DT 26749 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26749

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26749

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

For the third time this week, Gazza has kindly vacated the hot seat to allow one of his fellow bloggers who doesn’t normally get the chance to do an on-the-day review to have a go.   If he had his unaccustomed but well-deserved  lie in, he will have missed a superb sunrise which kept distracting me from the job in hand, the review of this very enjoyable Giovanni puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1 Sign is given by church in additional message (6)
{PISCES}  One of the signs of the Zodiac is obtained by inserting IS from the clue plus an abbreviation for the Church of England into the two-letter abbreviation used for an afterthought at the end of a letter (in the days when we used to send letters!)

5 Expression of regret about large town’s lewdness (8)
{SALACITY}  A less common term for lewdness or lechery – reverse an archaic term for sorry and follow this with the more usual term for a large town.

9 Reproving a fellow, one politician embracing maiden (10)
{ADMONITORY}  To get the adjective meaning containing a reproof or censure, you need A (from the clue) the three letter name for a fellow of a university college, into which is inserted M (maiden over in cricket) , followed by I (one) and the informal way one might refer to a member of the Conservative Party.  I felt this clue was slightly misleading as on first, or even second  reading, there is a temptation to try and make the ‘politician’ embrace the ‘maiden’.   Think of the picture Gazza could have used if that was the case!

10 Sort of female to get kiss after short time (4)
{MINX}  This sort of female is a cheeky or playful young girl – follow half a minute with the letter used to indicate a kiss at the end of a letter or a text.  (Yes, Gazza I know this isn’t the picture you would have chosen!!)

11 Improperly express what an incompetent mountaineer may do (8)
{MISSPEAK}  A verb meaning to speak wrongly might if split 4, 4 describe what an incompetent mountaineer might do if he didn’t read his map properly.

12 One observing King and Queen behind small room (6)
{LOOKER} A person who observes or watches –  The informal term for the smallest room in the house followed by K (King) and the cipher of our current Queen.

13 Obligation to listen to Asian language (4)
{THAI}   The language used in an Asian country sounds like (to listen to) an obligation or restraint.

15 Academician’s installed as religious adviser (8)
{RASPUTIN} The person who advised the court of the last Tsar of Russia on spiritual matters.   A charade of the abbreviation for a member of the Royal Academy plus S (‘s) and a simpler way of saying ‘installed’.

18 Melancholic season here again? Retreat (4,4)
{FALL BACK}  A way of saying that the American  season we call autumn has returned can also be used to mean to retreat.    Many poets, including Keats, refer to this season as one of melancholy.

19 Men aboard taking front off propeller (4)
{CREW}  Remove the first letter from a propeller, for example of a ship, and you are left with the collective term for the men who form the ship’s company.

21 A learner among finest, most clever (6)
{ABLEST}  Clever or skilful –  A from the clue followed by a synonym for finest into which is inserted the letter used to show that one is a Learner Driver.

23 Way to get around obstruction in chancy game (8)
{ROULETTE}  A game of chance played in casinos is simply found by inserting an archaic term for an obstruction into  a regular way or journey.

25 Group expressing anger to some extent (4)
{GANG}  A group or band of delinquents or a number of people working together is hidden (to some extent) in expressinG ANGer.

26 See fashion writer (10)
{CHESTERTON}  The writer of many things including the Father Brown stories is a charade of a Cheshire cathedral city (See here means diocese)  and an originally French word for fashion.

27 Disciple of our era present with holy books (8)
{ADHERENT}  Someone who follows or is a faithful disciple of:  a charade of the abbreviation for our current era (ie not BC), an adverb meaning present in this place, and the two letter abbreviation for the books in the second part of the Bible.

28 I had to be in clique, up with the pony set? (6)
{RIDING}  Up here means travelling on a pony –  Insert ID (I had) into an exclusive group of people .


2 At home doctor has one exotic animal (5)
{INDRI}  A fairly simple charade –  at home (2) the abbreviation for doctor (2) and I (has one) – this animal is one of the largest tree-dwelling lemurs.

3 Bird William found under bridge (9)
{CROSSBILL}  A finch with a beak formation which gives it its name –  follow a synonym for  bridge, which  here is used as a noun meaning to go over something, with the diminutive form of William.

4 Star maybe getting a black eye (6)
{SHINER}  An informal term for a black eye also describes what a star (especially the Sun) might be.

5 Prosperous area in Berks with bottle cork popping (11,4)
{STOCKBROKER BELT} The area outside a city where wealthy businessmen live –  an anagram (popping)  of BERKS and BOTTLE CORK.

6 Behold Italy’s new supporter of the government in power (8)
{LOYALIST}  A faithful follower of a government – follow  an archaic interjection meaning behold with an anagram (new) of ITALYS.

7 American singer embraces British band (5)
{COMBO}  To get a small jazz or dance band, insert B for British into an American singer whose songs were heard constantly as I was growing up.  Catch a Falling Star is just one of the many things I have been singing this morning since looking him up on the web.

8 Fruit eaten with grin spreading (9)
{TANGERINE}   The fruit usually found in the toe of a Christmas stocking is an anagram (spreading) of EATEN and GRIN.

14 What CEO will do to provide backing for the rest (9)
{HEADBOARD} An ornamental panel at the top of the bed also describes what the Chief Executive Officer of an organization might do.

16 Relation, a leftie, not given the OK (9)
{UNCLEARED}  Your mother’s brother plus A from the clue, and the usual way in which a left-winger or Communist is referred to , should produce a term meaning not approved,  usually associated these days with cheques.

17 Something small — wrap it up in special parcel (8)
{PARTICLE} A very minute piece of something – an anagram (special) of PARCEL with a reversal (up in a down clue) of IT inserted (wrap).

20 Fatty solid could be black, say (6)
{BUTTER}  These days one tends to use healthier spreads than this fatty solid.   B (black) followed by another verb meaning say.

22 Bird dog heading off (5)
{EAGLE}   Remove the first letter (heading off) from a type of hunting dog to get a large bird of prey.  Every crossword should have its old chestnut!!

24 Old character that may get under your skin (5)
{THORN} In addition to being literally and metaphorically an irritant that might get under your skin, this word is also the Old English or Old Norse character which sounded like th.   Hands up who else spent time trying to find how you could add an N to the Norse God of War – well he is an old character too!  Thank goodness for Chambers is what I say.

Thank you to Giovanni for giving me a fairly straightforward crossword with a nice mix of clues and to Gazza for giving me the chance to review it.     I am now going to have a nice cup of tea  and a Christmas biscuit or possibly a mince pie, and have a go at what should be a good  Micawber Toughie.

The Quick crossword pun: {buoy} + {banned} = {boy band}

63 comments on “DT 26749

  1. Sunrise? Not in the East Midlands! Bleak grey skies with more rain forecast later in the day. 22d is up there with etui in my book. Thanks to setter & to CS for the review.

  2. Usual excellent Friday offering from the Master. If I had to be picky I would say too many archaic references today but some super clues to make up for them, 11a, 18a and 7d for instance. Thx to Sir.

    1. I beg to differ. I found this really difficult. I admit to getting stuck for a while because I’d put ‘back down’ in 18a, but I think a lot of the clues were very complicated, especially 9a. You can see from the length of Sue’s explanation that it needed quite a lot of unravelling. An unhappy Friday here in España, but at least the sun is shining.

      1. For me,Nora, 9a was one of those harder to explain than to solve clues. I gave the whole crossword 2* for difficulty as, even allowing for blogger’s nerves, I still took the same time as usual for a Giovanni and assumed that, had I been at work (before start time!) as usual, it would have been slightly quicker. Lucky you, havnig the sun. As mentioned before, the sunrise was beautiful but it’s been grey and cloudy ever since.

        1. Crypticsue, I found this unusually hard to get started. In fact it took me an hour to get the first 4 clues in. If I had been the blogger today and that had happened to me I would have been a nervous wreck. So congratulations on solving and giving great explanations on a tough day. Despite it being difficult, I enjoyed it because you could get the answers from the clues and by that I mean the clues weren’t dubious. Perhaps 18a was easier for me because it’s the word we use for autumn in Chicago, where it is typical English weather like yours today. Gloomy and raining.

  3. I found this harder than 2* but maybe my brains not in gear yet. I would agree a lot of archaic references and an archaic singer? I didn’t understand 24d until I read the blog and then remembered that I saw a piece on telly recently discussing how thorn became the letter Y in English. I think it will be stored for life now.

  4. Cold and grey here in Edinburgh so keeping cosy, working on an excellent crossword (not quite there yet) but having fun too)

    Thanks to Giovanni and crypticsue.

    Anyone coming to Edinburgh for the Hogmanay Fireworks?

      1. And a Happy New Year to you – one day I WILL get to grips with your crosswords – I still find them the most difficult in the week, along with Sundays.

        1. Many thanks Giovanni for your crosswords through the year. I found this one quite challenging and would give it 3*. Thanks CS for the hints that I had to use

    1. And a Happy New Year to you too. Thanks for all the entertainment, looking forward to doing today’s over lunch.

    2. I think Giovanni is the new Ray T as far as I’m concerned. Having more or less got to grips with Ray in 2011, my resolution for 2012 will have to be to get inside Giovanni’s head!

      1. Sorry IMHO there is absolutely no comparison. Giovanni is the Master, Ray T , well can’t really comment.

        1. Brian, I think it might be better for all of us if you stopped commenting on RayT.

          For one, it’s getting very boring and predicatable, for two, I’m in a bad mood and for three, I’m not too keen on the Monday Rufus puzzles because of all the double/cryptic definitions, which give little to work with, but you don’t hear me complaining about them (wouldn’t dare as he’s pommette’s hero and now referred to as ‘Roger’ since she’s met him!).

          Just give Ray a break and admit you can’t get into his mindset and leave it at that, others really like his puzzles (including me) so they can’t be as bad as you try to make out.

            1. Thanks Sarah F. Having re-read what I post I realise I didn’t say half of what I meant to but, honestly, I do get a bit pissed off by the negative comments – usually unsolicited!

              1. Sorry, I sounded a bit sharp too, but we are so damn lucky to have this blog anyway, and try every day to get somewhere with the crossword–I usually don’t get started before lunch, and I don’t always get it finished because I have other committments— and I reckon every compiler is worth his/her weight in gold, and should be appreciated, even if I can’t always understand what they are getting at. I could go on…………but perhaps we could have a ban on negative comments for a while? It’s very discouraging to those of us who do try, as well as to the compilers, I am sure.

                1. Negative comments are actually frowned upon by BD as he’s said on numerous occasions, unless they have a rider. It’s OK to say ‘I didn’t like this one because . . . ‘ , then you’re giving a reasoned opinion which is perfectly OK. On the contrary, just saying ‘this is a horrid puzzle’ is no use to anyone and, as you say, off-putting to many solvers.
                  You’re right that the setters are worth their weight in gold, otherwise we wouldn’t have our daily entertainment and I’d have nothing to blog!
                  Apart from Weds I too do the crossword (with pommette) over lunch and it makes a very pleasant interlude in the middle of the day! Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll get better.

        2. Brian – if you can do Giovanni then you should be able to do a RayT too. They are both difficult but different in their own ways. You just need to get into the right mindset. I am no expert solver and actually I find Wednesday Jay’s really difficult. In fact, I’m glad pommers blogs them as it means I don’t have to struggle solving them. I never complain about any crosswords that I can’t do. I just accept that they are a bit too difficult for me at the moment – but I’ll get there one day, with the help of this blog and my own personal blogger! Thank you Mr P and all the other lovely bloggers.

          I can usually manage about 1/2 a RayT and 1/2 a Giovanni – but it’s me that solves the majority of the Monday Rufus. I find them relatively easy but poor old pommers struggles! He also can’t do anagrams – that’s my territory. But neither of us get nasty about it.

          So please stop whingeing and slagging off RayT – it is getting really irritating. If you don’t like RayT stop looking at the Thursday puzzle. And as they say, If you don’t like the heat – then get out of the kitchen.

          I don’t post very often these days and only came on here to wish all and sundry a Happy 2012 – and what do I find? Brian/Barrie still moaning.

          Anyway – un feliz y prospero año nuevo! To one and all.

        3. Brian, you persistently complain about RayT puzzles? You normally just say they are “nasty” or “dreadful”. Could you, please, explain in more detail?

      1. Ditto from me too. And can I wish you and all the setteres a Happy & Prosperous 2012,
        Keep the crosswords coming – they are very welcome here in Spain!

  5. I enjoyed that, good work out. Thanks to Giovanni and C Sue. Happy whatis is name and all that. I need to sober up in time for tomorrow night, don’t want to miss the fun.

  6. So far it seems I’m the only one to make a complete pig’s ear of this – I’ve found it very difficult. Have finished now without needing the hints (apart from an explanation for 24d) but it’s taken ages and now feel completely worn out – perhaps I’m just reacting to the, by now, very unfamiliar peace and quiet!! I think this is one of those crosswords that, having finally finished, it’s impossible to see why it was so hard at the time. Anyway, very enjoyable but, for me, at least a 3* for difficulty and possibly even more. Messed up 14d to begin with – couldn’t quite see why a CEO should be doing a “headstand” but I’m afraid he was! :roll: This did NOT help with 21a … ! Sorted that out and then things began to be a bit simpler.
    I liked 11, 15 and 26a (although the last of those was one of my problems) and 3 and 17d. With thanks to Giovanni and crypticsue.

    1. I found it hard going too – the most difficult of the week for me. Spent some time on the computer to finish it. I also needed the explanation for 24d. Liked 13a and 14d. Needed the blog to explain ‘melancholic’ in 18a. 2d was new to me, as was the meaning of ‘let’ in 23a. Thanks to the setter and Sue.

      1. And me – couldn’t finish to-day so needed hints – mainly for 26a (brain definitely not in gear). Also didn’t understand the “let” in 23a, though was fairly sure of the answer. Thanks to CS for putting me right and Giovanni for a work-out that I unfortunately failed!

        1. I thought of the phrase in my passport which asks me to be allowed to “pass freely without let or hindrance.”
          And I needed the hints to finish, too.:-)

        2. I could be completely wrong here (and if I am I’m absolutely certain that someone will tell me) but I think that “let” could be a tennis term, which makes a change from all the football/rugby/golf .. I could go on!!

          1. Kath (and Season’s Grettings to you!), you are entirely correct. ‘Let or Hindrance’ for ‘obstruction’ is quite archaic but a ‘let’ in tennis or squash is exactly the same word and is carried on into modern parlance.

            1. Thanks Gnomey – and all appropriate greetings to you too. I never know whether to say “Happy Christmas” or Happy New Year” in this funny inbetweeny time – “seasons greetings” about covers it I reckon :smile: (It also reminds me of a joke but can’t really be bothered now and anyway it takes too long)!

    2. Not alone Kath, I needed the hints for a couple and finished the Toughie in half the time that this took.

    3. Me too. I really struggled. Maybe it was because of a late night – charity football match in Valencia for UNICEF, following by a concert. In traditional Spanish style, the concert didn’t start till 10.30. I wonder if I’ll ever get the hang of being nocturnal.

      Reading the hints, there are a few archaic words which I always find difficult. You either know them or you don’t, and today I didn’t.

      Nice to see the Rascally Monk make an outing. I haven’t heard of him in years.

      1. Went to a couple of concerts at San Javier Jazz Festival this year which started at 2330! Got home after the hour’s drive at about 0330. In June it’s still warm in the night but I wouldn’t want to do it at this time of year!

  7. A very enjoyable end to the year from The Don – I shan’t have time to tackle Saturday’s as will be with my daughter for the Jaarwisseling!

    Faves : 5a, 15a, 23a, 26a, 3d, 5d, 14d & 24d.

    Incidentally Don, 3d is not in CCD – I think the dictionary should be thoroughly revised.

    So A Guid New Year Tae Ane & A’ ….. or as we say here Prettige Jaarwisseling.

    1. Very Best Wishes to all the Setters, Bloggers, Sloggers, Solvers, Strugglers….from Derek.

      In case you don’t know, I do the crosswords to keep my mother tongue up to date – I have been overseas 50 years,

      1. Best wishes for 2012 to you to Derek. The mother tongue is obviously working OK but you had me a bit worried for a sec – thought of mother-in-laws tongue and not the plant! Phew!

        BTW, had excellent Fajitas for dinner tonight, cooked by pommette’s fair hand! Oh, and a bottle of local Alicante vino.

      2. Derek, Best wishes to you for 2012!

        I have enjoyed reading your menus throughout the year!

        (But, don’t the Dutch speak better English than what we Brits do? I presume you live in Holland)

      3. I think the mother tongue seems to be working pretty well, Derek, so congratulations to you. I have a French sister-in-law and she can do the DT cryptic – how amazing to be able to do a cryptic crossword in anything other than ones own language. I just wish that she’d buy her own paper and not keep nicking mine!! Happy New Year to you. :smile:

  8. A highly entertaing crossword with some great clues. pommette and I did about 3/4 of it in no time at all and then ground to a halt. I think the last half dozen took longer than the rest put together!

    As for 24d, I guessed what iut had to be from the checkers and looked it up in an on-line dictionary to find this:-

    A letter of the Latin alphabet (“capital:” “?”, “small:” “þ”), borrowed by Old English from the futhark to represent a dental fricative, then not distinguished from eth, but in modern use (in Icelandic and other languages, but no longer in English) used only for the voiceless dental fricative found in English ” “th”igh”

    Can’t say I’m any the wiser but ‘old character’ will do for me!

    Many thanks to Giovanni and CS.

      1. Think I might have had one of those in November – ended in extraction of the offending tooth! What a bizarre definition though!

  9. I’m in the ‘not so easy’ camp. I waltzed through the Toughie in record time, but this one took me considerably longer to finish.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Crypticsue for the review.

  10. Enjoyed this to-day and found it fairly straightforward except for 26a .Just couldn’t see it. Thanks to Giovanni and Crypticsue

  11. After yesterdays hiccup a lovely puzzle. Favourite was 4d as it made me laugh. Also enjoyed the rest with 26 and 15 memorable.

  12. I found this quite difficult, but doable with help — though I needed the hints to finish the SE corner. I could never have found 23a without you, Crypticsue, as I wasted a lot of time trying to find homophone for ‘black’ at 20d. I came across 24a years ago when I was studying phonetics, but had forgotten about it, and the singer at 7d made me feel quite nostalgic — hadn’t heard him since I was a kid. So many thanks to you, Crypticsue and to Giovanni for the fun.
    And Happy New Year to you both! :-)

  13. I found today’s rather tough but completed it save 9a. I also guessed 2d never having heard of one! Some good clues – I liked 1a and 6d the best. This was a puzzle that occupied me for the commute in and a little back. I must commit 9a to the memory bank.

  14. A bit of a tough one today. Mrs A and I got all the answers but had to look to CSue for the explanations of four of them.
    Its taken me ’till today to work out that the intermittent pixels on my screen are festive snow!

  15. Enjoyed today’s offering. The last 3 or 4 answers took a while but I got there in the end. I got 26a but couldn’t understand it so I’m grateful for the explanation Crypticsue! I thought 5d was brilliant.

  16. Many thanks to Giovanni for a cracking crossword to finish the year. Thank you to him for the continued enjoyment and every success in 2012. Thanks too to CS for the review. Favourite clues were 26a and 5d.

  17. Last one now that the children have gone to bed. . .

    Re 19a: For years our yacht Firenze had really needed a bigger propeller and it was eventually provided by my friend Christine (for services rendered?). Anyway, after it was fited she insisted it be christened ‘Christine’, with a splash of champagne ,before the boat went back into the water. When asked why she replied that “Christine is a bloody good *crew”!!! I make no further comment and hope pommette doesn’t read this one!

      1. Yes, they need propellers for fighting the fierce tides around the UK when the wind drops and you’re being drifted onto the rocks but apart from that no they don’t. Not so much champagne but more a Tesco own label Cava! Horribly more expensive than it is here! Currently €1.45 a bottle1

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