DT 26971 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26971

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26971

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I’d rate this a *** for difficulty and a *** for enjoyment. It would have got a lower difficulty rating if I had not got stuck in the NE corner. Quite enjoyable with some nice surfaces, so thanks to the setter – who would be the Don if I had to hazard a guess, based on the sprinkling of religious references. My favourite clues were the ones with the enjoyable surfaces.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.

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    Lively person‘s lapse into sin involving anger against bishop (8)

{FIREBALL} : Lapse into sin, like Lucifer did containing(involving) [anger + abbrev. for bishop].

5a    Encourage doctor having trouble in city (6)

{FOSTER} : Double defn: 2nd: A certain doctor who had trouble in a city that rhymed with his name. Had to dredge this from the depths of my memory, having learnt it when I was tiny.

9a    German graduate different, wasting time (8)

{BAVARIAN} : The degree a graduate might have + a different thing, eg. a biological strain minus(wasting) abbrev. for “time “.

Answer: Someone from South Germany.

10a    Clergy flats in which you’ll get lessons on Bible etc? (6)

{PADRES} : An informal name for flats, especially those of bachelors containing(in which you’ll get) abbrev. for, collectively, religious lessons.

12a    American gangster uses deceit to get supporters (6)

{ALLIES} : First name of a famous American gangster + uses deceit, as someone “economic with the truth” might. Nice surface.

13a    In the course of a day crew becomes oppressed (8)

{WEIGHTED} : A sporting crew on the water contained in(In the course of) abbrev. for one of the days in the week.

15a    Nervous? Extremely after answer given to question (7)

{QUAVERY} : To a large extent placed after [abbrev. for question + abbrev. for answer].

Answer: Descriptive of a Nervous person, especially of the voice.

16a    ‘Oven-like’ about covers what it is (4)

{KILN} : Reversal of(about) and hidden in(covers) “OVEN-LIKE”.

Answer: An Oven-like structure for firing, eg. porcelain. A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

20a    Protection for old soldier, Irishman retreating (4)

{MAIL} : Reversal of(retreating) name of an Irishman, no, not Pat this time.

21a    Son has heart, a persistent type (7)

{STICKER} : Abbrev. for Son + a term for a “heart “, derived from its regular beating (most of the time).

Answer: A type that follows you everywhere and/or won’t give up.

25a    Desire to get on? No, I’m a bit sloppy! (8)

{AMBITION} : Anagram of(sloppy) “NO, I’M A BIT”. Another nice surface/WIWD clue.

26a    Made a big effort with oven, having grabbed recipe initially (6)

{STROVE} : An oven usually found in the kitchen containing(having grabbed) first letter of(initially) “recipe “.

28a    Very good in performance as traveller Dick (6)

{TURPIN} : Short form of being Very good in a religious way contained in a performance, eg. in a variety show.

Answer: Surname of the Dick who travelled the highways then, and was executed for his crimes.

29a    Publication that may be packed with explosive material (8)

{MAGAZINE} : Double defn: 2nd: A room for storing explosive material.

30a    Scraper of muck from verge by turning of road (6)

{DREDGE} : Verge, placed after reversal of(turning of) abbrev. for “road “.

Answer: A machine to Scrape the muck from the bottom of a river or sea.

31a    Nude mostly covered in mud? Not a recommended medical treatment! (5-3)

{SNAKE-OIL} : Starkers minus its last letter(mostly) contained in(covered in) earth generally, but could be mud.

Answer: As sold by con-men. An amusing surface.


1d    Socialist prejudice all but admitted by enthusiast (6)

{FABIAN} : Prejudice minus its last letter(all but) contained in(admitted by) an enthusiast, eg. of sports.

Answer: One from the Socialist organisation in England.

2d    Criticise former England football manager crossing line (6)

{REVILE} : Surname of a former England football manager, in the 70s containing(crossing) abbrev. for “line “.

3d    A rude drunk carries around container for wine (8)

{BORDEAUX} : Anagram of(drunk) A RUDE contained in(carries around) a basic container.

Answer: Wine named after the region it is produced in. Another amusing surface.

4d    Almost memorise nonsense this man wrote (4)

{LEAR} : To memorise is part of this process minus its last letter(Almost).

Answer: He wrote books of nonsense verse.

6d    Fruit gives ape energy (6)

{ORANGE} : The short form for a type of ape, whose full name is derived from the local language for “jungle man” – and the short form by itself meaning “man” in the local language! + abbrev. for “energy” in physics.

7d    Retreat from strange ritual based around part of Bible (4,4)

{TURN TAIL} : Anagram of(strange) “RITUAL” containing(based around) the abbrev. for the second part of the Bible.

Defn: As a verb.

8d    What tenant pays to hold party in dwelling (8)

{RESIDENT} : What tenant pays to the landlord containing(to hold) one party out of two or more in eg. a dispute.

Defn. and Answer: As adjectives, eg. describing one “dwelling in …’.

11d    One’s for hauling up Richard, blunder having been admitted (7)

{DERRICK} : A variant of the name Richard containing(having been admitted) the verb, to blunder.

14d    Old vessel one gets on, cheering (7)

{OVATION} : Abbrev. for “Old ” + a vessel, eg. for brewing + Roman numeral for one + “ON”. Defn. As a noun.

17d    This writer’s to be given role, paper’s boss communicated (8)

{IMPARTED} : Contraction of This writer is, referring to the 1st person pronoun plus(to be given) a role eg. in a play + short form for a newspaper boss.

18d    Near orb I melted, like Icarus? (8)

{AIRBORNE} : Anagram of(melted) NEAR ORB I.

Answer: Like Icarus, who used wax to attach wings to himself, but got too close to the orb (the sun), which melted the wax. A very nice WIWD clue.

19d    Being artistic, chucked in a money-oriented job (4-4)

{LEFT-BANK} : Said goodbye to (the place of) a job related to or handling money.

Answer: Description derived from the area frequented by many such artistic persons.

22d    Good person to lasso a number of horses? (6)

{STRING} : Abbrev. for a Good person + the shape of a lasso.

Answer: Think of what a horse owner has, one following after another.

23d    One’s probably spotted maiden in love after party (6)

{DOMINO} : [abbrev. for maiden + IN + the letter that looks like a love score in tennis] placed below(after, in a down clue) a party.

Answer: A piece with spots used in a game.  And, as a further (cryptic) hint:-

24d    Church has authentic stuff for harvest festival? (6)

{CEREAL} : Abbrev. for someone belonging to the Church of England + authentic and not false.

Answer: stuff that is harvested before having the festival to celebrate.

27d    Religious adherent is a plain girl from what we hear? (4)

{JAIN} : Homophone of(we hear) the girl who is the traditional epitome of being “plain”. Although the references I checked with indicate you’d have to pronounce it like an Australian for it to sound like the answer.

Answer: An adherent of an old eastern religion.

The Quick crossword pun: {fourth} + {bridge} = {Forth Bridge}

54 comments on “DT 26971

  1. A lovely puzzle that we really enjoyed. And, we recognised the PANGRAM. Usually it sneaks past our attention. Favourites were 1a, 5a, 15a 16d and 22d. Thanks to Giovanni and Scchua.
    Incidentally we have wondered how to pronounce Scchua. I’m sure you can devise a cryptic way of helping us. Cheers.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the pangram – you’re one better than me, at least.
      As cryptic as I can get: “I’ll say I’d be a fool to see a church’s front, then go into conflict.” :-)

  2. Very enjoyable. Top favourite has to be 5a even if I now can’t stop reciting it in my head. Thanks to Giovanni and scchua too.

    The Toughie is tough, as befits a Friday, but well worth the effort of solving it.

  3. Thanks to Giovanni for what I thought was a slightly more challenging Friday puzzle.

    Now to see what kind of footwear Elkamere is wearing today.

  4. I have to confess that if there was a minus mark for enjoyment then I would surely give it to this, for me, obtuse and unsolvable problem. I find virtually all of his puzzles impenetrable and his use of synonyms (if that is the right word) random. For example, to scrape is not to dredge. Scrape implies a superficial contact. Dredge is a damn great bucket !

    The last two words of 9A says it all for me. I will be giving Friday’s crossword a miss from now on.

    1. Roger, I have to agree with you.
      After yesterday’s failure with RayT I was looking forward to today’s, expecting it to be challenging but not obscure.
      With much cursing and an over-reliance on my electronic friends I managed to complete all except for the NE corner. When I resort to the hints I can’t be bothered to fill in the rest of the puzzle I’m afraid. So I “7 down ed” and gave up.
      Roll on Monday, now that’s a setter I like!

    2. Oh, please don’t give up, Roger. Not all Friday puzzles are as difficult as this — persevate, as Mary would say! :-)

    3. Roger and Peter – I agree with Franny – don’t give up. I always used to find Friday puzzles almost impossible until I learnt lots from this great blog. Now I can, usually, do them without too much trouble – today’s, in my opinion anyway, was really difficult.

  5. Again I agree with the BD Rating by Scchau *** and *** from me.

    Last in was 10a which held me up for a while. I too realised it was a pangram but had 15a ending with an ‘S’ When I realised my mistake and stopped trying to put the remaining ‘Y’ in to 10a it fell in to place.

    Many thanks to all

  6. I found the wavelength very hard to get on to today. Managed with a good deal of help to solve about three quarters and then got completely stuck, so I needed the hints to complete and even had to look at the answers sometimes. That said, though, there were a number of clues that I enjoyed, especially 5 and 26a and 19 and 23d. So thanks to Giovanni for the mental exercise and to Scchua for getting me through. :-)

  7. I found this one really difficult – at least a 4* from me.
    I only got about four answers after the first reading of all the clues – then managed a few more – but generally very slow progress.
    I totally screwed up bottom left corner – my first thought with 18d was that it was an anagram – should have stuck with that! Instead I decided that we were MEANT to think that it was an anagram but it wasn’t, and that the answer was “sunburnt”! Oh dear!! :oops: I also had a lot of trouble with 10a. 5a took a while but then I remembered the rhyme. Not a clue about the English football manager in 2d but got there in the end.
    I liked 5, 15, 25 and 31a and 1, 3, 7, 19 and 23d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Scchua.

    1. I think ‘sunburnt’ was a pretty good answer — only a pity it wasn’t the right one this time. :-)

  8. Shocker for me today! Obviously still in the CC. Really looking forward to Rufus making me feel good about myself again!

    For me I think the religious stuff lets me down. Combine that with the fact that I’m currently never one the same wavelength for the surfaces and WIWD – I don’t even know what that means, someone? – I’m destined to struggle for a while.

    Still I got a few (particularly liked 29a, which was nice) and as I’m more stubborn than knowledgeable – I will persist.

    Thanks Scchua and setter (I think I shall refer to him/her as Lucifer).

    1. If you look back at hint for 16a it defines WIWD as “wordplay intertwined with definition”. New to us too.

      1. So it does – thanks both!

        Incidentally – I hope you both got ANTIPODES the other day? Being unable to live without poker or music, I was very pleased with myself!

          1. Right enough, being your antipode – I didn’t get it. There has been a fair amount of geography recently. Geography, people who ride horses and not to mention YOKE about 20 times in the last week alone, now it’s religion! Always good to know just how much you don’t know but that’s probably just me.

            How long is a crosswordland cycle? Maybe I’ll complete one when they come back around!

            1. Sorry for the delay in replying. Had a night’s sleep since the last comment. Giovanni is always the Friday setter and one of his “things” is having a few religious clues. Knowing this, one is on the lookout for them which is a help. Getting to recognise the setters and their various quirks is just another one of the good things about this blog. We just love it.

    2. I could easily be wrong about this but I think that the WIWD is probably what lots of the other bloggers call an all in one clue.

      1. Hi Kath, you’re basically right, with WIWD also including “some, but not all, in one” clues, of which there are quite a lot that are clever and enjoyable.

  9. Best crossword of the week for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing although it did take me a little longer than usual. Many thanks to Giovanni and to scchua for a very entertaining review.

    1. Best pack-pager of the week, I’d agree, although it has some very stiff competition indeed from this week’s Micawber and Elkamere Toughies for the best DT puzzle overall.

      1. I stand corrected Qix, I was referring to the back pagers but did not make this clear. I fully agree with your comments re Micawber and Elkamere.

  10. I agree with many of the previous comments and found this one something of a challenge. However, Roger and Peter, please don’t give up. Over the past forty years or so, I have been stumped on many an occasion, but since I found this splendid blog, I have never completely failed. The most satisfaction comes from only referring to BD when you really draw a blank. Thanks Giovani for doing your bit in keeping Alzheimer’s at bay and, of course, to Scchua.
    We’re celebrating here today in West Cumbria, it’s not raining; for now!!

    1. We celebrated the other night because we actually had significant rain for the first time in a month. Still didn’t do much for the poor dying garden :(

      1. We’re very dry again too. Our veggies are fine because I water them but the rest of the garden is looking a bit tired now. Very windy here too which doesn’t help much. :sad:

  11. Bit of a struggle for me today, the most difficult for a while ,did’nt really enjoy it , which is unusual ,score ****/**.,probably my fault, the Don was in the ultraviolet whilst i was in the infrared-or was it Narnia?.

  12. Have to agree with Beaver, laboured through this which took me considerably longer than the Toughie, that said did like 19d and 5a. Thanks Scchua and Giovanni

  13. I found if difficult today – not helped by that grid – yet again. Four separate corners and the middle bit.

    Thanks to scchua for explaining 5a & 19d.

  14. Really struggled with this ,in fact, hated it. Didn’t help that I had “quaking” in 15a although couldn’t justify it ! Thanks to Scchua ,needed your hints today.

  15. I found this more difficult than usual for a Friday, and only managed about three quarters before recourse to hints, for which thanks Skua.

    But when explained, all the clues were fair and nicely crafted, as you would expect.

    I think the back pagers have been a little more difficult over the last fortnight, but the weekend ones have been fairly consistent. This based purely on my solving success.

    Thanks to Giovanni for a tester.

  16. Two stinkers in a row. Had more fun reading the Hillsborough coverage – though obviously not in the Telegraph which seems to think it’s a sports story.

  17. Lovely puzzle esp after yesterdays total failure with a Ray T (nothing new there then!).
    My thx to Sccuha for making the hints so much more readable and ,of course, to the master for another excellent offering.

  18. Hmmm… Feeling somewhat defeated today. Like many others I only got 4 or 5 words on the first pass, then had to wait for occasional flashes of inspiration to get 19 then 31. 21 took me forever. Never did get 3 or 2 (a bit before my time, but no excuses) and got fixated on Moby for 28 so completely stuck on SW corner. Enjoyable, but looking forward to something a little less taxing on Monday so my puzzling doesn’t get too “15”! (Is that really a word? not in my dictionary and just makes me want to eat a cheesy snack!)

  19. We found this very obscure in parts and really not that enjoyable. Inclined to agree with Roger re “dredge” being rather different to scrape. However we managed to complete about 4/5ths before resorting to the help here….. well the answers actually. Thanks to Scchua.

    What is meant by a surface clue?

    1. The “surface reading” of a clue it what it appears to say when read simply as a sentence (rather than as a crossword clue).

      The “cryptic reading” is the other way of interpreting the clue, as instructions to the solver as to how to arrive at the answer.

      Often the two are completely different. There’s a famous example by Elgar/Nimrod/Io/Enigmatist: “I say nothing (3)”. This appears to be a sentence in which someone describes him- or herself as silent, but is actually a clue to the word EGO.

    2. BTW a “dredge” is not necessarily the whopping great bucket to which Roger refers, but it can be any mechanism designed to obtain material from a river bed or similar. Very often this does, indeed, involve scraping the river bed, and so IMO the clue is perfectly fine.

  20. Hi Qix,
    Thanks for the explanation of the term surface reading. Still not that keen on scraper leading to dredge but then I’m still new to all this.
    Martin .

  21. Are we sure that the answer to 5a is ‘FOSTER’?

    I put in ‘MOSTIR’. which is a city in Croatia. Formed by ‘MO’ for doctor, and ‘STIR’ for ‘trouble’.

    This seems a much better solution than one that relies on an old nursery rhyme about a doctor from Gloucester.

    1. The answers given on this site are those accepted as valid by the online Telegraph Puzzles site.

      The rhyme in question is:

      Doctor Foster
      Went to Gloucester
      In a shower of rain.
      He stepped in a puddle
      Right up to his middle
      And never went there again!

      It is believed to actually be about how King Edward I of England fell off his horse into a large muddy puddle while on a visit to Gloucester.

    2. In addition, the word “encourage” in the clue would be redundant if MOSTIR were correct, whereas it’s actually one of the definitions.

      1. I know the rhyme, Dave, but still a bit obscure (doctor having trouble in City?) . And, yes, I see that the ‘encourage’ is actually the definition, so my reasoning is a bit awry. I quite liked it though!

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