DT 26149 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26149

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26149

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

I quite enjoyed this, a reasonable challenge and some fun. Some nice straightforward clues to ease you into the crossword, then a nice mix of other clues to keep you guessing for a time. The only issues I have with this are the usual couple of dodgy anagram indicators.

If you highlight the space between the curly brackets you can read the answer or alternatively you can derive the answer from the hints and explanations. All comments are appreciated.


1. Sensible paraglider heading this way? (4-2-5)
{DOWN-TO-EARTH} – A cryptic definition that would describe how a paraglider returns to the ground, or another term for someone who is sensible.

7. Gadget army medic used on soldiers (5)
{GISMO} – A thingamajig (usually spelt with a Z) is soldiers in the US Army, followed by a MO (Medical Officer).

8. Threesome in Pennsylvania city briefly returned flying the flag (9)
{PATRIOTIC} – Put TRIO (threesome) inside PA (Pennsylvania), and a shortened (briefly) CIT(y) reversed (returned) and you have a term often used to describe someone who is devoted to their country.

10. Young girl? (7)
{LORETTA} – The Young referred to here is the surname of an American actress who won an Oscar in “The Farmer’s Daughter”.

11. Throwing darts, gets honour and fame (7)
{STARDOM} – An anagram (throwing) of DARTS followed by OM (Order of Merit).

12. Dread losing face making a mistake (5)
{ERROR} – Remove the first letter (losing face) from a word that means extreme fear, and you should find another word for making a mistake.

13. Able to challenge conservationists (9)
{COMPETENT} – COMPETE (challenge) and NT (conservationists – National Trust).

16. A type of baseball play, and what a successful play is and has? (3,3,3)
{HIT AND RUN} – Cryptic and a double definition? This phrase is usually associated with someone who causes injury and then drives off without reporting the incident.

18. Coronet, one found in Scarlett’s place (5)
{TIARA} – Put the name of Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation in “Gone With the Wind” around I, and you have another word for a crown, typically worn by women.

19. Short argument involving bishop in tabloid (7)
{LOWBROW} – LOW (short) ROW (argument) around (involving) B (bishop), might describe the sort of people who read red-tops.

22. A column about Irish carrier (7)
{AIRLINE} – The carrier in this instance is an organisation that uses planes to move people and cargo from one place to another. Put A LINE (column) around IR (an abbreviation for Ireland).

23. To exceed one’s budget unfortunately proves point (9)
{OVERSPEND} – The definition is to “exceed one’s budget” and a word that describes that condition is constructed from an anagram (unfortunately?) of PROVES followed by END (point).

24. Well-known college rejected daughter (5)
{NOTED} – Yes its that “well known” college in Berkshire, reverse it (rejected) and then add D (daughter) and you have another word for eminent or well-known.

25. History of song on disc? (5,6)
{TRACK RECORD} – A cryptic definition that refers to a record of past performance, originally that of an athlete, but now used generally.


1. Soldier and sailor turned up after leave (6,3)
{DESERT RAT} – A Second World War nickname for the 7th Armoured Division is another word for leaving the forces without permission followed by TAR (a sailor) reversed (turned up).

2. Fictional character in court, unsmiling mostly (7)
{WOOSTER} – This fictional character is found in the Jeeves novels of P.G. Wodehouse, and his name consists of WOO (court) and most of the letters of STER(n) (unsmiling),

3. Astaire, say, parted with short cane, sadly (3-6)
{TAP-DANCER} – An anagram (sadly? Hmm..) of PARTED and a shortened CAN(e) describes the type of dancing Fred Astaire was famous for.

4. US painter exhibited in finest establishments (5)
{ESTES} – A hidden name in (fin)EST ES(tablishments), will give you the name of an American photorealistic painter,

5. Surrey town — agree it needs redevelopment (7)
{REIGATE} – You are looking for a historic market town in Surrey, and it’s simply an anagram (redevelopment) of AGREE IT.

6. Strongly disliked bowler, English, opener for Derbyshire? (5)
{HATED} – The bowler in this case is a HAT, followed by E (English) and then the first letter (opener) of D(erbyshire). When put together you should have another word that means to dislike intensely.

7. Large amount of greens for a starter? (6,5)
{GOLDEN HELLO} – I like this cryptic definition. Greens in this case refers to a slang term for money, especially dollar bills.

9. Reach a crisis at home, with a co-ed misbehaving (4,2,1,4)
{COME TO A HEAD} – An anagram (misbehaving) of AT HOME and A CO-ED is another phrase that could mean to cause or reach a climax or crisis.

14. Servant, worker the French treat roughly (9)
{MANHANDLE} – MAN (servant) HAND (worker) and LE (the masculine form for a French the).

15. A diet came unstuck, making one excessively thin (9)
{EMACIATED} – An anagram (unstuck) of A DIET CAME would indeed make you excessively thin. Good surface reading to this.

17. One working for Portia when father and knight put up (7)
{NERISSA} – The name of Portia’s maid in “The Merchant of Venice” is made up from AS (when) SIRE (father) and N (knight in chess notation), which is then reversed (put up).

18. Wrong about forward’s header for Oxford City (7)
{TORONTO} – A legal word for wrong is placed around ON (forwards) and is then followed by the first letter (header) of O(xford) is the provincial capital of Ontario.

20. Extract others, reportedly (5)
{WREST} – Another word for to twist and then take away by force sounds like (reportedly) the REST (others).

21. A sunken ship, some crew reckon (5)
{WRECK} – The answer to this clue, is hidden between the words “crew reckon” and is another word used to describe a sunken ship.

57 comments on “DT 26149

  1. A good crossword although I do think 10a was obscure.

    I did of course throw myself on 7a by using UK spelling. If I have a gripe with setters it is I am English, public school educated, and detest the adulteration of the language

  2. More fine stuff this week.
    10 last to go in. 7d was undoubtably clue of the day for me as it was , as you say, a great cryptic def.

    Thanks for the review and thanks to the setter.

  3. Good one for a Thursday-looks like their saving the real tough one for tomorrow–7D was excellent.
    Happy Birthday BD and thanks for your clues to the clues!

  4. One of the best Thursday puzzles for a while. Like others, I thought that 10a was obscure – the only way to answer the clue was from the checking letters. I thought that there was a strong North American bias to the cluing today and in one of the spellings. Might this reflect the setter’s origins?

    1. Prolixic,
      The puzzle does seem to have an American Theme… Now we know that SunSetter lives in the US, but I have no idea if today’s does. Perhaps he/she might drop by and confirm/deny your suspicions.

  5. Happy birthday to the blog and sooooooooo well done to you Dave for such a marvellous site, not only for invaluable help with the cryptic crossword but also for all the friendliness of all your helpers and all the users of the site, i would be lost without it, very well done and a huge Happy Birthday :)

  6. loved the puzzle today but got stuck on 7d as i mistakenly put cut for the first word of 16a! I really hope Barrie finds it ok today, though there are a few tricky ones in there, but i think quite a good one for the CC :)

  7. Happy birthday! Many thanks and congratulations on your continuing fine work.

    Enjoyable today, and a record completion time for me – launched into the toughie with confidence and came back to earth with a bump – really struggling with it, and no hope of completion without your eagerly awaited assistance.

    1. //launched into the toughie with confidence and came back to earth with a bump//

      Its a bit of a tinker isn’t it! 40% here and sweating!

      1. Seven to go now – but no letter hints left, struggling for new ideas, and needing to know why for some answers!

        1. 5 to go here and as Prolixic said they are all crackers! – same brick wall as you but I will refrain from quoting here – got wrists slapped last time! ;-)

          1. On your recommendation (and Prolixic) just started the Toughie. Half way through it, and so far so good. Great fun!

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle but 7d and 10a proved difficult! Many thanks for your explanations of these obscure clues.

  9. I found the clues a bit dry today like 7d, we have never called money green backs so I agree with Prolixic there.
    As he says, references to
    Scarlett’s place
    US Painter (who I have never heard of)
    Makes you wonder.
    I’ll let him off with the Canadian city

      1. Prolixic,

        What’s wrong with the spelling? Chambers gives both versions. In fact, if you look up “gizmo”, it refers you to “gismo”.

  10. A really Great Big Congratulations to Big Dave on his Anniversary, This site has calmed the savage breat more times than I care to admit !!!
    Here’s to teh next twelve months, glug glug

  11. Well 7 and 10 were also last to go in for me. I think that is another pleasant consequence of the blog that you can confirm which clues are just downright tricky. Many happy returns.

    I must echo the views expressed by Prolixic on 10a however. Having never heard of the lady in question I have no way of reaching the answer other than by guessing a girl’s name by the cross letters. Though I similarly didn’t know who “Reith” was yesterday I did at least have a relatively precise definition of the word to be getting on with.

    Other than that though a very enjoyable puzzle.

  12. Good workout today, as others I only got 10a once all letters were in place and I still didn’t know why until I read here. 7d was a cracker and I also liked 16a a lot.

  13. Well I’ve done it again today though it has taken me 2 1/2 hours, talk about addicted!!!! Not so much one stop on the train but a journey to Newcastle. I had to look up girls names for 10a. I was convinced it was going to be something like leveret where the girls name and a baby animal were the same. Duh. I’m not sure I do it properly either as sometimes I find a word/phrase but can’t work out why until I read the blog eg 7d.
    Hangover from too many celebratory glasses of Chablis yesterday probably hasn’t helped….
    Happy Birthday BD, have one for me.

    1. it’s often the way i do it Chablis, somehow i get the answer and work backwards to see how it works, it may not be right but at least it helps us understand the clue, most of the time, i say it doesn’t matter as long as you are learning from it, as you see there are people/solvers that have been doing these for up to forty years, others like us, less than a year, so what comes naturally to some takes us a bit longer, it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy and have the time to spare!!!! i think real progress is when you begin to work out and understand what the setter is looking for :)

      1. I’m not sure I really do have the time!!!! I think I will sit down for half an hour and suddenly two hours have gone by. It’s like learning a whole new language. I actually have a degree in English but I think it hampers rather than helps me a lot of the time as I am way too literal, my Mathematician husband can do it in a trice. I’m further held back by the fact that I cnt spel. I can struggle for ages and then my husband will come along and spot the spelling error and suddenly it all works so much more easily!

          1. Lit at Leeds 78-81 combined honours with Classical Civ. Seem to remember we had an eminent Lang prof who I think I did some work with, we all had to buy his book which was somewhat of a wheeze! It all seems so long ago, I’m just a humble housewife now….

            1. Lit at Nottingham for me 81-84 :-) So I don’t see how it hampers… mind you I now do computing for a living so maybe that helps. Made 17d nice and easy though!

              1. Aah but you were single honours! I think i was better on the Classics side, not that you’d know it now, that’s partly why i’m trying to do the xword to kick start the old neurons….

              2. Just as a matter of interest, if it’s not presumptious, why did you choose dragonfly for your name? Mine is fairly obvious, the kids chose it as it reflects my love of wine, bridge (bet that surprised you!) and of course the sparkly variety like all girls!

  14. Hardest so far this week. I didn’t like 7d, I had the second word written in really early on but I’ve not heard of the phrase and can’t bring myself to appreciate this clue. C’est la vie! Or in keeping with the American theme, “ahhh jeeez….”

  15. Really strugling with the toughie today and could do with some help.
    Happy Birthday BD, the site has been fantastically useful and as you can see from the comments above most appreciated.Here`s to the next 12 months

  16. :-D happy Birthday!! A great site BD which has helped to explain many a guesswed answer!! Finished todays all by myself woop! woop! o/

  17. Challenging, enjoyable and even educational. I finished despite never having heard of the Young girl, Scarlett’s ranch, Portia’s maid or the painter. Needed help hear to explain 2d.

  18. Nice puzzle today with some fun clues esp liked 1a (took me ages to get it!) and 3d. Couple of very obscure clues which took some looking up i,e, 17d and 10a. And which well-known (sic) college in Berkshire?

      1. Thanks Mary, as you say well done to the setter and thanks to the DT for taking pity on the CC!
        BTW do you know which ‘well-known’ colledge in Berkshire they are alluding to?

  19. I finished this but did not understand 7d until I read the blog. I’ve heard of green-backs, but I’ve never heard of ‘greens’ meaning money.

    Congratulations on your first year Big Dave – a great site! Many happy returns.

  20. I haven’t had a chance to do this puzzle as yet as have been trying to get my tax return done. Am fed up with it so thought I would read the blog.

    First of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY BD and thank you for such a wonderful site. Your efforts and those of your excellent contributors are appreciated by all of us. Your site has opened up a new world for a lot of people – thank you.

    1. You and me both! I’m struggling with the new online Corporation Tax software. I new when I had to download an eleven-step process for updating Adobe reader that it wasn’t going to be easy.

      1. Oh my goodness – I haven’t tried using the new software just been getting my information together. Will have to do it tomorrow – can’t figure out why they make things so difficult for us (and themselves).

          1. I have maintained sole trader status so the corporation tax won’t apply – thank heavens. Thanks for the word though – if I do run in to any problems will give a shout as it’s nice to know someone who has been through it.

  21. I flew through the first half then hit a brickwall, grateful for the explanations so I could at least understand the rest. Thanks

  22. Zipped through save 19a which I thought was a bit weak. Liked 2d best which I thought was clever. Just got home so time for a glass of nice wine.

  23. I’d’ve been lost one this one, I was convinced 10a was “Infanta”, and it messed up all the others!

  24. Thanks. And happy birthday! Have been using this site for months, and it has really helped… when I started I was lucky to get two or three. Now, sometimes, I can even complete the easy ones!

  25. Just printed this off in Sydney and managed to do most of it with a good deal of pleasure and your help. Congratulations, BD, on your first year, and Many Happy Returns. How would such as I manage without you? :-)

  26. Hi Big Dave,

    Congratulations on your first anniversary! We reckon we started reading your blog early last year and have seen how it has grown. We would have been part of the CC club back then, but with your help (and the help of all the bloggers) we feel we have now reached intermediate level. Now manage to complete all but one or two clues every day. Many, many thanks – we may try the toughie someday soon. Btw, we complete it separately – two very competitive sisters…

  27. Slightly tougher than usual but enjoyable!
    I agree with Prolixic and Nubian that there was a strong North American flavo(u)r to this puzzle.
    Best for me were : 1a, 10a, 11a, 19a and 25a. Down : 1d, 2d, 3d, 7d and 20d.

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