DT 26196 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26196

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26196

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Other setters may be easier, harder, more elegant, more devious but Jay continues to provide one of the best puzzles of the week.

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1a    Make fun of one backing detectives (within law) (8)
{RIDICULE} – a word meaning to make fun of is built up by putting I (one) and the detectives reversed (backing) inside (within) law

5a    A drug smuggler with time and charm (6)
{AMULET} – a charade of A then someone who smuggles drugs, often by swallowing them, and T(ime) leads to a charm

9a    Plan for rejecting large pastry dishes (9)
{STRATAGEM} – this plan is a reversed (rejecting) of words meaning (very) large and pastry dishes – I’m sure I have seen something like this recently

11a    One glows, seeing the Queen accept one of her own awards (5)
{EMBER} – a piece of live coal or wood that glows is simply created by putting an award inside the Queen

12a    Engineers put back — try to call again (6)
{REDIAL} – after the Royal Engineers add a synonym for put, reversed, and the result is a word meaning to try to call again

13a    Mysterious erotic dancing by last couple of ladies (8)
{ESOTERIC} – a word meaning mysterious is created by putting an anagram (dancing) of EROTIC after (by) last couple of letters of ladiES

15a    Standard allowance given to prisoner — a result of arson (13)
{CONFLAGRATION} – a charade of a standard, as in a military emblem, and an allowance being placed after (given to) Crosswordland’s prisoner gives the result of arson

18a    Did this genius change, getting recognised? (13)
{DISTINGUISHED} – an anagram (change) of DID THIS GENIUS results in a word meaning recognised

22a    A salesman returns it whenever getting a drink (8)
{APÉRITIF} – back to the charades – A then a salesman reversed (returns) followed by IT and IF (whenever) are strung together for an appetising drink

23a    Twenty runs — one’s keeping count (6)
{SCORER} – another word for twenty is followed by R(uns) to give the person who counts the runs, and records them

26a    Clerical habit right for student in congregation (5)
{FROCK} – to get this clerical habit put R(ight) instead of L (student) in a congregation

27a    The dark wood, for example, from such a venue (9)
{NIGHTCLUB} – charade time again – the time of day when it is dark is followed by a golfer’s wood to get a venue that comes alive after dusk

28a    Go straight for soldiers’ prison record (6)
{REFORM} – a word meaning to go straight, as in to not offend again, is, surprise surprise, a charade of those Royal Engineers (soldiers) and a prison record

29a    A revolutionary on principal source of worry (8)
{HEADACHE} – our final across clue is a charade! – A and the revolutionary that decorates a million T-shirts follow (on) a chief (principal) to get a source of worry


1d    Regularly urge stringent limit (8)
{RESTRICT} – as a change from the overworked soldiers the first two letters are the even ones (regularly) of uRgE – these are followed by a word meaning stringent to get limit, as a verb

2d    Challenged a heartless rule adopted by theologian (5)
{DARED} – a word meaning challenged is created by putting A and the outside letters (heartless) of RulE (yes, those two again) inside (adopted by) the initials that indicate a theologian

3d    Boo queen’s visit? (7)
{CATCALL} – a shout of derision (boo) is a charade of a queen, of the furry variety, and a visit

4d    Symbol of good in ladies? (4)
{LOGO} – this symbol is created by putting G(ood) inside the ladies (or maybe the gents)

6d    Experts in raised shirt seams (7)
{MAESTRI} – these experts are surprisingly well hidden and reversed (raised) inside shirt seams

7d    ‘Amaze’ in two words — and one in one’s ear (9)
{LABYRINTH} – a rather strange clue which turns out to be a double definition – ‘amaze’ in two words is ‘a maze’, and this is also part of the ear

8d    Part of eastern Europe once providing most of the competition (6)
{THRACE} – this former area (once) of eastern Europe is now south-eastern Bulgaria , north-eastern Greece and the whole of the European part of Turkey – you get it by running together most of TH(E) with a speed competition

10d    Horses that add up and beat good odds at last (8)
{MUSTANGS} – horses from the wild and woolly west are constructed from a word meaning to add, reversed (up), followed by to beat, G(ood) and S (oddS at last)

14d    Design it? I once had concealed lighting (8)
{IGNITION} – ignore the question mark, this lighting is concealed inside design it I once

16d    New editor on holiday drinking rum went to sleep (6,3)
{NODDED OFF} – start with N(ew), the ED(itor) and not working (on holiday) and then insert (drinking) a word meaning rum, as in unusual, to get a phrasal verb meaning went to sleep

17d    Move abroad supported by the French – lovely! (8)
{ADORABLE} – an anagram (move) of ABROAD is above, in this down clue “supported by”, the in French to get a word meaning lovely

19d    Second fiddle — that’s a horrible thing! (7)
{STINKER} – S(econd) and a synonym for to fiddle in trivial ineffectual ways give a horrible thing (like some crosswords!)

20d    India accepted quote was provoking (7)
{INCITED} – IND(ia) is placed around (accepted) to quote to get a word meaning provoked

21d    The boss’s mistake on termination of labour (6)
{GAFFER} – this boss, or manager, is made up from a mistake followed by (on) R (termination of labouR)

24d    What might be left in dishing out rice? (5)
{RELIC} – anything that is a survival from the past (what might be) is created by putting L(eft) inside an anagram (dishing out) of RICE

25d    Look good surrounded by Spanish cheer (4)
{OGLE} – to look lecherously comes from G(ood) inside (surrounded by) a Spanish cheer, maybe at a bullfight

Jay stays firmly in the middle of the Telegraph Crossword road with yet another excellent puzzle

42 comments on “DT 26196

  1. My first chance to tackle a cryptic this week, owing to other less interesting demands.
    Found this most enjoyable, a number of decent clues with good surface reading.
    Especially liked 9a and 8d, but needed to refer to dictionary to remind me of the definition of mule included in 5a.
    Thanks for the review Big Dave.

  2. Very enjoyable! My only criticism is that I think there is a bit of ambiguity in 26a. (CluedUp confirmed I had it the wrong way round). Thanks Jay for an excellent puzzle.

    1. I find this use of “on” to mean before in down clues and after in across clues exceedingly annoying. The down clue construct is ok, but the across clue one is tenuous. [Cue Anax with an argument for the setter!]

      1. ON
        Hehe – as if I would! To be honest I don’t like “on” meaning component B comes after component A in across answers. The trouble is that “on” has so many meanings, and among the interpretations we have placenames such as Clacton on Sea, which means Clacton by the Sea, or Henley on Thames which means Henley is alongside the Thames – neither suggests left or right. But what has happened in crosswordland is that (tacitly I think) crossword editors have agreed that “on” as a charade component in across clues should mean only one thing, to keep things consistent.
        Most setters are probably grateful – “on” is a quick and convenient way to indicate juxtaposition, avoiding “after”, “following” etc which would quickly become repetitive. Where charade components are given in order the setter already has the freedom to use no indicator at all, or simple ones like “and”, “with” etc.

  3. Dave,

    Was your comment about 7d being “rather strange” a criticism? I thought it was a clever clue and, in fact, the best one.

    1. Odd is used a lot in this context in Yorkshire, e.g. in the phrase ‘That’s a rum do’

      1. Yorkshire towns seem to be the theme in today’s guardian puzzle. Being a southener, I gave up half way through!!

  4. I seem to be back on track, really enjoyed today’s puzzle and finished it almost in time for Clued Up. I particularly enjoyed 9a and 6d, but got 26a the wrong way round and don’t know why a cat is a queen — it may look at one, I suppose.

    And incidentally, BD, re your hint for 19d, I have some pretty horrible thinks too, sometimes.

    Now I must go and plant my pansies. :-)

  5. Jezza,

    Made same mistake as you, entering flock for my answer. I’m still struggling with this type of clue.

  6. Excellent crossword which, unusually, I managed to finished in my 30 minute lunch break – now have to get back on my head!
    I really liked 9a – is this new or have you ‘old-timers’ seen it before. It made me chuckle
    I also really liked 6d – once I had spotted it

  7. I think we had 7d (part of the ear) just a few days ago. Favourite clue – 15a. Clues such as this reminds me of why I love the English language so much!

  8. I think some of the CC’s will find this a bit challenging.All of the clues were a thrill to develope. Quality never goes out of fashion.
    8d was my favourite clue and 18a was very enjoyable also.
    Thanks for the blog Dave

    1. Yes indeed Nubian I found it very challenging but have finished it without the blog, lots of books and machine though! Like others i have got 26a the wrong way round thinking the definition was congregation!! I did enjoy it but would have failed miserably without my ‘help’ but that’s part of the fun for me, come on CCs you can you know :), just going to read the blog now to ‘see’ what i didn’t understand, fav clue 9a, though it took me ages to see it, thanks Dave once again

      1. Yes challenging but fun. Needed some electronic help but not the blog except to explain some of the contructs. eg had answer for 15a but couldn’t explain the flag bit – so thanks BD.
        Favourite 27a

    2. I certainly did find it challenging and didn’t finish again even with the hints. It’s so confusing when ‘one’ = ‘a’ or ‘i’ or nothing at all in today’s 11a! Will I ever learn things like, eg in 25d, where the definition is ‘look’ rather than ‘look good’ … ? (Heaves big sigh and scuttles back into the corner…)

  9. Nice. Clues like 4d make Jay’s puzzles a joy to solve. Many thanks to him and to BD for the notes.

  10. Late to this today on account of a drive to Brum and back.
    Sorted most over a bacon sarnie and cup of tea then just finished SW corner upon getting home,
    lovely puzzle as ever from Jay,
    thanks to him and BD. Nice piccies – worth the extra ten minutes!! ;)

  11. Solved this one exceptionally quickly!
    Best clue for me was 27a along with 9a, 15a, 4d, 7d, 8d & 24d.
    Many thanks Jay.

  12. Zoomed through bottom half having started in the SE corner (as I always do). Found the top half tricky and it distracted me on and off through a DULL meeting until I got it completed. Last to go in was 12a which is, on reflection, one of the easiest.

    Best one of the week so far. 3.5* – liked 1a.

  13. Hated it, could only do half. Thanks for the review as i learned a few more contructs/synonyms.

    1. Me too Wingnut. I was pathetic. barely out in five if I’m honest. What does charade mean – I’m reading it more and more. Perhaps I can be forgiven for m addled brain as I HAD MY LAST CHEMO YESTERDAY. YAY!

  14. Late as usual (in France) but I enjoyed this, although not too taxing. I particularly liked 9a) the backward Mega tarts and the three-parter of 15a) Conflagration. Wasn’t too happy about the tense between “provoking” and “incited” though in 20d).

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