DT 26405

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26405

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle today, with an outstanding clue at 1a. Let us know what you thought in a comment.
To see an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Sort dense and clownish with modicum of refinement? (8,6)
{CHINLESS WONDER} – a lovely all-in-one to start with. An anagram (sort) of DENSE and CLOWNISH has the first letter (modicum) of R(efinement) appended to make a sort of upper-class twit.

9a  Striking policeman protecting front of rally in sudden emergence (7)
{OUTCROP} – this sudden emergence is a description of workers on strike followed by an informal term for a policeman around (protecting) the initial letter (front) of R(ally).

10a  Titled woman, one active around wit (7)
{DOWAGER} – a widow with a title derived from her late husband is someone who is active containing (around) a wit or joker.

11a  Heartfelt couple of notes associated with old record (4)
{DEEP} – start with two musical notes and add an old record format to make an adjective meaning heartfelt or intense.

12a  Business event providing drink? One with debts left inside (5,5)
{POWER LUNCH} – this is a business meeting (involving food and, no doubt, drink) for the movers and shakers. Start with an alcoholic drink traditionally served hot and inside this put someone who has debts and L(eft).

14a  Fruit is detected in drops (6)
{RAISIN} – this dried fruit is formed by inserting IS in drops from above.

15a  Abandon film seen in seedy joints (8)
{JETTISON} – a verb meaning to discard or abandon is made by putting a film title inside an anagram (seedy) of JOINTS. How would setters manage without Spielberg’s film?

17a  Withdraw some fast food? (8)
{TAKEAWAY} – double definition. Fast food could be a phrasal verb to withdraw or subtract if it were redefined as (4,4).

18a  Make good agent around company before start of upheaval (6)
{RECOUP} – a verb meaning to make good one’s losses is a sales agent around the abbreviation of company and the first letter of U(pheaval).

21a  Drunk holding paper, edition showing some parts of body? (4,6)
{SOFT TISSUE} – this is a description of parts of the body such as muscles and tendons. A habitual drunkard contains (holding) the pink newspaper, and this is followed by a synonym for edition.

22a  Single university attended by fool (4)
{UNIT} – to make a single start with U(niversity) and add an informal word for a fool.

24a  Impressive flower for refined person (7)
{EPICURE} – this is a person with refined tastes. It’s a charade of an adjective meaning impressive and a river (flower) in North Yorkshire.

25a  Talk foolishly about four shunning publicity (7)
{PRIVATE} – a verb meaning to talk foolishly goes around the Roman numeral for four to form an adjective meaning shunning publicity.

26a  Medical intervention that’s important here’s roughly done exposing hospital? (7,7)
{KEYHOLE SURGERY} – this is an operation carried out in a hospital theatre. Start with an adjective meaning of crucial importance and follow this with an anagram (done) of HERE’S ROUG(h)LY without (exposing) H(ospital).

Down Clues

1d  Food with wine turning up is soup (7)
{CHOWDER} – a charade of an informal word for food and a type of wine reversed (turning up, in a down clue) produces a rich soup which normally contains fish.

2d  Behind bars, old fellow closing call at a critical point? (2,3,4,2,4)
{IN THE NICK OF TIME} – this is a phrase meaning at a critical point. Start with an informal way of saying behind bars or in prison and follow this with O(ld) F(ellow) and what the landlord calls out in a traditional pub to get you to drink up.

3d  Bird hiding among spectacular kingfishers (4)
{LARK} – there’s a bird hiding in the clue.

4d  Divert trouble in shop (6)
{SIPHON} – an anagram (trouble) of IN SHOP produces a verb meaning divert (often used to describe the illegal diversion of funds).

5d  Naive notion largely we entertained before unknown journalist (4-4)
{WIDE-EYED} – the definition is naive. Put a synonym for notion without its final A (largely) inside (entertained) WE and add an algebraic unknown and the usual senior journalist.

6d  Source of information allowed to enter western ground (10)
{NEWSLETTER} – a synonym for allowed goes inside an anagram (ground) of WESTERN.

7d  School sportsday event? Parade’s once going off without one (3-3-5,4)
{EGG-AND-SPOON RACE} – I bet that most solvers got this just from the enumeration! It’s an anagram (off) of PARADE’S ONCE GO(i)NG without I (one).

8d  Old city church favoured mischievous child (6)
{URCHIN} – a charade of an old Biblical city, an abbreviation for church and a word meaning popular or favoured.

13d  Entrepreneurial talent sporting a modish cut (5,5)
{MIDAS TOUCH} – this is an entrepreneurial talent which means that everything you turn your hand to works well. It’s an anagram (sporting) of A MODISH CUT. The phrase derives from a mythological Greek king who had the ability to turn anything he came in contact with into gold.

16d  Battlefield weapon giving German fool horrible experience (3,5)
{GAS SHELL} – this is a weapon which gives off a poisonous vapour when it bursts. It’s constructed from G(erman), a metaphor for a fool and a state of supreme misery (horrible experience).

17d  Sample something fired around back of circuit (6)
{TASTER} – put something that may be fired by a police officer around the last letter (back) of (circui)T to make an informal word for a small amount of something to give you a flavour of what it’s like (sample).

19d  Earthenware revealing animal in extremes of play (7)
{POTTERY} – put a fish-eating animal inside the outer letters (extremes) of P(la)Y. A new dish, called chicken tarka, has recently appeared on the menu of my local Indian 17a. It’s like chicken tikka but it’s ‘otter.

20d  Drink and another taken up creating furore (6)
{RUMPUS} – put together an alcoholic spirit and a Northern English dialect word for a drink which is reversed (taken up, in a down clue).

23d  On reflection, bar source of stories (4)
{LIAR} – reverse (on reflection) a bar to get someone who tells stories.

I enjoyed 2d and 5d today, but by far and away my favourite clue was 1a. Let us know what you liked (or disliked) in a comment!



  1. Nubian
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Extremely satisfying puzzle today.Thanks to Gazza and Ray T if it is him.
    Toughie is good too

    • gazza
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure that it’s not by Ray T.

  2. Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle with 1a a definite favourite. Anyone else wonder if it is Shamus?
    In any case thanks to gazza and the setter.

  3. Jezza
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Very good, very enjoyable. Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

  4. mary
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning Gazza, I thought this was a really good crossword even though I failed to complete it without your help, lots of clever clues with witty answers fav clue even though I failed to get it is 2d, many others, I felt sure that for 21a with the mention of paper and body parts that after yesterdays comments on a certain picture, that this one begs a reply??? Thanks for hints Gazza, couldn’t have done it without you and it’s still only morning :)

    • mary
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Having said all that there were a few I really didn’t like, 1a, 9a and 5d!

    • Franny
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you, Mary. :-)

  5. Prolixic
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Excellent crossword from our mystery setter – I too wondered if this was from the hand of Shamus. I agree with 1a as the top clue. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    I can commend the Toughie today. I found it on a par with the cryptic (if not slightly easier in places). It will be interesting to see how BD illustrates 20a!

    • Upthecreek
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      What a coincidence – we await with bated breath.

  6. Pete
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Maybe I was on the right wavelength today because I would only give this 2* for difficulty. Some great clues all the same. I agree that 1A was a great clue but getting such a long answer at the top does open up the crossword.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  7. mary
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Everyone seems to like 1a but in this clue although the anagram is fairly obvious I just can’t see what we’re supposed to be looking for i.e. the definition??

    • mary
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      I know its an all in one but still can’t work out how we’re supposed to know!

      • gazza
        Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        If you can’t find a definition in the clue, check to see if the whole clue can be the definition.

        • mary
          Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Gazza I did, I must have missed something!

  8. crypticsue
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    had a bit of a struggle to finish this today – needed to invoke the Gnome’s Law to finish it. Although it took me ages to get, I agree that 1a is the best clue. Thanks to Gazza and the mystery Tuesday setter.

    Agree with Prolixic with the Toughie – found it ‘easier’ than the cryptic and with some great clues.

    • Digby
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Agree Sue – I haven’t had time to look at the Toughie yet, but I feel that this would qualify as one. Other than 7d, which was easily cracked, I found almost all the clues were clever and thought-provoking………..and tinged with Shamus’s undoubted sense of humour!

  9. Kath
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Is it me? I thought that this one was really difficult – starting with the across clues I got right down to 18 before I managed to get one. Oh dear – maybe I’m just having an off day! 1a took me ages – I could see that it had to be an anagram but nothing added up to the right number of letters until I added the ‘R’. Got it in the end. The only one I needed the hints for today was 12a – just couldn’t do the first word – have heard of ‘…..’ nap and ‘…..’ dressing but never ‘…..’ lunch! Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me – it certainly should have done. Oh well, never mind – win some and lose some. I liked 21a and 2, 6 and 7d. This doesn’t seem like a RayT production to me but thank you, whoever you are, and thanks to Gazza too.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Its not just you. I got to 25a before I wrote anything in, but the downs were much more user friendly.

      • Kath
        Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        One of those days when it could have been a good idea to invoke “Crypticsue’s Law” and start with the downs!

        • crypticsue
          Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Trouble is with that law, you don’t know you should have invoked it until you have read all the acrosses :D

    • mary
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t find it easy at all Kath, had to have help from Gazza for several, having said that I did enjoy it ! :)

      • Kath
        Posted November 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        I enjoyed it too but thought that it was far more difficult than the average Tuesday crossword. :smile:

  10. Lea
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Well I haven’t started yet na reading the blog it will be interesting. Have been busy doing the “big” one from the new DT puzzle magazine and also working on Gazza’s NTSPP – which I am struggling with but will perservate on it.

    Now to today’s – going to download it now.

  11. Shamus
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Happy to confirm it is one of mine! Many thanks as always to Gazza for the blog and all for comments

  12. Upthecreek
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Smashing puzzle today. 1a was brilliant and also liked 2 12 13 15 16 21. Missed Mary’s tips though – she was too busy complaining about 1a.

    • mary
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I was only asking UTC :) trying to understand, you know?

  13. BigBoab
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Shamus for a cracker of a crossword, loved 1a. I think this was slightly harder than the toughie today. Thanks Gazza for the excellent review.

  14. Lea
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    That was fun – n/e corner took me the longest with the last clue to go in as 12a – got the second word but took ages to work out the first word.

    I agree with the 1a but also enjoyed 21a, 26a and 5d.

    Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza – now back to NTSPP (I will finish it!!~)

    • mary
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      well done Lea that didn’t take you long

  15. Ian
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Great crossword, thanks Shamus and Gazza. Loved 22a for it’s simplicity and surface reading.

  16. pommers
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle today – thanks Shamus!
    1a must be a contender for clue of the week, if not month!
    Also thanks for the blog Gazza.
    Now for the Toughie!

  17. Gari
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed todays CW favourite clue 21a thanks to Gazza and the mysteron.

    With regards to the debate over whether to use a propelling pencil or not, I received a rather nice engraved writing set consisting of a propelling pencil and fountain pen at our local skittles League presentation night on Saturday night.
    I was part of a team of 4 ladies and 4 gents taking part in a mixed knockout competition of which 32 teams took part, I’ve been playing in this competition for 22 years and finally got my hands on the winners trophy. I just cant make mind up as to whether to use the pencil or leave it in its presentation case for posterity. :D

    • Gari
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      oops just looked back through the comments and seen Shamus has owned up, many thanks for an enjoyable crossword. :D

    • Lea
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Use the pencil Gari – the feel of a good pencil in your hand makes the puzzle nicer to solve! I have a good collection of pencils and use them for most things – except signing cheques of course.

    • Kath
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      For some strange reason I HATE doing a crossword in pencil – I always use one of the rub-out-able biros and use pencil for sudoku. Really don’t know why – just habit I suppose.

      • Lea
        Posted November 25, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        I don’t use commercial biros – possibly why I use pencil as the only pens I use are fountain pens (and sometimes roller ball).

  18. Geoff
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I finished this one eventually, after a session at the Crem and checking the hints for a few in the SW corner. Quite difficult and needed lots of help, but I must be learning something.

    Thanks for the review, lots of clues needed unravelling today.

    • mary
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I agree Geoff, although I enjoyed it, needed help with quite a few

  19. mary
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Seems then that I’m the only one who didn’t like 1a :( ????

    • Chinless_Wonder
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Mary, I didn’t appreciate it either!

      • gazza
        Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Welcome Chinless_Wonder :D

      • mary
        Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        No I don’t suppose you did :-D

    • Geoff
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say I liked it, I didn’t understand it. I only got it because of the checking letters and when I had got it I sat back and thought, where’s the definition? I can see Gazza’s point though (above, comment 7). Truth be told, I found some of this puzzle a bit tedious, probably because I’m not good enough at them yet to appreciate the finer points.

      • mary
        Posted November 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        That’s not true Geoff, it’s not a question of you not being good enough, I can understand and appreciate what they’re saying but it doesn’t work for me and I still don’t like it, sorry Shamus, whereas, there were others here I really liked though I culdn’t do them without help, so don’t put yourself down :)

  20. mary
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I like the joke at 19d Gazza, just spotted it, very funny :)

  21. Little Dave
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Missed a couple today – 16d and 9a. Otherwise not too bad in my view. Enjoyable distraction from the London transport system. Can anyone tell me how we are going to cope with the Olympics? Just a thought.

    • gnomethang
      Posted November 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Personally I shall cope with the Olympics by being put of the country for at least two weeks!

  22. Ian
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I also enjoyed this one although like a few others, I found a few clues quite tricky. Many thanks to Seamus and to Gazza for the review. Apologies if this has been answered before but why doesn’t the Telegraph actually identify the setter? Please tell me that it isn’t to avoid paying them a few extra pounds?!!

    • Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      They have never identified the setters of regular daily cryptics. I think the original idea was that they could use a variety of setters and not have to explain why.

  23. Ian
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dave. Given the different styles of the setters (and tastes of the solvers!) it just seems a little strange that we have to rely on usual patterns or speculate and hope the setter reveals him/herself on the Blog. Even from a marketing angle they could then produce books of puzzles compiled by individual setters as per the Guardian setters series?! Perhaps the DT Xword Editor could comment?

    • Lea
      Posted November 25, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I agree with that idea Ian. Although I buy the DT cryptic puzzle books I would prefer to get a book of all the setters that I like – Giovanni, RayT, Shamus, Cerebus for example.

      • Posted November 25, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink


        Who is Cerebus? or do you mean Cephas (Saturday)?

  24. ChrisH
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Quite enjoyed this one. Didn’t find it too difficult. It helped with gettng 1a straight away, it seemed obvious that it was an anagram, just a case of cracking it. Not familiar with 16d though.

  25. Derek
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    My usual late input -solved this puzzle early this morning as am busy preparing to go into hospital for a regular checkup.

    I liked 1a, 21a, 1d, 2d & 13d.

    Re 17a – Big Chambers has it as (4,4) only.

    • gazza
      Posted November 24, 2010 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      My Chambers (11th edition) has takeaway (without hyphen) as both an adjective and a noun.

      • Derek
        Posted November 24, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Hi Gazza!
        Yes so has mine – I failed to notice the stressmark between the “take” and the “away”.

        My eyesight is not what it used to be!