DT 26638 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26638

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26638

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

Today’s puzzle is pretty gentle, though I’d never heard “wild mare” used to mean the apparatus in 9a. Let us know how you got on with it.
If you want to reveal an answer just slide your cursor through the space between the curly brackets under the clue that’s causing you problems.

Across Clues

7a  Tiring year working in branch (8)
{WEARYING} – an adjective meaning tiring is formed from an anagram (working) of YEAR inside a branch or section (of a political party, for example).

9a  Wild mare in picture viewed (6)
{SEESAW} – wild mare is a vivid description of a piece of apparatus in a playground (it’s interesting that the phrase “to ride the wild mare” also means to be strapped on a wooden horse to receive a whipping). The term wild mare was new to me for this apparatus, but the wordplay makes it fairly straightforward – we want a charade of two tenses of the same verb (meaning to picture or view).

10a  Mistake dropping line suggesting recess (4)
{APSE} – this is an old chestnut. If you drop the initial L(ine) from a mistake you’re left with a semicircular recess in a church.

11a  Queen consort taken round one Egyptian city (10)
{ALEXANDRIA} – the name of the queen consort of King Edward VII goes round I (one) to make Egypt’s second city.

12a  Send back into custody revolutionary fellow captured (6)
{REMAND} – this verb means to send an accused person back into custody (possibly to await a later trial). Put an informal term for a revolutionary around (captured) a synonym of fellow.

14a  ‘Spectator’, or Sunday newspaper? (8)
{OBSERVER} – double definition.

15a  Uncover two-thirds of red meat (6)
{REVEAL} – a verb meaning to uncover comes from two-thirds of RE(d) followed by a type of meat.

17a  An endless task for presenter (6)
{ANCHOR} – a term for the main presenter of a live news or current affairs programme is AN (from the clue) followed by a mundane task without its final E (endless).

20a  Doctor treated Kurd, an alkie (8)
{DRUNKARD} – this is an alkie or alcoholic. Start with one of the abbreviations for a doctor and follow that with an anagram (treated) of KURD AN.

22a  Girl taken on by a posh couple? (2,4)
{AU PAIR} – a semi-all-in-one. String together A, the letter used to mean posh or upper-class and a couple.

23a  Hideous nag lost — no further explanation required (6,4)
{ENOUGH SAID} – this is an anagram (lost) of HIDEOUS NAG – that’s all you need to know!

24a  Incomplete bathroom fixture causes one to wait (4)
{BIDE} – a bathroom fixture is shorn of its final T (incomplete) to leave an instruction to wait.

25a  Free? Think again! (6)
{REDEEM} – this is a verb meaning to free or deliver. Cryptically it could mean to think again or judge afresh.

26a  Covered outhouse to retain warmth (8)
{SHEATHED} – an outhouse, in the garden perhaps, goes round (to retain) a synonym for warmth.

Down Clues

1d  Come out again to gather fruit (8)
{REAPPEAR} – this is a charade of a verb to gather or harvest and a type of fruit.

2d  Language used by coarser servants (4)
{ERSE} – hidden (used by) in the clue is Scottish or Irish Gaelic.

3d  Expert is, we hear, put in charge (6)
{WIZARD} – charge here is someone (usually a minor) in one’s care. We want a synonym for this with a homophone (we hear) of “is” inside it. Does this work for you?

4d  Killer’s impudence when caught in a crime (8)
{ASSASSIN} – put a (mainly North American) slang word for impudence or cheek inside (caught in) A and a synonym for crime.

5d  University lecturers found with joint in circulation (10)
{READERSHIP} – the circulation (of a printed publication, for example) comes from senior university lecturers followed by (found with) a bodily joint.

6d  Musical Director turned up in case (6)
{DATIVE} – a Lloyd Webber musical is followed by D(irector) then the whole lot is inverted (turned up, in a down clue) to make a grammatical case denoting an indirect object (e.g. in the sentence “She cooked me a meal” the meal is the direct object, i.e. the accusative case, and “me” is in this case). Who said learning latin at school was a waste of time?

8d  Continues, and talks at length (4,2)
{GOES ON} – double definition.

13d  Soldier of fortune in tavern, rude, intoxicated (10)
{ADVENTURER} – an anagram (intoxicated) of TAVERN RUDE produces a soldier of fortune or mercenary.

16d  Song about a leader in Africa is abhorrent (8)
{ANATHEMA} – the sort of song that we’ll hear a lot at next year’s Olympics goes round (about) A and this is followed by the first letter (leader) of A(frica) to make something that is abhorrent.

18d  Check on what sounds like costly animal (8)
{REINDEER} – this animal is a charade of a verb to check or curb and a homophone of an adjective meaning costly.

19d  Is about to negotiate with models (6)
{IDEALS} – IS goes around a verb to negotiate to make high standards or models of perfection.

21d  Cultivated garden set in rows (6)
{RANGED} – an anagram (cultivated) of GARDEN.

22d  Article attracted boy (6)
{ANDREW} – a boy’s name comes from the indefinite article followed by a verb meaning attracted or enticed.

24d  Scottish island, reportedly excellent according to Australian (4)
{BUTE} – this is an island in the Firth of Clyde – its name sounds like (reportedly) how an Australian would describe something or someone excellent.

The clue which I liked best today was 22a. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {MATE} +{RICKS} = {MATRIX}

56 comments on “DT 26638

  1. Morning Gazza, I might have just agreed with the 2* rating if it hadn’t been for 9a and 6d, I think I spent as long on these two as the rest of the crossword!! with 6d taking forever, I did however manage them without your hints :-) although I needed all my other ‘help’! so for me it was at least a 3*, I have never heard 9a called that but suddenly a light came on in my brain and I remembered a seesaw horse in our local park when we were young and thought Ah seesaw!!

    1. Works for me – we hear is becomes iz then put this in a charge (ward) to make an excellent Discworld reference (even if there is a certain character who insists on spelling it with a double z).

      1. You mean he who was born under the sign of the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars, the sign associated with people allergic to pewter inter alia, whose mother ran away before he was born?

        1. I think that is exactly what I mean – but not having read any of the works of Mr P I can’t say for certain :)

          1. Thanks Sue for the pointer.Do you now if there’s a way of printing it off or is just interactive. I’m a bit pushed for time today (our Japanese client wants everything done by yesterday!)

    2. Hi alan, I don’t really see anything wrong with this? An expert is a ‘wizard’ which is ‘ward’ for ‘charge’ with a homophone of ‘is’ i.e. ‘iz’ inside, ok not a great clue but it works for me :-)

    1. Hi Collywobs, if you go to FAQ at the top of the page, you will find a heading in there explaining how to change it, I quite like you as you are :-)

      1. Thanks Mary. I tried looking at that but it seems to be for people who want to open new accounts. Ill give it up and stick with what Ive got

  2. Interesting puzzle toady. I’ve never heard of the expression in 9A either and with 6D being rather dependant on the checking letters, I think I got a bit lucky.

    Have to say I loved 24D – very clever word play.

    Does anyone know the compiler? Is it the same Mysteron as last week?

  3. Middling difficulty (for me) but enjoyable with a nice mix of clues. Like Mary, I found the 9a/6d cross difficult … but I had to resort to the hints, as my best effort for 6d was ‘valise’. I don’t think I would ever have got them…

    Favourite was definitely 22a.

    I thought 3d was fine – I liked it.

    Thank you to the Setter and to Gazza for the hints.


  4. Thanks to the mysteron & Gazza, a nice puzzle, found it easy apart for 6d & 9a where I needed the hints. Never heard of wild mare for 9a. Favourites were 20 22 26 across.

  5. Hello Everyone. Sorry to interrupt. Is anyone else having problems accessing the DT puzzles website? I have been having problems yet again for the last two days. It is especially annoying when, having completed a puzzle, I click on submit and the site just hangs whilst the time limit ticks away – grr.

    1. I download it and print a hard copy, saves a lot of frustration!
      Has anyone heard wild mare used in this 9a context?

    2. I still have to try several times each morning before I can access the site, maybe we will all get a discount on our next subscriptions!!!

      1. I must be lucky Mary, I don’t have a problem with the DT site.
        My problem is with broadband!! Too many people on my over subscribed phone line, but thats a rural problem!

      2. I asked for a refund last year, but my requested fell on deaf ears. I log on using a plug-in USB modem which has hit-and-miss connection speeds, so I often don’t know if it’s Spanish communications technology or CluedUp which is at fault. I see they keep changing their apology message, but surely they’ve had time enough blaming the storm!

      3. They won’t get a next subscription from me if they don’t sort it out by next February! The Grauniad site works fine so I’ll just switch my alliegence back to where I started doing cryptics all those years ago. There’s also the Indy and FT – all free!

  6. A nice Tuesday backpager – I too was held up for a little while by 9a. Thanks to the Mysteron and to Gazza. 22a made me smile so I will pick that as a favourite.

    The Toughie is themed and quite tough for a Tuesday but give it a go if you have time while sheltering from the downpour. Anyone got a spare ark?

    1. Send some lovely rain over here please. We’ve been sweltering at 35 degrees C plus for three weeks, and it’s set to continue for at least another week! I’d bet Pommers has had enough of summer as well.

      1. Indeed! It must be about 12 weeks since we had a day where the temp didn’t top 30C and not a drop of rain in sight. Guess it’s the same where you are!
        Never mind – better than freezing your donkey!

      2. Very muggy here and just drizzle now but this morning we had half an inch of rain in about three hours but none of the promised thunder. As Gnomey will delight in telling you, where I live in the East of Kent is prone to different weather to the rest of the county – he lives the opposite end to me. Usually it can pour a mile up the road and we remain perfectly dry. Not today, however, and the garden is looking much better for the deluge.

  7. Like yesterdays crossword this was gentle but fun, thanks to the compiler and to Gazza.

  8. I also had valise for 6d, after all it is a case !

    Definitely needed the hints for a few today, so thank you for them.

    Interesting article in the D Tel today by Christopher Howse about words like charabanc, etc ., becoming extinct. it lists lots of obscure words which crop up occasionally . Perhaps we will now see examples such as hegemony, heuristic, and stochastic in the crossword ?

  9. 9d left me dizzy, I’m afraid. All that going up and down.
    There are lots of nice Dative cases in German, Gazza, as well as in Latin.
    And learning about them doesn’t half help one’s English, as you say.

  10. Probably just me but I found this one a tricky little devil and only managed 8 answers. For me at least a 3 star for difficulty.

  11. Been through all the excellent clues above and I must reassess my difficulty level, for me a five star! couldn’t even get some of the answers even from the blog clues. 9a, 3d, 25a, 26a to name but a few were complete blanks as far as I am concerned. My worst since the last Ray T. Thanks to Gazza for trying to help this lost soul and from my point of view I hope it’s a long time until we see this setter again. Just me I know.

  12. Agree with you Gazza that this was a very gentle puzzle to solve. Was it from the Mysteron?
    Best for me was 6d.

    Shall miss tomorrow as will be in hospital – I need a pacemaker!

    1. It was by a Mysteron – I believe that there are several of them appearing in the Tuesday and Thursday slots.
      Good luck with the pacemaker!

  13. I had valise for 6d as well, even though I couldn’t justify it – at least I wasn’t the only one… but I did get 9a, even though I then had to google it to make sure. I didn’t get 12a, even after sussing out that ‘Che’ wouldn’t fit and I missed 2d – really annoys me when I miss the hidden words! They’re one of the first types of cryptic clue I remember coming across.

    Enjoyable challenge and favourites were 22a, 24d and 3d, just cos I used to have a cat called that and he was gorgeous.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Me too. Other than being a case, I couldn’t think of any reason why valise fitted the clue.

  14. Agree with all that this was quite gentle apart from the pesky 9a! Also never heard the term!
    Good day today though as I’ve finally got my little netbook back all fixed!
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for explaining said 9a!

  15. I assume the photo used to illustrate 24d is considered a Beaut. Could not a woman less scantily clad have illustrated the point just as well? For gender balance, the Prince above should have been similarly attired.

  16. Yay Kylie!, what a beaut! I had a few hanging out around the corners but the Wild Mare I saw quite quickly. THanks to gazza and the setter.

  17. Quite a nice puzzle but with enough pauses for thought to make it interesting – quite liked 1d, 18 d and actually thought 3d was rather clever.

  18. Didn’t like 3d and 9a either – needed hints for both! NEVER heard a seesaw referred to as that – but, hey ho, we live and learn. Strange puzzle to-day – to me, at any rate – as thought I couldn’t even do one then suddenly got the bit between my teeth as pennies began dropping – then totally stuck on a few – partic the two mentioned above. So thanks to Gazza for hints,which enabled me to finish. (Couldn’t get the Oz one, either! Doh!)

  19. I quite liked today’s puzzle, and sat with a friend going through it this afternoon over a lovely cup of coffee (gotta love a week away from work).

    We managed to complete it with the exception of (yes!) 9A. Never heard that term before…

    25A did not go in with much confidence, so I was pleased to see that our kinda-lucky-educated guess turned out to be correct. Thanks to setter and Gazza. :o)

  20. Didn’t get the time to access the site yesterday but this morning it is refreshing to learn that my problems with ‘Seesaw’ and ‘Dative’ were shared by a considerable number of people.
    Today was straightforward enough once I’d changed the hastily entered ending of 15a from ‘graphic’ to the correct answer! I didn’t enjoy 14d which was the last one in but 6d is quite nice.

  21. Does anyone else notice similarities in clues/answers on consecutive days sometimes? eg yesterdays 15a and todays 11d, and yesterdays 9a and todays 4a? this seems to happen quite often, is it just coincidence?

  22. Tackled this one again Wednesday but was stopped by 9a and 6d, the latter still not meaning anything to me. Got the answer to 25a using the second part of the clue but could not reconcile the answer with the first part.Having been determined to take each crossword as far as I possibly can before taking advantage of the excellent hints, I run about a day late, at least. Perhaps this is not the best approach. It might be better to use the hints each day, learn quicker that way and start afresh next day. After all, the hints are not actually the answers and the thought process still has to applied. .

    1. Hi Jac
      Not sure if this is relevant or what but . . .
      My view is that the best way to learn is to do what you can, in a reasonable time, then look at the hints (not the answers) to see if you can do more. You will learn so much about various devious clue constructs that setters use and you will be surprised at how fast you improve! If you’re really stuck then look at the answer but make sure you fully understand the explanation – if you don’t then ask! Someone will be here to help you out.
      2 years ago I rarely fininished a DT puzzle and was usually left with 2 or 3 clues that foxed me. With the help of the people on this blog I’m now actually doing the review on Wednedays – how’s that for an advert for BD’s blog?

      1. Thank you, Pommers.
        You have confirmed what I was coming round to thinking and was hoping would be the experience of others. I think I felt that looking at the hints was too defeatist and I struggled on, rather than avail myself of the experience of others and learn the process quicker. I will do as you suggest and, who knows? The reviews are excellent and I have not struggled at all with any of the hints so far. I am impressed by what you tell me and BD’s blog need look no farther for an advert.
        Once again, many thanks

  23. Took me a while to find out that to ‘Ride the wild mare’ is a quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV part 2 (“He drinks off candles’ ends for flap-dragons, and rides the wild-mare with the boys”) which came to mean live riotously, leading to an up-and-down temperament, which again in turn lead to it meaning see-saw.

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