DT 26210 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26210

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26210

Hints and tips by Libellule

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

Absolutely superb stuff from Giovanni today. Some brilliant clues and some real laugh out loud moments.
I have really enjoyed doing this crosword and then writing the blog. I will be back on Monday (I hope) to tackle my first Rufus blog, until then please feel free to leave a comment.

If the hints are not enough to allow you to derive the answer, just highlight the space between the curly brackets!


1. Maiden maybe with nothing on? That keeps them thrilled! (4,3,4)
{OVER THE MOON} – A maiden in cricket is a spell of six balls where no runs are scored, follow this with O (nothing) and ON and then place both around (that keeps) THEM for a phrase that has been adopted by English football managers to use when they win a game.

10. Look about with hesitation as someone filling in for another (5)
{LOCUM} – You need LO (look) followed by the abbreviation for circa (latin – about) and then an interjection used by a speaker who is in doubt and you should end up with another word for a deputy or substitute normally associated with medicine.

11. Fruit from Ireland wanted by English — with original taste (9)
{TANGERINE} – The fruit you are looking for is a small, flattish, loose-skinned variety of orange, popular at Christmas. ERIN (Ireland) is followed by E (English) preceded by (original) another word for a sharp taste or smell.

12.& 16 Sorry, hikers — retire nasty dogs! (9,8)
{YORKSHIRE TERRIERS} – An anagram (nasty) of SORRY HIKERS RETIRE is a small breed of dog from the North of England. Whether you consider them to be nasty or not is up to you.

13. Gas with a group of sailors across voyage? (5)
{ARGON} – An inert gas is built up by A, followed by the abbreviation for the Royal Navy (group of sailors) around GO (voyage).

14. Knotty problem when medicine cabinet is empty? (6)
{NODOSE} – The definition is “knotty”, if a medicine cabinet was empty it would have NO, followed by a common term for a singular quantity of medicine.

16. See 12

18. King possibly gets to confront quirky character (4,4)
{FACE CARD} – The King referred to here is in a pack of cards, you need a synonym for “to confront”, followed by another synonym for a “quirky character”.

20. Brief comment from stupid person beginning to rile copper (6)
{APERCU} – A French word (found in English) meaning a glimpse, or an outline of is constructed from APE (stupid person) followed by the first letter (beginning to) of R(ile) and then the chemical symbol for copper.

23. Number correct after initial change (5)
{EIGHT} – If something was correct, it would be RIGHT, now change the fist letter (initial) to another letter for a number.

24. Violent fanatic out of time, about to be given suspension (9)
{EXTREMIST} – Although I got the answer quickly, I struggled a little with the word play here, EX (out of), then T (time), and RE a preposition meaning concerning (about to be), and finally MIST (suspension) is someone who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm.

26. He trailed around, looking more gloomy (9)
{DEATHLIER} – An anagram (around) of HE TRAILED for a word that could mean more haggard, or paler. Gloomy seems to me to be a bit of a stretch.

27. Some dressed erroneously for religious meal (5)
{SEDER} – A word for a Jewish ceremonial meal on the first night or first two nights of the Passover is hidden between dressed and erroneously.

28. Pain you get when buying food? (6,5)
{FRENCH BREAD} – Laugh out loud time. Did Giovanni know I was doing this review? The answer is straightforward if you know what the French word for bread is.


2. Minister against one form of transport (5)
{VICAR} – The abbreviation for versus, followed by I and then a common wheeled vehicle is a parson of a parish or a minister.

3. Old king a beast — he’s wanting decapitation repeatedly (7)
{RAMESES} – The beast in question here is a male sheep, follow this with HE’S twice, but remove the first letter both times (decapitation repeatedly). You should now have a famous Egyptian pharaoh – of which there were three. Presumably the one referred to here is the most famous, also known as Ozymandias to the Greeks.

4. Security device of no use to the distressed! (6)
{HATPIN} – A very witty cryptic definition. The security device is a long pin used to fasten a hat to the hair. Obviously this would be useless if you did not have any hair (dis-tressed).

5. Affected fellow meeting nymph, one put out (8)
{MANNERED} – The definition in this clue is “affected”. Take MAN and follow this with another word for a sea nymph, then remove the I (one put out).

6. Outdoor work — start to escape with rain swirling (4-3)
{OPEN-AIR} – The common abbreviation for a musical work, then the first letter (start to) of E(scape) and an anagram (swirling) of RAIN is another term for outdoor or alfresco.

7. Public school’s grounds for optimism when England is threatened? (7,6)
{PLAYING FIELDS} – Its battle of Waterloo time again. A probably apocryphal quote that is attributed to Wellington suggests that the battle of Waterloo was won on Eton’s school grounds.

8. Regal kind with daughter going astray sadly (4,4)
{KING LEAR} – A superb clue. An anagram (sadly) of REGAL KIND with D (daughter) removed (going astray) gives us a famous Shakespeare tragedy. Those of you who are familiar with the work will remember how Goneril and Regan behaved.

9. Eager, but inclined to be yellow? (4,2,7)
{KEEN AS MUSTARD} – A gentle cryptic definition. A common phrase that is associated with an essential accompaniment to beef.

15. Grimaced when upset in Mass (but not much) (8)
{DECIGRAM} – An anagram (when upset) of GRIMACED is a tenth of a gramme i.e. mass – but not very much.

17. Cow gets hot being pursued by Scot? (8)
{FRIESIAN} – A particular type of cow, also known as a Holstein is found by putting a word for burning in the sun, and then follow this (pursued) with a common crossword name for a Scot.

19. One to trap tiger? Shout hurray heartlessly (7)
{CATCHER} – A tiger is a big variety of one of these, then remove the middle E (heartlessly) from a shout of approval or welcome and you have another word for “one to trap”.

21. Entreaties to the Queen to be a bringer of delight (7)
{PLEASER} – A synonym for appeals or demands is then followed by ER (the Queen) for something or someone that has popular appeal.

22. Important person wants church to be formal (6)
{STARCH} – Another word for a leading actor is followed by an abbreviation for church, this is something used in a laundry as a stiffener, but can also mean stiff, rigid or formal.

25. Country that’s favoured with help being set up (5)
{INDIA} – IN (favoured) followed by a three letter word for help, that is reversed (being set up) is a large country in South Asia.

40 comments on “DT 26210

  1. Throughly enjoyed todays crossword ,could do it all over again
    & Weather in Northumberland great today for a change

  2. Excellent stuff! Favourites are 28a and 4d! Thanks to Giovanni, and to Libellule. Enjoy the weekend sunshine!!

  3. Yes, I liked it; I was going to say that I found it a little on the gentle side (particularly having done today’s Toughie first!), but on reflection there were at least a couple of unusual words and the reference in 7d which fortunately came straight to me. Some of the anagrams were top hole.

    Harry Shipley

  4. Cracking puzzle. Not so tricky but really fun. Finished this over breakfast on my way to a golf weekend in Okehampton Devon.
    Agree with jezza, 4d clue of day with 14a and 28a following.
    Nice nod to the golf today on 19d!!
    Thanks Libellule for the review and Giovanni for the crowd pleaser.

    1. Weekend forecast for Okehampton looks good… and the golf courses there look nice too! Quite jealous actually..Enjoy!

  5. Not too difficult, but very enjoyable. Learnt a new word in 14a.

    Liked 18a, 4d and, particularly, 28a.

    I don’t understand why toy don’t like “gloomy” in 26a, Libellule? In my Pengin Thesaurus, it is given in a list that includes “funereal”.

  6. Cracking crossword from Giovanni. Favourite clues were 4d, 28a and 11a. Many thanks to Giovanni and to Libellule for the notes.

  7. My favourite DT crossword this year. Thanks for the review, it explained 24a, which I’d answered without understanding the wordplay.

    I caused myself no end of grief by inserting deathlike instead of deathlier (even though I’d worked out the correct answer from the anagram!), it took me ages to correct it.

    Favourite clue, as with most, was 28a – a real belly laugh when I finally got it.

  8. Cracker from the Maestro, best cryptic for ages. Personal favourites were 7d and 28a, but I loved the whole thing.

  9. Nothing much to add – agree that it was true quality. As a Yorkie myself, I don’t think that the breed is at all unpleasant ! (12a)

  10. Superlative crossword which I completed whilst partaking of a G & T on the balcony of my new home in Cyprus. So much warmer than Russia!!

    1. Wow – you really do get about don’t you Yoshik – would imagine it is a lot hotter than Russia and will get even more so for the summer.

  11. This has definitely lived up to the reputation of an excellent Friday – really enjoyed this. The sunshine has helped as well. My favourite clues were 17d and 14a but there were several other really excellent ones. Last to in was 26a and kicked myself when it did.

    Thanks for the excellent review Libellule and thanks to Giovanni for a top notch crossword today.

  12. Got all but 6 clues without the blog. I had 7 down from “public schools grounds” but still don’t really understand the second half of the clue.
    I groaned a groan of despair when I saw the explanation for 28a. Great clue and even though I was set on the second word being “bread” I didn’t get it. Super puzzle today!

  13. Have got just over halfway before coming to the blog – primarily because to and from London on train without laptop … so quite pleased with my progress, poss inspired by my visit (first ever) to the British Library – what amazing manuscripts etc they have on show there. However may have to read a few hints now to get further – dont want to uncover answers just yet …. onwards.

  14. As a real cc member, I’m braving my first comment having actually managed to complete the last 3 crosswords without help! Must be an easy week! Having said that i thought 7d alluded to a certain Gracie. Oh well it got me the right answer anyway.
    Loved the chuckles today.

    1. Welcome to the blog Ricardo

      I’m sure there is an excellent clue waiting to be written about Jane Horrocks playing Gracie Fields!

  15. What a superb puzzle (never thought I would hear myself saying that about a Giovanni!!). Difficult to pick a favourite clue, there were so many but if I had to it would be 1a :-) Took me ages to get the first part of 28a, could see the french connection to bread but got hung up on the buying bit DOH! 22d was a bit tricky but Ok once I stopped thinking VIP.

  16. Incidently thank you to Giovanni for two new words 20a and 14a, got both from the clues but had to look them up to confirm and explain! Just wondering now how I can drop 20a into the conversation in the Lodge tonight!

  17. Well had to finish with Libellule’s help but now I can see why some of you thought it such a good puzzle with some lovely clues and answers – really entertaining …… and then another NTSPP tmro … no doubt Gazza (or others) will be coming to my rescue again when I’m stuck fast in CC but hey!

    1. Tomorrow’s NTSPP is compiled by Tilsit, and has a topical theme which is not too difficult to find and helps with many of the answers.

        1. Will we be the terrible twins again I wonder! Enjoyed today’s & really appreciated some of the clues. Needed a bit of help along the way but got quite a lot without help – & can see why lots of you though it a cracker! 28a was a special moment when the penny dropped!

  18. Phew! I found it a struggle but got there in the end sitting out in the Cornish sunshine. I never knew ozymandias was the same as 3d, that was the name of our last cat as in ‘ look on my works ye mighty and despair’…..

  19. I really enjoyed this one as well. Many thanks to Giovanni and Libellule. Managed all but 2 (14a and 4d) with only minor help from my mother-in-law (she’s good at getting clues like 27a without actually knowing the word!)
    Liked a lot of the clues, eg. 3d, 9d and 28a.

  20. Missed a couple of days after landing up in hospital having suffered a minor stroke. Hope to have a go over the weekend – not that I can write yet!

    1. Hope you’re feeling lots better Geoff – and that you find someone to scribe for you over the weekend :-)

    1. Do ya reckon 4 down was aimed at me? I’m ‘distressed’ at my hairloss :-(

  21. Great stuff from Giovanni once more!
    I did not start this puzzle last night as was too occupied watching the golf at Augusta GA.
    Solved it this morning!
    Agree with LIbellule that fluency in French was very helpful!
    I liked 14a, 20a,27a & of course 28a. 3d, 4d, 7d, 8d & 9d.

  22. Posting late as usual. Finished this one by Sunday without resorting to the web, but couldn’t see the cryptic part of 1a or 24 a , despite having the correct answers. Thanks for the explanations, Libellule. I think those two are both a bit contrived, don’t you? As is 11a. Nor did I know the word ‘nodose’, but could derive it, and the only water nymphs I know are ‘nyads’

    1. Andy,
      Re. Water nymphs, there at least three types, if I remember rightly, Nyads (Naiads) = fresh water, Oceanids = saltwater and the Nereids = Mediterranean. Personally I thouoght this crossword was excellent, a really good mind stretcher with a decent dose of humour.

      1. Yes, I enjoyed it too. Always a pleasure to finish, even if I don’t quite know why. I just prefer succinct clues, rather than those which are made up of several elements.

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