DT 26923 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26923

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26923

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Pommette’s in the UK again this week so, as I’m at a loose end (!), Gazza has kindly given me the opportunity to blog this Giovanni puzzle. Not sure I really enjoyed it all though, which is unusual for one of his! I thought that there were some very nice clues and some enjoyable penny-drop moments but also some slightly dodgy bits (IMHO) and the gratuitous inclusion of some rather obscure words. Maybe it’s just me being a grumpy old man this morning. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

As usual the ones I like best are in blue and if you want to see the answer highlight the space between the curly brackets.   Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


9a           One of the Everly Brothers has drunk a bottle (5)
{PHIAL} – Take the name of one of the Everly brothers and insert (has drunk) A (from the clue) and you get a small bottle.  Another first across clue that went straight in! I tell you, I’m heading for a fall soon!

10a         Detest having a horde going around home at start of event (9)
{ABOMINATE} – A word meaning detest is made up of: a). A (from the clue), b). a horde or unruly crowd (3) reversed (going around), c). the usual two letter word for home or at home, d). AT (from the clue) and e). an E (start of Event).  Phew, complicated little rascal!

11a         One saying no, resorting to anger (7)
{NEGATOR} – An obscure word for someone who is saying no is an anagram (resorting) of TO ANGER.

12a         What water may be from plateau coming to river (7)
{POTABLE} – Water that’s fit to drink is this.  Start with our favourite Italian river and after it (coming to) place another word for a plateau.

13a         Military action, say, is about capturing enemy primarily (5)
{SIEGE} – To get this military action you need the usual abbreviation for say or for example and IS (from the clue) and reverse it all (about). Then insert (capturing) an E (Enemy primarily).

14a         What’s ground raw millet? (5,4)
{WATER MILL} – A very nice all-in-one. This place could indeed have ground some millet, or any other grain for that matter. It’s also an anagram (ground) of RAW MILLET.

16a         Girl alone embracing musical performance in an embarrassing way (15)
{DISCONCERTINGLY} – Start with a shortened girl’s name and follow with a word meaning alone or solo and then insert (embracing) a musical performance and you get a word which can mean “in an embarrassing way”.  Not 100% sure about this definition but it is in the BRB.

19a         Unfinished business could mean someone will trip up? (5,4)
{LOOSE ENDS} – If your floorboards or carpets had these it’s quite likely that someone would trip up. It’s also a phrase for unfinished business in the sense of being a few minor bits left to sort out.

21a         Female that’s left after lunchtime maybe given her cards? (5)
{FIRED} – Definition is ‘given her cards’ or sacked. It’s F(emale) followed by the hour at which lunch is taken and then (after) the colour associated with the left of the political spectrum.  This clue wouldn’t really work in Spain as lunch is commonly taken some time between 2pm and 4pm.

23a         British singer who partnered John in film in foreign country (7)
{BOLIVIA} – This is a foreign country in South America. It’s B(ritish) followed by a female singer who starred with a guy called John in a 1978 musical film set in an American High School. Her surname also has ‘John’ in it but I don’t think that’s relevant.

25a         Loose grass skirts being worn — Malay garments? (7)
{SARONGS} – To get these Malay garments you need an anagram (loose) of GRASS and place it around (skirts) a word that might describe something that’s being worn, as in “She’s got her best sarong **”.

27a         There’s nothing right about mucky coalmen crossing that sterilised area (5,4)
{CLEAN ROOM} – This is a decontaminated area used in pharmaceutical manufacture or biological research for example. Start with O (nothing) and R(ight) and reverse them (about), then surround (crossing) with an anagram (mucky?) of COALMEN.  This anagram indicator is a new one on me but does it work?

28a         Rapid writer (5)
{SWIFT} – A word meaning rapid is also the surname of an Irish author and satirist.  I like this for its simplicity. I wonder if he did write quickly, if he did it would be a near-perfect clue!


1d           Vertebral column stunted? One may get a doctor for that (4)
{SPIN} – This isn’t a medical doctor but one employed by politicians. It’s your backbone without it’s last letter (stunted).

2d           Hair on leg nasty, making you squirm (6)
{WIGGLE} – Some false hair followed by an anagram (nasty) of LEG gives a word meaning squirm.

3d           Carefree bishop able to move about easily (10)
{BLITHESOME} – A rather obscure word for carefree or happy is made up of B(ishop) and then an equally obscure word for ‘able to move about easily’, as in agile or nimble.  Last in! Not the sort of words you use in everyday conversation. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used either of them!

4d           School hospital indicated with pointer (6)
{HARROW} – A public school in NW London (Winston Churchill went there) is H(ospital) followed a type of pointer which might be used to  indicate ‘hospital this way’.  Nice to see a change from the usual Eton!

5d           Arrive outside place and run electronic machine (8)
{COMPUTER} – If you’re reading this then you’re  probably using one of these electronic machines. Take a word for arrive and place it around (outside) a word meaning ‘to place’ and follow with R(un).

6d           Take up 17 yards by the look of it! (4)
{LIFT} – This is a word meaning ‘take up’ as in raise. It’s also another way of writing 17 yards, but the number is in Roman numerals.  For some reason the penny didn’t drop on this one until I had both checkers! Hands up all those who, like me, thought that 17 was probably referring to 17 down!

7d           Endless amusement and conspicuous wealth is a feature of Las Vegas (8)
{GAMBLING} – This is something that goes on in Las Vegas. Take an amusement or sporting contest and remove the last letter (endless) and follow with some conspicuous wealth or ostentatious jewellery.

8d           Deplore being messed about before you had to be given new work? (10)
{REDEPLOYED} – An anagram (being messed about) of DEPLORE followed by an archaic (before?) way of saying you’d (you had) gives a word for being given new work, as in a new job.  I think the word ‘before’ is trying to indicate the old form of you but for me it doesn’t quite work.

13d         Configuration putting cyclist at full stretch? It’s a pig! (10)
{SADDLEBACK} – Split (6,4) this would be a configuration of a bike that would but the cyclist at full stretch in order to reach the handlebars. As ten letters it’s a breed of pig.  Apparently there are ‘Essex’ and ‘Wessex’ ones and they’ve been crossed to produce a ‘British’ one! One lives and learns!

15d         Artist takes dope before repose in wild wooded area (10)
{RAINFOREST} – Take the usual artist (2) and follow with a word for dope, as in data or gen, and then a word for repose or take it easy. The result is a wooded area found in the tropics.

17d         Ought a Head of State to jostle? (8)
{SHOULDER} – A word meaning jostle is a charade of another word for ought and the abbreviation for our current Head of State.

18d         Pulverised in can, my French spice (8)
{CINNAMON} – This spice is an anagram (pulverised) of IN CAN followed by the French word for my.

20d         Opening word seems to be magical outside entrance to antrum! (6)
{SESAME} – The definition is ‘Opening word’ and it’s the one used by Ali Baba to open the cave. Take an anagram (magical) of SEEMS and place it around (outside) an A (entrance to Antrum). This is quite a nice clue as an antrum is a cavity and the entrance to the cave was opened and closed by magic – clever methinks!  Did you hear the clang when the penny dropped?

22d         Artist produces centrepiece of grey and black in Paris (6)
{RENOIR} – Not the usual artist this time! This impressionist painter is made from RE (centrepiece of gREy) followed by the French word for black.

24d         Thoughtless-sounding fan (4)
{VANE} – Another word for one of the blades of a fan or turbine sounds like (sounding) a word meaning thoughtless or egotistical.  Another definition I’m not too keen on but it’s in the BRB!

26d         One born far too early for a birth certificate in Somerset House! (4)
{SETH} – This guy was certainly born far too early to get a birth certificate as he’s one of the sons of Adam and Eve! He’s hidden (in) in Somerset House.

Quite a lot of good stuff here but my stand out favourites are 14a and 20d. How about you?

The Quick crossword pun: {temper} + {sent} = {10% – ten percent)

66 comments on “DT 26923

  1. A bit tricky in places for me but I got there in the end Quite a few penny-dropping moments but I did enjoy doing it. Thanks to setter & to Pommers for the explanations.

  2. I often found that I had the answer and then had to it it to the clue, but perhaps that is my muddled thinking! I didn’t like 6d although it is a clever clue and didn’t like the “before you had” clue in 8d. Also have never come across 16a being used for embarrassingly.Thank you Pommers for your tips and explanations.

  3. My hand is up for 6d!

    Also, even though I got the answer to 26d, couldn’t understand why until I saw your hint…I always miss the easy hidden clues. For some reason I thought it was some obscure initial for birth certificate inside initials for Somerset House. Needless to say, Google just threw out a million hits for a Spielberg movie!

  4. I thought that today was a little tricky in places, but all gettable from the clues. I think I enjoyed this one more than any other back-page puzzle this week, so thanks to Giovanni, and to Pommers for the notes.

    Not doing too well at the toughie so far, but I will keep going.

  5. Morning Pommers, thanks for the review.

    I enjoyed the puzzle, but then I always enjoy the ones I complete without help.

    Mucky as an anagram indicator passed me by, filed for future reference.

    Fun to do, thanks to Giovanni.

    How do you know when you spend too much time doing puzzles?
    When predictive text knows the following names….Prolixic ,Pommers ,Giovanni ,Libellule ,Crypticsue to name but a few.

    A good weekend beckons, will be out dicing with supertankers in the shipping lanes.

    1. Have a good weekend! What, me jealous? Only a lot :grin: Take care though, those rascals don’t take prisoners!

  6. Have to agree that 3 down is not a commonly used word and people of a certain age wouldn’t have a clue about the Everly brothers but overall, a good crossword. Thanks to Pommers for his imput.

  7. My iPad edition appeared automatically this morning, after the app update yesterday. Who hoo!

  8. Pommers in 13d hint you have put nine letters, think you mean ten letters makes the breed of pig…

  9. Morning Pommers. You can see why gazza is so good at crosswords and spotting connections etc, as one only has to give the slightest hint of availability and his email arrives in your inbox before you can blink.

    I found this on the tough side for a Giovanni but I did enjoy myself. A particular favourite was 14a. Thanks to G for the crossword and P for the blog.

    I wasn’t happy being woken at 5 am by No 1 son and girlfriend starting their day, but apart from her early start at work, they must have known how tricky the toughie is today. It is Elgar at his most Impalerish. It has taken some time and the blog needs two of us to sort it out but is worth a struggle if only to get the Nina.

  10. Many thanks to Giovanni for a thoroughly entertaining puzzle, I loved 6d, thanks also to pommers for a very enjoyable review.

  11. Enjoyed this one much more than yesterday, even though I couldn’t finish it (1a and 3d). Thanks to Pommers for the explanations – I don’t think I’d ever have got 3d no matter how long I thought about it. Should have got 1a though. Couldn’t understand 10a and 8d until I read the explanation. I agree that the old form of “you had” in 8d is obscure. 6d is brilliant, even after I read the explanation, I still had to stare at it for about another minute until the penny dropped.

    Sunny, winds light to variable.

  12. Oh well, from these comments it looks as though I was a grumpy old man this morning!

    Perhaps it’s because I was woken up at 0630 this morning by what sounded like a lorry loaded with empty galvanised dustbins travelling down the street at high speed. Thought at first it was an earthquake (that’s what our last one sounded like) but nothing moved so I guess it was the lorry after all!

  13. I’m with you again Pommers. 3*/3* for me too. Nothing wrong with it but it didnt light me up. Maybe just hard to follow yesterday.

    Thanks to both of you and a good and hopefully sunny weekend to all.

  14. I enjoyed today’s puzzle a little more than others it would seem a *** and nudging towards **** for enjoyment. Spent longer on 12a and 6d than I should have. Enjoyed the penny dropping moment for 6d, my favourite clue of the week. Many thanks to all.

  15. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    Another mammoth struggle for me and one I would not wish to repeat. Hardly any clues answered whatsoever. Maybe I should give Friday’s crosswords a miss as I just don’t seem to be on the same wavelength.

    1. I felt exactly the same for ages Roger but perservate as Mary would say (anyone heard from her this week?). It is well worth it in the end.
      I was given a super tip recently for tough puzzles, look up all the down clue answers in the blog then try to fill in the across clues.

      1. I think that Mary is off in her camper van this week, Brian. I don’t envy her too much – a husband with man flu and two wet dogs in a camper van is not my idea of fun!

  16. Usual high standard for a Giovanni. Last one in was 6d, got so hung up on XVII that I didn’t think to change yards to feet. If Giovanni was any sharper, he would cut himself :-)
    Tough one I thought and learnt a new word, Antrum. Thx to Pommers for a couple of explanatory clues and of course to the maestro.

    1. Hi Brian

      I didn’t realize the significance of the choice of the word Antrum as fodder to give the letter A until I looked it up.

  17. I thought this was difficult – ended up with a couple that I couldn’t do – 21a and 22d. More than a 3* for me today. I completely missed (just for a change) the middle of the clue bit of 26d. Not my day!!
    I liked 9, 14 and 28a and 2, 6 (even if it took me for ever – and no, didn’t even think of clue 17) and 20d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and pommers.
    I do seem to remember someone, who shall be nameless, once telling us the the river in 12a was in China! Will he ever live that one down! :grin:

    1. I was sorely tempted to make mention of that in the blog but then decided I couldn’t be that cruel :grin:

        1. I wouldn’t have been able to finish this without all the extra clues-thank you pommers. Cheered to read that others found it taxing in places and as for 6d-what was that all about???!Need to speed up as jobs are not getting done.Thank you for welcome. Glass of wine as a reward methinks.

          1. Hi geejay

            Re 6d, see my reply to Nora at #19. Makes it bit clearer I think.

            Enjoy the wine. I’ve just had a couple but that won’t stop me having another :grin:

        1. CS should remember that us bloggers can all have ‘senior’ moments and my view is ‘do unto others etc – and I don’t mean ‘do unto others before they do unto you’!

        2. I was nice really. I just saw the river and smiled – certainly wouldn’t have mentioned it if you hadn’t :D

  18. WOW, what a great stage win today by Mark Cavendish and full marks to Wiggo for the assist!

    1. Strewth! Where did he come from? Not bad for a “domestique” in the mountain stages!

      1. He came from being nursed by Team Sky all day and then being paced off the Peloton by Wiggo until into range and thne he’s the fastest thing on two wheels (apart from Jorge Lorenzo, but he has a 1000cc/250bhp engine to help!).

  19. Pommers, I don’t understand your explanation of 6d. I saw it as turn the number 17 upside down, which gives you LI, follow by the parts of yards which are FT, put them together to get a word for take up.

    1. Hi Nora – how’s things in Valencia?

      6d – 17 yards is 51 feet so write the Roman numerals for 51 followed by the abbreviation for feet.

  20. Busy day today!

    First of all a blog to write, then a stage of the Tour de France and a day’s cricket. On top of that a round of Open Golf and tonight a football match :grin: Also practice for the German Grand Prix. Sad I know, but I’ve got the golf on the telly in the lounge, the Tour in the kitchen, the TMS commentary coming out of the computer and following the computer text commentary for the Grand Prix, all at the same time. Phew!

    Think I might be knackered by bedtime!

      1. Trouble is I now think that Lewis is 3 under par, Wiggo was out for a duck, Tiger Woods is on pole and Strauss won the Tour :lol:

        1. Presumably that was without popping out for some lunchtime ‘refreshment’ :D

          1. Indeed it was! Just about to go for a pre-prandial refreshment and might take today’s Grauniad with me. Usually struggle with Tramp but after the Elgar Toughie it can’t be all that bad!

            1. It is tricky in places but if I say ‘theme’ that might help. Enjoy your refreshment. I can’t have anything post Vlad blog recovery ‘medicine’ wise until I have been into Canterbury to fetch son’s girlfriend from work. One of the perils of living in the country two miles odd from the nearest bus.

              1. Trickey, I should say so, but got there in the end with the help of a couple of glasses of vino collapso!

                Know what you mean about living in the country – spent 20 years in a small village that was 3 miles from the nearest bus route!

                1. Just checking the blog while Mr CS finishes off the cooking,. Nice bottle of rose chilling in the fridge.

  21. Pommers – thanks for the explanations. I got all the clues but didn’t know why on some. Please tell me what is the”BRB” you refer to. I tried Googling it but didn’t find anything appropriate.

    1. I may not be pommers but I CAN tell you what the BRB is! It is The Chambers Dictionary – I have the 11th edition but there has certainly been one more and possibly two. It is, needless to say, a Big Red Book and I think all the answers in our crosswords are supposed to be in it. Hope your back is better.

    2. Hi Silveroak, sorry, been out for an early evening libation :grin:

      How’s the back, improving I hope? As Kath says, the BRB is Chambers dictionary, and it certainly is a Big Red Book ! My 12th edition has a red cover , 1048 pages and weighs in at 2.5kg (about 6lbs to you guys in America)!

  22. Well,I’m as old as the hills and didn’t get 3d and it must have been at least 15 minutes after reading Pommers hint that I had the D’oh moment for 6d. . Apart from that really enjoyed it. Thanks to Giovanni & Pommers. :smile:

  23. thoroughly enjoyed the solve***/****, found it quite difficult today,lots of excellent clues like 20d 22a etc-off for a pint

  24. Thanks to Giovanni & Pommers for the review & hints. I hated this one, probably because I couldn’t do it. Needed 12 hints, seven of which I had to look up. Totally beyond me, don’t think I was in the right mood to tackle this. certainly won’t be even looking at the toughie :-)

  25. Thanks to pommers for doing such a sterling job with the blog and giving me a day off (half of which I seemed to spend wrestling with the Toughie!). I thought that this one was a bit trickier than the average Giovanni.

    1. Agree it was a little tricky in places and, unlike most others, it didn’t “Light my Fire”! The good bits are really excellent but there’s a few bits that irritated me, so overall I wasn’t all that enamoured of it. Why does Giovanni seem to delight in chucking in obscure words? Not clever IMHO. It’s OK for him – he’s looked at the BRB before we’ve even seen the clues! He’s rapidly dropping down my list of favourites as I’m getting to grips with the likes of Paul and Arachne in the Grauniad.

      Anyway, thanks for the opportunity – enjoyed it a lot! (nice to be a bit controversial occasionally) :grin:

    1. Possibly, but I think that’s a bit too obscure even for this puzzle! Perhaps Giovanni will come out of the woodwork and tell us.

    2. Surely it must be Pierre-Auguste, who was the ‘artist’ (painter) – not his son Jean.

  26. I’ve only just noticed, and I’m surprised that nobody has pointed it out. that I gave the answer away in the hint for 25a. I can only think you were all too busy looking at the picture to notice the words :lol:

  27. I enjoyed this, after an initial feeling of hopelessness. I thought ‘mucky’ was a fair anagram signifier with ‘coalmen’.
    One or two just wouldn’t come – I persisted in imagining that an anagram of ‘To Jostle’ would give me the name of a Head of State, possibly one of the royal families of Norway, or Belgium or the Netherlands (King Stottletoj II ?? :-) And 17d also eluded me. Also 3d.

    I enjoyed 10a, 12a, 21a, 8d, 15d, 22d. And I thought 13a was a very elegant clue, even though it defeated me. (Having been fooled by a similar ‘initial letter’ type clue recently, I wrongly assumed it was About Capturing Enemy = ACE).

    I’m still chuckling over the assumed knowledge of DT puzzlers – the Everly Brothers, 18c Eng Lit, 19c French impressionists, biotechnology, leisurewear of the Pacific, and the Book of Genesis.

  28. Oh dear – I spent fat too long trying to fit XVII into a word for 6d. Should have realised it would be smarter than that!

  29. Not bad but Ray’s was better yesterday.Is the word broadcasted as used in a recent xword proper English?C’SUE,I have seen your solving times at the Times blog, you mean you in the same league with the likes of T.Sever?What is the secret of completing that puzzle as I often struggle?

Comments are closed.