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DT 26914

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26914

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I’ve not got a lot to say about today’s puzzle – it all works but there’s not a lot of ‘penny drop’ moments. Let us know what you thought.
If you need to reveal an answer just highlight the space between the curly brackets under the clue that’s giving you problems. If you’re accessing the blog on a mobile device there is some help on how to do this in the FAQ.

Across Clues

1a  Lack of wood, ultimately, on our planet (6)
{DEARTH} – a word meaning lack or scarcity comes from the ultimate letter of (woo)D followed by our planet.

4a  Despondency when daughter’s dismissed, getting the sack? (8)
{EJECTION} – if you dismiss the initial D(aughter) from a synonym of despondency you’re left with expulsion (the sack).

10a  Bush — fellow changed history, beginning in Afghanistan (9)
{FORSYTHIA} – the surface appears to be about recent US foreign policy but the bush we want is one with bright yellow flowers. Start with F(ellow), add an anagram (changed) of HISTORY and finish with the first letter of A(fghanistan).

11a  Frequently in temper, blowing top (5)
{OFTEN} – drop the first letter (blowing top) from a verb to temper or moderate.

12a  Excited as room is filled with old sherry (7)
{AMOROSO} – a dark, sweet sherry comes from an anagram (excited) of AS ROOM containing (filled with) O(ld).

13a  Hat for a hatter? (7)
{NUTCASE} – double definition, both cryptic. A possible term for a type of hat to protect one’s head (i.e. a skid lid) is also how you might describe Alice’s irrational friend the Mad Hatter.

14a  Son maybe drinking litre is scolded (5)
{CHILD} – a Yoda-like clue – the archaic past participle of a verb to scold or rebuke has L(itre) inserted (drinking) to make a youngster of which son is an example.

15a  Education dished out in Herts town (8)
{TUTORING} – this Herts town is a familiar old standby in Crosswordland. Inside it put an anagram (dished) of OUT to make education, typically on a one-to-one basis.

18a  Other half to make changes and say nothing (5,3)
{ALTER EGO} – string together a) a verb to make changes, b) the abbreviation meaning say or for example and c) the letter that looks like zero or nothing. This gives you an alternative personality, like Mr Hyde to Dr Jekyll.

20a  Sore about unfinished clue that’s rejected (5)
{ULCER} – the proposition meaning concerned with or about is followed by CLU(e) without its last letter (unfinished) and then it’s all turned round (rejected) to reveal a sore.

23a  Widow has bet after party (7)
{DOWAGER} – a widow with a title derived from her late husband comes from a bet after a party (the festive rather than political sort).

25a  Fixing temporary accommodation (7)
{LODGING} – double definition.

26a  Duck’s grim smell (5)
{ODOUR} – the letter that looks like the score of a duck (zero) at cricket is followed by an adjective meaning grim or gloomy.

27a  Once impudent, is beginning to exercise savoir-faire (9)
{EXPERTISE} – the definition here is savoir-faire or prowess. It requires you to bring together a) a prefix meaning once or previously, b) an adjective meaning impudent or forward, c) IS (from the clue) and d) the beginning of E(xercise).

28a  Letting a ruined medieval castle (8)
{TINTAGEL} – an anagram (ruined) of LETTING A produces the site of a medieval castle in North Cornwall where legend has it that King Arthur was born.

29a  In optimistic mood at college club (6)
{UPBEAT} – an informal adjective meaning in an optimistic mood is a charade of a word used to mean at college and a verb to club or strike.

Down Clues

1d  Extremely debatable — intended to make challenge (8)
{DEFIANCE} – the outer (extremely) letters of D(ebatabl)E are followed by a man who is betrothed (intended). The result is a word meaning challenge or rebelliousness.

2d  A leader of monks, I inferred (1,6)
{A PRIORI} – an adjectival phrase, from latin, meaning inferred or worked out from what has gone before comes from joining together A, a sort of vice-abbot and I.

3d  Play with lackey’s little dog (3,6)
{TOY POODLE} – this little dog is a verb to play with followed by a term for a lackey (Blair to Bush, say).

5d  Piano roll fixed by eccentric poet and novelist (6,8)
{JOANNA TROLLOPE} – this is an English lady novelist (who is a distant relation of and shares her surname with a more famous Victorian author). Start with a slang term for a piano (rhyming with the Cockney pronunciation of piano, i.e. piana) then insert (fixed by) ROLL inside an anagram (eccentric) of POET.

6d  Blow caught ruffian (5)
{CLOUT} – C(aught) (cricket abbreviation) is followed by a ruffian or hooligan.

7d  Going on popular means of transport (2,5)
{IN TRAIN} – a phrase meaning going on or being progressed comes from an informal adjective meaning popular or fashionable followed by a means of public transport.

8d  Grandma put up in French city (6)
{NANTES} – an affectionate term for grandma is followed by the reversal (up, in a down clue) of a verb to put to make a city in Western France.

9d  Kill article on wind (gas) (5,3,6)
{SHOOT THE BREEZE} – this is an informal (mainly North American) phrase meaning to gas or chew the fat (the last word being an informal term for a whispered rumour). It’s a charade of a verb to kill (with a bullet), a definite article and a slight wind.

16d  Take a tumble supporting cycle tour (5,4)
{ROUND TRIP} – a verb to take a tumble follows (supporting, in a down clue) a cycle or recurring series of events to make a tour.

17d  Scrap involving newspaper workers seen in ‘Financial Times’ (8)
{FRAGMENT} – a scrap or small piece comes from inserting (involving … seen in) a derogatory term for a downmarket newspaper and a synonym for workers inside the abbreviation for the pink paper.

19d  Dope in an inferior position? (3-4)
{LOW-DOWN} – double definition – an informal term for dope or confidential information and, without the hyphen, i.e. (3,4), a description of an inferior position.

21d  Sign one’s at home, inside, cooking (7)
{CUISINE} – a posh word for cooking, from French, comes from a sign or signal with I (one), the ‘S and the usual adverb for at home inside.

22d  Skilful with it, a rod at sea (6)
{ADROIT} – an anagram (at sea) of IT A ROD.

24d  Turned up to search a lake (5)
{GARDA} – this is the name of a lake in Northern Italy. Reverse (turned up, in a down clue) a verb to search an expanse of water (as a police frogman might do for a missing person) and follow this with A.

The clue I liked best today was 18a. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {JUNG} + {STIR} = {YOUNGSTER}

64 comments on “DT 26914

  1. good morning Gazza, I’m half way through and I’m finding it 3* rather than 2*. However, as you say, there are a lot of ‘penny drop’ moments and the answer seems so simple when it happens

    1. Hi Collywobs

      The other day you asked about Toughies. If you want to have a go then try today’s. I think I must have broken my Toughie record!

      1. Does that mean it’s easier than normal, Pommers, because I looked at the last one showing and I couldn’t do one clue on the first pass?

        1. If it was on the back page I would ave given 3* difficulty so yes, easier than average. Today’s is No 803 – which one did you look at?

          1. It was the last one before the Monday one that doesn’t come out, so, Friday I think. Tks for your help Pommers I’ll give it a go because I am finishing the Cryptic a little quicker now (todays excepted) and you know what it is like, living where you live, having to sit in the sun all day – you need something to keep occupied

            1. Last Friday’s wasn’t a good one to try for a first Toughie! One of the hardest this year IMHO. Today’s is far more benign :grin:

              Best of luck with it!

              1. As gnomethang says, it takes all sorts. I found today’s toughie tricky, but last Friday, I went through it without any problem.

                    1. Thanks Pommers, I’ll give it a go, I’ve nearly finished todays’. What’s the weather like there today?

                    2. Dyslexia! The main problem I had with the Toughie was transposing the middle two letters in the first word of 9a! Didn’t help with 3d, D’oh!

                    3. Does nobody else know this rule as “I before E except after C, IF THE SOUND IS EE”?

                      I ended up shouting at the telly during one installment of QI…

  2. Definitely 3* for me today but enjoyable nonetheless. Needed a few hints but once solved could not see why I needed them Thanks to setter & to Gazza.

    1. That’s what I found although I’m restrained from viewing Gazzas’ hints so far

  3. I found this one to be a little trickier than I would expect for a Tuesday, and it definitely took me longer than normal to finish. My favourite clue was 18a too.
    At one point I thought it was going to be a pangram, but there were 2 or 3 letters missing.
    Thanks to the mystery setter (could it be Shamus?) and to Gazza for the notes.

  4. Oh dear, too much to do today so had to resort to hints for the last few. Liked 18a though and will maybe try toughie in the evening. Thanks Gazza.

  5. Thanks to setteer for a good morning’s entertainment, thoroughly enjoyable if a little trickier than usual. Favourite possibly 27A, iD and 5D though there were a lot I liked. And thanks to Gazza for hints, not needed but I used them to confirm my thought process

  6. A crossword of two halves for me-left **, right ****, so ended up with ***/***
    Struggled with the ‘piano’bit of 5d, forgot about the ‘other lady trollop’-good clue,as was18a,don’t think i’d heard of 9d ,or if i had, was’nt sure what it meant, worked it out from the wordplay;all round very enjoyable.

  7. 2* Tuesday back pager both for difficulty and enjoyment. No particular favourites, thank you Mysteron and Gazza.

    The Toughie is tricky in places and I will be interested to learn how toughie tyros get on.

    Puzzle of the day so far is in the Guardian – 18a in that one is my clue of the day so far.

    1. I guessed the answer to that one from the checkers and then nearly fell off my chair when I realised how the clue works :lol:

    2. I must have been on just the right wavelength with the Toughie – see previous conversation with Collywobbles.

    3. Just had to look up tyro! Might have a try later, or might give the Guardian one a go.

  8. As Gazza said, not a lot of penny drop moments. In fact, I didn’t have any. Too many tops and tails of words. I did enjoy the picture of little dog. Would have been even better with a pretty girl holding it

    1. Agreed – not much fun at all. Thanks to Gazza for the help I needed. Favourite was 9d.

      Now trivia time – did you know that 10a is named after the great-great-great-great garndfather of Sir Bruce Forsyth – see “Early Life” in http://www.ask.com/wiki/Bruce_Forsyth

  9. I’m not sure about this one – I didn’t find it very difficult but it wasn’t one of my favourite puzzles. I have a serious attack of the “can’t-be-bothereds” today so, since most people seem to have enjoyed it, I think it’s probably me!
    I saw 5d quickly because of the piano bit and I already had the J – didn’t even write all the letters of the anagram down which is what I usually do – that’ll teach me – I spelt her surname with a double P and only one L which didn’t help much with 25a. I’ve never met the 9d expression.
    I liked 10, 26 and 27a and 3 and 8d.
    With thanks to the setter and gazza.
    Might have a go at the Toughie – or I might just go up the garden and plant some rice ….. ! :sad:

  10. 5d was my favourite and last in with 4a having had a blind 10 minutes. The penny did drop with ‘piano’ but should have done earlier. Apart from that pretty straightforward.
    Personally I struggled on the ‘other puzzle’.
    Thanks to the setter and to gazza for the review.

  11. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza, enjoyable but untaxing, a bit like the toughie.

  12. well the iPad gave me a crossword today although the automatic refresh which is allegedly why we have moved to newsstand didn’t happen. Still I won’t complain given recent performance.

    I actually found this pretty straightforward to solve and fairly pedestrian as a crossword – 5d clue of the day and 14a awful grammar. 2*/2* for me.

    Thanks to both.


    1. It’s not confined to the “Tellywag”, Newsstand not updating in the background is a common complaint on Apple fora. However, it seems to be a patchy issue, and Apple seem to be ignoring it.

  13. About average, both for difficulty and enjoyment I thought.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  14. Thanks to the setter & to Gazza for the review & hints. Couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength, needed 6 hints to complete. Dare I try the Toughie later?

    1. Yes – try the Toughie – if I can do it without too much trouble so can lots of other people, if not all of them.

  15. Hi gazza late arriving again today been to the gym and accupuncture at the pain clinic, I managed to do this before I left this morning, a three star personally I thought, fav clue 10a, little electronic friends working quite a lot once again, no time to try toughie, I did enjoy yesterdays Rufus in the Gaurdian on Libelulles recommendation, good luck collywobs and happy paddy fields Kath :-)
    Thanks for hints and blog gazza

  16. All the pennies have dropped and there were many for me today. Many thanks to Gazza on whom I relied heavily (I don’t know how you got 14a when the verb is chide, in fact, I don’t know how the setter came up with it) and thanks to the setter whoever he is. I’m off to the Toughie now

  17. Just back from a break in Yorkshire where we had 2 beautiful days of sunshine. Visited Flamborough Head to watch the gulls & puffins nesting on the cliffs. Fascinating!

    No access to the blog but catching upon all of the comments on the puzzles I have just printed off it looks as if I’ve got a busy few days ahead of me, Mrs S being willing and all that…

  18. Dont know what happened today, I found this one very difficult indeed, at least a 4star for me, just couldn’t get on the setters wavelength. Consequently I didn’t like this at all

  19. Too much time spent doing crosswords today.

    Found this one quite difficult, couldn’t get into the rhythm and didn’t find it particularly entertaining.

    Many thanks for the review, cleared up some loose ends for me.

    Thanks to the setter.

  20. Forget the tennis, forget the cricket! Wiggo won the individual time trial today for a 1m 53s overall lead! Lookin’ good to me :grin:

    1. I know you’re on a different time-zone from the UK, Pommers, but that was yesterday. Today is a rest day (which is why I;m having withdrawal symptoms this afternoon). :D

  21. I’m in the “found this one a bit difficult” camp today. I must say that 9d is an expression I have never come across before. Then again, as you say Gazza, mainly American; they have all sorts of strange utterings. Some friends of mine once went across the pond for a holiday and brought back a “Trivial Pursuit” game; what they didn’t bargain for was that it was the American version. Couldn’t make head n’ tail of it.
    Thanks Gazza and setter.

  22. Challenging puzzle, I thought, helped me to wake up.
    Some rather workmanlike clues, never heard of 9d but guessed it corrrectly with the letters already there.
    Funny that.
    Thanks setter and Gazza for the excellent graphics and review.

  23. I Agree with Brian, it didn’t click with me but seeing Gazzas expert dissection (sic) I can’t see why, but I can, post on 26913 might explain. Thanks to Setter and Gazza

  24. I’m also in the “I found it a bit difficult” camp but did eventually finish with some helpful hints from Gazza. However, would someone PLEASE explain 25a to me? I understand the second definition but I simply cannot get my head around how it also means “fixing”???? Had never heard of 12a – I had it beginning with “Ol” which didn’t make sense of the clue and definitely didn’t help 1d! A kind of yes I like it/no I don’t one for me to-day but thanks anyway to setter for the brain work-out and Gazza for the help.

  25. A fragment of doubt lodging in my brain
    my alter-ego fast in train
    gave me the lowdown – and then upbeat
    the crossword was soon complete

  26. What a stinker of a day, worked 13 hours in one day and I supposed to be part time! Part way through my first break and the I pad crashed and could not reload the DT. Got home about 10.30pm where I had Wi Fi to reboot. Too tired and grumpy to give a rating. needed help with the last in 2d, just couldn’t be bothered to persevere. . Still I can have a lie in in the morning. Regds to all.

    1. If you are thanking the two Gs, are you commenting on the correct review page?

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