DT 26929 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26929

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26929

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I was half expecting an Olympic theme today but perhaps we still have that in store. This was definitely a game of two halves for me – the left side went in without difficulty but I required an amount of cogitation for the right side. Let us know how you got on.
If you absolutely have to see an answer reveal what’s inside the brackets under the clue by highlighting the space.

Across Clues

1a  Simoon blew wildly — this transport’s not really for the desert! (10)
{SNOWMOBILE} – a simoon is a hot dry wind that blows in Arabia and North Africa (and is one of the reasons that desert Arabs wear a keffiyeh) but this method of transport – an anagram (wildly) of SIMOON BLEW – is used in totally different conditions.

6a  Go mad, rolling over (4)
{STAB} – this is a go or attempt. If you reverse it (rolling over) it’s an informal adjective meaning mad or crazy.

10a  Sailor in journey coming to northern country (5)
{GABON} – a two-character abbreviation for a sailor is put inside a verb to journey and that’s followed by N(orthern) to make the name of a country in West Africa.

11a  Amuse nurse (9)
{ENTERTAIN} – double definition, nurse here being a verb meaning to harbour (an idea or suspicion, for example).

12a  Something formally binding (5,3)
{BLACK TIE} – cryptic definition of what a man may wear (or be requested to wear) on a formal occasion.

13a  Subject dull and hard — son comes last (5)
{MATHS} – this is a subject that some pupils do find dull and hard. An adjective meaning dull (with no shine) is followed by H(ard) with S(on) bringing up the rear.

15a  Charitable effort that would patch over the hurt? (4,3)
{BAND AID} – the name given to the charitable effort set up to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia is also, with a hyphen, the proprietary name of a type of plaster for dressing small wounds.

17a  You will meet Hindu god in Jewish school (7)
{YESHIVA} – combine an old word for you and the Hindu god associated with destruction and reproduction to make a Jewish college or seminary.

19a  Wild animal — only a tiger, we hear? (7)
{MEERKAT} – join homophones (we hear) of a) an adjective meaning only or no more than and b) what a tiger is a big example of to make a small South African wild animal. Simples!

21a  Length of cord in rubbish blocking entrance (7)
{GAROTTE} – put an informal word for rubbish or nonsense inside (blocking) an entrance to make a length of cord used for strangling.

22a  Currently at the wicket lacking any chance of victory (2-3)
{NO-WIN} – a description of a cricket team currently batting (3,2) with a different split and the addition of a hyphen means lacking any chance of victory.

24a  Upper-class learner beginning to bash into jolly tree (8)
{MULBERRY} – the letter used to signify posh or upper-class, L(earner) and the beginning letter of B(ash) are all inserted into a synonym of jolly to make a type of tree.

27a  Dance music with bassoon played by Virginia (5,4)
{BOSSA NOVA} – a type of dance music from Brazil is an anagram (played) of BASSOON followed by the standard abbreviation for the state of Virginia.

28a  Cross-dresser’s instrument (5)
{VIOLA} – double definition, the first reminding me of a whole term spent studying Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night for English Literature O-level (by the end of which the jokes, such as they were, had worn a bit thin).  This is the name of the girl who dressed as a man in that play.

29a  Old lovers — they may be associated with financial claims (4)
{EXES} – another double definition – an informal term for old lovers and an abbreviated way of referring to money spent from one’s own pocket in the performance of one’s job and subsequently claimed back (in the case of one MP the purchase of a duck house which was obviously essential for him to do his job).

30a  Spray — bet it could come from water container (10)
{BAPTISTERY} – an anagram (could come from) of SPRAY BET IT is a tank of water for full-body immersions in a specific nonconformist Church.

Down Clues

1d  Herb is no fool (4)
{SAGE} – double definition.

2d  Having considered everything, grilled lean bacon (2,7)
{ON BALANCE} – an anagram (grilled?) of LEAN BACON.

3d  Fellow in charge not keeping a cool head (5)
{MANIC} – an adjective meaning showing frantic energy or not keeping a cool head comes from a synonym of fellow followed by the abbreviation for in charge.

4d  Complained, watercourse having flooded part of garden (7)
{BLEATED} – a verb meaning complained or whined (in a quavering sort of way like the sound of a lamb or young goat) comes from inserting the name of the trench bringing water to a millwheel inside the part of a garden where you plant your flowers.

5d  Water animal gets stuck in clay regularly — a chancy business (7)
{LOTTERY} – a fish-eating animal that lives by the water goes inside (gets stuck in) the even letters (regularly) of cLaY.

7d  Attribute of disloyal type nicking gold (5)
{TRAIT} – lose (nicking) the heraldic term for gold from the end of a disloyal person to leave an attribute.

8d  What would have two wheels with two radiuses wobbling? (10)
{BONESHAKER} – cryptic definition of an old method of personal transport before the invention of rubber tyres. In the surface radiuses are properties of wheels but you need to put two ways of writing radius (firstly what’s in your forearm and secondly the single-character abbreviation for radius) which are “having a wobble” i.e. containing a synonym for wobble.

9d  No amateur hoarder — one who is committed (8)
{PROMISER} – an abbreviation for one who gets paid for their work (no amateur) is followed by a hoarder or skinflint to make someone who has made a formal commitment.

14d  An explosive device outside home area — left feet away — awful! (10)
{ABOMINABLE} – an adjective meaning awful is built from a) A (an), b) an explosive device containing the adverb meaning at home and the abbreviation for area and c) what’s left of LE(ft) once the abbreviation for feet has been taken away.

16d  A king as head of one state or another (8)
{ARKANSAS} – A and a single-character abbreviation for king precede (as head of, in a down clue) a US state. The result is a second state.

18d  Student comes with poem — a bit of a nerve (9)
{INTERNODE} – this is an anatomical term (unknown to me) for a bit of a nerve cell. A student or unpaid trainee gaining practical experience is followed by a lyric poem.

20d  Little boy given a toss into the air is 5 (7)
{TOMBOLA} – a little boy (think of the diminutive actor and advocate for the Church of Scientology, Mr Cruise) is followed by A and a toss all reversed (into the air) to make an  example, at a fête perhaps, of 5d.

21d  Showing courtesy to lady and ill-will to worker? (7)
{GALLANT} – an adjective meaning chivalrous (showing courtesy to a lady) is a charade of ill-will or bitterness and the usual Crosswordland working insect.

23d  Pipe’s narrowest part it sounds like (5)
{WASTE} – a type of pipe for taking away used liquid sounds like the narrowest part of anything, especially of the human trunk.

25d  Mischievous types clothed in steel vests (5)
{ELVES} – hidden (clothed) in the clue are mischievous creatures.

26d  Unknown character, to some extent eccentric (4)
{ZANY} – the third unknown character in algebraic expressions is followed by an adverb meaning ‘at all’ or to some extent (as in ‘Are you feeling *** better?’) to make an adjective meaning eccentric or off the wall.

My favourites today were 13a and 22a. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {LESTER} + {SETTEE} = {LEICESTER CITY}

70 comments on “DT 26929

  1. Enjoyed this one and some new words for me. Needed a little electronic help. Favourite clues 12, 14 and 19. And if I could only have spelt 14d correctly then I might have been able to get 22a!

  2. Morning Gazza , thanks for the review, surprised at four star difficulty, as I didn’t find this very difficult.

    New words to me, simoon, yeshiva, leat.

    All in all quite an enjoyable puzzle, thanks to the setter.

  3. OK for me this is another one that is difficult following too closely on yesterdays virtual toughie, one now and again is bearable, but the toughies are there to provide for more able solvers, as I said yesterday, if these two had been an example of what was on the back page when I started, I would have given up! I will perservate a little longer but then I will finish with Gazzas help, this is no fun IMHO

    1. Strange isn’t it, I agree with what you said yesterday,that crossword was very difficult and I wouldn’t want to see many of them in a year.

      Today’s was in my view 2/3 star diff and I enjoyed it.

      Wavelengths, difficulty is in the eye of the solver?

      1. I’m with you. Yesterday’s monster hurt my head but today I didn’t find it too hard at all.
        Now the toughie is really stretching me.

  4. 4* for me, not helped by spelling Meercat wrongly.. Still managed it all without help.

    1. I would probably have spelled meerkat wrong if I hadn’t already had the “K”!

  5. I agree about the right side taking longer. I had no trouble with the left side at all but several of the others took a lot of thinking about.
    I was slow to get 6a for some reason but once I had that I got 8d – don’t like it much – I can see that one would make your arms wobble but if the “two radiuses” are the bones how does the rest of the answer work? Or am I just being dim? I didn’t know that 30a was a water container, I don’t think I’ve heard of 21a as a noun and the water course in 4d was a new word, as was 18d.
    I liked 1, 13, 17, 19 and 27a and 16d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

    1. Kath,
      I’ve had another think about the two radiuses and I think the first is BONE and the second is R(adius) with SHAKE inside.

  6. Did half yesterday and about two thirds today. I think witty crosswords have always been more enjoyable than those ‘clever for the sake of it’. I suppose,though, that we are always learning!

  7. So relieved to see gazza gave this 4* for difficulty as this one took me a long time to get all sorted out. I had been part of a group who rang various bells at 8.12 this morning (mine was a large noisy Swiss cow bell) and did wonder whether the brain was sitll recovering, so it is a relief to see that others found it tricky too. Thanks to both the Gs – my favourite has to be 13a too as I did find that subject both dull and hard.

    The great Toughie week finishes with another tough puzzle but do have a go.

    1. Not a very pleasant couple of days. Oh well, looking forward to a, hopefully, kinder puzzle tomorrow and then there’s Rufus on Monday. I had some difficulty with 13a. From the reading I knew that it had to be one of my favourite subjects. But, I am used to the word for a dull finish to be matte. Now, as a non-owner of thr BRB, which I must correct very soon, I await all of those that do own the BRB to tell me that the three letter version is good for a dull finish as well as for a floor covering.

  8. A breeze after yesterday,or just a reasonably difficult crossword for a friday ***/**** for me.Like others a few of the words were new to me as well-17a 30a and part of 4d, oh and18d.Best clue 8d.Bet Bradley could’nt do the tour on this!
    Anyway did enjoy it ,unlike yesterday’s which turned me to drink- easily led!

  9. The right side took me the longest to complete as well. Not one of my quicker solves today; I put it down to a night of sleeping (or not sleeping!) in a tent in the back garden with my son. Not quite sure how they get away with calling it a 6-man tent!
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    I still have a few blanks in the toughie, but I have enjoyed what my tired mind has so far managed to put in.

  10. Greetings from Mauritius where the weather (hopefully temporarily) is less good than I left it in the UK. A game of two halves for me too. Left side mostly ok. Right side needed your clues with. Several words I hadn’t heard of e.g. Leet, yeshiva. 4*/2* for me.

  11. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza, super crossword and review. I thought 12a was brilliant.

  12. Not related to the puzzle itself or the review, but can I just point out to the DT that for a puzzle to be a back pager, it really should remain on the back page of the paper! How many times do we have to tell you that we don’t look at the adverts,just give us the puzzle.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, also dislike having the toughie on the bottom half of the page 3 or 4 times a week, makes folding and working out more difficult.

  13. Managed in ** minutes without help (certainly didn’t recognise all the words but could work them out). But still the least enjoyable crossword I’ve done in ages. Considering it’s a regular cryptic, 4*/0* for me.

    1. Welcome to the blog Pauly

      Solving times are strongly discouraged on this site. The emphasis is on finishing and not the time it takes. We use a star rating as a guide to the difficulty, but even this is often hotly disputed!

  14. A multi-session puzzle for me – a quick go before the plumber, a few minutes after, a bit of cogitation whilst cooking, then a final flourish after lunch. Enjoyable and much more straightforward than yesterday. Funnily enough I liked 22a despite it being a cricket clue. I wonder if any other language than English allows the splitting of words in different ways like this.

    1. Yes, I liked 22a as well – even though it’s cricket. What’s amazing is that we managed to do it AND understand it!

  15. Oh no, I wasn’t feeling great before I started this, I feel worse now, where are the paracetamol!! This is another of those crosswords that is too clever by half but not only that it isn’t even enjoyable, If anything I prefered yesterdays, I do these for enjoyment but sadly the last two days there has been none for me :-( , give me the sharp wit of Rufus anyday, I love Rufus crosswords :-D , sorry if I’ve mentioned that before, back to todays, thanks for all the help gazza could not have done it without you, tablets….. someone…please

    1. Are you still poorly? Or poorly again? Either way, oh dear, poor you. Hope you feel better soon – at least in time to go off to Slimbridge.

      1. Still not right Kath, thanks for the concern, there are those who might say I will never be right but I’ll ignore them, I don’t think it’s the way I’m feeling though that gives me negative thoughts on todays and yesterdays puzzles, they just make it worse :-) We will be off on Sunday whether or not I am better, or Shadows paw or Angels eyes, more visits to vet this morning! lets just hope the weather stays dry

  16. Re 4d, Before retiring from the local water company, a building was erected and name Teal House after the fresh water duck, this received a complaint from a local householder who’s house bore the same name and so the Company renamed the building Leat House, a ditch for supplying water which I thought was even more apt and saved on buying new letters

    Enjoyabled the puzzle as well
    Thanks to G and G

  17. When we were down to about 6 to go pommette said “I wonder why Gazza has given this 4*?”
    Then we found out :grin: Those 6 took about twice as long as the rest of them put together, with multiple visits to the BRB! Therefore 4* probably about right overall.

    Enjoyed it though so thanks to the 2 G’s

    1. I really don’t like you as a polly pommers although polly pommers does have a certain ring to it :-)

  18. Well actually finished today’s offering unlike yesterday where I needed some help. Agree with **** and *** Mrs B will be cross I’ve not had time to do any of her jobs. Better make a start. Many thanks

  19. Hi, fairly new to Cryptics and starting to get a hang of them. 19a made me chuckle, but think the setter did the left side then took some class A drugs before doing the right side. Give me a Rufus any day!

    1. Hello Cross A Verbalist as a newbie if you managed todays you are doing really well, I have been at these for 3 years now and still struggle on lots of days, however with this brilliant blog and all its helpful members I manage to complete most days sometimes even without help, but not that often, Rufus is also my favourite and it was one of his puzzles that was the first I ever completed without help, everyone here is very friendly and helpful,welcome to the best crossword blog ever :-)

  20. Didn’t enjoy either of today’s crosswords. As for yeshiva, leat and internode, the less said the better

    1. LEAT was a new one on me but the guy who was Best Man at my wedding attended YESHIVA for few years. INTERNODE was fairly obvious from the checkers and wordplay but needed a look in the BRB to confirm.

  21. Was hoping for something easier today after yesterday’s torture ! Needed a few hints from Gazza – I agree with the comments that the last two days have been much harder than normal and would welcome a return to standard back page fare.

  22. So many clues involving water.
    Am I missing something?
    Enjoyable brain- jogger.
    But not as satisfying as yesterday’s.
    Many thanks setter and Gazza.

      1. Nice to be read.
        Four with 1a.
        Possibly in time terms, I spent more on those three :)
        Hence my exaggeration.

  23. Late onwatch today, so just finished.
    Not a lot to add to the above, except 29a sounds a bit slangy?
    Cheers G-Team.

  24. Thank you Gazza – and to all your colleagues, whose help is invaluable.

  25. Thank goodness and thank you – some of them were obscure and I did not have to wait until tomorrow for the answers!

      1. Thank you Gazza and thank you for putting me out of my misery on these slightly twisted clues

  26. To all those who agreed with the “dull and hard” description of 13A – Shame On You!

    She is the Queen of the Sciences, and you are not being 21D to her at all.

    Perhaps you were not so fortunate in the quality of your teachers as I readily acknowledge I was.

      1. If it’s confession time, then…

        I did my undergraduate Maths at Durham and postgrad at Warwick..

        My great fortune was my teachers at King Edward VI in Nuneaton, just before it turned from a grammar school into a sixth-form college.

        1. I was chemistry at UMIST 1971-6 (including postgrad work), so I overlapped with Sarah Hayes (Arachne) but never met her. Have met recently and a very nice lady she is – I recommend her puzzles.

          Had to have maths A level (Manchester Grammar School) to get accepted to Uni but hard? I should say so! Never did understand Maclaurin series – “an infinite sum giving the value of a function f(x) in terms of the derivatives of the function evaluated at zero: f( x) = f(0) + (f′(0) x)/1! + (f″(0) x²)/2! + … ” Sounds a bit like English but clearly isn’t :grin: As a lecturer once said to me – I’m just a simple lad wot likes boiling things up in pots (i.e. Organic chemist)..

  27. Hi Mary. If you have only been at it for three years, you too are doing really well. I started in the late sixties and still get stuck occasionally. I’m better with some setters than others but that’s what keeps us on our toes. Enjoyed this one though. Meerkats are ubiquitous these days and I still spelt it with a c on first run; no excuse.
    Thank you Gazza and Giovani.

  28. Well a 4*/2* for me too. Ref. phercott above ,I second your feelings about those words and to that add the answer to 30a. Thanks to Gazza for the hints. Was it a Giovanni by the way?

    1. Fridays are almost always by Giovanni and this one has a couple of his trademark religious references.

  29. I liked 1a, but it helped knowing that simoon (or simoom) is a hot desert wind. Liked 27a as well

  30. I was new to your blog yesterday and was really grateful to be talked through the clues that were too twisted to unwrap on my own- it was a great accompaniment to the Opening Ceremony! I do prefer the straight puns or anagrams…there were too many of those single letter ones. As some one said, it was too clever by half!

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