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DT 26908

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26908

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A few of today’s clues have complicated wordplay but overall this puzzle is not too tricky. Let us know how you got on.
If you want to see an answer just highlight the space between the brackets under the clue (if you have a new-fangled mobile contraption there are hints on how to do this in the FAQ).

Across Clues

7a  After breakdown, rev woeful hired vehicle (4-5,5)
{FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE} – a type of vehicle suitable for off-road travel (although many of them never venture further off-road than a Sainsbury’s car park) comes from an anagram (after breakdown) of REV WOEFUL HIRED.

9a  Pine by hill starts to overshadow wood for poet (10)
{LONGFELLOW} – the surname of the American poet who wrote The Song of Hiawatha is built from a verb to pine followed by a hill in northern England and the starting letters of Overshadow and Wood.

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

11a  Decrease inflexible element in club (4)
{IRON} – quadruple definition, the first cryptic.

12a  Take in celebrity magazine bar cover (3)
{EAT} – if you remove the first letter (bar cover) from the name of a so-called celebrity magazine you’re left with a verb to take in.

13a  A drifter’s injured around island? I could be needed! (5-5)
{FIRST-AIDER} – someone who could be needed to treat an injury is an anagram (injured) of A DRIFTER’S around the single-character abbreviation for island.

16a  Check report of time in power (4)
{REIN} – a verb meaning to check or restrain sounds like (report of) the period in power of a monarch.

17a  Live in front of a filthy place round lake? That’s vile (7)
{BEASTLY} – to get this adjective meaning vile start with a verb to live or exist and follow this with A and a filthy place containing L(ake).

18a  Diplomatic activity following port order to quell trouble (4,3)
{RIOT ACT} – the definition here is an order (no longer on the Statute Book) to quell civil unrest. It comes from a word for diplomatic activity or sensitivity which follows the chief port of Brazil.

20a  Leaving sun, disturb fish (4)
{HAKE} – drop the initial S(un) from a verb to disturb or unsettle to leave a cod-like fish.

21a  I indulge in tirade about retired group in North-East — being this? (10)
{INTOLERANT} – this is a description of someone who is inflexible and unforgiving. Start with I (from the clue) and a verb to indulge in a tirade. Then insert a reversed (retired) group or set which is itself inside the abbreviation for North-East.

23a  Face fool (3)
{MUG} – double definition.

24a  End of work — commuter initially meets bother on the way back (4)
{CODA} – the initial letter of C(ommuter) is followed by (meets) a reversal (on the way back) of a word meaning bother or fuss. The result is the final passage in a piece of music (end of work).

25a  Care taken about poster with old racing driver subject to recruitment (10)
{HEADHUNTED} – put a synonym for care or attention around an abbreviated poster and the surname of an old British racing driver (known as ‘**** the Shunt’). The definition is subject to recruitment, i.e. someone who has been specifically targeted to fill a senior position. ‘Subjected’ would seem to fit the answer better than ‘subject’.

28a  Criminal behind top site around Spain? It’s irrelevant (6,3,5)
{BESIDE THE POINT} – an anagram (criminal) of BEHIND TOP SITE goes around the IVR code for Spain (España).

Down Clues

1d  Old fellow arranged to be with a person during time held up without a home (2,2,5,5)
{OF NO FIXED ABODE} – this is a phrase applied to someone with no permanent home. The wordplay is a bit complicated. Start with the abbreviations for O(ld) and F(ellow). Now insert a synonym for arranged or organised followed by A and an informal word for person all inside a reversed (held up, in a down clue) very long period of time.

2d  Breather from running nullified on reflection (4)
{LUNG} – hidden (from) and reversed (on reflection) in the clue is something used for breathing.

3d  Very sentimental daughter jumping out of river (4)
{TWEE} – start with a river that crosses the border from Scotland to England and then remove (jumping out) its final D(aughter). You’re left with an adjective meaning very sentimental or quaint.

4d  Office employee still getting uppity about a boy (3,4)
{TEA LADY} – a one-time office employee (do any offices still have them?) comes from reversing (getting uppity, in a down clue) a synonym of still around A and another word for boy.

5d  Fair source of sprays etc? (6,4)
{FLOWER GIRL} – this is a young lady who sells sprays etc. Fair, I presume, just means that the seller is a member of the fair sex. [Thanks to Crypticsue for pointing out that the ‘fair’ is referring to Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady.]

6d  Trio at bar getting disorderly — right for one to intervene judiciously? (10)
{ARBITRATOR} – what we want here is one who intervenes in a judicial way and adjudicates in a dispute. It’s an anagram (getting disorderly) of TRIO AT BAR followed by R(ight).

8d  Creative result from one in a scrape with others? (6,8)
{VIOLIN CONCERTO} – cryptic definition of a piece of music written for players who ‘bow and scrape’.

10d  Appropriate amount of laughter (3)
{FIT} – double definition, the second perhaps an uncontrollable burst of giggles.

14d  Methodical teams City’s deployed (10)
{SYSTEMATIC} – an anagram (deployed) of TEAMS CITY’S.

15d  A large smoker’s resource seen around back of inn in event around the clock? (10)
{ALLNIGHTER} – an event that goes on until dawn comes from A and L(arge) followed by something a smoker may carry around the back letter of (in)N. I thought that this word should be hyphenated but the BRB doesn’t.

19d  Criticism curtailed by ambassador — or other member of embassy? (7)
{ATTACHE} – a criticism or verbal onslaught loses its final K (curtailed) and this is followed by the abbreviation of the title given to an ambassador. What emerges is someone who has a specialised area of responsibility at an embassy.

22d  Bird beginning to evade foreign character (3)
{EMU} – the beginning of E(vade) is followed by the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet.

26d  Confidence shown by comic actor (4)
{HOPE} – a synonym for confidence or optimism is also the surname of a British-born American comedian and actor who thought that he was very funny.

27d  Expose as a lie Nationalist trouble (4)
{NAIL} – we had this verb to expose as a lie quite recently (but I can’t remember which puzzle it was in). The abbreviation for Nationalist is followed by a verb to trouble.

My favourite clue today was 8d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {FORMER} + {LIES} = {FORMALISE}

46 comments on “DT 26908

  1. I seem to find that longer answers – especially multiple word ones make for easier solving so found the fairly straightforward apart from being held up on 24a for sometime because of looking for the commuter to find his brother on the way back – doh!

    I enjoyed it very much and clue of the day for me was 8d. A 2*/4* from a very wet & dreary West Kent.

    Thanks to Gazza and mystery setter.


    1. Same for me on ‘brother’ – oh well.

      Got off to a good start last night, then ‘dried up’ mostly in the SE corner. Completed with help from Gazza – TYVM. Not as bad as I thought it might be after the breeze through with Rufus yesterday.

      9a and 21a were favourites.

      1. Is it just age and diminishing eyesight that makes us read the word we want rather than the one that’s there?

  2. No real problems in this one, although I had to think about what the second word of 5d was going to be.
    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza.

    1. My problem exactly – I threw in SHOW and then scratched my head for two long before reviewing the answer. Fine enough over here, I quite enjoyed this one. Thanks to the setter and to gazza for the review.

  3. Funny things puzzles, this 3* went down in record time for me today while last weeks 2*s took me ages.

    Enjoyed it, some nice anagrams, 8d favourite clue

    Thanks for review agree with your veiled assessment of 26d’s comedic skills.

    Thanks to the setter, will embark on the rest of today’s tasks with a spring in my step.

  4. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable yet relatively simple crossword and to Gazza for the hints/review. I think Hiawatha and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner are the two poems which have stuck with me since schooldays.

  5. Quite tricky enough for me as a newbie! Would have been quicker had I not initially put “Flower Shop” for 5d. I enjoyed working backwards from the answer to the clue in 1d.

    As weather reports seem to be required (please let me know if I’m missing a complicated crossword based joke): Lovely and sunny here in Bangkok for most of the day, but just had a torrential storm to clear the air.

    1. It’s not a complicated crossword based joke (or if it is I’m not in on it!) – just something that lots of us seem to comment on quite a lot, particularly at the moment with the **** “summer” that the UK is having this year.

  6. Didn’t like this much. Very convoluted clues with poor surface reading and over heavy on anagrams. Solvable but only one star for enjoyment. Gazza had a difficult job in explaining some of those complicated phrases – well done!

  7. I quite enjoyed this one and started off well – got a few of the long answers fairly quickly (for me) and then slowed down a bit, and then ground to a complete halt for a while. Eventually finished but I needed the hints to explain a few. 12a – I don’t know the names of many magazines. 13a – because I read the last word of the clue as needled! :roll: 1d – just couldn’t get the head round it. The second word of 5d took a while.
    I thought that the clue for 7a would have read much better if the third and fourth words had been swapped round.
    I liked 18 and 23a and 8d (although it took me a long time to get it).
    With thanks to the setter for the crossword and gazza for the hints.
    I think that “exposed as a lie” was in Prolixic’s NTSPP last Saturday – it was part of the nina.

    1. 7a – I agree – ever thought of applying for the job of “Crossword Editor”?

  8. Steady plod through today’s puzzle. Some very well disguised anagrams and a few clever clues. Tried to find the anagram in 8d. I would go for a *** and ***/**** Regards to all.

  9. Totally agree with Patsyann, Collywobbles and Digby. Very poor surface readings and complicated clues. And Kath, you’re right about the clue for 7a. Would have made much more sense with the words switched

  10. I thought this was going to be a straightforward write them in all as you go crossword but it took slightly longer than that to sort it all out. I would say 3* difficulty and 3* enjoyment too.

    Gazza – do you think the Fair in 5d could refer to My Fair Lady as Eliza was a 5d?

    The Toughie took me a smidge less than the backpager to solve and has a mix of clues. I still have 2 more cryptics to do, but my top favourite today is Paul in the Graun

  11. I completed this, which is unusual for me, so I suppose I mainly enjoyed it. Yet there was something unsatisfying about some of the clues, such as 1d. It was my first to go in, so I didn’t have any crossing letters, yet the solution was obvious from the number and length of the words in the answer, making the complicated wordplay redundant. I wonder how many others got the answer without bothering to work out how.

    1. I got the answer to 1d straight away and it was more that I couldn’t work out the why bit than couldn’t be bothered!

    2. Me – and I still don’t really understand it despite Gazza’s explanation!

      1. It’s O(ld) + F(ellow) then NO…E (Eon reversed) around FIXED (arranged) and A BOD (person).

  12. Found today a bit of a drag, mundane clues and answers.
    Thanks to Gazza and the Setter woof woof

  13. Thanks to the setter & to Gazza for the review & hints. Quite enjoyed it, but was beaten by the last word of 5d,didn’t think of the My Fair Lady connection. Apart from that there were some tricky clues. Favourite was 8d, enjoyable puzzle. Hoping Murray doesn’t get any more rain delays. Still got the Central H eating on in Central London :-)

  14. A***/**** for me,thought it the best for a while, although the answers were easier than the over complicated wordplay in some clues.Liked 8d and 25a, and 15d reminded me of my misspent youth when in the upper 6th-the place to go was TheTwisted Wheel club allnighter in a dank cellar in Brazenose street Manchester where everyone shuffled about in duffle coats and the music was R and B-great american artists like John Lee Hooker and SonnyTerry and Brownie Mcghee etc- jeunesse doree days indeed without Sebastian’s teddy!

  15. Def a puzzle of two halves, the top OK but the bottom, not my cup of tea, far too many wordy clues. Thx Gazza for trying to explain some of the involved wordplay.

  16. Can’t say I really enjoyed that – all too convoluted and complicated in my opinion – and needed hints to finish, so many thanks for those Gazza. I thought some of the anagrams were very cleverly worded however but all in all not my favourite.

  17. Hi Gazza, I’m late calling in today, I did half this morning and then had to go out, I like all the long clues but must admit that working out why they are what they are, is more difiicult than working out what the answer is if you know what I mean :-) , no real favourite clue today and I did need your help on 19d, I also took a while to get the second word of 5d, I thought a few iffy readings but on the whold enjoyable, thanks for help and blog Gazza :-)

  18. Breezed through this today with only minimal help. Like others, put the wrong second word in for 5d., which held things up a bit. All in all, not my favourite but nothing worthy of a grumble; thought 8d was clever.
    Thanks Gazza and setter.

  19. This took me far too long.
    Eventually got there.
    Quite hard in parts, I thought.
    Certainly ***
    Like Mary, the second part of 5d held me up.
    Silly really, such an obvious clue.
    Thanks setter and Gazza for the review.

    1. ‘Scrape’ being the only – tenuous – link.
      Came to me whilst shaving!

  20. Contrary to some other views I thought 8d was rather clever. Not too much to trouble me today and finished without too many problems. Quite a full grid I thought! Really enjoyed solving it.

      1. I liked it too although it was almost my last answer – didn’t see it for ages.

  21. Took quite a while to nail
    Is confidence hope?
    With a drive not to fail
    An iron will to cope
    Thought it might be an allnighter
    But at last the coda

  22. i’m not sure if pommers will be doing the hints tomorrow – have rather lost track of Wednesdays. However, if he is, I hope that he reads the comments the day before doing his hints. There are a few things he should know:-
    1) It’s raining
    2) It’s been raining all day, every day, for almost as long as any of us can remember
    3) We know roughly where he lives
    All we need now is for someone to suggest a suitable missile for the distance between UK and where he lives to use if he dares to tell us a) that it’s sunny and b) that the temperature is about 30C!!

  23. Found this a bit wordy, but hours after solving not sure why I found it such.8d went in because of checking letters alone. Ah well, just been out to see the Olympic torch thing in Peterborough, normally apathetic boro but town centre rammed, and I forgot about the firework display, which went off as my friends held the dogs or tried to, as i was buying the beers in the local. Dogs fine, traumatised friends…..

  24. Started this on the flight from NL – F but finished it yesterday.
    No special faves.

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