DT 26145 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26145 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26145 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Today’s Prize puzzle was neither difficult nor particularly enjoyable, but it was pangrammatic. Having spotted 4 out of J,K,Q, X and Z made solving one of the clues just that little bit easier!

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, 28th January.


1a    In favour of disco becoming rhythmical (8)
Not the best way to start a puzzle – combine a prefix meaning in favour of with an anagram of DISCO, weakly signalled by becoming, to get a word that I had to look up that means rhythmical in speech

11a    Second embezzler is better (10)
Put together S(econd) and someone who appropriates dishonestly for their own use ( a word I must admit that was new to me) and you get a better, typically one who makes risky investments of money for the sake of unusually large profits

16a    Without success when lady’s not there (2,3)
… if this is one of your last answers then knowing that the puzzle is pangrammatic may help to find the unchecked letter – it helped me

29a    At mealtimes this man will dig in (8)
A double definition of sorts, this can be an old-fashioned plate or someone who digs a protective ditch of the type used extensively during World War I


2d    Sound comment distinguishing mark on etching (8)
A marginal drawing or other distinguishing mark on an engraving or etching indicating an early state of the plate sounds like a comment or observation

15d    Lullabies? (5,5)
An overly cryptic definition of lullabies, or other tunes, printed on paper

20d    Joining confederate at home before midnight (7)
… midnight is the middle letter of night, a construct avoided by many setters

25d    Piece about last character on point of becoming composer (5)
Place a small piece around the last letter in the alphabet and a compass point to get the composer of the opera Carmen

ARVE Error: need id and provider

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!

96 comments on “DT 26145 – Hints

  1. Many thanks to Cephas for today’s puzzle. Favourite clue was 3d. I found this enjoyable without being too taxing. Some of the more unusual words in the definitions and solutions may fox a few – I had not come across the word for valley at the end of 12a before.

  2. What a pain – Clued Up cryptic site is playing up ( doesn’t load). Will have to get to it later.

  3. Done – Agree with Prolixic – 12a ending was new to me and there were a couple of other new words – 1a I had to look up as well Dave.

    The two I enjoyed were the new word in 21d and liked 3d as well.

  4. 2 to go and I think I must be really slow this morning as I just can’t get 2d and 12a – any further hints??

    1. Welcome to the blog Macky57

      2d has a link which you may find interesting to follow

      12a Tanks of water reaching valley (7)
      The tanks usually hold fish, and it’s a charade of the Latin for water followed by a type of valley, from the Spanish for valley

      1. Thanks! – our last one was 12a & this solved it – so easy when you know! Several words not known today 2nd part of 11a & 12a and 2d. Only got the top LH corner once we realised it was pangrammatic. Rather liked 3d and 21d but still definitely in CC, this week’s been tough.

      2. Interesting … no need to follow the link at 2d; just move your cursor over the picture and the answer is revealed. I didn’t that until today!

        1. That only tells you the answer – the link has a little more info. It all depends on whether you want to know why it is the answer.

    2. 2d sounds like a comment and uses one of the unusual letters in the alphabet. #
      For 12a the definition is tank – think of a word for water and then a three letter word for valley.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and, like Big Dave, in 11a I found a word which I didn’t know existed. However, in 27a, I saw the answer straight away but, reading the answer backwards, doesn’t produce the accepted spelling of an oriental sailor. Or is it me?

    1. 27a Oriental sailor changed sides, the rogue (6)
      Instead of reversing the whole word, swap the first and last letters of the sailor to get the rogue

  6. A great puzzle today but sorry Dave I still don’t get 27a explanation
    As for 28a I thought French for in was dans, maybe Libelleule can help ?

    1. If you have the answer to 27a then change L(eft) to R(ight) and R(ight) to L(eft) – perhaps I didn’t explain changing sides too well!

      The result is, according to Chambers an Oriental (orig Indian) sailor or camp-follower

    2. Nubian
      Lets just say your version of in and the Cephas version are both valid. Trying the explain when you use one or the other is way too complicated for this blog, and way too complicated for my knowledge too :-)

  7. Another vote for 3d – I was stuck on it for ages but when the light dawned it brought a smile. I thought there was a mix of some clever clues with one or two that seemed almost too obvious – 14a being one example.

  8. Thanks for the clues Big Dave and Lea! Finally got 2d, it’s easy when you know it. Got 12a but have not heard that word before. I think today’s had some obscure clues, I’m with Caravaggio on 27d and I wouldn’t have got 15d without Big Dave’s clue. Now feeling a bit smug at finishing it (albeit with lots of help from you lot!) ;op

  9. Thanks, Big Dave. Your interpretation makes sense and it’s very clever. One of the disadvantages of knowing the actual word for an Oriental sailor makes you assume that it will read correctly from right to left!

  10. Not much to add to previous comments, except that I particularly liked the answer to 15d for its cryptic association to lullabies! :smile:

  11. Sorry BD but I enjoyed this. Particlulary 15d and 3d.It was rather straightforward and lots of anagrams, but hey it’ssaturday.
    Did I miss something clever in 24ac.?..seems a bit GK ish

    1. It’s a cryptic (?) definition.

      You don’t have to apologise for liking it, but if crosswords were like wine, for me this was a bottle of Piat D’or.

  12. Not overly taxing but quite enjoyable. Can someone explain 23d for me? I believe I’ve got it but don’t see the wordplay.

    1. 23d How one had given a pointed reminder (6)
      I took it as a cryptic definition of being reminded by being poked with the elbow – wink, wink ;) ;)

      1. Thanks Dave, I thought I must be missing something but maybe i just expected it to be cleverer than that!

            1. Pleased you got there – maybe you are beginning to see why I didn’t think much of this puzzle. This one and “24a Acquiring a reddish-brown coat (7)” could have been a lot better.

  13. It must be just me, i have not found this easy today, Barrie i cant understand why you couldn’t do yesterdays if you found this easy, there are some obscure words here today, I am still stuck on 17a, it must be so obvious, help anyone? please

      1. thank you Chris, just couldn’t see it, todays puzzle confirms that though i have some good days now, i will not be giving up my membership in the CC for a long time to come :) not a good week for me

          1. Ah yes, that must have been a fluke Dave :) a good one though, thank goodness i didnt win i am totally unqualified to judge anyone else :)

    1. Had a funeral yesterday and probably didn’t have my mind right, but after a quick glance I couldn’t face being depressed by yet another Giovanni horror. I simply cannot fathom his clues, they make no sense to me at all. I am fully prepared to admit it is my problem but I now avoid any Giovanni puzzle, all it does is depress me!
      Congrats, by the way on finishing in 3rd place, you are pulling away now from the rest of the CC and will soon have to resign your membership I think :-)

      1. Mary doth hide her light under the proberbial bushel – as well as third place last week she has my favourite clue (so far) for this week’s competition.

        1. thank you both but it is sadly not true, i will be in the CC for ever I think, I have been told Dave that perhaps my clue is not correct , that the word ‘choice’ may be a clue to lead to a clue? being totally nivice at all this i really don’t know but once again everyone on that blog is really helpful, Barrie, give it a go!

          1. If you look at the entries so far, Mary, you’ll see that the esteemed Rishi fell into that trap as well – it is not just you!

    1. Welcome to the blog Zenith

      A similar clue (but the other way around) came up in last Friday’s Toughie (T 286 – 24a) and Anax made the same comment – you must have something in common!

  14. Thought I’d done quite well to be able to explain a clue without giving the game away completely – but your’s is much better Chris!!

  15. re- 17A–Surely roman numeral for nine is VI- so don’t for the life of me see how this fits in when I have the first bit-much confused also 20D has also got me flumaxed :-)) rest is quite straight forward–I think!

    1. 20d Joining confederate at home before midnight (7)

      This is a word meaning joining, as in joining forces, and you get there by putting together a confederate, at home and the middle letter of night.

      It’s not a very good clue because the first part of the wordplay is the noun on which the answer is based. Many of us don’t like clues like this as they are so shallow.

  16. Greetings and thanks for all the help – since finding your site I’ve actually started finishing the Saturday cryptic ones occasionally however, today 20a applies to me at the moment, while 20d still has me in the dark ( amongst many others) – especially after your last clue for 20a !

    1. Welcome to the blog Pete

      I was 20a when I put 20a instead of 20d – now corrected. Just think of the name used by the UK and US forces in WWII and then work out the rest from there.

  17. It has taken me far too long, but I finally got there after a few corrections, but only with more than a little help electronically! I still can’t see how some of the answers relate to the clues – eg. what have the three letters around ‘pal’ got to do with any other part of 10a? Favourite has to be 3d!

    1. Hi Newbie … I don’t think your querie ref. 10a has been acknowledged yet.
      The answer (which you already have), is a synonym of “transfix”, and is shown in its entirety within (inside) the clue.

  18. My favourite has to be 21d.
    Eggplant not in the inn……………….
    Think laterly. Another name for an eggplant is of course.. *********. not at the inn? take away **.
    I had to look up the word to confirm it, as I had never came across this word before.

    1. I’ve censored your comment Leon.

      Your answer is, of course, correct but to clarify, the clue actually says “Eggplant not in the inn” which means to take the IN away from the alternative name for the eggplant to get the French Inn

  19. Afternoon folks, I actually toiled over this and will blame being at work so was a tad distracted. 25d prompted me to leap to the other well known composer so a daft error on my part that did not help. Otherwise not too bad and yes I will enter and no I don’t expect to win anything!

  20. This seems to have taken all afternoon plus help from the husband who is annoyingly so much better than I. We both were unsure of 23d but think from the blog we have the right answer, seems a bit weak to me though…. I really liked 20a but that’s probably because I’m still a beginner.

    1. Don’t worry Chablisdiamond, i don’t think it was that easy today either, some words i’d never heard of, the fact you finished it is great, you will get good days and bad days and even find that sometimes (amazing though it may sound) you will dislike a puzzle that you finished quite easily, i never thought i’d say that because a few months ago i was just so pleased to finish one!! :)

  21. I don’t see any comment on 28a – the last clue remaining unsolved……can anyone help please?

  22. Hi, new to the site.. great work thanks!

    Have a suspicion im being extremely thick but what on earth is 26 across all about?

  23. I have really struggled over this one, and have just completed it thanks to your last bit of help for both 26a and 20d. I don’t seem to be on the right wavelength today and the enjoyment level was low.

  24. will somebody please explain 17a and 20d I know roman is ** but cannot fit in in and as for 20 d I give up otherwise all done

    1. 17a is covered in comment 14 above – BTW you need to follow the link in that set of comments to check your Roman numerals as you got it wrong!

      20d is covered in comment 19 above, please try reading it again. You should already have the checking letters.

  25. good blog again Dave, the Saturday blogs seem to be growing in popularity, hope you have a good blog birthday lined up for next week :)

    1. Welcome to the blog, Margie

      The first three letters arfe a prefix meaning for or in favour of – the rest is an anagram of DISCO – turn that into a word and look it up – you could be surprised!!

  26. O.K. got it now, must have been having a mental block!!

    I enjoyed the puzzle. I thought 12a was a good clue and 27a

  27. 16a Is a negative, followed by a girls name.
    20a. The main(ly) is a reference to a large body of water.

    1. NathanJ
      Think about “A legal instrument authorizing one to act as another’s attorney or agent.”

  28. Good morning,
    Thanks for your help, I would like to know what new dictionary to buy, I have a Collins and several of the words were not in there?
    My Aunt who is 83 years old still does the Sat. crossword, she doesn’t use any computer help site, just a dictionary occasionally, she has taught me many of the words and meanings used by the compilers. I think that is real skill don’t you? 30 years she has been sending in the Prize crossword, but alas she has not won yet!
    Sorry seemed to have strayed from the point………….best dictionary please.

    1. While I agree with Libellule about Chambers I would hate to be without my copy of Collins Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary by Anne Bradford.

  29. Late comment as usual as was busy with other crosswords this weekend apart from struggling with my computer which refused to operate!
    I thought some of these clues were rather good e.g. 1a, 9a, 13a and a few others. Downs : 15d & 21d.
    Not difficult at all.
    BD many thaks for inserting Angela Gheorgiu – I love Carmen as well as Carmen Jones!

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