DT 26411 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26411

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26411

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I was quite unimpressed with this puzzle when I solved it, but I began to like it a bit better when I wrote the review. Let us know your opinion in a comment!
Just highlight the space between the curly brackets under the clue if you want to see an answer.

Across Clues

1a  Belittled a duke touring HQ (6)
{ABASED} – put A and D(uke) around (touring) the centre of operations (HQ).

5a  Don, perhaps, has fed FBI agent (8)
{GOWNSMAN} – I’ve never come across this word before. It’s someone who wears a loose outer garment, such as an academic (don, perhaps), cleric or barrister. Insert (fed) a verb meaning has or possesses into an informal term for an FBI agent.

9a  Additional clothing fielder required (5,5)
{EXTRA COVER} – double definition. How you might describe additional layers of clothing (very appropriate at the moment) is a fielding position at cricket.

10a  Member meeting unknown host (4)
{ARMY} – host, an archaic term for a fighting force, is the definition. Put a limb (member) in front of an algebraic unknown.

11a  Couple hired band (8)
{BRACELET} – a charade of a couple and a past participle meaning hired.

12a  Say no to litter (6)
{REFUSE} – double definition.

13a  One makes notes in ‘Oxford Book of Essays’, initially (4)
{OBOE} – something that makes notes is formed from the first letters (initially) of the words in quotes.

15a  Former wife’s erotic dancing is popular (8)
{EXOTERIC} – start with an informal term for a former partner and add an anagram (dancing) of EROTIC to make an adjective meaning popular or intended for the general public.

18a  Crab tea, I suspect, could be the cause of food poisoning (8)
{BACTERIA} – this possible cause of food poisoning is an anagram (suspect) of CRAB TEA I. I’m not normally very keen on anagrams but this clue has a very smooth and apt surface.

19a  Sugar source for preserve, ultimate in marmalade (4)
{CANE} – the tropical grass from which sugar is extracted is made from a verb to preserve foodstuffs followed by the last letter (ultimate) of maramaladE.

21a  A stubborn type beginning to trust a lucky charm (6)
{AMULET} – a charade of A, an animal known for its stubbornness and the first letter (beginning) of Trust produces a lucky charm.

23a  Say about the old girl’s monocle (8)
{EYEGLASS} – the definition is monocle. Put the abbreviation for say or for example around an old word for the, then finish with a synonym for girl.

25a  Shore bird in difficulty (4)
{KNOT} – double definition. The name of this shore bird of the sandpiper family can also mean a tangle or difficulty.

26a  Fresh landlord brought round special bulletin (10)
{NEWSLETTER} – a way of delivering information (bulletin) requires synonyms for fresh and landlord to be brought round S(pecial).

27a  Picking up on insurance policy, at last (8)
{RECOVERY} – a word meaning picking up or regaining one’s health is a charade of a preposition meaning with reference to (on), a synonym for insurance and the final letter (at last) of policY.

28a  Messenger carried on about artist (6)
{HERALD} – this messenger is constructed from a verb meaning carried on or persisted around the abbreviation for Royal Academician (artist).

Down Clues

2d  Sportsman in short shorts (5)
{BOXER} – remove the last letter (short) from these shorts to reveal a sportsman (after whom the shorts are named). I suppose I’d better provide a visual hint.

3d  Most rigorous examination following poor crits (9)
{STRICTEST} – crit was a new term to me, but apparently it is an acceptable abbreviation of criticism. Put a synonym for examination after an anagram (poor) of CRITS to make a superlative meaning most rigorous.

4d  Willing to learn from medical man, the Italian head of embryology (6)
{DOCILE} – the definition is willing to learn. String together an abbreviated medical man (or woman), an Italian definite article and the first letter (head) of Embryology.

5d  Concede one must have let the cat out of the bag? (4,3,4,4)
{GIVE THE GAME AWAY} – a phrase which literally means stop trying to win a sporting contest (concede) can also mean to reveal a secret (let the cat out of the bag).

6d  Tie up tie over in officers’ mess (8)
{WARDROOM} – a charade of to tie up or make fast a boat is followed by a tie (3-3, perhaps) in a sporting encounter, then the whole lot is reversed (over) to make the officers’ mess on a warship.

7d  Hebridean island without a workforce (5)
{STAFF} – drop the final A from an uninhabited Hebridean island which is famous as the location of Fingal’s cave to leave a workforce.

8d  Notice over embassy entrance (9)
{ADMISSION} – put the abbreviation for a notice in front of (over, in a down clue) a synonym for embassy.

14d  Nash, say – name in fashion with high society (4,5)
{BEAU MONDE} – what we want is a phrase, from French, meaning high society (literally “beautiful world”). Start with the nickname of the 18th century dandy Richard Nash, then put N(ame) inside a synonym for fashion.

16d  Clear as to changes in a financial clause (9)
{ESCALATOR} – an anagram (changes) of CLEAR AS TO gives us a clause in a financial contract allowing changes to be made to the amount due under certain specified conditions.

17d  Repent, possibly, before church reveals sham (8)
{PRETENCE} – the definition is sham. Put an anagram (possibly) of REPENT in front of the abbreviation for the Church of England.

20d  A lot of money got from breaking the law (6)
{WEALTH} – an anagram (breaking) of THE LAW.

22d  Game, extremely tight once opener’s removed (5)
{LOTTO} – you get this game by removing the initial B from a slang word meaning tight or drunk. The clue seems to be the wrong way round and I think that you need to read it as: a game comes from a word meaning extremely tight once, with the opener removed (this would be fine if the word for tight were no longer in use, but that’s not the case). It seems to me that the clue would read better if “once” were replaced by “before”.

24d  Man of high social standing also blowing top (5)
{SWELL} – start with a two-word phrase (2,4) meaning also and remove (blow) the first letter to leave a slang term for someone of high social standing (such as Mr Nash from 14d).

I liked 18a and 27a but my favourite clue today was 6d. Let us know what you like in a comment!

57 comments on “DT 26411

  1. Took longer than usual between clearing 30 cms. of snow from my drive. 5A a new word for me , could not find it anywhere. I put the correct answers in for 23A and 6D because all the other letters were there but even with the hints do not fully understand why. Where for example does the “old”come into 23A?
    Thanks to setter and Gazza for the hints, because of 5A necessary today.

  2. I agree Pete, 5a was new to me too,also 25a was a naughty little clue. As you say Gazza, I didn’t enjoy it at first being held up by the two clues mentioned but then warmed to it later.
    The toughie is putting up a good fight also.
    Sunshine today with a bit of breeze so drifting may occur later, looks cold out there.
    Fav was 15a
    Thanks to Gazza and the Setter

  3. I found some of todays clues pretty obscure (for me anyhow). i.e 5a, 14d and 24d. Have completed but still don’t understand clue to 5a. I will ponder on this for a while before being tempted to look at ‘hints’. Is it compulsory to have a sport related clue every day i.e 9a, ? not that i’m complaining.

  4. Eureka !!! Had answer to 5a but couldn’t understand clue, now I understand it. Bit obscure to say the least.

  5. Got stuck on 14d – not an expression I knew so will add it to the arsenal. Also 5a was a new word for me but it made sense.

    I liked 6d and 18a. Thanks to setter and to Gazza.

    Little bit of snow during the night but nearly all gone now. Hope everyone in loos of snow areas are coping okay.

  6. I was waiting for Mary and Kath to comment on 9d but I think that 3 cricket clues in 3 days is too much for them. Enjoyed the challenge today. Held up for a while on 5a which I thought was excellent. Other good ones 11 14 19 23 28. Didn’t like 5d much as the definitions were too alike. Come on M and K and have a good moan1

  7. Snow finally reached East Kent overnight so it was with some relief after a slushy slippy journey to work that I started this crossword. I didn’t find it that difficult, even 5a was quite easy to work out from the wordplay. My favourite of the day isn’t one of the clues but the Gazza-pic for 2d – on behalf of the ladies of the blog, thank you very much :D

    Thanks to the Tuesday mysteron for the entertaining crossword and Gazza for the hints. Snowing quite heavily here at the moment so just trying to decide when I should ask my line manager if I can struggle home.

  8. I found this much more difficult than 2* – or maybe I’m having another off day. I was completely stumped (please notice how I just threw that one in!) by 25a and 14d – got the first bit but just couldn’t get the second word. 5a was a new word for me, as was 25a and 16d (apart from the moving staircase definition) so all of those held me up for a long time. Surprisingly I’m not going to complain about 9a as I did manage to do it – really getting quite au fait with lots of cricket, football, rugby (shall I go on) terms but it doesn’t mean that I know what any of them mean! Best clues for me today include 15, 18 and 23a and 2, 6 and 24d. I’ll now wait to see what Mary thought of 9a! Thanks to the setter (do we know who he/she is?) and to Gazza.

  9. A similar experience to Gazza and Nubian; I started off not liking this one, but warmed to it as I progressed.
    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza.
    The snow has finally arrived in SW London, but not the baby, who is defiantly staying put, much to the vexation of Mrs Jezza. We’ve tried the Indian, and the Chinese, to no avail… tonight Mrs J is preparing a Moroccan tagine :)

  10. I agree much more a three star. Too many very odd words for my liking (knot, gownsman). However, VERY nice to see a cricketing clue esp as the lads did really well down under.

  11. Fairly mundane 3* fare, with no real sparkle. Sorry, Gazza, but I can’t agree about 18a being smooth – “Crab tea, I” is quite clearly rough anagram fodder. But thanks for the review, including the fielding chart. Despite having played for Yorkshire, I still get my silly points and short legs mixed up!

  12. Have been out for a few hours but completed tis before I went, I have just confirmed that 5a and 6d were correct, thanks Gazza, What else but another cricket term, we are becoming quite inforned about cricket with all these terms being bowled at us every day but though the answer was obvious I couldn’t find it on my list of cricket terms!! We can probably expect more of these this week! I thought the crossword at least 3* with a few very difficult clues, 27a, isn’t recovery the wrong part of speech shouldn’t it be recovering???? Well done again us girls on getting the cricket term corect :-D

    1. Hi chris – I don’t know if you’re the same Chris who is a regular commenter with a different email address? If not and you’re a different Chris, welcome to the blog.

    2. 28a is down to my poor way of expressing myself. When I wrote “is a verb” I meant “consists of a verb …”. I’ve improved it now.

        1. Mary,
          I think that picking up is a gerund so can act as a noun. I’m not actually sure that picking up here means recovering in the health sense – it might, for example, refer to recovery of a vehicle. I agree that it’s not ideal.

          1. thanks Gazza, now showing my complete ignorance (rather than google it) I am going to ask you what a gerund is?

            1. Mary,
              I don’t mind your asking. A gerund is a verb form that functions as a noun (like “asking” in the previous sentence).

              1. I can’t believe I have never heard that before, my brother always says I went to the wrong school, thanks Gazza :-D

                1. Gerund (and gerundive) – reminds me of taking Latin A’ Level many moons ago. Might bring on a recurring nightmare – the exams. I also think I went to the wrong school.

                  1. The possibility for confusion between parts of speech is one of the best tools of the crossword compiler, and one of the aspects of English that most confuses non-native-speakers.

                    In Latin, for example, gerunds (and gerundives) are obvious because of their construction, but, in English, gerunds and present participles look identical, and can only be distinguished by their contexts.

  13. This one held no terrors today. Thought some of the clues had a bit of a ‘sameness’ about them though. Still, enjoyable.

  14. Thoroughly perplexed by some of this one, even a few I did get, 5a, 6d! Finally needed a few hints to finish it. No idea how 9a related to cricket of course, but did get it right. Thin layer of snow here overnight, more than enough for me, mostly gone now.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza. I found this quite dull in places, but it grew on me as I read the hints.

  15. Hm. Seemed OK to me apart from Knot and Gownsman. I didnt have any difficulty understanding them. Escalator has been used before so once again it did not surprise me. Exoteric was clearly the answer but its not in my Collins Concise Dictionary, so therefore it is not a word! Perhaps I’ve got a page missing.
    Anyway I must be getting better as Im not moaning today.

  16. I felt this to be an average puzzle -I did not get excited about it at all.
    Best for me were: 9a, 25a, 6d & 14d.

    Thought that 23a & 22d were rather contrived.

  17. Fairly workmanlike today with not much that was shiny. 5a was fine from the wordplay although I am often on the loog out for the G-Man/G-Men in puzzles.
    Thanks to the mystery setter and to gazza

  18. I’m coming so late on to the blog that I hardly dare to show my face. This is due to late evening choir practices and nightmare drives through the snow. I do the puzzle in the morning and then life takes over.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this puzzle though there were a number of obscure words for me: 5a and 15a for example. I spent some time trying to reconcile ‘Don’ with ‘Giovanni’, which fitted and I had the g. The only other Don I could think of was Quixote and he was obviously a non-starter, so I had to take a hint. I didn’t like that clue or 6d either, though there were a number that I did like. My favourite was 12a.

    Thanks to the mystery setter and to Gazza, especially for the cricketing diagram. :-)

  19. Completed this but needed several hints. 5a 6d 14d 25a 24d & 15a all new to me so this did not help. Also 4d I did not know that this meant willing to learn but it does – good to learn something new. Semi enjoyable

  20. I didn’t have the immediately negative reaction to this crossword that some had. Perhaps, having been snowed-in today, I was just grateful to have got hold of the newspapers, but, actually, I think that it was OK. Not outstanding, but certainly worth completing, and with hints of great stuff to come from the setter.

    5A seemed a little odd to me, and I wondered whether it had suffered from injudicious editing. “Don, perhaps, has fed fed” (or “…fed Fed”) seems more natural than “…fed FBI agent,” IMO.

    Nice to see a Scottish island getting a mention on St Andrew’s day.

    Oidhche mhath!

  21. Snowed all day here, paper didnt arrive so went out about 5pm to get it. Prob a 3* for me but some nice clues.

  22. Not found this website before but have enjoyed reading the comments today Thursday 2nd Dec.!!!—even revising my Latin grammar!! However because of snow disruption we didn’t get DT’s (The paper that is & not delirium tremens) in Sutton yesterday and I,m stuck with ‘-n-t’ as answer to 25a. Being an engineer rather than an ornithologist or twitcher the picture of what I imagined to be an oystercatcher hasn’t solved the clue for me. Can anyone help to remove my frustration at this late stage?

    1. Hi Ben – welcome to the blog.
      The answers are hidden between the curly brackets under the relevant clues. Drag your cursor through the space between the brackets to make them visible. Alternatively, for 25a, let your cursor hover over the picture.

    2. Hi Ben, and Welcome to the Blog.
      2 things to help us without giving the game away on first looking:
      If you hold and drag your mouse between the curly brackets the answer will be magically revealed!.
      If you hover over a picture (should you be fortunate enough to have one!) then you will usually see that the answer is there as well.

      Hope you become a regular!

  23. I am a Ben of very little brain and as most male engineers I get into trouble with all DIY kits by failing to read the instructions before starting!! Done it again by failing to get past the first line of Gazza’s instructions. Whoever heard of a knot being anything other than L over R and R over L??!!!

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