DT 26545 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26545

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26545

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Friday’s puzzle is meant to be the toughest of the week and I think that this one lives up to its billing. I found it to be on a par with Giovanni’s Toughie yesterday for difficulty. There are some very entertaining clues and 3d on its own earns it a fourth enjoyment star from me.
If you want to see an answer drag your cursor through the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  It could make sage rage (in more ways than one!) (5-10)
{WRONG-HEADEDNESS} – this means obstinacy and bad judgement, so it might annoy a wise person (sage). Alternatively it’s a cryptic way of describing the situation of a word acquiring an incorrect first letter, e.g. Sage becoming Rage.

9a  Nasty fool and sweetheart sent back — good! (9)
{REVOLTING} – the definition is nasty. Join together a fool and a sweetheart and reverse the lot, then finally add G(ood).

10a  Animal starts to nurture young and leaves afterwards (5)
{NYALA} – the name of this African antelope comes from the initial letters (starts to) of the last five words in the clue.

11a  Kitchen device brings some happiness to Vera (5)
{STOVE} – a kitchen device is hidden (some) in the clue.

12a  The man is unfortunately absorbing one chemical bad for the body (9)
{HISTAMINE} – this chemical which is released in the body as a result of allergic reactions is an anagram (unfortunately) of THE MAN IS with I (one) inside.

13a  After page one, one gets put off (8)
{POSTPONE} – you get a verb meaning to put off from a charade of the latin word for after, the abbreviation for page and ONE.

14a  Woman being bad-tempered and daughter scheming (6)
{SHREWD} – join together a bad-tempered and assertive woman and D(aughter) to make an adjective meaning scheming or wily.

16a  Manage to pay for a fine car (6)
{AFFORD} – the definition is to manage to pay for. It’s A followed by F(ine) and a make of car.

18a  Fits gear specially made for certain vessels (8)
{FRIGATES} – these warships are an anagram (specially made) of FITS GEAR.

22a  Before Christmas we do things to help us send messages (9)
{POSTCARDS} – what we do before Christmas (4,5) are also things we use to send “wish you were here” type messages when we’re on holiday.

23a  Chuck out slippery customer seen pocketing ten pence (5)
{EXPEL} – put a slippery creature around (pocketing) the Roman numeral for ten and the abbreviation for pence.

24a  Farewell gold! Pass away surrounded by it (5)
{ADIEU} – a word meaning farewell is a verb to pass away surrounded by the chemical symbol for gold.

25a  Monster — fellow with heart traps it rolling over (9)
{MANTICORE} – this is a fabulous monster with the head of a man, the body of a lion and the sting of a scorpion. I’d never heard of it but Giovanni has made the wordplay very straightforward; put together synonyms for fellow and heart, then insert IT reversed (rolling over).

26a  My lament: prelate being unstable in terms of emotional disposition (15)
{TEMPERAMENTALLY} – an anagram (being unstable) of MY LAMENT PRELATE produces an adverb relating to one’s emotional disposition.

Down Clues

1d  Functions with old piano in town (7)
{WORKSOP} – I’m not sure why this Nottinghamshire town has suddenly become so popular but it appeared a couple of weeks ago in a Shamus Toughie (clue: Cultivate concession in Midlands town (7)). To get it here start with a verb meaning functions or operates and add O(ld) and P(iano).

2d  Plain old boy meeting you in Paris, one to be embraced (7)
{OBVIOUS} – the definition is plain. Put together the abbreviation for old boy and the plural, or formal, word for you in French, then insert (to be embraced) I (one).

3d  What could be guaranteed with chop, pounds being involved (6,9)
{GOLDEN PARACHUTE} – this is a superb semi-all-in-one clue. It’s an anagram (could be) of GUARANTEED and CHOP with L (pounds) being inserted (involved). It’s what a top businessman is given by way of compensation when he’s fired (given the chop) and it follows the same-coloured hello that he was given as a welcoming present when he arrived and the same-coloured handcuffs that provided a monetary inducement for him not to leave. Being fired will stop him getting the same-coloured handshake that he had planned for his retirement, but no doubt the large salary, generous bonuses and stock options that he enjoyed while he was there will be some compensation.

4d  Note of bird ascending over top of hill — some divine revelation? (8)
{EPIPHANY} – this sudden insight or revelation could be thought to be divine. Start with the reversal (ascending, in a down clue) of the note made by a bird, then add the first (top) letter of H(ill) and a synonym for some.

5d  Summary of archaeological activity is in French (6)
{DIGEST} – a summary is a charade of an archaeological activity and the third person singular form of the present tense of the verb to be in French.

6d  Someone who could clean you up, by gum! (6,9)
{DENTAL HYGIENIST} – cryptic definition of someone who gives your teeth and gums a routine service.

7d  Look at article found in place where colliers once worked? (7)
{EXAMINE} – a verb meaning to look at is made by putting an indefinite article inside a no-longer working pit.

8d  Marine growth comes from small hard fruit — there’s wonder in that (7)
{SEAWEED} – put a synonym for wonder or respect inside a small hard fruit to make algae that grows in the ocean.

15d  Demeanour with which gifts may be announced (8)
{PRESENCE} – this word, meaning demeanour or conduct, sounds like (may be announced) gifts.

16d  Black sticky stuff making snake come to a standstill (7)
{ASPHALT} – this is a charade of a venomous snake and a verb meaning to come to a standstill.

17d  Like group of states restricted by top army officer’s authoritarian government (7)
{FASCISM} – a form of authoritarian government is a preposition meaning like or similar to followed by the abbreviation for the loose grouping of ex-Communist states which was formed following the break-up of the Soviet Union. That all goes inside (restricted by) the abbreviation for a top army officer (what the Americans would call a five-star general).

19d  What’s in spit surpasses the normal lubricant? (7)
{TOPSOIL} – spit in the surface reading is saliva, but for the definition it means the top few inches of earth (down to the depth that a gardener’s spade can reach). A verb meaning surpasses is followed by a viscous liquid used as a lubricant.

20d  Short thread extremely light in tone (7)
{SILVERY} – a thread short of its final K is followed by a synonym for extremely to make an adjective describing a gentle, clear tone.

21d  America endlessly involved in old war zone (6)
{CRIMEA} – an anagram (involved) of AMERIC(a) provides a nineteenth century war zone.

I liked 14a, 22a and 19d today, but my favourite clue by a long way was 3d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {WHEEDLE} + {LIVER} + {DAILY} = {WE DELIVER DAILY}

44 comments on “DT 26545

  1. Not an easy one today, but very enjoyable. Definitely got the grey matter working on this on, had a lot of difficulty with 25A until it suddenly popped into my head! 1A caused a bit of a problem as did 3D but I really enjoyed 12A, 22A, 1D (even though I couldn’t get Glossop out of my head) and 7D. Today’s favourite : 18A (must be my upbringing in naval circles).

  2. I solved this only slightly faster than the Toughie today. Certainly 3d was my favourite and I also liked 25a – as you say the wordplay was clear and a small check to Chambers confirmed the beast.
    Thanks to gazza and to Giovanni.

  3. By far the hardest puzzle of the week for me, and I spent more time looking at this than the toughie today.
    I spent ages trying to parse 13a, and totally missed the latin word for after, which in hindsight was pretty obvious.
    Excellent crossword – many thanks to Giovanni, and to gazza for the dissection.

  4. Best (& hardest) of the week for me – some superb clues including 3d and 20d which I found particularly difficult to spot. Last one in was 1a which I would never have got without the cross-checking letters.
    Brilliant puzzling – thanks to setter for a good workout and to Gazza.

  5. Very enjoyable Friday puzzle. Not much progress made in a hospital waiting room……too many distractions. Got home….(all is well, and the rest of the puzzle fell into place. Didn’t like 1a :( so got held up ther. Fav clue 3d. Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  6. Difficulty is one thing and enjoyment another. Yes this was more difficult than usual but unlike yesterdays toughie it was not as enjoyable. I had to leave it with four clues not done until the blog was updated. I am still uncomfortable with foreign words being used in crosswords ala 24a
    20d explanation is still not clear to me, I need it spelled out in simple terms or I will go bonkers
    1a I found frustrating.
    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni

    1. Nubian,
      20d is SIL(k) (short thread) + VERY (extremely) to give an adjective meaning light in tone (of a sound).

        1. You could be right, Roland, but it does also describe a light sound, as in “a silvery laugh”.

    2. I found this rather frustrating too! Never heard of 25a or 10a. Re 20d – take a thread and cut it short (leave the K off the end ) and add a word meaning extremely – there you have your answer!

      1. For waht it’s worth, I seem to recall the the 70s prog rock band Emerson Lake & Palmer (ELP) used to put their records out on the “Manticore” label.

  7. Harder but enjoyable for me too. Lots of good clues but I agree with Gazza that 3d is the top favourite. Thanks to the Gs for the usual Friday fun.

    The Toughie is good fun too, as Gnomey says, doesn’t take much longer – the NE corner being the tricky bit!

  8. I do look forward to Friday puzzles – this was harder than usual but made good sense for the majority of it. Didn’t like 1a nor 1d but top for me was 3d (as per everyone else) and I liked 22a and 16d as well.

    Did about half of yesterday’s Toughie so am now going to go back and finish it.

    Thanks to the two G’s.for excellent entertainment.

  9. Very good Friday entertainment.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for another excellent puzzle, and to Gazza for the blog, especially the excellent commentary on 3D!

    1. Qix – I agree with you on 3d. Well done Gazza, made me giggle! I never managed anything golden from any of the companies that gave me the chop!

  10. Thoroughly entertaining crossword today from the Maestro. Many thanks to both Giovanni and to Gazza for the quality review.

  11. I found this VERY hard – what did I expect – it’s Friday! Ended up with five that I couldn’t do at all and lots of others that I needed the hints to explain. I’ve never heard of the expressions in 1a and 3d. Never heard of 25a either but managed to work it out from the clue and then look it up – ugly looking beast isn’t he? I still don’t understand 17d – sorry for being dim again. I liked 12, 13 and 22a and 1, 2, 6, 16 and 19d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza – it’s quite a long time since I’ve needed the hints as much as I did today!

    1. Hi Kath, The F M are the initials of Field Marshall. In between is AS (like) and CIS (commonwealth of Independent States – former russian states)

      1. We got the answer but thought the “CIs” were for Channel Islands – who are also independant states!

  12. one of those where i cantered along quite happily then came to an abrupt halt on about 4 clues which took longer than the rest of the crossword. might have helped if i’d heard the expression in 1a before… one of those phrases that doesn’t sound right even when you’ve filled it in.

    thanks to gazza and the don

  13. Phew! I think the DT crossord editor may have mixed up Gionanni’s Toughie with this one!
    What an excellent crossword with 3d the star! Never heard the term before but got it once I’d spotted the anagram construction and I had most of the checkers.
    Thanks to Gazza, for a couple of explanations of the wordplay, and to Giovanni for the entertainment.

    1. Definitley toughie quality today for me. There were several I’d never heard of 1a, 3d – plus never heard of SPIT meaning a spade’s depth of earth! Thanks though Gazza for your explanations and Giovanni for stretching what’s left of my little grey cells.

  14. I really enjoyed this but like others it took me a long time and there were several words/phrase I have never heard of! Since when is a seed a hard fruit??? The seed is inside the fruit!

  15. Kept waiting for a 4d to solve it and it never came. Obvious when revealed. A fair number solved from checking letters and understood after. Good one today. Thanks to Gio and Gaz.

  16. Nothing much to add – just the right strength and flavour for my taste. A true Glenmorangie of the crossword world! The Quickie became a tad easier once a pangram was on the cards. Thanks G/G. Have a nice weekend everyone.

  17. Hum – need a lot of help with this one. Never heard of 3d (only ****** handshake – obviously been retired far too long!) Thought 20d a bit tenuous, got 17d but don’t understand the explanation(??) don’t like 1a, but guess that’s just me – fav clue was 6d, think it’s brilliant! Obviously a long way to go before I can complete a Friday without help, but it’s fun trying. Thanks, as ever, to setter and hinter.

      1. Missed that earlier – many thanks. My general knowledge is sadly lacking!! Got the FM bit but the CIS had me scratching my head. You can learn a lot on this blog, can’t you?

  18. Hi Gazza and thanks for your help would not have finished without you! Another busy day for you today :-D I found this quite easy at first but got stuck about half way and left it until about an hour ago when some more clicked into place but I ground to a halt on about 5 or 6 clues, some I’d never heard of, 1a, 10a, 25a, 3d and a few more so thanks for the review once again, see you later!!

  19. Highly enjoyable challenge. Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Gazza for the review. Another vote for 3d as the top clue.

  20. Damned good puzzle from Giovanni today : had to research some of the answers in several tomes!
    Favourites were : 1a, 12a, 22a, 24a, 25a, 1d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 16d, 17d & 19d.

  21. I surprised and surpassed myself today with a fairly quick solve. reading the comments I am not sure if it wasn’t more by luck than judgement. maybe I was just in the zone. anyway an excellent puzzle, lots of great clues already mentioned. Thanks to G and g. got time to have a look at the toughie with a pint of kipling ( or 2)

  22. Quite fair and straightforward, although I wasn’t familiar with 3d as a phrase.

    Favourite clue: 6d

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  23. You can tell i found this tough as i’ve only just finished it (Saturday Afternoon!)

    I really struggled with 1a and 6d.

    Liked 9a and 16d.

    I’ll never catch up now……. running a day behind…….

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