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DT 26975

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26975

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This was a fairly easy puzzle, 2.5* and 3* for enjoyment.  Thank you to setter.  My favourite clue is the one with the broad :-)  hint below.  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    Criticism levelled as result of trophies recently stolen (3,4)

{POT SHOT} : Informal term for trophies, usually made of silver or silver-plate + slang describing an article recently stolen.

5a    Embarrasses a party before elections, losing heart (7)

{ABASHES} : “A” + celebratory party placed before(before) “elections” minus its inner letters(losing heart).

9a    Month here without walls is a bore! (5)

{AUGER} : Abbrev. for one of the months in a year + “here” minus its outer letters(without walls).

Answer: A tool used to bore a hole.

10a    Pub’s motto, possibly? (7,2)

{BOTTOMS UP} : Anagram of (possibly) PUB’S MOTTO.

Answer: What a publican likes to see with his/her customers, but nothing naughty, of course! A clever WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

11a    Manage to hear what’s said for slogans? (10)

{CATCHWORDS} : To figuratively get (geddit?) (the elements of) what’s been said.

12a    Platform that is accepted by proportional representation (4)

{PIER} : Abbrev. for “that is” contained in(accepted by) abbrev. for “proportional representation”.

14a    Cover pan with half of tomato, for a simple dish (6,6)

{JACKET POTATO} : A garment to cover your upper body + a deep pan plus(with) half of the letters of “tomato”.

18a    Fear arrest (12)

{APPREHENSION} : Double defn: 1st: A feeling of fear, eg. of the unknown; and 2nd: What policemen do.

21a    Team returns eating live goat! (4)

{IBEX} : Reversal of(returns) Roman numerals indicating, eg. a cricket team containing(eating) “to exist”.

Answer:  A wild mountain goat.

22a    Arrangement for piano and sitar? Some hope (10)

{ASPIRATION} : Anagram of(Arrangement for) [PIANO + SITAR].

25a    Tested by a Parisian, without any restraints (9)

{UNCHECKED} : “A” as would be used by a Parisian placed after(by) a description of something that has been looked at or over.

26a    Picture periodical found in empty institute (5)

{IMAGE} : A short form for a periodical contained in(found in) “institute” minus its inner letters(empty).

27a    Causes irritation, but agrees with name for first of sons (7)

{NETTLES} : Synonym for “agrees” with abbrev. for “name” replacing(for) the first of the abbrev. for “son” in that word.

28a    Suspect increase lacks answer, being honest (7)

{SINCERE} : Anagram of(Suspect) “increase” minus(lacks) abbrev. for “answer”.


1d    Fish‘s source of iron in situ? (6)

{PLAICE} : Initial letter(source) of “iron” contained in literal translation from Latin of “situ”, commonly seen in the phrase “in situ”.

2d    Merry wives finally getting something to cover legs (6)

{TIGHTS} : One way to be “merry”, especially towards the end of the evening + last letter of(finally) “wives”. Nice Victorian era surface – an era when even (shapely?) piano legs were covered.  I know – it wasn’t true.

3d    Hurried to welcome daughter and boss, being shrewd (4-6)

{HARD-HEADED} : Hurried like a fast animal containing(to welcome) [abbrev. for “daughter” + where the boss is at]

4d    Forbidden fruit — finally getting a raspberry! (5)

{TABOO} : Last letter of(finally) fruit plus(getting) “A” + “raspberry” as a gesture of disapproval.

5d    Remedies for workers having to die horribly inside (9)

{ANTIDOTES} : Social insects having a “workers” caste containing(having … inside) anagram of(horribly) TO DIE.

6d    Out of control in the morning, then fine (4)

{AMOK} : Indicator of time in the morning plus(then) abbrev. for “being fine”.

7d    Hot Lips worked outside area infirmary (8)

{HOSPITAL} : Anagram of(worked) HOT LIPS containing(outside) abbrev. for “area”.

8d    Rigour oddly absent under great boss (8)

{SUPERIOR} : “rigour” minus its 1st, 3rd, and 5th letters(oddly absent) placed below(under, in a down clue) an exclamation like the superlative “great!”.

Answer: Adjective as well as noun for someone who is boss, and who hasn’t one?

13d    Ceremony, for my people embracing love (10)

{CORONATION} : [An exclamation (a corruption of “God”, btw) of admiration or amazement, as in “My!” or even “My, My!” + a people united – mostly] containing(embracing) O(the letter that looks like zero, or love in tennis scores)

15d    Retain bets, with no time for tokens (9)

{KEEPSAKES} : To retain the money that is laid on bets minus(with no) abbrev. for “time”.

16d    Act strangely on island, and go quiet (8)

{TACITURN} : Anagram of(strangely) ACT placed above(on, in a down clue) [abbrev. for “island” + a go in a game involving 2 or more players].

Answer: Not saying much or not at all.

17d    Reduce support for part of Oxford, perhaps — that’s a blow (8)

{UPPERCUT} : To reduce, eg. prices placed below(support for, in a down clue) a part of Oxford – nowhere in the town, including the university – but comes in pairs.

19d    Conclusion when penalty crosses a line (6)

{FINALE} : The penalty you might have to pay in court containing(crosses) [“A” + abbrev. for “line”].

Answer: Usually the Conclusion of a performance or, nowadays, a season of a TV series.

20d    A former girlfriend on the phone from the extension (6)

{ANNEXE} : Homophone of(on the phone) an article like “a” + a short form for a former girlfriend – or spouse or partner.

23d    Try leaving business in Asian river delta (5)

{INDUS} : Synonym for “Business”, usually in conjunction with “trade” minus(leaving) “try”.

24d    Live without diamonds, comfortably (4)

{WELL} : Synonym for the verb “to live in/at” minus(without) abbrev. for the playing card suit.

The Quick crossword pun: {servant} + {tease} = {Cervantes}

67 comments on “DT 26975

  1. Early start for me today and my brain must have been on Jays level as all came together quite nicely with my morning latte :-). Now off to the hardware shops :-(

  2. We found this one quite tricky for a start until we remembered Crypticsue’s advice to always start with the downs for a Jay puzzle. Once we did this, it all started to come together. Would give it a 3* for difficulty for our solving time. Lots of good clues but the best laugh came from the rather cheeky 10a.
    Thanks Scchua and Jay.

    1. Thank you for the tip about starting with the down clues. I couldn’t really get going until I concentrated on them first and then, voila, it all came together.

  3. I enjoyed this puzzle. Tricky to start with but got there in the end and thoroughly enjoyed it. Why is it that the down clues are easier to solve? Have they been set that way?

    1. I have no idea. I just know that it works. Perhaps CS will offer some explanation when she comes on line.

      1. Don’t ask me, it just works. I even once discussed it with Jay himself and he has no idea either :)

        Even with starting with the downs, this seemed, while solving it, to be much trickier than usual but when I looked at my time, it turned out to be 2* difficulty. Weird. No particular favourites for me today, just a nice entertaining solve. Thanks to Jay and scchua too.

        I found the Toughie tricky and quite an education – it has at least five words where the wordplay was clear, but I had to check that there actually was such a thing.

        Suppose I had better start work now :(

        1. Thanks for the explanation! We are quite satisfied with “It just is”.
          Agree on the toughie. Really enjoyed it though. Mr Google had a bit of work to do for us too.

  4. 3*/3* for me and probably the best so far this week for me. Let’s hope for a Ray T cracker tomorrow

    I don’t understand the answer to 17 or Scchua’s explanation although I got it from the letters I had. Can someone please explain.

    Many thanks


        1. Mr CS says I am spending too much time doing crosswords as apparently most of the remarks I address to him these days are far too cryptic for him :D

  5. In fact I suspect that most of the crossword was less cryptic than Scchua’s clues today!

    Thanks to both though, I know I couldn’t do it.


  6. I’m having a bad week. Monday was ok, but I couldn’t do yesterday’s at all and only managed half of today’s before becoming completely stuck. I now have to get on with other things, but thank Jay and Scchua. Hoping to do better next time.

  7. Finished – but I am afraid that I put in 2 answers 27a and 20d – which proved to be correct – but I can’t work out why – even with Scchua’s hints ! Brain in neutral. No doubt some kind person will decode ??

    1. Brain so fuddled I have forgotten my manners – Thank you Jay, an enjoyable challenge and Scchua for your review. Apologies !

    2. William,

      27a. You want a word meaning agrees with the S (first letter of sons) at the beginning removed and replaced by an N (abbreviation for name).

      20d. If your former girlfriend is “an ex”, if you heard this on the telephone it would sound like the word for an extension.

      1. Many thanks Prolixic ! Nice to know help is at hand. Its always frustrating to put in the right answer and not know why ! Alles Klar !

      2. Prolixic,
        Re 27a: I had a slightly different interpretation of “first of sons”. Since the synonym for “agrees” has 2S’s in it, the question is which one of them is to be replaced by N. As S is an abbrev. for “son” just as N is an abbrev. for “name”, the setter is giving us a clue (I think), that it is the first of the S(on)s. I could be wrong of course; and it doesn’t affect the answer, only how to get to it.

  8. Will someone please tell me what I’m doing wrong? My partner and I have been doing the Telegraph crossword for years and don’t seem to be getting any better at it – it takes the two of us to complete it, well mostly complete it, each day. How on earth do you recognise the setter? I also think these explanations are worse than the crossword itself – I used to be able to understand them, but they are as much a challenge as the crossword itself! I’m sure that I’m not thick, but sometimes I wonder?

    1. Afraid I agree with Baa that Scchua’s “hints” are more cryptic than the clues and I can hardly understand a word of them! Indeed, my heart sinks when I see his(?) name. Do not intend to be offensive – it’s just how it is with me. However, I did manage to complete to-day’s all but 2, one of which was 27a and I still don’t understand the explanation for that, even with the reiteration in #7 above. Sorry!

      1. For 27a you start with SETTLES (agrees, as in “that’s settled/agreed then”) and replace the first S (son) with N(ame) to end up with NETTLES (causes irritation).

  9. Really enjoyed this one today, took longer than average to crack but great fun. Some nice witty clues.

    Thanks for the review and to the setter.

  10. Enjoyable, bit of a curates egg,about**/***.Did’nt like the Cor part of 13d, or rather did’nt equate it to’my’- thanks for the blog Scchua, also took a while to understand the wordplay in 27a, apart from this , a jolly romp! Loved the interpretation for 10a-don’t think i recognised anybody.

    1. Beaver – there’s a joke in your last sentence when combined with your ‘handle’, but it’s probably inappropriate to point it out … so I won’t.

      Strangely, I found the across clues easier to get me started than the downs.

      Sometimes I set myself the challenge of completing the grid solely in numerical order. Today wasn’t a day when I felt I’d enjoy that approach.

      1. Odd! When trying to edit my comment (on iPad), it opens the ‘Edit comment’ box, but immediately return me to the header page with the list of crosswords.

        1. You know my opinion about the non-compliant software provided by Apple for the iPad. Fine if you stay in Appleland but not so when you move into the big wide world outside.

        2. Mine was doing that as well. It occurs randomly on my iPad. But I do get another strange effect. I open BDs blog and it immediately closes. Only randomly and I know BD will tell me to use a proper computer. But that’s upstairs and I’m too idle to go up there

  11. Yes we all seem to agree there is a little more enjoyment today. Last in was 27a. It couldn’t be anything else but it took me a little while to work it out.14a probably my favourite clue of the week so far. Many Thanks to all.

  12. Well, what a strange old day.
    After a slow start and almost giving up it all fell into place and I completed it without any hints except from my trusty electronic device. I enjoyed the review, now I know why some of the answers are what they are.
    I still don’t really understand 8d and 13down. But my answers fitted.
    Because I finished it I’m tempted to give a 2*/3*. But as I feel improving now its a 3*/3*.

    1. 8d – Ignore the odd letters (oddly absent), ie the 1st, 3rd, and 5th letters of the word (r)I(g)O(u)R, and then put these after a synonym for ‘great’. The definition is ‘boss’, SUPER I O R.

      1. 13d – The exclamation ‘my!’ is COR, a synonym for ‘people’ is NATION, and these are placed around (embracing) a letter that symbolises ‘love’ or zero/nil. COR O NATION.

    2. 13d, My in the clue relates to Cor, as in Cor Blimey, Gosh, My etc. Useful to tuck that into the memory as it occurs regularly, then people, as a nation, embracong love, “0” (think tennis score). Cor 0 nation.

  13. Apologies to all. I’ve just come back from dinner, and to my horror, discovered my mistake for 8d – forgot my ordinals. I’ve corrected it – what I had intended was as what Jezza mentioned.

  14. I was slow to start – I know doing the downs first on Wednesdays is supposed to make things easier and, for once, I didn’t forget but I just still went through the across clues first, as I always do. One of my sister’s irritating expressions (she has several) is “If you always do what you’ve always done you always get what you’ve always got!”
    I didn’t find this too difficult once I’d got going. For some reason I was terribly slow to get 4d and, as others have said before, 27a took a while too. I thought that the last three letters of 8d came from the 2nd, 4th and 6th letters of “Rigour” ie without the 1st, 3rd, and 5th (oddly absent).
    Lots of favourites – 10 and 11a and 4, 6 and 20d.
    With thanks to Jay and Scchua.
    Going to have a go at the Toughie later but need do some more “jungle warfare” first. :sad:

  15. Hi Scchua and thanks for blog which I needed to understand 27a, having first put ‘needles’ in there, I don’t know if it’s me, but I haven’t really really enjoyed a puzzle lately! However two clues I did like today were 10a and 4d :-), late today as both dogs had to have check ups on their eyes for glaucoma followed by more blood tests for myself, what a fun day!
    A three star for me today

    1. As always, you and I are in agreement. Not many of the recent puzzles have been much fun. I thought nettles caused pain rather than irritation.

  16. Hi Collywobbles, the animal in question is the hare, so it’s HARED containing [abbrev. for daughter + HEAD, the boss or where his/her position is]. Hope this helps.

  17. I think this would have been a ** for me today but I got hung up on 17d and it didn’t help that I had “needles” in 27a although couldn’t reason why! Thanks to Jay & Schuaa.

  18. Thank you Jay and Scchua – did just less than half without you and desperately needed the hints for the rest, making backward progress I think!
    I still can’t see 27a !

  19. Hard work again, just can’t get brain around some of the recent offerings at all. 3 star for me esp for 16d and 27a ( surely they don’t cause irritation, the ones we have cause PAIN.) thx to Scchua for the explanations, many I got the answer but couldn’t quite see why. Mind you having watchwords for 11a didn’t help!

  20. I finished this Jay puzzle without help which is good because I havn’t finished one before but I had to look up a great number of hints because I did not know why. So, thanks to Scchua for that and thanks to Jay for the crossword

  21. Oh of course – thank you scchua – I can see it now but I’d never have got it on my own !

  22. Only just got to do this as I’ve been taking pommette and her mum to the airport (again). I seem to be in disagreement with most of you though as I found this just about the easiest Jay puzzle ever! But I have blogged over 50 of his puzzles so if there’s one setter whose wavelength I’m on it’s Jay.
    No particular favourite but just a sense of overall enjoyment when the last one (3d) went in – I would have given it 2*/4* had I still been blogging Wednesdays, (but really I solved it in 1* time) :grin:.

  23. Hands up who knew auger was a drill.
    New to me.
    Perhaps did this rather quickly.
    Thanks Jay and scchua (like your style)

    1. My hand is up – maybe I’ve been doing crosswords longer than you have, or perhaps I should get out more! :smile:

  24. THanks to Scchua for the review and to Jay for the fine puzzle. This took me a bit longer than usual but I have been out of the loop due to work and some excellent SSci-fi that I have been devouring. Certainly agree that the Downs got me in the game!.

  25. Phew, back on track today after an awful day yesterday. I agree with pommers on this one… I must have got on to the right wavelength quickly as I completed it in one sitting before I went to bed last night, and (finally) won the time bonus. Without a doubt my quickest solve of the year. The only ones that I got really stuck on were in the SW corner: 27a, 17d and 24d. Favourites were 10a and 21a. Thanks to Jay and scchua (lovely photo for 23d).

  26. Thought this a fair challenge though didn’t finish, couldn’t get 21, 24 and lost will to solve 27.

  27. Thanks to the setter & Scchua for the review & hints. I enjoyed this one but had to use the hint for 8d, just 2 letters short! Great walk yesterday Carrock Fell to High Pike. No walking today going to Carlisle.

  28. 17d was a real tease – I solved it, but had no idea what the ‘Oxford’ bit was about until I googled – it’s the clay formation that covers the south-eastern part of England, isn’t it?
    I’m afraid the whole north-western corner of the puzzle remained unsolved by this jurassic neophyte! :-)
    Liked 5d, 14a, 24d, 25a, 15d.
    With respect, I wonder if imagining ‘Cor!’ for ‘my’ in 13d is a ruse too far.

    Many thanks to both setter and to the grey-celled Scchua for the explanations.

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