DT 26665 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26665

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26665

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

We have a fairly gentle challenge from Giovanni today, although there were a couple of common words (12a and 3d) with meanings new to me. Let us have your take on it.
If you need to see an actual answer highlight the space between the brackets under the troubling question.

Across Clues

7a  Agreement letting worker join group of thirteen women? (8)
{COVENANT} – an agreement is made by suffixing the usual working insect to a gathering of women (supposed to be at their most powerful when there are thirteen of them).

9a  A book about hospital reception (2-4)
{AT-HOME} – put A and a large book around H(ospital) to make a reception or party held in the host’s house.

10a/24d Top performer beginning fantastic run (4,4)
{STAR TURN} – the entertainer who gets top billing comes from a synonym of beginning followed by an anagram (fantastic) of RUN.

11a  Prisoner gets to rave in journey by plane in conspicuously offensive way (10)
{FLAGRANTLY} – put a slang term for a prisoner and a verb meaning to rave inside a verb meaning to journey by plane.

12a  Ordinary medicinal plant (6)
{SIMPLE} – double definition – a) ordinary, in the sense of plain, and b) a herb or plant used for medicinal purposes.

14a  Someone moving through water at once is in trouble (8)
{CANOEIST} – this person moving through water is an anagram (in trouble) of AT ONCE IS.

15a  Emergence of female monster with a new head (6)
{EGRESS} – start with a female monster and replace her initial letter O with an E, i.e. give her a new head, to make the act of emerging or exiting.

17a  Learner, Young Conservative, starts to entertain upper-class morons in college (6)
{LYCEUM} – string together the letter used by a learner driver, the abbreviation for Young Conservative and the starting letters of Entertain Upper-class Morons to make a place of teaching or a college. Surely Giovanni can’t be referring to the Bullingdon Club?

20a  Game HQ having social function (8)
{BASEBALL} – a charade of a synonym for HQ and a formal social function makes a game popular in the USA.

22a  Brightness of something attractive seen across street (6)
{LUSTRE} – the definition here is brightness or shininess. Put something that is tempting or attractive around (across) the abbreviation of street.

23a  Fail to wait for a report? (4,3,3)
{JUMP THE GUN} – this is a phrase meaning to go off at half-cock or anticipate the sound of the starter’s pistol (as Usain Bolt did at the recent World Athletic Championships).

24a  See 2d

25a  Church poles attached to gold banner? (6)
{CENSOR} – there’s a bit of lifting and separating required here – the definition is banner, not a strip of cloth but someone who bans. The abbreviation for the Church of England is followed by the two earthly poles and an heraldic gold tincture.

26a  Nothing right in believer in God who philosophises? (8)
{THEORIST} – put O (zero, nothing) and R(ight) inside someone who believes in the existence of God.

Down Clues

1d  After trick hack becomes remorseful (8)
{CONTRITE} – a charade of a trick or hoax and an adjective meaning hack or worn-out gives us an adjective meaning remorseful.

2d/24a  Victory in which heart is broken to become less convincing (4,4)
{WEAR THIN} – a synonym of victory contains an anagram (broken) of HEART. This makes a phrase meaning to become less convincing (like an excuse that has been used once too often).

3d  Lottery? Rubbish! (6)
{RAFFLE} – double definition – an example of a lottery and rubbish or riff-raff (a usage new to me).

4d  Dull queen just like a portly old soul? (8)
{MATRONLY} – the definition here is like a portly old soul, a description of a dignified elderly lady who’s not too svelte (like the queen in 21d perhaps). Start with an adjective meaning dull or without shine and add R(egina) and an adverb meaning just or merely.

5d  Never-ending sponsor involved in game (10)
{CHANGELESS} – introduce a sponsor or financial backer (especially one putting up the money for a new play) into a board game to make an adjective meaning constant or never-ending.

6d  Walks in the morning cause for happiness — sing out! (6)
{AMBLES} – start with the abbreviation for before noon and add something that brings happiness without “sing”.

8d  You may find that on tops of country houses (6)
{THATCH} – a semi-all-in-one. THAT is followed by (on, in a down clue) the initial letters of Country Houses.

13d  Port’s place organised for goods transport system (6,4)
{PARCEL POST} – an anagram (organised) of PORT’S PLACE.

16d  Heroes running around when there are shells here? (8)
{SEASHORE} – a place to find shells is an anagram (running) of HEROES around a synonym for when.

18d  Most jolly English bishop cramped by troubled times (8)
{MERRIEST} – this is a superlative meaning most jolly. Put E(nglish) followed by the abbreviation of the title awarded to a bishop inside (cramped by) an anagram (troubled) of TIMES.

19d  Small son briefly needing illumination (6)
{SLIGHT} – follow the abbreviation (briefly) of S(on) with an illumination.

21d  One queen famously wasn’t a maiden to get exploited (6)
{AMUSED} – it was Queen Victoria who famously wasn’t this. Start with A, add M(aiden) (as in cricket) and finish with a synonym for exploited.

22d  Swimmer on desperate mission avoiding a bank? (6)
{LENDER} – the swimmer is the young Greek man in the mythical tale who undertook a dangerous swim across the Hellespont every night for a hot date with his lover, the priestess Hero. Remove the A from his name (avoiding A) to leave how you might, possibly, describe a bank. The question mark may also be an indication that banks these days are not doing as much of this as the government would like.

24d  See 10a

The clues I liked best were 23a, 25a and 22d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PLAGUE} + {ROUNDS} = {PLAYGROUNDS}

24 comments on “DT 26665

  1. No great problems today, nice, well thought out crossword which needed to be solved step by step. Having said that, I didn’t like 22D very much – seemed a little clumsy to me (having gone through every fish I could think of, I had to go back and try and think of who would avoid a bank). 11A was a stand out clue for me.

    Nice and sunny here – might even get my new crop of strawberries ripe (yep, I’ve got strawberries coming out in September!)

  2. I was very slow to get going on this one and was completely defeated by 22d – like skempie, thought of fishes – unlike skempie we don’t have strawberries!! I did the left side reasonably easily but found the right side, particularly the top, much more difficult – 4, 5 and 6d all had me scratching my head for a while. I had never heard of that meaning of 3d. I liked 23 and 25a and 6 and 8d. With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  3. I have to agree that 22d was a bit much! Not being a classicist, “swimmer on a dangerous mission” didn’t immediately make me think, “Aha, Greek mythology!” So I too was scratching my head for a fish. Apart from that I enjoyed the rest, esp 11a and 25a for the misdirection. The Toughie has rocked my head – finished but I didn’t understand the wordplay for lots of the clues. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  4. A very nice start to Friday – I did know all the ‘unknowns’ which helped a lot. My favourite was 11a. Thanks to the two Gs.

    The Toughie is by Elgar at his most devious – Have a go you will/may need several hours of on and off cogitation, but it’s well worth the struggle.

  5. Thanks to Gazza for 12a – one to consign to the memory banks methinks. Thanks too to Giovanni for very enjoyable friday fare. Toughie done, but as Birdie says i’m not sure with some of the wordplay, eagerly awaiting Tilsits decryption.

  6. Bit of an issue with putting the two 24’s in the wrong spot but had no problem with 22D which has the same mindset as 21D so did one then the other.

  7. Thanks Gazza. It would be interesting to find out what other “fair to middlers” like me got first and what they struggled with – obviously the whizzkids probably solve in order from 1a onwards!
    For me the first solved were 11a, 12a, 23a, 13d, 16d, 19d
    Struggled with 1a, 1d, 4d, 11a, 21d and didn’t get 22d at all! also struggled with 3d after flirtations with waffle and piffle…

    Are the first solved the “easiest” or do all our brains just work in different twisty ways?

  8. Not as tough as usual from The Don this Friday!
    Faves : 7a & 22d.

    We are enjoying very good weather here in NL for the start of autumn – the equinox is today but 21 Sep is traditionally the onset of fall.

  9. I rattled through this one until only 22d was left but then ground to a halt. Finally got it through process of elimination and Onelook. This must be the best clue for the great misdirection. It also reminded me of the wonderful Jubilee Class locos in those far off steamy days. Also liked 11 and 17. If Mary is out there, I have been very busy this summer and not done much posting due to lack of time, apart from Thursday when I make time!.

    1. Hi UTC glad to know you’re still about, I didn’t get to the blog myself yesterday, which is unusual for me, I did the crossword in two parts, one before my friend and I started our ‘oil beginners class’ !! and finished it of yesterday evening, for anyone who may be wondering where Geoff is, I did email him and had a reply saying he’d been really busy playing for college exams and then he had a really nasty fall, nothing broken but lots of bruised muscles and ribs, he has been in too much pain to concentrate on the crossword and after a spell away is finding it difficult to get back into, so he isn’t sure if he’ll be back or not, I did offer to go back into the clueless club to give him encouragement :-D !

  10. Sorry to disagree but I found this the toughest Giovanni for many a long year. Really struggled. Thx to Gazza for the much needed help and I am sorry Sir but I really didn’t enjoy this one at all.

  11. Could some kind soul explain 6d for me please. I can see the AM but how do you get happiness from bles? I assume the sing means s but how are you supposed to know that, is this a convention I have missed so where along the line.

      1. Thx for that, I was trying to get in bliss which I thought may far more sense than bless as a word meaning happiness. I thought blessing was something priests did but that would fit in with the somewhat religeous theme of today’s puzzle.

  12. Managed it all without hints except for 22d – which has caused problems to others, I gather, from reading above? Not being at all into Greek mythology was also frantically looking for a fish! But it did make sense once explained – thanks Gazza. Was desperately trying to involve “flight” in 11a to start with when suddenly the prisoner bit penny dropped and all was revealed – clever clue that, prob my fav.
    Nice puzzle – enjoyed it – thank you setter.

    1. Hi Mob – welcome to the blog.
      I’m not sure what you’re asking for. SIMPLE is indeed the answer – can you not see the hint?

  13. Sat in the pub for a good hour and got hardly anywhere, watching tv later on got a couple more, but not one of my best days.

    1. Not one of my better days either. After feeling pleased I’ve had two days where I’ve hardly needed the hints, I’d just begun to think I was getting the hang of solving cryptic clues and then I couldn’t even get started today. So glad the hints are here!

  14. After a few weeks – seems like longer – of easy puzzles, something to tax the ol’ grey matter.

    Would never have got 22d without the blog, I just couldn’t make the connection with “bank” and the answer, although it’s easy when you see how. I did however like the symmetry between 10a/24d and 2d/24a… Little things please little minds :)

  15. Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and to Gazza for the review and hints. I found this really difficult and needed 4 hints to finish. Just couldn’t get on the Don’s wavelength. Still, an enjoyable puzzle, favourite was 23.

  16. Just got round to this this morning. I’m going to contradict myself here. I like Giovanni’s clues because they are mostly ‘solvable’ from the wording. However, 22d brought me to a shuddering halt. Not being the possessor of a classical education I hadn’t the faintest idea what he was driving at. I eventually plumped for ‘linger’ with no real justification whatsoever other than the fact it contained ‘ling’ and it fitted! I think it was my least favourite clue of the week.
    I rattled through the rest though and had a lot of fun on the way. Thanks to Giovanni for the fun and to Gazza for the assistance with 22d.

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