DT 26821 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26821

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26821

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja. No, it’s not Wednesday! Gazza thought I might be suffering withdrawal symptoms after I missed Wednesday because of the rain so kindly offered to let me tackle this one instead – many thanks Gazza. It’s the second Giovanni I’ve blogged and both times I’ve found it an interesting experience to get to grips with a different style from my normal Jay puzzle.

I thought this was piitched about right for a Friday with a couple of gimmes and a few anagrams, to give you a start, and a few that require a bit of thought. I really enjoyed it but it will be interesting to see if others agree.

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. 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.


7a           Delight crossing minimal river, it being this? (7)
{TRICKLE} – A word for to delight or to amuse placed around (crossing) R (minimal River) gives a word you might use to describe a river with very little water flowing down it.  Like the Rio Segura which is usually more like a damp ditch than a river. The recent rain has done it a power of good though!

8a           More dirty and horrible? That is right (7)
{GRIMIER} – Definition is more dirty. Take a word for horrible or sinister (4) and follow with the usual abbreviation for that is and R(ight).

10a         Determination shown by weak and sickly prisoner brought before ruler (9)
{WILLPOWER} – This word for determination is a charade of W(eak), a word meaning sickly (3), a prisoner (of war) and the abbreviation for our current monarch.

11a         Set of principles laid down by Elizabeth I contentiously (5)
{ETHIC} – A set of principles is hidden (laid down by) in Elizabeth I contentiously.

12a         Journeys made by newly-weds heading off (5)
{RIDES} – To get these journeys, possibly on a horse or motorbike, you need some newly married women and remove the first letter (heading off).

13a         Carefully chosen soldiers meeting revolutionary beginning to recognise him (9)
{RECHERCHE} – Definition is carefully chosen. Start with some common crosswordland soldiers and follow (meeting) with our favourite revolutionary. Then and an R (beginning to Recognise). Then the word ‘him’ means we need the revolutionary again.

15a         Like gems destined to be placed around church (7)
{FACETED} – Take a word meaning destined and place it around the abbreviation for the Church of England to get a word which could describe a gemstone.

17a         Undesirable conditions for section of the orchestra (7)
{STRINGS} – These are undesirable conditions, attached to a business deal perhaps, and they are also one of the four main sections of an orchestra.

18a         Attack taking place — killing without hesitation (9)
{ONSLAUGHT} – This attack is made up of a word meaning ‘taking place’ (a stage play perhaps) followed by a word for killing or massacre without its final ER (without hesitation).

20a         Mayonnaise has excellent mixture of oil (5)
{AIOLI} –The usual 2 letters for excellent followed by an anagram (mixture of) OIL gives a garlic flavoured mayonnaise. Today’s chestnut I think.

21a         Belief in a male divinity overthrown (5)
{DOGMA} – To get this belief you need A(from the clue), M(ale) and a divinity. Then reverse the lot (overthrown).

23a         My servant has been retrained as a church official (9)
{VESTRYMAN} – Ths church official is an anagram (has been retrained) of MY SERVANT.

24a         More socially inept diner is awkward when Queen enters (7)
{NERDIER} – An adjective meaning more socially inept is an anagram (is awkward) of DINER with the Queen inserted (enters).

25a         One’s asked to come home before six to what sounds like tea (7)
{INVITEE} – Someone who has been requested to attend is a charade of the usual word for home (2), the Roman numeral 6 and a word which sounds like tea.


1d           One had a huge amount of meat after I’d served up nasty cold soup! (10)
{DIPLODOCUS} – This thing certainly had a huge amount of meat as it was a massive dinosaur! Reverse I’d (served up in a down clue) and follow with an anagram (nasty) of COLD SOUP. Nasty is how I usually describe the dreaded cold Gaspacho soup that’s very popular round here!

2d           Second half of book — a page is given to wild animals (6)
{OKAPIS} – This is one of those where you just build up the answer by doing exactly what the clue says. Second half of boOK, A (from the clue), P(age) and IS (from the clue again). Put those bits together and you get some wild animals native to central Africa and related to the giraffe.

3d           Part of the globe experienced and whisked round, as you might say (3,5)
{NEW WORLD} – This is a phrase used to describe a large part of the western hemisphere. It sounds like a word for experienced or was aware of, followed by a word which sounds like whisked around. I first put OLD in for the first word which didn’t help with 7a! Well, OLD/EXPERIENCED, it works for me!

4d           Plant in a garden half eaten? I start to cry (6)
{AGARIC} – This is a sort of mushroom with medicinal properties. You need A (from the clue), one half of the word garden (half eaten?), I (from the clue) and C (start to Cry)

5d           One put into a house with bishops? That could be a severe sentence, look! (4,4)
{LIFE PEER} – This is a person elevated to a house where Bishops also sit. It’s a word for a long prison sentence followed by a word meaning to look searchingly. Took a while for the penny to drop here. I was trying to fit in a couple of B’s (Bishops), D’oh!.

6d           Food in bed is heaven (4)
{DISH} – This food is hidden in bed is heaven.  Quite like the surface of this one!

7d           American novelist’s rescue vehicle that sits by the Thames (5,2,6)
{TOWER OF LONDON} – This famous landmark by the river Thames is also a phrase which, if pronounced slightly differently,  could be describing a rescue vehicle owned by an American author who wrote “Call of the Wild”.

9d           Something intellectually challenging that goes beyond blue-sky thinking? (6,7)
{ROCKET SCIENCE} – This is a colloquial term for something intellectually challenging and it’s to do with going beyond the atmosphere (sky).  It’s usually used the other way round, i.e. something not challenging is commonly said to be not this.

14d         Doing well in Plymouth, say, and not rocking the boat (10)
{CONFORMITY} – A phrase describing someone having a good spell in a sport perhaps (2,4) inserted into what Plymouth is an example of gives a word for not rocking the boat or agreeing.

16d         Liqueur — it upset a latter-day Juliet (3,5)
{TIA MARIA} – The answer to this is fairly obvious if you have the checkers but you need a little bit of general knowledge to fully parse it. It’s a coffee flavoured liqueur and the first word is made from TI (it upset) followed by A (from the clue). The second word is the female lead in the musical West Side Story, which is based on Romeo and Juliet.

17d         Begins journey from Home Counties — is last off (4,4)
{SETS SAIL} – How a yachtsman begins a journey is the abbreviation for the area of the country where the home counties are followed by an anagram (off) of IS LAST. A few years since I last did this and withdrawal symptoms are setting in again!

19d         Grand knight that’s too much in control (6)
{GOVERN} – A word meaning control, in the sense of rule, is G(rand) and the chess abbreviation for Knight with a word for ‘too much’ inserted (in).

20d         I have to follow a bishop to achieve success (6)
{ARRIVE} – Start with A (from the clue) and one of the abbreviations for Bishop and follow with I have and you get a word meaning to achieve success.  I think this is more usually used in the past tense. Someone who has achieved success is said to have done this.

22d         Primitive life form Rex found buried in stone (4)
{GERM} – This is a primitive life form and it’s R(ex) inserted into a stone – the one in 15a?

I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 1d and 9d.

Has anyone spotted the Nina?  I missed it as usual until Gazza told me there was one! It’s here if you can’t see it {The letters in the top and bottom rows spell out the setters name}

The Quick crossword pun: {tree} + {menders} = {tremendous}

83 comments on “DT 26821

  1. Hola from me too. Thanks BD for stepping in at short notice on Wednesday and thanks Gazza for letting pommers do today’s blog.
    2 days without internet and email is more than a girl can stand – definite withdrawal symptoms!

  2. Really enjoyed today’s puzzle, LH half went in fairly quickly RH a bit of a slog.
    Thanks to Pommers for hints and tips, R for knight a new one to me, another hole filled in my data base.

    Sent from the cockpit, will be 17 downing for a drift about after brunch:)

          1. Thank you for explaining that Pommers – I was about to ask! Must file that away for future blank moments!!

  3. Hola pommers from a failry sunny West Wales, isn’t it strange how we all like different things, I didn’t know there was such a word as ‘nerdier’! does the nina start at 21d? I wouldn’t have spotted it if you hadn’t said, lots of clues I didn’t like today unfortunately 13a, 7d, 9d and a few more I finished quite early so it’s not a case of not liking it because it was too difficult, I wanted to put ‘old’ in for first word of 3d! no favourite clue today, thanks for the hints pommers :-)

    1. Hi Mary

      The nina is in the top and bottom rows.

      I seem to remember I had the nerd in my last blog! Do you think the setters are trying to tell me something? :lol:

  4. A couple to think about for me today, especially the second half of 16d (thanks for the explanation pommers).
    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle, and to pommers for the review.

    The Toughie today I thought was Osmosis in pink fluffy slippers (for a Friday toughie), and I went through it quicker than this one.

  5. Sorry Sir, thought this was not up to your usual standard. Far too many religeous references ( what exactly is a 23a anyway) and where does the bishop come in in 20d? Needed lots of help especially for 7d which in this grid pattern is a vital clue (tower=rescue vehicle, not sure about that). Only clue which I liked was 9d, very clever.
    Many thx to Pommers for the excellent hints. Out of interest is there a new crossword editor at the DT who thinks the back page puzzle should be of a toughie standard and who doesn’t seem to like the average customer?

    1. hi Brian I tend to agree with a lot of the things you say today, 23a I think maybe a term used in the Church of England for someone who helps in the vestry, in the Catholic church we have a sacristy and so do not use that term if indeed it does exist :-D

        1. Thx Mary, I’m probably being stupid here but what is all this talk about Nina, Nina who?

            1. Amazing, very clever if a little egotistic :-) thx for that, you learn something new every day on this blog.

    2. These ae 2 definitions of VESTRY. “Vestrymen” are members of the vestry.

      Church of England
      a meeting of all the members of a parish or their representatives, to transact the official business of the parish
      the body of members meeting for this; the parish council

      Episcopal Church Anglican Church a committee of vestrymen chosen by the congregation to manage the temporal affairs of their church

    3. RR has been the crossword bishop since the dawn of time or when crosswords started.

    1. One of the repercussions of temporalily waiving the requirement to enter an alias and an email address is the increasing number of anonymous comments. Please enter those fields whenever possible.

  6. I really enjoyed this one, particularly because it only had two full anagrams, so lots of opportunities to sort out wordplay which I relish. I missed the nina completely! No particular favourite but I was pleased with myself for spotting the West Side Story reference at 16d, so I’ll opt for that. Agree with Jezza that the Toughie is very doable today, though I’m stuck on a couple in the SE corner. Thanks to Giovanni and Pommers.

  7. Wondered what you lot were going on about, all this chat about some bird called Nina. Google is my friend!
    How very clever.

    1. Hi there again, how’s the sailing? Jealous – not much!

      Ninas don’t often come up on the back page but always worth checking a Toughie.

      1. Sorry – I must be very thick – but I still can’t see this “Nina”??????/ Help, please.

        1. Giovanni’s real name (6,6) is spelled out in the letters on the very top and very bottom rows of the grid.

        2. I completely missed it too – I always do!! Every so often when the first few clues I get have some of the unusual letters in them ( Q, X, Z J etc) I start to look out for it being a pangram – then it isn’t! When it really is I miss it!! One day I’ll be right, I hope.

  8. I found this a good end to the week. No real favourites today, but last in was 5d. I spent ages trying to fit ‘see’ (Bishop’s house) into the answer. Was I the only one? It seemed logical to me at the time.
    After a week of dust and sandstorms in this part of the world, the air is beginning to clear, consequently the mercury is rising. Thanks to Giovanni and Pommers.

    1. where is your part of the world Jackie? I didn’t think of ‘see’ but wanted to put the ‘rr’ in again!

    2. One of my brothers and family live in Albuquerque (I’m never sure that I spell that right) and they have loads of dust storms

      1. Hi Mary, I’m in Dubai at the moment, we have been here on and off for the last 35 years, our latest stint of 9 years is coming to an end and we should be back in sunny West Sussex by the end of May. I am really looking forward to being able to spend some time in the garden and escaping the sun and sand.

  9. I thought this was a great puzzle once I’d managed to get going at all! Even having got started I couldn’t do the two long ones down each side for ages, particularly 9d. Missed the Nina completely, just for a change. Favourites include 7 and 25a and 1, 6, 14 and 16d. With thanks to Giovanni and Pommers.
    Beautiful day here – more gardening. Even a mole would be ashamed of hands and nails as mine are at the moment! :sad:

    1. You must have a lovely garden Kath, mine is now mostly ‘work free’ as we had most of it ‘lanscaped’ two years ago, it wasn’t very big to start with, I love gardening but certain health problems particularly with joints prevent me enjoying it any more :-(

      1. Our garden is anything BUT work free – about half acre, lots of grass but big veggie patch, greenhouse, fruit trees and flower (?weed) beds too. I love it but do occasionally worry that it is easy to let it become a bit of a tyrant. Main problem is that we’re surrounded by fields so all the weeds come in – nettles, brambles etc.

        1. In our last house in the UK we had a big garden. It was a nice garden but ,although I found weeding quite therapeutic ,I began to resent that I could never sit down with a coffee or a book to enjoy it because as soon as I sat I could see what needed doing in it. So now I leave our small garden for my husband to take care of and I’m quite happy with that. But you obviously enjoy gardening Kath. :smile:

          1. I really enjoy it but agree that I never just sit in it with coffee and the crossword! It would be nice sometimes but this is such a busy time of year – if everything “escapes” from me now I never catch up again. :smile:

  10. After all the ups and downs of dififculty during the week, it is always nice to get to the Friday’s Giovanni as you know exactly what you are going to get. This one was no exception, very enjoyable and the right level of difficulty too. My favourite clue was 9d although I did like 16d too. A relative was doing a stint as a supply teacher and one of the girl’s names was 16d. When asked why she was called that, the reply was that too much of said liqueur had led to her conception.

    The Toughie is very nice too. Nicely judged ‘footwear’ at the end of a tricky week.

  11. **/**** ,Good start to the day,enjoyed it,nicely varied clues,only set back was putting the answer to 8a in the 7a squares ! which made me want to put hippos for 2d,also made 7d difficult-ok when i realised my error.liked 14a,worked it out from the clue, heard the word before,but did’nt know what it meant prior to checking, is there such a thing as a recherche bishop in chess?

  12. Well I have to say this was one of the easiest Friday puzzles for quite some time, with the exception of 13a which had me scratching my head for a little while. It should have been more enjoyable than it was and I can’t put my finger on why this was not the case. Probably just me. Glorious weather in Lancashire – was probably not looking forward to digging out the old tree stumps in the flower bed; least that’s done now. Thanks, Pommers, for confirming my guesswork re 16d, wasn’t 100% sure.

  13. Thanks to Giovanni & Pommers for the review & hints. Enjoyed this one, got through most of it quite quickly, but was held up in the NE corner. Favourites were 1d & 16d. Like a summers day here at Newbury races.

  14. Good puzzle to end the week. Just a few problems: 3d I also started with ‘old’, which completely scuppered 7a and therefore 1d – I was absolutely convinced I was looking for a soup as I couldn’t see a definition at the beginning of the clue! The right answer did actually float through my head at one point, but didn’t stick, so I had to resort to the hints. Also had trouble with 14d – Plymouth is a port and that’s all my brain had to say on the matter. Still, enjoyed it so thanks to Giovanni and to Pommers for the help.

  15. Most enjoyable today. i always thought that the dinosaur had 2 c s in it its tail.
    15a : is this an awful prediction for the C of E that it might be fated ?

  16. I couldn’t fit SEE into 5d either, so this was last to go in for me after a garden break to perform the first cut of the year.
    Regrettably not the last. Missed the nina but enjoyed the puzzle – about right for a Friday after a fluctuating week.
    Thanks to The Don and El Pom.

    1. As I said in the blog it was two B’s for me, fortunately never thought of SEE which would have made matters worse! It was my last in as well, took ages for the penny to drop :roll:.

  17. An enjoyable offering from my point of view but can anyone explain why 4d is a plant? Surely it is a fungus!

  18. I got stuck in the right hand corner . I had the word for 13a straightaway but spelt it wrongly,was looking for B’s in 5d and I never heard of 4d. It was a nice puzzle all the same .I really liked 7d & 9d. Missed the Nina too ! Thanks to Giovanni & Pommers .

  19. Another enjoyable puzzle from The Don – Grazie Lei!

    Likes : 7a, 10a, 13a, 17a, 1d, 3d, 9d, 14d & 19d.

    Beautiful clear skies here all day.

    They had snow in Madrid!!!

  20. Thanks pommers, and Giovanni for a, at times, testing, enjoyable crossword.
    Last in 13a which I constructed solely from the clue. To my shame, a new word to remember.

  21. Managed to finish this to-day without hints,but lots of electonic help and checking – particularly 4d – had worked it out from the checking letters but had never heard of it. Needed hints for explanations to several – thank you, Pommers! – but 7d stil eludes me (though I got it) but am not in to American novelists. Was pleased to finish to-day’s as yesterday’s left me standing! Thanks to Giovanni and Pommers.

    1. Hi Addicted

      Re 7d – The American novelist is Jack London http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_London
      If you’ve got the answer just change the pronunciation of the first word and it means a towing vehicle owned by the author.

      Re your other reply about the Nina. If you look at the 6 letters across row of the top of the grid, and the 6 across the very bottom row they spell out DONALD MANLEY – the real name of Giovanni.

      1. Thank you! and thank you Gazza up above, who replied with similar. More to these crosswords than meets the eye, isn’t there? Goodness knows, it’s hard enough doing them sometimes, without looking out for “Ninas” too! Clever people, these compilers.

  22. After a slow start (three clues on the first pass through), this one quickly picked up momentum for me and I was really enjoying it. That was until I ground to a halt with 13a and 14d left to do. I finally clicked on 14d but had to seek help here for 13a only to discover a word that I’d discounted earlier as it was French! Then, much to my chagrin, I discover the word does appear in Chambers complete with the acute accent! No one else seems to be grumbling, so I’m not sure what the lesson is except, like Hrothgar, a new word to remember!

  23. What a strange but enjoyable crossword. Apart from 7D, I had completed the entire bottom half without having anything in the top half! Most unusual.

    I thought 13A and 1D were excellent, and I’d never heard of 23A but it was quite clear.

    What is totally new to me is the “Nina” concept; my admiration for The Don increases by the day (I wonder what his real name is :-) )

    Thanks to Giovanni and Pommers

  24. I looked at today’s grid and immediately thought “Nina”. However, on completion of the puzzle (for once unaided) forgot all about it. I’ve never spotted a Nina and most probably never will.

    Thanks to all involved!

    1. Yes – I see what you mean – had to look him up to check the spelling and the first thing that the BRB said was that he was a herbivore which rather made me doubt my answer, although it had to be OK. I suppose the “had a huge amount of meat” just means that he was quite a big chap!! As BD says he’s probably a bit past his “sell by” date by now – in our family it’s always called “stale by date”! We usually eat it anyway!

      1. Dunno about ‘sell by’ date but I think I’m past my ‘best before’ date ! :sad:

        Who was it who wanted the inscription “Here lies ????? Best before . . . .” followed by the date of his death on his tombstone?

  25. I managed to complete this one but I’m afraid I have a couple issues! In 10a, why should the word “Weak” imply the letter “W”? I know it’s the initial letter but so what? I also dispute that 4d is a plant. What grows underground is a fungus and the thing that pops up in autumn is a fruit.

    That said, the puzzle made me think deeply and finishing it was rewarding. Many thanks to the setter and Pommers!

  26. I managed to complete this one but I’m afraid I have a couple issues! In 10a, why should the word “Weak” imply the letter “W”? I know it’s the initial letter but so what? I also dispute that 4d is a plant. What grows underground is a fungus and the thing that pops up in autumn is a fruit.

    That said, the puzzle made me think deeply and finishing it was rewarding. Many thanks to the setter and Pommers!

      1. The BRB gives

        nerdish or nerdy

        So the comparative form nerdier and the superlative form nerdiest are allowed (I’m not so sure about nerdisher and nerdishest).

    1. Hi After 10pm

      W for weak comes from the Weak force (W) in sub-atomic physics, with which we are all obviously very familiar (not)! It’s one of the 4 basic forces holding the universe together alongside the Strong force , electromagnetism and gravity. Thought eveyone knew that :lol:

      It’s explained in turgid detail here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_force but it is in the BRB as well so I guess it counts as OK.

      1. Thanks for the explanation Pommers – obvious really!? I’m glad the W didn’t simply come from the initial letter as that would have made it a “weak” clue!

  27. Ta for the hints for 13a (I was so nearly there, never heard the word before) and 14d (must remember the Plymouth, say decode).

    1. Hi wingnut

      Construction is worth remembering but in this instance it’s a bit clever as I bet most of us thought PORT rather than CITY at first !

Comments are closed.