DT 26065 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26065

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26065

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Calderdale Hospital where yours truly is still recovering and likely to be here for a little while longer. This was a reasonably typical midweek puzzle which should please most people, although there were a couple of pitfalls here and there.

I thought a number of the surface readings were a little contrived for one or two clues, but otherwise it was a pleasant challenge.

As usual, the answers can be revealed by highlighting between the squiggly brackets and you can rate the puzzle by clicking on the star ratings. Feel free to comment, but newer posters need to be approved first to prevent those nasty spammers from peddling their rubbish.


1a    Kick the bucket, cutting end of lobster’s tail off (8)
{DECREASE}    Tail off is the definition here, with “end of lobster” = R inside DECEASE = “kick the bucket”. Some purists may argue that here “S” = end of lobster’s. I personally am not as unhappy about this as the whole surplus word in the next clue. Mind you, this clue has a poor surface reading anyway.

5a    Matches could make you squeal (6)
{EQUALS} An anagram (indicated by “could make”) of SQUEAL, although “you” is completely redundant in this clue, but is necessary for the surface read.

10a    Rent almost vast — I have to formally offend? (5,10)
{SPLIT INFINITIVE} Poor surface reading here masks a really clever clue. A word sum. Rent = SPLIT + INFINIT(E) = Vast (almost suggesting incomplete) + I’VE (I have). “To formally offend” is an example of a split infinitive.

And the best known split infinitive:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    They get ready without asking (7)
{ROBBERS} One that some solvers will cry foul over, but the setter is technically correct. Although “readies” is more often seen, the singular can be used to represent money. A clever cryptic definition for these criminals.

12a    Zeal? It’s foreign for this type (7)
{LAZIEST} One of the clues known in the trade as an “&lit” where the whole clue defines the answer, including the indications. An anagram (indicated by “foreign”) of ZEAL IT’S.

13a    Trader who may call girl nasty names (8)
{SALESMAN} Liked this clue, quite clever. The definition is “Trader who may call” and the answer is made up of SAL (girl) + an anagram (nasty) of NAMES.

15a    Parts left off playground items (5)
{SIDES} Playground items are SLIDES and if you remove L (for left) you get a word that can be used to mean parts.

18a    Grasses small animal brought over (5)
{REEDS} Small animal S + DEER reversed gives a type of grass.

20a    Doctor I stayed with left regularly (8)
{STEADILY} Another anagram of I STAYED L gives a word meaning regularly.

23a    Japan very rash in conflicts (7)
{VARNISH} An anagram of V RASH IN. I was lucky to remember an almost identical clue from an episode of Inspector Morse, where I learned that the word Japan can mean to varnish.

25a    Dismissal concerning last in team on cricket ground (7)
{REMOVAL} A word sum RE (concerning) + M (last in team) + OVAL (cricket ground) = a word meaning dismissal.

26a    They’re said to be both clean and dirty (6,9)
{DOUBLE ENTENDRES} A cryptic definition for those jokes that have alternative meanings.

27a    Lays out swan, dead, in boat (6)
{SPENDS} PEN = swan + D (dead) inside SS (boat, which might upset the nautical purists!)

28a    Think about arguments against ride when drunk (8)
{CONSIDER} Think about is the definition CONS are arguments against + an anagram of RIDE


1d    Pudding lacks a bit of sauce — it’s very dry (6)
{DESERT} DESSERT = Pudding, minus S (a bit of Sauce) gives a place that lacks water.

2d    Mark fixes Beetle car (9)
{CELEBRATE} An anagram of BEETLE CAR leads to a word meaning to commemorate or mark an event.

3d    Last text remembered to an extent (7)
{EXTREME} Hidden answer “text remembered”

4d    Carol sits on top of saucepan and spills the beans (5)
{SINGS} A poor clue for me. Carol = SING + S (top of saucepan – why not saucepan lid if you wanted to run with the idea?) Really don’t like this where the subsidiary indication is just a second definition of the word required.

6d    Tests grills (7)
{QUIZZES} Double definition, although the two definitions are rather similar. Frowned upon in some crossword circles.

7d    A story keeps Victoria initially awake (5)
{ALIVE} Can alive mean awake? Hmmm… A LIE is a story with V (Victoria initially) inside.

8d    Afters set out — that’s most kind (8)
{SWEETEST} Afters = SWEET + an anagram of SET leads to a word meaning most kind.

9d    Force Noel to get involved in depravity (8)
{VIOLENCE} An anagram of NOEL inside VICE (depravity) gives a word meaning force.

14d    Bad behaviour from woman, almost kissing boss (8)
{MISCHIEF} One to make you smile. Woman almost = MIS(s) + CHIEF (boss)

16d    Carried out evil deed without resistance (9)
{DELIVERED} An anagram (indicated by out) of EVIL DEED and R gives a word meaning carried. Because of the use of OUT as the anagram indicator, it can’t be “carried out” as definition.

17d    Gives tests about identification (8)
{PROVIDES} Gives is the definition here. Tests = PROVES with ID (identification) inside.

19d    Silicone at first put down crack (7)
{SKILLED} S = first letter of Silicone, not chemical symbol for Silicon which would be Si. Add to this KILLED (put down) and you get a word meaning “crack, expert”.

21d    Madden tailor with small orders (7)
{DEMANDS} An anagram of MADDEN plus S (small) leads to a word meaning orders.

22d    Conservative changed roles to become more intimate (6)
{CLOSER} C (Conservative) + an anagram (changed) of ROLES leads to a word meaning “more intimate”

24d    Bottom of plant getting in rake’s way (5)
{ROUTE} A cad or rake = ROUÉ with T (bottom of plant) gives a word meaning “way”.

25d Nelson perhaps left house for relation (5)
{RATIO} This doesn’t read right to me. NELSON = HORATIO minus HO for HOUSE. However that should read “House left” rather than “left house”. Not a good clue.

Bit of a mixed bag today with the very good and a couple of stinkers. See you tomorrow, hopefully!

40 comments on “DT 26065

  1. My favourite was 26a. However, we interrupt this blog for an important newsflash…

    Warning. A breeding paid (I think I have included the correct hand in this description) of Anagramals have escaped from the Lexical Zoo. These creatures are extremely fecund and, in the wrong hands, multiply rapidly. A large infestation has been spotted in today’s Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword. The parent of the species can be identified by a full blown anagram, sometimes poorly indicated. The young contribute a smaller anagram to the overall answer. At the last count, 12 of these critters have been spotted. Any further sightings should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

    Overall, pleasant but a little unbalanced.

  2. For me this was the crossword of the year. Simple everyday words used as answers but clues written in a challenging way. Took me ages to complete but I enjoyed every second.
    (A sneaky French phrase was in there but I forgive the compiler for that as I use it myself)
    Five star

  3. A mixed bag, but, overall a good crossword for me. I agree with most of your comments, Tilsit, about the poor clues, although I particularly enjoyed 10a. Also liked 26a and 14d.

    25d, I also wondered why “perhaps” was necessary?

    11a. I am one of the solvers who will cry foul. Chambers has “ready” with “money”, both with and without a hyphen. it doesn’t give it on its own, in this context.

  4. I think the “perhaps” shows that you are looking for a name or a word that goes with Nelson rather than is a definition of it.

  5. Loved it!. Definitely worthy of **** difficulty as it took a while to finally round up those pesky critters (thanks Prolixic!)
    Favourites were 10a and 26a.
    Agree with the sentiments for the poorer clues (definitely 16d).

    Cheers to Tilsit for the review

  6. Tilsit – hope you are recovering well and that the crossword helped pass the time for you. Thanks for the hints.

    I didn’t particulary like this xword – probably not in the mood today. I had to resort to you for help on 26a as even with the downs I didn’t get it..

    23a was my favourite – and I got it by looking up japan in Chambers. Had forgotten the Morse connection but Chambers says “a glossy black varnish or lacquer”.

  7. Tilsit — I add to the wishes for your continuing recovery, and thank you for your hints without which I could never have done this puzzle.

    My brain was not working today. I couldn’t get into the mind set of the compiler, and even when I read the hints there were very few I thought I could have got. Hated it.

  8. Oh dear…..must be at least a 4 star I think, so much of it i didn’t like and so much I couldn’t do either…..Oh dear :( :(

  9. Did anybody notice that apart from the letter J we have all the letters of the alphabet in todays crossword?? :)

  10. Some very clever clues which seem obvious when I read your hints, Tilsit (many thanks) but I just could not make sense of any of them without the hints. I find it very demoralising when I can finish perhaps 2 crosswords a week, get well into 1 or 2 others then draw a complete blank on what other people find straightforward. I guess I am just not on the same wavelength as this compiler! I always struggle on clues where you need to find an unknown word then do something else with that word – eg 10a Rent and vast – there seems to be so many possible words that you can substitue for these before you even start looking for the answer – eg you might come up with “tear” and “enormous” but you are never going to get the answer from these. I don’t see how you find the the two words which will lead to the answer.
    Don’t worry Mary you are not alone!!!

    1. thank goodness for people like you Toby……..I feel exactly the same…it is very demoralising

  11. I totally agree with Toby. I needed quite a few hints for these type of clue. Seems like you have to solve the clue twice.

  12. 12a Aha an anagram of zeal its . Italize -is that a word -quick google oh yes http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread67775.html and its to do with type.
    13a How do you pick sal from the zillions of girls names?
    18a How do you home in on deer from the thousands of animals?

    NW done, NE tackled but SE &SW untouched. 4 **** for me

    1. It was only 2 ** for me!

      13a – you don’t. You pick SALESMAN as the trader when you see the starting letter of S and the anagram of NAMES; SAL then confirms you have the right answer.

      18a – because REED <=> DEER is a well known reversal, so spotting one gives you the other. In the grass for RE——ED is another favourite.

  13. Come on everybody – cheer up! It’s getting like an undertakers’ convention round here. It’s only a crossword – it’s meant to be a bit of fun. If you can’t complete it, it’s not the end of the world – there’ll be another one along tomorrow!

    1. Good point Gazza, I was starting to feel guilty about enjoying it so much!

      Get well soon Tilsit
      Illegitimi nil carborundum

      1. Ah but you see while you experts can no doubt finish them all in 5 minutes , us lesser mortals are delirious with joy if we get the whole thing out at all -and if we get less than half way, we feel like urchins with noses pressed against the sweetshop window. We want what is inside but despite our best efforts we can’t get it.

        1. I must say re: Greenhorn that it took me approx 1.5 times as long to finish this as my normal completion times (on average) which makes it harder than ‘normal’. It was immensely satisfying when this occurred as I thought I was going to have to give up.
          This does not negate the fact that some compilers sit easier with some people than others – Monday causes me horrendous trouble whist being a cakewalk for others.

          Please note that I do not always complete every puzzle and am very happy to throw my hands in the air and use outside devices in these instances, including this ‘Blog, for help.

          I think that Gazza has the right idea – and would reiterate that one should always go back over the clues to see where you were thinking at the time.

          I am by no means an expert but realise that there are only a couple of people with the keys to the Sweetshop. I tend to think about puzzle completion in the same way as I do about Golf – a low handicapper will still play better shots than a high handicapper but the high one has something to aim for.

  14. Hey Gazza like your thinking about there’ll be another one along tomorrow! Thanks also to Tilsit, for without him I would never have completed the puzzle – completely stuck on 26 across until you gave me the clue – after that finished without any other clues! Hope you are out and about soon!

  15. Very satisfying and lots of toil in this part of Hertfordshire. Whizzed through 2/3 then stumped bottom left. 23a was a tad vague for me – did not like Very = V. Altogether a fine crossword and for me a 4*. A tough week thus far so the grey matter is getting a work-out and the commute home is zipping along.

  16. I’m cheered that a few other people found this one difficult because I and my husband became frustrated quite early on (we try to do it over lunch) and then I struggled to understand some of the answers even with the wonderful guidance on this site which I appreciate so much.

  17. Oh dear! I think I am getting worse. I put in merchant for 13a because I thought ‘chant’ might be the nasty names part! The once you go wrong difficult to correct. Not on my wavelength today I fear, some of the clues a bit too obscure. Never mind. Will keep plodding on with the DT.

  18. Like Toby I find clues requiring several synomyms very difficult unless I can make sense of the definition.

    Made little progress today and am now working through the hints. Thank you Tilsit for the wonderful explanations and for your +ve and -ve comments on the clues.

  19. Harder than usual but thats good for a change. Didn’t finish it all without Big Daves help – thanks a lot!!

  20. A stinker I agree – a Carol is a SONG not a SING isn’t it ? 4d was the lousiest clue for weeks.

Comments are closed.