DT 26698

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26698

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

There are a few amusing clues in this puzzle but most of it is fairly straightforward and not too exciting. Your views, as always, are very welcome.
If you need to reveal an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Facing counter concealing it (8)
{OPPOSITE} – the definition here is facing. Conceal IT inside a verb to counter or resist.

5a  Aim to lodge a protest (6)
{OBJECT} – double definition.

10a  Clergyman from another country, one high up in government (7,8)
{FOREIGN MINISTER} – another double definition.

11a  Arousing intense feeling in English grounds (7)
{EMOTIVE} – E(nglish) is followed by a word meaning grounds or reason to make an adjective meaning arousing intense feeling.

12a  Expresses pleasure about Italian returning piece of tack (7)
{STIRRUP} – tack here is the sort of equipment that you’d find in a stable. A verb meaning makes a noise indicating pleasure (as a contented cat may) goes around the abbreviation for Italian vermouth, then the whole lot has to be reversed (returning).

13a  Film buff attends revolutionary opening of animated Disney film (8)
{FANTASIA} – the name of a Disney film is built from an enthusiastic supporter (of film or other things), a phrase meaning attends (2,2) which is reversed (revolutionary) and the opening letter of A(nimated).

15a  Ordain following move back and forth (5)
{FROCK} – this means to ordain or invest with priestly office (seen more often these days, preceded by de- or un-, as a verb to remove someone from the priesthood). The abbreviation for following precedes a verb to move backwards and forwards.

18a  Lyric poem about cinema (5)
{ODEON} – originally this Greek word meant a theatre for musical or poetry recitals or competitions but in more modern times it’s used as the name of a cinema chain. It’s a charade of a lyric poem and a preposition meaning concerning or about.

20a  Cheap alcoholic drink embarrassed elderly woman (3,5)
{RED BIDDY} – this was my last answer as I’d never heard this slang term for a drink made of cheap red wine and methylated spirit (it sounds delicious). It’s a charade of an adjective meaning embarrassed and a slang term for an elderly woman, especially one thought to be annoying or interfering.

23a  Policeman, fellow I wanted in newly-formed force (7)
{OFFICER} – F(ellow) and I go inside an anagram (newly-formed) of FORCE.

25a  Polish — a lot docked in a New York port (7)
{BUFFALO} – a verb meaning to polish is followed by “a lot” without its final letter (docked) to make the name of a city and port in the state of New York.

26a  Returned to pay individual, making fresh start (4,2,6,3)
{BACK TO SQUARE ONE} – this phrase means having to start again, having made no progress with a previous attempt. A synonym for returned is followed by TO, a verb meaning to pay or settle up and a single individual.

27a  Article by head of monastery on an uplifting song (6)
{ANTHEM} – a song that lifts people up out of their seats is formed from a definite article and the first letter (head) of M(onastery) all following (on) AN.

28a  One may write a story about hospital worker (8)
{REPORTER} – a preposition meaning about or concerning is followed by a non-medical hospital worker.

Down Clues

1d  Cricket side’s opener, unsuitable (3-3)
{OFF-KEY} – an adjective meaning unsuitable or discordant is a charade of one side of the wicket in cricket and an opener (of a door or a tin of corned beef, for example).

2d  Messenger-boy committing crime inside church house (9)
{PARSONAGE} – put a crime inside a messenger-boy to make the home of the local minister.

3d  Downhill racer’s facility for getting to the top? (3,4)
{SKI LIFT} – cryptic definition of what a downhill racer uses to get back up for another descent.

4d  Colour metal, for example, reflected (5)
{TINGE} – a word meaning a slight colouring is formed from a metal followed by a reversal (reflected) of the abbreviation meaning “for example”.

6d  Blow full of trouble for sheriff’s officer (7)
{BAILIFF} – this is a sheriff’s officer who serves writs amongst other things. Put an informal word for a sharp blow (seen a lot in boys’ comics) around (full of) a verb to trouble.

7d  Go in wanting chips, not fish (5)
{ENTER} – start with the tradesman for whom “Chips” is a common nickname and then take away the fish to leave a verb meaning to go in.

8d  Try fish the American way (8)
{TURNPIKE} – more fish, this time a long-bodied freshwater one. Precede this with a try or stab to make an American way (which you have to pay a toll to drive on).

9d  Grave under tree will get immediate treatment (5,3)
{FIRST AID} – an adjective meaning grave or sedate follows (under, in a down clue) an evergreen tree to make immediate medical treatment.

14d  Spurries flourishing? That’s something unexpected (8)
{SURPRISE} – short of waving a little flag saying “I am an anagram” it’s difficult to see how this could be more obvious. The indicator is flourishing and the fodder is SPURRIES (which are, apparently, plants of the genus spergula).

16d  Method of selection, unusual on isle abroad (3,3,3)
{ODD MAN OUT} – when teams are being picked for a sports match then when both teams have their full complement and there’s one unfortunate individual left over, this is what he might be labelled as. String together a) a synonym for unusual, b) the name of an isle in the Irish Sea and c) another word for abroad. I’m not really convinced that this is a “method of selection”.

17d  Country doctor, one in remarkably cool area (8)
{COLOMBIA} – this is a South American country whose main exports seem to be coffee and drugs. Put the degree obtained by a medical doctor and I (one) between an anagram (remarkably) of COOL and A(rea).

19d  Ascot’s winning margin? Short row ensues (7)
{NECKTIE} – this is what an ascot is as an item of clothing. Start with one of the official ways of defining a winning margin in a horse race and add a row (of seats, say) without its final R (short).

21d  Deduce small number responsible for large blaze (7)
{INFERNO} – a charade of a verb to deduce and an abbreviated (small) number give us a large blaze.

22d  Definitely not name of listener (2,4)
{NO FEAR} – an expression meaning definitely not comes from a) the abbreviation for name, b) OF (given in the clue) and c) what you use to listen with.

24d  Newspaper carrying excellent feature (5)
{FACET} – the abbreviation for the pink newspaper contains (carrying) an adjective meaning excellent.

25d  Beast found in dry enclosure, initially (5)
{BRUTE} – an adjective meaning dry, when applied to wines, is followed by the initial letter of E(nclosure).

The clues I liked best were 7d, 8d and 19d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {WAUGH} + {SORE} = {WARSAW}


  1. mary

    Good morning Gazza, from a nice sunny West Wales today, the last one in for me too was 20a, I had never heard of this but it couldn’t be anything else, I finished without the hints but found I had to go back and forth to this puzzle, a lot of perservating and usual electronic help enabled me to finish it, but I needed your help to understand a few eg 7d, so for me it was a definite 3* today, stupidly put odd one out for 16d at first and couldn’t see where ‘isle’ came in! no real favourite clues for me today, thanks for hints Gazza, good luck all, needs a bit of perservating, depends how much you want to finish it :-)

  2. skempie

    Again, not the most challenging puzzle today, although I did get help up in the NE corner briefly until I twigged 6D and the rest fell into place. I thought the title in 10A should be Secretary or is that just me being picky? All in all, quite enjoyed doing this one.

  3. Jezza

    Not very taxing, but fairly enjoyable. Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

    I liked the Toughie today – especially 10d, and that’s all I’m saying about that puzzle on this page.

  4. Kath

    Apart from not understanding why 13a and 7d were what they were until I read the hints, I didn’t find this too difficult although, for some reason, I was quite slow to begin with. I had never heard of 20a either and have to confess to cheating by going through “red” in the dictionary – obviously didn’t need to go very far!! I WAS going to have a gripe about anagrams being made from non-existent words (14d) – thankfully thought that I’d better just have a quick look in the dictionary first ….. ! I liked 12 and 25a and 16 and 19d. Thanks to ? (do we know who set this one) and Gazza for the hints.

  5. crypticsue

    A nicely average puzzle from this Tuesday’s Mysteron. Once again, I agree with Gazza’s stars and favourites.

    The Giovanni Toughie is well worth everyone having a go as it isn’t particularly tough.

  6. Heno

    Thanks to the setter & Gazza. I did three quarters of this in no time, but I’m stuck in the NE corner.

  7. pommette

    Wasn’t particularly inspired by this one today and had a very slow start with only 5 across clues in. Picked up on the downs though.
    Like most others I’d never heard of 20a but once the checkers were in this it what it had to be, But have to say I don’t like 7d (sorry Gazza).
    My dad was one of these and they were always referred to as CHIPPIES not chips. No doubt it is in Chambers paper version (but can’t actually look as we don’t have one) but it ain’t in the online versions.
    Thanks gazza for the review and to the mysteron.

    • gazza

      Hi Pommette – nice to have you back with us.
      The BRB gives both chips and chippy as slang terms for a carpenter – perhaps it’s a regional thing.

      • pommette

        Nice to be back Gazza. Too much like hard work all these ****** visitors!
        Are you going to the Sloggers & Betters do in Derby? We’ll be there !!!!!
        It just happens to co-incide with a visit back to the UK so thought we would come and meet everyone face-to-face instead of via the ether!

        • gazza

          No, I won’t be in Derby so I’ll be sorry to miss you. I will get to one of these meetings one day, if only to check out if the stories of massive alcohol consumption are really true :D

          • crypticsue

            I usually link my drinking on these occasions with the need to be able to find the train and get off it at the right stop! Last Saturday, saw lots of sedate drinking of a number of fine real ales. Mind you, I think Gnomey would agree that if Prolixic had discovered that nice black treacle beer earlier in the afternoon, it might have been a different story for both of us :D

    • skempie

      I always thought of it as ‘Chippies’ being the slang word fro the profession in general, but when talking to a member of the profession, Chips was used (bit like calling an electrician Sparks). As an aside, down by yur in Brizzle, bus and lorry drivers are always called ‘Drive’ (although it tends to come out as Droive).

        • skempie

          It certainly is Heno – one of my favourite groups/albums who, incidentally, are still touring and play down this way most years. My 18 year old niece in New Zealand mailed me the other day to say she’s seen my Avatar (I use it for FB too) on a CD and recognised it so she bought it and thinks its wonderful – see, not all teenagers have bad taste in music.

  8. Ian

    Probably 3*for me as had to check 7d and 20a, the latter of which I’d never have got without help. Quite enjoyed it though, so prob three stars there too.

  9. pommers

    Agree with others here that this was pretty average. I might have gone to 3* for enjoyment if just for 8d and 19d.
    3d isn’r really crytic al all.

    Thanks to the mysteron and Gazza – BD’s outdone you on the gratuitous piccies today!

  10. Roger

    Very challenging and I had to resort to help from the hints above. Quite a few clues take the first letter of a word but without any hint that one needs to do this. For example, ‘following’ in 15. These type of clues are my least favourite and, if I was to be brutally honest, smacks to me of laziness on the part of the setter…if that’s not a heretical viewpoint!

  11. pommers

    Hi Roger
    To solve crosswords I think you need to know hundreds (if not more) abbreviations!
    If there’s a commonly used acronym using the word then it’s acceptable in my book. Example, S for Special or Service, A for Air as in SAS = Special Air Service. F for Fellow and R for Royal in FRS = Fellow of the Royal Society etc etc etc. Sometimes they’re quite arcane!

    Where F as an abbreviation for Following comes from I’m not sure but perhaps someone will enlighten us!

    • gazza

      f means following in citations referring to pages in a book, so a reference such as Treasure Island 87f means page 87 of Treasure Island and the following page.
      ff also means following but in this case an unspecified number of pages, so 123ff means in pages from 123 onwards.

      • pommers

        Thanks Gazza – couldn’t work that out as I’ve never come across it before! One lives and learns! Very educational place this blog – apart from Wednesdays!

        Now filed away in brain archive for future reference!

  12. AlisonS

    I actually have time to comment today! Makes a change. Agree with most of what Kath said above – needed hints to understand 13a & 7d, hadn’t heard of 20a, but I did guess it before looking it up in Google, and I also checked ‘spurries’ existed. You’re right, Gazza, it did kinda scream ‘anagram’! Thanks for the review, and to the setter for the puzzle.

  13. WBGeddes

    20A was what I see as backed into a corner answer for the setter – interested to see what else could go in there other than the answer – which I’d not heard of. Correction – of which I’d not heard.

    Perhaops if I drank 20A and not Black Sheep I might well have figured it out. Stephen Fry please note.

  14. Derek

    Quickly solved puzzle this evening.
    Faves : 12a, 18a, 20a, 26a, 8d, 9d, 16d & 25d – pass the Moët & Chandon!

    Had a wonderful afternoon with my daughter in the dunes at Meijendel near The Hague – the trees are wonderfully golden.

    When we first came to NL we used to go there a lot and follow the nature trails – documentation in hand – to learn the names of plants, trees and animals in Dutch.

    Too many people out in the sun this afternoon so saw no animals!

  15. Collywobbles

    Just finished. I must say that I did find this Xword difficult but we all perceive things differently. I did need some of the hints for which, Gazza, many thanks

  16. Addicted

    Sorry – didn’t really enjoy this one, and not just because I found it quite difficult (did the lh side and got completely stuck on rh side) but because I don’t think there were many “wow” clues. Never heard of 20a and 22d was odd because I also didn’t understand the “f”, so thanks for the enlightenment above! Best clue for me was 25a – it made me chuckle and had a bit of that “wow” factor. Needed hints, so for me 4* for difficulty and 2* for enjoyment. Tomorrow is another day! (Never did finish yesterday’s – took it to bed and promptly fell asleep!)

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