DT 26854 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26854

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26854

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today is May Day but we don’t have a theme relating to the International Workers’ Day or to the traditional celebrations such as Morris Dancing. Instead we have several sport-related answers. What did you think of it?
If you want to reveal an answer just slide your cursor through the space between the curly brackets under the troublesome clue.

Across Clues

5a  Shot a line after private action that backfired? (3,4)
{OWN GOAL} – an action that backfires and unintentionally harms one’s own interests comes from an attempt or shot, A and L(ine) all placed after an adjective meaning private or personal.

7a  A diamond ring, returned in the end (5)
{OMEGA} – the last letter of the Greek alphabet, often used to mean the end, is formed by stringing together A, a precious stone (diamond) and the letter that looks like a ring, then reversing (returned) the lot.

9a  Carnival provided retired with free teas (6)
{FIESTA} – reverse (retired) a two-letter conjunction meaning provided or in the event that and follow with an anagram (free) of TEAS.

10a  First and second entering woodland (8)
{FOREMOST} – the definition is first. Insert an informal word for a short period of time (second) in an expanse of woodland.

11a  Repartee, as such, involving one with banner (10)
{PERSIFLAGE} – a phrase (2,3) from latin meaning as such or in itself contains I (one) and a banner to make a word meaning repartee or banter.

13a   Some keep on going, causing a stink (4)
{PONG} – an informal verb to cause a stink is concealed (some) in the clue.

14a  Its inhabitants may be crackers (7,6)
{BISCUIT BARREL} – .. or ginger nuts.

16a  Make eyes at the Spanish turn making a comeback (4)
{OGLE} – put together the Spanish masculine definite article and a turn (in a board game, for example) then reverse it all (making a comeback).

17a  Current party needs reforming (7-3)
{PRESENT-DAY} – the definition is current and it’s an anagram (reforming) of PARTY NEEDS.

19a  Raised voice in argument after trip cut short (8)
{FALSETTO} – a raised male singing voice comes from a dispute or argument (3-2) after a trip or tumble without its final L (cut short).

20a  Push through American street (6)
{THRUST} – the American way of spelling through is followed by the abbreviation for street.

22a  Approach shot on golf course (5)
{DRIVE} – double definition, the first being the approach to your house or mansion.

23a  Careful in plant close to machinery (7)
{THRIFTY} – an adjective meaning careful or prudent with money comes from a plant that grows chiefly on sea cliffs and mountains followed by the closing letter of (machiner)Y.

Down Clues

1d  Load from tip heading off (4)
{ONUS} – a bit of extra money (tip) that’s supposed to be a reward for exceptional performance (but which, in the case of the greedy bankers, is an enormous amount for screwing up the economy) loses its leading letter (heading off) to leave a load or duty.

2d  Mixed tofu up with a European stew (3-2-3)
{POT-AU-FEU} – a stew, traditionally cooked in France in a large earthenware container of the same name, is an anagram (mixed) of TOFU UP with A and E(uropean).

3d  Inferior race, it’s said (6)
{COARSE} – this is an adjective meaning inferior or unrefined. It sounds like (it’s said) a verb to race or surge (like blood through the veins).

4d  Morale of mate spooked by ghost (4,6)
{TEAM SPIRIT} – morale (in the dressing room, for example) is an anagram (spooked) of MATE followed by a ghost or apparition.

5d  Nothing charged for fruit (5)
{OLIVE} – the letter that looks like zero or nothing is followed by an adjective meaning charged or electrified.

6d  Poets felt that novel never got started (4,2,3,4)
{LEFT AT THE POST} – a phrase, from racing, to describe a horse that never really got started, is an anagram (novel) of POETS FELT THAT.

8d  Football club stadium, around southern end of Clerkenwell (7)
{ARSENAL} – this is the most successful football club in England, south of Stockport. Put a stadium around S(outhern) then finish with the end letter of (Clerkenwel)L.

12d  Relative at sea? (6,4)
{SISTER SHIP} – rather weak cryptic definition of a seagoing vessel of the same class and design as another.

14d  Jazz musicians, loud, restrained on radio (3,4)
{BIG BAND} – this is a large group of musicians playing jazz music. An adjective meaning loud or boastful is followed by what sounds like (on radio) a past participle meaning restrained or suppressed.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d  Gap made by a brisk Yorkshire river (8)
{APERTURE} – this gap is a charade of A, an adjective meaning brisk or jaunty and a picturesque North Yorkshire river.

17d  President’s first to speak in golf club (6)
{PUTTER} – the first letter of P(resident) is followed by a verb to speak to make a golf club for use on the green.

18d  When, for example, to make an analysis (5)
{ASSAY} – combine a conjunction meaning when and a way of expressing “for example” to form a verb meaning to make an analysis or test the quality of a metal.

21d  Service at end of Lent produces a large collection (4)
{RAFT} – one of our armed services is followed by the end letter of (Len)T to make a large amount of something (for example, a **** of legislation).

The clues I liked best today were 22a and 21d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {ROAR} + {CUSS} = {RAUCOUS}

75 comments on “DT 26854

  1. I originally entered MOTHER SHIP at 12d and agree the clue’s a bit weak. Similarly with 22a, it could just as easily have been PITCH in my opinion. Thanks to setter and to Gazza.

    1. I put PITCH in too, so you aren’t the only one. Otherwise, I felt it was a nice enough puzzle.

                1. Thanks – didn’t know that one – suppose I should have been able to guess.

    2. Gave it ***/*** today,can’t see where pitch comes into the solution apart from a golf shot,whearas drive is an approach to a house etc as well as being a golf shot. Enjoyed today ,though took ages to get 11a,assumed it was’ iflag’ in the middle, but struggled for a word for the’as such ‘part around the outside, also thought 3d was a bit weak, which did’nt help-probably due to the celebrations after the Manchester’ skirmish’ last night!

  2. It took me a little while to get going, then it all fell into place without any real difficulty.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

    The toughie today I thought was fairly gentle, and took me about the same time to complete as this one.

  3. Morning all from yet a wet and windy west country (Ark building is well under way). Can’t say I enjoyed this one much, perhaps I just wasn’t on the setters wavelength or perhaps the clues seemed a bit bitty again. It didn’t help that as soon as I saw 14A I knew it had to be LUNATIC ASYLUM ! D’Oh.

    Its been a long, long time since I’ve seen 11A and to the best of my knowledge I have never used the word (and don’t intend to start doing so now). Didn’t like 14D at all – felt very contrived to me and I would suspect that quite a few people will have problems with 2D, I vaguely remembered it, but not being a great fan of French Cuisine, took a while to justify the answer. I also thought 12D to be a very weak clue.

    Having said all that, I thought 4D was quite a good clue and 14A was excellent once I had the right checking letters in there.

    1. My wife got 2d in a flash but the she does speak many languages (providing it is language used in restaurants). Anyway enough of this persiflage – must get on and build my submarine!

  4. I’m afraid this one left me a bit flat. I would have made it 3* and 2* except for 23 which I would never have got even with your clue – I had to look at your answer. Just one of many plants I’ve never heard off…

    Many thanks for your help.

  5. This was a nice enough puzzle. Its a long time since I saw 11 but it came back from somewhere. Favourite was 23 which I thought was very clever. Didn’t like 14d much as it didn’t seem to make much sense. Has BD gone for a lie down after seeing 8d?

  6. No didn’t get into this one at all, just didn’t seem to flow.
    14a, can inhabitants be inanimate, I put in Island at first stab, Canada, bit obscure but after 11a, all bets were off.
    Thanks Gazza for the review.

  7. ***/* for me, did all except for 3D and 7A without the hints, but my crossword mood seems to be matching the Shropshire weather today. Just off to light the woodburning stove to cheer myself up!

  8. I thought this was ‘ok’ today, nothing special and no real favourite clues. Last in was 11a I’ve never heard that word before and like Skempie above, I doubt I will be using it in the future. Thanks to Gazza for the hints – they clarified some of the answers for me.

  9. I think **/*** is about right. Like skempie I also instantly saw “lunatic asylum” for 14a – sorted that when I started on the down clues and got 2d. My last two were 7 and 10a. I quite liked 3, 6 and 21d. With thanks to the setter and gazza.
    Still raining ….

  10. Sorry thought this was jolly tricky at least a 3 star esp with 11a, what’s that all about! Just couldn’t get on the right wavelength at all today.

  11. **/*** for me too. 14a made me smile and I can’t wait to read what Brian thinks about 11a :) Thanks to the Tuesday Mysteron and Gazza too.

    Kath – the top half of the Toughie is more instantly user friendly than the bottom half so start there.

    1. Well it’s a new word I have learnt today that’s for sure along with 2d which is also unknown to me. Finished now with the aid of the excellent hints but really struggled. Did like 20a tho (sic) :-)

    2. Thanks CS – have had a very quick look and got some in top left and bottom right corners. I might “perservate” a bit more later on after a very soggy dog walk.

      1. It’s worth perservating Kath. Several clues made me laugh, especially 13a.

  12. I never get this…….when everyone else thinks it’s hard…..I think it’s easy……and vice -versa……
    maybe it really IS a question of being in the “zone”.

    1. I think it’s more down to how long you have been doing these things. The experts have come across all the copy words like 11a so to them it’s easy, the rest of us struggle.

        1. It is not a dopy word – it is a splendid word. My love of unusual words, especially place names, started long before I was introduced to cryptic crosswords.

          1. Try dropping into the conversation in the pub and see what reaction you get. I stand by my original assessment.

            1. Btw I do agree about missing Wogan, can’t abide the Ginger Whinger at any price.

      1. Any of you complaining about 11a obviously never listened to the wonderful (in my opinion, anyway) Wogan – it’s one of his favourite words! I really miss him on early morning radio – he was the only thing that has ever managed to give me complete giggles at 7.00am! :grin:

  13. Not my favourite either and needed hints to finish. Got 11a but only with help of thesaurus! not a word with which I am over familiar!! Thought some of the clues a bit contrived – didn’t like 14d at all – they are surely not necessarily jazz musicians? Anyway, whiled away some time on a horrid wet morning so thanks to setter and Gazza for the help.

    1. I had the same thought about big band, but the BRB says “a large jazz or dance band”.

  14. I quite liked this one, ever since Black Tuesday a couple of weeks ago when it drew a lot of complaints, I think it has significantly improved. Saying that I did not like 14d – big bands I think of swing music and 12d was a little weak. Favourites for me were 7a, 14a, 23a, 4d, 15d and 21d. *** (because of 11a)/*** Thanks to setter and Gazza

  15. Enjoyable enough crossword without posing any problems, did this whilst sitting in the garden watching my better (and fitter) half weeding, glorous sunshine up here in Fife.

      1. If you are quick, you might get to Canterbury while it is still out if you hurry! A bit of a surprise really, we were forecast rain!

  16. I’m in the ***/** camp today. A bit stop start. agree with most of the comments above. Liked 17a, 18d and the construction of 5d. 14d not keen on loud for big, or is that just me?
    Regds to all.

  17. Afternoon Gazza, thanks for hints, I needed you to put me right in the bottom left corner, where I had ‘sister sail’ ‘big cats’ and ‘slice’ !!!! At first I didn’t seem to get any answers but on perservating, it began to fall into place, two words I’d never heard of were 2d and 11a, sorry Kath, never up at that time, even for Terry Wogan :-) , a three star for me today, even 4 because of those words, fav clues today 10a, 13a,17a and 17d, enjoyable crossword, not too much GK needed and almost all the surface readings make sense, late getting here today been to the gym, only place to go in this weather :-)

    1. Thank you Mary iknew I could rely on you :-) enjoy the gym , I’m sending you some better weather.

      1. Thanks for the weather Brian, it has been a glorious sunny afternoon! Amazing :-D

  18. I’ve only just noticed the notification ‘thingy’ at the top of the blog saying who has replied to comments I make, has it always been there!!!!?????

    1. I’ve never noticed – will have to have a look. How does it work? Really can’t put off wet walk any longer – collie is beginning to look at her watch in the kind of way that says “What are the servants doing today?”

      1. doesn’t seem to work, it’s on zero! My dogs look at me if I open the door as if to say, no way, do you really expect us to go out in that!!!

      2. What’s her name, mine are called Angel and Shadow, I took the names from a poem I wrote about Pepsi when she died :-(

  19. May I send my best wishes to my persiflagious friends on this wonderful May day.
    Gromiculations to you all.

    1. Same to you Estragon ( I think??) , I never knew I was a persiflagious friend before! :-D , by the way it isn’t a wonderful May day here unfortunately

    2. Certainly not a wonderful May day in Oxford – I just hope that the appalling weather has meant fewer silly twits hurling themselves off Magdalen Bridge this morning!

  20. The two things that seem to guarantee lots of comments are a tricky crossword or **** weather! I’m sure we all know which of those two it is today! :sad:

  21. Not a difficult job today.
    Liked : 7a, 11a, 14a, 19a, 2d, 4d, 12d & 14d.

    Re 6d – a well-known phrase – I can’t find it anywhere in the standard XWD books!

    Mayday here started with a thunderstorm but it stopped and the cloud cover is now slowly improving.

  22. A puzzle of two halves for me. Got the majority quite quickly at breakfast but was stuck on half a dozen. Had lunch and the brain switched on – the benefits of a cheese sandwich!

  23. Well this wasn’t a **/*** imho

    There were at least 2 or 3 clues that were 3 to 4 star eg 19A and 11A.

    The enjoyment was pretty thin on the ground too.

    Worst of all was 12D. Lazy stuff.

  24. Anybody know the difference between falsetto and castrato? Well: the former sings in a pitch above the natural register. The latter has no choice! 2d and 11a are both new to me; I’m pleased to say. 12d was no problem, being former RN. Not my favourite crossword of late but thanks to setter and Gazza anyway.

    1. Flasetto is by its suggestion a false register and really can’t hold much of a candle to singing at a true pitch.

      Castrato achieve true pitch but throughj castration of the treble voiced boy so that his voice never breaks.

      Not altogether welcomed under EU employment law these days.

  25. It’s only Tuesday and this was like wading through cement. Worst clue 5a, worst answer, as most commenters seem to agree, 11a.

    1. Hooray,found the new site,back with the Chicken.congratulations to Big Dave,I hope all runs smoothly.haven’t had time to do yesterday’s puzzle yet.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this but was beaten by 3d and 11a, couldn’t even get them from the hints. Never heard of persiflage, one to remember ! Favourites were 11&20d. Not much time to blog as I’m organising our annual Squash Tournament .

  27. Please add me to those who never heard of persiflage even with the full frame. Got the rest without help eventually. Certainly more than **. I’d give it ***/****. The word definition part of many of the clues was more obscure than normal. An enjoyable challenge.

  28. Why cannot 3 d be either course or coarse – or is it that the word rce is next to its said meaning inferiror MUST be the definition?

    1. The definition is almost invariably either at the beginning or end of the clue – in this case at the beginning.

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