DT 26107 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26107

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26107

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Not the hardest puzzle in the world, but a good example of how you can make a puzzle enjoyable with good fair cluing and good accurate surface reading.

My favourite clue is 5 down, followed by 26 across. It is also refreshing to see the cryptic definition used prudently rather than overdone to death.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, and I hope you find it fun too!


7a    Model soldier, like leader of military (8)
{PARADIGM} Nice surface reading and a good word-sum clue to get us started today. A soldier, PARA + DIG (like) + M (leader of military) = a word meaning a model or example.

9a    By word of mouth round mass meeting (6)
{ORALLY} Round = O + RALLY (a meeting) = a word meaning “by word of mouth”.

10a    Extremities of Sark, the ancient island (4)
{SKYE} The extremities of Sark are S & K, and add to this YE (the, in olden times) and you will have one of the islands off the Scottish coast.

A chance to present one of my favourite singers:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    I see today’s cryptic may make one be careful (4,4,2)
{EASY DOES IT} An anagram (Indicated by “cryptic”) of I SEE TODAY’S leads to a phrase meaning “be careful.”

12a     A goddess duke entertained (6)
{AMUSED} The temptation here is to wrack your brains thinking of the name of a goddess, but here you need another word meaning “A goddess”, i.e. A MUSE and add to this D for Duke, giving you a word that means “entertained”.

14a    Speedo is rigged in phases (8)
{EPISODES} A little dilemma for the solver here. “Rigged” obviously suggests an anagram and you need an eight-letter answer, but which to jumble: “SPEEDO IS” or “IN PHASES”? In fact only the first phrase will resolve into an eight letter word and happily it means the latter. Problem solved!.

15a    Silly person, old one in trouble (6)
{ NOODLE} An anagram (indicated by in trouble) of OLD ONE, gives a word meaning a silly-billy.

17a    Very bad being always bound in two directions (6)
{SEVERE} Always is EVER and this is placed between two directions that could be opponents at bridge, SOUTH and EAST. You’ll find this leads you to a word meaning very bad or harsh.

20a    Not bothered about heartless judge (8)
{CAREFREE} Another smart clue. CA = circa, Latin for about, with REFEREE (judge) without its heart, a letter E.

22a    Worthless metal trophy (6)
{TINPOT} A word-sum comprising the name of a metal, whose chemical symbol is Sn, and add to it a footballer (or other sportsman’s) word for a trophy. Together they form a word meaning cheap and tatty and useless.

23a    Censor pornographic writer (4-6)
{BLUE PENCIL} The definition of the phrase is “censor”. Pornographic = BLUE and writer = PENCIL. I can’t find an exact origin of the phrase, but it seems that editors used to use a blue pencil to edit text, as distinguishable from black ink.

24a     A base in a port near the Red Sea (4)
{ADEN} Clever clue because of course we had military bases here as well. A BASE – A DEN. ADEN is now part of the Yemen.

25a    Accent on southern French wine (6)
{GRAVES} A type of accent used in the French language is a GRAVE and add S and you’ll get the sub-area of Bordeaux which is famous because all three types of wine are made there.

26a    Cause of one leering, possibly? (8)
{LINGERIE} Nudge, nudge, wink, wink time. A nice “&lit” (all-in-one) clue where the whole of the clue provides a definition, here a cryptic one, and at the same time the whole of the clue provides the indications, here an anagram (indicated by possibly) of I LEERING. Think underwear.


1d           Piece supporting German philosopher reportedly shot (8)
{MARKSMAN}  this works nicely as a Down clue.  A homophone of the name of a famous German philosopher buried in Highgate Cemetery in London, plus another name for a piece such as a chess piece.   Put them together and you should get the name of a crackshot.

2d           Composer almost makes party (4)
{RAVE}  One of the last I got.  You need the name of a composer and shorten it slightly (almost, in the clue).  This will give you one of them new-fangled parties at which the youth of today are wont to go dancing.

3d           Data included in offer for engine part (3,3)
{BIG END}  Think of the sort of offer you get at an auction and add a word for information or data inside it.  This gives you part of a car’s engine.   

4d           Salvo — first to be fired, by the way (8)
{ROADSIDE}  This time we need a word for a salvo or volley of bullets, usually fired across the bows of a ship.  You then need to lose the first letter “B”, and it will lead you to word for the side of a road.

5d           Museum, close to street overlooking Notre Dame, in need of attention (4,6)
{TATE MODERN}  A splendid clue, my favourite of the day.    Although the clue suggests a museum in France, it is in our own capital city that it is located.  Take a T (from “close to (end of) street) and add an anagram (in need of attention) of NOTRE DAME.

6d           Fish one caught in lodge (6)
{PLAICE} A word meaning lodge as in to position or stake, with an I inside it.  I am a cheerful sole and won’t resort to cheap fish puns for the halibut.

8d           Son embraced by mother and mentor (6)
{MASTER}  S for SON inside the Latin word for mother.  I was going to treat you all to Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years, but I like you all too much, and I refuse to give publicity to the red haired one for whom my dislike is only matched by that of the lead singer of UB40 who proved that Brummies can’t sing reggae.  [Personal opinion – all hate mail from the Birmingham area to Tilsit – Big Dave]

13d           Jack’s chance to sample a port? (5,5)
{SHORE LEAVE}  A terrific cryptic definition, which shows that they are really appreciated when used sparingly.  Nothing to do with some old chap sampling the tawny liquid, but a clever way of saying “holidays for a sailor”.

16d           Distribution of gifts in big steamship, English (8)
{LARGESSE) One of the weaker clues because of the use of “in”.  Had the clue been written as “Distribution of gifts in big English steamship”, I don’t think any of here would have criticised it.  So it’s all the more odd that our setter wrote the clue in a rather stilted style so that the clue was a word-sum: BIG + ABBREVIATION OF STEAMSHIP + ENGLISH = DISTRIBUTION OF GIFTS.

18d           Mysterious coteries formed (8)
{ESOTERIC}  One of those clues that is fun when you first see it, but for me, it’s a bit hackneyed now.  An anagram (indicated by formed) of COTERIES.

19d           Falcon kept in brighter cellar (6)
{TERCEL} A hidden answer.  A word for a falcon hidden in the phrase “…brighter cellar.”

21d           Entice everyone onto river at Ripon (6)
{ALLURE}  Entice is your definition, and the word is made up of  a word for everyone, plus the name of the river upon which Ripon stands.

22d           Gift adult left in shelter (6)
{TALENT}  A L for adult left inside a canvas shelter gives a word meaning skills or gifts.

24d           A bishop, the Spanish murder victim (4)
{ABEL}  The first murder victim in the Bible. A Bishop (B) plus “the” in Spanish.

Sorry for the late finish, see you tomorrow.

39 comments on “DT 26107

  1. Doh! I made it hard for myself by putting the answer for 21d in the lights for 22d. Then I got my knickers in a twist on the anagram for 26a. For 10a, I thought ‘ye’ was ‘you’, not ‘the’

  2. Yep! Nice Fun Puzzle that wasn’t too tricky.
    Favourites for me were 26a (surprise surprise!), 7a (last to go in) and 3d.
    Nice to see the ‘coteries’ anagram again – I have missed it! – how long has it been? ;)

  3. Very easy puzzle for old hands – all but about 5 answers went in on first look. As deecdee’s two were among them, another vote for those two, plus 13D as a nice example of Ye Olde Telegraph-style cryptic def.

    “ye” means you and the – “You olde Tea Shoppe” makes no sense! When read out, “Ye Olde Tea Shoppe” actually makes little sense either, as explained here.

    1. The usual golden rule also applies – “it’s in Chambers

      an archaic spelling for ‘the’, arising from printers’ use of y for the letter thorn

      see Peter’s link for more info.

      1. Frances

        Welcome to the blog.

        I don’t know the origin of the word, but it is often used in expressions like Jolly Jack Tar. It’s an integral part of crossword vocabulary. Possibly something to do with French sailors all being called Jacques – just like Jimmy for a Glaswegian.

        1. Thanks for your speedy reply!

          A few suggestions here which are quite interesting.

          On another note, as a novice, I agree with other commenters’ suggestions that perhaps clues which don’t fully give away the answer would be better for those needing a prod in the right direction rather than the answer, although I do appreciate this can be quite difficult to do for the blogger.

          1. Frances – please see the FAQ for info on including links – you managed to attract the attention of the spam filter !! I have repaired your links.

      2. Jack Tar A common sailor, whose hands and clothes are tarred by the ship tackling. Source: Brewer’s Dictionary.

        There are loads of Crossword terms for sailors:

        Have a look at: http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/Ja/Jack+Tar.html

        Salt, Tar, AB (Able Bodied seaman), Hand, Jack, to name but some!.

        The thing with the words that I have listed is that they are short enough to place into other constructions and as such are useful to Crossword Compilers. They are also in common crossword parlance so are considered ‘Fair Game’.

        My pen (Thinking Stick) always goes beserk when I see any of these words in a lue.

        Hope this helps!


  4. This isn’t a critisism of tilsit in particular but there seems to be a general drift in this site from giving hints (eg the one for 22a) towards just giving the answer (eg 7a). Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me? I do realise that hints are hard to create without spelling the answer out, just wondered how people would have liked the hint (7a) if it had read…

    Nice surface reading and a good word-sum clue to get us started today. A soldier, (4) + like (3) + leader of military (1) = a word meaning a model or example.

    Members of the CC do you have any opinions?

    1. Dave

      Apart from weekends, it has usually been a mixture. Sometimes it takes just too many words to skirt round the answer without mentioning it, but we will look to see what can be done to improve. In particular, I try to avoid hints like “as in _______ “, which just turns it into a fill-in-the-blanks quiz.

      1. As I said I realise that it isn’t easy and enjoy using the site, I just find that being clueless myself I sometimes would like to check an answer before I write it in the paper, which I cannot do easily at the moment without the risk of seeing other answers glaring at me in capital letters, rishi seemed to do a good job (in 26105) but that maybe due to the fact that the parts given are well apart and so don’t stand out as clearly as the first couple today.
        All this is kind of nit picking as this is still the most useful site on the web!

    2. I agree Dave – whilst I am very appreciative of the help I get here I prefer to get just a hint and then see if I can get there on my own. It’s only when I am completely defeated that I resort to revealing the contents of the curly brackets!

    3. It’s easy for me – I write reports where you’re assumed to have finished the puzzle by now and just need to understand the clues. Giving appropriate hints to people who can’t tell you what they’ve worked out so far seems pretty much impossible. For 7A for example, seeing either of PARA, DIG or possibly identifying the definition should enough to suggest the answer to solvers with a bit of experience and a couple of checking letters. If talking to someone, I’d be saying things like “what kind of soldier” or “what’s a fancy word for model”, and at some point they’s say PARA or PARADIGM, I’d say “go with it” or “can you find the wordplay”, and all would be clear.

      It’s possible to imagine a set of hints like
      12 You don’t want the name of a particular goddess here.
      25 It’s not just the wine that’s French – so is the accent.

      (and then an answer and full explanation that can be revealed), but working out what exactly might baffle people of varying abilities and knowledge is extremely difficult and the blogs take enough time already, so I’m not really suggesing this as an answer. I guess bloggers can be asked not to give away direct answer elements unless the whole clue’s considered really difficult or unsound, but for me, many of the picture hints seem like giveaways too, and likewise most of the “whose chemical symbol is ….” ones.

    4. Since we began this blog –
      on Saturday and Sunday you get hints… the rest of the time, you get an explanation of the wordplay i.e how the clue makes up the answer. If that happens to be PARA (soldier) DIG (like) and the first (leader) letter of M(ilitary) then that is exactly that – an explanation of how the answer is derived from the clue. This is the style we have all used since the blog started. The best hint for the answer of a clue, is funnily enough the clue itself!

  5. Well perseverance paid off in the end. 7a also last to go in for me and only got the “dig” part from the blog. Was thinking that “like leader of military” would cryptically lead to an ending of “ism” but was fast running out of clue.

    Some really good and satisfying clues but I wouldn’t be surprised if this has caused some of our fellow bloggers a few problems. Throughout this puzzle I felt I was going to be beaten.

    Favourites were 26a, 1d and 13d.

  6. I liked 7a and 26a in particular. Got most fairly easily but was left with 4d and only twigged “first to be fired” after correctly guessing the letters, so I rate that clue too.

  7. Can agree to a certain extent with Dave H( but Dave please don`t upset them for the father of part of 12a`s sake or else we could end up with the total oppsite of 11a.

    1. I hope that Big Dave and Co aren’t upset at all, I am continually amazed that they give up time to do this when clearly they only do it from the kindness of their hearts! But surely there can be little harm in talking about how we use the site… I suppose a better question is do people come here for help while doing the puzzle or when they have finished/given up on, the puzzle?

      1. We decided some time ago to stop spoonfeeding the Toughie answers – maybe we should do the same here. The trouble is finding a solution that fits all requirements.

  8. Enjoyed that. Some nice wordplay, an anagram that could have gone more than one way, some good little ‘aha!’ moments.

    Looking forward to what Tilsit makes of 1d though. I can’t really work what the definition part is supposed to be, though I am fairly sure I have the right answer.

  9. I have to admit that I doubted for my sanity doing this one. The bottom half would not resolve itself and I could not see where any of the clues were leading to. There were so many blind spots, I nearly booked an optician’s appointment. Then as I pulled into Waterloo, I spotted that I’d transposed the answers for 21d and 22d leading to absolute mayhem. Once spotted (and having spent 2/3 of the journey looking at this), the rest fell into place fairly quickly.

    Lots of really good clues though. Favourites were 7a, 20a, 1d, 4d, 5d and at the top (or given the answer to the clue, should that be on the bottom?) 26a.

  10. Unfortunately have not had time to do crossword today nor will have – sigh! but on reading the comments above, some days i use the blog when i have finished the crossword other days i need a little more help and read the hints or explainations if i can’t get an answer, i always read them afterwards anyway to see if i have worked things out correctly, i think the blog is great and i appreciate it can’t be the same for everyone but for me it’s just right, thank you Dave and Co. what would we do without you, especially us CC members :)

    1. Mary – I agree with your comments. The site is excellent and very much appreciated by all – not just the CC members. I think there are times when we are all CC members.

      1. I think strictly speaking we are all members of the Clueless Club.

        We all started out that way and, so far as I remember, there is no recognised procedure for abandoning one’s membership, or indeed any mechanism for chucking someone out.

        It is not as if you have to pay subscriptions that you might allow to lapse (though on hearing of this, Mary might be tempted to start something).

  11. I enjoyed this and have only two comments.

    5d. I did wonder, as I was writing in the answer, if an art gallery is a museum???

    26a. This type of clue (& lit or all-in-one?) does nothing for me. As we knew we were looking for an anagram, the answer became obvious fairly quickly, but the definition is not given and can, sometimes, be too obscure.

  12. “Blue pencil” is a legal term for editing out, or censoring, parts of legal texts and clauses etc. Repository for useless information me.

  13. I must be in a grumpy mood today as I didn’t find it as enjoyable as the rest of you bloggers. Got 7a early on but struggled with 13d – still not sure why it is what it is – doesn’t make sense to me – sorry.

    1. Welcome to th blog, Newbie

      Neither are common in crosswords.

      Dig goes back to the fifties/sixties along with cool and other Jazz/Hippy words that are probably only encountered in old films today.

      Blue pencil was common during major conflicts where letters to home from those who were fighting would be censored to avoid giving away vital information.

      The answer to your question is practice – ans keep reading the blog!

  14. Very enjoyable with some nice clues.
    My across favourite was 23a – it comes from WWI censoring of our troops’ (in France) letters
    Best down were 5d and 13d.
    10a was clever in the possible delusion to the Iles anglo-normandes! But I love the winged
    isle – pass me the Talisker please. The fish in 6d also has a Scottish flavour from the use of lodge.
    26a is what Europeans call risky British humour – grow up lads!

    Accent grave is becoming like Ur = old city and Tate = gallery. Potboilers!

  15. Re 6d – I hake to admit that I don’t know how I got the answer – It must have been a fluke.

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