DT 26181 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26181 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26181 – Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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, 11th March.


1a    A way to join the union? (8,7)
You both need to attend this to become man and wife!

18a    Dealer smelt rat suspiciously (8)
This dealer in an essential ingredient of whisky is an anagram of SMELT RAT, indicated by suspiciously

26a    Like the one that spoils the barrel? (6,2,3,4)
One apple like this is all that it takes


1d    Staff included a question about monkey (7)
Put A QU(estion) inside the staff that was once wielded by Michael Heseltine to get a monkey of the genus to which the rhesus and the Barbary ape belong

3d    Now detaining a shady criminal (2,4,3,3,3)
A phrase meaning now is an anagram, indicated by criminal, of DETAINING A SHADY

5d    South American youngster, he was betrayed (6)
… by Delilah

21d    One cannot sit still and do this (6)
Move about restlessly – with ants in your pants!

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!

81 comments on “DT 26181 – Hints

  1. This was a good workout,all clues were fair and a sense of acheivement was gained from finishing it.
    My only gripe as usual is the requirement to be able to speak French or German.
    Dave,or maybe Libellule, do the French use English words in their crozzys like weekend, roast beef et al ?

    1. Interesting point Nubian, although I had heard that crosswords were a “very English” activity.
      Do our friends across La Manche have similar distractions?

  2. I agree with Nubian. This was a much better Cehpas puzzle with some more difficult clues to get your teeth into and some nice clues to savour. Many thanks to Cephas for keeping us on our toes this week.

  3. I apologise for disagreeing with my two previous esteemed contributors but I didn’t enjoy this puzzle. Is qu an acceptable abbreviation for ‘question’? And ‘the centre of Henley’ runs to four letters… I am probably in a grumpy mood because I’m being starved of rugby this weekend!

    1. Caravaggio

      Both Q and QU are accepted abbreviations in Chambers and Bradford’s. I suppose it is in the context “Qu. 1”.

    2. I thought 8d was a fair clue – *** in the middle of Henley. Overall, a better standard of Saturday puzzle than we have been used to of late. I liked 4d, after initially looking for a river!

  4. Going well this am, started ealier which must have helped. Can I have a hint for 22 a. There seems to be an anagram (altered) but I can’t see it.

    1. Its an anagram of denimsi plus a cricketing term for leg to give a word for measurement.

      1. I was going to ask a question on a cricketing term for leg, but it’s obvious now you’ve said the anagram fodder doesn’t include OF – close though!

  5. Thanks, Dave, and, yes, I was referring to Id. After having posted my comment, I checked in a dictionary of abbreviations and found that ‘qu’ is not only an abbreviation for ‘question’ but also ‘queen’ – and that surprised me as well.

  6. A little more difficult I thought than the usual Saturday crossword but have completed with a little effort, come on CC members, nice day, nice crossword, thanks Dave just needed your help with the monkey, out to enjoy the sunshine now, speak later :) well done Prolixic on setting such a difficult word on COW and for the ‘summing up’

  7. Very enjoyable crossword today, I liked 18a, simply because it seemed appropriate after the discussion on toughie 313.

  8. This was certainly an improvement on recent prize crosswords.
    22a May prove tricky for our non cricketers :smile:
    Several decent clues, although I thought 25a was perhaps overelaborate!

  9. A really enjoyable and satisfying crossie today. Perhaps a little harder than some Saturday ones but some very pleasing clues. Took a while to get NW corner but others went in smoothly. Particularly liked 12a and 20d. Great one for CC I think – come on you guys :-)

  10. The former chairman spent far too long staring at the second word in 1 across, even with all the checking letters in. It’s probably going to be that sort of day……Otherwise an OK puzzle, with what I would suggest were several rather weakish clues. I tried to vote more than once on BD’s star rating to reduce it to a mere 3*. Fortunately his software proved sufficiently robust to resist that sort of nonsense…..

  11. A good Saturday puzzle from Cephas. Last one to go in for me was 20d and worked backwards as to why it was what it was. Liked 12a and 24a for the reason that I had always thought it had an “h” on the end. Live and learn.

    Didn’t need the hints but thanks for the explanations Dave.

        1. Mary – think you will find that the laternative spelling in Chambers is without the “h” – I looked it up as wel to make sure I was right.

          Have you seen this week’s COW? Not going to be easy to get brain around that!!

        2. Without the H is a valid alternative (in Chambers) and it also appeared that way in DT 26165 (by Ray T).

          1. Obviously I didn’t do 26165 for some reason – shame as I enjoy Ray T’s puzzles. Thanks Gazza. The third alternative is even stranger!!!!

  12. I have enjoyed today’s crossword. I have managed to get all but two. I am struggling with 4d and 9a. Are you able to give a hint please?

    1. Hi Brenda,
      9a, think of a legal place where a racket might be exposed and also a sports area where you might use a racket
      4d this is an old type of currency using anagram of ‘chosen’ after the first two letters of Greek, ( I think ) I had to look it up myself :)

    2. Thank you Mary. 9a was staring me in the face just didn’t see!! Don’t think I would have got 4d without the hint. Thanks again

    1. Mary it does give it as an alternative without the “h” and there is an even stranger one as well as the third alternative.

    2. I also thought thiswas incorrect however the free dictionary states *****/*****h also ***** – “The dried, fibrous part of the ****** fruit, used as a washing sponge or as a filter. Also called dishcloth gourd, vegetable sponge”.

  13. Gazza – Dave – whoever is modulating – think you need to amend brenda b’s last comment as it has the answer in it.

      1. Thanks Gazza – on the ball as usual. BTW I liked your COW but I bet you were pleased it wasn’t top of the hit parade again so soon.

        1. Yes, Lea, I was sweating a bit as I scrolled down through Prolixic’s final post, but he ended up with the right winner. His comprehensive review seems to have raised the quality bar so high that a lot of people will dread the thought of winning!

          1. He did an excellent review didn’t he? That with his crossword a couple weeks ago sure put him up there with the talent.

        2. Well the former Chairman was pleased not to have won – and he hasn’t looked at this week’s offering yet. I hope the judging panel remembers its original brief – to fit comfortably in a Times cryptic in Ximenean-style. I would wish my compiling style, such as it is, to be considered as leaning towards the Libertarian as I’m a fan of Araucaria.

  14. Sluggish start from me – not tuned in – I then accelerated into 3rd gear and then OFF into 4th, 5th and into the fast lane. Had to check 4d and 11a but confirmed my answers.

    Done watching my son in the wind-band – now preparing for cub swimming gala – non stop in Hertfordshire!!

    Sun shining too!!!!

  15. Had my doubts about this one, but only four to go now, thanks to a few comments. Off to watch Torpids for a while (the university bumping races on he Isis). Almost sunny, chilly breeze.

    Maybe a few more comments will fill my gaps for me later.

  16. I hope that everyone’s going to have a go at the Anax “special” NTSPP-004. Don’t be put off by thinking that it’ll be “extra-Toughie” standard. Anax has deliberately aimed for a normal Cryptic level, so anyone who attempts the Cryptic every day should feel at home with it. It is very enjoyable!

    1. I’ve just printed it off so we shall see what’s what. Didn’t attempt last week’s but did a good portion of Prolixic’s so felt quite pleased with myself and enjoyed the review on it afterwards.

  17. Well, having just returned to the former Chairman’s laptop, at this particular moment I could select from one of the following options –
    1. Yesterday’s Toughie
    2. Today’s NTSPP
    3. Any free crossword from the Grauniad
    3. BBC iPlayer to watch BD’s young protegee, Ms Vorderman, on Question time from the other night. Or maybe his links to YouTube for her successor…
    And the winner is……………..
    Erm, not a crossword, I guess

  18. Struggling with sw corner. I’ve almost got my head round the clues but can’t quite reach that eureka moment. Other than that it’s been a good day. Whilst researching 23a google returned telegraph crossword 25595. I’m sure it’s one you veterans remember well.

  19. When I came back to the final four, after a break by the river, they fell into place quite easily – must have been something the fresh air! One of them was 16a; had I asked for a hint on that earlier, I’d have made myself look a bit daft I think!

    I too had to research 23a on google, because I didn’t spot the significance of ‘included’, but learnt a new word in the process. 2** and a good one for the CC.

  20. Off to cub gala – to get over a defeat for the mighty West Bromwich Albion. Some interesting comments above and some great bloggers.

  21. Goodness me, have I had a blistering day! Took nipper to her first Pompey match (super 2-0 win to take us to FA Cup Semi) and now finished prize DT Crossword.
    Am i feeling smug or what?
    Favourites today include 3d and 26a…….;-)
    Hope everyone has good evening. Cos I am on cloud 9 !

  22. Did anyone else find this a really difficult puzzle or is it just me? Usually I look forward to finishing Saturdays but this is dreadful. This week has seen someof the most difficult sets of puzzles I can remember. Even the hints are of little help. Still can’t see 1a. Come on DTand compliers, could we in the CC have some encouragement this coming week.
    Sorry Mary but I really do think it is time you moved on from the CC as you are now much too good for the rest of us :-)

    1. not just you Barrie, it was tougher today & you can push all u like i’m not budging :)

      1. I think maybe taking part in the COW helps me to understand the clues a little better maybe?

        1. if you look on r/h side Barrie under these comments, there is a link to it, it is a site run by Anax, where each week a word is posted by the previous weeks ‘winner’ and you have to write a cryptic clue for it, it is all good fun, and everybody is very helpful especially when you first start

          1. Cheers for the info to Barrie Mary, tempted me to have a go, though this weeks winner winner has to be Gazza.

            1. well done Kram, will look out for you, I am pepsib on the COW site :), bet Gazza hopes he doesn’t win again, cos the winner has to provide the word for next week, which is ok, but they also have to do the judging and write up!!

  23. Barry,

    I think that Saturday’s puzzle was more difficult than those of previous weeks, it was not just you.

    In respect of 1a, think of a ceremony in church or a registry office where a couple become husband and wife.

  24. Still here due to a change of plans until the summer.
    Good puzzle. First in was 1d so its first letter put me on to 1a!
    Had to get the three 15-letter anagrams out of the way and progressed smoothly thereafter.
    Liked 18a, 4d, 8d & 16d.

  25. Started late yesterday and didn’t have time to get to the end before domestics again took priority but have just finished it in time for coffee this a.m.

    Still don’t understand 25a (assuming I’m right with my answer) and quite a few of the others needed assistance from you all or by electronic dictionaries !

    Still, a good puzzle and they are becoming more enjoyable as I get the hang of them better.

    See you next week

    1. 25a Getting on a bit in German locality of battle where valuable metal can be found (9)

      Put a word meaning “getting on a bit” (we all get there in the end!) between G(erman) and where a battle is fought – “where valuable metal can be found” is the definition. A little confusing as the last part is usually “mine”.

      1. Thanks BD, I understand it now – knew it had to be the right answer but just couldn’t get my head around the reason. Got the valuable metal but decided it had to be something to do with a battle***** but am not “up” on German battles !! Trying to be too clever !

  26. Hi,
    Can someone explain 13a to be please. I think I have the answer but don’t understand how.

    1. I’m stuck on this one too.

      Stuck on 23a also. These are my last two; but my usual tactic of staring at them for a long time hasn’t yet worked. Sigh…

      1. Tom
        23a. Inventor riskily included gold lace (5)
        You’ll kick yourself! – it’s a hidden word.

        1. daghh! Can I kick myself now?

          Thanks Gazza. I had reduced myself to running through the names of famous inventors with an “Ag” (for gold) in their name. Haha. Just this 13a thing to go now. As with Gethyn, I have an answer, it hazily makes some sense; but not enough for me to write it in. Nearly there…

    2. Gethyn
      13a. Became fixed in the rose garden perhaps (8)
      It’s a verb meaning became fixed or implanted (used of a journalist attached to a military unit).

  27. Lots of brain scratching with the west side. 13a,16, and 2d ,16d. I suppose thats the story? I may have 17d wrong, is this what happens in baseball/american football games?

    1. 17d Suitable moment in the open air to have short break (4,3)
      Yes it is! The first part is a charade “suitable moment (4)” and “in the open air (3)”.

  28. Completed and enjoyed it very much. Equalled my best ever run (I’m a Saturday’s only chap) but that’s not too tricky…
    Especially liked 4d and 3d.

  29. Thought I was getting somewhere with the Saturday puzzles. Not this one though. Didn’t even spot the cricket clue. Roll on next week…

  30. First time comment! Have always enjoyed the additional ‘clues’ of Big Dave’s blog. Hope I am not too late with this one. Have 16d , I think , but don’t understand the ‘fruit’ bit of the clue. Any help anyone?

    1. Hi Dentian – welcome to the blog.
      16d One becoming involved in someone else’s concern for fruit, say (7)
      The answer sounds like (say) a type of apple.

Comments are closed.