DT 26119 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26119

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26119

All Puzzled Out!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Christmas is always a crossword fan’s dream. Lots and lots of special puzzles around and I currently have 14 waiting to be solved from last weekend. Many of them are Jumbos and barred puzzles with a theme and take a lot longer.

Of course the dailies still run on, and not many have a theme, especially here in the Telegraph. So in effect they provide a little light relief from the festive challenges. This was an OK puzzle, but didn’t really hit the heights for me and it was difficult to guess who the setter was there were no clues to really help me identify them.

One of my (admittedly small) grumbles today is with the cryptic definition at 7 down. I am a reasonably PC person and have to admit to being surprised to see that clue in the Telegraph, rather like yesterday’s CRINOLINE clue. Quite a lot of you will probably find it hilarious, but it isn’t my cup of coffee (I can’t stand tea!). Not keen on the use of “number” to indicate Personal Identification Number in 19 either. However it passed a pleasant few minutes and there wasn’t a lot to trouble me in there today.

Incidentally, if you want a cracking Christmas challenge, try Araucaria’s Christmas Cracker, which can be found here. Read that preamble carefully and get thinking!


7a    Refrain from terror engulfing world (7)
{FORBEAR} We start with a “container and contents” clue today. A word meaning terror has an old word for the world” (ORB) inside. Refrain from is the definition here.

8a    Most of those people having shellfish are stars (3,4)
{THE CRAB} I suspect this was where our setter painted himself into a corner. It is almost impossible to use the word “cancer” (the star sign) in the clue because of its other connotations. So our setter has resorted to a weak clue where both halves almost refer to the same thing. Most of the people refers to THE(M) and added to it is a word meaning “Shellfish” (CRAB). I have decided to offer a little festive competition, details at the end.

10a    Don’t — he’s potentially caught in a difficult situation (2,3,4)
{ON THE SPOT} A hidden answer from “Don’t — he’s potentially”

11a    Flounce into empty theatre to find subject (5)
{THEME} One of the thinnest books in the world is The Tilsit Book of Dressmaking (available from no good shop and probably not available at all), so as someone for whom threading a needle presents a challenge on a scale of The EV Crossword, I’m probably not one to comment, but ” flounce” in my Chambers is defined as “a hanging strip gathered and sewn to a skirt by its upper edges”, which to me is not necessarily a HEM. The clue is asking you to put HEM inside an “empty theatre”, i.e. T E, this gives you a word meaning a subject. One of those clues that hits the target but not the bullseye.

12a    Able to follow exercise nut (5)
{PECAN} An abbreviation for exercise at school, plus a word meaning able will give you a ground nut, which is rather nice when baked in a pie.

13a    Revolutionary somehow ensuring respect at last (9)
{INSURGENT} An anagram (indicated by somehow) of ENSURING + T (respect at last)

15a    Offering a view of love, feeling nostalgic (7)
{OPINING} A nice concise clue. “Offering a view of” is the definition. LOVE = O + feeling nostalgic = PINING

17a    A framework for each dubious goal (7)
{PERGOLA} Another concise clue. “A Framework”is the definition with the rest a word-sum. For each = PER + an anagram (dubious) of GOAL

18a    The appearance of endless crisis beginning to extend (9)
{EMERGENCE} Endless crisis = EMERGENC(Y) + E (beginning to extend) gives a word meaning “appearance of”

20a    Risqué photo found in empty study (5)
{SPICY} We’ve already used “empty” to show the first and last letters, and here it is again today. SY with an abbreviation for a PHOTO INSIDE IT

21a    Betrays feelings finally, and dances (5)
{SHOPS} Betrays is the definition. Feelings finally = S + an old name for a dance or disco from the 1950’s. That brings about some music…..

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a    Assert head accepts alcoholic drink being returned (9)
{PREDICATE} I wonder if you’ll view this as the toughest clue today. A word meaning (bald) head with an alcoholic drink, made of apples, returned inside.

24a    Full permit given to salesman with energy (7)
{REPLETE} Salesman in Crosswordland is usually one word – REP – add to this (indicated by “given to”) a word for permit and then add E for energy.

25a    Sets about dealing with sporting encounters (7)
{TACKLES} Double, almost triple definition. ‘Sets about’ + ‘dealing with’ + ‘sporting encounters’ all define this, although the first two are virtually the same. The last of the definitions – think two players challenging each other.


1d           Defensive vet to price order (10)
{PROTECTIVE}  An anagram (indicated by order) of VET TO PRICE gives you a word meaning defensive.

2d           Cut off from northern river (6)
{SEVERN}  A word meaning cut off and add to this N for northern to give you Britain’s longest river. [Big Dave lives about two miles (uphill) from this river.]

3d           Covering the noise of knocking (8)
{WRAPPING}  A homophone clue with a word for a type of paper popular at this time of the year that sounds like the noise of someone knocking on a door.

4d           Poor condition suppressing southern nations (6)
{STATES}  If something is in a mess, it is said to be in a “____”.  Bung on an S for southern and you have divisions of land.

5d           Craftsman’s disastrous error covering broken set (8)
{RESTORER}  It’s an anagram, albeit in two parts with two anagram indicators, of  ERROR SET.  This will lead you to a word meaning a furniture craftsman.

6d           Heartless trio getting birch, for example (4)
{TREE}  If the trio refers to THREE, then heartless would be THEE not TREE.  Am I missing something?

7d           A mincing kitchen assistant? (4,9)
{FOOD PROCESSOR}  As I have said before, I didn’t care much for this clue.  A cryptic definition for an item of kitchen equipment that has many uses.

9d           Results of investing last of money in last rash beer, stupidly (13)
{BREATHALYSERS} An anagram of Y (last of money) +  LAST RASH BEER.  One I’d seen in a similar  form before.

14d         Former friend admits of hearing in a strange way (10)
{EXOTICALLY}  EX (former)  and ALLY (friend)  around OTIC (of hearing) give a word meaning  in a strange way.

16d         Jokingly reported journalist and ate (8)
{INGESTED}  Part-homophone  INGEST (Jokingly =  “in jest”) + ED Journalist =  a word meaning ate.

17d         Quietly feels bitter getting awards (8)
{PRESENTS}  Word sum time.  P (quietly) + RESENTS (feels bitter} = a word for awards.

19d         Number’s up for every child (6)
{NIPPER}    As mentioned, not a good clue to me.   NIP (reverse of PIN “number”)  + PER (every, once again – see 17 across) = slang word for a child.

20d         Inform on school accommodating idiot (6)
{SNITCH}  SCH = school with NIT inside = equals inform, tell-tale.

22d         Exclamation with which sailor welcomes work (4)
{OOPS}   OS = Ordinary seaman (sailor) with OP inside.  This leads to an exclamation when a mistake is made.


In view of the fact that I believe there must be a better clue around for 8 across, I will offer a prize of a Telegraph Crossword Book (you can choose cryptic or general knowledge) for the person who can write a decent clue to THE CRAB (3,4).

The closing date is midnight on December 26 and I shall hopefully ask my colleagues to help me judge these.  It’s your chance to have a bash at writing a clue.  Don’t be afraid!  Post your entry as a comment on the blog and we’ll see who wins.

47 comments on “DT 26119

  1. Just come on to wish all my new ‘crossword friends’ bloggers and solvers a happy and healthy Christmas and new year, noticed all the answers are visible! I’ve not been on the blog these past few days as we have had a close family bereavement, hope to resume as normal in the new year, Merry Christmas everyone xxx

    1. Mary,

      My condolences. Any bereavement is hard enough but those occuring at Christmas are particularly tough. Hope that your Christmas is a happy one even though tinged with sadness and best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

    2. Mary

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss – Christmas is not a nice time for a family bereavement and I hope that you have other family and friends to remember the person with.

      I wish you and your family a peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year.

      We have missed you on the blog recently,.


    3. Mary

      I noticed your absence from the blog and am sorry for your loss. We had a family funeral on Monday, so I do understand how difficult things are, especially at this time of year.

      I wish you and your family a healthy and peaceful 2010.

  2. This was enjoyable and a good warm up on a cold, frosty and foggy morning – I solved it curled up in bed not wanting to venture out. Favourite clue was 10a.

    Merry Christmas Tilsit and thanks for all the blogs. Seasons greetings go to our Wednesday setters – whoever you are – for the treats of the past year and the puzzles for the New Year.

  3. Found this very easy. Finished it with my bowl of cereal and cup of tea (i like both, but not INSTANT coffee). Is “mincing” non-PC? I didn’t think so, and it made me smile. This was one of my favourite clues; the other being 10a.

    11a. I saw “flounce” as meaning a fancy hem. But, then, dressmaking is not my forte!

    Like you, I thought the repetition of “empty” was a bit unimaginative.

  4. Quite enjoyable .
    Must admit I smiled at 7d and didn`t think it non PC.
    Favourites today 23a ( as it was the last one I got ) and 22d as it was one of the first 4 letter answers I`ve managed this year without any letters to help !!
    A big thanks for all the hints .
    A Merry Christmas to one and all and the very best for 2011

  5. I enjoyed this one, not too taxing, I hope the setters will keep them gentle over the next few days.

  6. I enjoyed this too. Funnily enough, for some reason I can’t explain, I found this harder than Rufus on Monday and Ray T on Tuesday. Nevertheless, I did manage to complete it without help and found it a good puzzle to solve. I liked 10a, 3d and 22d.

    Tilsit – I wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year. Thank you for your reviews this year and keep up the excellent work in 2010. I look forward to reading your 2010 DT crossword blogs.

  7. Enjoyed this – considered the PC for 7d but smiled anyway and just about gave the setter the PIN.

    Thanks for the Blog Tilsit and a Merry Christmas to yourself and all.

  8. Tough to get started but then fell into place. Enjoyable but not sure about 23a, does predicate mean to assert? Not according to my dictionary at least. Favourite clue, 7d!
    PS Mary, sorry to hear about the bereavment, never easy esp at this time of the year. Hope the rest of Christmas goes well.

    1. Guess what! It is written in the 16th Chapter of Chambers that “assert” is the first meaning of predicate. And all the people replied – can I have a copy for Christmas?

      1. The two are linked! Your icon and authorisation are linked to your email address. I’ve changed your address back to the one you used previously on the first of these two comments in order to demonstrate. In future you can use either address.

        1. Dave, I’m confused? The address I’m using now is the only one I use. I changed the email address with which I registered on this site in October. If that change hasn’t ben recorded, could you please either make the necessary changes, or let me know what I must do to ensure that the change is made?

          1. These are automated processes over which I have no control. I’ll write to you separately giving the two addresses that I have. For general reference I should point out that the email address that you use is stored with the comment and the avatar is generated from this address. This site is set up so that comments are automatically checked and if a match is found in the previously authorised comments then it is posted without the need for moderation. Although I can edit comments, I restrict this to correcting typos in the email address or the text. I do not maintain a database myself, this is all part of the facilities provided by WordPress.

            If you wish to use your own avatar, as some users already do, then there are instructions in the FAQ. It is very easy to do – probably the hardest part is deciding on the avatar to use!

  9. took me some time to get going but found it enjoyable eventually.i would have thought it more difficult than usual but i`m a bit of a thicko.

    1. I spent quite a long time on 6d trying to find a four-letter word t–o (heartless trio), then, as the answer ‘tree’ became obvious, it occurred to me to remove the ‘o’ (love/heart) from trio and you had a sound-alike. Rather tortuous.

  10. So close -nearly got it all out unaided. 19d -saw that nipper would fit but couldn’t see wordoplay so left it out.
    23a Saw that answer would fit but couldn’t see wordplay.
    14d -now that one did stump me.

  11. Actually I thought this was a great puzzle and it occupied my time having just missed a train! Thoroughly enjoyable and good brain exercise for moi.

  12. My entry for the clue competition

    “This creature was created from earth before Christ (3,4)”

  13. Tilsit,

    Although I have never written a cryptic clue before, I have taken a stab at your competition.

    My suggestion is;

    Sign of man getting credit within bill

    Sign (the crab) Man (He)getting credit (Cr) within bill (Tab) gives you The Crab

    This was a lot harder than I thought. I await the verdict of fellow bloggers!


  14. Here’s my attempt:

    “We hear sea dipper changes his birth sign”.

    Warmest seasonal greetings to all. Thanks to all the setters, reviewers and bloggers for adding a new dimension to my long term addiction to the Telegraph crosswords and a special thanks to Big Dave for setting this up. Hope you have something lined up to mark the first anniversary!

  15. Setter here
    Many thanks to all, and especially to Big Dave and the rest of the bloggers for the effort they have put in to make the Telegraph crossword accessible to many more people. I am on today because Rufus has done a special for Christmas Eve. In the New Year I shall feature on most Wednesdays instead of Thursdays. Enjoy the break
    Merry Christmas Everybody

    1. Many thanks to you for all the fun you have given us over the past year and have a very happy Christmas. I am looking forward to the New Year treats that you have in store for us. Can you reveal who is stepping into your shoes on Thursdays?

  16. Have recently discovered this blog – it’s fantastic, I usually manage about half of the puzzle, sometimes a bit more before I put myself out of my misery and check the answers. Really helpful and I enjoy the comments too.

    So I thought I’d join in with a go at the clue comp:
    Sign of summer sky seen on unusual beach if right time is present

    Merry Christmas


  17. Quite a quick puzzle this time. For 6d I concurred with Gazza – H for Heart.
    I liked 9d best.

    Tilsit : for 8a I offer “The bullish, nebulous shellfish”

  18. I’m getting in on this rather late, but here is my entry for 8a:

    This creature could be a sign of disease.

    Merry Christmas, and a healthy, happy New Year to all :-)

    1. Franny

      I have read all the other ones and like yours the best. Don’t know what Tilsit will say but I like it – well done.

  19. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from sunny Poland. Hope to be back and blogging in the New Year!

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