DT 26767

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26767

Hints and tips by Digby

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

From Closet Blogger, to occasional comments, via offering the odd tip to help guide Mary out of the Clueless Club, I suppose that this was the inevitable next step. I think it was Falcon who said that writing his first blog was like riding a bike without the training wheels. Now I know what he meant! Knowing that BD, and the rest of the team, is “out there” to help is a great comfort, however. We have a nicely balanced puzzle today from Giovanni. A good mix of difficulty and clue construction (including a couple of “old chestnuts”) that should please everyone. But what do you think?

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.


5a    Rover may be left here behind shop? (3,4)
{CAR PARK} Where you might leave Rover while doing the shopping – except you need to think of a vehicle now manufactured by the Chinese, not a four-footed friend. I’m not sure about “behind” – they are perhaps more frequently “in front”?

7a    Dye for hair takes girl hour — about! (5)
{HENNA} This type of dye is constructed from H(our) followed by reversing (about) a common girl’s name (as opposed to a common girl’s name)

9a    Country doctor enthralled by goddess (6)
{GAMBIA} Take the name of the lady who, with Uranus’s help, was the mother of all the Gods and wrap her (enthralled) around one of our standard abbreviations for doctor to get this African nation.

10a    I put in what may be minute bit of food (8)
{NOISETTE} A bit of deception here as you need to think of “minute” as a memo, not tiny. Wrap this around (in) I and a synonym for put, to get this small piece of beef or mutton.

11a    Emetic — damn awful cure! (10)
{MEDICAMENT} Today’s first anagram (awful) of the first two words produce a cure that might be prescribed. Is this a semi all in one? I’m still getting to grips with these definitions.

13a    One of pair lost in wash? Blow! (4)
{SOCK} Mrs Digby’s washing machine has left me with a drawer full of odd ones of these. It is also another name for a blow (to the head?)

14a    New Stone Age hut is found in residential group of buildings (7,6)
{HOUSING ESTATE} An anagram (new) of the next 4 words produces an area you tend to find on the outskirts of towns and villages.

16a    Fellows inhaling island air (4)
{MIEN} Put an I(sland) into the standard crossword-speak for fellows to get this word meaning bearing or manner.

17a    Swishing swords, aged female decisive in battles (3,7)
{WAR GODDESS} Swishing is the somewhat unusual anagram indicator here. SWORDS AGED unscrambles to give a generic term for the type of lady you wouldn’t want to meet in battle. I liked the way this clue read.

19a    Forester from Tiger Island? (8)
{WOODSMAN} A charade of the world’s ex-favourite golfer and an island just off our west coast produces this chap, typically seen carrying an axe.

20a    Unhealthy-looking chum with hat (6)
{PALLID} Another word for chum and a term for something worn on the head combine to form an expression meaning pale.

22a    Shrub in middle of canal repeatedly swamped by water (5)
{SENNA} Take the middle letter of canal, repeat it and place them (swamped) into the ‘oggin to form this shrub. (For our sporting members, also a famous F1 driver, and thanks to Pommers for this clip – it isn’t Jonathon Woss doing the commetary is it?)

23a    Go wild in game, getting fellow knocked over, all right? (3,4)
{RUN AMOK} Speaking of sport, start with the 2-letter abbreviation for the 15-a-side game we invented, reverse (knocked over) a singular fellow and finally the expression normally accompanied by a thumbs-up, to give a verb meaning to go wild.


1d    A timid person half hidden on account of horse (4)
{ARAB} This horse is a combination of A (from the clue) and the first half of a word for a timid person. Cricketer Phil Tufnell was definitely such a batsman.

2d    Dancer has a hat perched up on untidy hair (4,4)
{MATA HARI} This infamous dancer is derived from A and an abbreviation of a Scottish hat, all reversed (up) followed by an anagram (untidy) of hair

3d    Article on independent saint who believes in God? (6)
{THEIST} One of our chestnuts – article / I(ndependent) / Saint = Believer

4d    Lower station offers support (10)
{UNDERSTAND} Split this into two equal halves – synonyms for lower and station (as in place) produce a word meaning to comprehend someone’s concerns.

5d    Bird with 18 crossing river (5)
{CRANE} Without giving away 18d, you need a word for something headmasters used to wield (in my day) with R(iver) inserted to find this bird.

6d    Sort of teacher who could be more helpful and good, terrible ranter (13)
{KINDERGARTNER} This teacher of tiny-tots is derived from a word meaning more helpful, as in nicer, G(ood) and an anagram (terrible) of RANTER. Not a word I have seen before, but why not?

8d    Thing left half hidden under lorry (7)
{ARTICLE} Chestnut #2, and seen recently methinks? Take an abbreviation of a kind of lorry, followed by LE(ft) (half hidden) and a thing appears.

12d    Sign on a duo — performing dinosaurs! (10)
{IGUANODONS} Straightforward anagram fodder (performing) translates into dinosaurs (that I had to Google just to make sure!)

14d    That man, one we heard in Paris, is very wicked (7)
{HEINOUS} Slight continental flavour in this one – combine the male pronoun, I (one) and French for we, or us, and you get this wicked adjective.

15d    Son flying over for activity before Christmas maybe (8)
{SHOPPING} S(on) followed by a word for flying, commonly associated with hedge, combine to form an activity dear to Mrs Digby’s heart!

17d    Animal label cut up (6)
{WOMBAT} Take a word for label (inside clothing / on a computer screen) and a synonym of cut (as in the lawn) all reversed and we get this little Australian marsupial.

18d    Stiff person’s scruple (5)
{STICK} Double definition, the second of which had me diving into the dictionary. The person is often associated with “mud”, and the other is a synonym of scruple.

21d    Tree’s gluey stuff seen with the sun coming out (4)
{LIME} A gentle final clue – remove S(un) from a word for something snails produce to leave you with a fruit tree

5 cups of tea later and the deed is done. No real Ah-Hah moments, but no Harumps either. My personal favourite was 17a, but I’d love to hear your views.

The Quick crossword pun: {Khan} + {tickles} = {Canticles}


  1. Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I’d like to be the first to welcome Digby. We’ll be seeing a bit more of him over the next few weeks.

  2. Roland
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Well done Digby – nice debut. Puzzle QED today, no particular faves or raves. Thanks to Giovanni and to Digby.

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

    Digby – Congratulations on being promoted upstairs. This review can’t have been easy, Sterling work that man & thanks to the Setter for the puzzle.

  4. mary
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Hello Digby, what a dark horse you are and we haven’t seen much of you lately indeed it is down to the help of you and others like you that I did eventually get out of the ‘clueless club’!! :-) a big welcome to that marvellous band of blogers and really well down on your ‘virgin’ blog, I agree with the three star rating and indeed needed help of my ‘usual friends’ to complete, my fav clue today was 13a, I still don’t really see 5a , ok a car may be left in a car park but why behind shop? now if the answer had been car port, i.e. Rover may be left here , I could understand it but a carpark isn’t often behind a shop, in fact very rarely, see you later Digby, have to go to art, congrats once again, I’m proud of you :-D

    • Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Mary – how is Welsh Wales today? I agree with your comment about 5a. In fact, while it was still dark and my second cuppa was getting cold, I asked the Gaffer if I was missing something, and he assured me that I wasn’t. Unless The Don has some deep, hidden meaning? Perhaps he’ll drop in and tell us?

      • pommers
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        I don’t know if the Don’s from Manchester but where I grew up there are a lot of rows of shops in housing estates built in the 1960’s, They were built with an open area at the back to allow delivery vans to unload without blocking the road. As cars have become far more widespread over the years most of these are now used as car parks – behind the shops!
        Just a thought and I certainly wouldn’t have mentioned it in the blog as it’s probably wrong!

        • Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          When I was a sales rep In Hull in the 80s they were bombsites (literally) which nobody bothered to tarmac even! You had to be careful to avoid the potholes as you didn’t want to walk into your first call while fully suited and booted but with a sock full of rain water!

  5. gazza
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to Digby on a great first blog. If you keep up this standard the rest of us will be floundering in your wake!

  6. Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Welcome to the blog Digby. I wish you good fortune in your blogging future

  7. Mike
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Many thanks…was going mad with19a, filled in the correct answer but just couldn’t ‘see’ it. Seems so obvious now with your help but didn’t even start to think about Mr Woods. Good puzzle overall. Thanks again to you and the setter.

  8. Kath
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I’m sure someone will have got there before I finish typing this but, at the moment, I’ll be the second to welcome Digby! I thought that this was quite difficult although it’s probably taken roughly the usual time. I didn’t understand 10a until I read the hints. I didn’t know that “Senna” was a shrub (nor that oggin is naval slang for sea), 6d had me counting letters – whatever I did I seemed to have the wrong number but sorted that out eventually. I’ve never heard of the dinosaur but guessed the first few letters and then got that one and I’ve never come across 18d with either of those meanings. Apart from that lot it was plain sailing!!! Having said all of that I enjoyed this one very much. I liked 9, 11 and 13a. With thanks to Giovanni and Digby.

    • Kath
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      See – I KNEW that would happen!! When I started on my comment there was only BD’s there before me! :sad:

      • Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Don’t you just hate it when that happens Kath – with my one-word-per-minute typing skills I have the same problem!

        • Kath
          Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          I type very fast but also very inaccurately so spend lots of time deleting – plus I keep changing my mind about what to say (and having second thoughts about what I’d better NOT say!!) :smile:

      • Roland
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Hi Kath, do you think it might be time to ditch the John Bull printing set and use a keyboard? :)

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      With regard to senna being a shrub, that’s where the pods come from that make the stuff that makes you ‘go’!

      • Kath
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Had never really thought about it but, for some reason, would always have assumed the Senna was a tree – don’t know why. Had to look it up to check!

    • Franny
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      That’s happened to me a number of times, Kath. I wondered about oggin, too. Thanks for enlightening me. :-)

  9. Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Nice steady puzzle today. I needed your explanation to find out how I solved 10a. My faves today, 11a &17a. Thanks to Digby & to Giovanni.

  10. pommers
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Hi Digby and thanks for an entertaining first review. Looking forward to seeing many more.

    Agree with your ratings and my fav was also 17a. Liked 13a too but I usually say something stronger than “blow” when I find yet another one missing! You can probably guess what my picture for 22a would have been!

    Thanks to Giovanni for the fun and, once again, to Digby for a great first effort.

    You can go for a lie down in CS’s darkened room now!

    BTW, pommette is the latest El Saladonian to come down with the dreaded tummy bug!

    • Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Pommers – I did think of it. In fact, if you send me a suitable link I’ll try to add it – just for you and all the other petrol-heads out there!

    • gazza
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      I always thought that Senna was a very appropriate name for a racing driver given that the herb is used to make you “go” faster. :D

      • Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Oh, very droll !

      • pommers
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Nice one Gazza! Certainly not what pommette needs at the moment!

  11. Jezza
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Well done Digby on your first review! Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle today; no particular favourites, but I liked 23a.

    I thought the Toughie was tricky in places today. I stumbled over the finishing line with a couple of lucky guesses, and am looking forward to seeing the explanations from Tilsit later.

  12. Giovanni
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Welcome to my new blogger. I accept that 1A was one of my tamer clues — a nice gimme for newcomers maybe? I was brought up in a Devon town called Cullompton — worth a diversion off the M5 to look at the parish church. Car parking is in the street actually in front of the shops in the main street as well as in dedicated car park! ( I now live in Oxford and parking is not cheap or easy, but then I walk a lot and use the bus!)

    • Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Good day, M’lud. Thanks for putting our inquisitive minds to rest, and there’s nothing wrong with a nice gimme with which to start. Lucky you – Oxford is one of my, and Mrs Digby’s, favourite places – apart from Heavenly Henfield, of course!

    • Kath
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree – parking in Oxford is awful – either non-existent, residents only, or expensive! Walking, cycling or bussing (?) are the only options.

      • Kath
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        ….. but it’s a great place to live! :smile:

  13. Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Well done Digby, blogging a crossword by the Don cannot have been easy. Very enjoyable today, the Don is definitely one of my favourite setters – tricky in parts but eminently solvable. Far too many good clues to choose a favourite but it was nice to see the answers to 27A, 12D and 14D making an appearance, also I think 9A was very well worked (OK, this could be my favourite today).

    • Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      BTW Digby, re: 1D – Henry Blofeld was also one of these as he is at pains to explain in his one man show (well worth going to see or buying the DVD for any cricket fan or anyone who admire the English language).

  14. Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I am just about to start today’s puzzle but wanted to pop in and congratulate Digby on breaking the ‘blogging duck. I’m sure I will be suitable entertained when I return to peruse the review.

  15. Mike in Amble
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Digby for your splendid blog. Never come across 6d though. ..Last one in was 17d. Thanks for you explanation as to why.

  16. pommers
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    GOAT = Greatest Of All Time.

    I think the phrase may have first been used in motor sport to describe Valentino Rossi, the 9 time world champion bike rider, but I may be wrong.

  17. Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Mary. 1a is very weak. In fact, on my first pass, I had OUTBACK which seems more suitable

  18. crypticsue
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Welcome and well done Digby. I thought this a slightly trickier than usual Giovanni and certainly wouldn’t have wanted it for my first blog (mine was a Rufus :) ) Thanks to Giovanni to for the Friday morning wake up – I have a spot by 19a to show that I liked it, probably because of the d’oh moment when I ‘got’ the wordplay.

    I don’t think today’s Toughie is one for the amateur Toughie solver – it took me ages to finish off anyway. As Jezza says, “tricky in places” (several!!)

    • pommers
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      As for the Toughie – I think I’ve discovered where the hobnails have been hiding all week. I think Notabilis had them and was sharpening the impaling spikes!

      • Jezza
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        I’ve only just finished justifying why my answers are correct!

    • Kath
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to crypticsue, Pommers and Jezza – I’m now suitably warned off the toughie! Having done reasonably on a couple this week it would be a pity to dent the confidence! Might see if I can get one answer …

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        try 27a

      • Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kath – parts of it are OK but it does have a few stings in the tail!!! Give it a go and after these comments it shouldn’t dent the confidence if you get a bit stuck.

      • Kath
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, again, crypticsue and pommers – managed three! Well, two that I’m reasonably sure about (the aforementioned 27a and 1a) – haven’t yet looked at the hints but think that I’ve also got 21a – if I’m wrong it’s certainly a viable alternative!

  19. Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Nice one Digby, well done that man, splice the mainbrace!

    • Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Nubian – too good an invitation to turn down! As a humble Midshipman at Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth I had to “supervise” the issue of the Rum Ration. There was quite a lot left over, which couldn’t be returned to the barrel. The remainder of the day was just a haze, which I suppose is why it was stopped!

  20. AtH1900
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I add my congratulations for Digby. I agree about 1a, I instantly thought CAR PORT.

    • AtH1900
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Of course, I meant 5a. Shakes head and shambles off for a cup of lemon and ginger tea.

  21. BigBoab
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable crossword and a very entertaining review, many thanks to Giovanni and to Digby.

  22. Lea
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Well said BigBoab – a very good day to be doing the crossword. Welcome Digby – an excellent review – thank you.

    Had several favourites but my downfall was once again a four letter word – this time it was 16a – the last in for me. Favourites included 1a (didn’t have a problem with it as thought it was quite clever actually. Also liked 9a, 14a and 19a.

    Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle.

  23. St. George
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Digby saved my life today! Very enjoyable but I needed your help with 9A, 16A and 14D. Does anyone know if ‘The Don’ is responsible for toadys back page quickie? 17A / 25A could be just about anything…couldn’t it?

  24. Brian
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, I am the biggest fan of Giovanni but I found this one just awful. 6d is not in .Chambers and 22a is just plain daft.following yesterday’s dreadful Ray T I am not enjoying the end of the week at all.

    • Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I tend to agree with your thoughts about 6d, but given our familiarity with the school itself, I can just about accept that the staff might be so dubbed (but see David’s comment at #25 below). What didn’t you like about 22a – I thought the was fair game, and it did afford the opportuunity to keep Pommers happy!

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Now Barrie what did we say about referring to Mr T in the blogs of other setter’s puzzles.

      • Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


        • Posted January 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Don’t ask!

        • mary
          Posted January 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          It could just be sue making a mistake on the other hand……….don’t ask! V naughty sue

      • Kath
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        And I was the one who was, quite rightly, told off for “bear baiting” yesterday …..

  25. Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Good fun crossword. Thanks to Digby. The OED spells 6d differently + 1 more letter; would have also thought it was a noun for someone who attends, not who teaches.