DT 26054 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26054

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26054

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Libellule was due to review this puzzle, but he is unable to get on-line at the moment, so I’ve taken it on at short notice – hence the late posting, for which I apologise.

This one is certainly easier than yesterday’s, but it still has one new word and one new meaning for me. The answers as usual are hidden inside the curly brackets – just highlight the white space inside to reveal all.

All comments are welcome.

Across Clues

1a  Gives permission for bit of bridge needing impressions (6-6)
{RUBBER-STAMPS} – put together RUBBER (hands of bridge) and STAMPS (impressions) to get a term meaning gives permission in an automatic way.

8a  The best company at producing cold weather gear (7)
{TOPCOAT} – a charade of TOP (the best), CO(mpany) and AT produce a winter garment.

9a  Staked one million pounds initially on bad deal (7)
{IMPALED} – put I (one) and MP (initial letters of Million Pounds) in front of (on, even though this is not a down clue!) an anagram (bad) of DEAL to get a word meaning staked or transfixed.

11a  Went first for such a voter (7)
{LEFTIST} – put together LEFT (went) and IST (1st, first) to make someone who has radical political views.

12a  Sales talk about a new implant for canine (7)
{SPANIEL} – sales talk is SPIEL – put (implant) A N(ew) inside to get a type of dog.

13a  Gallery welcomes head of state’s experience (5)
{TASTE} – gallery in crosswordland is usually TATE – put the first letter (head) of State inside.

14a  A pick-me-up given to pet in such a fitful state (9)
{CATATONIC} – put A TONIC (a pick-me-up) after CAT (pet) to get a description of someone suffering from a type of schizophrenia.

16a  One has difficulty talking — just runs onto broken mast (9)
{STAMMERER} – start with an anagram (broken) of MAST and add MERE (just) and R (runs).

19a  Downgrade potential for including storage facility (5)
{DEPOT} – hidden (including) in downgraDE POTential is a storage facility.

21a  Old Testament greeting from Shakespearean character (7)
{OTHELLO} – put together OT (Old Testament) and HELLO (greeting).

23a  Makes use of plans by the compiler making a comeback (7)
{EMPLOYS} – the compiler is ME – reverse it (making a comeback) and add PLOYS (plans) to get a verb meaning makes use of.

24a  Talk of attempt with engineers in galley (7)
{TRIREME} – a sound-alike (talk of) TRY (attempt) is TRI – add REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) and you have a galley with three banks of oars.

25a  Eloquent letters, no question, making an explosive mixture (7)
{TOLUENE} – an anagram (letters) of ELO(q)UENT (without the Q – no question) produces another name for methyl benzene, a colourless flammable liquid.

26a  Robbery at poor grandma’s bash (5-3-4)
{SMASH-AND-GRAB} – an anagram (poor) of GRANDMA’S BASH leads to a form of robbery.

Down Clues

1d  Swindles tearaways? (3-4)
{RIP-OFFS} – double definition, the first a slang term for swindles, the second a cryptic description of strips that can easily be removed to facilitate opening something.

2d  Merit award accepted by one marrying a dull person (7)
{BROMIDE} – I never knew that this word could mean a dull person – put OM (Order of Merit, award) inside BRIDE (one marrying).

3d  Transport that’s inherited? (6,3)
{ESTATE CAR} – cryptic definition of a vehicle with a large carrying area behind the seats.

4d  Turns, beginning to show legs (5)
{SPINS} – put together S (first letter of Show) and PINS (legs).

5d  A tar containing a measure of acidity? (7)
{ASPHALT} – a nice all-in-one clue – put A SALT (a tar, a sailor) around PH (measure of acidity) to get a mixture used to pave the roads.

6d  Back seat taken by individual working to support contraceptive (7)
{PILLION} – place I (one) and ON (working) after (to support, in a down clue) PILL (contraceptive) to get the back seat of a motor-bike.

7d  Physical outcome for which runners pay (8,4)
{ATHLETES FOOT} – a partial all-in-one – this physical condition is constructed from ATHLETES (runners) and FOOT (pay, as in foot the bill).

10d  Retail outlet’s scales need it badly (12)
{DELICATESSEN} – an anagram (badly) of SCALES NEED IT leads to a type of retail outlet.

15d  Worried editor supporting people in wrong (9)
{TORMENTED} – a synonym for worried is constructed by putting ED (editor) after (supporting, in a down clue) MEN (people) inside TORT (wrong).

17d  Disbelief at seeing he is taken in by cash machine (7)
{ATHEISM} – put HE IS inside ATM (cash machine) to get a lack of belief in the supernatural. John Buchan wrote “an atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support”.

18d  Trainees in lifting steam hammers (7)
{MALLETS} – reverse (lifting) STEAM and put LL (learners, hence trainees) inside to get types of hammer.

19d  Scientist’s very quiet investment in state benefit initially rewarded (7)
{DOPPLER} – the name of the Austrian physicist who had an Effect named after him is formed by putting PP (pianissimo, very quiet) inside DOLE (state benefit) and adding the first letter (initially) of Rewarded.

20d  Saw wanderer in borders of Punjab (7)
{PROVERB} – this word meaning a maxim (saw) is made by putting ROVER (wanderer) inside the outer letters of PunjaB.

22d  Write up a report reviewing stage performance (5)
{OPERA} – hidden (reviewing) and backwards (write up) inside A REPOrt is a production that may be put on stage. I’m not totally convinced that I’ve got the indicators for hidden and backwards correctly assigned here!

The clues I liked included 26a and 6d, but my clue of the day is 5d. How about you? – leave us a comment with your views.

38 comments on “DT 26054

  1. Agree with 5d as favourite.
    I understood 2d since it was traditionally used as a sedative. Wiktionary gives a definition of A dull person with conventional thoughts.

    Not too much trouble today, I also liked 20d as it reminded me of another meaning of ‘saw’

  2. Enjoyable fare for today’s puzzle. A little bit of a scientific bent in some of the solutions and clues. I too learned a new meaning for bromide. I agree with you that 5d was one of the best clues though I also liked 17d.

    Harking back to yesterday’s cryptic, it was nice to see a printed apology for the incorrect clue to 6a.

  3. OK – I have decided my brain is wired differently. I found yesterday’s a lot more straight forward and easier than today’s. Had to resort to your hints a couple of times and I prefer to check afterwards.

    Thanks for the help

  4. Nice to have a decent crossword after yesterday’s horror!

    12a. Thought the use of both “about” and “implant” was unnecessary.

    Another day not wasted, as I learned a new word: “toluene”. Also, new meaning of “bromide”.

    This reminded me of the story of the two Chelsea Pensioners, Alf & Bert, sitting on a park bench:

    Alf: “Remember that stuff they used to put in our tea, when we were in the trenches, Bert?”
    Bert: “Yes, what about it?”
    Alf: “I think it’s starting to work!”

    I thought the best clue was 18d.

    1. I wasn’t so impressed with Toluene (methylbenzene is its standard name) as a definition of ‘explosive mixture’ since it is not explosive. It is flammable and used as a general purpose solvent for organic chemicals.
      Tri-Nitro Toluene (TNT), on the other hand, is very explosive.

      1. Time and time again I see setters and TV presenters using scientific and engineering terms incorrectly. For example, you don’t put a voltage through something, you put it across it – the resulting current flows through it.

        Perhaps science clues should be passed to reviewers before they’re allowed to be published? ;)

      2. I thought that, on its own, was not was not explosive, but as I’ve just come across the word, didn’t feel qualified to comment.

        1. I was trying to post a couple of links to the relevant structures of Toluene & TNT for comparison but I guess that I cannot paste links here!

          1. The important thing is links in the plural.

            You can post a single link, but if you include two or more you get intercepted by the spam filter (from which I have rescued it). If you saw most of the stuff that it intercepts you would understand why.

  5. I think there must be something about sitting in a dentist’s waiting room that gives added vim to the brain cells. I rattled through this in a ridiculously short time, with little hesitation and no crossing-out.

    Tomorrow I will doubtless be back to my usual fumbling self until the next appointment comes around!

  6. Having not started until 2.30 I am quite pleased to have finished but must admit to not getting 5d or 25a without your help, didn’t like 7d favourite 12a, thanks once again Gazza :), don’t think i will attempt the toughie today!!

  7. I have been trying for some months now to finish this before my train reaches it’s station. I’ve come close on several occasions but today I finished it with a couple of stops to spare. I know we don’t like to advertise our completion times here so I won’t mention where I get the train to and from; Suffice it to say I’m feeling rather pleased – even if you do rate it only 2 stars. My next goal is to finish the whole week without help. I’ll report back in a year ;-p

  8. when I started doing these in May my aim was to just finish one no matter how long it took!
    now I am finishing them on a regular basis fairly quickly for me but not without lots of help from my Chambers dictioanry and sometimes the blog which I have found invaluable :) but I still cannot see myself ever completing one without this help i must admit I am just not clever enough :(

    1. mary
      I wouldn’t worry about using Chambers or any other reference works to assist, and certainly don’t let their use make you think you haven’t completed a puzzle. I use Chambers all the time – I’d never heard of Toluene before today, nor did I know that bromide meant a dull person. I don’t consider that to be cheating any more than I used to think it was cheating to look at the picture on the front of the box when trying to do a jigsaw puzzle.

    2. Don’t worry Mary, crossword solutions have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with experience! It’s just a question of learning the language something I am still trying to do.

    3. if you are really struggling go to http://www.crosswordsolver.org. I think that is cheating but useful when you come to a grinding halt and have given up any hope of completing it yourself. You only get a list of possible words that fit so it doesn’t seem as cheaty (look that up in Chambers!) as looking at Big Dave’s Hints page!

    4. Five months! You’re doing incredibly well. My grandmother did the telegraph crossword for about sixty years and finished one or two a year. My grandfather was happy if he understood one or two answers.

  9. Not a bad effort today but would agree 25a is just plain wrong as is 2d. Took me ages to get 19d but can see it now.
    It is an old bugbear of mine that science is extensively misused in crosswords and all of which place far too heavy an emphasis on religious themes although thankfully we have been spared those recently.

    1. Barrie

      2d isn’t wrong, it just uses a meaning of the word that most of us have not encountered before. The wordplay is so obvious that all you have to do is derive an answer and look it up in Chambers where you will find:

      Bromide (noun)

      * a salt of hydrobromic acid, HBr
      * a platitude
      * a dull platitudinous person (from the use of bromides as sedatives)
      * a type of monochrome photographic print, loosely applied to other types

      1. Dave,
        Chambers online dictionery defines bromide as follows:
        bromide noun 1 chem any chemical compound that is a salt of hydrobromic acid, including various compounds used medicinally as sedatives, and silver bromide, which is used to coat photographic film. 2 rather formal or old use a much-used and now meaningless statement or phrase; a platitude.
        ETYMOLOGY: 19c: bromine + -ide.

        No mention at all of a dull person.

        1. Barrie
          If you look Bromide up in the latest edition of Chambers (11th) you will find the definition exactly as Big Dave has given it above, with the third meaning being “a dull platitudinous person”.

        2. There are two versions of Chambers online – the free one and the subscription version. The latter is an almost exact replica of Chambers 11th edition, which is the dictionary against which nearly all Telegraph clues are checked prior to publication.

  10. Struggled a bit today (but not as bad as yesterday which I gave up on!) 20d never heard of “saw” used in this way. 15d was a bit complicated! Never heard of 24a. 7d was clever, liked 17d, 18d, 19d, 5d, 3d. Some good clues all in all. Got 16a but couldn’t see why. 10d was a good anagram. I liked this as it gave you a chance to get going but left you some to struggle all day over!

  11. It looks as of my internet connection has been revived, so with a bit of luck (and after a conversation with gazza) I will be blogging Giovanni’s crossword tomorrow.

  12. Enjoyed this today. Made the old grey matter whirl and refreshed an old brain on one or two alternative usages of words.

    Do how ever agree that toluene is a somewhat dubious use of the word.

    Enjoyed 14a.

  13. This week is a bit up and down for me Tuesday’s I sailed through, yesterday gave me a lot of trouble then
    today’s i found fairly easy
    even though i didn’t know that meaning for 2d the answer was obvious. I had to wait until i got home to check in the dictionary though
    25a which was again fairly easy to work out is definitely the poorest clue as toluene as said above doesn’t go bang until you mix it with other stuff

    1. I’m very impressed that so many of our correspondents have not only heard of Toluene (which I hadn’t) but actually understand its properties.

      1. Failed Chemist, mate!.
        Did the Uni thing but am now a Building Management System/Controls eng. The Grammar School education with Latin, French, Maths and English really helps with crosswords.

        I firmly believe that you need to be an ‘All Rounder’ to be consistent on crosswords – like the old school Polymath – and have a head for (otherwise) unnecessary trivia.

  14. Like with some of you i managed to finish todays with just a little help from my trusted thesaurus and of course the backup of this site. I don’t consider it cheating as we are only competing against ourselves and maybe the compiler. Feel ashamed to admit that 21a took me a little while longer than it should have. :oops:

  15. I found yesterday’s puzzle much easier than today’s. It was the first one I have finished without help for a long time. But I had heard of toluene and that definition of bromide. Thanks again for the help.

  16. Interesting comment Ann (above) because I found today’s far easier than yesterday’s. Skipped through it fairly easily although was foxed by 5d and did not think that “bromide” was a dull person. Like 8a best of all. An enjoyable commute home as a result.

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