DT 26758 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26758

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26758

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Nothing too frightening from the Mysteron today, though he has given us a couple of potential topics to discuss in the form of a politician who’s probably not that well known even in his own household and an old musician who would not have been remembered at all were it not for the woman he married. Let us know what you thought of it.
If you want to reveal an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

1a  Place to make rocket? (10)
{SPACECRAFT} – the question mark indicates that a rocket is just an example of this. It’s a charade of an (unoccupied) place or area and a verb to make or construct.

6a  Mister in India holding a woman’s item of clothing (4)
{SARI} – a title of respect given to a man in India contains (holding) A to make an item of women’s clothing.

9a  Fellow’s tied in knots, getting high (5)
{FETID} – F(ellow) is followed by an anagram (in knots) of TIED to make an adjective meaning high or smelly.

10a  Tried fire fighting, very scared (9)
{TERRIFIED} – an anagram (fighting?) of TRIED FIRE.

12a  Near to hospital rooms (7)
{TOWARDS} – TO (in the clue) followed by hospital rooms make a preposition meaning near.

13a  The woman left francs where one might put things? (5)
{SHELF} – a female pronoun is followed by L(eft) and F(rancs).

15a  Tailless aquatic bird found in grass, weakened (7)
{REDUCED} – an aquatic bird loses its final K (tailless) and what’s left is placed inside (found in) the sort of grass that grows on marshy ground.

17a  Post office (7)
{STATION} – double definition, an assigned post or area of duty and an office or depot.

19a  Boats returning in conditions less eventful (7)
{VESSELS} – hidden (in) and reversed (returning) are boats.

21a  A time to invite bid (7)
{ATTEMPT} – to make this bid string together A, T(ime) and a verb to invite or entice.

22a  Course followed by Queen’s ship (5)
{LINER} – this passenger ship is a synonym for course or policy followed by R(egina).

24a  Revamped commercial, then taped broadcast (7)
{ADAPTED} – the definition here is revamped. A short commercial is followed by an anagram (broadcast) of TAPED.

27a  You know where you are with this subject (9)
{GEOGRAPHY} – cryptic definition.

28a  Ale drunk with quiet restraint (5)
{LEASH} – an anagram (drunk) of ALE is followed by an admonition to keep quiet to make a restraint.

29a  Executes deer (4)
{DOES} – double definition – executes or carries out and female deer.

30a  Conservative politician with Royal Navy personnel beginning to take control (10)
{GOVERNMENT} – I wonder what those who complained at the inclusion of Jim Reeves and Denis Law last Friday will make of this (as Sir Robin Day might have said “here today and gone tomorrow”) politician who is currently the Education Secretary but whose main claim to fame is his attempts to extract large sums from the taxpayer to decorate his house before “flipping” and claiming even larger sums for moving to a new house. Start with his surname, then add the abbreviation for Royal Navy, a synonym for personnel and the beginning letter of T(ake). The definition is control.

Down Clues

1d  Search if found in street (4)
{SIFT} – insert IF inside the abbreviation for street.

2d  Approaches start of adulthood almost destitute, unfortunately (9)
{ATTITUDES} – the definition here is approaches or points of view. The first letter of A(dulthood) is followed by an anagram (unfortunately) of DESTITUT(e) (almost, i.e. without its final letter).

3d  Give painful expression following goal (5)
{ENDOW} – a verb meaning to give is formed from a mild expression indicating pain which follows a synonym for goal.

4d  Embarrassed about fatigue, went to bed (7)
{RETIRED} – the colour associated with being embarrassed contains (about) a verb meaning to fatigue.

5d  Where you might find more than one elder from Foreign Office relaxes (7)
{FORESTS} – this is where you might find elders (or other types of tree). The abbreviation for Foreign Office is followed by another word for relaxes.

7d  Turner’s after a lathe initially the same in appearance (5)
{ALIKE} – Tina’s one-time husband follows A and the initial letter of L(athe).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d  Uncertain how an article might be described (10)
{INDEFINITE} – double definition – uncertain and how an article like “a” or “an” might be described.

11d  Strangely it’s nan wrapping Timothy’s first present (7)
{INSTANT} – an anagram (strangely) of IT’S NAN contains (wrapping) the first letter of T(imothy) to make a word used (normally in an abbreviated form) to identify the present month in formal correspondence.

14d  Pedant cornering bad editor enjoying the advantages of wealth (10)
{PRIVILEGED} – the definition here is “enjoying the advantages of wealth”. A word for someone who is very precise or a pedant (these days the word is used more to describe someone who is sanctimoniously moralistic) goes round (cornering) a synonym for bad. Then finish with the usual abbreviation for editor.

16d  Brighter college student losing number (7)
{CLEARER} – C is followed by someone studying without the N(umber).

18d  I’m to referee next (9)
{IMMEDIATE} – I’M (in the clue) is followed by a verb to referee or arbitrate to make an adjective meaning next or nearest.

20d  It gets dirt out of locks (7)
{SHAMPOO} – cryptic definition of what you may use in the shower.

21d  Girl fibs, heard judge (7)
{ANALYSE} – a verb meaning to judge or review is constructed from sound-alikes (heard) of a girl’s name (think of the heroine of a Tolstoy novel) and a synonym for fibs.

23d  Outside ring, smell a trap (5)
{NOOSE} – a type of trap for catching wild animals is made by putting a verb to smell or sniff around the letter that looks like a ring.

25d  Part of foot — a long claw (5)
{TALON} – this claw is hidden in (part of) the clue. A clever semi-all-in-one clue.

26d  Exhausted drunk holding head in hands (4)
{SHOT} – an informal past participle meaning exhausted comes from an habitual drunkard with the first (head) letter of H(ands) inside.

The clues I liked best today were 3d and 25d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {TACKS} + {BRAKE} = {TAX BREAK}

90 comments on “DT 26758

  1. Fun puzzle today if not over-taxing. 39A was my last in and managed it without getting the politician. I particularly liked 9A, not a word heard very much these days.

  2. Good morning Gazza, I really enjoyed this today, lots of short sharp clues which on the whole, read nicely and made sense, my type of crossword and not just because I managed to finish it today without any help at all, yeees!
    Thanks you for the blog Gazza and setter for making my day, lots of favourite clues but fav of all 29a :-D

  3. Morning Gazza

    Having warmed the brain up on the Toughie this morning I think I may have broken my all-time DT solving record on this one! Don’t know why but the answers just seemed to flow in of their own accord! Must have been on just the right wavelength for some reason.

    The politician and the musician were the last 2 in. Agree perhaps a bit obscure but the answers were obvious from the wordplay and the checkers so I’ve no complaints about them.

    Many thanks to the mysteron and Gazza.

    BTW, The Toughie by Cephas is recommended, not much harder than a back pager IMHO.

    1. The politician was seen recently in Toughie 692 (and this is the Daily Torygraph after all!).

      The musician is credited by many with the first-ever rock’n’roll record:

          1. I remember the day that Ike died…….. the band I sing with did Rocket 88 as a tribute, but without me singing because I missed rehearsals……

      1. Hi Dave, yeah I thought I’d come across the politician recently but couldn’t remember where. Thought it may have been in another paper.

        Thanks for the Ike clip, excellent stuff!

  4. Quite enjoyable but veering too much toward the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy for me I’m afraid. All but 3 at first pass. I have to say that I think the DT puzzles have got markedly easier over the last few months. I do like a bit more of a tussle myself, and may start to look elsewhere for my daily fix. Nevertheless, thanks to setter and to Gazza.

    1. Hi Roland this may have been slightly on the easier side but at least almost all the clues read nicely and made sense, not long convoluted clues that may be workable but make no sense in the reading, I thought it was a very clever crossword and if a little easier for some people, this doesn’t distract from the wit involved in setting such clues, as you say some people may find it too easy and then there is always the toughie and such like, IMHO well done setter :-)

      1. Only my opinion Mary, and the Toughie is often little harder these days – see Pommers’ comment at 3. I’ve been doing these darn things in different papers for nearly 40 years now, and my belief is that they are generally a lot easier than they used to be.

        1. I guess if I’d been doing them that long I would probably think the same but only having started doing cryptics in the last few years I find that occasionally a puzzle like todays comes along and gives me confidence to carry on apart from which I really do think it’s witty? :-)

          1. Absolutely agree that it’s nice to have one from time to time that’s a little easier. I think it’s all about balance, and IMO that balance may have shifted a little too far. But as I say, it’s only my opinion. I’m sure that If I were to switch to a different paper’s setters, I’d find it tough initially to get on their wavelength, and maybe that’s the challenge I need.

        2. It would be interesting to hear from those who have been solving the DT puzzle for many years, but in my opinion, they are easier than they used to be. I have one book of DT crosswords from a few years ago, which I have taken away with me on holidays before, and some of the puzzles are almost impenetrable.

          1. Hi Jezza, I started off doing cryptic crosswords in my teens, first cutting my teeth on the Sunday Express “skeleton”. I switched to the Telegraph around about the mid to late eighties I think, and have pretty much stuck with it ever since. I’m certain that they are easier than they used to be, but I’m unsure as to how you’d quantify it, and how much it has to do with becoming too familiar with an individual paper’s setters’ ways.

            1. My brother has also been doing the DT since he was a teenager, over 40 years now, I must ask him what he thinks

            2. Hi Roland, of course, it could just be that you’re a lot better at solving now, after many year’s practice, but I agree this one was very easy!

              You can get the Grauniad, FT and Indy on-line for free and they’re usually a bit trickier and more libertarian in approach.

                1. If you get stuck the ‘Fifteensquared’ site blogs all these puzzles – there’s a link on the right.

          2. I have been solving the DT backpage puzzle since the summer of 69. It is difficult in my opinion to compare today’s puzzles with those of yesteryear as the style of clue setting was completely different then. I don’t mind a day like today when the cryptics all fall into place fairly quickly, provided the clues are entertaining, which on the whole they were. I always work on the principle that a cryptic crossword doesn’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable – I just love them all from the easiest to the full Christmas Day Elgar Double Toughie (even if I did have to spend Boxing Day in a darkened room after that one!)

            1. Agree with you there Sue. I haven’t tackled the Elgar double Toughie yet but I do have a print which I’m saving for a rainy day when I’m feeling particularly masochistic!

              1. I’m waiting for rain too, for my garden, not for crosswords.

                I really enjoyed this. Completed it on the metro in a good time for me, despite being surrounded by noisy Valencia university students.

            2. Hi Sue, I think the best way for me to illustrate the point regarding relative difficulty over time, is to say that up to around 10 years ago there were 2 or 3 of us who were regular Telegraph solvers of many years standing, who’d meet up early evening in the local each weekday after work. I would say that on average, on 2 of the 5 days of the week there would be at least one clue that one of us had been unable to solve or to justify, and it was most enjoyable to compare notes. These days, it is very rare that I haven’t completed the puzzle within a relatively short period of time, and if our group were still meeting there would be little or nothing to discuss – regarding the crossword anyway.

              1. So, you are all now much better at solving, I rest my case!
                Perhaps it is time to move on to Araucaria or Paul in the Grauniad, or Anax in the Indy. They will keep you amused.

        3. Belated Happy New Year to all……..
          I have been a DT Cryptic solver since around 1980 and still posess a quantity of the DTCW paperbacks from that decade and into the early 90s with many puzzles still unattempted. Thus I am able to make some sort of comparison using my current solving experience/ability and without doubt they were quite a bit harder back then (in my opinion).
          I get the impression that the current backpage weekly group are ‘easier’ than at any time in the last 30 years, and I doubt whether my solving ability has improved in the last 10 years or so (maybe even declined….)
          I seldom bother to look at the Toughie, and would nowadays probably prefer the style and challenge of the Times, but my long-term refusal to give Murdoch a single halfpenny of my money in any form precludes that choice still.
          So I guess I will still renew my subscription to CluedUp for another year despite recent and partly still ongoing site notfitforpurposeness……

          1. In my view the issue is one of enjoyment and I found this puzzle very enjoyable and the clues fell in to place fairly easily with one or two exceptions.. We could do with more from this Mysterion and it would be interesting to know who he is

              1. The only setter who’s left a comment saying that he is (sometimes) the Tuesday setter is Shamus.

                  1. It didn’t feel like a Shamus to me either, but as far as I’m aware he’s the only setter to have owned up to sometimes being the Tuesday setter.

                    1. I know it won’t happen, due to tradition, but I really wish the DT would tell us who the setter is, as they do for the Toughie, and the other broadsheets do for all their puzzles! At least then Brian could do most Thursdays whilst still avoiding RayT!!!!!

            1. Yes Collywobs I agree, but it depends from what one derives enjoyment. Sitting down and writing in 29 answers out of 32 straight off doesn’t do it for me.

                    1. As I said originally – Quite enjoyable but veering too much toward the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy for me I’m afraid.

            2. I thought at first it was Ray T moved to Tuesday – all one word answers, and clue including the word queen. However, I solved it rather faster than a Ray T puzzle. He usually has me scratching my head rather more than I did today.

              1. Not, I think, a RayT, too easy as you say. There are a few mysterons but the DT don’t let on who they are, more’s the pity!

  5. Really enjoyed this today – managed it without recourse to Chambers!!! The only one I tussled with was 30a – ’twas the last one in. Thanks to Gazza and this fabulous blog. Now to push my envelope with todays Toughie :-)

  6. Whenever I finish before the blog goes up I always expect to see one star for difficulty, so I’m feeling twice as smug as usual with today’s two stars. Not too taxing but very enjoyable. 5d was my favourite.

  7. I started off quite slowly and wondered if I was going to have trouble, for the second day in a row, but then everything became clear. 30a was my last one and I took ages to see 19a – the “hidden inside AND reversed” clues are the booby traps that I still fall into every time. I didn’t know the “Mister in India” but the answer was obvious. I liked 1a (although did briefly toy with the idea of “greenhouse”!) 27 and 29a and 3, 7 and 25d. With thanks to the setter and Gazza – love the Ike and Tina Turner clip.

  8. It is definitely National Let’s Make all the Cryptics Easy Day as none of them took very long at all to finish. Thanks to the Mysteron for a straightforward but enjoyable puzzle (my favourites are the same as Gazza’s) and to Gazza for illustrated explanations.

    Kath and everyone else who wonders whether they might like to try a Toughie should definitely look at today’s puzzle.

    1. Thanks CS – have done and am just about to look at the toughie hints, but only for two and a half clues!!

  9. I feel quite naughty having finished this at this time, usually don’t even attempt it until the afternoon. i agree quite easy today, but 17a didn’t really work for me, also is a pedant really a prig ?
    otherwise most enjoyable, better than doing housework by far.

    1. The first definition of prig in Chambers is a precisian, which is defined as an over-precise person.

  10. actually, the more I think about 17a, the more it grows on me, but I stand by my opinion of prig/pedant..

  11. I haven’t commented lately as have usually not finished until late afternoon but started this early and had it half done before I went out. Back and finished it. It was an entertaining puzzle and I really enjoyed it. Some lovely clues but think my favourite was 30a – took me the longest to get.

    Thanks for an excellent review Gazza and BD for the extra. Thanks also to mysteron for an enjoyable puzzle.

  12. Very enjoyable in my opinion (I completed it). Thanks to Gazza and the setter for making my day!

  13. Very enjoyable & not too taxing. Although I have been attempting this crossword for some years, it is only since I found this site that I really started to understand it all. For someone of my ability it is refreshing to have a puzzle that is not too difficult. Thanks to everybody for continuing my education.

  14. Although easy, the clues flowed nicely and did not jar so thanks to the setter for easing us into Tuesday and to Gazza for the review.

  15. Before logging on I was ready to comment on the use of transient, C-list celebs in crosswords, but Gazza saved me the trouble in his notes. Following on from the above comments about relative degrees of difficulty, and the view that standards have fallen over the past 40 years, could it be that 40 years hence todays crosswords might be considered insolvable as no-one will have heard of Messrs G & T?

    1. Hi Digby, agree about the time factor. The archives in the DT and Grauniad sites go back about 10 years and I’ve done a few of the early ones. I have to say you do need to be aware of the year of publication because of contemporary clues which make the puzzle much harder now than it would have been at the time of publication, politicians etc fade in the memory. Today’s 30a will be unfathomable in 10 years time (I hope!).
      I don’t think the puzzles are getting easier but I agree with crypticsue that the styles have changed a bit over the years but in the 70’s the Grauniad was always a bit trickier than the DT and the same holds true today. I just think I’m a better solver now than I was then!

          1. Correct! When I was an undergrad we organised ‘The Milk Snatchers Ball’ in the Students Union in her honour (or not)! Any excuse for a P*** Up!

            1. One of the first things she did after becoming PM was allow the meat content in meat pies to be reduced, therefore allowing more “slurry” to fill the pies. BSE didn’t take long to come around.
              As regards the difficulties of backpagers, I think they are a touch easier now. I started in 1980, and have just started some DT paperbacks that date to the eighties, ignoring the topical clues, some of the cryptics are hard to get. Mind you, I’m not complaining about the backpagers being too easy, enjoyment is paramount, and if they’re too hard to solve, then no fun. There’s always the Toughie if you fancy a challenge.

              1. I have some DT paperbacks from the 60’s and my feeling is that they are neither harder nor easier, just very different. I started doing the DT Xword puzzles 50 years ago and, until I found this blog, I was still finding most of them fairly difficult. I have noticed a big improvement in my ability to solve them thanks to all the good people who do the hints everyday and the comments all of you make in this blog. So perhaps they are easier for those people who have been lucky enought to find this gold mine but not for the unititiated. Keep the good work up and thank you to all of you.

  16. Thanks to the mysteron, & Gazza for the review & hints. I got the old musician & the Tory MP, but needed the hint for 21a. Quite enjoyed it, favourites were 5 & 21d, and 18a because it was so well hidden.

  17. A relatively easy puzzle today. Faves : 6a, 17a, 30a, 8d, 14d, 20d & 21d.
    Solved it after an afternoon walk in the woods at Meijendel near Wassenaar with my daughter.

    When we first came to live in Holland my late wife and I took the children to Meijendel and got the script relating to one of the several trails in order to learn the names of the trees, plants, birds & animals in Dutch as we walked along. Happy days!
    We also ate pancakes in the restaurant as today!

    Weather in NL still remarkable for January but yery slightly cooler.

      1. 20 degrees here today – still no sign of winter. This is late March weather. The world is topsy turvy.

        1. Agreed! Some rain would be useful, otherwise water could be a problem later in the year. Reservoirs looking very low at the moment! Don’t know about Valencia province but here in Alicante (not all that far away) we didn’t really get the normal autumn rains and have had zilch since about early November and nothing in the long range forecast.
          Still, gorgeous today so I’ll put up with it! Local farmers are now planting as they reckon Winter isn’t coming this year – I yield to their better knowledge of the local climate trends! Birds are also doing mating stuff about 2 months early and they probably know better!

          1. We had quite a lot in November, but I can’t remember a drop in December. We’re used to pleasant days and very cold night at this time of year, but so far in 2012 we haven’t lit our fire. There might be rain early next week, so fingers crossed.

            Regarding farmers and birds, I think I have more faith in the latter, though no doubt winter will come with a vengeance. February is always the worst month – that’s when we usually take some holiday, to somewhere with central heating!

  18. Dear me, if yesterday’s was a 3 star which I finished this must be at least a 4. I found it very tricky with some very poor clues notably 2d and 30a. By the way nowhere in my edition of Chambers does it define analyse as judge, surely two very different words. The latter implies an opinion and the former to determine the components. The only clue I I did enjoy was 27a which I thought was clever. My thx to Gazza for the excellent hints without which I would still be looking blankly at empty squares.

  19. There’s been a lot of discussion today about whether puzzles are getting easier. I, for one, think it’s irrelevant! Are they enjoyable is all that matters, otherwise we’ll all stop doing them!
    It’s a bit like saying Lionel Messi is better/worse than Pele or Maradona (or anyone else you would like to nominate as the GOAT). Different times, leagues, rules, balls, pitches and teams, so really not at all comparable in hindsight.
    Same with crosswords, you’re hopefully better now than you were a few years ago and memories fade as styles change. An old crossword now may seem hard but it just may be because the style isn’t what you’re used too – how hard would it have been on publication? Very difficult to tell in my ‘not so humble but rather arrogant opinion’!

    1. Hmm…….last comment from me on the matter as I sense that heckles are being raised. My comment above about meeting with a group of friends after work etc would seem to defy your argument, since those crosswords were completed at the time they were published, not 10 years later. As I say – my last comment.

      1. Hi Roland

        Last comment from me on the subject as well. – until it comes up again!
        Neither heckles nor hackles are raised – honest! It can be an interesting discussion but one which, I fear, can have no definitive answer. Your point about your meets some years ago is well taken and really is the only guide to go by. Me looking at an old crossword is misleading, because I wasn’t there at the time, so I do take your point that your meetings were of current solvers and so are relevant!

        It’s just that you, your friends and me are now all much better solvers than we were 30ish years ago so how can we decide if it’s the puzzle that’s easier or us that’s better? Example is the reversed hidden word in 19a today. 5 years ago it would have been one of those clues where I guessed the answer from the checkers but would have no idea why. Today I read the clue, on first pass without checkers, and just wrote in the answer but knowing exactly why it was right. Does that make it an easier clue or me being better? Don’t know.

        Try some of the Grauniads if you want more of a challenge but be prepared for the setters taking a few liberties. Araucaria is great, as is Paul (my favourite). Brendan is Virgilius (Suns in the DT) and Pasquale is Giovanni (Fri in DT) but both are trickier in the Grauniad than in their DT personas. Personally I like Arachne (wicked sense of humour) and Orlando as well but all are good in their own way – some are impenetrable though!

        Nuff said – enjoy whatever puzzles you try!

  20. As opposed to yesterday’s this was much easier and I rattled it off last in being 30a. 12a crops up quite a lot and 21d was my favourite. Thanks to the Setter and for the review. Tres bien.

    1. Since yesterday’s was a hard Rufus I made the incorrect assumption that this was an easy RayT as mentioned above, because of the Queen. I have now decided it is actually a RayT impersonator which takes the Mysteron concept to a new level. Enjoyable and many thanks to Gazza and Rory Bremner.

  21. Sorry, been rabbiting a lot tonight! Not trying to take Mary’s crown as t’op poster of the year’ but merely due to a large excess of vino collapso! Need my ‘blogging’ head on in the morning so g’night all!

  22. Enjoyed this, though stuck on 14, no problem with Michael Gove being used in an answer, he is a cabinet minister after all, hardly obscure. Thanks to setter and the blog.

  23. Well I enjoyed that, especially after yesterdays gruelling workout………

    So off to the Toughie in bed!!

  24. No complaints. Quicker to solve than Monday but the sort of clues I get easily tuned into. On e you get it you know it’s right. Thought 12a barely cryptic though. Liked 30a took some solving but no complaint about Gove he is current. The only Ike I’ve heard of was the US president but the answer was obvious. One or two in the mid west gave me some more thought. Liked 27a. Found one blogger irritating. Regardless of level if difficulty there is a language of cryptics which can be learnt the same as any language. Perhaps the answer is to turn to setting once solving has become too easy.

    1. Stick with Ray T and you’ll learn to love him. I used to dread his offerings as I just couldn’t get on his wavelength, but I quite look forward to him now. I don’t know how it happened but I’m very glad it did, as now I find his puzzles challenging but enjoyable.

  25. Just caught up with this one, and I think I might have set a record solving time for myself! (8)
    No issues with Ike T or Gove coming up in this – both are well known, surely?
    Good fun puzzle, I thought, with some nice cryptic definitions – oh, and I appreciated the namecheck in 11d! :)

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