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DT 26695

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26695

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I thought that this Giovanni production was an excellent example of how a puzzle doesn’t have to be difficult to be very entertaining. Your views, as always, are welcome.
If you want to see an answer just slide your cursor through the space between the curly brackets under the clue that’s giving you problems.

Across Clues

5a  Head of State got rid of expert (7)
{SKILLED} – the first letter (head) of S(tate) is followed by a verb meaning got rid of permanently to make an adjective meaning expert or proficient.

7a  An attempt to bring shame (5)
{ABASH} – a verb meaning to bring shame or embarrassment to someone is also, if split (1,4), an attempt.

9a  Whiskery beast was outside front of local before game (6)
{WALRUS} – put WAS around the first letter (front) of L(ocal) and the abbreviation of a 15-a-side game to make a large marine mammal with whiskers.

10a  Around spring grass is growing (8)
{SWELLING} – a verb meaning to grass or turn informer goes around a spring (source of water).

11a  Summer ending in debauchery after tea and wine (10)
{CHARDONNAY} – this is one of two clues today where the first word is a disguised name. The setter wants you to think of Summer as a season but what we need is the forename of Ms. Summer, the American singer/songwriter. Follow this with the end letter of (debaucher)Y and precede it with an informal word for tea to make a popular white wine.

13a  Meadow has fine bit of greenery (4)
{LEAF} – this bit of greenery is another word for meadow followed by F(ine).

14a  How a foray must get organised so that danger can be avoided (3,2,5,3)
{OUT OF HARM’S WAY} – an anagram (get organised) of HOW A FORAY MUST produces a phrase indicating a safe haven.

16a  One Greek character born shortly before another (4)
{BETA} – the second letter of the Greek alphabet comes from B(orn) (shortly) followed by the seventh letter from the same source.

17a  Female left tea-maker out in second-hand sale (4,6)
{FLEA MARKET} – F(emale) and L(eft) are followed by an anagram (out) of TEA-MAKER to make a place to pick up bargains.

19a  Person lived with is monotonous and dull, with little energy (8)
{FLATMATE} – a person that you live with to share the accommodation costs is a charade of an adjective meaning monotonous or featureless, a second adjective meaning with a dull finish and a single letter (little) of E(nergy).

20a  Lower something to catch fish here (last one gets away) (6)
{NETHER} – this is an adjective meaning lower (as used in the name of a low-lying European country). String together something used to catch fish and HER(e) without its last letter.

22a  Prince longing for a clear-out of unwanted people? (5)
{PURGE} – a clear-out of people whose faces don’t fit is P(rince) followed by a longing or craving.

23a  Medieval games would get ye to run around (7)
{TOURNEY} – an anagram (around) of YE TO RUN.

Down Clues

1d  Christian compromised ultimately — one taking gold (4)
{DIOR} – there’s another neat bit of misdirection here (especially given Giovanni’s penchant for religious references) – Christian is a forename rather than a religious follower and what we want is the surname of the French fashion designer who had that forename. Start with the last letter (ultimately) of (compromise)D and add I (one) and the heraldic term for gold.

2d  ‘Countdown’ may be followed by this criticism that’s turned sour (5-3)
{BLAST-OFF} – what follows ‘countdown’ is not a late afternoon programme on Channel 4 but a launch at Cape Canaveral, say. It’s a charade of a criticism or reprimand and a description of something (milk perhaps) that has turned sour.

3d  Courageously showing leg, see (6)
{GAMELY} – an adverb meaning courageously is a charade of a slang term for a leg (especially that of a young woman) and a see or diocese in Cambridgeshire.

4d  Wife wants everyone to flourish — I’m rather shy (10)
{WALLFLOWER} – this is someone (normally a girl) who’s too shy to mix at a social gathering. String together W(ife), a synonym for everyone and a verb meaning to bloom or flourish.

5d  Cut evident when son’s been give whip (5)
{SLASH} – combine S(on) and a whip. ‘Give’ should presumably be ‘given’.

6d  Detachment from event of 24 February 1981 (13)
{DISENGAGEMENT} – this word for a detachment or separation could cryptically be the reversal of what happened on this date more than 30 years ago (although it seems like yesterday) when the fairy-tale which later turned into a nightmare was announced.

8d  Eager to get across a country (7)
{HUNGARY} – an adjective meaning eager goes round (to get across) A to make the name of a European country.

12d  Star rector played instruments in theatre (10)
{RETRACTORS} – an anagram (played) of STAR RECTOR gives us surgical instruments used to hold back the edges of an incision.

14d  Where granny keeps blanket? It suggests a double layer (7)
{OVERLAP} – this (4,3) is where granny may keep her blanket, especially if she can’t afford to switch on her heating.

15d  A bit of time with hesitation — so this is lost? (8)
{MOMENTUM} – a short period of time is followed by an expression of hesitation (not “er” – the other one) to make what may be lost in the event of hesitation or indecision.

17d  A picture could be so planned (6)
{FRAMED} – double definition – how a picture could be displayed also means shaped or planned.

18d  Yemen possibly a very unfriendly state? (5)
{ENEMY} – an anagram (possibly) of YEMEN.

21d  Pacific kingdom expelling a Chinese guild (4)
{TONG} – start with a kingdom in the South Pacific (also known as the Friendly Islands) and expel the final A to leave a Chinese guild or secret society.

There were many enjoyable clues today but the pick of the bunch for me were 9a, 11a, 2d and 14d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {FOUGHT} + {KNOCKS} = {FORT KNOX}

46 comments on “DT 26695

  1. Good morning Gazza, a few obscure ones from Giovanni today I thought, 11a to beging with! I got the answer but no way could I see where ‘donnay’ came from, until Jezza explained it to me, thanks Jezza, also 6d, without google I would never have known what happened on this date! In all te books I have read over the years I have never come across ‘gam’ for leg, nevertheless I quite enjoyed it but think it deserves a 3* for the obscure ones! I wish I would remember the other meanings for ‘theatre’ and ‘see’ , I always for get them, fav clue today 5a, thanks for hints Gazza, managed to finish without them but not to understand without a few hints :-) nice sunny day at the moment, we deserve it after all that rain, good luck all, off now to help arrange our little art clubs exhibition which is on over the weekend

    1. Mary, you didn’t mention your electronic assistant today. I should think most of us would have to rely on some help for 6d. I had to research the date, as it wasn’t one that stuck in my mind, as I suspect with most. Otherwise, most enjoyable. And I’ve managed to access the crossword via the website every day this week!

      1. Hi Vince, yes the site seems to be up and running again for the time being, as for my electronic ‘friends’ they are taken as a given most days and definitely today :-)

      2. I didn’t need to search on the web as, with all the checking letters, the penny dropped. I think I groaned, as I did a few times during this crossword, but I really enjoyed it, so groaning is clearly a good sign!

  2. No quibbles here – an excellent crossword from Giovanni.

    Anyone venturing to the middle pages be warned that Notabalis has given us a Toughie on steroids today.

    Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Giovanni for the crossword.

        1. Oh dear – poor you! I didn’t even look – cut grass (ie walked round with the lawn mower and picked up all the leaves). Off to Liverpool Street Station tomorrow. Feeling a tad on the nervous side … – am sure that it will all be fine!

          1. Don’t forget that the Circle line is out of action – if you come into Paddington you will need to take the Bakerloo to Baker Street and then the Metropolitan to Liverpool Street

  3. Giovanni at his best! Thanks to him for a splendid puzzle, and to gazza for the usual excellent review.
    Favourite clue, 11a.

    As Prolixic says above, the Toughie lives up to it’s name! I await Tilsit’s explanation for a couple of the answers later this afternoon.

  4. I’ve just started picking my way through it and, so far, it is proving quite entertaining, especially 20a which is very clever

  5. Not too difficult today although I absolutely couldn’t explain 11a – got the tea bit (although I thought that was the first three letters), explained the “R” as the “Summer ending” then came to a halt and needed the hint. I’ve never heard of “gam” meaning leg (or, having looked it up to check, any of the other things it means!) but it had to be what it was. I liked 9, 11, 13 and 19a and 1 (once I’d stopped to make it begin with “pi”) 2, 6 and 14d. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.
    Sunny and chilly here – might try to cut grass later if it gets dry enough.

    1. Hi Kath, same as me for 11a! I have never heard of ‘gam’ for leg either, but I have heard of a ‘gammy’ leg, meaning something wrong with a leg, sunny and warm here at the moment, warm enough to sit out actually, amazing!

  6. I’m with Kath on 11a and 3d (gam). Managed to figure out 11a but couldn’t see why. Needed hints to get 3d. Very enjoyable today, and other than those two, not too difficult. Thanks to G&G.

  7. As usual when it comes to a Gazza review of a Giovanni puzzle, I agree with everything he says including * ratings and favourite clues. Thanks to both G’s for the excellent Friday service.

    As Prolixic mentions above, the Toughie is really really tough and not one for the faint hearted.

  8. I made heavy weather of this today and couldn’t see 20a without the hints. Agree with all the comments re 11a. Very nicely disguised. Thanks again.

  9. Blimey glad you thought it was straightforward! IMHO the left hand side was very obscure and a least a 3 if not 4 star for difficulty. Enjoyable what I could manage.

  10. I found them all gettable today but like others hadn’t heard of the leg in 3d, didn’t get the Summer reference in 11a despite having twigged the same device in 1d and had forgotten about events in Feb ’81. 21d was a new word for me, I thought it was rhyming slang, as in ‘Oh no it’s all gone Pete…..’. Favourites were 14d down and 23a.

  11. Fully agree with the ratings; entertaining without being too difficult. 6d probably one of my favourite clues ever – very clever and you can work it out without having the date committed to memory once you have a few connectors in place.

    1. We aren’t supposed to comment on the Toughie here and I would agree with you but it has been in a crossword before.

  12. First time in a while I’ve finished without needing hints but I did need 11a explaining… never heard of the singer concerned! My favourite was 14d, I had ottoman in mind for a whilewhich I couldn’t really justify but then when the penny dropped it made me smile.

  13. V enjoyable. Partic liked 11A and 20A. Not so sure about 17D and have to (last one in) that I thought 14D need a “for example” or “might” inserted in the clue.

    1. In 14d don’t you think the question mark fufils the same role that “for example” or “might” would?

      1. Kept thinking “overlay” , which didn’t make sense, until I finally got 22a and the penny dropped like thunder and I laughed out loud!

  14. The usual enjoyable fare from The Don.
    Faves : 9a, 11a, 17a, 20a, 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d & 12d.

    Re 11a, my late wife and I used to load up at Chardonnay on our way down to the Var to ensure a good stock of white – in the Var it is rosé and red of course. Happy days!

  15. Phew, that was a marathon. I can normally rattle off 2*’s which makes me think that 3*’s would be nearer the mark. However, I couldn’t have finished with using Gazzas’ hints a great deal, for which, thanks to Gazza, and Giovanni for setting the challenge. I did think that 2d was a bit odd!

  16. Very enjoyable but 3* for difficulty for me and 4* for enjoyment. Like many had to look up the significance of the date in 6d. The slang for leg was a common expression many moons ago in this part of the world. Anagrams are always a way in to the crosswords for me so 14a and 12d were very helpful. What about the Quickie,can’t remember one a tough as todays’!

    Thanx to Compiler and to Gazza for his usual excellent review.

  17. Me neither for 3d – worked it out but had to go to hints to see why. VERY obscure! Ditto 11a – got it eventually but couldn’t for the life of me see why – never thought of Ms Summers, of course! Not bitching though – lovely puzzle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to setter and Gazza for explanations.

  18. Thanks to the Mysteron & to Gazza for the hints. Enjoyed this one, lots of nice clues. Great to meet everyone at Liverpool Street yesterday, where I received a bit of expert help with one clue, however I’m still stuck on 3 down. There was a very difficult picture quiz set by John, which was most enjoyable, all good fun.

  19. I find Giovanni a bit hit and miss. This was a hit for me, and I very much enjoyed it. 6d and 14d were especially good clues, I thought.
    3d was the only one I couldn’t get without help, and, having just checked the answer above, I never would have got that.
    I do think that, if you’re going to use a ‘leftfield’ synonym like ‘gam’ in your clues, you should at least construct the grid to give a fair number of checking letters (NOT just one solitary vowel) so that someone like me (who has never, ever heard of that word in his life) still has a fighting chance.
    Other setters seem able to do this, and their puzzles, IMHO, are so much better and fairer because of it.

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