DT 26053 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26053

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26053

Oh No It’s Not! Oh Yes It Is!! Er….Oh No It’s Not!!!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A lovely puzzle with some really good clues, especially the clever ones at 9 across, 26 across and . However, some of your bloggers have been involved in heated debate today over one clue in particular. 6 across refers to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. At first I solved it and thought it was a nice clue but then I started to wonder if Abel was the Third Man. Checks with that eminent theologian, The slightly Reverend Big Dave revealed that Abel was indeed the Third Man, after Adam and Cain. I had forgotten about Eve’s sex, but let’s not go there. Fine thought I, nice clue, and move on. Wrong! Of course Cain murdered Abel; everyone worked that out without calling in Miss Marple. So therefore Abel was the victim! By now the other bloggers had joined in and I suspect it’s a misprint and should have read “This victim was The Third Man”.

Enough of matters theological. On with the blog. Don’t forget to have your say and to mark the puzzle with the star rating system. New posters should be aware that we keep the answers hidden between the curly brackets and that they need to be highlighted with your mouse to reveal them. First-time posters on the blog should also know that their posts sometimes take a little while to appear as they have to be moderated to check we are not being attaced by spammers.


1a Fitted pegs? (5,5)
{FALSE TEETH} We start with a cryptic definition today for dentures. Today’s fascinating fact No 1: George Washington is generally thought to have had a set of false teeth made from wood. Wrong! They were made from all sorts of things and included some animal teeth.

6a His victim was The Third Man (4)
{ABEL} You’ve read the details above, so here’s some music.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a Perhaps between 3 and 7 years old represented thus… (3-7)
{AGE BRACKET} One of the golden rules of crosswords is to read the whole clue, and you have to do that a couple of times today to get the answer. Here the setter is saying the ages of 3 and 7 are represented as (3 – 7), which means they are age brackets! The definition is of course the whole clue as well. Very clever and a device I haven’t seen used before.

10a Like the onset of WW2 intelligence (4)
{NOUS} I stared at this for a while. I had the answer which was presumably NOUS and after a prompt it became obvious, The onset of WW2 had NO U.S., they arrived a bit later! Please watch out for reports of murders in the Cheltenham area this weekend. I’ll explain more tomorrow.

13a One age for Man in dream (7)
{INFANCY} There is an entry in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (another crossword bookshelf essential) for the Seven Ages of Man. The first of these is INFANCY.

Here, the first part of the clue makes up the definition with IN + DREAMS = INFANCY.

15a Where one might find 5 under control (2,4)
{IN HAND} A double definition with the first part cryptic, but to understand one of the halves, you’ll need to solve 5 first. “Under control” is the main definition.

16a Source of shady income for only the middle-class? (6)
{EARNER} Source of shady income is a definition of this word. The remainder is the middle of LEARNERS, i.e. the middle of class. On most occasions, when looking for the middle of an answer in a clue, it will refer to one letter in an odd-numbered answer, two in an even-numbered one. Very occasionally it relates to the bulk of the answer, like this one.

17a Two flags unfairly applied to some but not others (6,9)
{DOUBLE STANDARDS} A standard is another name for a flag. So two are “double”, with the remainder forming the definition of the clue.

18a Exotic island loses time installing name for sesame product (6)
{TAHINI} The exotic island is TAHITI and the setter is asking you to swap one of the t’s (time) for an n (name). This produces a type of sauce made from sesame that’s popular with middle-eastern cuisine.

20a Some might say extravagant charity fair (6)
{BAZAAR} Interesting clue. Other setters I could name here but won’t for fear of being beaten up would have just written this clue as “Extravagant, say, charity fair”, which would make it unfair. It’s a homophone for the word BAZAAR, i.e. BIZARRE. However , not everyone would say the word in the same way. The setter recognises this and cleverly adds “Some might say” as the indicator for the homophone.

21a Vulgar one ain’t from a public school! (7)
{ETONIAN}    Lovely witty clue. An anagram (indicated by vulgar) for ONE AIN’T gives the name of a student at a famous public school. The whole clue also provides a definition to the answer.

22a Fleece one of the four men cornered (4)
{ROOK}     One of four in the corners of a chessboard also provides a definition for a word meaning to con or fleece.

25a Seeing wild animals here from a distance, I power across island (6,4)
{SAFARI PARK} From a distance = AFAR and I P = I and Power inside an island (SARK)

26a Food? English and Irish poets both neglecting starters (4)
{EATS} My favourite clue today. An English poet = KEATS and the Irish one = YEATS, both without their starters (first letters) provides a word meaning Food.

27a Flash bloke, knave held at resort (4,3,3)
{JACK THE LAD} Flash bloke is your definition with KNAVE = jack, plus an anagram (resort) of HELD AT.


1d           Fixed abode (4)
{FLAT}  Double Definition.  This troubled me for a while, but a look in the faithful Chambers revealed the definition of fixed.

2d           Look — is this a wind-up? (4)
{LEER}  Yes it is!  REEL =  Wind, as in a fisherman with his line.  If you reverse it, you get LEER.  In a down clue (and only in down clues) can “up” be used to indicate reversal.

3d           Make a mistake with mission (6)
{ERRAND}  ERR = Make a mistake + WITH = And

4d           Miracle taxman OK to fiddle! (11,4)
{EXCLAMATION MARK}  An anagram of MIRACLE TAXMAN OK reveals te answer.  Hang on, where’s the definition?  I said earlier, look at the whole clue.  It’s the very last character – !.  And you can’t get more obvious a definition than that.

5d           Chase it for game? It’s hard to miss for cunning cheetah! (3,3)
{THE ACE}  Another nice surface reading.  An anagram of CHEETAH minus H for hard, give the words that completes the phrase “Chase __ __” for a card game, not often heard of today.

7d           Supermarket delivery somewhat late? (5,5)
{BROWN BREAD}  One of my  other recreations is contributing to the talkboards at Guardian Talk which is one of the oldest discussion sites around.  Here you can spar with the most ultra-right wing Americans or talk about what you watched on telly last night.  In the Notes and Queries section, some of us speculate and wonder what has happened to celebrities from the past and whether they are still with us.  We also record the passing of what we call Cultural Colossi by posting their obituaries and the expression we often use is “purchased a Hovis or Hovised” as in the cockney rhyming slang for dead – brown bread!  This is a double cryptic definition, although I think it would have been better to add “in parts of London” to qualify the clue slightly.

8d           Seaside tour’s final location? I really didn’t want to go there (4,6)
{LAST RESORT}  If you were on a tour of seaside venues, the final one would be this.  The remainder provides a definition as well.

11d         Court invited into Frenchman’s second home (4-1-5)
{PIED-A-TERRE}  DATE (court) inside PIERRE gives the trendy name for a second home.

12d         Solved buying an admission ticket? —— —-, he didn’t charge much! (7,3)
{THOUGHT OUT}  This is another example of having to read the clue carefully.

It’s another unusual device rarely seen in puzzles outside the fiendishly tough Azed puzzle in the Observer.  Solved is the definition.  The remainder Is simply a sentence with the answer removed.  But look carefully at the letter spaces in the clue.  They actually refer to words of length 6 and 4  rather than 7 and 3, so the setter is asking you to replace the  blanks with the letter of the answer, so the sentence reads  Buying an admission ticket? Though tout, he didn’t charge much.

13d         Tend to go up or down (7)
{INCLINE}  A double definition clue.  To tend means to incline towards and something going up or down inclines.

14d         A farm employee, I am randy — dreadfully! (7)
{YARDMAN}  Sneaky old setter!  You could make a case for YARDMAN (strongly) and DRAYMAN (weakly) for this clue.  It is the obvious one.  It’s an anagram (indicated by dreadfully) of AM RANDY.  I bet Sir Bufton Tufton choked on his kippers doing his crossword this morning!

19d         Area of Greece taken in with a camera (6)
{ITHACA}  Hidden answer   “wITH A CAmera”

20d         Northern Ireland party about to enforce exile (6)
{BANISH}  BASH = party around NI (Northern Ireland) gives a word meaning to exile.

23d         I’m disturbed by some dismissals from security (4)
{BAIL}  I think our setter is referring to cricket.  A bail is disturbed in some methods of getting out, for example bowled, hit wicket, stumped, but not all methods.  Security is the other definition.

24d         Child drops from second slide (4)
{SKID}  S (Second) + KID =  SKID (slide)  Again the use of drops here, shows that it has to be a down clue for it to work.

Thanks for a superb challenge, and I’ll see you for a Toughie Review tomorrow, if I can get my brain back into gear!

51 comments on “DT 26053

  1. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed this today. By no means a walk in the park, and in contrast to some of the recent puzzles, felt immense satisfaction at the end of it!

  2. Lovely little puzzle, difficult yet satisfying with some great clues (9a, 7d, 4d).
    I still haven’t got 19d!

    6a stiffed me right up as being a good lapsed RC boy I wrote in Cain early on (without any thoughts to seniority) and only realised the error in the clue much later having struggled with 7 and 8d.

    A good Act of Contrition required from the compiler, methinks….

    1. I suspect buying Big Dave and myself several drinks on Saturday will be a worthwhile start to his penance!

      Incidentally, if you are in the Cheltenham area on Saturday afternoon, I am spending the weekend with Big Dave as the town hosts the finals of The Times Crossword Championships and we will be cheering on several crossworders who are taking part.

      A few of us are meeting at the Kemble Brewery Inn, Fairview Street, Cheltenham from about 14:00 and you would be most welcome to join us!

  3. Excellent crossword, made me feel much better after yesterday’s Toughie. I am still chewing on a couple of clue explanations, even though I know what the answer is, so look forward to the downs.

    1. I agree with you there Libellule – I am waiting for downs to find out why on two of them. I do not understand 3d nor 23d. Got the answers but not sure why.

      Now I could enter this bone of contention regarding third man in that it depends what you class Eve as – other than the first woman. I have always enjoyed playing devil’s advocate and I can do that here!!!!

      The bible states that God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him’; male and female created he them. ( old version of the bible – not the Good News one).

      I got stuck for ages though on the answer as the victim was abel (as the third man) and therefore the answer should have been cain. However, I left it until I had solved the 7d and 8d and realised it couldn’t be anything else but what it is. – third man as the victim.

      1. I went away and just figured out the answer is what it is for 5d – duh!!!! which is the query – not 3d – got 3d easily but it was 5d I couldn’t figure out why – not I do. Sorry

  4. oh dear………..not for me today, found it really hard and haven’t even finished yet :( i knew yesterday was too good to be true

    1. 11d concentrate on “second home” and the French connection
      23d not his best clue, second just = s, then think of a word for child
      12d A nice clue. The keyword is “solved” but count the dashes!

  5. Brilliant! Some really clever clues and hard to pick a favourite but maybe 4d. I too was caught out by the misprint in the clue of 6a but fortunately got 8d quickly so was not much delayed.

    But if you are right about 20a then I have got 14d wrong, as I have the second letter being an a, so I have bazaar for 20a

      1. Yes, and there are 7 letters in bizarre so he can’t have meant that, but I have trouble counting past 5!

    1. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate how much work is involved in putting the hints together. Thank you.

  6. TROUBLE!! Did anyone else find anything strange about the site today?? When I logged on I was OK. Saved some answers as the doorbell went!! When I logged in again I had no letter hints and the point available were 0. When I finished I could not submit my answers.. (error warning). I decided to exit and found all answers were correct but I had no points!! ;(

    Did enjoy this crossword but still a bit puzzled about a couple>

    1. Liz,
      CluedUp seemed to be working as well as it could do, bearing in mind the fact that most of the software on there is bug ridden :-) I have come across what happened to you once before, and I still can’t explain why it happened.

      1. I know what happened. It also explains what happened to me once before… Liz the crossword you were doing disappeared from under you. It has been replaced with a corrected one. 6a now reads “Victim was The Third Man (4)”. Try doing it again. You should be able to post a good time :-)

  7. Looking back at the puzzle, I realise that I enjoyed it more than I thought at the time. I managed to complete it but was left feeling irritated and unsatisfied at the end of the process. In part I suspect that it was because I was a very early train this morning to get to Leeds and that 6a was patently misleading. My favourites were 7d, 14d and 23d.

    I have a theory that yesterday’s Toughie and today’s cryptic somehow got mixed up in the publication process. Or perhaps the crossword editor is playing some weird trick on us to see if giving a crossword a toughie or cryptic tag affects how difficult people find it to solve? Additional points can be gained by bringing Area 52 within the conspiracy theory!!

  8. Late comment because it has taken me so long to finish mainly because I was held up by my certainty that 6a was Cain. Once I had decided that 8d had to begin with L everything opened up. Sill managed to get 10a and 23d wrong – thanksTilsit for the explanation of the correct answers. I’m with the majority in thinking that this was a great challenge only slightly spoilt by 6a. Best clue for me 10a even though I got it wrong!

  9. I am sorry Tilsit but I have studied your explanation for 16a and am still none the wiser. Is it another word for middle-class that is earner and where does the word learners come from, is that to do with classroom learners ?
    I am getting very confused
    Back to England tomorrow, the cold might refresh my brain

    1. Shady income is the nice little EARNER which is the middle of LEARNERS, a class. Purists would argue that it should be middle of class, but that would destroy the surface reading.

      1. Thanks B Dave,
        Maybe a list of classes in ‘The Mine’ might help or is there such a thing as a list ?
        Wikipedia seems to go into divisions of class, the Proletariat, petit bourgeoise, but I couldn’t find learners

        Have I lost the plot completely ?

  10. Found this one of the most challenging crosswords for ages – a snorter! Mental fatigue and some devilish clues presented Little Dave with lots of angst. 4.5* for me. I need to have an early night after this one.

  11. Lovely wrestling match with the setter today. guessed most of the answers without knowing why, until tilsit came to the rescue. 9a my favourite as i became quite smug when i solved it. never heard of 18a or 7d… but everyday is a school day !!

  12. What a cracker of a crossword, left me feeling very satisfied, should have been a Saturday prize one, bet the one on the 10th is a cakewalk compared to this classic.Well done the compiler, yep 26a has to be my favourite as well.

  13. Oh come on you guys – surely 10a is the best! 13a was really hard, had to get help :( I have to admit that I really like clever devices such as 4d or 12d… I wish I could think of something that clever…

    1. Can’t really agree there – It looks good with hindsight but was a tad too oblique for a DT in my opinion. The lack of Exclamation Mark to indicate a bit of a joke did not help.

      My all time favourite: “Follow the Invisible Man in the sportswear department ! (5-4)” at least suggested an amusing answer.

    2. I agree that 10a is very good, but for me it only gets the bronze medal. Ahead of it are 9a and 26a.

  14. We are amazed! found this easier than usual – and as you know, we usually struggle!! But did miss the obvious with 1A. No doubt will be back to our normal standard tomorrow…

  15. Several wonderful clues; so much life and wit.. 10a is a great jest and 4d and 9a excellent clues that go beyond the usual.

  16. Considering the gaffe involving ABEL/CAIN etc, for which I am ultimately to blame, that was a very sensitive and revealing set of comments, and I thank you all. No doubt I’ll pay dearly this weekend.

    Having complained – as a solver – about recent inaccuracies in various puzzles, it’s my turn to hang my head in shame.


Comments are closed.