DT 26540 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26540

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26540

Hints and tips by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Morning All!. Despite the number of ‘two synonyms plus a letter insertion’ type clues that I encountered whilst reviewing this puzzle I actually enjoyed the solve quite a lot. There were a few very good clues although the ambiguity at 12 Across was quite surprising.

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1a           Vehicle having left seedy plant (7)
CARAWAY – A spicy seed is a charade of CAR (vehicle) and AWAY (having left)

5a           A mine in California yielding wealth (7)
CAPITAL – Your capital assets are a measure of your wealth. Insert A PIT (a mine) inside CAL – the abbreviation of the state of California.

9a           Line with navy in fashion (5)
RANGE – A line (e.g. in clothing). Place N – the abbreviation for N(avy) inside RAGE for fashion – remember ‘ALL THE RAGE’.

10a         One making play having drink with a bird consuming seconds (9)
DRAMATIST – On Tuesday I drank a wee DRAM for a friend who left us recently. Next take A TIT (the bird!) and include S – the SI symbol for Second.

11a         Clumsy fielders in uncompetitive games (10)
FRIENDLIES – A good anagram, indicated by ‘clumsy’, of FIELDERS IN leads to a word for games (e.g. football matches) that do not affect any competitions or league tables.

12a         Performing arts supremo (4)
TSAR – I have a problem with this clue in that there are two equally valid answers (STAR and TSAR both mean supremo). In fact we need the latter (an anagram, performing, of ARTS) which is an old Russioan ruler.

14a         Light meal encourages Pope (4,8)
EGGS BENEDICT – My favourite clue and amongst my favourite breakfasts (a light meal for me!). A charade of EGGS (encourages or urges) and BENEDICT – the Christian name of our current Pope.

18a         Install spies protecting English mediaeval rulers (12)
PLANTAGENETS – The House of Plantagenet was a ruling house in England form the 12th Century. A word for install/place (PLANT) then a noun for spies (AGENTS) with an E(nglish) inserted.

21a         Mock a final section of music (4)
CODA – Another deceptively simple clue. Mock here means sham or joke (COD); follow this with A for a part of a musical score that gets repeated in a verse and also at the end of a piece of music. Very nice!.

22a         He hopes to find fortune having power in professional area (10)
PROSPECTOR  – ‘THAR’S GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS!’. The pioneer is a charade of PRO(fissional) and SECTOR (area/region) with P for Power inserted (in).

25a         Spoil man consuming a bit of delicious spread (9)
MARMALADE – Another insertion in two synonyms. The breakfast (possibly delicious) spread is formed from MAR (spoil) and MALE (man) with the first letter (bit of) Delicious.

26a         Experts following in public transport (5)
BUFFS – Another very well worked clue. Your (film) buffs are your film experts. What is not so obvious is that FF is an abbreviation for ‘following lines or pages etc.’ Once placed in a BUS (public transport) we are home and dry.

27a         Woman to gossip endlessly about New England (7)
NANETTE – The woman’s name ( as stated on the day Nanette Newman was the Fairy Liquid mum) is created by placing all but the last letter of NATTEr around (endlessly about) the abbreviations for N(ew) and E(ngland).

28a         Send off steel-making town director (3-4)
RED-CARD – A transitive verb meaning to send off a player from a sports field. The steel-making town (probably formerly!) is REDCAR followed by the D for Director.


1d           A recipe in restaurant — it may contain wine (6)
CARAFE – Judging from the lack of confusion on the day we all appear to have remembered that R is an abbreviation of Recipe (now don’t forget that Take ALSO means Recipe, R in Latin!). If you place A + R inside CAFÉ (restaurant) you will get a glass wine container.

2d           Gone off having managed detectives (6)
RANCID – A synonym for rotten/gone off is a charade of RAN (managed) and CID (Criminal Investigation Department/Division).

3d           Small men, they’re after working days (10)
WEEKNIGHTS – The evenings on ‘School Days’ are a charade of WEE for small and KNIGHTS for men – particularly a man on a chessboard.

4d           Vocalise, making a mess of melody, missing start (5)
YODEL – This is a very specific type of vocalisation used to communicate across mountain passes. Remove (missing) the start of mELODY and then make a messy anagram.

5d           Creature often disguised as another one keeping hot a long time (9)
CHAMELEON – Another very good clue that is probably a Semi All in One. The sentence in its entirety defines the chameleon. You can also read the wordplay:  take CAMEL (another one – creature) including (taking) H for Hot then follow it by EON – a long time.

6d           Ring friend about Spain (4)
PEAL – A simple but well constructed clue for the peal of a bell. E(spania) with PAL around (friend about).

7d           State of panic follows fix (8)
TAILSPIN – Another very well worked clue that deceives due to the smooth surface reading. If one is in a state of panic one is in a tailspin. Make a charade of TAILS (follows) and PIN (fix as in stick with a needle).

8d           Educated learner to do again (8)
LITERATE – The abbreviation for Learner – L, followed by ITERATE, do it again, gives an adjective meaning educated or well read.

13d         Pamper like birds around Britain (10)
FEATHERBED – A verb for pamper or cocoon is an adjective for our FEATHERED friends around B for Britain.

15d         Angus briefly set up mysterious source of sweetness (5-4)
SUGAR CANE – I suspect that a fair few people got this from the checking letters. GUS is the diminutive form of Angus. When reversed (briefly set up) and ARCANE (mysterious) is added one gets a source of raw sugar.

16d         ‘Decluttering’ expert who aims to go far? (8)
SPACEMAN – Two cryptic definitions. A n expert in decluttering is a MAN who can create SPACE. The astronaut is a MAN aims to go a long way into SPACE.

17d         Fellow defyin’ official (8)
MANDARIN – A regular Crosswordland name for a bureaucratic official is a charade of MAN (fellow) and DARIN(g) – A synonym for defying written in the same way, losing the final G.

19d         Man — one island (6)
STAFFA – An inner Hebridean Island is a charade of STAFF (man i.e. populate with workers) and A for one.

20d         Times journalist made deletion (6)
ERASED – Another charade here. ERAS for ‘Times (with the capitalization disguised by placing at the front of the clue) and ED for Editor, journalist.

23d         Box holding earl’s weapon (5)
SPEAR – One needs to know that E is an abbreviation for Earl. Place this inside SPAR (box/fight) for a primitive pointy weapon.

24d         Dysfunctional family member is short man with title (4)
BART – Well it made me laugh anyway!. A Baronet is often abbreviated to BART. BART Simpson is the young lad in ‘The Simpsons’ – an archetypal dysfunctional family not very beloved of George Dubya Bush.

Thanks to our mystery setter – I am on Sunday detail for the next couple of weeks. See you then.

18 comments on “DT 26540

  1. Morning Gnomey, nice one once again :-), struggling with half of Giovanni so far will come back to it later, have a good day

  2. Hi Gnomethang,
    I also put STAR in 12a instead of TSAR which (if I recall the grid correctly) meant that for a very long time I was left with 7d to puzzle over! Realised in the end but like you, surprised by the ambiguity.
    Thanks to the setter, and to you for the review.

    1. I’m afraid I don’t see the ambiguity in 12a – the definition of “supremo” in Chambers is “A leader with unlimited powers” while a star is “A pre-eminent or exceptionally brilliant person”.

      1. Hi Dave, I realise they’re not absolute synonyms but in a crossword context I’d suggest there’s a very fine line between a leader with unlimited powers and a pre-eminent person.

      2. I must confess to not checking Chambers but only considered that ‘supremo’ might also be used loosely for ‘star’. I take the point, though, that those definitions (and hence the setter!) are pretty rigorous!

        1. I would imagine that most people (me included) who got this wrong, realised that an anagram was required, and star leapt out as the first answer which at first glance seemed correct.

      3. I am with BD on this one. I put in TSAR right from the start as it was obvious that a supremo was required.

  3. Morning BD and Gnomethang just like to point out that the answers are showing you don’t have to highlight them.:D

      1. oops sorry didnt look at the crossword number, thought it was today’s early. :oops:

    1. Collywobbles, Chambers gives the folllowing in the 4th def of COD (slang):

      1. A Jest
      2. A hoax

      1. Mock,Sham
      2. Done, intended, etc as a joke or take-off.

      The Etymology is described as ‘Dubious’

      1. Thanks Gnomey, I think that it’s time that I got Chambers. Is it the straight Chambers encyclopedia

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