DT 26172 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26172

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26172

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Once again Jay delivers an excellent puzzle in the Telegraph genre.

Please 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    Very popular, the Spaniard’s Inn! (5)
{HOTEL} – a word meaning very popular is followed by the Spanish definite article to give an inn

4a    No illusions, being unattached (5-4)
{FANCY FREE} – no illusions here – and footloose is the definition

9a    Take turns and vary number consumed (9)
{ALTERNATE} – a word meaning to take turns is built up from a synonym for to vary followed by N(umber) and a word meaning consumed

10a    One’s under fire — sounds fantastic! (5)
{GRATE} – you will find this under the fire, and it sounds like a word meaning fantastic

11a    Arrived by luck at Arthur’s Seat (7)
{CAMELOT} – combine words meaning arrived and luck to get the location of the Round Table

12a    Showed joy, seeing huge changes in youth (7)
{LAUGHED} – a word meaning showed joy is derived from an anagram (changes) of HUGE inside another name for a youth

13a    Not just missing start of carnival (6)
{UNFAIR} – a word meaning not just or equitable is created by dropping the first letter (missing start) from a carnival

15a    Somehow cut in across street — run for train (8)
{INSTRUCT} – put an anagram (somehow) of CUT IN around (across) ST(reet) and R(un)

18a    Idle when credit’s gone? (4,4)
{TICK OVER} – to idle as an engine does when running slowly is a charade of words meaning credit and gone

20a    Beer lovers drink last of ale, and one snaps (6)
{CAMERA} – the acronym for the Campaign for Real Ale is placed around (drink) the last letter of alE to get something that takes snaps

23a    Spectators run into kitchen (7)
{GALLERY} – the place where some of the spectators sit at the theatre is created by putting R(un) inside a ship’s kitchen

24a    Retired journalists are articulate (7)
{EXPRESS} – retired, or old, and newspapermen combine to give a word meaning to articulate

26a    Women dip into cash register for material (5)
{TWILL} – put W(omen) inside a cash register to get this type of material

27a    One’s part is ruined by English language (9)
{ESPERANTO} – an anagram (ruined) of ONE’S PART is preceded by E(nglish) to get this international language devised by Dr LL Zamenhof in 1887 (I hope!)

28a    Airman’s plan to protect one on trial (4,5)
{TEST PILOT} – this airman is the first one to fly a new aircraft – you get him from placing a plan around I (one) and then putting a trial in front

29a    Current import (5)
{DRIFT} – a double definition the first part of which is a slow current caused by the wind and the second is import as in tendency – get it?


1d    Principal European aristocrat’s number of people (4,5)
{HEAD COUNT} – combine a word meaning principal, as in the principal of a school, and a European aristocrat, maybe Dracula, to get an assessment of the number of people

2d    Symbol of baby elephant minders’ origins (5)
{TOTEM) this symbol, the sort used by native Americans, is derived from a word meaning a baby followed by the initial letters (origins) of Elephant and Minders

3d    Sort of lonelier nameless nymph (7)
{LORELEI} – an anagram (sort of) of LO(N)ELIER without the N (nameless) gives this nymph of the Rhine who lured sailors to their death

4d    Gives up food around end of June’s religious celebrations (6)
{FEASTS} – a word meaning gives up food, as some do during Lent, is placed around E (end of JunE) to get religious celebrations at which copious amounts of food could be eaten!

5d    Demanding environment for student — that’s annoying! (8)
{NEEDLING} – take a word meaning demanding and put it around L (learner / student) and the result is a word meaning annoying

6d    Milk preparation — turn up damaged after year (7)
{YOGHURT} – this milk product is created by putting GO (turn) reversed (up – yes, this is a down clue) and a word meaning damaged after Y(ear)

7d    The way home from a pub (9)
{ROADHOUSE} – a charade of a way and a home gives this type of pub

8d    Better workers taken on by journalist (5)
{EMEND} – a word meaning to better or improve is generated by putting MEN (workers) inside Crosswordland’s favourite chief journalist

14d    The mental state of a copper is felt badly outside (9)
{FACULTIES} – you need all these to remain sane – you get them from putting A and the chemical symbol for copper inside an anagram (badly) of IS FELT

16d    Ecstasy found in car, for example (9)
{TRANSPORT} – not the drug this time, although this is what it could do to you – a car is an example of the other part of this double definition

17d    Type of light source is agreed (4,4)
{VERY WELL} – a charade of a type of signalling light fired from a pistol when in distress at sea and a source of water gives a phrase meaning agreed

19d    Common ground with regard to drink (7)
{OVERLAP} – the ground that is shared is a charade of a words meaning with regard to and to drink (like a cat?)

21d    Hoped, when pride was shattered (7)
{ASPIRED} – this synonym for hoped as built up from a word meaning when followed by an anagram (shattered) of PRIDE

22d    A tyrant’s place supporting lower socio-economic groups (6)
{DESPOT} – to get this tyrant you need a place or location after (supporting – another down-clue construct) the lower socio-economic groups (not A, B or C – the other two)

23d    Intend to make a verbal attack (3,2)
{GET AT} – two definitions of a rather awkward phrasal verb – to intend, as in to mean, or to make a verbal attack

25d    Boredom shown by drunken nuisances (5)
{ENNUI} – a nice easy one to finish – a word meaning boredom (which seems only to occur in crosswords these days) id hidden inside (shown by) drunken nuisances

I have filed this very early as I expect to be out for most of the morning (and afternoon). How nice it is to be able to review a puzzle in which every clue should be attainable by the average solver.   23 down looks a bit tricky, but it is obvious when you know the answer (aren’t they all?)

47 comments on “DT 26172

  1. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get into this one – only 1a filled before looking for the blog. With the hints and checking letters, I filled in another 22. Not a good day, little enjoyment as well, but I hope I learned something. Back in the corner … !

    1. the path to the corner is in frequent use Geoff not just by yourself :) I found it an ‘awkward’ puzzle today if that makes any sense?

  2. Enjoyable outing from Jay today and perhaps a little trickier than his recent Wednesday wonders. Favourite clues were 4a and 7d. Many thanks to Jay and thanks for the notes BD.

  3. Most enjoyable – don’t know how CluedUp managed to give it 5* difficulty rating. BDs 2* would be pretty much spot-on. I almost gave it 5* for enjoyment though, but eventually settled on 4*.
    Nice work, Jay….

  4. Did anyone else put ‘set on’ for 23d before realising that the across answers would not fit? I feel I’m on a roll havinging completed the last 5 days – starting Saturday and including Sunday Telegraph – with no help! Wonder if it will last the rest of the week? Probably not as it’s been a long while since I finished a Friday crossword.

    1. I didn’t put it in, but it was in my head right until the end, when it was the last one to go in. I’d go along with those who thought it was a fairly straghtforward puzzle, but some nice clues all the same. I liked 23a, because it took me a bit longer to see it, and it seems obvious when the penny drops.

      Harry Shipley

  5. Enjoyed this apart from 17d which I got but did not understanf why.Thanks for the explanation! Off to enjoy the sunwhile it lasts, here in canterbury :)

    1. beautiful day here too Lizwhiz been out most of it and just finished off crossword, with a little help!

  6. I sometimes do the Quick Crossword as a kind of warm-up exercise for the Cryptic. So it helped that 19a and 27a had the same answer. Does anyone know someone who can speak it !!??

  7. Much harder than 2star for me.
    3d Yesterday we had a poet that I imagine most people had never heard of , today we get a nymph. I had l-r-l-i with o,e,e to fit and had no idea what was correct.
    8d Never heard of .
    16d Sorry don’t understand -how does ecstasy =transport?
    17d Are you saying that a type of signalling light fired from a pistol when in distress at sea is a “very”? I can’t find this definition anywhere.

    1. Greenhorn
      16d. the verb to transport can mean to carry away by strong emotion or to throw into an ecstasy.
      17d a Very light is a signalling or illuminating coloured flare, fired from a pistol.

    2. Understandable – the Lorelei is rather more a siren than a nymph. The other three are crossword favourites. I’d never heard of the Very Light until introduced to it by the DT crossword a number of years ago. Invented by Samuel W. Very in 1877.

  8. I thought it was very difficult.I sailed through yesterdays, but just looked at this one and knew I wouldn’t be able to complete it
    My cousin speaks Esperanto!

  9. Another fine puzzle from Jay. Only managed to get to this at lunchtime after a crap day but at least it cheered me up.

      1. Well!.
        My morning was crap!.
        I glanced at the Toughie and threw a few in but to be honest my heart wasn’t in it.
        Osmosis always gives me troubles and I couldn’t really give the time to the puzzle that it deserved. I ran through the ‘blog on the train home just to check.
        My fault and my mood made this not a good crossword day (apart from a late addition from a new setter ;-) )

  10. Must be me, thought todays was so tough that I only managed 5 answers! Just couldn’t get into it all. Not nice!

  11. I sailed through today’s in no time at all and then spent as long getting 19d as the rest of the puzzle. Once I got the answer I wondered why, just one of those brain freeze days I guess. Fav clue 20a as I am a member !

  12. I’m still a bit of a novice, but have been doing OK recently. However today has really floored me, and have to admit I didn’t much care for some of the solutions!

  13. Average fare today with answers that are hidden in my brain in the ‘ for crosswords only’ section
    Lorelei,very (light) etc. They were a bit dusty but I’m glad I kept them.
    19d was the most obscure clue,answer and blog description I think I have seen in the last twelve months on this site, quite quite ethereal.

  14. Just discovered your blog, and love it, so thanks. As a long time afficionado of DT crosswords (for 20 years, since it provided alternative entertainment to revising for finals at university… and now, MUCH better than doing work) I’ve always got frustrated at the last one or two I can never fill in (or three or four or five)… so this site is great. Biggest temptation is not to come to it too soon….. As it’s my first blog, can I ask – how do you tell who sets it? how do DT puzzles vary during the week, i.e. is Wednesday always harder than Monday, Thursday easier, say? Probably idiot questions, but it has always intrigued me. As for today’s puzzle – hated it, but got all but three. Thought 23d and 29a just sucked, didn’t like the apostrophe ‘s’ in the clue of 28a and 22d…. but have to say, did enjoy 10a and 16d

    1. Hi The Procrastinator – welcome to the blog.
      I’m glad that your procrastination has come to an end and you’ve introduced yourself.
      We only know who the setters are because they’ve dropped in to the blog and told us. Generally Mondays and Saturdays seem to be the easiest, and Fridays and Sundays are the hardest (currently these days have the same setters each week).

  15. Hi – it’s me again. Second day running and I have to say I love this site. I went through the crossword myself and answered more than half before resorting to your help. STILL don’t get the Very Well clue and never heard of Needling but I loved 11a and 18a and 14d.
    Have only been on this site twice and feel like I have a whole new lot of friends. News from Ripon – four weeks today I finish my chemo. There is only one way to deal with cancer and that’s to show it no respect whatsoever. Helen xxx

    1. Good on you Helen. As we used to say in the Royal Navy..Illegitemi nil carborumdum (don’t let the bast*** grind you down) and welcome to the blog.We are all on the same voyage of discovery here,some on the bridge and some in the engine room but all heading for the same port so keep checking in and Captain Dave will sign your your leave request when we get alongside. ( I am sure someone will correct my terrible Latin)

      1. I would echo Nubians sentiments!
        I wouldn’t worry about the Latin – if you were to have said “You Go Girrrl!” then that might have been different!.

  16. I’ve added 8d to the ever increasing list of new words I’ve learned since starting the DT cryptic last autumn. I haven’t been sad enough to write them down but eft and brad are at the top of it.

    This is probably a daft question but do some setters have a regular day and others don’t?

    1. Tricky, most setters have a particular style and this is normally highlighted by our contributors who make up the blog. Sometimes th setters themselves will comment towards the end of the day if something contentious comes up.

    2. Tricky
      As far as the main Cryptic is concerned (not the Toughie) we currently have a regular setter on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

  17. I enjoyed today’s crossword this evening but found it quite hard to get into, resisted the blog for as long as possible but it helped me to finish it off. Really enjoy reading the comments and the knowledge of the “pros”.

  18. Very late starting but probably more enjoyable than tonight’s football, thanks Jay :smile:
    A number of entertaining clues .. inc. 4a, 18a, 5d, 14d, but my favourite was 20a .. what does that say about me!!
    Thanks also for your review Big Dave.

  19. Depends who you support Sarumite! Better leave football alone though as most people will regard this blog as a sanctuary from football people like us.

    1. Afraid I gave up watching football years ago Percy .. too many prima donnas paid vast salaries for acting like spoilt children! I much prefer watching grass roots rugby, where the players knock hell out of each other and then share a few beers in the clubhouse afterwards.

  20. Can’t really argue with that analysis of the game i’m afraid, that is why i gave up my season ticket last year after many years!

  21. Very enjoyable tonight – I am a nightowl with the cryptics! DT reaches me in late afternoon.
    Some of the shorter clues were quite good.
    I liked 10a, 11a (nothing to do with Edinburgh!), 20a, 24a & 28a. 1d, 6d, 14d, 16d & 17d.
    Must now get some shuteye.
    Here on this side of the North Sea we have had a bit of rain to wash away the snow but it is still very cold. Another three and a half weeks to go for the equinox!

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