DT 26491 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26491

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26491

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

The normal order seems to have been restored, and this Giovanni puzzle is, for me, the most difficult of the week as well as having some very entertaining clues. Let us know how you found it in a comment!
If you need to see an answer just drag your cursor through the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  The French seller offers something fragrant (8)
{LAVENDER} – a French definite article is followed by another word for seller (more usually spelled with its penultimate letter ‘O’ rather than ‘E’) to make a plant with fragrant lilac-coloured flowers.

9a  Avoid pet that’s wayward and not like a natural family member (8)
{ADOPTIVE} – an anagram (wayward) of AVOID PET produces a description of someone belonging to a family but not a blood relation.

10a  Church books of a religious nature making a bit of money (4)
{CENT} – two abbreviations (the first of the Church of England, the second of books of the Bible) are combined to make a sub-division of the currency in some countries.

11a  Nelson injured with bad rib in a place where he suffered (6,6)
{ROBBEN ISLAND} – there’s a lovely bit of misdirection here. Nelson is not the surname of the diminutive admiral but the forename of the world statesman who was imprisoned in this place for more than a quarter of a century. It’s an anagram (injured) of NELSON and BAD RIB.

13a  Most shapely dogs, ultimately perfect when contest is held (8)
{CURVIEST} – string together a word for non-pedigree dogs and the last letter (ultimately) of (perfec)T and insert (held) a verb meaning to contest.

15a  Fret about stuff furniture is made of? (6)
{REPINE} – combine a preposition meaning concerning or about and a soft wood from which a lot of furniture is made to form a verb (new to me) meaning to fret.

16a  Animal put off, losing heart (4)
{DEER} – this animal appears when you remove (losing) the middle F from a verb meaning to put off or postpone. Equally validly, you could get the same result by removing the middle T from a verb meaning to put off or discourage.

17a  Element with unpleasant smell produced by Harry’s wizard friend (5)
{BORON} – this element is a non-metallic solid. It’s a charade of the abbreviation of the unpleasant smell from someone in need of a shower and the forename of Harry Potter’s friend, Master Weasley.

18a  Dirty stuff produced by some industries (4)
{DUST} – dirty stuff is hidden (some) in the clue.

20a  Salad? The last thing I have! (6)
{ENDIVE} – we want a salad plant related to chicory (and it tastes horrible, in my opinion). Start with a final part (last thing) and add a contraction of I have.

21a  One gentle introduction to heaven in Bruckner’s church music (8)
{ANTIPHON} – this (thanks to Chambers) is a type of church music sung by two parties, each responding to the other. Insert I (one), the letter used for soft or gentle in music and the first letter (introduction) of H(eaven) into the forename of the composer Bruckner.

23a  Unionist made to suffer — it could be an uphill struggle here (12)
{MOUNTAINSIDE} – this is an anagram (to suffer) of UNIONIST MADE.

26a  The way we hear Genesis (4)
{ROOT} – a word meaning source, beginning or Genesis sounds like (we hear) a way or course.

27a  Bits of hair controlled by girl’s net (8)
{RINGLETS} – an anagram (controlled by?) of GIRL’S NET.

28a  What may disturb ye in rest, repose? (8)
{SERENITY} – another anagram (what may disturb) of YE IN REST.

Down Clues

2d  A despicable person — he turned up in that pub (8)
{ALEHOUSE} – the definition is pub. Inside A and a despicable person put a reversal (turned up, in a down clue) of HE.

3d  Another translation going out with confidence high (12)
{EXTRAVERSION} – this is the quality of being an outgoing person full of confidence. It’s a word meaning another or further followed by a synonym of translation. The answer is more usually seen with the fifth letter O rather than A.

4d  Ringer gets a big drink (6)
{DOUBLE} – ringer (possibly a dead one) and big drink are two definitions of this word.

5d  Party sombre? That’s no good! (4)
{RAVE} – start with a word meaning sombre and remove the initial G (no Good).

6d  One is charged in sport — after grilling admits nothing (8)
{POSITRON} – a particle with a positive charge is an anagram (after grilling) of IN SPORT with O (zero, nothing) inserted (admits).

7d  Yesteryear’s money, pounds given to battling republicans (4)
{LIRA} – the currency of a European country prior to the adoption of the Euro is a charade of the letter used for pounds in our currency followed by battling Irish republicans.

8d  Most willing one to enter a desert after training (8)
{READIEST} – the definition is most willing. Insert (to enter) I (one) in an anagram (after training) of A DESERT.

12d  Sort of insect to upset people, darn it! (12)
{LEPIDOPTERAN} – a word for a butterfly or moth is an anagram (upset) of PEOPLE DARN IT.

14d  A ‘king rodent’ upset otter (5)
{TARKA} – the name of Henry Williamson’s otter is made by stringing together A, an abbreviation of king and a rodent and then reversing (upset, in a down clue) the lot.

16d  Impractical folk made errors — no gold, sadly (8)
{DREAMERS} – these impractical folk are made from an anagram (sadly) of MADE ERR(or)S without the heraldic term for gold.

17d  Member of shooting party full of energy repeatedly getting the bird (3,5)
{BEE EATER} – we want a hired help who rouses game birds and drives them towards the shooters waiting to slaughter them (I have to say that describing this person as a member of a shooting party is a bit like describing a waiter as a member of a dining party). Insert E(nergy) twice (repeatedly) to make a bird closely related to the kingfisher. The bird’s name normally has a hyphen, i.e. (3-5).

19d  Devious Soho spiv in gunfight (5-3)
{SHOOT-OUT} – an anagram (devious) of SOHO is followed by a synonym for spiv to make a gunfight.

22d  Worker needs loo when taken short and runs (6)
{TOILER} – a word for loo has its final T dropped (taken short) and R(uns) (cricket term) added. This has an amusing surface, but replacing “and” by “with” might have made it even funnier.

24d  Scottish poet, not second-rate, makes pots (4)
{URNS} – remove the letter standing for second-rate from the beginning of Scotland’s national poet.

25d  Where some hope to see monster’s head (4)
{NESS} – double definition. Where some people hope to see a monster is also a headland.

The clues I liked included 17a, 19d and 22d, but my favourite was 11a. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

Today’s Quickie pun is {PURR} + {MUTATED} = {PERMUTATED}

81 comments on “DT 26491

  1. Is it just me or is this site running exceedingly slow today?

    Well, at least the rains now stopped and the suns come out to play. Normal service has been resumed!

    Off to tackle Giovanni now.

    1. I just tried to get into the site and got the error message below

      There was a small systems error. Please try refreshing the page and if the error is still there drop us a note and let us know.

      Liked this puzzle especially 1a 13a
      Thanks Giovanni and Gazza

  2. What a struggle that was! Based on my solving time, I would have to give it 5 stars.
    Last 3 in were 12d, 21a, and 26a.
    Thanks to Giovanni for one hell of an enjoyable workout, and to gazza for the notes.
    Think I need a break before I tackle Myops!

  3. Good crossword toady, still not sure about the word for seller in 1A – always spelt it with an O. 11A had me thinking for ages, 21A had me totally stumped until I got the down clues and I managed to totally mess up the anagram in 23A (needed to rewrite it three times!!! Loved 12D even if I spotted it straight away.

  4. Great crossword. It was quite an effort for me but ultimately do-able.

    Unfamiliar with alternative vowels in element of 1a and 3d. Had to guess 21a as I was not familiar with the word or the composers first name. Favourite clue was 11a.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza for the blog and excellent example of 13a.

  5. Yes agree with most comments ,pretty tough but very enjoyable.Thanks to G &J for their hard work.
    Just a couple of hints I used to finish.

  6. I would’nt normally attempt a 4* Xword as being beyond me but I did today and finished without referring to Gazzas’ hints and thoroughly enjoyed it although it was challenging. Gazzas’ point in 3d is quite right because ‘o’ would be the normal spelling

    1. Err, the Latinate derivation would argue for the spelling with “A”. A lot of European languagues still have the IN-word with “O” and the EX-word with “A” – as it seems to have been in 19th century English.

      The “O” spelling of the EX-word probably arose in sympathy with the IN-word.

      Cf other usages of the Latinate prefix:
      Extraterritorial, extradite vs introduce, extravagant, etc

      But: we also have intramural and extramural so the evidence ain’t all that conclusive.

      I do not know if my old Latin master is still alive but he would regale us with quotations from all over the place, from the earliest Roman poets until the most recent papal encyclic, just to make a point of Dutch usage.

      That’s the way pedants are made…

      1. Nestorius is quite right.

        The term in question was coined by Jung, who used the “a” spelling. The opposite term (beginning IN-) used “o”.

        1. The really good thing about this website is the knowledge that we acquire from bloggers – intreresting facts – thank you both.

  7. Brilliant offering from the Don and plenty of didactic content.

    New words for me: ringer in 4d in the equestrian sense.
    Like Gazza, I did not know the 15a solution as a word but it parses so I did not bother to check a dic.
    It wasn’t easy to finish but morning coffee plus a mid-morning break did it.

    Thanks setter & blogger:

    Avian on zigzag diverted these two! (8,5)

  8. Well, today I couldn’t be further off the wavelength — couldn’t do this at all, and after nearly an hour had only put in six words. Very frustrating! I finally needed most of your hints, Gazza, to be able to do it at all. I’m beating myself for not seeing more of the anagram indicators. But thank you Giovanni for the challenge — even if I was not up to it — and to Gazza. I couldn’t have managed without you! :-(

  9. A lovely Friday challenge – even had me thinking I would put it down and start the toughie and return later but I perservated, I did like the mislead that had me trying to work out where our naval hero had been injured!. Thanks to both the Gs for their contributions to the morning entertainment.

    My only comment on the ‘other puzzle’ is that it’s Myops at his most devious.

  10. Phew – got there in the end and like a few other people learnt a few new words. Being a musician I did know Bruckner’s first name and Pommers worked out the construct but I’ve never heard of this word before – and I covered church music and oratorio at “A” level – but that was 40 years ago! Also never heard of 15a either.
    Thanks also to Giovanni for getting the brain cells working – and to Gazza for the lovely piccy of Nigella! I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist!
    PS stopped raining now here in Spain. Pommers earlier post of sun was a false alarm as it’s now gloomy and grey and raining again. Feels like England. Off to play in a bridge teams match now so I may be some time . . .

    1. pommette,
      The pic for 13a came down to a choice between Nigella and JayLo and I decided to be patriotic. :D

  11. What a lovely puzzle – thank you to the two G’s.

    My favourite clue was 11a when I stopped thinking about the wrong Nelson – lovely clue.

    Last in for me was 26a – and it took me just agest. 15a was second to last and even though I too had not heard of it before it made sense. I also enjoyed 21a.

    All in all a good solving day.

  12. Very entertaining puzzle.

    I’d have put the star ratings the other way round, but thanks to Gazza for the blog and to Giovanni for another excellent Friday frolic.

  13. Highly enjoyable, and it’s actually sunny here, sure could here faint sounds of also sprach zarathustra as the sun emerged through the clouds. Also enjoyed the mislead in 11a. Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  14. Pretty easy ride today. Best was 11 for surface reading but also liked 1 6 12 13 23 and 28. No dodgy or silly words – most enjoyable.

  15. This seemed more like a Toughie today, but eventually managed it unaided apart from 6d.

    Favourite without doubt 11a – spent quite a lot of time trying to remember English Naval History!

  16. Cracker from Giovanni today, favourite clue was 17a. Thanks Maestro and Gazza for a great review.

  17. Based on solving time I would say three stars for me but with clues like 21a four stars overall is probably right. Favourite clue was 11a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Gazza for the review. Off now to attempt Giovanni’s alter ego (Bradman) in the FT.

  18. Phew, that was a struggle and needed the hints for a few. – i.e 26a and 5d. Had never heard of 6d or 21a but fortunately my little electronic friend had!! Got 17a wrong, which didn’t help with 17d, so thanks to Gazza for those which enabled me to finally finish. I always spell the “seller” in 1a with an “o” too – is this Xword licence?? Ditto 3d, but electronic friend does give both versions. Good puzzle, thanks to setter, and was pleased I completed more of it solo than I usually do on a Friday!

    1. Addicted,
      It’s not Xword licence – Chambers has vender as an alternative spelling of vendor.

  19. Thanks all — and if this and the FT Bradman aren’t enough, try today’s Church Times on the website

    1. Sorry Sir, I thought this was the worst you have produced for a very long time. Normally I enjoy your puzzles but today was just horrible IMHO. Please save these for the Toughie.

      1. Sorry to disagree Barrie but I thought it was great – apart from 1a which had a spelling error IMHO!

        1. Just seen Gazza’s post about Chambers spelling of Vendor. OK, fair does, and I was in a business that used the term on a day-to day basis! but I’ve never seen it spelled ER. Didin’t really detract from the clue though as I got the answer and then thought ‘?’ – spelling?.

  20. Thoroughly misled by 11a. Recognised the anagram fodder, but still couldn’t solve it, so took a sly peek at the hints – and when I saw Mr M’s happy, smiling face it was a moment of pure “dohhhhh”!

  21. Been busy all day with visiting care home for 90yr old mother, so can now relax and have a look at it—I will persevere but expect I will have to peep at the hints!

    Thanks to

    1. Good luck with care home and 90 year old Mum – mine is coming up to 89 and still, just about, living in own flat but with an awful lot of help – pretty tough.

      1. Thanks, Kath—Mum is actually moving in on 23rd March!

        After fighting against it for over a year of increasing blindness, use of only one arm and unsatifsfactory carers, she has admitted that she can’t cope any more. As she lives near Aviemore and I’ve had serious spine probs since Dec 09 and been unable to help at all, it’s been very difficult for my brother in Cornwall and sister in London who have had to take all the responibility for Mum. I am SO relieved that she’s coming to Edinburgh where all the family can get to her., and I am only ten mins away by bus..

        Good luck with your Mum!

        1. I really hope that it goes well for you, your Mum, and the rest of your family – good luck to all of you.

  22. Excellent puzzle and end to the week. Started well this morning but was interrupted until later this afternoon before finishing off.
    No real problems but did need reference books for 21A and 12D.
    Many thanks to setter and to Gazza for the usual excellent hints.

  23. Def beaten today by this very difficult puzzle, managed just over half today. Sorry much too tough for me so consequently not very enjoyable. Can’t enjoy what I don’t understand I’m afraid.

    1. I quite agree with you, and think you did very well managing as much as half of this.

    2. Agree that its difficult as I have only managed one clue!

      But will have a look at the hints and work back the way–that’s how I learn!

      1. Sarah – don’t know whether you will get this as I am posting so late but . . .

        12 months ago I could only manage a few clues on my own without help from Pommers.
        Then we discovered BD and I started reading the blog every day. Now . . . I can do a Rufus on my own and even yesterday on this difficult Giovanni I managed about 2/3 rds before I resorted to my own personal blogger.

        Barrie – half is pretty good on what was a farly tricky CW. Keep at it boy . . . .

        A big pat on the back to all the bloggers from me for helping us lesser mortals out!

  24. Some new words and general knowledge required. Bit of a slog for me today but got there eventually. Thanks to both.

      1. Hi both, started this fairly early on today and like Franny came to a grinding halt after 10 clues solved, making the mistake of putting it down for later! Unexpected visitor arrived and stayed til a little while ago! don’t these people realise I have a life, even if it is doing the crossword :-) So no energy left by the time they’d gone, better luck tomorrow hopefully!

            1. “Lurk” means to frequent a website without making one’s presence known.

              UTC hoped that your visitor didn’t know about your comments…

  25. First run through wasn’t too productive but suddenly things clicked. But hampered by lack of Bruckner knowledge so needed help to get 21a. Racked brains about the wrong Nelson before it dawned. Great clue.

  26. Really struggled with todays cryptic…..but sometimes that makes for greater enjoyment. Who said life should be easy?

  27. Re Pommette’s post #10

    Giovanni may have got the brain cells working but I think he wore them out! We came bottom at the bridge and it’s still raining!

    Going to the bar now!

  28. Bruckner was last in for me in a good stuff test. Late in posting (no reason!) but thanks to gazza and Giovanni. Various vowels were resolved along the way due to some Latin O Level knowledge.

  29. Easily the hardest of the week – some great clues, challenging and a good brain work-out. Tomorrow’s will be easier.

  30. Sorry Gazza, forgot to say thanks for the blog. Blame it on Pommette’s ineptitude at the bridge today! She’ll probably disagree with that!

  31. Great test today, hard, but fair. Lots of great clues but for me 23a and 25d were toward to top. Good to have a hard one every now and then. Enjoy your Friday evening all.

  32. I found this incredibly difficult so very pleased to see 4* (had hoped for at least 10) – it’s a long time since I gave up and read the hints, and, in some cases, the answers too, to so many clues – sorry folks – think punctuation has gone a bit awry there!
    Busy day – lots of interruptions – until I read the comments I thought that was going to be my excuse and that I was going to stick to it! However, I now think that it was just too difficult for me. :sad:
    I admitted defeat about an hour ago with about seven clues to go.
    Among the problems were 17a (am I the only person in the UK who hasn’t read Harry Potter?) 11a (thinking of wrong Nelson) 13 and 21a just couldn’t do. 2, 4 and 6d also just couldn’t do.
    What I DID manage I enjoyed very much, especially 20 and 23a and 12 and 19d.
    Thank you Giovanni (REALLY hope that I can get to your day in Oxford – obviously need it) and to Gazza, as always, for excellent explanations. What did I do before I found this site?!!

    1. Unfortunately, I have read a Harry Potter! Wanted to discover what all the fuss was about – a load of old Borox!

      Wrong Nelson? I thought of Horatio Nelson, Half Nelson and Full Nelson before realising it was Mr Mandela.

      1. Yes, that was my favourite clue and I’d got the anagram before I even twigged it was Mandela! Excellent crossword today, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

      2. Franco, I didn’t recognise you in disguise as a cricket bat! I have to look twice now as so many people are changing their appearance :-D

        1. Very observant!

          The new disguise is in the expectation of England winning the cricket ICC World Cup 2011!

          Oops! I meant Ireland!

  33. Oops didn’t thank G and G. Thanks v much as always. And sorry for the unintentional ‘entendre’ (if that’s the word) earlier…

  34. After a week of thinking that I was working my way out from being clueless, this one knocked me right back on my heels – I only got four clues at first look through. I obviously still have a lot to learn. Looking forward to working through the hints. As always, thanks to both the setter and to Gazza.

    Even The Mighty June (my Lab Tech – who is brilliant) didn’t get half of this one done. The Mighty Don is well on form today!

    1. Even with Gazza’s excellent hints, I have given up on this one. Off back under my stone to have a sulk lol!

        1. Think that I probably beat you both to get in under the stone – definitely no room left!! Might just be still lurking there tomorrow, just in case ….

  35. Late input from me as usual – had trouble downloading latest version of Adobe Flash Player – finally OK but it ditched Firefox so I had to update that too!
    A very challenging puzzle from The Don this Friday!
    Best for me were : 11a, 21a, 26a, 4d, 6d, 12d & 17d.

  36. A very challenging but enjoyable puzzle. Got stuck on 2d – I worked out the structure of the clue but just couldn’t get all the bits to come together, so thanks to Gazza for some guidance. My favourite clues were 13ac and 21ac.

  37. I have been trying to finish this since last Friday and have just discovered Big Dave’s Blog. I can’t believe I didn’t get 11a as I am at present engrossed in Mandela’s biography “Long walk to Freedom”
    I was alternating between book and crossword and still it didn’t dawn!

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