DT 26224 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26224

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26224

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Another not overly complex crossword from Rufus today, with the usual smooth cluing and sprinkling of generally amusing double and cryptic definitions. Favourite clue – probably 5d. Was it me or did anybody else think this crossword was a bit “cornery”?

If you need to see the full answer just highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Foundation is backing graduates (5)
{BASIS} – That on which a thing rests, a foundation in other words, consists of BA’S (Bachelor of Arts – graduates) followed by IS.

4. Handy thing to take up or run (8)
{GAUNTLET} – An armoured iron glove is referenced by the first phrases referred to in the clue (take up). Whilst the second reference (run) refers to a former military punishment, where you have to run through a line of soldiers who then strike you as you pass.

8. It describes a man lacking spirit (8)
{TEETOTAL} – Spirit here refers to alcohol.

9. Bad advice he obtained (8)
{ACHIEVED} – An anagram (bad) of ADVICE HE is a word usually associated with winning or accomplishing something.

11. Country boy holds map (7)
{LAPLAND} – Put PLAN (map) inside (hold) LAD (boy) for a non existent country. The answer is in fact a region of northern Europe that includes northern Norway, northern Sweden as well as northern Finland and also the Kola Peninsula of northwest Russia.

13. Always on the go, is Ivy! (9)
{EVERGREEN} – Something that is in leaf throughout the year (Ivy for example), is EVER (always) above (on the) GREEN (go).

15. Lady-in-waiting? (9,6)
{EXPECTANT MOTHER} – A woman who is pregnant would be this.

18. Look out and foil pickpockets (4,5)
{KEEP WATCH} – If you were vigilant you would be doing this, and at the same time one assumes you would not lose an item of timekeeping.

21. Fight and squabble caused Robin’s death (7)
{SPARROW} – He killed Cock Robin! SPAR (fight) followed by ROW (squabble).

22. Literary props (8)
{BOOKENDS} – The sort of thing you would put at the end of a row of books to stop them falling over.

24. Self-banking type of aircraft (8)
{AUTOGIRO} – The aircraft referred to here is (according to Chambers) “a rotating-wing aircraft whose chief support in flight is derived from the reaction of the air upon freely-revolving unpowered rotors”, could also be an AUTO (automatic i.e.self) GIRO (banking).

25. Serving men and women operate from behind it (4,4)
{BASE LINE} – These serving men and women would be tennis players. This is a single 8-character word according to Chambers.

26. A fellow spy (5)
{AGENT} – A GENT (fellow).


1. Drivers should avoid it, and what passes through it (10)
{BOTTLENECK} – A road that regularly becomes congested is also something that alcohol might pass through too.

2. Approaches with some pomp and performs a menial task (6,2)
{SWEEPS UP} – Double definition. To move with trailing or flowing drapery (hence with pomp etc) is also the task of cleaning up using a broom.

3. Picadors are involved here and there (8)
{SPORADIC} – An anagram (are involved) of PICADORS is a word used to describe something that occurs here and there or now and then

4. A convict turns up for a festive occasion (4)
{GALA} – A followed by LAG (convict) reversed (turns up – it’s a down clue).

5. Observing what comes from a dumb-bell? (6)
{NOTING} – If a bell did not make any sound what would it not have? The word also means to paying close attention to or observing.

6. They take silk before becoming high fliers (6)
{LARVAE} – The immature state of caterpillars, before it becomes a pupa and enters into a cocoon. The surface reading makes you want to think about lawyers becoming QC’s.

7. Bound together at the finish (4)
{TIED} – A draw is also what you would be if someone bound your wrists with rope.

10. Spotted animals involved in the chase (8)
{CHEETAHS} – An anagram (involved) of THE CHASE are the worlds fastest land animals, they have long legs, a spotted coat and claws that cannot be retracted.

12. Act when some came in late (8)
{DEPARTED} – Put PART (some) into (came in) DEED (act) for a euphemism for someone who has died.

14. Barge in exclusive circle in club (6,4)
{NARROW BOAT} – Another word for a vessel you would normally see on a canal, is put together using another word for limited, followed by another word where you would place O (circle) inside BAT (club).

16. Musical state (8)
{OKLAHOMA} – Yawn. Its that Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, that is also a US State.

17. An almost invisible marking that recedes with age (8)
{HAIRLINE} – A very small crack or the point on a head that moves back as a man starts going bald. Note: A very similar clue appeared in DT 26223 (Sat 24th April) – Crack above the forehead.

19. Book a flight (6)
{EXODUS} – The second book of the Old Testament is synonymous with a mass departure.

20. It works against the grain (6)
{WEEVIL} – The it, in this case is a generic name for an insect that eats stored grain for example. Whenever I see this word, I am always reminded of the following from Patrick O’Brian’s novel “Fortune of War”.

“Two weevils crept from the crumbs. ‘You see those weevils, Stephen?’ said Jack solemnly.
‘I do.’
‘Which would you choose?’
‘There is not a scrap of difference. Arcades ambo. They are the same species of curculio, and there is nothing to choose between them.’
‘But suppose you had to choose?’
‘Then I should choose the right-hand weevil; it has a perceptible advantage in both length and breadth.’
There I have you,’ cried Jack.
‘You are bit – you are completely dished. Don’t you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!”

22. The light that grows (4)
{BULB} – Another double definition, this time a reference to something you would place in a lamp, and also something that you might place in the ground in the autumn in the hope that it will flower in the spring.

23. One of the wise men tucked into the turkey (4)
{SAGE} – A particular herb (usually mixed with onion) and used as stuffing, is also a man of great wisdom.

57 comments on “DT 26224

  1. I enjoyed this on the train today.

    Not yet done 1d, 6d, 20d and 16d – will think later before reading the hints above.

    17d looks very similar to a very recent clue and I think we have had 23d very recently also.

    I thought 14d was tenuous.

    I liked 15a

    1. Peter,
      Re 17d. The same answer (different clue) appeared as 13a in Saturday’s Cryptic. “Crack above the forehead”.

  2. Enjoying this very much–just right for a Monday morning. Not quite there yet, but my fav clue is also 5d—still smiling about it!

  3. A little bit trickier than usual Rufus puzzles. This could be because there were a lot of double unches (unchecked squares) in the NE and SW corners and across the centre part of the grid.

    Nonetheless a very enjoyable puzzle wit h5d and 17d as my favourite clues today.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the crossword and to Libellule for the hints.

  4. Some great clues today.

    Not overtaxing but nonetheless not a breeze.

    Thanks Rufus, this was just what the doctor ordered.

  5. I would certainly agree with Prolixic – I was scratching my head for a while but didn’t realise it was the double unches that were not helping.
    Still a fun puzzle, I’m wondering if someone should ban Oklahoma!
    5d and 24 were favourites for me.
    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  6. Agree with Sarah; just right for a Monday morning! Favourite clue 25a, as I kept thinking ‘serving’ had a military reference, or referred to working in a shop, a restaurant, or behind a bar!

  7. A very pleasant start to the week although I still have to tackle Sunday’s!
    I liked 4a, 15a, 18a, 24a & 25a. 2d, 5d, 6d, 14d & 17d.
    !6d is becoming an old chestnut – I call them “old goldies” meaning “golden olden oldies”.

  8. Really enjoyable one today, took a bit of work esp the bottom left corner which was a bit of a swine but overall excellent. I agree about 5d being the best clue even if it did make me groan a little :-)

  9. Yes realy liked todays, nice one for us CC members, fav clues 5d, 1d, 15a, 21a, thanks for blog Libellule, didn’t need it today but always nice to read through, still had help from my ‘aides’ though :) Any luck yet Dave with the ‘blog problem’ ?

  10. I loved this one…really enjoyable and was able to complete relatively quickly..many amusing clues but all solvable and witty. Found the N/E first to complete then the S/E, abit of a wait for the N/W then the S/W…..After the challenging W/E this was perfect for a Monday morning.

  11. Nice solving for Monday – enjoyed this but did do it in corners – s/e first, then n/e, n/w and the last was s/w. Clues I enjoyed were 22a and 19d.

    Thanks for a good puzzle and for an excellent review Libellule. I had the answer to 13a as it couldn’t have been anything else but had to work out the second half of the word to make me happy!!!

    ‘Car is in for service so need to find something else to do while waiting to collect it. Have a good week everyone.

      1. Ooh, I didn’t know about that. I downloaded it and the Everyman from yesterday. I’ve almost finished the Guardian one. Bang goes the ironing!

        I’ve been enjoying this site for a while and thought it was time I posted, if only to say how good it is.

    1. Lea,
      One of my all time favourite authors, I have read the Aubrey, Maturin series of books multiple times :-)

      1. They must be good – not many books can be read multiple times. I am always looking for new good authors so will have to give him a try.

  12. I was going to post the Brook Benton version of this song related to 20 down, until I remembered that the 17th April was the 50th anniversary of Eddie Cochran’s death in a car crash. RIP Eddie


  13. As most seem to have done, I found this fairly easy. Didn’t even notice the double-unches.

    My only complaint is that the answer to 25a should be one word.

    Particularly liked 15a & 5d, as they birh made me smile.

  14. I LOVED this crossword. Back home nice and early from radiotherapy number four and settled down with a lovely cup of coffee and my favourite crossword…
    Have many happy memories of my dad and grandad singing 21a.
    Took my children to 11a FOR THE DAY but it was the most magical time and one we’ll never forget.
    Couldn’t believe 17d came back so quickly after Saturday’s puzzle, although a different clue. Made me question it for a minute.
    Was appalled that as a PE teacher I didn’t get 25a till the very end.
    Never heard of 24a but this was my only sticking point today.
    How am I gonna have time for all this fun when I get back to work…?
    Helen x

    1. well done Helen, one of my friends has just finished her sessions after chemo and another just finished chemo, i think you are all very brave :)

  15. Haven’t finished it yet, but well over halfway. Highly amused by 5d!

    Libellule, it would help me, and maybe other CC’ers, if there were no answers visible in the hints. I hadn’t got LAPLAND and then didn’t have to think about it when it was there out in the open. Just a personal thing, perhaps …

    1. Geoff,
      There is a fine balance between giving a hint and also explaining the wordplay. We try to do both as best we can.

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s crossword. After yesterday’s (London) marathon this was more of a 200 metres.

  17. Enjoyable crossword without being at all taxing. Thanks Rufus and thanks Libellule.

  18. Found this crossword totally unchallenging. This is the first time in 50 years that i’ve written the answers in with hardly any thought.
    Amazed at 3*, 3* rating.
    Really enjoy the blog. Love reading other peoples problems.

    1. Hmm, I gave last weeks two stars, and everybody said it was a three star..

      “Ex-Leper: Half a dinare for me bloody life story?
      Brian: There’s no pleasing some people.
      Ex-Leper: That’s just what Jesus said, sir. “

  19. Haven’t finished yet, but am a bit annoyed by 24 across. The aircraft is an AUTOGYRO, whereas the bank is (was) GIRO. I don’t believe that you can spell either the other way (even though they have the same root). The ‘GYRO’ is the same as in ‘Gyroscope’ , ‘gyrate’- etc, and you never see ‘girate’, ‘giroscope’, nor, I submit, autogiro.

  20. The Guardian ‘Setters Series’ of crossword books has a whole book of 80 cryptics by Rufus. I’ve just started this, and the books are generally available.

      1. Mary, if you want more, go on to the guardian crossword site, type in ‘Rufus’ and you can print out 100s of his puzzles—and get the answers!!!

  21. A very enjoyable puzzle. I thought Saturday’s clue for 17d was better, am waiting with baited breath for Ray T’s!!!!! I managed without the blog though needed a reference re aircraft for 24a, I was working round ATM and the ‘o’ I had thinking something to do with the atmosphere…. Duh! As a tennis player I liked 25a though I was slow to get it. As all, I liked 5d and also 1d. I am still having to put my details in to post every time – sure puts you off making too many comments (phew says BD).

    1. I spent quite a while yesterday trying to find the cause. If I transfer the code across to my test blog it all works well.

      Chablis – have you tried logging on to WordPress, that should work for you. Tick the box that says “Remember me”.

      1. I think I must be too dumb! I went to wordpress at the bottom of the page and signed in (it had to be chablisdiamond as chablis exists already) but I kept returning to the same page….

        1. Chablisdiamond, I think that The fact that you have successfully changed your avatar might mean that the account is yours.
          Having stayed logged in at wordpress I don’t have these issues.
          If you can remember your username/email address you should be ok.

          1. Loose use of the word ‘you’! I do believe my daughter did that however hopefully she has just sorted this too, testing, testing…… You forget how computer illiterate these cardi wearing forty somethings are….

            1. Oops! I can still see you with the cat!. If you have successfully logged in, then under the ‘Meta’ tag (where you logged in) you will see ‘Log Out instead. That means that you should be OK in my experience.

              Best of British!

  22. Apart from a couple of across clues, all done today. 19d took an embarrassingly long time to dawn on me and I spent even more time trying to come up with some sort of wood-working tool for 20d.

    Thanks for the explanation for 12d, didn’t think of late = died and didn’t even see it when I had the answer. Please don’t ban Oklahoma, I need some easy ones to get started!

  23. I had this done on the early commute in save 2d that puzzled me all day – I have just realised I spelt 8a with an “a” – it must have been the Monday morning fogged brain cells.

    That said isn’t 2d rather weak or is it me?

  24. Did my earlier post get lost in the ether … ??

    Apart from a couple of across ones, I finally finished this! Took far too long to get 19d and spent ages looking for a wood-working tool for 20d.

    Thanks for explaining 12d; I didn’t equate ‘late’ with ‘died’ even when I had the answer.

    No, no, don’t ban Oklahoma, people like me need some easy ones to get started!

    1. Geoff
      You missed a letter out of your email address in your previous post – now fixed.

      1. Oops! I kept the page open and didn’t spot that when I checked the entry to see if that was the case … finishing this one must have gone to my head .. or was it the pre-prandial glass of white ??

  25. Like many others I thought this was a lovely Monday puzzle – I did need Libellule’s help to understand some of my answers though – particularly 12d and 14d and autogiro (whichever way you spell it) was a new one for me. Loved 5d and also15a,18a and 21a. :-)

  26. not bad from rufus.Liked no-ting.The DT puzzle is reproduced here in Kenya in a local paper daily save on Sunday.On Sunday,we have a very unximenean xword from a setter i suspect is Briton.Sample this:In London her pleasantries circumfolded but she might bring a cover charge(4,5)SOHO POPSY.Can such a clue see the light of day in Fleet Street?Anyway,my pet setters are Giovanni,Ray T,and Roger Squires.

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