DT 26221 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26221

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26221

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

A run-of-the-mill puzzle from Thursday’s mystery setter. Comparatively easy, and lacking in inspiration – let me know if you feel differently.

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9a    Unproductive female’s lost grant (5)
{ALLOW} – take a word meaning unproductive, in the agricultural sense, and drop (lost) the F(emale) to get a word meaning to grant

10a    Clergyman and a ruler in conflict (5,4)
{RURAL DEAN} – a clergyman who, under the bishop, has the special care and inspection of the clergy in certain parishes is an anagram (in conflict) of AND A RULER

11a    Possible reason attempt to secure TT is dashed? (3,4)
{PIT STOP} – one of those semi all-in-one clues – a possible reason why a motor cycle race is lost is built up from POP (attempt, as in have a pop at) around (to secure) an anagram (dashed) of TT IS

12a    Opening bars to Italian anthem (7)
{INTROIT} – a charade of the opening bars of a jazz or popular music piece and IT(alian) give the anthem sung at the beginning of Mass

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Start clearing away a meal (5)
{LUNCH} – take a word meaning to start, as in to start a campaign, and then remove (clearing away) A to get a midday meal

14a    Fool’s heartless gibe about one aide (9)
{ASSISTANT} – take this fool with long ears, the ‘S and a gibe without its middle letter (heartless) and place it around I (one) to get an aide

16a    The Apollo 11 crew had to return to reality (4,4,2,5)
{COME DOWN TO EARTH} – a part-cryptic double definition – what the Apollo 11 crew (and all the other similar crews) had to do and to return to reality

19a    Concise dictionary got out in tavern in horse-breeding centre (9)
{LEXINGTON} – the abbreviation for a wordbook or dictionary is followed by an anagram (out) of GOT inside a tavern – resulting in this horse-breeding centre in Kentucky

21a    Key responsibility brings reward (5)
{BONUS} – a musical key is followed by a responsibility or burden to get a reward of the kind paid to bankers who lose billions of pounds

23a    Support back, terribly sore (7)
{ENDORSE} – a word meaning to support is a charade of back, in the sense of rear, followed by an anagram (terribly) of SORE

25a    I’d upset employees, giving stick (7)
{DISTAFF} – an anagram (upset) of I’D (that shouldn’t be too difficult!) is followed by employees to give the stick that holds the bunch of flax, tow or wool in spinning

27a    Horse brought out by Elizabeth after dark (5,4)
{BLACK BESS} – Dick Turpin’s horse is generated by putting an affectionate name for Elizabeth after a word meaning dark

28a    Backed story about one Israeli port (5)
{EILAT} – reverse (backed) a story around I (one) to get an Israeli port


1d    Insect seen in meadow, a spittlebug (4)
{WASP} – this insect is hidden (seen in) the last three words

2d    Writer’s novel notably lacking drama at the end (6)
{BLYTON} – a children’s author is an anagram (novel) of NOT(A)BLY without the A (lacking dramA at the end

3d    Set off with it (8,2)
{SWITCHED ON} – not sure what to make of this part-cryptic double definition – you got OFF if you took this action, otherwise it’s a phrasal adjective meaning with it

4d    Doctor’s entertaining chat over a brandy (6)
{GRAPPA} – put your local doctor around (entertaining) a chat, or patter as in a modern genre of so-called music, and over A to get an Italian brandy (isn’t that an oxymoron?) made from the residue from a winepress

5d    Teach group to make a toy (5,3)
{TRAIN SET} – a charade of to teach and a group gives a toy for boys, large and small!

6d    Brew litre in urn (4)
{PLOT} – to brew, as in to scheme, is built up from L(itre) inside an urn

7d    Sophisticated socialite being broadcast (8)
{DEBONAIR} – a word meaning sophisticated is cryptically defined (3,2,3) as a young woman making her first appearance in society (socialite) being broadcast

8d    Laughing uncontrollably at home, son with small children (2,8)
{IN STITCHES} – a word meaning laughing uncontrollably is a charade of at home, S(on) and small children

13d    Meeting of neighbours in pub overlooking city (5,5)
{LOCAL DERBY} – a meeting of neighbouring teams is a charade of a nearby pub over an English city

15d    Gradually, heartless boy put in two measures (4,2,4)
{STEP BY STEP} – a phrase meaning gradually is built up (in the way described by the answer) from B(O)Y in between two measures, each being one stride

17d    Awfully game bid to secure ten, an assortment (5,3)
{MIXED BAG} – an anagram (awfully) of GAME BID around the Roman numeral for ten gives an assortment, maybe of sweets

18d    Dried up, comic — embarrassed introducing the man? (8)
{WITHERED} – a word meaning dried up is constructed from a comic and a synonym for embarrassed around the male pronoun

20d    Greek character treated with disrespect, reportedly an Adamite (6)
{NUDIST} – start with a Greek letter and then add what sounds like (reportedly), in modern speak, treated with disrespect to get an Adamite, that is one who dresses as Adam did!

22d    Peer appears during New Year in close (6)
{NEARLY} – put this peer of the realm inside N(ew) Y(ear) to get an adverb meaning closely

24d    Spirit shown by king in most of bad weather? (4)
{RAKI} – this aniseed-flavoured spirit from Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean is generated by putting K(ing) inside most of bad (wet) weather

26d    Fellow consumed rejected cheese (4)
{FETA} – F(ellow) followed by a word meaning consumed reversed (rejected) gives a crumbly white low-fat cheese originating in Greece and the Middle East, traditionally made from goat’s or ewe’s milk

Now off to fix my son’s computer!

66 comments on “DT 26221

  1. Agree with your rating and comments Big Dave. Flowed nicely once I had the down clues sorted. Did struggle with 2 down though!

  2. Well I think it was a nice puzzle for us CC members, so thank you setter, even so I put Black Beth instead of Black Bess for 27a which left me struggling with 20d! so really grateful blog was early, thanks Dave, fav clue 21a, thought 11a very, i think, contrived, may be the word?
    Have fun everyone :)

  3. Time for me to be contrary. Compared with recent Thursday crosswords, I thought that this one was a distinct improvement with a higher level of difficulty and, on the whole, much better clues in terms of wordplay and surface reading. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the notes.

        1. That I’m an optimist looking at the clues that seemed to be better than normal and that Gnomie’s a pessimist looking at the clues that were a tad contrived – hence the “on the whole” in my original post as there were a few that could have done with a bit of spit and polish.

    1. I have to agree with Prolixic on this one, I thought this was a bit better than the normal Thursday fare!

  4. A gentle work out in preparation for the Toughie.

    Enjoyed 2d as it brought back memories of a misspent childhood reading The Famous Five.

  5. Sorry I thought this a very poor effort and certainly not 2* more like 4* at least the top half is. Far far far too many religious clues and many were just plain bizarre such as 13a, 11a and 9a. Difficult to pick a favourite clue, thought they were almost all awful.

  6. I found some of the surface readings very stuttery (19a and 22d for example) which pulled me up for a while.
    I did, however, think that 10a read very well (Turbulent priests and all that) and was nicely done.
    Thanks to BD for the review and also to the mystery setter.

  7. I think this setter is American who is into horseracinf. giveaways are 13d, 19a, 18d, 27a
    3d was just wierd.

  8. Couldn’t get into this one. I managed 4 and a guess and it didn’t help that I had BACK instead of DOWN in 16a. I went through the review (thanks BD) and found the constructs just too odd and difficult. Enjoyment factor here was zero. Horse-breeders in Kentucky? Strikes me as GK.

  9. Didn’t enjoy this much. As someone’s already pointed out, some of the surface readings were poor, particularly 11a. Got the answer, but didn’t know why. Then read the review, and still don’t undrstand it!

    I thought that 3d was also a poor clue. BD doesn’t know what to make of it – does anybody??

    I thought 8d & 13d were good clues. Learnt a new word in 12a.

    Roll on tomorrow!

  10. I felt this was a fairly gentle stroll. I really don’t get 3d though. Wrote the answer in without really being able to feel comfortable why. Now having read the blog I am none the wiser.

  11. Re 3d I took this to be a double definition where
    Set off = to turn on (an electrical device) e.g. a detonator for example.
    with it = aware of and responsive to all that is most up-to-date
    Still a bit tenuous but the best I could come up with.

    1. I agree with Libellule. I think that the first definition is to trigger, as in “Using the toaster set off the smoke alarm”.
      I thought that this puzzle was ok but without any sparkle (thank goodness for Araucaria in the Guardian today).

  12. Clued up insists on presenting me with the toughie regardless of which route I take to get to the ordinary cryptic. It really has to be the worst subscription site out there, I’m seriously considering cancelling – it just doesn’t seem to get any better. I completed the toughie thinking it was the ordinary cryptic, and thought either I was off form or it was especially hard today!

    Anyone else having problems? Do we have any weight if we submit a joint complaint as regular users of this site rather than as individuals?

    1. Mike

      I wasn’t so lucky on my first attempt – I got the quickie come up. I just came out of it and clicked on the play cryptic and it was okay. I didn’t try printing it today though so that might have made a difference.

      Not the best of the week – better than yesterday but not by much.

    2. Mike,
      You have to do it like this – Select the print option, and check what the 1a clue is.., then open up the interactive version, otherwise you could end up playing anything, quick, sudoko, toughie or cryptic, for some reason it seems to lose the relevant puzzle_id identifier when it loads up the adobe software.
      If you get the wrong puzzle, exit out and try again. It eventually works.

  13. A very poor crossword today

    Some very contrived stuff and dire surface readings

    As far as I can see, 3d just doesn’t work whichever way you take it

  14. Well, I just spent all morning finishing off a sample for the Guardian (I’m nothing if not ambitious) and have bobbed in for a nosey.

    I’m a tad puzzled about the comments re 3d, and evidently in a minority of one in considering it a good, sound clue. “Set off” is nicely disguised as present tense rather than past, and seems fine as a def for “activated”/”switched on”, and the alternative “with it” gives a pleasing nod to 60s Austin Powers-type culture. “Yeah, you’re really switched on, baby. Oh, behave!”

    1. PS: In the Anax personal dictionary “ambitious” may also be a synonym for “delusional”. Let’s wait and see.

    2. Hi Anax,

      Could you put a few of the words you are lookiing to clue up on here and see what we would clue them as? It would be interesting to know if some one comes up with the definition that you will have thought up……and give us all some practise at creating clues.

      1. //if some one comes up with the definition that you will have thought up//
        We’re gonna need a few more typewriters and monkeys before that’s gonna happen!

      2. If you want practice at creating clues, head over to the DIY COW site (link on the sidebar to the right). Every week there is a new word for which you can create clues. Settting the word and judging is carried out by the previous week’s winner. I am currently in the hot seat!

        1. When I clicked on this DIY COW a big red alarm cameup on my screen with the following message:

          “This web page at http://www.ukpuzzle.com has been reported as an attack page and has been blocked based on your security preferences.”

          Has this happened to anyone else?

          1. Davy – it seems to be an oddity of some non-IE browsers. I use Avast! and some other inbuilt guards and they give the forum the all clear.

            Sadly, though, because the forum’s phpBB software is housed on the server its programme gubbins are way beyond my reach (as well as beyond my knowledge), so there are no changes I can make – certainly not without the risk of losing all of the board data.

        2. Can you tell me if its OK to open this? I’m getting the message
          ‘Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer!
          The website at http://www.ukpuzzle.com appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that hosts malware can infect your computer.
          For detailed information about the problems with this site, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for http://www.ukpuzzle.com.
          Learn more about how to protect yourself from harmful software online.
          I understand that visiting this site may harm my computer.’

  15. Eventually did this in printed form after fruitless efforts with Cluedup – DT suggested deleting cookies etc. but from past experience this loses all my remembered passwords, causing endless difficulties logging in to various sites.

    Agree with almost all comments, however, have to side with Anax on 3d, i put this in without a second thought and really don’t see the problem. It’s a perfectly reasonable dd as far as I can see.

  16. There are none left I’m afraid – all done and currently in the hands of a test solver. I posted a Facebook message asking for two solvers, so there’s one space left (any more than two testers and the puzzle is bit too “out there”). A warning, though; the puzzle has a theme which makes some of the answers pretty tough, but my gut feeling (which could easily be wrong) is that it’s on the difficult side without being impenetrable.

    Famous last words.

    1. Saw the message but my strike rate on your puzzles, whilst improving, probably precludes me from having any serious input! Still scratching the noggin on Saturdays Indy Prize puzzle. The NW corner refuses to crack!

      Question though, do you deliberately change your style for the Grauniad as opposed to the more Ximmy papers?.

      1. Yes I do, and that was the challenge in writing the sample puzzle. How far can you stray into (comparatively unfamiliar) Libertarian territory without going too far?

  17. Yes, like most of us cruciphiles I completed today’s crossword fairly easily but had to consult the blog to see how I got there
    as some of the clues were awkwardly phrased. Surely in 4d there should have been some indication that the chat was surrounded by the doctor: asit was I thought the start of the word was doctor and is a rap really an entertaining chat? perhaps to some it is but chacun a son gout!

    1. In this case, ‘entertaining’ means going around/surrounding. GP going around RAP (slang for chat), followed by A

      1. … Incidentally with the amount of references to alcohol in both this and the Toughie today, you’d think all setters are dipsos!!

        1. Come along to the next meet in Parson’s Green (8th May I believe) and your worse fears will be confirmed!

  18. Managed all but 5 clues without the blog. Certainly a bit more difficult than last week’s stroll in the park. I’ve noticed that the surface reading passes me by these days unless our daily blogger points out a good’un, as I slowly take in each word trying to figure out how they all point towards the answer. Does anyone else find this?

  19. still wondering who tomorrows mysterious debut blogger is going to be any ideas Gnomethang?

  20. I seem to be in a small minority as I enjoyed this, esp 7d and 8d though I think I have seen 7d within the last year…. I struggled on 2d, my father was a writer of children’s books and I was not allowed to read Enid Blyton as a child – still I got everything in the end without using the blog which always makes me a happy bunny :)

    1. DT 26024 – September 3, 2009 – Elegant posh young lady broadcasting?
      DT 25938 – May 26, 2009 – Elegant socialite broadcasting
      So it has been used (like) before.

      1. Thank you. Do you have some way of looking these up? Surely it’s not just memory…

  21. Toughest one of the week so far in my book and had 6 to go after the journey home. 3d was weak in my humble opinion and 19a stumped me – never heard of the place. 20d a bit vague for me. Had “pit stop” but still not convinced with it. Missed 2d – DOH! Overall quite a challenge demonstrated by the fact I didn’t finish it!

    Thanks to the setter for making the commute go in a flash.

  22. Thought that this was an improvement on the last run of Thursdays.
    I liked 19a, 4d, 7d & 24d.
    3d is a bit weird – feel that “set on with it” is a better clue!

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