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DT 26623

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26623

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have a pleasant mixture of clues from Giovanni today. Your views, as ever, are very welcome.
To reveal an answer just highlight the space between the wrinkly brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Purposeful group argue about monarch getting jolly (7,5)
{WORKING PARTY} – this is a group of people delegated to carry out a specific task and report back. Reverse a verb to argue and follow this with a monarch and a jolly.

8a  Part of Birmingham little short of a gem (5)
{ASTON} – an area of Birmingham (think of a premier league football team) is a gem (1,5) with the final E dropped (little short).

9a  Indulging in sport? Yen disappears when boy’s into that church music (9)
{PLAINSONG} – start with a present participle meaning participating in sport, then remove the Y(en) and insert a male child (boy) to make unaccompanied church music.

11a  Spectacles look right (gent changed them regularly) (9)
{LORGNETTE} – the definition is spectacles. String together an exclamation meaning look!, R(ight), an anagram (changed) of GENT and the odd (regularly) letters of ThEm.

12a  Extremist from university left paintings around? (5)
{ULTRA} – an informal word for an extremist comes from U(niversity), L(eft) and a reversal (around) of paintings.

13a  Cleaner hurls a bin when upset (9)
{NAILBRUSH} – an anagram (when upset) of HURLS A BIN produces something that cleans.

16a  Cabinets for sick people? (5)
{CASES} – double definition, the second how a doctor might refer to the sick people in his or her care.

18a  King grabs the Parisian female to wind down (5)
{RELAX} – the latin word for king goes around (grabs) the French feminine definite article.

19a  Resolve to prevent something exploding? (9)
{DETERMINE} – a verb to resolve or be resolute could conceivably, if split as (5,4), mean to prevent an explosive device going off.

20a  Feature of church with Latin — something to gaze at? (5)
{NAVEL} – someone who has a narrow and introspective outlook may be said to be gazing at this. It’s the main body of a church followed by L(atin).

22a  Poem brought into major match towards end of tournament? (9)
{SEMIFINAL} – the definition here is a match towards the end of a (knockout) tournament. Put the name of Kipling’s famous poem inside an adjective meaning major or influential.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a  We take everything in! (9)
{OMNIVORES} – cryptic definition of creatures who are not fussy eaters.

26a  Poet Nancy must have stood here in the White House (5)
{BYRON} – this poet when split (2,3) is where the first lady Nancy stood (especially when she was prompting her husband sotto voce on how to reply to a question).

27a  Engineers attending offensive smell that’s breaking out again (12)
{RECRUDESCENT} – an adjective meaning breaking out again is a charade of the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers, a synonym for offensive or coarse and another word for smell or aroma.

Down Clues

1d  Old factory in an expression in legal document (5,4)
{WATER MILL} – an old factory using very green energy is made by putting A and an expression or phrase inside a legal document that sets out bequests.

2d  Nick — name involved in downfall? (3,2)
{RUN IN} – an informal phrasal verb meaning to arrest someone is produced by putting N(ame) inside a synonym of downfall,

3d  Contribution of Russian PM the wrong way round (5)
{INPUT} – reverse the order of the syllables of the surname of the current Russian PM.

4d  What was once fired to blow up ogre’s path (9)
{GRAPESHOT} – this is a cluster of small iron balls fired together from a cannon. It’s an anagram (to blow up) of OGRE’S PATH.

5d  Woman needs added weight, beginning to read as radio broadcaster? (9)
{ANNOUNCER} – a woman’s name (think of the ex-Tory MP and TV dancer) is followed by one sixteenth of a pound avoirdupois and the first letter (beginning to) of R(ead).

6d  Time to defeat an unpleasant old woman? (5)
{TROUT} – this has absolutely nothing to do with the above picture! It’s T(ime) followed by a verb to defeat soundly.

7d  Actor sprawled out in moorland barn (6,6)
{MARLON BRANDO} – an American actor is an anagram (sprawled out) of MOORLAND BARN.

10d  A restriction that’s no problem for smashing women? (5,7)
{GLASS CEILING} – cryptic definition of the perceived barrier which prevents women reaching the top in some organisations (unless, of course, they can smash through it).

14d  To act smartly, criminal’s beginning to get jemmy under crate (3,6)
{BOX CLEVER} – this is a phrase meaning to act in a smart and cunning way. The first letter (beginning) of C(riminal) is followed by a jemmy or bar and this is all placed after (under, in a down clue) a synonym of crate.

15d  Awful-looking nude is upset and embarrassed, turning no one on? (9)
{UNDESIRED} – the definition here is turning no one on, i.e. not being the object of anyone’s yearnings. Start with an anagram (awful-looking) of NUDE, add a reversal (upset) of IS and finish with a synonym for embarrassed.

17d  Producer of silk print seen in special display (9)
{SPINNERET} – an anagram (in special display) of PRINT SEEN gives us the organ through which silk is produced in spiders and other insects.

21d  Place of contest goddess finally changed (5)
{VENUE} – the Roman goddess of love has her final letter changed to make a place where sporting contests take place.

23d  Head of multinational employs nine inspiring females (5)
{MUSES} – the first letter (head) of M(ultinational) is followed by a verb meaning employs to make the (nine)  goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences in Roman and Greek mythology and were thus supposed to inspire creative artists.

24d  Lie about bit of stuff (5)
{FIBRE} – this bit of stuff, disappointingly, is a charade of a lie and a preposition meaning about or concerning.

The clues I liked best today were 22a, 26a and 10d. Let us know which ones you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PLAGUE} + {ROUND} = {PLAYGROUND}

53 comments on “DT 26623

  1. Super puzzle today, loved so many of the clues but esp fav was 20a and of course 26a which made me groan and roar with laughter. Even learned a new word, 9a, never come across that before so much thanks to the Maestro and to Gazza for the blog which thankfully after the horrors of the last two days I did not need.

    1. Brian, this is wierd! I thought the last 2 days have been very easy but this was a struggle for me! Guess it’s how one’s mind works!

        1. I thought that would probably be the answer. Thanks, Gazza. I don’t have a copy of Chambers (I know I should!) so I can’t check these things.

          However, if a word is generally written with a hyphen, should that not be the form used in the answer? The wordplay is not affected (I like the clue, it’s a nice construct and a good surface reading) … so should the more usual form not be used?

          Not trying to start an argument, just curious as to the Laws of Crosswordland, and always happy to learn something new.



          1. I was surprised to find that Chambers doesn’t even offer the hyphenated form as an alternative.
            Since Phil McNeill (DT Crosswords editor) told us once that all spellings and homophones are checked in Chambers you can’t really blame the setter and editor for being consistent.

            1. Am I allowed to reply with a simple ‘!’.

              I knew that the DT would have done a proper job, so I’ll have to start writing ‘semifinal’ without a hyphen…

              Thanks for taking the time to reply.


              1. Hi Nick
                Please don’t start again! Last night was enough for a few days – although an enjoyable conversation. I’m going to bed soon!

                1. Sorry Nick – got the wrong guy, it was Nigel that opebed the can of worms last night!

  2. I enjoyed this one very much. Came to grief with 27a – I’ve never heard this word and spent quite a while trying to fit “BO” somewhere into it. Ended up having to look at not just the hint but the answer too – thanks Gazza. There were a lot of answers that I got and then had to work out the why bit but I suppose that’s OK – well I hope it is anyway! I think we’ve had 9a quite recently – in other words I haven’t had time to forget the word yet. My favourites today include 13, 20 and 26a and 4, 6 and 24d. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza. Off now to see if grass is dry enough to cut.

    1. I’d never heard of 27a either Kath and I often work my clues backwards, I wouldn’t finish half the puzzles otherwise! personally I think for me that’s fine :-)

    2. I have never heard of 27A either (makes a change for me to meet a newbie word), but with the checking letters, the answer seemed clear

  3. Hard going but got there in the end. Liked 25a and 26a for their wittiness. Some clues were on the obscure side for me, though I made it hard for myself by thinking 17d was an anag of silk print (with the anag indicator being ‘producer’). I know… Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  4. Good morning Gazza, I found this really tough today, at first run through I could only do 1!, in fact I don’t think any clue was obvious to me today all hard work, didn’t help by putting ‘willing party’ for 1a, having finished with your help to sort that out, I can honestly say I didn’t enjoy it, although I have two fav clues, 26a and 1d, good luck all 3*/4* for me today, the sun is trying to make up its mind at the moment, whether to stay out or not!

  5. Thanks to Giovanni for a pleasant puzzle, and to Gazza for the review.
    The Toughie defeated me today for the first time in a while, perhaps because I am having to solve online, without pen and paper; anyway, that has put me in a grumpy mood!

  6. Agree with comments already posted by some. Found this difficult but very enjoyable. 22a has to be the clue of the day, well it is for me. Thanx to Compiler and Gazza.

  7. I thought this required a lot more work that more recent Giovanni crosswords but the effort was well worth it. Big smile when 26a dawned so this must be my favourite clue. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  8. Very enjoyable today, but then I always enjoy a good Giovanni. As stated above, never heard of 27A (makes a change) and spent ages trying to thing of various legal documents for 1D (D’oh). Especially liked 2D and my favourite today 26A. Didn’t enjoy 22A at all – put me in mind of that awful football game – talking of which, here we are in the middle of the cricket season, right at the beginning of August and there’s b****y adverts on the TV for the next F*******l season and 8 pages in the DT sports section. Maybe Cromwell had a good point after all.

    1. Do you not think a good football match (and I’m not a fan in particular) offers more individual displays of skill than rugby, for example?

  9. Thanks for encouraging comments. But please do realise that cricket has semifinals too — as a lifelong Somerset supporter I am well aware of one coming up!

    1. lifelong Somerset fan here too Giovanni – see if you can the whole squad in a grid, lol. Incidentally, have you noticed that when you writ semifinal as one word with no hyphens, it could be pronounced a bit different (no good at pronunciation notation, but put the stress on the IF as in peripheral).

  10. I too found this hard work this morning – Tippex was employed! Thanks to Giovanni for the very nice Friday challenge – my favourite has to be the groan/grin inducing 26a. Thanks to Gazza for the review too.

    The Toughie is tough today and I don’t think that is just because I was interrupted by far too many of those ‘you aren’t going to be here next week, please can you deal with this item that has been on my desk for ages’ moments.

  11. I found this ‘medium’ for difficulty, but didn’t enjoy it too much on the way through. However, looking back through the clues, it is a very good crossword so maybe I was a bit tired.

    For example, I missed the excellent wordplay in 26a and I hadn’t liked ‘recrudescent’ because I didn’t know the word – but it was an excellent clue.

    I’ll have 26a for a favourite, even though I missed the point at the time.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    Lovely weather in Bristol, have a nice day everyone.


  12. I agree, and to summarise…..

    Great puzzle,
    Never heard of 27a, but “gettable” (feel free to look gettable up, it may, or may not be in Chambers)
    26a good, and there are semifinals in EVERYTHING (except possibly life, not sure yet, will consult Nietzsche)
    22a very clever, funny.

    And 1d is IMPOSSIBLE if you split it (4,5) instead of (5,4)…… like I did……

  13. 26a was the LOL clue for me too. I liked 11a too, simply because I had an aged Aunt who used them. I had another Aunt who wore a monocle … and had a handle-bar moustache – but that’s another story. I can’t recall seeing 27a in writing for (too) many years. Now I can’t wait to use it. :)

    1. Not quite sure how one would use it – does it mean escaping again or coming out in spots again or something else – Chambers doesn’t seem to be very specific.

      1. It means breaking out again after a period of quiescence. It can refer to a variety of things, e.g. hostilities breaking out again after a period of calm, symptoms reappearing after a period of remission.

          1. It’s from the Latin crudus, which can mean raw or rough, so it’s effectively “Becoming raw again”.

            I think that it’s most commonly used in medicine, in the way that you suggested.

  14. Wow, that was good, really enjoyed today’s puzzle, thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review and hints. Lots of lovely clues, with 25 and 26 being my favourites, a great penny-drop moment with 26. Last in was 27, I learnt a new word today.
    With the risk / hope of re-igniting yesterday’s discussion, I would like to say that I enjoy the star rating, but don’t take them as Gospel, but just as a guide. I normally feel that if it’s one to three stars, then I should be able to do it, but if it’s four or five, then I’ll struggle.
    I do this Crossword on paper, but am thinking of moving to an electronic method, but I’m a bit wary of becoming an addict :-) When I started reading this blog, I just did the back pager, but now I’m trying the toughie on occasions, i.e. when it’s not too difficult :-)
    Yesterday at GBBF there was a man at our table who had about 50 Telegraph back pagers, that he’d cut out from the newspapers, and was going through them. He said he never has time to do them, but dosen’t want to miss them. I’d probably be at that stage, if I didn’t have the time myself :-)

    1. It’s really horses for courses. Finished todays in almost record time….but had to check the meaning for 27a. I seem to click with Giovannis way of clue structuring….one day I’ll get to understand Ray T’s………. assuming I live that long :-)
      Reading the blog it would seem that there would be many who would disagree with my thinking…which was my main point yesterday. But as the ratings are given by the guy who solves and takes the time and trouble to give us all the answers for those days when the penny just doesn’t drop and you can’t wait until tomorrow…a big thankyou for their time and trouble.
      What would scare the bejabers out of me would be seing a 6* rating :-)

      1. 6*? I think that would mean I’d had to shout for help and the other bloggers couldn’t solve it either!
        I would have given this one 4* but pommette thought it on the easy side – you can’t win!

  15. Super duper. This really took some picking apart. Judging by my solving time this was definitely a 3* bordering on 4*. After about double my normal time I was left with 27a. I put all the letters in that I thought might be the answer and thought, ‘you know what that might actually be a word’ and to my absolute amazement it was. Needless to say I’d never heard of it. I’m in agreement with many others that 26a is by far the standout clue. Had me laughing and uttering expletives at the same time. I don’t remember any better so, it must be my clue of the year so far. Thanks to the GeeGees for the entertainment.

  16. Just off to the local to tackle tis in the air conditioning! V hot here!
    See y’all later.

  17. Personally thought this a tough one! Usual brilliant Giovanni standard and hugely enjoyable so thanks muchly to the Don!
    Favourite has to be 15d (as we get quite a few of these around here in the summer) and also like 25a and 26a but no bad clues here!
    Thanks Gazza for the great review.

    1. P.S. I’d have given 4* for enjoyment but then I’m easily pleased (according to pommette)!

  18. Weirdly I found this one rather easy so it really does just go to show that its whats on mans’s poison is anothers….. It was a very enjoyable puzzle indeed- I loved 26A like lots of others.

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