DT 26679 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26679

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26679

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Libellule is busy today so we’re doing a Monday/Tuesday swap. That’s given me another opportunity to blog a Rufus puzzle. We have the usual very smooth surface readings with lots of cryptic definitions. Quite a few of the clues will be pretty familiar to experienced solvers but remember that there are always new solvers coming along for whom they’ll be new discoveries.
Let us know how you got on – if you’re stuck you can reveal the answer by highlighting the space between the curly brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  An armed timing device (10)
{WRISTWATCH} – cryptic definition of a timing device attached to one’s arm.

9a  Track a bird (4)
{RAIL} – double definition, the bird being a small brown and grey crake that frequents marshes.

10a  Delivery’s not left, though one is entitled to it (10)
{BIRTHRIGHT} – a charade of delivery (after a period of labour) and the opposite (not) of left produces the benefits and privileges that one is entitled to automatically – particularly relevant in some families if one is the eldest son.

11a  Sound observation, using a quote (6)
{CITING} – the definition is using a quote and it sounds like an observation.

12a  A decoration so often out of place (7)
{FESTOON} – this is a chain or garland suspended between two points as a decoration. It’s an anagram (out of place) of SO OFTEN.

15a  Tell of dramatic happening at polling-station (7)
{RECOUNT} – double definition, a verb meaning to tell and what may be necessary before the winner can be declared if the votes are very close in an election.

16a  They admit being swingers (5)
{GATES} – cryptic definition of hinged barriers through which one may be admitted into a field, for example.

17a  Large family, many in jail in America (4)
{CLAN} – put the Roman numeral for fifty (many) inside an informal North American term for a prison.

18a  Mail sorted for capital city (4)
{LIMA} – the capital of Peru is an anagram (sorted) of MAIL.

19a  Appears to understand handwriting (5)
{SEEMS} – put together a verb meaning to understand or grasp and the abbreviation for a manuscript (handwriting).

21a  Spanish gooseberries (7)
{DUENNAS} – cryptic description of Spanish ladies who put a damper on the amorous activities of a young couple.

22a  Retire from the contest — not up to it? (7)
{SCRATCH} – a verb meaning to pull out of a contest is also, as a noun, the line in the ring up to which boxers were led to begin fighting (the derivation of the phrase “not up to *******”).

24a  Lord, if drunk, becomes flushed (6)
{FLORID} – an anagram (drunk) of LORD IF.

27a  Having trouble when bathing? (2,3,5)
{IN HOT WATER} – a phrase which literally means having a bath is used figuratively to mean in trouble or in disgrace.

28a  Saucy curve (4)
{ARCH} – double definition.

29a  Introduce force, showing initiative (10)
{ENTERPRISE} – the definition here is initiative and it’s a charade of two verbs: a) to introduce (data, for example) and b) to force with a lever.

Down Clues

2d  I may enter race, and end up a wreck! (4)
{RUIN} – insert I into a synonym of race to make a wreck.

3d  Arranged to leave (3,3)
{SET OUT} – double definition.

4d  Strange growth, a sight one may see on safari (7)
{WARTHOG} – an African wild animal with large lumps on its face is an anagram (strange) of GROWTH A. Very appropriate anagram.

5d  They are able to identify trite Latin quotations (4)
{TAGS} – what may be sewn into your clothes to identify them as yours are also frequently repeated quotations, especially latin ones.

6d  He’s about to irritate with temporary stoppages (7)
{HITCHES} – put HE’S around a verb meaning to irritate or chafe.

7d  Filing assistant needs a hand to get to work (10)
{MANICURIST} – cryptic definition of someone who may work in a beauty salon.

8d  Escape route taken by aircraft (6,4)
{FLIGHT PATH} – double definition – the route that may be taken by someone escaping and the course planned or taken by an aircraft.

12d  Head for a beating but don’t turn back (4,6)
{FACE DEFEAT} – a phrase meaning to be pretty certain to lose could also mean not to turn tail and thus meet the thrashing head-on.

13d  Drama director provides outdated transport (10)
{STAGECOACH} – a charade of synonyms for a) drama and b) director or trainer gives us an old form of public transport.

14d  Identifies celebrities (5)
{NAMES} – double definition.

15d  Concerning the morning’s papers (5)
{REAMS} – a prefix meaning on the subject of or concerning is followed by the abbreviation for before noon and the ‘S to make quantities of paper.

19d  A diner’s ordered fish (7)
{SARDINE} – this fish is an anagram (ordered) of A DINER’S.

20d  Transport that gets up speed by putting one’s foot down (7)
{SCOOTER} – cryptic definition of a form of transport used by young children and requiring leg power.

23d  A very strong atmosphere of romance (6)
{AFFAIR} – string together A, the abbreviation for very strong (or very loud) and a synonym for atmosphere to make a, possibly illicit, romantic relationship.

25d  Talk of Tom in Paris (4)
{CHAT} – a tom is a male cat so what’s a cat in Paris, i.e. in French?

26d  Raise the pace for the favourites (4)
{PETS} – reverse (raise, in a down clue) a pace to make favourites.

My favourites today were 21a, 4d and 7d. Let us know yours.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {TENOR} + {WREATH} = {TENERIFE}

58 comments on “DT 26679

  1. Wonderful start to the week – not too difficult but enough to get the grey stuff ticking over. I was particularly fond of 21A and 7D today and it was nice to see 24A again, long time since I’ve seen that word.

    Gray, damp and miserable here today in Bristol, but on a bright note, means I can still avoid ding anything with the front lawn.

  2. Sorry I thought this was very tricky esp for a Monday. Enjoyable even though I must admit 21a is a new word for me. I would give it 3 star for both difficulty and enjoyment. Loved 1a although I needed the checking letters to make the connection. Thx to Gazza for the help with that damned 21a which gave me 12d eventually. My sincere thanks to Rufus for a puzzle free of religious connotations.

  3. Pretty straighforward today. Such a pleasure to get the puzzles in the morning. Thanks to Rufus, Big Dave (for the pdf alternatives) and to Gazza for the prompt for 11a, which I just couldn’t see. DOH!

  4. Fine, smooth start to the week. Not too tough. Favourite was 7d. No one seems to do cryptics quite like RFS. Thanks to him & Gazza.

  5. Just my sort of puzzle. Thanks gazza for help, and for mentioning new solvers who don’t don’t need their confidence squashed by experts who finished this puzzle while watching their breakfast egg boiling (and have to boast about it).

  6. I found this on the tough side for a Monday – and I’m still not very happy with the answer or the explanation for 12d. Still, never mind eh! Thanks to Rufus & Gazza.

    1. I agree that 12d is not the greatest ever clue but I think that there are two distinct meanings of face – a) to have in prospect (“England are facing defeat in the Test Match”) and b) to confront or meet head-on.

      1. Hi Gazza – thanks for your response. I’m quite happy with the “face” part of it. But if “don’t turn” means “face” (which I have no argument with), that leaves “back” meaning “defeat”. That’s the bit I don’t get.

        1. I think it’s “don’t turn (your) back” that’s the second meaning of face. Beating is common to both definitions.

            1. It’s OK Gazza, I’ve just looked at the clue again and I can see what you’re saying now. I think I was being too blinkered in terms of trying to see the full definition in each half of the clue (if that makes sense). Sorry for being even more stupid than usual!

              1. Isn’t it difficult when you get something so firmly in your head that you just can’t get beyond it! :smile:

                1. Hi Kath – yes, that was exactly the situation. You (I) become blinded to any other possibility.

      2. For a moment I wondered whether it was also “Face dee feet” as in point forwards in some form of pidgin English, but then I realised it probably wasn’tmeant as any form of homophone:)

  7. Not too difficult today. I had a bit of trouble with 12d for a while and, although I could see what 21a was getting at and know the word, it just wouldn’t come into my head for quite a while. I didn’t know the latin quotation meaning of 5d or the boxing bit of 22a but managed them anyway and looked them up. I liked 1, 15, 21 and 27a and 4 (but not the picture – scary looking animal!) 6, 19 and 25d. With thanks to Rufus and Gazza.

  8. I’ll try not to upset the new solvers either, just say that after 41 years of doing the back pager, for me this was probably the most straightforward ever. I did really enjoy myself too, thank you Rufus. Once again my favourites are the same as Gazza (thank you to him too) – I did especially smile at 21a.

  9. There are some excellent clues today. I enjoyed it very much.
    It still concerns me that a knowledge of French words is often assumed, such as in 25d today.
    My French is passable to good and it causes me no trouble but that doesn’t apply to everyone.
    I’ve probably no objection to clues such as: ‘the’ French or ‘the’ Spanish or ‘the’ German, but do not my fellow cruxiverbalists think that I have a point when I say ‘Stick to English’?
    Such clues usually bring a smile to my face but they must puzzle many.
    Just a thought!

  10. Enjoyed 7D and 20D, but was stumped, even with the checking letters, by 21A – a new word for me, lets hope it sticks with me long enough to bear fruit in another cryptic. I’ll try and shoehorn it into a conversation this week, that’ll help. Thanks to Rufus and Gazza.

    1. Welcome to the blog Paul

      The answer is between the curly brackets – just select with the mouse to reveal.

      It’s difficult to add to Gazza’s hint. This is the definition (in the singular) from Chambers:

      * A lady who acts the part of governess in Spain
      * A lady who watches over or chaperons a younger lady

  11. An unusual looking grid today (or at least I thought so!), but the double unches did not cause too many problems.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to gazza for the review.

  12. If I hadn’t stupidly entered MALI for 18a, I wouldn’t have grooves in my head. As I’m travelling on a different line this week, my ‘number of stations it takes’ measure is unreliable, but a nice (and easy) puzzle.

    1. I thought about it too – then looked up “Mali”. Also, since we’re on the subject of stupid, did think about “ejector seat” for 8d! :oops: Luckily never got as far as writing it in – that WOULD have made a mess of things!

  13. I found this the easiest puzzle for ages, very enjoyable, even if finished (apart from 9a which I hadn’t heard of) a bit too quickly.
    my favourite clue was 25d :surely a fairly basic word in French ?
    thanks for illustrations:no naked girls today!

  14. Loved it and finished fairly quickly. Liked 1a and 21a partic 9a was last in – had to go through the alphabet before the penny dropped! Thanks to Rufus for enjoyable start to the week and Gazza for explanations.

  15. The usual, enjoyable, gentle start to the week from Rufus.
    Faves : 10a, 16a, 19a, 21a, 4d, 7d & 25d.

    Grilled magret de canard for dinner this evening!

    1. Another assumption that we all have a smattering of French. What’s up with thee anyway? It’s Monday so it must be bubble & squeak, cold meat & pickles!

      1. Cold meat and jacket potatoes here. Home made green tomato flan for Mr CS, the vegetarian.

  16. A gentle but enjoyable start to the week. I got quite excited when I loaded the crossword first time thinking perhaps the improvements promised this week had materialised- but lots of error 0’s on saving and I gave up trying to submit after 15 minutes. Gentle crosswords are a great help in getting new people interested in this wonderful past time.

    1. I live in Chicago, 6 hours behind GMT so I managed to get the crossword at 12.48 pm GMT. I tell myself it was a fluke and will need to see a couple of weeks without major problems before I think it is cured. I agree the Monday one is a gentle opening to the week. Favourite clue 21a.

  17. Just when I think I’ve been really clever getting the crossword done in record time I find the consensus is easy, easy, easy. Thanks though for all the help which is needed most days. I have picked up so much from this site.

  18. Well…………all done save 21a and 5d and yes, I too go “tail” for 9a. An enjoyable distraction from the District Line.

  19. Hi. My first blog! Thought today’s crossword was great. My first thought with 1a was alarmclock – armed is “ready to go” – clock is “timing device”. but setter was too clever! Really liked 7d. Also 11a “citing” took some time but was gd clue. Must admit to not knowing the spanish gooseberries! Realised the “second” meaning of gooseberry but must admit to never havind heard the the word “duenna” Have looked at the blog for a few years but never dared to get involved. Not too good on IT so hope thois gets to you. By the way I download from telegraph web site and have had terrible problems for months. Really appreciated the pdf option.

    1. Hi Barrie – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve plucked up courage and posted a comment I hope that we’ll hear from you regularly.

    2. Hi Barrie… alarmclock was my first thought for 1a too, it made so much sense! It was only when nothing else would fit in with it I realised my mistake.

  20. This is the hardest Monday I’ve had in weeks. I actually questioned whether it was by Rufus.

    I think like most people I struggled with 12d, a slightly odd expression/ clue.

    And I just couldn’t get 21a, even though it is a word I’ve put in a dozen crosswords before. In this context I always think gooseberry means someone who wishes they had a partner but doesn’t, as opposed to a chaperone.

    And so for once, I could care less about the lack of the Toughie……..

  21. Thanks to the setter & Gazza. A nice gentle start to the week. Favourite was 7,which was the penultimate one in.

  22. Personally I don’t think words like “Duennas” have any place in a cryptic crossword, unless the answer can be obtained by wordplay.

  23. I am a complete novice too and this is my first entry. Just learning the ropes here. So “raise” in a down clue means reverse? Brilliant. I feel part of the club already.

      1. Well I have now!

        For me, the beauty of cryptic crosswords is the ability to fill in words that you’ve never heard of, having worked them out from the rest of the clue. I couldn’t do that with 21d so I call it unfair, especially as it was the only answer I didn’t get yesterday.

        Great blog by the way Dave. I’ve used it often to get explanations of answers but this is first time I’ve posted a comment. Sorry it was a negative one!

        1. Just don’t say how bad you think a crossword is just because you failed to finish it or BD will have words…this has happened before & the culprits have disappeared during the night, never to be heard of again…you have been warned – now heed my words well, young “After 10pm”!

Comments are closed.