DT 26953 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26953

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26953

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Hola from the Vega Baja, where it remains very hot and sticky. First a big thanks to Gazza for swapping days this week.  I was being Mrs Mop again at our friend’s apartment yesterday and had got my dates wrong – I thought it was today!  So far since I switched to the Thursday puzzle I’ve managed one out of three on the right day – I’ll be getting the sack if I don’t buck my ideas up!

Anyway, on to the puzzle.  Not my favourite this week and a bit tricky.  Seemed a bit of a slog and, like Dave said yesterday, I can only admit to a sense of relief when it was all over. All the clues are very fair but, for me, it somehow lacked the usual Giovanni sparkle.

The clues I like most (few) are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting 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.


1a           Special traffic arrangement would do for wolf maybe! (10)
{CONTRAFLOW} – It’s a word which means against or ‘would do for’ followed by an anagram (maybe) of WOLF.

9a           See 19 Down

10a         Burden I had laid down by Thames maybe — as one helping passenger? (4-6)
{TAXI DRIVER} – This person, who may or may not help a passenger, is made from a word for ‘to burden’ or to strain, the abbreviated form of I had and then what the Thames is an example of.  Spanish ones must be the most unhelpful in the world!

11a         Mad character to yap, putting leader off (6)
{HATTER} – The mad character from Alice in Wonderland is a word for yap, as in rabbit, without its first letter (leader off).

12a         Endlessly irritated by draught perhaps in castle (7)
{WINDSOR} – One of the Queens castles is formed from a word for irritated or painful without its last letter (endlessly) placed after (by) a word for draught, as in flow of air.

15a         Irishman leading disturbance may be a flag-waver (7)
{PATRIOT} – A common Irishman’s name placed before (leading) a civil disturbance gives the flag waver.   Lots of these at the Olympics!

16a         Bombastic leaders of trade union, stupid on reflection (5)
{TUMID} – A slightly obscure word for bombastic or pompous is TU (leaders of Trade Union) followed by a word for stupid or slow-witted reversed (on reflection)

17a         Poles rise up, first to last (4)
{OARS} –  These are poles that you use to row a boat.  Take a word for rise up into the air, as a lark might, and shift the first letter to the end.   What do you guys think about the definition – I’m not convinced!

18a         Priestodd person  to provide remedy (4)
{CURE} – Triple definition.

19a         Sailor away from home and on the go (5)
{ABOUT} – One of the usual sailors followed by a word for abroad or not at home gives a word for on the go.

21a         Man perhaps needs wages to wear patterned fabric (7)
{PAISLEY} – Start with what Man is an example of (I’ve sailed there numerous times) and insert it (to wear) into a word for wages to get a patterned fabric.

22a         Small birds will show delight, no end, tucking into grub (7)
{EAGLETS} – These are small birds of prey.  Take a word for delight (GLEE), and remove its last letter (no end), and insert into a slang term for grub, as in food (EATS).

24a         Labour can be so irresponsible (6)
{CASUAL} – Double definition.  A type of labour usually hired by the day is also a word meaning irresponsible.

27a         Permission arranged for printing of book (10)
{IMPRESSION} – This printing of a book is an anagram (arranged) of PERMISSION.

28a         Actual existence unaffected by setback (4)
{ESSE} – This word for existence (new one on me!) is a palindrome (unaffected by setback).

29a         Main course  that has little chance of success? (3-7)
{NON STARTER} – Double definition.  The first one is saying what the main course of a meal isn’t!


2d           Hungarian wine, not the number one — satisfactory (4)
{OKAY} – Take a Hungarian wine and remove the first letter (not number one). You can trust me to get the booze clues quickly!

3d           Struggled with material on front of dress (6)
{TOILED} – A transparent linen or cotton fabric followed by D (front of Dress).

4d           Almost a full month lying on bed — fruit is offered (7)
{APRICOT} – A month without its last letter (almost a full) followed by a child’s bed.  What the “is offered” is all about I’ve no idea!

5d           Continue existence with gland not right (4)
{LIVE} – Take a glandular organ and remove the R (ight) to get a word meaning to continue in existence.

6d           Explosive article in part of hospital that could kill people (7)
{WARHEAD} – The abbreviation for high explosive and the indefinite article placed inside (in) a part of a hospital gives something designed to kill people.  The part of the hospital I was in a few years ago nearly killed me – gave me MRSA!

7d           Tame insult misfiring, given when it’s almost too late (4-6)
{LAST MINUTE} –  It’s an anagram (misfiring) of TAME INSULT.

8d           Priest is soul losing heart, sadly lacking in ardour (10)
{SPIRITLESS} – You need to make an anagram (sadly) of PRIEST IS and S(ou)L (losing heart).

12d         Bird wife precooked in stew (10)
{WOODPECKER} – This bird is W(ife) followed by an anagram (in stew) of PRECOOKED.

13d         Person with great self-regard insists car must be custom-built (10)
{NARCISSIST} – This person is an anagram (must be custom built) of INSISTS A CAR.

14d         Mat at the side of school for game (5)
{RUGBY} – This is the school where the ‘game played by gentlemen with odd-shaped balls’ originated.  It’s another word for a mat on the floor followed by a word for ‘at the side of’ or ‘next to’. As far as I can see the ‘for game’ is unnecessary.

15d         Point offered out loud brings ill feeling (5)
{PIQUE} – This fit of ill feeling sounds like (offered out loud) the point of a mountain.

19d and 9a      Hear pianola playing or some other instrument (7,4)
{AEOLIAN HARP} – This wind powered instrument is an anagram (playing) of HEAR PIANOLA.

20d         Wallop fellow for being a ‘toucher‘ (7)
{TANGENT} – This is a line which touches a circle.  It’s a charade of a word for wallop or beat and a word for a fellow or man.

23d         Minor saints will appear in bit of film coming up (6)
{LESSER} – Put 2 S’s (Saints) inside a reversal (coming up in a down clue) of a section of a film and you get a word meaning minor.

25d         Bridge in a particular country but not Italy (4)
{SPAN} – Take the country where I live and remove the I(taly).

26d         Put up with someone you’d rather not listen to? (4)
{BORE} – Double definition.

Not much blue but favourite was 24a, if only for the surface!
Also a bit lacking in opportunities for gratuitous photos!

The Quick crossword pun: (par) + {tea} + {peas} = {party piece}

55 comments on “DT 26953

  1. Thanks for the explanation Pommers. I quite enjoyed the puzzled today, it took a little longer though, and had to guess at 18 across (even though you say it is a triple definition).

    Just one question though, I was particularly interested in how 8D works out. I did put the answer in as you have, but if you take out the T and the I it doesn’t make an anagram of the answer? I thinkit means to take the middle two letters out of ‘Soul’. Or am i missing something really simple?

    1. I agree it should be the ou taken out of “soul”. Thanks for the explanations Pommers. This puzzle was nearly a 29a for me, had to fight for nearly every solution. Not that enjoyable.

  2. A pleasant enough puzzle, although no particular favourites.
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to Pommers for the review.

    Now for the toughie with trepidation!

  3. I hate to disagree but I found this slightly easier than the usual Friday Giovanni and I quite enjoyed it too. 4d was very similar in another cryptic yesterday. Thanks to Pommers and Giovanni too.

    Now how did Giovanni know what was going to be one of the main topics of news this week, when he devised this mornings Quick Pun :D

    If Jezza is approaching the Toughie with trepidation, imagine how I feel, I am supposed to be explaining half of it!

    1. I have just had a quick glance at it, and I wish you good luck! I think I will go have a coffee and look at it later :)

  4. We quite enjoyed this one. Favourites were 20d and 26d. 26d because I wanted to put in “flat” as it was people sharing accommodation and bad singers. It seemed a good idea at the time…… Thanks Giovanni and Pommers. Incidentally found the Toughie challenging but a lot of fun, if that helps CS.

  5. Usual excellent fare from Giovanni, most enjoyable. Last in was 17a, got the answer but thx to Pommers for the explanation. I think the Master has been wandering through his obscure words list today, 28a, 3d, 19d and 16a. If only I could remember them for next time :-)
    Many thx to Giovanni and to Pommers.

  6. Sorry about 8d – must be getting dyslexic, but as CS said, at 0200 this morning it seemed to work :oops:

    Thanks Hoddros – I’ve put it right.

  7. With a rare day off from chalet building, I was able to take today’s crossie down to the lakes with the pooch. I had to guess on 28a and 3d but they all went in quite nicely.

    For me to complete it without help, it’s a 2 star 3 star from me.

    Thanks G & P, now back to plumbing my en-suite!

  8. I did not enjoy this very much, but I finished it — perhaps the temp. of 37.5 has something to do with it! 16A is a new word for me though I knew the palindrome at 28A otherwise no favourites. Thanks to Giovanni and Pommers

  9. I found both crosswords today to be thoroughly lacklustre and I thought the surface reading of 21a “Man perhaps needs wages to wear patterned fabric” meaningless
    Maybe Giovanni needs a holiday?

    1. phercott,

      You don’t seem to like the DT crosswords – so why do you keep doing them? There are lots of others available.

  10. Thank you Giovanni – enjoyed this. Particularly enjoy the type of clue at 10a. Not sure what its official definition is ? Always seems to produce a d’oh moment.

    New word for me at 16a.

    Thank you Pommers for your review. Your three *** difficulty gives me hope !

      1. You are a hard man Pommers ! Have I got the right of appeal ? Do you accept TV replay ? Got all the family coming this w/e for birthday celebrations and success with the puzzle had put me in the right frame of mind !

    1. 3* for me, Sweet William, took me longer than usual, so you are in company. 10a is known as a charade, by the way

      1. Thank you eXternal ! 24 handicap solvers like me clutch at straws, I am afraid !
        Thank you also for the definition of clue type. I have the funny feeling that, if I was not so lazy, I could have looked it up on this site.

    1. droolie,
      You left a ‘1’ out of your email address, so I’ve edited it for you.
      That’s how I read 1a as well.

      1. Me too, I do enjoy those ‘instructional’ clues (I bet they have a special name).

        1. 1a – Wolf / Flow thingey! What is the technical term for this sort of clue?

          (Oh Dear! The Bank Holiday weather has just arrived – chucking it down!)

    2. Quite agree droolie! Gazza pointed it out to me in an email this morning but by the time I saw it I was on the way out to the bank so didn’t have time to do anything! Bit too late now.

      Personally I think that sort of clue, along with reverse anagrams are best left in Toughieland.

  11. Straightforward but enjoyable crossword from Giovanni today,( I would except 16a and 28a from the straightforward part ), favourite was 10a. Many thanks to Giovanni and to Pommers for the entertaining review.

  12. Thanks to all, I’m still doing Thursday’s as my 88 year old mother had a fall at home & is now in hospital, so a bit difficult to concentrate.

  13. Slow start and then the penny dropped. Giovanni is always a struggle until I get going. So it’s a 3*/3* for me.
    I wasn’t keen on 16a and 22a! Especially 16a, a word I’ve not encountered before.
    Thanks to Pommers and Giovanni.
    P.S: Pommers how do get to do the crossword at 0200 when the DT say it’s not published online until 0500?

    1. The puzzle appears on the web site at about 1 second past midnight – that’s 0100CEST for me.

      1. Thank you. I hadn’t thought of that.
        Personally I have to wait for the actual paper or frustrate myself using the iPad.

  14. Liked this but struggled with the bottom left until I got 12d. Groaned when I did though. 1a “would do for wolf” isn’t an anagram but a clever clue. The answer means wolf backwards.

    Favourites 20d and 29a.

    Found it easier than yesterday’s.

  15. Perhaps a victim of his own high standards, but I didn’t get the usual buzz and satisfaction from solving this Giovanni puzzle.
    Doing the Quickie first often provides a taste of what to expect in the Cryptic, but I enjoyed the former more than the latter.
    Many thanks P/G/tips

  16. Despite Pommers hint I still don’t understand 22a although my guess proved correct. I struggled in parts today but got there in the end. Thanx to Compiler and to Pommers for his excellent review.
    Anyone wishing to further explain 22a would be most helpful.

    1. Hi Wayne

      Re 22a. Delight here is a noun, GLEE, take off it’s last letter and insert into a slang term for food, EATS and you get some young eagles.

        1. Don’t worry Wayne, it was one of those where I guessed the answer from definition and checkers and then had to parse it :smile:

          I’ve just edited the hint to include those synonyms in white text so you can see them if you highlight between the brackets.. Would it have been better if I’d done it like that? Doesn’t add too much work so I’ll cogitate on it for the future but your feedback, and that of anyone else, would be appreciated.

          1. It works fine in this example, but I feel the technique should be used by exception, and not the rule.

            1. I was thinking it might help in those instances where you are required to think up a synonym for something and then do something with it, 17a is another example. After all, you don’t have to look between the brackets if you don’t want to!

              1. Pommers, the format you use is fine, it was just me being a thicko!. One can always appeal for extra information on this blog (as I did) if necessary. Many thanx.

          2. pommers,

            Obviously, my own opinion, but I don’t like the “white space” bits other than in the solution. It just makes it too complicated and very difficult to read.

            When did this Blog start ? There have never been any complaints about the presentational formatting before! If it ain’t broke etc

            I like the underlining of the definition – but no more changes, please.

            Regards, Grumpy Old Git

            1. Nuff said – I’ll leave it as it is!

              Interestingly, the start of the underlining bit was when pommette was in the UK. She came home and said something along the lines of : “the whole art of solving a cryptic clue is spotting the ,often well concealed, definition. Why are you giving the game away?”.
              Hmm, she has a point!

              1. On the underlining question it seems to me that most readers will already have solved the clue by the time they read the blog, in which case the underlining is just a confirmation that they’ve got it correct. Those who haven’t solved the clue are looking for hints and the identification of the definition is a useful pointer for them (and is just formalising what we usually used to provide in the text of the hint, anyway).

  17. I found this a bit of a slog today. So3*/2* for me. I do think the heat has been melting my brain lately. Thanks to Pommers for the hints.

  18. Hic! Went to the local for the usual couple of glasses of pre-prandial and were just about to come home when some long-time-no-see friends turned up. They’d knocked on our door and got no reply and guessed where we’d be – 57 paces away! Anyway, that led to a couple more and when they left we thought that we may as well get something to eat and make a night of it. Paid the bill and were just leaving when another friend turned up so you can guess the rest!
    Goin’ bed now, see y’all tomorrow, if I get out of bed :grin:

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