DT 26737 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26737

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26737

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

I thought this was a really enjoyable Giovanni puzzle. Let us know how you got on with it.
If you need to reveal an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the troubling clue.

Across Clues

1a  Thick-skinned type with the potential to be richer soon (10)
{RHINOCEROS} – it’s funny how you can have seen a word written down countless times but when it comes to writing it yourself you’re not sure how to spell it (I was sure that there ought to have been a U in there somewhere). This thick-skinned type is an anagram (with the potential to be) of RICHER SOON.

9a  Festival with lots of stars but no unknowns (4)
{GALA} – remove the two letters used as mathematical unknowns from the end of a word meaning a grouping of lots of stars in the universe, of which the Milky Way is one example.

10a  Job being taken over by the enemy? (10)
{OCCUPATION} – double definition, the second being the state of having enemy forces control your land as the Nazis did to the Channel Islands during WWII.

11a  Mother’s request for a particular fabric (6)
{DAMASK} – this is a rich heavy woven fabric, originally of silk, the name of which is derived from the Syrian capital where it was first produced. It’s a charade of the mother (of a horse, say) and a verb to request.

12a  First book in series dull? Needs to get cut (7)
{MATTHEW} – the name of the first book of the New Testament is a synonym for dull (describing a colour or surface) followed by a verb to cut or chop.

15a  Mischievous tot is held in check (7)
{CADDISH} – insert a verb to tot and IS (from the clue) inside (is held in) the abbreviation used in chess for check. The meaning of this adjective is usually a bit stronger than mischievous – dishonourable perhaps?

16a  Syracusan wanderer heading west (5)
{DAMON} – luckily the wordplay is fairly simple because I’d never heard of this mythological character from Syracuse. Heading west is an across-only construct meaning that the word for a wanderer has to be read from East to West, i.e. from right to left, so it’s a way of indicating a reversal.

17a  Weakling died — may he be at peace (4)
{DRIP} – an informal word for a weakling or an ineffectual person is formed from D(ied) followed by the letters often seen on a gravestone.

18a  Ring old PM on the phone (4)
{PEAL} – a verb meaning to ring (of a set of bells) sounds like (on the phone) the surname of a nineteenth century British Prime Minister.

19a  Republican turning on President of yesteryear (5)
{PERON} – one of the abbreviations for Republican is reversed (turning) and followed by ON to make an old Argentinian president (nowadays less famous than his wife Evita).

21a  Cool, totally loveless affair to get one screaming? (7)
{CLAMOUR} – totally loveless is an instruction to remove both the letters used to signify zero or love in tennis from C(oo)L. Follow this with a romantic affair to make the noise of someone shouting.

22a  Dearest being ditched is stunned (7)
{TASERED} – an anagram (being ditched) of DEAREST gets you stunned (and probably writhing on the ground) after being “shot” with a device using 50,000 volts.

24a  Financial institution with millions ends with you upset, you needing a pound (6)
{MUTUAL} – the description of a financial institution that is owned by its members (like the remaining Building Societies) is built from a) the abbreviation for millions, b) the end letters of yoU upseT yoU, c) A and d) the letter used as an abbreviation for pound sterling.

27a  Young female boss somewhere in Berks (10)
{MAIDENHEAD} – this town in Berkshire is a charade of a young female and the boss of an organisation.

28a  4 things to eat (4)
{NUTS} – double definition – another slang term for the “bats” of 4d and small things to eat, especially at this time of year.

29a  What can be poisonous gets near — awful deaths to ensue (10)
{NIGHTSHADE} – a deadly plant is formed from an old word for near followed by (to ensue) an anagram (awful) of DEATHS.

Down Clues

2d  Journalist given chop (4)
{HACK} – double definition – a less than sparkling journalist and a verb to chop.

3d  Tongue endlessly manoeuvring round a sweet (6)
{NOUGAT} – an anagram (manoeuvring) of TONGU(e) without its end letter contains (round) A to make a sweet.

4d  Broken bats (7)
{CRACKED} – double definition, bats being a slang term for crazy.

5d  Come down and brake audibly (4)
{RAIN} – a verb meaning to come down like moisture from the clouds sounds like (audibly) to brake or apply a check.

6d  Beach model, a dream-inducer? (7)
{SANDMAN} – double definition, something that may be built on the beach and a fictional character supposed to put children to sleep at bedtime.

7d  Soldier having drink at back of vehicle outside home (10)
{CARABINEER} – this is an old soldier armed with a short rifle. Put a term (1,4) for an alcoholic beverage after (at back of) a vehicle and insert (outside) a short word meaning home.

8d  Young fellow seen as a ‘card’? (4,3,3)
{JACK THE LAD} – cryptic definition of a flashy, cocksure youth who appears four times in a pack of playing cards.

12d  Minced meat could be something to make you feel better (10)
{MEDICAMENT} – an anagram (could be) of MINCED MEAT.

13d  Journey, special treat around Italy, with three parties (10)
{TRIPARTITE} – the definition here is “with three parties”. Start with a synonym for journey and add an anagram (special) of TREAT around the IVR code for Italy.

14d  Bet composer’s name will be forgotten (5)
{WAGER} – “name will be forgotten” means that we have to lose the N(ame) from a 19th century German composer to leave a bet.

15d  Artist’s bed with yellow lining (5)
{COROT} – this is a French landscape painter. A children’s bed is lined with (i.e. has inside) the heraldic tincture of gold or yellow.

19d  Exert force on chap to become an author (7)
{PULLMAN} – this is the English author of the His Dark Materials trilogy. A verb meaning to exert force in the direction towards you precedes (on, in a down clue) a synonym for chap.

20d  Simplest home — excellent with very small interior (7)
{NAIVEST} – a superlative meaning simplest or most unsophisticated comes from a home (for birds perhaps) having in its interior an abbreviation for excellent and a small form of V(ery).

23d  In weight he is quite a way down the list? (6)
{EIGHTH} – this ordinal number, which would put you in the top ten but not on the podium, is hidden in the clue.

25d  Side in debt dumping leader (4)
{WING} – one side (of a large stately house, say) comes from a present participle meaning in debt after dumping its leading O.

26d  Worker may be bananas (4)
{HAND} – double definition.

My favourite clues today were 9a, 12a and 29a. Let us know yours.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {MOW} + {MEN} + {TREE} = {MOMENTARY}

38 comments on “DT 26737

  1. Yes, very enjoyable. There were a couple that kept me guessing for a while. Never heard of the composer at 15d, and ref 7d, I think the clue omits mention of the second “A”, unless I’m missing something. i.e. should read, “soldier having A drink at ……………” Thanks to G n G.

    1. I did spot the missing A but decided that it was perhaps deliberate with drink meaning “a beer” as in “let’s have a beer” or “let’s drink”. Even as I’m writing this I’m coming round to the view that you may be right!

  2. A fairly straightforward puzzle today, although I did spend some time trying to work out 7d.
    Favourite clue, 29a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza for the review.

    As for the Toughie… it definitely is! Completed, but needing clarification on a couple from Tilsit later.

  3. Morning Gazza, finished without hints but needed a couple of explainations, thanks :-) , a tough one for me and not one of my favourites, I agree there is an ‘a’ missing form the clue in 7d, have never heard of one of these either, maybe one favourite clue 17a, good luck everyone a 3 or 4* maybe even for me today, I found it hard going

  4. All went smoothly until the last few on the RHS, notably 15d (never heard of him) and 15a (is this a real word?) which was last in for me. Would not have finished without hints so just shades into 4* difficulty for me. Liked 9a and 21a, hated 19a, 18a and 15d, since I really dislike clues where the solutions are people’s names.

  5. I made exactly the same comment to my husband about the spelling of rhinoceros. Not a word you write down very often, but glad I was not the only one to doubt the spelling. We found this quite tricky but very enjoyable.

  6. I also had to check the spelling for 1a. Found it tricky but solvable in the end. Had a few strange answers for 7d before the penny dropped . Thanks to Gazza for the explanations.

  7. Very enjoyable thank you Giovanni, a nice end to the solving week. I would say 2* difficulty but definitely 4* fun. Thanks to Gazza too.

    The Toughie is very tough, although some of my d’ohziness may be explained on a particularly busy and hard going week. If you are up for a great challenge, have a go.

  8. Fairly standard in terms of difficulty. Got stuck with two in the NE section. Never heard of the soldier but eventually managed to work it out from the wordplay. Didn’t know the artist either, but again the wordplay helped. Quite an enjoyable puzzle.

  9. Enjoyed this one. The 2 15s were the last in as I had not heard of the painter and forgot about the ‘is’ in 15a. Not sure if 22 is a verb though – is it in Chambers yet? Still, a good contest with lots of nice clues of which I liked 14 best.

  10. Looks as if I’m the only one to have really struggled today – I found it VERY difficult and would not have finished without the hints. I had alternate letters in 1a and STILL couldn’t see it – thought of insensitive people, thick skinned fruit and veg, insects …. ! I’d never heard of 16a but it could only have been what it was. Lots of clues that I eventually DID manage and liked – 9, 12, 17 and 29a and 4, 14 and 26a. At least a 4* for me today – need a rest now but too much to do! :sad: With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. I think I need a lie down too, Kath. I found yesterday hard but doable. Today was really hard and had me completely stuck on the last 5 clues.

      Nice to see the the painting used to illustrate 15d – I had a poster of this one on my wall in my student days (not all my posters were so tasteful, I admit).

      Some great clues but some stinkers. However, I’m pleased that most people enjoyed it and maybe one day I’ll get on to this setter’s wavelength.

      1. I used to find Fridays very difficult but over the last few months I rather thought that I’d got him “sussed” – from today’s effort it would appear that I’m wrong!! :sad:

  11. I’m getting through this very nicely and very enjoyably. I liked 21A particularly.

    But still not finished. Who else struggled with the NE corner most I wonder?

  12. Enjoyed this, apart from 15a and 15d – did think of the answer for 15a but didn’t put it in because,IMHO (and I agree with Gazza) it is DEFINITELY more serious than “mishievous”. Thought there had to be a “cot” somewhere in 15d but have never heard of this gentleman, so it didn’t help! Thanks for the hints Gazza, otherwise I would definitely have two blanks! 19a held me up for a while as was even reduced to googling American Presidents before I realised…. so easy once you get it. 4* for difficulty for me to-day and, yes, I also had to check the spelling of 1a!

  13. 23d ‘eighth’. This always strikes me as a strange word, as ‘t’ is doing double duty.
    It’s the last letter of eight and is then used for ‘th’.
    Perhaps we should write ‘eightth’ but it would then look odder than it is already.

  14. Raced through this one until I reached the 15s. Googled several variations of 15d until I twigged the “yellow” bit. But was very unhappy with 15a. I refused to accept that the answer is in any way synonymous with the definition. Still do! Otherwise, thanks for a great puzzle and enlightening hints.

  15. The usual enjoyable fare from The Don.
    Faves : 9a, 12a, 17a, 22a, 29a, 6d, 14d & 26d. I also liked the linkage between 4d & 28a.

    Am now preparing to parcel up the Christmas presents for my family – have ordered online for the far-flung members!

    Weather here is now atrocious – we can’t complain after the long Indian Summer period.

  16. I too am deeply unhappy with 15A – mischievous and dishonourable are not the same!

    Am I alone in thinking that the DT has swapped the Thursday and Friday setters this week?

  17. Yes, agree fully about 15a.

    Otherwise, a good puzzle, and thanks to the Don and reviewer.

    No snow here in Edinburgh!

    1. You must be joking! I thought it was snowing in Wales – we had a light sprinkling when we woke up this morning – it’s gone now but still TERRIBLY cold – maximum temp all day has been 3C and it’s going down again now. Just off the light the fire. :smile: How is other half?

      1. Just looked at the barometer and it’s risen about 3 or 4 points since mid-day! Wonder what that means?? Snowed this morning and has been terribly cold all day. Hope we don’t wake up to a “winter wonderland”!

  18. Thank you Gazza for a very nice picture of 1a, and a lovely bunch of bananas. I’ve got none in at the moment, but will have a go at standing them up the next time I buy some!

    Thanks for the hints too – I was STUCK fast on a few, though kicking myself now on a couple as I was thinking on the right lines but just couldn’t get to the answers.

  19. Hi Gazza
    Friday, Gazza review, no ‘gratuitous’ picture?! What’s going on?
    Thought this perhaps the worst Giovanni for some time (although I still enjoyed it as always with this setter).
    ‘being ditched’ as an anagram indicator? Caddish – mischievous? Don’t think so!
    Horses for courses I guess – I enjoyed yesterday’s when most others don’t seem to have liked it!
    As posted on the Toughie a bit ago I’m a bit pissed tonight so probably not the best time to tackle a crossword over dinner (or post on here) but pommette and I got there in the end!
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  20. In today’s paper, underneath the solution to this puzzle there is the following apology “7 Down: The word ‘a’ was missing from the clue (‘a drink’). Apologies’

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