DT 26863

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26863

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Giovanni has his trickier hat on today, but this one is well worth persevering with and has some cracking clues. How did you fare with it?
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Across Clues

1a  They would be very different from carping, yes? (10)
{PANEGYRICS} – we start with a semi-all-in-one, where the definition is the whole of the clue. An anagram (very different) of CARPING YES produces public expressions of praise, i.e. the opposite of carping.

6a  Impure stuff about to be got hold of by tot (4)
{SCUM} – a 1-character abbreviation for about or approximately goes inside a verb to tot or add up.

9a  Youngster with a smell collecting handout (10)
{ADOLESCENT} – A and a smell or aroma contain (collecting) a monetary handout from the state.

10a  Sign this writer on to go to extremes (4)
{OMEN} – how Giovanni (this writer) might refer to himself has ON placed round it (go to extremes).

12a  Superior map produced by duke to show type of territory (6)
{UPLAND} – we had a discussion yesterday about the use of U to mean socially acceptable or superior (as found among the Upper classes), as opposed to non-U behaviour (like eating peas off a knife :D ). After the U we need a map and D(uke) to make a type of territory.

13a  Like the bearing of a lord? (8)
{HERALDIC} – cryptic definition relating to the armorial bearings of a noble.

15a  Farmer who let loose with weapon (5-7)
{FLAME-THROWER} – this weapon is an anagram (loose) of FARMER WHO LET.

18a  Enforce tonic with difficulty? I may offer something to remove bitter taste (12)
{CONFECTIONER} – an anagram (with difficulty) of ENFORCE TONIC provides someone who may sell you something to take away the bitter taste of your medicine.

21a  Second bean plant at top of pole? (6-2)
{RUNNER-UP} – the definition here is second or the silver medal position. A type of bean plant is followed by a description of it when it’s climbed to the top of a pole.

22a  Celebrity with very little energy to suffer from fasting? (6)
{STARVE} – start with a celebrity and add V(ery) (very little) and E(nergy).

24a  Challenge some newspaper advertisement that will be taken the wrong way (4)
{DARE} – hidden (some) and reversed (taken the wrong way) in the clue is a challenge.

25a  Worker brought in if things grind to a halt? (10)
{MILLWRIGHT} – cryptic definition of someone who’s called in to sort out a problem with the grinding mechanism in a factory.

26a  See it come in, go out, change around (4)
{TIDE} – if you live in the right place you can watch this coming in and going out about twice a day. It’s also a reversal (around) of a verb to change or correct some text.

27a  One strange miracle church originally put down as ‘fanciful’ (10)
{CHIMERICAL} – this is an adjective meaning fanciful or illusory. I (one) is followed by an anagram (strange) of MIRACLE, but before all that (originally put down) we need one of the abbreviations for church.

Down Clues

1d  Tablet for oral condition caused by bacteria? (6)
{PLAQUE} – I was led up the garden path by this one, thinking at first that ‘oral’ was signalling a homophone. It’s actually a straight double definition – a) a tablet or panel fixed to a wall and bearing some words and b) an oral condition caused by bacteria (and probably requiring a visit to the dental hygienist).

2d  One old silly blockhead (6)
{NOODLE} – this blockhead is an anagram (silly) of ONE OLD.

3d  My delight no longer conveyed in song (12)
{GREENSLEEVES} – cryptic definition of the name of a traditional English folk song telling a tale of being dumped.

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

4d  Zestful organisation to help motorists coming to journey’s end (4)
{RACY} – one of the motoring organisations is followed by the end letter of (journe)Y.

5d  What a type of pill can prevent? The idea! (10)
{CONCEPTION} – good double definition.

7d  Deflation that’s inevitable after mountain-top experience? (8)
{COMEDOWN} – another double definition – a disappointment or deflation and what must inevitably follow a climb to the top of a mountain.

8d  Fellow being healed by me gets professional grooming (8)
{MANICURE} – rephrase ‘fellow being healed by me’ as (3,1,4).

11d  Bang on again after this has been successful? (4-8)
{HAIR-RESTORER} – lovely cryptic definition of something used in the (usually vain, in both senses) attempt to re-establish a bang (or a bob or a Mohican or even a mullet).

14d  The samurai flailing around in a somewhat inexpert manner (10)
{AMATEURISH} – an anagram (flailing around) of THE SAMURAI produces an adjective meaning somewhat inexpert or non-professional.

16d  Approve of performance having cried terribly in the course of it (8)
{ACCREDIT} – a verb meaning to approve of or accept as true comes from inserting an anagram (terribly) of CRIED inside a performance or ‘turn’ on stage.

17d  Trapped? End’s near possibly (8)
{ENSNARED} – an anagram (possibly) of END’S NEAR.

19d  Soldier locked in overturned vehicle — very sad (6)
{TRAGIC} – an American soldier is inserted (locked) in the reversal (overturned) of a vehicle.

20d  Fellows of great eminence, mostly in terms of intellect (6)
{MENTAL} – this is an adjective meaning in terms of intellect. After another word for fellows we need a description of something of great eminence without its final L (mostly).

23d  Poor area with big business failure unending (4)
{SLUM} – a big business failure or economic downturn without its final P (unending) gives us a poor urban area.

I enjoyed 21a, 3d and 5d but my stand-out nomination for clue of the day is 11d. Let me know what turned you on.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PER} + {MEW} + {TATE} = {PERMUTATE}



  1. Jezza
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Perhaps a little trickier than normal, but all fairly clued. Last one in was 25a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza for the notes.

  2. Skempie
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The Don back to his best this week (IMHO). Personally, I didn’t think last week’s was one of the Don’s better efforts, but today has more than made up for it with one word I did not know and one clue that I did not understand (both of which were solvable, but had to be Goggled).
    1A was the unknown word, and 11D the one I had to check – very apt I thought following the death of Vidal Sassoon (incidentally, my mother was at school with him for a short while when they were both evacuated to the same village in Wiltshire – there were only two schools there, the Jewish school and the Methodist school. My aunt decided that my mother would NOT attend a school run by ‘those heathens’ and was sent to the Jewish school instead).
    Was really nice to see the answers to 25A (can’t be many of them around any more) and 27A.

  3. Brian
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Oh how very true, as always I am left in awe by the Dons efforts. What a super xword at least for me. So many great clues but probably the best for me was 21a because it made me smile. The cleverest tho was 3d. Thank you Sir for a great Friday workout and my thx to Gazza for explaining 6a.

  4. Colmce
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    4* difficulty!!
    Managed to complete with no hints and only one recourse to electric helper,
    Have upgraded dictionary to Chambers ( app at £4.99, bargain.) which helped a great deal
    1a, 27a, are not terms I use every day, or ever.
    Bang and hair also passed me by, but a bit of dictionary work sorted that.
    All answers put in for the right reasons.
    This dramatic improvement in skills wholly down to the contributors to this blog, and as I get better I enjoy the puzzles more. So many thanks to all.
    Thanks Gazza for review, and Giovanni for a challenging and enjoyable puzzle.

  5. Kath
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this but I’m glad that it got 4* for difficulty – he’s definitely flexing his muscles today.
    I spent a long time trying to make 1d “humbug” – an oral condition= bad breath=hum and bug was the bacteria and a humbug was the tablet – it was never going to work! 25a and 11d took me ages, even with loads of letters in, and they were my last two.
    Clues that I particularly liked include 21, 25 and 26a and 3d – my favourite was 5d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  6. mary
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Morning Gazza, thanks for blog, I really thought I’d need it today, but with much perservation and help from all my books and electronic friends I eventually managed without it! 1a and 27a two words I’d never heard of, fav clues 5d and 7d, this is an example of a crossword IMHO which was hard with words I didn’t know but was still enjoyable, I would never have finished it without all my help, a four star for me too today :-) I think I actually spot a patch of blue sky!! cold and windy so far :-(

    • mary
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Off to gym now for my ‘older adult circuit session’

      • Lea
        Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        I go to the gym early in the morning as if I don’t get up get out and go I would never make it there. Have a good routine though – I ruin all the exercise by going for coffee afterwards!! Enjoy your session Mary

  7. Wayne
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. Only got a couple on first scan through and thought OMG, but saved by the anagrams after which things fell nicely into place. Many excellent clues but best for me was 11d.. Definite ***** for enjoyment. Thanx to Compiler and to Gazza for the review which, surprisingly I didn’t need today.

    • Wayne
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Not forgetting of course the excellent ‘Quickie’ crossword, a pangram I believe.

      • Libellule
        Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        It usually is….

        • Steve_the_beard
          Posted May 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          Usually? I make it the second this week, and I thought that surprisingly many. Have I been missing something?

          • Kath
            Posted May 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            I could easily be wrong but I think that Libellule means that it usually is on Fridays.

            • Libellule
              Posted May 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

              Exactly…. I expect a pangram on a Friday :-) I look for them on a Weds and also on Saturday if the cryptic is by Cephas.

  8. njm
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    4* for me too. Managed all but 3d and 11d without hints, but would never have got the latter on my own! Like others, I had never heard of 1a and was caught out by my Franklyn Chambers (electronic friend) failing to solve the anagram. The more powerful http://www.crosswordsolver.org did the trick, though.
    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

    • Lea
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      FYI – I have the Oxford Crossword Solver and just put the words in and got the solution. When I was given it for my birthday a few years ago I had wondered about the Franklyn but think I’ll stick with this one.

  9. Lea
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed that. Haven’t had much chance this week to do any so was pleased that it was Friday and my favourite setter as seem to get on his wave length faster than anyone elses. My favourites were 21a and 8d. Got 1a straight away but had to look it up to confirm spelling.

    Thanks to the two G’s.

    • mary
      Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lean nice to see you, unfortunately the Friday class coincides with the art, so have put that on hold for now, these classes are intense workouts for older adults I am enjoying them the Friday class is tougher than the Tuesday, I don’t like coffee or tea so I don’t have that problem :-) oops sorry on your wrong thread, never mind you know what I’m talking about!

  10. crypticsue
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    4* difficulty for me too. Be interesting to learn what Brian thinks of 1a and 27d. Like Gazza, 11d stands out as a top favourite clue. Thanks to the two Gs for the usual Friday service.

    Today’s Elgar Toughie has a theme which I thought was relatively easy to spot but having just had an email, I had better say in my tip that it commemorates the 200th birthday of a favourite poet. Elgar’s alter ego, Io, has produced a similar themed puzzle in the FT but the Toughie is, in my opinion, much more fun.

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      That’s interesting – just read his comment – how come some setter’s unusual words are terrible/horrible etc and Giovanni’s aren’t??

      • Brian
        Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Horrible words like beauty are in the eye f the beholder :-)

    • Brian
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Amazingly enough I have heard of both these words! Too much science fiction not to know what a Chimera is and when you get to my age you start gong to more funerals than weddings and here a lot of 1a.

      • gnomethang
        Posted May 12, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        Thanks Giovanni for a fun and tricky puzzle.
        Brian, I suspect that ‘CHIMERA’ is more widely known from other avenues than Sci-Fi (and I am a Sci-Fi fan!)
        Thanks to gazza fro the review as well!

  11. Wozza
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Completely agree with Skempie. Much better than last week and when they are this good they are better than anyone else’s IMO.

    A couple of more unusual words but nothing unreasonable. A great start to the weekend. Many thanks


  12. Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I am moved to post my first ever comment by the excellence of today’s puzzle. ***** enjoyment for me. 1d caused me grief for a while – as a retired dentist, it shouldn’t have! 11d was my stand-out favourite.

    • gazza
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bridge-nut – welcome to the blog.
      Now that you’ve broken your duck I hope that you’ll be a regular contributor.

  13. Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Definitely at least a **** form me. Spent too long on this one! Many thanks.

  14. BigBoab
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Great crossword from Giovanni and a great review from Gazza, thanks to both, outdone however by todays toughie, a masterpiece from Elgar.

  15. Digby
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Lovely stuff from The Don.
    27a was my NWotD, but perfectly fairly clued, which is why I assume that Brian didn’t complain.
    Not actually raining in Heavenly Henfield, so a spot of tennis, methinks.
    Perhaps save Elgar’s Toughie for later.
    Thanks to the G-team

  16. Michael
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Greasy puzzle today. Had trouble with 11down till I had the checking letters

    • gazza
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi Michael – welcome to the blog.

  17. Michael
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Apologies, corrective text changed my first word from”great”, which the puzzled is today. DARNED. TECHNOLOGY!!!

  18. beaver
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    i was on his wavelenght today and did it in the usual time-give it ***/*****.Best of the week,liked 1a,as it worked on several levels and indeed lots of good varied clues with nothing impossible, big feel good factor- all i need now is the blues to win on sunday and a popping of corks!

    • BigBoab
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Beaver, I don’t know you but as a City fan since the mid sixties when I ventured down south from Glasgow, I heartily endorse your sentiments, though it will probably be a surfeit of the Amber Liquid rather than cork popping up here.

  19. Franny
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, I started off convinced that I couldn’t do this one at all — only three words found after the first go through, but then bit by bit, and finally thoroughly enjoyable. It did stretch the vocabulary rather, with words I hadn’t come across in a long time: 1, 25 and 27a in particular. I had to resort to the hints for 11d as I had ‘lecturer’ for the second word and couldn’t get that out of my head. There were lots of good clues, once I’d go on to the wave-length, but my favourites today were 3 and 5d. So many thanks to G&G, and have a good weekend everyone. :-)

  20. pommers
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Splendid puzzle! Only bit of trouble was Ia (last in) which I’ve never heard of before but from the checkers and the anagram fodder there were only a couple of possible answers – so out came the BRB :grin:

    1d caused us a bit of trouble as well – I too thought homophone for a while.

    11d favourite by a long way!

    Many thanks to the two G’s

  21. Roger
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Really chuffed as I knocked this one on the head in ** minutes even though at first I was really struggling. No computer help needed either…so is that doubly-chuffed?!

    Favourite clues 3, 11 and 16. Although 11 is head and shoulders (sorry!) above the other two.

    • gazza
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      We try not to quote times here, otherwise it ends up with “I did it faster than you” type posts, which can be very discouraging to other solvers.

  22. Steve_the_beard
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    What an enjoyable crossword today! I wouldn’t have called it four-star-hard myself, but that may just be a happy match-up of my vocab and the less common words. I grew up in Wheelwright Lane, so 25A made me smile. 3D and then 12A were the last ones in, which probably says something about the way I think…

    Thanks to all concerned!

  23. Giovanni
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you fro the nice comments. If you want more from me today, please visit the freely available crossword on the Church Times website.

  24. Captain Duff
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I was about to give up on this one with several unsolved clues to go when I thought I would drop in to find out how others were coping. Although most agreed it was **** difficult I was encouraged to keep going. I am glad I did. Finally finished it with 1a being the last in. Had not heard of that one or 27a. I agree it was an excellent crossword and a great start to the w/e. Off for a lie down now! Many thanks to the 2 Gs.

  25. Derek
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed cracking this one from The Don.

    Liked : 9a, 12a, 25a, 3d, 7d & 11d.

    A very good puzzle.

  26. andy
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Am / was so relieved to see the difficulty rating. I unusually did the back page after the Toughie. So in my darkened room I stared blankly for an age before it unravelled. 1a like Brian I knew for all the wrong reasons and have very sore shins that I couldn’t understand 20d. Closer to 5* enjoyment for me.Thanks Gazza and Giovanni

  27. paolors
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    V tricky, but v good

  28. Heno
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza , a fine puzzle , would agree with the star ratings. Spent all day on it, only to be defeated by 1a, never heard of it, 5d, should’ve got it, & 3d, would never have got it in a million years :-) Favourites were 26 &27d. Sunshine at last in Central London. Off to see Michael Schenker Group. Tomorrow.

    • gnomethang
      Posted May 12, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Blimus! – I didn’t realise the MSG was still going – have a good gig!