DT 26007 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26007

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26007

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

This is a nice straightforward crossword today, although some will be disappointed by it, new cruciverbalist’s should enjoy it. From a personal point of view a number of weak cryptic definitions made this crossword a bit of a let down. As usual comments are appreciated, and please let us know how much you actually liked or disliked it by voting.

Across Clues

1. Exhausted couple apt to collapse, needing day in (7,3)
{CLAPPED OUT} – An anagram of COUPLE APT (to collapse), with a D (day) placed inside (in) is another term for something or someone that is worn from age or heavy use and has stopped working.

6. Bill having got posh is prohibited (4)
{TABU} – An alternative spelling for something that’s forbidden is made up of TAB (bill) and U (posh).

10. Musically, very much part of wassailing (5)
{ASSAI} – A musical term for very is hidden (part of) in wassailing.

11. Be joined by Irish revolutionary in clothes appropriate for crimes (9)
{ROBBERIES} – The wordplay seems a little convoluted here, but take IR (Irish) and reverse it (revolutionary), then place BE in front (joined). Now place that inside (in) ROBES (clothes) is another word for the act of appropriating (stealing).

12. Contract to marry little woman includes rubbish (7)
{BETROTH} – Usually when you see the phrase “little woman” you know that you should consider Meg, Jo, Beth or Amy from the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. In this case you want BETH and place inside (includes) ROT (rubbish) and you have a promise to marry.

13. Pub drink could make you stagger and be ill, we hear (4,3)
{REAL ALE} – Something that sounds like (we hear) REEL (stagger) and AIL (ill) that you might want to order a pint of in a pub.

14. The boss’s boss will be too hard to understand (4,4,4)
{OVER ONES HEAD} – A cryptic definition (that doesn’t work for me) of someone who is in charge of your HEAD (boss) is also a phrase used when something is too complex or confusing and you are unable to understand it.

18. It could be abandoned in Lent season (3-9)
{NON-ESSENTIAL} – An all in one. An anagram of IN LENT SEASON (abandoned) describes something that is not absolutely necessary, or could be abandoned.

21. Unorthodox believer at this place twitching (7)
{HERETIC} – HERE (this place), plus TIC (twitching) typically used to describe someone who disagrees with the current orthodox view of the church.

23. Certainly no place for a happy hen party (7)
{COCKPIT} – A cryptic definition (sort of) that describes where cockerel’s used to fight in the middle ages, and therefore obviously not a place where hen’s are likely to hang out and enjoy themselves.

24. Language translatable into neat prose (9)
{ESPERANTO} – A fairly obvious anagram of NEAT PROSE (translatable) of an international artificial language.

25. Worthiness of home ritual (5)
{MERIT} – Hidden in “home ritual” is a word used to describe something of superior quality or worth.

26. Comic theologian seen at party (4)
{DODD} – This raised a wry smile, and should make Tilsit happy. DO (party) followed by Divinitatis Doctor (Doctor of Divinity) for a well-known comedian.

27. A wicket at the end of one’s lawn? (6,4)
{GARDEN GATE} – Another cryptic definition (better) of the type of gate or door you might have at the end of your garden.


1. Around the end of tour driver becomes cross (6)
{CRABBY} – Place CABBY (driver) around an R, the end of tour, and you have a another word for grouchy or ill-tempered..

2. Property? Ton may be carried by donkeys (6)
{ASSETS} – A clue very similar to the last one, ASSES (donkeys) are placed around (carried by) T (ton), and you have a word that describes things that you own of value.

3. They may come in in the middle of a sentence (6,8)
{PRISON VISITORS} – A cryptic definition that describes the people who might come and see you while you were in jail.

4. The night rider’s friend is someone of unknown potential (4,5)
{DARK HORSE} – Not a reference to the “Hoff” but another cryptic definition (just) of a creature that you might ride at night, and is also used a phrase to describe for example a person who is not well known but could win unexpectedly. Or have I missed something here?

5. Brown bits and pieces left to go out (5)
{UMBER} – Bits and pieces in this case refer to LUMBER, now remove the L (left go out) and you are left with another adjective for brown.

7. Article I had to keep partner excited (8 )
{ANIMATED} – Take AN (article) ID (I had) and then place (to keep) MATE inside the ID for a word that fits the definition of excited, and could also be used instead of interesting and lively.

8. Insecure Sudan yet to reform (8 )
{UNSTEADY} – An anagram (to reform) of SUDAN YET is a word that can mean not firm or fixed.

9. A well-rounded intellectual or phony ass with a nice manner? (11,3)
{RENAISSANCE MAN} – An anagram (phony) of ASS with A NICE MANNER describes a man who has broad intellectual interests or who is good at crosswords.

15. Rod’s refusal to take notes (in Biology) (9)
{NOTOCHORD} – This was the new word for me today, but even as a new word, the wordplay is nice and straightforward. NO (refusal) TO (to) CHORD (notes) is (when I looked it up) according to Chamber’s “a skeletal rod formed of turgid vacuolated cells, foreshadowing the spinal column, found in lower vertebrates such as the lancelet”. So now you know.

16. Find one’s way through a den, hurt, dishevelled (8 )
{UNTHREAD} – An anagram of A DEN HURT (dishevelled) provides a word that will fit the definition of find one’s way through.

17. In front of the agent I had to be fearless (8 )
{INTREPID} – There is a lovely surface reading to this, and every part of the clue is used with absolutely no padding. Take IN, then the first letter (front of) of the, T, then add REP (agent) and ID (I had) and you end up with another word for meaning to be fearless.

19. Territorials taking fight on in old city (6)
{SPARTA} – You see Territorials, and you should immediately start thinking of the relevant abbreviation – TA now place SPAR (fight) above (taking on) and you have a city-state from ancient Greece.

20. Sculpture visible to all in the country (6)
{STATUE} – STATE (country) with U inside (in). The U is an abbreviation for universal, a certificate that designates that a film is available to everybody.

22. It’s good after study to have a dance (5)
{CONGA} – place G (good) and A after CON (study), and you have a dance of Latin-American origin in which the dancers form a long winding line.oting

34 comments on “DT 26007

  1. Hi Libellule – great review!

    Was this a Donald Manley puzzle or was it someone else? I finished it in 25 minutes which for me is quite fast as I am only a slogger! I suspect it may not have been Mr Manley this Friday as I tend to take a lot longer to finish his puzzles!

    I enjoyed it though – I thought that overall the clues were well thought out.

    1. NathanJ,
      Friday is a Don Manley day, and although this crossword is not particularly difficult (as some of Don’s can be), it does have the hallmarks of his tradecraft, well thought out clues, and good surface readings. However I will let Don either confirm or deny if he drops by.

  2. Harder than ** in my opinion. I had to refer to the dictionary for NOTOCHORD so couldn’t keep up my success of yesterday’s ‘no looking up’. Also I’m obviously missing something, why is CON study?

    1. Newtocryptic,
      If you look at the explanation for 15d you will notice that although the word itself is not one you would normally see (unless you were a biologist), the wordplay however leads you right to what is an obvious answer, especially if you have the checking letters.
      Re. CON and study – from Chamber’s
      con3 (Spenser conne or kon) /kon/ (archaic)
      transitive verb (connˈing; conned, Spenser cond /kond/)
      to know
      to learn
      to study carefully, scan, pore over
      to commit to memory
      to acknowledge (as in to con thanks)
      to teach or show
      Etymology: Another form of can, OE cunnan to know; perh partly cunnian to seek to know, examine.

      1. Thanks for your excellent reply. Re Notochord that is pretty much how I eventually came to look it up in my Chambers. Re Con I was too lazy I guess and just assumed I knew all the meanings of the word, I know better now and I’m sure the information will prove to be valuable in many future crosswords!

      2. Being Royal Navy retired I remember whenever the Officer if the watch took control on the bridge, the official remarks where from the relieved officer “You have the con” and the reply from the officer taking over was ” I have the con”
        So was that short for control or scan ?

        1. I found this on “google” – whether it is accurate or not I will leave for others to decide….
          “Conning: Derived from cunning, in reference to the skill of the master in manoeuvring his ship, especially in action. Thus we say, “You have the con,” when we exchange Officers of the Watch (not deck in our period). “

          1. Just remebered on submarines they have a conning tower to view from when they go ‘up top’

  3. Very nice puzzle, a mixture of easy and difficult clues, I liked 9d in particular but needed my new Chambers for 15d.

  4. Thanks as always for the explanations. Particularly like your decoding of 9d. No repeat of yesterday’s success – I think today’s puzzle was a little trickier than yesterday. Bring on the weekend!

  5. Thanks for all the comments and the explanations. I am relatively new to solving the cryptics and and was pleased with how quickly I did this one.

    Although I got the answers to 11a and 5d I had to come to you to find out why they were right.

    1. John,
      Depressingly we are aware of that. We were wondering if there was a more hidden meaning that might turn it from a cryptic definition (just) into cryptic definition (excellent).

  6. Defeated by 26a -I never found Dodd remotely funny but maybe I’m alone in that, 19d &20d -not helped by thinking that 27a was garden edge , muddled thinking that an edge gave rise to a wicket being taken as in “edged to the slips”

    1. I can see how 27a could be confusing if you had never heard of a “wicket gate” before.

  7. Nice gentle crossword for a Friday afternoon to do with our cuppa and biscuits – well, that would be if himself hadn’t taken up biscuit eating in favour of smoking!!
    Liked 9d,

  8. What an awful puzzle!! Two unknown words and as for 10a, the less said the better. UGH!!
    Having finished every crossword this week, I could only answer 2 clues on this horror.

    1. Barrie,
      I am a little confused. Today’s crossword was no more difficult than yesterdays. Yet, according to you yesterdays crossword was “Excellent”. For the setter’s sake – would you like to explain in more detail why you had such a problem with it? Or is this just a “throw away” remark?

      1. Yesterday (Thursday) the clues seemed to me to be fair and although cryptic had a degree of logic. This puzzle to me did not seem to allow one in as shown by 11a which is unnecessarily complicated. And as for 15d, oh come on! I always have trouble with this compiler, I cannot seem to get into his mind or way or working. I am quite prepared to believe it is me but that does not alter the fact that I find his/her puzzles poor.

  9. Enjoyed todays. 15d very tricky. 23a had me until i read review. did not like 26a. The night i assumed was DARK ???. gonna have a crack at the toughie now. may need help if you guys are still around

  10. Evening folks. A few stickers for me, mainly 15d (new word for my vocabulary) plus 11a. Contrary to some of the above I enjoyed this challenge very much but anticipate tomorrow’s will see a return of the usual Saturday disappointment.

  11. Hello anyone there? hi Dave I am stuck on just the one today 21a in todays 26,008
    i actually have the first and third letters but have got a mental block, there are 2 answers i think it might be….but helppp…..otherwise I have actually finished….yeees, some words i’d never heardof 15a for example

  12. Thanks for all the feedback. One final word about NOTOCHORD if I may. I think it’s important for me to defend this word and its clue : a) the word is in all the dictionaries, b) it’s biologically extremely significant, being the difference between the vertebrates and invertebrates, c) we should include scientific words (how often have I heard the moan that crosswords are exclusively classically biased!), d) it’s a gift of a word to clue so yes I’d expect many to solve it from NO TO CHORD, e) I would hope that there are a few among you who actually enjoy meeting new vocabulary and learning something through solving. So what to some would see here as ‘very poor’ would I hopeappear to others as ‘rather nice’! Expect more lessons in science and much else from time to time from your Friday setter!

    1. Giovanni,
      Thanks for the comments. One thing is always clear about with just about all crosswords, everybody will have a differing opinion. We had the same issue in the Saturday crossword where a number of people were upset about 15a, even though it was an obvious anagram. The same way that Notochord was obvious from the wordplay.

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