DT 26128 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26128

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26128

Hints and tips by Rishi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A crossword with some excellent clues but also some which raise questions or don’t satisfy me completely.

To see the answers, highlight the white space between the curly brackets.

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 Unlikely opportunity given to prisoner released on parole (7,6)
{OUTSIDE CHANCE} – cryptic definition – when a prisoner is on parole he is outside – that is out of the prison – and this gives him an opportunity, chance, to escape, if he will, though he may have to face the consequences. In my opinion this clue doesn’t work very well and cannot be my favourite.

10a I breach code of the Israelites (7)
{HEBRAIC} – anagram (code) of I BREACH – definition is “of the Israelites”

11a Point behind the ship towards sunrise (7)
{EASTERN} – One of the compass points added to a word meaning “behind the ship”. Definition is “towards sunrise”

12a A slice of red Amsterdam cheese (4)
{EDAM} – a four-letter string of letters hidden in “red Amsterdam” – definition is “cheese”

13a One breaks a little back-bone (5)
{TIBIA} – I (one) in TIB A – reversal of A (a) BIT(piece). Definition is bone. Back in back-bone is reversal indicator. Rather tricky but attainable. Good surface reading.

14a Bank of Scotland (4)
{BRAE} – Nothing financial about this. A Scottish word for “bank”.

17a In line for public service? (7)
{QUEUING} – Anyone who pencilled in WAITING may be pardoned but the solver will soon realise (from “in line”) that it is different. I don’t appreciate this clue though the surface reading suggests that the waiting may be for being posted to a Government job. Appointment is by “gradation where each second [stands] heir to the first” (to use a Shakespearean phrase).

In a line

18a No inner sanctuary (7)
{HIDEOUT} – Not a very satisfactory cryptic definition

19a There’s lots to buy here (7)
{AUCTION} – Cryptic definition– “lots” in the sense of those that come under the hammer.

22a Can I provide a friendly solution? (7)
{AMIABLE} –   “Can I” may be interpreted to mean “Am I able” which is the synonym for “friendly”, which is the “solution” here. Usually in any crossword clue, the definition is either at the beginning or at the end. (Do look for this in case you have not yet noticed it consciously.) Here it is not! That adds to the mystique of the clue.

24a Dog –  or part of one (4)
(TAIL} – Double definition– The first one is a verb – in the second, what comes after the dash, “one” glances at it as a noun – not particularly appealing

25a Concerns trees, about a thousand (5)
{FIRMS} – FIRS (trees) around a letter that is a roman numeral for a thousand gives a word that means “concerns” as a noun. Again I don’t like this. The surface reading is good but the wordplay part of it totters.

26a Book the last waltz in time (4)
{EZRA} – Good surface reading suggesting reservation for a dance programme in a clue where you insert Z in a three-letter word meaning ‘time’ to get the name of an OT book. Does ‘last waltz’ really suggest the final letter of ‘waltz’? Please leave a comment.

29a One way to recover some silver? (7)
{REPLATE} – In this yet another not too satisfying a clue, which is a cryptic definition, the play is on the word ‘recover’. It is not used in the sense of ‘retrieve’ or ‘gain back’ but in the sense of ‘put another coating on’. To put another coating on silverware, what would we do? “plate” is short for “electroplate”. None-too-difficult but please tell me if this word is in your dictionary. For all I know, you may not find it. But I don’t mean to suggest that it is invalid.

30a Flying combination of cardinal and count (7)
{REDPOLL} – We get the answer even if it is not among the first but after securing a couple of crossings. A three-letter word that means ‘cardinal’ in the sense not of ‘church official’ but ‘colour’ is added to a four-letter word that means ‘count’ not in the sense of ‘a nobleman’ but ‘aggregate’ gives a bird suggested by ‘flying’. Clever wordplay but do tell me if this is among your faves.

31a Various men are trained for the sea (13)
{MEDITERRANEAN} – Excellent, qualifying for the title Clue of the Crossword. Anagram of MEN ARE TRAINED gives us a body of water. The beauty is ‘various’ or ‘trained’ could be anagram indicator and either with MEN ARE adds up to 13 letters, so your answer is delayed by nanoseconds until you choose the appropriate anagram letters.


2d        A shade of grievance (7)
{UMBRAGE} – Two definitions – None-too-difficult if one knows the meanings. One is “grievance” as in the phrase “to take umbrage”  when you are annoyed . The other is ‘shade’, not in the sense of ‘colour’ but ‘shadow’. A concise and neat clue.

3d        Made progress by crawling, perhaps (4)
{SWAM} – A straightforward clue added for the sake of variety perhaps because this word could be clued in many better ways. Let me confess this was among the last that I filled in.

4d        Cutting short the end of the sea trip (7)
{DOCKING} – Two definitions – Cutting short / the act of what a ship does when it has completed a trip and returns to the port

5d        He’s rich digging out for treasure (7)
{CHERISH} – Ah, a nice clue. Anagram of HE’S RICH gives a word that means “treasure” which is a noun in the surface reading but a verb as the definition for the word required.

6d        Mock taken around start of school recess (4)
{APSE} – A nice clue for a word that so often appears in crossword grids. Usually dealt with as a hidden clue, here it is a container/contained. A three-letter word that means ‘mock’ (as a verb) taken around S (which is the ‘start’ or the opening letter of ‘school’) gives us a word that means ‘recess’ (which is the definition for word required). But, collocated with ‘school’, it  adds a new dimension to the clue.


7d        One is going to say it (7)
{CHEERIO} – Cryptic definition – You might say “farewell” or “adieu” or ‘ta-ta’ or in several other ways.

8d        Just a fraction of the Rugby team (5-8)
{THREE-QUARTERS} – Cryptic definition – One is “a fraction” and the other alludes to a number of players in a Rugby team

9d        Secret spot for the drunk (5,3,5)
{UNDER THE TABLE} –  Cryptic definition – Where a heavily besotted man might have slumped is a secret spot (where bribes might be paid and received!)

15d      It is paid for what baby minders do after six (5)
{VISIT} – After the roman numeral for six, we add a word for what baby minders do (the very fact that they are called  ‘baby minders’ here should suggest what word it is) to get “what may be paid” when we call on someone. Don’t ask me what these carers get for their work before six and don’t tell me that you thought you paid only taxes.

16d      Let in, on or out (5)
{ADMIT} – One gets the answer from “let in”. How “on” or “out” with “let” before that leads to the solution, may I ask one commenter or the other to explain.

20d      Canute’s first little wave, one that halts (7)
{CRIPPLE} – From “Canute’s first” we get C, from “little wave” we get RIPPLE, we join them and get “one that halts” or walks unsteadily

21d      I have innate artlessness (7)
{NAIVETE} – An unusual clue. The definition is not in doubt: it is artlessness. How do we obtain it? We first contract “I have” to I’VE and then we have INNATE… wait a minute… the exact breakup dawned me at this very moment of writing. We put IVE in NATE to get the solution. The insertion signal is here merged with NATE. Clever? Unacceptable? It is your cup of tea or not!

22d      A man in love may well get married (7)
{ADMIRER} – An anagram that you may have come across before. The definition is “A man in love”. To nab him, jumble the letters MARRIED. The anagram indicator is “may well get”. “A man in love” doesn’t get MARRIED. The solution gets.

23d      Musical instrument carried by soldiers (7)
{BAZOOKA} – Two definitions. The latter one, “[one that is] carried by soldiers”, was familiar to me; The “musical instrument” was new to me. Anyone here has played it?

Carried by soldiers

27d      Form of transport duty imposed on one (4)
{TAXI} – Didn’t I say that there are certain things that we have to willy-nilly pay? One such is is a three-letter word that means ‘duty’. Add I (one) to it and you get a “form of transport” – which might also be “in line for public service”, as 17ac says.

Form of transport

28d      The god of love not harmony (4)
{ODIN} – Put Eros out of your mind; take the one letter that stands for love as in tennis scores and add a word that means “not harmony” and you get the name of a god, a Norse god if you want a little detail.

This god has one eye

To make too fine a point of it, shouldn’t there be a comma after love? Do put down your thought, whether you agree with me or not!

39 comments on “DT 26128

  1. Def not my favourite puzzle. Having said that my favourite clue was def 8d. 13a , 22a and 30a are just plain ridiculous!! And as for 29a, words fail me in all sense of the word! Little humour and altogether rather unpleasant. Is this the usual Monday setter? Mondays are usually rather good.

  2. Re 16d – the answer can mean Let In as you say but also Let On or Let Out (both meaning to give some information away, intended or otherwise)

  3. Re 8d
    Just as an FYI
    In Rugby (Union at least) the three quarters are numbered 14 and 11 ( Wingers) and 13 (Outside Centre) and 12 ( Inside Centre).

  4. I hate to disagree with the above comments but I quite enjoyed this. I liked 1a and 9d and altogether found it a pleasant and untaxing start to the week. I do agree however that 18a is not very good and 31a has no place in a DT crossword, my 10yr old granddaughter solved it in seconds.

  5. I really enjoyed this. It was just testing enough give satisfaction on completion.

    1a. Can’t agree with you on this, Rishi. I thought this was one of the better clues. An outside chance is an unlikely outcome. A horse that shows potential has an outside chance of winning, although there are better horses in the race.

    29a. I agree with you on this. It’s almost a straightforward clue, and I couldn’t find it in my dictionary.

    21d. I thought that this was a very clever clue, but I can see why some solvers might not like it.

  6. Agreed with Barrie, not a very pleasing start to the week. For a cryptic crossword trying to remember the name of some obscure bird in Africa (30a) just so that you can use the particular clue set up is a bit feeble for my liking.
    moan,moan,moan My New Years resolution hasn’t lasted very long.

    1. I will definately have to stop moaning, I have just realised I have won the Monthly Cluedup draw..HeeHaa!!

      1. well done Nubian, what’s that about?
        Once again I found todays crossword pretty tough in parts, favourite clue 8d and 1a
        lots of guesswork with figuring out later, thanks everybody for all your good wishes, nice to be back :)

        1. Mary, If you do the crossword online through the Daily Telegraph there is a section called ‘win prizes’ Each week there is a cryptic, a quick and a general knowledge puzzle to do and you enter them into a draw. At the end of the week there is a prize and at the end of the month all the correct entries from the month go into another draw. All prizes are cash.

              1. thanks Barrie good to be back, more than a bit stale though! still being snowed in and with a lousy cold its a good chance to start all over again!! :)

  7. Didn’t finish this, but having seen the answers, most of the clues were fair. We do the crossword in the office at lunchtime. Perhaps we are out of practice after the Christmas break

  8. I enjoyed Rufus’s crossword today. it was a little more challenging than usual (like his Guardian offering as well). I agree with Vince that 1a was a good clue. As to subsidiary definitions like last waltz and innate, I don’t mind these types of indicators. Indeed, until I read Don Manley’s Crossword Manual this Christmas, I had not realised that there was any dispute about such clue types.

    Favourite clues today were 1a, 10a, 22a, 9d and at the top 13a.

  9. I thought 23d had mixed up bouzouki (which I play) and bazooka, which is how my lutenist brother refers to it. But if you google Bob Burns bazooka you will find a reference to an ex-Marine bandsman and Arkansas comedian who built his own horn from scrap iron. It was this instrument that gave its name to the WWII rocket launcher. We live and learn.

  10. I found this a tad harder than normal Mondays. Failed on the bird and 14a although I should have got the latter.
    I have certainly seen 31a before in an almost identical form.
    21d was probably favourite for me today – I liked the construction.

  11. I thought this was an average to good effort. The two I couldn’t do and had to rely on Libellule, were two of the shortest – 3d ‘swam’ and ‘odin’ 28d. I failed to associate crawl with swimming, and tried all sorts of love gods – eros, amor etc. – without realising we were looking for the Norse equivalent of Jupiter!

  12. I had “replace” for 29a which I was happy with given the use of “covers” in restaurants to mean place settings.

    It seems that Rugby references don’t pose as many problems as cricket references!

    First puzzle back after a break so not going to be too critical. Agree with Nubian that some clues are a little contrived though I liked 13a.

  13. agree Rishi, couldnot find the word for 29a, even in my Brand New Christmas Present Chambers Dictionary :) mmmm – interesting :)

  14. Rishi – agree about 3d and put in wrong answer for 29a – other than that quite enjoyed it. Had a giggle at 9d – love my evening tipple!

  15. My worst effort for a longtime. 7d I put in goodbye and in hindsight it is one of those clues which is impossible to get right unless you have checking letters. Did not like 22d

  16. Really liked this one, seemed a little different from usual though can’t quite put my finger on why that was. Failed to get 3 down and 30 across but both fair clues having seen the answers here.

  17. First puzzle today after the break (back to work and all that). Quite enjoyed this puzzle, mainly because I managed to do most of it before needing help (quite rare for me!).
    Struggled with 30a, the bird, I don’t think I’d have thought of a colour for cardinal. Funnily enough, I got 29a early on and don’t have a problem with the clue. Fave clue for me 13a.
    Thanks for all the help with the clues, it’s great for people like me who can get so far and then get totally stuck. I’ve learned a lot re crosswordland since discovering this blog!

    1. I didn’t explain that clue as I ought to have, perhaps.

      A place where a runaway may take refuge may be described by different words: the very word refuge, haven, shelter, hidaway and… and… HIDEOUT.

      Conceivably, a place of hiding won’t be open, it won’t be so visible, it is most likely to be somewhere in the interiors, away from Nosey Parkers..

      However, the answer word HIDEOUT does not seem to suggest that. If you look at it as two words, ‘hide out’, or even without your doing so, it suggests a certain openness, no withdrawal to the deep recesses.

      What is the factor that adds a cryptic element to this clue? It is from the fact that ‘sanctuary’ also means a religious place, such as a temple or church. If we are thinking of a word for some exterior part of such a place, we will get nowhere.

      1. Having spoken at length about the clue, I must also say why I wrote “Not a very satisfactory cryptic definition”.

        The word ‘sanctuary’ is too close to ‘hideout’, as seen from my list of synoyms above, and so it goes down by a few notches in its cryptic element.

        What I mean to say is that one can get the answer without thinking of the religious place.

  18. I found this one quite challenging. I missed 29a and 3d.

    I thought this was harder than Giovanni’s Friday puzzle and Virgilius’s Sunday puzzle. It seems Monday is no longer a gentle start to the week – not that there is anything wrong with that – it is good to get my brain into gear from the start of the week!

  19. Rishi – Chambers cites the verb plate (to cover a base metal with a coat of Au or Ag) but it does not include replate as a separate entry. I find that words with a prefix are often unlisted.
    I still keep earlier editions of Chambers as often many words are discarded later.
    I also looked in Webster and Longmans but no separate entry for replate.

    In general not a difficult puzzle.

  20. Rishi – further comment.
    In my 1983 edition of Chambers 20th. Century Dictionary, at page 1075, it cites for
    re- pfx : again… used so freely esp with verbs that it is impossible to give a full list!

    1. Derek

      Thanks very much for your response.

      While looking up re- , un- and words with similar prefixes in dictionaries I have often been surprised by the omission, or for that matter inclusion, of some words.

      That is why I raised this question.

      As you say. Chambers is very careful in listing the re- words under the caption “Some words with the prefix re-”

      Besides, as has been noted above, some (not all) crossword pattern search software throw up REPLATE (besides REPLACE) for R?P?A?E.

      It is curious that the dictionary does not have it but the software has. That might mean the latter is based on a dB from the old dictionary, the new dictionary discarding some words for later additions while no pruning was thought necessary for the digital version.

Comments are closed.