DT 26893 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26893

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26893

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Giovanni has told us in the past that he likes to provide puzzles for solvers with different levels of experience and this one should be within the compass of nearly everyone. As we always say, just because a puzzle is relatively easy does not mean that it can’t be entertaining and there are some very enjoyable clues here.
Let us know what you thought of it. If you are a long-time lurker, or even an occasional visitor, who’s never left a comment then today would be an ideal time to introduce yourself – we are a friendly bunch and won’t bite!
If you want to see an actual answer just highlight the hidden text between the curly brackets under the clue (for those with mobile devices there’s some more help on how to do this in the FAQ section).

Across Clues

1a  Local gusher as representative of village interests? (6,4)
{PARISH PUMP} – literally this was once a source of water for the community but it’s now  used symbolically to describe petty local interests or politics at a very local level.

6a  Container of drink at back of yard (4)
{DRUM} – an alcoholic drink follows the last letter (back) of (yar)D.

9a  Show contempt for our monarch? Something bad, mischief (10)
{DISSERVICE} – the definition here is mischief or a harmful action. It’s a charade of a) a slang verb (primarily used in gang culture) meaning to treat with contempt, b) the abbreviation used to identify the Queen and c) immoral or wicked behaviour (something bad).

10a  Animal showing courage having lost energy (4)
{HART} – remove the E(nergy) from a metaphor for courage to leave an adult male deer.

12a  Abhor look given by unbelievers, not half (6)
{LOATHE} – a verb meaning to abhor comes from an injunction to look followed by the first half of a word for unbelievers or rationalists.

13a  Maid flashing piece of jewellery showing love (8)
{ADMIRING} – this is a present participle meaning showing love or having romantic feelings towards. It’s an anagram (flashing) of MAID followed by a piece of jewellery.

15a  Do free agents run stall? (4,4,4)
{DRAG ONE’S FEET} – an anagram (run) of DO FREE AGENTS produces a phrase meaning to make very slow and reluctant progress or play for time (stall).

18a  Author who could convey sly images with ink (8,4)
{KINGSLEY AMIS} – the British author of Lucky Jim is an anagram (could convey) of SLY IMAGES and INK.

21a  Salesfolk carrying very good books — they’ve been given new coats (8)
{REPAINTS} – this looks like a verb but is being used as a noun here to mean things that have been given a fresh coat. Put the abbreviation for sales agents around the abbreviation meaning very good or first-class (the second letter should be the number one but it’s converted to a similar-looking letter in Crosswordland) and the books forming the second part of the Bible.

22a  Sequence of words gets well worn in the hearing (6)
{PHRASE} – a sound-alike (in the hearing) of a verb meaning gets well worn gives us a sequence of words.

24a  Some grim American seen as a religious leader (4)
{IMAM} – hidden (some) in the clue is the man who leads the Friday prayers in the mosque.

25a  Land with extreme fear more established, as some might say (5,5)
{TERRA FIRMA} – this phrase means land or ground, as opposed to sea or air. It’s made up of two homophones (as some might say) – a) a noun meaning extreme fear and b) a comparative meaning more established or definite.

26a  Fish husband gets to cook? Not bass (4)
{HAKE} – a cod-like fish comes from H(usband) followed by a verb to cook without the initial B (not bass).

27a  When disturbed, she yelped — a dozy individual (10)
{SLEEPYHEAD} – an anagram (when disturbed) of SHE YELPED A.

Down Clues

1d  Oar to make progress in shallow water (6)
{PADDLE} – double definition – the second (a verb) can mean to propel a boat by use of the first, but here it’s used to mean walk gingerly in the sea (possibly with trousers rolled up).

2d  Rogue artist’s beginning to collude with gangster (6)
{RASCAL} – this rogue appears when you stitch together a) the abbreviation for a Royal Academician (artist), b) the ‘S from the clue, c) the first letter of C(ollude) and d) the abbreviated forename of an infamous American gangster.

3d  Man who traditionally comes with a crook’s food? (9,3)
{SHEPHERD’S PIE} – cryptic definition of a British dish. Crook means a hooked staff rather than a criminal.

4d  Provide hard surface for parking on short road with trees (4)
{PAVE} – the definition is provide hard surface. Start with P(arking) and add the abbreviation (short) for a road with trees.

5d  Member of European country club accompanying two named men (10)
{MACEDONIAN} – a bit of ‘lifting and separating’ is required here. The definition is member of a European country (a republic in the Balkans). It’s a charade of a club or staff of office and two male forenames (the first of which is Giovanni’s own).

7d  Accomplished leader is devious (8)
{REALISED} – the definition is accomplished or brought off. It’s an anagram (devious) of LEADER IS.

8d  One tiny lad turned up? Attendance ‘moderate’! (8)
{MITIGATE} – a verb meaning to moderate or assuage comes from a reversal (turned up, in a down clue) of I (one) and the name of tiny Master Cratchit, followed by the total number of people going through the turnstiles at a sports event (attendance).

11d  Greedy folk given power knowing that just won’t happen! (4,5,3)
{PIGS MIGHT FLY} – this is a colloquial phrase pouring scorn on something that’s been suggested by someone else as being exceedingly unlikely to happen. String together a metaphor for greedy folk, a synonym for power or strength and an adjective meaning knowing or shrewd.

14d  Large amount obtained in one favourable transaction (1,5,4)
{A GREAT DEAL} – double definition.

16d  Runner is gathering fighting corps before hard battle (8)
{SKIRMISH} – this is a minor battle. Put together a runner (the sort that you attach to your feet) and IS (from the clue) then insert (gathering) the abbreviation for the fighting corps trained to serve on both land and sea. Finally, finish with H(ard).

17d  Bag requiring special technique — pa’s confused packing it (8)
{KNAPSACK} – this is a rather outdated word for a bag carried on the back. It’s a special technique or talent with an anagram (confused) of PA’S inside (packing it).

19d  Female on a lake in an imaginary land of old (6)
{FAERIE} – an old word for an imaginary land where little people live comes from F(emale) followed by A (from the clue) and one of the five great lakes in North America.

20d  Claim made by theologian about revolutionary denomination (6)
{DEMAND} – a claim or requirement appears when you put the abbreviation for someone with a doctorate in theology around a reversal (revolutionary) of a denomination or title.

23d  Cheese scantier than scanty (4)
{BRIE} – a synonym for scanty loses its last letter, i.e. it becomes scantier.

The clues which took my fancy today were 18a, 7d and 11d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {GRATE} + {BRITTEN} = {GREAT BRITAIN}

55 comments on “DT 26893

  1. I enjoyed this one today. More than a 2* for me judging by my solving time, which was longer than any of the other back-page puzzles this week. I made one rash mistake thinking 6a was a reversal, and put in DRAY, which doesn’t work anyway as a definition. Once I realised my mistake, the rest was fairly straightforward.
    Favourite clue – 11d.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    The toughie is enjoyable too, although I found it a little tricky in places.

      1. It certainly made 8d difficult! I was trying to find a word starting with YOB ( BOY – LAD turned up…) :)

        1. I did exactly the same with 6a and also tried to start 8d with yob – it didn’t seem to work.

      2. Another DRAY here! Needed assistance on five or six in the upper half – thanks G. But, after the last two days much more enjoyable – thanks to the other G. 1a, 15a, and 18a my favourites. Stay dry over there!

    1. It’s proof that we’re all different, isn’t it? This one took me only half the time of yesterday’s.

    2. I did the same with dray-thought it fitted quite well! 8d was the last clue and when the penny dropped with tiny tim ,i realised my fruitless search for a yobimite or similar- sounds like a baby thug.Anyway quick crossword for a friday and hoping for a sterling England performance this evening-at least i,ll be in the pub.

      1. I bet there aren’t many of us who didn’t put in dray and then had to get out the tippex!

          1. Newsprint is the only and best way to solve DT cryptic puzzles. Not the same on either technology or A4 white paper.

              1. Best of all is the kind of pen that has a rubber on the end of it – can’t remember what make they are – they last for AGES – in my case the rubber usually wears out before the pen!

  2. As expected from Giovanni,a very entertaining crossword although perhaps more a two star than a one for difficulty if only for 8d. Whatever, very enjoyable.

      1. He’s not . his avatar says he’s the analyst! Almost as terrifying as the auditors of time!

  3. Good morning Gazza, from a very wild wet West Wales! I think a two to three star for me as I got stuck on a few, although I did finish without the blog, I still needed my little friends for a few!!!!
    I was convinced 6a was dray! as yard backwards and a dray does contain quite a few barrels of drink! also putting Kinsley Amis back to front didn’t help at all, where is my mind!!! Must be on the Shades of Gray trilogy that I’m reading on kindle!!! quite risque!
    In 5d my mind was stuck on Mac and Ian being the men and I couldn’t work out what ‘edon’ in the middle was!
    All in all quite enjoyable though I wasn’t sure it was a Giovanni
    Thanks for blog Gazza, I like the colour of the knapsack :-)
    No real favourites today for me

      1. As Gazza says this puzzle proves that we are all different. I did the NE quickly but, being halfway through, am struggling with some of the rest. However, as I uncover a clue I am gettin g considerable enjoyment out of it

    1. Not sure that any of the blokes will have noticed the colour of the knapsack, or even that she was carrying one! :smile:

  4. Really enjoyed this one, initial scan produced only one answer which didn’t bode well, but then it gradually fell into place ,I would give it a 2* difficulty though.

    18a was a brilliant clue, described Amis to a T.

    Thanks for the review not needed to solve today, but cleared up 5d which I couldn’t fully match with clue.

    Thanks to The Don for an enjoyable and satisfying puzzle.

  5. One star difficulty for me, though after my first run through the across clues, I wondered if it might be four! Fortunately, I more or less wrote in all the downs straight away and mopped up the acrosses finishing in well under two stops – unusual for a Giovanni crossword. Highly enjoyable to solve so the easier difficulty level was not an issue.

    Many thanks to G squared for the crossword and the review.

  6. A 2*+ for me but I did enjoy it. . A few tricky moments for me but all worked out in the end. . Thanks to Giovanni & to Gazza for the explanations.

  7. I thought this was going to be difficult to begin with and only had about three answers in after the first read through of the across clues – and one of those (8a) was wrong! Not a good start but then it all fell into place, apart from 5d which took me ages. The other one that took a long time was 10a – my last one in. I was also slow to get 15a – thinking of the wrong kind of stall. A bit more than a 2* for me – probably closer to 3*.
    I liked 18 and 27a and 11d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. I got off to an excruciatingly slow start, probably because I had one eye on the tennis in Germany. Poor old Rafa outplayed by Kohlschreiber. What’s happening this week to all the top players?

  8. Very enjoyable. Similar to others I thought 6a might be DRAY for a while. Had a Doh moment when the last word for 1a was the last to go in. Lots of good clues – in particular 9a. Although completed in one session I would give this ***/****. Thank you G&G. It was winter 10 minutes ago and now it’s summer!l

  9. I would award this 2.5* difficulty as it always takes me a while to get on Giovanni’s wavelength. My favourite clue has to be 11d as it is an expression I use a lot every day. Thanks to both the Gs.

    The Toughie is a beast Took me several goes to get it all sorted and I would probably award it about 8* for difficulty.

    1. Thanks for the hint CS, it’s open in front of me and I’m about to tackle it, however just folded it up and the paper is filed in the dog poo basket ! :-)

      1. Now that is just defeatist. I didn’t say don’t do it, I said be prepared to fight.

  10. Much easier today.. Possibly helped by me not having to work! I would go for a **/*** as well. One or two smile inducing clues especially 5d and 8d. Many thanks.

  11. I must be in the slow lane because I found the top half tricky, falling in the ‘dray’ trap like most others. I thought the wearer of 17d particularly attractive. 27a was a nice clue with both dozy ans disturbed.

  12. After years of always starting with the across clues, I think I’m going to follow the example of so many of you guys and begin with all the down clues – then I wouldn’t have put in ‘dray’ for 6a today.

  13. Much more enjoyable puzzle today. When I can get a few I am sure of in on the first run through, I at least have a framework for the more difficult ones. Thank you Giovanni, just the right mix of easy and harder to make it fun. Also, Gazza for the hints. Although I didn’t need them today I always read them and often learn why a clue worked when I was not 100% sure why it did.

  14. Not aimed at anybody in particular and I may have missed something but where is the review of the Toughie please? I’m struggling and could do with hovering my cursor so to speak…

    1. The review of today’s Toughie? I’m also waiting….but this blog for free!

      So, no complaints!

      (I’m struggling as well)

      1. I’m sure that Tilsit is working away at it and that it will be worth waiting for. I hope that you’ve spotted the Nina, which I found helpful.

        1. Why can I never ever see a Nina? :( Could it be that I never remember to look for one? :)

      2. I have it on good authority that it is on it’s way but both our Daves have had nectic days today. Remember all good things come to those who wait.

          1. As soon as someone says ‘did you see the Nina’ I see it. Far too late to be of any assistance when I am solving the crossword.

  15. A pleasant puzzle from The Don – not a hard one!
    Faves : 1a, 18a, 21a, 26a, 3d, 5d, 7d, 11d &19d.

    Fish and chips tonight for all the family then off to the theatre.

  16. Any techies out there know how to “read” the answers on a HTC smart phone? I can get the big dave page up but cannot highlight the area between the brackets to see the answer. Gracias

    1. Look under the FAQs bit at the top, there is advice for ‘device’ users there

    2. Hi Geoff, I used an HTC Desire & now an HTC one – s. If you long press on the brackets, the selection tool should appear. Then you can copy, and paste into a notepad.

  17. Longer than my usual time because:
    1. I can’t spell terra firma
    2. 10a I thought for ages I wanted a word for courage instead of, correctly, animal.
    Enjoyable, though.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  18. Thanks to Giovanni & to Gazza for the review & hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but was beaten by 9a & 10a, couldn’t get them even with the hints and most of the checkers in. A complete mental block! Started with 12a, finished with 1a which I had never heard of, but got it from the wordplay. Too late to blog yesterday, due to the Squash Leagues and watching England. Favourites were 25a & 5d, very entertaining puzzle.

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