DT 26800 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26800

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26800

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

There’s nothing too tricky or exciting in today’s puzzle. 11a is a new word (for me anyway) but the wordplay is very straightforward so it should not present any great problems. Let us know how you got on.
The answers are concealed to prevent your seeing them accidentally. To reveal one just highlight the space between the brackets under the relevant clue.

Across Clues

3a  One might take a risk with surreal ‘op art’ clues (10)
{SPECULATOR} – an anagram (surreal) of OP ART CLUES gives us a risk taker, especially one in the financial markets.

8a  Large drinking cup for a small mouth? (6)
{GOBLET} – double definition, the second cryptic.

9a  Clobber blokes surrounding a Royal Marine (8)
{GARMENTS} – the definition here is clobber and it’s a noun. Another word for blokes surrounds A and the abbreviation for Royal Marine.

10a  Cronies upset about a storyline (8)
{SCENARIO} – the storyline, for a film for example, is an anagram (upset) of CRONIES with A inserted.

11a  Leave university storeroom (6)
{GODOWN} – this is a word (new to me), from Malay, for a storeroom or warehouse. If you split it (2,4) you have a phrasal verb meaning to leave university.

12a  Being a member of this, may one expect no service charge? (4,6)
{FREE CHURCH} – this is a cryptic definition of an organisation that holds services. It can refer to any Christian religious body which is totally separate from government, but normally means a strict sect of Scottish Presbyterians outside the mainstream establishment.

14a  Crazy fee to tour abroad, round north-east and south, is enclosed (3,2,4,4)
{OUT OF ONE’S TREE} – this is a slang expression meaning crazy (it’s not obvious to me why it should mean crazy so any suggestions are welcome). It comes from an anagram (abroad) of FEE TO TOUR with O (round), NE and S(outh) enclosed in it.

20a  Showman, one taking Paris and Rome by storm? (10)
{IMPRESARIO} – start with I (one) and add (taking) an anagram (by storm) of PARIS and ROME.

22a  Record set by American in field event (6)
{DISCUS} – a medium for storing a piece of music (record) is followed by an abbreviation of American.

23a  Urgent message about British politician, a tale of woe (3,5)
{SOB STORY} – this is a tale of woe told to elicit the sympathy of the listener. A distress signal (urgent message) contains B(ritish) and that’s followed by a right-wing politician.

24a  Denying, for example, being caught in local (8)
{NEGATIVE} – an adjective meaning denying comes from inserting the abbreviation of for example inside (caught in) a synonym for local or indigenous.

25a  Stony broke? Oscar enters, aloof (6)
{SNOOTY} – insert the letter for which the codeword Oscar is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet inside an anagram (broke) of STONY to make an adjective meaning aloof or superior.

26a  Different taxi stands for all those who are not commissioned officers (5,5)
{OTHER RANKS} – the term for soldiers who are not commissioned is a synonym for different followed by where taxis stand in line waiting for fares.

Down Clues

1d  Arrange old piece of music (8)
{CONCERTO} – start with a verb meaning to arrange or coordinate (we normally see this verb in its past participle form describing an effort or attempt) and add O(ld) to make a musical composition.

2d  Ringing dope in factory (8)
{PLANGENT} – an adjective meaning ringing or resounding (normally with melancholy or mournful connotations) comes from inserting a slang term for dope or low-down into a factory or workshop.

3d  Celebrity against church formality (6)
{STARCH} – another word for a celebrity is followed by an abbreviation of church.

4d  Hence appearing in ‘Mother Goose’ (4)
{ERGO} – hidden (appearing) in the clue is a latin word meaning hence.

5d  Just small pianos (8)
{UPRIGHTS} – a synonym for just or decent is followed by S(mall) to make types of piano, which are indeed small if you compare them with the grand variety.

6d  Commander about to complete programme (6)
{AGENDA} – a Turkish commander contains (about) a verb to complete to make a programme of business.

7d  Ring a Scottish inventor up in capital (6)
{OTTAWA} – start with the letter that looks like a ring, then reverse (up, in a down clue) A and the surname of the Scottish inventor after whom the SI unit of power is named to make a capital city.

13d  Hoist ladder at university (3,2)
{RUN UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to hoist (a flag, perhaps) is a charade of another word for ladder (in the hosiery sense) and an adverb meaning at university.

15d  More excitable and fieriest criminal (8)
{FEISTIER} – an anagram (criminal) of FIERIEST means more excitable or spirited.

16d  Answer concerning warfare (8)
{REACTION} – a prefix meaning concerning or about is followed by warfare or fighting to make an answer.

17d  Head of government in Sharjah, say, to move overseas (8)
{EMIGRATE} – insert the first letter (head) of G(overnment) in what Sharjah in the Persian Gulf is an example of (say).

18d  Steer straight (6)
{DIRECT} – double definition.

19d  Bark and fight close to doghouse (6)
{SCRAPE} –a verb meaning to bark or strip the skin from something comes from a minor fight followed by the closing letter of (doghous)E.

21d  Chase me round stud (6)
{EMBOSS} – a verb meaning to chase or decorate by engraving is constructed by reversing (round) ME and following it with a stud or knob.

23d  Embroidered, spreading news (4)
{SEWN} – an anagram (spreading) of NEWS.

The clues I liked best were 8a and 20a. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {FARE} + {ELAND} = {FAIRYLAND}

144 comments on “DT 26800

  1. No big problems today although I did have to check up on 11A. 20A made me think a bit and after a thinking came the realisation that I’d spelled 15D wrong (D’Oh). Apart from that, a nice pleasant puzzle to make up for the grey miserable day here.

    1. Me too Skempie – “i before e except after c” and all that you learn at school – doesn’t always work, does it? Have to say that all it did was make me spell 20a acroos wrongly too!! But the answers were there, albeit misspelt. Hey ho.

      1. Just to clear things up, the “i” before “e” except after “c” rule only applies for certain when the sound made by these two letters is the long “ee” as in the words “believe” or “receive” for example. With this proviso, there are very few exceptions. The only ones I can remember at the moment are “seize” and “weir”. Sorry to be pedantic, but hope this helps.

  2. Straighforward enough except for 11a. My dictionary does not have the word so I was glad that Gazza was able to confirm it. A nice puzzle fo me this morning . Thanks to Compiler & to Gazza

  3. Moring Gazza, a few I didn’t quite understand today although I solved them so a 2/3* for me, 2d, I don’t know the slang term for dope can only assime it’s ‘gen’?? or am I being the dope here! 1d also never used concert in this way, got confused with up and down at university also never heard 11a, otherwise a nice workable crossword with 12a being my favourite

      1. thanks bifield, I know we had a clue yesterday, where information was dope and now dope is gen, seems a bit of a stretch to me

        1. Hi Mary, I think gen is a fairly standard term used to mean information. I believe it’s an abbr of general information, and is used in the term “to gen up” on something, for example.

            1. Oh sorry, I misunderstood. My dear old Dad used to use the word dope for gen or information. It may have come from his military background ??

              1. thanks roland as I said to pommers must be me, I seem to be being really awkward today, I’m just trying to understand things :-)

  4. Yes straightforward mostly,if I had not juxtaposed my e and I in 15 d which held me up for 20a. 11a was a new word for me, but I guessed it right , as I suspect most will

  5. ’twas a gentle puzzle today – first in was 26a and last in was 19d. Thank you Gazza for the Hints and Tips

    1. Interesting that 26a was your first – I was desperately trying to make an anagram of “taxi & stands” before light dawned!!

          1. Ooh I know but is it right, is it, it’s quite funny and I do see how its meant to work but can you do that, make up a word ( I know goblet is a word) to make it fit a second definition, I’m not sure I agree with this, I think it’s the first time I’ve come across it, I know it’s amusing and it did make me smile but……………

          2. **/** for me,i assume that anything ending with ‘let’ is a smaller version ie notelet etc,goblets can be any size,as Gazza says’thats the reason for the question mark’ as a bit of poetic licence is needed.
            Like others had not heard of 11a as a storeroom ,but my dictionary said it was a name used in the East for a warehouse-live and learn!
            Took a while to understand 18a,apparently bark is also a verb to scrape bark off trees,anyway quite enjoyed it.

            1. Hi beaver, yes I know what you are both saying but adding ‘let’ to a word to make up another doesn’t seem right to me, duh, it must be just me :sad:

  6. Nothing to cause any great problems this morning. Like most others, 11a was a new word to me, but workable from the clue. Agree with your ratings Gazza. Thanks to you and to the setter.

    1. apparently Nigel if you’re at university, you’re ‘up’ and if you leave university, you’re ‘down’ :-)

      1. Quite correct Mary. One ‘goes up’ to University and if caught doing something appalling one gets ‘sent down’! Hard to think of anything bad enough to get sent down for nowadays – apart, perhaps, from getting caught rogering the Dean’s wife but that’s probably viewed as only a mild misdemeanour! :lol:

        1. The bit about the Dean’s wife really made me laugh! :lol:
          I love the yawny faces but it all sounds a bit too complicated for me!! :sad:

      1. thought you were being stroppy with someone then spindrift, then I realised you were talking to yourself :-D

        1. Talking to yourself is an occcupational hazard of being a one man business working on a computer virtually all day. It’s when I stop talking to myself and start arguing with myself that I’ll start to worry. Shades of Gollum…

  7. I found this a puzzle of 2 halves. Half I found very easy and half I did not. I had trouble solving the clues even with your hints.1d, 2d.6d and 19d. Having lived in the Far East I have heard of 11a, but usually they are warehouses at ports rather than storerooms. I liked 23a and 25a

  8. Based on solving time I would only give this a half star for difficulty. It was pleasant but untaxing. The only one that required a little thought was 11a. Only the plus side, it gave plenty of time for the remainder of the journey to wrestle with Giovanni in the Toughie :)

  9. Thanks to the setter & Gazza for the review & hints. Agree with Gazza’s star ratings as I managed to complete it quite quickly. Favourites were 19d always think of shins, and 8a, which made me laugh. Still cloudy in central London. On to the Toughie.

  10. Gazza – regarding 14a ‘out of ones tree’ is a new one on me – I expect it is derived from ‘off ones rocker’ with some reference to the fact that rocker’s were originaly made from wood. Not the most tangible of reasons – but at least it is one……….. :-0

  11. If you read what Prolixic put at 11 above, it sums up exactly what I was going to write here! I, however, had heard of the storeroom in 11a and about leaving universities so that didn’t cause me any problems.

    The Giovanni Toughie does, as Prolixic said, take a considerable amount of wrestling

    1. Giovanni & Toughie – what a combination. Lead me to the darkened room with only a dimly lit candle for company but I’m sure I won’t be on my own for long…

    2. It’s just occurred to me that Prolixic and I were both very naughty and didn’t thank either the setter or Gazza. A belated thanks to both.

  12. I really enjoyed this one. I thought that it was quite easy and only had a couple of minor problems. Along with lots of others, I’ve never heard of 11a and spent a while trying to think of a specific university. Having got the answer to 14a I just couldn’t work out where all the bits for the anagram came from – nothing seemed to add up to the right number so needed the hint for that. I liked 8, 23 and 26a and 4 and 19d. With thanks to whoever set this one and to Gazza.

    1. I was like you for 14a Kath nothing seemed to add up! Have you seen pommers ‘yawn’ emoticon higher up, it’s beyond me to get it onto this blog!

      1. I love the “yawny faces” but it all sounds too complicated for me, especially today as lots of people who work with my husband are coming for supper and I really should be cooking – it sounds a bit as if half the hospital is coming!! Perhaps we could find a face that says “Oh help” or words to that effect!!

          1. No – not a special occasion just something that we (?) do occasionally!! Actually I’m fairly well organised apart from clearing up dog/cat hair and cobwebs!

          1. How do you do that one, or is it another of the ones that is too complicated for the likes of me? It would do perfectly – just how I’m feeling!! What on earth am I doing sitting here reading all the comments ……

                1. Hi Mary

                  Go here http://www.sherv.net/emoticons.html

                  You’ll quite a few sets of emoticons and the yawn is in the ‘mood’ emoticon set. Click on mood emoticons and it opens up a lot more sets with different moods. The yawn is in the sleeping set so open that and you get a load os sleep related smileys. Click on the one you want and it opens at the top of the screen. Just underneath, to the right it says ‘get codes’. Click that and it takes you down the screen a bit. You need to copy everything in the box labelled HTML code.

                  Paste it into a comment like this but you need to change the size otherwise it will be far too big.

                  Read along the code and you’ll see where it says width=99 and height =100. Change both to 18 and post the comment and you should get this Yawn

                  1. Don’t worry – We won’t use it a lot!
                    The only probelm here is linking to other peoples images – bit of a no-no as it both broadcasts their content which may be copyright, adds to their bandwidth which annoys them or else allows the picture to be changed at their end. One’s own server is probably a preferred method!

  13. I found this very straightforward but very enjoyable. Every clue made perfect sense to me, except 23a, which I understand now thanks to the hint. I have a storeroom downstairs, so I think I’ll start calling it the 11a, rather than the bodega as it’s currently know, being full of wine!

  14. Hi all. Not my first time on the site – I discovered it a while ago – but my first time in ‘Comments’. Came here yesterday to see why my iPad crossword was different from my paper. Like most of you, I didn’t find today’s particularly taxing or interesting. I also didn’t know 11a and had to confirm 19d here to finish it off. Favourite was 8a. */**

    1. Hi John – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve dipped your toe in the water I hope that we’ll get many more comments from you.

  15. That was fun, but over rather quickly… why does that sound familiar?

    To those for whom 11A was a new word: from George MacDonald Fraser’s “Flashman At The Charge”: “suddenly there were dark figures all around us, clutching at our bridles, almost pulling us from the saddles towards a big go-down on the north side of the pier.”

    Thanks to all :-)

  16. As others have said, a fairly benign puzzle today but enjoyable all the same.

    I also have no idea of the derivation of 14a but also know the phrase as meaning extremely drunk as well as crazy.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    1. I think that the 14a phrase is somewhat counter-intuitive. You’d think that someone inhabiting a tree would be crazy, but according to the phrase he only gets crazy when he comes down to earth.

      1. There is another phrase ‘out of one’s gourd’ – There is a tree called a gourd, and another definition of gourd is one’s mind, or one’s head.
        Rather a tenuous connection I admit!

  17. Many thanks Gazza and the setter.
    An easy – a gift, in fact – 600 points in the DT online submission.

  18. I have tried to compile a cryptic crossword or 2 in my time, and fully appreciate just how difficult it is to do well. I am genuinely amazed how the likes of Rufus, Elgar, Ray T, Giovanni, Virgilius and the many other Maestri of Crosswordland can produce such consistently high quality puzzles.
    That said, I thought that today’s challenge was pretty close to what I managed to produce – a bit too easy, clumsy and boring.
    My thanks to the setter, and of course to Gazza for the nicely restrained review.

  19. Easy but enjoyable puzzle today.
    Faves : 8a, 11a, 23a, 2d, 7d & 19d.
    11a was a new word for me which goes to show we are never too old to learn – I had to check the storeroom connotation in the BRB.

    Biological fillet of salmon with chips tonight – does biological mean more costly??? Then blueberries and cream.

    My daughter is coming for lunch tomorrow so I’ll hear all about their ski trip to the Dolomites at half-term.
    I gave up skiing a long time ago. It was great fun – started when I lived in Switzerland.

    1. You know how it is when you read something very quickly and the brain registers the wrong word, well I was about to ask where you managed to skiing in Somerset D’Oh

          1. I can only think that either you didn’t have a space before and after the code or you didn’t copy EVERYTHING in the HTML box. It’s worked for me Cheering football

        1. I thought very clearly before I printed and checked very carefully before I sent. What I didn’t do was read very carefully as I skimmed through your post and read Somerset instead of Switzerland. As a long-time resident of Somerset (but only just – 1 mile from the border) I was racking my brains trying to think of a ski slope in the county – this is when I spotted my skimming error. :smile:

    2. What the hell is all this tripe from Skemmers, Franco & Pommersand what has it got to do with my blog?????

          1. Yeh! Don’t know how it all got on your post really as I was just replying to Franco and didn’t read the whole thread! Not sure what’s gone wrong here, but what the hell? :grin:

            Enjoy the ‘expensive’ salmon and daughter’s stories of the skiing – we’re on fish pie tonight :smile:

  20. Bit of a curate’s egg of a puzzle from a Tuesday Mysteron. Didn’t have the feel of the usual suspects. Maybe a new setter. Couple of the clues felt as though they were trying to impress but not hitting the mark.

  21. Hi all,

    l briefly went awry on 14a – getting the last word wrong which made the down clues a bit of a challenge :) apart from that 11a was a new word. Enjoyable and it had to be somewhat easy as l did not struggle to complete


  22. Surprised to see my post yesterday was so controversial- I logged out after posting and only got back on today. It was no cunning plan, or one-hit wonder, so I’ve posted my fuller thoughts back on yesterdays blog now, if anyone still cares.

    1. Thanks Simon, I’ve never heard of that spelling of squaw, hence my confusion at your comment. So I sallied forth with no delay to dictionary corner. My copy of Chambers has neither SKWA or AWK (surprisingly). However, and further to Mary’s posts above, under the entry for AUK, it does have AUKLET meaning a small auk!

      1. I just googled SKWA and AWK, and in both cases found reference to them as alternative spellings. That was good enough for me, though I know I shouldn’t believe everything on the net. Anyway, it’s not often you find a ‘triple’. let alone one that isn’t even the right answer!

  23. I’m coming in a bit late, had a busy day and am about to dash off to a rehearsal — but I enjoyed this puzzle very much when I did it this morning. Didn’t need any help and usually find Tuesday’s offering pretty tough. I also was rather puzzled by 14a: have heard of being out of ones mind, but ‘tree’?? My favourite clues were 8a and 23a, and I send many thanks to Gazza and the setter. :-)

    1. I think Braintree, in Essex, is responsible for this bit of not-quite-cockney-rhyming-slang. If I remember rightly, it was a popular expression in the 80’s, when Essex Man had just been invented in most people’s lexicons.

      1. I have heard of both ‘tree’ and ‘gourd’ (the latter is mainly American from memory) but I cant say that I know the etymology (and not does urbandictionary.com). Simon, do you have any further info?

  24. I rather enjoyed this one and got stuck on 1d at the end – seemingly the only one who did! Just couldn’t get that required meaning of “arrange”.

    Looking forward to Pommers tomorrow – after all that dope stuff yesterday and rogering the Dean’s wife today, I dread to think of the emoticons which might appear tomorrow. Hasta manana.

  25. Not much more to add apart from the apologies for being late on parade. Solved without a pen on the station platform apart from about 6 which went in as soon as I saw the checking letters. Agreed with gazza about 11a – unknown to me but fairly clued and gettable from the checking letters. Thanks to gazza and the setter.

  26. Well I, believe it or not, did know 11a!! At least, if I’m brutally honest, I knew the word but, to be sure, had to check the dictionary to make sure it meant 11a!! Relatively easy – compared to some last week! – puzzle to-day and completed without hints though I do admit to mis-spelling 15d and consequently 20a (as admitted up above somewhere). Thanks to setter as I’m perfectly sure the rest of the week is going to be a lot tougher, and to Gazza for hints and explanations. (Very chatty and diverse blog to-day – thought this was supposed to be about crosswords??! Though I could do with some instruction on emocions – have enough trouble with them on e-mails, let alone on a blog! Must be my age. On which subject – saw “The Number One Exotic Marigold Hotel” to-day – brilliant!!!)

  27. This was quite fun – ended up needing the hints for 2d and 7d, plus the answer for 11a, which I’d never heard of.
    I agree with other posters that 11a let this puzzle down, especially as the wordplay was obscure also – it was a bad clue, IMHO.

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