DT 26910

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26910

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We’ve had a game of musical chairs this morning and when the music stopped I found that I’d won the first prize – the chance to blog what is unmistakably a Ray T production. It’s slightly easier than normal (at least that’s what I found – I’m sure we’ll get the usual healthy divergence of opinion) but it’s got his usual quota of amusing clues and innuendoes.
We’d value a comment from you about your experience of doing the puzzle and what you liked and/or disliked about it.

Across Clues

1a  Play endless match before scrap (6)
{GAMBIT} – this is a play or manoeuvre (especially one during the opening stages of a chess match, usually involving the deliberate sacrifice of a piece). A match without its final E (endless) is followed by a small amount (scrap).

5a  More vulgar turning her irate (8)
{EARTHIER} – an anagram (turning) of HER IRATE produces a comparative meaning more vulgar or bawdy.

9a  Analytical detective approaches questioning (10)
{DIAGNOSTIC} – the definition is analytical. The abbreviation of the rank of a senior detective is followed by (approaches) an adjective meaning questioning or sceptical (especially about the existence of a god).

10a  Invalid, victim of infectious disease initially (4)
{VOID} – the initial letters of four consecutive words in the clue form an adjective meaning invalid.

11a  Keep subdued melody following return of Queen (8)
{RESTRAIN} – a verb meaning to keep subdued or keep in check comes from a synonym for melody following the reversal (return) of the letters that identify our current Queen.

12a  Criminal swindle — then never-ending bird (6)
{CONDOR} – this is a very large vulture. Start with a slang abbreviation for a criminal (not lag, the other one), then add a 2-letter verb to swindle and the end letter of (neve)R.

13a  Superstar’s not working for the audience (4)
{IDOL} – a word for a superstar (as used in various reality TV programmes) sounds like (for the audience) an adjective meaning not working.

15a  Charged with vote for right in charge (8)
{ELECTRIC} – an adjective meaning charged with power comes from a verb to vote for followed by R(ight) and the abbreviation of in charge.

18a  A battle fixing toilet after flood (8)
{WATERLOO} – a battle in 1815 (which didn’t do a great deal for the 5d) is an informal word for a toilet following what flood is a poetic term for.

19a  Bank’s positively heartless (4)
{RELY} – start with a modifier meaning positively or thoroughly then take out the middle two letters to leave a verb meaning to bank or depend.

21a  Two male animals returned for another animal (6)
{MARMOT} – the two male animals are a sheep and a domestic cat. Reverse them both to make a burrowing rodent.

23a  Business angles I’d mulled over (8)
{DEALINGS} – an anagram (mulled over) of ANGLES I’D produces business or transactions.

25a  Old capital of Italy (4)
{LIRA} – cryptic definition of the old (and possibly future, if the Euro goes down the pan) currency of Italy.

26a  One adopting missionary position? (10)
{EVANGELIST} – a typical nudge-nudge wink-wink clue from Ray T. This is of course a cryptic definition of someone who tries to convert others to his or her faith (and definitely not, as has been suggested, an anagram of Evil’s Agent).

27a  Evinced a bizarre perversion (8)
{DEVIANCE} – an anagram (bizarre) of EVINCED A.

28a  Face wreathed in cares is tired (6)
{RESIST} – hidden (wreathed) in the clue is a verb to face or oppose.

Down Clues

2d  Active soldier, bitter outside (5)
{AGILE} – the abbreviation for a US soldier has the sort of bitter that comes in a pint glass around it and this makes an adjective meaning active or nimble.

3d  Game delivery round wicket by English (9)
{BAGATELLE} – an indoor game played with a sloping board and small balls comes from what a delivery is in cricket around a wicket (which in this case is a small opening incorporated in a larger one). Finally add E(nglish).

4d  Chest of a divine being — that’ll get a 10! (6)
{THORAX} – I’ve got a feeling that this one will need an illustration. A divine being (whose day it is today) is followed by A and the Roman numeral for 10 to make the upper part of the body (chest).

5d  Electorate in end settled for political alliance (7,8)
{ENTENTE CORDIALE} – a very neat anagram (settled) of ELECTORATE IN END gives us a political alliance or friendly understanding between states.

6d  Return of blasted slugs! (8)
{RICOCHET} – cryptic definition of the rebound of fired bullets (blasted slugs) after they have hit something solid.

7d  Oasis or Nirvana dropping Ecstasy (5)
{HAVEN} – the surface appears to be all about groups and their suspicious habits, but what we really want is a safe and peaceful spot (oasis) which comes from dropping the E(cstasy) from the equivalent in other religions of the Buddhist nirvana.

8d  Telegraph line? (9)
{EDITORIAL} – cryptic definition of a newspaper’s leading article.

14d  Stage star with media frenzy (9)
{DRAMATISE} – stage here is a verb and it’s an anagram (frenzy) of STAR and MEDIA.

16d  Stir a lot, mixing about litre, for pancakes (9)
{TORTILLAS} – these pancakes come from Mexico and they’re an anagram (mixing) of STIR A LOT containing L(itre).

17d  Posed with bird embracing large trollop (8)
{SLATTERN} – this is a trollop or slovenly woman. Join together a verb meaning posed (for an artist or photographer) and a seabird, then, as in the previous clue, insert an L (this time an abbreviation for large).

20d  Hound another animal (6)
{BADGER} – a verb meaning to hound or harass is also another animal (one currently under threat from the farming community).

22d  One wound up in foreign city (5)
{MIAMI} – start with I (one), add a verb to wound and then reverse it all (up, in a down clue) to make a city in the USA.

24d  Bowels trapping small blasts of wind (5)
{GUSTS} – a term for the intestines or bowels contains (trapping) S(mall).

My top clues today are 26a, 5d, 6d and 7d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {EARTH} + {AIR} + {LOW} = {OTHELLO – thanks to BD for that; prior to the arrival of his email I was going with ARTHUR LOWE}


35 Comments

  1. Jezza
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    The last few puzzles from RayT I thought were rather average; I thought this one was much better.
    I wonder if anyone else was thinking about the different meaning of ‘wound’ in 22d (I’m sure I have seen it before somewhere). Last one in, and favourite clue – 6d.

    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza.

  2. Hrothgar
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Ray T is being kind to us.
    Enjoyable.
    Some quirky clues.
    Thanks Ray T and Gazza for the review.
    PS
    Second marmot this week/last 7 or so days.

    • Posted July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      We get let’s of them here in Chamonix so I’m glad to see our whistling friends appear on the back page :)

  3. MikeT
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I just couldn’t wait ’til 11 o’clock, to see what picture would be used to illustrate 4d – Wasn’t disappointed and also loved the clue.

  4. mary
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning Gazza from an unusually dry West Wales, not sunny but at least no rain yet! I found this really hard today and have to give it 3 stars at least for difficulty, now and again I enjoy a RayT puzzle but this was not one of them, I needed your help to finish at least three clues!! 5d just would not come to mind even knowing it was an anagram and with all the letters in, I am having a ‘thick’ day , having put ‘beadle’ in for 20d I was stuck for 28a, I knew all along beadle was wrong! Fav clues today 3d and 19a
    Thanks for blog and help Gazza, it would have taken me all day without you and I have a pub lunch to go to :-D

  5. Colmce
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Bit of a grind this one, as always it was the four letter answers which caused the most grief.

    Thanks for review, needed for some of the wordplay.

    Thanks to compiler for an enjoyable puzzle.

  6. Wozza
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Got off to a quick start and the bottom half more or less dropped straight in. The top half was much tougher though and put up a more normal Ray T fight. Many clues to like, 17 a favourite. 3*/4* and crossword of the week for me.

    Thanks to both.

    W

  7. tony
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    not too difficult – but had problems in 9a as dont think “agnostic” necessarily means “questioning”

    • gazza
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi tony – welcome to the blog.

    • Posted July 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Chambers Thesaurus gives unbelieving, sceptical, doubting, questioning, disbelieving for agnostic

  8. crypticsue
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Definitely an easier Ray T than normal but the usual great entertainment throughout – favourites as per gazza above. I see marmots have turned into buses – ‘you wait ages for one to come along…’ :D Thanks to Ray and the winner of the musical chairs.

    The Warbler Toughie is very good too. Fans of Elgar (yes I know I am not the only one) may like to know that he is in the Graun today as Enigmatist. Easier than an Elgar and very entertaining.

  9. Kath
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s dry, it’s warm, the sun is thinking about coming out AND a Ray T puzzle – what more could anyone want! :grin:
    I agree with the 2* for difficulty – I thought it was one of his easier crosswords and loved it, as usual.
    I have to confess to thinking about “Pisa” for 25a – couldn’t see why it should be so didn’t write it in but I was pretty slow with the right answer. I was also slow to get 6d.
    Far too many clues that I really enjoyed to write them all down – perhaps 18 and 26a and 4, 5, 7 and 24d.
    With thanks to Ray T and Gazza.

  10. Up The Creek
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    A lovely sunny day and a RayT – thats 7d with the ‘e’ back. So many good clues of which 3 4 5a 6 7 and 25 stand out. Always a treat on RayT thursdays. Might even get in the garden for the first time in a week!

  11. BigBoab
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to RayT for yet another very enjoyable if untaxing crossword, many thanks also to Gazza for the review and hints.

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes, me too.

      I wondered if there would be an apposite illustration for 4D, and Gazza has done us proud!

  12. Brian
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Couldnt get a Graudiad today so it was the DT or the Sun, a difficult decision on a Ray T day but what do you know, I am glad I got the DT because I finished my first ever Ray T!
    Although everyone say it was easier than normal, do you know what, I don’t care!

    • Kath
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I did think about saying that this would be a good one for all those who don’t like Ray T crosswords – did you enjoy it? I do hope so – we will convert you, one day!! :smile:

      • mary
        Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Here’s one lady that’s not for turning!

    • mary
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t think it was easier Brian, well done :-)

    • Collywobbles
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you Brian on RayT but this one was very enjoyable and entertaining (and a bit easier). The big thing is that he provided us with the means to break into it. Thanks to him and Gazza whose help I still needed and valued

    • Posted July 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Me too! First ever finish for a Ray T. Thanks for being gentle on us!

  13. St George
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to RT and Gazza. Fairly enjoyable for me, but could not get 8D because I had answered 12A wrongly. I thought the 12a was a criminal trixster, ie. the other word for lag, followed by an unfinished Manx (shearwater).

  14. William Geddes
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    One and a half on the blacksheepometer for me today.

    Last one in 19A which I had right but only from “bank”. Couldn’t see the other part of it but those letters missing from another word type clue are always my bete noir – which I see brings me right back to my blacksheepometer (chortle)

  15. stanXYZ
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Easy-ish but entertaining as always! Thanks, RayT.

    Thanks also to gazza for the illustration of the Perfect Ten!

  16. beaver
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable today,i agree **/****, a few amusing moments ,having arrived at the solution for 4d i thought their must be a divine being called a thrax with a void-o- in it! then the hammer fell !.Used to date a certain Anne Thrax – infectious personality! sorry got carried away.

  17. Addicted
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Found it a bit of a struggle and wouldn’t have finished without hints – particularly 1a, which I don’t think I would EVER have got otherwise! Very enjoyable nonetheless – liked 15a and 26a. Thanks to Ray T and Gazza. Nice to see some sunshine, but is it going to last???!

  18. RayT
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Gazza for the dissection, and to everybody else who commented. Much appreciated as always.

    RayT

    • Peter
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Ray, a charming puzzle, just about right for me after a hard day

  19. Captain Duff
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable Ray T this week. Favourite for me was 7d. Last in was 22d as I got thrown off track, along with some others it seems, about the wound in the clue. ***/**** Many thanks to Gazza & Ray T (I’m a fan)

  20. Little Dave
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Best crossword of the week thus far for me – some lovely clues – Ray is the master! And I did not finish it……missed 25a (DOH!); 22d – thought of “winding” (DOH!); and 19a (a tad weak). Favourites were 4d and 26a. Thanks to Ray once again. Looking forward to tomorrow’s – time for a nice coffee before a 10AM meeting.

  21. Heno
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Gazza for the review & hints. Usual great stuff from Ray T, favourite was 24d, laugh out loud moment. Found this more difficult than usual. Dry enough to work on the roof in Central London.

  22. andy
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    My comment is a replica of Cryptic Sue @comment 8, thanks to Ray T and Gazza. 26a and 4d favourites (from many)

  23. gnomethang
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Lovely stuff as always. If only I could have thought of something other than (Bel) MRAHI!. Thanks to RayT and to gazza. 10/10.

  24. mary
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Seems I was on my own here, finding this one not too easy and didn’t enjoy either, ah well here goes for Giovanni :-)

  25. pommers
    Posted July 7, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    I was offered the chance to blog this one but had to refuse because of previous commitments. Shame, as it was a brill puzzle and I was writing a blog in my head as I finally got around to solving it tonight.

    RayT back to his best IMHO :grin:

    Thanks to Ray for the puzzle and to Gazza for standing in at what must have been very short notice. Good job sir!