DT 26494 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26494

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26494

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

We have an enjoyable and not too taxing puzzle this morning – I presume that it’s by one of our mystery setters. Let us know how you liked it in a comment.
To see an answer highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

7a  Close friend’s secret (8)
{INTIMATE} – double definition – a noun meaning close friend and an adjective meaning secret.

9a  First from optic in one’s pub — an indication of pressure? (6)
{ISOBAR} – this is a line on a map connecting points of equal atmospheric pressure. Put the first letter of O(ptic) between I’S (one’s) and a pub.

10a  Slowly describing a greenhouse, perhaps (4-2)
{LEAN-TO} – a musical direction meaning slowly goes round (describing) A to make an outdoor structure which could (perhaps) be used as a greenhouse.

11a  Official document left on express (8)
{PASSPORT} – to get this official travel document put the naval term for left after (on, in an across clue) a verb meaning to express (an opinion or remark, for example).

12a  Fat American woman shown up in car headlight? (5,2,3,4)
{BROAD IN THE BEAM} – this is a phrase meaning of ample proportions in the hip area (fat). Start with a slang term for an American woman and add another way of saying in the car headlight.

15a  Swindle rascal detailed (4)
{SCAM} – a word meaning rascal has its final P removed (detailed) to leave a swindle.

17a  One kilometre covered by that woman backpacker (5)
{HIKER} – I (one) and the abbreviation for kilometre are contained (covered) in a feminine pronoun (that woman).

19a  Forward’s second goal (4)
{SEND} – a verb meaning to transmit or forward is S(econd) followed by a synonym for goal.

20a  Getting on train for Winchester, for example (8,6)
{BOARDING SCHOOL} – a charade of a present participle meaning getting on (a bus or plane, perhaps) and a verb meaning to train or coach produces an institution of which Winchester is an example.

23a  Horse in stable number one must be backed (8)
{STALLION} – this male horse is another word for stable followed by an abbreviated form of number one reversed (backed).

25a  Paltry cash prize (6)
{TINPOT} – an informal adjective meaning paltry (often applied to a dictator) is a charade of a slang term for money and a prize in a sporting contest.

27a  Comfort very good Latin master (6)
{SOLACE} – the definition is comfort or consolation. It’s a charade of a conjunction meaning very good, L(atin) and an expert or master.

28a  So, a nicer new storyline (8)
{SCENARIO} – an anagram (new) of SO A NICER.

Down Clues

1d  Number turned to the Church, in the past (4)
{ONCE} – reverse (turned) the abbreviation for number and add the abbreviation for Church of England.

2d  Princess turned up after six in European capital … (6)
{VIENNA} – reverse (turned up, in a down clue) the name of the Queen’s daughter and precede it with the Roman numeral for six.

3d  … little prince shed tears (4)
{WEEP} – the definition is shed tears. Put a synonym for little in front of P(rince).

4d  Concern shown after beginning of television series (6)
{TISSUE} – a concern or problem comes after the first letter (beginning) of T(elevision) to make an accumulation (of lies, perhaps). This word means an intricate, complex structure but I can’t see how that means series.

5d  Purse with zip (8)
{COMPRESS} – double definition – a verb meaning to squeeze (purse, as you may your lips) also means to encode a data file to make it smaller.

6d  Once a smart complex in state capital (10)
{SACRAMENTO} – an anagram (complex) of ONCE A SMART gives us the state capital of California.

8d  Remove nasty boils in a hospital (7)
{ABOLISH} – an anagram (nasty) of BOILS goes between A and H(ospital).

13d  Lowest point in Gibraltar? (4,6)
{ROCK BOTTOM} – a phrase meaning the lowest possible level (often used to describe the morale of a group of people) is also a cryptic definition of sea-level in Gibraltar.

14d  Number pass inside producing voucher (5)
{TOKEN} – put an abbreviation for an authorisation or pass inside a decimal number to make a voucher.

16d  Condition of a metal dish (4,4)
{MEAT LOAF} – an anagram (condition, as a verb meaning to train) of OF A METAL produces a dish.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d  Favour girl, teetotal and English (7)
{ROSETTE} – a favour (the type worn by a candidate’s supporters at an election, for example) is the name of the archetypal English girl followed by the abbreviation for teetotal and E(nglish).

21d  Go left? Nonsense (6)
{DRIVEL} – this is nonsense. It’s a charade of a synonym for go followed by L(eft).

22d  Fix a propeller, finally, in here? (6)
{HANGAR} – a verb meaning to fix (wallpaper, for example) is followed by A and the last letter (finally) of (propelle)R to make a place where a faulty propeller may be fixed.

24d  Informer has information, we’re told (4)
{NOSE} – a slang term for an informer sounds like (we’re told) a verb meaning has information or is aware of.

26d  Exclude some from Italy (4)
{OMIT} – a mean meaning to exclude is hidden (some) in the clue.

Amongst the clues which I liked were 12a and 13d but my favourite was 5d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

The Quickie pun is {BRED} + {BORED} = {BREADBOARD}

99 comments on “DT 26494

  1. I thought this was ok, but nothing particulary stood out as a favourite.
    Thanks to seter, and to gazza.

    I was also unsure about 4d – I found one dictionary definition as ‘an interwoven or interconnected series or mass: a tissue of falsehoods’.

  2. Reasonable puzzle I thought. Two new indicators for me 10a – describing and 15a detailed. Are these fairly standard uses of the words? I can’t remember seeing them used in DT recently.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

    1. I’m not sure about describing beangrinder, but i think detailed in 15a should be read as de-tailed to understand the clue properly.

  3. Most enjoyable. Some nice 4 letter clues. Last in was 27a, favourite was 12a.

    Re: yesterdays pun in the Quickie, the clues were ‘Counsel’ and ‘Louse’ and they have given the pun as “Councillors”. Much prefer my interpretation which was “Council House”. Be interested to see what AlisonS thought of it.

    Thanx as usual to Compiler and to Gazza for his review.

    1. Hi Wayne,
      I’m with you all the way with council house – no question. ‘Councillors’ is rubbish by comparison! Surely the DT must have mis-printed. It hadn’t been posted on the blog when I did the Quick, but it was so obvious I didn’t even bother going back to check later.

      1. Alison

        I only noticed this morning that the pun was missing, which is when I added it. I agree with you and all the others who think it was council house

      1. Hope the Daily Telegraph post a full written and humble apology to Big Dave’s Crossword Blog (Hmm). A bit of humility never hurt anyone.(lol)

          1. A couple just went by here – but that’s probably due to the wind! Dogs and chains etc appears to apply to pigs as well !!!!

  4. Morning Gazza, another bright, sunny and fairly warm day, the left side of this puzzle went in fairly quickly but I was left staring at the right hand side for a while! Agree, my fav clues were 12a – like the picture :) – and 13d, I went right off in 5d and ended up putting clappers in as in, speed = zip!! until I realised that 9a was isobar! A doable one for the CC with a little perservation :-)

    1. Sorry thought it was very tricky today , should be a 3 star for difficulty if only for 5d, YUK!
      Only decent clue IMHO was 12a, all the rest far too convoluted for my liking.
      Def not my favourite.

  5. 5d was very good and misleading but my favourite was 12a. I always thought that “Any news from abroad” might be fun to clue sometime. Thanks to gazza and our setter!

  6. Yea it was ok, nothing to write home about but kept the grey matter churning until the next one. Toughie looks like it may get an outing.
    Thanks to Gazza and what feels like another puzzle from one of our American cousins, ref 12a,23a,6d,16d,

  7. Just getting into this–looks good.

    Fav clue so far 13d

    Bright and sunny in Edinburgh but very blustery wind.

    Off to make (real) pancakes–back after lunch

  8. Anyone else try to fit a firearm into 20a? Winchester usually refers to a rifle in crosswordland! Didn’t like 4d for same reason as Gazza. 12a the only giggle moment, but an enjoyable coffee break Thanks to Gazza and compiler.

  9. I quite enjoyed this one. There were one or two head-scratching moments, but it slotted together smoothly enough once checking letters were in. It is always the 4 letter words which cause me most angst! Thanks to setter and Gazza for the review

  10. I concur with Gazza’s assessment.: about the same degree of (lack of) difficulty as yesterday’s offering. A pleasant diversion but without the wow factor of yesterday’s missionary exploits.

    I enjoyed 13d (nice crypdef) and 12a (smooth surface),

    The meaning of “favour” in 18d was new to me, as was “series” in 4d. As a continental “kilometre” is “km”, not “K”. “K” stands for “kilo” as a prefix. Undoubtedly authoritative dictionaries prove me wrong. They usually do ;-)

    Last in was 15a: the “detailed” indicator always catches me. The solution was clear but the wordplay escaped me until after the coffee I walked to the office.

    Meanwhile the Toughie is also under the belt.

    Thanks to Mysteron & Gaza!

  11. Not too difficult today. Didn’t enjoy 4d, and still do not see where the ‘Concern’ comes into it. Quite liked 12a, 20a and 21d.

  12. Thanks to the setter for a very nice start to Tuesday morning. My favourite clue is, of course, 12a. Thanks to Gazza for the hints and pics.

    Do give the ‘other’ puzzle a go too – equally nice and do-able.

  13. As already said not very taxing but enjoyable all the same. 12A made me laugh.
    Thanks to mystery setter and Gazza for the hints, always essential viewing!

  14. Back from a cycle beside the Coquet. Enjoyed today’s cryptic. Favourite clues were 12a and 13d. I agree with Wayne that Council House seems better for yesterday’s quickie. Thanks to setter and and Gazza.

  15. I think you summed it up pretty fairly Gazza, 2* and 3*. Thanks to the setter and of course to Gazza.

  16. Am glad I’m not alone in puzzling over 4d – very odd definition in my opinion. I was very tempted to put “codpiece” in 5d!!! however, that didn’t work with 19a, so had to resort to hints to get the correct answer. So thanks to Gazza have completed, but didn’t enjoy it as much as some. Liked 12a and 13d.

  17. Apart from the ones that I couldn’t explain I enjoyed this. Until I read the hints I didn’t understand 10 or 11a or 4 and 5d. Still don’t really understand 4 and 5d – ‘series’ ’tissue’ in 4d and where does the ‘zip’ in 5d come from?
    Like everyone else my favourite clue was 12a. I also liked 20 and 25a and 8 and 13d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    1. Kath,
      ZIP is a utility used to compress data files so that they take up less storage space and can be transferred faster.

  18. A good workout for a Tuesday lunchtime when the weather’s gone cold and it’s windy enough to blow a dog off its chain!
    Pommette thought 12a was aimed specifically at her as she’s on a diet!
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    1. Only just seen this! My beam was NEVER as broad as even the 2 slim ones in th photo! Consider your knuckles rapped!

  19. As ever Gazza, your pictures etc always make me enjoy your reviews. I notice that your photo for 17a is a scrumptious backpacker – doesn’t look anything like I ever did at the end of a long slog!
    Thanks for the clip for 16d. Love him! & especially this song so it made my day.
    Pommers reckons that 4d is as in a “tissue of lies” – as ina series of them.
    Thanks Gazza and setter for today!

    1. Thanks, Pommette.
      I agree on the “tissue of lies” but Chambers has tissue in this sense meaning “a complex accumulation” and ODE has “an intricate structure or network made from a number of connected items” . So tissue seems to me to mean an interconnected web rather than a series of things one after another.

      1. Gazza,
        This appears under the definition for Tissue on the Free Dictionary (online)
        Tissue – an interwoven series (a tissue of lies)

  20. I pretty much agree with the verdict so far – I enjoyed 9 & 10a and 8d, but favourite (along with everyone else) was definitely 12a. Just one small gripe for 27a – I’ve never come across ‘so’ meaning ‘very good’; surely it just means ‘very’?
    Thanks to setter and Gazza for the hints.

    1. If you think of a sentence like “Everything was just so”, then so means correct or right – so “very good”.

    2. According to Dictionary.com (I don’t have access to Chambers at work), ‘just so’ in that context means ‘arranged with precision’ – I personally think it’s stretching it a bit to turn that into ‘very good’.

      1. Suggestion. Maybe the setter was thinking of the cognac gradings SOP and VSOP which stand for “superior old pale” and “very superior old pale”. In that case we have SO = superior old = very good, replacing one stretch with another ;-)

        1. I think I prefer this stretch, so thank you Nestorius (there’s that word again!!). :-)

  21. * blows air *
    Not too keen on today’s offering, to be honest.
    Some of the synonyms used in the charades were too stretched for my liking, tho’ I’m not saying they’re wrong.


    ‘Fix’ = ‘Hang’
    ‘Express’ = ‘Pass’
    ‘Very good’ = ‘So’
    ‘Pass’ = ‘OK’ etc…

    I would never have got ‘rosette’ from ‘favour’, or ‘compress’ from ‘purse’ either without the hints.
    Probably just me, tho’ – others seemed OK with it.

    1. I tend to agree with you about some of the synonyms. I thought the same when I was solving the puzzle.

      1. I agree too, with all the ones you mentioned – much stretching going on today! :-)

  22. Yes, this was definitely do-able – thanks to our setter! Like so many of us, I found 4d a bit of a puzzle. I soon got to ’tissue’ but needed Gazza to explain why and even so I think making ‘series’ fit this particular clue was
    a bridge toofar!! Did most of the crossword, sitting in the warm March sunshine: the cold north-easterly has abated leaving a foretaste of Spring here in Jersey.

  23. I filled the grid in correctly fairly swiftly but didn’t always get the clues – 4d + series?
    5d – overlooked the computer zip – Doh!
    11a express = pass?
    27a so = very good?
    14d pass = ok?
    Sort of enjoyed it. However reverse engineering necessary – but unsuccessful!

    1. One of the meanings for “so” in Chambers is “very good” (exactly as in 27a). What’s not clear is in what context it has that meaning.

  24. Another quickly-solved puzzle – must be improving with the lighter weather!
    I liked : 9a, 12a, 23a, 5d, 13d & 24d.

    Re 17a : k is not an abbreviation for kilometre – k means kilo or thousand – km is kilometre!

  25. None to keen on 4d I’m afraid. I’ve still got another two and a half hours on the train this morning so I’m going to have my first crack a Toughie…

  26. Ploughed my way through this one with the exception of 4 and 5d. Ran out of time so looked up the answers only to find that I did have the solutions after all but had rejected them because they did not seem justified by the clues. 4d in particular stretches credibility too far.

  27. Agree with much of the sentiment. I did this pretty quickly by my standards, without being held up on anything… but some of the definitions were on the sketchy side of tenuous.

  28. 27a; why should we infer L for latin; why is “so” very good; puzzle so-so = not brill

  29. In view of my earlier comment about 12a, in order to prevent bloodshed, I must point out that Pommette’s posterior isn’t, never has been, nor ever will be even half the size of those illustrated!

        1. Ah, all stick depends on pommers making me a cup of tea as to whether I’ll do the “Techy” bits for him !!!!

  30. Missed first part of 12a – stupidly. Also 22d and 25a. Too distracted today – that’s my excuse anyway!. Better luck tomorrow.

  31. As a novice, a mixture of some which jumped straight out; spotting some indicators I have encountered already; trying to fathom those I do not ; but largely blank stares until something finally emerged from the fog!

    Liked 12a and will use this more in conversation – but not with fat American women.

  32. 12a very funny, 4d not ‘doable’ from the construct, 22d – since when did ‘hang’ mean ‘fix’?? 19a would have been better if the clue said ‘Forward second goal’ IMO. The discussion about rosette meaning ‘award’ has been had before, I seem to recall. Thanks to all involved.

  33. Not much to add to the foregoing but just wish to be first aftereight. Needed 6d which took far too long to get the last letter of 12 to see what was in the —m. Had to do a sudoku before coming back to get 27 which was outstanding because of so.

  34. Was there a theme today? 13d – “ROCK BOTTOM” & 12a – “BROAD IN THE BEAM”

    Like many others, I found 4d, 11a and 5d difficult to fully understand.

    1. The stats tell it all:


      Barcelona 3 Arsenal 1


      Barcelona 67% Arsenal 33%

      Attempts on target

      Barcelona 13 Arsenal 0

      Attempts off target

      Barcelona 6 Arsenal 0

    2. The locals round here are pleased – all Barca fans (well apart from one guy who supports Valencia but we don’t talk to him)!

  35. Found it a struggle today due to the many dodgy clues itemised above. Best forgotten, I think. As its taken me so long and I have run out of cheques, I have decided to start an after 9 club.

        1. Dunno – been a bit quiet for a few nights now.
          Going bed soon as I’m on duty again tomorrow.

            1. Depends what time I get up but I need to get it ready to post by about 1130CET.
              Takes longer than you might think to write the hints but at least I have Pommette to do the technical bits like piccies!

              Don’t mention Elgar – I’ll have nightmares!

                1. Glad I didn’t have to do today, some very dodgy synonyms IMHO. Difficult to explain a clue that isn’t really working properly!

  36. “Hope the Daily Telegraph post a full written and humble apology to Big Dave’s Crossword Blog (Hmm). A bit of humility never hurt anyone.(lol)”

    Wayne, do you seriously want an apology for a wonky pun? It’s just a bit of a laugh — or at least that’s what it used to be. Why on earth would it bother you whether we get it “right” in the paper? It’s a j-o-k-e.

    Best wishes

  37. P.S. Contrary to my last post…

    Of course, I do understand why readers may be bothered if we don’t get the pun explanation right. I’m just bemused that someone would want a “full written and humble apology” over something that is simply a bit of silliness.

    Personally I’m all for apologies. There was a collectors’ item the Sunday before last when I apologised for us having printed a clue for Googol in Peter Chamberlain’s GK Crossword when the answer required was Googolplex. I think it may have gone unnoticed in the furore over Brian Greer’s award-worthy Oscars Cryptic.

    So I’ve got nothing against apologies, but if I start apologising every time I get the pun wrong I’ll be doing it every fortnight.

    As for Monday, I’d still like to think that Roger’s effort was a really terrible pun for “Councillors”. As my predecessor-but-one, Val Gilbert, originally instructed the setters: “The worse the pun, the better – if you see what I mean.”

    Best wishes

    1. [“The worse the pun, the better – if you see what I mean.”]

      The difference here is that “council house” makes you smile and “councillors” doesn’t. :roll:

    2. I much preferred it when the pun was a secret only known to the discerning few. Why did you decide to give the answers and let everyone into our ‘bit of silliness’/

      1. We decided to do it because Alison asked us.

        […the pun was a secret only known to the discerning few.]

        Presumably that is the discerning few who noticed that puns crossing three or more answers were given with the next day’s answers.

        1. I wasn’t referring to your revelation of the pun. The pun has been running for many years but they only decided to admit to it and print the answer a couple of years ago. My comment was referred to Phil McNeil.

    3. Looked up “pun” on Chambers online. “Use of a word or phrase that can be understood in two ways, especially one where an association is created between words of similar sound but different meanings”. I think the reference to “understood” and “similar sound” rather explains my original comment. As for Phil McNeills’ diatribe against my humorous posting, perhaps he should lighten up a bit and to use his words, recognize a j-o-k-e.

  38. Hello Upthecreek

    The pun explanation was instigated by my predecessor as Crossword Editor, Kate Fassett, in response to reader requests. Inevitably, I now get letters from people saying it’s condescending to print it, or that explaining it spoils the fun, so you can’t win.

    Kate also instigated the custom of italicising clues when the pun runs to more than two words, which I do think makes it less fun. If you have a view on that, please email me phil.mcneill@telegraph.co.uk

    Best wishes

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