DT 26661 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26661

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26661

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Libellule for covering for me on Friday. I’m reciprocating today which gives me a rare opportunity to review a Rufus puzzle. I thought that this was pretty gentle and rather enjoyable – how about you?
The answers are hidden between the curly brackets under the clue. Just drag your cursor through the white space between the brackets to reveal one.

Across Clues

1a  Here you see what may make crowds so cruel (9,4)
{CROSSWORD CLUE} – what you see in front of you is an anagram (what may make) of CROWDS SO CRUEL.

10a  Fellow following Judah’s son continuously (2,3,2)
{ON AND ON} – a university fellow follows the son of Judah who got into trouble for practising a specific method of birth control.

11a  It makes sense if it is used to win at cards (7)
{FINESSE} – an anagram (it makes) of SENSE IF is an attempt to win a trick at bridge or whist with a card which is not a certain winner in the hope that any higher cards are in the hand of the opponent who has already played.

12a  Put down, face to back (4)
{LAID} – a verb meaning put down or deposited is the reversal (to back) of a face (on a clock, for example).

13a  Skins reversed to show nap (5)
{SLEEP} – reverse a verb meaning skins (an apple, say) to get a nap.

14a  Blonde and beautiful (4)
{FAIR} – double definition.

17a  Fancied one at the party, we hear (7)
{GUESSED} – a verb meaning fancied or surmised sounds like (we hear) someone invited to a party.

18a  Extensive exercise done by prisoners (7)
{STRETCH} – another double definition – an exercise involving the extension of one’s limbs is also an informal term for a spell inside.

19a  There’s nothing to restrict the view (7)
{OPINION} – the definition here is view. Start with O (zero, nothing) and add a verb meaning to restrict someone’s movements by tying up or immobilising their arms.

22a  Composer returns script with a neat twist (7)
{SMETANA} – the name of a nineteenth century Czech composer (best known for his opera The Bartered Bride) comes from reversing (returns) the abbreviation for manuscript and following this with an anagram (twist) of A NEAT.

24a  A word of agreement, or more than one (4)
{AYES} – either a single word signifying agreement (1,3) or the plural of another word used to express assent.

25a  Way in for all competitors (5)
{ENTRY} – double definition, the second being the totality of those competing in an event.

26a  Northern river erosion (4)
{WEAR} – another double definition, although this river which flows through Durham and Sunderland is only “northern” if you happen to live to the south of it.

29a  Rise to show appreciation (5,2)
{MOUNT UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to rise can also (when applied to savings, for example) mean to appreciate or grow.

30a  One may set out in it for instruction (7)
{TUITION} – an anagram (one may set) of OUT IN IT.

31a  Get back to front (6,3,4)
{REGAIN THE LEAD} – fairly gentle cryptic definition which you’re meant to read as getting something the wrong way round. A famous newspaper headline during the war proclaimed “Monty flies back to front” (another one stated “Allies push bottles up Germans”).

Down Clues

2d  Cotton on a reel is in a tangle (7)
{REALISE} – a superbly smooth surface with the definition being the phrasal verb “cotton on”. It’s an anagram (in a tangle) of A REEL IS.

3d  Such pomposity is not a front (4)
{SIDE} – this informal word for pomposity is not a front, or a back, but something between the two.

4d  Deviously managed to chew up pound notes (7)
{WANGLED} – a verb meaning to chew is reversed (up, in a down clue) and followed by the abbreviation for pound sterling and two musical notes to make a verb meaning succeeded in some endeavour by the use of guile.

5d  They are inclined to support overhead development (7)
{RAFTERS} – cryptic definition of what keeps your roof up.

6d  It tastes sweet, but schoolboys disliked it (4)
{CANE} – double definition, the first being a tropical grass from which sugar is extracted.

7d  Out of bed with a jump — he’s only just made it (7)
{UPSTART} – a charade of an adverb meaning no longer in bed and a synonym for a jump or sudden movement makes someone who’s only recently achieved wealth or power.

8d  It helps people to get their bearings (7,2,4)
{COLLEGE OF ARMS} – cryptic definition of the corporation which advises the newly-ennobled on the choice of their insignia.

9d  Policeman’s examination paper? (6,7)
{SEARCH WARRANT} – cryptic definition of the signed piece of paper which allows a police officer to enter premises and examine belongings.

15d  Excited by Italian wine — red to start with (5)
{ASTIR} – join together the usual Italian sparkling wine and the first letter of R(ed) to make an adjective meaning in a state of excited activity.

16d  Ecologically inexperienced (5)
{GREEN} – double definition.

20d  Die, frozen stiff (3,4)
{ICE CUBE} – die here is the singular of dice so we’re looking for something that’s hard-frozen and shaped like a die.

21d  One of a group knocked down in an alley (7)
{NINEPIN} – the alley is normally (but not always) indoors rather than outdoors and this is one of the objects which competitors try to knock over in a traditional sport.

22d  Withdraw with a slight injury (7)
{SCRATCH} – double definition.

23d  Article on a crime explosion in the country (7)
{AMERICA} – an indefinite article precedes (on, in a down clue) an anagram (explosion) of A CRIME.

27d  Raise stake, this mount is hotly tipped (4)
{ETNA} – if you haven’t seen this clue (or one very like it) before then you’re probably a newcomer to cryptic crosswords. If you reverse (raise, in a down clue) a stake (in a game of poker, for example) you get the name of a mountain in Sicily which has a fiery top.

28d  Register to do work on the farm (4)
{TILL} – double definition, the first a device that’s used to record payments and hold cash.

My favourite clues today were 11a, 2d and 8d. Let us know which ones you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun:  {RAZOR} + {SMILE} = {RAISE A SMILE}

37 comments on “DT 26661

  1. I can’t say that I enjoyed this much at all and I’m not sure why, except that there were too many old chestnuts in it for my liking, eg 12, 14, 17 and of course 27. Maybe I’ve just got that Monday morning feeling:( Thanks to Rufus and Gazza.

  2. Actually, I took longer over this than is usual for me on a Monday. Posiibly because I was up early.

    2 quibbles.
    1). Never heard of Smetana, and failed to find him via Google.
    2). It doesnt say “shaped like a die” it says die. I guessed the answer, but wouldn’t be surprised if the real answer is something else.

    Oh, and I wrote “skittle” confidently in 21d, which threw me for a time.

    And so, on to the Toughie………… (Big Sigh.)

    1. Hi Lostboy you were correct calling it a Skittle, here in Dover we have a local league in which I play every Sunday evening, we have approx 40 mens teams consisting of 8 men per team, so it is rather big here, we play on an alley which is about 40 foot long made of concrete with a camber running along the length of it and most alley’s are outdoors, our local website is http://www.dover-skittles.co.uk.
      During my 25+ years of playing I have never heard it called by the answer to 21d it has always deen referred to as Skittle’s, I am currently lying 12th in our end of season 9 ball competition. ;D

      1. I occasionally play ‘skittles’ here in Glos and yes, they’re called skittles. I did though have in the back of my mind an old phrase for when lot’s of people are going down sick. ‘Going down like ninepins’. So, someone somewhere must have called them that at some point in time.

      2. Apparently, around the year 1800, skittles and ninepins were slightly different games. A lot more detail can be found here.

  3. Personally, I thought this was a little more difficult than on some Mondays. Wasn’t too keen on 31a, but enjoyable overall. We have seen 27d very recently! Thanks to Gazza and Rufus.

  4. Thought it quite hard today. It got a little easier when 1a dawned on me following a visit to B&Q and 8d then facilitated my last few across clues.
    With a letter ‘o’ starting 10a I couldn’t get the word Compass out of my head for 8d until after a break. Didn’t we see 27d very very recently?

  5. 11a was an obvious anagram, but I didn’t understand the reference to cards – thanks Gazza for the explanation. (I only play snap or happy families with the grandchildren!)

  6. Felt like a typical Monday morning puzzle to me – fairly straight forward although I’m sure 27D was in sometime last week (almost word for word). Enjoyed 8D and 9D.

    BTW Dog/Cat/Rabbit sitting now over, rabbit nearly ended up as Sunday dinner as it bit me when I went to feed it yesterday. Grrrrr

  7. I desperately wanted to put skittle for 21d! Apart from that, no real problems today.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to gazza.

  8. Morning (just) Gazza, I thought this was much harder than normal for a Moday Rufus, needed lots of your hints and agree with never having heard of 22a, also putting ‘stand up’ in at 29a didn’t help at all! Sadly I can’t even say I had a favourite clue today :-(

  9. I don’t know why I am finding this so difficult. I can normally finish 2*s and some 3*s so it should be my level and Mondays are supposed to be one of the easier days. I’m trying not to use your hints, Gazza, with respect but it is becoming more difficult.

    Where is Mary today?

    1. I am at comment 9 Collywobs and I also found it much harder than a normal Rufus Monday, needing lots of Gazzas help, so don’t despair :-)

      1. I’ve really tried hard on this one but I have had to call on Gazzas’ hints very extensively for which many thanks Gazza. However, I really do think the this is, at least a 3* pipe promblem (to quote the master)

  10. To borrow from everyone else’s comments – a tiny smidge harder than a usual Rufus, but not by much. I too wanted to put skittle. The penny-dropping clang when I finally sorted out 1a’s anagram was quite something. Thanks to Rufus for a nice start to the week and to Gazza for the equally nicely illustrated review.

    The Rufus in the Guardian is nice too.

    1. Oh, and I meant to say, that 6d must be ‘setters word of the week’ as it was in Saturday’s Prize Puzzle, today’s Rufus and today’s Independent. I haven’t done the FT yet, but it might be in there too :)

  11. I don’t know. A plethora of house guests has made this the first puzzle I’ve been able to look at for over a week, and I’m ashamed to say that I needed to use the hints to get anywhere with it. My mind must be elsewhere, or maybe I’m just out of practice as usually I enjoy Rufus’ puzzles and can do them fairly easily. So many thanks to Gazza for helping me through.

    A question. Occasionally I’ve wanted to go back and do a puzzle I missed some time ago, and when I get stuck and want to look up the hints they are no longer there. Is there some way I can find them again?

    1. Franny,
      If you know the puzzle number, just key it into the “Search This Site” facility (top right). If you just know the date use the calendar (just above the Search this Site bit).

  12. I thought that this was of fairly average difficulty for a Monday – getting 1a quite quickly helped. I got 8d but didn’t really understand it, so thanks Gazza. I liked 1 and 31a and 2, 4 and 9d. Thanks to Rufus and Gazza.

  13. The usual enjoyable start to the week from Rufus – his puzzles are scrupulously fair!
    My faves : 1a, 11a, 22a, 8d, 9d & 21d.

  14. I always struggle to get on the Rufus wavelength, so tend not to bother picking up a paper on Monday. Thought I would today (as the weather was nice for a walk to the shop) and nothing has really changed – I couldn’t really connect to it – got 12 clues, then just gave up. Just seems a bit weak. Glad some enjoyed it, and thanks to Gazza for explaining many of the clues.

  15. I note no complaints about the accursed website today. Is it working?
    No complaints with this puzzle. Bog standard Rufus stuff. Mind you I think it must be ‘let’s throw in an obscure composer’ month. I’m wearing out the relevant page in my Bradford’s. Despite having all the checking letters 8d held me up for a while, not sure I like it very much. I liked 4d, 20d and 21d.
    Thanks to Gazza and Rufus

    1. Working? Wasn’t at 8 am UK time, at least for me. Had to wait until 6.30 to print it off.

      And, tougher than the usual monday for me – 2 1/2 hours, and that only with help (thanks, Gazza)

      Smetana troubled me not, but 8d had me thinking “compass” for ages. Hated 31a, loved 1a and 9d. 19a threw me completely until I realised that 21d might not be “kingpin”.

      Ah, well :)

  16. After the excellent puzzles last Thursday and Friday I thought this was another 4* offering. It just took me ages to get into it and I did not enjoy it.

  17. I failed in the SW corner – 31a – I put “Retake the Lead” – which seems just as appropriate as the actual solution. I then tried to force in “Nonuple” for 21d.

    I’m finding that Rufus puzzles are becoming harder each week!

    1. PS. Today’s 27d was Saturday’s 26a! Surely it should be retired from future puzzles!

      Today: 27d – Raise stake, this mount is hotly tipped (4)

      Saturday: 26a – Return stake I’ve occasionally blown (4)

      (Bring back the “snow leopard”!)

    1. Hi chadwick – long time no hear!
      Your comment had to be moderated because you’re using a different email address. Both should now work.

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