DT 26423

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26423

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Several of the clues (e.g. 14d, 17d, 22d) today seemed familiar, so much so that at one stage I wondered whether I’d done the whole puzzle before. I’d never heard of 9a, but by the time I’d got the checking letters it was fairly obvious. So, not very taxing and pretty straightforward – let us know in a comment whether you agree or not!
If you want to see an answer drag your cursor through the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Alarm mostly associated with a black beetle (6)
{SCARAB} – this is a large dung beetle, regarded as sacred by the ancient Egyptians. Remove the final E (mostly) from an alarm or fright and add A and B(lack).

5a  English crowd fed very good coffee (8)
{ESPRESSO} – a type of coffee is formed from E(nglish) and then a verb meaning to crowd which is inserted (fed) into a conjunction meaning very good.

9a  Damaging allegations by captain bringing fish (10)
{MUDSKIPPER} – a charade of damaging allegations that can be thrown (and often stick) and an informal term for a captain produce a goby fish which can remain out of water for some time. Here’s a film of two of them having a fight on dry land.

10a  Attempt to nick ring in ancient city (4)
{TROY} – this ancient city, sited in what is now Turkey, was the subject of many legends.  Put an attempt around (to nick) the letter which looks like a ring.

11a  Order changed for cashmere? I haven’t a clue (6,2)
{SEARCH ME} – an anagram (order changed) of CASHMERE produces a phrase meaning I haven’t a clue.

12a  Position of church after good man’s article (6)
{STANCE} – this position or attitude is made by putting the abbreviation for the Church of England after a good (holy) man and the indefinite article.

13a  Note short skirt (4)
{MINI} – a musical note having the time value of two crotchets loses its last letter (short) to leave a skirt. This is a very complicated clue and it’s probably easier to explain with an illustration.

15a  Left in dark (8)
{SINISTER} – double definition. The latin word for left, still used in that sense in heraldry, has come to mean threatening or ominous (dark).

18a  Everyone at that place is of normal intelligence (3,5)
{ALL THERE} – double definition, the second an informal phrase meaning in full possession of one’s mental faculties.

19a  Women excluded from golf club side (4)
{EDGE} – remove the leading W(omen) from the name of a golf club used to achieve maximum loft to leave a synonym for side.

21a  Small article of furniture, durable (6)
{STABLE} – put together S(mall) and an item of furniture to make an adjective meaning firmly fixed or durable.

23a  I mention changes very quickly (2,2,4)
{IN NO TIME} – an anagram (changes) of I MENTION.

25a  Club’s male champion (4)
{MACE} – this is a ceremonial staff of office, especially that of the House of Commons which was once brandished by Michael Heseltine, from which incident he gained the nickname “Tarzan”. Put M(ale) in front of a champion.

26a  One who watched the start of ‘The Sweeney’ is upset (10)
{EYEWITNESS} – the definition is one who watched. It’s an anagram (upset) of the first letter (start) of T(he), SWEENEY and IS.

27a  George Martin’s first to hear about Earl’s arrangement (8)
{GEOMETRY} – string together an abbreviation of George, the first letter of M(artin) and a verb to hear (as a judge does) and insert (about) E(arl) to make the shape and relative arrangement of the parts of something.

28a  Courageous favourite losing length (6)
{DARING} – remove the L(ength) from the middle of a loveable person (favourite) to leave an adjective meaning courageous.

Down Clues

2d  Clever fixing height of waterfall (5)
{CHUTE} – start with an adjective meaning clever or astute and insert (fixing) H(eight) to make a waterfall.

3d  Self-control shown by others surrounding coach (9)
{RESTRAINT} – put others around a verb meaning to coach to make self-control.

4d  Full of promise, bowled straight (6)
{BRIGHT} – how you might describe a future full of promise, for example, is B(owled) and an adjective meaning straight or direct.

5d  How a parcel may be sent, say, before confinement? (7,8)
{EXPRESS DELIVERY} – this is a charade of a verb meaning to say and the process of giving birth (confinement).

6d  Studying country’s popular head of government (8)
{PERUSING} – a present participle meaning studying is a charade of a South American country, ‘S, an informal word for popular and the first letter (head) of G(overnment).

7d  Not included in special edition (5)
{EXTRA} – double definition.

8d  Whisky, for example, taken with good savoury bite to eat (6,3)
{SCOTCH EGG} – to get this savoury snack start with another word for whisky and add the abbreviation for exempli gratia (for example) and G(ood).

14d  Uncomfortable, a guy after trouble (3,2,4)
{ILL AT EASE} – this phrase means uncomfortable. Put A and a verb meaning to guy or make fun of after a noun meaning trouble or misfortune.

16d  Resent cracks about small bribe (9)
{SWEETENER} – an anagram (cracks) of RESENT goes round a synonym for small to make a bribe.

17d  Violent tough guys kept in check (8)
{VEHEMENT} – put tough guys or macho types (2-3) inside (kept in) a verb meaning to check to make an adjective meaning violent or intense.

20d  Cruel, a Parisian child nicking note (6)
{UNKIND} – a French (Parisian) indefinite article precedes a slang term for child with N(ote) inside (imprisoned).

22d  Fish, ray, across mouth of river (5)
{BREAM} – a ray of light goes round (across) the first letter (mouth) of R(iver) to make a freshwater fish.

24d  Mother with child, one pledging brotherly love? (5)
{MASON} – an affectionate term for mother is followed by a male child to form a member of an organisation which promotes fellowship.

I liked 13a (for its brevity) and 17d (although we had a similar clue recently). Let us know what you liked in a comment!

61 Comments

  1. Nubian
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    As you say Gazza, a bit like covering old ground today, good as a refresher to remind you of standard clues that come up on a regular basis.
    The Toughie today is quite good for getting you teeth into a puzzle with gratifying results.
    Thanks to you and the Setter

  2. mary
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Gazza, apparently 9a, is a fish that lays on its side in the mud and flings the mud around with its tail! I hadn’t heard of it either, really threw myself by putting ‘special delivery’ for 5d at first!! For me it was a nice 3* crossword, I didn’t realise ‘so’ was a conjunction for very good? fav clues 19a, 24d, 18a, thaks for blog Gazza, just off to read it :)

    • mary
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Quite right Gazza, most people will not get 13a without your ‘illustration’ !! :-D
      For 3d I thought they meant ‘train’ as in carriage/coach does it really matter? I don’t half make things complicated for myself!

    • Beangrinder
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      So = very? Crowd inside synonym for good. Definition = good coffee.

      • gazza
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        I’m sticking with so = very good (as given in Chambers).

        • crypticsue
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          I am with you on this one

      • Beangrinder
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I should have said crowd inside synonym for very. Both work but I bow to the majority. Can you get Chambers online..and free?

        • crypticsue
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          Yes you can. It is not as comprehensive as the Big Red Book but very useful when you are at work at the BRB is at home!

    • Nora
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I´d heard of 9a but I´ve no idea why – it´s not an attractive creature, but then it might say the same about me! Not a challenging puzzle today, so I´m hoping for more stretching of the brain cells tomorrow.

  3. Beangrinder
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    We had 15a last week, so easily spotted. I thought it a fair and nicely workable puzzle. Thanks for setting and explaining.

  4. Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Nothing troubling in this one today. I thought it was ok, but I preferred it when RayT and Shamus were alternating every Tuesday.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

  5. Barrie
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Sorry just do not understand how you could give this a 1 start for difficulty, it’s a least a 2 if not a 3 star in parts.
    Found it very tricky in at least half the clues

    • mary
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree Barrie, not one star for me either! I think for myself half the difficulty lies in the fact that I do not associate the word in the clue with the answer eg 17d In my mind this is not associated with ‘violence’ even though it is given as a synonym, thus I have to use the books to look up the correct word, never mind at least I understand the clues (most) these days, so having to look up answers isn’t too bad :)

      • Boxy
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Me too. Today’s was harder than Monday’s, with a lot of lateral thinking needed, even though the answers are straightforward when you get them.

  6. BigBoab
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Mundane sort of puzzle today and not very enjoyable. Toughie was perhaps marginally more difficult but not by much. Thanks Gazza.

  7. Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Certainly there were a few clues that have been around recently in a similar fashion, notably the we beastie at 1a!. 26a was possibly favourite in a non-contentious puzzle. Thanks to our setter and gazza. I would agree with Nubian that the Toughie is a fair and enjoyable test.

    • Nubian
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      in the toughie is 17d 5,6 because there is only ten letters?

      • Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Good point, well made! The online enumeration is incorrect. The paper gives (4,6) which is correct. I had to email crypticsue this morning to find out (thanks!)

        • gazza
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          It’s obviously been corrected now. When I printed it off it was (4,6).

          • Prolixic
            Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            I e-mailed Phil McNeill when Gnome and CS had spotted the error and he sorted it out.

        • Nubian
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Gnomethang

  8. Judith
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Are the crosswords easier this week ? For the second day running I have finished it with no cheating; ie no dictionaries, thesaurus, google nor sneaky peeks at this blog.

    • gazza
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi Judith – welcome to the blog.
      It’s normally fairly easy on Monday, but not normally as easy as this on a Tuesday.

    • mary
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Judith and well done, however for lots of us with ‘L’ plates, the books etc. are an essential part of learning and being able to complete a crossword, so we don’t like to think of them as cheating :-)

      • Judith
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Hi, Mary – really I’m with you re books – I should have put “cheating” – but I still get a little frisson when I manage without aides (not often). My sister says I still cheat by using hyphens and separators on the grid but is impressed that I always use an ink pen. Oh well, each to their own.

        • mary
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          Hi Judith, it is great when you can do a puzzle without them but so far in 18 months of doing cryptic puzzles, I have only managed this once! :(

    • Nora
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I don´t consider use of dictionary and thesaurus to be cheating, especially when it leads to learning new words, but I do feel a bit guilty when I resort to word finders. None of that today though.

  9. crypticsue
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a nice Tuesday puzzle. Not the most difficulty crossword in the world but very enjoyable, familiar clues included. Thanks to whoever set it and to Gazza for the notes.

  10. brendam
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I found today’s quite difficult! I did know 9a, when my son was ‘into’ fish we had one along with a mixture of fish and I loved it, because it was SO ugly!! But I didn’t know 19a and needed hints for 10a and 26a. Not a good day for me. Thanks to setter and Gazza

    • mary
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I think that’s really well done Brendam, wish my bad days were as good :-D

  11. Prolixic
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Well under a two stopper this morning but one of those crosswords that proves that a puzzle does not have to be fiendish to be enjoyable. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the blog.

  12. Ray Crawford
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I too liked 13a but I soon stripped the last M off MINIM. Much prefer your illustration. Todays puzzle was all too easy, just ** minutes to solve.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I edited this. The convention is that we don’t say how long we took to solve the puzzle, just quick, fairly quick, longer than average etc

  13. Wayne
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Had to resort to Gazzas’ Hints and Tips for 14d. Although the answer was obvious I could not for the life of me work out why. Must say have never heard ‘guy’ described as such. Thats the beauty of crosswords you learn new words, and meanings, all the time.
    Thanx to the Setter and of course Gazza for hints.

  14. Barrie
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Am I alone in finding the increasing trend to make anagrams of part of the clue and then having to solve another clue to get the rest as in 16d. I do find it very irritating and unnecessarily complicated.

    • gazza
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Barrie,
      Can you come up with a better clue for that word?

      • mary
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        I see what Barrie means Gazza, there do seem to be a lot of these lately but no I can’t come up with a better clue :)

      • Beangrinder
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Sounds like you resent change of substitute?

        • gazza
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          How does that work then?

          • Beangrinder
            Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            ewe resent anagram = (sugar) substitute

            I don’t suppose Barrie would rate that any better!

            • mary
              Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

              I like it Beangrinder :)

            • gazza
              Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

              The only problem is that you’ve committed the cardinal sin (for which you might be expelled from the setters; union :D ) of using an indirect anagram.

              • Upthecreek
                Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

                I think he should stick to grinding pulses.

              • Kath
                Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

                Sorry to be dim again – what is an indirect anagram? Presumably, if it is a cardinal sin for a setter, we never see one.

                • gazza
                  Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

                  Kath,
                  The rule is that all the letters in the fodder must appear directly in the clue. In Beangrinder’s clue EWE is not there directly but clued as “sounds like you”, so it’s indirect.

                  • Kath
                    Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                    Thanks Gazza – have now learnt two new things today – the indirect anagram and a new fish (9a)!

      • Qix
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        How about “After dessert, Frenchman returns gravy”, “Second small banknote is half-hearted bribe”?

        • gazza
          Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          I like both those, but to stick to a straightforward anagram (which I think is what Barrie is after) I’d suggest
          We’re tense about bribe (10)

          • Qix
            Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            Good stuff.

            Actually, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with a combination of an anagram and another clue element, particularly if the surface reading of the clue is nice, but I guess it’s a matter of preference. They’re probably not going to disappear, though. Sorry Barrie.

  15. Vani
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed this one, probably because I was able to complete without the hints (although with a lot of ‘bookwork’) for the first time ever!!!! I did have to return to it a few times throughout the day. Find it funny how you can stare at are doing something else. Still needed the hints to explain a few clues so thanks to Gazza and of course the setter too.

    • gazza
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Well done, Vani !!

  16. Vani
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Seems to be some text missing from my last comment. What I was trying to say is how funny it is when the answer pops into your head when you are thinking of something else!!

    • Wayne
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Vani. Ah, the beauty of the subconscious mind !

  17. Upthecreek
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Nice workout today. Late on duty as I was waiting for Mary’s tips on 9a. All the clues were good with 13 16 24 and 27 best. Thought we had 22 last week.

    • mary
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      I am trying not to say too much these days UTC, but I don’t suppose it will last :-D

      • Upthecreek
        Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Wasn’t it a lovely word though?

  18. Geoff
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    More like a 3* for me, which a few clues I just didn’t understand. Done now, after a morning and unplanned lunch in town, but needed a hint or three and several explanations. What does ‘so’ mean in ‘so bad’ ??

    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  19. Kath
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Probably a 2* for me, if only because of 9a – I managed to make a real mess of that one and eventually had to resort to the hint – couldn’t make any sense of it – thought about “kipper” being the fish OR the “skipper” being the captain but that would have meant that the definition would have to have been “damaging allegations” which would have meant the answer had to end in “S” etc. etc. I did the rest of the crossword quite quickly even though I started very late in the day for me. Liked 5, 11, 13 and 26a and 5, 8 and 16d. Now for today’s gripe – surely one of us is allowed to – DIDN’T like golf and cricket in one crossword even though I managed to do those two clues. :smile:

  20. Kath
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    PS – YET again sorry for forgetting manners – thank you to whoever set the crossword and to Gazza for the hints.

  21. Little Dave
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    2.5* for me – certainly not a 1*. Missed 2d and 15a.