DT 26989 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26989

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26989

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

I’ve given this puzzle four stars for difficulty because I struggled with the SE corner. This was largely due to my having written in ‘rheostat’ for 19a – it seemed like a good answer at the time and it took me ages to realise the error of my ways. There are some cracking clues here so thanks to Giovanni for a very enjoyable exercise.
If you need to reveal an answer just drag your cursor through the gap between the brackets under the clue; if you’re using a mobile device then there are further hints on how to reveal the answers in the FAQ.

Across Clues

4a  Tory literature produced by agreement (8)
{CONTRACT} – a charade of an abbreviation for Conservative and a pamphlet or leaflet.

8a  Explosive young reporter confronting a queen (6)
{HECUBA} – the wife of King Priam in Greek mythology comes from stringing together a) the abbreviation for high-explosive, b) a young reporter and c) A (from the clue).

9a  Clegg gaining reputation — or Cleggy as that might be? (8)
{NICKNAME} – the forename of the LibDem leader is followed by a synonym for reputation or fame to make what Cleggy might be an example of.

10a  Like many an entrepreneur, feels terribly keen to get stuck in (4-4)
{SELF-MADE} – an anagram (terribly) of FEELS has an informal adjective meaning keen or enthusiastic inserted (stuck in).

11a  Season in which Bury will need width at the start (6)
{WINTER} – bury is falsely capitalised to try to mislead. We want a verb meaning bury preceded (at the start) by W(idth).

12a  View offered by girl interrupting parents (8)
{PANORAMA} – a girl’s name (for example that of Mrs Batty of wrinkled stockings fame) goes between (interrupting) affectionate terms for one’s parents.

13a  A group of violent ravers, exceptionally cross (8)
{TRAVERSE} – cleverly hidden (a group of) in the clue is a verb to cross.

16a  Agreeable Conservative hurrying to embrace maiden (8)
{CHARMING} – the single-character abbreviation for Conservative is followed by a present participle meaning hurrying with the abbreviation for a maiden over in cricket inserted (to embrace).

19a  One may account for current restriction (8)
{RESISTOR} – cryptic definition of something that restricts the flow of electric current (not rheostat!).

21a  A convenience for people doing business (6)
{AGENTS} – if split as (1,5) this could be a public convenience.

23a  Old PM’s forebear not half making a packet? Certainly not! (8)
{PITTANCE} – start with the name of an old Prime Minister (you have the choice of two, an elder and a younger) and add the first half only of a word meaning forebear.

24a  Nonsense about actress Diana being smug (8)
{PRIGGISH} – an old exclamation used to dismiss something as nonsense goes round the surname of the actress who was the sole reason for watching The Avengers in the late sixties.

25a  Stimulate love in an act of deception (6)
{AROUSE} – insert the letter that looks like zero (love, in tennis scoring) into an act of deception (1,4).

26a  Artist‘s kettle? (8)
{WHISTLER} – double definition, the second cryptic. The name of an American-born artist, most famous for his picture of his mother, could also describe a kettle that informs you audibly that the water is boiling.

Down Clues

1d  Observe girl going round northern country (7)
{SENEGAL} – a West African country comes from a verb to observe and a dialect word for a girl with N(orthern) inserted.

2d  Something bright and beautiful in tabloid — female sitting on cow! (9)
{SUNFLOWER} – well it would make a change on page 3! Start with the best-selling (though not in Liverpool) tabloid paper and add F(emale). That precedes (sitting on, in a down clue) a cryptic way of defining a cow, based on the deep sound that it makes.

3d  British granny eating a fruit (6)
{BANANA} – B(ritish) followed by an affectionate name for granny with A inserted (eating).

4d  One taking pictures gets rioter cavorting with champagne (15)
{CINEMATOGRAPHER} – an anagram (cavorting) of RIOTER and CHAMPAGNE.

5d  Habits of those who are buttoned up? (8)
{NECKWEAR} – cryptic definition – habits here are clothes.

6d  Dispute at home after trip in car? (3-2)
{RUN-IN} – an adverb meaning at home follows a trip, normally for pleasure, in a car.

7d  Holidaymakers needing celebratory drink — husband goes out (7)
{CAMPERS} – start with an informal term for a celebratory, bubbly, drink and take out the H(usband).

14d  Why does a dame ultimately look different? It’s the cosmetic (9)
{EYESHADOW} – a very clever anagram (look different) of WHY DOES A and the ultimate letter of (dam)E.

15d  Refuse to go into a filthy place? (8)
{PIGSWILL} – cryptic definition of the kitchen refuse that you might feed to the inhabitants of your sty.

17d  House with good paintings? Here’s original artist (7)
{HOGARTH} – this is a satirical eighteenth-century English artist. String together the abbreviation for house, G(ood), another word for paintings and the first (original) letter of H(ere).

18d  Short introduction to crosswords is found in Chapter 1 (7)
{CONCISE} – the introductory letter of C(rosswords) and IS can be found inside C(hapter) and how you’d spell 1.

20d  Revolutionary regions needing the installation of a governor (6)
{SATRAP} – an old governor or viceroy in Persia comes from reversing (revolutionary) regions or areas and inserting (installing) A.

22d  Drink and dope upset you and me (5)
{NEGUS} – this is a hot drink of port or sherry with sugar, lemon and spice. Reverse (upset) an informal word for dope or information and add a pronoun meaning you and me.

There are a lot of good clues to choose from today, but I’ll pick out 13a, 23a, 14d and 15d. What did it for you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {BILL} + {HEAVING} = {BELIEVING}



60 comments on “DT 26989

  1. I feel your pain on the Rheostat front and I ended up in the same position!. Thanks for the blog and to Giovanni for the puzzle.

  2. i did enjoy this offering, and like Gazza ended up pontificating in the SE corner, also had rheostat in for19a!, until i had the ‘o’ in 18d The old persian governor raised his head again! Thanks to G for a ‘Friday Best’-scored it ***/****.Liked so many of the clues Thanks Gazza for the blog-re 2d, i thought that the’ flower’ bit was simply the ‘nickname’given to a cow-like Daisy- which of course is a flower..

  3. The longest time I have spent on a back-page puzzle for a while. The SE was my problem area as well, and at one point I had 3/4 complete with the last segment totally empty.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    Onto the toughie, although I feel a little weary after finishing this one!

  4. Loads of misdirection in this one, and I blithely fell into most of the traps.

    I did get resistor though, it was second one in, stab in the dark!

    Thanks for the review, needed today.

    Thanks to Giovanni for a brain stretch.

  5. So did I! And it was my second thought, if I’d stayed with my first word I’d”ve been right — oh, well, you can’t win them all!Apart from that I found the SE corner more difficult than the rest put together. Lots of good clues, 23A stands out for me. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza — needed hints for 19A to finish

  6. Well I have just finished this and I have to say it was a challenge. 20d last in. I have to say it was enjoyable though. Couple of quite tricky clues. Not sure 5d works, it makes sense but a bit oblique. Couple of clues I found quite easy but only because they are old chestnuts that the novice would find quite hard, ie dope = gen and cub = reporter.

    Probably as difficult as a back page should be – therefore heading towards***** but I can’t argue with **** enjoyment. Many thanks to all.

  7. I was another rheostat at first making that corner even more difficult ! … ****\***** for me

  8. I started off really well and thought that it was going to be an easy one – changed my mind pretty quickly. The top left corner was my main problem – didn’t get 10a or 1d for ages – don’t quite know why, now. Probably nearly a 4* for difficulty for me and lots for enjoyment.
    I don’t think that I’ve heard of the 22d drink, or if I have it’s one that I’ve forgotten – sounds horrible anyway! As usual I missed the hidden in the middle bit of 13a. I had lots of 2d’s but the ****** muntjacs have eaten them all. :sad:
    I liked 8 and 21a and 2 and 14d – lots of others too.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  9. Thoroughly enjoyed this Friday puzzle. The North west corner was last in for me. I must remember, for future reference, what cows do :D Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  10. As I wrote in rheostat, I thought I wonder how many people will turn up saying they didn’t know that! Turned out we all knew it but had entirely the wrong word! Apart from the SE corner which was difficult enough before putting in the wrong word, there did seem to be quite a lot of stick a letter into another word clues today. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza too – I agree with your star ratings.

    The Toughie is the toughest toughie for some time (probably since the last Notabilis!) It took me twice as long as last week’s Elgar. If you are feeling brave and have a darkened room on standby, give it a go.

    1. Darkened room for the Toughie? How about a darkened padded cell for solving today’s back pager!

  11. Many thanks to Giovanni for a most enjoyable and not overly difficult crossword, and to Gazza for a very entertaining review as usual.

  12. Phew, that took me five hours on and off to complete and only then after some of Gazzas excellent clues. It seems not only do you need a working knowledge of French, German, Latin and Ancient Greek but also a degree of history (9a, 20d, 22d & 23a) to complete a DT crossword. Usually I look forward to Friday but not this week. Much too difficult and abstruse for an enjoyable exercise. Shame!

    1. Some people may think that Nick Clegg (9a) will shortly be history but for the moment I think that he’s firmly in the current affairs camp. :D

  13. Well, I’m back after having been cut off by Clued Up for a while. Thanks again to Big Dave and Gazza for their help. That said, I found this one very difficult and could only do the top half before having to resort to the hints. Was greatly helped by finding the long anagram at 4d early on. I agree there were a lot of good clues and thank G&G for the fun. :-)

  14. Resistor, no problem. If only the rest of the puzzle was that easy. I struggled slowly through the top half and gave up totally on the bottom half.
    Some days I feel I’ve lost all ability to finish a crossword and then I cheer up when Gazza gives it a 4* for difficulty.

  15. It seems I was not alone struggling with the SE corner again putting in rheostat for 19ac didn’t help therefore ****/****

  16. I didn’t fall into the rheostat trap, but was trying to make 21a toilet. At least I was on the right lines. This was the hardest crossword for me in a while. I’d never heard of the governor of Persia!

  17. Crosswords are supposed to be challenging but enjoyable.This does not belong on the back page IMO, far to difficult (well is was for me). How on earth could you solve 5d without the checking letters, ‘habits’ I understood, ‘buttoned up’ (e.g as in tunic) I understood, but how one comes to the answer from that I just don’t comprehend. *****for difficulty and a big zero for enjoyment. I will steer clear of Giovanni in the future. Thanx to Gazza for his review and his pictorial illustrations which provided some enlightenment at least. Note the dearth of comments today, is that a reflection on peoples feelings are are they just otherwise engaged.

    1. I wasn’t too keen on 5d either, but I still thought that this was the best non-Toughie DT puzzle of what has been a pretty good week. There were some excellent clues, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

      After the appearances of Clegg and Nora, I did expect to see Foggy and Compo in there somewhere, but 21a made up for their absence.

    2. Wayne

      Re: the dearth of comments. Very strange as normally people are far more prone to complain than to praise. They must be otherwise engaged.

      I quite enjoyed it – although I needed a few nudges from gazza in the SE corner. I think that Giovanni occasionally likes to “put the boot in”! Today was the day. Thanks G&G!

      1. I think that Giovanni seems to like to put the boot in on roughly alternate weeks – this was one of them! I vaguely remember a comment from him a few weeks ago when he said that he got a bit fed-up with always getting ***/***.

          1. I apologise for being late with a response to this thread, but I do hope that my comments are still read. Having read the link provided by Franco (Giovannis’ comment) I would make the following observations:-
            1. Surely Compilers are required to work to a remit to provide a ‘back page crossword’ not a ‘Toughie’.
            2. Having read Giovannis’ comment it smacks of him taking umbrage at being described as ‘Typical Giovanni’ with only ***/*** ratings so decides occasionally to ‘put the boot in’ (ref Kath and Franco above). Surely if he wishes to demonstrate his egotistical sadistic traits he has ample platforms elsewhere, not on the back page of the Daily Telegraph.
            3. What role does the DT Crossword Editor have? Does he/she not vet crosswords before publication or is the Crossword Editor just a mythical being.
            I repeat my previous observation, crosswords are supposed to be challenging BUT enjoyable.

            1. I am disappointed at the negative response to what was a very good puzzle. Yes, it was a bit trickier than ‘normal’ (which is why I gave it 4* for difficulty) but it did not (IMHO) stray into Toughie territory. Traditionally the back-pager starts off with a pretty gentle puzzle on Monday and then gets gradually harder up to Friday so a slightly harder puzzle on Friday should not come as a great surprise.
              Surely all solvers should welcome the opportunity to be stretched from time to time. I remember when I first learnt to play chess being told that you only get better by playing against stronger opponents; I think the same thing applies to crosswords – you only get to be a better solver by tackling something a bit more challenging from time to time.

            2. Wayne.
              I think that you misread the comment. I think that Mr Manley understands the level of difficulty in all his publications but would like to vary them upon occasion. Personally I think that last week’s was a fun puzzle. It appears that neither the setter nor the solver enjoyed that grid.
              The Crossword Editor is doing a good job in my opinion. I prefer the variety in puzzles from different setters rather than an increase in different setters.

            3. I’m still reading the comments – husband is cooking supper so I have a few spare moments. I really don’t think that this was as difficult as most Toughies – in general I can’t do them and I managed this one – just!! For that reason I think that it belongs quite happily on the back page even if it was more difficult than most. I also think that a bit of “who knows what to expect today’ makes everything more interesting!

  18. Wow, that was hard. Had never heard of 22d. Will have to have one now. Can’t rate the enjoyment that highly either: I only really liked 9a and 26a.

  19. Phew! I’m pleased you gave this one **** Gazza. Didn’t really enjoy it as it made my head hurt !

  20. All went moderately well within my time until the SE corner.
    Then the staring game.
    Then, once Mr. Pitt (Younger or Elder, presume it could be either) in, home and dry.
    Thanks Giovanni for a most enjoyable and witty puzzle, and Gazza.

  21. Sure glad to hear I’m not the only one who feared his already meager solving skills had failed him! Tough puzzle! Incidentally, what does “gen” mean in 22 down? Thanks….

    1. Brad, that’s a useful one to stick in the memory bank, it comes up alot, took me ages to remember….

  22. We also confess to being in the rheostat camp. Agree with the star rating as we found it both challenging and enjoyable. Knew as we were doing it “there will be complaints”. Favourite would be 19a for the misdirection. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  23. Diana Rigg indeed, I didnt do the rheostat thing but just thought Diana Dors!! Thank you both G & G

    1. I thought Diana Dors too, to begin with. A few months ago there was something in our local newspaper about her – whether this is true or not I have no idea. She apparently came from Swindon and was called Diana Fluck at birth. Many years later when she was famous she went to open a church fete in Swindon. The vicar had been fore- warned about her name and was very aware of a potential problem so, when introducing her, he said “I’m very pleased to introduce Diana Dors – some of you may remember her better as Diana Clunt”.

  24. I didn’t fall into the rheostat trap but only because, although I do know it, I already had something in that excluded it. What I did want to say, and should have done earlier, is that when one of our really clever people, Gazza today, makes a mistake I think that it’s great that he admits to it – it gives hope to us lesser mortals! :smile: to you, Gazza.

      1. Interestingly (at least to me), there’s another famous actress in the second half of the solution.

      2. Gazza, that’s a bit unfair, setting crosswords is not my job. But, if I had to, I suppose I’d split up the word into RIG, which is inside an anagram of PIG, and then’s there’s an SH (silence?) at the end. Anything to avoid an obscure proper noun.

  25. I though this more challenging than most Giovanni Fridays. It was one of those where if you solve enough clues, the others fall into place. And if you don’t (and I didn’t) they don’t (and didn’t).

    I racked what’s left of my brains over 23a, but enjoyed the reference when I’d worked it out from the hints – for which many thanks, as ever, Gazza and the team.
    The in-joke is that (as far as I recall from distant O-Level history lessons) Pitt the Younger, when he became Prime Minister, was so concerned at the state of the National Debt, that he refused to take any salary or expenses.

    Couldn’t happen today of course :-)

  26. An excellent puzzle from Giovanni!
    Very many good clues – I particularly liked 2a & 22d.
    When my late wife and I lived in Geneva we used to go to a bar and drink a negus after cinema or theatre visits.
    It was in a warm downstairs room – very cosy in the cold winter months!
    Happy days!

  27. I really dislike this type of crossword, a letter here and there and leave this letter out,.It seems to me the setter couldnt be bothered thinking out proper cryptic clues

    1. una,

      If you don’t like this type of crossword – my advice is that you should try something else on Fridays!

      There are lots of alternatives.

    2. …couldn’t be bothered thinking out proper cryptic clues


      Wow. I wonder what, then, would constitute “proper cryptic clues” ?

      If you don’t like single-letter indicators, you might be well-advised to try The Times crossword. You’d still see Giovanni’s work there, though, as he’s one of the country’s top setters.

      1. wow! I dont like a certain type of crosword and Im told to “former reduced concrete topless toff”(4, 3)

        1. Suggesting that one of the foremost crossword setters in the country “couldn’t be bothered thinking out proper cryptic clues” is not quite the same as saying that one doesn’t like a certain type of crossword.

          1. in my view a proper cryptic clue involves wit and sometimes humour and possibly double definitions and clues that dont require more than normal knowledge and i think your response seems to be very personal and not particularly nice . I have no intention of changing my newspaper buying habits because of your belligerent comments .I continue to believe that a proper cryptic requires far more imagination than single letter clues

            1. I read the Daily Telegraph, daily, and then do both the puzzles. I don’t read the Times, Independent, Guardian or Financial Times but I do solve all their cryptic crosswords on a daily basis, the latter 3 being available free on line and the former sneaked from the head of our organisation’s paper! So basically it is possible to stick to the same daily paper but do all the cryptic crosswords. And before anyone comments, I also have a life too!!

  28. I managed to guess Negus. I suppose it was in the back of my brain somewhere, but I am more familiar with the Arthur variety of Antiques Roadshow fame. A lovely puzzle today with lots to challenge me and no bad clues. Spent a while thinking of Dors instead of Rigg, but got there in the end. Finally resorted to Gazza’s hints with 5 to go. Particularly enjoyed 26a and the long anagram forming the spine of the puzzle. Thanks to G and G.

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