but, to my surprise, sink is in the list of acceptable anagram indicators in in my Chambers Crossword Dictionary. I’m not sure in what context it’s used (perhaps in the sense of scuttle or scupper?).

  7. A jolly start to the week. Have to say 23d made me grin a rueful grin.
    Happy birthday to the birthday boys – hoping the rain doesn’t spoil your day.

  8. Another one of those strange coincidences – the Yugoslavian Leader in 28a gets a mention in today’s obituaries!

  9. Not much more to add – you can always rely on Rufus to ease you back into a new week. 11a took a while for the penny to drop; 28 & 8 both very smooth. Thanks for the derivation of 15d, Gazza. It’s good to learn something new every day!

  10. Thanks Rufus and Gazza, an encouraging start to the week, not too easy, not too hard but just right! Did rather query 3 and 4d but liked7d and 21a. No Quickie so welcome tomorrow

  11. Enjoyed today’s crossword very much. Last ones to go in were 1a and 3d. Particularly liked 23d and 11a made me smile – the pestle and mortar is always called the ‘banger and mash’ in our family as one of our daughters got a bit muddled up when very young! Thanks to Rufus and Gazza and happy birthday to anyone who has a birthday today. Weather in Oxford really quite nice so far – sunny but very windy – forecast for later on is not so good.

    1. Hi Kath, lucky you, the sunshine of last week has definitely deserted us this week, it is cold, very wet and windy Yuk! lucky you and Geoff in Oxford :)

  12. Usual Rufus start to the week and none the worse for that, thoroughly enjoyable. I loved 11a and 22a. Thanks Gazza for the review especially the lovely picture for 2d, thanks Rufus for the fun and many happy returns Anax.

  13. Hi Gazza, as a point of curiosity the clue at 11a, if this clue was put on COW for example, with no checking letters, there is no way I can see that you could get the answer, it could be one of a few things, eg Prolixic put hammer at first, am I missing a way of solving this clue if it ‘stood alone’ so to speak??

    1. I think that you’re right, Mary. You have to wait for checking letter(s) to decide between the required answer and hammer (or mallet). But, I don’t think that’s very unusual, especially with shortish cryptic definitions.

      1. OK thanks for that, just thought I might have been missing something? Off to dodge the showers now :) I have managed to get the dogs out once!!

        1. What are showers Mary?, it hasn’t rained up here for a couple of weeks. (it is a wee bitty breezy however )

          1. I’m not really what showers are BigBoab its more like a deluge! By the way where are you, dogs in kennels from weekend for 2 weeks and we’ve not planned anything yet, so might just follow the sun, if there is any :)

            1. Sorry about the delay in answering Mary, grandchildren duties, I am on the east coast of Scotland in a wee toon called Kirkcaldy. I would not guarantee the continuance of the good weather however, I believe we are due the rains on Wednesday. Good luck in your search for the sun.

  14. A nice start to the week with this, with many good clues and plenty of anagrams, which seem to be my speciality. I managed to do it all with not much trouble until I got thoroughly stuck in the upper right-hand corner. The penny absolutely refused to drop for 1a and I needed electronic help to give it a shove. Last in was 4d. My only quibble was with 19a which I didn’t think was cryptic. Best clues for me were 7d
    and 22a, but my favourite was 10a.

    Happy birthday, Anax and Geoff. :-)

    1. Hi Franny I’m with you on the anagrams, I just love them and I have taken to solving them using Gnomeys tip, to arrange the letters haphazardly in a circle, its amazing how much easier it is to solve them :)

  15. A nice start to the week, not too over taxing, favourite clue is 12d, made me chuckle with the play on the language of Paris. Thanks to Rufus and Gazza.

  16. A bit late today as had to finish yesterday’s first.

    Although my pet hate of 4 letter words was in this puzzle it was a nice one and the 4 letter clues were good ones – in particular 28a – agree with you Gazza – that was lovely.

    My other favourites were 10a and 21a. I did not like 4d nor did I like 11a. Thanks to Gazza for the review and Rufus for the puzzle.

    Happy birthday Geoff and Anax

    1. I was thinking of you today Lea when I saw all the 4 letter clues :) 28a has got to be one of the best, though as you say they were all pretty clever

      1. THanks Mary. BTW well done on being shortlisted for last week’s word on COW – it was a lovely clue. Well done.

        1. Cheers Lea, only 10 days til you go in now, you must be getting nervous but Oh to be pain free, I am still waiting

  17. Another enjoyable start to the week. I agree with earlier comments re four letter words but in this case not a problem.
    Enjoyed 28a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Gazza for the review.
    Don’t know whether to be envious of the rain some of you are enjoying? It has been so dry here in N. Yorks for so long the ground is quite parched and the farmers say they will have problems ploughing now the harvest is completed. It has not been warm though.

  18. For fans of “Only Connect” just a reminder that a new series starts tonight on BBC4 at 8.30.
    If you’ve never seen it then I recommend that you try it. It’s a quiz show with the emphasis on lateral thinking. If you enjoy solving cryptic crosswords you’ll love it. One of the question setters in the previous series (and in the new one as far as I’m aware) was/is our friend Shamus.

        1. Bit remiss I know but will try this week – like your word and some of the clues are good. Even if I submit I will have to hold off as go in to hospital in 10 days time.

  19. A fairly painless start to the week. The answer fo 27a put me in mind of an article in Saturday’s Mail about schoolboy howlers (surely they’re not exclusive to boys.)
    Q. Who was sorry when the Prodigal Son returned? Answer as at 27a.

    Another in a similar vein. Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick of a fever. And Peter swore and went out and wept bitterly.

    Well, they amused me.

  20. I lost the internet yesterday and had to get on my bike this morning and go for a paper, yes a paper!. So if anyone on cluedup looks and says to themselves,” goodness he did that quick”, don’t be fooled.
    At least it got me out of the house and we spent a very interestin afternoon at the Killop Lead Mine in Upper Weardale, as was. Even went down it, frightening.
    Regarding todays puzzle fav was 27a. Birthday Greetings to all of todays recipients and Thank You to Rufus and Gazza.

  21. Very enjoyable stroll – can I start a petition that 5d should never appear again? This must be the most over-used answer of them all.

    Ban 5d I say!

  22. Lovely puzzle, with a ‘surely not’ reaction to 5d. Nice mix of easier clues with the more tricky and found the left side easier than the right. 11a was the last in, after Mary set me right on it.

    Thanks to Rufus for an enjoyable puzzle and Gazza for explaining several things I didn’t understand at all. Thanks for the birthday wishes; has a pleasant day out and about places I haven’t been to for 40 years. Raining lightly now, but it stayed dry all day! Happy Birthday to Anax.

  23. Another very enjoyable puzzle from the Maestro. Particularly liked 11, 12, and 28a and 3 and 20d. Many thanks to Rufus and to Gazza for the notes, especially re 15d – you learn something every day!

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