DT 26779 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26779

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26779

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

After yesterday’s excitement we have a more traditional offering today. The main problem I had with this one was that the grid really makes it into four separate puzzles, so that having completed one corner you have to start again with another. Give us your views in a comment.
If you want to see an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Allow no entry to wicked fellow who’s from West Indian island? (9)
{BARBADIAN} – a native of a West Indian island could mean, as (3,3,3), refuse entry to a misbehaving man (the editor of Private Eye, perhaps).

9a  Put down some words about hospital and feel acute embarrassment (6)
{WRITHE} – a verb that informally means to feel shame or embarrassment comes from a verb to put down words on paper around H(ospital).

10a  Sort of electoral success that may threaten those living on the edge (9)
{LANDSLIDE} – an overwhelming electoral victory is also something feared by those living on the edge of a cliff which is subject to erosion.

11a  Very cold bird losing its tail (6)
{BITTER} – lose the final N (i.e. its tail) from a marsh bird of the heron family. Bit of an old chestnut.

12a  Inducement I have to get in money first (9)
{INCENTIVE} – an inducement or stimulus comes from the contracted form of I have, preceded (first) by IN and a small coin.

13a  Soldiers coming to wood, a testing experience (6)
{ORDEAL} – the abbreviation for soldiers (not the officers) is followed by a type of soft wood.

17a  Dull day, rainy at both ends (3)
{DRY} – the abbreviation for day, then both ends of the word R(ain)Y make an adjective meaning dull.

19a  Somewhere of archaeological significance is place in list (7)
{ROSETTA} – insert a verb to place inside a list of who’s working when to get the name we use for the Egyptian city of Rashid. It was there in 1799 that the stone was discovered which allowed scholars to work out the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

20a  Folk going to the bank hoping to make net gains? (7)
{ANGLERS} – cryptic definition of those who participate in one of the UK’s most popular sports (although it’s a bit one-sided, in that you rarely hear of the opposition winning).

21a  Face the wrong way and sleep (3)
{NAP} – a short sleep which, when reversed (the wrong way) is apparently (according to Chambers – I’ve never heard this usage) a slang word for the face.

23a  Place with birds keeping quiet but not very! There’s a buzz here! (6)
{APIARY} – start with a place for housing birds, then insert the musical abbreviation for quiet at the expense of (but not) the V(ery). The result is a place which is a hive of industry.

27a  Noble Agra, strange Indian place (9)
{BANGALORE} – an anagram (strange) of NOBLE AGRA produces this city in Southern India which has given its name to the phal, an eye-watering curry even hotter than a vindaloo.

28a  Coloured rod, trick for catching fish (6)
{CRAYON} – a coloured rod used for drawing comes from putting a trick or scam around (for catching) a broad flat fish.

29a  Religious type in party skirt attending first half of dance (9)
{DOMINICAN} – this religious type is a member of an order of Roman Catholic friars. String together a party (of the social rather than political type), a skirt and the first half of a high-kicking dance (the second half of which would work equally well).

30a  Guides animals on the farm (6)
{STEERS} – double definition.

31a  The most I’d drunk as one who used never to drink! (9)
{METHODIST} – an anagram (drunk) of THE MOST I’D leads to a member of a nonconformist Christian church. They used to be very common in the areas round where I live and were noted for their espousal of temperance, but apparently this has changed in recent years and now they are allowed alcohol, though it must be used moderately and responsibly.

Down Clues

2d  A boast? Get away! (6)
{AVAUNT} – A followed by a verb meaning to boast is an old interjection meaning move away!

3d  Sign of growth? Then obtain financial allowance (6)
{BUDGET} – a sign of growth (in the garden in Spring, perhaps) is followed by a verb to obtain to make a spending allowance.

4d  Expand appointment to drink one litre (6)
{DILATE} – insert (to drink) I and L(itre) inside an appointment (often one of a romantic nature).

5d  Town to surrender when leader’s been got rid of (7)
{ANDOVER} – this is a town in Hampshire. Remove the leading H (leader’s been got rid of) from a phrasal verb (4,4) meaning to surrender or relinquish possession of something.

6d  A worker finally snapped with anger: ‘Financial exploitation!’ (9)
{ARBITRAGE} – this is a type of financial transaction where profit is made by exploiting the difference in prices for the same product in different markets. It’s a charade of A, the final letter of (worke)R, a verb meaning snapped or punctured with the teeth and a synonym for anger.

7d  Good person said to have spoken hesitantly (9)
{STUTTERED} – the abbreviation for a saintly person is followed by a verb meaning said or articulated.

8d  The fellow without guile can become cruel (9)
{HEARTLESS} – a male pronoun (the fellow) is followed by an adjective meaning without guile or deception.

14d  Air created by female American actors (9)
{BROADCAST} – the definition here is air, as a verb. It’s a charade of an informal (and not very PC) term for an American female and the list of actors in a play or film.

15d  Sounds the h’s like the ‘yo, ho, ho’ robbers? (9)
{ASPIRATES} – a verb meaning sounds one’s aitches could mean, if split (2,7) like robbers who traditionally sing ‘yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum’.

16d  It’s right having exceptional performer joining the directors (9)
{STARBOARD} – the right side of a ship is a charade of a top artistic performer and the directors of a company as a group.

17d  Combative person who has been honoured in tribe (3)
{DAN} – double definition – the honour or title given to someone proficient in one of the martial arts and one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

18d  Gossip when salary goes up (3)
{YAP} – a verb meaning to gossip incessantly is the reversal (goes up, in a down clue) of salary or earnings.

22d  A hit, something in verse that’s in fashion (1,2,4)
{A LA MODE} – a phrase, from French, meaning in fashion or trendy, is built from A, a verb to hit which is rarely seen outside crosswords and a bit of verse.

24d  Some devilish sir got up as a monster (6)
{OGRISH} – the definition is “as a monster” and it’s hidden (some) and reversed (up) in the clue.

25d  A section of football, i.e. division in league (6)
{ALLIED} – this is an adjective meaning in league or in partnership and it’s hidden (a section) in the clue.

26d  Grumbles from family women about nothing (6)
{GROANS} – some elderly female relatives contain (about) O (zero, nothing).

My favourite clues were 20a, 6d and 14d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {MISERY} + {CHORD} = {MISERICORD}

81 comments on “DT 26779

  1. Back to normal after yesterday’s corker. No real faves or raves I’m afraid. Agree with **. I suspect there’ll be significantly less comment today. Thanks to setter (Giovanni?) and Gazza.

    1. More my speed today too. Just challenging enough but not so much so that you get discouraged.

  2. After yesterday this was a lovely wander through the woods….. enjoyed it very much and found it fun, playful and amusing. Thanks to Gazza for the hints tips and great illustrations – love the one of the pirates – very scary – not :-)

  3. I quite enjoyed this one. I went through it a little quicker than normal for a Friday, with no stumbling blocks.
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza for the notes.

    I’ve put the Toughie away for the time being; with about 2/3 done, I’ve ground to a halt!

      1. I’m finding it very hard, but then again, I always struggle with Elgar Toughies (more so than any other setter).

        1. I just about got there with a bit of guesswork but it was a long hard tussle. Have to read the review later cos there’s a couple I’m not sure about.

  4. A nice start to my Friday. Very enjoyable. 6d is a new word for me, glad you confirmed it. My faves,1a, 20a , 2d & 15d. Thanks to Gazza for the review.

  5. Good morning Gazza, I agree with you about it being a split puzzle, there were no linking letters between the left and right hand sides apart from the ‘a’ in 19a and the ‘r’ in 5d and in hindsight yes it was solved corner by corner, the last corner in for me top left, having seen no other answer for 1a, I put Banbadman, thinking Banbad must be somewhere I hadn’t heard of, Duh, then the penny dropped! A three star for me today and unlike yesterday most of the readings made sense and were workable, however I used to feel that I would never ever solve a Giovanni! now I quite like them :-) fav clues todays, 17a, 15d, 25d, 20a, ok I know we have a similar clue to this a few times, but the reading was excellent, good luck everyone and keeeeeep perservating :-)

      1. Remembered from last year when he only admitted it the day after in an email. This year he didn’t let on where the party was in case I turned up wanting the next instalment of the 49.5 pints.

  6. The headcold didn’t help the solve today. I dried up (unlike my nose) about half way in. Then the Lemsip kicked in and I rattled the remainder off. Thanks to Giovanni and to gazza. Off out to play soon!

    1. A rather late “Happy Birthday” from me too. :smile: Will we be “seeing” you here tomorrow? Or will it be “Oh my head hurts”? :sad:

  7. Nice puzzle today though probably not the Don at his best. 14D had me scratching head for a while, couldn’t stop myself looking for anagrams of FUSACTORS or GALACTORS, D’Oh. No really favourite clues today, but some very clever ones (1A, 27A, 15D).

    Another few days of torture for my from today watching England playing at cricket (and I really do mean the AT).

    1. I agree about the puzzle being a nice one after yesterday, found the SW quarter more tricky than the rest of it.

      Just back from watching the cricket up at the Dubai Stadium (I know they are still playing as I type). Hadn’t planned to attend, but with tickets at £3 thought it worth a go. I don’t think you will be tortured for long, 2 days should see it all done and dusted. Very windy here today, so sand blowing all around the stadium – no wind in the middle to disturb the players though.

      1. Not sure if I envy you or admire your stamina! Great bowling as always but the pitch must be harbouring a dragon and a couple of alligators, 15 wickets in a day, that’s not Test cricket by any stretch of the imagination.

  8. Yes, a game of four quarters for me too, but unlike Mary my sequence was SE / NW / SW / NE. Certainly not as controversial as yesterday’s offering, but most enjoyable and very workmanlike. Thanks to the G-Team !

  9. Yes, much more to my understanding today–gave up on it yesterday! Agree with the 4 quarters. Lovely bright day here in Edinburgh. Thanks to the Gs.

  10. Very straightforward and enjoyable thank you Giovanni. I liked the same ones as Gazza (yet again) and thank you to him for the illustrated explanations too.

    The Elgar Toughie does what it says on the tin – definitely sturdy boots with a touch of the hobnail about them. If he is too tough for you, try Paul in the Guardian.

  11. Very nice puzzle; some went in easy and a couple left me to resort to the blog; wasn’t sure why Ian is a “wicked fellow” though ….anyone got any comments?

      1. Cheers Gazza, BD seems to think it fits me, it does epitomise my eating habits unfortunately.

  12. One of Giovanni’s gentler offerings.
    Faves : 19a, 27a, 29a, 31a, 5d, 15d, 16d (I used to sail a lot) & 17d.

    Weather here in NL very mixed today. The snow of a few days ago had virtually gone and early on there was a bit of sunshine. I went to the supermarket for weekend basics and then it started to snow again so once more all is wintry. The wind is southern however so one hopes for chill reduction.

    Fish and chips tonight – grilled salmon – with NZ sauvignon blanc and rasps and cream.

  13. Well after all the nice comments yesterday I guess I had to post again. I Found this easier although south west was harder and I didn’t get 19 without help.

    I should also correct my comment on track record… I forgot I did the crossword 6 times a week on average not 5 and therefore my strike rate would be 67% not 80%. I generally but not always find Thursday and Friday hardest.

    A happy weekend to all.


    1. I think that even the corrected track record is pretty good for someone who hasn’t been doing these addictive things for very long. I still usually find Fridays (and Sundays) the two most difficult puzzles of the week. 19a is worth remembering as it comes up fairly often. Keep commenting! :smile:

      1. Hi Kath, probably borng if you’re reading other threads but Sundays (Virgilius) are my nemesis.Do most of the toughies but Sundays beat me almost every week. Wavelength I guess

  14. Feel very Grumpy! The Grid made this very unenjoyable!

    (Just listening to Sir Geoffrey’s analysis of today’s play in Dubai – he sounds Grumpy as well)

  15. Didn’t like the grid either! 1a was the first in which made me chuckle, much less of a(n) 13a than yesterday (but not as enjoyable) but strangely took a similar time. I’m off for a 21a!

  16. Started well but struggled with 2D,15D and 28A, all pretty obvious now thanks to Gazza. I too am off for a 21A. Happy weekend.

  17. Had trouble with sw corner – otherwise a nice puzzle. Thx for the help. Bet tomorrow won’t be so straightforward.

  18. Wish I could go off for a 21a! At least 5 o’clock’s not too far off now…

    I agree with everyone’s grid comments – not the easiest layout. I started with the middle groups of 3-letter clues, then top right corner and anti-clockwise from there. Just left with 2d at the end – I knew what I was looking for, just couldn’t think of the relevant word, so thanks for the hint Gazza – as soon as I saw ‘old’ I got it. Thanks to Giovanni, as well – particularly liked 10a as it made me smile!. :)

    Having got on reasonably well with Elgar’s back-pager yesterday, I think I might attempt today’s Toughie. Will I regret it? At least I’ve got all weekend…

  19. Everyone seems to be commenting on the grid – have to confess it’s something that I never notice. No real problems today apart from understanding 17d and 21a – never heard of “pan” for a “face” before – ?dead pan. I’ve also never come across 6d but it was easy enough to work out and look up. Last time (quite recently) I used “Barbadian” as a word I was corrected and told that it was “Bajan” – they’re both in the BRB so I’d probably better shut up!! 10a took a while – I knew what word I was looking for but it just wouldn’t come out of my brain and all I could think of was “avalanche”! Oh dear!! I liked 20, 23, 29 and 31a and 15 and 26d With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    Think I’ll probably give the toughie a miss today …..

    1. The ODE has pan as an informal word for face as a United States usage. I’d certainly never heard it.

    2. A ‘Bajan’ is also a first-year student at Aberdeen University. Comes from the French ‘Jaune’ referring to the yellow beak of an unfledge bird.

  20. Many thanks to the two G’s. Found this one very entertaining, just needed the hint for 6d which I had never heard of. Favourites were 26a & 15d. Dare I look at the Toughie?

    1. Go for it, Heno, and let us know how you get on (but I’d suggest having a pile of wet towels to hand).

  21. Really enjoyed today’s afters yesterday’s excitement. Esp loved 1a but then I am a lover of good(ie bad) puns
    :-) many thx to the Master for restoring the fun to the back page. Please DT no more like yesterday’s on the back page. Let the experts enjoy their Toughie and let us mere mortals enjoy the back page offering.

  22. I don’t do Sunday. Curiously although I don’t do the prize crossword every Saturday, when I do i generally find it one of the easier ones. There are often mutliple word answers which i find gives more of an entry into the puzzle. Maybe they want to encourage more participation? Although there was a stinker (for me at least) a couple of weeks ago.

    1. I always used to find Saturday puzzles amongst the easiest of the week but, in recent months, I think it has become more difficult – it is, after all, a prize puzzle so should probably be more difficult. It certainly would be without this blog – you only have to say you’re having trouble with a particular clue and within a few minutes you will have several replies and lots of help.

      1. I still find Virgilius the most impenetrable (spelled wrong i’m sure) but that is me not the setter

        1. Hi Andy! As stated the other day the surface readings are so good with Mr Greer (Virgilius) that the insertion of the mental Crow-bar (required to solve any clue) is very difficult (but ultimately rewarding).

          1. So right both of you, Virgilius clues are not Yoda, but so well written clues and astonishingly good surface reading I just cannot often make any headway at all. Mea Culpa. No way amI giving up though!!

    2. Hi Wozza
      Usually I find Saturday the easiest, I’m sure it’s done on prpose to get a large entry for the prize!
      Most people think Mondays are also easy but I always struggle a bit. I’m terrible at quick crosswords and although the Rufus famous double definitions give two bites at the cherry I’m usually none the wiser.

      But as Grandad once said about beer – none are bad, it’s just that some are more to your taste!

    3. Hi Wozza, It’s all so subjective really. I don’t get on with the Sunday, sometimes like today do an Elgar Toughie, with thanks to Gazza for explaining one answer. But on Monday, i’ll log on to be told how easy it was whilst in a fog of bewilderment? How does that work. Keep at it

      1. True! I guess the fish never actually win, unless you’re out shark fishing and fall off the boat!
        I’ve always thought that if you’re in the sea and see a shark you think “big nasty fish” – he sees you and thinks “lunch”! :idea:

  23. Made a total dogs breakfast of the sw corner as was convinced 28a had to be condor, anagram rod with con.
    Brian, i may attempt the toughies but i’m still learning my trade with you thanks to this blog

    1. Thanks to everyone on this very enjoyable blog! After two years, I’m finally improving and I’m learning lots of UK words I never heard of!

  24. Got this one finished at midnight on Saturday – as many others have said really four separate puzzles for me – not sure I have ever heard of 2d so the book was needed for that and didn’t understand why 6d was what it was till i read it here.

    But for me i dont think this was more complicated than 26778?

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