DT 26136 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26136

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26136

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Although I found this a bit on the easy side, it was nevertheless a very enjoyable puzzle – presumably from Jay, our newly installed Wednesday Wizard.

If you were wondering where Tilsit is today, he’s taking a short break in Amsterdam. According to his Facebook entry, last night he stuffed his face with a fab Italian meal and is now chilling with coffee and crosswords.

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.


9a    ‘Home is the sailor’ (poem) (5)
{ABODE} – the first across clue is always important and this one put a smile on my face! – a word meaning a home is a simple charade of a sailor and a poem

10a    Expense initially invested in NCO material (9)
{CORPOREAL} – put E (Expense initially) inside a non-commissioned rank to get a word meaning material, in the sense of having a body or substance

11a    Form of bread plant (7)
{BLOOMER} – a longish crusty loaf of white bread with rounded ends and a number of slashes across the top is also a colloquial word for any flowering plant

12a    It’s covered in sauce — that’ll bring you down to earth (7)
{GRAVITY} – put IT into the kind of sauce that you pour on your meat and two veg to get the force that keeps us on the ground

13a    She worked in the civil service game (5)
{CHESS} – insert an anagram (worked) of SHE inside the abbreviation for the Civil Service to get a board game

14a    Note need to carry this creature (5,4)
{BLACK BEAR} a charade of the seventh note of the diatonic scale of C major and words meaning need, in the sense of deficiency, and to carry gives this large creature

16a    In spite of having no status (15)
{NOTWITHSTANDING} – a compound word that is similar in many respects to nevertheless, when split as (3,4,8) could mean having no status

19a    Keeps the Territorial Army on top of problem (9)
{PRESERVES} – a word meaning keeps is constructed from the type of soldiers found in the Territorial Army preceded by P (top of Problem)

21a    Fast walkers crossing line (5)
{FLEET} – a word meaning fast, in the sense of swift, is built by putting what you use in order to walk around L(ine)

23a    Enlisted with no pride lost (5,2)
{ROPED IN} – enlisted somewhat reluctantly comes from an anagram (lost) of NO PRIDE

25a    A French fathom is not reliable (7)
{UNSOUND} – the French indefinite article is followed by fathom, in the sense of to measure the depth of, results in a word meaning not reliable

27a    A card or a letter? (9)
{CHARACTER} – the first of these two definitions is a card, in the sense of an eccentric person

28a    Bonus ball? (5)
{EXTRA} –in cricket, where the score is increased without the need to hit the ball – nothing to do with the lottery!


1d    Kind person putting millions into research facility (4)
{LAMB} – I thought at first this might be Jane Austen’s Emma, but instead it’s someone simple, innocent, sweet or gentle that is built up from M(illions) inside where chemistry is taught at school

2d    Doctor stood up, feeling miserable (6)
{MOROSE} – The Medical Officer stood up to create a word meaning feeling miserable

3d    Impressive spin from Liberal (10)
{PERMISSIVE} – an anagram (spin) of IMPRESSIVE gives a word meaning Liberal

4d    Priceless car — a black Beetle is garaged (6)
{SCARAB} – this beetle is hidden inside (garaged) the first four words

5d    Expecting ruling following pressure (8)
{PREGNANT} – a word meaning expecting (a baby, perhaps) comes from a word meaning ruling following P(ressure)

6d    Seating hitherto limited (4)
{SOFA} – a comfortable seat is generated from a two-word phrase meaning hitherto without the last letter (limited)

7d    Disease of fruit twice reported (4-4)
{BERI-BERI} – a mainly tropical disease caused by lack of thiamine (vitamin B1) which results in nerve inflammation, paralysis, oedema and heart failure sounds like (reported) berry berry (fruit, twice)

8d    Shakespeare was to gamble on women, okay (10)
{PLAYWRIGHT} – William Shakespeare’s trade is built up from PLAY (gamble), W(omen) and RIGHT (okay)

13d    Plot arguments against illegal downloads (10)
{CONSPIRACY} – a plot, or scheme, is a charade of arguments against and illegal downloads

15d    Flyer’s perch between two rulers (10)
{KINGFISHER} – this colourful bird is generated by putting FISH (perch) between two rulers, the second of which is Elizabeth Regina

17d    Performer’s hot, wearing fashionable panties (8)
{THESPIAN} – a stage actor is found by putting H(ot) inside an anagram (fashionable) of PANTIES

18d    Poor people are disturbingly honest about a victory (4-4)
{HAVE NOTS} – to get these poor people put an anagram (disturbingly) of HONEST around A V(ictory)

20d    Rush for an Indian after last orders (6)
{SCURRY} – a word meaning to rush comes from Big Dave’s Chicken Tikka Masala after S (last orderS)

22d    Actors’ interest in ownership (6)
{EQUITY} – the actor’s union is also the value of property in excess of any charges upon it (interest in ownership)

24d    Origin of deadly green extract (4)
{DRAW} – combine D (the origin of Deadly) with a word meaning green, in the sense of inexperienced, and you get a word meaning to extract

26d    Wagon taking 24 hours to cross river (4)
{DRAY} – to get a brewery wagon, put a period of 24 hours around R(iver)

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51 comments on “DT 26136

  1. Very enjoyable today with good clues and a sense of achievement. One for the Clueless Club to get stuck into and celebrate on completion.

  2. I find Jay’s puzzles always bring a smile to the lips. Even when they are on the easier side, they are never bland. Today’s was no exception. Favourite clues abound from this puzzle, but at the top, I’ll plump for 5d.

  3. Another enjoyable puzzle from Jay.
    I must confess to being a bit worried after going through the across clues as I only had one filled in but the downs got me back on track.
    Agree with 5d as COD.
    Anyone else notice the two similar Food constructions in this and the Toughie?

    1. Same here. I was beginning to lose heart after not getting a single across clue, and was starting off the same way with the downs.

      But when I changed tack and did the downs from the bottom up suddenly everything clicked into place.

      Most enjoyable.

  4. Stuck indoors today so had an enjoyable time with this over coffee. Was beginning to think I’d lost it after yesterday’s effort but while remaining firmly in the CC I managed all but two without resorting to the blog! I too liked 5d, Prolixic, (solved from checking letters – had to look up the word meaning ruling – a new one for me). Also many others – 13d, 15d, 16a etc. Thought 12a should have read it is rather than it’s but maybe I’m being picky! Keep warm everyone – think I’ll have a go at yesterday’s toughie after the comments.

  5. I nearly did it on my own but not quite! I think I need to learn more about cricket. I got the word but had to look at the blog to see why.

        1. i agree chablisdiamond, i am lost when it comes to cricket terms especially , lovely cat, is he/she yours?

          1. I have a gray tabby that looks a bit like the “avatar” picture. Hand raised from about 2 weeks old after being found in a friends garden. Now weighs in as an adult at 5.6kg. Has no idea that he is a cat :-)

                1. Aww he/she is beautiful, my cat died 2 yrs ago he was 26 yrs old! but for my sins i have two dogs who thogh beautiful drive me scatty :) thank you for sharing your cat

                    1. Just followed your cat link. He’s lovely. I’m not clever enough to set up a link, my daughter had to do the avatar, I didn’t like the grumpy looking icon I was given though it was probably appropriate for a mid crossword face!!!!!

                    2. We have reached the limit for nested comments!

                      Libellule uploaded the picture on to the blog, which you can’t do. If you send me a picture I can get it uploaded for you. I have emailed to give you my address.

          2. He is. He’s the most important member of the family and he knows it…. He even converts confirmed cat haters.

  6. Most enjoyable. Liked 15d. Could really fancy the 20d Indian – especially if it was 1d! Actually 15d would go down well, too!

  7. Have completed but must say i enjoyed yesterdays puzzle more, although there were some really good clues today, must admit to not getting 24d at all ! although i have the answer to 5d i have never heard of that word before, yet another addition to my vocabulary, not sure if fellow cc members will enjoy this, i found it quite tough in parts, liked 16a, 14a,

      1. Its a little bit archaic/heraldic. I suspect it is from a French present participle (most -ant endings are similar to this). Probably the only reason it is in the English language is from the heraldry.

            1. You will also find it in the french language:
              From my french dictionary:
              régnant, régnante
              adj [dynastie, famille] reigning;
              [idéologie] prevailing.

  8. Nice puzzle, took a while to get started but then it flowed nicely. Loved 20d!! Struggled with 14a, got the answer then worked out the clue. Sorry Mary I thought yesterdays was appalling, this one is so much nicer. :-)

  9. is there a formal membership of the ‘Clueless Club’? I quite like the sound of that. Favourite clue today 12a. Wasn’t sure about FASHIONABLE as anagram indicator in 17d

    1. no Ian we are a totally informal lot, we call ourselves the clueless club because a lot of the time compared to the experts we are totallu clueless, as we have discovered since becoming the CC there are more and more of us out there, but with the help of everyone on this blog we hope to become a little less clueless in the future :) welcome aboard

  10. fun crossword – not too difficult (although i couldn’t get 22d – so thanks again for the help) and made me smile a lot. really liked 7d for it’s medical relevance and 27a as it was most rewarding when solved.

  11. Just posting a comment for the others like me who, try as we may, never complete more than half a dozen clues without help. That being said, since finding this blog I am beginning to get more of the crossword done (it used to be only one clue, if any!). I got far fewer on first reading than yesterday’s. Can’t believe I missed the scarab…

    I got 6 clues on my own.

    Best wishes to all,


    1. Hi shrike1313 – there are a lot of us like you and a few months ago i was exactly the same, most days I need some help but with the help of the bloggers on this site and all the people that use it i feel i have improved at least 50%, some days we are really discouraged and call ourselves the clueless club but with help and encouragement from Dave and his helpers we plod on and actually find ourselves really enjoying it (sometimes) and on the odd occasion completing a crossword or two, so don’t be discouraged its all a learning curve and there are lots of books etc to help us on our way :)

  12. Took a while to get going with this one, and then suddenly my brain got into the right way of thinking! I’m sure others would agree that it’s always worth going away and then coming back to a puzzle if things don’t go well initially.

  13. After a lengthy absence for various reasons, I’ve at long last found time to look at the DT Cryptic.
    Although not too difficult, I very much enjoyed todays offering, some quality clues, especially 5d, 15d and 27a.

  14. I really enjoyed this puzzle – I would give it four and a half stars for enjoyment. I liked 16a, 5d, 15d and 20d.

    Thanks to Jay for a good Wednesday puzzle.

  15. Nice, quickly done, enjoyable puzzle – it is amazing how many words are used as leads to anagrams!.
    I liked 16a , 15d and 22d.
    Oddly, the bread of 11a is not mentioned in my 1983 edition of Chambers 20th. Century but
    turns up in the 21st. Century edition! I think it is more common in the south of England?

  16. Re- Saturdays Prize X word;
    i religiously do this puzzle every single Saturday, I am addicted to it, I finish it and rush it off first class post and have been doing so for ten years or more.
    Still no blasted pen though:-((

  17. Bloomer : just noticed a short reference to this bread type in Alan Davidson’s “Penguin Companion to Food” 2002 at page 117 in which he mentions that the origin of the name is obscure. The Dutch for flour is bloem (pronounced bloom).

    Glad to see from some of the comments that people are fishing out their French dictionaries for help! Cryptic crossword solving will render more average folk pregnant with knowledge.

  18. Enjoyable puzzle, just a nice level to stir the grey matter. Whilst no particular clue stood out did get caught out on 13d-initial answer was counteract but then got stuck on 16a until I reread 13d and the penny dropped.

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