DT 26158 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26158

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26158

Hints and tips by Rishi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A none-too-difficult puzzle except for a couple of clues such as 31a and 16d that require a literary background and 2d and 4d that are from ancient history.

As usual answers are within the curly brackets and to see them you have to drag the cursor across the white space.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Top man realising some manoeuvring is required (13)
{GENERALISSIMO} – A word for ‘top man’ is derived by anagrammatising {’manoeuvring’) the letters REALISINGSOME – A neat anagram with smooth surface reading.

10a         To carve cooked ham (7)
{OVERACT} – Another anagram, also quite neat. This time the letters TOCARVE are rearranged (‘cooked’) to get a word that means ‘ham’ as a verb.

11a         Cost of stocking the river with birds (7)
{EXPENSE} – By ‘stocking’ (putting in) a word that means birds (female swans, to be exact) in the name of a river, we get a word that means ‘cost’. What do you think of the surface reading of this clue? Comment invited.

12a         Sound sense of position (4)
{SITE} – If you pronounce (‘sound’) a word that means ‘sense’ (rather one of the faculties that receive sensations) you get a word that means ‘position’ (as a noun or perhaps more particularly as a verb).

13a         Lad about to return stolen property (5)
{BOOTY} – A word that means ‘lad’ is taken around OT (reversal of TO, ‘about’ being the reversal indicator) to get the answer that means ‘stolen property’.

14a         Plant where workers strike for more money (4)
{MINT} – Double definition – Plant/ where workers strike for more money. Question: Is ‘more’ really necessary here?.

17a         Application for wood and nails (7)
{VARNISH} – Straightforward – ‘Application’ in the sense of what is applied onto something. Presumably, polish that is applied to one cannot be applied to the other.

Application for nails

18a         Almost declare, with runs at Oval starting to be briskly scored (7)
{ALLEGRO} – All but one letters of a word that means ‘declare’, plus an abbreviation for ‘runs’ that is used on cricket score cards, plus the first letter of Oval give a musical term that means ‘briskly’.  The cricket metaphor is kept up with words ‘declare’, ‘runs’, ‘Oval’ and ‘scored’.  I like this clue very much for what may be called ‘extended metaphor’ (as opposed to what we have at 31d).

19a         It provides an opening for parachutists (7)
{RIPCORD} – Straightforward.

22a         The Spanish are after an adjustable clasp knife (7)
{SCALPEL} – The Spanish definitive article following a readjustment or arrangement of the letters CLASP gives a word that means ‘knife’ usually used by surgeons.

24a         Formerly of some concern (4)
{ONCE} – A word that means ‘formerly’ is extracted from ‘cONCErn’, ‘of’ and ‘some’ indicating that it is hidden in the word that follows.

25a         A creditor I’d made bitter (5)
{ACRID} – A (a), an abbreviation for ‘creditor’, and ID (I’d), when put together, give a word that means ‘bitter’ (You didn’t have to work much for this answer).

26a         Cold anger makes him turn tail (4)
{ERIC} – If you take the letters of the name of a boy (‘him’) and reverse them, you get a single-letter abbreviation for ‘cold’ and a word that means ‘anger’. Or should I say that if you take the letters C and IRE (‘anger’) and reverse them, you get the name of a boy? The surface reading is smooth but I am not sure if the word operation comes out very neatly. I invite your comment particularly on this clue.

29a         U.S. coach right to oppose racial trouble (7)
{RAILCAR} – The US term for a ‘coach’  is obtained by placing a single-letter abbreviation for ‘right’ opposite to AILCAR, obtained by anagrammatising RACIAL (‘trouble’ being the anagram indicator).

30a         It may qualify as part of an agreement (7)
{PROVISO} – The word for something (such as a clause) that forms part of an agreement and which qualifies it – in the sense lays down conditions.

31a         Iron out a bottleneck, for example (5,8)
{MIXED METAPHOR} – Rather a difficult clue. The first four words are an example or illustration of a figure of speech wherein two or more metaphors are joined incongruously.


2d           He votes for a European king (7)
{ELECTOR} – Double definition – He elects (one who elects)/ a European king  (the title formerly belonging to those princes and archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire who had the right to elect the Emperor).

3d           Forced to bring up the cheese (4)
{EDAM} – When you reverse (‘bring up’) a word that means ‘forced’, you get a word that is a type of cheese – I confess that I first brought up cheese and then I was forced to revise the answer. I must also express my reservations on the phrase ‘bring up the cheese’ where neither rearing nor vomiting is involved. One may bring the cheese. ‘Bring up’?

4d           Ancient city where Syrians went to a chin-wag? (7)
{ANTIOCH} – The name of an old city in Syria is derived by jumbling the letters TOACHIN. The anagram indicator is ‘wag’. Thus one part of ‘chin-wag’ is a section of the anagram letters and the other is the anagram signal. I like the ingenuity. The question mark alerts that something funny is going on.

5d           Apathy I retain, however moved (7)
{INERTIA} – A word that means ‘apathy’ is obtained by anagrammatising the letters IRETAIN, the anagram indicator being ‘however moved’ (of course, you must move them in a particular way!)

6d           Drains made up as an afterthought (4)
{SAPS} – A word that means ‘drains’ (as a verb) is got by putting together SA (reversal of AS) and a two-letter abbreviation of postscript (‘afterthought’)

7d           Objecting to baby-sitting? (7)
{MINDING} – Two definitions – Objecting / baby-sitting. The –ing termination gives you last three letters of the word required.

8d           Takes the plunge without consulting the directors (4,9)
{GOES OVERBOARD} – A phrase that means ‘takes the plunge’ is obtained by a phrase that suggests what happens when a business executive bypasses the directors who sit at the meetings of the company.

9d           His aim is to see that people settle (4-9)
{DEBT-COLLECTOR} – The term for an official whose job is to see that those who borrowed money ‘settled’ or paid up. Nice cryptic definition.

15d         Turf out? Of course (5)
{DIVOT} – A cryptic definition for clod that is dislodged by a bad shot on the golf course

16d         Novel house, but starting to let rain in (5)
{BLEAK} – B, the initial letter of ‘but’, plus a word that means ‘to let rain in’ (or to allow fluid to pass through),  gives a word, which with House is the title of a novel by Charles Dickens.   Easily obtainable but I don’t like this clue.

20d         Picnic arranged to entertain posh composer (7)
{PUCCINI} – U, a single-letter abbreviation for upper-class (‘posh’), inserted in PCCINI, an anagram of PICNIC (‘arranged’ being the anagram indicator) gives the name of a composer, an Italian operatic composer .


21d         Form of art having spirit and propriety (7)
{DECORUM} – a four-letter word relating to a certain art style plus a word for a spirit or drink gives a word that means ‘propriety’.

22d         News item — though a cert favourite comes last (7)
{SNIPPET} –  A word for a news item  is derived by putting together a word that means cert (for certainty, as in the phrase ‘dead cert’) and another that means ‘favourite’). I solved this from the definition and from the second part of the clue. ‘Snip’ in the sense of ‘cert’ was new to me. The surface reading is none-too-pleasing.

23d         After the wine I join the company in the porch (7)
{PORTICO} –  A word for ‘wine’ plus I (which we just pick up) plus a two-letter abbreviation for ‘company’ all together give us a word that means ‘porch’. Nice, plausible surface reading.


27d         Yearn for each other (4)
{ACHE} – We get a word that means ‘yearn’ by anagrammatising the letters EACH (‘other’ being the anagram indicator). I am not too enamoured of this clue despite the neat surface reading.

28d         Flower goes to politician in ceremony (4)
{POMP} – A two-letter name of a ‘flower’, the crosswordese for river (read it as ‘flow-er’ or one that flows), plus a two-letter abbreviation for a politician gives us a word that means ‘ceremony’.

60 comments on “DT 26158

  1. Oh dear. That is the worst start I have made for a long time.

    Kicked off with 12a as HERE (sense, position), which led to BATH as the first word of 10d (take the plunge)
    Then 3d as MADE
    Then with some confidence, as I had checking letters from 20d,21d,22d, I went and put WIDEN MOTORWAY for 31a. Didn’t seem like a very good clue to me.

    After that everything went horribly wrong!

    I am going to lie down for a bit. Can I join your club Mary?

    1. Later.

      Finished it – just needed help with 13a. That was all quite enjoyable once I’d unravelled the initial disaster with some Tippex.

  2. I thought this was a poor puzzle.

    22d is poorly constructed, 26a is at the ridiculous end of clue setting and as for 3d, yes bring up made me heave!

    Too many clues have been created.

  3. An easy start to the week .
    Rishi, I ref 15d, taking a ***** on the golf course is not always a bad shot, it is quite common to do so ,so long as you replace them afterwards.

    1. Thanks, Nubian.

      I must confess I know little of golf and perhaps I ought to have been more careful.

        1. Actually, I am inclined to agree with Rishi on this one. Undoubtedly, the better players do this on purpose as Libellule says, but these are generally the players who have someone else trailing behind them to sort out the mess.

          For me, taking a divot is a bad shot regardless of where the ball goes, as I have to stoop down to put the thing back.

  4. Fun and games from Rufus today. 31a was the last to go in. It is one of those clues you either spot immediately or fret over for ages. For me it was the latter and it was only when I put the paper down for half an hour and then looked again at the cross-checked letters that the answer leapt out.

  5. I found this much easier than the last 2 Monday puzzles. Scratched my head for a while over 31a…

  6. Just working on this. I’m not good at anagrams anyway, so have had to use the help here—I also have reservations about 27d ‘ache’ and 3d ‘edam’ (that was easy enough!)–although I did get 22a!

    Have to go out now so will try to finish it later.

  7. Just goes to show that you can’r please all the people all the time! This doesn’t seem to have gone down too well, so far. But, I’m with Jezza – I thought it was a nice easy start to the week.

    Particularly liked 17a, 31a, 16d & 27d.

    I do have reservations about a few clues.

    22a. I thought “are” was unnecessary.

    29a. Got the answer form the anagram, but don’t understand “oppose”??

    30a. Is this too straightforward for a cryptic crossword?

    3d. Usual grumble about reversals where you need at least one of the checked letters before deciding which word is to be reversed. The clue is definitely written to suggest that it’s the cheese that has to be reversed.

    1. Hi Vince
      With reference to 29a, I assume “oppose” is needed in the sense that R(ight) is to be placed opposite OR facing racial (anag).

      1. Sarumite,

        Thanks for the tip. However, although “oppose” may help with the surface reading, I still don’t like it. I feel that the R is adjacent to, rather than opposite, the anagram of racial. I got the answer, amyway, but I feel it could be confusing for some.

        1. agree about 3d vince, i went wrong there straight away and so got stuck on1a, by the way the spanish spelling of 1a, generalisimo , has only one s, maybe this is italian?? but as for 30a, it wasn’t strightforward for me :) anf took me a while

          1. Mary,

            The Great Red Book gives the Italian version of generalissimo only – no reference to Spanish at all.

    2. In 22A, I’d go further than “unnecessary”. In the cryptic reading, “are” is just plain wrong. There’s a well-known example of the same thing in Ximenes’s book (p. 50) – “I am in the plot, that’s clear (5)” as a clue for PLAIN. X points out that we really mean “I is in the plot”. Likewise, in this clue, Rufus really means “The Spanish is after”. X also provides examples of how to get round the problem. “The Spanish must be after …” does the trick, for example. Leaving out “are” works too, but produces a clue with newspaper headline grammar.

  8. Thanks Rufus, an enjoyable Monday romp, with a fair smattering of entertaining wordplay.
    24a and 27d may haved been simple, but were really well constructed in my view.
    Favourites, probably 8d, 9d and 16d.
    Thanks Rishi for your usual polished review.

  9. easy,peasy,lemon squeezy! (where does this saying arise from?!) well apart from 31a!
    Needed it to brighten up a dull sleet/snowy day here in canterbury :(

  10. 3d, 10a and 21d were the easy ones to start with, plus a few more before I needed my electronic friends (determined not to use the anagram solvers today!) and then the blog. The ones I didn’t get, even with the hints, were 13a because I was trying to find a word to mean ‘return stolen property’, 9d, 20d and 22d, ‘snip’ here was new to me too. Also new was ‘wag’ as an anagram indicator.

    Can someone please explain the hint for 18a? I don’t do cricket, so the only part of the hint I understood was adding the final ‘o’, then, with the answer revealed, the definition!

    1. Newbie,

      Almost declare is “allege” minus “e”. Follow this with R for runs, then the O. “Briskly scored” refers to musical score.

      1. Forgot to mention that “declare” helps with the surface reading, as it is also a cricket term, but not in the sense of “allege”.

      2. Thank you Vince. Completely mystified by that one!

        I presume that ‘oppose’ in 29a means the ‘r’ from ‘right’ is opposite the anagram of ‘racial’ … ?

        I wondered if 19a was also too straightforward.

    2. Hi Newbie .. I see the wordplay as follows ~
      18a Allegro = briskly scored (music)
      Alleg(e) = almost declare
      R + O = runs at O(val) starting.

    3. I Just ignored cricket reference altogether! You have almost the word which means declare (not as in cricket), followed by R for runs and O for Oval

  11. Did anyone else notice the similarity between 10 across today and 1 across from a week ago last Saturday – Ham awkward to carve (7)?

    1. Dave,
      I did, and was going to mention that this one also seems to be a “hoary old chestnut”….

    2. I saw it straightaway as well, just couldn’t remember the answer until I had the ‘a’ of 3d in place.

  12. Stuck in a couple of places – 31a included. I thought 9d was a neat Cryptic Definition.
    Can we lobby someone to get the Dutch cheese outlawed or something?

  13. Not the easiest puzzle to start the week but enjoyable. Esp loved 8d, it made me smile. Really struggled with 31a and had to resort to electronic help to get the second word which, of course, then gave the first. Last clue was 27d, took me ages to realise that ‘other’ was an anagram indicator!

  14. Tough one today lots of four letter clues that i struggled with, managed to complete without the blog though, did what Barrie did for the last word of 9d so that i could get the first word, if you understand me?? Liked 17a, 15d, 8d, and Phisheep you are welcomee in the CC any time but I think you might be slightly overqualified and become a bit of a black sheep :)

    1. Oh, very good, Mary. Most impressed. I wouldn’t be able to get nearly as far as I did today without the blog, although I did manage without the anagram solver.

      1. well there you go Newbie, I had lots of help from the anagram solver so you see, if i hadn’t i would have used the blog too :)

  15. Thanks for the comments – after 47 years of setting I can see I still need to try harder!
    Notes: OPPOSE. In the “big red book” (if that described Chambers) the first meaning is given as “place in front of”.
    OVERACT. The crossword editor informed me that a similar clue was being used shortly beforehand and I supplied him with a different one – which tried to mislead by using cricket terms – but although I understood it would be used, my original one appeared, and it was very similar. However I shall be able to use my new one in the future!

  16. I liked 14a, 8d, 15d and 16d. I also liked 10a when we had it last week!
    I did not like 29a (shouldn’t it be carriage rather than coach?), 19a (where’s the crypticism?), 22d (I thought snip meant bargain) or 5d (misuse of English IMHO)

  17. Hi GNOMETHANG and JEZZA, whilst your comments regarding the banning of such answers as EDAM and CONIFER in DT cryptic crosswords could be lauded within the Toughie ranks.Surely part of the reason for this sites popularity is that it encourages novices into the world of solving cryptic crosswords. I am sure that when you started solving crosswords Gnomethang, 20 plus years ago, that you would have patted yourself on the back in solving such a mouthwatering easy clue as todays 3d!. People in the CC etc. need such fodder for encouragement, and I for one want the pupose of this site to continue with the explanation of the reasoning behind such more’ish CC clues and others!.

    1. Well said Kram – 3d was one of the few clues I got today without help. It’s clue’s like this which keep this novice encouraged.

    2. Very well said Kram, as you say 6 months ago i was really struggling with clues like those now i see one and i think Ah yes i can do that and its a great feeling :)

    3. Kram/Fi/Mary – It is a very valid point that you all make.
      It’s probably just that familiarity breed contempt! As you have noted, after a certain length of time behind the ‘thinking stick’ it just gets a bit dull . However, as anax noted when I asked in this blog a few weeks ago, there are some words which crop up simply because they are hanging around at the end of the grid and require a definition.

      1. Yes gnomethang, I agree with your point of view too, whoever said that only one point of view is right :)

    4. The tongue in cheek comments made my gnomethang, and myself, refer to the regularity and repetitiveness with which some clues and answers appear in cryptic crosswords. When I was at school over 30 years ago, everybody knew the joke, “what cheese is made backwards?” I regularly see variations of this, and conifer (as an anagram of fir cone), and others, appearing in daily newspaper puzzles. Irrespective of one’s solving ability, from time to time I’m sure we all recall seeing the same clue reappear a few days later, under a slightly different guise.

  18. A nice start to the week – 1a is a new one for me. I liked 9d. Enjoyable time with a cup of cha. (10a is becoming a regular).

  19. I actually quite liked 1 across – it reminded me of Eric Morecambe in “The Magnificent Two”.

  20. As I mentioned last week, I rarely have time to attempt the Monday puzzle but I’ve done it again today without any difficulty but I’m not posting a comment to gloat. 18a is one of the cleverest clues I’ve come across in recent months and how the compiler resisted the temptation to use the words ‘run out’ to indicate the last two letters has left me bemused…

  21. Worked hard at today’s crossword, but we completed it in the end. Loved 8d, 16d and 31a…

  22. Hi all

    Thanks to Rishi for the review and also to Rufus for his puzzle.

    A nice start to the week. I got through this in good time except for 31a. I needed Rishi’s hint to solve that one.

    It was nice to hear from Rufus who is a crossword setting legend. 47 years of compiling – that is remarkable. In three years time we should send him 50th anniversary best wishes through this blog.

  23. I liked the range of clues and I liked the way words like oppose forced one to think through various meanings.
    Using oppose as it is seems to me perfectly legitimate; it is not always used with the sense of competing or taking a contrary position – as is the case with, say, opposite.

  24. Finished the puzzle this afternoon as am a day late – shall do today’s tonight! Not a difficult one this time. I liked all four of the 13 letter borders also 11a & 18a. For 26a, I presume that tall was the opposite of little by little? The cheese of 2d is becoming like Ur of the Chaldeaens!. 4d was a laugh.

Comments are closed.