DT 26122

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26122

Hints and tips by Rishi

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Today’s crossword by our Monday Maestro is mostly easy but there are also a few difficult clues that yield themselves only after we consider them for a while.

As usual, the answers are whitened. If you want to see any, please select the space within the curly brackets. Wordplay is explained in such a way that, if one wishes, one might work out the answer oneself before proceeding to uncover the solution.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a Tired out intellectual is not very helpful (11)
{DETRIMENTAL} – Anagram. of TIRED + a word meaning ‘intellectual’. Definition is ‘not very helpful’ ; if help is still needed, try ‘harmful’ as the definition –  Is the definition really helpful?

9a Pluck the strings (4)
{GUTS} –  Two definition – Pluck, n., in the sense of ‘courage’ / ‘strings’, as on a musical instrument.

10a Brief cry of punter foundering (11)
{PERFUNCTORY} –  Anagram of CRY OF PUNTER – definition is ‘brief’ as a glance or inspection might be. – A nice anagram.

11a Group of musicians — or it could be (4)
{TRIO} – Anagram of ORIT – Definition is ‘group of musicians’ similar to ‘quartet’.

14a Caress a girl on the knee (7)
{PATELLA} – A three-letter word that means ‘caress’ + the name of a girl. Definition is a medical term for the kneecap. Compare AXILLA, which is the armpit.

16a Remains within easy reach of Naples (7)
{POMPEII} – ‘Remains’ not in the sense of ‘stay back’ but ‘ruins’. For the answer think of an ancient city near the volcano Vesuvius in Italy.

17a A huge shipping order? (5)
{AVAST} – Just pick up A from the clue and add a word that means ‘huge’ to get an order or a command that might be heard aboard a ship.

18a Has now moved South (4)
– Anagram of NOW + the compass point from South for “has”.

19a Correct reversal of flow (4)
{EDIT} – Reverse a word that means ‘flow’ (which may ebb and fall) for ‘correct’ (what a journalist might do)

20a It will get one off drill (5)
{TWILL} – A contraction of “it will” formed by removing I (get one off) for a fabric that rhymes with the given ‘drill’.

22a Soup ingredient one sold in error (7)
{NOODLES} – Anagram ONE SOLD for what may be found in a bowl of soup.

23a Hide in N Africa (7)
{MOROCCO} – You needn’t betake yourself to N Africa, just find a word that means ‘hide’ in the sense of leather and you will get a place name in that region.

24a Handy aid to warmth (4)
{MUFF} – The name of an item of winter gear, what we wear on our hand to keep it warm.

28a Honeymoon express, perhaps, may be held up (6,5)
{BRIDAL TRAIN} – The fanciful expression “honeymoon express’’ leads us to the trailing part of the dress of a woman during her wedding day.

29a Keep this bouquet clean to avoid trouble (4)
{NOSE} – Two meanings – One is bouquet or smell and the other is what we must keep clean (or from poking in others’ affairs) if we want to avoid trouble

30a Comprehensive horoscope for every performer in the show? (3,4,4)
{ALL STAR CAST} – Two meanings – One is “every performer in the show” as an epic movie might be billed; the other is ‘comprehensive horoscope’ which will take into account every planet that affects the subject’s life.


2d Flat race not completed (4)
{EVENT} – For a word that means ‘flat’, take a word that means ‘race’ or an item in a programme of sports but don’t complete it, keep it short of the last letter.

3d It floats right astern (4)
{RAFT} – R, abbreviation for ‘right’ + a three-letter word that means ‘astern’  gives us a flat structure of logs for conveyance on water.

4d Chap unfit to work on a tough paper (7)
– Putting together a word that means ‘chap’, another that means “unfit to work” or even just “unfit”, and A (taking it just like that) , we get a word that means “tough paper” – of which envelopes are made.

5d School set up record (4)
{NOTE } The name of a famous school, when “set up”, that is reversed, fetches the required word that means “record”.

6d A new crop, it yields fruit (7)
{APRICOT} – Take A and add an anagram of CROP IT and you get the name of a fruit.

7d Clubs, possibly, where naval officers may be found? (11)
{QUARTERDECK} – Think of a part of a ship used by superior officers, please see if what you have in mind might be interpreted to mean one-fourth of a pack of cards (namely, clubs). – Perhaps the most difficult clue of the puzzle.

8d Football club? (11)
{ASSOCIATION} – Two meanings –  a form of football / a club

12d Post date (11)
(APPOINTMENT} – Two meanings – post (n.) / date  (n.) – against which on a calendar you may jot down something that you want to keep – A pithy clue that is very satisfying.

13d Reserved stall for seafood (11)
{STANDOFFISH} – For a word that means “reserved”, aloof, think of term which –  if looked at in a different way by breaking it into a phrase of three words – could suggest “stall for seafood”. – A beautiful clue which may also be termed difficult.

15d Admits making promises (5)
{AVOWS} – Two definitions – Admits / promises

16d Song of starling starting in tree (5)
{PSALM} – Inserting S (‘starling starting’) in a word that is a kind of tree gets us the answer defined by ‘song’. – Do birds sing in trees or on trees? I had this doubt but it seems that “in trees” also is acceptable. What do you think?

20d A growing attachment to climbers (7)
– Cryptic definition  –  The part of a climbing plant that coils around a supporting object

21d Plant daggers in Capone’s back (7)
{LOBELIA} – The name of a plant is obtained by inserting a word that means ‘daggers’ (its singular form is obelus, † , a sign that is used in printing) in two letters which are the reversal of gangster Capone’s first name.

25d But they could be even for the better (4)
{ODDS} – ‘better’ is one who lays wagers and for him/her these might be “even”.

26d Man in hysterics (4)
{ERIC} – The name of a man is hidden in the word “hysterics” (He may hail from America, if I may add presumptuously).

27d Appreciates one’s accommodation (4)
{DIGS} – Two meanings – appreciates / accommodation (or lodgings)


  1. Barrie
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle, loved 12d v. clever. Struggled with 1a, mental=intellectual, hmm not sure.
    Overall a nice start to the day.

  2. Nubian
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    7d In my time in the Royal Navy the last place you would find an officer would be on that part of a ship,they were normally found in the wardroom.
    Enjoyable today and I think it was my favourite clue.
    Thanks for explanations Rishi

  3. Prolixic
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Another fantastic puzzle from Rufus today. Favourite clue was 7d by a large margin but I also smiled at 10a, 29a and 13d.

  4. Libellule
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Re. 20a, I took drill to be a type of stout linen or cotton cloth….

    • Posted December 28, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink


      Isn’t that what it says ….. for a fabric. I took the rest as an observation that it happens to rhyme with the other fabric in the clue.

      • Libellule
        Posted December 28, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Its more than that, drill is the definition – drill can be according to Chambers “a stout twilled linen or cotton cloth”.

    • Tilly
      Posted December 28, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      According to my dictionary ‘drill’ is a strong twilled cotton fabric and ’twill’ refers to the weave. Hope this doesn’t confuse further!

  5. Franny
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Yes, this was fun and I enjoyed it, though I had a bit of a struggle with 20a and 21d. Couldn’t understand what ’twill’ had to do with ‘drill’, or lobelias with daggers. However, I thought most of the clues were excellent, and my favourite was 13d.

  6. Terry
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable crossword. Not too difficult. 7d was by far my favourite clue. I am with Franny – can someone please explain the ‘daggers’ in 21d.

    • Posted December 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I took Franny’s comment as rhetorical!

      Obeli is the plural of obelus, as explained by Rishi.

      * a sign ( – or †) used in ancient manuscripts to mark suspected, corrupt or spurious words and passages
      * a dagger-sign (†) used in printing esp in referring to footnotes

  7. Peter
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Too many four-letter words for me.

    1a: intellectual/mental is a link I do not recognise.

    I liked 10a

  8. gnomethang
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    13d was my favourite.
    Still can’t get 7d or 23a.
    Must be Monday!!

    • Rishi
      Posted December 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      You say you still can’t get 7d or 23a.

      Was that before you came to read the blog?

      Please see my hints above and if you still need help let me know. I will be up for at least half-an-hour more before I go to bed here in India and I will see what I can do.

      • gnomethang
        Posted December 29, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Thanks, I got there in the end.
        I was browsing on my phone so could not highlight to reveal the answers!

  9. Rufus
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Just back from three days in Yorkshire and having trouble with the internet.
    Thanks again to Rishi for another excellent blog.
    Interested to see Nubian was ex-Navy. I started as a Boy Seaman at the age of 15 at the notorious HMS Ganges – there ain’t anything lower! When I reached twenty as a seaman petty officer Lord Mountbatten gave some of us the chance, because so many were being killed flying modern jet aircraft onto old carriers, to change to the Fleet Air Arm and train as aircrew. Thus I became a Lieutenant and flew for ten years. The quarterdeck , especially on carriers, was the place reserved for officers – official functions, parties, films, etc.

  10. sjm
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I really like this website!
    I was interested to see this answer was posted last December – I just got this puzzle in the Toronto paper this week (April 15, 2010).
    Thanks for your help!

    • gazza
      Posted April 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi sjm – welcome to the blog.
      Do you read Falcon’s blog on the cryptic puzzles published in the National Post? (There’s a link under “Crossword Blogs” in the right-hand panel).