DT 26488 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26488

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26488

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Shamus has warned us that he’s not always pangrammatic but this one is a pangram. I was hovering between two and three stars for difficulty – but I ended up with three on the basis that it’s harder than today’s Toughie. Let us know what you think.
There’s no Welsh theme in today’s puzzle so I was on the look-out for a clue which would give me an excuse for honouring St. David’s Day – I had to wait until the very end to find one.
Just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue if you want to see an answer.

Across Clues

7a  Whiff linked to unrefined town (7)
{BOROUGH} – the definition is town, specifically one which has been granted a royal charter. It’s a charade of the abbreviation of the whiff which may emanate from someone who hasn’t had a shower recently and an adjective meaning unrefined or plain and basic.

8a  Interest shown around former partner with bill? Not definite (7)
{INEXACT} – an adjective meaning not definite is made from the abbreviation of interest surrounding two further abbreviations, the first for a former partner and the second for a bill or invoice.

10a  Commonplace room for manoeuvre after start of proceedings (9)
{PLATITUDE} – a commonplace or cliché comes from a word meaning scope for freedom of action (room for manoeuvre) after the first letter of P(roceedings).

11a  Drive shown by a graduate in play (5)
{DRAMA} – string together the abbreviation for drive (i.e. a type of road), A and an arts graduate to make a play.

12a  Director enthralled by two Latin books of old is a clot (5)
{IDIOT} – D(irector) is flanked (enthralled) by the Roman numeral for two, then this is followed by the abbreviation for books of the Old Testament.

13a  Express disapproval of fall in value? One gets ignored (9)
{DEPRECATE} – remove I (one gets ignored) from a verb meaning to fall in value to leave a different verb, meaning to express disapproval.

15a  Fool obstructing secure computer accessory (7)
{MONITOR} – put a 3-letter word for fool inside (obstructing) a verb to secure a boat to make a computer accessory.

17a  Short amateur favoured element in theatre? (7)
{CURTAIN} – the definition is element in theatre. Start with an adjective meaning short or brusque and add the abbreviation for amateur and an informal adjective meaning favoured or fashionable.

18a  Deceptive image misleading a few lands (5,4)
{FALSE DAWN} – an anagram (misleading) of A FEW LANDS produces a phrase meaning a promising situation which comes to nothing.

20a  Authority for example supplied by note (3-2)
{SAY-SO} – an informal term for authority or approval is a synonym of for example followed by a note from tonic sol-fa.

21a  Country not out to get revolutionary support (5)
{INDIA} – this country is the opposite of out followed by a synonym for support which is reversed (revolutionary).

23a  New-fangled limos in US for despotic figure (9)
{MUSSOLINI} – an old Italian dictator is an anagram (new-fangled) of LIMOS IN US.

24a  Rebel’s work, rejecting society in form of book (7)
{EDITION} – we had this the other way round a couple of Saturdays ago. Start with a word meaning the promotion of rebellion and remove (rejecting) the initial S(ociety) to leave a form of a book.

25a  Polished English cricket side followed by six-footer (7)
{ELEGANT} – this word meaning polished is a charade of the abbreviation of E(nglish), one of the sides of the wicket in cricket and an insect (six-footer).

Down Clues

1d  Trial on air quashed as unsound (10)
{IRRATIONAL} – an adjective meaning unsound or illogical is an anagram (quashed) of TRIAL ON AIR.

2d  Old-fashioned Queen is not badly spoken (6)
{QUAINT} – start with an abbreviation of Queen and add how a badly-spoken person might say “is not” to make an adjective meaning old-fashioned.

3d  Take responsibility for joint (8)
{SHOULDER} – double definition.

4d  Make an assessment of slightly bigger garment? (4,2)
{SIZE UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to assess could also describe a garment slightly bigger than your current one.

5d  Bowler, perhaps, with a hard edge played dismissing squad’s tail-ender (8)
{HEADGEAR} – a bowler is an example of this, signalled by perhaps. It’s an anagram (played) of A HAR(d) EDGE having dismissed the last letter (tail-ender) of (squa)D. A nice bit of misdirection towards cricket here, and this type of bowler does indeed have a hard edge.

6d  Leaders in jungle adventure viewed askance in foreign island (4)
{JAVA} – the name of this island in South-East Asia is taken from the initial letters (leaders) of four words in the clue.

7d  A stiff probe I’m fighting in early trial? (7,2,4)
{BAPTISM OF FIRE} – if you see “a stiff probe” in a cryptic crossword clue your thoughts may well turn in the direction of an autopsy or post mortem, but you’d be on the wrong track with this clue. It’s an anagram (fighting?) of A STIFF PROBE I’M and it’s a phrase meaning a very difficult introduction to a new venture.

9d  One at work with striking potential? (5,8)
{TRADE UNIONIST} – a fairly gentle cryptic definition of someone who may come out on strike.

14d  An act ally devised around Italy — characterising some thinking? (10)
{ANALYTICAL} – a type of thinking is an anagram (devised) of AN ACT ALLY around the IVR code for Italy.

16d  Article, one going into most of game following a recurrent idea? (8)
{THEMATIC} – the definition is following a recurrent idea. Start with a definite article and add a competitive game or fixture without its final H (most of) but with I (one) included.

17d  Box secreted by Mexican is terrifying (8)
{CANISTER} – hidden (secreted) in the clue is a box.

19d  Lad working around start of week showing pale colour (6)
{ALMOND} – this pale creamy off-white colour is an anagram (working) of LAD around the abbreviation of the first day of the working week.

20d  Approval during endless shopping outlay is uttered (6)
{SPOKEN} – the definition is uttered. Put an informal approval or agreement inside the amount of money laid out on shopping without its final D (endless).

22d  Raised platform is supporting US lawyer (4)
{DAIS} – this raised platform is constructed from IS under (supporting, in a down clue) the abbreviation for a District Attorney in the US. The same word, with a strategically placed apostrophe, could mean belonging to a Welshman – a somewhat contrived way, you might think, of allowing me to display the Welsh flag on St. David’s Day. I’m sure that Mary, if nobody else, will appreciate it!

I liked 12a and 2d today, but my favourite clue was 5d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

The Quickie pun is {CROW} + {ASIA} = {CROATIA}

120 comments on “DT 26488

  1. Happy St Davids day everyone, beautiful day here today, blue skies, sunshine, daffodils, snowdrops celandines, lambs in field behind house, just off to town to see schoolchildren in traditional costume singing in the square, then meeting friends to go see Kings Speech, thanks for pointing out the St Davids Day ‘clue’ ! Gazza, it is well appreciated :-D , I enjoyed this today even if I really didn’t have a favourite clue and wondered half way through about the pangram, thanks for the hints I will read them properly when I get back, have a lovely day everyone, Hwyl nawr! :)

  2. Thanks to Shamus for the enjoyable pangram; favourite clue, 2d, and thanks to gazza for the notes.
    I see BD has the daffodil out today. :)

            1. The second G is changed to a lady in traditional Welsh costume, complete with hat and daffodil.
              Perhaps you’d get it if you cleared your cache.

  3. Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle & to Gazza for his inimitable clueing prowess. I would rate this a 3* for difficulty & agree that 5d is the best clue.

    On another note the Grauniad is a non-starter for me. It’s like the “Film” themed puzzle from the weekend only it’s based around classical music references. Not my forte – so to speak!

  4. Whilst I have a Welsh surname and a brother with a welsh spelling of Alun I am not strictly Welsh but I hope you all have a fun St David’s Day.
    No trouble here and fun while it lasted (were I to have been on a train it would have just about been a two stopper). 7d was favourite for me. Thanls to Shamus and gazza.
    I would certainly say that the Toughie is a good entry level today – Not much slower to solve than this one.

        1. Not seen you on my facebook??? now then Mr Owen with names like Alun Owen there is bound to be a connection?

          1. I’ve just clicked on the new “pommers” website! Nice photos – haven’t seen blue sky for ages!

            Good Luck with your review(s) in the future – I’m sure that there will be more than one!

            1. The Cat, as they say, appears to be out of the bag! This is Pommette’s fault as she’s a computer Geek and can’t resist playing around!

              1. Where did that phrase come from? You ever tried to get a cat into a bag? Nasty and usually requires a trip to A & E afterwards!

                1. The cat is out of the bag beacause there were two consecutive entries in the “Recent Comments” column posted by “pommers”, but one was clickable (or had a link). So, I clicked! Don’t blame Pommette! Good Luck! Very Brave!!

                  1. I always blame pommette when it’s computer problem – even when it’s my fault!

            2. Franco – I’m probably now in the naughty corner.
              I wasn’t playing – needed a WordPress account so being an ex computer geek it offended me to leave it blank.

              1. Is the “naughty corner” better or worse than the “naughty step”!

                Only a Dweeb (Toughie 23d) would have noticed and then let the cat out of the proverbial…. Buenas Noches!

  5. Happy St David’s day to Mary and any other Welsh bloggers! I enjoyed today’s puzzle and managed to finish it with only a bit of bother finding 16d, so thanks to Shamus and Gazza. Now I’m off to buy daffodils — something to brighten yet another grey day!

  6. I must be dense: I never spot these pangrams!
    All went smoothly otherwise. The various anagrams didn’t put up much resistance.

    Started the Toughie and was surprised to fill in quite a few on first reading.

    Shamus & Gazza: thanks for the entertainment.

  7. Happy Dai’s day all. Good crossword today. Kept getting interrupted whilst working on it which didn’t help (or maybe it did). Very workman-like today, needed to make a start and pod through it. I particularly enjoyed 7a and 13a.

  8. Too much for me but I did get 11 answers, with 9d being a total guess from three checking letters. Six-footer was new.

    Thanks for review and Happy St David’s Day. There are a few daffodils open around here, nice to see!

  9. Completed todays without to much difficulty, glad to see its rated a 3*, must mean my solving skills are improving (or not). Think I’ll follow advice and look at the Toughie, who knows I might have some success there which would be a first for me.
    Best clues for me were 7a and 2d
    Thanks to Compiler and to Gazza for his review.

  10. I would agree with the three stars for difficulty but would add a star for enjoyment for the number of clues where I thought – “Shamus – that’s sneaky”, when the solution dawned.

    The Toughie was a breeze after today’s back page.

    Many thanks to setter and reviewer.

  11. Agree with a 3/3 rating. Couldn’t see 2d till the pangram theme kicked in, then all became clear!

  12. Found this fairly straightforward today and enjoyable. I seem to be in a pattern at the moment that’s the reverse of most, struggling with Monday’s more than any other day of the week. Thanks to Gazza and Shamus.

    1. You are not the only one – for whatever reason, I tend to find Monday more of a struggle than any of the other 6 days of the week!

      1. I think Rufus likes the odd obscure usage, and has a lot of pure cryptic clues, where you can’t work backwards to the answer… like Hare yesterday. I’ve lost count of the times I look on here to see everyone commenting on a gentle start to the week, when i was scratching my head for hours! But then every now and then there’s a Ray T that gets a four star that i’ve breezed through in one sitting. I did say every now and then! Horses for courses I guess.

  13. I enjoyed todays even it was quite difficult esp 7a, very clever :-)
    Although I have completed it, I am grateful to Gazza for some of the explanations especially 24a.
    Happy St Davids day Mary, Pob lwc! (I came across this whilst looking for suitable Welsh phrases: Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod – weird!!)

    1. Diolch Barrie but to my great shame my Weslh speaking skills are very limited and I can’t find a translation for that phrase, sorry :(

        1. really!! didn’t know he had a hovercraft! now where did you get that translation from Gazza, I know yn llawn is ‘full’ but as for the rest!

            1. I seem to recall another translation as ‘Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?’

              1. You’re right again. I’ve just watched it on YouTube – it’s not as funny as I remember it!
                I always thought there was a line in the phrasebook saying…”may I fondle your wife’s botttom?”

                I tried a link earlier which failed, but never say die…..last attempt!

                Monty Python – Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook

  14. Definitely 3* difficulty and I don’t think that was just because a colleague would keep talkiing to me. My favourite clue was 2d too. Happy St Davids Day to all from a chilly dull East Kent. Thanks to Gazza and Shamus.

    The Toughie is, as Prolixic says, a breeze after the Shamus.

    1. Blimey Sue, I’ve just looked at the Toughie, if you think thats a breeze, I take my hat off to you, can’t even start it!!

      1. If only I could understand why some are relatively breezier than others….. perhaps it was just that my colleague had left me in peace, or else sorting out the Shamus had woken up the cryptic grey matter.

      2. Best place to start is the anagram at 1A, as that gives some nice starting letters for a few of the downs.

      3. Likewise, buoyed by my success with the cryptic and the comments that it was more difficult than the Toughie, I attempted the Toughie. Oh dear, managed only five clues. Back to the drawing board for me.

  15. Managed most of this and, in view of Gazza’s comment, thought I’d have a go at the (allegedly) easier Toughie. Thank you for introducing me to a whole new world – didn’t think it was within my capabilities – managed some of it. But where are the hints!?

      1. Problems with the wordplay of 2d in the Toughie? It beats me, although I am fairly confident of my answer.

        1. A two letter word meaning about – think email – last letter of accident – and ‘study’. Sorry BD, I will shut up and go away now and make people wait until 2 :)

        2. 2d – After the accident, finally studied the tyre.
          I thought it was the last letters of the first 3 words, followed by a four letter word for studied.

        3. Please don’t ask questions about clues in other puzzles on the post dedicated to a different puzzle as it can spoil the enjoyment for those who have yet to start the puzzle. In future such questions may be censored or deleted.

          1. I think you should consider censoring weather, health, football, cricket, tennis, bowls, teeth, holidays and, weddings as it might spoil the enjoyment of serious people who want to concentrate on the crossword.

  16. Also…….I know you’re not supposed to appear thick if you do the DT crossword, but feeling smug today, being as I did almost all of it without help…..but what do people mean when talking of pangrams and the pangrammatical? Am I missing something?…….Put me out of my misery please.

    1. A pangram means that every letter of the alphabet appears at least once in the answers.

    2. Don’t worry you’ll get used to the language these guys use.

      6 months ago I thought it was the code of a secret society but now I can understand the argot such as “check letters” & even cruciverbalism! without referring to the dictionary!

  17. Most enjoyable crossword from Shamus today, favourite clues were 7a and 12a. Thanks Shamus and of course Gazza.

  18. Coffee consumed, Shamus completed with enjoyment! Thanks Shamus!
    Favourite is 7d and yes I did go down the post mortem route at first.
    Thanks to Gazza for the excellent blog.

    May have a go at the Toughie later.

  19. Definitely agree with the 3* rating for difficulty and enjoyment. Got into this very quickly then three-quarters through hit the proverbial wall with the right hand side being the problem. Got there without the hints but I still read them through together with the blog.
    Must admit I always fail to see the pangram. Must try harder.
    Incidentally a warm sunny day here in the north east, very welcome after yesterday.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza for the hints.

  20. It has come to my attention today that for some users the small icon on the title bar may be off-screen so I have moved it from the right to the left!

  21. Another most enjoyable contest. I think the editor is trying to put us in a good mood after Sunday! Favourite is 20d as it took a bit of thinking power. Other goodies were 2 4 5 7a 7d 18 and 23. Never noticed pangram or significance of 22, even though I was wearing a leek in Mary’s honour. Now to the Toughie [can I still say that with the new censorship rules].

      1. Hwyl, Mary. Diwrnod Dewi Sant Hapus. Byddwch yn ofalus y sensoriaeth newydd! Apparently Shamus didn’t realise the significance either re 22!

  22. Thanks to Shamus and Gazza for a good start to the day. And to everyone else for the enjoyable chatter. I didn’t get the pangram angle before. Also, I needed coffee and a silly spelling correction to finish the NE corner.

    MaBear and I have fond memories of walks in the Welsh hills some years ago. So the flag was a nice reminder. Right now it’s sunny and 25 degrees here in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Daffodils are a few weeks away.

    1. Hi BipBear, my brother lives in Mew Mexico, in Albuquerque, nice to know you have some daffodils there :)

  23. Thanks to Gazza as always for the blog and all for comments. Had I known this was to appear on St David’s Day when I created it, I might have clued 22d differently! Happy SDD to all

  24. Late start today as the sunshine was too glorious to miss. Managed the cryptic but struggled with the NE corner. Bet I’ll have difficulty with the toughie. HAPPY ST. DAVID’S DAY. RABBITS.

      1. You’re supposed to say ‘Rabbits’ as your first word spoken in any month with an ‘R’ in it – don’t ask me why but my Gran was punctillious about it and upset for days if she forgot!

  25. Brain just wasn’t working right today – I picked up on the wordplay pretty quickly for most of the clues, so I knew what I was looking for, just couldn’t get the actual answer! Very annoying. Got there in the end with a small amount of electronic assistance… Liked 2d (when I finally got it), 20a and 21a and loved the surface reading of 17d.
    Thanks Shamus and Gazza.
    (I know it’s taboo, but thanks for the hints on 2d in the Toughie – I’ve started it and had got the answer for 2d, but could not work out why!)

  26. Well I am struggling with the toughie and yet finished this in no time at all, so as always it’s all down to personal wavelengths ! Very enjoyable, thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  27. I’m not too sure why Mary but here in the north people say “rabbits” on the first day of the month. Anybody else know anything about this???? Halfway through the toughie but grinding to a halt.

  28. Thanks Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle and to Gazza for getting in the Welsh Dragon for Mary et al.
    I liked 7a, 17a, 18a, 24a, 25a, 5d, 9d & 16d.

    We have reached March and over here in NL it is damned cold – we did get a touch of weak sun late in the afternoon but not for long.

    The kitchen halogen lamps blew this AM and I can’t find why the replacement bulbs won’t come on when every other light in the flat works! Electrician will come tomorrow to sort it out – I hope – can’t get up to the ceiling any more at my age!

    1. NL as in “Nederland”? My own beautiful country? Nestoria was there last week for a day and complained bitterly about the cold.

        1. My Nestoria is never cold so the pun wouldn’t be applicable. Put it down to my bookish English. I cannot think of any other way of complaining than bitterly.

          Did you hear of that man who liked punning but was very bad at it? His local newspaper ran a punning contest and he sent in ten different entries in the hope that one of them would win. But of course no pun in ten did.

          And when Gandhi was old and frail, he had bad breath from being a vegetarian and of course he always went barefoot. So he was a supper-calloused fragile mystic vexed with halitosis.

          1. Aaargh! It’s back! That stupid song like a worm in the brain!
            I had it big time just after Xmas because our local paper used the word as its headline and I’d just managed to clear it when a guy on DIY COW brought it back with one of his clues.(v. clever but I could have done without it!).
            Cleared head again to a big sigh of relief , by overwriting it with large quantities of Dire Straits, but now I find it’s back again!!!!!!
            As I said – AAAAAAAARGH!!!!!! – is that spelled right?
            Back to the Dire Straits again!

            1. You missed an ‘A’ out!

              Watch this – It is great and German. Think about drugs in reverse and let the music wash over you!

      1. Jazeker Nestorious : NL = Nederland. Maar hier de lente is nog niet binnengekomen – veel te koud!
        I love reading the comments in order to keep my English alive – het engels is mijn moedertaal.


        1. My compliments! Our throat disease is usually far too idio(ma)tic for foreigners to pick up.

          After 26 years in this “eigenzinnig koninkrijk” my Dutch has become rusty. Both Nestoria and I are born Mokummers but we have long switched to the local lingo.

          In particular my fingers have forgotten how to use a keyboard to produce Dutch ;-)

          Do you know the hilarious book “An Irishman’s Difficulties with the Dutch Language”?

  29. Did it in 4 pints/2 pubs. Not bad at all for me, because I normally end up looking up something on here!

  30. Managed all on the train home bar 5d! Thank you Gazza for explanations as some were got from knowing words in general. Favourite was 7a today…

  31. Slow going today – only a quarter done. At least 3 stars for me – as difficult as yesterday which I also found tough.

        1. I’m fine thanks, how about you?
          Been listening to the Chelsea v Utd game on the computer so dipping in and out of the blog. Not many around tonight.
          Match just finished with a bad result for me!
          Good puzzle today but for once suspecting the pangram didn’t seem to help much, but I di like Shamus!

          1. Good match. 5 to go all in top left – no z yet so that should help me. Yep very quiet tonight

  32. Having said all that just had a rush of inspiration. Just 7 to go – funny how it can be like that.

  33. Managed to solve this ok with the exception of 10a as I didn’t pick it as a definition of commonplace. Only put it in because it couldn’t be anything else.

    Pardon my ignorance but, could someone explain this pangram business to me please. Ta.

    1. See post 17 above – As gazza says, a pangram is a puzzle that uses every letter of the alphabet at least once.

      1. Thanks Jezza. I was intimidated by the number of posts for this crossword (or just lazy) so, started near the bottom. I didn’t know that there were so many lovely lovely terms involved in this crossword ’til I discovered this excellent site. I did have a read through the guide to cryptic clues but of course there was no mention of Pangrams. I’m still trying to get my head round comlex clues, inserts, charades etc. I think I was better of when I only knew about anagrams but could do the crossword anyway. Too much information now. I used to use a pangram when I was learning to type.

        The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

        Happy days:-)

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