DT 26208 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26208

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26208

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Another Wednesday, another pleasant puzzle from our regular setter. As usual, there’s not too much in the way of awkward stuff but there are one of two things to make you think a little.

As usual, have your say after the analysis. The answers are contained inside the curly brackets after each clue and can be highlighted to reveal the solution. You can also click in the stars after the blog to give your verdict on the puzzle.


9a    Weak start to fashionable bar (5)
{FRAIL} To start today, you need to find a word that means weak. It’s a simple word sum. Start to fashionable (F) + a word meaning bar or track.

10a    Remove water from the yard, worried in case of disease (9)
{DEHYDRATE} An anagram of THE YARD which is contained inside DE (the “case” of DiseasE)

11a    Jack comes back, and people struggle to get on (3,4)
{RAT RACE} In Crosswordland, Jack can have several meanings but the one most used is that of a sailor, as in his nickname “Jolly Jack ___” and that is the word needed here. Reverse it, and then add a word for an ethnic group of people and you get a phrase meaning the sort of daily struggle that people encounter. The phrase was believed to be first encountered in the 1950’s.

12a    Relief especially found during ceremony (7)
[RESPITE} ESP, apart from being associated with the paranormal, is also an abbreviation for “especially”. This goes inside a popular crossword word for a ceremony.

13a    Additional source of security for customs (5)
{MORES} An unusual word, found in this meaning in the plural only, derived from Latin. It’s made up of a word meaning “additional” and add the letter S (the source of security) .

14a    He bills me in order to add unnecessary details (9)
{EMBELLISH} An anagram(indicated by “in order”)of HE BILLS ME reveals a verb meaning to add unnecessary details to something.

16a    Reselecting cost some radical politicians (6,9)
[SOCIAL DEMOCRATS} This sounds a nice topical clue, but I think the anagram indicator is rather poor. An anagram (indicated by “reselecting”) of COST SOME RADICAL will lead you to a group / political party more widely known in Europe, though thanks to Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams, there was a flurry of popularity in Britain before they merged with the Liberals.

19a    A foreign sensation, but hard-hearted (9)
{UNFEELING} A foreign word meaning “A”, this time in French and add a word meaning “sensation”, which means hard-hearted. Not keen on this clue, as it basically just leads you to the opposite of “sensation”.

21a    Craftsman working by degrees (5)
{MASON} An artisan used to working in stone is needed here. A word meaning “working” as in “switched __” goes alongside (by) an abbreviation for (master’s) degrees.

23a    Deterioration in health due to engineers’ mistake (7)
[RELAPSE} The sort of problem I have with my trips to hospital. “Engineers” is often used in Crosswordland to mean the Army Regiment known as The Royal Engineers. Take the initial letters and add a word that means slip or mistake.

25a    Determined defender’s disappointment (7)
{SETBACK} If you are determined, you are “__ in your ways” and add a word meaning a defender in soccer. This will give you a word meaning a disappointment.

27a    Run down giant deer in confusion (9)
{DENIGRATE} An anagram (indicated by “in confusion”) of GIANT DEER

28a    The girl who can exist on nothing? (5)
{OLIVE} A girl’s name is needed here and it’s made up from a letter that indicates nothing and add a word that means “exist”.


1d    A group of flyers rising at a distance (4)
{AFAR} A word sum. A + an abbreviation for the armed service that flies which is reversed. This leads to a word meaning at a distance from something.

2d    Footballers court alternative agent (6)
{FACTOR} Another word sum. An abbreviation for the association associated with soccer players + a short way of saying court (CT) +a word that indicates an alternative. This leads to a word meaning agent or part of.

3d    Tidies up, delayed by new start (5,5)
{CLEAN SLATE} A phrase associated with making a new beginning is made up of a word meaning “tidies up” and add a word meaning “delayed” or “behind time”.

4d    Get stuck for a day at this point (6)
{ADHERE} An abbreviation for “a day”, not a specific one is added to a word meaning “at this point” and leads to a word meaning “get stuck”.

5d    Backache? Rub immediately, hugging the little angels (8)
{CHERUBIM} A hidden answer. A word referring to a group from the order of angels: “Backache? Rub immediately”.

6d    Says more when covering dropped case (4)
{ADDS} “Says more” is your definition. A short word meaning “when” has the case (see 10a) of “dropped” inside.

7d    Church made of barium and quartz (8)
{BASILICA} A word for an old Roman church is made up of the chemical symbol for Barium + another name for a type of quartz, often found in gel form.

8d    Worried? Seen her old man wear these? (10)
{LEDERHOSEN} One of those clues, some will like, but I can’t help feeling it lacks something. An anagram (indicated by “worried”) of SEEN HER OLD with “man wear these” as the definition, should lead you to find the name of clothes worn by certain European men. Here you see Big Dave on an evening out at the local.

13d    Fancy dress do built around square dancing (10)
{MASQUERADE} A word meaning “built or constructed” goes around an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of SQUARE will give you a type of fancy dress party. Nice clue, one of the best today.

15d    Look at firm proposal for process of moving (10)
{LOCOMOTION} Another good surface reading. An exclamation meaning “Look!” + an abbreviation for “firm or company” + a proposal (as used in a meeting or debate) will lead you to a word that means the process of moving, as in old steam engines. Alternatively…..

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Union supporting strike due to item of jewellery (8)
{CUFFLINK} An old word for strike as in “__round the ear”, and add to it a word meaning “union” or “join”. This will lead you to an item of jewellery for a man that seems to be dying out.

18d    Push fashion for private road (8)
{DRIVEWAY} A word meaning “push or force” goes before one that means “fashion or style” leads to another word for where you may park your car outside your house.

20d    Turn on charm, omitting final truth (6)
{GOSPEL} A word for a turn, as in a game. Add to this a word for a charm or incantation, without its final letter and you should find a word meaning a book of the Bible, which is derived from a word meaning “truth”.

22d    Interference on box in stable (6)
{STATIC} A double definition clue. A word meaning a type of electrical interference, as encountered with a TV set, and another word meaning still or stable.

24d    Hotel employee showing quiet maturity (4)
{PAGE} The musical abbreviation for quiet (derived from piano) + a word meaning maturity leads to the UK equivalent of a bell-hop in the States.

26d    Enthusiastic cry (4)
{KEEN} Another double definition clue. A word meaning “enthusiastic” also means “to wail for the dead” (See Chambers).

Thanks to Jay for an enjoyable puzzle.

34 comments on “DT 26208

  1. Thanks to Jay and Tilsit for the puzzle and review.
    Totally agree – 13d and 15d were favourites. A few clues to get you thinking and overall another fine Jay puzzle.

    1. Thanks for the name change on my comment above! – I only checked the email which came in from Big Dave and didn’t realise it was reviewed by you, Tilsit!

      1. Something strange happened when I published it – it stayed as draft on the dashboard. It was sorted quickly, but not before the emails went out automatically.

  2. Yes, yes, yes, thank you once again Jay, really nice puzzle for us CC members today, agree, liked 13d, 15d and fav clue 28a, lovely surface reading on most clues, liked it :) and its still only 10.30! thanks for review Tilsit, hope you are keeping well?

  3. Only got stuck on 2d – anything with football in seems to bring on a mental block! I got 20d but didn’t work out why until I read the hint. Nice puzzle!

        1. I found a good cricket site which gives me a lot of help, including all the strangely named positions. Otherwise I’d be useless too on that subject.

          1. PS: Still waiting to get my e mail from the Telegraph about my complaints. Another one sent about the dysfunctional Leaderboards. Am I the only person, apart from another couple or two, who keep checking their points? The Leaderboard spurs me on. If I haven’t done the crossword by the time this blog appears I submit it as unfinished.

  4. Thought this one was easier than most – finished it in about 30 mins which is good for me. Except, I had 20d wrong! I had “gushes” which i knew wasn’t quite right, but was sure that turn on charm = gush somewhere along the line.

  5. Maybe one day I might finish a week-day crossword … Failed on 4 and having 15d ending VE instead of ON didn’t help with 28a. Couldn’t see 4 and 8d either.

    Thanks to Tilsit for explaining why I got some of them! But, in 10a, doesn’t THE YARD become HYDRATE, after DE, rather than EHYDRAT within DE?

  6. Hi Geoff

    Theclue reads “…..the yard, worried in case of disease”. Thismeans it’s an anagram (worried) of THE YARD Inside (IN) the case of disease (the outside letters, DE).

    Hope this helps.


    1. Is that a sort of reverse anagram, where EHYDRAT becomes the anagram fodder for ‘THE YARD’?

  7. Welll I am in the minority today as I didn’t really enjoy this one except for a couple of clues. Liked 13d and 7d but didn’t like 13a nor 22d. The rest were okay but that’s about all I can say.

  8. Standard fare from Jay and none the worse for being so. I liked 13d,15d and 21a ( as a Freemason myself I took it to mean the Masonic degrees )

  9. Really struggled today, only got about ten before the blog came into play. Brain’s not switched on. Teacher says “could do better”.

  10. Straightforward puzzle with a fair mixture of clues – only four 100% anagrams and one partial anagram after yesterday’s load!
    My favourites were 7d & 20d.
    Spring has come to NL at long last – how are you all doing in GB?

    1. My sister in Terheijden (Een zeer klein dorpje ten noorden van Breda) has a bit of an 18DegC scorcher on her hands today. Its still a bit chilly at nights though!

      1. I see that you speak Dutch – are you Dutch or British?
        Mannelijk of vrouwelijk?

        1. I have not been down in that part of NL for a long time – I am 85+ y.o. so do not drive far out of the Leidse omgeving.

        2. I’m an Englishman and I cheated!. I have some kiddy Dutch for my God-Daughter (who’s English has been great from the ages of 3 – 7) and my nephew who is 3.

          My sis married a Dutchman and has been there for the last 7 years or so.

          To answer your other weather related question – We got VERY wet playing golf in Rugby last Friday and I am driving down to Okehampton in Devon this Friday for another weekend of Golf where the weather is due to be a bit better – so far this year I have played in a shirt only twice – hoping for more this weekend!

  11. Glad everybody else thought it was easy, I found it very tricky, only managed 3 answers!!

    1. Hi Barrie – I’m glad someone else finds things a bit tricky when everyone else is breezing though it in a couple teas’ worth!

  12. It all depends on the wavelength and this was mine. I worked my way happily through it and only sought help for the last two clues, 25a and 20d. If I’d been a bit more patient they probably would have come to me. 13d and 28a were my favourites. Courage, Barrie! And thank you, Jay and Tilsit.

  13. Thank you for this amazing blog – this was my second cryptic crossword and I only managed 3 clues on my own! I am learning by working backwards, is this ok? How long did it take people to become good at these?

    1. Welcome to the blog Lucy

      Learning by working backwards is one of the best ways to learn. There is no answer to the second question – it’s different for everyone, just keep at it.

    2. 20 years behind the chewed pencil, Lucy and still learning!
      Having this site as a resource will certainly help the curve!

  14. Got there in the end. It’s been a long day. Liked 13d. Didn’t understand some of the answers but still learning new constructs,thanks to this site. Cheers.

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