DT 26197 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26197

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26197

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

An improvement on last Thursday’s, but I still can’t get over excited. There are some good clues here, and some good surface readings, but the crossword on the whole is pulled down by the large number of its “same” style of clues and a general lack of inventiveness. Anyway “tant pis” as they say over here in France.

If you cannot decipher the answer from the hint, all you have to do is highlight the space in the curly brackets to reveal the answer.


1. Sweet-talk school governors demonstrating teaching aid (12)
{FLANNELBOARD} – The teaching aid is “a display board covered with felt, on which letters, pictures, etc backed with material will stick when pressed against it”. It is constructed from a synonym for “sweet-talk” followed by another word for “school governors” or any formal group or committee.

9. Elected soldier behind closed doors (2,7)
{IN PRIVATE} – A term used for something that is away from the public view. The soldier in this case is a soldier of the lowest rank.

10. High-pitched signal that makes bishop jump, reportedly (5)
{BLEEP} – You need the abbreviation for B(ishop) and then follow this with a sounds like word (reportedly) for jump. Just out of curiosity does anybody remember this cartoon.

11. Daughter, one receiving unexpected help in ancient city (6)
{DELPHI} – Put an anagram (unexpected) of HELP inside D (daughter) and I (one) for an archaeological site and a town in Greece once home to a famous oracle.

12. Make clear when one has short period abroad (5,3)
{SPELL OUT} – The definition is “make clear”, follow a term for “short period” or turn at work, and then add another term for “abroad” or not inside.

13. Bar or car? (6)
{SALOON} – Double definition.

15. One identifies transmitter by name – Leo, perhaps (4,4)
{CALL SIGN} – A charade of CALL (name) and then you need to remember that Leo is also part of the zodiac.

18. Special firm used in Scottish town (8)
{DUMFRIES} – An anagram (special) of FIRM and USED is also a market town situated close to the Solway Firth, near the mouth of the River Nith.

19. A horse exercised on the beach (6)
{ASHORE} – Another simple anagram (exercised) of A HORSE. Yet it has a smooth surface reading.

21. Brigade’s leader, close to guy shot accidentally (2,6)
{BY CHANCE} – The first letter (leader) of B(rigade) followed by the last letter of (gu)Y and another word for having a go will leave you with a phrase meaning accidentally or inadvertently.

23. Cunning vixen died (6)
{SHREWD} – The vixen in this case is a woman with a violent, scolding, selfish or nagging temperament. Think about Katherina in the relevant Shakespeare play. Got it? Now add D (died) and you should have another word for cunning. Simple and quite elegant.

26. Miserable time for returning flock (5)
{TROOP} – Reverse (returning) another word for possessing little or nothing with T (time) for a word that is normally associated with a body of soldiers.

27. Great work of art, seldom seen abroad (3,6)
{OLD MASTER} – An anagram (seen aborad) of ART and SELDOM is also a famous painting especially from the 15th to 18th century.

28. It’s good for the petrol station, say, as daring step works (7,5)
{PASSING TRADE} – Another anagram (works) this time of AS DARING STEP for a phrase that is used to describe customers who go into a shop when they go by it, rather than being regular customers.


1. Party in charity bazaar’s giving out equal shares for all (4,3)
{FAIR DOS} – Put that well used crossword word for party inside another word for gatherings of people who display or trade produce etc. and you should end up with an informal phrase that is used when something is right.

2. Horrify a European after revolution (5)
{APPAL} – After A reverse (after revolution) another word for the Sami people and you have a synonym for horrify or dismay.

3. Happy hour binge in one next door (9)
{NEIGHBOUR} – An anagram (happy??) of HOUR and BINGE, for the person who lives next door to you. According to Gazza happy is included in the list of anagram indicators in hisnew Chambers Crossword Dictionary, although he also doesn’t know in what sense it means rearrange.

4. Star clue (4)
{LEAD} – Double definition, the player of a chief role and something a detective might follow.

5. Like some offices in unoccupied factory? Not entirely (4-4)
{OPEN-PLAN} – If something was uoccupied it could be OPEN, now follow this with another word for factory with the last letter (T) removed (not entirely). The definition being “like some offices”. Not my favourite clue by a long margin.

6. Dissident ordered beer, litres (5)
{REBEL} – Another word for someone who disagrees with something (a nonconformist perhaps) is made from an anagram (ordered) of BEER and L (litres).

7. Ignore flying doctor in the guise of Apache leader (8)
{GERONIMO} – An anagram (flying?) of IGNORE followed by an abbreviation for a doctor was the Apache leader who became famous for his fight against the Mexican and United States armies.

8. Boy bagging trophy is very accurate (4-2)
{SPOT-ON} – An adjective for exactly right. Put SON (boy) around (bagging) POT (trophy).

14. Check on work after meek and mild type makes something to eat (4,4)
{LAMB CHOP} – CH (check – chess) on OP (work) is placed after another word for a sweet, mild-mannered person, the definition being “something to eat”, this is also a famous sock puppet created by Shari Lewis. When I originally started writing up the blog, I wondered if “check on work” referred to a mark that is stamped on goods or coins to indicate their identity or quality (usually associated with the far East).

16. Fail to get most important part and become discouraged (4,5)
{LOSE HEART} – Put another word for “most important part” onto “fail to get”, the definition is “become discouraged”.

17. Radical annoyed humanitarian organisation (3,5)
{RED CROSS} – Three in a row, this one being the easiest. Here you just need to tack another word for annoyed onto another word for socialist, the definition is “humanitarian organisation”.

18. Talk about girl coming out at beginning of Easter (6)
{DEBATE} – A shortened form of word for a young woman making her appearance into society followed by AT and the first letter (beginning) of E(aster).

20. Advocate has degree in English Language? (7)
{ENDORSE} – A word meaning to give approval of or support to, is constructed by putting D (degree) inside E (English) and a Scandinavian language.

22. Greek character, the brightest star? (5)
{ALPHA} – The first letter of the Greek alphabet is also the first or brightest star of a constellation. See Andy E’s comment below.

24. More carried by Wessex Trains (5)
{EXTRA} – Another word for more can be found hidden between the words Wessex and Trains.

25. Former PM, first to enter study (4)
{EDEN} – The name of a Prime Minister who governed from 1955 to 1957 is the first letter of E(nter) followed by another word for a secluded room for study or relaxation.

47 comments on “DT 26197

  1. Re Happy – I figured it went with the ‘Drunk/Tipsy’ anagram indication.
    I found this more enjoyable that recent Thursdays and agree that there were some nice surface readings. I completely failed to spot 15a for no good reason given that it was reasonably straightforward.

    Thanks for the review, Libellule and thanks to our mystery setter.

  2. Well, I’m chuffed since this is the first (virtually) unaided solution I’ve completed in some time, so naturally I thought it was excellent ;-)! I’d never heard of a 1ac – not around in my day…..

  3. Our Thursday puzzles seem to be divided into two camps – alternate Thursdays getting the better reviews; this being one of them. It seem that, like Tuesdays, there are two (or maybe more) setters.

    I agree that the surface readings for this puzzle were a lot better and it was more enjoyable as a result.

    Many thanks to our unknown setter and thanks to Libellule for the notes.

    1. Prolixic,
      I think there are about three setters who contribute on Thursday, as I think I can detect three different styles. Since Gazza is the other person who has blogged the Wednesday setters (before they became Thursday), I would be interested in his comments….

      1. Libellule,
        I’ve only ever reviewed Toughies on a Wednesday, and when I was doing the Thursday Cryptic it was J, so I’ve never blogged the current Thursday setter(s).
        I go along with the view that there are at least two setters, with today’s puzzle being a fair bit better than last week’s (although I agree with you that it’s not terribly exciting).

        1. Gazza,
          Apologies – good point, let me check who did Weds – looks like it was Tilsit, with BD filling in from time to time. Ah well – I await comments (if they read this).

  4. I found this fairly straightforward and uncontentious. I, therefore, enjoyed it, although I wasn’t happy with “happy”!

    I also wondered whether “shrew” can be considered a synonym for “vixen”. I know that either can be used to describe a nasty or ill-tempered woman, but you have to make that leap to get from one to the other.

    15a. I was caught out for a while by “Leo”. The first letters I had were I and N and assumed that the second word must be “lion”. I had to get the other two checking letters, before I got back on the right track.

    1. Vince,
      Re, vixen, I had the same thought, but a check in Chambers thesaurus returns, bitch, hag, harridan, scold, shrew and virago

      1. Libellule,

        Thanks. You prompted me to check with my Penguin Thesaurus. That gives a similar list, which includes shrew and, also, Xanthippe!!! I’ve never seen that word before. You could insult a woman without her even knowing, with a word like that!

        1. Vince,
          Excellent, I had forgotten about the wife of Socrates…. there is a lovely reference to her in the relevant Shakespeare play. where Petruchio compares Katherina “As Socrates’ Xanthippe or a worse”.

  5. Rather straightforward today.
    Chambers does have the plural of “do” as with or without apostrophe but it doesn’t feel right (1d).
    Favourie clue 7d..easy answer but i like the reading.
    Worst clue 13ac..why the ?..?

  6. Sometimes I wonder if should give up on cryptic crosswords … Not a good day for me.

    At least I learned the (or is it just one of the?) ‘well used crossword word for party’, although I was thinking along ‘lib’ ‘lab’ lines of course. Have to say I found the references to the Sami people and Norse language pretty obscure.

    1. don’t give up if you enjoy them Geoff, 10 months ago i couldn’t do them at all, now i complete them most days, albeit, usually with lots of help from ref books and little electronic friends :)

  7. Quite a laborious puzzle today
    No giggles along the way
    No smirks or moans
    No fleers or groans
    Just a fill in to do before Friday.
    Bu,,Bum tish
    I thank you
    I’m here all week

  8. Nice poetry Nubian, my mind is a bit slow today or i’d reply to you in verse!
    Hi Libelulle, thanks for the blog, didn’t need to use it but always love reading the explainations not sure about todays, finished but didn’t really enjoy, don’t know why, fav clues 7d, 13a

  9. Another lunch time whiled away – enjoyed it. Liked 18a and 20d most. Not heard of 1a but worked it out. In 26a, troop for flock? I am sure someone will tell me it is in Chambers – I really ought to by it though I try not to use dictionaries, anagram solvers or any reference book

      1. sorry that should be Droopyah, you do really well not to use anything, I’m afraid I have to use them all, that’s why I’m in the CC :)

    1. Why the reluctance to use reference books, etc.? Even the reviewers of this blog make reference to some, at times. If you had used one today, you would have had no doubt about “troop/flock”.

      1. Vince,
        When I write a blog up, I make extensive use of reference books and a Gazza, just to make sure we get as much right as we can before we go to press. Even then we make mistakes :-)
        When I do a crossword, I use Chmabers to cross check words, meanings, synonyms etc that I am unsure of.

            1. Libellule,

              I’m with you, too! I’m questioning why droopyh is reluctant to use them. I was referring to you and your fellow reviewers as an edorsment of their use.

  10. Straightforward but reasonably enjoyable, too many anagrams though. I liked 18a and 1d.

    1. Collywobbles,
      If you read the clue carefully you will note the use of “close to guy”, this means close as in ending. So the last/ending letter of guy is Y.

    2. Colywobbles it says close to guy, meaning the end letter of guy, not close to as in near :)

  11. Excellent puzzle today, hard but doable (is that a word?). Although it took some research to find out what a flannelboard was.

  12. How are you all so brilliant? I must be thick. but so what – I HAD MY LAST CHEMO YESTERDAY? What’s a badly filled in crossword compared to that. Bottom of the CC though mary – in fact i might need a new group all to myself. Welcome to the TYL for Thick Yorkshire lasses!
    Helen x

    1. no way Helen, you may be down the bottom today but tomorrow is a whole new day, well done getting through the chemo, my two friends have just had their lasy sessions too, hope it’s sunshine all the way for you now :)

  13. Finished but had to use thesaurus for 1a (Flatter), 20d (Advocate) and 23a (Cunning). Is that cheating? Had the office looking up “Flatterboard” for a good half hour before the real answer clicked into place. :)

  14. All done save 15a – convinced myself it was —-/LION. DER!!! Just got in from a lovely Indian meal.

  15. Only just finished as did not start until 8.30 but really enjoyed it, and only needed a couple of assists so thanks Libellule, a big late to agonise too long. Better than yesterday which I found hard. Remain with the CC for now but getting the hang of it.

  16. Very straightforward job this one.
    Best clues for me were 23a, 2d & 7d.
    Too many anagrams I think.

  17. Libellule, regarding 22d, Alpha usually denotes the brightest star in any constellation, not just Centaurus, although a quick Google search reveals that in 30 of the 88 modern constellations, this is not the case!

    Great blog though, I discovered it a month or so ago and it’s very helpful in understanding wordplays or possibly just finishing off the last couple of clues!

    1. Andy E,
      A quick check in Chambers (which I should have done originally) shows you are correct, and my original assumption re. Alpha Centauri is not accurate enough. Chambers has the following definition for Alpha – “the first or brightest star of a constellation”. I will modify the blog accordingly.
      Thanks for that.

  18. My first complete cryptic (although it took me a few days to do it!). Wasn’t sure about some of the definitions so came here to check and I’d come to the same interpretation which made my day.

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