DT 26474 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26474

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26474

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This was one of those crosswords where I struggled to get going but found when I had finished that it had taken me no longer than usual to solve. Thanks to Cephas for a nice Saturday puzzle with an interesting mix of clues.

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1a    Street vagrant wanders in a bad mood, showing colours (2,7,5)
ST ANDREWS CROSS – to get the emblem of the Scottish Patron Saint, take ST(reet) and add an anagram (vagrant) of WANDERS and CROSS (in a bad mood).

8a    Brusque retreat before English ceasefire (5)
TRUCE – retreat, send back, or reverse CURT (brusque as in abrupt or rude in manner) before E for English to get a cessation of hostilities.

9a    Having no ups and downs in the main (8)
TIDELESS – Sea level normally rises up and down with the tides, so obviously if it remained at the same level all the time, it would be tideless.

11a    Stroke damaging US racquet (6-3)
SQUARE CUT – I was really surprised that there were no comments about cricket-related clues on Saturday’s blog – just someone commenting on the lack of complaints! This (unhyphenated) cricket stroke is an anagram (damaging) of US RACQUET. Square-cut refers to something square-shaped, for example a jaw, which is the only definition in Chambers. The ODE correctly defines it as (6,3).

12a    Greek worker’s allowance (5)
GRANT – An allowance or gift is easily spotted here – GR (abbreviation for Greek) and ANT, one of crosswordland’s favourite workers.

13a    Matey missing quiet colleague (4)
ALLY – Another way of saying matey is PALLY. Do as the clue instructs and remove the P (missing quiet – Piano) to be left with ALLY, a person who supports, helps or cooperates.

14a    Carry on truncated article on unbroken sequences (8)
CONTINUA – Truncate, or remove the last letter from, CONTINU(E) and replace with A (article) to get a term meaning unbroken sequences.

17a    Herb had no end of Spanish port (8)
TARRAGON – Remove the last letter from the Spanish port of TARRAGON(A) to leave the name of an aromatic herb.

19a    Geisha girl, some bird! (4)
SHAG – Some is a hidden word indicator – the name of the green cormorant is hidden in geiSHA Girl.

23a    Assessed potential trade (5)
RATED – A fairly obvious anagram (potential) of TRADE produces an alternative way of saying assessed.

24a    Bulb and insect as alternatives for 19 (9)
CORMORANT – A type of bulb CORM and ANT, Cephas’ insect of the day, separated by OR, an indication that this might produce alternatives to the bird in 19a. I now can’t get out of my head the poem that starts “The common cormorant or shag lays eggs inside a paper bag….”.

25a    First choir performed outside, it was famous in the past (8)
HISTORIC – An adjective meaning famous or important in history: an anagram (performed) of CHOIR placed outside IST (first).

26a    One missing partner from north going west in bay, maybe (5)
WIDOW – Here bay refers to a type of WINDOW. The clue instructs that the N be removed (north going) to get a woman whose husband has died and who has not remarried.

27a    Fruit trifle beginning to cramp lovers’ style (4,10)
PLAY GOOSBERRY – to get an expression meaning to be an uncomfortably superfluous person third person between two lovers, ‘beginning‘ indicates that you should put a word meaning trifle in the sense of amuse or PLAY before GOOSEBERRY (a small oval green fruit from a very prickly bush).


1d    Stray cat? If so, stray’s OK! (12)
SATISFACTORY – an anagram (stray) of STRAY CAT IF SO produces an adjective meaning all right.

2d    Generally casual, taking in America but steering clear of clubs (2,5)
AS USUAL – careful reading of this clue confirms that you are looking for a phrase meaning generally which is obtained by inserting (taking in) US (America) into CASUAL once you have removed (steering clear of) the C (abbreviation for the playing card suit of Clubs).

3d    Gloomy feature lacking moisture outside (6)
DREARY – Place a word meaning lacking moisture DRY around EAR (a feature of the head) to get an adjective meaning gloomy, cheerless or dull.

4d    Tempt with some succulent ices (6)
ENTICE – some indicates that a synonym for tempt can be found hidden inside succulENT ICEs.

5d    Special issue’s promoting anarchy (8)
SEDITION – An offence against the state or an insurrection – S(pecial) and EDITION (issue, eg of a newspaper).

6d    Banish again the ambassador (8)

RELEGATE – This is an example of a type of clue much loved by Prolixic but one which I am just learning to recognise – the ‘lift and separate’ (before this I only associated the expression with a certain brand of ladies undergarment!) There are two parts to this clue: the definition – banish or consign to a lower or less important place and the wordplay, a charade of RE (again) and LEGATE (an ambassador, especially from the Pope).

7d    Keep you and me up above the mark (7)
SUSTAIN – a synonym for keep in the sense of keep going or support – Up in a down clue indicates that you should reverse US (you and me) and follow it with STAIN: a mark, spot or discolouration.

10d    That wry saga I recreated without hesitation (8,4)
STRAIGHT AWAY – The very obvious anagram indicator recreated should have led you to arrange THAT WRY SAGA I straight away!

15d    Boycott dirty sort of pillage (8)
BANDITRY – This noun relates to the bad deeds of bandits – BAN (boycott) plus an anagram (sort) of DIRTY.

16d    Attention tailing off while adding to composition (8)
CONCERTO – Remove the last letter from a synonym for attention CONCER(N) and add TO – a musical composition for solo instrument(s) and orchestra.

18d    Hearing for the second time of vandalised trailer (7)
RETRIAL – A second hearing of a court case is found in an anagram (vandalised) of TRAILER.

20d    Not so easy to accept egg from collector (7)
HOARDER – This collector usually keeps his treasure in a hidden, secret place. HARDER (not so easy) with O (egg) inserted (accepted).

21d    Copper’s grabbing old bird revealing bloomer (6)
CROCUS – Here you need both your knowledge of chemistry and of Arabian legends. The chemical symbol for copper is CU so here you need CU(‘)S (copper’s) into which you insert (grabbing) ROC, an enormous bird described in Arabian legend as being big enough to carry off an elephant.

22d    It’s spun by company blogger initially over internet (6)
COBWEB – Spiders spin these – CO (company) B (Blogger initially) placed before (over in a down clue) WEB (internet).

My anagram indicator of the day is the splendid ‘vandalised’. However, none of the clues stood out for me as a special favourite, they just all went together to create a nice ‘doable’ Saturday puzzle.

7 comments on “DT 26474

    1. The common cormorant or shag
      lays eggs inside a paper bag.
      the reason you will see, no doubt,
      it is to keep the water out!

      is the version I know but apparently it comes from a Christopher Isherwood poem which has slightly different wording
      The common cormorant or shag
      Lays eggs inside a paper bag
      The reason you will see no doubt
      It is to keep the lightning out
      But what these unobservant birds
      Have never noticed is that herds
      Of wandering bears may come with buns
      And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

  1. Excellent review CS – many thanks and thanks for the poem – had heard the first part before but not the rest of it nor the alternative.

  2. Bit of scientific pedantry here – a corm is not a bulb, I puzzled a bit over that one because of this. A bulb is a swollen bud and a corm a swollen stem! Us convergent thinking scientists have problems with this.

    1. I remember thinking that when I was solving the puzzle on Saturday morning but forget to comment on it when I typed the review on Sunday. Perhaps we can allow for a bit of ‘setter’s licence’.

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