DT 26761

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26761

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I had to use the de-icer quite extensively this morning before I could take my car to the garage for its MOT, so winter seems to have arrived. That may account for my grumpiness but, whatever the reason, I didn’t think that this was one of Giovanni’s better puzzles – there was a distinct shortage of “doh” moments. On the other hand you may have loved it, so let us know what you thought.
If you need to see an answer just drag your cursor through the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Hindrance in hotel — cats bouncing around (8)
{OBSTACLE} – hidden and reversed (around) in the clue is a hindrance or obstruction.

9a  Poison making ten Arabs ill (8)
{RATSBANE} – an anagram (ill) of TEN ARABS gives us a poison used for killing rodents.

10a  Request quiet, wanting heavy metal curtailed (4)
{PLEA} – the surface is good, with heavy metal apparently being the very loud music. To make this request start with the letter signifying quiet in musical notation and add a heavy metallic element without its final D (curtailed).

11a  Burglars? They pose no danger at Christmas! (12)
{SAFECRACKERS} – the question mark indicates a definition by example and these are types of burglar with a specialised skill. If split (4,8) it could describe Christmas novelties that pose no danger.

13a  Fragrance said to be evident in castle (8)
{BALMORAL} – the name of a castle in Scotland is a charade of an aromatic fragrance and an adjective meaning said or spoken (as opposed to written).

15a  A girl excited about love — one’s often sung in church (6)
{GLORIA} – an anagram (excited) of A GIRL goes around the letter that approximates to love in tennis scoring to make a hymn which normally starts with this latin word.

16a  Extremely stupid neglecting English studies (4)
{DENS} – an adjective meaning stupid or thick loses its final E (neglecting English) to leave studies.

17a  Natural ability — it’s something flashy, they say (5)
{FLAIR} – a word for natural ability sounds like (they say) a brief burst of light.

18a  Record wild animal at edge of forest (4)
{TAPE} – a somewhat outdated format for a musical record is made by putting a wild animal after the final letter (edge) of (fores)T.

20a  Food in a series of instalments as you might say? (6)
{CEREAL} – today’s old chestnut. A type of food often eaten at breakfast sounds like (as you might say) something presented in a series of instalments.

21a  The male would get bigger, full of energy — one growing up in the country? (8)
{HEDGEROW} – something that grows in the countryside comes from a contracted form of “the male person would” followed by a verb to get bigger with E(nergy) inserted.

23a  Satiric actor turning ‘blue’ (12)
{ARISTOCRATIC} – blue here is being used as a description of people of noble birth (i.e. having “blue blood”). It’s an anagram (turning) of SATIRIC ACTOR. The phrase blue blood is a direct translation of the Spanish sangre azul which was used to differentiate Europeans with very white skin (such that their blue veins stood out) from those of Moorish or Jewish ancestry.

26a  Something burdensome, like the round of drinks we buy (4)
{ONUS} – if we buy a round then it’s ** ** (2,2). Another old chestnut.

27a  Something the scientific observer gets close to? (8)
{EYEPIECE} – cryptic definition of a part of a microscope that the “seeing organ” (observer) of a scientist is placed next to. This seems a bit weak to me.

28a  Big leaders, idiots (8)
{FATHEADS} – if you split these idiots as (3,5) then they could be big leaders.

Down Clues

2d  Type in dark black showing impudence? (8)
{BOLDFACE} – I’m not keen on this one. This word means dark heavy type like this. If it has a D added it also means impudent but without the D I can’t find any reference to it meaning impudence, so the question mark is definitely needed.

3d  A sot getting drunk with extraordinary smart set? They will raise a glass (12)
{TOASTMASTERS} – these are officials who introduce and coordinate the tributes at posh social events such as society weddings. It’s an anagram (getting drunk) of A SOT followed by a second anagram (extraordinary) of SMART SET.

4d  About to get present in box (6)
{COFFER} – the abbreviation for circa or about is followed by a verb to present or tender.

5d  Fellow conveyed by the rickshaw (4)
{ERIC} – the name of this fellow is hidden in (conveyed by) the clue.

6d  Person not recognised in street, park officer (8)
{STRANGER} – the definition here is person not recognised. It’s the abbreviation for street followed by a park officer.

7d  Anxiety and fright when son has bunked off (4)
{CARE} – remove the initial S(on) from a fright to leave a word meaning anxiety.

8d  See delta possibly from valley (8)
{TEESDALE} – I thought that this was going to be a diocese (see) so there’s a nice bit of misdirection. Actually it’s just a straight anagram (possibly) of SEE DELTA and it’s a picturesque valley in the North of England.

12d  Rehearsed orchestral players will appreciate the situation (4,3,5)
{KNOW THE SCORE} – double definition. Literally it’s what orchestral players, once they’ve been through rehearsals, should do. It’s also a phrase (possibly originating from billiards) meaning to understand what’s going on without having to be told.

14d  Fish, angler’s first to be caught in lake (5)
{LOACH} – insert the first letter of A(ngler) in a Scottish lake to make a small river-fish related to the carp.

16d  No longer with us, having relaxed after end of year (8)
{DECEASED} – a description of someone no longer with us comes from a verb meaning relaxed after the abbreviation for the last month of the year.

17d  Bird trainer once working between one river and another (8)
{FALCONER} – an anagram (working) of ONCE goes between a river in Cornwall and R(iver).

19d  In favour of money to set forth as a reward (8)
{PROPOUND} – the definition of this verb as to set forth as a reward comes straight from Chambers but the more usual meaning is to put forward for consideration. It’s a charade of a preposition, from latin, meaning in favour of and a unit of currency.

22d  Hate journalist turning up to face trial (6)
{DETEST} – reverse (turning up, in a down clue) the usual Crosswordland journalist and add (to face) a trial or experiment.

24d  Confectionery from van is offered outside church? (4)
{ICES} – the sort of confectionery that you get from noisy vans comes from IS containing the abbreviation for the Church of England.

25d  Part of sail that could spell danger to sailor (4)
{REEF} – double definition – part of a sail and some dangerous rocks.

The clues I liked best today were 1a and 10a. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PLASTER} + {SCENE} = {PLASTICINE}



  1. Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I think it was a pretty workmanlike puzzle but it was all over a bit too quick to really enjoy although I smirked at 11a. Thanks to gazza and Giovanni.

  2. moose
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Straightforward after yesterdays! I put 12d in early with the last word being DRILL. Later scribbled it out and put ROPES. Later scribbled it out and put the correct entry! What a mess on my grid! Enjoyed 21a and 13a

  3. Jezza
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I totally missed the homophone in 17a! I liked 11a, and 13a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    With the Toughie done as well, perhaps I’ll have a peek at Araucaria in the Guardian.

  4. Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this – favourite clues were 11a, 23a, 1d and 24d. Thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  5. Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    No problems for me today but I did enjoy it. I liked 21a & 17d.

  6. Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Quite enjoyable, but probably not the Don at his best. I thought 1D fairly weak I’m afraid even though, unlike Gazza, I do think its a valid clue (ie putting on a bold face), I particularly liked 19D and 22D and it was very nice to see the answer to 14D – not a fish that gets and awful lot of coverage these days.

  7. Kath
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I have found this one quite difficult – for me it was at least a 3* and possibly a bit more – it’s taken about twice as long as yesterday’s did. I made a complete mess up of the bottom left hand corner. I had “anis” for 24d thinking that it was one of the middle of the clue types – did wonder about the church …. Have also just discovered that there is no such word and what I was thinking of is “anise”! Oh dear!! :roll: Needless to say that made 23 and 27a a bit tricky, if not impossible. Apart from that I was just generally slow with the whole thing. I liked 11, 21 and 28a and 12d. With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. mary
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Slightly easier than yesterday IMHO, but a hard slog rather than a lot of enjoyment, fav clues 11a and 24d, although I got 1a I only ‘saw’ the cats as bouncing about and couldn’t make out what oble had to do with hotel! I should have got 15a straight away, as we have had the words of this changed in the new Mass and are having to look for suitable alternatives to play/sing in out folk Masses, not liking many at the moment!!! probably a 3* for me today, needing lots of help along the way! Thanks for blog Gazza and nice reserved pics :-) no ice here but loads of fog!

    • Lea
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Mary – I too couldn’t “see” why the oble in 1a for ages. Makes you feel kind of dense when it is so obvious doesn’t it?

      We are having a wonderful sunny day here – cold out and lots of frost on the car first thing.

      • Posted January 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Bonjour Mary

        • mary
          Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          Hello collywobs, why aren’t you keen on un Welsh??

          • mary
            Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            I mean us Welsh

    • Kath
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      And me with 1a.

      • Addicted
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        And me – still can’t see it??

        • Franco
          Posted January 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          As Gazza says in the hints “hidden and reversed”.

          Must admit that I thought that “bouncing” was an anagram indicator!

        • Kath
          Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          It’s one of the in the middle of the clue type answers but backwards starting with the second letter of “bouncing”. I know Gazza said that but thought that I’d put it slightly differently in case it helps – do so hope that Gazza doesn’t mind!

  9. Roland
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink


  10. Brian
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Well I loved this one with some super clues esp 11a, very clever and 20a. Thx to the Master for a very enjoyable puzzle, more like this please. Just a note to the DT crosswords editor, we don’t all like Ray T puzzles, personally I really really dislike them.

    • mary
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I’m not keen on them either Brian

    • Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      //Just a note to the DT crosswords editor, we don’t all like Ray T puzzles, personally I really really dislike them.// Well I never knew that!. Seriously Brian, we are all aware of your aversion since you mention it every day that you write on the blog. Is it too much to ask that you refrain every so often, say once a week or something?

      • mary
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Aw Gnomey that’s not nice, I often say how much I love Rufus puzzles, have I ever told you :-)

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Hear Hear. As BD will tell you, it is possible to have an aversion to a setter/setters but it is not necessary to harp on about them every time when one posts a comment on another setter’s puzzle.

      • andy
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Good shot well delivered. I rarely comment on Sunday offerings as I simply cannot get onto Virgilius wavelength. That is most definetely a weakness on my part NOT that of the setter because on reading the review I cannot see why I struggle so….

    • Franco
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Brian / Barrie,

      Maybe today’s blog is not the right place to discuss the merits of RayT.

      Looking forward to your critical analysis of his next crossword. Hopefully, next Thursday!

      • Kath
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        I have, so far, deliberately kept out of this one – am quite sure that everyone knows, by now, which side of the fence I’m jumping up and down on in anticipation of next Thursday! :smile:

    • Heno
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I like Ray T’s puzzles and would love them to continue.

  11. Dickiedot
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one thanks Giovanni and Gazza, 5d made me smile it reminds me of a favourite old joke about the white horse who went to the bar and asked for a whisky, the barman reeled off a list of whiskies ending with we’ve even got one named after you, What, Eric says the horse. The laughter is proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed!!

    • mary
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink


  12. Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t have to scrape a windscreen – or even venture out into the cold too early. I did have a few Doh moments – 18 across and 26 across for example. And I was wrong footed with the significance of son in 7d so I cursed myself when I did that one. But I am a novice amongst experts and love Big Dave’s site. It can be used by novices to grow their skills rather than just to cheat! Thanks one and all.

    • gazza
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi nelletap – welcome to the blog.

    • Kath
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      There are plenty of novices here, nelletap! All the experts are really helpful and never make anyone feel dim for not understanding something – in my experience all you need to do is ask and within a very short time someone will explain. It really is a great blog and you can learn so much from the hints – it isn’t cheating at all. :smile:

  13. crypticsue
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    What a relief. Normal service resumed today with the back page puzzle being nicely straightforward and enjoyable. I too smiled at 11a. Thanks to the two Gs for the usual Friday service.

    The Toughie is the right sort of tough too.

  14. Lea
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    This wasn’t one of my favourite Giovanni’s but it was okay. Favourite clue was 11a but didn’t like 4d.

    Thanks to the two G’s for my Friday entertainment.

  15. eXternal
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza. Nice puzzle. 11a was a cracker.

    Posted January 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    With the exception of 27A I was on track for a quick solve (by my own very feeble standards) for a Friday puzzle. However, I spent longer on 27A than all the rest put together.

  17. BigBoab
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza, a straightforward but entertaining puzzle and review.

  18. St. George
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Found this more difficult than yesterdays, 2D in particular and 16A (more Americanism’s creeping in). Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  19. Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Agree with St.George, hardest crossword of the week so far! took me over an hour. 15a was a superb clue. Thanks to Giovanni & Gazza

  20. Little Mart
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Took rather longer than it should have – found the east side hard for some reason. No great feeling of satisfaction when finished and 27 across is a weak clue for me. However thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  21. Giovanni
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the comments — a pleasing mixed bag as ever. I have some sympathy with Little Mart, but you try writing a fresh clue for this nasty word! I’ve done a homophone of I and PEACE before, and it doesn’t split up at all well. I don’t like recycling clues if I can help it, so let’s have one of your ideas for next time, eh? In the circumstances I was quite pleased to have found some sort of cryptic definition and I am happy that it passes muster. But thanks anyway and happy new year ( again).

    • Little Mart
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      This is brave on my third post and is definitely teaching my granny to suck eggs – but why not break it into three – EYE PIE CE. So ‘View comestible Church to get part of a telescope?’ I think I better stop now and wait for the abuse.

      • Kath
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        There are very few people who write abuse on this site – most people keep their negative comments to themselves!!

    • Prolixic
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Look over article for jeweller’s assistant? – Jewellers use an eyepiece for fine work and reading hallmarks.

    • gazza
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Increased visibility achieved through this item in satirical magazine (8) ?

  22. Weekend wanda
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Nothing for anyone to complain about today. Not too hard/not too easy – not too obvious/not too obscure. W side all in apart from 27a very quickly. E side lagging behind but mostly fell into place when 12d in. Toyed with ropes for too long. Had dog moments several times eh 15a. 27a last in. Did not help having 4 same vowel checking letters. Liked 1,11,21,23,26 a and 6,12,16 and 17 d. Thanks

  23. Annidrum
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    11a was a d’oh moment for me and held me up for quite some time. Was sure it was an anagram! Last in 27a . Enjoyable all the same.
    Thanks to Giovanni.

  24. Heno
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the two G’s. Not a great puzzle but quite fun to do. I had to look at the hints for 27a, I was sure it began with “eye”, but couldn’t get the last bit, doh. Had quite a few double unches too, which I’m not keen on. Favourites were 13 & 21a and 17d.

  25. Derek
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t enjoy this puzzle from The Don – which is very unusual as I look forward to the Friday fare!
    Perhaps I have been too busy sorting out my paperwork for the provisional tax return and switched off my thinking cap!
    Better luck next Friday.
    Tomorrow I celebrate my 88th birthday anniversary (a few days earlier than the real date to accommodate the family) so I hope to get back into solving form for next week.

    Weather here is springlike and yet an old friend who lives in the Haute Savoie tells me they have had a metre of snow down there.
    So much for the Mayan Year of Doom!

    • Franco
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Derek, Tax Returns – in the words of Private James Frazer (Dad’s Army) – We’re Doomed! We’re all Doomed!

      Wot, they still take taxes from you when you are 88?

      Happy Birthday Tomorrow!!

  26. Prolixic
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off topic but has anyone else noticed that Giovanni’s Quick Crosswords are quite often pangrams, today’s being one too?

  27. Kate
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    I have just done this in bed listening to the radio and am very excited as 8d is my surname and the place where my family is from. First time I’ve seen it in a DT crossword so thank you to Giovanni for the namecheck and to Gazza for rightly describing it as picturesque.

  28. bev
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Hi I think my doh moment was backing 21a but my smile moment was 26a. If I’m first is that a bonus?
    It’s my first visit to this site so forgive my intrusion but thank you for the daily smiles I’be been enjoying for years.

    • Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Bev

      Not quite quick enough off the mark to be first!