DT 26108 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26108

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26108

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

I don’t think this is as difficult as we normally find on a Thursday, so I hope the rest of you find it a bit easier (especially the CC). But we do have the usual good mixture of clues (although perhaps too many anagrams) and good surface readings. Enjoy.

Did any of you notice that 26a and the bottom and top lines of the crossword read Universal Declaration (of) Human Rights? It was on this day, December 10, 1948 that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Well spotted Gazza and Prolixic!)

The answers can be found hidden between the curly brackets. Please let me and J. know what you thought by leaving a comment.


1. Would hitman shrug off such freedoms? (5,6)
{HUMAN RIGHTS} – An anagram (off) of HITMAN SHRUG for the right each human being has to personal freedom, justice, etc.

10. One up in addition to contract (5)
{RIDER} – Double definition, somone who might be seated on the back of a horse and a clause added to an already complete contract or other legal document.

11. Ages to get nine all — I’m shattered (9)
{MILLENNIA} – Another anagram (shattered) of NINE ALL IM are periods of time equal to one thousand years.

12. Establishment made of bare wood, for example (5,4)
{STRIP CLUB} – STRIP (bare) CLUB (wood).

13. Article covering origins of import tariffs and tax (5)
{TITHE} – The article referred to here is THE which is placed around (covering) the first letters (origins of) I(mports) and T(ariffs) for another word for a levy or fee of one-tenth usually associated with the church.

14. Extreme cuts uncovered the majority (6)
{UTMOST} – Another word for the “greatest possible” is created by uncovering CUTS, by removing the outside letters, C and S leaving UT and this is then followed by MOST (the majority).

16. A friend who’s trusted to change and say nothing (5,3)
{ALTER EGO} – A trusted intimate friend is built up from ALTER (change) EG (say) and O (nothing).

18. School leaver to get a lift (8)
{ELEVATOR} – The anagram indicator is school, and it is referring to the words LEAVER TO, and you do then get a lift.

20. Where the skipper might find a game of cards (6)
{BRIDGE} – Nice and simple. Where you would find the captain of a ship, are also various card games for two pairs of players that were originally developed from whist.

23. Criminals executed for swindles (5)
{ROOKS} – Remove the C (executed) from CROOKS for a verb meaning to fleece.

24. Firm backed workers accepting trophy from residents (9)
{OCCUPANTS} – Reverse (backed) CO, workers are ANTS, then place CUP (trophy) inside (accepting) for someone who lives in a property for example.

26. The sort of joint you find everywhere? (9)
{UNIVERSAL} – A cryptic definition for the sort of joint that is capable of turning all ways.

27. Row about sect regularly missing award (5)
{OSCAR} – OAR (row) is placed about SeCt, (remove the E and T – regularly missing) for another name for an Academy Award.

28. Caught in dodgy deal with share statement (11)
{DECLARATION} – C (caught) is placed within an anagram (dodgy) of DEAL, which is then followed by RATION (share) for a formal announcement for example.


2. Anaesthetised by a French doctor injecting drug (5)
{UNDER} – UN (a in french) followed by DR with an E (drug – ecstasy) inside (injecting).

3. By the way, when covering support, duck (7)
{APROPOS} – Another word for incidentally is made from AS (when) around PROP (support) and O (duck).

4. Catch on and head off complaint (6)
{RUMBLE} – to find out about someone or something i.e. to catch on is simply GRUMBLE with the head – G removed.

5. One gets driven on course (4,4)
{GOLF BALL} – It’s a golf course.

6. Surprising letters of support for board (7)
{TRESTLE} – An anagram (surprising) of LETTERS is a support composed of a horizontal beam on sloping legs.

7. Band under stress in lobby (8,5)
{PRESSURE GROUP} – GROUP (band) placed under PRESSURE (stress) are a number of people who join together to influence public opinion and government policy on some issue.

8. Almost recognise material for plant (8)
{KNOTWEED} – KNOW with the W removed (almost recognise) plus TWEED (material) are any of the various plants of the genus Polygonum.

9. Do team resume a schedule that’s tailored to requirements? (4,2,7)
{MADE TO MEASURE} – Another anagram (schedule) of DO TEAM RESUME A is something made to individual requirements e.g. a suit.

15. How to remember heartless man replacing fiendish leader (8)
{MNEMONIC} – The definition for this clue is “how to remember”, take MAN, and remove the A (heartless), then replace the D from DEMONIC with the MN.

17. Huge deficit in fossil fuel (8)
{COLOSSAL} – Put LOSS (deficit) in COAL (fossil fuel).

19. Teresa worried about university being spartan (7)
{AUSTERE} – An anagram (worried) of TERESA about U (university) for a word meaning severely simple or without luxury.

21. Knock quietly or finally attempt connection (7)
{RAPPORT} – RAP (knock) P (quietly) OR and the final (finally) letter of attempT.

22. Numerical content of fiscal arrangement (6)
{SCALAR} – A numerical quantity is found hidden (content) within (fi)SCAL AR(rangement).

25. Mexican food article served up — half chokes (5)
{NACHO} – Reverse (served up) AN (article) and then follow this with half of CHO(kes) and you have a small, often triangular piece of tortilla topped with cheese or chilli sauce and grilled. Yum yum.

43 comments on “DT 26108

  1. Many thanks for the blog and thank to J. for an enjoyable puzzle. The NINA is better than you have spotted. You get Universal Declaration (of) Human Rights from the answers. Lots of good clues today but my favourite was 1a.

  2. I agree, this wasn’t too difficult, but still enjoyable.

    16a. This gave me the most trouble, as I’d aways thought that “alter ego” just meant “other self”. I’d never heard of it used to mean “confidant”. Had to consult Chambers, in the end.

    9d. I thought this was made too easy with “tailored” in the clue.

  3. Ditto the above – Still very enjoyable and hopefully more fun for the CC.
    15d was probably favourite but 8d and 1a are worth a shout IMO.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. Easy puzzle, nicely done theme which I failed to notice. Minor clue quibbles:apart from one or two questionable anagram indicators: “Would” in 1A doesn’t seem to do anything in the cryptic reading, and “numerical” in 22D seems a pretty woolly def – the fact that a scalar lacks direction might have been worked in.

    1. I disagree about the use of the word “would” in 1a. On the basis that a hitman does not give a hoot about the human rights of his/her victims, I think it adds to the surface reading of the clue and highlights the irony between the surface reading and the answer. I know that it does not contribute directly to the answer and may not please some purists. The clue would, however, be more clunky, without the “would” and would have to be reworded as a result.

      1. If a clue like this is the only quibble in a puzzle then it’s pretty unimportant, and I can’t see how to reword it either. But I slipped up and missed one quibble – in 20A, the solver has to mentally convert “find” to “be found” – bridge is “Where the skipper might be found”, not “where the skipper might find” (nor “where the skipper might”), and this one is quite easily fixed with something like “Game where the skipper is in control”. To the extent that I am a purist (and comnpared to some I’m relatively liberal), I’m that way inclined for the sake of the solver, who (I believe) wants to be able to solve the puzzle and understand the clues.

    2. Peter,
      Actually the use of “numerical” in the clue is what is in Chambers, which just gives numerical as a variant of the answer.

      1. Well, I’ll admit to not having checked Chambers. Neither Collins nor Oxford (Concise or ODE) has this meaning, and I can’t see it in the online OED either. I don’t know the Telegraph’s exact policy on reference dictionaries but I’m fairly sure they use Chambers to check acceptability of abbreviations and this suggests that it’s also used for meanings. But if a setter were to put somet “Chambers word” like taghairm or wag-at-the-wa’ into a DT daily, the editor would quite rightly reject the puzzle or ask for the grid to be reworked to replace the obscurity. To me, this selective use of Chambers makes the puzzles a bit unbalanced.

  5. Seemed to take an age to start for some strange reason then worked through it OK
    Great spot of the two then three themed answers
    I hadn`t heard of 16a being used in that tense before either Vince
    Favourites 12a and 28a

  6. sorry but i found some of this crossword quite difficult, didn’t know school was an angram indicator? and though it may seem strange to some i have never ever heard the word mnemonic – 15d – and only got ot from my electronic friend, not one of my better days :( sorry Libellule i think though i hope not, that some of us CC will struggle today :) thanks for all the explainations, i need to read them to understand how i got my answers, if that makes sense??

      1. Thank you Libellule I see what you’re saying and i would agree with train, but i would not have associated instruct or school with an anagram indicator, you live and learn and i’m learning all the time :)

      2. I have always assumed that it comes from the phrase “to school one’s thoughts” which basically means to put them in order.

  7. Agree this was more straightforward than some Thursday fare. The maths puzzles alongside the Toughie get progressively more difficult as the week goes on but I’m glad the crosswords don’t follow the same pattern.

    I’m clearly still a novice however as I have no problem at all with a puzzle I can solve more easily. There is still the Toughie for all the experts out there to prove their skills.

    I liked the theme and hadn’t spotted it but thought they were all good clues. A good crossword all round.

    1. As an “expert” i could just do the hard puzzles and ignore the others. But I like to use my crossword infamy as a lever towards getting more people interested in cryptic crosswords. To that end, it’s best if I can tell them that if they look carefully at a clue, every word will play a part in the cryptic reading, and that they can exploit that when solving clues. This puzzle gets very close to that standard, but some of the Telegraph setters do so in every clue and satisfy both the experts and those who call themselves novices (I have a suspicion that you’re not really a novice at all!).

      1. We’ll settle on relative novice.

        I do however really struggle on the Toughies often only managing between 5 and 10 answers.

        Thanks for the advice. I will steel myself for another push.

        1. I don’t promise that all the Toughies will follow all the strict rules, but among the Toughie setters, Giovanni, Kcit, Notabilis and Micawber are reliable sources of fair clues. I’m sure there are others – these are just the first four that come to mind.

  8. Down to 2 four letter words(again) in the toughie. Any clues for 3d and 20a please.No doubt there will be a simple solution.Put the first bird in 27d to start with which didn`t help much with 25a

    1. Hah! – Can’t help you there LB, I am hanging out for just those two!
      Glad to have spotted the fact that there were 2 birds in 27d!

    2. 3d Its a drink thats being pulled
      20a The river runs through Northampton and Peterborough, funnily enough this also happens to be a goose.

        1. Agreed, I spent ages trying to come up with a better explanation, but thats where I always ended up.

          1. I spent ages trawling T’Internet for obscure BR abbreviations -let me tell you, there are a few!!

        2. Too true. Unless there is a better explanation of the clue, it is a very weak BR – not like the three or four pints of Doom Bar that I knocked back after carol singing earlier in the week.

        3. Standard reply I’m afraid – look up that phonetic interpretation in Chambers (and have a peek at “see” for something possibly worth remembering!).

  9. Thanks for the help.
    Would never have got 3d ( and I agree it`s not the best clue in the world)but should have got 20a after cross referencing the river as I was down there at the regatta earlier in the year.

  10. One of my rare successes. Have to be careful I don’t want to get kicked out of the CC.
    I also never knew alter ego was a trusted friend. I enjoyed all the clues (because I got them all in the end!!) Favourites were 7d and 12a. Even as I finished it I knew the blog would be filled with comments saying how easy it was today. Heigh ho. Many thanks

  11. I suppose executed means beheads ie to remove the first letter. I haven’t come across that instruction before or that school is an anagram indicator. One up for RIDER? Friend ALTER EGO? Didn;t like this one at all, Very tricky!!

    1. I’m sure you’ll see “beheaded” again quite soon! These meanings of “up” and “alter ego” are in the humble Concise Oxford, so fair game although unusual. School as anagram indicator was rather a stretch so I wouldn’t worry about remembering it!

  12. Nice mix I thought. Solved most fairly easily but failed on 23a. Didn’t know what executed meant and didn’t know the answer had that meaning either. I like to be educated like this. Nice to include the theme. I didn’t spot it though!.

  13. i would appreciate it if the comments were kept relevant to each crossword ie don’t give clues to the Toughie in the Cryptic and vice versa. I prefer to finish one at a time and read the blog before going on to the next puzzle and found it quite off-putting to have references to the other crossword in this one. Thanks.

  14. Only got an hour a day to do crossword. Hated it. Glib and not-doable unless crossword pro. 4 across for a game of soldiers. 12 across not even grammatical. PS lecture in Eng Lit.

  15. We enjoyed yesterday’s crossword – much better than Tuesday’s one which i thought was horrible. Mr Chinface particularly liked 20 across.
    What time do the bloggers need to get the paper in order to post answers by 12:01 every day? We have the greatest respect for you…
    Have a good weekend all. Cheer up Lucy.

  16. Finally a blog that is both polite in all its exchanges, and one that helps me without giving answers when I am stuck. And I was stuck on ths puzzle. Can’t quite figure out why . . the brain just never made it to that level, despite several cups of coffee!

    1. You should come back later around closing time – it all gets a bit shouty then!
      Just kidding! ;)

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