DT 26038 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26038 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Class!

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment: ***

Once again the Saturday prize puzzle just about creeps into 3-star difficulty.  The handful of proper nouns are all well known and there is no need this week for an atlas.  One minor quibble concerns the long down answer – this is a saying with which not everyone will be familiar, so the combination of a cryptic definition and two double unches (two consecutive squares without a checked letter) will make it a struggle for some.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them. A full review of this puzzle by Tilsit will be published at 12.00 on Thursday, 24th September.


1a Number having necessary skill and power to be defended (10)
Just combine the number of commandments and a word meaning having the necessary skill

6a Priest entered a southeastern part of church (4)
Here you need to put an abbreviation for Priest inside A South Eastern to get a part of a church

13a Pretty girl or Soviet leader? (7)
Are all girls with this colour hair pretty?

17a Extremely precarious situation, having been hung over in court (5,2,8)
Not so much a double definition, more the same definition twice of this event in which a Syracuse courtier was forced to sit through a feast with a weapon suspended over his head by a single hair

27a Cork area where congestion might occur (10)
In what part of what container would you find a cork?

1d Note I would be in season (4)
Take a note from the tonic sol-fa and put the abbreviated form of “I would” inside to get a poetic name for a season – time and this wait for no man!

4d Amusing way to maximise the pounds (5,3,4,3)
One of those sayings that you either know or you don’t! – what you do when you are amused is accompanied by what you do when you put on weight

24d Top speaking part (4)
The top of a mountain is hidden inside (part) speaking

If that’s not enough to help you finish, just ask and I will see what I can do.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!



  1. NathanJ
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave

    Thanks for your hints that got me started and helped me to finish this puzzle in good time.

    It was quite enjoyable but I found it a bit tougher than last Saturday’s puzzle. I will be interested to hear the opinions of other solvers on this one.

    Thanks for your tip on 17a. I had heard that phrase before but until now I did not know where it came from.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s offering. It was nice to have a Saturday crossword that required a bit more time and effort to complete rather than the usual 10 to 15 minutes.

    I had to do a bit of research for 4d to check that I had the right answer. Even so, with the unchecked boxes, it was fairly clear what three of the words in the answer were from the clue and the fact that the second word would be a conjunction, which only left the third word to be teased out. I don’t think that the clue and the answer were too unfair.

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I’ve changed 7d into 4d as I think that was the clue you were discussing!

  3. Libellule
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Fair, acceptable and enjoyable. 4d is eminently guessable, then you just need to confirm.

  4. Toby
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Thought this was quite straight forward but did not like 4 down – Is that really a phrase?, 16 across “novel” gave away the beginning but could not see where the end of the answer came from, (but became obvious with the first 3 letters.) Thought the word “season” was a bit of a tenuous link to 1 down. Started off badly with 2 down thought the answer was “Ovid” ie a greek character that wrote lines (as in a poet) and an anagram of “void”. I Liked 8 down and 17 across, and particularly enjoyed 27 across.

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      4d – as Libellule has said, this is imminently guessable. I still think it deserved a better clue.

      16a A scientist, in novel fashion (6)
      The end of the answer is a French word for fashion that is popular with crossword setters – remember it as it’s sure to come up again.

      2d Greek character had lines that were void (4)
      I think Ovid fits well, although had it been correct I would have had an issue with “that were” as an anagram indicator.

      • Toby
        Posted September 20, 2009 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Many thanks, did not know the french word at all will try to remember it next time but sieve-like memory will probably let me down!

  5. Craig
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    This was fun. I know I’ve got the answer now but I still don’t understand 5d. I’d thought a french word made more sense but apparently not!

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Craig

      5d Preserve type of loaf first in container (3,3)

      Second word – you do this to preserve foodstuff
      First word – this is a type of bread, so named because of the container in which it is baked

      Both words – a container

      I have seen many, many better clues than this. Charades only seem to work properly when the component parts are unrelated to the whole.

    • Posted September 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink


      The comment search facility stopped working yesterday, so I wasn’t able to check to see that you had previously left a comment. Each time that you enter a different name and/or email address your comment needs to be moderated.

  6. Lea
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Finished – enjoyable but without your hint BD I would not have got 17a. For ages I had the last word of 4d with an “i” until I reread the clue!!! Didn’t like 11d – thought it was a bit vague – will be interested to read how come the answer is what it is. Liked 27a and 8d.

    • Lea
      Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      OK – mind has gone – the second last sentence should read – will be interested to read how come the answer is what it is. – sorry

      • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I’d already corrected it for you!

        • Lea
          Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Thanks BD and thanks for such a wonderful site.

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      BTW I’ve updated 17a so that it links to Wikipedia for the full story

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      11d Woman shooting up is not hopeful (10)

      The first three letters are a woman’s name – Ms Stubbs of Till Death Us Do Part fame springs to mind – the last seven are a ghastly word meaning shooting up that I can’t recall being used other than in a dictionary (google has 229,000 hits but most of those are people). I think the “up” was intended as misdirection.

      • Lea
        Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks BD that helps – I had worked out the womans name but not why the rest – got confused with the “up”.

        Also thanks for the wikipedia – saved me going to look it up.

  7. mary
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    HI Dave
    still cannot get the third word of 4d must be totally out of practice after 2 weeks off!

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      It’s difficult to provide a sensible hint!

      Try putting the other three words into Google. If you put the first two inside quotes, it focuses the search better.

  8. mary
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    got it thanks Dave…never heard of it….nice to be back

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Nice to have you back, we’ve missed you.

    • gazza
      Posted September 19, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Mary. We’ve missed you!

  9. Nubian
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave, 4d is an expression i have never heard before. I found this crossword enjoyable but 11d and the shooting up word is new to me.

  10. mary
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you both I just need to get my brain into gear now :)

  11. chris
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for your hints – I have only found this site within the past few weeks and have not shared this with my better half! He just thinks I have become very knowledgable of late! I especially liked 19d. as I didn’t know it was a type of cloak. Keep up the good work!

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog chris

      I you look here you will see that you are not alone!

      • Flintelliejet
        Posted September 20, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        I kept Big Dave quiet from my sister for weeks – then confessed over the phone one weekend, in a moment of guilt!
        On Saturday’s, I am often heard saying “Off to have a chat with Dave” now!
        Love your site.

        • Posted September 20, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Welcome to the blog Flintelliejet

          Glad to hear that you decided to come “out”.

          The really great thing about running this blog is the response that we all receive from what feels like an extended family.

          It makes it all worthwhile, so thanks to all of you.

  12. Edi
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    did not have fun with this one!!!!! finished but not without BD’s help. still not sure about few clues, look forward to tilsit’s review. never heard of unches before, always nice to learn new things. thanks BD

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Tilsit introduced the term double unches to the blog in one of his early reviews, so I’m sure he won’t disappoint you.

  13. Anna
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this site – I love it! I’ve finished today’s puzzle, but I’m not entirely sure I understand 16 ac – my answer doesn’t seem to fit the whole clue.

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Anna.
      It’s simply a charade of synonyms for novel, as in fresh, and fashion. Look at comment 4 above for more on the second word.

  14. Lizwhiz
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Like many others, I got stuck on 4d and 5d ;( enjoyed it though-my first crossword for a fortnight… who said it would be good to go back to work????

  15. Jake
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the helpful hints which helped me to get 17a and to get started and complete!

    • gazza
      Posted September 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jake – welcome to the blog.

  16. sarumite
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I always make every effort to complete cryptics before seeking “outside help” such as that given on this splendid site. However, I have to confess that I usually enter suspected anagrams into an on-line solver if the answer isn’t immediately obvious!

    It would be interesting to know if this is common practice with others, although I no longer bother submitting completed grids (other than the monthly Saga).

    I was also surprised that ALL *******s (13a) are apparently pretty! ;O)

    • Andy
      Posted September 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      I try to do anagrams but normlly end up using a online solver, for some reason nothing seems to jump out at me when doing them. I need more practice or a better technique.

  17. Andy
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Hey all, I liked todays although 8d was a real problem for me, took ages for the penny to drop. Also had a blind spot for 4d never heard of it before but as they say “its back to school everyday” Thanks for the help with 17ac never would have got it without the site.

  18. newtocryptic
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The hints today were a godsend. I really struggled with a couple of areas but the hints got me on the right road. Enjoyable and well worthy of **** Thanks for the start Dave!

  19. DeeH
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Thought I had 15a until I worked out 11d!! All complete now except for 12d and 15a………..would appreciate a hint if anyone has one!! Thank you!

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Dee

      12d In which one is taught how to act? (6,4)
      This is a cryptic definition of the event that Mums and Dads attend, usually at Christmas, to see their offspring acting for the first time on stage.

      15a Arrested two men shortly (6)
      This is a term used by just about every television policeman as he arrests a criminal – “You’re ******” – its a charade of two abbreviated names.

  20. Chris
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I am having trouble with 7d – lots of enjoyable clues this week though – 8d is my favourite!
    Incidentally, BG, I notice that the answer to 13a is given in one of the comments above!

    • Posted September 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      I miissed that accidental disclosure – now sorted thanks!

      7d Indicate unfilled space is very close (5-5)
      This is a charade combining synonyms for indicate and unfilled space to get a phrase meaning very close which is usually followed by range.

      • sarumite
        Posted September 19, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Apologies for my oversight above ref. 13a. :O(
        I’ve only recently discovered this site and should have digested the guidelines more carefully!!

        • Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

          No problem – the hint was fairly obvious anyway, especially if you follow the link and look at the url.

          BTW you can find a list of the smilies that work on this blog in the FAQ – :roll:

  21. nanaglugglug
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Most tricky for us was 11d – goodness knows why! Other than that, not a bad puzzle. Away for a week now, so see you all in October!

  22. Posted September 19, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see all the comments. I shall indeed be along with the review next Thursday, especially as I am now back on line. Thanks to Big Dave for covering for me on Thursday.

    Just Fancy That! Shamelessly nicked from Private Eye…..

    Daily Telegraph Crossword 26038 19.09.09

    18 across Tax this revenue away from the sea (6)

    Times Saturday Prize Crossword 24335 19.09.09

    24 across Such revenue once from the seaside (6)

  23. DAVE
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The one that held me up was 11d. I have checked my dictionary and “**********” does not mean “not hopeful”, but rather “unambitious”. I know many unambitious people who are hopeful and happy in life. OK you could get it from “***” and “*******”, but I don’t like clues where the definition of the word is wrong as opposed to a bit obscure.

    • Posted September 21, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Dave

      Please read the request in red at the end of the blog before posting comments on prize crosswords.

      It certainly wasn’t a very good clue.

  24. terry
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    what is 11 down please

    • Posted September 21, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      PLEASE read the request in red at the end of the blog.

      There is a hint in comment 6 above.

  25. Marlie
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I have just dicovered your site, struggling with 11d in Saturdayspuzzle.
    I have got the woman’s name, but just cannot get the other bit of the word?
    Hate it when I cannot finish puzzle.

    • Posted September 21, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Marlie

      It’s very hard to think of a suitable hint for “shooting up”, but a church steeple goes up into the sky; think of a word closely related to steeple and you are nearly there.

  26. Marlie
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks BD, got it now. Not a very good clue, do you agree?
    Can sleep now……finished it.

    • Posted September 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Any clue that is so difficult to explain is a poor clue.