DT 26632 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26632

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26632

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

What a lovely surprise! We have a superb puzzle today, a breath of fresh air chock-full of excellent and amusing clues. Even without the big hint at 20a I would have guessed that one of our newest Toughie setters has graduated to the back page. If the Telegraph Puzzles Editor is reading this, could I stress the need to keep this setter for Tuesdays. :D
If you want to see an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

7a  First name that might get 13 going? (8,6)
{STARTING HANDLE} – double definition – a cryptic way of referring to someone’s first name (especially the pseudonym they use on-line) and what may have to be swung to fire up an old 13a.

9a  Waterloo veterans nothing short of stoical about enjoying rest (10)
{SABBATICAL} – the Swedes, for whom Waterloo was the breakthrough, go inside ST(o)ICAL to make a period of paid leave for rest, study or travel. Lovely clue.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a  Travelled in ’20s free of commitments (4)
{WENT} – if you write 20s as a word, then remove the letters of a four-letter term meaning commitments you should be left with a verb meaning travelled.

12a/16a  Much nicer in Kensington? One can skate over that (3,4)
{ICE RINK} – hidden (much) in the clue is something that can be skated over.

13a  Non-drinker in real fuddle with gin ending in a heap (10)
{RATTLETRAP} – this is a heap or a rickety old vehicle. Put the abbreviation for a non-drinker inside an anagram (fuddle) of REAL then finish with what a gin (not the liquid sort) is.

16a  See 12a

17a  Ideal destination for drive is some distance (7)
{FAIRWAY} – the sort of drive we have to think about here is one from the tee and the ideal destination for the ball is down the middle and away from the rough. If you split it as (4,3) it means a considerable distance.

18a  Go hard over second hill-ridge (7)
{HOGBACK} – reverse (over) GO and the abbreviation for hard (as a pencil may be classified), then add a verb meaning to second or endorse to make a hill-ridge.

20a  Art movement is representative of US bar teddy boy hairstyle (4)
{DADA} – this is a short-lived artistic movement that started during WWI. We have to combine two abbreviations; firstly that of a US lawyer employed by the state and secondly a men’s hairstyle (duck’s arse) prevalent in the 1950s among teddy boys. Is this a not so subtle hint as to the identity of today’s setter?

21a  Blame cheap production for pudding of a soprano (5,5)
{PEACH MELBA} – I’ll leave you to judge whether she was a pudding or not, but this Australian soprano certainly gave her name to one. It’s an anagram (production) of BLAME CHEAP.

23a  Enemy force ignoring Red Cross (3)
{FOE} – remove (ignoring) the abbreviation for the Red Cross from force to leave an enemy.

24a  Enthusiast oddly not a good man to make case (4)
{ETUI} – this case for holding needles crops up regularly in cryptic crosswords but I bet it’s never been clued in this way. Remove the abbreviation for a good or holy man from the end of enthusiast, then extract the odd letters of what you have left.

25a  The things that go on in the back of a car break girl’s heart (4,6)
{REAR LIGHTS} – lol. These things go on to make the car visible to those following, They’re an anagram (break) of GIRL’S HEART.

28a  Whistle-blower puts a stop to this superstitious behaviour (3-5,6)
{PRE-MATCH RITUAL} – as an example of this superstitious behaviour footballer Malvin Kamara watches Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory before each game. It all comes to an end when the ref blows his whistle to start the game.

Down Clues

1d  Following aubergine starter, taste a madras concoction containing hot nuts (2,3,2,1,6)
{AS MAD AS A HATTER} – the definition here is “nuts”, i.e. barmy. Start with A (aubergine starter) then form an anagram (concoction) of TASTE A MADRAS and put H(ot) inside.

2d  Half of 20 undeniably bad beginners produce crude painting (4)
{DAUB} – take half of 20a (which half doesn’t really matter) and add the first letters (beginners) of Undeniably Bad.

3d  An idiot committing a crime (2,2)
{AT IT} – this informal phrase means (among other things) being engaged in criminal activity. If you redefine it as (1,3) it’s slang for a foolish person.

4d  Legendary fighter for the crown sees wedding stopped by cold and rain initially (7)
{UNICORN} – this mythical beast was a supporter of the royal coat of arms of Scotland and after the Act of Union it joined the lion to support those of the United Kingdom. Merge the initial letters of C(old) and R(ain) into a synonym for wedding.

5d  Greek character’s cheek attracting audible anger in writer (6,4)
{PHILIP ROTH} – this is an American novelist, the author of Portnoy’s Complaint.  His name is a charade of the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet, a synonym for cheek or disrespect and what sounds like (audible) anger.

6d  Shapeless Arsenal without Walcott and Bendtner up front having substitute ultimately to blame (10)
{ANSWERABLE} – a very topical clue – it’s a pity that Fabregas doesn’t fit in with the wordplay. It’s an anagram (shapeless) of ARSENAL containing (without, in its sense of outside) the initial letters (up front) of W(alcott) and B(endtner), then finishing with the ultimate letter of (substitut)E. The definition is “to blame”.

8d  Yearn to drink Courage from this? (4-4,6)
{LONG-NECK BOTTLE} – a semi-all-in-one is a charade of a synonym for to yearn, a slang verb to drink and an informal word for (the falsely-capitalised) courage.

10d  Become unwell after voyage loses direction (3)
{AIL} – remove the initial S(outh) from a sea voyage.

14d  Mainland bishop coming in to tea bringing company to Iona at last (5,5)
{TERRA FIRMA} – a latin phrase meaning the ground or the mainland is constructed by putting the abbreviation for the title of a bishop inside (coming in to) TEA, then adding a synonym for company and the last letter of (Ion)A.

15d  Axe swung before trashy repeats cause acute irritation (10)
{EXASPERATE} – a verb meaning to cause acute irritation or to get up someone’s nose is an anagram (swung) of AXE followed by another anagram (trashy) of REPEATS.

19d  A little number in tailored peach shows sense of style (7)
{PANACHE} – A and the abbreviation (little) of N(umber) go inside an anagram (tailored) of PEACH.

22d  Pretentious? Me? (3)
{MOI} – c’est vrai.

26d  Top-notch penetrating wingers in retreat (4)
{LAIR} – the abbreviation for first-class or top-notch goes between (penetrating) a Left-winger and a Right-winger to make an animal’s retreat.

27d  Forage for food (4)
{GRUB} – double definition.

There are far too many top-notch clues to list them all, but best of all for me was 25a. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {MOTTE} + {LEAK} + {RUE} = {MOTLEY CREW}

103 comments on “DT 26632

  1. I also put a tick against 25a!
    Thanks to setter for a puzzle, which I found most enjoyable, and slightly trickier than normal for the back page, and to Gazza for the notes.

    1. Must admit, I had to do a double take on 25A as I started to think back to my youth and the things that used to happen in the back seats of cars!

      1. Like ‘I Spy’ and motor car snooker and ‘Are We There Yet’ not to mention endless supplies of sweeties and the odd packet of crisps and a bottle of Coke if Mum and Dad stopped at a pub.

  2. What an excellent puzzle today, its nice to have a chance to alter the way puzzles are tackled every now and then and to get into the mind-set of a new compiler.
    As you might have guessed, I thoroughly enjoyed today’s offering and really can’t call any one clue my favourite as there were so many good ones. Must say I’m not too happy with the substitution of football related clues for cricket ones (I’ll put up with the golf related clue), and not even the slightest reference to the Discworld. Ho Hum.

    1. Skempie – there is a sort of indirect reference to the the Discworld in the Quickie at 14a if you remember some of the features (or non features) of Death’s garden furniture…

    2. Have you forgotten the Peach Nellie? It was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read 21a!

      1. Must admit, it sprung into my mind too, but the answer here is so obviously Melba that it can’t count as a Discworld reference I’m afraid

  3. Agree with your comment Gazza, a very enjoyable crossword which was far from easy. Loads of favourite clues but best for me was 11a. Can remember when I sported a DA as illustrated in 20a. Thought the pun in the ‘Quickie’ was good as well.
    Thank to the compiler and to Gazza for his excellent review. More of the same please.

  4. Morning Gazza, wow what a tough one, 4* at least for me today! I was at least half an hour just getting two clues, last one in 28a because I had put ‘guar’ for 22d, the only synonym I could find with 4 letters starting with ‘g’ , fav clue today 22d, thanks for hints Gazza, I was impatiently waiting as 28a was driving me mad :-)

  5. Very enjoyable today with entertaining clues and some solutions that I’ve never seen in the crossword before – very refreshing. Does the same setter compile the quickie too, because I’m struggling with it as well? I needed the blog for the first word in the pun and still have about half the puzzle to do. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

          1. Many thanks Dave. That’s got me going again. (I’m looking forward to the booklets this weekend – I need the workout!)

  6. I’ve enjoyed this but found it very difficult – at least 4* for me today. Had to do a fair bit of guessing and hoping with the things that I’ve never heard of – 28a and 8d – although they were “workoutable” from the clues. I got 9a without really understanding why because I completely missed the significance of “Waterloo” – how stupid! Too many good clues to list but that long list would certainly include 25a and 1 and 22d. With thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the very much needed explanations.

    1. This crossword was like a difficult exam paper where I was running down the questions and was unable to find one I could do. Finally I got started on 8d and then things improved. 26d last in as I had not seen wingers used for this before. Thanks to Gazza.

    1. I saw two Spurs tickets nailed to a fence. I thought “Ooh it’s my lucky day – I could just use those nails…”

    1. I looked on John Halpern’s (Dada / Paul) Twitter and Facebook pages, but no sign of him claiming ownership.

      I did, however, find this:

      “Have just found the time to produce 3 more Dada’s. Not sure when they’ll be slotted in though – soon?”

    2. I’m struggling to remember a less enjoyable one. Come back Ray-T all is forgiven.
      13a across being particularly awful in IMHO.
      Only saved by “my Team” taking a 3-1 lead at Barnsley.

          1. No, it’s the fault of everyone else who can’t realise that its spelt Middlesbrough. It’s a bit like spelling a crossword solution wrongly.

  7. Loved this crossword! Did not take long to do but some very interesting clues as in 11a for instance. My favourite was 7a… such memories of trying to get the Morris Traveler started! Also like 22d for its simplicity! Thanks to the setter and gazza for explaining 21a …got the answer just did not know ‘why’!

      1. Oh my parents had a Morris Minor with a split windscreen and trafficators. Fabulous car. I can still remember the reg plate – SWY 18

        1. My first car was a 1937 Austin 7 two-seat tourer – registration CUO 236. It had an integral starting handle and a top speed of 55mph downhill/

          1. My first vehicle was a 125cc Honda ‘Benly’ twin, 1962 reg YWX 592. For some reason it was twin cylinder but the pistons both went up and down together! It did have electric start and would do about 60mph with a following wind! Best bike I ever had!

            1. Why do we always remember the number plate of our first cars but none of the ones afterwards? I was once stopped by a policeman who was checking that people knew their registration numbers so that he might ascertain if the car was stolen. I pointed out that even if I did know the number of the old banger I was driving at the time, surely if I was going to pinch a car I would have gone for a much better one. We discussed first car numbers and he too could only remember his first number and very few of the rest :D

              1. When I was about 3 years old my dad got his first ‘company car’. It was a black Austin (of unremembered model) but I still remember it was SLH 254 – affectionately known as ‘ SLUSH’!

              2. I must be one of the sad ones then – as I can remember the registrations of all the cars I’ve ever driven – and it comes to around 25 I suppose!

  8. Have done quickie but am completely stuck on the second word of 9a. I wouldn’t have been able to do a couple of these clues without the hints so thanks for those BD. Have never heard of 14a or 17d.

  9. Got of to a flying start (for me). Ground to a halt about an hour ago and as l am trying to limit my use of the hints making slow progress. Really enjoying todays puzzle, fun and left of field.

    It’s difficult to choose but favourite clues so far are 9a and 19d

    Thank you Gazza and the setter

  10. Superb stuff. Extremely difficult to pick a favourite from all the excellent clues. Thanks to the Mystery Setter – please let us know if it is who we think it is and to Gazza too.

    The Toughie only took me a few more minutes than this one and has a very nice topical clue in the middle.

  11. Phew….this was difficult. After being smug yesterday at not needing any hints, I needed them by the bucketful today. Thanks to Gazza for the help and to the setter for the brain workout. Loved the word play in 1a but struggled to find the definition and learnt two new definitions in 18 and 24a.

  12. Brilliant crossword today, Toughie is just as good, quality stuff.
    Thanks to Gazza and th Genius, whoever he is

  13. Great fun and slightly more difficult than the toughie today. Too many great clues to pick out a favourite. Many thanks to the setter (Dada?) and to Gazza for the usual superb review.

  14. I would give this 5*/5*. Still chuckling about the “Waterloo veterans”.

    The Quickie was also somewhat challenging.

  15. Where did that come from? Very different to the traditional Tuesday fare! 9a was probably my favourite. Or 8d. Or 21a. I could go on… If the setter finds his or herself in North Devon please contact me to claim your free pint.

  16. Interesting to find a stylistically different setter on the DT. Definitely at the tougher end of back page but enjoyed once I’d finished it. 14,15,19 seemed clunky until I re-read the surface meaning. Thanks to setter/blogger.

  17. Agree with all comments about how good this is! Done over a coffee this morning while out shopping and I did say to pommette that I thought is was a Paul puzzle. I see greater minds than mine agree!
    Not fair to pick out a favourite but 3d did make me giggle a lot, especially when I had the thought that the original clue might have read ‘Idiot getting his leg over (2,2)’ but the CW editor wouldn’t allow it!
    Many, many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  18. LOVED IT !!!!! . . . If you are reading this Mr McNeil – then more from this setter please.
    We must have been on the right wave length today as apart from 5d, whom I’d never heard of, we had no real problems.
    When Pommers asked “What’s a Waterloo veteran called?” I immediately said the Swedes – sounds of my youth!
    Thanks to Gazza for his great blog (no picture for 3d Gazza?) and the mystery setter for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, Definitely a breath of fresh air!

  19. Fantastic puzzle today thanks to the setter & Gazza for the hints, only needed one for 4d. Very amusing and enjoyable. Favourites were 1d & 25a. More from this setter please.

  20. I agree this was a good puzzle today – very enjoyable. Took a little while, but got there in the end. Liked 9a and 25a, but needed Gazza’s hints to explain 6d – my excuse is that my brain went ‘Football, arghhh!’ and shut down!! ;-) Many thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  21. Sorry didn’t like todays very much, very complicated clues and although I completed it can’t say I enjoyed it very much. Far prefered the normal Tuesday setter.

    1. I thought it was too tough for a back pager! Enjoyed some of the clues but it took a lot longer to solve than normal.

  22. I agree with Kath earlier, this was a 4* for me. Finished, but it took me ages. However, it was all fairly clued and I think it’s an absolute belter. I have joint fave’s in the 7a 13a double. 7a in particular.

  23. I agree an excellent crossword today.

    If I may be allowed one detraction it would be of 3D.

    The problem for the compiler is what to do with the 2 letters in place and apart from the answer, and (to have a poor stab at cryptic clues for the alternatives) and – a nip for the baby (1,3)

    Or – the way Spielberg’s bicycle passenger left it just how it was (4)

    Or – this figure, say it’s pointless.

    Yes I know, I know I won’t give up my day time job but do you see what I mean?

    1. Hi WB (if I may call you that!).
      I don’t see anything wrong with this clue but did offer an alternative – see #24

      1. What I was trying to say really Pommers was that by leaving those 2 clue letters there can’t be many answers that fit.

        WB is fine.

        1. You are right about that. We only had the last crosser but even that made it a bit obvious. It’s the potential wordplay that made me start giggling (actually I corpsed a bit a la Johnners and Botham’s leg-over!) – in the middle of a bar which caused a few strange looks from the locals!

            1. Many thanks for that Franco! I’d forgotten just how funny it was.
              I was listening to it live while driving down the M6 past Stoke at about 90mph (in the days when that was possible) and nearly ended up on the hard shoulder! I seem to remember it went on for quite a bit longer than that clip! On and off, all day!

  24. An enjoyable but unusual Tuesday puzzle.
    Selection : 1a, 13a, 18a, 21a, 28a, 5d & 14d.

    Who was the setter?

  25. Excellent puzzle today. Does the editor really take any notice to the blog?
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the hints.

    1. Only he can tell us if he takes any notice of it, but he certainly reads it and has left quite a few comments in the past.

  26. I agree with all above – a really good puzzle to-day and intriguing to do. Admit to needing hints for a couple – notably 2 & 3d!! and answer for 5d as have never heard of him, though perhaps I shouldn’t admit to that?!! 9a was v. clever and only got it in the end by removing the “o” from stoical and gazing helplessly at the letters – then at last, the penny dropped! Lots of good clues – hope we have this setter again? And thanks to Gazza for helping me finish.

  27. An absolute belter – thank you to the setter for this piece of excellence. I got all but 10 clues before I had to start the day job but just rattled them off over a pint in a Southampton Hotel (or bottom of the M3 Hotel!).
    Too many fine clues to mention and the surface readings were top hole; apposite and amusing. Thanks to gazza for the ‘blog (although he needs no excuse to blog puzzles like this one!

  28. Loved today’s crossword. Enough to make one think and yet quite do-able even for a Thick Yorkshire Lass. Favourite clues were 9a and 14d xxx

  29. I was a while getting going on this, and what with football and golf clues making my brain cells tense up, I thought I was going to dislike it intensely, but when I reached the end I realised I’d really enjoyed it. Is that the mark of a great crossword? I think it probably is.

  30. Relieved to find you’d scored it 3*, as thought I was having a bad day or possibly downloaded toughie by mistake. Got there in the end, loved 1d.

  31. Although it was certainly much more difficult than usual and I had to use the blog a lot once I could figure out the word play it was rather enjoyable and it does indeed make a change to get into the thought pattern of a new setter.

  32. Late again! A nicely challenging puzzle. 9a my favourite. I have only ever come across (sometimes literally) 18a in the plural of the porcine. [Hands up those who thought I was going to mention 25a.]

    PS – I like the G00gle logo today.

  33. First time I’ve written since all these Facebook alternatives etc. Most difficult puzzle I have ever managed to complete and therefore very rewarding. Got 5d from the clue even though never heard of him. Had to check he existed on Google! For me 18a was the most difficult and must admit it was my better half who suggested the answer which I had to look up in a dictionary to confirm. Favourite clue by far was the “footballing” 6d. Might have to try this Facebook and Twitter stuff.

  34. Great to have a crossword where every clue is solvable even if you have never heard of the answer (if you see what I mean!) Haven’t had as much fun for ages.

  35. Hello Gazza
    This crossword was by John Pidgeon, who sets Toughies as Petitjean. He has done a few Tuesday/Thursday Daily Cryptics — this was his eighth.
    I think he has been away from internet access while on holiday, so I’m sure he’ll be very pleasantly surprised.
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks for that, Phil. I’ll be very happy to get more Tuesday puzzles like this to blog.

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