DT 26069 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26069

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26069

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

You know just what to expect from the Monday Maestro, and once again he delivers. Rufus is universally recommended by all in Crosswordland as the best setter for those new to cryptic puzzles. This is a relatively easy one but a pleasure to solve.

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 Painstaking preparation gives father the lead before ill-prepared male actor (11)
{PARACETAMOL} – a little bit of licence here with the definition – it’s really “pains taking preparation” – and you get there by putting PA (father) first (the lead) and then follow him with an anagram (ill-prepared) of MALE ACTOR

8a Evergreen creepers (5,6)
{GRASS SNAKES} – a beautiful cryptic definition of these slithery creatures

11a Takes advantage of customs (4)
{USES} – a double definition

12a Avoid getting hot in blazer (4)
{SHUN} – a word meaning to avoid is derived by putting H(ot) inside something that is blazing hot

13a Elegance given a trial in US city (7)
{CHICAGO} – a word meaning elegance is followed by A and a trial to give the city that used to be represented by Barack Obama

15a Arab leaders trembling in speech (7)
{SHEIKHS} – these Arab leaders sound like (in speech) a fit of uncontrollable trembling

16a Not late, but nearly lost a point (5)
{EARLY} – to get a word meaning not late, just take N(orth) (a point of the compass) from (N)EARLY

17a Sound prosperity (4)
{BOOM} – the noise of an aircraft breaking the sound barrier is one part of this double definition

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a Backing Italian agreement, the French are giving ground (4)
{ISLE} – a mixture of two languages – the Italian for “yes” is reversed and then followed by “the” in French to give a piece of land

19a Presents one’s natural talents (5)
{GIFTS} – a double definition, the first of which could be Christmas presents

21a Careful opening bids for chests (7)
{COFFERS} – the initial letter (opening) of Careful is followed by a word meaning bids to get these chests for holding money or treasure

22a Fire — or part of one (7)
{ELEMENT} – fire, as in earth, wind, fire and water, or fire as in a bar on an electric fire

23a Hawk always returns South (4)
{EYAS} – an unfledged hawk is created by reversing (returns) a word meaning always and adding S(outh)

26a Long period return to a district (4)
{AREA} – the second consecutive clue in which return indicates that the first three letters are reversed – this time a long period is reversed and followed by A to give a district

27a Not a rigid rule (4,7)
{TAPE MEASURE} – a cryptic definition of a flexible strip used instead of a ruler

28a Newspaper journalist sent a message (11)
{TELEGRAPHED} – this newspaper is followed by its head journalist to get a word meaning sent a message


2d Exposes pretentiousness (4)
{AIRS} – a double definition

3d Cooked sausage to relieve hunger (7)
{ASSUAGE} – an anagram (cooked) of SAUSAGE gives a word meaning to relieve or allay

4d In the theatre, a stage direction (4)
{EAST} – this direction is hidden inside theatre, a stage

5d Chief is in some confusion (7)
{ANARCHY} – elegantly simple:  put ARCH (chief) inside ANY (some), result – confusion

6d Does wrong, gets lines (4)
{ODES} – an anagram (wrong) of DOES leads to these lines of poetry

7d Intuition supported by Richard III, for example? (11)
{HUNCHBACKED} – a charade of an intuition and a word meaning supported gives a description of Richard III

8d Keep in mind that Murphy can supply (3,2,3,3)
{GET IT OFF PAT} – a phrase meaning to keep in mind could also mean to acquire from an archetypal Irishman

9d Here speaks a writer for a change (11)
{SHAKESPEARE} – an anagram (for a change) of HERE SPEAKS A gives the greatest ever English writer – splitting the anagram indicator from the fodder is a bit naughty, but it reads well

10d Seen in a list perhaps, but it’s not necessary (11)
{INESSENTIAL} – our second long anagram in a row, signalled by perhaps, is SEEN IN A LIST and it leads to a word meaning not necessary

14d Desert island pop group (5)
{OASIS} – a fertile spot in a sandy desert is also a successful pop group

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d Criticise outdated school equipment (5)
{SLATE} – a double definition, part verb part noun

19d Holy food from Switzerland? (7)
{GRUYÈRE} – a cryptic definition of this Swiss cheese [later research, following Franny’s comment, shows that French Gruyère has the holes, not the Swiss variety]

20d Blunders, moving up students around first of September (5,2)
{SLIPS UP} – a word meaning blunders is derived by reversing (moves up) PUPILS around S (first of September)

24d Husband to rescue! (4)
{SAVE} – a double definition – to husband in the old-fashioned sense for the first part

25d Equipment that must be regularly changed in the car (4)
{GEAR} – part of this double definition is slightly cryptic

26d Composer and arranger being oddly selective (4)
{ARNE} – this composer, a favourite of many setters, is derived from the odd letters of ArRaNgEr

A pleasant start to the week which a number of you seem to have appreciated as I did.

48 comments on “DT 26069

  1. Good fun crossword – some good clues – (though 23a a bit obscure) liked 1a and 8a. Wish they were all like this!

  2. Nice puzzle (particularly liked 7d & 8d) but got very stuck on 1a – knew it was an anagram but just couldn’t get it!
    Want to wish my Hotlips a very Happy Birthday today as the postal strike has meant a dearth of cards!!

  3. lovely crossword for us clueless club members :) agree with Toby wish they were all like this, even got 19d now :) didn’t like 5d much but didn’t know that 8a were creepers more slitherers!!

  4. A sound crossword with something for all.

    In particular liked 8d.

    Good start to the week, so let’s see if it can be kept up.

    1. got the last word of 8d wrong at first and had put t down in reverse thinking of getting Guiness on tap

  5. Very Enjoyable. Not overly tough but there were some clues that really made you think.
    I learnt a new word today as well re: unfledged hawk

  6. Everybody seems to have enjoyed this, as I did. Lots of good clues. Particularly liked 27a, 6d, 7d and 8d. I, too, learnt a new word, in 23a.

    Not sure about 15a. Didn’t like “trembling”, as that would be “shaking” not “shakes”; although, i know that “trembles” wouldn’t read right.

  7. Enjoyable stuff this morning. 1a was my favourite. Many thanks to Rufus for another delightful puzzle.

  8. Technical question for you Big Dave.
    Is it unusual to see a word in the clue that is also a word in the answer as in 20d ? Never having seen it before, is it an unwritten law in the crossword world that the clue doesn’t contain the answer or is it perfectly acceptable. On first looking at the clue I thought that the word ‘up’ would not be used in the answer which threw me a bit.

    Otherwise, nice start to the week

    1. Is it an unwritten law in the crossword world that the clue doesn’t contain the answer?

      Usually yes. Although only Rufus will really know what happened with this clue, it does look like some last-minute tinkering has taken place.

      1. And incidentally, as a Swiss resident, I’d like to point out that the cheese with holes is not Gruyère but Emmenthal. ‘Scuse me for being pedantic :-)

  9. Big Dave – Is RUFUS a pseudonym for Roger Squires. Roger used to compile for the Yorkshire Post and the style does seem familiar?
    As an aside, I didn’t know Richard III was hunch backed, hence I needed your help to solve 7d, otherwise an enjoyable crossword.

    1. 1) Yes it is.
      2) There is no historical evidence that Richard III was a hunchback. History is written by the winners and the Tudors certainly maligned Richard and probably had all the portraits of him altered to show a hunchback. Our belief now that he was a hunchback is based mainly on Shakespeare’s play.

    2. Alan,
      Rufus is indeed a pseudonym of Roger Squires.
      The issue of Richard III being hunchbacked is a good question. Suffice it to say he is a hunchback in Shakespeare’s play.

  10. Thanks for all the comments! While it was nice and quiet hiding below the parapet when one’s puzzle wasn’t quite up to standard, one can no longer do that with most papers now having their crosswords blogged. But it is much nicer to have some reaction to one’s efforts and I feel fairly safe to peer over the defences today – for which many thanks!

    Re using “up” – I did consider this at the time but thought “moving up” would be acceptable as an indicator that the word “pupils” had to be read from bottom to top to make “slip-up”, especially as pupils usually “move up” around the first of September. I like to think crossword rules aren’t set in stone – viz. the “Shakespeare” clue as well – apologies if I upset people.

    Alan: I still provide the Yorkshire Post with their Tuesday and Thursday puzzles. The Tuesday ones have my initials RFS but the Thursdays appear under EAP – ( for Edgar Alllan Poe!) this began when the Birmingham Post crossword editor wanted to use two puzzles of mine a week without upsetting other setters. I kept this up when, as the crossword editor myself – for 24 years – I syndicated the Post puzzles to the Yorkshire Post until all setters were sacked overnight and the Birmingham Post itself moved to syndicated puzzles. I kept the compilers together and continued supplying the YP.

    Thanks Dave for resurrecting the article from the TES – I shall retrieve it for my scrapbook! I was pleasantly gobsmacked a few years ago when Wikipedia organised a website for me, although they complained about the standard of the content when I updated it!
    Incidentally, the TES also sacked me by e-mail overnight after 25 years service when a new editor took over and dispensed with the crossword. It’s a competitive world!

    Keep up the good work, Big Dave, and keep us on our toes!

  11. An excellent puzzle for a Monday with some very clever clues, I particularly liked 1 across and 19 down. Messed up the bottom left corner as I had Save in 24 down for ages then decided 28 across was interrupted DOH! I too learned a new word for 23 across.

  12. Can anyone explain 24d?

    I agree with all the above – didn’t get 23a, 8d or 20d (like others was confused re “up”)

      1. Parfectly! I hadn’t thought of husband as a verb.
        (only been doing this lark for a few weeks)

  13. A great puzzle to start the week, not too difficult (although I could not do 23a and am still not sure about it) and most amusing. I liked 1a 8a 27a . I suppose holy is spelt right in 19d as nobody else has commented and Rufus did not indicate a homonym?

    1. I missed out “not” which changes the meaning slightly! I also missed the earlier post on “holy” Sorry

      1. One small point.

        A homonym is a word having the same sound and perhaps the same spelling as another, but a different meaning and origin, sometimes extended to words having a different sound and the same spelling. A few examples:

        * bear (animal) and bear (carry)

        * porter (a weak beer) and porter (a man who carries luggage)

        * lean (thin) and lean (rest against)

        * lap (to drinkwith tongue) and lap (a circuit)

        * plane (a tool) and plane (a tree)

        The word you meant to use was homophone, although they are frequently confused.

        Setters take advantage of both, but it’s always the homophone that causes grief.

  14. Most enjoyable puzzle to start the week. I got gruyere but was also confused by the ‘holy’ ‘holey’ controversy. I agree that ‘ Sounds like holy food ‘ would have been better!

  15. A lovely start to the week – kept us happily occupied over a pub lunch. Never heard of 23a & 7d had us stumped for a while. Liked 8a & 8d

  16. Now have to go back to the weekend crosswords having missed them this week. Not sure whether to bother with Sats though :-(

  17. Nice crossword today, I got all but nine clues which is a personal best despite trying them for years. I think my mind is just not set up the right way! Thanks for providing such an informative blog Big Dave.


Comments are closed.