DT 26151 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26151

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26151

Redeeming Features?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment *

A puzzle that stimulated a lot of debate on these boards last Saturday with a large number of people agreeing with Big Dave and myself that it was not one of the better puzzles and at the moment we seem to be going backwards instead of forwards in terms of quality on a Saturday. This week we have seen a very strong set of daily puzzles where the setters have worked hard to produce accessible and fair puzzles.

Contrary to popular belief, it gives me no pleasure to write about a puzzle in negative terms. I basically end up wondering that if that puzzle had been submitted to the other three main editors, would it have made their paper? The resounding answer is almost certainly not, for a variety of reasons, but the main one being on quality.

In every other paper, the Saturday puzle is the Showcase Puzzle of the week and there was stiff competition last weekend with a strong Araucaria puzzle in the Guardian and our very own Anax’s wonderful (and ferociously difficult) Independent, as well as a lovely Times puzzle. This limped in some way behind even the Financial Times puzzle.


1a    Ham awkward to carve (7)
OVERACT – An anagram (indicated by “awkward”) of TO CARVE produces a word meaning to ham things up in a theatrical sense.

9a    Lithe ibex fell tragically (8)
FLEXIBLE – Another anagram (this time indicated by “tragically”) of IBEX FELL produces the type of friend that the Access Credit Card was meant to be.

10a    Bearing slipper with inflationary instrument (3-4)
AIR-PUMP – A word sum comprising a word for BEARING OR MIEN plus a similar type of footwear to a slipper giving an instrument to inflate things.

11a    Give William notice (8)
HANDBILL – This was the first of a number of clues which were so weak in terms of structure. A word meaning to give or issue and add to it a short version of the name William.

12a    Respect less than half the final outcome (6)
RESULT – Take three letters from “respect” and add the legal abbreviation for final to get a word meaning outcome.

13a    Giant hunter’s star-studded waistband (6,4)
ORION’S BELT – A weak cryptic definition for a group of stars in the sky.

15a    Mathematical lines coil round (4)
LOCI – An anagram of COIL leads to a mathematical term for lines associated with a circle, I think. I fail to see the merits of any anagram of less than five letters.

16a    Drink enjoyed by hypochondriac one hears (9)
CHAMPAGNE – A homophone of the drink associated with the film Gigi. Think SHAM PAIN. Cue music.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21a    Spirited contest (4)
GAME – Two definitions.

22a    Newspaper on a double bed? (10)
BROADSHEET – Two definitions, one cryptic (hence the question mark). The other refs to newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph and Financial Times

24a    New books on churchyard having indentations (6)
NOTCHY – I did wonder whether this started out as the usual attempt to produce a pangrammatic puzzle (one which contains every letter of the alphabet within the grid) because this was such an unusual word. A word sum of sorts. N (New) + OT (“Books” – Old Testament – a frequently used crosswordism) + CHY (Church + Yard). This was discussed at length last Saturday and it seems silly to repeat it.

25a    Bearing part of train (8)
CARRIAGE – Another double definition.

27a    Assumption that building had not been completed (7)
PREMISE – Assumption is the definition and the other part indicated PREMISE(S).

28a    Man first about to return record (8)
REGISTER – Word sum. REG (Man) + IST (first) + ER (RE – about – reversed).

29a    Change one’s habit, that’s the remedy (7)
REDRESS – If you re-dress you would change your habit (as in clothes). To seek redress means to look for balance.


2d    Sound container in larynx (5,3)
VOICE BOX – Double definition which would not make the most newspaper puzzles as both definitions are the same. There’s an accepted convention that definitions should be different as in having two headings in the dictionary.

3d    Hit the notes during rhythmical monologues (3,5)
RAP MUSIC – Same as two down, both halves almost equal the same, although the definition of RAP is discrete.

4d    Happen to arrive at the mountain route (4,2,4)
COME TO PASS – Happen is one definition, often used in the Bible, and the other is a cryptic definition of the same thing.

5d    Excuse uncertain pleasure (4)
PLEA – Excuse if the definition and if “pleasure” was uncertain it would not be sure. I suppose this could be described as an inverted cryptic clue where you have the elements of the answer visible but need to follow a cryptic step to arrive at it, a description that, on reflection could be applied to 20 down.

6d    Leaving second book (6)
EXODUS – The second book of the Old Testament is a word that means departure.

7d    Bound to be appreciative (7)
OBLIGED – Double definition, although the two definitions here are a little greyed together.

8d    Fact it is in early development (7)
REALITY – The word IT is place inside an anagram (indicated by development) of EARLY to give a word meaning the type of Television that’s hijacked our screens.

11d    Wig, or just part of single strand? (9)
HAIRPIECE – Another double definition with one half cryptic. Another word for a toupee or just a single strand of its make-up.

14d    One tending to work late (5,5)
NIGHT NURSE – Cryptic definition (along with CHAMPAGNE, one of the better clues) Nurses are people who tend or minister to patients’ needs.

17d    Say German on watch had item found in kitchen (3,5)
EGG TIMER – Word sum. E.G. (say, for example) + G (German) + Timer (watch)

18d    Same ship coming to prominence (8)
EMPHASIS – An anagram of same ship – is “coming” a valid anagram indicator. Probably only in Private Eye crosswords!

19d    Former pupil’s remedy not easily understood (7)
OBSCURE – Another word sum OB’S (Old Boy’s – former pupil) + CURE (Remedy) with the remainder as definition.

20d    Our imprisoned heart (7)
COURAGE – There has been enough debate about this clue. OUR inside CAGE (imprisoned = put in cage).

23d    Most uninteresting rough ride good man concluded (6)
DRIEST – This could either have been DIREST or DRIEST – an anagram of DIRE plus ST. You had to solve 25 ac to find out which fitted. Not seen as fair by many.

26d    Single night, only part of it, spent in valley (4)
GLEN – Hidden in “Single night” is the name of a valley.

2 comments on “DT 26151

  1. Agree with you about this. I found it very easy—and boring—so tossed it and went on to the Times Jumbo cryptic!

  2. 10a Could be interpreted as something which enables bearings to slip i.e OIL? – luckily the ‘i’ in the middle didnt mess up 2d!!!

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