DT 26719

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26719

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I eventually (on my twenty-seventh attempt) managed to get into the on-line site this morning and printed out the puzzle, but the effort of doing that obviously tired it out so it sulked for the next hour.
I thought that this was a pretty entertaining puzzle with a number of smiles. Let us know how you found it.
If you want to see an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Venomous types given firm support by Society (6)
{COBRAS} – these venomous types are a charade of the abbreviation for a firm or business, a support garment and S(ociety).

5a  It’s ‘zythum’ — that’s a definitive statement (4,4)
{LAST WORD} – what claim to fame does zythum have in a dictionary?

9a  A pal met with familiarity, no end, in port (3,5)
{ABU DHABI} – string together A, an informal North American word for a pal and a term for familiarity or tradition without its final T (no end) to form the name of a port in what we call the Persian Gulf (but which the natives of this place call the Arabian Gulf).

10a  Drawing line at the edge of doughy mass (6)
{PASTEL} – put L(ine) after (at the edge of) a doughy mass to form a drawing made with a crayon.

11a  Saint as lion out to protect church (8)
{NICHOLAS} – an anagram (out) of AS LION contains (to protect) one of the abbreviations for church to make a saint whose feast day is 6th December when children in the Netherlands are given presents.

12a  Victor or Michael? (6)
{WINNER} – double definition. Calm down, dear!.

13a  Cold can give you unlimited appetite (8)
{FREEZING} – an adjective meaning very cold is a charade of an adjective meaning unlimited or unconfined and an informal word meaning appetite or enthusiasm.

15a  Do nothing, being in dire straits (4)
{REST} – hidden (being) in the clue is a verb meaning to relax or do nothing.

17a  Sound of swirling crowd gathering round (4)
{BOOM} – this deep resonant sound comes from reversing (swirling) an unruly crowd and then inserting (gathering) a round letter.

19a  Shape of infantrymen getting into mess (8)
{TRIANGLE} – this shape comes from putting RI inside a mess or confusion. I presume that RI must be an abbreviation for Royal (or Regular?) Infantry or similar but I can’t find it listed anywhere – can you?

20a  Loyal worker, not English shirker (6)
{TRUANT} – a charade of an adjective meaning loyal and the usual Crosswordland worker has the E removed (not English) to leave a shirker.

21a  Reunites different groups trailing behind (8)
{RETINUES} – groups who trail behind an important person are a (not very difficult to spot) anagram (different) of REUNITES.

22a  Disease running rampant in Serbia (6)
{RABIES} – this disease is an anagram (running rampant) of SERBIA.

23a  Wrongdoing at home I give up before start of year (8)
{INIQUITY} – the definition here is wrongdoing. Start with a short word meaning at home, then add I, a verb meaning give up and the first letter of Y(ear).

24a  Reform movement has endless sort of magnetism — time to get stuck in (8)
{CHARTISM} – a word meaning personal magnetism or charm loses its final A (endless) and has T(ime) inserted (stuck in) to make a UK reform movement of the nineteenth century.

25a  Bear close by river (6)
{ENDURE} – a verb meaning to bear or tolerate is a synonym for close or finish followed by the name of a river in North Yorkshire.

Down Clues

2d  Nothing wrong with activity involving tricks — part of the British Establishment! (8)
{OXBRIDGE} – a word used to mean the two oldest English universities (also used as shorthand for the elite and privileged class seen as the Establishment) is built from a) the letter standing for zero or nothing, b) the letter used to indicate a mistake (wrong!) and c) a social pastime which involves taking tricks.

3d  He drifts off — light going explains it (3,5)
{RED SHIFT} – this is a term used in astronomy to measure the distance and speed of celestial objects moving away from us. It’s an anagram (off) of HE DRIFTS.

4d  Tiny Devon village that is regarded as unimportant (5,4)
{SMALL BEER} – an easy one for me! A phrase meaning of minimal importance is made from a synonym of tiny and a picturesque fishing village on the Jurassic coast in South-East Devon.

5d  As zeal misfires, I change to a policy of non-interference (7-8)
{LAISSEZ-FAIREISM} – this is a horrible word meaning a policy of non-interference (mainly used in economics to mean letting the free market work without constraints). It’s an anagram (change) of AS ZEAL MISFIRES I.

6d  A day in Herts town doing business (7)
{TRADING} – insert A and D(ay) in a town in Hertfordshire to make a present participle meaning doing business.

7d  Some ghost in a town making a series of musical sounds (8)
{OSTINATO} – this word (new to me) means a continually repeated musical phrase. It’s hidden (some) in the clue.

8d  Raving Greek character, one annoyed, upset (8)
{DELIRIUM} – this word means raving or a wild excitement. String together the twelfth letter in the Greek alphabet, I (one) and a past participle meaning annoyed, then reverse the lot (upset, in a down clue).

14d  Drunk hitting me when it’s dark (5-4)
{NIGHT-TIME} – an anagram (drunk) of HITTING ME.

15d  Agitated rector, I may get hot inside, producing empty verbiage (8)
{RHETORIC} – another anagram (and this one really leaps out at you) indicated by agitated of RECTOR I has H(ot) inserted.

16d  Airbus flying over British university’s residential parts? (8)
{SUBURBIA} – this time we want an anagram (flying) of AIRBUS which contains (over) B(ritish) and U(niversity) to make a collective term for the residential areas surrounding cities.

17d  Spooner’s eager budgie, say, gets food (4,4)
{BEAN CURD} – if the Rev. Spooner had a keen bird he might get it confused with tofu.

18d  Item that’s yellow — ‘butter’, might you say? (8)
{OBJECTOR} – a charade of an item or thing and the usual heraldic yellow or golden tincture produces someone who, cryptically, might use “but…” a lot.

19d  Line traversed by metropolitan gentlemen (7)
{TANGENT} – a line which touches a curved surface but does not cross it is contained within (traversed by) the last two words.

My favourites today were 1a, 5a, 2d and 4d. Tell us yours.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {GRATE} + {KNEES} = {GREAT NIECE}



  1. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Steady progress today, completed comfortably within time-limits. A good number of nice clues: 5a, 18d for example, but needed your help, Gazza, to understand the reasoning behind 8d and 24a – for which, thanks.

  2. eXternal
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    A really lovely puzzle. Some nice clues. Loved the Spoonerism (a sucker for them) and it helped once you know it’s a pangram. Last one in was 18d, but I knew there was a J still to place. Thanks to setter and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Are you sure it’s a pangram?

      • eXternal
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        thought it was. Just by going by the z,q,x etc. Didn’t look for every single letter, I’m not that sad!!

        • mary
          Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          I thought it was too but I think its missing two letters?

          • eXternal
            Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            maybe the initials of the setter? Anyone know who it was?

            • mary
              Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

              normally Giovanni on a Friday external, so not his initials :-)

  3. Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. I think this was a case of solving one clue at a time and using the crossing letters for the next. Must brush up on my British geography – put DEALING in for 6D (well, Ealing is over that side of the country somewhere).

    • Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Same one messed me up for a long time, East of Swindon is abroad for me.

      • Kath
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Your geographical knowledge sounds about as good as mine – as far as I’m concerned anything north of Birmingham is Scotland! :smile:

        • Don Pedro
          Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Where’s Birmingham?

          • Steve_the_beard
            Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            It’s a collection of small and insignificant villages in Warwickshire.

            So I get 100% for Geography, and for History… nil points :-)

  4. mary
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Now this was a really tough one as far as I was concerned, a 4* too many things I didn’t know, without google and my ‘friends’ I would never have finished, wasn’t really in the right frame of mind after trying so many times to get the puzzle anyway, unlike external I didn’t like the spoonerism, fav clue 5a and 12a, have fun everyone off to art now :-D , another thing I’m bottom of the class in, thanks for blog and hints Gazza off to read them before I go

    • Brian
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on all counts today Mary. Very tough indeed and as for 7d, well how obscure is that. Managed the left side ok but the right side needed many hints. Cleverly put together as always with a Giovanni but somewhat out of my league. Thx to Gazza for he hints without which I def would not have finished.

  5. spindrift
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    RI = Royal Irish? Gazza, Thanks for the trip down memory lane at 15a – Air guitar was in full swing mode!

  6. Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    An entertaining puzzle for me. I needed Gazza’s hint for 5a, my brain was working overtime thinking about Egyptian beer. 7d was new to me too, thank heavens for Google. Overall very enjoyable.

  7. crypticsue
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable – a smidge trickier than the usual Giovanni but great fun. Same favourites as Gazza. Thanks to both the Gs as usual.

    The Firefly toughie is great fun too

    • Jezza
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I liked the toughie too – well worth a look!

  8. Tim
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    My dictionary has an R as the last letter of the first word in 5d. It is only a Z in the short version of this phrase. Any French experts around?

    • gazza
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Chambers gives both for the basic phrase but with the -ism ending only has the Z version. The Z ending is the French imperative and the R is the infinitive.

      • Tim
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza.

      • Steve_the_beard
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink


        I upset my colleagues when I shouted at the crossword today…

        You are, of course, correct in your description of the imperative and the infinitive, BUT…

        In all my puff I have only ever seen the imperative used for this adjective, and the infinitive used for this noun. My copy of the COED backs me up, so I feel justifiably aggrieved!

  9. Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I found this easier than normal Friday fare so I am attempting the Toughie. Thanks to G and G.

  10. Giovanni
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    RI=Royal infantry is something I’ve known since my youth, but it seems to have disappeared from the dictionaries. If you google Royal Infantry articles you’ll see it used as an abbreviation, but maybe I’d better desist in future! I’ll be interested to know if I’m the last person alive who knows about this. In the meantime, I think the clue should have been easy enough and hope it didn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment too much!

    • gazza
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that, Giovanni, and thanks for the entertaining puzzle.

    • Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Must admit that as soon as I realised the answer contained RI I thought of Royal Infantry. Nowadays, if the army is mentioned, then 9/10 the answer is RE, perhaps you could turn the clue into a religious theme?

      Incidentally, I’m think of forming a group called OPNIS (Only Place Names In Somerset), anyone fancy joining ?

      • Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I will certainly join. I live right on the Northern boundary.

      • Franco
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        But, “Street” (or the abbreviation thereof) appears in nearly every crossword!

        • Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Very true and quite rightly too. There are some wonderful names for villages and towns here in Somerset (and in South Gloucester) that I would love to see in crosswords – Farrington Gurney, Gurney Slade, Binegar, Catbrain, huish Espiscopi, Nempnett Thrubwell any of which would enhance the daily puzzle.

          • Franco
            Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            “Nempnett Thrubwell” – was he a character in the Goons? Good fodder for an anagram?

      • gazza
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Just as well you didn’t call your group Publish Every Name In Somerset :D

        • Franco
          Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          gazza, wot! No gratuitous photos of semi-clad ladies today!

          Just a naughty Acronym!

          • gazza
            Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            Unfortunately, due to problems with CluedUp, I was a bit strapped for time this morning and was unable to devote the very necessary effort into the painstaking research necessary to find such photos.

    • Brian
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Thx Sir for today’s, very tough but did enjoy the ref to the Doppler effect, nice to see a science clue for a change

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      I salute you, maestro!

      Notwithstanding my whinge above, this was an excellent crossword. In particular, I got 8D but couldn’t understand why, until Gazza’s explanation had me praising your name indeed :-)

      Thanks, Steve

  11. Stuart.
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    19 acc,
    The only ref to R I in the military I can think of is the R.(L.) I.
    Rhodesian Light Infantry, also known as ”The Saints”
    Also the P.B.I. = Poor Bloody Infantry.

    • gazza
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      See Giovanni’s comment above.

  12. Kath
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Really difficult today, I thought! I wouldn’t have finished this without several of the hints – 5a, 2d, 8d and 18d so thanks for them, Gazza. This is at least a 4* difficulty for me. I’ve never heard of 3 or 7d but they were easy enough to work out and look up. I liked 12 and 15a (if only for providing the excuse for a clip of the wonderful Dire Straits) and 4 and 19d. Best of all for me was the “keen bird” – loved that one. With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    • Brian
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes thx Gazza for the clip of the worlds second best band, sorry no1 will alwaysbe the Quo. :-)

  13. Pigdoghyena
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one, despite messing up 17a / 18d. Many thanks, Gazza.

  14. Boltonbabs
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    We thoroughly enjoyed this one, but struggled with 2d, despite playing the game at least twice a week. Got fixated on “magic”!

  15. BigBoab
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to the two Gs, supercrossword and super review.

  16. The Buffer
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Gazza, I needed help today; didn’t find this one too easy but I eventually made it. Thanks to Giovanni. Now Kath: let’s see if I can help with your geography. I am in West Cumbria but before I hit the Scottish border, I still have to go North another sixty miles.
    Greetings all.

  17. Derek
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Solved this one very steadily and in quick time for fare from The Don!
    Faves : 5a, 24a, 2d, 5d & 17d.

    For 5a I looked for the very first time at the end of the Z section of the big red book to make sure!

    Interested in what Giovanni says on RI in 19a as I could not find it in any of my dictionaries. My late father was in the Royal Fusiliers in WW1 and I recall that he mentioned RI as abbreviation for infantry!

    11a is very topical over here in NL these days – all the shops display Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) and we already had one parade in the main street – warming up for the big day!

    More sunshine this afternoon!

  18. Addicted
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Very tough again, for me – at least 4*. Needed hints to finish and also to explain some I had got but couldn’t quite belive they were right! So many thanks for that Gazza. Never heard of 7d but did manage to work it out from the clue, so gave myself a pat on the back for that one. Thought 5d was a complete horror – knew it was an anagram but could not for the life of me work it out! Hated 9a too!Favs 17d and 23a. Thanks to Giovanni for some brain strain!

  19. jdr
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    John Terry would appreciate the clue for 19D. Just as well the setter is anonymous. Ducking stools and McCarthyism are just hiding.

  20. Little Dave
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle and marginally easier than yesterday’s I thought. Last in was 8d and 2d ws my favourite.

  21. jaehancock
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Utterly defeated by 18d! It just never occurred to me to solve it that way. I was convinced the answer word was ‘item’. Thank heavens for this blog – instead of continuing to wrack my brain, I can now kick myself instead. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza. Finally I can stop concentrating on that clue and get dinner ready instead.

  22. Wayne
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    17d. Spoonerism, great! The rest fairly straightforward but thought the 2nd word in 5d was stretching it a bit. Thought 13a was a bit ‘iffy’ but overall a very satisfying Xword. Thanx to Compiler and to Gazza for the review. Has been a relatively untaxing week, which suits me fine.

  23. Roger
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I echo the appreciation for the help given here. Some days are tougher than others and this was one of them for me.

    As a PS, have they had another lightning strike? Need more money in the meter? Wrong kind of snow? The phrase Not Fit For Purpose springs to mind as I type this Saturday morning 9.15am with nary a hint of any access whatsoever. Pretty damn poor and I urge everyone to write in to the Telegraph and voice their annoyance. If the Guardian crosswords were easier then my allegiance would be even more sorely tested.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 26, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      You have mail!

  24. Carroll Fountain
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    RI = Régiment d’Infanterie (French!)

    Note to moderator – I have left one comment on this site, but no idea how to leave a comment without completing all my details again!

  25. TimCypher
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Really, really top effort this with some great clues – I liked 12a, 20a (great surface reading), 2d, 17d (despite not having heard of that foodstuff) and 18d (that held me up for a while).
    4d and 6d seemed to rely on familiarity with, what I would have said, two rather obscure villages/towns – I don’t like it when they do that in clues, but it was still gettable via the checking letters.
    Last in was 8d – quite a tricky one that…but a very pleasant solving experience overall…:)