DT 26770

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26770

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

This is a puzzle with all the hallmarks of Petitjean (my suspicions were first aroused by the Quickie pun). It has some pretty modern references (one so modern that it’s not in my 2008 edition of Chambers) so those who complain about crosswords being designed for oldies should be pleased. It has some excellent penny-drop moments and I really enjoyed it. Let us know what you think.
If you want to see an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

7a  Electronic instrument lacking mains lead in it (7)
{THEREIN} – start with an electronic musical instrument (new to me) which is played by the movement of one’s hands around two antennae (so that it can be played without being touched), then remove (lacking) the leading letter of M(ains) to leave a formal adverb meaning in it.

8a  Present-day Romeo in pickle with new temptation rearing its head (7)
{CURRENT} – the definition is present-day or contemporary. Insert the letter for which Romeo is used as a codeword in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet into a verb meaning to pickle or preserve. Then add N(ew) and the first letter (rearing its head) of T(emptation).

10a  Russian city where one may get fleeced (9)
{ASTRAKHAN} – this is a city in southern Russia which has given its name to the dark curly fleece of young lambs and the fabric which imitates it.

11a  Extravagant and atrocious act losing a grand (5)
{OUTRE} – remove (losing) A and G(rand) from an atrocious act to leave an adjective meaning extravagant or unconventional.

12a  Most of queue lines to the right of crush (5)
{QUELL} – start with most (60% to be exact) of the word queue and add (to the right, in an across clue) a couple of L(ine)s.

13a  ‘Little Woman’ makes internet reports on radio for man in street (3,6)
{JOE BLOGGS} – this is a hypothetical average man (man in street or man on Clapham omnibus). Start with one of Louisa May Alcott’s young heroines, then add a sound-alike (on radio) of regularly updated features (1-5) on the internet (like this one).

15a  Brain he addled is on the mend (2,5)
{IN REHAB} – an abbreviated phrase meaning on the mend is an anagram (addled) of BRAIN HE.

17a  Ballerina’s partner sure about pursuing level of proficiency (7)
{DANSEUR} – a male ballet dancer is created from an anagram (about) of SURE which comes after (pursuing) a level of proficiency in martial arts.

18a  Bubbly creature’s game, self-contained — and old (9)
{LAMBRUSCO} – a variety of Italian sparkling wine (bubbly) is made from a) a young creature found on a farm, b) the abbreviation for a fifteen-a-side game, c) the abbreviation for self-contained and d) O(ld).

20a  Returned cloudy vermouth containing no mixer (5)
{TONIC} – the abbreviations for C(loudy) and Italian vermouth have NO inserted (containing) and then everything is reversed (returned) to make a mixer.

21a  Ball seen rarely these days traps West Indian opener prompting expression of delight (5)
{ZOWIE} – this has nothing to do with cricket. Ball is cunningly placed first to disguise the fact that it is the surname of a female DJ and “ladette” (presumably “seen rarely these days” means that’s she appears less on TV than she used to). Take her forename and insert (traps) in it W(est) and the opening letter of I(ndian) to make an informal expression of delight.

23a  Previously lost Whistler’s Tate’s fourth (9)
{ERSTWHILE} – an old-fashioned adverb meaning previously is an anagram (lost) of WHISTLER followed by the fourth letter of (Tat)E.

24a  Due to be carved as ham may be (7)
{RESTING} – double definition – what the Sunday joint is doing between its exit from the oven and being carved and the euphemism used by an actor (ham) for being out of work.

25a  Hearing the outcome of people talking about you? (7)
{EARSHOT} – a word meaning hearing (the range or distance over which one can hear), is also, if split (4,3) what you may experience as a result of people talking about you. Today’s old chestnut.

Down Clues

1d  Spirit trapped before it gets beaten (10)
{KETTLEDRUM} – the alcoholic spirit once favoured by our sailors follows a past participle meaning trapped (used by the police for a tactic to bottle up demonstrators – a usage so modern that it’s not in my 11th edition of Chambers, although presumably it is in the latest edition). The whole thing is a percussion instrument (it gets beaten).

2d  German song involving a tenor turned up in chart (6)
{DETAIL} – a verb meaning to chart or set out comes from a German song with A and T(enor) inserted. The whole is then reversed (turned up, in a down clue).

3d  No going back with article by patient man at work (2,3,3)
{ON THE JOB} – a phrase meaning at work or busy is generated from a reversal (going back) of ON followed by the definite article and the patient man from the Old Testament.

4d  Light cake that’s eaten cold (6)
{SCONCE} – a small unsweetened cake has C(old) inserted to make a flaming torch or candle (light) held in a bracket.

5d  Stream left New York, returning in one of its boroughs (8)
{BROOKLYN} – a small stream is followed by abbreviations for L(eft) and N(ew) Y(ork) (the last two letters being reversed, i.e. returning).

6d  Preventing core emission (4)
{VENT} – this emission comes from the core of the word preventing.

7d  Mad rant by old writer associated with timeless pop is a downer (13)
{TRANQUILLIZER} – this is a downer or sedative. Start with an anagram (mad) of RANT, then add an old-fashioned writing implement and a red-coloured soft drink (pop) without its initial T (timeless).

9d  Valuables found here in search trustee organised? (8-5)
{TREASURE-CHEST} – an anagram (organised) of SEARCH TRUSTEE.

14d  Environment-friendly Kindle gets go-ahead (5,5)
{GREEN LIGHT} – the definition is go-ahead, i.e. a signal to proceed. An adjective meaning environment-friendly is followed by a verb meaning to kindle or set on fire. Kindle is falsely capitalised in an (I’m sure vain) attempt to make you think of the electronic e-book reader.

16d  Her mobile primarily has call-back locked (8)
{HERMETIC} – this adjective means locked or totally sealed. Start with HER (from the clue) and add the primary letter of M(obile) and a verb to call or summon which has to be reversed (back).

17d  Threshold where dripping may go on? (8)
{DOORSTEP} – double definition, the second being a thick slice of bread on which you may spread dripping.

19d  No end of dexterity required with winter transport (6)
{SLEIGH} – a word for the sort of dexterity used by a magician loses its final T (no end) to leave a form of winter transport.

20d  Cheap marble’s dull (6)
{TAWDRY} – an adjective meaning cheap or tacky is a charade of a large marble (as used in the children’s game) and a synonym for dull or uninteresting.

22d  Police No 1 was first that features Sting (4)
{WASP} – something that features a sting (another false capitalisation) is formed from the number one letter of P(olice) with WAS first.

I liked lots of clues today, including 21a, 1d and 7d, but my clue of the day is 4d. Let us know what took your fancy.



  1. Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I have been warned – sounds like it’s aToughie? Back later.

  2. Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Re 1 down – I can’t find it in the 12th edition of Chambers. I use the word to describe shutting the dogs in one part of the house when we have visitors!

  3. Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, the only clue that gave me trouble was 21a, largely because of the US spelling of 7d. If you want to hear a 7a with the M, listen to the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” – it’s the ethereal sound.

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The US spelling of 7d made me think that the puzzle was going to be a pangram – but it’s not.

    • Silveroak
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I have lived in the US for 40 years and yet I managed to use an s instead of a z

  4. Jezza
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I thought this was very good. My last half a dozen took me as long to solve as the rest of the puzzle. 24a was my last one in (and not my favourite).
    I liked 1d, and 7d. Thanks to setter(Petitjean perhaps), and to Gazza for the notes.

    The Toughie by Messinae is gentler than this (I thought) and enjoyable too.

  5. mary
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Well I am stuck for words as to how I feel about this one!! a five star if only because of 7a!! although the answer could only be one of two words working out where it came from was impossible if you had never heard of this obscure musical instrument!! I was working on the lines of thermionic but just couldn’t get it!!! However I have to sayI enjoyed the right hand side of the puzzle, with three favourite clues, 13a, 25a and 22d (right hand side ), thought it was going to be a pangram and for a while thought the x had to go in 7a!! never heard 21a used, 1d belongs in a toughie, in fact surely todays toughie is going to be easier than this!!!! Thanks for blog Gazza, particularly explaination of 7a it was driving me crazeeeeeeee :-(

    • mary
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Zoe Ball was hosting the evening programme of ‘Strictly’ everyweek night for the whole length of the last series, so if anything she has been seen more lately :-)

      • mary
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        The show is called Strictly ‘It takes two’ , Zoe Ball was a contestant hersekf on the show about five years ago

      • gazza
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        I think it must just mean that at one stage she was on TV every day (in The Big Breakfast) and now she’s on less (though not exactly rarely).

        • mary
          Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          Yes you are probably right Gazza :-)

          • Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on the part of the setter!

            • mary
              Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

              Now Dave be nice :roll:

            • gazza
              Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

              Of course the crossword may have been compiled when she was on maternity leave in 2010.

              • mary
                Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

                I thought most of them were more current than that?

                • gazza
                  Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

                  Who knows how long some of them have been lying around?

              • mary
                Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                By the way Gazza there must be much nicer pictures of her than that :-)

                • gazza
                  Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

                  I thought it was quite a nice picture. I wouldn’t want to be thought sexist by including raunchy pictures :D

                  • Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

                    Heaven forfend, Gazza !

                  • Kath
                    Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

                    No-one could ever accuse you of including raunchy pictures, Gazza! :grin:

                  • Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

                    I think you may have used a raunchy picture once, but most are ‘artistic’ IMHO! I try hard to emulate your taste and discernment, apart from the odd racing car when I can find an excuse!

    • Jezza
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Hi Mary

      I found the right hand side easier, and completed most of it with most of the left side empty!

      • mary
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        That’s exactly how I found it Jezza, right hand side definite toughie!

        • mary
          Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          I mean left, it’s addled my brain!!

          • Kath
            Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Me too!! :sad: AND it’s cold and wet in Oxford today!

  6. Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    WOW its only Tuesday? This one had me looking at my calendar to check I had the right day. Some excellent clues but a few very obscure answers (7A in particular). My faves today are 13A, 7D but both are outshone by 21A (I’m reminded that David Bowie had his son christened with this name).

  7. SpikeyMikey
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Wot a rite mixture! Found the right hand side easier than the left! Didn’t have much trouble with 7a, but put that down to a misspent youth listening to Hawkwind and Led Zepp :-) Liked 4d, 7a, 13a and 23a. After all that I need to put my feet up and take a 7d!! As always, thanks to Gazza and the Blog.

  8. Roland
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Excellent work-out. I was left with 7a (never heard of a theremin) that I couldn’t solve. One or two where I had the answer but couldn’t completely figure out the reason (24a, 17d). Somewhere around 3.5* in my opinion, and **** for enjoyment. Many thanks to setter (Petitjean?) and to Gazza for the review – and the answer to 7a!

    • Roland
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, forgot to add – stand-out clue for me was 1d. Brilliant!

  9. Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Difficult to get my brain in gear for this one today, a filling at the dentist did not help. Needed lots of help on this one. Will hope for better luck with the Toughie this afternoon after the numbness has worn off.

  10. crypticsue
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    If this is a Petitjean, this is the second time he has got lost on his way to the middle of the paper My solving time makes this a 4* difficulty for me. I agree with Mary’s comments about Ms Ball in 21a – the setter is obviously not a Strictly fan. Thanks to the setter and Gazza too – now I have read through it all again, I agree with your favourites.

    The Toughie took me less time to solve than the back page and is enjoyable.

  11. spindrift
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The darkened room beckons but not before I give the toughie a going over…thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his inimitable style of reviewing

  12. Jackie
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, I had to check that it is still only Tuesday and not Friday – this really had me stumped for ages. Only managed the right hand side on my own so many thanks for the hints, I really needed them today!

  13. BigBoab
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Extremely enjoyable crossword today, like others I was a bit flummoxed by the US spelling at 7d and therefore struggled with 21a. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a masterful review.

  14. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Can’t say I enjoyed this at all – some clever clues, but too much time had to be spent trying to explain to myself why a certain word must be the right answer. At least **** difficulty because of that. Thanks Gazza for explaining several, not least 7a.

  15. Katie
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Found this one very difficult, favourite was 25a.

  16. Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Have less hair than I started with. Shows a sign of the times when I saw the word ‘kindle’ and thought books! Learnt a couple of new words. A very enjoyable crossword. Best clues were 18 & 25a. PS re the spelling of 7d, I wish we would go back to spelling with a z.

    • mary
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink


      • Kath
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Probably because he’s been “tearing his hair out” over this one! Or did you mean about the spelling of 7d?

      • jerseyboytoo
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        using a z rather than s was the first spelling used in OED, Collins etc and therefore the preferred way, but I do not have OED to hand to check whether it is still the case.

        • Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          The ODE gives:

          tranquillizer or tranquilliser, or (N American) tranquilizer
          * That which tranquillizes
          * A sedative drug

          So the answer given is not the American spelling as it has a double L.

          • jerseyboytoo
            Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            Many Thanks BD

          • Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

            And don’t forget that the Americans don’t use the letter Z, they have a special letter they use called Zee (for some reason)

            • Weekend wanda
              Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

              Also if people used an ‘s’ how did they justify the last four letters?

              • gazza
                Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

                Wanda, that was my very thought yesterday. The wordplay only allowed for one spelling.

  17. Kath
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been struggling with this on and off all morning – at least a 4* for me. I’m sure that it’s a Petitjean – not that I’ve suddenly become an expert on the styles of the different setters but for two completely different reasons. Firstly, the last time I found a back page puzzle as difficult as this everyone said that it probably was him and, secondly, that same time CS said that it was one of his that had been put in the wrong envelope!! Have finally finished but needed the hints to explain a few. Managed the right hand side with a bit of trouble but the left side has taken ages. Some very clever clues but SO difficult. Can’t really pick out any individual ones except the absolutely, in my opinion anyway, brilliant 22d – loved that one, however much I hate the little ********!!

  18. Kath
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Sorry – this one has used up all my brain cells, especially the ones that do the manners and the memory! Thanks, as always, to the setter, whoever it was, and to Gazza.

  19. Nora
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I found this challenging (didn’t get any across clues at the first run through) but satisfying. I’d never heard of the instrument at 7a, or the word for trapped at 1d, but finished without resorting to the blog in about my normal time. My best penny dropping moment was 13a – I was trying to make Joe Public at first, and 4d had me scratching my head for a while as I couldn’t get beyond sponge and eccles.

    • Weekend wanda
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Must be on the same wave length, Had Public and sponge.

  20. upthecreek
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    This has been a struggle but got there in the end. Some really nice clues today but spoiled by 21 which was rubbish. Definitely toughie standard.

  21. Franny
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    No, I’m sorry, but this was no fun for me at all — although I managed to solve much of the right-hand side. Of the dozen or so words I managed to find, most were downs. And the only way I could complete it was by reading the across hints here and working my way through the remaining letters. Usually I use the hints as a learning process when I can do so little of a puzzle, but in this case I could never, ever, in a hundred years have worked these clues out. Never heard of the obscure instrument at 7a or the lady at 21a. So, no good for me, but thanks to Gazza for being so helpful. :-(

  22. Heno
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Petitjean for the puzzle & to Gazza for the review & hints. I hated this one, just found it too difficult, was 17 answers short before looking at the hints, then still had to look up a further 8.I couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength. Favourites were 13, 20 & 25a.

  23. Silveroak
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I hated this puzzle too. Involved too many obscure words. At one time the rule was the answer had to be in Chambers. I could not solve 4 of the clues without help from this blog. I still don’t understand how the answer to 11a was arrived at.

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      11a Atrocious act is OUTRAGE, then remove A and G(rand).

      • Silveroak
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Thank you now I see it.

  24. Boxgreen
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most posters – I found this really hard. I got most of the right side but was stumped thereafter; I had been on a good run (30+ consecutive days) of finishing the crossword on the morning train within the 45 min journey but this one ended that record in spectacular fashion :( – I couldn’t finish it and still had about half to fill in.

    I’d never heard of 7a so would never have got it – many other clues (24a, 1d, 2d, 16d etc) were really contrived. Not my wavelength at all I’m afraid.

    I’ll try the Toughie on the train home!

  25. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Tricky little rascal but quite a lot of fun.

    Thought 7d was quite good. I haven’t had that stuff in years, do they still make it?

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza for explaing about the electronic instrument which I too had never heard of.

    Off out for an anodyne tincture of grape now, beats the darkened room any day!

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I remembered the drink from my childhood as coming in large bottles, but I see that it is now available in the ubiquitous cans.