DT 26163 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26163

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26163

A full analysis by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

It’s always worth checking the Saturday Prize puzzle to see if a pangram (all 26 letters of the alphabet) is in the offing. As soon as you spot two or three of the letters J, Q, V, X and Z then there is a good chance that, like today, the others may be lurking in the undergrowth. This was a pleasant puzzle and the improvements, over the year that we have been writing reviews, has been noticeable. As ever my complaint is that I, and many others, would prefer a more difficult puzzle.


1a    Frustrate pair going round mouth of river for starter (6,5)
SCOTCH BROTH – a word meaning to frustrate is followed by BOTH (a pair) around the start, or mouth, of River to get a starter course

9a    Demarcation dispute that is touch-and-go (10,4)
BORDERLINE CASE – combine BORDER LINE (demarcation) and CASE (dispute in court) to get something that is touch-and-go

11a    Egg on very useful members initially (4)
OVUM – an egg is obtained from the initial letters of On Very Useful Members

12a    Notice Michael’s said blend (5)
ADMIX – run together AD(advertisement / notice) and MIX (sounds like Mick’s / Michael’s) to get a blend

13a    Take off first red garment in sketch (4)
SKIRT – take the first letter of Red away from SKI(R)T (garment) to get a sketch, as in short dramatic scene – sorry Cephas, but I don’t think this one works very well

16a    Literate in a figurative sense? (8)
NUMERATE – literate in numbers – just about cryptic!

17a    Old fool found at the end of the line (6)
BUFFER – this double definition made me smile J

19a    Exercising for fun in decider (3-3)
RUN-OFF – an anagram (exercising) of FOR FUN gives this decider

20a    Aspic cooked with pepper (8)
CAPSICUM – an anagram (cooked) of ASPIC followed by CUM (combined with as in our attic-cum-studio or kitchen-cum-dining room) gives a red, or perhaps green, pepper

22a    Last character from Westminster area first (4)
SWIZ – Westminster is in London, SW1 – add the last character of the alphabet to get a great disappointment – the sort of thing Billy Bunter might have said if someone stole his tuck-box

23a    Point in bridge in which to deposit eggs (5)
SPAWN – put the compass point W(est) inside SPAN (bridge) to get a word meaning to deposit eggs

24a    In full it’s denoting inflammatory disease (4)
IT IS – it’s in full is IT IS which is a suffix denoting an inflammatory disease – unlike ology, Chambers does not yet recognise this suffix as a word in its own right

27a    Not a certain follower (8,6)
DOUBTING THOMAS – a barely cryptic definition of 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)
SWITCHBLADE – this type of knife (it cuts) is an anagram (off) of CABLE’S WIDTH


2d    Game’s not finished before Frenchman’s sandwich (6-8)
CROQUE-MONSIEUR – Drop the last letter from CROQUE(T) (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

3d    Fairly good receptacle (4)
TIDY – a double definition – as someone commented on the Saturday blog, you can hear Nessa (from Gavin and Stacey) saying it!

4d    The lady’s said in Calais to include note before end of May about genetics (8)
HEREDITY – HER (the lady) and DIT (said in French / in Calais) include E (musical note) and are followed by Y (end of MaY) to get the transmission of recognizable characteristics to descendants (about genetics)

5d    Fruit is in water (6)
RAISIN – to get this fruit put IS inside RAIN – yes, it really is that simple

6d    In forest Reynard spotted three (4)
TREY – hidden inside foresT REYnard is the three in a suit of cards (spotted three)

7d    Brae (4,2,8)
BANK OF SCOTLAND – this clue is usually the answer and the answer is the clue

8d    You and I back majority that are farthest to the left (11)
WESTERNMOST – WE (you and I) with STERN (back of a ship) and MOST (majority) – can you equate west with left?

10d    Security Don arranged out of town (11)
COUNTRYSIDE – an anagram (arranged) of SECURITY DON gives what you find when you go “Out of Town” – does anyone remember those wonderful programmes with Jack Hargreaves?

14d    Hard work fruit propagators do (5)
GRAFT – a double definition

15d    Crush drink losing its head (5)

18d    Laurel to see programme (8)
BAYWATCH – I noticed that this caused a lot of problems – it’s worth remembering that the bay is the laurel (and vice versa), just add WATCH (see) to get this popular TV programme where no-one cared about the plot

21d    Long way out musical instrument (6)
SPINET – put PINE (long) inside ST (street / way) and you get this old-fashioned musical instrument

25d    Pack five letters (4)
STOW – another old chestnut that caught a lot of people out this time around – a word meaning to pack could be described as S TO W (s,t,u,v,w / five letters) – watch out for A TO M and other variations on this theme

26d    Cheek of jay taking another bird (4)
JOWL – a word meaning the cheek is a combination of the letter Jay followed by OWL (bird)

4 comments on “DT 26163

  1. Jack Hargreaves! – God, that takes me back.


    Just in case you were getting nostalgic, BD

  2. Thanks Big Dave, now I have the answer I see where all my mistakes were, so will (maybe) remember some of the lessons learned !

    Still don’t understand where CUM comes from in 20a although I got the anagram part and worked out what the answer had to be – where does “attic cum studio etc.” appear from ?

    A long way from my favourite because I only got frustration and no satisfaction from it. But it’s good to be reminded of Jack Hargreaves !

    1. Pete,
      Dave explains it in the log. From Chambers:
      CUM – used as a combining form to indicate dual function, nature, etc, as in kitchen-cum-dining room.
      Effectively cum = with

      1. Thanks Libellule, obviously need to use Chambers rather than my old pocket Oxford !

        Right, on with 26169 which at first glance fills me with as much horror as the last one !

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