DT 26437 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26437

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26437

Hints and tips by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Morning All! Gazza has kindly agreed to vacate the chair for the day so you have the dubious pleasure of me reviewing the final back-page puzzle of the year.
It looks like we are back on track with our regular Friday setter, Giovanni, giving us a nice fun puzzle with a few clues to make you think. It’s good to see the more obscure words being clued in a slightly gentler fashion, 21d for example, is one that you can take a flier at then look up to confirm.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Work in that? Maybe if you’re like Fred Astaire! (3,3)
{TOP HAT} – A 1935 film starring Fred Astaire is formed by placing the usual abbreviation for a musical work into THAT. It is also an adjective meaning ‘upper class’ which is also appropriate!

4a           Positioned in front of the boat, I will wave (6)
{BILLOW} – Place a contraction of I WILL into a nautical term for the front of a ship to get a verb meaning to wave in the wind like a sail (or a sheet on the washing line).  Nice image created here which improves the surface reading.

8a           Fellows into stupid diet? There follows a mental disorder (8)
{DEMENTIA} – A mental disorder normally associated with old age can be found by putting a synonym for fellows into an anagram (stupid) of DIET then adding an A (‘There follows A’ is the instruction)

10a         Meat in school, first day of lessons? (6)
{GAMMON} – A charade here. The first word was unknown to me but is another collective noun for a school of whales. The second is the abbreviation for the first day of the school or working week (back to school, eh, kids!?). The result is a joint of bacon most often enjoyed with a pineapple slice or a fried egg on top.

11a         Little woman entertaining king’s soldiers (4)
{ARMY} – The little woman in question is one of the principal characters in Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’. Place the Latin abbreviation for King inside to find a host or collection of soldiers.

12a         One wanting religious liberty? Witches aren’t different (10)
{COVENANTER} – A member of a Scottish Presbyterian movement created to maintain Presbyterian doctrine as the sole religion of the country. Start with a group of witches then add a ‘different’ anagram of ARENT.

13a         MP and minister on fiddle — to result in this? (12)
{IMPRISONMENT} – A very nice clue which is still on topic! Make an anagram (fiddle) of MP plus MINISTER ON for a form of punishment that has yet to be enforced on any MP following the expenses scandals.

16a         Old ploughmen as investors in company? (12)
{SHAREHOLDERS} – A cryptic definition plus definition. The definition is ‘investors in company’ and is cryptically alluded to by ‘old ploughmen’, and the name of the instrument that they used to plough the fields.

20a         Penalty kick is hard, guys admitted (10)
{PUNISHMENT} – A penalty such as 13a. A word for kick (e.g. kick a football) includes IS + Hard and the same words for guys or fellows that was used in 8a.

21a         Travel beyond river to jump up and down (4)
{POGO} – Place a word for travel or leave after a Chinese river. The result is a lively dance enjoyed by followers of the Sex Pistols and other punk bands. Strange that this video doesn’t really feature the dance!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22a         One tucks into nasty gruel that’s less appealing (6)
{UGLIER} – The definition is ‘less appealing’ as in less good looking. Place I for ‘one’ into an anagram (nasty) of GRUEL.

23a         Daring, though looking back? There’s value in that (8)
{TEMERITY} – A noun meaning daring or nerve. Take a synonym for ‘though’, reverse it (looking back), and then insert a word for value.

24a         Dull commercials showing nymphs (6)
{DRYADS} – A charade of dull or boring with an abbreviation of advertisements leads to the tree nymphs associated with the oak tree .

25a         Rock making pleasant sound (6)
{GNEISS} – A homophone (sound) of pleasant is also a common rock formed from metamorphic processes.


1d           Propositions to rebuild rest home (8)
{THEOREMS} – A plural noun for mathematical propositions can be found by rebuilding REST HOME.

2d           Holiness and compassion swamping hate ultimately (5)
{PIETY} – A noun for holiness is formed from a word for compassion going around (swamping) the ultimate letter of hatE.

3d           Criticises a levy in speech (7)
{ATTACKS} – A small typo in the online version, missing the first ‘i’ in criticises. We are looking for A plus a  homophone (in speech) of a synonym of levy or duty.

5d           Innocent and genuine in coming to the fore (7)
{INGENUE} – a word for an innocent or naïf. Start with the word genuine and move the word IN to the front.

6d           New lad in team given protection outside? (9)
{LAMINATED} – An anagram (new) of LAD IN TEAM gives a verb for the process of encapsulating a page in plastic in order to protect it.

7d           To go courting and study is awkward (6)
{WOODEN} – A charade of ‘Go courting’ and a noun for study. The result is an adjective meaning awkward, particularly applied to bad actors.

9d           Notice vehicle with building material moving forward (11)
{ADVANCEMENT} – A noun meaning moving forward is another charade of notice/commercial, a large commercial vehicle, and the binding material for bricks in buildings.

14d         One large town overcome by decay in a style that doesn’t suit it? (9)
{RUSTICITY} – Start with I for One and add a large town or conurbation. Then add a word for decay in front. In a down clue overcome can mean place on top (i.e. above). The definition is ‘in a style that doesn’t suit it’ (i.e. the city) alluding to rural life.

15d         Goddesses collecting equipment for ships (8)
{FRIGATES} – The ships here are medium sized warships. Take the collective noun for certain Greek goddesses and insert a short word for equipment.

17d         Tot hanging around this place gets stuck (7)
{ADHERED} – A word for stuck or glued. Put tot or sum around a word meaning this place (as opposed to that place yonder).

18d         Extraordinary old fellow, one from former dynasty (7)
{OTTOMAN} – One more charade. A TLA (Three Letter Abbreviation!) for extraordinary or too much, Old and a word for fellow/guy gives a word for a member of an old empire covering South East Europe, Western Asia and North Africa

19d         Maybe Ra is celebrated, with party being set up (3-3)
{SUN-GOD} – Ra is but one example of this sort of deity so is indicated by example with ‘maybe’. A verb for celebrated or acclaimed is followed by crosswordland’s usual synonym for party when reversed (being set up).

21d         Religious believer in French city a bit confused at the end (5)
{PARSI} – A religious follower of the larger of two Zoroastrian communities in South Asia. Take the capital of France and confuse the last couple of letters!.

The clues I enjoyed most were 14d, 24a and in particular 4a.

Happy New Year to you all and to Giovanni!

42 comments on “DT 26437

  1. An excellent review. Being slightly older (well a lot older) than the Gnome, my first thought with 21a, my favourite clue, was of a stick not the Sex Pistols :) Thanks to the Gnome for the review and to Giovanni for the crossword.

    Everyone should try the stunningly brilliant.last Friday of the year Toughie.

  2. Nice crossword with 13a the standout for me, although there were no bad clues.

    I agree with the sentiments above about the clueing of less common words.

    Thanks to setter and Gnomethang!

  3. Nice one to end the year although it would have taken me until 2012 to get 25a. Those type of clues really get to me. You either know the answer or you don’t. There is no way to work it out and the only hint is it sounds like another word.
    Apart from that very enjoyable and thanks to Gnomethang and Giovanni.
    Happy Hogmanay, the good thing about being a Geordie is we celebrate Christmas with the English and then New Year with the Scots.

  4. Thanks for the positive feedback. The Po I had in mind runs through Italy, by the way. Happy New Year to all!

    1. How extraordinarily embarrassing!
      I was only on my second cup of tea – that’s my excuse!
      Thanks for all youR puzzles this year, Giovanni, here’s to many more next year!

    2. Must be another age thing like the stick.! The only Po river that comes to mind when crossword solving is the Italian one. Happy New Year Giovanni

      1. I’m with you on Italian river and stick. At least our age related memory shows that we don’t suffer from 8a!

        Very enjoyable crossword. Thanks to all and every good wish for 2011.

        Having had the luxury of time today to do it, I share Crypticsue’s recommendation of the 2010 Toughie.

    3. Giovanni,
      Happy New Year to you, and I will confess that I enjoyed this one far more than Monday’s!

    4. I’m another Italian river and stick person — and join the others in thanking you for the many enjoyable puzzles you’ve given us this year, and wishing you all the best for the next one. :-)

  5. I enjoyed this very much and thought that it was a bit easier than usual for a Friday. Needed the hint to explain why 10a was what it was – have heard of a ‘pod’ of whales but never this one! Had also never heard of that meaning of punt in 20a – but who would expect me to have done?!! Favourite clues – 4,11, 24a and 5 and 9d. Thanks to Giovanni and the Gnome for the review. Can I be a tiny bit picky and say that the river in 21a is in Italy rather than in China – or maybe there’s one in China too. Happy New Year to everyone.

    1. If you all wish to think of the incredibly well known traditional Italian river rather than the incredibly tiny and possibly non existent Chinese one that’s fine! ;-)

      1. Making a deliberate mistake is an excellent way of increasing the flow of comments, as I’ve often found :D

  6. Typically great crossword from Giovanni, favourite clues were 25a and 14d. Terrific review from Gnomethang. A Guid New Year tae yin and a’, aw ra best.

  7. Almost completely flummoxed on this one! Never have I needed so many hints before! Finished due to Gazza’s hints. Thank you Giovanni, and best wishes to everyone for the New Year

  8. What happened today?? I finished a Giovanni puzzle in record time!! Normally I am in such a fog/not of the same wavlength. Many thanks G!

  9. Lovely way to end the year. Thanks for the excellent review Gnomethang. Without you I would not have got 25a. I particularly liked 24a as I find that so many of them are!!!

    Thanks for an excellent puzzle Giovanni

    May I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

  10. 25a is one of those words to commit to memory. It rarely gets clued other than as the homophone for the pleasant word.

    1. Thanks – I will put it in the memory bank. Mind you I find that it takes longer and longer to get it out from there these days.

  11. I always enjoy Giovanni’s puzzles and this was no exception. I got a bit stuck at the top right-hand corner by putting in “tiller” instead of “billow” but managed to sort it out for myself! I like to find a new word each day and today it was ‘gam’. Have a great new year’s eve everyone!!

  12. Yes, a very encouraging last c’word of the year. I was glad to have been able to finish it, though it required a good deal of perseveration and electronic help to do so. Thanks, Gnomey, for the explanations which I needed especially for 10a and 18d. There were lots of good clues so it’s hard to choose a favourite.

    A very happy new year to everyone! :-)

  13. After yesterday’s debacle it was nice to get straight back on the horse again. Gam for school was a new one for me and I managed to drag the answer to 25a from the rearmost synapses of my brain; I hope synapses is the right word here.

  14. An excellent end to the year. Feliz Año a todos from the land where the New Year tradition is to eat a grape on each chime of the clock at midnight.

  15. Great crossword to finish the year, thanks Giovanni.
    Thanks for the review gnomey.

    Best wishes to everyone for 2011.

  16. Am enjoying this very much–been out and will get at the second half shortly. Must be brighter today because I normally struggle with Giovanni’s puzzle—-or perhaps, as someone has said, it is slightly easier today?!

    I will print off the Toughie later.

    Anyway, thanks to Giovanni, the reviewer and to Dave for the blog,

    I am going to stay up for the fireworks—- as I am 1/4 mile away from Edin Castle, I can hear and see them without having to go into Princes Street.

    Happy New Year, and happy puzzling to all.

  17. What an enjoyable end to the year . Congratulations to Giovanni for sending us all away so happy. It just shows that a 3* puzzle can be enjoyably resolved with such clever clues.
    Thanks also to Gnomethang for the excellent review.
    Best wishes to everyone for 2011.

  18. Many thanks to Giovanni for an excellent crossword to end 2010 and to Gnomethang for the review.

  19. Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable, and straightforward puzzle to end the year, and to Gnomethang for the comprehensive notes.
    Favourite clue, 13a.

  20. Wow just finished as been out all day . Shops &SMs were absolutely crammed!Amazing but we do like a party up here in Northumberland …… so many trolleys were full of m&S party food & beer etc from tescos ,guess its because we are close to Scotland we get best of both worlds over the Hols .!! Anyway best wishes to all for New year.

  21. I have just woken up to a rather misty New Years Day in the hills above Brisbane. It is a xword free holiday but I would like to wish BD, my pals Mary and Kath and everyone else a Happy New Year.

  22. Dear DT Crossword Editor, I don’t like to crticise (stet) , but has anyone noticed the typo in 3d (paper version)?

      1. gnomethang, I’m glad that you’re now feeling better!

        I’m still feeling a bit sick (sic)!

  23. Day late in doing this and to be honest I wish I hadn’t bothered. Not one of the Maestros best in my opinion. Never heard of 25a, 12a or 5d. 16a is an awful pun and I found the whole thing to be 22a than normal. Sorry sir!

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