DT 26209 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26209

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26209

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Libellule has moved, from next week, to take on Rufus every Monday.

Thursday is our mystery day and, unsurprisingly, no setter has owned up to any of these mundane puzzles! This one does has one or two better clues, 17 across for example.

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.


8a    One likely to have a nap in the afternoon? (7)
{TIPSTER} – echoes of the use of nap in last Saturday’s puzzle, this is a cryptic definition of a person who makes a living by providing advice about horses on which to bet – the last three words seem to be unnecessary padding

10a    I invested in property, in fact (7)
{REALITY} – put I inside an American term for property to get a fact, or truth

11a    Our pilots flying out of capital (4,5)
{PORT LOUIS} – an anagram (flying) of OUR PILOTS gives the capital of Mauritius

12a    Arrive on time bringing one of Santa’s reindeer (5)
{COMET} – a word meaning to arrive is followed by T(ime) to get the name of one of Santa’s reindeer – the others being Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen (Rudolph was added later)

13a    Classically elegant room (5)
{ATTIC} – a double definition – classically elegant in the Athenian style and a room at the top of a house – Attic means from the of Attica, the region around Athens, and can also mean refined, classical or pure (in taste, language, etc.)

14a    One taking Arabs illegally? (7)
{RUSTLER} – a cryptic definition of a horse thief!

17a    Ploughing ahead with it begs this question? (5,3,3,4)
{WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA} – an excellent anagram, signalled by ploughing, of AHEAD WITH IT BEGS results in this question

19a    Feature includes ‘North and South’ passage (7)
{TRANSIT} – take a feature, or characteristic, and insert N(orth) and S(outh) to get a passage or crossing

21a    Run over English international after start of race (5)
{RECAP} – to run over or review is derived by putting E(nglish) and an award made to someone who has played in an International match after R (start of Race)

24a    Boy in river, sacred one (5)
{RALPH} – a boy’s name is constructed from R(iver) and the sacred river from Kubla Khan

26a    Open-air restaurant’s bandleader (9)
{TEAGARDEN} – this open-air restaurant is also the name of bandleader Jack – when referring to a restaurant, the enumeration should be (3,6)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Zoe originally seen wearing angora woolly, a silky material (7)
{ORGANZA} – put Z (Zoe originally) inside (seen wearing) an anagram (woolly) of ANGORA to get a silky material

28a    Musical instruction given in article by famous Florentine (7)
{ANDANTE} – a musical instruction is built up from AN (the indefinite article) and the poet who wrote the Divine Comedy (famous Florentine)


1d        One adult after posh cap finds ideal place (6)
{UTOPIA} – put I (one) and A(dult) after U (posh) and cap, as in lid or cover, to get the ideal place featured originally in a book written in 1516 by Sir Thomas More describing a fictional island  in the Atlantic Ocean, possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system

2d        Arranged to repeat a theatrical production (8)
{OPERETTA} – an anagram (arranged) of TO REPEAT gives a theatrical production

3d        Amateur demanding expenses, no matter what (2,3,5)
{AT ALL COSTS} – run together A(mateur), TALL (demanding, as in a tall order) and expenses to get a phrase meaning no matter what

4d        Condemn piece of dull writing about cattle stall (9)
{PROSCRIBE} – a word meaning to condemn is constructed from dull writing around a cattle stall, like the one in Bethlehem

5d        Powder in metal containers (4)
{TALC} – this dusting powder is hidden inside metal containers

6d        Sergeant Major, breaking phone, becomes gloomy (6)
{DISMAL} – put SM (Sergeant Major) inside (breaking) DIAL (phone – presumably as in to dial, to phone) to get a word meaning gloomy

7d        ‘Frenzy’, redistributed this year (8)
{HYSTERIA} – a word meaning frenzy is an anagram (redistributed) of THIS YEAR

9d        King revealed decisive victory (4)
{ROUT} – combine R (Rex / King) with OUT (revealed) to get a decisive victory

15d      Sweet old man in Tate? (5,5)
{SUGAR DADDY} –combine SUGAR (sweet) and DADDY (old man) to get a reference to Henry Tate, founder of the famous sugar company and the benefactor whose money was behind the eponymous gallery

16d      Extremely thorough moreover checking seconds – there’s nothing more to be done (5,4)
{THAT’S THAT} – start with TH (the outside letters of / extremely ThorougH) and then AT THAT (moreover) around (checking) S(econds) to get a phrase meaning  there’s nothing more to be done

17d      Record in battle (8)
{WATERLOO} – a double definition of Abba’s Eurovision winner

18d      Self-indulgent act ended careers (8)
{DECADENT} – a word meaning self-indulgent is an anagram (careers) of ACT ENDED

20d      Hold member’s parting drink (6)
{ALLEGE} – to hold, as in to put forward, comes from LEG (member) inside an alcoholic drink – the definition is a bit of a stretch!

22d      Customer for boatman? (6)
{PUNTER} – a double definition

23d      Senile German commander (4)
{GAGA} – a word meaning senile comes from G(erman) combined with AGA (a commander, as in Aga Khan)

25d      Manual worker given cards (4)
{HAND} – a double definition, the second being the cards that are dealt to you

Libellule escaped from this one!

45 comments on “DT 26209

  1. I thought this was much better than the last few we’ve seen on a Thursday. I found it a little more than ** for difficulty, and harder than the Toughie today. Agree about 17a; excellent!

  2. Odd one today, I wonder how old the setter is, there seems to be quite a number of dated references (who was Jack Teagarden?) and was there a German Commander called Gaga? And as for the Alph, Oh come one!! Finished it all apart from 16d, can’t get to the bottom of that one at all. However, I did like 17d, very clever esp for ABBA fans :-)

    1. G(erman) + AGA (as in the Aga Khan) – don’t make the mistake of falling for the surface reading!

      The Kubla Khan poem is VERY well-known, certainly more so than the Abba record.

      In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
      A stately pleasure-dome decree:
      Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
      Through caverns measureless to man
      Down to a sunless sea.

      1. I’d vaguely heard of Jack Teagarden. But then I am 39!
        He died in 1965 acc. to wikipedia. I’m sure I have one of his tracks on an old Jazz compilation cd somewhere under my bed :)

      2. That is definitely a matter of opinion. I suspect a poll of 100 people would produce far more who have heard of ABBA than the river alph! Interestingly enough the spell checker recognises ABBA but nit Alph.!!

  3. We finished this one. Don’t remember the number now, but the down clue about “extremely thorough checking seconds nothing left to do” was tricky. Think we got the answer (that’s that) but not sure why.

    1. Preempting the blog!

      16d Extremely thorough moreover checking seconds – there’s nothing more to be done (5,4)
      Start with TH (the outside letters of / extremely ThorougH) and then AT THAT (moreover) around (checking) S(econds) to get a phrase meaning there’s nothing more to be done

      1. Thx for that, blimey you must have one amazing mind to think through that maze!!

  4. Beautiful day here in West Wales, have done the crossword outside in the sunshine, but could not complete, got stuck on 24a and 20d, have the answers now , it is so good to be able to sit outside once again, i must get a laptop, so i don’t have to come in to look at the blog, happy sunshine everyone :) no real fav clue today

    1. Sunny here in Essex too Mary so lovely to sit in the sun and chew pen, and I am the same popping in to see the hints! Tho havnt finished yet – restricting myself to only looking at hints for confirmation of what i’m fairly sure have right. So lovely to have plenty of time – I even had a go at the DIY COW yesterday!!

      1. yes so i saw Sarah, that is good fun, i have been doing it now for the last 10 weeks or so, i hope never to win, because i would have to hand the judging over to someone better qualified, but i enjoy doing it and look forward to the ‘constructive criticism’ that the judge gives, i find it also helps in the understanding of the setters mind a little :) I am Pepsib on the COW site

    2. Mary – I though I got stuck on the same two clues as you. I put in two guesses and were amazed that both were right. I think there’s quite a lot of general knowledge in today’s puzzle. Given that it was general knowledge that I didn’t know, I’m surprised I completed without help. Lovely day here in Spain too!
      P.S. What is the DIY COW?

  5. Agree with Jezza, much better than recent Thursdays, I quite enjoyed this even though it was not over taxing.

  6. 3d. I don’t see “tall” meaning “demanding”, unless accompanied by “order”. I think the setter’s stretching it a bit!

    I agree that 17a was the best clue.

    1. agree about ‘tall’ Vince can’t see it in Chambers big red book to mean demanding or vice versa!

  7. Ditto Jezza and BB. Thursdays have been heading in the right direction. 9d and 24 a were favourites.

  8. BD,
    Just saw your comment at the bottom of the blog :-) I will be doing Giovanni tomorrow (because of the CluedUp problem on Monday) when Gazza kindly stepped in, and will pick up Rufus as you noted for the first time next Monday. This I thought was a better Thursday puzzle than we have seen for a while. I think I might just have given a 3* for enjoyment.

    1. I should have mentioned that as well!

      I suppose the enjoyment is all relative, but I deducted one star for the clues I didn’t like.

    2. Definitively the best Thursday Cryptic of 2010 (but that’s not saying much!). Favourite clue: 24a. If it carries on improving at this rate Libellule may want to swap back :D

      1. Gazza,
        I think DT 26155 on February 4 was better. That was the GK Cryptic…. which I thought at the time was quite a fun challenge.

  9. First day trying to do a cryptic crossword. got yesterday’s paper and used the answers from today to work backwards and try and find out some of the “rules” that the clues have. some of it makes sense, some of them are beyond me!

    However thanks to the tips(and answers) from your blog I’ve all but completed todays! especially useful for filling in the blanks in my general knowledge…. didn’t get where classical becomes attic though ?

    and I’m totally stuck on 22 down! despite your help.

    1. Hi Frazer – welcome to the blog.
      There’s a lot of useful information if you read the FAQ section and follow the links.
      Attic (with a capital A) relates to the region around Athens in Ancient Greece and means refined and classical.
      The answers to the clues are hidden in the curly brackets beneath them. Select the white space between the brackets to reveal one.

    2. Frazer, If you highlight the space between the curly brackets the answer will be revealed. Re 22d its a double definition and the boatman is the type of person you would see on a river at Oxford or Cambridge :-)

    3. thank you both….. found the curly bracket answers and 22 down now makes lots of sense! and thanks gazza for helping with my education!

      I know it’s not much but I managed to work one out all on my own as well! which I’ve not managed before…. I’ll be back again infront of google and a thesaurus with tomorrow’s paper!

  10. I thought that this was a much better Thursday offering with some smoother surface readings and smiles as the wordplay dawned. Favourite clues were 17a, 18d and 11a. Many thanks to our setter and to BD for the notes.

  11. Well I have to say that 24 across lost me today, felt quite smug as my father was a big fan of big bands !! so 26 across not such a problem a lovely day in Devon today after the fog had lifted

  12. Can anyone help with today’s toughie – I can’t even start it!! There are no clues on site yet.

  13. BD
    Sorry to hijack the normal cryptic, but who is doing the Toughie review today?

    1. BD mentioned that Tilsit was blogging the puzzle when I e-mailed today’s setter to him.

  14. Back after a couple of days in a nice country park hotel with good food etc and just getting back into the swing.Todays was a nice gentle return to the puzzles.

  15. Good grief -only two stars -found this incredibly difficult.
    4d Why is prose dull writing -and didn;t knwo a cattle stall was a crib
    24a Never heard of Kubla Khan
    26A Jack Teagarden -never heard of
    28a Andante -never heard of -and the famous Florentine didn’t bring anyone to mind – I’ll google Dante later
    16d Tortuous wordplay
    22d I don’t think Tesco refer to their shoppers as punters . Billy Hills perhaps
    23d Aga =commander -new to me.

    All in all did not enjoy

  16. I wasn’t with it at all today and only managed to solve eight clues before resorting to your site. Occasionally your hints helped me to find the words, but very often not. Usually I’m quite good at solving anagrams and phrases, but I would never have found 17a, 3d or 16d. I’d never heard of Mr Teagarden either. However, I was pleased with myself for getting 24a and I think the best clue was 15d.
    It’s very frustrating, when I’ve sweated and groaned over a puzzle for hours to no avail, to find it given only two stars for difficulty. :-(

  17. Thanks for a great site, I have recently stumbled across you and can’t believe I have managed with out you. I enjoyed today’s xword and it was quite fitting that I finished on 16d

  18. Best of the current Thursday puzzles.
    I liked 17a ,24a, 26a & 28a. 15d, 16d & 28d. 14a is an old goldie!
    Younger solvers should remember that it is necessary to have a very good memory in order to become good at cracking cryptics!

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