DT 26375 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26375

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26375

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I wasn’t overly enamoured with this puzzle when I solved it, but it grew on me as I wrote the hints and I ended up quite liking it. It’s very fairly clued and perhaps just a bit more difficult than yesterday’s but not so difficult that it’s beyond the capabilities of most would-be solvers.
What we don’t know (at least what I don’t know) is the identity of the setter, so if he or she would like to identify themselves in a comment that would be great. Comments from all others are, of course, welcome as well.
To see an answer just highlight the space between the curly brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Two Biblical characters in a Coleridge poem (10)
{CHRISTABEL} – a charade of two characters from the Bible, the first from the New Testament, the second from the Old, form the title of a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I remember reading this at school and the stirring effect of passages like the following on a class full of pubescent males:

Beneath the lamp the lady bow’d,
And slowly roll’d her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shudder’d, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her bosom and half her side—-
A sight to dream of, not to tell!
And she is to sleep by Christabel

6a  A filter shortened? That’s ridiculous (2,2)
{AS IF} – a colloquial phrase expressing disbelief is constructed from A and a verb meaning to filter without its final T (shortened).

10a  Discipline in class (5)
{ORDER} – double definition.

11a  Face the other way in stage act, initially (4,5)
{TURN ROUND} – a phrasal verb meaning to face the other way is made from a word for a stage (in a knockout competition like the FA cup, for example) preceded by (initially) an act or performance.

12a  Fine example of a firework (7)
{CRACKER} – double definition, the first an informal term for something exceptionally good (fine example) like a Frank Carson joke.

13a  Decent chalet, I suspect (7)
{ETHICAL} – an anagram (suspect) of CHALET I.

14a  Stability shown by these, surprisingly, in financial document (7,5)
{BALANCE SHEET} – a synonym for stability is followed by an anagram (surprisingly) of THESE to make a financial document that you might find in a company’s annual report.

18a  Secret aims to make money from investments (7,5)
{PRIVATE MEANS} – the definition is money from investments. String together a synonym for secret and a verb meaning aims or intends. The source of this money is not necessarily investments; it can also come from inheritance or property.

21a  Retiring journalist’s cheerful charm (7)
{DELIGHT} – reverse (retiring) the usual abbreviation for a top journalist and add an adjective meaning lively or cheerful to make a verb meaning to charm or enchant.

23a  Sporting cry made by supporter in front of house after end of contest (5-2)
{TALLY-HO} – the cry of “the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable” is a friend or supporter followed by the abbreviation for house, with the whole lot preceded by the last letter (end) of contesT.

24a  Time wind swirls — middle of March, height of season (3-6)
{MID-WINTER} – to get the peak (height) of one of our seasons make an anagram (swirls) of TIME WIND and follow this with the middle letter of MaRch.

25a  Dance in rehearsal, samba (5)
{SALSA} – hidden in the clue, and not too difficult to spot, is a dance.

26a  Gang boasted (4)
{CREW} – double definition, the gang often being of the seagoing variety.

27a  Put back in check, say, by daughter (10)
{REINSTATED} – a verb meaning restored (put back in) is a synonym for check followed by a verb meaning to say and the abbreviation for Daughter. A nice surface reading alluding to chess.

Down Clues

1d  Find rupees in sofa in squat (6)
{CROUCH} – put the abbreviation for rupees inside a synonym of sofa.

2d  Embarrassed top MP (6)
{REDCAP} – the surface reading entices you to think of an honourable member caught out in an expenses fiddle, say, but MP is not always a Member of Parliament. This is a charade of synonyms for embarrassed and top.

3d  Sit in a pub with a gin, possibly, and agree on terms (6,1,7)
{STRIKE A BARGAIN} – this is a phrase meaning to agree on terms. Start with what a “sit in” may be in industrial relations terms and follow this with A and a synonym for pub. Finish with an anagram (possibly) of A GIN.

4d  Support services provided by a fellow on newly-built terrace (9)
{AFTERCARE} – this type of support service is constructed from A and F(ellow) followed by (on, in a down clue) an anagram (newly-built) of TERRACE.

5d  Strangely frightening in middle of Great Lake (5)
{EERIE} – start with the middle letter of grEat and add the name of one of the five great lakes of North America.

7d  Assistant in kitchen, very good American, leading one astray (4-4)
{SOUS-CHEF} – this is not the top person in a kitchen but possibly the number two. Start with a conjunction meaning very good and add the abbreviation for American. Finish with an adjective meaning leading or principal from which I (one) has been dropped (astray).

8d  Honesty of food shop shown in appropriate ending of controversy (8)
{FIDELITY} – this is an abstract noun meaning honesty or accuracy. Put the abbreviation for a food shop inside a synonym for appropriate or proper and finish with the last letter (ending) of controversY.

9d  Composers getting out of it (6,3,5)
{BRAHMS AND LISZT} – a couple of composers who, together, make an informal term for drunk (out of it), based on rhyming slang for pi**ed.

15d  Before work, traces out sled track (6,3)
{CRESTA RUN} – this is a famous tobogganing course in St Moritz in Switzerland. We want a verb meaning to work (like a computer program) and before this put an anagram (out) of TRACES.

16d  Rampant male featured in piece I’d prepared (8)
{EPIDEMIC} – we’re more used to seeing this word as a noun but here it’s an adjective meaning rampant or unrestrained. Put M(ale) inside an anagram (prepared) of PIECE I’D.

17d  Drive from top of drive to one’s gatehouse (8)
{DISLODGE} – the definition is drive from. It’s a charade of the first (top) letter of D(rive), I’S (one’s) and another word for gatehouse.

19d  Small opening I reportedly must have allowed (6)
{EYELET} – a small opening for threading things through is made from a homophone (reportedly) of I which is followed by (must have) a synonym for allowed.

20d  Ring wife being entertained by eccentric playwright (6)
{COWARD} – put O (ring) and W(ife) inside an eccentric character to get the surname of a playwright.

22d  Name lieutenant knocked over in match (5)
{TITLE} – reverse (knocked over) the abbreviation for lieutenant inside a sporting event (match) to get a name.

The clues I liked included 1a, 23a, 27a and 2d, but my favourite is 3d with its clever use of “sit in”. Let us know what you liked (or didn’t like) in a comment.

43 comments on “DT 26375

  1. I wasn’t sure I liked this one either to start with, especially as I didn’t write anything in the grid initially until 21a. Luckily the downs were more user friendly and I finished in the same time as yesterday (quickish). I agree with all your favourites, Gazza, including clue of the day. It is strange how a puzzle ‘grows on you’ as you write the review, isn’t it? Thanks to yet another ‘Mysteron’ (or is it a previous Mysteron reappearing??) and to Gazza.

    The Toughie only took me a few minutes more and, in my opinion, it’s more enjoyable than today’s Cryptic.

  2. I found it a similar solving experience to crypticsue – I got a bit mired in the NW corner but got there in the end having remembered the other type of MP. Thanks to our mystery setter and to gazza for the review (I noticed the ‘more’ tag was hastily inserted! :D )

  3. I absolutely loved this one and had finished it before the hints were here – first time for a while. Had to google 2d to see if ‘he’ was an honourable member and then realised my mistake. I don’t know how any of you know who the setter is – could it be RayT? As a complete novice at this game I only know that almost all of his have at least one clue that really makes me laugh (9d today). One of his (I think) a few weeks ago was “Taking the old lady out”, or something along those lines, “Matricide” and another, much longer ago, was “Old woman collapsed in annexe perhaps “Granny flat”! I bet you’re all going to tell me that today’s is not set by RayT and that neither of the other two clues were his either! Oh well .. ! My favourite clues today were 1 and 6a and 3d and, best of all 9d.

    1. Kath,
      I don’t think it’s by Ray T. Firstly, he seems to have been moved to Thursdays, and secondly some of the clues are a bit more verbose than he likes to make them.

  4. A pleasant enough puzzle for me today; what I would call a ‘Starbucks’ crossword, i.e a gentle solve over a cup of coffee.
    The last one in was 1a (which I guessed), as I had never heard of this poem before, and kept thinking of the Ancient Mariner.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

  5. At last, my computer has not been displaying the page properly! This puzzle was a bit like pulling teeth for me today, though I completed it before the blog was up, I still found it difficult, putting redman at 2d!! But as you say Gazza on reading through it afterwards I can appreciate how clever it is, just a bit too clever for me if I hadn’t had all my books etc going flat out, I think it has to be a RayT today :) fav clue 26a, had never heard of 1a or the term at 9d but my little machine had thank goodness!

  6. Many thanks to the Mysteron for an enjoyable crossword. Like Sue I had a slow start on the across clues but made up ground on the down clues before getting into my stride. The last few in were in the NW corner. I very much appreciated the fair but cunning cluing. This did not feel like a RayT (who seems to appearing on Thursdays now – if two weeks can establish a trend) or a Shamus, so I assume that AN Other is occupying Ray’s old seat. Favourite clues were 3d and 20d.

  7. Thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this at first, then gradually speeded up. Didn’t like ‘light’ as a synonym for cheerful in 21a. Liked the laugh-out-loud moment when 9d was solved. Thanks to the mystery compiler and to Gazza

    1. Patsyann,
      Amongst its many meanings for “light” Chambers has “cheerful or lively; amusing”.

  8. read the blog regularly, but rarely pick up a paper til later in the day, so usually too late to comment. This was a rare one sitter for me, so more of a 2 star… but hey they seem easy when you can do them and hard when you can’t!

    Whichever, nothing too controversial i could see, other than thinking 5d was clumsy, the answer was obvious, but can’t see any clear sign for what to with the extra e from great.

    3d and 27a pick of the bunch

    1. Read 5d as “Strangely frightening (is to be found) in (the) middle (letter) of GrEat (followed by the name of a ) Lake”. So it’s E + ERIE.

      1. thanks gazza, makes sense… think i was thrown by the ‘in’… bit of a wasted misdirection for me on one of the oldest clues in crosswordland!

  9. Fairly straightforward crossword today, not too difficult and quite enjoyable. I liked 1a and 3d best. Thanks for the review Gazza and thanks to the mystery setter.

  10. Other way around today, it was the lower half that went in more easily with, as Mary said, the top half like pulling teeth! Got there in the end, without the blog, but I also put REDMAN in 2d – should have looked up MP in the abbreviations dictionary! I enjoyed some of it and especially 9d, my fav clue today.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza for much-needed review.

  11. There was nothing too hurty in there and I wouldn’t mind a bit more Coleridge in future. Thanks to Gazza and the setter (for letting me get back to work this afternoon).

  12. I found today’s offering an enjoyable challenge and marginally easier than yesterday’s. After a slowish start I got it done in good time which was pleasing. Last in was 26a. Thank you to the setter – all done.

  13. Enjoyed this – a clear 3* for me. Same probs as others – NW being last to yield. You’ve got to choose a clue that defeats you as favourite, so I’d go for 2d as it never crossed my mind to think outside the usual MP box! I would just quibble with 1d and the use of the second ‘in’ as an appropriate pointer to the definition word, though I understand why the setter has used it to help the surface reading.
    Big up to all.

  14. Yes. ‘Brahms and Liszt’ are always good for a laugh, but surely we had this quite recently or am I dreaming?
    Quite a few enjoyable anagrams to work out, so three stars for enjoyment. Thanks ,Gazza, for your usually informative blog!

  15. I quite liked this one, especially 3d, so thanks to the mysteron.
    Also thanks to Gazza for the excellent blog.

  16. Agree with most of above comments! Enjoyed it very much!Just to say, Gazza, when you log on to the title page of the blog, all the answers are visible without clicking on the puzzle number.

    1. Thanks nanaglugglug and Digby for pointing that out. I’d managed to copy the whole of the blog (rather than just the prologue) into the summary which you see when you select from date, and I’d done it before I’d blanked out the answers. Should be fixed now – that also explains the problem that Gnomethang had accessing the blog this morning.

  17. Thanks Gazza & X – slightly harder than the Rufus puzzle of yesterday. By the way, on the “previous” page of the blog (the one you reach after clicking on today’s date) all the answers are clearly displayed. At least, they are in Firefox.

    1. Digby, I wonder if you have seen the comment from Rufus on yesterday’s blog (Comment #24 – DT 26374).

      I’m sure it will be of interest!

      1. Hi Franco, I had missed this till you pointed it out, so many thanks. I have responded to Rufus’s post, and it seems we shared many aviation experiences, though not in the same time or place. I’m sure he will be equally sad seeing the Armed Forces, particularly the Fleet Air Arm, being emasculated through political incompetence!

  18. My timing was off today – went to download it just at the time they were doing the maintenance on the clued up (or whatever they are calling it now) site. Got involved with other things and only just got to it.

    Enjoyed it – thanks to mysteron and to Gazza.

    S/W corner was the last for me – and didn’t like my last one 26a!! The two I enjoyed (same as everyone else) weer 3d and 9d.

  19. I found this to be slightly harder than usual – I got my DT in the afternoon as usual and solved it sitting on the sofa in the sunshine (we did have a violent hailstorm a little earlier) but I kept falling asleep as yesterday I banged my head and actually KOed myself – got quite a bump now. Best clues for me were :1a, 14a, 26a, 2d, 3d & 20d.

    Got 9d but couldn’t understand the clue as I never thought about rhyming slang – been away from GB too long! So thank you Gazza for the clarification.

    I liked 2d because when you see MP you immediately think of the HP sauce variety.

    1. Re 9d, I just checked in my Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang and I see they give Brahms with Liszt and also Mozart and Liszt.

      Have you been in the park in Vienna where all the statues of the famous composers are – Strauss is in gold- do they ever try to steal it like the mermaid in Copenhagen?

  20. Didn’t quite get to grips with this one, unlike most of you above. Thanks Gazza, I needed the assistance.

  21. Tricky but do-able for me. Quite enjoyed it but got a bit stuck in the NW corner. 4 stars for me.

  22. Pleased with myself only to find got two wrong. I only checked because I could not work out the cryptic bit. Had Howard who was also a playwright and Redman as pridected by Gazza. Oh well.
    Thanks Gazza and the setter – I still enjoyed it.

  23. Is there a summary of the characteristics of individual setters and do any of our setters set for other newspapers?

    1. There’s an excellent who’s who of setters (including those of the Telegraph) on the bestforpuzzles site. See here.

  24. Whoever set this, I am not on the same wavelength. For several I got the answer and struggled to make the clue fit it.

    7d – I did not know that SO meant “very good”

  25. Is it me? Or is the Telegraph Puzzles site one of the worst managed sites I have ever had the misfortune to come across? Having taken my details (including those for future payment following the trial period) it still asks me to complete my registration & when I do so what happens? Zip! Zilch! Nothing!
    It just sits there asking me to complete my registration…

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