DT 26797

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26797

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I completed three-quarters of this one pretty swiftly but then slowed down in the NW corner (which upped the difficulty level to 3* for me). Thanks to Giovanni for the customary Friday enjoyment and a warm-up for the impending five-setter with Elgar. Let us know how you fared.
If you’re stuck for an answer, even after reading a hint, then just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  TV presenter is given a new job that’s dull mostly (6)
{ANCHOR} – this is someone who presents a live TV programme (often a news programme) involving a number of contributors. String together A, N(ew) and a dull job without its final E (mostly).

4a  Wine or tot knocked back by trainee (8)
{MUSCADET} – a dry white wine from the Loire valley is made from a verb to tot or add reversed (knocked back) followed by a trainee in the armed services or the police.

10a  Religious individual before day’s begun (9)
{PIONEERED} – the definition here is begun or instigated. Start with an abbreviation meaning devoutly religious, then add a single individual, a poetic synonym for before and D(ay).

11a  Bloke has no time for a meanie (5)
{MISER} – take the T(ime) out of an ordinary bloke’s title.

12a  Stop a group performing (7)
{ABANDON} – this is a verb meaning to stop or discontinue. It’s a charade of A, a musical group and an adverb meaning performing.

13a  Became unrestrained in rave around port (3,4)
{RAN RIOT} – a phrase meaning became violent and unrestrained comes from a verb to rave or sound off (4) containing (around) a South American port (3).

14a  Run as one of a crowd? (5)
{EXTRA} – double definition, an example of a run at cricket and someone in a crowd scene on a film set.

15a  Set of problems with tax engaging lady of much wealth! (8)
{EXERCISE} – this is a set of problems such as may be set by a schoolteacher. Put a tax levied on certain commodities around (engaging) the lady who (in the terminology of the next clue) is the no. 1 female in the UK (and who is pretty wealthy).

18a  Yon American singer was once the No.2 female in UK? (8)
{THATCHER} – a charade of a more modern word for yon and the name of a female American singer gives us the politician who once announced “We have become a grandmother”. I imagine that no. 2 is not being used here in the potty training sense!

20a  Love having no speed at all? It brings zing! (5)
{OOMPH} – the letter that looks like zero (love in tennis scoring) is followed by what looks like the speed being achieved by something stationary.

23a  State of agitation in which female’s left, say (7)
{FLUTTER} – abbreviations for F(emale) and L(eft) are followed by a verb to say or speak.

25a  Losing a bit finally, the inside becomes less bulky (7)
{THINNER} – drop the final letter (losing a bit) of TH(e) and add a synonym of inside to make a comparative meaning less bulky.

26a  Sailor wants a litre on table (5)
{ALTAR} – this is a table found in a church. An informal word for a sailor is preceded (wants .. on) by A and L(itre).

27a  Peevish or irate getting befouled with dirt (9)
{IRRITATED} – an anagram (getting befouled) of IRATE and DIRT.

28a  Make new sketch for merchant ship’s flag, omitting one of the names (8)
{REDESIGN} – the flag flown by British-registered merchant ships (3,6) loses its first N (omitting one of the names) and has what’s left squashed up.

29a  Publicity given to one boy in family creates stir (6)
{PRISON} – what stir is a slang term for comes from an abbreviation for some publicity followed by I (one) and a boy in a family.

Down Clues

1d  Mountain height, a risk for several characters (8)
{ALPHABET} – a set of letters (several characters) comes from a high mountain, H(eight), A and a risk or wager.

2d  One may take the heat out of the situation (7)
{COOLANT} – weakish cryptic definition of a liquid or gas used to lower the temperature.

3d  Arrangement with bank manager finally accepted by maiden? Silly! (9)
{OVERDRAFT} – this is an arrangement with a bank. Join together what a maiden may be (in cricket) and a synonym for silly, then insert (accepted) the final letter of (manage)R.

5d  Government official needing to sort out nerdy creatures (5-9)
{UNDER-SECRETARY} – this is the title of a civil servant which sounds pretty menial but is, in fact, quite senior. It’s an anagram (to sort out) of NERDY CREATURES. Good surface!

6d  Sounds like it’s not goin’ to be a plant (5)
{CUMIN} – this is a small plant which produces aromatic seeds used as a spice. It sounds like the opposite of goin’.

7d  Daughter is young girl showing fire (7)
{DISMISS} – string together D(aughter), IS and the title given to a young girl to form a verb meaning to fire.

8d  Become nervous initially when trapped by nasty tutor (4,2)
{TURN TO} – this is a phrasal verb meaning to become (as in “water will become ice when it freezes”). Insert the initial letter of N(ervous) inside (trapped by) an anagram (nasty) of TUTOR.

9d  Pair in church marching around — he the ideal groom? (6,8)
{PRINCE CHARMING} – some girls’ idea of a fairytale husband comes from assembling a) the abbreviation of pair, b) IN, c) an abbreviation for church and d) an anagram (around) of MARCHING.

16d  Singer exciting his rector? (9)
{CHORISTER} – well, I hope that it’s just the singer’s voice that he’s excited by! This is an anagram (exciting) of HIS RECTOR.

17d  Playwright hinders a play (8)
{SHERIDAN} – the name of the Irish playwright who introduced us to Mrs Malaprop is an anagram (play) of HINDERS A.

19d  The fellow had to hug female relation? Spooky! (7)
{HAUNTED} – the definition is spooky, as in rumoured to contain spooks. The contracted form of the fellow had goes round (to hug) a female relative.

21d  What’s near top of agenda for at least 120 seconds? (7)
{MINUTES} – double definition, the first being the official record of what happened at the last meeting which often forms the first item on the current meeting’s agenda.

22d  A loud blonde in extramarital relationship (6)
{AFFAIR} – string together A, the musical abbreviation for loud and a synonym for blonde.

24d  Periods defined for school fees (5)
{TERMS} – double definition – periods into which a school year is broken up and agreed fees.

The clues I liked best were 1a, 3d and 5d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {CEILING} + {WHACKS} = {SEALING WAX}

55 Comments

  1. Jezza
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I was going along quite nicely until I got to 10a, which caused me much head scratching. That clue alone pushed it up to a 3* for me today.
    Thanks to Giovanni- I liked this one, and to gazza for the review.

  2. Roland
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    A quick run-through for me today. Enjoyable nonetheless, but no particular favourites or queries. */***. Thanks to G n G as always.

  3. Wozza
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this. Probably because I finished it…

    Bottom half went in quickly but top left took a bit longer. Don’t understand why 2d is a cryptic clue, am I missing something, but otherwise thought it very enjoyable.

    Happy weekend to all.

  4. Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    NW corner was my nemesis today too. Apart from that quite straightforward.Enjoyed it overall although no particular favourite. Thanks to Gazza for the hints.

  5. Colmce
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the hints, only needed three today,
    I do enjoy big anagrams.

  6. Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Must admit that the NW corner was the tricksiest part today. Although it was so obviously wrong, I started to write AVALANCHE in for 1D which didn’t help in the slightest (especially as there isn’t room for it, D’Oh), then suddenly spotted 10A and everything went in easy peasy lemon squeezy. Good anagram at 5D I thought, and I always enjoy seeing 20A – I must have seen that clue (or something like it) a dozen times and still have to think about it.

  7. mary
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    morning Gazza, totally with you, got stuck on the NW corner and had to have your help for a couple, I don’t see that 3d works because the clue is telling us to put the ‘R’ in ‘maiden’?? A three star for me today verging on 4 because of that corner but on looking at it now I think I should have perservated a little longer but have to go to art, I must say Gazza the pictures have been very tasteful of late :-)

    • gazza
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      2d The R goes in maiden/silly.

      • Vince
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        A further problem I have with this, Gazza, is that I don’t see “maiden” as a synonym for “over”. I’m not a cricket fan, but surely a bowler can bowl a “maiden over”, but not a “maiden”?

        • gazza
          Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          You hear commentators say “He’s bowled a maiden”.

      • mary
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza, I can see it’s supposed to but for me it doesn’t work

        • Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          I agree – got the answer but due to the available letters, not the clue!

  8. Colmce
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Numptie question, what’s a “surface”?

    • gazza
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      It’s best explained here.

      • Colmce
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Thanks to you both, all clear now.

    • mary
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      The surface reading is the way a clue reads Colmce, i.e. when you read it out does it make sense

  9. AnnB
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Yes a goos Fri CW agree with most of comments above.Thansk to all

  10. Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Corrrr! After yesterday’s struggle, this was an absolute joy! Hard enough to keep head scratching but I DO prefer it, that when the penny drops you know you’ve hit on the right answer. Thanks to G & G!

  11. Kath
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure about “slowing down” in the NW corner – I came to a complete halt and never managed to get going again! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of 1a with that meaning and if I have then I’ve forgotten it but, for a very long time, I had “icepack” for 2d so that effectively messed up the whole of that corner – only sorted out when I finally got 14a. I was very slow to get 1d – in fact pretty slow in general. Oh dear!! Not my greatest day by a long way! Ended up needing the hints for 1 and 10a and 2d. Clues that I particularly liked include 4, 18 and 20a and 3, 5 and 16d. With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    • Addicted
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Kath, you and I seem to be on the same wavelength! I also had “icepack” for 2d, Also needed not only hint, but answer! – for 1a, and hints for 10a nd 2d. Are we related, do you think??? Like Gazza, I found NW corner very tricky – indeed,I came to a complete full-stop! Otherwise enjoyed it, though I did think the answer to 23a would have been much better as “fluster” though I do appreciate that wouldn’t have fitted the clue.Once again, the anagrams got me going.

      • Kath
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes – I agree totally – I think that we MUST be related!!! I also wanted to make 23a “fluster” but read the clue again and realised – it wouldn’t have made any difference to anything else, but it would have been wrong and it wouldn’t have fitted the clue. Let’s see how we do tomorrow.
        :smile:

  12. crypticsue
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    This was a crossword of two halves, the bottom went in in a straightforward manner and the top, especially the aforementioned NW corner, took longer. I quite liked 16d which was I thought slightly on the risque side for a Giovanni! Thanks to him for stretching the brain ready for the day’s other cryptics and to Gazza for the review.

    Although the toughie is by Elgar, do give it a go as it has a ‘trick’ that will help you sort out quite a lot of it. His ‘Nimrod’ in the Indy isn’t as hard as some either. There is also a Loroso (Anax) in the FT. If you don’t fancy them, I can highly recommend Prolixic in the Church Times http://churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=124724 .

  13. Derek
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I had exactly the same experience as you Gazza – swift solving until the NW corner but as soon as I had 1d all was done!
    Not one of the Don’s more difficult puzzles this Friday.

    Faves : 10a, 15a, 18a, 28a, 1d, 3d & 6d.

    Someone mentioned yesterday I think that theoretically one may have only one fave – for me a fave is a clue I liked – if there were only one it would be an o/s fave = outstanding!

    Grilling fish tonight in my new oven – I have read the instruction books in English, Dutch and German so I shall be getting experienced with it.
    I always have fresh fish Tuesdays and Fridays and sometimes make salads with tinned fish other days eg Niçoise.

    Sauvignon blanc from NZ with white fish vin rosé from the Var with salmon.

    • Kath
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi Derek,
      I’m very happy for someone to tell me that I’m wrong but, to me anyway, a “favourite” implies “best” – I don’t think that two of anything can be “best” – or maybe they can!! Either way I’m sure others will have opinions on the matter! :smile:

      • Derek
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kath!
        The trouble with all languages is that they have complex nuances! We have eg “good, better and best” so you may think that that is that! However there is also a phrase “the very best” which leads one to the idea that best may be multiple!
        I was a physicist/electronic engineer by profession but I had to learn a lot of languages. If you do not use a language regularly it sinks into decay but it is still in your noddle and it is amazing how it pours out when you visit a country where it is spoken and written.

        • Kath
          Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          OK – I give in, but only a little bit!! :smile:

  14. Peter S
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    As ever absolutely impossible. I just can’t get the hang of this setter

    • gazza
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Peter – welcome to the blog.

    • Brian
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Peter, in the words of Mary keep perservating and you will find it becomes clear in time. Like you I thought Fridays impossible but now look forward to it esp after my nemesis on Thursdays.

    • mary
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi PeterS when I first started Cryptics a couple of years ago I dreaded Giovanni crosswords on a Friday but now after Rufus on a Monday he is my next favourite :-) , as Brian says if you are enjoying learning to solve it’s absolutely worth perservating, ( I had to have lots of help to finish this today)

      • Sarah F
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Have been out all day in the sun at the coast so will get at it later but like you and Brian, I enjoy Fridays now, so I don’t rush —what’s an extra day? Rufus, Giovanni and sometimes the Wednesday setter………..all more my style!

  15. Brian
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Usual exellent end to the working week from the Friday master. Very enjoyable but must admit struggled with 20a which was clever but beyond me and a small comment, 13a would have made more sense with a bit of a clue as to the port (south American would have helped). Fav clue def 9d. Thx for the hints without which I most certainly would not have got 20a.

  16. Brian
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Ps must be me, I found the NW corner straightforward but struggled with the SE corner. Hey ho!

  17. BigBoab
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Best back pager of the week by a long chalk, many thanks to Giovanni for a very enjoyable crossword and to Gazza for the hints/review, I needed to check the reasoning behind 10a but other than that it was quite straightforward.

  18. Franny
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I got stuck at the NW corner too, and needed the hints to complete. 10a was a problem as I was looking for ‘religious’ rather than ‘begun’, and I would never have got 14a with its cricketing reference (hate them!). Also I pronounce 6d to rhyme with ‘human’ rather than the opposite of going. But apart from those niggles I enjoyed the puzzle very much. Favourites were 18 and 19d, and many thanks to G&G. :-)

  19. beaver
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    **/*** for me today,solved the ‘left hand side’ ,then’ the right’-don’t know why,no contentious issues today, a real pleasure,not a rottweiller in sight!
    England v Wales,City v Blackburn,all finished off with the shoot dinner,sounds like a good weekend coming up-oh and the crosswords.

  20. Harport
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Like many others I found the NW Passage frozen solid today.

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I blame 2D ;-)

  21. nicat
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I found this one much harder. I got severalof the answers, but had no idea why they were correct until I saw your hints ie 18a ,19d, 13a. I found the northwest corner hardest and even with your hints had difficulty solving them. I would never have got 3d in a million years on my own! So thanks for your help. I liked 9d and 20a.

  22. upthecreek
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Along with just about everyone else, I was stuck in NW corner for quite a while.The key was 10a which I eventually worked out and that must be my favourite. Also enjoyed 3 5 [very fitting!] 18 20 and 21. Don’t know what Mrs T would have made of being No 2! Thanks to setter for a good workout.

  23. Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with Gazza’s ratings and comment. The NW corner pushed it to 3* for us with 1d and 10a last two in.

    Excellent stuff throughout :grin:

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  24. Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s cryptic puzzle after persevering with the NW corner – put in 10a without really understanding but it started “pi” and fitted, the light dawned later! I rather liked 18a.

  25. Steve_the_beard
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Gazza’s ratings, found 28A rather pleasing, and 16D rather near the knuckle!

    Thanks to all involved.