DT 26081 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26081

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26081

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I struggled a bit with the North West corner – mainly because it was a while before I realised that (6-4) for 1 across was really (5’1-4). It seems strange that hyphens are shown in the enumeration, but not apostrophes; perhaps that would give too much away. Many thanks to our Monday Maestro for a good, solid puzzle (once I had overcome the aforementioned hang-up!).

This weekend, being the coldest for some time, was when our central heating decided to stop working. The lateness of this post is due, in part, to the presence of the engineer. His prognosis was that the controller was faulty, which he demonstrated by switching it on, off and back on again. Sometimes it worked, and others it didn’t! A trip to the plumbing supply shop has been added to today’s itinerary.

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1a A flower will transform these areas (6-4)
{HEART’S-EASE} – this is a real flower, not a river, and it is derived as an anagram (transform) of THESE AREAS

9a French priest one may go to Lourdes to find (4)
{CURÉ} – a double definition that works as long as you ignore the acute accent on the first definition!

10a Parliamentary device that heads off further debate? (10)
{GUILLOTINE} – a cryptic definition of a specially drastic rule for shortening a parliamentary discussion

11a A binding affair, perhaps (6)
{RAFFIA} – a ribbon-like fibre used for binding (and for making mats when I was at school!) that is an anagram (perhaps) of AFFAIR

12a Sack one who takes money (7)
{CASHIER} – a double definition – as a verb to dismiss from a post, in disgrace, in the armed forces, and as a noun to take money at a till

15a In retrospect the Internet will irritate or captivate (7)
{BEWITCH} – take the word represented by the third W in www and reverse it (in retrospect) before adding a word meaning to irritate and the result is a word meaning to captivate

I used to watch this many years ago, today I can’t remember why I bothered:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a Gives the players a hand (5)
{DEALS} – a cryptic definition of this word that means distributes the playing cards

17a Born and died in poverty (4)
{NEED} – we need the feminine form of this adjective which means born and then just add D(ied) to get a synonym for poverty

18a Woman given note and present (4)
{HERE} –to the feminine pronoun add the a note of the diatonic scale to get a word meaning present

19a Doctor joins me in a drink (5)
{MÉDOC } – join together ME and DOC(tor) to get this French wine from the department of Gironde

21a Stinker of a place to renovate (7)
{POLECAT} – this smelly animal is an anagram (renovate) of PLACE TO

22a Downtrodden shoe-cleaner (7)
{DOORMAT} – a cryptic definition of somewhere to wipe your feet

24a Dismissed when exhausted (3,3)
{RUN OUT} – this method of dismissal in cricket can also mean exhausted

27a Additional insurance against being driven off (5,5)
{EXTRA COVER} – two cricketing terms in a row will delight some and annoy others! – a type of additional insurance is also the name of the fielding position on the offside between cover point and mid-off which guards against an off-drive (discuss at length in the comments!)

28a One’s comfortably settled over tea (4)
{COSY} – a double definition, the second one being a cover for the teapot

29a Put in a difficult position when a tip gave offence (10)
{ENDANGERED} – a word meaning to put in a difficult position is a charade of synonyms for tip and gave offence


2d We must top and tail these earthbound creatures (4)
{EMUS} – a sort of hidden answer, but described as a curtailment – remove the first and last (top and tail) letters from (W)E MUS(T) to get these flightless (earthbound) birds

3d Very much like sauce (6)
{RELISH} – a double definition …

4d Seen to have a rash (7)
{SPOTTED} – … and another

5d Entrance examination abandoned by university (4)
{ADIT} – the entrance to a mine is created by removing the U(niversity) from a financial examination – I felt that “abandoned by” was a little confusing when it was the University that was being abandoned

6d Comes out East and joins up (7)
{EMERGES} – a word meaning comes out is a charade of E(ast) and a word meaning joins up

7d Warmer, in the main (4,6)
{GULF STREAM} – a cryptic definition of this warm ocean current which flows north from the Gulf of Mexico, eventually to merge into the North Atlantic Drift, having a warming influence on NW Europe

8d Indifference of some soldiers (10)
{DETACHMENT} – a double definition

12d Swindles, theft and intrigue (10)
{CONSPIRACY} – a charade of swindles and theft on the high seas leads to a word meaning intrigue

13d Appears to accept poetry generating good taste (10)
{SEEMLINESS} – put a word meaning “appears to” around some LINES (poetry) and you get a word meaning conforming to standards of conduct and good taste

14d Course must be if you steer wrongly (5)
{RESET} – one of these days I will find a suitable name to describe clues like this; it’s not a true all-in-one (&lit) but it’s a close relation – an anagram (wrongly) of STEER is defined by the whole clue

15d It’s in banks, and also in circulation (5)
{BLOOD} – a humorous double definition

19d Man admitting set-up is kind of cross (7)
{MALTESE} – take MALE (man) and insert SET reversed (up – yes, it’s a down clue!) to get a cross for which Tilsit would no doubt be able to conjure up a corny joke!

20d Hold I cannot break (7)
{CONTAIN} – a word meaning to hold is an anagram (break) of I CANNOT

23d Bunter’s form to change houses (6)
{REMOVE} – Billy Bunter was the Fat Owl of the Remove, and the word also means to move house

25d Boss of Animal Farm, say (4)
{STUD} – A sort of part-cryptic double definition – another name for a boss in the sense of a knob or a male horse kept on a farm to service the females

26d Dole out food, say? (4)
{METE} – this word meaning to dole out sounds like (say) meat (food)

This one seemed tougher than a lot of recent Rufus puzzles, but I’m sure you all got there in the end.

48 comments on “DT 26081

  1. Thanks for the blog and hope that the heating gets sorted out.

    This was another Monday treat from Rufus. I agree with you about the NW corner. I twigged that 1a was an anagram of THESE AREAS but spent ages fathoming which flower was being referred to. It only fell into place once I had solved 5d which was a lovely clue but one that had me scratching my head for a while.

    Is it only me or does Rufus often include a couple of more tricky clues in this corner. It often seems to be the last section I solve.

    Once I had this one under my belt I was able to rattle off Rufus’s other Monday delight in the Guardian which was a lot easier than the DT offering again this week.

  2. Sorry didn’t really like todays at all, very tricky. Needed help to start then got going but not to my taste I’m afraid. Sorry to hear about the CH, always a buggar when it happens on the coldest day.

    1. Finished all but 5d, any clues anyone? (still didn’t like it today and I’m a cricket fan!)

      1. The examination is a financial one undertaken yearly by accountants for companies and others. Remove U for university to give an entrance to a mine.

    1. Been there!! My advice, get a couple of calor gas heaters in reserve (beg, borow or steal!) as it will go wrong on a Sunday afternoon!!

  3. Great Monday crossword, liked 10a and 27a and 12d best. Good luck with the central heating Dave.

  4. Nor too taxing a crossword today for all you living in those centrally heated cosseted homes in the UK.

    Toughen up and live in -15degs with no heating in Russia. The only central heating then is of the internal and liquid variety – vodka.

  5. NW corner difficulty: It’s the area that’s most likely to be tougher, although setters rarely set out to make it so. The sticking point – if there’s going to be one – is most often the first Across answer.
    It was Rufus who told me (right at the beginning of my “career”) that the first Across clue should always be of a high standard as it sort of sets the tone for the rest of the puzzle. Put it this way: if the first clue is long, a bit clumsy in its wording, and not particularly interesting to solve, many solvers will assume the rest of the puzzle will be in a similar vein.
    The brilliance of Rufus is that he can write clues which look harder to solve than they really are and you often end up kicking yourself for not spotting bits and pieces which are blindingly obvious but well hidden. Almost every one of his puzzles will start with a snappy clue that’s far easier than it looks.
    He is the master.

  6. I found this very enjoyable, despi the the cricket references! There are a few tricky clues, but that I think adds to the satisfaction when you crack them.

    I guessed that 27a was a cricket term, then looked it up, but your explanation, Big Dave, is Double-Dutch to me.

    “Very much liked” 3d, also 8d & 13d.

  7. Sorry to hear about your central heating Dave – not nice on a cold day – hope the repairs go well.

    What a nice start to the week – Monday’s puzzles are always a pleasure. My comments/question re 1a are – I thought the flower was all one word. Is the split of 6-4 to indicate the second half definition (without apostrophe of course)?

    Re your comment on 15a – isn’t that the way with a lot of the old programmes that we thought worth watching are now not worth contemplating.

    Didn’t get the cricket reference for 27a but did gfet it from the additional insurance.

    I liked 12d as my clue of the day (and 15a).

  8. Correction to my last email – it wasn’t 10d at all it was 12d – put my glasses back on and read the number!!!!

  9. Hello. I’ve been using the Blog for a couple of months and very much appreciate the tips – especially as I’m hindered by not owning a dictionary (my ex got custody – I got the Thesarus, but the dog chewed L to P!) Like Barrie 5d is eluding me. 2d and 28a raised a smile today.

    1. Pixie,

      Billy Bunter was the “Fat Owl of the Remove”. As I recall Remove was his form in Greyfriars.

    2. Billy Bunter, if my memory serves me correctly, was the Fat Owl of the Remove – a year group that came between the Fourth and Fifth forms at my old school, there being no First form as that used to be a prep year in the dim and distant past. We had no upper and lower Sixth either, going through Transitus to get to the Sixth!

      1. Ah, I was close then with rehome =change houses. My education didn’t involve reading Billy Bunter unfortunately. (or fortunately!). I moved from reading Pooh bear to computer games.

  10. Must agree with Barrie i.e. not the most enjoyable apart from maybe 10a and 12d

    Can someone explain 23d as I cannot see the links .

  11. Re 1a and the (6-4) I think its a mistake… it should simply be (10)
    The “flower” – another term for Viola tricolor is all one word.
    My copy of the RHS’s Gardeners Encylopedia of Plants and Flowers confirms it.

  12. Thanks Vince/Dave,

    It`s only taken 40 years for me to realise that the R in 4th year at my old school ( 4A,4B and 4R) must have stood for Remove and not Rapid as the majority of my peers also thought i.e. the 3rd year was missed out by this group and went straight from 2 to 4 .It just shows you`re never to old to learn

  13. I enjoyed that one although I thought some of it was tough. Couldn’t get 5d and had to look up why ‘remove’ might have something to do with Billy Bunter. 22a and 27a were my favourite clues.

  14. Another quality puzzle. we are being spoiled.
    Big Dave, I have always found cheap brandy a very good substitute for CH failure, after two or three you don’t care about the CH.

  15. Agree that this was a good start to the week. You always know when you’ve got the answer with Rufus.

    5d unknown to me and guessed it had to be “REMOVE”. Glad to see I wasn’t alone. 12d was my favourite.

  16. This was a good one. I got 2d but didn’t know why until your explanation. Never heard of 5d, not in my Collins Pocket Dictionary. Time to drop a hint or two to the family in time for Christmas.

    1. Definitely worth dropping hints for Chambers in time for Christmas. I’ve been doing the same hoping to get one for my birthday and today I have received one!

    1. Welcome to the blog Henry

      The answers to all weekday puzzles are between the curly brackets – just select with the mouse to reveal. It does say about this in the Welcome post, and we do mention it from time to time. They are hidden in this way so that you can get help with a few clues without seeing all of the answers.

  17. just got home have spent a few minutes only and seems trickier than most Mondays. will try for a bity longer before resorting to the clues above.

  18. Failed today – normally manage Monday’s. could not see what 1a was without looking at answer above, hence struggled on that whole corner. I thought this was rather an obscure answer for such a key position in the crossword. Even after seeing BD’s clue that it was a flower, not a river still would never have guessed it as I have never heard of the plant.

    Thought there were some very nice clues though but a bit too tough to be a monday puzzle in my opinion!

    I was obviously beaten by Barrie today – how did you get on Mary?

    1. Hi Toby,
      completed half before my Tai Chi class then was not very well, so have not completed today unfortunately, have just looked at the blog and don’t think I would have finished it :)

  19. Got absolutely stuck on 6d being ‘enlists’ (Why?!!) but once that was sorted found this a good puzzle, admittedly more of a challenge than usual Mondays. Hope you part of the world is warmer than ours if your heating is dodgy, BD!!

  20. A good one for me – have added a new flower to my knowledge and liked 15a best. Enjoyable and a good mental work-out.

  21. Enjoyed this one much more than last Monday – SW was the trickiest corner for me but, in the end liked 12d. Many very satisfying clues to solve like 15a and 29a. I’m with you though Terry – big hints for Christmas, my old thesaurus is just not up to it!
    Good luck with the heating BD – you’ll be boiled (and broke) if you have to have it on all the time!

  22. Always feel miles behind the rest of you as I can’t even start the weekday crosswords until the evening.

  23. Best clue, for me, 12d. I could provide a recipe for a curry so hot you won’t need central heating! Agree with the notion, suggested on Saturday, of an A.G.M. I have calculated, with the mushrooming of your popularity, and the success of the blog, that you will soon be able to float yourself as Big Dave.com

  24. Big Dave,

    Thanks very much for the tip off, must learn to read better in the future instead of skimming.

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