DT 26127 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26127 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26127 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

You won’t need an atlas today for this relatively straightforward Prize puzzle.

Last week I said “One Saturday Cephas will fool us by setting a puzzle that is not a pangram” – how prophetic that turned out to be. Having spotted J, K, Q and X I was looking out for V and Z, but in vain.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them. A full review of this puzzle will be published on Thursday, 7th January.


1a    One taking steps spotted one pair outside (5)
The one taking steps is constructed by putting the playing card with one spot inside the abbreviation for a pair

15a    Trespassers will be charged? (6,2,3,4)
… if they ignore this sign and open the gate

18a    Earlier game piece found in treasury (9)
Combine a prefix meaning earlier, as in former partner, with one of the pieces used in draughts to get the treasury that is overseen by a Chancellor

26a    Leading climber has breather on summit (5)
Start with the first letter (leading) of Climber and add a breather, as in a break, and you get the summit of a hill


1d    Variety of herbal pies liable to go off (10)
An anagram, signalled by variety of, HERBAL PIES gives a word meaning liable to go off, as in liable to rapid deterioration

5d    Chancy way of raising money (4-2)
Heads or tails?

10d    Unlikely to appeal to pupils for a considerable time (4-4)
This is a part-cryptic double definition of a word meaning concerned with the time ahead as distinct from the immediate present, usually applied to policies

17d    Take covers off Sam unduly hot inside (8)
This Sam is the one associated with the U in US (and I don’t mean United!) – put an anagram (unduly) of HOT inside and you get a word meaning to divest of covering

23d    Consider this container for body of experts (4)
This body of experts is supposed to think!

The Saturday Crossword Club will open at 10.00 am (after Sounds of the Sixties on BBC Radio 2). Membership is free and open to all. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions before that time.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!

55 comments on “DT 26127 – Hints

  1. Many thanks to Cephas for an entertaining puzzle. I loved 9a and 15a. With 24a and 19d I thought I was entering a BBC costume drama. “A bag of 19ds, please – and may the railway never come to our village. And pray tell me, where did you get that lovely 24a upon your head.”

  2. I agree with Prolixic, this was an entertaining puzzle from Cephas.

    Giovanni and Cephas have provided a good start to the year. I look forward to Sunsetter tomorrow and Rufus on Monday.

  3. Almost there, but a bit stuck on bottom LHS. Can see where they’re going, but need final prodding for 19 & 20d and 22 & 25a. Any help gratfully receieved.

    1. 22a. This international winger is a large aeroplane.
      25a. If something is a safe product, it will have symbol on it to indicate approval. The two words for the symbol are made up from a toy and a distinguishing characteristic.
      19d. This is a word sum made up from a single letter standing for many, an order and a word meaning appropriate to give an old fashioned sweet. The final part of the word sum was the last part of the puzzle that I solved – think of other words for apt.
      20d. The answer is self-centredness. This is made up for a Latin abbreviation for say followed by the word “is” placed inside an order (the same order used in 19d).

    2. Steve,
      22a is also a Boeing 747
      25a is also a UK product and service quality certification mark
      Does that help?

  4. A pretty good puzzle but 24a had me thinking hard and checking every combination to confirm–took me overtime as usual but managed not to use letter hints.
    By the way is it considered cheating to try “submit” to check an answer then carrying on?

    1. Hi john – welcome to the blog.
      Sorry it took so long to get your first comment moderated – in future your comments should appear straight away.
      My view is that the only person you could possibly be cheating is yourself – so, if you can live with it, carry on! :D

  5. Happy New Year everyone.

    What a lovely start to the new year – an excellent puzzle – and I got to use my new Bradford’s for 19d. My Chambers had it with an “n” but knew that wasn’t right with 22a.

    My favourite clues were 13a and 15a.

  6. I didn’t solve this with the speed of 22a but not very slowly either. Honestly, I didn’t have any 9a by my side. Each of many clues has a 25a on my work-sheet. Nothing except 19d and 22d (yes, in the bottom-left corner) was too 16d. Having solved this I am on the top of 26a. Yes, in 12d joy! But am I going to receive anything from the 18a?

    1. Is it me – or did other people take more time to complete the quick than they did to do the cryptic?

  7. One of the problems I have is that while I consider this to be better than many of his recent efforts, this is still way behind everything else that is on offer today. Cephas seems obsessed with using grids that specialise in having double unches (unchecked squares) and it is my mission to ensure these are driven out of as many puzzles as possible.

    Once again we have cryptic definitions that are weak and several of the clues (16 down, for example) have atrocious surface readings.

    There is a particularly stunning Indy puzzle today which I am happy to mail to anyone. Drop me a line to tilsit999 at btinternet.com and I’ll do the honours. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

    1. I have amended Tilsit’s email address – just replace ” at ” with @.

      This is because email addresses directly published on the internet are liable to receive vast quantities of spam!

      1. An unch is an unchecked square (one that does not intesect with another word on the grid). A double unch is two such adjacent squares. Some solvers loathe them as they can make solving clues more difficult. Others are not too fussed by them.

  8. I feel we are being dragged kicking and screaming into 2010.
    I found almost every clue a struggle.The bottom lefthand corner had me scratching my head for half an hour and 24a is my new word of the day although I have probably filled it in more times than I can remember.
    Thanks for the hints, they were sorely needed today.

    1. I find it fascinating how we all approach crosswords differently.

      I found this one to be very nice and straightforward and no clue took me longer than a couple of minutes.

      At other times when you find them easy I have found that the clues aren’t as straightforward as they could be and have to resort to the hints. Must be how our brains are wired.

      1. That is brilliant, It is now logged into my brain Dave and I’ll remind you of the next time it comes up
        Thanks and Happy New Year!

  9. That must have been a pretty easy one! With the help of a couple of Big Dave’s hints, one or two comments, an online dictionary and thesaurus and a friend for the final three, I actually finished it!!

  10. Hmm interesting and challenging today. Got all the answers but there are some parts of clues that I can’t fathom. For instance 22a whats the name for a pachyderm got to do with international or 19d what has OM got to do with Order?
    Learned a new word though in 24a, the compiler must be an ornithologist!

    1. Barrie, OM is short for Order Of Merit and is quite common. Can’t help on the rest as stated below!


    2. Barrie
      The “colloquial” name for a Boeing 747 is a pachyderm – and has been for a long time.
      OM = Order of Merit (an abbreviation)

  11. I needed the clues here for the SE and Also 24a.
    I really don’t rate 22a as a clue though!

    1. Gnomethang,
      I quite liked it :-) As a cryptic definition there is some lovely misdirection, yet the clue is an accurate description of the answer.

  12. I have frequently visited this website, but never left a comment. Today I completed the crossword without any help from Big Dave – a miracle for me! I’m also relieved that I don’t have an eye problem, having worried that I was seeing small white spots before my eyes. I now realise it’s festive snow! Thanks, Big Dave.

  13. I enjoyed this, and got through it with very little trouble until I arrived at the bottom section. Needed help with 24a, though I knew it must be an anagram, and totally failed to find 25a. Having lived away from the UK for many years, I’d never heard of it, and was wracking my brains to find the name of a toy with a nodding head like those dogs you see in the back of cars.

    A number of the clues made me smile, but my favourite was 17d. :-)

      1. Goodness, really? Actually, I just haven’t lived in the UK all that much, and never bought toys there. Sorry.

        1. Franny

          You have missed the point somewhere along the line!

          The answer is something that is indicative of approval by the British Standards Institution (indicating conformity in quality, size, etc, with the specifications) and it is made up from two words, the first of which is a toy (once flown by Benjamin Franklin) and the second is a distinguishing characteristic. Although this could appear on a toy, it is found on a large range of goods.

          1. Thanks, Big Dave, for troubling to sort me out on this. A friend drew it for me yesterday, and if I ever saw it I didn’t know what it was called. Oh well, back to the Clueless Club!

  14. Greetings All!!! Been a while since i’ve been in contact, got myself a little job, hope you haven’t forgotten me. Will try and say hello when i can. Happy New Year to everyone. :smile:

  15. The snow is great! Finding this one relatively straight forward, is there more anagrams than usual? Didn’t like 22a.

  16. Tilsit, you seem to be ploughing a lonely furrow re double unches. The Telegraph has 31 such grids and one with 2 triple unches. Most of the worst grids, 9 in all, were removed by the previous crossword editor, although two of these grids have since been used. Two of the recent Toughie grids used this week (276, 277) have no double unches but have words with less than half interlocking. I would not use either of these for anything other than a themed crossword.

    1. Rest assured, I will continue to do so. The Guardian, FT and Indy manage very well without them. The Times has a couple of grids. Clearly dear old Ximenes must have been talking through his hat.

      1. The Times actually has 7 grids with double unches in its current set of 69. When Ximenes is discussing unches in blocked grids (pp 33-34 of his book) his examples of bad unching are answers with ??X? and X???X?X patterns, so his views on ones like X??X?X are not completely clear. He also says that he very much prefers grids with answers on odd rows/columns to those with answers on even ones – something that all the broadsheets cheerfully ignore!

    2. Another vote for sub-50% checking as a bigger problem than double unches. I don’t know how often the triple-unch grids get used, but suspect many of the setters avoid them. I can remember seeing a few DT grids with double unches AND sub-50% checking, and disliked them intensely (maybe they were in the 9), but don’t understand the gripe with doubles when it so often means that the first and last letters of a word are both checked.

  17. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL , loved 17d, however is it my grey cells getting greyer, or weren’t there Giant Cryptic Crosswords in the Daily Telegraph at this time of the year?.

  18. Anne is not on the same planet as you eggheads .Just help a bit All the clues you mention she has got but help with 4a 13a the emperor and 14d

    1. 4a. Spotty cloth Deb designed (8)
      This is a word meaning spotty and it’s an anagram (designed) of CLOTH DEB
      13a. Emperor heard to have broken rib (9)
      You want the French emperor who had a thing for Josephine.
      14d. Sentiment about including lecturer during the enrolling (10)
      The answer is a word meaning enrolling and it’s an anagram (about) of SENTIMENT + L(ecturer).

      1. gazza’s hint for 13a might lead you to the answer but in case you are wondering what the wordplay is about, it is a homophone or sound-alike clue.

        The emperor’s name when heard (or pronounced, said aloud) is like saying XXXX (a piece of the skeleton) A YYYY (section).

  19. Overall I found this one easier than normal. I’ve just got one left – 16d. I think it’s an anagram but one of letters seems wrong. Can anyone help?

    1. Paul
      Its actually a hidden word…..with the definition being “difficult to understand”

      1. Many thanks Libellule for your quick response. I couldn’t see it for looking, all done now.

      1. Dave,
        There is a 21a in 26127…
        “Companion very much behind one who is at sea”
        As a hint I can’t resist the fact that Mandelson lived on the rue de ******** when he was in Brussels.
        The definition is “one who is at sea”, and you add another word for a large amount onto a synonym for friend/companion and you have another word for a sailor. (Hello Mandy!)

  20. Have just logged on having only achieved 3 clues under my own steam. Have suddenly clicked and have raced through it, but cannot work out 3d or the first part of 22a. Any help welcome. Thank you

    1. Penny

      Sorry for the delay, I almost overlooked your question.

      3d He writes about beer (8)
      The definition is “He writes”, usually in a newspaper, and it is made up from the usual two-letter abbreviation for “about” followed by a type of beer which is only found these days in crosswords.

      22a is just a cryptic definition of a large passenger aeroplane – not my favourite clue by a long way

  21. Relatively easy prize puzzle for the start of the year with a fair number of anagrams.

    My favourites were ; across 13, 15, 22 & 25; down 5, 6 & 23.

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