DT 26839 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26839

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26839

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Today is Friday the Thirteenth so was this to be an omen for a devilishly difficult puzzle? Well not really – this one is well towards the easier end of Giovanni’s range, although as usual a little bit of general knowledge is very helpful. I can’t say that I enjoyed it a great deal, but I’d like to hear your views.
If you need to see an answer just highlight the space between the curly brackets under the clues – if you’re using a hand-held device then some assistance on how to do the revealing can be found in the FAQ.

Across Clues

7a  Naughty and not run after, we hear? (8)
{UNCHASTE} – the opposite of pure and virtuous sounds (we hear) as though it means not pursued.

9a  Gosh, an honoured member is in the valley! (6)
{COOMBE} – this word for a short deep valley can be seen (with some variations in spelling) in a number of place names (such as Ilfracombe). It’s a charade of an exclamation like gosh! and someone who has appeared in the Honours List.

10a  Mary’s sister seen with smart hair (6)
{MARTHA} – the name of Mary’s sister (in the New Testament) can be seen in the clue.

11a  Not completely clean clothes needed for hobbies (8)
{PURSUITS} – string together an adjective meaning clean or flawless without its final E (not completely) and formal clothes to make hobbies or pastimes.

12a  Clown playing with a rock band, famous travellers from across the Atlantic (6,3,5)
{ALCOCK AND BROWN} – the names of two British aviation pioneers who made the first non-stop transatlantic flight come from an anagram (playing) of CLOWN and A ROCK BAND.

15a  Put money in machine, maybe, parking? Help! (4)
{PAID} – the abbreviation for parking is followed by a synonym of help.

17a  Restrictions in no-go areas (5)
{REINS} – these restrictions, on a horse for example, appear when you remove the letters G and O from a word meaning areas or districts. There really ought to be some indication that the letters to be removed are not contiguous in the original word.

19a  One gets in external door marked ‘no entry’? (4)
{EXIT} – insert I (one) in the abbreviation for external.

20a  ‘Ample’ librarian, all over the place as a dancer (5,9)
{PRIMA BALLERINA} – an anagram (all over the place) of AMPLE LIBRARIAN gives us someone like Darcey Bussell.

23a  Involuntary action that leads to a blessing? (8)
{SNEEZING} – cryptic definition. Bless you!

25a  Irish peninsula’s wooded hollow (6)
{DINGLE} – a word for a wooded hollow or valley is also the name of a peninsula on the far West coast of Ireland.

27a  Raider at sea makes very good speed (6)
{PIRATE} – an abbreviation meaning very good (in a holier-than-thou manner) and a synonym for speed come together to make a raider at sea.

28a  Find something that may have slipped across (8)
{DISCOVER} – a verb meaning to find is a charade of something that may have slipped (in your back, perhaps) and a preposition meaning across.

Down Clues

1d  Old emperor in plain car (4)
{INCA} – the supreme ruler of an old South American people is hidden in the clue.

2d  Get hot wandering around slum area? (6)
{GHETTO} – an anagram (wandering around) of GET HOT produces a run-down quarter normally inhabited by a minority group.

3d  Guard given sly look when turning up (4)
{KEEP} – if you reverse (turning up, in a down clue) a sly or furtive look you get a verb to guard or protect.

4d  Mark on sailor was something symbolically sacred (6)
{SCARAB} – this is a dung-beetle, regarded as sacred by the ancient Egyptians. Put the mark left by a wound in front of (on, in a down clue) one of the abbreviations for a sailor.

5d  What’s no use, old, terribly lumpy (8)
{NODULOSE} – an anagram (terribly) of NO USE OLD means lumpy or swollen.

6d  Bet on saint being drunk? Not if he practises this (10)
{ABSTENTION} – an anagram (being drunk) of BET ON SAINT.

8d  A clerk’s dreadful person who doesn’t work hard enough (7)
{SLACKER} – an anagram (dreadful) of A CLERK’S gives someone who doesn’t pull his weight.

13d  I called around, carrying one writing implement and another (4,6)
{LEAD PENCIL} – put an anagram (around) of I CALLED around a writing implement and you’ve made a different one.

14d  Song in North America making money for Nigerians (5)
{NAIRA} – I didn’t previously know what the Nigerian currency was called but the wordplay makes it straightforward to find out. Insert a song or melody in N(orth) A(merica).

16d  Fantastic view in cart that may go up to house (8)
{DRIVEWAY} – an anagram (fantastic) of VIEW goes inside the sort of cart that used to be used to deliver barrels of beer to make the approach to one’s ancestral pile.

18d  Strong American line gets mark of 10/10 (7)
{SOLIDUS} – this is the second appearance this week for this word (after Wednesday’s Toughie). A synonym for strong or sturdy precedes one of the abbreviations for American to make the line or mark appearing in the clue.

21d  A pit’s chemicals (6)
{AMINES} – these chemicals are organic compounds derived from ammonia. A is followed by a synonym of pit plus the ‘S.

22d  Managed to have party with a thousand controlled? No (6)
{RANDOM} – this adjective means the opposite of controlled, i.e. arbitrary or unsystematic. A verb meaning managed is followed by the usual Crosswordland party (festive rather than political) and the Roman numeral for a thousand.

24d  Very influential people in the gallery (4)
{GODS} – double definition, the second being an informal term for the gallery (i.e. the cheapest seats high up at the back) in a theatre.

26d  What will have settled down in shelter on top of straw (4)
{LEES} – this is what will have settled at the bottom of a wine barrel. A word for shelter or the sheltered side precedes the top letter of S(traw).

The clue I liked best today was 28a. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PROPERTY} + {TACKS} = {PROPERTY TAX}

74 comments on “DT 26839

  1. A nice straightforward puzzle for me. 18d made me scratch my head, then I remenbered Wednesday. Thanks to compiler & to Gazza.

  2. I quite enjoyed this one. There is always something to think about from Giovanni, and of the 7 back-page puzzles, this one normally takes me a little longer to complete. My last one in was 23a (I kept thinking KNEELING, but it did not quite work!).
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

    Now back to finish off Elgar!

    1. we are looking for another word for ‘areas’ and the clue suggests maybe that we need to remove ‘go’ as two letters next to each other in this word?

      1. Sorry for the delay in replying to this – just after I’d published the review we had a power-cut and I’m only just back on-line. The point I was trying to make was that the letters of GO are not next to each other in reGiOns.

  3. I really enjoyed this puzzle, even with all the anagrams which I find helpful, But, Gazza, I wonder whether you have the Librarians’ phone number

  4. Enjoyable fare today but over far too quickly. Again, no great favourites, I thought there were some very nice clues but no great outstanding ones. 9A came very quickly as soon as I remembered that The Don is from the West Country. 20A – clues with ‘Librarian’ in the title always make me think of Orang-outangs – anyone know why ( and I know some of you do)?
    I so wanted the CLOWN in 12A to be the Brown part of the answer, oh well.

                  1. butty is used in parts of South Wales to mean friend or mate collywobs, not quite sure where it’s come from, an expression used particularly by men

    1. You have to be a Terry Pratchett fan Oook! Just don’t call him a monkey, the result is not pretty :-)

      1. I agree esp given the religeous bias of xwords. After the Discworld is very supplied with gods of every shape and form. My favourite is Ofler the crocodile god, never sure if he s the god of crocodiles or is just shaped like one.

  5. I enjoyed this but maybe not quite as much as usual. I thought that it was reasonably straightforward although a few made me scratch my head for a while. I had “rails” for 17a – something to keep people out of places they shouldn’t be going? The right answer and the reason for it just didn’t occur to me. Oh dear – do hope that I’m not the only mug! I didn’t know the currency of Nigeria but it was easy to work out. I wouldn’t have got 18d if I hadn’t done the toughie this week – at least I remember something! I liked 23 and 28a and 8d. Thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

  6. Good morning Gazza, it’s a very happy Friday the thirteenth for me, I have actually completed a Giovanni, without using any help whatsoever!!! This must be encouragement for anyone who feels like giving up as three years ago I could hardly begin a cryptic crossword let alone a Giovanni, which I found the most difficult of the week at the time, so thanks you to you Gazza and Dave and all you other marvellous people who have helped me to achieve this :-), I found it quite difficult but perservated no end and finally finished it, fav and last to go in was 23a, I put 3d in the wrong way round, as that is what the clue says to me and got held up on 11a, thanks to everyone on this site who have helped me over the last three years, what would I do without you all :-D

      1. No not today collywobs, none at all, that’s why it’s my first ‘unaided’ Giovanni solve :-D

        1. I have been busy in the garden getting ready for summer and, to tell the truth, I have found the puzzles a little difficult but I’m back in again trying to improve

    1. Well done Mary, a milestone. I remember being totally bamboozled by a Giovanni not so long ago but he is now my favourite setter. Wish I could get to grips with you know who in the same way. :-(

      1. Well Brian the day I do one of RayT puzzles unaided I will open the champagne!! But as I said not too long ago I said that about Giovanni :-D onwards and upwards!

        1. I’m sure you’ll get there with Ray. He’s a funny fellow, because I went overnight from dreading him to really looking forward to his puzzles. It seems like something just has to click – if I knew what it was, I’d tell you, but it’s a mystery!

          1. Me too. Used to not be able to get anywhere with him but ,like you Nora, I seemed to have got on his wavelength. Not quite sure what that says about my mind though!! :smile:

  7. A slightly more straightforward than normal Giovanni experience for me today. Thanks to him for the Friday puzzle warm-up session and to Gazza for the hints. My favourite was 28a too. I will say that going to the library in Devon would appear to be a completely different experience to similar booklending establishments in East Kent :D

    The Elgar has a ‘gimmick’ that means that it isn’t quite as tough as it could have been, although it is fairly tricky in places.

    1. I agree about the toughie – most of it was not too tricky, but the NW took me quite some time!

  8. I usually really look forward to Fridays for my Giovanni (and Gazza) fix but was disappointed with this one. Have been working all week so haven’t had a chance to do any others. This was definitely not my favourite Giovanni – I agree with you Gazza – best and only clue I marked as good was 28a. Didn’t like 12a and only got it by the cross letters. Oh well – hope tomorrow’s better.

  9. Good crossword although needed a little electronic help for a few. Agree with Gazza re 17. Also don;t agree with the clue for 27. I knew it was pirate but looking up pi never got a definition meaning very good…even in Chambers! I have heard of apple-pie order but not PI.

    1. I don’t know which edition of Chambers that you checked, but mine (12th edition) gives:

      pi (informal)

      Obtrusively religious, sanctimonious

      A pious or sanctimonious person or talk

      ORIGIN: Short form of pious

  10. Interesting comments. I found this a somewhat tougher Giovanni than usual esp the bottom right. But learnt a new word in 22d and loved 23a and 15a. Both really clever. Took me a bit longer today and needed Gazzas help in understanding 28a and 22d. My thx always to the setter for a great puzzle.

  11. Reasonably enjoyable crossword from Giovanni today but too many anagrams for my taste. Many thanks to giovanni and to Gazza ( especially for the “orang utan” )

  12. Completed 70% (including the two 13 letter anagrams which were “entertaining” and having to Google for the Nigerian currency) last night before my brain ran out of steam – not too bad for a Friday puzzle. Needed assistance on the remaining 30% this morning (thanks Gazza). Hopefully the Saturday puzzle will be a breeze (clues connecting to Aintree maybe?).

  13. Hi everyone. New on here. Needed help with just one today. 17a. Don’t like the clue.
    As a newbie can I ask…… Do the same setters do the same day each week? And is there any reference to who has written the crossword in the paper?
    Thanks all.

    1. Hi Hippo,
      Your last comment was in November 2009 – where have you been? :D
      We have regular setters on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Two different setters alternate on Saturdays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays it’s pot luck.

      1. Thanks.
        I posted in 2009?? Interesting. I’ll post more. I’ve become totally addicted.

        1. On 8th November 2009 on DT 26080 you posted:
          Hi. Just wanted to say thanks for the help to finish today’s xword. Have eventually got round to posting something. Am a relative newbie but love doing them.

      1. It’s a shame there are no female setters, have there ever been for a back page puzzle?

        1. The Tuesday on-line only toughie was by the lovely lady setter Warbler. You can follow the instructions on yesterday’s toughie and get an emailed copy of it. You should have a go at it, you will surprise yourself.

        2. I might be quite wrong here but am sure BD can confirm or otherwise – but am sure I saw a news item in the DT some time ago – last year? year before? (time goes so quickly!) with a picture of this lovely silver-haired lady who was finally retiring from her job as crossword compiler for the DT. She didn’t use a computer but had everything cross-referenced in card files. Can’t remember her name. Am I dreaming or do I have this correct? HELP here please, someone.

          1. Thank you CS – your comment hadn’t come up when I posted! Glad I’m not imagining things and thank you for her name.

  14. The DT rated this a 5* for difficulty.
    BD kindly explained their rating to me once, but I’ve forgotten.
    So, the 5* had a psychological effect of making me take longer than usual.

    1. When you finish a puzzle online you are asked to rate the puzzle – that gives the smiley face rating.

      The only way that the star rating can be derived is from the time taken to complete the puzzle. This usually drops throughout the day when those who have done the puzzle while commuting key in the results to check their answers. That’s my theory anyway.

      Having said that, I don’t understand why a lot of people found this to be a difficult puzzle – I agree with Gazza that it is 2* at most.

  15. Managed about half of this first run through and then hit a brick wall,but after a post pandrial and maybe a soupcon too much rioja snooze,came back to it and completed it except for 19d .I think maybe ,for me a 2.5*. Thanks to the 2 G’s :smile:

  16. I enjoyed it – unusually for me, did it at one sitting this evening, after a lovely round of golf at a new course. Needed a little electronic help with 18d but otherwise “help free” for once, so maybe it was a bit easier than usual??! Thanks to the two G’s.

  17. Struggled to make sense of 19a but then realised that “abstinence” is not the solution to 6d. Otherwise I enjoyed it.

    Please tell me if any of you have the following problem on the Puzzle site. On the Cryptic, the “Letter Hint” function often does not work. But by hitting “Save”, “Exit” and then reopening the puzzle, “Letter Hint” comes back. But the “Save” hasn’t worked, so I get an empty grid. The other alternative to utter frustration is to check this blog, but I generally do the puzzle around 8am Spanish time, when sane Brit solvers are still abed.

    1. It’s software written to look pretty rather than to be functional – but try telling that to anyone at the Telegraph. We found a site where the creator was boasting about what a wonderful job he had done.

        1. I just love the bit where he says “… it’s one of my best structured projects to date”. Doesn’t say much for the other apps does it?

  18. Late input from me as was out all afternoon.

    A gentle one from Giovanni this Friday.

    Likes : 12a, 19a, 23a, 4d, 13d & 18d.

  19. G and I fairly smug after finishing this one in good time, but had our smiles wiped off our faces by 16d on the quick crossword !! Still can’t get it !!!

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