DT 26614 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26614

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26614

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today’s puzzle from the Mysteron is quite pleasant but not too taxing. How did you find it?
To reveal an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Hesitate with clutch before finding reverse (4,4)
{HOLD BACK} – a phrasal verb meaning to hesitate is constructed from a synonym of to clutch followed by a verb meaning to reverse. Nice surface.

5a  Oriental language used by Roman churchmen (6)
{MANCHU} – hidden (used by) in the clue is a language used by (very few) people in China.

9a  Not one puzzle that’s all right (2,7)
{NO PROBLEM} – another way of saying “not one” precedes a puzzle or poser to make an informal phrase meaning that’s all right.

11a  Extremely visible star? On the contrary, a planet (5)
{VENUS} – the outer letters of V(isibl)E are followed by a reversal (on the contrary) of our very own star to make a planet in the solar system.

12a  Number attending poorly US playwright (6)
{O’NEILL} – the smallest positive integer (number) is followed by another word for poorly to make the surname of a US playwright (author of The Iceman Cometh).

13a  Working, also away, periodically (2,3,3)
{ON AND OFF} – a phrase meaning periodically is built from an adverb meaning working or functioning, a conjunction meaning also and a synonym for away.

15a  Arranged stage opening of ‘Roots’, as a substitute, in a W Sussex town (4,9)
{EAST GRINSTEAD} – this town in West Sussex starts with an anagram (arranged) of STAGE. This is followed by the first letter (opening) of R(oots) and an adverb meaning as a substitute or alternative. I had heard of this place but for some reason I always thought it was spelt with an M instead of the N.

18a  Cleaner in ‘Father Ted’, sure eccentric (7,6)
{FEATHER DUSTER} – this cleaner is not the strangely alluring Mrs Doyle but an anagram (eccentric) of FATHER TED SURE.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

22a  Nervous picadors scattered (8)
{SPORADIC} – it’s pretty clear that this is an anagram of PICADORS and on the surface scattered would seem to be the obvious indicator. Only once you have the answer is it apparent that scattered is the definition and the anagram indicator is nervous(?).

23a  Governor’s role when recalled (6)
{SATRAP} – reverse (recalled) a role (in a play or film, say) plus a synonym of when to form the title of the governor of an ancient Persian province.

26a  Small drop of Scotch before opening of Ayckbourn play (5)
{DRAMA} – a wee measure of Scotch precedes the initial letter (opening) of A(yckbourn).

27a  Get the wrong idea from a young lady escort, initially (4,5)
{TAKE AMISS} – a phrasal verb meaning to misinterpret and be offended (get the wrong idea) comes from a young lady (1,4) preceded (initially) by a verb meaning to escort. Amusing surface.

28a  Rather charming to look at (6)
{PRETTY} – double definition.

29a  Deduce article backing league’s leader is extremely annoying (8)
{INFERNAL} – the definition here is extremely annoying. A verb meaning to deduce is followed by a reversal (backing) of the indefinite article and the initial letter (leader) of L(eague).

Down Clues

1d  Threaten head of government in royal house (4,4)
{HANG OVER} – put the initial letter (head) of G(overnment) inside the royal house which reigned over us from 1714 until 1901 to make a phrasal verb to threaten (like the sword of Damocles).

2d  Circles vowel in error (5)
{LAPSE} – follow circles (on a track) with a vowel to make an error.

3d  Sold illicitly from sack on stage (7)
{BOOTLEG} – an adjective meaning made and sold illegally is a charade of a verb to sack (normally followed by “out”) and a stage of a journey.

4d  Unfriendly clubs of long standing (4)
{COLD} – an adjective meaning unfriendly or distant is C(lubs) followed a word for of long standing.

6d  Further down payment (7)
{ADVANCE} – double definition.

7d  A short time after US state capital makes a pact (9)
{CONCORDAT} – A and T(ime) (short time) follow the state capital of New Hampshire.

8d  Use fan — if faulty it could be dangerous (6)
{UNSAFE} – an anagram (faulty) of USE FAN.

10d  Small cars go for service (8)
{MINISTRY} – small cars (once British, now German) are followed by a go or attempt to make the work or service of a religious group.

14d  All the things one would like to happen whilst travelling round island (4,4)
{WISH LIST} – an anagram (travelling) of WHILST goes round an abbreviation of island to make a catalogue of things one would like to happen.

16d  Struggle for air, as cut off working on far side of mine (9)
{SUFFOCATE} – an intransitive verb meaning to struggle for air is an anagram (working) of AS CUT OFF followed by (on, in a down clue) the last letter (far side) of (min)E.

17d  Offer of support also broadcast (8)
{PROPOSAL} – a mainstay or support is followed by an anagram (broadcast) of ALSO to make an offer.

19d  Resolute, a worker crossing barrier (7)
{ADAMANT} – put A and the usual Crosswordland worker around (crossing) a barrier to make a synonym of resolute.

20d  Ignorant one in Paris perhaps describing a state of conflict (7)
{UNAWARE} – one in Paris (i.e. a French word meaning one – the “perhaps” indicating that it’s the feminine version that we need here) goes around (describing) a state of military conflict (1,3).

21d  Exhausted American editor on horseback (4,2)
{USED UP} –a phrasal verb meaning exhausted or depleted is a charade of an abbreviation for American, the usual abbreviation for editor and an adverb meaning on horseback.

24d  Check about first of Georges to rule as monarch (5)
{REIGN} – a verb to check (a horse perhaps) goes round the first letter of G(eorges) to make a verb meaning to rule as monarch. Since the first of the Georges ushered in the royal house referred to in 1d we could have had a link to that clue.

25d  Hide small family (4)
{SKIN} – S(mall) is followed by a word meaning family to make a hide.

The clues which I liked best were 1a and 27a. Let us know what took your fancy in a comment.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {WILDE} + {MUSTERED} = {WILD MUSTARD}

36 comments on “DT 26614

  1. Thanks to the setter for a gentle stroll, and to Gazza for the review. Favourite clues 11a, and 14d.
    The Toughie by Cephas is not much harder than this one today.

  2. This was one of those puzzles where I had the answer first and then had to work out how the clue fitted it! Never seen ‘e’ clued as ‘vowel’ (2d) before. Favourite clue 18a. 3d was the last to go in – the word ‘sold’ made me think I needed a word in the past tense. Two gentle, enjoyable puzzles so far this week – not too taxing to enjoy over a coffee break in the garden. Thanks Gazza and mystery setter.

  3. “Pleasant but not too taxing” is a very nice alternative to saying ‘straightforward’! I think 27a is my favourite too.

    As Jezza says, the Cephas is equally pleasant and untaxing.

  4. I made hard work of the top left when I put miller in for 12a on first run through (large number followed by iller!!). Obvviously nothing worked after that so had to scrub it and solve the others so that I could get the playwright. New word at 23a and didn’t like 10a. My favourite was 18a – thought it migfht be a character at first but soon sussed it out.

    Thanks to setter for the puzzle and to Gazza for the review.

  5. A gentle start to the morning, with 1a as my favourite. And, as others have said, the Toughie is not such a toughie.

  6. Personally I did not like this one much. I would never have got 12a. I cannot see the double definition in 28a. I did not like 2d or 4d and no particular favourite. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood.

    1. Personally I did not like this one much. I would never have got 12a. I did not like 2d or 4d and no particular favourite. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood.

  7. Totally agree with Crypticsue and Jezza, entertaining but not too challenging, exactly the same comment for the toughie today. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  8. Nice puzzle for a Tuesday. The Toughie is also worth a go.Thanks to Gazza and the Setter, woof woof

  9. Go on!, Go on!, Go on!. 18a was definitely my favourite – Perhaps a Youtube clip is in order!?
    Completely agree with the CS and gazza assessment and ditto for the Toughie. Thanks to the setter for the puzzle and to gazza for the review.

    1. The choice of Mrs Doyle clips that may be embedded is quite small but I’ve done my best.

      1. I’ve searched for a still photo of Mrs Doyle with a Feather Duster – not one in feckin sight! Maybe, she just made the tea?

        12a – US Playwright – Shouldn’t the enumeration be (1’5)

        1. Most newspapers do not show apostrophes in the enumeration. I guess that they think it would make life too easy for the solver!

  10. No real favs in this one but a pleasant solve. I took about as long to remember the playwright in 12a as I did to solve all the rest put together – Doh!
    Agree about the Toughie, well worth a go if anyone wants to get out of the Toughie CC, if such a thing exists.
    Thanks to the mysteron and to Gazza for the review.

  11. Had to resort to the clue for 23a never heard of that one but the rest where ok – enjoying my crosswords at the moment whilst on holiday always in a better frame of mind

  12. As with most of the above … a gentle crossword. But the sun is shining and I don’t have to go to work, so who’s complaining?

    Favourite clue: 1a, I think.

    Thanks to the Setter and Gazza for the review.


  13. Bottom 2/3 went in easily, but I struggled with the top – just couldn’t see 1a. Ended up resorting to the hint and then going doh! That helped a lot, but I’m not familiar with 12a and I’ve never come across 7d before – as my knowledge of US state capitals is also somewhat limited, I ended up having to look at the answer. Favourites were 15a for its cleverness, 14d for the beautiful surface reading and 25d for its simplicity.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review.

  14. The bottom right hand corner probably took a little longer than it should, but the thought of a nice hint for 18a kept me going: thanks Gazza, enjoyed that!

  15. 29 simple clues and one I’d never heard of, 23a! Solved it but then needed to look it up to confirm. For that reason only does it merit 2* rating for difficulty. I rather liked 29a which had me stumped for a little while. 2 relatively easy puzzles on the trot. What horrors are in store for the rest of the week I wonder?

    Rather muggy here in the Cotswolds, I wish it would just rain to clear the air and work in the lawn treatment I applied several days ago. Otherwise, It’s a hosepipe job later this evening.

    Thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  16. A very pleasant one for my gradual return to Crosswordland. Lovely sun here so went down to the coast–onshore breeze but plenty hardy children in the water.

    Liked 1a, 11a (the Morning Star/Evening Star) which I can see from here and always gives me a sense of peace!

  17. Thanks to Gazza and the mystery setter for a nice puzzle. Quite a few anagrams, favourite was 11a.

  18. For me a nice puzzle somewhat spoiled by the top left corner which I found completely unintelligible.
    Thx Gazza for the answers to top left although I must admit I couldn’teven get them from your clues!
    Probably didn’t help that i have know no idea who the author is in 12a. Apart from that bit, very nice with for me 29a being by far the best clue.

  19. About on a par with yesterday’s. Quite enjoyable again. Liked 3d. 23a was new to me, but able to be worked out. Thanks to all.

  20. Bit late today – sorry. First work got in the way, then busy de-anting the front lawn, was just about to settle down to look at the crossword when I realised the back lawn had twice the ant problem the front did!!!! Nice gentle puzzle today. No great favourites as they all seemed on a par. Hope it rains soon, can hardly breathe here!

    1. Skempie – are you in a sandy area, and what was the solution to the ant problem?

      1. In a heavy clay area !!!! Used Antstop and a pair of size 12 feet as I was told not to use hot water as it’d kill the grass. Suspect I may need to get out there again tomorrow with the spray and will also gut the grass to get a better chance of seeing the little buggers.

        1. Thanks. I didn’t know of antstop, so will look into it. A scarifier may open up the grass.

    2. One of the reasons I live in Spain is that I no longer have to worry about 1/5 of an acre of grass! Don’t miss it!

        1. Hello Toadson
          Remember scarifiers et al and what a pain they were! The only time my UK garden looked anything like everyone else’s was when there was about 4″ of snow! Green fingered I am not, and was usually out on boat at weekends.
          We now live in the middle of a small village so surrounding terrain is houses and the street! The local countryside is mostly market gardening or orange/lemon groves. Quite pretty when the fruit’s in season.

          1. Didn’t mean to be rude Pommers. I work with a guy who talks (EVERY DAY) about his two week holiday in Cyprus and every day looks on t’internet to inform me what the temperature is, so I have probably become a little irrational on the subject. But I too can see that it is a waste of time constantly trying to keep a small patch of grass in good condition!

  21. I rather liked this crossword, probably because it wasn’t too taxing! Fav clue was 12a.

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