DT 26764 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26764

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26764

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Libellule is still tied up today so you’re stuck with me once again – that’s the bad news. The good news is that our manager has taken advantage of the January transfer window to sign up an exciting brand new blogger who will be making his or her debut on Friday – so that’s something different to look forward to.
Today’s puzzle by the Mysteron is just about as straightforward as they get and it’s only really my abysmal typing skills which have promoted it from one to two stars for difficulty. However, as we always say, the difficulty level is nothing to do with the enjoyment factor, and it contains some entertaining clues. It does, unfortunately, offer limited opportunities for visual aids.

Across Clues

5a  Assure clubs about company (7)
{CONFIRM} – a verb meaning to assure or certify is built from a) C(lubs), b) a preposition meaning about or concerning, and c) a synonym for company or business.

7a  Steer clear of a vacuum (5)
{AVOID} – a verb to steer clear of is A followed by another word for vacuum.

9a  Quiet monk installing small sort of screen (6)
{PLASMA} – this is a type of TV screen. Start with the musical abbreviation for quiet and add a Buddhist monk with S(mall) inserted (installing).

10a  Adults in classes describing heartless women (5-3)
{GROWN-UPS} – the definition here is adults. Another word for classes or categories contains (describing) the outer letters (heartless, i.e. with the middle letters removed) of W(ome)N.

11a  Struck by love, men fall apart (2,2,6)
{GO TO PIECES} – a past participle meaning struck or wounded is followed by the letter that approximates to zero (love, in tennis) and another word for the men on a chessboard. The whole thing is a phrase meaning fall apart or become very upset.

13a  Carry out order causing catastrophe (4)
{DOOM} – the type of catastrophe that Private Frazer was always warning of in Dad’s Army comes from a verb to carry out followed by a decoration which is in the personal gift of the sovereign.

14a  Your drink: I don’t care for it (3,2,3,2,3)
{NOT MY CUP OF TEA} – a phrase indicating that something is not to my taste may, if taken literally, be a statement that the drink supplied is not one I asked for (so it may be yours).

16a  Release without charge (4)
{FREE} – double definition.

17a  Responsible for factory worker being late (10)
{BEHINDHAND} – an adjective meaning late or not on time is a charade of a preposition meaning responsible for or at the bottom of and a factory worker.

19a  Don Juan mixed up ‘Hair’ and ‘Loot’ (8)
{LOTHARIO} – a seducer of women or Don Juan is an anagram (mixed up) of HAIR and LOOT.

20a  Handle husband with maturity (6)
{MANAGE} – combine synonyms for husband and maturity.

22a  Saucy dance? (5)
{SALSA} – double definition.

23a  Remain uneasy heading for the Tower? (7)
{MINARET} – tower is falsely capitalised here to try to make you think of the Tower of London. This is actually the tower on a mosque from which the call to prayer is broadcast five times a day. It’s an anagram (uneasy) of REMAIN followed by the first letter (heading) of T(he).

Down Clues

1d  Responsibility parson usually embraces (4)
{ONUS} – it almost seems as if this word for responsibility is mandatory at the moment. This time it’s hidden (embraces) in the clue.

2d  Amusement caused by it in the course of Spring term at Oxford (8)
{HILARITY} – the name of the term starting in January at Oxford and some other universities has IT inserted (in the course of) to make great amusement or jollity.

3d  Jargon used in shelled hospital in the wars (6)
{PATOIS} – shelled indicates that we have to remove the outer shell (letters) of (h)OSPITA(l) and “in the wars” is the indication to make an anagram of what’s left. The result is a word, from French, for a local dialect. I wouldn’t have said that this is the same thing as jargon but Chambers does have its second definition as “(loosely) jargon”.

4d  Working wife paying separately (5,5)
{GOING DUTCH} – a charade of a present participle meaning working (as a piece of machinery, say) and rhyming slang for wife (possibly from “Duchess of Fife”) gives us a phrase meaning having separate bills.

5d  Instrument found in small room by orchestra’s leader (5)
{CELLO} – a small room (in a monastery or prison, say) is followed by the leading letter of O(rchestra).

6d  Hallucinogen, marvellous to shoot up (5,8)
{MAGIC MUSHROOM} – the surface here is amusing. This hallucinogen comes from a charade of an informal adjective meaning marvellous or exciting and a verb to shoot up or grow rapidly.

8d  Certificate ambassador detailed (7)
{DIPLOMA} – drop the final T (de-tailed) from what an ambassador is.

12d  Old hotel when refurbished, all in all (2,3,5)
{ON THE WHOLE} – start with O(ld) and add an anagram (refurbished) of HOTEL WHEN to make a phrase meaning all in all or generally speaking.

14d  Highly-strung member of the Crazy Gang (American) (7)
{NERVOUS} – this was my last answer in and it became obvious from the checking letters what the synonym for highly-strung should be. I’d heard of Flanagan and Allen but I didn’t know Jimmy, another member of the Crazy Gang (a group of comics who were popular in the 1930s and 1940s). Add one of the abbreviations for American to his surname. I can’t imagine what those who thought Jim Reeves was ancient history will make of this character.

15d  Casually mention drop of tanning lotion (8)
{OINTMENT} – this is an anagram (casually) of MENTION followed by one letter (drop) of T(anning). It’s a preparation for applying to the skin, but I’m not sure that it’s the same as lotion which is a liquid.

17d  Piece of furniture in office (6)
{BUREAU} – double definition.

18d  Near end of flight in the dark (5)
{NIGHT} – an old word meaning near is followed by the end letter of (fligh)T.

21d  Annoy Noah, initially, on his ship (4)
{NARK} – a verb meaning to annoy or irritate comes from the initial letter of N(oah) followed by (on, in a down clue) what he sailed on.

The clues I liked best today were 11a, 23a and 6d. What took your fancy?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {JOYCE} + {TICS} = {JOYSTICKS}

82 comments on “DT 26764

  1. Very enjoyable but fairly untaxing today. I was quite glad that 2D contained the Oxford term it did as its the only one I know. Some nice 2/3/5 word answers.

    Not sure about England’s performance so far, hopefully if we don’t loose too many more quick wickets, we may still be in with a shout(ish).

  2. Thanks to setter for a pleasant enough, gentle puzzle today, and to Gazza for the review.
    No particular favourites; 17a is not one of my favourite words.

  3. Not to taxing today – finished before the ‘goth’ daughter headed of to school! Oh to be a teenager :-) Had to look up 17a as I’d never heard of the word – not sure I wanted to either! 6d amused me. Thanks to Gazza. Back to the Toughie.

  4. Good morning once again Gazza :-) , Another lovely witty crossword from the Tuesday Mysteron, do you think it’s the same setter as last Tuesday, nearly every clue read really well, just because it was on the easier side as you say Gazza, didn’t make it any the less enjoyable, I really like this type of crossword, witty and to the point, thank you setter and thanks Gazza for the blog, may I take this chance to say say good morning everyone, the weather here is bright and cold again, nice walking weather :-)

  5. Second Tuesday in a row that I’ve finished before work: if this carries on I’ll have to start going to meetings!

  6. Did this in record time. Favourite was 14d as I remember Nervo and Knox but the anti old heros gang won’t like it! The rest was very straightforward.

    1. For the first time ever I finished this quickly enough to get the time bonus. Despite this I did find it challenging and fun.

  7. Defintely 1* difficulty for me I can’t remember the last time I just wrote in all the acrosses and then all the downs. Very enjoyable, I did smile at 14a as it reminded me of someone :D Thanks to Gazza for the blog – same favourites as yours – and to the Tuesday Mysteron for the fun.

    Being Tuesday, I was surprised to find that Giovanni borrowed Vlad’s hob-nailed boots for today’s Toughie – will save my views on it for later!

  8. Only found this site 10 days ago and am really enjoying it.
    Had given up doing DT crosswords due to frustration.
    A question: when you mention Chambers, is that a dictionary
    or a crossword book? My dictionary is Collins or online as I’m
    Partially sighted. Thanks to all.

    1. Pam,
      When we refer to Chambers, we normally mean the dictionary (now up to version 12) which is the unofficial bible for Telegraph setters.

    2. Hi Pam,

      When people on this blog talk about Chambers they mean “The Chambers Dictionary” 11th edition. Sometimes it’s referred to as the “BRB” as in Big Red Book which pretty much speaks for itself.

    3. Hi Pam apart from the big red book, the book I have found most useful since I started doing these a couple of years ago is Chambers Crossword Dictionary if I had to chose and could only have one of them it would be this, I have used it so much it is falling apart and I have had to tape it together!! Welcome to this blog it is brilliant I would never have got this far without it and everyone is really friendly and helpful :-)

      1. I also have the Chambers Crossword Dictionary – mine was printed in 2000, was a birthday present and is also completely falling apart. It has a very useful section at the beginning called “Crossword English” by Giovanni.

        1. I think Giovanni must have swallowed his 2000 edition before setting today’s Toughie! Too hard for me!

          PS! Lots of Katherines around today – Kath, Kate & Katie.

          1. I’m not a Katherine, I’m a Kathleen but it doesn’t really matter as am always called Kath (except when I was little and had been VERY naughty!!)
            I get the feeling that today’s toughie could be a good one for me to avoid even though I’m trying very hard to conquer them.

  9. I’m pretty much with everyone else on this one – straightforward and enjoyable. I got 3d but needed the hint to explain the “why bit” – rather stupidly completely missed that. Also needed the hint to explain 14d – have obviously heard of the Crazy Gang but couldn’t name any individuals. I liked 11 (once I’d stopped trying to find something to make an anagram of) and 14a and 4, 6 and 21d. With thanks to the setter and Gazza.
    I’m now going to drive myself mad trying to remember the third Oxford term – Michaelmas, Hilary and what’s the summer one called? I’m fairly sure there is one even if it is all taken up with exams and balls (as in dances! :grin:)

  10. 10a. Although the answer was obvious, I can’t see “describing” meaning “containing” – even in the geometric sense!

    1. Hi Vince, I think that when used as in the term “to describe an arc”, it means to draw the outline of. That’s the closest I can get, like you I thought it was a little tenuous.

    1. (The above was meant to be a reply to David Browne!) Easier than Monday’s – Oxford term was new to me, took me a while to see ‘men’ as ‘pieces’. Thanks to all involved.

  11. Without Gazza’s help at 14d I would have had to engage the services of someone like the late Doris Stokes in order to see if my old Nan could help. Come on Setter we are in the 21st century after all! Thank you to Gazza and to the Mysteron for a puzzle which was enjoyable apart from this obscure reference to an act from antediluvian times.

    I wonder who the new blogger will be.

  12. It seems records are falling today – I managed this in a very short lunch hour which is unheard of. But it is nice for us not-so good-cruciverbalists to feel that at long last the penny might have dropped and that we might one day aspire to join the ranks of BD, Gazza, CS, Libelulle and the new mystery blogger. My favourite today was 20a, particularly in light of the remarks on the blog yesterday and the near impossibility of actually doing what either the clue or the solution state in relation to husbands. Thanks to Gazza and the setter

    1. Kate – don’t forget Pommers and Falcon in the ranks of the bloggers. Tomorrow being Wednesday we are likely to need whichever one of them it is – if they go off in a huff we’ll be completely sunk!! :smile:

        1. Cans and worms spring to mind here!! I was really only thinking of the great people who help us all so much with the back page cryptics and the Sunday one and didn’t mean to miss anyone out. Now you can all call me a squirming worm if you like!!
          Enjoy your lie in, Pommers! :smile:

          1. Kath, I would never dream of calling you a ‘squirming worm’! Just a bit nice to be appreciated! Down side is it’s Falcon tomorrow and then you’ve got me for the next 4 weeks!

  13. I not even the vaguest memory of ever using or hearing use of 17A. For the first time in my life I am wondering whether early onset dementia is awaiting.

    Would someone please reassure me and tell me that this is not an every day turn of phrase.

    Please.

    1. I’m with you, never heard of it either. According to Chambers it’s hyphenated, which leads me to ask the question, in crosswordland is a hyphenated word treated as one or two words? I guess I ought to know this but it only just occurred to me.

      1. It’s not hyphenated in my Chambers (11th edition) and I’ve never seen it hyphenated. It’s a slightly old-fashioned word that you see used in expressions like “I’m behindhand with my chores”.

        1. Hmm…..strange. It’s definitely shown as hyphenated in mine (7th Ed). Regardless of that though, are hyphenated words generally treated as single words in crosswords?

          1. Maybe it’s particularly northern – my mother uses it a lot, as Gazza says, in relation to her chorese – “I’m a bit behindhand today”. I must admit, I liked the clue and solution as it reminded me of a word I hadn’t used or hear in a long time.

            1. May be regional. Definitely a Nottinghamshire one. – an alternative to
              All behind like the cows tail. Quickest ever solve for me.did with one eye while watching the news. Only one I wasn’t sure about was 3d. Not heard this meaning of the word. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

          2. I’m not sure what you’re getting at with your question. If an answer is hyphenated it’s shown as hyphenated in the enumeration (as in 10a today).

          3. I grew up in the London area and was familiar with this word, although I haven’t heard it used in US. Must be one of those older generational things.

          4. Just to add my twopennyworth, it is not shown as hyphenated in the electronic version of Chambers but must admit it was gettable from the check letters but not a phrase that I have ever heard used.

        2. . . . rather than I am behind in my chores? Hmm

          This reminds me of a discussion with an American fan of Webster’s approach to improve and shorten our wonderful language – for simplicity’s sake tha knows. All this labor and center and pled (pleaded) and dove (dived) stuff is all very good until they confess that their word for burgled is burglarized.

    2. I presume (though I don’t know) that the hand in behindhand is the hand of a clock, so behindhand means not up with the clock or behind schedule.

      1. Of course BEFOREHAND is a perfectly commonly used word so I suppose its logical that BEHINDHAND might also be.

  14. Solved this one while enjoying my preprandial G & T.

    Faves : 9a, 10a, 13a, 17a, 23a, 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d & 14d.

    Did contain one or two old goldies however.

  15. Nasty looking grid turned out to be the easiest for me in many months. Prompted me to comment..I was so chuffed, but as usual consensus suggests it was a doddle. Thanks again BD folks.

  16. Thanks to the mysteron for the puzzle, and to Gazza for the review & hints. Yes, quite straightforward, but nevertheless, entertaining. Last in was 3d. Favourites were 17a, 21d & best of all 6d, which I may need some of to tackle the Toughie :-)

  17. Hi Gazza thanks for your reply to my question yesterday. Problem is the Leave A Reply box appears in the middle of the blog and out of time sequence, but not every time.
    Thanks for your hints today. Sorry there were few picture opportunities.

  18. I also finished this pretty quickly, as did many others. I was surprised by the number of people who hadn’t come across 17a – I hadn’t realised it was unusual. However, I am a bit young for the Crazy Gang – it just about rang a faint bell but I hadn’t got a clue who was in it. Despite this, 14d was easy to get from the rest of the clue, so I don’t mind the inclusion. Thanks to the Mysteron and to Gazza for stepping in again today.

  19. Just off to try this one in the local over a pre-prandial so maybe back later. From the tone of most comments it looks like I might have to take another one as well!

  20. Having not gone to Oxford (like the vast majority of the population) I had never heard of a Hilary term and don’t see how anyone who didn’t go there could be expected to be familiar with the term. I don’t imagine that many solvers would think it fair if an answer needed some piece of information that was only likely to be known by former students of, say, a polytechnic in the east Midlands. But if 2d was obscure, then 14d was dire. How many people alive have heard of this person? Was this a cryptic crossword or a test of the most ludicrously arcane trivia imaginable? I managed to get both answers thanks to having all the crossing letters, but there’s little satisfaction when you need Google to confirm that you’re correct.

      1. Agreed – general knowledge for anyone who reads a wide range of media and watches television too.

      2. I agree – general knowledge and, if you get the answer from the clue, then you can look stuff up – it’s how you learn. I have to confess to being a bit lacking – we live in Oxford and, therefore, should know (plus husband is partly university) – I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the third term was called.

      3. Ditto the above(s). The Times and to a certain extent the Telegraph always relied on a level of general knowledge that some nowadays might find quite specific (opera, Art, the Classics and that sort of thing). Whilst this has been tempered somewhat (and I still think that the Sciences are a tad under-represented) with more flaura and fauna (the dear old honey-badger’s checking letters are toooo attractive) there are still cetain elements that ought to be common knowledge.

  21. Bit of a curates egg for me, a mixture of simple clues and some right so and so’s, i.e. 11a, 3d, 14d and the worst of all 2d. I’m afraid being a red brick lad, the terms in Oxbridge are an unknown to me. Did like 8d though. Thx to Gazza for tips without which I most definitely would not have finished.

    1. You disappoint me Brian – as I solved 14a I thought of you and thought you were bound to use the expression in your comments today.

  22. Can’t add muvch to gazza’s and others comments – enjoyable if over a bit quick. Looking forward to the Friday ‘blogger. Thanks to the setter and to gazza.

  23. My first reaction today was that the grid setting was quite unusual. I know BD does not like it mentioned but I did actually polish this off very quickly indeed – definately a 1* but pleasing nonetheless. Last in was 3d which was also my favourite of a rather rum bunch. Still, pleasing to get it done and tomorrow’s challenge will be inevitably harder. Thanks for the review. Who set this one?:

  24. I usually find Tuesday more taxing so was very pleasantly surprised to finish this in record time for me. I’ve never heard of 17a and to look it up and 3d was my last in. I thought 6d very funny.

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