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DT 26342

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26342

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I thought that this was quite a stiff test from Giovanni today, though a lot of my difficulty was of my own making since I initially wrote in “crab” for 12a and so could get nowhere with 5d. As always, we appreciate all comments from solvers.
If you’re stuck for an answer, you’ll find them hidden between the curly brackets – just drag your cursor through the space between the brackets to reveal one.

Across Clues

1a  Advocates for heathen princess facing saints over time (13)
{PROPAGANDISTS} – these advocates are constructed from a charade of a prefix meaning in favour of (for), a synonym for heathen, the late Princess of Wales and the single-letter abbreviation for S(aint) repeated around T(ime).

9a  Dissolute gent, idler with curly hair (9)
{RINGLETED} – an adjective meaning having curly hair is an anagram (dissolute) of GENT IDLER.

10a  Large area from which a hilltop shortly becomes visible (5)
{ACRES} – an informal way of describing a large area (an alternative to masses in the phrase “masses of room”) is made from A and a hilltop from which the final T has been dropped (shortly).

11a  Italian script containing English bits of news (5)
{ITEMS} – the abbreviations for Italian and manuscript go round E(nglish).

12a  Beef or fish? (4)
{CARP} – double definition, beef being a verb here (and the answer is not crab!).

13a  First bit from some comedian? I may get carried away! (4)
{SWAG} – something that may be carried away in a sack is the first letter (bit) of S(ome) followed by a synonym for comedian.

15a  He meant to change to gas (7)
{METHANE} – an anagram (to change) of HE MEANT.

17a  Not completely opulent, wearing ripped hat (7)
{TRICORN} – we want a type of hat. Put a synonym for opulent but without its final H (not completely) inside (wearing) an adjective meaning ripped.

18a  Idiots trapped in cavern — utter stupidity (7)
{NUTTERS} – these idiots are hidden (trapped) in the clue.

20a  Old woman good with pounds, top woman who wants a bargain? (7)
{HAGGLER} – the definition is someone who wants a bargain. It’s a charade of an uncomplimentary term for an old woman, G(ood), the abbreviation for pounds and the first lady of our country (top woman).

21a  Leader possessed energy within (4)
{HEAD} – put E(nergy) inside a synonym for possessed.

22a  Philosopher’s ism is rejected — bad! (4)
{MILL} – what we want is the surname of a nineteenth century English philosopher. Start with the letter that’s left when you remove is from ism, then add a synonym for bad.

23a  One animal or another found by English lake (5)
{RATEL} – the answer is a badger-like mammal native to Asia and Africa (where it’s known as the honey badger). Start with another animal and add E(nglish) and L(ake).

26a  Good in exam about piece of music (5)
{LARGO} – put G(ood) inside a spoken examination that is reversed (about) to get a piece of music that is to be played in a slow and dignified manner.

27a  Making fantastic dough’s aim in the city (9)
{MOGADISHU} – an anagram (fantastic) of DOUGH’S AIM produces the capital of Somalia.

28a  Actress: ‘From early morn on, I’m bouncing around’ (7,6)
{MARILYN MONROE} – we want the name of a film actress who bounced around quite a lot. It’s an anagram (bouncing around) of EARLY MORN ON I’M.

Down Clues

1d  The eminence of politicians in a part of London? (10,4)
{PARLIAMENT HILL} – cryptic definition of a raised area within Hampstead Heath.

2d  Bob doesn’t have top weight (5)
{OUNCE} – bob is cunningly placed at the start of the clue so that it’s capitalised and looks like a name, but what we actually want is a verb meaning to bob (given to us in 28a). Remove the first (top, in a down clue) letter to leave a sub-division of a pound in weight.

3d  A male’s been at sea — as have these chaps (4,6)
{ABLE SEAMEN} – an anagram (at sea) of A MALE’S BEEN.

4d  A non-drinker longing to make a case (7)
{ATTACHE} – a type of case is a charade of A, the abbreviation for teetotaller (non-drinker) and another word for longing.

5d  Philosopher rushed up after theologian, hugging one (7)
{DIDEROT} – this is an eighteenth century French philosopher. Reverse (up, in a down clue) a synonym for rushed and before that place the abbreviation for a doctor of divinity (theologian) which contains (hugging) I (one).

6d  Playwright spotted outside front of Haymarket (4)
{SHAW} – put a verb meaning spotted or noticed around the first letter (front) of H(aymarket) to make an Irish playwright.

7d  Informal ballot gets Labour politician c-cut up (5,4)
{STRAW POLL} – start with the surname of a veteran Labour politician who until earlier this year was Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and the Secretary of State for Justice (I expect his business cards were quite large). Add a verb meaning to cut with its first letter repeated (to mimic c-cut), which is reversed (up, in a down clue) to get an informal ballot.

8d  Usually act in the manner that’s appropriate for one of the top brass (2,1,7,4)
{AS A GENERAL RULE} – the definition is usually and it’s a phrase which literally might mean to wield power in the manner of a top army officer.

14d  Did one of the Spice Girls do nothing that might appeal to Aussie music lovers? (10)
{DIDGERIDOO} – the definition is something that might appeal to Aussie music lovers, with the question mark casting some doubt on this. It’s an instrument popularised by Rolf Harris, and it’s a charade of DID, the forename of Ginger Spice, DO and O (nothing).

16d  Four-letter word that initially disturbed Margaret (9)
{TETRAGRAM} – we want a term (from two Greek words) meaning a four-letter word. It’s the first letter (initially) of T(hat) followed by an anagram (disturbed) of MARGARET.

19d  Earthquake’s getting Melissa shaken up (7)
{SEISMAL} – this is an adjective meaning pertaining to an earthquake (the apostrophe s in the clue indicating the possessive, i.e. this is a property of an earthquake). It’s an anagram (shaken up) of MELISSA.

20d  I will be recognised as one in the chemistry group (7)
{HALOGEN} – I is the chemical symbol for iodine, and it, together with fluorine, chlorine, bromine and astatine form this group in the periodic table.

24d  Gunlike device army’s acquired with hesitation (5)
{TASER} – a gunlike device, increasingly being used by UK police forces, is constructed from the abbreviation of our volunteer army, the S from the clue and an interjection expressing hesitation.

25d  Group of directors — all but one a beast (4)
{BOAR} – drop the last letter (all but one) from the decision-making body of an organisation (group of directors) to leave a beast.

My favourite clues today included 12a, 17a, 20a and 20d, but the one I liked best was 14d. Let us know what you thought in a comment.

71 comments on “DT 26342

  1. This was a wonderful puzzle which I enjoyed immensely. I can’t praise it too highly.
    A thing of beauty is a joy forever. It was good too
    Thank You very much Giovanni and to Gazza for the blog.
    Ah ! Happy happy day.

  2. I looked at the across clues and thought blimey, this is going to be a tricky one. Having done so, I raced through the downs and wrote in all but 3, which gave me enought checking letters to get the acrosses as well leaving four or five to complete. The result was a two stopper when I thought it would be a lot longer. Last in were 1a and 22a. Favourite clues were 27a, 28a, 14d and 16d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for an excellent crossword and to Gazza for the notes.

    1. Prolixic, it’s reassuring to know that CrossWord Compilers also have difficulty solving! However, as you “raced through the downs”, it would seem that your definition of “tricky” is different to mine. Repeating Moggy’s question – what is a “two stopper”?

    2. It is a relative measure of how tricky I found the puzzle measured by the number of stops on the local commuter train before I have solved the crossword. Very rough and ready I’m afraid.

      1. Thanks for that Prolix. Impressively quick. Had wondered if you were solving the crossword during two stops on the London Underground.

      2. Sorry – Prolixic. Doing nothing but apologise today. Don’t know you well enough to go shortenin’ your name & certainly not to one implying that you’re long-winded.

  3. An excellent puzzle from Giovanni, which certainly required some thought. 14d produced a laugh out loud moment!
    This, and an excellent Friday Toughie, has proved a real treat today!
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

  4. Lovely puzzle today & very “do-able”. Even philosophers’ names could be solved without needing to have heard of them. Didn’t even need big red book. Thanks Giovanni & Gazza. Now looking forward to Petitjean & Toughie.

  5. Some tough words today. Had to resort to my old friend Puzzlex fot the last 2 or 3. I thought 20d quite clever.

  6. Agree Jezza, the Toughie was just as enjoyable as the usual cryptic. Well worth a look at even just to be able to spot the theme running through. Highly recommended.
    Today we have a surfeit of riches.

    1. Agree about the Toughies. Getting today’s theme’s gonna help some more than others. Interesting to see which folk find it useful!

  7. Phew, we didn’t find this THAT easy to do and had to look up the philosopher at 5d
    Good puzzle though and certainly swirled the old pickled brain cells this morning! Thanks for the blog and a lovley puzzle.

  8. Excellent entertainment fromGiovanni today. Took me slightly longer than usual but not sure why. My favourite clue is 28a and I must say I am surprised that not one gentleman has commented on its link with the top line of the Quickie!. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza,. The toughie was fab too – now if only the sun would come out.

    1. I don’t do the Quickie, but I’ve had to keep looking at it this week because of comments linking it to the Cryptic. Thanks for that, crypticsue – I’m sure that Giovanni was thinking about drills :D

  9. I have just started and came to see comments – read Gazza’s intro before I came to comments and though – oh dear – I put in crab for 12a as the second clue entered. Obviously I have now taken it out and will have to work out another answer.

    Looking forward to working on it – good comments. Hope I don’t have to go to the hints.

  10. A really enjoyable puzzle! Pleased that Gazza rated it 4* for difficulty as I spent a lot longer than usual but managed to solve without help. Missed the significance of (I)odine in 20d – not surprising as I last met up with chemistry about 40 years ago! Favourite was 14d, but very pleased to eventually get 1a – lot of time looking for the name of a “heathen princess”. (Had a look at the Toughie – might leave it for another day!)
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  11. The puzzle will survive long after Mr Straw and Ms Halliwell are history, so I question using them in clues. Nevertheless and excellent puzzle. Liked the linked 2 and 28 (and 1,3 & 5 in the Quickie, Sue). I see your confusion with 12a, Gazza, but strictly speaking a crab ain’t a fish.

  12. Excellent puzzle from Giovanni again. It is strange though, I did not struggle with this today, probably because of the quality, unlike yesterday which I though tougher. I would have finished more quickly if I had not put pole instead of poll in 7d.
    Many favourites but 14d the best.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza and particularly for the pictures. So pleased you did not include a Spice Girls , or even Rolph Harris video along with the hints for 14d!

  13. This took me a good deal of perseveration to get started. For a while I could only put in the down clues (down’s syndrome?) but then I started to get on to Giovanni’s wave length — and what a wonderful wave it was! Thanks so much, Giovanni. 14d was indeed a laugh out loud moment which I, as an expat Aussie, appreciated. I needed my dictionary for 16, 19 and 20d and had never heard of 23a, which was last in together with 22a.

    Shouldn’t the clue for 10a have been plural? I loved 1a and 28a, but the clue of the day must be 14d. Thanks to Gazza for the explanations. :-)

    How about ‘curmudgeon’ as the collective noun for ‘harrumph’?

      1. I have been both curmudgeonly and harrumphing since Sunday at Ryde seafront where the signs on an emporium made me rage. Apparently buckets, spades and the like are “Beachwear” and flipflops, jelly shoes etc are “Footware”. I despair.

        1. We were there a couple of weeks ago. As I paid for our catamaran crossing I could not but sing the appropriate Beatles song to myself! I also seem to recall a plague of redundant apostrophes on the promenade?

            1. When I was lad I went on holiday to the IOW! Afterwards I spent many years writing “wight” instead of as “white”! Don’t be so harsh on our Islanders – they have been cut off fron the mainland for many years!

    1. For 10a I think that acres is being used in the sense of “a lot” as in acres of space or acres of room.

  14. That was an excellent puzzle. My last two in were the two four letter words 21a and 22a – my bugbear but got there in the end and didn’t take as long as others this week did. I really enjoyed it and agree with Franny on clue of the day as 14d but I also liked 20a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

  15. What a very fine and entertaining puzzle. Just failed on 20d, where I could guess at halogen with no idea why and 22a, where I didn’t spot the construct. Close enough for me!

    Many thanks to G&G.

  16. Could not complete it in the time I allotted so came here for the answers. Annoyed that I did not get 22a as he is one of my heros – but you rarely hear him referred to just by his surname. 23a and 16d were new to me. 7d was easy enough but I did not like the construction.

  17. Strangely found this easy… was it the glass of vino at luch I wonder? Did it in half an hour which is pretty amazing for me!

  18. This wasnt too bad today although got stuck on 5d and had to resort to Gazza’s help, can’t say that I have ever heard of him but I have imprinted for future reference thanks to Giovanni for setting and Gazza for his link to 5d.

  19. Very late getting to this today and had to enlist your help Gazza, at first I thought it was going to be easy but not so, fav clue 8d, pleased to see Sue is making full use of the new vocab, A+ student :)

  20. Astonishingly, we finished this puzzle before coming here.

    Nearly didn’t buy a paper because it is Friday. :)

    The difference must be the two pints of Double Dragon in the White Hart at lunchtime!

  21. Excellent Xwrd today. the best all week for me. i am struggling with 20d. got the answer but cant figure out why.

    1. Edi,
      A group of chemical elements including Iodine (the “I” in the clue) are collectively known as halogens.

  22. I thought there were a lot of very clever clues today- my favourite was definitely 14 d with 20 d as a close 2nd.Superb puzzle.

  23. If the setter would like to contact me via the website to claim a beer next time he’s in Devon I’d be more than happy to oblige.
    14d was the work of an evil genius!

  24. You may be amused to know that Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans made reference to 14d last night on Twitter. As he was obviously nowhere near solving the clue, I recommended this site to him and it remains to be seen whether he has now seen the light…

  25. Jolly fine puzzle from the maestro as usual.
    Best for me were: 9a, 28a, 7d, 14d & 20d.

    Grazie Lei Giovanni – (I know he’s not Italian).

  26. Antipodean in Singapore, just discovered they have the Telegraph’s crossword in one of the dailies here. Still learning the style, so found it hard.

    Btw – Iodine, Bromine, etc are Halides; Halogen isn’t a Halide, but sits in the same group as Oxygen.

    1. Welcome to the blog SingaExpat


      ► noun
      Any of the elements in the seventh group of the periodic table, these being fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine (the first four defined in the 19c as forming salts by direct union with metals; astatine discovered in 1940)

      ► noun
      A compound of a halogen with a metal or radical

      Are you sure you’re not getting confused with Hydrogen or Nitrogen

      1. BD, How do you withdraw/delete a comment?

        I have wanted to do this quite often after visiting your blog after a visit to the pub!

        1. Franco,
          You can’t edit or delete your comments directly, but if you send another comment indicating what changes you want to make one of us will try to do the editing for you.

  27. just finished this with help on 3 or 4 from you (worked out Ratel for 28a but had never heard of it. I keep telegraph crosswords and then do them in no particular order and your website is a great help in preserving my sanity.

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