DT 26552 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26552

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26552

A full review by Crypticsue

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

After my first read through, my initial reaction was ‘oh heck’ but luckily this didn’t last too long and this very entertaining crossword was completed in a fairly quick time.   Thanks to our mystery setter for a great Saturday puzzle; for me the star of the show was the apt anagram indicator in 2d.

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1a           One who’s given up religion, a humourless condition (8)
APOSTATE – a person who has given up religion is a charade of A plus PO (an informal adjective, a shortened form of po-faced meaning humourless or stupidly solemn) and STATE (condition).

9a           Instruction to turn over state compound possibly harmful (8)
PTOMAINE –  ptomaine is a name for amino-compounds, some of which are possibly poisonous.   The abbreviation placed at the foot of a page, requesting that you Please Turn Over  followed by the New England State of MAINE.

10a         Football bosses hold the French jumper (4)
FLEA –  The jumper here is a bloodsucking, agile parasitic insect, simply obtained by inserting the French word for the, LE,  into  FA, the abbreviation of the organisation in charge of football in the UK, the Football Association.

11a         Landworker’s allotment failure (12)
SHARECROPPER – This US landworker is a tenant farmer who supplies a share of the crop in lieu of rent.   A simple charade of SHARE (allotment) and CROPPER (a bad fall, literally or metaphorically, a failure).

13a         Fleece essayist’s relatives (8)
LAMBSKIN –  Another term for a fleece – the skin of a lamb with the wool still on it –  the essayist (Charles [Elia]) LAMB is often found in crosswords;  just add his relatives or KIN.

15a         Step back after one cold Arctic feature (6)
ICECAP –  The permanent covering of ice at the Arctic (and Antarctic come to that) –  I (one) C (cold) plus ECAP – PACE or step reversed (back).

16a         Babe mostly in fashion (4)
CHIC –  Truncate a slang term for a young woman CHIC(K) to get an adjective, originating in France, meaning fashionable, elegant and smart.

17a         Provide food consumed in Costa Rica (5)
CATER –  A verb meaning to provide food –  insert  ATE (consumed) into the initials of Costa Rica.

18a         Turned to bridge (4)
SPAN – A double definition – the archaic past participle of the verb spin, or to SPAN or bridge something.

20a         Ensnaring line, annoy fisherman (6)
ANGLER –  I think ANGER is a stronger emotion than being annoyed but do as the clue suggests and put L for Line inside ANGER to get a fisherman who uses a rod and line.

21a         Crowd see round end of bar in pub (8)
HOSTELRY – another name for a pub or inn is a charade of HOST (crowd) and ELY (the most often used ecclesiastical See in Crosswordland) with R (end of baR) inserted.

23a         Cooked hot unsophisticated food in this way (12)
THOROUGHFARE –  a public right of way open at both ends – an anagram (cooked) of HOT plus ROUGH (unsophisticated) and FARE (food).

26a         A voice regularly expressed in ballot-box (4)
ALTO –  A high male voice or low female voice is hidden in the even letters (regularly expressed) of bAlLoT bOx.

27a         Stick in an opening exchange of views (8)
ARGUMENT –  An exchange of views or reasons –   insert GUM (stick) into A RENT (an opening made by tearing or force).

28a         Distinction shown by modern artist from ‘ere (8)
EMINENCE – Distinction or fame –  the modern artist here is (Tracey) EMIN followed by ENCE (hence, from here, with the h removed, as is indicated by the h being removed from (h) ‘ere in the clue).


2d           One has wide knowledge being amply hot quizzically (8)
POLYMATH –  In the context of this clue quizzically has to be the most apt anagram indicator ever!    A person whose knowledge covers a wide range of subjects is found in an anagram of AMPLY HOT.

3d           Bold swordsman won in band fastening on King (12)
SWASHBUCKLER – A swaggering heroic swordsman, the sort of chap who might have been played by Errol Flynn, is quite complicated to explain (as Pommers found on Saturday evening!)  – insert W(on) into SASH (a band worn around the waist or over the shoulder) and then a BUCKLE (fastening) followed by (on) R (Rex –  king).

4d           Charge a Tory leader with sleaze (6)
ATTACK – Charge here is used as an intransitive verb meaning ATTACK.   A  T (Tory ‘leader’) and TACK (sleaze or bad taste)

5d           Blade used for apple peeling (4)
EPEE – a sharp-pointed, narrow-bladed sword is hidden in applE PEEling.

6d           A certain type restraining tense hanger-on (8)
COURTIER – I always associate COURIER type face with IBM Golfball typewriters (but that’s showing my age!) – insert T (tense) into COURIER to get someone who might hang around a royal court.

7d           Weedy type with one person at Westminster (4)
WIMP – an ineffectual weedy person is  W(ith) plus I (one) and MP (Member of Parliament  in Westminster.

8d           Reptile injured a printer (8)
TERRAPIN – the reptile here is a pond or river turtle found in an anagram (injured) of A PRINTER.

12d         Crowd free news item (5,7)
PRESS RELEASE – This news item is an official report supplied to the news media – a very straightforward clue –  PRESS (crowd) and RELEASE (free).

14d         Nick’s word denying church (5)
NOTCH  –  Denying or saying it’s NOT followed by CH (the abbreviation for church) produces a nick or v-shaped indentation.

16d         Applauded chat heard as nonsense (8)
CLAPTRAP – another word for applauded is clapped, a homophone (heard) of which would be CLAPT, follow this with RAP (informal chat or talk) to get another way of saying meaningless nonsense.

17d         Noisily drink litre for amusement (8)
CAROUSEL –  A verb meaning to drink freely and noisily: CAROUSE plus L for litre gives an American term for a merry-go-round.

19d         Word puzzle like clues above mostly getting habitual response (8)
ACROSTIC – A word puzzle in which the first or last letters of each line spell a word or sentence.   The clues above are of course the ACROSS clues; remove the final S (this is indicated by mostly) and follow this by TIC (an involuntary habitual response).

22d         Onset of illness following rogue food (6)
SCAMPI – A type of seafood –   SCAMP (rogue) followed by I (the onset or first letter of illness).

24d         Gershwin hero failing to start revel (4)
ORGY –  The hero of a Gershwin opera – PORGY, failing to start, so without the P, produces an unrestrained, riotous revel or celebration.

25d         Can’t stand sticky heat (4)
HATE – if you can’t stand something you HATE it – sticky here indicates an anagram of the word HEAT.

Lots of good clues in this splendid Saturday Prize Puzzle – my favourites of many are 2d, for the great anagram indicator, and 19d.  Hope Gnomey has as much fun next Saturday as I did this week.

1 comment on “DT 26552

  1. Hi CS – great review!
    You’re right about 3d – it was even more difficult to hint when I couldn’t use the words in the answer! Jay keeps doing this to me on Wednesdays! Do the setters do it on purpose do you think?

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