DT 26438 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26438

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26438

A Full Review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Morning All! We had a couple of troublesome clues in this puzzle from (I think) Cephas. In the end there was nothing to stop one completing but it did increase the solving time a tad.

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           Not so far from college with competitor who was not successful (6)
CLOSER – An abbreviation of College and a a LOSER in a competition (competitor who was not successful) gives a word meaning ‘Not so far from’.

9a           A chortler’s composing for the band (10)
ORCHESTRAL – An anagram (composing) of A CHORTLERS  is an adjective meaning ‘for the band/orchestra’

10a         Dazed after too many juicy hits? (5-5)
PUNCH DRUNK – A cryptic definition of a boxer who has taken too many hits – alluded to by ‘juicy hits’ for fruit punches (or drinking – slang term being ‘having a juice’)

11a         Back Greek god came from canal (4)
SUEZ – Reverse (back) the Greek god Zeus to get a famous canal. Personally I cannot see what ‘came from’ is doing here as the phrase does not even suggest leading to an answer.

12a         Spring in field leading to first pond (4)
LEAP – A start with LEA, a field or meadow, then add the first letter of Pond to get a spring or jump.

14a         Not going over the top? (3,2,5)
OUT OF ORDER – A double definition here, the first meaning not working (going), the second meaning over the top as in a slang term for ‘excessively badly behaved’, as heard in popular East End Soap Operas. I can’t believe I’m hearing this!

17a         Gavin not at home as animal loses tail – it’s a merry dance (7)
GAVOTTE – An old merry dance from GAVin (not at home means remove IN) +OTTER(r), an animal losing its tail (last letter).

18a         Euphoria’s easy running around cold street (7)
ECSTASY – Simply place EASY around the usual abbreviations for Cold and Street to get euphoria or bliss.

20a         Gradually advance via stair (4,2,4)
STEP BY STEP – I quite liked this one looking back at it. The definition, gradually, is actually a charade of STEP for advance, BY for via and then STEP for stair.

21a         Skirt Eastern capital that is vast (4)
HUGE – HUG is a synonym for skirt in the sense of hugging a coastline, closely moving  around something. Add the capital letter of Eastern to get vast or massive.

22a         Former cop concealing half of the car? (4)
MERC – A strange one this!. The answer is concealed in forMER Cop but the definition appears to be ‘half a car’. Nevertheless I am sure that most people are familiar with the abbreviation for Mercedes and the question mark at the end suggests something unusual is occurring.

23a         Small animals finding cover in town (10)
SHREWSBURY – A charade of the small rodents and a synonym for cover or inter.

25a         Admiration I have for each (10)
RESPECTIVE – Another charade of RESPECT (admiration) and the standard contraction of I HAVE

26a         Warn engineer to take 30-second delay initially (6)
REMIND – Another charade here. Start with the Royal Engineer then add MIN (30 seconds = half a MINute, geddit?) and finally add D, initial letter of Delay. Warn for remind is perhaps not the first synonym that springs to mind.


2d           In place of occupant becoming officer (10)
LIEUTENANT – Start with LIEU for ‘in place of’ (originally from the French) then add TENANT for occupier of e.g. a rented flat. This gives a military rank.

3d           Agreement in time of Seychelles with North Carolina (4)
SYNC – An abbreviation for synchronized – agreeing in time – is another charade of the IVR code for the Seychelles plus the abbreviation for North Carolina.

4d           Fit to drive dignitary on highway (10)
ROADWORTHY – Don’t forget that A on B in an across clue means A AFTER B. In this case we need WORTHY – a local dignitary e.g. the mayor – after ROAD for highway. The definition is ‘fit to drive’ as in a car that has passed its MOT.

5d           Stress centre-half left put in action (7)
ACTUATE – this was my last in on the day. We need to start with ACCENTUATE (stress) then remove (it has left) CENtre (centre-half can be read as half of centre). The result is a verb meaning put into action or start to motor.

6d           Bill for peanuts? (4)
BEAK – This caused some head scratching on the day with a lot of uncertainty as to what ‘peanuts’ had to do with the clue. I think that gazza had it right: “I think it’s just a weak cryptic definition. The setter wants you to to think of a bill (invoice) for a trifling amount (peanuts) but it’s actually the sort of bill a bird would use to crack a nut.
Phil McNeill, the Telegraph Crossword Editor did post to fess up that he had tinkered with the clue prior to publication.

7d           With much effort in one continuous period (2,1,7)
AT A STRETCH – A double definition here. The first meaning with much effort i.e. ‘stretching oneself’, the second using stretch to mean one continuous length of time.

8d           Pottery worker, not one who fits windows (6)
GLAZER –  Remove I (not one) from a GLAZIER (one who fits windows) to find someone who finishes pottery.

13d         On time, ape thing used in play (6,4)
PROMPT COPY – The copy of a playscript used by the prompter is a charade of PROMPT (on time) and COPY (ape/imitate).

15d         We coped far worse in make-up (4,6)
FACE POWDER – An anagram (worse) of WE COPED FAR.

16d         Eccentric gamester with an inhabitant of former country (4,6)
EAST GERMAN – An anagram (eccentric) of GAMESTER followed by AN (in the clue) leads to an inhabitant of one part of Berlin until the Wall came down.

19d         Tried so badly to obtain muscle-building compound (7)
STEROID – This muscle building compound, banned for sportsmen, is an anagram (badly) of TRIED SO.

20d         Endless support in part that is gloomy (6)
SOMBRE – The support here is BRA and we need to take the last letter off (endlessly) put this in SOME, a synonym for part, to get a word for gloomy or drear.

23d         Hit salmon, losing eye (4)
SOCK – The salmon variety is SOCKEYE. Simply remove the EYE to get a word for hit or punch.

24d         Sound barrier (4)
BOOM – A double definition to finish. A sound such a sonic boom when breaking the sound barrier. Also the semi-rigid barrier that is placed across a harbor as a breakwater.

Thanks to Cephas for the puzzle. I am not sure who is blogging next week – I will have to check with Crypticsue.

3 comments on “DT 26438

  1. Thanks Gnomethang for an excellent summary of what I thought was an enjoyable if simple crossword.

  2. the explanation for 8d is the wrong way round – a glazier fits glass and a glazer finishes pottery. I thought there were some nice clues – 26a and 5d in particular.


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