DT 26047 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26047

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26047

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Tilsit is taking a few days off to attend to other matter, but don’t worry he’s not unwell and should be back next week. Today’s puzzle is one of those that will probably split the opinions into two. The more experienced solvers will dismiss it, and the less experienced will be happy that they have finished it.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


8a Special garb or gear possibly worn by boxer (7)
{REGALIA} – very special garb that is an anagram (possibly) of GEAR around (worn by) Muhammad ALI (boxer, as if you didn’t know)

10a Sound of US soldier in bar (7)
{LOGICAL} – sound, in the sense of reliable, comes from GI (US soldier) inside LOCAL (bar)

11a Whisky, say, taken before good savoury item (6,3)
{SCOTCH EGG} – a charade of SCOTCH (whisky) EG (for example, say) and G(ood) gives one of BigBoab’s favourite savoury items

12a Breezy to the South back in Mediterranean country (5)
{SYRIA} – take AIRY (breezy) and S(outh) and reverse them (back) to get a Mediterranean country

13a Genuine leader of men in province (5)
{REALM} – a charade of REAL (genuine) and M(en) gives a province – most of the setters do it, but “in” should not be used to link wordplay and definition!

14a Picture in list, a ‘U’ (7)
{TABLEAU} – this picture is obtained from TABLE (list) A and U – with “in” as the linking word again confusing the issue

17a Music from a ballet gets enthusiast mad, quite losing head (10,5)
{NUTCRACKER SUITE} – this music from the ballet is obtained by putting together NUT (enthusiast) CRACKERS (mad) and (Q)UITE

19a Elegant, a crack musical (7)
{CHICAGO} – a charade of CHIC (elegant) A GO (an attempt / a crack) gives us this popular musical

21a Historical object shown by RC priest inside (5)
{RELIC} – a historical object can be found by taking RC and putting ELI (priest) inside

24a A small photograph of savoury jelly (5)
{ASPIC} – combine A S(mall) and PIC(ture) to get a savoury jelly

26a Is doing as badly — that’s a doctor’s opinion (9)
{DIAGNOSIS} – an anagram (badly) of IS DOING AS gives a doctor’s opinion

27a Plays, relaxing in company, a satirical song (7)
{CALYPSO} – an anagram (relaxing – does this work?) of PLAYS inside CO(mpany) gives a West Indian ballad, usually dealing with topical events, usually made up as the singer goes along and sung in syncopated rhythm to an accompaniment of simple percussion instruments – not quite what I would have defined as a satirical song

28a Tragic romance in Italian city (7)
{CREMONA} – an anagram (tragic) of ROMANCE gives an Italian city

Seconds out, round two.


1d First letter of Canadian river needs changing, so this’ll come in handy! (6)
{ERASER} – change the first letter of the River FRASER from an F to an E and you have something useful for making corrections

2d In the dark, I allow denial within (8)
{IGNORANT} – a word meaning in the dark comes from I GRANT (I allow) with NO (denial) inside

3d Miserable girl in police van (5,5)
{BLACK MARIA} – a fairly obvious charade of BLACK (miserable) and MARIA (girl) provides a police van (do they still call them this?)

4d Telling off about religious books obtained dishonestly (3-6)
{ILL-GOTTEN} – sometimes the setter gets the anagram indicator exactly right, as here – an anagram (off) of TELLING around OT (Old Testament / religious books) gives a word meaning obtained dishonestly

5d Carries on without wife for a long time (4)
{AGES} – (W)AGES (carries on, as in wages war) without the W(ife) gives a long time

6d Rare fright rounding Cape (6)
{SCARCE} – a word meaning rare comes from SCARE (fright) around C(ape)

7d Excuse certain to cause amusement (8)
{PLEASURE} – a charade of PLEA (excuse) and SURE (certain gives a word meaning amusement

9d Take off before ten for summit (4)
{APEX} – here the charade is APE (take off) and X (ten in Roman numerals) to get a word meaning summit

15d Backwoodsman in awful rush in clapped-out car (10)
{BUSHRANGER} – this backwoodsman is derived by putting an anagram (awful) of RUSH inside BANGER (clapped-out car)

16d Agree with one playing instrument (9)
{ACCORDION} – put together ACCORD (agree) I (one) and ON (playing, as in on the stage) to get this musical instrument

17d That will not happen if small number gamble (2,6)
{NO CHANCE} – a phrase meaning “that will not happen” comes from NO (small / abbreviated number) and CHANCE (gamble)

18d The Italian applied sun oil to create a false impression (8)
{ILLUSION} – IL (the, Italian) is followed by an anagram (applied) of SUN OIL to get a false impression

20d Spike one member’s beer (6)
{IMPALE} – to spike something comes from I (one) MP (Member of Parliament) and ALE (beer)

22d One about to leave country to top the bill with others (2-4)
{CO-STAR} – start with COSTA RICA (country) and take away (to leave) I (one) and CA (circa / about) and you get a word meaning to top the bill with others

23d Powder used in antenatal clinics (4)
{TALC} – someone had hidden this powder inside antenaTAL Clinics

25d Get by policeman close to entrance (4)
{COPE} – a word meaning to get by is created by combining COP (policeman) and E (close to / last letter of entrancE)

Well it seems I was right about the polarisation!  What I would like to know is why you like or disliked it.  From my point of view a surfeit of charades is lazy clueing;  I like a good mix of clues, which is where Rufus and Giovanni, to name but two, excel.

42 comments on “DT 26047

  1. Rattled through this but that did not remove the enjoyment.

    27a is a false definition of calypso.

    Happy to see this on a Wednesday as it gives the newbies solid practice. Not easy but not difficult and I applaud this approach.

    1. Dave in his explanation of 27a gives the Chamber’s definition of the answer, and it certainly looks like defining this as a “satirical song” is incorrect, however some further reading, including this on Wikipedia, seems to vouch for the possible accuracy of the definition – from a historical perspective.

      1. I reckon the the definition is right on the very edge, and if one is not careful it may tumble into the keg of rum!

  2. Worst one of the month, far too easy. I’ll nominate 3d as my favourite but only because I used to drive one.

    1. bigboab

      I often read your comments and to be honest feel uncomfortable with a number of them.

      Can you not recall the days when you began cryptics and they all looked double dutch? I sure do.

      Being a cruciverbalist is great fun, and a good intellectual exercise. I for one wish to encourage others and not say how good I am. Maybe you might try and encourage others – just occasionally please.

      If not might I suggest that in order not to deflate the newbies you restrict your comments to the toughie.

      Just my thoughts. If they offend you I apologise.

      1. Well said Yoshik but I am sure you know that there always negative people around who like to feel important.

      2. A well intended comment, that I am sure is reciprocated by many including me. No matter what age one started doing cryptic crosswords, if we had had a site like this then, we would have been more adroit at solving them , but would have got a lot more enjoyment out of them Well said Yoshik.

      3. Yoshik, Kram, Lea et al, if I have annoyed or offended anyone then I apologise most sincerely, it was not my intention. I thought I was following Big Daves’ request to add comments about the crosswords as I saw them personally. To anyone I have offended, once again I offer my apologies.

        1. bigboab

          Thank you for a gentlemanly response to my post.

          I am sure it is appreciated by all.

          My thoughts are Big Dave would want to encourage all, so let’s try.

          1. I knew soon after starting this one that opinion would be polarised!

            I don’t want anyone to be discouraged from posting, but those at both ends of the ability scale should appreciate that the ones they don’t like are the ones that others do.

            I do have a handful of grumbles about this puzzle, as expressed in the post, but on the whole it is well crafted.

          2. Hi biboab, I am sure you have not offended anyone by your comments, it is just that I feel that encouragement in the cruciverbolist field is better than saying nothing. Some of your comments/contributions in the past have been of great help to me and no doubt others so please don’t be put off.

            1. I agree with you Kram and bigboab I doubt that anyone is taking offence. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

  3. Being one of the less experienced I found it quite easy and actually finished it in one of my best times so I would imagine the experienced ones found it not very taxing.

    Even though 3 down had one of your pet hates (girl’s name) I liked it.

    1d was very easy for me – and the first one I got – as I originate from the Vancouver area.

  4. As one of the less experienced solvers I am very happy to have finished this on my own :) that is no help from the blog, of course loads of help from my Chambers crossword dictionary and my little electronic machine!! so i am really sad to see the 2 star for difficulty…imagine how thrilled i’d have been to achieve this on a 3 or 4 star difficulty rating :)
    thank you Yoshik for your encouragement to us lesser beings

    1. Mary

      I have been doing these for many years, particularly on what were my daily train trips between Winchester and Waterloo.

      It took me a long long time to master them , and even know I still get splinters.

      The Toughie which is a new breed is a fantastic challenge, with today’s still making me think after 3 hours. I will get there but the secret is for people who are new to complete the normal cryptic and then try the Toughie. Do what you can and then study the answers given by the blog. I found this helped me a lot in the beginning.

      It is always good to see new people expressing their enjoyment.

      1. I know your answer was addressed to Mary but it is excellent advice for all of us newbies – thank you.

      2. thanks Yoshik, I have just looked at the toughie and manage 3 so far !!
        I will however persevere and agree with your advice that doing them alongside the blog is a good way of learning

  5. Oh no – all the answers are visible.
    Managed to slde my cursor down very quickly but still my eye picked up some of them – can you cover them up please?!!

      1. Dave,

        Could I ask that the visible explanation be not so specific, but more give the mechanics?

        EG for 12 across you could have said “Find a synonym for breezy , then add a letter meaning South and reverse it” You could have the “AIRY” hidden in the same way that you (usually) hide the solution.

        This would allow somebody who is struggling to get on the right lines without giving the entire answer away.

        Just a thought!

        PS Did this one surprisingly quickly, so bit disappointed to see it was regarded as very easy!

  6. It’s all been said by others and you will not be surprised that I rate it just short of excellent. Being able to finish in 30 minutes or so over lunch is a bonus as it encouages me to get on with other jobs. I will look at the Toughie this evening but don’t hold your breath!

  7. Surely, it’s not about the comments but about the individuals. Whatever our experience, we try the crosswords and are successful to a greater or lesser degree – even the more experienced amongst us find some clues less than straightforward or likeable; and sometimes those with less experience can see an answer quickly. The idea of a blog is that we can express our opinions in relation to where we are at personally and, in the same way, assess our individual achievements personally, while at the same time gain an awareness of what others are thinking and achieving.

    1. I totally agree Tilly, sometimes I, who have been doing these for just over four months now can see an answer that my brother who has been doing them for over 30 years cannot ( I stress this is just ‘sometimes’ :0, it is all down to the individual

  8. Dave,

    A question. What do you consider to be a charade, and why is it lazy? You refer to ‘CHIC’ as a charade for ‘elegant’, but to me it seems as close a synonym as many crossword clues are. Ditto ‘BLACK’ for miserable, ‘REAL’ for genuine, ‘SCOTCH’ for whisky, PLEA for excuse.

    1. Andy,

      A charade is the linking together of clued words to give the answer. In the example you refer to, the answer is a charade of “chic” (synonym fo elegant), “a” and “go” (synonym for crack).

      If you look up CRYPTIC CROSSWORDS in Wikipedia, you will get a good explanation of the different types of cryptic clues.

      I thought it was very easy today, but , as I don’t get much time on Wednesdays, I was glad of it!

    2. Ok, got that thanks. It was a term I haven’t come across before. I have found out about crosswords by doing them, and haven’t read any guides!

      I agree that they (charades) can be too easy to construct, especially when convoluted (several small words), but some are very neat and pleasing

      1. Almost every puzzle has some charades, but when there are too many you are looking out for them and the impact is lost.

        I met Micawber, yesterday’s Toughie setter, at Sloggers & Betters 5 a few months go and he told me that a good charade splits the answer in such a way that none of the elements are related to that answer. Thus PLEA + SURE is good, BLACK + MARIA is not. Several of today’s pass this test, but there were too many of them.

        As ever, this is a personal view!!

  9. I still class myself as a newbie having just returned to doing the crossword regularly after a break of many years. for at least the past 6 years the only time i have done itis if i was on a long train journey. I like the crossword to get me thinking I don’t sit down and try and finish it in my dinner hour i prefer to keep having a quick look at it while i am waiting for something else to happen. I usually start it about 8ish and keep looking at it over the morning in between work and sometimes it stretches into the afternoon as well. Today’s did not please me at all got through it far too quiickly then had nothing to do for the rest of the morning.

  10. I certainly agree with most comments and sentiments here. I must say that I found thus pretty straightforward but very enjoyable. As a yardstick I try to fnish the DT cryptic on the 1 hr train journey but today’s was 4 stops – a rarity!
    My best achievement has been both Times and telegraph from Dartford to London Bridge and the next goal is the DT and toughie in the hour… a REAL challenge!

  11. After going through all the comments I have to say a conclusion I have arrived at is some people think they are old regulars and others that they are fresh faced youngsters at the game. Having cursed,sweated and zipped through(on occassions)the Telegragh crossy for the last 42 years I can honestly say, some days I am a demon and wonder why they insult me with such easy clues, other days it is as if i have never seen a clue in my life before.
    The so called newbies to crosswords should either take heart or be thoroughly depressed to accept the fact that you will always and never be a newbie as well as always being an old hand and never realizing it !
    I think the sun has got to me today
    The crossword was easy but I hate easy ones because I am always expecting the clue that will stop my roll, spending an hour on the last clue, very frustrating.
    Thanks for blog B Dave

  12. I am in two minds about this one. I found the majority of the clues straightforward but others took a little more time – particularly 1d as I do not have Lea’s encyclopedic knowledge of Canadian rivers and SW trains do not supply reference works in their carriages!!

    Overall, I thought it was a fair crossword though not up to the polish of Monday’s or Tuesday’s offerings. BD has pointed out areas where there were some jagged edges.

    In 22d I had never come across “CA” as being “about” only having seen “C” or “RE” as being indicated by this. Nice to learn some new indicators though!

      1. I don’t think we should be too hung up on formulae. ‘CA’ is short for circa, as is ‘C’ so both can be indicated by ‘about’.

        Just because some things have historically been used, it doesn’t prevent others from being valid. For instance – I have never seen ‘plus’ used for ‘and’, but I would have no objection to it.

  13. For what its worth I think being on the same wavelength as the setter really makes a difference. Had this done pretty quickly but really enjoyed the whole experience. Favourite clues 11a and 19a

  14. Blimey! This has provoked some debate. Yes I have been doing the crossword for a long time (17 diligent years) and no I did not finish it! Raced through it all but failed to get 1d and was convinced it started with a letter “C”. I suppose this crossword illustrates the fact that the answers for everyone are only simple if you can solve them. Never under-estimate it experienced or not!!!!

  15. Found this pretty straightforward like everybody else but still enjoyable nonetheless. The’enjoyment factor’ can be hard to define, but today it was because I had made rapid progress before I had eaten my slice of toast at breakfast! However, on other days the enjoyment derives from struggling all day but finally completing it before switching the light out at bedtime!

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