DT 26608 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26608

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26608

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It didn’t take long to write in the answers for this puzzle, but some of the wordplay is a bit trickier (and I needed the help of a fellow blogger to get to the bottom of one clue) so I quite enjoyed it. It seems to have a bit of a food theme. How did you get on?
If you want to see an answer highlight the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Guinea pig fed it in space (6)
{CAVITY} – fed here means “given to eat” or filled with, so a South American rodent (guinea pig) has to have IT inserted to make a hollow space.

4a  US marine tossed about on board (8)
{AMERICAN} – on board often means between the letters S..S (i.e. inside the abbreviation for ship) but here it just indicates that a two-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately has to go inside (on board) an anagram (tossed) of MARINE.

10a  A fur almost lost by Asian prince (9)
{ASTRAKHAN} – an adjective meaning lost forfeits its final Y (almost) and what’s left is followed by the title of a prince or chief in Asia (think Genghis). The result is the dark curly fleece of young lambs from central Asia.

11a  One with cold is after a dry room (5)
{ATTIC} – put I (one) and C(old) after A and an abbreviation for dry or teetotal to make a room.

12a  Type of car difficult to better (7)
{HARDTOP} – a charade of an adjective meaning difficult and a verb to better produces a type of car.

13a  Anteater cruelly chained (7)
{ECHIDNA} – an anagram (cruelly) of CHAINED gives another name for the spiny anteater.

14a  Ship emerging from river, on course (5)
{LINER} – a passenger ship comes from R(iver) after (on, in an across clue) a course or direction.

15a  Go out with servant, having time off in Welsh town (4,4)
{EBBW VALE} – this is a Welsh town which over the years has had both Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot as its MP. String together a verb to go out (like the tide), W(ith) and a male servant without the final T (having time off).

18a  Ranks as a ground state (8)
{ARKANSAS} – the home state of Bill Clinton is an anagram (ground) of RANKS AS A.

20a  Extremely tight during card game and bingo (5)
{LOTTO} – put the outer letters (extremely) of T(igh)T inside an old card game to make a children’s game, similar to bingo.

23a  Old man describing scented Italian dish (7)
{POLENTA} – put an affectionate term for your father (old man) round a (rather obscure) adjective meaning having a smell (scented). The result is an Italian dish of cornmeal which is first boiled then grilled or fried.

25a  Initially, neither of us is hard to feed (7)
{NOURISH} – the definition here is to feed and my initial thought was that there was a word missing to account for the middle letter. Thanks to Crypticsue for sorting me out and unravelling the wordplay – the initial letter of N(either) is followed by OUR (of us), IS and H(ard).

26a  Right occasion to rotate forward (5)
{REMIT} – the definition here is forward, as a verb. After R(ight) reverse (to rotate) an occasion or juncture.

27a  Commuter’s ticket — green, possibly (9)
{PASSENGER} – start with a ticket or permit and follow this with an anagram (possibly) of GREEN to make a commuter.

28a  Following videos, attempt needlepoint (8)
{TAPESTRY} – a verb meaning records or videos is followed by a synonym for attempt to make a form of embroidery.

29a  A tape recorder, perhaps, kept in austere office (6)
{STEREO} – hidden (kept) in the clue is a piece of equipment such as (perhaps) a tape recorder. Of all the devices which could have been used as an example it’s a bit odd that the setter has used one which provides half the answer to the previous clue.

Down Clues

1d  Small house in weird locale has a cellar (4,4)
{COAL HOLE} – put the abbreviation for house inside an anagram (weird) of LOCALE.

2d  Review managed without English master (7)
{VETERAN} – put a synonym for to review or examine critically and other word for managed around (without) E(nglish) to make an experienced person (master).

3d  Pastry brought over to character over in restaurant (9)
{TRATTORIA} – reverse (brought over, in a down clue) a pastry with a sweet or savoury filling, add TO and finish with a synonym for character or manner which also has to be reversed. You should end up with an Italian restaurant. The surface is a bit clunky.

5d  Dubious activity of male working with important firm (6,8)
{MONKEY BUSINESS} – this is a dubious activity. Start with M(ale), add words meaning in operation (working) and important, then finish with a synonym for firm or company.

6d  Come to a stretch of open water (5)
{REACH} – double definition.

7d  Rotter keeping Italian in the Spanish fortress (7)
{CITADEL} – a synonym for rotter has a two-letter abbreviation for Italian inserted (keeping .. in), then this is followed by the Spanish, masculine, definite article.

8d  React drunkenly after noon drink (6)
{NECTAR} – the drink of the gods is an anagram (drunkenly) of REACT after N(oon).

9d  Cheeky youngster, one taking picture through (14)
{WHIPPERSNAPPER} – this is a cheeky young person. Start with an informal word for someone stealing or nicking (one taking), add a photograph and a preposition meaning through or by means of.

16d  Vault with oven might produce this food item (3-2-4)
{VOL-AU-VENT} – this food item (without which no buffet would be complete) is an anagram (might produce) of VAULT and OVEN.

17d  Reluctant to go on a river with one old womaniser (8)
{LOTHARIO} – a rake or womaniser is formed from an adjective meaning reluctant followed by A, R(iver), I (one) and O(ld).

19d  Hors d’oeuvre and portion of bread, sponge later (7)
{ROLLMOP} – this hors d’oeuvre made from pickled herring is a charade of a piece of bread and a verb to sponge or wipe away.

21d  Milne character, holding his tail, set off (7)
{TRIGGER} – the name of one of Pooh’s mates has its last character (his tail) inserted in it to make a verb meaning to set off or activate.

22d  The sort of drink to give one courage? (6)
{SPIRIT} – double definition.

24d  Short statements attack revolutionary (5)
{NOTES} – brief statements when reversed (revolutionary) produce a phrasal verb meaning to attack (3,2).

My favourite clues were 15a, 9d and 19d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {KNOCK} + {TERN} = {NOCTURNE}

45 comments on “DT 26608

  1. 1a Your picture is of the strangest looking Guinea Pig I have ever seen! Good write-up though, and a 1* fo difficulty. Cheers

    1. Castorfool,
      You comment had to be moderated because you used a different email address from normal. Either should now work.

  2. Enjoyed this, but somehow got held up on the top rleft corner until I got 10a! Thanks to the setter and gazza for explaining a few! :)

  3. A very nice romp through crossword land this morning from our Mysteron. Favourite clue was 21d. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to our setter for the enjoyment.

    1. I was trying to make something with Eeyore and s (eyesore) to start with, then the right answer bounced into my head.

  4. Quite enjoyable, if a bit foodified. No real favourites today as most clues seemed ona par with one another. I thought that the cluing to 3D was rather complicated and that 25A seems to have a word missing (the initial R).

    Sorry I didn’t post yesterday – was up at 5:30 for a wasted trip to Portsmouth, finally home at 4:00 and got around to reading the paper at 9:00pm (when I had a go at the crossword, but didn’t do so well as my brain had given up the ghost by then).

  5. I found this one quite easy and enjoyed it very much. I needed the hints to explain 23a (STILL don’t really quite understand it – can do the “Pa” and the “O” but not sure about the rest). I also ended up in a right tangle with 9d – I had the “per” for the “through” but had the “snapper” as the “one taking picture” which left me with quite a few spare letters at the beginning! Oh dear!! The other one that I didn’t understand was 25a – couldn’t account for the “R” as I used the first letters of “N(either) O(f) U(s)” – that was a bit dim too. I liked lots of these clues, including 10 and 15a and 5, 9, 17 and 21d. Thanks to Mr/Mrs/Miss Mystery setter and to Gazza for explaining the bits that I didn’t understand.

      1. Thanks very much, Gazza – that’s today’s new word – for me anyway! :smile: I thought the “O” was the old – wrong AGAIN.

      2. Olent?
        Deary me.

        I haven’t used the word “Olent” since I last had dinner with Oscar Wilde.

  6. I too am in the ‘not too difficult but I did enjoy it’ club this morning with this one, thanks to the setter. Thanks to Gazza too. I have to admit that, if I hadn’t had that email from you, I would have just written the word in 25a without giving much thought to the wordplay at all.

    I recommend people have a go at the very nice Micawber Toughie too.

  7. I enjoyed this one today. I had never heard of the fur in 10a, but the rest was straightforward. Fortunately I sussed the ‘of us’ in 25a, but I knew at the time that some would be looking for an extra ‘R’.
    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza.

  8. Well that was fun – however I did make heavy work of 27a when I put in the wrong letter for the final word of 165d – stupid. Once I changed that to the proper letter I was okay. I liked several – 9d and 10a were my favourites.

    Thanks to mysteron and to Gazza

    1. No wonder you had problems. I’ve looked and looked and looked and still can’t find 165d.

  9. Enjoyable crossword from our mystery setter and an enjoyable review from Gazza, many thanks to both.

  10. Hi Gazza and thanks for the review, hints, pictures etc. I found it difficult to start this today but got going with the top right hand corner being first in, last corner in was bottom left hand getting stuck for a while on 23a & 24d, at least a two star for me today, I didn’t find it as easy as others seem to have, favourite clue 21d :-)

  11. Thanks Gazza for telling me why I’d got 4a, 20a, 23a and 25a (thanks CrypticSue I understand) right.

    Enjoyed this, and it was a welcome relief after Monday’s , which I still haven’t finished…………..

  12. I’ve resorted to the hints for Monday…….
    Guess which clue I couldn’t get?

    I’m off now to smoke my Olent Calumet in peace.

  13. Thanks to Gazza and the mystery setter. Enjoyed this, did the right hand side easily, but got stuck on the left hand side. Got 4 answers from the hints, had to look up 2. I’d never heard of cavy or astrakhan. Missed the anagram on 18a duh. Favourite was 17d.

  14. It took me a while to get going with this one, but once under way the words slotted in pretty smoothly. Getting 5 and 9d was a help and I liked the foodie theme. There were a number of words I put in without quite understanding how the clue worked, so thanks, Gazza, for the explanations. Once they’re explained I feel such a fool for not having seen the first time round. Thanks to the setter, too, for an enjoyable challenge. :-)

  15. Answers almost as quick as I could fill them in. Puzzled where the ‘R’ came from in 25A so hints answered that for me.
    Thanks to Gazza and setter.

      1. sorry Pete, I thought you were asking for a hint !! Like you I was looking for the ‘r’ at first

  16. Dear all, just back from a hot Turkey so have been out of the loop. Have just done Saturday’s and now onto today’s. “Speak” later.

  17. Enjoyed today’s over breakfast but struggled a bit with the left hand side. Thx to Gazza for explaining 15a, got the answer but couldn’t see the first part at all. Best clue def 21d if only because he remains my favourite character from the Poo stories and we have a friend my wife called Tigger after a frantic holiday spent with him in Cyprus. Many thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  18. I thought this puzzle was pretty ordinary but saved by the lovely clue to 5d. All the rest were OK but no aah moments.

  19. I’ll admit to doing a double take on 25a to get the OUR = Of Us bit. The rest went in reasonably quickly with a few head scratches to finish. It varied a bit in difficulty as you cab see ‘food item’ (3-2-4) in a concise crossword and write it in immediately but clues like 9d were very good indeed. Thanks to gazza and to the setter.

  20. Very busy day today with about 390 miles of driving, so I’m much later than usual in posting a comment.

    The two letter abbreviation in 4a is uncommon, even in crosswordland – in my experience. 25a had me puzzling about the wordplay too … until the copper fell. 24a was a “gottabe” but ‘olent’ had to be dredged from the dimmest recesses of my brain. So that wast favourite.

  21. Gazza,

    Could you explain why “without” in 2d means to add an E, when I would have thought it would make more sense to say “with”.

    1. The definition of without here is ‘outside’ so the other letters are wrapped around or outside the E. Virgilius used without in the same way in Sunday’s puzzle

  22. Thank you crypticsue, I have seen this before but always wondered how it was justified. Alan

    1. It is an archaic (although precise) use of without as in ” There is a knocking without the door”. Terry Pratchett Summed it up quite well in a couple of instances:

      ——————————————————
      It started to rain. It was on this cue that there came a thunderous knocking at the castle door. It seriously disturbed the castle porter, who was playing Cripple Mister Onion with the castle cook and the castle’s Fool in the warmth of the kitchen. He growled and stood up.

      ‘There is a knocking without,’ he said.

      ‘Without what?’ said the Fool.

      ‘Without the door, idiot.’

      The Fool gave him a worried look.

      ‘A knocking without a door?’ he said suspiciously. ‘This isn’t some kind of Zen, is it?’

      When the porter had grumbled off in the direction of the gatehouse the cook pushed another farthing into the kitty and looked sharply over his cards at the Fool.

      ‘What’s a Zen?’ he said.

      The Fool’s bells tinkled as he sorted through his cards. Without thinking, he said:

      ‘Oh, a sub-sect of the Turnwise Klatch philosophical system of Sumtin, noted for its simple austerity and the offer of personal tranquillity and wholeness achieved through meditation and breathing techniques; an interesting aspect is the asking of apparently nonsensical questions in order to widen the doors of perception.’

      ‘How’s that again?’ said the cook suspiciously.
      ——————————————————
      And…
      ——————————————————
      The Fool lost the next three hands, just to be on the safe side. The porter, meanwhile, unfastened the hatch in the wicket gate and peered out.

      ‘Who dost knock without?’ he growled.

      The soldier, drenched and terrified though he was, hesitated.

      ‘Without? Without what?’ he said.

      ‘If you’re going to bugger about, you can bloody well stay without all day,’ said the porter calmly.
      ——————————————————

      Sorry, I’ve just re-read “Wyrd Sisters”!

      1. Thanks Gnomey! These quotes just underline what a great writer TP is & will continue to be for as long as possible. I’m currently in the process of replacing all my old well read paperbacks with pristine hardbacks for my grandchildren to read in the future. I’t’s proving expensive but it’s got to be done.

    2. Alan

      It’s a very interesting question as some purists would argue that without means outside or beyond and not around. In the famous carol, the green hill is without the city wall and not surrounding it.

  23. Don’t want to be difficult here but … yet again 23a – why is the “old man” ie as I’ve now discovered “Pa” outside my new word of the day “olent”? What tells us that he (ie the “old man”) is outside “olent” – can only imagine that, somehow, “describing” is supposed to tell us that but can’t for the life of me see how.

    1. Kath, this is a standard Crosswordland “containment indicator”.

      The first definition of DESCRIBE in Chambers is: “To trace out or delineate”.

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