DT 26343 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26343

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26343

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Another nice Saturday offering from Cephas. I did enjoy the solving experience as there was a nice variety of clues, some quite simple (too simple for some, apparently) and others to make you think, including the fairly unpopular 14a.

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.


1a    Sling mud at fellow taking morning afloat in river (6)
DEFAME – In this case, slinging mud in the sense of saying malicious things about someone. As instructed, take F for fellow and AM (morning) and insert them into (afloat) the River DEE

4a    Give official recognition to Bill with Charlie having read it aloud (8)
ACCREDIT – Another way of saying to certify as meeting official requirements is easily made from a charade of the abbreviation for a bill or account AC plus C for Charlie and redit (read it said out loud).

9a    Reason it came back in turn (6)
MOTIVE – a synonym for reason – another word for turn, MOVE with TI (it came back) inside.

10a    Follower had record that is about small place (8)
DISCIPLE – This follower comes from DISC (record) plus I E (that is) put about the abbreviation for place PL (as in street names).

11a    Pay Sarah before Ray comes unstuck (6)
SALARY – The diminutive of Sarah – SAL before an anagram of RAY (comes unstuck) gives a periodical payment for work.

12a    Youth who is extremely distressed? (8)
SKINHEAD – a young person, quite often a gang member, whose hair was closely cropped could be said to be dis – tressed.

14a    Shining more brightly to expose etching (10)
OUTSCORING – When you expose something secret, you are said to OUT it. Etching is made of scratched or scored lines, so etching would be SCORING. In this case, shining more brightly would refer to someone winning by outscoring others. This clue caused me the most trouble, even with the checking letters . It doesn’t appear in Chambers as far as I can see (and I got a totally disinterested third party to check). It is in the ODE and Wiktionary. [Outscore is mentioned in the box at the bottom of page 1093, Chambers 11th edition. BD]

18a    Power of moving crazy proposal (10)
LOCOMOTION – A nice clue – crazy or LOCO (apparently a disease of cattle) with a synonym for a proposal in the sense of something put before a meeting or a court – MOTION. Hands up who else was singing the 1962 Goffin/King hit, revisited in the 1980s by Kylie.

22a    Slow-mover from wrong French river (8)
TORTOISE – This slow-moving animal is made up of TORT (a wrong or injury) and the tributary of the Seine, the river OISE.

23a    Round field of activity? (6)
SPHERE – A nice double definition – the solid round shape or a range or field of activity.

24a    A gypsy with a twitch getting spicy (8)
AROMATIC – these gypsies have been in the news lately so no excuse for not ‘getting’ them. A ROMA (gypsy) and the best crossword twitch – the TIC, the whole being another way of saying fragrant or spicy.

25a    To be next to Joan, I’d moved (6)
ADJOIN – the first anagram (moved) JOAN ID rearranged gives you a verb meaning to be next to.

26a    Retain alcoholic drink as souvenir (8)
KEEPSAKE – A reminder of an event or place is a charade of KEEP (retain) plus the second appearance of the alcoholic drink SAKE in two days (it was in the Friday toughie but with its alternative spelling).

27a    Rod, go inside for Peg (6)
SPIGOT – A rod used for roasting meat – SPIT with, as the clue instructs, GO inside, makes a peg used for closing a hole or pipe.


1d    Not saying anything to indicate pantomime (8)
DUMBSHOW – DUMB (not saying anything) and SHOW (indicate) gives you a pantomime in its most literal sense as in gesture without words.

2d    Uselessness following public service (8)
FUTILITY – I had never heard of F being used for following before but “Chambers says so”! F and UTILITY (public services such as electricity and water) makes a synonym for uselessness.

3d    Michael protected a very short person who does not conform (8)
MAVERICK – This non-conformer originated as a description of unruly cattle in the United States – the diminutive of Michael, MICK, is placed round (protected) A and VER (very short – last letter removed).

5d    Complaint of hen stalked by quiet fox losing its head (10)
CHICKENPOX – This nasty spotty complaint is a charade of CHICKEN (hen) P (piano – musically quiet) and OX (take away the F from fox – losing its head).

6d    Almost hot-off-the-press centre spread (6)
RECENT – Anagram number 2 – “spread” CENTRE produces an adjective meaning done not long ago, hence almost hot-off-the-press.

7d    Bird having a swim? (6)
DIPPER – A nice simple double definition (too simple for some on the day) someone having a quick swim could also be a type of water bird.

8d    Attempt to comprehend purpose in fashion (6)
TRENDY – Two of crosswordland’s favourite three letter words – TRY (attempt) and END (purpose) – insert END into TRY and the resulting word means at the forefront of fashion.

13d    It is hag-ridden (10)
BROOMSTICK – Hags are witches and witches ride….! A clue that made me and others smile.

15d    Did some absorbing work (6,2)
MOPPED UP – The word absorbing has many meanings but in this case it refers to soaking or mopping up.

16d    With short front and back, perhaps, it’s oblique (8)
SIDELONG – One to make the solver think – if the front and back are short, the side might be long – and put together they make a word meaning oblique or sloping

17d    Entomb before next ten leave web (8)
INTERNET – Compilers always like the word INTER (bury or entomb). The clue instructs to put this before NEXT but to leave the ten (X). How we managed to solve puzzles before they invented this web, I do not know.

19d    Set upon sporting action (6)
ATTACK – Another clue that needed careful consideration. A double definition of attack – to act against someone with violence or to take the initiative in trying to score in any sport.

20d    Track round in wood (6)
GROOVE – ‘Round’ is usually a sign to put an O in a word. A GROVE is a small sized wood. Add the O to produce a hollow, furrow or track.

21d    Tremor as sea engulfs swampy ground (6)
MORASS – A hidden word clue – swampy ground is ‘engulfed’ in tremor as sea.

I enjoyed this crossword – I think it struck just the right level, with a good variety of clues to appeal to all levels of solver, including some which might draw in the first-time solver to get them hooked on the joy that is solving the DT Cryptic. My favourites were 12a, 18a, 5d and 16d.

Back to Gnomethang next week which is most timely as I shall be doing a moonlight walk on Saturday night for the local hospice and so probably won’t be awake enough on Sunday to type straight!

7 comments on “DT 26343

  1. Re 24a, I was unsure about the wordplay, and still not totally convinced. Is the gypsy ROM (gypsy man) or ROMA? If it is ROMA then there is an unnecessary ‘a’ in the clue. I read it as A ROM A TIC.

    1. You are right. I obviously didn’t analyse the clue carefully enough, just thought about Roma being in the news lately and assumed that was what it was without reading the clue properly.

      1. Just read it again, I think the a before the twitch is just so the sentence makes sense. Perhaps Cephas can elucidate.

  2. Well reviewed, Sue. I found that this Saturday puzzle was far more enjoyable than others in recent weeks and I’m pleased that you thought so too. All good wishes for your midnight walk and for clear skies.

  3. Sue

    Thanks for an excellent review and good luck with your midnight walk. Let’s hope the rain stays away this weekend.

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