DT 26617

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26617

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

As usual Giovanni provides very precise clueing (note how he tells us exactly which letter to drop in 13a) in an entertaining puzzle. Let us have your take on it in a comment.
The answers are concealed so that you don’t see them accidentally. If you can’t get one, slide your cursor through the space between the brackets under the troublesome clue.

Across Clues

7a  Pain would get learner going to uni doc in the past (7)
{LUMBAGO} – a pain in the lower back requires us to string together the abbreviations for a learner driver, university and a medical doctor then finish with an adverb meaning in the past.

8a  School attire needed when one is in a French class (7)
{UNIFORM} – put I (one) between “a” in French and another word for a class in school.

10a  Network offering ‘Culture’ — I’m excited (9)
{RETICULUM} – the definition here is network (especially one in the body composed of cells or blood vessels). It’s an anagram (excited) of CULTURE I’M.

11a  Good African dictator once a street urchin (5)
{GAMIN} – this word, from French, meaning a mischievous street urchin is G(ood) followed by the surname of the one-time Ugandan dictator (and self-styled King of Scotland!).

12a  Within dam there’s a source of power (5)
{STEAM} – put A inside a verb meaning to dam or block to make a source of power.

13a  Sailor needs helper — not the first English person to do a bunk (9)
{ABSCONDER} – the definition is person to do a bunk. The abbreviation for an able seaman is followed by a supporter or helper without the first E (not the first E(nglish)).

15a  Essence of Eastern book about Greek character (7)
{EPITOME} – there’s a cunning bit of misdirection here because essence often indicates that we need the middle bit. Here, however, essence is the definition, in the sense of a perfect example. Put the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet between E(astern) and a large book.

17a  Charming visitors at Christmas (short visit) (7)
{MAGICAL} – an adjective meaning charming (casting a spell) is formed from the wise men from the orient who followed a star and a visit without its final L (short).

18a  Stubborn Prince, conceited leader being deposed (9)
{PIGHEADED} – start with P(rince) and add an informal synonym of conceited without its initial B (leader being deposed) to make an adjective meaning stubborn.

20a  Brown animals heading west across island (5)
{SEPIA} – “heading west” in an across clues signals a reversal, so reverse some simian-type animals with I(sland) inside (across) to make a brownish colour.

21a  Show always being brought back — enthralling for all the family? (5)
{REVUE} – this is another reversal, this time indicated by brought back, of a synonym for always. Inside this (enthralling) put the old film classification that meant that there were no restrictions on who could see the film (for all the family). The definition is a show or theatrical entertainment.

23a  Volume of claret I’d drunk? End of life would follow! (9)
{DECALITRE} – an anagram (drunk) of CLARET I’D is followed by the last letter (end) of (lif)E to make a metric measure equivalent to about 2.2 gallons.

24a  One who’s left something in shelter outside entrance (7)
{LEGATEE} – put the sheltered side around (outside) an entrance to make someone who’s left something (in a will).

25a  Understatement in stories about small child (7)
{LITOTES} – a figure of speech involving understatement (not inconsiderable use of which was made by John Major) comes from untrue stories around a small child.

Down Clues

1d  Little bit of affair — maybe croon about it (10)
{SMATTERING} – this word means a small amount. Put a verb meaning to utter melodious sounds (to croon, for example (maybe)) around a subject or affair.

2d  Army left with powder no good for fighting! (6)
{TALCUM} – this sort of powder is a cosmetic rather than an explosive mixture so it’s not much use for fighting. Start with the abbreviation for our volunteer army and add L(eft) and a latin word meaning with.

3d  Various meals out with close buddy (4,4)
{SOUL MATE} – an anagram (various) of MEALS OUT produces a very close friend.

4d  Male tucking into rotten organic stuff, a sort of dip (6)
{HUMMUS} – put M(ale) inside decomposed organic matter (from leaves, etc.) in the soil to make a Middle-Eastern starter or dip made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds.

5d  Noise of bells leads to a fight (4-4)
{DING-DONG} – double definition – the sound of bells ringing is an informal term for a contretemps or fight.

6d  What sounds like a foreign city ramble (4)
{ROAM} – a verb meaning to ramble sounds like a European capital city. They don’t get much easier than this!

7d  Bizarre dream with trollops and ‘unspiritual’ peers (5,8)
{LORDS TEMPORAL} – an anagram (bizarre) of DREAM and TROLLOPS gives us those members of our parliament who make laws for the rest of us (and who get a daily allowance of £300 for just turning up) without having been elected by anyone. These do not include the ones wearing frocks (i.e. the archbishops and bishops, who are termed spiritual but have also never been elected). It’s wonderful listening to some of these people decrying the lack of democracy in some other countries!

9d  Underground worker changes having drunk whisky and, initially, non-alcoholic drinks (7,6)
{MINERAL WATERS} – string together an underground worker and a verb meaning changes and then insert (having drunk) the initial letters of W(hisky) A(nd) to make non-alcoholic drinks.

14d  Top gallery? I walked up to get to it (10)
{DECAPITATE} – the well disguised definition is top, as a verb. The name of four art galleries in the UK is preceded (to get to it) by a reversal (up) of I and a verb meaning walked.

16d  Rate poet awful as provider of light entertainment (8)
{OPERETTA} – an anagram (awful) of RATE POET.

17d  Examinations made by detectives turning up to interrupt dinners maybe (8)
{MEDICALS} – these physical examinations have the police investigation department (detectives) reversed (turning up, in a down clue) inside (to interrupt) what dinners are examples of.

19d  Duke and stranger ramble in talk (6)
{DODDER} – the define ‘ramble in talk’ comes straight out of Chambers for this verb which is formed from D(uke) followed by a synonym for stranger or more weird.

20d  Introduction to show with an instrument providing welcome (6)
{SALUTE} – the first letter (introduction) of S(how) is followed by A and an old musical instrument.

22d  Time very short for rising star (4)
{VEGA} – the brightest star in the constellation Lyra comes from a synonym of time and V(ery) all reversed (rising, in a down clue).

The clues I liked best were 7d and 14d. Tell us what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {MALAISE} + {SHUNS} = {MALAYSIANS} (There is an alternative, and probably better, answer to 5a, but it’s not accepted by the on-line site and good luck to you if you tried to make the pun work using that word!).

30 Comments

  1. Prolixic
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Top notch cluing from Giovanni. Only a two stopper for me this morning but very enjoyable. I agree with your favourite clues. Many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review and imaginative school uniform pictue!

  2. Dickiedot
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Excellent, particularly liked 11a 13a 25a 14d and the school attire pic, thanks Giovanni and Gazza

  3. Jezza
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Gazza for the review.
    Nice picture for 8a – I think I feel quite hard done by having been educated at a boys only public school !!

    • Nora
      Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Nicer picture for 4d.

      I went to a girls’ school and believe me, it wasn’t anything like 8a.

      • mary
        Posted July 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        nor mine!

        • Kath
          Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          I agree with Mary and Nora about the 8a and the picture for 4d being much nicer – I love the stuff!!

  4. Posted July 29, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Spot on today, I do enjoy Giovanni’s Friday puzzles. Some extremely good clues but my favourite today has to be an anagram – 7D. I wonder how many are going to comment that they’ve never heard of the answer?

    Not very good weather today, cloudy and overcast. Think I’ll stick to the the cricket on the radio, just a pity that work wil get in the way of part of it :-(

  5. crypticsue
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable start to Friday, thank you Giovanni. Thanks to Gazza too for the excellently illustrated review – I do like a nice steam train! As always my favourites are the same as yours – great minds thinking alike?

    Don’t be put off by the fact that the Toughie is by Elgar – I didn’t take long to solve it and found it great fun.

  6. Kath
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this as difficult as most Friday crosswords but seem to be saying that almost every week – maybe I’m getting better! :smile: However, 6d may be one of the easiest clues ever but I STILL got it wrong which messed up 11a until I realised what I’d done. Also the definition in 14d was, as Gazza said in the hints, well disguised – SO well disguised that I was held up on this clue for ages. Nothing else caused me too many problems. I liked 8, (although our school uniform was nothing like the picture) 17, 18, 23 and 25a and 1, 5 and 7d. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza. Hot, cloudy and sticky here today.

  7. Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Lovely crossword today! Enjoyed every clue, enough to make me think but so cleverly worded it was all there if you worked it out logically, just how I like it so thanks to the two G’s. Needed some explanation on a couple,9d I couldn’t find the “whisky” and 13a just didn’t read the clue properly but got the answer. Favourite has to be 14a

  8. gnomethang
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I thought we werein for a stinker after going through the across clues but the downs came to the rescue. I thought of gazza when I solved 8d!
    Thanks to him and Giovanni.

    • Nora
      Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      There is no 8d, so what was it that made you think of Gazza?

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        The sight of those young ladies must have made him muddle up his a’s and his d’s. :D

      • mary
        Posted July 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        I think he ‘has’ to mean 8a if it made him think of Gazza :-D

  9. BigBoab
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Giovanni for a cracker of a crossword and Gazza for a great review (esp. picture clue 1 )

  10. mary
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Late again today, gardening first, just in case it rains, so good afternoon Gazza and thanks for the hints, I needed two of them to enable me to complete the rest of the puzzle, not one of my favourite puzzles but and I know everyone will say ‘what!?’ my fav clue was 5d, it just tickled me :-D , several I hadn’t heard of once again, but overall not one of Giovannis toughest, 3* for me today

    • andy
      Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      5d so very Leslie Phillips!

  11. Derek
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The usual enjoyable fare from Giovanni.
    Faves were : 10a, 13a, 17a, 21a, 25a. 1d, 7d, 9d, 14d & 20d.

    Slightly Latin flavour this time!

  12. Brian
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Superb puzzle but found the bottom right tricky. Never heard of 25a or 11a so learned two new words today both of which could be worked out from the wordplay as it should be.
    Best clue for me def 24a,very clever!
    Thx to the Master for a very enjoyable outing and to Gazza for the explanations to answers that I got but didn’t fully understand like 9d and 21a.

  13. Don1991
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Nice to 25a again, it’s been so long! I’ll be expecting ennui and etui any day soon (all the old crossword favourites). This was a very enjoyable puzzle though and a decent amount of satisfaction at picking it apart so a double 3* from me. Too many good clues to choose a favourite but if pushed it would be 10a. Thanks to the Don and Gazza the St Trinians fan.

  14. Franco
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    For some reason I found this a lot easier than the usual Friday back-pager – to such an extent that I thought that maybe it was not Giovanni.

    5d must be the easiest clue ever.

    Has anyone ever been in a conversation when the word “Litotes” cropped up casually? (I knew it but only through doing cryptics).

    PS! I know it’s “Verboten” to discuss the “other” puzzle – but desperately awaiting the explanation of 4d in the Toughie.

    • Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      It was posted as you left this comment!

  15. AtH1900
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle today. I only got to it a short while ago. I sat and looked then entered 7d and rocketed away.

    I went to a boys school, but the building was ahred with the girls. There were connecting doors with a handle on one side only … ours! Still, in those days, girls were only of interest once both sexes had got to 15 (or so) … albeit, I was an earlier starter, courtesy of a very nice (and lonely) lady who came to learn to SCUBA dive at the school I dived with. Quite illegal, of course, even on the island, but I was too happy to care!

    But enough of that.

    Franco – I almost used ‘litotes’ in conversation once, but I was referring to the practice of browning bread on an electric lamp. ;)

  16. Kath
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s beginning to look as if I’m the only mug who managed to screw up the easiest clue in the whole crossword and put in the wrong kind of 6d thereby messing up 11a for quite a long time! :oops:

  17. Collywobbles
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Xword and thanks to setter (whoever he is) and to Gazza for the few that I could’nt see

  18. Heno
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to the two G’s. I liked this one. Learnt a couple of new words 10a & 11a. Last in was 7d, didn’t realise it was an anagram until after I solved it, duh. Favourite was 17a.

  19. Kath
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    PS to various other comments (on my own tonight – husband gone up to Birmingham to see eldest daughter and do various useful “stuff” so have time to “fiddle about”) – I think that I have only ever seen 11a used as an adjective.
    Am I going to be the last one to write a comment this evening?

    • Franny
      Posted July 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      No, I bet it’s me! :-)

  20. Franny
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Now I’m packed and ready to head off to the South of France tomorrow, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed doing today’s puzzle very much this morning. There were lots of good clues, but best for me was 7d. So thanks to G&G once more and I look forward to being back in touch in a week or so.
    :-)

  21. jaehancock
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Nothing to do with this puzzle, and going back a few days to DT 26613, I just wanted to say thank you to Big Dave and Libellule for their comments regarding the online leaderboard. I now know to ignore it in future. Thank you, again.