DT 26218 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26218

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26218

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Another fun crossword today, not difficult but certainly entertaining. Favourite clue 8d, even if it causes a lot of discussion.

If you can’t work out the answer from the hint, just highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Cleric upset a group of people (6)
{CIRCLE} – We start with a simple anagram (upset) of CLERIC for a group of people e.g. magic or sewing for example.

4. What scores of young people are in? (8)
{TWENTIES} – A cryptic definition that relies on the fact that a score is also another word for a set of twenty.

9. Mark breaks into church (6)
{NOTICE} – A synonym of mark, used in the sense of observe is an anagram (breaks) of INTO followed by CE (Church of England).

10. Lent is brought forward (8)
{ADVANCED} – A double definition, to lend and to put forward.

12. Current male desire (4)
{ACHE} – Alternating Current plus HE (male)could also be a desire.

13. Son in row sent back for further examination (5)
{RESIT} – Put S (son) in TIER (row) and reverse it (put back) is what you would have to do if you fail an examination and have to do it again.

14. Is first and last a course at Oxford (4)
{ISIS} – The answer to this clue IS the name given to the part of the River Thames (a course in this case, not a flower) above Iffley Lock, which flows through the city of Oxford.

17. Where a marathon man eventually makes his name? (2,3,4,3)
{IN THE LONG RUN} – A phrase that can mean a lengthy period of time is also literally a marathon.

20. The rear squad ordered to base (12)
{HEADQUARTERS} – An anagram (ordered) of THE REAR SQUAD could be the residence of a general for example.

23. Finished and left (4)
{OVER} – Double definition.

24. Police chase ends in the wood (5)
{COPSE} – COPS (police) and the last letter (ends) of chase is a thicket of small trees or shrubs.

25. Prepare and serve a bird, none now left (4)
{DODO} – You need two words (they are the same) for prepare and serve, and you should end up with the name of a famous extinct bird that once lived on the island of Mauritius.

28. The ultimate competitor (8)
{FINALIST} – Would be someone who has reached the deciding round of a sports competition.

29. Cuts and shares out (6)
{SHEARS} – Another anagram (out), this time of SHARES is a word usually associated with trimming sheep.

30. Appropriate, regarding the eastern Mediterranean (8)
{RELEVANT} – The definition is appropriate, take RE (regarding) and then add LEVANT a word that is used to describe the eastern Mediterranean and its shores.

31. Consents, but will be a long time coming round again (6)
{AGREES} – AGES (a long time) around RE (again).


1. Pot or tin basin broken (8)
{CANNABIS} – Another word for marijuana (pot) is constructed from CAN (tin) and an anagram (broken) of BASIN.

2. They have their teeth on edge (8)
{RATCHETS} – The plural of “A mechanism consisting of a pawl that engages the sloping teeth of a wheel or bar, permitting motion in one direction only.”

3. Crazy, perhaps, but often with motive (4)
{LOCO} – A slang term for mad or cazy, is also another word for a train when you put it in front of motive.

5. Man going to the match who couldn’t stop the salt pouring out (7,5)
{WEDDING GUEST} – I got this from the checking letters. This man would be attending a marriage, I then had to check on the salt reference. In the Rime of the Ancient Mariner there is a wedding-guest who has to listen to the old salt spouting forth:

“The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.”

6. He floated a company to avoid liquidation (4)
{NOAH} – According to the bible he saved his family and representatives of all animals in groups of two or seven from the flood.

7. Peruvians head East as a precaution (2,4)
{IN CASE} – INCAS (Peruvians) followed by the first letter (head) of East is a phrase that can be associated with “to make safe”.

8. Painstaking people enjoy this activity (6)
{SADISM} – Cryptic definition. People who like inflicting pain or suffering on other people. But doesn’t pains taking mean the opposite – i.e. masochism? Perhaps it means that masochists enjoy taking (receiving) the punishment from others.

11. Relative finds Ned conscious after smash (6,6)
{SECOND COUSIN} – A not so close relative is found with an anagram (after smash) of NED CONSCIOUS.

15. Note reciprocation about a point of principle (5)
{TENET} – A palindrome consisting of the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation around N (a point) is any opinion, principle or doctrine which a person holds or maintains as true.

16. Gain favour with a hot dish (5)
{CURRY} – A double definition. For those who are interested, the original phrase has nothing to do with Indian food.

18. In divorce town five had a meal together to patch things up (8)
{RENOVATE} – The divorce capital of America from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, is then followed by the roman numeral for V, and a three letter word for the past tense of eat, and you have a word that means to make new again. Hmm – patch things up?

19. Embraces sweetheart and wives (8)
{ESPOUSES} – The middle letter (heart) of sweet, is then followed by the plural of a word that could mean husband or wife for a word that can mean to embrace causes for example.

21. Chest is tender after cold (6)
{COFFER} – The defintion for this clue is chest, as in a chest that holds money or treasure. Put another word for tender (i.e. give something) after C (cold).

22. A bit of a nut, the officer, we hear (6)
{KERNEL} – An old chestnut in fact.

26. East European not quite in bondage (4)
{SLAV} – A person from eastern Europe or Asian Russia can be found by removing the last letter (not quite) from a person who is kept as property.

27. Villain putting squeeze on the leader (4)
{THUG} – Put the first letter (leader) of the, on top of another word for an embrace, and you have a member of a band of professional assassins that came from northern India, but now a word that commonly means a cutthroat or ruffian.

49 comments on “DT 26218

      1. I used to attempt Roger Squires in the Yorkshire Post and could never get to grips with his puzzles. Amazing that I can crack them quite easily now. Must be to do with all I’ve learned from the blog.

  1. Another typical Rufus puzzle and a fine start to the week.
    5d was favourite for me – I once played the swanny whistle in a school production!.
    Thanks for the review and thanks to Rufus.

  2. We have come to accept that A on B can mean B then A in an across clue, but surely this doesn’t work with a down clue like 27?

  3. Despite solving this without difficulty, I did not get the reference to Samuel Coleridge in 5d (Even though I had to read it for English O’Level a few years ago!) Thanks to Libellule and to Rufus.

  4. Thanks for blog Libelulle, i found this quite challenging today and for myself at least a 3* rating, the top l/h corner was last to go in and would not have been completed without your help, fav clues 7d, 21d, 1d, as for 18d Reno as the divorce town is something i had never heard and would not have got the answer that way, i will wait to see what fellow C members think of this one today, and yes as far as i can tell i agree with BDs comment above?

    1. NW was last to go in for me too. There were a couple I got without knowing why such as 3d and 12a but it’s always obvious once explained. Enjoyable puzzle that I quite easily tackled, only needed the blog for 2d. Had heard of it in technical talk but didn’t know what it was.

    2. Totally agree, its not 2* at all, it really a very tricky puzzle indeed. Only managed 7 answers so far.

  5. Gentle but, as ever with Rufus, a delight to solve. Many thanks to Rufus and to Libellule for the notes.

  6. 24a. The “ends” of ChasE are surely C & E. The E is just the “end” of chasE??

    27d. I agree with Big Dave. We have only recently established this convention, haven’t we?

    5d. I thought this was a very clever clue – definitely the clue of the day for me.

    1. Vince

      24a says “chase ends” so I think you can accept that chase ends in E – (Anax – if you are reading this what’s your view?)

      27d I would say that we have recently, and somewhat reluctantly, decided that it is so well embedded that we have to agree to the across convention for “on”.

      1. Dave,

        I take your point re 24a. Once you have seen something one way, it’s sometimes difficult to see it another, until someone offers another point of view.

        With regard to “on”, it seems that it is invariable for across clues, but not so for downs!

  7. Seemed quite straightforward today. Got the answer to 5d but didn’t know why until I read today’s blog. BTW how do you know who the setter is?

    1. Strictly speaking we don’t know the name of the setter, but the Telegraph tends to stick to a regular pattern as follows:

      Monday – Rufus
      Tuesday – Ray T / Shamus
      Wednesday – Jay
      Thursday – ???
      Friday – Giovanni
      Saturday – Cephas
      Sunday – Virgilius

      We are sufficiently familiar with the various styles that we can usually tell if the pattern is changed, but there is no guarantee of that. So far no-one has owned up to setting any of the Thursday puzzles.

  8. I think 18d is a fair synonym for “to patch things up”. Sounds like my DIY! A good start to the week, so thanks to R & L.

  9. Nice start to the week. Went to the gym and then for a coffee (to negate the effects of the gym!!) and did the crossword. Enjoyed it – my favourite clue was 18d but didn’t really like 26d

  10. Yet another fine puzzle from Rufus, not taxing but great fun. Loved 5d and 8d. Thanks Libellule for the review.

  11. A nice start to the week. I can’t believe how quiet it is. I can do the puzzle without constant aircraft noise…..what was that ?

    1. Planes are still flying here in Spain, but luckily rarely close enough to be a nuisance! I wonder if the ash will reach us

  12. This one came together quite well and I enjoyed what I could do, though I’m a little unsure about 8d … As usual, there were a few I couldn’t work out, even with the hints. Thanks for the review Libellule.

    The physios have been again and are sufficiently pleased with my progress that they plan to make only one more visit, a bit of good news to offset being slowly poisoned by foreign ash-dust …

  13. Thanks, Libellule, for clarifying 5d. I got the answer, but lack of familiarity with the Rime of the A M meant I didn’t understand why.

  14. Enjoyed this very much – as others have said 5d was favourite. Also enjoyed 6d, but I have the feeling I’ve seen something very similar before.

  15. I also enjoyed this but think that 5d and 18d rely too much on specific knowledge – Reno and the Mariner which I wouldn’t have got without the help of this blog. Is it amateur or idealist to hope the clue offers another solution to knowledge?

  16. Must be me, thought is very difficult and not enjoyable. Hated the AM at school and certainly not a fan of Coleridge now. Mind you we had a goalkeeper who was called the Ancient Mariner because he stoppeth one in three! Sorry old joke!

    1. Not just you Barrie, I didn’t find it particularly easy either, for us CC members i think at least a 3*?

      1. Found this very hard and gave up with acrosses 4,9,10,12,13& 31 and downs 2,3,5,6,8,15 & 27 unsolved. I have completed 3 star crosswords unaided but you could have sat me here till midnight with solvers and i wouldn’t have finished.

      2. I didn’t find it easy either!!! I needed the blog on several occasions. I have never heard of Reno as the ‘divorce town’. I also had 23a as ‘done’ until I checked the blog so that gave me some problems….. I liked 1d, just because it made me laugh.

        1. Apologies – both. Just goes to show. I didn’t see this as a major challenge. I think I might adjust it up to *** for difficulty based on the feedback – hmm consider it done!

            1. Sometimes I find puzzles rated ** beyond me. Everyone in the CC find it a walk in the park and I’m stuck with a half-filled puzzle. Today’s I found relatively straightforward. Luck of the draw I think! :)

              1. I think it’s often a ‘wavelength’ thing. I didn’t find this one very easy at all but some that other CCs find hard I whizz through! Never mind – it’s fun & I feel like I’m learning all the time. Thanks everyone :)

  17. Yes, I also had no idea of the reference in 5d. I agree 8d seems more to require masochism. See 10a in todays Grauniad ‘Cruel followers of a so-called marquis’ (7) by Rover. I am a fan of Rufus so like to have a go at his Monday Guardian version too. But it’s Rover(?) today….

    1. 8d reminds me of the old Dave Allen joke:
      “Whip me!” pleaded the masochist.
      “No” replied the sadist.

      1. The one I remember is the story of the sado-masochist who liked nothing better than to have a freezing cold shower every morning – so he had a hot one instead.

  18. Zoomed thorugh and was left with 6 for the commute home. Last to go in was 19d. Great crossword and got home to a copy of Bradford’s crossword book. A good day.

  19. Gnomethang – purchased from a very large on-line store (on BD’s recommendation) I think BD must be on commission as I’m sure I saw him driving a lovely Aston Martin this weekend.

  20. This was enjoyable for us here. I did a fair few and my mother-in-law finished it. I explained to her the “reno” thing, although she’d got the word. I didn’t see the Coleridge reference, but I’m very pleased with it as a clue!
    Thanks as ever to Libellule and everyone for this discussion.


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