DT 26977 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26977

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26977

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

If today had not been a Friday I would have been hard pressed to identify this as a Giovanni puzzle. It consists of four long anagrams with most of the other clues being relatively easy. I’m not a fan of long anagrams – I almost invariably get the answer from the definition, enumeration and a few checking letters then work backwards to identify the fodder. I’d be interested to know how other solvers work.
If you want to see an answer just highlight the gap between the brackets under the clue (if you solve on the move there’s some advice as to how to do this on mobile devices in the FAQ section).

Across Clues

8a  The male artist presenting goddess (4)
{HERA} – a male pronoun is followed by the abbreviation for a Royal Academician (artist) to form this Greek goddess.

9a  Consume beef maybe (not starter though) (3)
{EAT} – what beef is an example of without its initial letter.

10a  Virtually noon? A long time before that (6)
{NEARLY} – the abbreviation for noon then how you might describe a time several hours before noon.

11a  Beware of sailors en masse in old Liverpool club! (6)
{CAVERN} – an old slang word, from latin, meaning ‘watch out!’ and once used by schoolboys to warn of the imminent arrival of a master is followed by the abbreviation for all the Queen’s sailors.

12a  An editor being awkward should be limited (8)
{RATIONED} – an anagram (being awkward) of AN EDITOR.

13a  New starship — it’s cosy for scientists studying heavenly bodies (15)

15a  Kitchen item not working with its required temperature not quite attained? (7)
{FREEZER} – start with an adjective meaning not working and therefore available (as often used by Mr Humphries) and add the temperature which this item needs to attain without its last letter (not quite). We are presumably working in degrees Fahrenheit here (or there’ll be an outbreak of food poisoning!).

17a  Silver Circle like a cruise ship going nowhere fast! (7)
{AGROUND} – this clue possibly gives us a hint as to how long ago Giovanni compiled this puzzle because the story of the ill-fated Costa Concordia and its bumbling captain was in the headlines in mid-January. The chemical symbol for silver is followed by another word for circle.

20a  Sad spinster’s art weirdly representing symbols of a nation (5,3,7)
{STARS AND STRIPES} – an anagram (weirdly re-presenting) of SAD SPINSTER’S ART.

23a  Supplier offers endless words of wisdom, concealing identity (8)
{PROVIDER} – a pithy saying offering words of wisdom (such as ‘A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle’ or ‘Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back’) loses its final B (endless) and has the abbreviation for identity inserted.

25a  As a pupil ‘tensed up’ according to report (6)
{TAUGHT} – a homophone (according to report) of an adjective meaning tensed up or not in a relaxed state.

26a  ‘Alpine’ could be clued as ‘from a mountainous land‘ (6)
{NEPALI} – an anagram (could be clued as) of ALPINE.

27a  The whole amount? Sounds to be less than that (3)
{SUM} – the answer sounds like an unspecified number which is less than the total.

28a  Channel Four’s last item — brilliant! (4)
{RACE} – this is a channel bringing water to or from a millwheel. The last letter (item) of (fou)R is followed by an informal adjective meaning brilliant.

Down Clues

1d  Trees that could be seen as sacred (6)
{CEDARS} – a lovely all-in-one clue. These trees – an anagram (that could be seen as) of SACRED – appear extensively in the Bible and other religious works and are regarded as sacred in Islam.

2d  Start to criticise a judge missing core point being happy-go-lucky (8)
{CAREFREE} – the starting letter of C(riticise) is followed by a judge or adjudicator without its middle (core) letter which happens to be a cardinal point.

3d  Have one last exotic trip, using various seaplanes indeed (3,6,3,3)
{SEE NAPLES AND DIE} – an anagram (various) of SEAPLANES INDEED produces a saying which advises you to experience the splendour of this Italian city during your lifetime.

4d  Floors in shops containing the latest thing for everybody (7)
{STOREYS} – shops (retail outlets) with the last letter (thing) of (everybod)Y inserted.

5d  The men suffering with agitation making demand for measured progress (3,5,2,1,4)
{ONE THING AT A TIME} – an anagram (suffering) of THE MEN and AGITATION. I’m not keen on anagrams where the indicator appears in the middle of the fodder.

6d  Work involving short performance with one famous actor (6)
{JACOBI} – the surname of a famous acting knight comes from inserting a performance without its final T (short) inside a piece of work, then finishing with I (one).

7d  Expelled reportedly for being indecent (4)
{BLUE} – an adjective meaning indecent or pornographic sounds like (reportedly) expelled air through pursed lips.

14d  Brown relish not good (3)
{TAN} – a relish or flavour without its final G (not good).

16d  Drivel from flipping historian (3)
{ROT} – … is hidden (from) and reversed (flipping) in the clue.

18d  Writing about life after death (8)
{OBITUARY} – cryptic definition of a brief resumé of the life of someone who’s recently died (and is no longer in a position to sue for libel!).

19d  Location for speech (7)
{ADDRESS} – double definition.

21d  Go on a spree that includes a show (6)
{REVEAL} – a verb meaning to go on a spree or make merry has A inserted.

22d  English Conservative taken in by this set of values (6)
{ETHICS} – start with E(nglish) than add THIS with C(onservative) inserted.

24d  Falter as revolutionary losing heart (4)
{REEL} – a revolutionary or subversive loses the B at his centre (losing heart).

The clues that took my fancy today were 17a, 1d and 18d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {JUG} + {ERR} + {KNOT} = {JUGGERNAUT}

43 comments on “DT 26977

  1. Agree it didn’t feel like a typical giovanni, but I thought it was a great puzzle in an otherwise mediocre week. Lots of good clues, 11a probably my favourite. 2*/4* for me.

    Curiously I did this on paper rather than iPad for the first time in ages and somehow it seemed to make it easier. Especially anagrams.

    Thanks to both.


    1. Out of curiosity, Wazza, how do you get round a problem that I found on the iPad namely that when I went to enter a solution the keypad would pop up for one character and then disappear. So i had to fill in the answer character by character very very slowly.

      1. Out of the many problems I have with telegraph app (I’ve had to reinstall it 3x this week because of it crashing!) that has never happened to me. No doubt it will now though…

  2. I also wondered whether this was a Giovanni puzzle, and it was probably my quickest solve for a Friday puzzle.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

    I thought the toughie was good fun, and for a Friday, relatively straightforward too.

  3. Morning Gazza

    I’m the same as you with long anagrams, anything over about six or seven letters in my case!
    This must be one of the easiest Giovannis for a long time! The long anagrams jumped out and gave so many checkers the rest just got written in. Stalled momentarily on the actor as I couldn’t remember his name at first, d’oh!

    Anyway, thanks for the review and thanks to Giovanni too.

  4. I’m at one with Gazza this morning. It was a relatively easy crossword and, for me very enjoyable. I do like being able to finish the crossword and feel satisfied. So its a 2.5*/3* for me.
    As for anagrams I always look at the puzzle for anagrams and then solve them first with a little electronic aid – never been good at doing them manually. Electronic aid wasn’t any help for 3d and 5d but correct for 13a and 20a today. So, having completed the anagrams, it becomes easy (?) to fill in the rest.
    So, if this is a Giovanni puzzle, thanks Giovanni for a pleasant start to the weekend. And, of course to Gazza for his hints

    1. As I said yesterday Peter, nothing wrong with a little help from your electronic friends, I’d be lost without mine

  5. Good morning Gazza, thanks for the blog, as usual I needed an explaination of a couple, although not needing the hints to finish today, I got 15a but I thought it a bit of a toughie clue, which I needed you to explain! I don’t like 16d this doesn’t quite work for me? I like the long clues, with the anagrams, they get me into the puzzle but often like yourself I work them backwards, unfortunately no fav clue today, that’s always disappointing, although there were some clever clues, I agree not your usual Giovanni, I think verging on one of the easier puzzles this week, though not easy, a two to three star for me, still needing ‘my friends’ to get me through, good luck all and keeeeeeep perservating :-)

    1. Mary, I have tried very hard over the years reading this blog NOT to correct your spelling of “explaination”. :grin:

      But, alas, I’m a pedant! Sorry! Maybe it’s a neologism – just like what “perservation” is!

      1. To me if you take the i out you are just not making it ‘plain’ if you see what I mean, and that’s what an
        ex(plain)ation is all about :-)

  6. I thought it was worth a **/*** -it had an awkward grid, i did enjoy it, did’nt quite understand the not working bit of 15a-thanks for the Humphries clue, Stuttered on 7d ,last in, which i only twigged after filling in the across clues,3d was a clever anagram, i hav’nt been yet!

  7. Easily the best puzzle of the week for me. Thank you Sir for renewing my love of crosswords which has been a little shaken over the past few weeks. Finished today’s over breakfast and thoroughly enjoyable it was too. Best clue for me was 22d. Thx to Gazza for providing the full explanation for 11d. Amazing how often it is those pesky 3 letter clues that cause problems.

  8. That was easy. Finished very early last night. I kept on having to check to make sure this was a Friday puzzle. Favourites the four big anagrams. */*** for me.

  9. Yes, I’m agreeing with everyone today. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle which cheered me up over breakfast. Those long anagrams were no trouble at all (my technique is also like Gazza’s) and made solving the rest of the puzzle comparatively easy, though I did get a bit stuck occasionally. I didn’t see 26a as an anagram for some time and needed help to find 15a and 18d. That said, 6d and 18d were my favourite clues. Many thanks to G&G :-)

  10. Morning Gazza,
    The “write all the letters in a circle trick” usually works for me if the solution isn’t obvious from the fodder.
    Only needed for 3d today – as you suggest, the other 3 were pretty clear.
    Thanks to the G Force

  11. Like others, I couldn’t quite believe it was Friday and after an iffy week this was a pleasure. I do like big composite anagrams and I’ve been thoroughly spoilt today, haven’t I? Needed a couple of post-completion explanations (e.g. 15a) for which thank you Gazza.


  12. All the long anagrams went in easily, which gave a good skeleton to work on. Favourites were 15ac and 6d. Last one in was 11a. ( We were expecting to find a football club.) Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. I do like anagrams to get me into a puzzle but I thought todays’ was OTT and I have only just finished the across clues. My method is the same as Digbys’, the circle of letters, and if that fails I resort to an electronic aid like Pete

    1. 3d – I’ve seen Naples a number of times and I would not want to die there although the chances of that happening are very high

  14. Thank you Giovanni and Gazza for your review and a hint to finish I am afraid ! Displaying my lack of GK again. Went for the 4 long anagrams to start with and thought life might be easy after that – which I suppose it was- until the mental block at the end.

  15. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. I give it a ** and **** rating. Only struggled with 6d which took rather longer than it should have. Many thanks to all.

  16. Haven’t started today’s yet. I often check in here for help if I’m stuck! I just want to ask if anyone else has trouble downloading the DT now it’s on Newstand on the iPad. Every day I have to make numerous attempts with it reverting immediately to the home screen, and I only really want to get at the crossword! It’s very frustrating. Anyone know what I am doing wrong?

    1. It’s a perennial problem Eleanor and the lack of response from DT is dreadful. The only sure fire solution I can offer is to uninstall an reinstall the app which works every time but is obviously a chore. Three times this week so far!

  17. I agree with everyone else – enjoyable puzzle, fairly straightforward and not a typical Giovanni. I like anagrams, especially long ones.
    I got in a bit of a muddle, briefly, with 5d as to begin with I thought the anagram indicator was “with agitation” but sorted that out quite quickly. I needed the hints to explain 15a. I got 28a wrong – I had “rich” which might, at a push, have done for “brilliant” although I couldn’t understand why – not surprising really!! I interpreted 9a as “neat”, rather than “meat”, without its first letter – probably because we’ve had it fairly recently.
    I liked all the long anagrams and 11a and 1, 7 and 18d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  18. Well now. I was convinced that this wasn’t one done by Giovanni as I finished it in short shrift and without my usual angst and teeth-gnashing!

  19. Oh well, off to Alicante airport in about 20mins. No, it’s not pommette coming home but me going to see the aged parent.

    No internet there so I’ll see y’all again next Saturday.

    Dave, don’t forget I can’t do the blog next Thursday.

    1. I do hope that it goes OK – you and Pommette seem to be having a bit of a rough time with aged parents at the moment – good luck! :smile:

  20. I agree this was easier than usual for a Friday. Like you, Gazza, I got the answers to the long anagrams from the clues and then checked the letters given fitted. Thanks for the hints and explanations.

  21. A much simpler Friday puzzle than usual from the Don.
    Aside from the four full length jobs I liked : 11a, 17a, 6d & 18d.

    Fish tonight for dinner – always fish Tuesdays and Fridays.

    Then the medication from my doctor for the rotten chest cold i developed.

    End of next month we get the annual flu shots – gratis for seniors in NL!

  22. Thanks to the two G’s. Needed the hints for 6d & 15a. Struggled all the way through. Nice walk today on High Street, so called because of It’s altitude!

  23. Nice to end the week on a high note. Beat the time limit by two minutes, although I admit that i got stuck on 7d and 24d so used the letter clues, which feels like cheating. 15a was guesswork (thanks, Gazza, for explaining), as was 6a (the only actor that fitted, luckily!). I had no problem with the across anagrams, but 3d is a new phrase for me, which I enjoyed looking up afterwards. 11a was right up my street. I thought plenty of nice clues. 26a and 18d probably my faves today.

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