DT 26072 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26072

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26072

Hints and tips by Libellule

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

Once again I didn’t find this crossword particularly taxing (although I am sure some of you will disagree), but enjoyed the ramble through it nevertheless. As usual a good mixture of clues and a nice range of complexity. But today I have to congratulate J. on a cracking clue. 17a.

Any comments are appreciated.


8. Do well to invest last of savings in right environment (7)
{PROSPER} – Place the last letter of (saving)S inside (in) PROPER (right), and you have another term for “do well”.

10. Departure point for broadcast by seaside town (7)
{AIRPORT} – AIR (broadcast) plus PORT (seaside town?).

11. Conductor’s chosen stick, eager to start (9)
{ELECTRODE} – ELECT (chosen), ROD (stick) plus the first letter (to start) of E(ager) is a conductor through which an electric current enters or leaves a substance.

12. The soul of a beast? Not quite (5)
{ANIMA} – Remove the last letter (not quite) from ANIMA(l) and you also have a term for the inner self of an individual.

13. Giant Italian wearing brown (5)
{TITAN} – IT (Italian) inside (wearing) TAN (brown) is a person of great strength or size, or also the offspring of Uranus and Gaea.

14. Master tailor’s first one born — such a performance! (7)
{MATINEE} – MA (Master of Arts), followed by the first letter of T(ailor), then I (one) and also NEE (born) is a theatrical performance held during the daytime, especially in the afternoon).

17. Eclipse of extortioner’s trade? (8,7)
{DAYLIGHT ROBBERY} – The best clue today. What happens when an eclipse takes place is also a phrase used to describe blatant overcharging.

19. Crew right to welcome mature person in charge (7)
{MANAGER} – MAN (crew), with R (right) takes inside (welcome) AGE (mature) and you put together another term for someone who might direct a business for example.

21. Castles in the air? (5)
{ROOKS} – You might have seen this before, then again you might not. The castles referred to here, is the name of a “castle” in chess. This also happens to be the name of a gregarious species of crow.

24. Flower that links destiny with America (5)
{LOTUS} – LOT (destiny) and US (America).

26. Listen, and learn to get worried about source of energy (4,2,3)
{LEND AN EAR} – An anagram (to get worried) of AND LEARN about E (energy) is a phrase for “to listen to”.

27. Steal the Spanish and South American coins (7)
{NICKELS} – NICK (steal) plus EL (the in Spanish) and also S (south) is also a five-cent piece in America. How many of you tried to fit in a South American coinage?

28. Effective reporting (7)
{TELLING} – A simple double definition.


1. Cheerful at university, but started to worry (6)
{UPBEAT} – UP (at university), plus the first letter (started) of B(ut) followed by EAT (to worry) is an adjective for being optimistic, happy or cheerful.

2. Scientific study of warnings on crack (8)
{FORESTRY} – The science and art of cultivating, maintaining, and developing forests is made up of FORES (golf warnings) and TRY (crack).

3. Winning reputation for being worthy (10)
{UPSTANDING} – A word for being honest and respectable is made from UP (winning) and STANDING (reputation). I also wondered if it was also a reference to what happens if you move up a current ranking within a graded scale in sport.

4. Note impression on Bath after getting out? (9)
{WATERMARK} – A cryptic reference to the “ring” you might leave around the bath, is also a distinguishing mark in paper.

5. Caesarian section is a strain (4)
{ARIA} – Hidden (section) in caesarian is a word usually associated with an accompanied vocal solo in a cantata, oratorio or opera.

6. Run out of allotment for a drink (6)
{POTION} – Remove (out) R (run) from PORTION and you have a draught of liquid medicine, poison or some magic elixir.

7. Plan to wander around the West of Turkey for example (8)
{STRATEGY} – To wander is to STRAY, place this around the first letter (west) of T (urkey) and EG (for example) for a long term plan.

9. One covered in rubbish — that’s a laugh (4)
{RIOT} – I (one) inside (covered) with ROT (rubbish).

15. Story about black crane flying from place of worship (10)
{TABERNACLE} – TALE (story) is placed about B (black) and an anagram (flying) of CRANE is usually associated with a place of worship for a Jewish congregation, but not always.

16. Selected applicants with spirit and inclination (5,4)
{SHORT LIST} – The definition is “selected applicants”, and is made up from SHORT (spirit) and LIST (inclination).

17. Throw out fish dough in soup (8)
{DUMPLING} – DUMP (throw out) followed by LING (fish) is according to Chambers “a kind of thick pudding or mass of paste”. Not the best definition I have ever read.

18. Unusually considerate, and not strange (8)
{ESOTERIC} – A nice clue. An anagram (unusually) of CONSIDERATE with AND removed (not) can also be mysterious.

20. Bill for work before leaving (6)
{NOTICE} – Double definition, a poster, and also to work one’s time prior to leaving a company.

22. Small sanctimonious people in small branches (6)
{SPRIGS} – S(mall), plus PRIGS (sanctimonious people) is also a small shoot or twig of a plant.

23. Join keen beginner and fool (4)
{KNIT} – Another word for something that is joined is made up from the first letter (beginner) of K (een), followed by NIT (fool).

25. Forecaster’s reasoning initially supports view (4)
{SEER} – View is SEE and this is followed by the first letter (initially) of R(easoning) is also another word for a prophet (Tiresias for example).

40 comments on “DT 26072

  1. So far, all the week’s puzzles have been enjoyable. I agree that 17a was the best clue. Also liked 21a and 17d.

    Didn’t like 18d. It took a while to realise what was required. We didn’t have to remove “and”, but the letters A, N & D, then work out the anagram from what was left. I got there in the end, but didn’t think it was very well worded.

  2. Guys, is it my imagination or just my natural paranoia. It seems to me that we have had some of the worst puzzles I can remember in the DT this week or are we just paying for last Fridays excellent one? Couldn’t even start todays!!

        1. Don’t worry Barrie I too, failed miserably today – its not you! You and I probably know different things (rather than less things) than those that found it easy! The sad thing is I don’t get any better with Thursday or Friday crosswords! I suggest you and I just go for Monday and Saturday and try our hand with the odd Tuesday. It just makes one feel inadequate listening to the comments!

          1. So that explains it, I’m just not a Thursday person. Managed only two or three before resorting to clues on the rest. 17d great as was 21a. Not sure I would work out 18d at all without help.

            1. OK members of the clueless club – lets not give up we get good days and bad days today was bad :) I found it really difficult and had to have lots of help from my brother whis very good, he is though very encouraging as are all our friends on the blog so lets keep at it and appreciate that we are improving if only slightly

  3. I’ve just started to compiling DT crosswords and surprisingly 17a was the first answer I figured out. Still 16 clues completed today (a record for me) before resorting to the blog – Thanks

    1. Allan, I’ve been doing them for years and still struggle but it’s all part of the fun. I too got 17a first today and the rest fell in to place, not the most difficult but a really good one for those like yourself who are just starting. Please enjoy and persevere, it really is worth it.

        1. Regardless of what some people think of the difficulty, the reason for this blog is to be both supportive and to try and help people come to terms with cryptic crosswords. So please – if you get stuck come to the blog and keep trying. Many setters use different styles and some people struggle to get used to these styles. I used to struggle terribly with the crossword on a Friday (and on a Sunday – but that was for another reason), but found that if I persevered it became more of a game rather than a struggle. i.e. every week or month I would manage to complete a little bit more. So all I can say is keep at it, and don’t give up.

          1. thanks for your supportive comments, Libellule, you seem to imply that there is a link between the setters and the day-of-the-week. Is this true and if so is there any way of finding out the setters name or nickname?

            1. Generally yes…. For example Rufus (Roger Squires) does Monday, Giovanni (Don Manley) does Friday, but I would prefer to let Big Dave explain. He has a better handle on who does what and when.

            2. I have answered this before!

              Monday and Friday as per Libellule’s comment.

              Thursday – Jay, Saturday – Cephas, Sunday – Jed

              Tuesday and Wednesday are shared between a number of setters including Ray T, Shamus and Elgar. All of these have left comments on the blog, but there are others who have kept quiet!

              If you select the day of the week (or the setter’s name for Toughies) in Categories (in the sidebar) you will see such information as is in the public domain.

  4. I enjoyed this – took a break from doing yesterday’s Toughie.

    In addition to 17a I liked 14a and 7d. Got stuck on 12a – new word for me – a very interesting one at that. Thanks Libellule.

  5. Finished it with the help of a couple at Wetherspoon’s real ale festival,I had a chuckle with 17 down Dumpling, even had time to do the quick crossword, why do they have to explain the across clues that make up an expression?

    1. I think they only do it if it is more than the first two. Even then I would have thought it would be obvious!

  6. With regards to 8a and 26a are the words “environment” and “source” strictly necessary? I found the addition “environment” particularly confusing I took the clue to be asking for “S” to be put inside R(ight)+a word for environment. Likewise, 26a seems to be asking for an anagram of AND LEARN about “a source of energy”. Perhaps in 26a “source” refers to origin in the sense off first letter?

    1. Alasdair,
      Re. 8a, yes I think environment is needed… it does helps the clue. Look at the dictionary definition of proper….” Characterized by appropriateness or suitability; fitting”
      Re 26a I agree E is an abbreviation for energy (according to Chambers), so source could be considered as padding. Unless J. forgot about the abbreviation and was referring to the first letter :-)

  7. Glad it’s not just me who found this tricky. As I generally don’t get time for it until the evening it’s really hard to persevere & resist looking for extra clues! Only got a few tonight before I succumbed! But thanks everyone for the excellent explanations.

  8. Took ages to get started today, then had a breakthrough with 22d. Loved 17a, especially as it just jumped out at me! Completed hardly any of the top half, so many thanks for all your tips…

  9. Lots of variation and some wit. But 2d threw me; even with the checking letters and TRY I couldn’t get close. I liked 17a, obviously, 28a and 27a for the need to break it into tiny bits to beat the surface reading.
    I do think some crosswords are on a solver’s wavelength – the meanings fit within your experience of their usage, the logic of the clues when you’ve solved them, the cultural references, the humour or play on words – and some aren’t. When they’re not it’s like skiing on frozen snow or drinking red wine with Dover Sole.

  10. New to replying on this site, though an avid follower of the posts. To be a teensy bit picky about 5d, most UK medics and midwives spell the word CaesarEan, despite which the other version is often (mis)used.

  11. Found today’s crossword very bitty, just didn’t seem to flow for me. Got 17d, very good clue and also enjoyed 27a- looked at that one for ages before the penny dropped. 12a and 6d outstanding before resorting to the blog-annoyed about 6d since I had toyed with potion several times but didn’t have the confidence to insert it. Anyway, there is always tomorrow.

  12. Why is UP at university? I don’t see the connection. It has been used like this in the last 2 cryptic crosswords

    1. Welcome to the blog Fat Joe

      One is said to be up at University – and, if drummed out, to be sent down.

      The other expression you might come across is up on a horse, so words like riding, mounted etc. will be associated with up.

  13. Just got three answers in the top left corner and ground to a halt.
    Feel hopeless but having been through the answers can see the clues are very fair. Liked 4d.

  14. Really enjoyed this. All the puzzle this week have been good. One of the best weeks in the DT that I can remember.

    By the way, is Jay, the compiler of this puzzle, Jeremy Mutch? I’ve just been reading about him in Jonathan Crowther’s excellent book.

  15. Thank you Big Dave for this excellent site! I have only been doing the cryptic for about a year, but the Saturday and Monday General Knowledge for a lot longer, with two runner up prizes as proof! I have to say that I notice a huge difference in my capabilities with the cryptic, this week I completed the Wednesday one all by myself, but couldn’t answer one clue in Thursdays! My children laugh when I say I’m going into the office with Big Dave, I think they are tempted to tell my husband all is not well…Thanks again.

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