DT 26114 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26114

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26114

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A bit trickier today than last weeks.. how many of you put the wrong answer in for 1a? I only knew I had made a mistake when I was entering the crossword on CluedUp. On another note how many of you thought 21a was a good clue or a bad clue?

The answers as usual can be found hidden between the curly brackets. Comments appreciated.


1. One was bound to land to the sound of waves breaking (4)
{SERF} – I made a mistake here and didn’t read the clue carefully enough. The definition in this case is “one was bound to land” and it sounds like SURF.

3. Felt a rapport with him at speed bumps (10)
{EMPATHISED} – An anagram (bumps) of HIM AT SPEED is when you are able to share somebody else’s feelings.

8. Frills made from pieces of four by two (4-4)
{FROU-FROU} – A word for elaborate trimmings (frills for example) can be created from an anagram (pieces of) FOUR, twice. For those familiar with Celeb in Private Eye, this should be easy.

9. Officer in charge of sect dealing in the supernatural (6)
{OCCULT} – OC (officer in charge) and CULT (sect).

10. Which church has a natural roof covering? (6)

11. Cause amazement with regard to backing wrong hotel (8)
{ASTONISH} – AS (with regard) TO and SIN (wrong) reversed (backing) plus H (hotel) is another word for to amaze or shock.

13. Coppers covering game beginning to display wisdom (8)
{PRUDENCE} – PENCE (coppers) around RU (rugby – game) and the first letter (beginning) of D(isplay) is the quality of being cautious and wise in conduct.

14. Dish bound to be rejected with clam inside (6)
{PAELLA} – LEAP (bound) reversed (rejected) and the middle letters (inside) of (c)LA(m) is a typical Spanish stew.

16. New exam to include end of term average (6)
{NORMAL} – N (new) ORAL (exam) with the last letter (end) of (ter)M inside (included) for a word that means regular, typical, ordinary or not deviating from the standard.

19. Elaborates on weight gained by divorcee (8)
{EXPOUNDS} – EX (divorcee) plus (gained) POUNDS (weight) is to speak or talk informatively or pass comment on.

21. Reversible cam? (8)
{RAINCOAT} – Not sure whether this clue works or not, but I seem to remember reversible cam’s used in sailing cleats, but I could be wrong. Anyway you are not looking for a word remotely associated with “reversible cam’s” (note the ? at the end), instead you need to reverse CAM to make MAC, and then find another word for a mackintosh.

22. Unprotected skin in long finger (6)
{PINKIE} – Remove (unprotected) the outside letters of (s)KI(n) and then place the KI inside PINE (long) for another word for your little finger.

23. Sign in garage vacated by car (6)
{GEMINI} – Empty the G(arag)E by removing (vacating) all the inside letters to leave only the G and E, and then add a small car – MINI to give the third sign of the zodiac.

24. Exalted leading role began with new ideas (8)
{UPRAISED} – UP (leading) plus the first letter (began) of R(ole) and an anagram (new) of IDEAS is something that is raised or lifted up.

25. Old individual, highly valued, got cleared (10)
{EXONERATED} – EX (old) ONE (individual) and RATED (highly valued) is to free someone from the burden of blame or obligation.

26. Appear ominously close to depression — not good (4)
{LOOM} – Remove the G (not good) from (g)LOOM for a word that can mean imminently threatening.


1. One conceals the point of security (6,3)
{SAFETY PIN} – A cryptic definition for a pin in the form of a clasp with a guard covering its point.

2. Uniformed host in troubled time (6,9)
{FOURTH DIMENSION} – An anagram (troubled) of UNIFORMED HOST IN is another term for time.

3. Fear the nursery is full of clay (7)
{EARTHEN} – A hidden word (is full) for an adjective that means to be made of earth or clay can be found in (f)EAR THE N(ursery). Thanks carty.

4. Soft fruit, mature, is down (7)
{PLUMAGE} – PLUM (soft fruit) and AGE (mature).

5. A couple of favourites up for a dance (3-4)
{TWO-STEP} – TWO (a couple) with PETS (favourites) reversed (up – this is a down clue) is a gliding dance in duple time.

6. Unusual line on nice squat of little importance (15)
{INCONSEQUENTIAL} – An anagram (unusual) of LINE ON NICE SQUAT is something of no consequence or value.

7. Initially doubt urge to discard (5)
{DITCH} – The first letter (initially) of D(oubt) followed by ITCH (urge) is another term for to abandon, or get rid of.

12. Sun exclusive — almost! (3)
{SOL} – A personification of the sun is made from SOL(e), sole being a term for exclusive with the last letter removed (almost).

15. Teacher promoting a mother’s capital (9)
{AMSTERDAM} – MASTER (teacher) with the A moved to the front (promoting a) followed by DAM (mother) is the capital of the Netherlands.

17. Eggs on veal regularly dropped (3)
{OVA} – Drop the even letters from O(n)V(e)A(l) to find another term for eggs.

18. Toilet on jetty — even dafter (7)
{LOOPIER} – LOO (toilet) on PIER (jetty) is even crazier or dafter.

19. Give responsibility to reformed nutters (7)
{ENTRUST} – An anagram (reformed) of NUTTERS is a verb meaning to give responsibility or trust.

20. Times editor did some decorating (7)
{PAPERED} – PAPER (times) and ED (editor).

21. Villain shot up in Parisian street (5)
{ROGUE} – The definition is villain, place a reversed (up) GO (shot) inside RUE the french word for street.

28 comments on “DT 26114

  1. Quality, Quality, Quality. Hugely enjoyable crossword from Jay today. Glad to see I didn’t fall into the surf on 1a. 21a was worth the clue for the smile that came to my lips when the wordplay dawned on me. I usually put a little dot next to the clues I particularly enjoyed. Today I had so many dots, it is hard to chose a favourite or favourites but I will plump for 2d.

    Thanks for the notes and a particular thank you to Jay for a mutch appreciated crossword today.

  2. Did have to think carefully about 1a, made the same initial mistake but re-read the clue and changed it.21a didn`t work for me at all i.e. where is the clue to tell me it is another name for a mac ?Favourites were 8a and 22a

  3. I think this is somewhat of a mixed bag.

    A number of good clues to lead you in, but some that I felt were obtuse inc 21a.

    Also have reservations about 22a as this is low level English and would never have been used at my schools. Yes the clue reads well but the answer has lowered the tone.

    I think the CC club will not be too happy.

  4. 3 down isn’t an anagram, the answer is hidden. Thanks to all for your ongoing assistance and merry Xmas.

  5. Great puzzle today – Jay continues to deliver.
    Wrong clue for 1a? – I put Tied in first off and only realised when checking 1d.
    21a – Made me groan on the train – I’m still unsure of whether or not I consider it good or bad – I certainly wouldn’t have got it if it was stand alone.

    Favourites were 3a and 10a.

    Thanks for the review.

  6. Back from La Belle France and into the crozzy, I have been having nightmares about the cost of day old papers and trying to remember where I put my pen and can’t find the right glasses. Anyway I just got out of Carcassonne as the temp went to minus one so you have my sympathy Libellule. Thank God for the gulf stream.
    Todays offering was a good one to get back into the swing.
    22a seemed to be a bit of a stretch if you’ll pardon the pun but overall the clues were gentle for a Thursday,
    I assume the ‘getting harder as the week goes on’ senario still applies.

  7. Loved this one. Great balance. Particular favourites11 and 22 across.
    Got 13 across but had the p and the d as the coppers and was stumped as to where the ..”ence” came from till consulting the blog…what a clot!
    21 across was last one to go and I really liked that!
    Thanks again.

  8. This continues a very enjoyable week of solving for me and today’s offering was completed on the plane between Edinburgh and Birmingham. Got 1a fairly easily, perhaps helps that I am reading a book on English Medieval history at the moment but 14a was a struggle and only answered it because of the intersecting letters and the definition of Dish- thanks for the explanation.As for 21a, probably not a great clue but like others have admitted to the answer brought a rueful smile and it was worth it just for that! Favourite clues 21a and 2d.

  9. I shall buck the trend by saying that a decent puzzle was completely ruined by 1 across. At first I had TIED/TIDE and realised it was SERF / SURF.

    You could, at a pinch, make a case for either answer, and as the answer is contained within an unchecked square, it is unfair.

    Had that been a prize puzzle, there would have been some very unhappy entrants, I am sure.

    Of course, it wasn’t helped by the answer being inside a “Double unchecked square”, but it would still have been a problem, had it not been.

    1. A tricky one, I agree. The main definition of someone bound to the land could yield serf or tied (as in an agricultural worker who has a tied cottage – although it is the property rather than the person who is described as tied in these circumstances). In terms of the subsidiary definition, in my heart of hearts I cannot link tide to the sound of waves breaking in the same that that I can relate to the sound of surf. Tide is more the rise and fall of the water level – it is a silent thing. Surf is the rollers that break on the crest of the waves. i think that it is one of those clues that requires a forensic analysis rather than a casual reading. My vote is with Jay on this one.

  10. Great crossword today, thoroughly enjoyable to lighten the commute to Liverpool Street. Also good news about BA situation to round off the day.

  11. I thought it was excellent and really enjoyed it: good range of clues that tested technique and ability to think all around. I liked 1a: a serf was someone tied, feudally, to the land; a tide can come in without any waves or waves breaking. And you do get reversible raincoats so I liked that one too.

  12. 21 down OK it was the first one that I got.
    Your snow through the text made me think I had some kind of virus.

  13. Eugh. We just couldn’t get into this one yesterday. Not sure if it was particularly difficult or if we were particularly incompetent but either way, did not enjoy it much…will try harder today after I’ve made a snowman.

  14. When you talk about Chambers, do you mean the Chambers Dictionary or the Chambers Crossword Dictionary?

    1. Welcome to the board Chinfaces!

      I always mean the Chambers Dictionary which is now available as an app for the I-Phone or I-pod Touch for something like £4.99. The Dictionary is available on Amazon and other good sites for a reasonable price.

  15. This is a late comment as the DT has been arriving delayed from Brussels – Snow!

    Quite a good puzzle with some excellent clues based on meanings!

    I liked 10a. 2d was easy for a retired physicist (good at anagrams)!

    21a was tricky – after getting away from the gearing it made sense.

    DTs for Friday & Saturday arrived this morning so shall have a busy weekend now that the Christmas tree is OK.

  16. This crossword appears in our freeby paper here quite a long time after it’s in the Telegraph. However, I still get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. Today’s (26114 of December 17) was good EXCEPT 22a. Very obtuse!

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