DT 26163 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26163 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26163 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

The return of the pangram! In order to get every letter of the alphabet into this puzzle, there are a few awkward words. A setter that I spoke to last Saturday said that in a proper pangram all 26 letters should be checked – here J, Q, V, X and Z are all unchecked.

If this one isn’t enough for you, then have a go at our alternative puzzle, which is available at midday.

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, 18th February.


1a    Frustrate pair going round mouth of river for starter (6,5)
A word meaning to frustrate is followed by a pair of people around the start, or mouth, of River to get a starter, as in the first course of a meal

13a    Take off first red garment in sketch (4)
Take the first letter of red away from an item of ladies clothing to get a sketch, as in short dramatic scene

22a    Last character from Westminster area first great disappointment (4)
Westminster is in London, SW1

27a    Not a certain follower (8,6)
The disciple who famously said: “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails … I will not believe” (John 20.25)

28a    It cuts cable’s width off (11)
This type of knife (it cuts) is an anagram (off) of CABLE’S WIDTH

An opportunity for a song by one of my all-time favourite rock’n’roll singers, the late great Johnny Burnette (because the answer is in the lyrics!)

ARVE Error: need id and provider


2d    Game’s not finished before Frenchman’s sandwich (6-8)
Drop the last letter from a game that Alice played with a flamingo instead of a mallet (and a hedgehog as a ball) and follow it with the French for Mister and you get the French equivalent of what we would describe as a toasted ham and cheese sandwich

7d    Brae (4,2,8)
What and where is a brae?

25d    Pack five letters (4)
A word meaning to pack could be described as a range of five letters (1,2,1)

26d    Cheek of jay taking another bird (4)
A word meaning the cheek, as in the side of the face, is a combination of the letter jay followed by a wise bird – say no more!

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!

82 comments on “DT 26163 – Hints

  1. 7d i an attempt to be one of those clues like “Gegs” (9, 4,) It really needs a definition of sorts.

    Some good stuff in there but the pangram needs produced one or two answers that were more forced than a Guantanemo Bay waterboarding.particularly 12 cross, which was a shame as there were some good things in the puzle as well.

    For a proper pangram puzzle try today’s Guardian prize crossword:-

    Click to access gdn.cryptic.20100213.pdf

  2. 7d – interesting. I haven’t seen this puzzle, but the clue is a reversal of a classic; originally BRAE was the answer.

  3. Agree with Tilsit about 12a being a bit of a stretch although I thought the majority of the clues and answers were very entertaining and humerous.
    I think Mary will like 3d
    My favourite was 20a and 27a
    26d was a beauty

  4. I didn’t enjoy this puzzle and I agree with Tilsit that some of the answers were forced. The answer to 2d appeared in the Telegraph General Knowledge crossword a fortnight ago and I have to admit that this was the first time that I’d come across it. Get all your jobs done early, Mary, there’s some tribal warfare going on in Cardiff this afternoon!

    1. there certainly is Caravaggio and may I ask which tribe you belong to :) also great cup tie at the moment – soccer – Cardiff v Chelsea 1 all at half time come on Cardiff :)

  5. Overall a satisfying – if rather quick – solve with several very good clues; I’d join Nubian in selecting 20a as best of the bunch.

    On the minus side the wordplay syntax for 13a seems all wrong; “first red” for R – OK, passable but only because it’s a device that’s been used before, but the positioning of “garment” doesn’t make it clear that this is where the R needs to be dropped. And “out” in 21d isn’t exactly helpful as a container indicator.

    I didn’t know about the pangram cross-checking “rule”. Blimey! As if getting all 26 letters in wasn’t hard enough…

      1. If you were called Miss Spelling one could ask,” How about misspelling miss-spelling, Miss Spelling?”

  6. I do like the minimalism of 7d – it was intimidating ’till I stopped relying on my faded knowledge of “oor Wullie” and typed it into Chambers. 18d brought back fond memories of slow motion.

    Didn’t like 22 across – an alternative spelling that wasn’t in Chambers online but that was in my hardcopy of Oxford.

    I agree with Nubian about 26d.

  7. PS: I know this is O/T and I don’t really go for self-promotion, but Elgar told me he managed my puzzle in today’s Independent in under 10 minutes – so if you fancy a nibble it appears not to be a particularly hard one. Missus.

    1. Rats!
      Picked this up too late. A quick trawl of the local outlets this morning revealed that they had either sold out on the day or had already sent any ndold papers back.

    1. For the drink (in the wordplay) think of e.g. orange juice, usually watered down. For the answer, think of what may be done to a false rumour.

  8. I enjoyed today’s puzzle more than many of the previous Saturday crosswords. It seeed to me as if it had a bit more meat in it. Many thanks to Cephas.

  9. Now that I’ve stopped daydreaming about Pamela Anderson, could someone explain how 4d breaks down? It seems to be a convoluted bits’n pieces, but I don’t understand how it works – I can just about glimpse it through the fog.

    1. Another word for a lady, a musical note, the french word for say, and the final letter of May….

    1. In 9a the demarcation that is referred to, could be a boundary of a country for example. This is then followed by another word that could be used for a lawsuit.

        1. OK try this re. demarcation, whats the name given to the area between Scotland and England? (Especially the area between Northumberland and the Lothians).

  10. Finished at last, too many things going on today to be able to concentrate, i liked 9a once i got it, also liked 25d, 26d and 24a, harder than a few Saturdays I think, lots of work for CC today, thanks for the help Libellule :)

  11. Unlike most of the others today I found this an uphill battle and didn’t think I d finish!!! Lots of words I have never heard of!!!! Can you explain the water in 5d?? Please don’t say its because they are dried?? and 25d where does ‘5’ come in?? I could add more questionsbut I’ll stop there. Snow has melted here thanks god!

    1. 5d – take away “IS” and you get left with the water

      25d – the answer can be read as a group of five letters starting with the first letter of the answer and ending with the last.

    2. Hi Lizwhiz1, I found it tough too, so you are not alone
      5d the type of water that comes from the sky?
      25d if you have the correct answer, there are 5 letters of the alphabet from the 1st to the last last as the answer says
      Hope that helps

  12. Hi Liz

    At 5dn the clue tells you to put IS inside a word that .. well, it’s something made of water!
    25d points to a sequence of 5 letters starting with *.

  13. Vast improvement on recent Saturdays.
    I agree that 4d and 22ac are wordy but I thought the rest were pithy and amusing.
    Congratulations to setter.
    I think your 2* rating for enjoyment is a bit niggardly……and what do you mean by the letters being “checked” (vide supra)

  14. After a few quite successful stabs at Saturday puzzles, I don’t seem to able to get into this one. Even with BD’s hints and some useful comments, I still completed only 9 answers. Back to the bottom of the CC again …

    1. Oh Newbie don’t worry, i am still back and fore there myself and todays is a lot harder than in recent weeks

  15. Mary,how about calling it the ‘Clueless Club Class’ as some in there including yourself have moved up and are waiting at the door about to leave?

    1. Ah but Nubian, that door is not open wide enough and keeps shutting on me, obviously not ready yet :)

  16. Finally finished – though found it more tricky than uaual for a Saturday & not a great puzzle. 17a made me smile though :-) (married to a train buff!) and I liked 20a, 2d and 7d

  17. Finally got there, with a lot of help, including a friend who is better at these than I am. Only 1* enjoyment for me, as I found some of the clues pretty obscure. I only solved 12a and 22a towards the end because BD said this is a pangram.

    Bearing in mind Anax’s comment on 21d (#5) I don’t understand the clue at all, so if someone could explain it I’d be grateful. The checking letters are there and there’s only one instrument I can think off that fits, although I was sure it had a double 4th letter!

    1. Newbie, it doesn’t have a double letter. It is another word for turn with someone who should phone home on the end

      1. Thanks for your comments, guys. I had the right answer and rather think that including something about phoning home would have made for a better clue!

  18. Still limping along – annoyed with myself that I have managed the Calais clue 4d – is the answer a girl’s name which might sound vaguely French? All help gratefully received. This is a harder puzzle than last week though is still quite enjoyable.

    1. It’s the “said” in Calais ie in French which gives the clue,and the last word inthe clue gives the meaning.

  19. Late starting today but finally finished thanks to some help from the blog. I thought it quite a challenge but enjoyable.

  20. Thank you – still puzzled, but no doubt the ‘Penny’ will eventually drop. Is any part of the clue in French?

  21. I’d appreciate help with 18d – despite cheating with the word finder I cannot come up with a word in the English language which fits!

    1. That’s because the answer is a TV programme (starring Pamela Anderson and the Hoff)

      The first three letters are another name for the laurel and the rest is a synonym for to see

      1. Ha Ha – so obvious! Thanks BD – I now get the earlier reference to Pamela Anderson by Shrike. I thought I had missed something there – or that it was a man thing. Actually I think day dreaming about her most definately is a man thing – all I can now think about is being on a hot beach with a cold drink in my hand…………sigh.

  22. Stuck with 3d & 6d. Is 6d four consecutive letters in “forest Reynard”?. If so it’s not a word I’ve heard of meaning three.

    1. 3d Fairly good receptacle (4)
      It’s a double definition – a colloquial word meaning fairly good or a receptacle like a waste-paper basket

      6d – yes – it’s used in cards to describe the three of a suit. Perhaps you didn’t have a misspent youth!

      1. Thanks BD. That was a swift reply. Despite having had a misspent youth it’s not a word I know. Currently having a misspent middle age & about to embark on a similar old age (dv). Keep up the good (& entertaining) work.

  23. Spent most of the day watching rugby, firstly local “grass roots” match (it was brass monkey weather), followed by televised six nations match (far more civilised), so only just got around to the crosswords.

    I thought todays cryptic was a big improvement on recent Saturdays, certainly more meaty .. esp liked 1a, 7d and 25d.

  24. Very interesting puzzle for me – for the first time in months I got this out in just over an hour without reference to dictionaries, reference books or electronic aids.
    It had an international flavour – a bit of France, a wee touch of Caledonia, some Latin and of course culinary aspects!
    Good job from the setter!
    It is hard to pick out best clues – but I liked 25d as well as 7d which made me laugh – I cannot say why as it would give the game away!
    Cannot find the apostrophe mark on this keyboard – I am chez my daughter at the moment. They were skating up in Friesland yesterday afternoon while i sat here and did the puzzle. At the moment one should spell it Freezeland! we nearly had an elfstedentocht this winter but it was cancelled – too much snow on top of the frozen waterways.
    Have now found how to operate apostrophe! (can’t).
    Good luck to all you solvers!

  25. Didn’t get to start this until 8PM last night after lots of driving up and down the M1 and found it tough by the usual Saturday standards. Didn’t like 7d at all but overall it was enjoyable and I finished after a couple of hours of angst and furrowed brow. Thanks to the setter.

  26. I found this one particularly tough for a Saturday and was much the better for it. 20a definitley a favourite as well as 16a for the confusion it wrought in my brain.

  27. Hi,
    I’m a frequent reader but this is my first comment. I was hoping for some help with 23a. I’ve got the answer and it makes perfect sense with the second part of the clue ‘in which to deposit eggs’ but the ‘point in bridge reference has me stumped. Could someone ease my ignorance? Many thanks.

    1. Hi Oliver – welcome to the blog.
      23a Point in bridge in which to deposit eggs (5)
      You need one of the points of the compass inside another word for bridge or traverse.

  28. Nearly there! Would like a little help with 6 d – I suspect that Reynard is an important bit in this – and I know it as an animal, cannot work out what I need to do with this clue. Any help, as usual gratefully received!

    1. Terry

      It’s the English word for what is called a brae up north of the border. If you don’t know that then it is difficult to give a hint, but the whole answer is a financial institution that was bailed out as a result of the credit crunch.

  29. Well, having finished the previous three Saturday puzzles in less than a day each – given domestic interruptions I must say I found this one a stinker.
    Still have three unsolved but am convinced others are wrong and therefore spoiling the chance of finishing until I can see the solution. Sad thing is, I’ve lost the will to persevere any longer. Not one of my favourites by a long way !!

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