DT 26952

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26952

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Pommers has to do a bit of real work today so he and I have swapped and he’ll be here tomorrow. If I had to guess (and it is only a guess) I’d say that this puzzle is by Shamus. It’s not too difficult and has some amusing clues – let us know how you got on.
If you want to reveal an answer you’ll need to highlight the gap between the brackets under the relevant clue (if you have a posh mobile device then some help is available in the FAQ on how to do this).
NB For those who haven’t seen it yet, Mary has left a message in the Comments Section.

Across Clues

1a  Greek character getting into twist in practice (4-2)
{WARM-UP} – the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet goes inside a verb meaning to twist or buckle (often as a result of heat or damp).

4a  Decline shown by graduate in group, one in mission? (8)
{DIPLOMAT} – start with a verb to decline or slump then insert the abbreviation for someone having an arts degree inside a group or gang. The mission referred to involves representation overseas.

10a  Fantastic credit about workers beginning to exhibit integrity (9)
{RECTITUDE} – put an anagram (fantastic) of CREDIT round the abbreviation for a workers’ organisation, then finish with the initial (beginning) letter of E(xhibit).

11a  Asian animal showing parts to old man? (5)
{PANDA} – the mind boggles at the surface reading! Think of how you might spell out a short affectionate word for your old man or father (1,3,1).

12a  Terse conservative in US city in charge (7)
{LACONIC} – how you might describe (tersely!) a conservative in a west coast US city (2,3) is followed by the abbreviation for in charge.

13a  English chairman finally retained by board — describing a sound principle? (7)
{TENABLE} – E(nglish) and the final letter of (chairma)N go inside (retained by) the sort of board you might have your dinner at.

14a  Playing area near a ground (5)
{ARENA} – this is an anagram (ground) of NEAR A.

15a  Shed, say, you once found fringed by river (8)
{OUTHOUSE} – insert an old word for you (you once) in the name of a river. There’s more than one river in the UK with this name but the most well-known one is in North Yorkshire.

18a  Players in defence getting best extra support (8)
{BACKSTOP} – this extra support is a sort of emergency cover in case the standard resource fails (like wearing a belt as well as braces). It’s a charade of the group of players doing the defending (in a football team, for example) and an adjective meaning best or foremost.

20a  Trade commonly seen in road recalled in island (5)
{IBIZA} – reverse (recalled) the identity of the Great North Road and insert in it an informal word for trade to make one of the Balearic Islands.

23a  Salvo from an overheated local guest? (7)
{BARRAGE} – local here means pub, so this salvo is, cryptically, what you might get from someone losing his self-control in a pub (3,4).

25a  Understand concrete is European (7)
{REALISE} – stitch together an adjective meaning concrete or tangible, IS (from the clue) and E(uropean).

26a  Opportune stance of a potter? (2,3)
{ON CUE} – double definition – a phrase meaning opportune or just at the right time could also, cryptically, describe the stance of someone about to pot a ball. I’m not convinced by the second – ‘over’ possibly, but ‘on’ doesn’t seem right.

27a  Cut third of traditional curriculum before schooling (not advanced) (9)
{REDUCTION} – start with one of the three letters we use to describe a very basic school curriculum (any of the three will do) and add another word for schooling without its A (not advanced).

28a  Behave enthusiastically taking drink, nothing more, in academic dress (2,2,4)
{GO TO TOWN} – this is an informal phrase meaning to do something with great enthusiasm and thoroughness. Insert a small portion of spirits followed by O (nothing, i.e. zero, more) inside a formal academic garment.

29a  View rental property, in part needed for trainer maybe (6)
{EYELET} – trainer here is something you wear. It’s a charade of a verb to look at or view and a property available for rent.

Down Clues

1d  Go with young man round front of office — part of daily grind? (8)
{WORKLOAD} – a verb meaning to go or function properly is followed by a young man containing the first (front) letter of O(ffice).

2d  Engineers period of time to behave in an environmentally friendly way (7)
{RECYCLE} – the abbreviation for the army corps which carries out engineering work is followed by a period of time during which things happen in a set order.

3d  Wedding card that’s standard? (5,4)
{UNION JACK} – this is the sort of standard flown on Her Majesty’s ships. It’s a charade of a marriage or wedding and a playing card.

5d  Suspect selection process? (8,6)
{IDENTITY PARADE} – cryptic definition of a process in which a witness is required to select the villain from a group of similar-looking innocent parties.

6d  Plant in garden I pulled up (5)
{LUPIN} – this plant is hidden (in) and reversed (up, in a down clue).

7d  Major route followed by writer on American form of transport (7)
{MINIBUS} – we had the Great North Road in 20a. Start here with the identity of a later major route which follows roughly the same direction, then add the pointy bit of a pen (writer) and an abbreviation for American.

8d  It’s hot among swimming teams in river (6)
{THAMES} – to get this river insert H(ot) in an anagram (swimming) of TEAMS.

9d  Sharp as a sketch artist? (5,2,3,4)
{QUICK ON THE DRAW} – double definition, the first a phrase meaning very sharp or fast in action or reaction and the second a cryptic description of a sketch artist (who has little time to capture his subject).

16d  Oil developed by man entertaining companion in elitist state? (9)
{OLIGARCHY} – an anagram (developed) of OIL is followed by a male forename (think of the Russian former world chess champion) containing (entertaining) the abbreviation for a Companion of Honour.

17d  Hunt with zeal possibly an edible growth (8)
{HAZELNUT} – something that grows and can be eaten comes from an anagram (possibly) of HUNT and ZEAL.

19d  Fruit and a lot of staple food held in container (7)
{APRICOT} – start with A (from the clue) then insert the first three-quarters (lot) of a staple food inside (held in) a container (possibly a cooking utensil).

21d  First element of signature? (7)
{INITIAL} – double definition.

22d  Old online diary keeping new shape (6)
{OBLONG} – the abbreviation for old is followed by a constantly updated online diary (like the one you’re reading now) containing (keeping) N(ew).

24d  Prevent a medical professional holding start of round (5)
{AVERT} – combine A (from the clue) and the sort of medical professional who has a hand in livestock with R(ound), i.e. the start of round, inserted.

My favourite clues today were 11a, 23a and 5d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {SITE} + {SEAR} = {SIGHTSEER}



  1. Jezza
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I also thought this might have been a Shamus puzzle. No complaints from me; 11a confused me for a while! Thanks to the setter, and to gazza for the review.

    I found the toughie quite tricky today.

  2. Brenda Reding
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why I found this quite difficult, the time I took would certainly make it a 3* for me, enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks to Shamus and Gazza — needed tips for 1 today. Favourites are 12 and 15A , 5 and 16D

  3. Collywobbles
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I’d say that the puzzle is more like RayT with few oppotunities to get started and minimal anagrams. What do you think Brian?

    • Collywobbles
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Is the Comments Section where I have just left a comment or somewhere else because I can’t find marys’ message

      • gazza
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        From the menu across the top select ‘Contact’ then ‘Comments’ then go to page 2 for the latest comments.

        • Collywobbles
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Sorry I’m thick Gazza. Where is page 2 on Comments. I have found old comments but they only go up to May

          • gazza
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            See comment #7 below (on this blog).

    • Collywobbles
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      I have been looking at this Crossword now for 45 minutes and I have done 3 clues, one of which is 11a which is highly questionable. I think that I shall have to rely heavily on Gazzas’ hints to get me going.

    • Brian
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s an awful puzzle. How it could be described as a 2 star for difficulty is beyond me. At least a 4star for difficulty and. 0/1 for enjoyment. Haven’t had to look up so many answers in a very long time. Ugh!

      • Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Is awful better or worse than horrid?

        • Collywobbles
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          I think that they are about the same.
          Brian, do you think that it is RayT come back to haunt you

          • crypticsue
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

            It is definitely not a Ray T – the quick crossword alone tells you that, even if the clues/solutions of the cryptic didn’t.

            • Collywobbles
              Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

              What is the link that tells you that CS?

              • crypticsue
                Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

                If you only concentrted more and remembered what is said on this blog on a regular basis – Ray T always has single word clues in the Quick Puzzle and innuendo and references to Queen in the cryptic. Today’s puzzles had neither of these elements.

                • Collywobbles
                  Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

                  I don’t always read all of the blog. I don’t get the time. You must find it difficult spending so much time on the crosswords and holding down a job

                  • Collywobbles
                    Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

                    I don’t really have time for the Quick Puzzle either

        • Brian
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          Much of a muchness really I suspect. It’s not just that it’s tough, Giovannis are often tough but I didn’t think this was either well constructed or fair and would be more suited to the Toughie. But of course that’s only my opinion.

          • Collywobbles
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            I agree Brian, I’m not doing any more

            • crypticsue
              Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

              What? Ever?

            • pommers
              Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

              Of what?

              • Collywobbles
                Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink


  4. Franny
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    It may be just that my brains have been boiled by the awful heat of the past week or so here, but I found this difficult and needed all the help I could find plus your hints, Gazza, to finish. I wasn’t helped by putting ‘omnibus’ at 7d. Many thanks, though, to the setter and Gazza.

    I was very sorry to read in earlier messages that Mary has been ill. Please convey to her my very best wishes for a speedy recovery. This blog is not the same without her!


    • Captain Beefheart
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Franny you are not alone like Lord Dennings man on the Clapham omnibus. I could not finish the puzzle because I was lazy and didn’t read the clue properly even though I was sure 4a was an overseas emissary.

  5. Hrothgar
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    One of those, for me, “filling in words then understanding why” crosswords.
    Last understood 27a, very clever.
    Many thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  6. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    “NB For those who haven’t seen it yet, Mary has left a message in the Comments Section.”. Where is the Comments Section? There is “Comment” in the drop-down menu under “Contact”, but the last entry is 4th May, and there is nothing in the “Recent Comments” to the right of this page.

    • gazza
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      You’re in the right area. Scroll right down to the bottom, then click on either ‘next’ or ‘newer comments’.

      • Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        I’ll close this batch of Comments at the end of the month and start a new one.

      • Lord Luvvaduck
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, got there eventually.

  7. gazza
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Since some people are having trouble finding Mary’s message I’m reproducing it here:

    Hi all, just a short note to say that although I have started doing the crosswords again, indeed I finished yesterday without books, machines etc. I still am feeling very spaced out and tired after my unplanned visit to hospital and not ready to come back yet, sounds stupid I know, so though I’m missing you all, I will still just be popping in and out for a while.

    • Collywobbles
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      We hope that you recover soon Mary and are back on the blog. We miss your chirpy comments and I would like to know what machines you use

      • Brian
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        I’ll second that big time. Come back well Mary, we all miss you.

        • Gari
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Come back soon Mary I can’t wait for you to start persevating again. :D

  8. crypticsue
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Once I realised I had to start with the Downs, this crossword took about average for a Thursday to finish off. thanks to setter and blogger- same favourites yet again.

    The Giovanni Toughie is definitely tough. There are some good d’oh moments, and don’t let the more complicated clues make you miss the obvious in the ‘easier’ ones.

  9. Sweet William
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter – finished, but struggled for a while with 12 a.

    Once I had the checking letters, I had the answer. I spent some time trying to fit “con” into an American city rather than after it !

    Thank you Gazza for your review. Liked your photo at 5d – presumably these are “petty” criminals ?

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant Thursday puzzle. Thought it was shaping up to be a pangram but in the end it appears to be lacking an X. Favourites 5d and 11a. Thanks Setter and Gazza.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      2Kiwis – Good Evening! or most probably Good Morning!

      When attempting this on-line today, my PC went down – no “F” in puzzle! :grin:

      Am I the only person so pedantic as to to check and double check whether it’s a pangram or not? How sad! :sad:

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        You’re right of course about no F as well. It is actually good morning required now. When I wrote the comment and turned off the computer it was last night though, so you’re right with that too! Cheers

        • stanXYZ
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          Have a nice day! Goodnight!

    • Brookc
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      I too thought pangram and found it quite tough(ie). But enjoyed getting there with final two needing help from blog.

  11. Roger
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I really struggled with this and in the end, given my available time, had to abandon it.

  12. BigBoab
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable and untaxing crossword today, thankyou to the setter and to Gazza. May I add my best wishes to Mary, I hope you make a speedy recovery and come back to us soon, you are sorely missed.

  13. Captain Lethargy
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Found it hard to get started on this today, though it did eventually drop into place. Off to sit in the garden with a glass of bubbles and toast our 26th wedding anniversary. Thanks to all.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Happy Anniversary Captain and the Lady Admiral too.

      • Captain Lethargy
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Sue. Glad to see that you know she out ranks me! :-)

  14. Crucial Verbalist
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Is it wrong of me to use reference books??

    26a made me go “derrrr!” when I finally worked it out and had to look up 6d was an actual plant or not. Couldn’t get 29a at all.

    • Digby
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      29a was my last one to go in too!
      As to using reference material – books, electronic devices etc – my view, I believe shared by most, is that you use whatever works for you.
      This blog, as well as being a great social network, is also a form of reference, and clearly used by many with a clear conscience.
      I would always try to solve without such assistance, but when the lights won’t turn on………………

  15. Digby
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    As Franny, I managed to get omnibus to fit at 7d, which caused a temporary hold-up in the north-east.
    Thanks to Gazza for his comments – and holiday snaps?

    • Franny
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      it’s nice to know I’m not the only one! :-)

  16. Wozza
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like giving negative comments but i found this quite hard and quite dull. Not my usual Thursday chuckles.

    3*/2* for me. Thank you to both.

  17. PJ
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed today’s. Maybe the more moderate temperatures are helping.

    Scrabo, I take it you wrote in 11 across?

  18. Peter
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi from the sunny Algarve where I’m on my hols.
    I did not today’s and, like Collywobbles, it took me ages to get anywhere and then a few hints from Gazza in order to complete it. Is it me or were there far too many “words within words” today, Like 16d?

  19. Peter
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi from the sunny Algarve where I’m on my hols.
    I did not today’s and, like Collywobbles, it took me ages to get anywhere and then a few hints from Gazza in order to complete it. Is it me or were there far too many “words within words” today, Like 16d?

  20. Colmce
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Doing this while suffering from combined hangover and jet lag.

    Found it quite impenetrable at first couple of scans, then a few pennies dropped and it all fell into place.

    Thanks for review, and to the setter.

    Telegraph on iPad is absolutely hopeless at the moment, couldn’t access some of the time while away so have at least seven backlogged puzzles, if weather forecast is correct for BH weekend, will have something to do!

    • Wozza
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you re iPad. They advised me to reinstall the app which has helped a bit but it still crashes regularly.

    • Don Pedro
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Telegraph on line is still far from reliable after the events of last summer. I struggled with this puzzle today so decided to wait until the hints appeared on this blog, but hitting “Save” had no effect, so I had to start again. And I’ve complained ad nauseum about the Leaders board not fully working for over a year. Judging by the statistics, it appears that the site has lost a lot of users.

  21. Little Dave
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Get better Mary – MISS YOU!! Enjoyed this – found it slowish going and then things slotted in despite not getting 4a which is rather annoying!

  22. stanXYZ
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s offering from Shamus (?). I managed to complete it without any help, so it cannot have been that difficult! A nice mix of clue types! Favourite: 29a

    Agree with gazza that 26a doesn’t quite work. (Although Mark Williams sometimes lies on top of his cue when potting into the far corner pocket!)

  23. Cherry Steve
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    This is my favourite crossword for ages. Like others, was struggling early doors, but was a classic ‘iceberg’ crossword. A Couple of taps early on, with no real impression, then a few more, leading on to a few cracks, and eventually the whole thing falls in to place. Superb! loved 5 dn.

  24. pommers
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Phew, glad I swapped days with Gazza! Might have been asking for help on 11a! The answer was obvious but the ‘why’ eluded me for ages :sad: Big clang when penny dropped – worthy of Elgar IMHO :grin:

    I’d have gone for 3*/3* had it been me. Agree with Gazza’s favourites but also liked 9d.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza (especially for swapping days at short notice!).

    • gazza
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, pommers, I enjoyed blogging today’s. I see what you mean about 11a and Elgar but it made me think of Virgilius rather than Elgar.
      I hope you enjoy the Giovanni tomorrow (the Toughie is by Myops who usually causes me more difficulties than any other setter).

      • pommers
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Myops is second to Elgar in terms of difficulty for me but somehow more enjoyable.

        • Jezza
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          Did somebody mention Myops? ….. About time… I might struggle solving online, but i’ll have a bloody good try!

          • pommers
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            Yes, reserve me a place in the darkened room!

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      pommers, Be careful what you wish for!

      Hope that the Don is more benign on the back-pager tomorrow than he was today on the Toughie!

      Good Luck! Admire all you Bloggers – Thanks to you all!

      (Where did I leave my beer, Hic!)

      • pommers
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Mine’s in my hand :grin:

  25. diego
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Today’s was more than two star difficulty, had to go for a couple of hints – at least the hints were good, not like those created by that person yesterday, 22/08/12, whose style of hinting is more cryptic than the original clues.

    • gazza
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Hi diego – welcome to the blog.
      Scchua (who did yesterday’s blog) is still getting to grips with our style of blogging so we need to have a bit of patience.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Scchua has introduced the underlining of the definition.

      This seems to have been welcomed by almost everyone. I like it! Thanks to Scchua!

      (Not too keen on all the other bits of his layout – a bit too busy and very difficult to read.)

      It also seems like too much hard work to produce a blog with so much formatting!

      Lest we forget – they do it for FREE!!

      • pommers
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        But I get double time on bank holidays!

        • stanXYZ
          Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink


          Señor, sólo el tiempo doble?

  26. Captain Beefheart
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, first one to try for a few days. On holiday at home near Canterbury. Enjoying the fine weather and doing a bit of gardening etc. Thanks to setter and Gazza. I suppose I should attemt tomorrows crossword in a darkened room.

  27. thickso
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    11a clue not good. My mate in the pub got it for me and I couldn’t believe that was the answer but it fitted with everything else. Thanks to Gazza for making me feel I’m not alone.

  28. asterix
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t get properly into this one at all, despite getting a few clues fairly quickly,

    I’ve been pondering 1,3,1 for 11a, and I still don’t get the reasoning. Is it some colloquialism I’ve not come across?

    • gazza
      Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Your old man is your father or PA and PA can be broken down to P and A.

      • Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        Aha – I’ve been stewing over the reasoning for 11a for ages thinking it was an awful clue but P&A now restores it to a great clue!

        I managed about three-quarters of the puzzle without help but thanks to Gazza for filling in the blanks.

        16a was unnecessarily tedious IMHO

      • asterix
        Posted August 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Gazza – Many thanks – yes, that’s what I’d assumed, but it still feels a bit artificial as a clue. Probably just a temporary crossword-humour failure on my part, as most others seem to like it.

  29. gnomethang
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’m playing catch up after a bust week. For me this was 2** apart from a couple to trip you up – I think they have been mentioned above. Thanks to gazza and the setter.