DT 26750 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26750

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26750

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Morning All! –What with the Christmas puzzle closing dates being spread out we have two Saturday puzzles to review and this is the second after Crypticsue’s (she will be continuing in the next two weeks with the Sundays). This was all back to normal from Cephas and I liked this one particularly for the good start at 1 Across

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1a           Unexpectedly grumpy about prying (12)
SURPRISINGLY – A word meaning ‘unexpectedly’. Place SURLY (grumpy) around PRISING (prying or forcing via leverage). A very satisfying clue to start with.

9a           George, car driver (9)
AUTOPILOT – I can’t explain this any better than BD on the day, so here it is: “This George is the RAF slang for a device for keeping an aircraft on a set course, and it’s a charade of a car and the driver of said aircraft”

10a         I believe cardinal in company (5)
CREDO – Place RED (cardinal) in CO(mpany) for a Latin word meaning “I believe” which is also a noun meaning the list of beliefs or policies of a group or person.

11a         Learn it with some idiot (6)
NITWIT – an Idiot or dolt is found in (is some of) the first three words.

12a         Ran with indecent haste (8)
STREAKED – A charming cryptic definition of someone legging it onto a sports field in the altogether, I.e. running indecently. A lovely fun picture on the day from BD but I was expecting Erica Rowe!

13a         Somewhat more readily go through the words again (6)
REREAD – Another hidden word, indicated by ‘somewhat’, in the second and third words means ‘to go through written words once more’.

14a         Instrument almost certainly needs retuning (8)
CLARINET – The musical instrument can be found by taking all but the last letter from CERTAINL(Y) – almost – and making an anagram – retuning.

17a         Secret feature at rear of house (8)
BACKDOOR – A BACKDOOR password in a computer program, for example, is a secret feature. And the back door is found at the rear of the house.

19a         Second question is hard, how to make squelching sound? (6)
SQUISH – A charade of S(econd) QU(estion) and then IS and H for Hard. The act of squeezing mud between one’s toes.

22a         Saluting to a good man at home before midnight (8)
TOASTING – Another charade meaning ‘saluting with a drink’. TO, A (from the clue) ST (for Saint), IN (at Home) and G (the Mid letter in niGht).

24a         A handful run out with gold from salesman (6)
VENDOR – This caused a few scratched heads on the day but was reasonably straightforward once you recognise Five for a handful and start with the Roman Numeral V. After that add END (run out) and OR, the Heraldic name for gold.

26a         Part of ear makes one cross after endless suffering (5)
HELIX – I knew it was a part of the ear but apparently “The prominent rim of the auricula is called the helix”. Place I and X (One, cross) after all but the last letter in HELL (endless suffering).

27a         Animator doodled a woman in love (9)
INAMORATA – As I said on the day I was looking for a Japanese animator and was cursing the setter. In fact the answer is a romantic name for a woman in love and is an anagram (doodled!) of ANIMATOR and A on the end. I quite like doodled as an anagram indicator!

28a         Concern with judge’s charge to borrower (8,4)
INTEREST RATE – A simple charade of INTEREST (concern) and RATE (judge) for the borrowing percentage that a bank will charge on a loan.


1d           Composer breaking down in tears (7)
STAINER – Maybe this composer is not well known to all but I remembered Sir John Stainer (6 June 1840 – 31 March 1901) from previous crosswords and the obvious anagram (breaking down) of IN TEARS meant that he went straight in.

2d           Either way it’s a revolver (7)
ROTATOR – It’s a chestnut to me but maybe you haven’t  seen it before. A palindrome is often indicated in cryptic crosswords by the use of ‘either way it’s…’ or ‘whichever way you look at it’) and all you have to do is look at the next word or two for the definition (RADAR (looker), LEMON/MELON (fruit) or BOOB (mistake/gaffe or idiot)

3d           Fabric edge and carpeting (9)
REPRIMAND – A carpeting is a reprimand or upbraiding. Make a charade from REP (fabric), HEM (edge) and AND from the clue.

4d           Last resort for Jack (4)
SALT – As a solver it took me ages to understand RESORT to mean RE-SORT and also SUPPLY to mean ‘in a supple manner’ and that both were anagram indicators. This clue wants you to re-rort LAST to make the SALTY sea dog or Jolly Jack Tar.

5d           Of limited height, secreting article — don’t mention it! (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL – NOT TALL for ‘of limited height’ into which must be placed (secreted) A for the indefinite article. The result means ‘Don’t mention it’.

6d           Most good fortune’s to do with money (5)
LUCRE – All but the last (most) of LUC(k) followed by RE for reference, regarding, about’ gives a slang word for money.

7d           Wally in short coat (6)
JERKIN – A charade of a JERK (idiot, wally) and IN gives a short mediaeval jacket or blouson.

8d           Stop remixing old hit (4,2)
HOLD IT – An anagram (mixin) of OLD HIT is a command to stop.

15d         Lacking first bit of Cheddar, game to go round for cheese (9)
ROQUEFORT – Another that is easy to solve but hard to spot the wordplay. Remove C (the first bit of Cheddar) from CROQUET and place it around FOR (in the clue). The result is another piece of cheese.

16d         Adverse aspect depressed team (8)
DOWNSIDE – Another straightforward charade for an adverse aspect; DOWN for depressed and SIDE for a sporting team.

17d         By containing irritation, could become spiteful (6)
BITCHY – the irritating ITCH inside BY also means spiteful, particularly when applied to women.

18d         Early rock’n’roller (6)
CRADLE – Not Duane Eddy! – The thing that rocked you to sleep as a baby in your early years.

20d         Easterner annexes a state (7)
INDIANA – I think that ‘annexes’ here means ‘goes over the head of’  so put an INDIAN (Easterner) over A to find the US State.

21d         Present included sack for plants (7)
HERBAGE – BAG (sack) included in HERE for present. The definition is plants (in general).

23d         Poison beef found in can (5)
TOXIN – Any poisin is a toxin. The (large amount of!) beef is an OX which should be put inside of a TIN can.

25d         Stun for at least 48 hours, say (4)
DAZE – A homophone to finish. DAYS (at least 48 hrs SAY) sounds like DAZE – to stun

Looks like we are back to the normal routine both at work and on the DT crosswords. See you next week for the mystery setter and thanks (and Happy New Year) to Cephas.

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