DT 26139 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26139 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26139 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

One of the better Saturday Prize puzzles, but with a handful of difficult answers. No pangram this week (for a change).

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, 21st January.


1a    Small quantity of liquid to hit stamping machine (4-6)
Combine a small rounded blob of liquid with a word meaning to hit with a tool used for driving nails and you have a stamping machine

11a    Direct route to Alabama (6)
A word meaning direct, in the sense of direct descent from an ancestor, is a charade of a route, like the West Coast railway or a section of the London Underground, and the abbreviation for the US State of Alabama

29a    Where spectators may see two batsmen scoring highly together (10)
The main definition is where spectators are when watching the two batsmen – the other definition is a rather strange way of describing what these batsmen put together if they score a lot of runs


2d    From train view oddly split (4)
Remove the odd letters from the second and third words give a word meaning to split

8d    Fellow supporting usefulness of one who can perform many parts (7,3)
A fellow is preceded by a word meaning usefulness to get a useful fellow – an actor who can perform many parts

26d    Family accepting money from baker (4)
Take a word meaning family and insert the symbol for pounds to get a large oven for baking

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!

118 comments on “DT 26139 – Hints

  1. Nice puzzle from Cephas. 2d may be suspect though. You take the even letters of the first word and the odd letters of the third to get the answer. Favourite clue was 13d.

    1. I think that you’re meant to treat the 2nd and 3rd words as a single entity and remove (from) the odd letters to leave the answer.

      1. I was about to post a similar comment to that of Prolixic, but have noted your ‘explanation’ gazza. Cheers! (S)

    2. Sorry about that! – I knew what I meant to say and have now updated the hint.

      I thought that “from” was indicating selection rather than removal and did not like the construct.

        1. Adrian

          I commented elsewhere that I felt there was something missing from this clue. Whether or not the clue is correct, the answer is not in doubt, hence the hint.

  2. I found the wording of 2d confusing too. Isn’t Cephas suggesting that the odd letters in the second and third words leave -a definition of ‘split’ – and the remaining even letters provide the answer? Otherwise, it was an enjoyable Saturday morning stroll.

  3. Ignore my previous comment! The answer is undoubtedly related to ‘split’, and not as I had suggested, but the even letters in the second and third words do provide the answer…

    1. different levels for different abilities Big Boab ? some of us will find parts of this quite tricky as i myself did

      1. I agree Mary but I have to call it as I see it, I’m no genius like Big Dave or Gazza etc., I just thought this was a bit too easy, I don’t mean to offend anyone.

    1. Put an O inside another word for a baby’s bed to give a bird often used as simile “as bald as a ****”.

  4. Yes, finished, got stuck on 12d and believe it or not 13d, quite enjoyable but not too easy for us cc members, so don’t expect it to be too straightforward even though it is only given a two star rating for difficulty, thanks Dave, managed without hints today and actually didn’t give anything away :) by the way never heard of 1a and don,t really understand all of 22a, also thought 12a was an actual plant??

  5. I didn’t find this particularly difficult butthere were some nice clues:
    22a, 14a and 5d tickled (I always line the use of ‘low’ like this.
    No problems with 2d here.

  6. Just done it watching my son’s wind band practise and like most observers I found 2d very clumsy although I concede I may be missing something! 13d was the best of a pretty ordinary buch of clues. 2* for me.

  7. The first two letters are another verb that could be used to replace as, but they are used very specifically, the last two letters are another word for gold typically used in chivalry (therefore not au). Put together you have a simple word used often for a type of entrance or exit.

  8. Excellent puzzle for me, really enjoyed finishing this without any help. Not that straightforward but clever and FAIR clues (unlike Giovannis yesterday). Favourite clue 18a – very clever. Not too sure exactly what a drop hammer is but hey ho.

    1. Barrie,
      I have no idea why you would think Giovanni’s clues are UNFAIR perhaps you could try and explain your rationale… if you wish to criticise a particular setter (and you often do) perhaps you could state your reasons for it. Simple love it or hate it is not exactly constructive criticism. Many of the setters do read this blog, and intelligent feedback would always be appreciated.

    2. Barrie

      Giovanni’s clues were all fair.

      In my opinion in today’s puzzle:
      11a is poor
      29a I’ve never heard a cricket partnership described as this – not even a question mark to indicate that it is nonsense
      2d is incomplete

      When you get better at these puzzles you should come to appreciate that there is a greater pleasure than just finishing – it’s more a battle of wits between you and the setter

  9. I made it hard for myself by putting 6d as trot off. Surely 26d should be potter not baker?

          1. Mary


            It’s not a reference to a baker as a tradesman but to baker as something that is used for baking. Potter just wouldn’t work – see Michael’s comment below, it would need to be “potter’s oven” or something like that.

      1. Just substituting potter for baker would leave the clue without any direct reference to the solution, and Family accepting money for potter’s equipment would be too easy for you experts.

          1. Mary, the answer is something that bakes, so, cryptically, it’s a baker. It’s just like a river being something that flows, so cryptically a flower – or an anaesthetic being something that numbs, so in a cryptic crossword it can be a number.

  10. I like today’s offering – favourite clue – 5 down!

    Did anybody else fill in Red Ken for 24 across! Took me 30 mins to see the error of my ways!

      1. Double definition, a reference to Ken Livingstone, and a shop steward who was responsible for strikes at British Leyland? Hmm or was that Red Robbo?

    1. Welcome to the blog Domus

      13d Bear stuffing not replaced (10)
      A Peruvian bear !! First 7 are “stuffing” and the last 3 are an anagran (replaced) of NOT

  11. All solved by me except for
    1a-now got it but wouldn’t have
    2d -now got it
    10a -stuck
    3d the ninth character is I but???
    4d -stuck

    So three to go -and of course 10 crosses with 3& 4

    1. Greenhorn
      3d you are correct about the ninth character put this inside another word for side e.g. if you belong to a certain political side you belong to a ***** put the 9th character inside this to get another word for equal terms

          1. Normally when someone is a bit behind an needs a big score to get level:
            ” He needs another treble twenty for ****** !”

    2. 4d A promise to pay is an I owe you, and 10 is the roman number for X. Definition – restless….

  12. Red Robbo is was. From memory his surname was Robinson. I actually went to school with one of his relatives in the Midlands – or at least someone who claimed to be related to him. Funny old world. I don’t remember a Scargill being in my class though.

  13. At last I have completed it, (having spent the morning baking, so didn’t start as early as most) apart from one clue, 25d. I have found it a very enjoyable puzzle, but, as usual, found your blog most helpful.

    1. I quickly realised it was an anagram of shame less h but when crossing letters left me with two possibilities , I still had to look both up in an online dictionary and I think so the so called hill is actually the flat bit at the top of it.

  14. Overall I enjoyed this one

    Favourite clue was 18a – reading book of the same name at the moment!

    2d – definitely not my favourite clue – a bit vague

  15. Really enjoyed this one – can’t keep up with who the setters are but thanks. A few clues were really tricky & took a while but were satisfying once achieved. 22a, 12d and 13d amongst others. Waiting for the full explanation to fully understand some clues e.g. 17 & 18a.

    1. Claire,

      17a – the clue is an indirect reference to the saying “**** one’s time”. “one’s time” follows this with “this” being the answer.

      18a. You will kick yourself. Read the answer by splitting the letters in the answer 1 – 2 – 1 and groan.

      1. Groan, groan – thanks Prolixic, I did indeed feel like kicking….. 17a a bit convoluted for me – knew the expression but didn’t get the ‘follows this’ bit – think I get it now -sort of :-)

  16. Can someone help me with 28A. All done except that. I’m thinking it is the thing I open to enter. But how does it come from the clue?

    1. Gethyn,

      Explained above – a two letter abbreviation for “ditto” (as before) and a two letter word for Gold (not Au, the other one).

  17. I had a long night last night so started late today, I thought my hangover would slow me down but was pleased to find the puzzle not over demanding.
    Big Dave can you explain the relevance of the word ‘island’ in 16a

  18. Nubian

    Add an “a” to the end of the answer to get the name of a Scottish island (hence the clue “one leaving and island” with “one” being the letter “a”.

    1. Thanks for that Prolixic, I took one to me I. The clue should have been ‘small welshman is in the team’ or something like that. Never mind
      Thanks again

  19. I am a newcomer and only try and do the crossword on a Saturday. Think I may have finished for once but cannot get 25 down. Any hints?

    1. Welcome to the blog Percy

      25d Awful shame husband left hill (4)
      You need an anagram of SHAME without the H(usband) to get a flat-topped hill with steep sides, especially in SW USA

  20. I am a bit concerned about my answer to 19 across as do not understand the construction with the clue. Explanation?

    1. 19a Ironic to include alternative care (5)
      Take a 3-letter word meaning ironic and insert an alternative to get a care or concern.

    1. Werm

      I see you have a fancy new WordPress logon and blog!

      If you go to My Account / Edit Profile you can set a nickname and then choose to display that publically instead of your WP logon – i.e. you could set it to “The Werm” instead of “thewerm” if that makes sense. My logon is “bigdave44” but my nickname is “Big Dave”.

  21. Quite a straightforward puzzle this weekend! Thought that the even and odd aspects of 2d quite reasonable. My favourites were 18a and 28a. 24a is becoming somewhat like Ur of the Chaldees – I used to call these potboilers but now call them “thorns” after “the old”!
    For 16a in order to get to the island one has to think about the causeway and the cave!
    25d would please Portillo!

  22. I liked this one, especially 13d

    I agree 2d is dodgy.

    I’ve not heard the expression in 8d before.

    1. … and then as soon as you add one th total goes up to 89!

      On a more serious note, Gazza’s first comment today took the total on the blog since we started through the 10,000 barrier (and I’ve read every single one!). :roll:

      1. that is brilliant, i think i’ve read quite a few myself since finding you :) as for todays crossword i finished it all with very little help so is it particularly easy or am i maybe improving a little, though i have never heard of 27a :)

        1. Mary

          Your first two comments:

          2009/06/09 at 11:36pm on DT 25950
          smallsat really had us stumped – what a stupid clue as a newcomer to the telegraph crossword sometimes it just drives me crazy

          2009/06/10 at 2:02pm on DT 25951
          I am a learner but getting there, i think your site is brilliant but try not to look at it until i am giving up, 3 weeks ago I could only do a quarter of the crossword but now most days i can usually do 3/4 today I did all but 3, i agree it is knowing how to understand the clue that is the difficult bit

  23. Hi
    Really struggling today and so am only half way there – ironically I seem to have got out the clues that gave others difficulty. Can I ask for guidance re. 27A – At present I am trying to make this into an anagram of Ex-Minister – am I on the right line?
    Thank you once again for your help-

    1. Big Dave

      Thank you for your site – it is a pleasure to read the comments. In particular I enjoy the banter from you Mary – keep it up as I am sure that most of us find it entertaining and appreciate it.


  24. Hmm, any further hints for 18a please? Or actually some reasoning, as I’m pretty sure I have it but am not too happy.

    Thanks in advance folks,


    1. 18a Small part of first half of alphabet (4)
      If an encyclopaedia covered the first half of the alphabet, what would it say on the spine?

    2. What is the first letter of the alphabet and what is the letter half way ? put a ‘two’ letter word in between and you have a word meaning small part, i think i may have overcomplicated that but you should get it :)

      1. Ahh yes, that’s what I had and now I see it.

        Thanks folks, and yes, Prolixic, I was groaning. :)


  25. Finally had a chance to get to grips with yesterday’s crossword. Rather liked it although I have never heard of 1a and needed the hint.

    Mary – your regular contributions make for good reading; particularly duirng the week when I do not often have time to get very far.

  26. 12d, 13d,17a & 28a drove me half mad but pleased to say finally got them at this late hour..
    Must have been inspired by the snooker…
    Once again thanks for your brill blog it gives me hope when all seems lost.
    Think Mark Selby needs the same against O’Sullivan at the moment too..

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