DT 26426 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26426

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26426

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have the usual Friday entertainment from Giovanni today. Let us know how you found it in a comment. Any errors on my part today can be put down to writing the blog at the same time as watching the cricket from Perth (a bit of a setback for England!).
If you need to check an answer just drag your cursor through the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

6a  One rendering ‘Gosh!’ to reptile that’s unusual? (13)
{HERPETOLOGIST} – this is a sort of semi-all-in-one and the answer is someone who specialises in reptiles and amphibians (and is nothing at all to do with sexually transmitted diseases!). It’s an anagram (that’s unusual) of GOSH TO REPTILE and I think that the surface is saying that this person stimulates people’s wonder at how amazing an unusual reptile can be.

8a  Found drug in packing case (6)
{CREATE} – a verb meaning to found or establish is the abbreviation for E(cstasy) inside a packing case.

9a  Native in old garb at home meeting a lecturer (8)
{ORIGINAL} – native, as an adjective, is the definition. String together O(ld), an outfit or style of dress, a short word meaning at home, A and L(ecturer).

10a  Looking ill, wish for having early termination (3)
{WAN} – start with a verb meaning wish for and drop the final T (having early termination).

11a  Queen in Canadian capital (6)
{REGINA} – double definition, the second being the capital of Saskatchewan which was named after Queen Victoria (had there been a king on the throne it would presumably have been called Rex?).

12a  Was keen to finish, having so little energy inside (8)
{ENTHUSED} – the definition is was keen. A verb meaning to finish has a synonym for so and E(nergy) (i.e. little energy) inserted.

14a  Artificial hair worn by loony (3-4)
{MAN-MADE} – the hair, of a horse or lion say, goes round (is worn by) a synonym for loony.

16a  Put on an act before nurse (7)
{PRETEND} – this is a charade of a prefix meaning before and a verb to nurse.

20a  The Circle Line? (8)
{DIAMETER} – cryptic definition of the longest straight line that you can draw inside a circle.

23a  Pub quarrel in Cumbrian town (6)
{BARROW} – a simple charade produces the name of a Cumbrian town famous for shipbuilding.

24a  A church that’s ‘wicked’! (3)
{ACE} – wicked here is being used in its modern, informal way meaning excellent.

25a  Cleaning the house and getting black? (8)
{CHARRING} – double definition.

26a  Daniel’s new introductory section (4-2)
{LEAD-IN} – an anagram (new) of DANIEL gives us a preamble.

27a  Dress that goes across the classes (6,7)
{SCHOOL UNIFORM} – cryptic definition of the standard form of dress in classrooms.

Down Clues

1d  Life form is male, hidden under newspaper? (8)
{ORGANISM} – a life form is constructed from IS and M(ale) after (hidden under, in a down clue) a newspaper which promotes the views of a political party or movement.

2d  Warrior in this place taking care (8)
{HEREWARD} – a charade of “in this place” and a noun meaning care or guardianship gives us the name of a rebel warrior who organised resistance to the occupying Normans after 1066 from his base in East Anglia.

3d  Treble in choir perhaps admitting solo is rubbish (7)
{BOLONEY} – someone with an unbroken voice might (perhaps) sing the treble parts in a choir. Inside this (admitting) put a synonym for solo to make an informal word for rubbish or nonsense.

4d  Vote is rigged in local council (6)
{SOVIET} – this word, from Russian, for a local council is an anagram (rigged) of VOTE IS.

5d  Maestro’s original story about one with university background (6)
{MILIEU} – put the first letter (original) of M(aestro) and a fictitious story around I (one) and finish up with U(niversity) to make word, from French, meaning a person’s social environment or background.

6d  She had orrises, peculiar plants (13)
{HORSERADISHES} – these plants with a pungent root are an anagram (peculiar) of SHE HAD ORRISES.

7d  What brings comrades together? Fantastic mountain rides (5,8)
{TRADE UNIONISM} – a movement bringing solidarity, where the members call each other comrade, is an anagram (fantastic) of MOUNTAIN RIDES.

13d  House has no place for unserviceable tool (3)
{HOE} – remove an abbreviation for unserviceable from house to leave a long-handled tool.

15d  Drink lacking colour, without head (3)
{ALE} – start with an adjective meaning lacking colour and remove the initial letter (without head).

17d  Writer and artist is entertaining Adam’s lad (8)
{RABELAIS} – put the abbreviation for Royal Academician (artist) and IS around (entertaining) Adam’s second son to make this sixteenth century French writer and humanist.

18d  Nymph interrupting hill fighter (8)
{TOREADOR} – this fighter, who usually operates on horseback, is a mountain nymph inside (interrupting) a hill.

19d  Make more of the last bit of food with stew (4,3)
{DRAG OUT} –a phrasal verb meaning to prolong something (make more of) is formed from the last letter of (foo)D followed by a highly-seasoned stew.

21d  Spoil that short girl (6)
{MARTHA} – a girl’s name is a charade of the synonym for the verb to spoil and “that” truncated (short).

22d  Overdrawn after holiday? Support needed (6)
{TRIPOD} – a three-legged stand (support) is the abbreviation for overdrawn after an excursion or holiday.

I liked 17d, 19d and 22d today, but my favourite clue is 14a. What do you like? Tell us in a comment!

68 comments on “DT 26426

  1. I thought this was slightly trickier than normal from Giovanni, but enjoyable all the same. My last one in was 6a – I knew it was an anagram, but I had never heard of the word before.
    Thanks to both G’s.

    The answer to 10a needs the final letter removed.

  2. Very enjoyable, needed Gazzas help to explain wordplay for 3d – a doh moment if ever I had one. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  3. Oh no I really didn’t like this today, worthy of a Toughie in most part, I thought, would never have finished it without your help Gazza, lots I didn’t know and lots I didn’t like! however there were actually a few that I did like, 22d, 19d and 16a, I still don’t understand 11a, and now we are having Russian words as well!!!! (4d) I knew the word as most people will, but how many know it means ‘council’ !!
    Thanks for hints Gazza, really needed them today :)

  4. Highly enjoyable today. No real favourites but thanks to gazza and Giovanni.
    I was absolutely gutted when I checked the cricket scores this morning!

  5. As I was solving, I was thinking this is a trickier Giovanni than usual but my solving time was only very slightly longer than the norm. Very enjoyable with lots of good clues, thanks to the Gs.

    1. Collywobbles,

      To finish is END. Inside this put THUS (so) and E(nergy), giving EN THUS E D (was keen).

  6. Snow is falling heavily in central London. Slightly trickier I thought but good value for money as ever from Giovanni. I surprised myself by getting the 13 letter plant anagram so easily – botanical references are usually my downfall.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  7. All done, liked this one today, 23a was fun, a quarrel is also an arrow and there’s a ‘B’ in Cumbrian! Clutching at straws I know :-) The proper word play is better.
    Snow didn’t amount to much more promised tomorrow the temperature has been hovering between minus 4.5 and minus 2
    Thanks Gazza and Giovanni

  8. Fun crossword to complete. I prefer them to be more difficult, but some very well-worked clues. Some nice anagrams and 3-letter words to get people started, too.

    Thanks to the setter, and well done to Gazza for the review.

      1. I agree with the sentiment Barrie, the Toughie does provide for people who like their cryptics to ba a little more difficult Qix :)

        1. Sometimes so, although most this week have not been too tricky. Sometimes, in fact, they’ve been easier than the back page puzzle, IMO.

          Everyone will have different opinions about a puzzle’s difficulty. I hope that there’s room here for a range of views.

          1. you are right Qix, but not all of us are experienced solvers, some of us are still learning, and yes this blog does express the views of everyone from us lesser solvers to the more experienced such as presumably yourself? Although all opinions are always welcome it does sometimes get very frustrating, when a puzzle such as todays that some of us have stuggled with, only to see a comment, that somebody wishes it was harder! as Barrie says the Toughie does provide for a tougher puzzle

              1. I understand what you say, and certainly don’t mean to belittle people’s efforts.

                Hopefully, those who’re new to the joys of cryptic crosswords will see from the comments of more experienced solvers that it does become easier to solve them after you’ve been at it for a while.

                I’d hate to think that I might be discouraging anyone; I was hoping to do the opposite.

                1. It is with the help of the more experienced solvers on this blog that us ‘learners’ are definitely improving, albeit, slowly :)

      2. Dunno, I think that experienced solvers wouldn’t have too many problems with this one.

        The Toughie is pretty good today, and took me longer than usual.

  9. Blimey the NE corner today was at least a 7 star for difficulty I reckon!! The rest was excellent with some super clues. Esp liked 27a and 6a. Not sure about 14a. Worst clue without a doubt 5d, never heard of it and I do wish setters would stop putting foreign words in puzzles. Have to say I needed help with 3d, wouldn’t have got that if I live to be 100, clever but far too obtuse for me I’m afraid. Overall a nice puzzle, shame about the NE corner.

  10. Finished a Giovanni again – no help required but thanks Gazza for the clues. Came up with the answer to 6a but had to check it in a dictionary – new word for me. Like Prolixic anything to do with plants are ALWAYS my downfall and I spotted the anagram straight away! Thanks Giovanni for a great workout – definitely out of the CC at long last.
    Not bothering with the Toughie though today – looks like an Elgar to me and they completely fox me!

            1. Less than half and now at a complete halt. Might go back to it later but I think Osmosis too clever for me today. Harumph and harumph…

    1. DEFINITELY out of the CC if you could finish this with no help Pommette, top marks, the door is open, out you go……….welcome to the JOCC (just out of the CC) ……….I think I will be here forever, never, ever going to be in the ACC!! :)

  11. Thought this was only a 2* today, found it a little easier than some of the earlier offerings this week. Maybe I just managed to get onto the right wavelength.
    Some really enjoyable clues for me. Had not heard of 17D but gettable from the wordplay. Needed Gazza’s explanation to understand 3D.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the hints.

                  1. Nice to know I wasn’t the only one. I don’t tend to look at the bloggers tips – I prefer Mary’s.

    1. So did I Mary – never seen it spelt like this so, even though I couldn’t see why, I spelt it the way that I knew – which meant 6a went wrong ….

        1. Thanks for support Mary – at the moment every day is difficult – we never know what it’s going to be like ….

  12. Thanks to Mary I have now finished this puzzle. Fav was 4 and also liked 14 and 20. However, I thought 21 was a load of 3. Didn’t like the grid as the long ones around outside were too easy.

  13. Well – I found this VERY difficult today – it took me far longer than usual and even then I needed the hints for several. I hope that I’m just having another “off day”! 4* at least for me. Far too many clues that I either found hard or didn’t understand to enumerate them all. Lots that I liked too – 14, 20 and 27a and 1, 5, 6 and 19d. I think we have had the adjective from 17d quite recently, otherwise I wouldn’t have managed it today. Very cold in Oxford with a bit of snow today – more forecast for tomorrow I think.

  14. PS Thank you Giovanni and Gazza – definitely needed lots of hints (and even a few answers) today.

  15. Slightly off topic but perhaps our Xwd editor, Phil McNeill, may be watching.

    The paper is advertising a Prize Puzzle etc online on Christmas Day so I thought I would sign up for the Puzzle Taster giving access to 20 puzzles without having to subscribe.

    I gave my email address and was promised an immediate email from which my temporary account could be activated.

    That was 3 hours ago and no email. Has anyone elso had a similar problem?

    I have sent an email to Customer Service but do not know whether I will receive a response.

  16. Work do yesterday so lack of sleep and England on the ropes in Perth conspired to make this tricky for me – never heard of 6a before. Was pleased to get 5d.

    It’s officially very cold in this part of Hertfordshire.

    Great puzzle but I didn’t do myself any favours!

    1. Cricket! Oh Dear! Listened to it all last night! Back to the good old bad old days !

      So soon after England’s World Domination of Test Cricket – what 10 days?

      Xword – I knew that 6a & 6d were anagrams, but had to cheat to solve them!

      I didn’t like the layout of the grid today – is there a technical term for this type of grid – the top row and left-hand side column revealed not a single starting letter!

  17. Thanks for the puzzle Goivanni. Thought it was more straightforward than most Friday crosswords. Lots of nice clues, quite a few anagrams though which is prob why it seemed easier. Good fun though. Nice blog too.

    1. I thought that it was EVEN more difficult than the usual Friday puzzle – think that it’s all about “wave lengths” and whether or not you are on the same kind … ! I always find Fridays and Sundays the two most difficult days of the week (hardly ever look at the toughie)

  18. Just finished this. Yes some nice clues but some required research such as 6a 2d 11a. Also as with Mary I thought ba not bo as the start to 3d. Thanks to setter and for the hints which I needed for help and confirmation

  19. Found this quite hard today. Some unusual words, and never quite got on the wavelength. Not as tough as the toughie, which I struggled to do 25%. Must be brain fatigue. Well, that’s my story!

    1. My story too, ChrisH – didn’t even look at the toughie – felt defeated enough by the cryptic today.

  20. Sleep well all – what are the odds for tomorrow’s puzzle being where it belongs – on the back page – or shall I put in a “harumph” in advance?

  21. Very late comment from me – i solved this on Friday but forgot to comment as had to get food in from the local supermarket to avoid going out on Saturday. We had got rid of the November snow only to be blanketed once again with a load of fresh winter wonderland! Very pretty for the young folk.

    Best clue for me was 6a – once you got the second letter of 3d correct!
    Also liked 20a, 17d, 18d & 19d.

    Nice work Giovanni!

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