DT 26238 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26238

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26238

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A welcome distraction from the aftermath of the election. Jay maintains his usual standard – particular favourites are highlighted in blue.

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.


7a    After onset of sciatica, frequently notice weakness (4,4)
{SOFT SPOT} – a charade of S (onset of Sciatica) and synonyms for frequently and notice leads to a weakness

9a    University exam rejected from the start (6)
{OUTSET} – combine the oldest surviving university in the English-speaking world (or alternatively the Open University, one of the newest) with another name for an exam, reversed (rejected) to get a word meaning the start

10a    One might see nothing left in people … (6)
{ORACLE} – an authoritative person who divines the future is built up from O (nothing) followed by L(eft) inside people descended from a common ancestor, especially those who inherit a common set of characteristics

11a    … people accepted for transfusion? (3,5)
{NEW BLOOD} – people with fresh talent, and what is used for a transfusion

12a    Generally, a bad-tempered group of directors (6-3-5)
{ACROSS-THE-BOARD} – a hyphenated word meaning generally is a charade of A with bad-tempered and a group of directors of a company

15a    Revealing Euclidean concept (4)
{IDEA} – hidden (revealing) inside the second word is a concept

17a    How many practise Buddhism? (5)
{DOZEN} – although “how many” is a rather loose definition, the wordplay is worth it – to practise together with a branch of Buddhism which holds that the truth is not in scriptures but in a person’s own heart if they will only strive to find it by meditation and self-mastery – all that last part is summed up in just three letters!

19a    Move in large numbers, having suitable backing (4)
{TEEM} – to move in large numbers, or swarm, comes from reversing (backing) a word meaning suitable – rather similar to 11a in yesterday’s Toughie 351 “Back fitting to bear fruit (4)”

20a    Quite the environment for a fantasist? (7,7)
{VIRTUAL REALITY} – a cryptic definition of a computer-simulated environment which gives the operator the impression of actually being there

23a    Got ready for homework — poor dear! (8)
{PREPARED} – a word meaning got ready is built up from a posh word for school homework and an anagram (poor) of DEAR

25a    What a consumer does as a joke is reported (6)
{INGEST} – a consumer does this to food, and it sounds like (reported) as a joke (2,4)

27a    Unusual ruse, squeezed by case of debts pressure (6)
{DURESS} – put an anagram (unusual) of RUSE inside (squeezed by) the outside letters (case of) DebtS to get pressure

28a    Bush backed objective, admitting a long struggle (8)
{MAGNOLIA} – to get this bush with beautiful foliage and large solitary flowers you need to reverse an objective and then put an anagram (struggle) of A LONG inside


1d           Rain is unfortunate for the audience (4)
{POUR} – a word meaning to rain sounds like (for the audience) a synonym for unfortunate

2d           Fixed mostly on firm’s decorative work (6)
{STUCCO} – most of a word meaning fixed together with the abbreviation for a firm gives this decorative work made from plaster or cement

3d           Avoid putting in time for hospital floor (4)
{STUN} – start with a synonym of to avoid, and replace the H(ospital) with a T(ime) to get a word meaning to floor, as in to render unconscious

4d           Bread with herb regularly making a flytrap (6)
{COBWEB} – combine a rounded loaf of bread, W(ith) and the even letters (regularly) of herb to make a trap for flies

5d           Jump in surprise, coming across law-breaking champion (8)
{STALWART} – inside (coming across) a jump in surprise place an anagram (breaking) of LAW to get this champion or loyal supporter

6d           Inferior back beat (6,4)
{SECOND BEST} – a term meaning inferior is a charade of to back or support and to beat or outwit

8d           Relax, say, after parking in a hurry (7)
{PRESSED} – put a homophone (say) of rest (relax) after P(arking) to get a word meaning in a hurry

13d         Possibly avoid used car — I’d not get pinched (10)
{CADAVEROUS} – an anagram (possibly) of AVO(ID) USED CAR without (not) the I’D to get a word meaning pinched, as in gaunt or haggard

14d         Mist lying on top of locust tree (5)
{HAZEL} – put a mist over (on, as this is a down clue) L (top of Locust) to get a tree best known for its nuts

16d         Bundle rep aside at a rate of knots (8)
{AIRSPEED} – an anagram (bundle) of REP ASIDE gives a rate that is usually expressed in knots

18d         In want of massaging, according to rumour (7)
{NEEDING} – a word meaning in want of sounds like (according to rumour) a synonym of massaging

21d         In Paris, a break from civil disturbance (6)
{UNREST} – combine UN (a, the indefinite article, in Paris / French) with a break from working to get civil disturbance or, as Chambers puts it, discontent verging on insurrection

22d         A great many support individual working (6)
{LEGION} – this great many people is, as Tilsit would say, a word-sum – a support (for a person or a table, for example) plus I (individual) plus a synonym for working

24d         Deer crossing motorway building (4)
{DOME} – place a female deer around a M(otorway) to get a building – maybe one built for the millennium

26d         Crop that’s a bargain (4)
{SNIP} – a double definition – to crop, for example, hair and a bargain

If all goes well there will be a couple of changes tomorrow.  Bufo, well known to solvers of the Listener crossword, will review the Toughie and Gnomethang will review last Saturday’s Prize puzzle.

41 comments on “DT 26238

  1. As BD a welcome distraction.

    Solid cluing, some which made one cogitate but I trust the 11a will not find this too challenging.

    All three puzzles this week have been most acceptable.

  2. Find this quite tough today still stuck on 3d & 22d and had help off Dave for two others i.e. 17a, which i think is quite clever and 10a, back later, good luck fellow CC, not easy today, at least i don’t think so, back later :)

  3. I got (still am) stuck in the top half after filling in the lower fairly easily. Needed the hints for 9/10/11a. Just waiting for 1/3d, unless 1d is a homophone for what rain does when it’s heavy.

    1. It is what rain does when it’s heavy – a homophone of unfortunate!

      Unlike the truly bad 5 down in yesterday’s Toughie, the indicator is correctly placed.

      1. …And so it was, thanks BD. Just the one I didn’t get then, 3d, but clearly explained. Waiting now to see where the second word of 6d comes from.

        Very enjoyable, lots of good clues, thanks Jay and BD.

  4. WOW what a tough puzzle! Not friendly esp following a Ray T yesterday. Even when I see the answers above they make little sense, what on earth has pour to do with audience or oracle with people? Not wasting my time any further today as this is def one for the experts. :-(

    1. To answer your question, absolutely nothing.

      “Unfortunate for the audience” means sounds like poor.

      The people are a race, which is part of the wordplay for oRAClE

  5. I liked it. Last clue to enter was 3d. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, good.. let’s hope the trend continues!

  6. Thanks for hints Dave, had put in 3d but just couldn’t understand it, also got 22d now, I think, agree though with Barrie that it is more a 4* for me today :) not one i enjoyed

  7. Straight up and down and enjoyable from Jay today. Stupidly I wrote Lotion in at 22d (I don’t know why either!) but as soon as I spotted that all was well.
    Favourite for me was 3d as it was a very good ‘Lift and Separate’ of ‘hospital floor’ in my opinion.
    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and BD for the review (expect an email this evening!).
    See Y’All tomorrow.

  8. Good crossword from Jay yet again, liked 3d, not sure about 17a, thanks BD for review.

  9. An average puzzle today. Like Gnomethang I toyed with lotion at 22d and had to resort to the blog. One of those days when I felt that it would be nice to contact Barrie and tell him to start with the down clues first as some of the answers were definitely easier to spot and that helped get the across ones.

    1. I think I’d have gone for Lotion as well, except I had the ‘g’ in so didn’t fall into the great many = lot trap! Good puzzle. I managed it all on my own – didn’t even need the dictionary – that’s progress!

  10. I have a query re 8d: although ‘ressed’ is a homophone of ‘rest’, it isn’t a real world – is this a legitimate construct? My logic is that as it isn’t a real word, how are we supposed to know how to pronounce it?

    1. It’s a very good point, and I worded the hint carefully. Personally I don’t like it, but it is, in many ways, like having an anagram which is not itself a word around another part of the wordplay to get the answer (and I don’t like that either!).

  11. Managed all except 1 down. Still don’t understand it having read the explanation. Perhaps it’s my Yorkshire accent, but the one word sounds nothing like t’other to me

    1. I agree. Born a Yorkshireman I would pronounce it more as a rhyme of “sure”. Only many years of living in the Soft South led me to understand the clue. Thought 3d was worthy of blue highlighter though.

  12. I’d agree that the two words in 1d do not sound the same to me either.

    Just a point on 9a. The university could also be the Open University, which is very commonly referred to as the ‘OU’. Strictly speaking, the name of Oxford University (and the same for Cambridge) is the University of Oxford; so the abbreviation is a little informal, and often met in OUP or names of clubs and associations in the university.

    Harry Shipley

    1. I had thought of it as the OU of OUP, but Open University may be better – Chambers XWD gives both. I don’t think CU would be clued as Cambridge University – and Chambers XWD agrees!

      1. Inerestingly, today’s Guardian crossword also has ‘OU’ clued as ‘university’.

      1. In fairness Dave I’d be inclined to agree with Peter on this. The clue is cleverly done, but “I’d not” isn’t very satisfactory as a removal indicator, at least in terms of grammar.

          1. On a par! It feels like “I’d not” is a fragment of “I’d not there”. “Off with odd characters” is similar in that adding hyphens before and after would add to the syntax.

  13. Thanks Jay, I have to say I loved today’s puzzle. I would go so far as to say it was my favourite of the year. Hard enough to stump me a few times but fair enough that I solved it unaided, with a real sense of satisfaction when I did so. Loved 17a, clue of the day for me.

  14. OK but a couple of gripes;13d answer is tenuous synonym for ‘pinched’ but i suppose it’s an anagram so had to be there somewhere. 3d was just too bizarre a clue and left me for dead.

  15. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Many thanks to Jay, Dave et al. Mother-in-law and I had all except 3 1/2 clues done. (I couldn’t see what 20a was – but this was mainly because we had “rate” as the second word in 6d :()
    Lots of enjoyable clues here. I liked 17a and 15a gave me more trouble than it ought to have done, but I was pleased when I got it!

  16. Enjoyable puzzle from Jay.
    I liked 12a & 20a. 13d.
    I have a slight objection to the wording of 28a as its other name is tulip-tree! so it is not a bush. There is one in the street round the corner from my place and it is as tall as the house and this year was in magnificent bloom. I daresay Jay will put it down to delusory licence.

    PS I completely forgot to comment yesterday on 26237! Was following the political events in London.

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