DT 26399 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26399

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26399

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I don’t know who the setter is today – the puzzle has the feel of a refugee from the wasteland that was once Thursday’s province. I’ve noticed before that the first clue you solve sets the tone for the whole puzzle – today the first answer I put in was 1a and, as far as I was concerned, the puzzle never recovered. Am I being unfair? Or am I being unduly generous in giving it two stars for enjoyment? Let me know your views in a comment!
If you want to see an answer drag your cursor through the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  What to eat in historic town (Earl’s)? (10)
{SANDWICHES} – I don’t like this clue. It’s meant to be a cryptic definition of snacks which have the same name as a historic town in Kent. It looks as though the bit in brackets (which sticks out like a sore thumb) has been inserted at the last minute as an additional hint. The snack is said to be named after the fourth earl who was hungry but didn’t want to interrupt his card game so asked for a piece of meat to be put between two slices of bread, so that he could eat and gamble at the same time. [Thanks to Anax for pointing out that the final two letters of the answer come from E(arl’)S].

6a  Mark’s causing alarm no end (4)
{SCAR} – drop the final E (no end) from an alarm to leave a permanent mark on the skin.

10a  Lecturer leaving Essex town plant (5)
{BASIL} – start with a town in South Essex and take away a senior academic to leave a plant, the leaves of which are used as a culinary herb.

11a  Group of musicians producing money belt (5,4)
{BRASS BAND} – this is a group of musicians, and it’s also an informal word for money followed by a synonym for belt or sash.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a  What adverse decision may result in? (3-4)
{ILL-WILL} – a decision that goes against you may leave you with a feeling of hostility or bitterness. It’s a charade of an adjective meaning harmful or unfavourable and a decision or determination.

13a  Barge’s means of ignition (7)
{LIGHTER} – double definition.

14a  Praise Monet’s remarkable apes (12)
{IMPERSONATES} – a verb meaning apes is an anagram (remarkable) of PRAISE MONET’S.

18a  Well-earned revenue? (12)
{PETRODOLLARS} – cryptic definition of revenue earned from oil wells.

21a  To our sailors, trouble is a violent windstorm (7)
{TORNADO} – this is a charade of TO, the abbreviation for the nation’s sailors and a synonym for trouble.

23a  Hurt fencing juvenile champion (7)
{PALADIN} – fencing here is a containment indicator (i.e. it’s used in the sense of putting a fence round or surrounding). So, we want a verb meaning to wound or distress (hurt) around a young male (juvenile). The resulting word is a paragon of knighthood (champion) derived from the (largely fictional) warriors of Charlemagne’s court.

24a  Set of rooms beside Thames originally housing soldiers (9)
{APARTMENT} – housing is another containment indicator. To make this set of rooms put a synonym for beside and the initial letter (originally) of T(hames) around ordinary soldiers.

25a  Make one marry (5)
{UNITE} – this is meant to be a double definition, but it’s really the same definition twice.

26a  Chop up hard wood (4)
{HASH} – a verb meaning to chop up or dice is made from H(ard) (as in pencil classifications) and a type of wood.

27a  Power shown by outstanding dog, early leader in race (10)
{PACESETTER} – this early leader who sets the tempo in a race is a charade of P(ower), an adjective meaning outstanding and a breed of dog.

Down Clues

1d  Tender doctor turned up in case (6)
{SUBMIT} – this is a verb meaning to tender or propose. Reverse (turned up, in a down clue) one of the abbreviations for a medical doctor and put it inside a legal action (case).

2d  Head will, it’s said, settle comfortably (6)
{NESTLE} – we want a verb meaning to settle comfortably. It’s a homophone (it’s said) of a headland or promontory followed by an abbreviated form of will.

3d  Sequential artist might allow hair to be styled (7,7)
{WILLIAM HOGARTH} – an anagram (to be styled) of MIGHT ALLOW HAIR gives us the name of an English satirical artist credited with pioneering sequential art, in which a story is told in a sequence of images (a technique later adopted by countless comics!). His most well-known series of paintings was A Rake’s Progress.

4d  Foreign gent’s strange role in support of conspiracy (9)
{CABALLERO} – this is a Spanish gentleman. Put an anagram (strange) of ROLE after (in support of, in a down clue) an intrigue or conspiracy (this word is best known as a shorthand way of referring to five advisors of Charles II who formed a conspiratorial group and whose initials spelt out the word).

5d  He, reportedly, is behind energy message (5)
{EMAIL} – the definition is message. Put what sounds like (reportedly) a masculine person (he) after E(nergy).

7d  Innocence of children, Italian, evident during stay abroad (8)
{CHASTITY} – start with an abbreviation for children and add an anagram (abroad) of STAY with an abbreviation for Italian inside to form innocence or purity.

8d  Revolutionary annoyed relief organisation (3,5)
{RED CROSS} – this relief organisation is the colour associated with a revolutionary followed by an adjective meaning annoyed.

9d  Like a measure army officer adopted in most cases (2,1,7,4)
{AS A GENERAL RULE} – the definition is in most cases.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d  Sailor’s pique concerning compound (9)
{SALTPETRE} – this is an alternative name for potassium nitrate, a compound used as a constituent of gunpowder amongst other things. It’s a charade of an informal word for an old sailor, a fit of the sulks (pique) and a preposition meaning concerning.

16d  Notice Conservative has thrown money down (4,4)
{SPOT CASH} – this is a term meaning money paid immediately. It’s a verb meaning to notice followed by C(onservative) and an anagram (thrown) of HAS.

17d  Film celebrities touring Warwickshire (4,4)
{STAR WARS} – we want the name of a film (one of a seemingly never-ending series). Put another name for celebrities around the abbreviation for Warwickshire.

19d  A current at sea (6)
{ADRIFT} – A followed by a slow current caused by the wind combine to make an adjective meaning floating without direction (at sea).

20d  Ready to drive off from home with household stuff (2,4)
{IN GEAR} – a phrase meaning ready to drive off (once you’ve let out the clutch) comes from a charade of the usual Crosswordland word for (at) home and assorted personal belongings (household stuff).

22d  Last letter from home (Gateshead) (5)
{OMEGA} – the last letter of the Greek alphabet can be extracted from the clue.

I liked 18a and 27a, but my favourite clue today is 4d. Let us know which ones you liked in a comment!

44 comments on “DT 26399

  1. I couldn’t decide whether it was the fact that I have just returned to work following six days of celebration (Nubian please note it’s the only way when you get to xx) or whether this was a really hard to get into, not enjoyable to solve crossword – it took me about four times as long to solve as yesterday’s crossword and I don’t really have a single favourite.. I was therefore really glad to read Gazza’s comments and find that it wasn’t just me. Sorry Tuesday Mysteron but that’s how it was. Thanks Gazza for the explanations and for putting my mind at rest.

    Can’t give any recommendation yet about the Toughie – because I have been away from my desk, I am having trouble finding it for all the work I have been left on it, so the Toughie will have to wait for my lunch hour.

    1. As stated in an email to CSue – I found the Toughie harder than perhaps it ought to have been due to the proliferation of Double Unches. That’s all I will say on this blog.

      1. Sadly I can’t afford to stop. Being post April 1950 means pension and other such benefits don’t start until next July. Would love to retire and devote all my time to nice holidays, lots of walking and. especially, being able to do more reviews etc for this blog. One day…….

    2. Just managed the Toughie, without the hints as they aren’t there yet! As Pommette put it – a bit like pulling teeth!
      Now I’ve looked at it again I wonder why we had so much trouble, it’s definately harder than recent Tuesdays but well worth a go!

  2. 15d and 4d were possibly my favourites. I must agree on the enjoyment – I actually voted it as ‘irritating’ on Telegraph Puzzles. Looking through the review I may have been a bit harsh but I didnt really enjoy it at the time.
    Thanks to gazza and our mystery setter

    1. I actually voted it as ‘irritating’ on Telegraph Puzzles – so did I, but I relented slightly later!

  3. Probably about right with your ratings Gazza, no sense of satisfaction on completion. I did however quite like 23a and, even though its an anagram, 3d. Thanks Gazza for the review.

  4. A bit a a curate’s egg, me thinks. Some good clues of which 18a was my favourite. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  5. I thought it was bordering on toughie level so I struggled through. Back to a good bike ride I think, now I have recovered from the weekend. weather perfect.
    Thanks to Gazza and the ethereal Mr Mysteron…oooeerr missus

  6. Never particularly enjoy Tuesday’s crossword and this was no exception, although we finished it quite quickly.

  7. Just a slight amend to the parsing of 1a – it comprises the name of the historic town and the E’S part at the end is based on the abbreviation E=Earl, so E’s=Earl’s. Perhaps not an exceptional clue, but there’s slightly more to it than first appears.

  8. I enjoyed this more than most other people by the sound of it so, Gazza, I think that maybe you are being a bit unfair – not being rude – you did ask! I found a few clues quite tricky – 18a is a word that I haven’t heard before and would never have got – I had to look in the curly brackets for the answer even though I had alternate letters. Until I got 9d I was trying to make 11a an anagram of ‘money belt’ – wrong! For a while with 14a I was thinking of the monkey kind of ape – wrong again!! I liked 27a and 4 and 15d – oh, and, dare I say it, thought that 1a was pretty good, especially having read Anax’s comment. Thanks to the mystery setter and Gazza. Jolly cold in Oxford today.

    1. I am with you Kath. Enjoyed this more than yesterday and didn’t need any hints but did need the dictionary to get 18a which is a new one on me. No stand out clues but still enjoyable.

  9. In Scotland for the last week and being continually soaked, not seeing a paper or even benefitting from an internet connection, I expected to struggle with the crossword for a couple of days while I dried out and got my brain back into gear. Not so, and today this was really rattled through.
    Enjoyable as always but the best bit is always the hints,
    Thanks Gazza.

  10. That was odd: I loved the anagrams, but the rest of it I could pretty much take or leave…
    18a was a new word to me.
    Thanks to Gazza for the tips and the setter for 14a and 3d.

  11. This wasn’t as bad as some are making out.
    Not my favourite puzzle and a bit of a curate’s egg as Prolixic said.
    Thanks to Gazza and the setter

  12. I thought it was more than 2 stars for difficulty. I liked 14a of the anagrams best because of the misleading apes. I also quite like 18a

  13. Well, I did about two-thirds and then got thoroughly stuck. Not satisfactory! Though I did pat myself on the back a bit on discovering 3d, so I suppose that would be my favourite.

    Now I’m going to ask a few silly questions:

    Is ‘apart’ a synonym for ‘beside’?
    What is the difference between a double definition and the same definition twice?
    What is a double unch?

    1. 1 e.g. “beside cricket, is there anything else you dislike?” and “cricket apart, is there …?”
      2. 25a is meant to be a double definition, but I was pointing out that the two definitions seem to me to be virtually the same.
      3. a double unch is two consecutive unchecked letters in an answer, e.g. in today’s Toughie characters 2 & 3 of 8a.

  14. I didn’t get much further than the NE corner, plus a few more. I too found it hard to get into and so annoying I just gave up on it and made a big pot of soup.

  15. Not a very entertaining puzzle!
    I liked 10a, 28a, 4d & 15d.

    Haven’t time to have a go at the toughie as have a very busy day ahead tomorrow.

  16. I thought this was ridiculously easy and had much more trouble yesterday, especially with the SW corner. Get a grip compiler. Haven’t had a look at the toughie yet and hope it provides more entertainment than this. I think 2* for enjoyment was generous and 1/2 only for difficulty.

  17. Where are Mary and Lea today? So glad that someone asked what a double unch is – why is it called that – have tried to look at it all ends up and still can’t make any sense of it.

    1. A “unch” is shorthand for “UNCHecked letter” (a place in the crossword grid where an across and down clue do not intersect). A double UNCH is where there are two such square next to each other. Double unches make solving more difficult as there are fewer cross-checked letters to assit you.

  18. Perhaps I was having a good day but I found this quite easy apart from 18a which I got by chance when googling some made up words beginning with the first five letters. Thanks to setter. Now for the toughie …

  19. I thought that today’s puzzle was a 3*/3*.

    I noticed that 1a (Earl’s) and 22d (Gateshead) both have parentheses in the clue. Are there any rules about punctuation in the clue – or is it left to the solver to make his/her own intepretation?

    1. It’s pretty much up to the solver to work out the implications, but in both these cases I think that the brackets make the surface reading less than smooth.

  20. I can’t understand a lot of the above comments. I found this puzzle to be a good challenge and I felt very satisfied when the last answer went in. Sometimes they can be too straightforward and finished too easily but I found this to be a sterner test. Favs were 1a 7 14 18. The only dodgy one was 25 but it was easy to fill in. It took me quite a while as 18 was a new one and I missed Mary’s hints. Must be a nuisance doing the washing by hand!

  21. I thought quite tuff at the south end – I’v never heard of 16d and had to use the blog, nor indeed wou;d have I got 27a without looking.

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