DT 26542 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26542

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26542

Hints and Tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

I was hoping for a Shamus puzzle today but I’m pretty sure that this is not one of his (I’m laying myself open to a big egg-on-face moment here!). It seems to have a North American bias and is one of the easiest back-page puzzles I can remember. I completed it without deriving a great deal of enjoyment and found the surface readings of quite a few clues quite awkward, but on the plus side it should provide the opportunity for a mass escape by members of the Clueless Club.

Across Clues

1a  Commercials about conflict medals (6)
{AWARDS} – abbreviated commercials go around armed conflict to make medals.

4a  Chap with sex appeal and no degree somewhere in Canada (8)
{MANITOBA} – this Canadian province is a charade of a synonym for chap, a word used to mean sex appeal, O (zero, no) and an arts degree.

9a  Grow former plant and next derivative initially (6)
{EXPAND} – a verb meaning to grow is constructed from a prefix meaning former followed by the first letters (initially) of four words in the clue.

10a  Looting of purses PC foils (8)
{SCUPPERS} – an anagram (looting?) of PURSES PC gives us a verb meaning foils.

11a  Pristine fountain Teddington unveiled (9)
{UNTAINTED} – hidden (unveiled) in the clue is an adjective meaning pristine.

13a  Demonstrated material? (5)
{SATIN} – this is a glossy material but if you split it as (3,2) it can mean held a demonstration.

14a  Can Oasis guess about wiseness? (13)
{SAGACIOUSNESS} – an anagram (about) of CAN OASIS GUESS.

17a  A small-sounding assembly (13)
{FOREGATHERING} – cryptic definition of an assembly which sounds as though there are only just enough people present for a game of bridge.

21a  Golem met a little insect (5)
{EMMET} – another word for an ant (and how the people of Cornwall refer to a tourist) is hidden (a little) in the clue.

23a  High point of belief surrounding most of picture (9)
{CRESCENDO} – this term properly means a gradual increase in the loudness of a piece of music but it has come to mean the high point or climax. Put a word, from latin, meaning belief around a picture or landscape without its final E (most of). As with several clues in this puzzle it’s difficult to see any meaning in the surface.

24a  Spruce up last month’s lecture (8)
{DECORATE} – join together the abbreviation for the last month of the year and a verb meaning to deliver a lecture.

25a  Fliers remain sky-high (6)
{AIRMEN} – these fliers are an anagram (sky-high?, presumably in the sense of being blown sky-high) of REMAIN.

26a  Debate is involving disease (8)
{DIABETES} – an anagram (involving) of DEBATE IS.

27a  Take heart from padre’s cueing recovery (6)
{RESCUE} – hidden (take heart) in the clue is a synonym for recovery.

Down Clues

1d  A meeting place in the street (6)
{AVENUE} – A is followed by a place where a meeting is held to form a broad street.

2d  A quiet boy eats one special hors d’oeuvre (9)
{APPETISER} – string together A, the musical abbreviation for soft or quiet and a boy’s name (think of Master Pan) and then insert I (one) and S(pecial).

3d  Assuming fellow has new gin cocktail (7)
{DONNING} – we want a present participle meaning assuming, i.e. putting on an item of clothing. Start with an academic fellow and add N(ew) and an anagram (cocktail) of GIN.

5d  Choir ceased singing in the prelate’s see (11)
{ARCHDIOCESE} – this is an anagram (singing?) of CHOIR CEASED. Putting “see” as a noun in the clue surely makes it too easy?

6d  Sets one married model sells initially (7)
{IMPOSES} – a verb meaning sets (a task, say) is a charade of I (one), M(arried), a verb to sit as a model and the initial letter of S(ells).

7d  Nothing green apparent (5)
{OVERT} – combine O (zero, nothing) and the heraldic, or French, word for green.

8d  Criminal’s offspring is going into painting (8)
{ARSONIST} – what we want here is a specific type of criminal. Put a male offspring and IS inside a synonym for painting.

12d  Zeroes countering XXX entertainment, US style? (4-4-3)
{TICK-TACK-TOE} – this is a sort of cryptic definition of the US name for a children’s game involving zeroes and Xs that we call something different.

15d  Therefore no microphone is biotechnological (9)
{ERGONOMIC} – a word, from latin, meaning therefore is followed by NO and the abbreviation for microphone to make an adjective meaning working efficiently. I was dubious as to how biotechnological means this but Chambers has it as a North American usage.

16d  Caused anger having closed after bad start (8)
{OFFENDED} – put a verb meaning closed or finished after a synonym for bad or rotten.

18d  The rug I unravelled for Oklahoma city folk singer (7)
{GUTHRIE} – this is an anagram (unravelled) of THE RUG I. There are two definitions here; the answer is both the name of a city in the state of Oklahoma and the surname of a folk singer whose father was one also.

19d  Queuing to take in clubs list (7)
{INCLINE} – put C(lubs) inside another way (2,4) of saying queuing to make a verb to list or lean.

20d  Relax in the drawing room (6)
{LOUNGE} – double definition.

22d  Instant tea and fine coffee (5)
{MOCHA} – string together a short period of time (instant) and an informal word for tea to make a type of fine-quality coffee.

The clue I liked best today was 22d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

Today’s Quickie pun: {SIR} + {COME} + {VENT} = {CIRCUMVENT}

44 comments on “DT 26542

  1. A pretty fair assessment from gazza as far as I can see. I threw a lot of the answers in without even appreciating the wordplay. Thanks to the setter and to gazza for the review.

  2. Not bad today, a couple needed thinking about but soon solved. Enjoyed 18D – Arlo was one of my all time favourites.

    Good to be back, been off on a whirlwind tour of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Bristol and all points between. May even get around to looking at Saturday’s and Monday’s crosswords shortly (Sunday’s was left with my Aunt – I’m good to her like that)

  3. Hi Gazza and congrats on winning COW last week :-D I agree this was one of the easier puzzles for a while but have to admit if I was still in the CC I would not have got out on this one!! (maybe Geoff will make it today) needed my ‘help’ for a few! two fav clues 1d and 13a, I was really stupid in looking at 24a thinking that last month was of course April so how could it be Dec!

    1. It would be unfair if April were clued as last month, bearing in mind that this puzzle will probably appear in different newspapers round the world over the next few months. Last month (if it’s not just H) would normally be either Dec(ember) or ult(imo).

      1. Gazza, I agree with your opinion, but how does it square up with a clue from last Monday’s puzzle, viz: 16a. See mandatory changes today (6,6)
        {EASTER MONDAY} – Today is an anagram (changes) of SEE MANDATORY. It only works if the puzzle is published on the day in question, so it would be unuseable for syndication.

        1. Digby,
          Good point, but in the case of a themed puzzle based on a specific date I think if/when it’s syndicated there’ll be a note printed with it saying something like: This puzzle first appeared in the UK on Good Friday/ St. Patrick’s Day or whatever.

      1. When I read the clue, my first thought was… it’s not INST, it’s the other one… it’s ULT… oh no it’s not that either!

  4. The one thing I thought when solving this, was how peculiar the surface reading was of some of the clues, which gazza also mentions in his opening paragraph.
    I did like 25a, and thought the anagram indicator was quite appropriate to the clue, and the answer.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

  5. I agree with you Gazza, a very quick solve today.
    Thanks to you and setter.
    On another subject – and not wishing to commandeer this blog – anyone who is still curious about the cryptic tube station from the other week, please go to the contact/comment page to find the highly unsatisfactory answer given.

    1. Looking forward to seeing these answers. I quite like these sorts of GK quizzes.

    2. Just seen the answer. Get the setter’s number and persecute him/her :?

  6. I didn’t find this one too difficult although was held up by being very slow to get two of the long ones (17a and 4d.) I was a bit doubtful about 15d meaning what the clue said but it had to be what it was. I’m now going to be driven mad for the rest of the day trying to remember a particular song by 18d – there is one of his that I absolutely love. No particular favourite clues today – perhaps 4a and 12d. STILL very dry with cold east wind here in Oxford – it’s doing our poor garden a load of no good! :sad:
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Gazza.

  7. Not my quickest solve ever but it didn’t take long and I agree that it wasn’t the most exciting cryptic ever. I did like 12d and 22d. Thanks to the mystery setter and to Gazza for the review.

    The Toughie is by Beam and made me beam! Give it a go although like me you will probably be left with one or two where you need the blog to explain the wordplay.

  8. Very straightforward puzzle indeed today, but at least there were no r**** w****** references!

  9. Did this in quick time but I still found it enjoyable. Particularly liked 12 and 17. Do they still have 12 on fruit machines?

  10. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza, I agree with most of the above comments, not the best but better than I could ever compile.

  11. Maybe not the most polished of crosswords but it kept me entertained on the journey to work. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  12. Can only agree with the comments made by Gazza at the beginning. A very quick solve.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  13. Oh dear – I would still be with Mary in the CC !!!! Finished it in the end with a couple of hints from my own personal blogger.
    Never heard of 18d (not into that sort of music at all) and although I’d heard of 21a in the Cornish senses, not in the context of an insect.
    Also has a couple of BIG DOH moments – 1d and 20d, two of the easier clues, took me ages to figure out!
    Thanks Gazza and complier for an enjoyable Tuesday.

  14. It’s no wonder Shamus was quick off the mark to distance himself from this one!

    The review is considerably more interesting than the puzzle – thanks Gazza.

  15. Definately an American swing to todays puzzle. Must be bec,,ause ama bin laden with a lot of work so was grateful for the quick finish.
    Thanks to Gazza and the ‘Seals’

  16. I liked this puzzle because it was gentle with me on a stressful morning at the dentist. But all is done and dusted now :) .Never heard of mr 18d though. Fav clue 12d. Thanks setter and Gazza.

  17. Not too taxing but still some fun to be had. IMHO the back-page cryptic should be a mix of easier and more challenging puzzles to suit all tastes and time available. So the occasional straightforward puzzle is always OK by me. It can also be a morale booster. For those hardier folk who like to chew bolts in their daily diet, there is always the erm…… Toughie. Thanks to all.

  18. Harsh words from B.D. !! O.K. it wasn’t the most difficult but it’s quite nice not to have to strain the brain now and again. We aren’t all as quick as you top bloggers, you know
    So a big thank you to setter and Gazza for the hints

    1. Brendam,
      There’s nothing at all wrong with having an easier puzzle now and again (Rufus gives us one most Mondays), but whereas Rufus can combine fairly simple clues with wit and smooth surface readings, the latter two qualities are not well represented in this puzzle. For example, what do the surfaces of clues like 14a, 23a and 15d actually mean?

  19. Pretty straightforward one, for which I didn’t need the hints, books or toys and didn’t even check up on the insect or the US game and the folk singer was a pure guess. But … was at the crem today and someone looked over my shoulder and made a couple of suggestions. Does that count in escaping the CC, Mary, Gazza?

    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  20. A very straightforward puzzle today.
    4a, 13a, 8d, 12d, 15d & 22d were best for me.
    Re 17a – in the north of England Fore and Four are pronounced differently.

    Weather in NL is magnificent.

  21. 13a was my favourite today. I always used to call it Tricky Tuesday, but the last few weeks haven’t been too tricky at all! So thanks from me and my employers to the setter, and my thanks to Gazza for the hints and tips. I think its one of the great strengths of all the bloggers on this site that even if you don’t ‘need’ help with a particular clue or puzzle, their thoughts are still well worth reading.

    1. Well said Mr Tub! They all do sterling service and, to misquote CJ in Reggie Perrin, ‘I wouldn’t have got where I am today without them’

  22. Had a bit of doubt about 17a until I’d said it a couple or more timse and decidedit had to be. My bete noir was 12d as couldn’t make sense of it at all, even though I’d written it in – only then did I think to check Chambers and all became clear!! (Couldn’t get my mind off “man” for the third word but, according to the oracle, there’s no “k’s” in that one!) Two sessions to-day – did the top half fairly quickly before going off for a golf match and finished off on my return – second half took longer – brain obviously addled after 18 holes – and losing!

  23. Not too hard, but I’ve had a long tough day and appreciated it.

    Thanks to the Setter and to Gazza.

    Favourite clue: 25a.

    Would spell 12d without any ‘k’s, so had to check that it was a valid alternative spelling.

    Goodnight,

    Nick

  24. After a rather hectic time at work and moving house I’ve now found time again to enjoy my favourite pastime! Quite an easy one to com back to- I thought 15d was a bit dodgy.

  25. I started (and completed) this puzzle today following several pints of Deuchars IPA, so I’m pleased it was reasonably simple!
    And surely, 13A was a good pun…. or is that the beer talking?

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