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DT 26561

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26561

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hello again from the Vega Baja where Summer has arrived in the last few days!
I really enjoyed solving this puzzle but, as usual, writing the hints was far harder than the solve! I’m beginning to think Jay (presumably) is doing this on purpose to make my life difficult! This is my 10th blog of a Wednesday puzzle and for the first time we have a pangram, which I didn’t spot until putting in my last answer! (Has the DT slipped in a Shamus puzzle I wonder?).

There are a few tricky clues in this so I’ve given it 3* for difficulty but at least there are also a few easier ones to give you a start.

As usual the ones I liked best are in blue and if you want to see the answer highlight the space between the curly brackets.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


7a. Couple of rectors wearing eccentric papal garb (7)
{APPAREL} – Take the first 2 letters of REctors (couple of) and around them (wearing) place an anagram (eccentric) of PAPAL to give another word for garb or clothing.

8a. Make amends for former buccaneer abandoning leader of rebels (7)
{EXPIATE} – A word meaning ‘make amends’ or ‘atone for’  is formed from the usual crosswordland abbreviation for former  and a buccaneer with the R removed (abandoning leader of Rebels).

10a. Spirit imported by alcohol producers for pictures (5,5)
{STILL LIFES} – To get these pictures or paintings of inanimate objects you need the pieces of equipment used to distil alcohol and insert (imported by) another word for spirit or animation.

11a. Run from group of women without male (4)
{HARE} – Take the word for the women in an Arabian sheikh’s household and remove the M (without Male) to leave a word meaning run or rush.

12a. Pleased with temperature changes, stand (8)
{PEDESTAL} – The definition is ‘stand’ and it’s an anagram (changes) of PLEASED and T(emperature).

14a. Tentative attempts from States following evacuation of envoys (6)
{ESSAYS} – These tentative attempts are a word for states, as in speaks, placed after (following) the first and last letters of EnvoyS (evacuation of).  I thought the false capitalisation of States was a bit naughty, had me thinking US or USA etc for a while!

15a. Justification for V-sign (11)
{VINDICATION} – V followed by a word for a sign or hint gives a word meaning justification.

19a. Witty remark from heartless man reversing into luggage compartment (3,3)
{BON MOT} – A phrase, of French origin, for a witty remark is formed by inserting NM (heartless MaN reversing)  into the luggage compartment of your car and splitting the result (3,3).

20a. Person possibly misidentified with celebrity cause (8)
{NAMESAKE} – A person who could possibly be mistaken for you is a charade of words for a celebrity and cause or purpose.  Last week I said that ‘earthly’ was difficult to write a hint for but this one is far worse!  IMHO the second half of this answer isn’t a very good synonym for ’cause’.

22a.The last word in steam engines (4)
{AMEN} – The last word of a prayer is hidden in steAM ENgines.

23a. Popular attribute covers key difference (10)
{INEQUALITY} – The usual crosswordland word for popular (2) and a synonym for an attribute placed around (covers) one of the musical keys gives a word meaning difference.

25a. Soldiers finally approached noisily and showed contempt (7)
{SNEERED} – Noisily here is a homophone indicator. Start with S (soldierS finally) and follow with 6 letters, which aren’t a real word but if pronounced would sound the same as a word meaning approached,  and you get a word meaning showed contempt.  If anyone can think of a better way of hinting this clue I’m open to suggestions!

26a. Jack enters organization originally accepting affluent, but remote posting (7)
{JERICHO} – Take the first letters of the first 3 words (originally) and insert (accepting) a synonym for affluent to get a slang term for a remote posting, it’s also a town in Palestine
I’ve never come across this meaning of the word but the OED has –
“Used in slang or colloq. phrases for a place of retirement or concealment, or a place far distant and out of the way”.


1d. One who looks small — tinker? (7)
{SPOTTER} – S(mall) followed by a word for ‘tinker’, in the sense of mess about with something in an aimless way, will give someone who looks or sees.

2d. Lament onset of war and trouble (4)
{WAIL} – W (onset of War) and a word for trouble or ill gives a lament.

3d. Start expecting much after last letter from partisan (6)
{ZEALOT} – This partisan, or fervent supporter, is E (start Expecting), a phrase meaning much (1,3) placed after the last letter (of the alphabet).

4d. One’s transfixed by magnitude in reality (8)
{EXISTENT} – IS (one’s) inserted into (transfixed by) a word for magnitude or range gives a word to describe something that is real.

5d. Almost on time, views venues for entertainment (10)
{NIGHTSPOTS} – A charade of a word for almost or near, T(ime) and a word for views or sees gives some places of evening entertainment.

6d. Vacant youths oppressed by shop floors (7)
{STOREYS} – Remove the middle (vacant) of Y(outh)S and place underneath (oppressed by in a down clue) a slightly American term for a shop to get a word for the floors in a tall building.

9d. Not working on leave, boss closes retail outlets (3-8)
{OFF LICENCES} – These retail outlets where you might buy beer or wine to take home are a charade of a word for not working, as in not on, a synonym for leave or permission and S (bosS closes).

13d. Malicious devil arranged to import dodgy denim (4-6)
{EVIL MINDED} – How you might describe someone who is malicious is an anagram (arranged) of DEVIL with an anagram (dodgy) of DENIM inserted (to import).  At least this week ‘dodgy’ is an anagram indicator – last week we had it as a definition!

16d. Showing full particulars of act covering dog (8)
{DETAILED} – A word meaning ‘showing full particulars’ is a word for an act placed around (covering) a word for dog, in the sense of follow.

17d. Doctor accepts chap after firm order (7)
{COMMAND} –Take one of the abbreviations for Doctor (of Medicine), insert (accepts) a chap and place the result after the usual abbreviation for firm or business to get a word meaning order, in the sense of instruct.

18d. Ill-defined case of scurvy in sailing ship? Quite the other way round! (7)
{SKETCHY} – Definition is ill-defined. The first part of the clue says insert (in) SY (case of ScurvY) into a sailing ship, but the second part says to do it the other way round, i.e. insert the sailing ship into SY. BTW, this sailing ship has 2 masts and the aft one is located forward of the rudder – sorry, I’m a sailor so any excuse for a picture of a nice boat!

21d. It could be Tom and Jerry, right? (6)
{MOUSER} – A colloquial term for a cat (Tom) is made up of what Jerry is followed by R(ight).  This is definitely my favourite clue today!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d. Hideout Scottish landowner left unfinished (4)
{LAIR} – The Scottish term for a landowner or Lord without its last letter (unfinished) leave a hideout or den.

Lots of good clues today but my favourites are 15a, 18d but star of the show for me is 21d.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {WEIGHS} + {TOFF} + (THYME) = {WASTE  OF TIME}

53 comments on “DT 26561

  1. Thanks, Pommers, for your review and the setter for a very enjoyable pangram.

    The Quickie pun has three words…

  2. I fair raced through this puzzle and then came to a crashing halt on 26a and 5d, the former being unknown in this definition and the latter I have no idea why!.
    Another elegant Wednesday puzzle with the simplicity of 2d being favourite. Thanks to Pommers and our setter.

    1. 26a……… I ask you!
      I needed to have this spelt out, even WITH the hint!

  3. Yes, fairly quick today also. There were a few that held me up at the end however, 12a (didn’t spot the anagram for a while), 23a, 26a (I see it’s in Chambers with this definition – to be honest, I just entered Jericho on the basis that it is a remote place (well it is from sunny Northants) and thought no more about it) and 6d. I thought 13d was a little too obvious since the first word is nearly not an anagram at all, and my favourite clue was 18d – very clever, I thought. Many thanks to Pommers and to setter. Oh – and I didn’t even spot it was a pangram!

    1. I usually miss pangrams if I solve on paper! Doing it on line however, and being a rather poor typist, I noticed the unusual letters going in because I have to have a look around to find them on the keyboard!

      1. Me too. I’m blaming the heat. We went from spring to summer overnight at the weekend, and my brain’s taking time to adjust.

        1. Took me all day!!
          and 26a……… I ask you!
          I needed to have this spelt out, even WITH the hint!

        2. Me too Nora. Couldn’t make head nor tail of a few today and had to have them spelt out even after reading his blog!
          And I agree about the weather here. One day in a t-shirt & jeans, the next in my swimsuit. Bizarre!

  4. I’ve made heavy weather of this one. 13d may be obvious to some but I even managed to get that wrong – I had “vile minded” – don’t anyone ask me why! Needless to say that made 12 and 15a a touch on the tricky side. Also, although I couldn’t quite explain it, I had “nickname” for 20a which completely messed up the bottom right hand corner until I got “sketchy” and things began to sort themselves out. Definitely not my finest day! :oops: On the plus side I had started to suspect that it was a pangram quite early on. I liked too many clues to write them all down – perhaps 15a and 18d. Please someone tell me that they also found this quite tough – or is it just me. :sad: With thanks to Jay (?) and to Pommers.

    1. Hi Kath
      I did toy with the idea of giving it 4*, if only for 26a and 20a, but after all the comments when I did that a couple of weeks ago I decided against. I would say certainly above average difficulty for a Weds so don’t despair! ‘Vile minded’ works for me (and is more of an anagram than the real answer) but I had the first letter from the across clue so it never occurred to me!

  5. Got a pile of work to do if I’m going to hit my deadline & avoid working the weekend again so this will have to wait until G&T time tonight. I couldn’t resist a quick look at the hints though & it looks like it could be a belter so thanks to the setter & to Pommers for the hints.

    Roll on 18:00 hrs!

    1. Hi Spindrift
      It is a belter – how did you get on with it?
      PS I used to hate your screen-name when I was sailing with my specs on (needed windscreen wipers) – caused me to switch to contact lenses!

  6. Definitely agree as Wednesdays go this was quite a challenge, got there in the end after much head scratching

  7. In 10a, did anyone else put a ‘v’ as the middle letter of the second word, instead of ‘f’? I still feel my version is grammatically correct!

    1. Chambers gives the pural with the F. I think this is because it is a compund noun. A quick check online shows that most are pluralised by adding an -s to the most significant part, e.g courts martial. This would be consistent with ‘still lifes’ as the ‘martial’ and ‘still’ are both adjectival. There are, of course, a bewildering number of exceptions!

      1. Sorry – you beat me to it with a much more complete, not to mention coherent, reply. :smile:

      2. Hi Gnomethang, Yes, I was thinking of using the example of “brothers in law” as opposed to “brother in laws” to expalin it, but signally failed in being able to explain it as succinctly as you have.

    2. I did wonder about it but Chambers is very specific about the plural of “still life” – plus I’d already decided that the first word of 9d was probably “off” – that’s what made me look in the dictionary for the plural.

  8. Had to “cheat” a bit with the last one (26a), and though there were few words that would fit (eg celiphs) I still couldn’t see why until the hints “shone the light”. Thanks Pommers & Setter for a good Wednesday Workout.

  9. A couple of you have mentioned the F in 9a. It did concern me a bit too so I looked in the OED on line (don’t have a Chambers – yet! (Hint to pommette for birthday present!)).
    It gives the following 2 definitions for ‘Still Life’ –

    a. Inanimate objects, such as fruits, flowers, dead game, vessels, etc., as represented in painting.
    b. A painting of such objects. Pl. still lifes.

  10. I found this one much more difficult, in fact had to use Pommers blog to finish it. 5d and 20a were the two I couldn’t solve, managed the rest with a lot of thought and head-scratching. Liked 8a 15a and 21d Thanks to Jay for making me think and thanks to Pommers for your lucid hints

  11. I thought that this was a great puzzle so thanks to Jay and to Pommers for the excellent review.
    In the temporary absence of the much missed CrypticSue may I recommend the Toughie. It’s very entertaining and by no means fiendish – if you can do this one then you can also solve the Toughie!

    1. I found this one quite easy, (but very enjoyable). No need for the excellent tips from Pommers!

      PS! Whenever I see boats on water, I become a little sea-sick!

  12. I got through this in a pretty quick time today. It’s funny how some days we are tuned in to setter’s style more than others. I also read through the clues across and then down rather than my usual approach of trying to solve the corners, top half etc. I agree with Pommers that 21d was the stand out smiler of a clue. Thanks to setter and hinter.

  13. Total failure today, managed only 5 answers, just could not see where the setter was going at all. Far too tough for me I’m afraid. Sure it was very clever but if you can’t get the answers, for me it is no fun.

  14. I think that the only thing that slowed me down on this crossword was the quanity of Tanglefoot consumed at the Sloggers and Betters meeting last night! A great crossword to solve and so many thanks to Jay for the puzzle and to Pommers for the review.

  15. By the end of lunch I had 4 left: 3d & 10a, and 5d & 11a, and I knew I was missing ‘G’ and ‘Z’. Glanced at it a few times during the afternoon and finally got them all without resorting to the hints. :-) Favourites seem to mostly match Pommers’ – he’s obviously a man of good taste!

    Thanks to the setter and thanks for the hints, Pommers – even if I didn’t need them, they’re still worth reading and I agree with your reservation on 20a. And thanks for encouraging me to go to Sloggers and Betters last night – I had a good time.

    1. … and we were pleased to see you there. I bet a Cephas puzzle will never be the same again now that you have met him!

      1. How true! And it made me try his Tuesday Toughie, where I don’t normally venture – I’ve got 9 left and still pondering…

        And thanks for making me feel so welcome on Tuesday – it can be a bit daunting walking into a room where you know no-one.

  16. Liked this today, thanks to all involved. Lots of good clues, such as 18 and 21d. Needed the ‘electronic aids’ a couple of times though. 19a was new to me, but could be worked out. Last in was 26a. A Thursday puzzle to reckon with tomorrow!

  17. Managed to complete this one with just one or three ponders and some where it took longer to link the derived answer with the clue! Liked 15a but not 1a, where a couple of rectors seemed a tad klunky Still, all grist to the mill. Thanks all.

  18. Enjoyed solving this between bouts of packing my case – I fly down to Nice tomorrow.

    Best for me were 10a, 14a, 19a, 25a, 6d, 9d & 18d.

    Noticed it was a pangram.

    Good review Pommers!

  19. Sat on the sunny but windy promenade at Aberystwyth to try todays difficult xword! I found the RH side gave me the most problems.

    1. Do they still kick the bar at the end of the prom in Aber? Just when I think I’m improving, along comes a real stinker. But thanks to the blog I feel comforted that I’m not the only one who found it tricky. Thank you Pommers for tips and the wonderful cartoon. Made me laugh out loud. As for the pangram- I’m still working on it!

  20. Nice puzzle today. I finished up with the bottom right corner, so having spotted the pangram it was an easier finish than it perhaps might have been otherwise (I knew I needed a q and a j!)…

    Favourite clue was 5d or 21d.

    Thanks to the Setter and to Pommers for the review.


  21. Phew! Busy day today.
    Did this one, wrote the blog, answered some comments,did part of the Quickie to get the pun, completed the Toughie (2 days running so getting big-headed!), did the Rufus puzzle from Monday’s Grauniad (with pommette over lunch), looked at the Grauniad Araucaria (and gave up) and still had time for a siesta! Even found time for some plant dead-heading!
    Then went to the quiz and WON!!!! How good is that?
    See you guys again tomorrow.

    1. It wasn’t one of Araucaria’s best in the Guardian today, IMO, but there were some very good clues, eg 24a “Embarrassed Spooner broke fast and went fast (3-5)”

      1. This is a very clever clue (Red Faced) but I think Araucaria’s cryptic brain works on a higher plane than mine! I still remember to this day that when I first started doing cryptics (Grauniad ones), as a postgrad student in the mid seventies, that Thursdays were always impossible as they were Araucaria! I’ve got a hell of a lot better at solving but I think the aged Rev must have got more cryptic as he seems to be keeping pace with me – I still can’t crack him! Managed just about half of this before siesta beckoned.
        Maybe one day?

        1. This one has a bit of a literary theme; getting that is the key.

          Araucaria’s puzzles often seem bewildering at first, but they usually reward patience.

          WWMD (What Would Mary Do)?

  22. I managed to finish this one,and was intrigued to see from the notes that it was a pangram.Just off to google it now:-)

  23. Well despite spending an inspiring evening with the great and the good from Crossword land none of it seemed to have rubbed off today as I found this one very hard! Last night was great fun though!

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