DT 26980 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26980

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26978

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Mr Ron has served up a pretty straightforward dish today but without any d’oh or LOL moments (for me, anyway). Let us know how you got on and what you thought of it.
The answers are concealed between the curly brackets under the clues. If you want to reveal one just highlight the gap between the brackets.

Across Clues

1a  Turn down quantity of Chinese food (3,3)
{DIM SUM} – a verb meaning to turn down the brightness is followed by a quantity or amount.

5a  Save? Sailor has a method (4,4)
{SALT AWAY} – one of the many informal words for a sailor precedes A (from the clue) and a synonym for method.

9a  Vagrant knocked unconscious? (4-3-3)
{DOWN-AND-OUT} – double definition, the second a description of a boxer who’s been ko’ed.

10a  Male, hostile in factory (4)
{MILL} – the abbreviation for male precedes an adjective meaning hostile or malevolent (when prefixed to feeling, for example).

11a  Sense agreement amongst rowing crew (8)
{EYESIGHT} – a word signifying agreement goes inside the number of oarsmen in a full-strength rowing crew.

12a  Shrewd showing sculpted statue (6)
{ASTUTE} – a not very hard to spot anagram (sculpted) of STATUE.

13a  Pretty fine tune (4)
{FAIR} – the abbreviation for fine is followed by a tune or melody.

15a  Diet, terrible at first for army unit (8)
{REGIMENT} – a real old chestnut. A prescribed diet precedes the first letter of T(errible).

18a  Left, sadly, with external injury — a break (4-4)
{HALF-TERM} – an anagram (sadly) of LEFT has around it (with external) a synonym for injury.

19a  Fix dish of food (4)
{STEW} – double definition. This was my last answer because I had it in mind that ‘fix’ was a verb whereas it’s actually being used here as a noun meaning a sticky situation.

21a  Think highly of other side having dropped foremost of strikers (6)
{REVERE} – the other side, i.e. what you see if you turn something over, loses the first letter (foremost) of S(trikers).

23a  Lip in instruments that are blown to make glasses (4-4)
{HORN-RIMS} – a lip or edge goes inside musical instruments that have to be blown.

25a  Cut rolls sent back (4)
{SNUB} – reverse (sent back) rolls or small cakes to make a verb meaning to cut or give someone the cold shoulder.

26a  Like staff serving drinks inside? (6,4)
{BEHIND BARS} – double definition, inside here meaning spending time at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

27a  Spring flower, one seen in fall at Aspen? (8)
{SNOWDROP} – double definition, the first the same spring flower that we had yesterday and the second a cryptic definition of what you might see at Aspen (a well-known ski resort in Colorado). In the surface reading ‘fall’ is autumn, but cryptically it could mean either a routine precipitation from the clouds or a rather more serious avalanche.

28a  Level, holding the Parisian football team (6)
{ELEVEN} – a synonym for level contains the definite article (masculine singular version) used in Paris.

Down Clues

2d  Film director in trailer entered by soldiers (5)
{IVORY} – this is the surname of the American who directed Howards End and The Remains of The Day. A trailing plant contains (entered by) the abbreviation for ordinary soldiers.

3d  Secretary’s initial answer’s to get rid of raised typeface (4,5)
{SANS SERIF} – the initial letter of S(ecretary) is followed by a three-letter abbreviation for answer and the ‘S. Then reverse (raised, in a down clue) a verb meaning to get rid of or sack.

4d  Train myself to straddle a horse (6)
{MANAGE} – the answer here is a verb which originally meant to put a horse through its paces, i.e. train it, although my initial thought was football-related in that the two words are used almost interchangeably (along with a third one, coach) to describe the role of the person in charge of a professional team. The objective form of the pronoun that the setter might use to refer to himself goes round (to straddle) A and an old horse.

5d  Speak bluntly, as gunslingers used to do? (5,4,3,3)
{SHOOT FROM THE HIP} – double definition. Gunslingers traditionally (at least in Westerns) carried their weapons in holsters fixed to a belt around the waist to facilitate a fast draw.

6d  Greatly disturbed about hospital’s apathetic state (8)
{LETHARGY} – an anagram (disturbed) of GREATLY contains H(ospital).

7d  Acknowledge a senior policeman has seized millions over time (5)
{ADMIT} – A precedes the abbreviation for a senior police officer in the CID containing (has seized) the abbreviation for millions. Then all that is followed by (over, in a down clue) T(ime).

8d  Suddenly everyone’s in agreement about leader of council (3,2,4)
{ALL AT ONCE} – start with a synonym for everyone, then add a phrase meaning in agreement (2,3) containing the leading letter of C(ouncil).

14d  Legendary king soon bagged prey on top of mountain (9)
{AGAMEMNON} – this is the name of the king in mythology who commanded the Greek armies in a war against Troy. An archaic adverb meaning soon contains (bagged) wild creatures hunted for sport or food and the top letter of M(ountain).

16d  Contemptible money-grubber’s up to it (9)
{MISERABLE} – a charade of someone not keen to splash out and an adjective meaning competent or up to it.

17d  Be sure about subscriber (8)
{REMEMBER} – this is a verb used to mean be sure or don’t forget, as in ‘It’s going to rain so be sure to bring your umbrella’. A preposition meaning concerning or about is followed by someone who’s paid their subscription and thus belongs to a club or group.

20d  Fruit in orchard’s first row (6)
{ORANGE} – the first letter of O(rchard) is followed by a row (of mountains, perhaps).

22d  Joint, minutes from Tobermory, perhaps, heading north (5)
{ELBOW} – Tobermory is just one (indicated by perhaps) of the eco-friendly fictional characters who live on Wimbledon Common. Remove the M (minutes) from the name and then reverse what’s left (heading north, in a down clue).

24d  Inspector getting extra drop of Scotch in (5)
{MORSE} – a word meaning extra or additional has the first letter (drop) of S(cotch) inserted.

The clue I liked best was 5d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {MARE} + {ELAND} = {MARYLAND}

 

 

52 comments on “DT 26980

  1. Morning Gazza, well I’m only haf way through this and I already have to disagree with the two star rating, at least three star for me so far, have to go out now, not enjoying this one, so I may or may not get back to it later, good luck everyone :-)

    1. Again we are in full agreement. I do wish the ‘experts’ who give their opinion on the difficulty rating would understand that they have a very much higher level of expertise than the average reader. It is very discouraging to try hard to get through a tricky offering such as this to be told that it’s “only” a two star.
      Having said that I did enjoy this one when I finally completed it. Still not sure i understand save in 5a and never heard of the director in 2d. Best clue for me was 5d.
      PS just realised that I had sale for salt in 5a, now it makes sense!

      1. 2d Merchant IVORY – so you’ve never seen Room with a View, Howards End, Remains of the Day….?
        5a Save or store for future use – figuratively preserve in salt – but usually refers to saving money.

        Next time you are in a bookshop – can I highly recommend you purchase a copy of Brewer’s Phrase and Fable. Apart from being a really fascinating read on a rainy day, it does answer all those ‘why is such and such phrase…’ questions.

        Oh and we may or may not have a higher level of expertise but we also have many many many years of practice .

      2. Brian

        By all means say how difficult you personally find it, but I’m tired of your constant sniping at the so-called experts who freely give up a lot of their time to provide the hints on this blog and are as entitled to their own view of the difficulty of a puzzle as you are.

        1. hear hear. And may I add my thanks about not using solving times, they don’t matter. I dread to think how quickly you experienced bloggers do them , I use a difficulty rating based on my own ability, and nearly always agree with you all. And if I learn a new word along the way so much merrier the journey…

  2. Straightforward crossword today,was on the wavelenght and give it */***.Liked 22d when the penny dropped on Tobermorey. Thanks Gazza for the 5d illustration, i was thinking of Jesse James!

  3. Pretty much agree with the rating. Reckon you liked 5d for picture opportunity Gazza. Our favourites 26a, 14d and best of all,with our friends from long ago in the clue, 22d. Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  4. I agree this was pretty straightforward. I didn’t need your hints for once but thank you for explaining the wordplay. On 1d I have never come across RO as an abbreviation for ordinary soldiers before: I’ve always seen RA or RE.

  5. For me this was one of the easiest in recent weeks although it took a while to work out why the answer to 22d was related to Tobermory.

  6. Well I thought it was a bit harder than others. 3* for me. Thought there were some very nice clues 11 & especially 22 my favourites.

    Thanks to both.

  7. No particular favourites, but no complaints either.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.
    Not well acquainted with the director pictured in 2d, but my first thought was I was looking at ‘The Equaliser’ :)

  8. Straightforward enough today although I did need your explanation for 22d. 2*/3* for me today. Favs 5d & 22a. Thanks to setter & to Gazza.

  9. I quite enjoyed this one and found most of it fairly straightforward. I got into a bit of a pickle with the last few. In general I agree with Gazza’s rating although I would probably give it an extra * for enjoyment.
    I’ve never heard of the 2d film director. I thought about “cook” for 19a until I got 8d, and then couldn’t do 19a for ages. 18 and 23a and 3 and 17d, plus the previously mentioned 19a, took me the longest.
    I liked 9 and 26a and 5 and 14d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza. Whenever I see a picture of the wonderful John Thaw it makes my cry. :sad:

  10. 1*/3* for me. No problems and no particular favourites either, thank you Mr Ron and Gazza.

    The Toughie doesn’t take that long either, particularly if you write the letters so you can read them – although currently with functioning vision in only one eye, I wasn’t helped by my ‘scribble’.

    There is also a lovely Paul in today’s Graun.

    1. Please forgive me but i’m afraid i must disagree with you on both counts. Struggled no end with this one, for me the hardest in ages. As for the Toughie the bottom half straightforward (asToughies go for me) the top however may as well be in japanese. A bad day so far, will persevere though.

      1. Sorry Gazza, I havn’t read your hints yet. I try to do the crossword first before giving in and looking for help. That way I push myself to improve

    1. Mysteron collywobs is Mr Ron i.e. when we don’t know who set the puzzle we say it’s by a Mysteron now shortened to Mr Ron :-)

  11. Just had to finish this as it’s been bugging me but needed lots of help off Gazza, I don’t know why, unlike most of you so far, I found this difficult and just couldn’t get on the right wavelength, I didn’t like it on so many levels but can’t quite say why, however I did like 8d, just started raining off across the road for pub grub with two good friends :-) , hope the fire’s lit in the bar

      1. You’re certainly right about that! Have a nice time and hope the fire is going. We’re going to light ours this evening for the first time this Autumn having had the chimney swept this morning.

  12. I had more time before work than usual to tackle this, which might explain why I almost cracked it. Stumped by 26 across, not helped by the fact I didn’t have the first letter because I also didn’t get 17d (member = subscriber, really?). 2d also took ages – proper nouns, the curse of the crossword. Otherwise quite satisfying.
    Re. yesterday’s theme of limericks, particularly ones that subvert the style, my favourite is:
    There was a young poet called Hines,
    Who wrote limericks with the usual five lines,
    Until a change in the law
    Made the maximum four.

  13. thanks to both.
    Found this hard – struggled with the south west corner more than a little. Got 22d from the definition, but struggled with the wordplay. Spent a little while looking at an atlas until I gave up and came here!

  14. I’ve been on a bit of a dry spell with the DT crosswords recently but I slid through this one like Yaya Toure through a defensive midfield. Half a pint from beginning to end.

    Strangely enough the first one in was 22D which either says something about my age (50 next week) or the beer here.

  15. I have to agree with most if the comments posted, pretty straightforward clues but more enjoyable than ** surely. At least *** from me. 22d being my favourite. Thanks to all.

  16. Thanks to the Mysteron & to Gazza for the review & hints. Got stuck on 16d & 19a,but got them from the hints. Started with 1a, finished with 17d. Favourites were 5a & 22d. Weather better down South than up North, hope it soon abates.

  17. Just finished. I found it a bit of a struggle but managed to finish on my own but with some references to Gassas’ hints to establish rationale for which thanks Gazza and also to somebody new who I have met – Mr. Man, sorry Mr. Ron

  18. Honest Guv, the right answers just popped out with barely reading the clue.
    Except 1a – was sure it should be dip sum which is also a Chineses food.
    Nice bit of diversion there.

  19. Finally finished with hints from Gazza – thank you and to Mr Ron. Enjoyed a lovely evening at Swinton Park N. Yorks last night with Mrs SW and an old friend. We got started on the puzzle over breakfast and finished the top half but then had the task of finding a road that was still open to get us back to S. Lancs. After several U turns due to swirling torrents crossing roads we finally got down to Harrogate and made it back over the Penines from there. The flooding is dreadful in Yorshire. Having got home I thought I would try and finish the puzzle – no chance, brain out of action – waterlogged ! So hints needed to get going again.

  20. I wasn’t on the right wavelength today. 17d seems a bit of a stretch to me. I didn’t get 2d, but surprised how many people have not heard of Merchant Ivory – surely one of the most successful partnerships in British movies of recent years. 26a is a nice clue, but I just couldn’t get it. 27a has come up in another puzzle, quite recently, hasn’t it? I twigged the answer straightaway, thanks to seeing it a couple of weeks ago. Totally stuck on SE corner. Kicking myself now, of course. Thanks Gazza for putting me out of my misery! Off to bed now after a great show at Radio City Music Hall this evening.

  21. well i really liked it even though i had to wait 24 hours to complete it, for reasons i dont think anybody is interested in. please have more of this type of crossword !

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