DT 26051 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26051

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26051

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A typical offering from our Monday Maestro. You can get a bit lost in the isolated corners and I wasn’t too happy about “in Pakistan” as the definition of a river. There were, however, a few smiles along the way.

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.


1a Red Cross patron goes tearing off (5,6)
{SAINT GEORGE} – the patron of the Red Cross is an anagram (off) of GOES TEARING

9a Bad habit that’s difficult to get out of? (4)
{VICE} – a double definition

10a Inspired aim maybe to drink tea out about four (11)
{IMAGINATIVE} – a word meaning inspired is made up from an anagram (maybe) of AIM, GIN (drink) and a further anagram (out) of TEA around IV (four in Roman numerals)

11a Watch open-mouthed as centre forward moves into space (4)
{GAWP} – a word meaning to watch open-mouthed is derived by putting W (the centre of forWard) into GAP (space)

14a Girl has the goods, but doesn’t seem to know it (7)
{UNAWARE} – UNA is the girl, and she has WARE (the goods – Chambers allows it in the singular but goods are usually wares) and doesn’t seem to know it

16a Upset a journalist not a jot narrow-minded (7)
{INSULAR} – an anagram (upset) of (A JO)URNALIS(T) without A JOT gives a word meaning narrow-minded

17a Indications of plus and minus, for example (5)
{SIGNS} – + and – are these

18a Spot a device for providing therapeutic solution (4)
{DRIP} – a double definition: a spot of water and a way of feeding a therapeutic solution to a patient

19a Composed part of a musical masterpiece (4)
{CALM} – A synonym for composed is hidden (part of) inside musical masterpiece

20a Fresh brush undergrowth (5)
{SHRUB} – an anagram (fresh) of BRUSH gives a word meaning undergrowth

22a Sailor’s fate follows his superior (7)
{MATELOT} – this French sailor is derived by putting LOT (fate) after MATE (a ship’s officer / his superior)

23a Cross opponent of the Middle Ages (7)
{SARACEN} – a cryptic definition of a Muslim opponent of the Crusaders

24a Mean? No, jolly! (4)
{NORM} – a synonym for mean comes from NO and RM (Royal Marine / Jolly) – I bet that foxed a few of you!

28a Well-directed children (4,3,4)
{JACK AND JILL} – a cryptic definition of the children that climbed a hill to get to a well

29a Chap left two articles outside (4)
{ALAN} – this chap is built up from L(eft) inside A and AN

30a Board members show way to make a speech (11)
{DIRECTORATE} – a word meaning members of a board is a charade of DIRECT (show way) and ORATE (make a speech)


2d Came out top (4)
{ACME} – an anagram (out) of CAME gives a word meaning the top or highest point

3d Night without end — almost (4)
{NIGH} – NIGH(T) – as he sucks his tooth!

4d They may be responsible for reports from the front (7)
{GUNNERS} – a rather vague cryptic definition

5d King of the Germans, non-drinker in spectacles (4)
{OTTO} – if you don’t know this archetypal German King then remember him as he is sure to come up again – TT (TeeTotaller / non-drinker) inside O^O (spectacles)

6d Controls gravity over the Poles (7)
{GOVERNS} – a word meaning controls comes from G(ravity) OVER and N(orth) S(outh) (poles) –perhaps “above the poles” might have been a little more cryptic but this could have created confusion as this is a down clue

7d Camille is upset about an unsuitable marriage (11)
{MISALLIANCE} – place an anagram (upset) of CAMILLE IS around AN to get an unsuitable marriage

8d Disposition to show anger meant replacement (11)
{TEMPERAMENT} – a synonym for disposition comes from TEMPER (show anger) and an anagram (replacement) of MEANT

12d Essential pleasure US lawyer has in mind (11)
{FUNDAMENTAL} – a word meaning essential is a charade of FUN (pleasure) DA (District Attorney / US lawyer) and MENTAL (in the mind)

13d Commanding soldiers in khaki, for example (11)
{MAGISTERIAL} – a synonym for commanding is created by putting GIS (soldiers) inside MATERIAL (khaki, for example)

15d Number of men engaged in a row (5)
{EIGHT} – a cryptic definition of the size of the crew in a rowing eight

16d Business lacks go in Pakistan (5)
{INDUS} – from INDUS(TRY) (business) remove the TRY (attempt / go) and you get a river in Pakistan – surely “Pakistani banker’s business lacks go” would have been better?

20d Highly vocal females cause trouble in a prison (7)
{SOPRANI} – the plural of soprano (highly vocal females) is an anagram (cause trouble in) of a PRISON

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21d He is entitled to join an upcoming singer and sailor (7)
{BARONET} – this titled person comes from TENOR (singer) and AB (Able Bodied seaman) all reversed (upcoming; this is, after all, a down clue)

25d An island heaven, it’s said (4)
{SKYE} – a Scottish island that sounds like (it’s said) sky (heaven)

26d Just open for a drink (4)
{AJAR} – time for A JAR

27d Ground needed for play (4)
{PLOT} – a double definition

I rather feel that the problem with this puzzle is self-inflicted.  This dreadful grid contains 12 four-letter answers, and any setter will tell you that most of the good ideas for clueing these have already been used several times over.  A review of the grids from which the setter can choose is well overdue, and I know that at least two of the bloggers on this site are prepared to help with this task.

28 comments on “DT 26051

  1. Did not take me too long but 24a and 15d I guessed as the answer was almost complete without fully understanding.

    May be pedantic but I don’t like the a in 19a – compare eg with the a in 20d.

    1. Sometimes words get added to improve the surface reading, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with 19a as it reads perfectly well without the “a”.

  2. Got stuck on perhaps the most obvious – 9a. Apart from that a good start to the week, quite challenging (the 4 letter clues, with the exception of 5d making his regular appearance!!) but enjoyable. Thanks for the explanation on 24a – got the answer with the help of Chambers, but was interested to know the meaning of a jolly (RM).

  3. Another nice start to the week. I particularly liked 11a and 28a.

    Glad i was not alone in finding “in Pakistan” too vague and thank you your for you comment on the singular “ware” in 24a as I wondered about this when doing the crossword. The extra “a” in 19a did not bother me as much as the “in” in 12d but maybe “in mind” as a whole indicates the final part of the answer rather than “mind” on its own.

    My only real bugbear was with 6d where you simply transplant “over” into the answer with no indication that this is what you are required to do. I dislike this kind transplanting.

  4. Hello,
    Just wanted to say a big thanks to this site – i try and do the telegraph cryptic everyday and often get the answers right, but sometimes can’t understand why the answer is what it is. This site helps explain them.
    I am new to cryptic crossowrds (always thought i could never do them), but it really is practice i suppose.


    1. Welcome to the blog Sarah

      You are right – there is no substitute for practice, but in conjunction with this site you should increase your rate of improvement.

  5. When I was in the Royal Navy the sailors were known sometimes as ‘Jolly Jack Tar’, the Royal Marines we always called ‘Bootnecks’ or Loyal Machines

  6. A lot of excellent surface readings and I did like 26d, which of course sparked the memory of ‘When’s a door not a door?’
    And 28a, once the penny dropped, is neat.
    (My father, Jack, was in the navy and given in business to telling jokes; he won the nickname from some navally minded colleagues of ‘Jolly Jack’.)

  7. I too felt like sucking my teeth at 3d, but resisted the temptation in case I choked. 14a was the first time I also had come across ware as singular, but on contemplation a warehouse has more than one ‘goods’. Did like 12d as it made me think!.

  8. 18a. I don’t see how “drip” can be used in this context, on its own. Surely it should be hyphenated with “feed”?

    1. Not according to Chambers…
      Drip – a device for passing a fluid slowly and continuously, esp into a vein of the body (also drip-feed)

  9. Hello to all. I’ve not been close to a computer for a while so have missd the blog. Usual monday fare, although i never seem to get my brain working ’til wednesday. As always excellent explanations to all those words i couldn’t dream of finding by myself

  10. Thank you everyone for this excellent site and the explantions provided. Loved the puzzle today esp. 28A – very good. Also 12 & 13 D & 1A. We live in Spain and are able to get the only two things that we miss about UK – Radio Kent & the T-graph cryptic Xword. You providing explanations when reqd. is the icing on the cake – many thanx.

  11. Thanks Dave for the explanantion of 24a – got the answer but had not idea where rm came from!

  12. Hi,

    I wasn’t sure where the word “cross” came from in Saracen (“23a Cross opponent of the Middle Ages (7)”) – and still am not. Can anyone assist?

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