DT 26998 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26998

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26998

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I thought that this puzzle was fairly nondescript on the whole (with rather too many anagrams) but was rescued by a few good clues. I’d value your opinions.
If you want to see an answer you need to highlight the gap between the curly brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Love to paddle back large boat (7)
{WORSHIP} – reverse (back) a verb to paddle or scull and add a large boat.

5a  What cricketers might do, say? (7)
{DECLARE} – double definition. The clue would work better with ‘cricket captain’ rather than cricketers.

9a  More annoyed from breaking earring (7)
{ANGRIER} – an anagram (breaking) of EARRING.

10a  Soldier returned: no communist’s overlooked (7)
{IGNORED} – reverse (returned) the abbreviation for a US non-commissioned soldier then add NO (from the clue) and an informal term for a communist.

11a  Steel smashed policeman by bottom of bridge — it might make one see stars! (9)
{TELESCOPE} – an anagram (smashed) of STEEL is followed by a slang term for a policeman and the last letter (bottom) of (bridg)E. I don’t suppose the setter had her in mind but I couldn’t help thinking of the wonderfully libidinous DI Steel in the crime novels of Stuart MacBride.

12a  Private meal with no starter (5)
{INNER} – one of the main meals of the day without its initial (starter) letter.

13a  Cart reversing by small enclosed spaces (5)
{YARDS} – reverse the type of cart used to deliver beer and add S(mall).

15a  Right inside a chimney, uprooted plant (9)
{MACHINERY} – an anagram (uprooted) of A CHIMNEY has R(ight) inserted.

17a  One who gives orders, upset nerd (9)
{COMMANDER} – it’s often best to ignore the punctuation in a clue, but not in this case. The last bit of the answer comes from an anagram (upset) of NERD.

19a  Bottle never drunk (5)
{NERVE} – an anagram (drunk) of NEVER.

22a  A minor prize (5)
{AWARD} – A is followed by a minor or young person under the care of a guardian.

23a  Got together and strolled around Sussex regularly (9)
{ASSEMBLED} – a verb meaning strolled or sauntered goes round the odd (regularly) letters of Sussex.

25a  Pale, one doesn’t take part in battle (7)
{NEUTRAL} – double definition, the first a description of a colour which is pale or nondescript.

26a  Scoffing servicemen get old in dispatch (7)
{MESSAGE} – start with a word for a number of servicemen eating together (and the place where they do it) and add a verb meaning to get old.

27a  What brides might put on grooms (7)
{DRESSES} – double definition, the first a noun and the second a verb.

28a  Regret impertinent talk about heads of department needing education (7)
{SADNESS} – a North American informal word for impertinent talk or cheek contains the leading letters (heads) of the last three words of the clue.

Down Clues

1d  Loaded rifles the law destroy in the end (7)
{WEALTHY} – an anagram (rifles, presumably in the sense of ransacks) of THE LAW is followed by the end letter of (destro)Y.

2d  Soldier‘s uniform (7)
{REGULAR} – double definition.

3d  Awful rash around centre of his whiskers (5)
{HAIRS} – an anagram (awful) of RASH contains the central letter of (h)I(s).

4d  Put on knitted jumper for media (9)
{PERFORMED} – hidden (knitted) in the clue. The master of the hidden word, our Sunday setter, would have been happy with this one.

5d  Rubbish left out where car is parked, perhaps (5)
{DRIVE} – a word meaning rubbish or nonsense loses its final L(eft).

6d  Prisoner I’d picked up bashed into shape (9)
{CONDITION} – a slang term for prisoner is followed by a reversal (picked up, in a down clue) of I’D and then an anagram (bashed) of INTO.

7d  A teacher’s last selection for class (7)
{ARRANGE} – in the surface class is a noun but as the definition it’s a verb meaning to organise into classes. String together A (from the clue), the last letter of (teache)R and a synonym for selection or repertoire.

8d  Old tree lay hollowed-out (7)
{ELDERLY} – a type of tree is followed by L(a)Y without its middle bit (hollowed-out).

14d  Dad’s rants breaking protocol (9)
{STANDARDS} – an anagram (breaking) of DAD’S RANTS.

16d  Noel Edmonds finally involved in its March broadcast (9)
{CHRISTMAS} – oh no! and it’s only mid-October. The final letter of (Edmond)S is inserted in an anagram (broadcast) of ITS MARCH. For the benefit of non-UK residents Noel Edmonds is a TV personality who, most of us hoped, had been put out to grass years ago but who has unaccountably staged a revival.

17d  Bound criminal in each dungeon, initially (7)
{CHAINED} – an anagram (criminal) of IN EACH is followed by the initial letter of D(ungeon).

18d  This compiler has a certain restraint (7)
{MEASURE} – start with how Mr Ron (this compiler) would refer to himself, then add A and a synonym for certain.

20d  Free album, for example (7)
{RELEASE} – double definition.

21d  Everlasting conclusions about the French (7)
{ENDLESS} – put a word meaning conclusions or terminations round the French definite article (plural version).

23d  It shows you places a sailor’s turned up (5)
{ATLAS} – A (from the clue) is followed by the reversal (turned up) of an informal word for a sailor.

24d  Entertained without a thought (5)
{MUSED} – a verb meaning entertained (in the way that Queen Victoria seldom was) loses its initial A.

The clues that took my fancy today were 17a, 4d and 8d. What did it for you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {WRITER} + {WEIGH} = {RIGHT AWAY}

59 comments on “DT 26998

  1. I got 17a almost straight away, but i’m not sure that i like it!
    Most of this went in ok, with a slight delay on a couple in the top right (5a, and 7d).
    2.5* on both counts for me.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

  2. Morning Gazza, I think I agree with your comments about this puzzle, I actually managed all but 1d without any help today, just couldn’t see that one, I think it’s the first time I’ve come across using the actual punctuation mark in a clue, although I had the answer I just didn’t know how the first 5 letters worked! clues I liked were 6d, 7d and 20d, thanks for hints and explainations :-)

    1. I also didn’t see 4d until I read your hint above, I just thought it was ‘for’ inside ‘permed’ which didn’t quite seem right, would never have thought of ‘knitted’ as an inclusive indicator

        1. The answer is, should you need it, in Chambers:

          Release (noun)

          A film, video, record or other recording made available for sale by its production company (esp as new release)

          “album, for example” indicates that an album or record is an example of a release.

  3. Just wanted to say that I have been following this blog for ages but I am Canadian and do the Telegraph puzzle in the National Post. The problem is that there is a 2 month delay so right now we are getting the August puzzles. But I am in London for a week so am enjoying your comments in real time! Have been doing cryptics for many years but always appreciate your help with the word play. I also appreciate the encouraging and non competitive tone of everyone on this blog! Thanks again.

      1. Hi Gazza
        I do read Falcon’s blog and then he redirects to your blog for the finer details of the puzzle. I guess I could get it online but I like to do it in the newspaper. There is no rational reason for this!

    1. Hi Catherine, welcome to the UK. Talking of words, one of your compatriots made it to the final of “Countdown” last week (it’s a words and numbers game on TV). She lives in the UK though. Been to Canada several times – lovely country.

      1. We are heading back to Ottawa tomorrow after a great week. May have to start doing the puzzle online now though. It would seem strange to go back to the 2 month delay!

    2. Hi Catherine. We relate to your position. We had been doing the puzzles out of the local NZ paper for ages and following the blog 1-2 months later. We changed to getting it on line a couple of months ago. The weekly cost (with a 12 mth sub) is less than the cost of one day’s paper! Added bonus is that you also get access to the Toughie and can contribute in real time to this great blog. Hope to hear more from you. Cheers.

  4. | agree with **/*** today,i only gave yesterdays */***.Must admit i struggled to work out the comma bit of 17a thanks to Gazza ,as he says it’s usually better to ignore the punctuation! Some clever clues, liked 16d.Can’t equate the solution to 18d with restraint,not a synonym in collins. Anyway an enjoyable start to the day.

  5. Not too difficult but not very inspiring either. Re 16d, he is a lot better if you are in the audience than he comes over on TV. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  6. I seem to be a bit out on a limb today – I REALLY enjoyed this one. I think I would probably give it 3* for difficulty but almost 5* for enjoyment.
    I didn’t see the hidden in the middle bit of 4d for ages and was thinking more garden than factory for the plant in 15a. I spent a while trying to justify ‘decrease’ for 5a (I have at least learnt that crease is something to do with cricket!) but got there in the end. I think that a lot of the anagrams were pretty well disguised.
    I get in a muddle when a clue tells us to use a word ‘regularly’ – I may be being dim about this but to me the regular bits of ‘Sussex’ are the second, fourth and sixth letters and the ones that we needed were ‘irregular’. Just a thought . . .
    I liked lots of the clues today – 11 and 27a and 3, 4 and 8d. My real favourite was 17a.
    With thanks to today’s Mr Ron and Gazza.

    1. I’m with you. I thought it was quite straightforward but entertaining. Certainly more fun than yesterday.


    2. . . . I think I was getting it mixed up with even and uneven – now I really am going to shut up and go away! :roll:

  7. Thank you setter and Gazza for the review. Thought 1d good and 4d well disguised. Liked the well equipped bride at 17a !

  8. Think I’d agree with your opinion Gazza, a few good clues. I thought the hidden word was a real gem, very nicely hidden.

    1. I thought it was really well hidden too external but how does knitted mean hidden? Knitted I suppose could mean the three words together but I still don’t see it?

        1. Put on knitted jumper for media

          yes so a word meaning ‘put on’ joined together the phrase ‘jumper for media’. Hidden word clues can often be only to obvious, but I thought this one was fair and inventive

  9. Agree with Jezza 2.5/2.5* thanks to Mysteron and Gazza too.

    The toughie took me exactly the same time to solve as the back pager.

  10. Whilst I hesitate to ask, as I’m sure the explanation will be really obvious, I just don’t understand the ‘comma’ bit of 17A. Also surprised that there is only one further comment about the personality featured in 16D – or maybe Gazza said it all!

    I’ve just suddenly realised the ‘comma’ bit … d’oh !!!

  11. 2 black sheeps and a bacon and egg sandwich down at the Plough. Very pleasant – as was the crossword.

  12. Finished but not all that for me. Too many anagrams and bitty clues for my taste.could have kicked myself once again missing criminal as an anagram indicator, got a mental block with that. Don’t get album in 20d, btw could I make a plea to those splendid people who do the clues not to just put double definition, we can see that but it doesn’t get you any further. Thx

    1. Brian,

      There’s a fine line between giving a hint and spelling out the answer. With some double definitions I do give a bit more of a hint (e.g. 5a/25a/27a). For others, especially now that we’re underlining the two definitions, I think that it’s enough of a hint to identify that it’s a double definition rather than a cryptic definition, an anagram or whatever.

  13. after yesterdays very satisfactory (and first )more or less completely solved puzzle, today was a disaster!Feeling wretched.I hope Wednesdays suits me better.

    1. Stop it right there, no need to feel wretched, I’m very much a newbie to Cryptics as compared to the great people on this site who are here to help, not patronise or take the proverbial. Keep at it, keep commenting, more importantly keep learning. We all started somewhere, and I started in a fog of blank squares only a few years ago. Andy

  14. Agree with the ratings. Favourite was 17a. What a novel way to disguise the answer. Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  15. in my distress, forgot my manners, thank you Gazza for pointing out what should have been obvious, and Mr Ron,

    1. Dear Una, please don’t be distressed. Cryptic crosswords are definitely one of those learning curve things, with the added extra of having to get on a particular setter’s wavelength. Do you solve as much as you can, and then put the paper down for an hour or so? as it is surprising how much your subconscious works on the puzzle while you are thinking of other things. Another thing that might help is to get as far as you can, and then look at the hints for the acrosses and fill in a few more. Turn of the blog and then have another go at the downs.

      Just remember we are all here to help with the perservation. When gazza and I started (and other bloggers too) we just had the newspaper version, solved what we could and then returned the next day to look at the solutions and see if we could work out the wordplay, and you won’t be surprised to learn that quite often we couldn’t :)

      Tomorrow is another day ‘ as Scarlett O’Hara once said.

      1. dear crypticsue,thanks for the advice which I will endeavour to follow. Getting on the wavelength is the thing.
        Glad you didnt reply “Frankly I dont give a damn !”

  16. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review & hints. Agree with Gazza’s star rating. No real problems. Favourites were 1&13a and 16&24d, then after I read the hints, thought that 17a was the best. Yes, I wondered where comma came from :-) Penny drop moment with 5d. Nice bright, but windy day in Central London. On to the Toughie.

  17. Wed Jan 2
    As one of my resolutions I resolved to thank Big Dave for his help . . . I get the Daily Telegraph cryptics in the National Post, and do them faithfully when I am in Bristol a couple of times a year. One observation – I can start each cryptic in the evening, and have little luck – but when I awaken at 5-5:30 a.m. I sail right through most of the clues I couldn’t comprehend in the evening!
    Nearly -30 C in little Matheson, Ontario, this morning – but it beats the rain my family in bristol have been suffering through.
    One other observation – as a long-time journalist, author, publisher etc – I have observed that the community newspapers in the UK are everything community newspapers should be – I am increasingly embarrassed by Sun Media’s damage to the canadian newspaper industry.
    Happy New Year Big Dave – thanks for your blogs.

    1. Hi Richard – welcome to the blog. Let your New Year Resolution be to comment more.

      Do you read Falcon’s blog on the ex-Telegraph puzzles in the National Post?

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