DT 26125 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26125

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26125

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable crossword to end the year (at least I thought so), with a bit of a themed New Year crossword. How many references can you spot?

As usual the answers are hidden in the curly brackets, so if you cannot work out the answer from the explanation, just highlight to reveal. If any of you have any comments, feel free to leave one. Finally can I wish all of the setters, the bloggers and all of our readers a happy New Year.


1. Yawns, concealing origin of rotting fruit (6)
{GRAPES} – Yawns is GAPES into which is placed (concealing) the first letter of R(otting) gives us the fruit that is used to make wine.

4. Striker’s great tendency to finish early (3,3)
{BIG BEN} – The striker referred to in this clue is a clock and is the first New Year reference in the crossword. BIG (great) and BEN(t) (tendency) with the T removed (to finish early). Bong!

8. Absent or sick men possessed of title (8)
{BARONETS} – An anagram (sick) of ABSENT OR is now the lowest British hereditary title.

10. A victory — one swallowed fly (6)
{AVIATE} – A V (victory) I (one) ATE (swallowed).

11. Ecstasy hidden in French wine vessel (4)
{VEIN} – Take the usual abbreviation for the drug ecstasy – E and place it inside (hidden in) the French word for wine is according to Chambers one of the vessels or tubes that conveys blood back to the heart or (loosely) any blood vessel.

12. Spoiling by putting lacquer on, with time for the front (10)
{TARNISHING} – If you were putting lacquer on you would be VARNISHING, now replace the first letter (for the front) with a T (time) and you have a verb that means to lose lustre or become dull.

13. Throws a gun and yells — for a song! (4,4,4)
{AULD LANG SYNE} – I was expecting this to turn up, it is after all New Years Eve. An anagram (throws) of A GUN AND YELLS is a Scottish poem (supposedly – see comments below) written by Robert Burns and then set to the tune of a traditional folk song.

16. Making an entrance tonight with gift in sort of fashion (5-7)
{FIRST-FOOTING} – Another New Year reference and another anagram (fashion) this time of GIFT IN SORT OF and this refers to the custom of being the first person to enter into a home on New Year’s Day and hopefully bring of good fortune for the coming year.

20. Answer given to engineers — decision required tonight! (10)
{RESOLUTION} – For this clue you need to add SOLUTION (answer) to RE (Royal Engineers) and is the sort of commitment that someone makes for the New Year, and then breaks a few days later.

21. Jet fuel? (4)
{COAL} – A cryptic definition, jet in this case is black, and is one of the things that a person doing 16a would bring.

22. Refrain from rejecting pictures by hand (6)
{MANTRA} – Rejecting is the reversal indicator or an anagram indicator (take your pick) (see comment by Jay below) for ART (pictures) which is then placed after (by) MAN (hand). When put together you have a word or a phrase that is often chanted or repeated inwardly in meditation

23. Sleeping partner in space shuttle team (4-4)
{ROOM-MATE} – The definition is sleeping partner, ROOM (space) and an anagram (shuttle) of TEAM.

24. Tenant’s deposit — source of rancour (6)
{LODGER} – Another word for tenant can be made up of LODGE (deposit) and the first letter (source) of R(ancour).

25. Chance in case of party game (6)
{PLUCKY} – Put LUCK (chance) inside the first and last letters (in case) of P(art)Y for another word for game, heart, courage or spirit.


1. Showing appreciation for all the logs on the fire (8)
{GRATEFUL} – A cryptic definition, if the fire had a GRATE…..

2. Deck sailors after a party (5)
{ADORN} – Put RN (sailors – Royal Navy) after the standard term for a party – A DO.

3. Choose to run a complex of such a type (7)
{ELECTRA} – ELECT (choose) R (run) and A, is the opposite of an Oedipus complex.

5. At home, why ultimately catching a bug is silliness (7)
{INANITY} – IN (at home) and the last letter (ultimately) of (wh)Y is placed around (catching) A NIT (bug) is another word for senselessness or even silliness.

6. Most intelligent prison hospital examination (9)
{BRIGHTEST} – You can create a word for most intelligent by adding the following together. BRIG (prison) H (hospital) and TEST (examination).

7. Out working at last, taking observations (6)
{NOTED} – NOT IN (out) and the last letter of (workin)G.

9. Perils at sea crossing starboard make you more nimble (11)
{SPRIGHTLIER} – An anagram (at sea) of PERILS is placed around (crossing) RIGHT (starboard) is word that can be used when you are more agile.

14. Poet, caught in act, thawed out (9)
{DEFROSTED} – The poet you are looking for here is Robert FROST, now place this inside DEED (act) and you should be suitably thawed out. (How many of you remember that Wallaces van has the following options? Demist, defrost and demud in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit).

15. During effort comes across cooler soldiers (8)
{INFANTRY} – Another word for foot soldiers can be made from IN (during?) and TRY (effort) placed around (across) FAN (cooler).

17. Profligate pinching young man’s dish (7)
{ROULADE} – Put ROUE (profilgate) around (pinching) LAD (young man) for a dish that consists of a slice of meat rolled around some kind of filling.

18. Self-purpose? Self-defeating! (3,4)
{OWN GOAL} – Double definition, a New Year’s resolution perhaps? Or a move that you make that turns out to be to your disadvantage.

19. Particular terrorists in cover up (6)
{DETAIL} – Put ETA (terrorists) inside a reversed (up) LID (cover) for a particular.

21. Kids’ magazine firm starts to make inroads culturally (5)
{COMIC} – CO (firm) followed by the first letters (starts to) of M(ake) I(nroads) C(ulturally) is a paper especially for children.

27 comments on “DT 26125

  1. Favourite clue 4a but found it a little too lightweight today in honesty !

    Happy New Year to one and all and a special thanks to all the Contributors for their hard work in 2009!

  2. According to Stephen Fry in his programme “QI” with Alan Davies and co.; Robbie Burns didn’t actually write Auld Lang Syne himself. I have no other evidence for this since most says that he did. Anyway it throws it in doubt.

    Happy New Year

    1. I also saw th programme and was reminded of it as I read Libellule’s comment. Also, Wikipedia tells us that it was “believed” to have been written by Burns.

  3. Tough one today! Took me 10 mins to get the 1st clue! Probably too tough for us member of the CC club. Not a great way to go into the New Year, was hoping for something that would give me some encouragment, not depress me further!

    1. Having had a peek at the answers, I think I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have got 22a, 10a and 4a if I lived to be 100! Come on you compilers, give everyone a chance!! Not 3 bizarre clues in one puzzle.

  4. I enjoyed this thoroughly although I did have sin bin for 4a at first. Thanks to all the bloggers for their fantastic efforts throughout the last year and a “Guid New Year tae yin and a’ “

  5. A nice end to the year with lots of variety – favourite clue was 19d. Happy New Year to one and all.

  6. As a fully paid up member of the CC club, I was pleasantly surprised with my effort on this. Had to use a solver to get 10a even with a?i?t? in place and 22a -since when did man=hand?
    Apart from that made steady progress.

  7. I didn’t like 22a at all. How does by hand give MAN? and how is “rejecting” an indicator of reversal? Maybe just acceptable for a d clue (turn down) but can’t see it in this context.

    1. Lazarus,
      22a Was also an issue for Gazza and I, I originally thought “rejecting” was an anagram indicator (as in to throw away for example), Gazza thought it was a reversal indicator, so the blog went with that idea. I have now amended the notes to say it could be either, and people can comment accordingly. If we get lucky the setter might drop by and explain exactly what they meant.

      1. On the subject of anagram indicators, I thought that “shuttle”, in 23a, wasn’t a good one. Shuttle means to move or take back and forth or, as a noun, the object that does this to the thread on a loom. I don’t see it to mean to mix up, as with the letters of an anagram. Although it does fit well with the surface reading, and the intent was reasonably clear.

  8. A pleasant end to the year.

    Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year to all.

    By the way, if anyone is looking for a present (for themselves or someone else) Amazon has the hardback of Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary on sale for £7.44 as opposed to £18.99.

  9. Yes, a great puzzle to end year I thought. I liked 4a, 13a, 22a, 1d, 14d and 18d.

    Libellule – Thanks for your excellent work on the blog this year. I look forward to more great reviews in 2010.

    Happy New Year to all the setters, bloggers and readers.

  10. Setter here
    Many thanks to Libellule and all the rest for their blogs this year. Just one comment I would make on 22 – Rejected could not, in this clue, be an anagram indicator. It’s a total no-no to do an anagram of a word that’s not in the clue (in this case ART).
    Wishing everybody an enjoyable evening tonight and a clear head in the morning!

  11. Thanks to Jay for a fun puzzle that initially looked awful but ended up bring a great solve,

    ta Libellule for the review and a Verry Hapt NewYear to you all.


  12. Wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and healthy 2010. If you’ve got your health you won’t go far wrong.

  13. On the whole a good end to the year though I wouldn’t have got the last 4 or 5 clues without help. Really didn’t like 19d or 22a, thought eta was estimated time of arrival! ….. and hand = man ?? Also failed, stupidly, on 4a and 10a. So thanks very much Libellule for your help and thanks to all the other blog contributers. Happy New Year to you all – looking forward to more fun (and frustration) in 2010!

  14. A very late comment as I have just got back home from the New Year celebrations – all the fireworks went off this year – no duds!
    An enjoyable puzzle. My favourite across clues were : 4a, 13a, 16a, 21a, (three Scottish flavours) 22a & 23a. Downs were : 3d, 7d, 18d – I think a more precise clue for 17d is
    “young man wheeled in for dish”! roue = wheel, roué = rake.

    Looking forward to more puzzling in 2010.

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