DT 26152 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26152

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26152

Hints and tips by Rishi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ***

I am giving three-and-a-half stars for difficulty rating to this crossword by our Monday maestro as wordplay in many clues is decidedly not-so-easy.

The answers are hidden within the curly brackets. They will show up if you highlight the white space. The idea is that when you don’t have the answer to a particular clue when you visit here, you don’t see the solution unintentionally. Pointed tips follow so you can have a further stab at the clues and try to solve the clue yourself and derive the joy of discovery.


1a Written evidence leads to convictions (6)
{RECORD} – The very first clue is a cryptic definition. The ‘written evidence’ here is what is let out in court proceedings and what may lead to ‘convictions’, not in the sense of ‘strong beliefs’ but ‘decisions that the person accused is guilty’.

4a Incline to wither in general (8)
{GRADIENT} – A word that means ‘wither’ put inside the name of a general (an old general whose first name was Ulysses) gives the answer word that means ‘incline’ (n.).

9a Used an odd dessert dish (6)
{SUNDAE} – Anagram of USED AN (‘odd’ being the anagram indicator). Definition: ‘dessert dish’.

A dessert dish

10a Reliable account given by priest (8)
{ACCURATE} – An abbreviation for ‘account’ plus a word for a ‘priest’ provides the answer. Definition: ‘reliable’.

12a Fence the track (4)
{RAIL} – Two definitions – Fence / track

13a Go round twice at speed (5)
{OOMPH} – The definition is ‘go’, not as a verb but as a noun. The letter O (from ‘round’) taken twice with an abbreviation for ‘speed’, rather rate of speed.

14a Highlight of the Cresta Run (4)
{STAR} – A word for ‘highlight’ tucked away in CreSTA Run’.

17a Do they establish links between correspondents? (5,7)
{CHAIN LETTERS} – Cryptic definition for letters that we receive asking us to send to others whom we know.

20a Troops bustle out to bring these under control? (7,5)
{TROUBLE SPOTS} – Anagram of TROOPS BUSTLE. For definition, reread the clue as a whole in a clue-type that we call ‘all-in-one’ but is elsewhere known as &lit for ‘and literally’

23a Sailor on northern stretch of water (4)
{TARN} – A word for ‘sailor’ on N, abbreviation for ‘northern’. Definition: ‘stretch of water’

A stretch of water

24a Show girl without sex appeal? (5)
{EVITA} – IT, meaning ‘sex appeal’ in the name of a girl, the insertion indicator being ‘without’ in the sense of ‘outside of’. Definition: ‘show’.

25a Island across which aircraft fly, we hear (4)
{SKYE} – The name of an Island sounds similar to the word that means “across which aircraft fly”.


28a Stay for an execution (8)
{REPRIEVE} – Rather a straightforward clue. What a convict awaiting death sentence gets when he is pardoned and awarded a lesser punishment.

29a Angel fish hesitant at heart (6)
{CHERUB} – Angelfish may be a kind of shark but here it is ‘angel fish’. So take a word for ‘fish’ and put inside it a word for ‘hesitant’ for a word that means ‘angel’.


30a Friend goes to States for talks (8)
{PALAVERS} – A word for ‘friend’ plus a word that means ‘states’, as a verb, give a word for ‘talks’. ‘States’ in the clue has false capitalisation.

31a A time for high-handedness (6)
{TWELVE} – Cryptic definition – The answer is a number suggested by “A time” that may be by noon or midnight. “High-handedness” is when the hands of the clock (assuming that it’s an analogue clock that we are looking at) point upwards.


1d Confine the poor critters (8)
{RESTRICT} – Anagram of CRITTERS, ‘poor’ being the anagram indicator. Definition: confine

2d People fill him with a consuming interest (8)
{CANNIBAL} – Word for a human who eats other humans as the clue suggests; ‘consuming’ in the sense of ‘eating’

3d First ride on a new horse (4)
{ROAN} – R, the first letter of ‘Ride’, plus anagram of ON A (‘new’ being the anagram indicator)


5d Go over – to the enemy once more? (12)
{RECAPITULATE} – Definition is ‘go over’. The second definition is ‘go over’ (yield) to the enemy once more

6d Plaster for an eyesore? (4)
{DAUB} – Two definitions – ‘plaster’ as a verb / ‘eyesore’ (such as a crude painting) – The second meaning was new for me

7d Gets full satisfaction out of religious work (6)
{EXACTS} – A prefix meaning ‘out of’ plus the title of a ‘religious work’, a book in the New Testament. Definition: gets full satisfaction

8d Those people holding gold as a speculation (6)
THEORY} – A word from heraldry for ‘gold’ in a word for ‘those people’. Definition: speculation

11d Describing the fish that got away? (4,8)
{SOLE SURVIVOR} – Normally the answer phrase would mean a single person who  escaped a disaster. But as the first word is also a variety of a fish, the clue writer fancies it as describing the fish that slipped through the net.

15d A record number of contestants in the field (5)
{ENTRY} – Two definitions record / ‘number of contestants in the field’ for a sporting event

16d Get over being angry (5)
{CROSS} – Two definitions ‘get over’ / ‘angry’

18d A dog to the Spanish, a bird to us (8)
{COCKEREL} – A word for a breed of dog plus Spanish word for ‘the’ gives a word for a variety of bird – ‘us’ being the composer and solver or English-speaking persons, presumably, and not the British

19d Collect up jumble in efficient fashion (8)
{ASSEMBLE} – A tricky clue! Though ‘collect’ is a synonym of the answer word, it is not the definition. It is just an instruction to string together the letters of a word meaning ‘jumble’ in reverse order (‘up’ in this Down clue) inside another word that means ‘efficient’. What then is the definition? It is ‘fashion’ as a verb.

21d Excite with a bit of spooning? (4,2)
{STIR UP} – No spooning, nor any billing and cooing here! A word meaning ‘excite’ from what you may do to create a storm in a teacup, so to speak.

22d Support the Spanish cast (6)
{PROPEL} – Put the bra out of your mind! A word for ‘support’ plus Spanish word for ‘the’. Definition: ‘cast’ as a verb.

26d Chicken dish I’ve cooked with stock finally (4)
{KIEV} – Anagram of I’VE and K (the last letter of ‘stocK’). Definition: ‘chicken dish’. This sense of the word was new for me.

27d What variation in the weather! (4)
{THAW} – Jumble the letters of WHAT (‘variation’ being the anagram indicator) to get a word for which the definition is just ‘weather’ or ‘variation in the weather’ from what the UK (or this website) experienced in December or early January.

What did you feel about this crossword? Leave a comment and be assured that is read by us and scores of visitors. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

52 comments on “DT 26152

  1. Certainly a more tricky puzzle from Rufus today but one that I found hugely enjoyable and satisfying as the clues fell into place. There were some real smiler raisers in the crossword. Favourites included 31a, 2d, 7d, 19d but the one that got away at 11d wins the clue of the day for me.

    Many thanks to Rufus for an enteraining morning commute and thanks Rishi for the notes.

  2. Unfortunately I was convinced that 13a was “trace”. Otherwise I’d have completed it today I think. Liked 31a very much.

  3. I always struggle with Monday, and this was no exception. I find the puzzles get easier as the week goes on. Perhaps it has something to do with the weekend over-indulgence!

    1. Usually I find the Monday puzzle quite easy, but I agree that this one was a lot harder. I made a very slow start and only speeded up once I had the long answers in place.

  4. Far too tricky for me today! I can see it would have been enjoyable, although I very much disliked 2d. Only solved 6 before looking here and didn’t solve many more after looking here!

  5. Kick starting the week with a challenging puzzle, All good quality stuff and too many to single out a favourite.

  6. I had to resort to Rishi’s excellent hints for three today (4,6,7). Not had to do that on a DT for a while (Friday excepted) and think this was quite tricky.
    Same as Jezza, really, I always seem to struggle with Rufus.

  7. Most enjoyable today, although not plain sailing by any means.
    Some super clues, especially liked 13a, and also 2d, 11d and 24a.
    Only minor criticism was the use of a capital “S” for states in 30a, but guess that’s quite acceptable?
    Thanks to Rufus for an excellent puzzle, and to Rishi for another quality review.

  8. Struggled today and could only get started bottom-right and had to work upwards from there. I liked 11d and really struggle to see the logic in 19d.

    1. Droopyh,
      Re 19d
      Effectively you need to place MESS (jumble) reversed (up – its a down clue) so it reads SSEM inside ABLE (efficient).

  9. Rishi,
    I thought that 1a was a double definition rather than a cryptic definition, with the second definition being someone’s “criminal record” (often shortened to just “record”) which is, quite literally, a list of his/her previous convictions.

  10. Well I enjoyed it.
    Got them all but I put in Loops for 13a which seemed to fit with the ’round twice’ but left me with LPS & I must have convinced myself it stood for some reference to speed of the old vinyl LP record speed of 33 1/3 ? ? Although ‘Oomph’ does make more sense when I think about it.

  11. Found about 3/4 quite easy but couldn’t get 5d, once had used the blog got lurking right hand corner easily as could work out the general. Couldn’t get 2d as had ‘ring’ in for 12a, once my accomplice told me that was wrong I was back on ‘track’.

  12. 45 enjoyable minutes of toil to complete. I liked 4a, 31a, 11d. Capital in 30a confused me and I didn’t know the meaning of that word before, having only met it in singular “what a ——!” form. Nice testing start to the week.

    1. Uptodat

      It’s only weekend prize puzzles where we prefer that you don’t mention the answer in your comment – “What a palaver?” is ok on a weekday!

    2. In my reading I have almost always come across ‘palaver’ only in the sense of ‘talk’ and not ‘fuss’. The first time that I ever encountered it was in a novel by the Indian writer R. K. Narayan many decades ago.

      1. we were often told when we were young not to make such a palaver over something such as taking medicine :) but had not heard it used in the plural

        1. In the clue ‘talks’ is a noun in plural form. But as definition for word required it does a switcheroo as a verb in simple present present tense and thus we have ‘palavers’ as in the illustrative sentence: “Mention ‘saris’ and my wife palavers endlessly about different fabrics, prices and shops where they are sold.”

  13. Noted BD, Rishi, thanks. I love the spin-off education from solving these. Apart from new words and uses, I like to be reminded of the old and obscure ones that I would otherwise forget. Must go and have a palaver with my neighbour now.

  14. A good but tough crossword today i thought which unfortunately i couldn’t finish, had to have help for 13a, 10a, 6d and 15d, loved 11d when I eventually got it and 18d, let myself get entirely mislead on that one!, 24a, I know is Evita, but though i know it is constucted from eva and itdoesn’t without mean to put the it outside of eva, am i being really stupid here??
    Thank you Rishi, i would have been stuck on those few otherwise, a hard one for CC today but clever

    1. Mary

      Without can mean outside (think of the well known hymn, “There is a green hill far away without a city wall.”) so the clue resolves as A outside B.

      How are your cow’s motions getting on!! You might get a pat on the back from them!

  15. Many thanks – I got through about half before needing a brain boost. Favourite clue had to be 2d. Many thanks Rishi – I’m slowly becoming less clueless.

  16. Not bad today for me, finished the bottom halfbwithout any problems but the top was HARD! I’m afraid 13a and 24a totally stumped me. 11d was clever though but favourite was def 30a even though the capitalisation puzzled me for a while.

  17. I liked 31a, 2d and 11d. On reading this blog I discovered that although I had 19d right it was for the wrong reason.

    1. that is often the way, by some obscure menas we decipher the clues wrongly but end up with the right answers :)

  18. I enjoyed the crossword but didn’t like the two references to the Spanish word for ‘the’ within the space of a few clues – 18d and 22d. A poor example of an alternative for 22d might be something like ‘it’s correct to push forward by changing right for left’ or some such, which at least would get rid of one ‘el’ in my opinion.

  19. Wow! A challenge for me today. My brow was furrowed on the homeward commute and a few stumped me. 13a is a nice clue. Now this is what a prize crossword should be like in my view. 4*. Early to bed for me as my brain hurts. A lot.

  20. It’s very rare that I have the opportunity to attempt the Monday crossword and I enjoyed this one. Like Tilly, I found it strange that the Spanish word for ‘the’ appeared twice and caused me to review the wording of both clues before I was sure that I wasn’t mistaken.

  21. Took me 3 separate sessions to finish but I did it eventually , some tough clues in there. Last in was 2d. favourite clues were 13a and 31a. Have to agree with others that the use of “the Spanish ” twice seemed lazy to me. No need for a toughie today :-)

  22. This puzzle was tough but good. It took me a fair while to complete but I had a great feeling of satisfaction when I got there.

    My clue of the day was 2d – brilliant!

  23. A good, tougher than usual, puzzle. For 2d, I first put in ” maneater ” but got nowhere with the NW corner until I got “cannibal”. Also, like Alan, I had loops for 13a – loops one way and spool t’other! – no speed involved so was unhappy.
    Best clues for me : 4a, 17a, 30a & 31a. 11d, 18d & 26d.
    Incidentally, chain letters on the internet are often spreaders of viruses so dump them immediately!

    1. Derek

      Why, MANEATER would be a PURR-fect answer at 2dn but for the crossings. If one had put in only SuNdae at 9ac in that corner, he would still be thinking that he had a correct answer at 2dn.

      In chess problems an alternative solution that is unintended by the setter is known as a cook, I think.

      I would like readers to suggest a term for a crossword clue solution that could be an alternative but not intended by the composer.

  24. I agree the “DAUB” cclue was poor. What about “No points for Austrian river – what a mess” ?

Comments are closed.