DT 26057 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26057

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26057

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Many thanks to Gazza and Libellule for looking after the blog this weekend while I was away in Cheltenham.

I don’t know if it was because I was recovering from the excesses of the weekend, but I found today’s contribution from the Monday Maestro to be a fair bit harder than usual (cue complaints from the usual suspects!). The cryptic definition at 1 across was one of the best in a Monday puzzle for a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge that Rufus has set.

Another minor landmark – this is the 500th post on the blog (and the 5,000th comment was added last week).

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 Stock answer given by Solomon in classic dilemma (5,5)
{SHARE ISSUE} – this type of stock is the answer that Solomon gave to solve a dilemma – the issue to be shared is a child:

The saying is based upon the Biblical passage in 1 Kings 3:16-28, where two new mothers approach Solomon, bringing with them one dead baby boy. Each mother presents the same story and accusation: She and the other woman live together and have both recently given birth to baby boys. One night, soon after the birth of their respective boys, the other woman woke to find that she had smothered her own baby in her sleep. In anguish and jealousy, she took her dead son and exchanged it with the other’s child. The following morning, the woman discovered the dead baby, and soon realized that it was not her own son, but the other woman’s.

After some deliberation, King Solomon calls for a sword to be brought before him. He declares that there is only one fair solution: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy’s true mother cries out, “Please, My Lord, give her the live child—do not kill him!” However, the liar, in her bitter jealousy, exclaims, “It shall be neither mine nor yours—divide it!” Solomon instantly gives the live baby to the real mother, realizing that the true mother’s instincts were to protect her child, while the liar revealed that she did not truly love the child.

9a Aspersion on the staff, perhaps (4)
{SLUR} – a word meaning an aspersion is also a curved line indicating that notes are to be sung to one syllable, played with one bow, or with a smooth gliding effect and the staff being referred to is a set of lines and spaces on which music is written or printed

10a Military assistant has crazy idea to abscond (4-2-4)
{AIDE-DE-CAMP} – this military assistant is created from an anagram (crazy) of IDEA followed by DECAMP (abscond)

11a Calms down a wild beast (6)
{ABATES} – a word meaning calms down is built up from A and an anagram (wild) of BEAST

12a Gates — secured by catches? (7)
{WICKETS} – types of gate that are also cricketing dismissals

15a Division has key-men placed outside (7)
{SEGMENT} – a synonym for division is derived from G (key in music) and MEN contained inside SET (placed)

16a Peg-legged supporter of the Arts (5)
{EASEL} – a cryptic definition of a frame for supporting a picture during painting

17a Rotten row (4)
{RANK} – a double definition

18a Mineral in (4)
{TALC} – this mineral is hidden inside crystal-clear form

19a Frozen like eels, say? (5)
{GELID} – a word meaning frozen that sounds like jellied – the best homophone in a long time!

21a Decorations gained by irregular force’s squadron leader (7)
{FRESCOS} – these decorations are an anagram (irregular) of FORCE’S followed by S(quadron)

22a Tentative suggestions put out by some animals? (7)
{FEELERS} – an amusing double definition

24a Publicly announced as having no added tax (6)
{ORATED} – a word meaning publicly announced can be split into 0 RATED (zero rated / having no value added tax)

27a Delivered half-a-dozen balls — knocked for six (6,4)
{BOWLED OVER} – a great double definition

28a Get down — from this? (4)
{DUCK} – a cryptic definition of the Eider DUCK (and others)

29a Sound indication that a watch is fully wound up? (5,5)
{EIGHT BELLS} – if you thought this one was going to be a homophone, then you were wrong, this is a nautical term –a stroke or double stroke of a bell indicates the number of half-hours of the watch that have elapsed, two bells, three bells, etc, meaning that two, three, etc half-hours have passed, the end of the watch of four hours being eight bells


2d Welcome sort of shower (4)
{HAIL} – a double definition

3d Fume about individual odour of antelope (6)
{REEBOK} – put REEK (fume) around BO (Body Odour / individual odour) and you get an antelope (not a training shoe!)

4d Repeat treat that is organised (7)
{ITERATE} – a word meaning to repeat is an anagram (organised) of TREAT I.E. (id est / that is)

5d He doesn’t go out with his mates (4)
{SCAB} – at 1.00 am this one threw me for a while – it’s a cryptic definition of a worker who doesn’t go on strike with his co-workers

6d When there’s a change of plea, men select a jury (7)
{EMPANEL} – an anagram (change) of PLEA MEN gives a word meaning to select a jury

7d Still a lack of variety (3,3,4)
{ALL THE SAME} – the two definitions are still and lack of variety

8d Supporters with lots of hard facts (5,5)
{BRASS TACKS} – a charade of BRAS (supporters) and STACKS (lots) gives you the hard facts

12d Presumably fighting talk is part of it (3,2,5)
{WAR OF WORDS} – a cryptic definition of this idiom

13d Legal document that could be a trap (10)
{CONVEYANCE} – a double definition – yesterday someone suggested an addition to The Mine for vehicles and carriages, and a trap is one that should go in there

14d Avoids spending reserves (5)
{SAVES} – a weakfish double definition

15d Stroke shoots up (5)
{SERIF} – a short decorative foot at the end of a stroke on a printed character is derived from FIRES (shoots) reversed (UP, as this is a down clue)

19d One is going to say it (7)
{GOODBYE} – a cryptic definition of what you say as you are leaving

20d The fall of French currency (7)
{DESCENT} – a fall is built up as a charade of DES (of in French) and CENT (currency)

23d Lehar composition about love set in Pakistan (6)
{LAHORE} – put an anagram (composition) of LEHAR around O (love) to get a place in Pakistan

25d Catch on to the smallest branch (4)
{TWIG} – a double definition – to catch on, as in understand, is the first one

26d Broadcast live coverage (4)
{VEIL} – broadcast can indicate a homophone, but here it tells you that an anagram of LIVE gives coverage for the face

Thanks once again to our Monday Maestro.

63 comments on “DT 26057

  1. I hope you behaved yourself at the weekend! Excellent crossword, particularly liked 1a, 29a and 19a (memories – from Hotlips- of Selkirk Road, Tooting)!

  2. Big Dave,

    I thouroughly enjoyed today’s offering. I suppose we’ve got to get used to the cricketing references, although today’s were straightforward enough.

    I agree with you about 1a, but cannot agree about 19a. Perhaps it’s an accent issue again, but I think that the -id ending of “gelid” should sound the same as that in “solid”, “frigid”, etc. The -ied ending of “jellied”, however, should sound the same as that in “copied”, “worried”, etc.

      1. Vince- I agree with the other two- “worried” and “solid” have the same sound at the end – are you perhaps a brummie or a scouser? Sorry only joking! At risk of disagreeing further I always like the cricket references – its the holy/biblical ones I’m not keen on.

    1. Vince where i come from al the examples you have given sound the same and i am struggling to think of another way of pronouncing the ied ending

  3. I think you are right, today’s was slightly harder than Rufus’s usual Monday treats, but not by a huge amount, and still an enjoyable start to the week with more smiles than in previous weeks. Maybe there were more oblique definitions such as 1a, 5d and 19d and more complex charades 8d than is often the case. My favourites were 1a and 8d.

    1. I have only one to go and it is 8d – can’t get my brain around it. Any hint please.

      Loved the puzzle though – thought it was a good start to the week. I even managed the cricket terms as they were straightforward as Vince has said. I enjoyed 1a the most.

      1. Think about the “usual” use of supporters to indicate a piece of female underwear, then add another word for lots.

      2. Thanks BD – should have got that but kept thinking about types of supporters and couldn’t get away from it.

      1. Dave,
        Interesting that was the last clue I got, and it required some serious head scratching….

          1. Interesting – my first thought was stag as per K. But it doesn’t fit the clue because he “would” want to go out with his mates :-)

            1. I think it is the plural that makes the difference, because of course he does not want to go out with his mate (singular) – wouldn’t be a stag party otherwise.

    1. It just goes to show how subjective ‘difficulty’ is. This was 3* at most for me – if it’s a 4* then yesterday’s ST 2505 ought to have been off the scale. :D
      I always find it interesting to compare the Monday offerings in the Telegraph and Guardian which are both by Rufus. To go along with 5d here, in the Guardian he has “Workers will be out to get it (6,3)”.

      1. Gazza,
        I have to agree with you, Sundays was a stinker, one of the hardest daily cryptics for a long time. In places pure Toughie material. I think you need to up it to 5 *’s :-)

        1. Libellule,

          Hear, hear! I quite agree, it was no fun at all. And what was worse, there were no Sunday Times here in Geneva.

      2. Hmm personally i found this a bit harder than yesterdays ST 2505 there were a couple of clues in here that i din’t get until i looked at the hints above yesterdays i found fairly straightforward which seeing as most on here thougtht it was diifcult makes me think my mind is on a completely different wavelength. I come on here some days to be told it was really easy and i have struggeld with it and vice versa

  4. Big Dave – shouldn’t 6 down “Enpanel” be “Empanel”? Still, go and get some sleep! Regards

  5. Hi Big Dave,
    19a was a new word for me although I got the jist.
    I thought 23d was a bit weak as a clue although I suppose you have to have one or two ‘givens’
    Hope you didn’t stay too long at the well over the weekend.

    1. My definition of a good night is when I lose count! I know I tried each of the five real ales, one of them at least four times.

      Quite how John Henderson was fit enough for the competition just ten hours after we left the Curry House is beyond me Although Peter Biddlecombe joined us for both beer and curry he was, by comparison, a late arrival.

    1. Welcome to the blog Helen and thank you

      It’s sorted now – sometimes I don’t notice that the cursor on the laptop has moved because I have brushed the touchpad!

  6. I don’t know what it is about Rufus and me, I don’t think the same way!
    Although the answers are either obvious or very opaque they are always fair.
    Still stuck on 1a and 2d!.

    ***edit – both pennies just fell!***

  7. I’ve been doing this in fits and starts since this morning and enjoying it. Loved 1a, 17a, 19a and 8d. Funny how you do what you can, go away for a while, come back later and more answers just slot into place. There was nothing that really stumped me this time except trouble with the four letter words, 5d, 26d and 28a where I finally needed your help.

    Two questions: where do you add the stars, and what is The Mine?

    1. Franny

      The stars at the top of the blog are the reviewer’s own assessment – at the bottom of the post, to the left of where it says “nn votes”, are five stars. Hover over them and then click on the star which represents your assessment.

      The Mine of Useful Information can be accessed either from the navigation under the header picture or from the Pages entry in the sidebar.

  8. Hi Dave! Just a quick note on 28A – I’d say it’s a double def rather than CD – to duck = to get down.

    1. Welcome to the blog Anax

      Some clues defy simple categorization. This one is almost all-in-one / &lit, with “get down” as one definition and “get down from this” as the other.

      For those who don’t know, Anax sets fiendishly difficult puzzles for the Times and the Independent.

  9. Most enjoyable we thought today with some excellent clues & answers although 14D was weak. Thanx again for the clear explanations- often we only get say 2 parts of a 3 part answer – which really bugs you. Excellent site and again thanx for all the hard work.

  10. question about 20d – I solved it Ok but the component part of a franc was a centime not a cent – so maybe US currency would have been more accurate as a clue

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed it but isn’t 4D unfair… to require us to get ‘ie’ from ‘that is’ and then make an anagram from it?
    Annoying thing is, I tried this, but so half-heartedly that I couldn’t see it!

    1. Yes – technically this is (in part) the dreaded indirect anagram, but after yesterday’s anagram fodder of 2% = I I PERCENT it hardly seemed worth mentioning.

  12. Would it be interesting to ask contributors to this site to rate the crossword for difficulty and enjoyment and take an average? Just a thought

        1. Please do!

          BTW the stars at the end of the blog are a WordPess facility for assessing the blog, so I can’t have two different sets. I thought it would be much more interesting to use them for assessing the puzzle rather than the blog.

    1. The result would probably be 3 stars for nearly everything, apart from yesterday’s.

      At the Times Championship yesterday the winner did three puzzles in 27 minutes – only 7 other people (out of 24 finalists) managed to do these in under an hour – which gives you some idea of differing skill levels.

      My rating for was, to some extent, biased by many previous 3-star ratings for Rufus puzzles that were easier than this one. Had I seen 4 down straightaway, then it would have been in the 3-star bracket. Had I not been using the online site then STAG would have been entered and I would not have given it a second glance (until the answers came out the next day).

      1. Although only 8 of 24 people finished the puzzles correctly inside the time limit, another 8 completed the puzzles with one or two mistakes – mistakes whch are understandable in the heat of battle. Even Mark Goodliffe can slip up sometimes. Two of the 8 who didn’t finish had less than 5 missing/wrong answers).

  13. I’ve just discovered your blog by doing a search for Solomon (I’d finally given up trying to figure it out!). This is great – now I know where to come when I get stuck, which is quite often!!!! Thanks!

  14. First of all congratulations to peteb. for coming I believe fifth in the Crossword competition held at Cheltenham over the weekend. Liked today’s offering, but not as good as Sunday’s mind blower.Enjoyed1a like many others, but preferred 8d for its uplifting YES when I solved it!.

  15. I thought today’s was one of the best ones in ages. It was set at the perfect level- for us who rarely finish there were some easy clues to get started – (7d, 12d, 22a, 10a, 27a) can cite scripture for his purpose. For those of you that finish in 10 minutes some real stinkers (5d) and also some really clever clues (1a, 29a), what more can we ask for a really good all round crossword I give it 5* for enjoyment, though the fact that I got all but one means difficulty shouldn’t be more than 3*. I don’t normally even get started on Big Daves 4* gradings!

  16. Got all but 3d out -but unlike my usual efforts which get me around around 3/4 out, I had a long train journey rather than a snatched go at lunch time.

  17. Only started after dinner this evening and thought it was an excellent puzzle. When I looked at the blogs four star difficult rating, as one of “the usual suspects”, I thought that I must have some wrong answers but am delighted to say I didn’t. Great fun, thanks Rufus and I agree that 1a was a corker.

  18. Quite a challenge today and very pleased to finally solve 1a as I knew it was alluding to the Bible story argument over the child but it took me quite a while to crack nonetheless! I got 28a wrong – I had put ‘dock’ but then I suppose the clue would have read ‘Sent down – from this?’

  19. I am somewhat puzzled as to how to describe the difficulty of a puzzle that I had 97% completed in 3-star time. This wasn’t a difficult puzzle, but it was difficult to complete. I suspect that a lot of solvers who don’t follow this blog will be surprised to find tomorrow that they have one or more incorrect answers.

    1. I’ll come clean and admit that there was a fair amount of over-writing as cross answers made it obvious that an existing answer was wrong. Why I managed to finish a **** difficult was because there was a very good spread of straightforward clues which meant there were always letters to work with for the more difficult clues. I only got 1a once I had come up with scab as the answer to 5d, and 4d as iterate, prior to that I was trying to make sense of why it could be share price!

  20. I live in Chelt and went to The Kemble Brewery Saturday lunchtime but left around 2.00 p.m. Was ready to buy you a pint but, instead, enjoyed a couple of H.P.A.s before I had to go.

    1. The original plan was to be there by that time but Tilsit’s absence meant that there was little point in getting there before John H. Sorry I missed you.

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