DT 26018 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26018

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26018

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

We thought we would ring a few changes, so today I have started to do the Thursday blog instead of the Friday one. Seems blogging Giovanni is a popular pastime. So instead of Gazza today you now have me. Expect some more changes shortly. Today’s crossword is an enjoyable effort that is not too taxing. However there are a couple of quibbles. Please feel free to leave comments.


1. Shrewd, taking the beginning of the month off (4)
{ARCH} – I like this clue as it is cleverer than it first looks, The month in this case is MARCH, now remove the M (taking the beginning of the month off), and you are left with a word that can mean cunning or shrewd.

3. Work found in sea transport (5)
{MOPED} – Work is OP (an abbreviation of opus), this is placed inside (found in) MED, the Mediterranean Sea for a small motorcycle. (No I will not be linking to the Jasper Carrott song).

6. Fish sauce – at last there’s a set of rules (4)
{CODE} – The fish is COD, and then add an E the final letter of sauce (sauce at last) for a comprehensive collection of laws. (The Napoleonic code in France is an example).

8. Crash studies lead to inevitable conflict (9,6)
{COLLISION COURSE} – A straightforward cryptic definition where synonyms for crash, and studies could also mean a course of action likely to result in a serious confrontation.

9. Look lost if shut (6)
{SHUFTI} – An anagram (lost) of IF SHUT is a colloquial phrase for look. I wondered if this was in Chambers, and it is.

10. Where to write for job requiring wit (8 )
{POSTCARD} – I don’t think this particular clue works very well. If the definition is “Where to write”, and the clue is POST (job) and (requiring) CARD (wit), how does the answer accurately fit the definition? Would “What to write” be better?

11. Soldiers capture unknown informer and producer of grain (3,5)
{RYE GRASS} – Soldiers are RE (Royal Engineers) placed around (capture) Y (an unknown variable), followed by GRASS (informer). This gives us a pasture or fodder grass. Unfortunately Rye Grass is not the same as Rye (grain), so the definition fails. Replacing grain with fodder would allow this to work.

13. Fit to be included in Civil Service, having strong links (6)
{CABLES} – Take CS (Civil Service) and place inside (included) ABLE (fit) and you could have a chain that is used for hauling or tying up.

15. Access given to the French ambassador (6)
{LEGATE} – GATE (access) preceded (given to) LE (the in French) and you have another word for an ambassador (especially from the Pope).

17. Left, but became reconciled (8 )
{RESIGNED} – A double definition, left as in left a job, and also being calmly submissive.

19. One day spent in stress as a consequence of 8 (8 )
{ACCIDENT} – I (one) D (day) placed inside (spent in) ACCENT (stress mark) would probably be the result of what happens in 8.

21. One gets up and blooms (6)
{IRISES} – I (one) RISES (gets up) for any of the numerous plants of the genus Iris.

22. Construction to really care about? (5,10)
{SPLIT INFINITIVE} – In English grammar an infinitive with an adverb between `to’ and the verb (e.g., “to boldly go”) often thought to be incorrect.

23. Understands energy absorbed by fast cars (4)
{GETS} – E (energy) placed within (absorbed by) GTS (fast cars or more accurately Gran Turismos)

24. Made an effort to promote one, being exhausted (5)
{TIRED} – A much better clue, that would be even better if it was used as a down clue. Made an effort would be TRIED, now promote (move) the I (one) up one letter. You now have a word for exhausted or fatigued.

25. A long time to get salary topped (4)
{AGES} – Salary would be WAGES, now remove the first letter (topped) and you have another word for a long time.


1. Inherited ruins of Lancaster (9)
{ANCESTRAL} – An anagram (ruins) of Lancaster that refers to your past family or lineage.

2. Polish university officer covered in salt (7)
{CULTURE} – Polish in this instance does not refer to Poland, but instead to refinement. Place U (university) LT (officer – an abbreviation for Lieutenant) inside (covered) CURE (a method of preserving or arresting decomposition, of which using salt is one mechanism).

3. Act as time runs out for champ (9)
{MASTICATE} – An anagram (runs out) of ACT AS TIME gives another word that can mean to bite or to chew.

4. Cues for pint during seaside walks (7)
{PROMPTS} – Put PT (pint) inside a shortened form of promenades (seaside walks) and you have a word often used when you supply forgotten words to an actor or actress in the theatre.

5. Takes a risk on chops (5)
{DICES} – Another word for chopping something finely can also mean to take great risks.

6. Eggs on reserve in handy container (6,3)
{CLUTCH BAG} – A cryptic definition (sort of) of a kind of handbag without a strap or handle, that is carried in the hand or under the arm could also be a group of “saved” or “captured” eggs. [My thanks to Falcon for pointing out the full wordplay here – CLUTCH (eggs) with BAG (to reserve). BD]

7. Merit low exam grades – start playing tennis! (7)
{DESERVE} – Low exam grades are D and E, these are then followed by the stroke that starts each game of tennis. Put together you should have a word that also means merit.

12. Government gives approval and provides satisfaction (9)
{GRATIFIES} – Put G (government) on top of (gives) another word for to approve and sanction and you create another word that means to please or satisfy.

13. Softened and served dish on cue (9)
{CUSHIONED} – An anagram (served) of DISH ON CUE that describes how you might make a seat more comfortable.

14. Avoids backing favourites in teams (9)
{SIDESTEPS} – Place reversed PETS (favourites) in SIDES (teams) for a nifty foot movement that also means to dodge an issue or a responsibility.

16. Point to understand about cover for fugitive (7)
{ESCAPEE} – E (east, a point), plus SEE (understand) placed around (about) CAP (cover) could be a person who has escaped from prison.

17. Organism that’s disturbingly rife under rubbish (7)
{ROTIFER} – New word for me, an anagram (disturbingly) of RIFE placed under ROT (rubbish) for various minute multicellular aquatic organisms of a particular phylum.

18. Making enquiries about hospital and taking in food (7)
{NOSHING} – NOSING (making enquiries) is placed around (about) H (hospital) for a slang word for eating.

20. Be first to support old lover (5)
{EXIST} – IST (first) prefixed by (to support) EX (old lover) for the state of “being”.

20 comments on “DT 26018

  1. Nice and none to difficult, a pleasant romp!
    only gripe would be as mentioned above, 11a.

  2. Couldn’t work out the reasoning for 22a on the bus, but on getting home all became with your explanation Libellule, did like 24a.

  3. Although I enjoyed the crossword, I did have reservations about 11a, and definitely didn’t like 10a. I particularly liked 9a and 22a. I also learned something new, with 17d.

  4. 25a also comes from a long time “age” topped by / ended with “s” the first letter of salary

    1. Alun

      That may be how you got the answer, but it would not have worked as a clue. Both definition and wordplay are the same word.

  5. Liked it, particularly 22a and 9a (didn’t even need Chambers for this one, must be my Cockney heritage!). I thought it *** difficult rather than **

  6. Not impressed, I don’t think I would have solved 9 across if I lived to be 100! And as for 22a, words fail me!

  7. Didn’t do a lot or me, and I echo the point about 11A.

    On the otherhand, I thought 10A just about worked; the postcard is the object you write on. It’s a bit lumpy, I agree.

    Harry Shipley

  8. Eeerm. I would have graded this 3* but got it done after a fashion. I did not like 6a which I think is a poor clue. 3d was my favourite since it got me in the mood for my tea.

  9. I agree with Little Dave. Although I finished this puzzle in a reasonable time, I didn’t find it that easy. I would have rated it three stars though I think Libellule’s two star rating is fair enough.

    Learned a new word – SHUFTI – never seen that one before.

    Thanks to Libellule for a comprehensive review.

  10. Hi, I’d just like to say hello. I edit the Telegraph crosswords. Good spot on rye grass — I did discuss this with the setter before publication, and we agreed to change it to “fodder”, but somehow I managed to leave it as it was. Apologies. For the record, I’ll correct it on CluedUp.

    1. Welcome to the blog Phil

      Although this is your first comment, regulars will know that you have been a great help on a number of previous occasions. In particular, your advice on what to do when entering the weekend prize puzzles can be accessed through the sidebar.

      1. Phil,
        Thanks for dropping by, its nice to know that this blog is being read by both the setters and the editor :-)

  11. Liked it all, especially 2D, 1A & 19A. As an ex-Londoner, “Having a shufti” was known but how local is this? I liked the sublety of 22A though and I refreshed an old word, “Rotifer”

    1. Bernard,
      I judge by the lateness of your comment, that you might be doing this based abroad, and have got hold of a copy of the weekly Telegraph or something similar?

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