DT 26396 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26396

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26396

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Those who actually buy the paper are probably fed up with hearing moans about CluedUp (or whatever it’s called now) but here goes again. Their usual way of signalling that an answer extends over more than one clue is not very good (as in 1a yesterday) but at least there’s usually some indication. Today 1a appears to require just a straight 9-letter answer – I spent ages looking at in vain, left it, only to find at 25a that a second word is required.
This is a typical Giovanni puzzle. Let us know what you thought of it in a comment!
The answers, if you find the hints inadequate, are hidden between the brackets under the clues – just highlight the space between the brackets to reveal.

Across Clues

1a/25a  Shot heard — ambulance going round — it’s hairy! (9,9)
{HANDLEBAR MOUSTACHE} – once the correct enumeration is available this hairy appendage turns out to be a straightforward anagram (going round) of SHOT HEARD AMBULANCE.

6a  Little fellow, an irritation after a short time (5)
{TITCH} – put an irritation after T(ime) to make how a small person may be described. This derives from the stage name of Harry Relph, a music-hall comedian of small stature.

9a  Dull male, a Parisian accompanied by dog (7)
{MUNDANE} – an adjective meaning dull or humdrum is made from a charade of M(ale), a Parisian’s indefinite article and a great dog.

10a  Getting into bed, one full of desire raged (9)
{BLUSTERED} – a verb meaning raged or spoke aggressively is formed by getting someone with a strong sexual urge into BED.

11a  Old boy going to do to celebrate (7)
{OBSERVE} – the abbreviation for old boy is followed by a verb meaning to be used as or act (do) to make another verb meaning to celebrate or acknowledge.

12a  Excellent army officer entertains soldiers making complaint (7)
{AILMENT} – the definition is complaint. Start with an abbreviation for excellent and add the abbreviation for a junior army officer around another word for soldiers.

13a  Happiest teachers possibly not needing a person to help youngsters talk? (6,9)
{SPEECH THERAPIST} – this person to help youngsters talk is an anagram (possibly) of H(a)PPIEST TEACHERS, with the A excluded (not needing).

18a  Old-timer managed to appear after very short season in France (7)
{VETERAN} – a synonym for managed comes after a short form of V(ery) and a French Summer.

20a  Roars from blokes given a new leader (7)
{BELLOWS} – start with another word for blokes and change the leading F.

22a  Old beast thus gets around — distinctive character lacking tail (9)
{STEGOSAUR} – this is an extinct old beast. Reverse (around) a synonym for thus and GETS and add a distinctive atmosphere or character without its final A (lacking tail).

23a  English tommies smuggling in slim girl (7)
{ELEANOR} – we want a girl’s name (think of Ms. Bron, the comedy actress). Put E(nglish) and the abbreviation for other ranks (tommies) around (smuggling in) a synonym for slim.

24a  Mature final message with end almost here (5)
{RIPEN} – a verb meaning to mature is made from the abbreviation on many gravestones (final message) and most of the word end.

25a  See 1a

Down Clues

1d  Old gold turning up in decomposed matter, making one scream? (8)
{HUMOROUS} – put O(ld) and a reversal (turning up, in a down clue) of the usual word for gold inside decomposed leaves and other plant material to get a description of something that might make you scream (with laughter rather than fright).

2d  Monique’s refusal to have children? It’s not worth discussing (3-5)
{NON-ISSUE} – Monique here indicates a French-speaking person. So we want a refusal in that language followed by a legal word for children.

3d  Defensive group having drink, blocking middle of bar (6)
{LAAGER} – this is an Afrikaans word for an encampment formed by a circle of wagons. A common alcoholic drink contains (blocking) the middle letter of bAr.

4d  Repeated extra message when leaving (3-3)
{BYE-BYE} – an extra in cricket is repeated to get how a child may bid you farewell.

5d  Greek character with pistol upset police (8)
{REGULATE} – the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet is followed by a type of German automatic pistol, then the whole lot is reversed (upset, in a down clue) to make a verb meaning to control or police.

6d  See everyone run up to collect one bit of Mexican bread (8)
{TORTILLA} – the definition is bit of Mexican bread. It’s a charade of a synonym for everyone and a verb meaning to run with short steps. Then this all has to be reversed (up, as in the previous clue) and I (one) is inserted (to collect).

7d  Third row — then church goes under (6)
{TIERCE} – an archaic word for third (which is still used in music and fencing) is formed from a synonym for row (of seats, for example) followed by (goes under, in a down clue) the abbreviation for the Church of England.

8d  Strike interrupted by senior making request to delay action (4,2)
{HOLD IT} – an informal request to delay action is made from a strike round (interrupted by) a synonym for senior or aged.

14d  Leather and rope round vehicle (8)
{CORDOVAN} – this soft leather (a new word to me) was originally made from goatskin but now comes from horse hide. It takes its name from the Moorish city in Spain where it was originally made. It’s a straightforward charade of a synonym for rope, O (round) and a vehicle.

15d  Element found in brown powder after carbon’s been extracted (8)
{TANTALUM} – this element is a hard silver-grey metal. Start with a synonym for brown (either a noun or a verb) and add a perfumed powder applied to the skin to absorb moisture, from which the chemical symbol for carbon has been removed.

16d  Like athlete’s drink — is ‘medicine’ with nothing in it (8)
{ISOTONIC} – this is a description of a specially-formulated energy drink used by athletes. String together IS and a pick-me-up (medicine) and put O (nothing) between the two. How different from the training regime of the comic-book hero Alf Tupper, the Tough of the Track, whose pre-race preparation was a large serving of fish and chips.

17d  See tears wrecking bits of artistic design (8)
{TESSERAE} – an anagram (wrecking) of SEE TEARS gives us small blocks of tile, glass, etc. used in the construction of a mosaic.

18d  Evening prayer gets some wives perhaps (6)
{VESPER} – an evening prayer is hidden (gets some) in the clue.

19d  To walk up in less than a whole shoe (6)
{TOECAP} – not the whole shoe, but just the front bit, is TO followed by a verb to walk reversed (up, in a down clue).

20d  Located outside old city, be given a superior office (6)
{BUREAU} – around the old Biblical city put BE, A and the letter standing for upper-class (superior).

21d  Learner facing an exam must be up-to-date (6)
{LATEST} – start with the letter signifying a learner and add A and an exam.

I liked 10a, 11a and 1d today, but my favourite was 2d. Let us know what tickled your fancy!

57 comments on “DT 26396

  1. Firstly, a huge Happy Birthday to Crptic Sue from Mr and Mrs Nubian on this day of days. Mrs N say’s welcome to the august club. I still have some time to go.
    The crozzy today was ok but some clues I found a bit contrived . I was not happy with 15d as I couldn’t work out where the um came from at the end.
    Still, can’t have everything.
    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.
    We are currently in a kind of wind tunnel here in Newcastle at the moment.

    1. Thank you very much for the birthday wishes. Having a very good day so far and am hopeful that a nice lunch with Mr CS followed by pink sparkly wine this evening will continue the trend, although I am not sure whether trying to get into the devious mind of Elgar is the best way to spend the day! Very windy here in East Kent but the washing is drying a treat! The barometer needle is right round on the stormy side so I am not confident that this dryness will last.

  2. Those who usually get fed up with me saying how easy I found a puzzle will, I am sure, be delighted to know that I actually struggled quite a lot to get on Giovanni’s wavelength today and even needed Gazza’s hints for two of the clues! Having said that, I did enjoy the struggle and liked 1/25a – so much easier with the newspaper enumeration. Thanks to both the Gs.

    I will be spending the rest of the day, apart from when Mr CS treats me to a special lunch, in an ongoing tussle with the mind of Elgar and his Friday Toughie.

    1. I am in total agreement with you today Sue, I found it hard going but fun. Have a lovely birthday!

    2. Enjoy your day and haope your lunch with Mr CS was good and that you get your bubbly – can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

  3. Fairly straightforward except that I couldn’t get CORDWAIN (Spanish leather, from whence Cordwainer) to match my STEGASAUR. Never heard of cordavan till now. Thanks to you all for the blog.

  4. Many thanks to Giovanni for an excellent crossword. Favourite clue was 15d. Thanks also to Gazza for the review.

    1. Thanks for the puzzle, Giovanni. You original clue is very good (but perhaps more suitable for a Toughie?).

  5. Happy birthday to you Sue, hope lunch is special and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the pink bubbly,
    There were at least five words I hadn’t heard of today and I can’t pick a favourite clue! for me at least 3* if not more! Like Gazza I thought about 1a for ages then looked at the rest and saw that 25a was linked to 1a but not the other way round, which threw me into total confusion! so I decided that we needed two words meaning the same thing but couldn’t work out what that thing was!! after eventually getting some checking letters for 25a I realised what it was!!! Managed to finish without Gazzas hints but with lots and lots of book and machine help! still managing to work out what the setter is looking for is more than half the battle so I am quite pleased to have finished it
    Thanks everyone for your good wishes for my visit to dentist yesterday, still feeling a bit sore and swollen but not too bad, back in five weeks to discuss my options!!

    1. I thought of you yesterday and add my good wishes to Kath’s. I hope the options won’t be too drastic.

  6. Good morning all and a very happy birthday to Sue – hope that you have a great day.
    I enjoyed this but found it really quite difficult – part of the trouble is that I go into Friday crosswords knowing that I’m going to struggle! A fair bit of cheating today but managed to finish without the hints although I needed them to explain a few. There were quite a few words that I’ve never come across before – 22a, 3d, 7d, 14d and 15d – but they were possible to work out from clues – only problem now will be storing them in my brain for future use!! I liked 1/25a, 20a, 23a (mainly because it’s our youngest daughter’s name – lovely name – pity she’s always called Mouse!) 2d, 4d (even though it’s cricket again) and 15d. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. PS – I have a very minor quibble re 13a. As an ex- nurse I’d like to say that it’s not just youngsters who need them – people recovering from head injuries or strokes often have huge difficulty learning to talk again and 13a’s play a big part in rehabilitation.

    1. No need to quibble, Kath — I knew that as well, which is why I took the precaution of sticking the question-mark at the end.

      1. Really sorry! The significance of question marks almost always escapes me – one day I’ll learn. :oops:

  8. Really enjoyed this one. Favourites 1d 14 15 [this took me an age ] 18a and 24. Hope Mary is feeling better as I missed her tips today!

  9. Time for all you ScrewedUp brigade to revert to type! 1 & 25a was the first one to go in for me, after which the rest fell into place quite nicely. Needed your explanation for 5d, Gazza, and my thanks to you and The Don for a good workout. MHRotD Sue.

  10. Not one for the CC today – well, not this member anyway. I did get a hadful, but kicking myself not to have got 7d as it’s a common enough mixture rank on bigger pipe organs. Thanks to G&G.

    Happy birthday CS, have a lovely day!

  11. I am not as good at crosswords as the contributors to this website are but – “1 & 25”! how can anyone not realise that two nine letter answers are required?

    1. Alastair,
      In the on-line version the exact wording is:
      1 Shot heard — ambulance going round — it’s hairy! (9)

  12. I usually finish the Cryptic in under 20min (Not as fast the head of the league table who often does it in 2.5min), but on this one I gave up. Maybe I was so annoyed at the 1, 25 clue, that I threw the rattle out ofmy pram. Why is it too difficult for the compilers to write “1 and 25 (9,9)”? While wingeing, I do wish the graphic man would show bold lines at word breaks, ala Guardian. Not too keen on the throwing in of foreign words like laager. Why not some Swahili as well? Winge over. My ex-pat heaven would be incomplete without the 3 crosswords and two Sudokus each day.

    1. Hi Don Pedro – welcome to the blog.
      We do try not to emphasise solving times here, since this can be dispiriting for other solvers.

      1. If you type fast enough and have already done the paper version you can beat him but what’s the sense!!

  13. Liked 7d, guessed at 3d, but had never encountered the word before. On the whole I’d say this was a cracker of a Friday crossword. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza and a happy birthday to Sue.

  14. Lovely Friday puzzle. Cheered me up when I struggled with a tray of food, crutches and ended up dropping my soft drink. Luckily I didn’t spill it on anyone – just the floor. Solved quite a few before I came home and finished it. I had paper version so 1,25 wasn’t a problem.

    Thanks to the two G’s – enjoyable.

    1. I am sorry, Lea — what a nuisance! How much longer are you going to have to struggle with those crutches?

      1. Thanks Franny

        About another month when I am out in public – for my protection and to ward people off. Around the house I only use one or none but I still have to be very careful. It’s not too bad but you realise the things you can’t do (carry trays of food is one!!).

  15. Found today’s more difficult than the usual Friday treat… But I’m probably to blame.. ;-(

  16. Yes, this was a bit of a challenge, but highly enjoyable, so many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the hints which helped me to understand why I’d put in some of the words I’d entered. My favourite clues were 1d and 10a.

  17. Found this tough today and only 2/3 done. Easily the most demanding of the week in my view. 1a and 25a stumped me for ages but I did get it. DOH! Better luck tomorrow. 4* for me.

  18. A very enjoyable Friday puzzle from Giovanni. My only criticism is that there are too many obscure words (viz. 14d, 15d and 17d) – also all three have “double unches” in the grid (or something like that?)

    Ta! to Giovanni and Thanks! to Gazza for the review.

      1. A double unch is two consecutive letters which are not checked, e.g. letters 4-5 of 19d and 6-7 of 14d.

  19. Belated Happy Birthday, Sue and hope you had a lovely day and even better evening! Loved this x-word because it was possible to work out the answer from the clue, even if you had never heard the word. Clever! And a true cryptic clue. THANKS to G and G.

  20. Just thought I had better break off my consumption of the pink sparkling stuff to thank everyone for all their birthday wishes. I have had a brilliant day and the evening so far hasn’t been too bad either! Luckily its the Gnome’s turn to review the Saturday puzzle so I can have a bit of a lie in to recover from reaching the age I am still not going to admit I am, although I will take any age-related benefits offered. Night all..

  21. What an interesting week of puzzles. I enjoyed today but found it hard. Easily the hardest of the week for me. I think its great that everyone has different experiences. Must make grading them v hard. I was delighted when I inked in toecap for the final answer. All 5 this week complete and only 2 hints needed (both Wednesday) looking forward to tomorrows prize puzzle. I get the paper so have none of the probs but I do chuckle about some of the posts, sorry. Thanks as always for the excellent review and something to do over a pint of Lumford. Sleep well all.

    1. paolors,
      Do you have a go at the Toughies? If not you ought to give them a try – I’m sure that you’d enjoy them.

      1. Gazza,
        V rarely tackle the toughie, mainly because I don’t get to do the puzzle til late, it takes me ages then I sleep. I do feel I am missing out though. Thanks for the suggestion, I shall try to give them a go.

  22. Thought I was going to like this one after getting 1a & 25a of course but ended up not being enjoyable. 7d 14d 15d & 17d I didn’t like. 11a – celebrate=observe? A bit tenuous for me. 3d also very obscure. 5d clever but did not make up for the others.

  23. Another nice puzzle from Giovanni. I got the top half done rather smoothly then had to stop to prepare the evening meal . After clearing up restarted but was much slower – too much Sauvignon Blanc with the meal!!
    Best for me : 1a+25a, 12a, 13a, 22a, 1d, 3d, 5d, 6d, 14d & 15d.

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