DT 26233 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26233

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26233

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This Crossword is specially themed for the General Election and mentions the three main parties and their leaders as well as a smattering of other politically oriented terms. I have highlighted, in green, the seven main clues. Expect a protest from the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, as they are not included.

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    Free translation of Braille (7)
{LIBERAL} – a word meaning free is an anagram (translation) of BRAILLE, and the first political party of today’s topical theme answers

5a    Mitchell, say, made stage entrance tackling lead in rep (7)
{CAMERON} – no, it isn’t Grant or Phil that is needed here but the fictional character in the television series Stargate SG-1, put a phrasal verb meaning made a stage entrance around (tackling) R (lead in Rep) – today’s first party leader

9a    British have roast (5)
{BROWN} – a charade of BR(itish) and a word meaning to have results in a verb meaning to roast

10a    Finest fruit for leader (3,6)
{TOP BANANA} – combine a word meaning finest with a fruit to get the most important person in an organization

11a    Natural should, once trained (10)
{UNSCHOOLED} – a word meaning natural, or spontaneous, not trained, is an anagram (trained) of SHOULD ONCE

12a    For the most part, extremely active publicity (4)
{HYPE} – most of a suffix meaning extremely active gives the kind of publicity that we have encountered a lot over the last month

14a    Tending to be cautious in blimp? (12)
{CONSERVATIVE} – a double definition – the second one a person of similar views to the elderly military officer invented by cartoonist David Low

18a    Discipline in the water — brother given direction by oarsman (12)
{BREASTSTROKE} – a rather odd way to describe a style of swimming! – combine BR(other), a direction, and the lead oarsman

21a    Extreme left-winger to run (4)
{TROT} – a follower of Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist Lev Davidovich Bronstein or a pace between walking and running

22a    Awful mistakes during almost all of major musical (4,2,4)
{KISS ME KATE} – an anagram (awful) of MISTAKES is placed inside (during) most of (almost all) of a system of tones definitely related to one another in a musical scale, of which major is an example, to get the musical based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

25a    Actually elected one occupying property (2,7)
{IN REALITY} – a phrase meaning actually is built up from a two-letter word meaning elected followed by I (one) inside (occupying) an American term from property

26a    Long-serving comedy character, 100 on third of August (5)
{CLEGG} – a dearly-loved character from the long-running British TV comedy Last of the Summer Wine is built up from th Roman numeral for 100, the “on” side in cricket and the third letter of August (third of August)

27a    Group unhappy making record (3,4)
{SET DOWN} – a charade of synonyms for a group and unhappy gives a phrasal verb meaning to make a record of events

28a    M25, maybe — what’s said about small section? (7)
{ORBITAL} – a word used for a road passing round the outside of a town, like the M25 does to London, comes from spoken (what’s said) around a small section


1d           Duties could cause seaman to scowl outwardly (6)
{LABOUR} – these duties are formed from an Able-Bodied seaman inside (outwardly) a scowl

2d           Thumb through book and files before start of election (6)
{BROWSE} – to thumb through is constructed from B(ook), files, as in ranks, and E (start of Election)

3d           Single-storey building in Honshu, with acre to be ploughed (5,5)
{RANCH HOUSE} – a single-storey building is an anagram (ploughed) of HONSHU and ACRE

4d           Helplessly drunk, failing to start game (5)
{LOTTO} – drop the first letter (failing to start) from a word meaning helplessly drunk to get  a game of chance

5d           Hebe, perhaps, caught on horseback by messenger (9)
{CUPBEARER} – Hebe carried out this task for the Greek gods – it’s derived from C(aught) together with a word meaning on horseback and a messenger

6d           Soldiers round a base (4)
{MEAN} – one of Crosswordland’s names for soldiers is placed around A to get a word meaning base or lowly

7d           Cut short waiter with dry humour (5,3)
{READY WIT} – cut is an odd anagram indicator for WAITE(R), without the last letter (short), and DRY to get a type of humour

8d           Put in order for a number in demand (8)
{NEATENED} – not the first synonym of put in order that came to mind – put A TEN (a number) inside a demand or requirement

13d         Bad backache — NY taxi required (7,3)
{HACKNEY CAB} – an anagram (bad) of BACKACHE and NY gives a name for a taxi that dates back to the days when they were horse-driven vehicles

15d         Trace a Hitchcock film (9)
{SUSPICION} – a double definition of a trace, or small quantity, and a Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple

16d         Avoids when negotiating black spot (8)
{ABSTAINS} – another election-themed answer – avoids voting comes from AS (when) around B(lack) and a spot or mark

17d         Party member in protest meeting about one who’s been disloyal (8)
{DEMOCRAT} – a member of the 1a party comes from a protest meeting followed by C(irca) / about and one who has been disloyal

19d         Special gift adult left in shelter (6)
{TALENT} – this special gift is derived by putting A(dult) (as an obsolete film rating) and L(eft) inside a temporary shelter

20d         Mountain girl in Lancers’ home? (6)
{BENGAL} – a charade of a Scottish word for a mountain and a colloquial term for a girl give the “home” of the famous Lancers who fought in India

23d         Authority to make a statement in case (3-2)
{SAY-SO} – a word meaning a verbal authorisation is a charade of to make a statement and word meaning in case or “in the event that” – the second word is a bit tricky to explain!

24d         Whip-round for famous orator (4)
{CATO} – combine a whip used for punishment with O (round) to get Marcus Porcius, a famous Roman orator

An interesting puzzle, and certainly one of the better Thursday offerings.

44 comments on “DT 26233

  1. Not my favourite ‘theme’ for a crossword, though to be expected today but despite getting 14a, i was still expecting to see ‘tory’ somewhere, the only place I could think it would go was 21a, which threw me for a while with 17d!! not really keen on the clue for 21a, yes, surely it would have been easy enough to include the Welsh and Scottish parties? :) Thanks Dave

          1. Tell me about it! I keep forgetting to type in my details before I post and then having to do it all over again :(

  2. It actually took me a while to spot the theme (Duh me!) and by that time I had the main 6 in anyway!.
    Thursdays seem to be moving in the right direction – I enjoyed this one, particularly 13d and 5d.
    Just a point on 22a, BD, I simply interpreted ‘major’ as ‘key’ as in policies otherwise one might suggest ‘musical’ was doing double duty. Its probably no big thing though.
    Thanks for the review and thanks to the mystery setter.

    1. 22a – I agonised overt hat one and took it as a major key, which doesn’t necessarily need the musical qualification – but you may be right.

  3. I finished this but found it quite tricky. I think your difficulty rating of three stars is absolutely correct. It’s funny that at the start of the year the Thursday puzzles were a breeze but the last three have been quite challenging – mind you, that is a good thing.

    I really enjoyed the election theme – if it hadn’t been for that I would have struggled to finish this.

    Thanks for the review, Big Dave. Happy election day to all bloggers and readers!

  4. Enjoyed this today, many thanks as usual for the excellent review.

    A minor point on your analysis fo 12a – is the “suffix” not more normally a prefix? *****active, *****sonic, etc. Can’t think of an example of its use as a suffix. Sorry to quibble.

  5. Many thanks to our mystery setter for an enjoyable puzzle. i twigged the theme early on which helped with 5a. I think for 22a, I’ll cast my vote for the Gnomethang party!

    Even though the Scots and Welsh did not get a look in, I see the Greens have a mention in the choice of colour for highlighting the political references!

  6. It’s done but I can’t say I enjoyed doing it – no clue stood out for me. Am working on yesterday’s toughie and that is much more enjoyable.

    Oh well – tomorrow is Friday so let’s home Giovanni has a nice one for us.

    Already voted but off to do some telling.

  7. Didn’t finish it, but eventually there were only 6 left undone, so getting better I think.

    5a was a lucky guess – never heard of the tv series! 22a, I got the C and G, but forgot ON = LEG. I’m so glad you explained 5d; I had no idea of the construct for this! Also 22a, no idea where the extra K E came from.

  8. All done & glad after today TV & radio are also Party leader & election free zones

  9. I thought this was quite entertaining but a bit too uncomplicated, having said that it was marginally more difficult than the toughie.

  10. The “theme” certainly helped, and has a slight influence (10a) in today’s Toughie. Which I feel is more suited to a regular back page slot, as it didn’t take very long to complete.

    1. Enjoyed the theme today. I wondered whether the Toughie would also be subject to election fever but luckily apart from 10a, it wasn’t. Am waiting for Toughie blog to find out why the answer to 14a is what it is. WIll it be long as I have to leave at 3??!!

      1. Sue, without preempting too much over on this page you need to consider the first name of an actress who played ER1 for the second part of the word

        1. Thanks – as you see from my second message above, I realised as soon as I pressed send. Always the way.

          1. Sue – perhaps you’ve cracked the secret of clue-solving!. Free Your Mind from thinking about it, by asking the Blog for help, and the answer magically appears from your sub-conscious!

  11. My first post on this site which I find all too often very useful!
    Concerning the 5a clue having never watched the Stargate program it was difficult to make a correlation with ‘Mitchell’ and the answer as explained by Big Dave.
    However, as old as I am I can remember watching The High Chaparral with the character ‘Uncle’ Buck as played by Cameron Mitchell. As a ranch owning dynasty I’m sure they must vote Tory!

    1. I was aware of the actor that you mentioned, but thought the fictional character was more likely to be known today.. Only the setter will know which one was intended.

  12. Anyone know whats happened to the toughie hints? nearly finished .but a few hints ay help.

    1. We’re waiting for Tilsit’s review. Which clues do you want hints for?

  13. Found today’s quite difficult got through half of it but no time to stretch the grey cells any longer. I’ve been out the game for a week, I need to get back on it!!

    1. 20a Definition is virgin. Start with last letter (finally) of AtlantiC and add a synonym for speed or urgency.

    1. 20a. Definition is virgin. It’s last letter (finally) of AtlantiC plus a synonym for speed or urgency.

      1. 23a The previous ground of Sunderland FC was called Roker Park, Start with an old hooligan (The Mods and *******) and remove the C(aught).

        1. This one caught we for a while as I am unfamiliar with the place. Not a football fan!

          Ann, if gazza is unavailable I (and ossibly others) can help out. That said, gazza is very quick on the draw!!

  14. Thanks Gazza .sorry posted it 3 times but husband usually works PC iam hopeless.

  15. Excellent puzzle. I love the moment the penny drops and the theme of the whole thing is revealed…which is just as well as i would never got the Mitchell clue-STARGATE!!! What’s all that about? Seriously, though it’s good that a few of the references are of current cultural significance.
    Difficulty **** Enjoyment *****

  16. Enjoyed the theme. 26a was a nice clue, I thought! There are still a few to go in. Thanks for the review, Dave – but I am resisting finding out the last few answers until later.

    1. Thanks Dave – given in and looked at the ones I couldn’t get. Looking forward to Giovanni’s puzzle and already getting excited about NTSPP!

  17. Sorry I thought this a throughly nasty puzzle, not that difficult but very unpleasant.

  18. Theme was to be expected!
    A much better Thursday puzzle.
    I liked 21a, 22a & 26a. 5d, 13d, 16d & 20d.

    Got a good night’s sleep (after 12.30am – 00.30hrs) and am now back at the goggle-box to follow events in GB.

  19. I have done this crossword today (Friday) and didn’t realise it was themed until I looked at this blog! Is this an example of not being able to see the wood for the trees?

  20. Having only seen this crossword today for the first time any election or political references or clues went right over my head I’m afraid. Now I’ve looked at the answers, it all makes sense!

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