DT 26226 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26226

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26226

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

For me this was a harder than usual puzzle from Jay. The Northeast corner caused most problems, but as is usual in such cases, it’s difficult, in retrospect, to see why.

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.


1a    Share runner-up position — so far behind! (5,6)
{SPLIT SECOND} – a charade of to share and the runner-up position gives the very short space of time by which the runner-up could have been behind the winner

9a    What may be used to cook a main dish covered in cheese? (4-5)
{BAIN-MARIE} – a vessel of hot water into which another vessel is placed to cook slowly is built up by placing A and an anagram (dish) of MAIN inside a soft French cheese

10a    Character with a share of the takings (5)
{THETA} – this Greek character is hidden inside (a share of) the last two words

11a    Ladies worried about models of perfection (6)
{IDEALS} – an anagram (worried about} of LADIES leads to models of perfection

12a    Cocktail brew given to slurring young lady (8)
{MISHMASH} – this cocktail, or hotchpotch, is built up by placing a mixture of crushed malt and hot water used in brewing after what sounds like, if the speaker were drunk, a young lady

13a    Demands to get laws repealed? (6)
{EXACTS} – these demands could also be a way of describing repealed laws

15a    A test designed after a soldier creates a stir (8)
{AGITATES} – put an anagram (designed) of A TEST after A and an American soldier and you get a word meaning creates a stir

18a    Go over front of ship, finding a weapon (8)
{CROSSBOW} – to go over, as in to go over a river, is followed by the front of a ship to give a weapon of the kind used by William Tell

19a    Threaten one copper trapped in fix (6)
{IMPEND} – a synonym for to threaten, as in to loom, is constructed from I (one) and then a P(enny) (copper) inside a word meaning to fix

21a    Dangerous environment for the Queen’s court (8)
{CHANCERY} – put a word meaning dangerous, or risky, around (environment for) Crosswordland’s standard abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina to get what was formerly the highest court of justice next to the House of Lords

23a    Hold back sweet course — run out after start of service (6)
{STIFLE} – to hold back, as in to hold back a yawn, is created by putting a sweet course without the R (Run out) after S (start of Service)

26a    Worked hard without time to get drunk (5)
{OILED} – start with a word meaning worked hard and remove the T (without Time) to get a colloquialism for drunk

27a    Trouble following tense gambles on traffic queues (9)
{TAILBACKS} – a word meaning to trouble follows T(ense) and precedes gambles, or places a bet on, to get long traffic queues

28a    An increasing number of houses have been owned by soldiers (11)
{REPOSSESSED} – in the current state of the market, this is what has happened to many houses – it could be split (2,9) to mean owned by soldiers


1d    Stand-in team collapse (7)
{SUBSIDE} – the shortened form of a stand-in, perhaps one sitting on the bench, is followed by his team to get a word meaning to collapse

2d    French banker with nothing to invest in former currency (5)
{LOIRE} – this French river is created by putting O (nothing) inside (to invest in) the former currency of Italy

3d    Casual workers admitted being delayed by models (9)
{TEMPLATES} – the casual workers could be secretaries – place them around a word meaning delayed to get models, or patterns

4d    State that’s turned about (4)
{EIRE} – this country is a charade of the abbreviation for “that is” reversed (turned) followed by about, or concerning

5d    Work finishes without beginning to demonstrate opportunities (8)
{OPENINGS} – start with Crosswordland’s usual abbreviation for work and add finishes, as in the finishes of stories, without the D (without beginning to Demonstrate)to get these opportunities

6d    Land in water by side of field? (5)
{DITCH} – although I had the answer early on, it was a while before I put it in as I misread the wordplay – it’s actually a double definition: to land in water and a trench at the side of a field – I’m still not sure that “side of field” is a strong enough definition

7d    Cooks steal peas regularly (7)
{POACHES} – cooks slowly in simmering water – a word meaning to steal, perhaps livestock, is followed by the even letters (regularly) of peas

8d    Sally’s about to get role — meet inside (8)
{REPARTEE} – a sally, as in a witty remark or retort, is a charade of about (yes, the same one as used in 4d!) a role and the inside letters of meet

14d         Lovely fit on a door, reportedly (8)
{ADORABLE} – a word meaning lovely is built up from a word meaning fit, as in competent, preceded by A and what sounds like (reportedly) door – once again we have one of my least favourite constructs, A on B meaning A after B rather than before, being used in a down clue; we have grudgingly accepted it in across clues but should it be used in down clues?

16d         Propose to follow great healer’s schedule (9)
{TIMETABLE} – to propose a motion follows the great healer to get a schedule, perhaps for buses or trains – funny how one day’s great healer is another day’s enemy!

17d         Threshold for measure in support of disheartened benefactor (8)
{DOORSTEP} – the threshold of a typical house is derived by putting a measure of one pace under (in support of) a  benefactor without his middle letter (disheartened)

18d         Typhoon being broadcast during revolution (7)
{CYCLONE} – another name for a typhoon comes from putting a word meaning being broadcast inside a single revolution

20d         Shift editor getting togged up (7)
{DRESSED} – this shift is the one that young ladies wear, follow it with the usual editor and you have a word meaning togged up

22d         Detectives starting to expect reasons for drink (5)
{CIDER} – the usual detectives are followed by the initial letters (starting to) Expect Reasons to get a drink on which the duty was very nearly hiked up recently

24d         Fellow takes steps to get solid information (5)
{FACTS} – start with F(ellow) and add steps, in the sense of deeds, to get solid information – as requested by Joe Friday in Dragnet! I couldn’t find what I wanted in a clip from the original TV series, so here is the trailer for the 1987 movie

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25d         Pinches a few shots (4)
{NIPS} – a nice easy double definition to finish

The men who were supposed to replace the guttering last summer finally arrived this morning!  And I thought the building trade was supposed to be short of work.

39 comments on “DT 26226

  1. Agree with you on the top RHC Dave, mind you after yesterday it took me a bit to get my confidence back.
    28a seemed a stretch but overall pretty fair.
    Favourite was 12a
    9a was an annoyance but that is just me.
    Thanks for the clues, I need one or two today.

    1. OK – I usually agree with you Nubian – so will go to clued up and download it and see what I make of it.

      Had to resolve my power pack for my router problem before I could do anything today. It’s now done and I am happier -like missing an arm!!

  2. Glad I am not the only one to have found this puzzle a challenge. The last three or four clues took as long to get into the grid as the rest of them put together.

    Many thanks to Jay for stretching us this morning and thanks for the notes BD.

  3. Glad it wasn’t just me who found it more difficult. After the first pass I had about 8 clues in. I had to work hard to make sense of what was going on. Ultimately, as is often the case, it was very satisfying to put the last clue in (5d).
    Favourites for me were 12a, 8d and in particular the great 9a.
    Thanks to BD for the review and Jay for another fine puzzle.

    1. Hi Gnomey, why is your name in blue, but the rest of us black, you must be a special gnome :)

          1. That’s probably what it is then.
            Once you have read ‘Yay! I have a blog!’ there is nothing more to read!

  4. Like others this was somewhat hard work this morning.

    First clue to go in was 9a which really did not help.

    I struggled badly with 7d for some reason despite poaching in my younger days!

    Overall a high quality crossword for which is to be both thanked and commended. Occasionally something a little more taxing is appreciated.

    I note we are still needing to enter name and email so the debuggers have not done their job yet.

  5. Very hard going today. Needed Big Dave’s help with a couple. Not what we expect on a Wednesday – is the Crossword Ed moving the difficult days around to catch us out?!!

  6. Morning all – a regular lurker but first time poster. I was quite surprised to see you rate this as 4* for difficulty; I rattled through it but found yesterday a real struggle compared to everyone else. Sounds like life at my house, guttering gets fixed in its own good time…. Thanks for the review.

    1. Early returns from CluedUp, after excluding obvious cheats, are showing times ranging from 25 minutes to over an hour, so I think the four-star rating is about right and this is backed up by other comments.

  7. YES! Finished it – and without the blog too! Might have been a complete fluke … we’ll see on Friday

      1. Thanks Mary. It’s the first weekday puzzle I’ve finished and I was so chuffed I almost had to go and have lie-down! 7d was the last to go, having even wondered about anagrams of ‘steal’ plus p/a or e/s … Lots of good stuff in this one, most enjoyable.

            1. Answers starting with two unchecked letters are often more difficult than they should be – this is the dreaded “double unch” that you will see referred to from time to time.

  8. DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN!!! Has anyone in the CC managed to start this horror yet? Why don’t the DT leave this sort for the Toughie as I has said many times before. What with Ray T yesterday and this one today, I am seriously considering giving up permanently on the DT crossword. I hope the few of you who can do this sort enjoy it, as for the rest of us, enjoy the sunshine!

    1. Dont give up Barrie, tomorrows another day, by the way why are u sometimes Barrie21 or is that another Barrie??

      1. Dont know why my handle changes, at the moment the site won’t hold the data any more even after logging-in to Word press. Mary, well done if you have managed anything on this one, quite one of the worst in my opinion this year.

        1. My brother gave me a ‘kick start’ today when he rang to see how i was getting on with it (he has been doing these for over 40 yrs compared to my 11 months) when i told him i wasn’t going to bother today as i could only ‘see’ one, he talked me through half a dozen to get me going, it then took me another hour to finish apart from 7d & 8d, which he then ‘helped’ with again, what maked my day is when i can give him answers he has failed to get and it does happen! :)

  9. Managed it and enjoyed it, even though the grid made it very cornery.
    A relief after yesterday!

  10. Yes, some far fetched clues today and worthy of its **** rating……..
    ….but definately better than yesterday’s nightmare!


  11. Yes finished, really hard today I thought, on first looking could only do 26a! then was left with 7d & 8d which my brother helped me with over the phone, as for 7d, surely it reads to take the even letters out of ‘cooks steal peas’ not just ‘peas’? How are you supposed to know that?? apart from the fact that if you do it makes no sense!

  12. Great crossword in my view – challenging and some good clues (12a my favourite). Failed to get 9a and 4d – the latter a tad weak? Apart from those two I had it done on my way into work – 7d being the last to go in (DER!)

    Best of the week so far for me.

    Thank to the compiler.

  13. Great crossword again today. Took about an hour but held up stupidly putting Nightcap for 12a so could not do 8d and7d. As soon as correct answer dawned, then no problem with 7 and 8d.
    8d favourite clue.
    Never seen a crossword dictionary. Are they really a legitimate device for normalish cryptic crosswords ?

    1. Anything that helps and enables you to enjoy it is legit as far as i’m concerned clematis, i wouldn’t be able to do them without mine, ‘Chambers crossword dictionary, I also now have ‘Chambers XWD’ a dictionary of crossword abbreviations as well as my little electronic friend :)

  14. I quite enjoyed that!
    When I looked at it on the bus this morning I knew that 7d and 8d would be the ones that kept me chewing the top of my biro, and verily it came to pass…
    16d was a personal favourite.
    Was I meant to write ‘hairline’ anywhere?

  15. I raced through the first half (bar 7d!) only to come to a complete stop in the second partly because I made life difficult by putting ‘monsoon’ for 18d – moon = revolution and son= being (broadcast – anagram thereof) – I think my mind is becoming very warped……

  16. Good but strangely it was the South-West corner that held me up, although REPARTEE in the N-E held me back a while. The PART bit stuck out like a sore thumb, it was the rest that took the time.

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