DT 26947 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26947

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26947

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Giovanni does vary the difficulty of his Friday puzzles quite a lot and I thought that this one was well towards the easier end of the spectrum. Easy or difficult, his puzzles always contain smooth surface readings and impeccable wordplay. Let us know how you got on with it.
I’ve followed the Scchua convention today by underlining the definitions in the clues – I’ll continue to do this for back-page puzzles unless there are significant objections. I’m not sure whether it’s something that’s needed or worth doing for Toughies as well – do let me have your thoughts.

Across Clues

1a  The place — it must be weird for clairvoyant (10)
{TELEPATHIC} – an adjective meaning clairvoyant comes from an anagram (must be weird) of THE PLACE IT.

6a  Artist manages to capture the male bird (4)
{RHEA} – there seems to be some disagreement on the size of this bird – Chambers has ‘a small flightless S American bird ..’ while the ODE describes it as ‘ a large flightless bird of South American grasslands ..’. In either case the abbreviation for a Royal Academician (artist) contains the male pronoun. Since the bird grows to a height of about four feet I am bemused by the Chambers definition.

9a  Cleaners put off attending public toilet (10)
{DETERGENTS} – these cleaners are a charade of a verb to put off or discourage and a public toilet suitable for approximately half the population.

10a  A small river? Certainly not! (4)
{ARNO} – this is an all-in-one clue leading to the name of a long river in Tuscany. String together A (from the clue), an abbreviated (small) R(iver) and an emphatic refusal.

12a  Story to introduce the German songs (6)
{LIEDER} – an untrue story is followed by the (masculine) definite article in German to make songs (also from German).

13a  Amateur in front of elders, cross and impertinent (8)
{INEXPERT} – to produce this adjective meaning amateur or unskilled stitch together IN (from the clue), the front letter of E(lders), the letter resembling a cross and an adjective meaning forward or impertinent. I’m slightly surprised that Giovanni has used the word impertinent, in which the required synonym is hidden, rather than, say, impudent.

15a  Like worker in dining room who lets table out (5,3,4)
{BELOW THE SALT} – In the Middle Ages it was common for an entire household to sit down together to eat, with the householder and his family at one end of the table and the servants at the other. The salt (then an expensive luxury) was placed in the middle and acted as a demarcation point between the two. This phrase was used to identify those at the lower end and, by derivation, those in a subservient relationship. It’s an anagram (out) of WHO LETS TABLE.

18a  Fashionable goddess with sophistication not hard to find in American city (12)
{INDIANAPOLIS} – this is a city in the American Mid-West (I’m sure that Pommers would have illustrated it with a picture of a racing car). Start with an adjective meaning fashionable or trendy then add the Roman goddess of hunting and a synonym for sophistication or refinement without its final H(ard).

21a  Printed material difficult to replicate (4,4)
{HARD COPY} – a charade of an adjective meaning difficult and a verb to replicate.

22a  Little creature will keep fighting — look out! (6)
{BEWARE} – a warning to look out comes from a hard-working little creature containing (will keep) fighting or armed conflict.

24a  Junior reporter sent to a large island (4)
{CUBA} – today’s old chestnut. A junior reporter followed by (sent to) A produces a large island in the Caribbean.

25a  Bringing to light university event that almost went wrong? (10)
{UNEARTHING} – the single-character abbreviation for university is followed by a narrow escape (event that almost went wrong) (4,5).

26a  Writer in bad mood about nothing (4)
{POET} – a word for a bad mood or strop contains the letter that looks like zero (nothing).

27a  In the course of journey fasten small electric lamp (10)
{FLASHLIGHT} – a verb to fasten securely with a rope goes inside (in the course of) a journey by air.

Down Clues

1d  Let loose having drunk rum, walk unsteadily (6)
{TODDLE} – a verb meaning to walk like an infant comes from an anagram (loose) of LET containing (having drunk) a synonym for rum or strange.

2d  Perhaps I will be the one to provide accommodation (6)
{LETTER} – double definition – I being just one of 26 possible examples of the first one.

3d  Keeping going through dismissal from employment? (12)
{PERSEVERANCE} – I hope that Mary’s feeling well enough to have a go at this puzzle – I’m sure she’d enjoy this clue. A preposition, from latin, meaning through or by means of is followed by a posh word for getting the sack.

4d  Restricted movement in the auditorium (4)
{TIED} – this word sounds like (in the auditorium) a movement of the sea.

5d  Interested in people’s speech pattern (10)
{INTONATION} – a preposition meaning interested in or enthusiastic about is followed by a people or country.

7d  Fellow who has to get up to make a journey (8)
{HORSEMAN} – cryptic definition of someone who has to mount before he can get going.

8d  A humourless condition evident in ex-believer (8)
{APOSTATE} – this is someone who’s abandoned his religious or political beliefs. A (from the clue) is followed by an informal adjective (normally followed by –faced) meaning humourless or disapproving and a synonym for condition.

11d  Erstwhile beautiful female gets mad trying out new styles (12)
{EXPERIMENTAL} – a prefix meaning erstwhile or former is followed by the name of a beautiful fairy from Persian mythology and an informal adjective meaning mad or crazy.

14d  Ecofriendly power source gets a person all excited (5,5)
{SOLAR PANEL} – an anagram (excited) of A PERSON ALL.

16d  Near source of water, needing to imbibe cold drink before bed (8)
{NIGHTCAP} – an old adjective meaning near is followed by a source of water, in the kitchen say, which contains (having to imbibe) C(old).

17d  Cute lad, a bore when naughty (8)
{ADORABLE} – an anagram (when naughty) of LAD A BORE.

19d  Fence losing colour (6)
{PALING} – double definition, the first a fence made from stakes.

20d  Wife looks down on number that’s shown on scales (6)
{WEIGHT} – W(ife) is followed by (looks down on, in a down clue) a cardinal number to make the bad news conveyed by the scales.

23d  Crazy cricketers (4)
{BATS} – double definition, the first an informal adjective meaning crazy.

The clues I liked best were 18a, 25a and 14d. What took your fancy?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {CANE} + {ENABLE} = {CAIN AND ABEL}

44 comments on “DT 26947

  1. The clue I liked the most today was 25a.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle, and to Gazza for the review.

    I’m finding the toughie a slow process today!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this offering from the Master and whilst I hate to disagree with Gazza, I found it fairly tough going. Never heard the phrase at 15a and could not find it in my big red book, but obvious from the anagram letters. Many thanks to the two Gs for a cracker of a crossword and a very entertaining review.

      1. Thanks Gazza, I never thought to look under salt, I put it down to a surfeit of the Amber Nectar.

    1. Totally agree, definitely NOT a two star, at least a 3 for difficulty but very enjoyable all the same. Never heard of a peri or the river Arno so learnt something today.

  3. Morning Gazza and thanks for the review. I think underlining the definitions works quite well. Looking at your review confirms what I thought yesterday – but it’s hard to be certain when it’s something you’ve written yourself.

    Didn’t know the derivation of the phrase in15a so thanks for the education. I worked out what it had to be from the checkers and the fodder but the definition was lost on me! I might have used a racing motorbike for 18a as the MotoGP lads are racing there on Sunday :grin:

    Agree with your favourites and also liked 23d.

    Thanks to Giovanni for some fine entertainment.

  4. We found this one more of a *** than a ** from our solving time. Lots of well crafted clues so hard to pick a favourite. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

        1. Almost went the same route when I found that “Tottle” is also valid and an anagram of LET and TOT.

          1. And so do I, definitely 3*. I didn’t really understand 4d but mainly entertaining. Thanks to Gazza for the hints and to Giovanni for a fine puzzle

          2. The one thing you can be sure of with a Giovanni puzzle is that there won’t be any indirect anagrams. You have derived TOT from rum and that is strictly verboten. Some setters do use abbreviations in the anagram fodder, but that’s about as far as it goes.

  5. Re 6a I suppose they are small in comparison to an ostrich or emu, but large compared to a penguin, bemused as well….

  6. Game of 2 halves for me ! Managed bottom half OK then fell into a trap at 1d – put in “tot” for “rum” then “tle” which I believe means to walk unsteadily. So inevitably reached an impasse in NW corner. Am I alone – or was anyone else fooled ?!

    Thank you Giovanni – most enjoyable torture, and Gazza for your hints which enabled me to finally reach the end !

    1. Strangely, 1d was my first one in, and I was thinking “totter” but couldn’t make it fit the clue. See my own tale of woe on comment 14 :-)

  7. I thought this was a cracker. 3*/4* for me. Lots of good clues but 6 and 25 particularly made me smile.

    Thanks to both and a hopefully sunny weekend to all.


  8. Very enjoyable but definitely edging into 3* difficulty territory for me. Thanks to the two Gs.

    The Toughie is a fine example of ‘doing what it says on the tin’. It is a game of four corners but is worth perservating as there are some splendid clues in there, particularly in the downs.

  9. Very enjoyable, but definitely at least 3* hard for me! 25A was my favourite today. Thanks to G&G.

  10. Absolutely nothing to do with this crossword, but you may be just the people to answer this question…

    In the Wikipedia entry for the River Po, you will find “They rely fortions in or on the flanks of the Alps”.

    I have no idea what the writer was trying to say, but this text has been copied to lots of other websites; if you Google this phrase (surrounded by quotes) you’ll get about 1,760 matches.

      1. Nice idea, but I think it’s a bit harder than that!

        Here’s the larger context:

        “The two main economic uses of the valley are for industry and for agriculture, both major uses. The industrial centres, such as Turin and Milan, are located on higher terrain, away from the river. They rely fortions in or on the flanks of the Alps, and on the coal/oil power stations which use the water of the Po basin as coolant. ”

        Given that it makes sense to say that the industrial centres rely on the power stations, it seems to me that the words “They rely” may well be correct…

    1. I’ve updated the Wiki page. For some strange reason “They rely for power on the numerous hydroelectric stations in or on the flanks of the Alps” was replaced by “They rely fortions in or on the flanks of the Alps”

        1. When I first started commenting on this wonderful blog I asked if I could say something or other (can’t remember what) and BD’s answer was that anything was fine as long as it wasn’t bad language or libel!

  11. Thanks Gazza and Giovani for hints and an enjoyable crossword today. I couldn’t finish the puzzle without some hints but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment. Your erudition is much appreciated Gazza. 3* for me favs 12a because I like 12a, also 15a, 11d and 25a.

  12. I’m liking the underlining of the definitions in the hints – makes it much easier to get just a push in the right direction. :-) This was mostly a 2* for me, except for getting a bit stuck in the NE corner – rivers are definitely not my strong suit!
    Thanks to the 2 Gs and to all the setters and reviewers whose work I’ve appreciated but not had time to comment on in recent!

  13. Thanks to the 2 G’s. This was a personal nightmare from start to finish ! Firstly, I read the wrong email and started solving thinking it was a one star difficulty from Cephas. I certainly thought it was harder than than that, probably 3*,and only realised my mistake when reading the hint for 13a. I had “sure” for 10a, which didn’t help me with 7 & 8d, both of which I couldn’t solve even with 10a corrected. Managed to get 15a, but had never heard of it’s derivation, very interesting though.Also couldn’t get 6 &a25a. Favourite was 9a.Giovanni seems to be my nemesis at the moment, but nevertheless I did enjoy wrestling with it. Roll on next Friday :-) Come on England at Lords !!

    1. At least you had your wits about you enough to realise that you’d got 10a wrong – I didn’t!

      1. Well, something about 10a didn’t seem right to me……like all four letters were wrong :-) I may be brave and have a peek at the Toughie.

          1. today in particular, BD gave it 3*, commenters were nudging to the 5*, it is excellent though, even though I am still firmly planted on the stupid step, see comments. Head hung in shame!!!

            1. Moral here is don’t EVER look at a Toughie, specially an Elgar one, unless you are feeling either very clever, or very brave, preferably both! :smile:

  14. I agree with those who didn’t find this on the easy side of usual for a Giovanni – at least 3* for difficulty for me. Brain not fully functional today so that may be at least partly to blame – much merry-making here last night with several old flat mates from student nurse days – had about two hours sleep so feeling like a bit of chewed string today. :sad:
    I messed up the top right corner by making 10a “sure” – brain failed to register “not” after “certainly”! Oh dear! That made 7 and 8d tricky – or even impossible. I’ve never heard of 15a but it was obviously an anagram and a reasonably easy one.
    Apart from that I was just generally slow with the whole thing – that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.
    Favourites include 15, 25 and 27a and 5 and 14d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  15. Life became easier once I worked out that 7d wasn’t SPACEMAN!
    Thanks to the G-Team.
    A pleasant pull on a pint of Black Sheep appears appropriate!

  16. The answer you have given to 4 down (tide) is not compatible with your answer to 9 across (detergents). I think the required answer to 4 down is “tier” – or am I missing something?

        1. … or you could claim that you were confused by the new system of underlining the definitions rather than including them in the hints.

  17. 3* difficulty for me due to 15a, couldn’t parse but liked reading the background wiki info, live and learn. 4d took a while as well. Many thanks to the two Gs

  18. Anyone else think the River might have been that lovely meandering Sussex River, the River Arun which works its way up from Shoreham past Beeding and Bramber and onwards??

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