DT 26239 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26239

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26239

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I quite enjoyed this when I solved it, and have stuck with my four-star rating. While writing the review I realised that there is a surfeit of charade/word-sum type clues.

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.


9a    Old Mexican street map private eye required (5)
{AZTEC} – this old Mexican is a charade of a well-known street map and a short name for a private eye

10a    Salesman with shoddy lines hard to replace (9)
{REPLENISH} – a salesman is followed by an anagram (shoddy) of LINES and finally H(ard)

11a    Odds on pointer will find a bird (7)
{SPARROW} – combine the Starting Price (odds) and a pointer, or indicator, to get this common garden bird

12a    Soup, food the German needed (7)
{CHOWDER} – this soup, typically made with clams, is a charade of a colloquial word for food and the German definite article

13a    Ancient kingdom identified by female graduate (5)
{SHEBA} – an ancient kingdom, famous for its Queen, is built up from a female and a graduate

14a    Large case of wine, fine mixture (9)
{PORTFOLIO} – a large case for holding loose papers, drawings, etc. is constructed from a fortified wine, F(ine) and a mixture or medley

16a    Columbian one, one drunk very rarely (4,2,1,4,4)
{ONCE IN A BLUE MOON} – an anagram (drunk) of COLUMBIAN ONE, ONE gives a phrase meaning very rarely

19a    Railway building’s striking wood (6,3)
{SIGNAL BOX} – this railway building is made up of a word meaning striking and an evergreen shrub or small tree with hard smooth yellowish wood

21a    Raid beneficial to a leader in Yemen (5)
{FORAY} – this raid is another word-sum – beneficial to, A and the first letter (leader) of Yemen

23a    Resolve shown by press elsewhere (4,3)
{IRON OUT} – a word meaning to resolve, or settle, is a combination of to press, as in to press clothes, and elsewhere, or not in

25a    Savoury dish, especially good nibbled (7)
{RAREBIT} – a savoury dish of melted cheese, with or without ale, on hot toast (perhaps Mary has a recipe!) is a charade of especially good, as in exquisite, and nibbled

27a    Conductor to choose passage we hear (9)
{ELECTRODE} – a a conductor by which a current enters or leaves, for example, a thermionic valve is a charade of to choose, as one does an MP, and what sounds like (we hear) a passage or street

28a    River, one at the heart of traditional teachings (5)
{LOIRE} – this French river is found by inserting (at the heart of) I (one) inside traditional teachings


1d           Get through a gap between peaks (4)
{PASS} – a double definition –  to get through and a gap between mountain peaks

2d           A guy relaxed (2,4)
{AT EASE} – a combination of A and a word meaning to guy when split as (2,4) instead of (1,5) means releaxed

3d           Caught in Madagascar, Latin American fever (10)
{SCARLATINA} – hidden (caught) inside the third, fourth and fifth words is a fever

4d           Mature women in class (4,2)
{GROW UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to mature is found by inserting W(omen) inside a class or set

5d           Like a phantom appearing in phosphorus, shrouded in scarlet, eerily (8)
{SPECTRAL} – a word meaning like a phantom is built up by putting P(hosphorus) inside (shrouded in) an anagram (eerily) of SCARLET

6d           Principal figure in theatre-in-the-round (4)
{HERO} – the principal male character in a book, play, or film is hidden inside theatre-in-the-round

7d           Curry with wine? Daughter must get to a lavatory! (8)
{VINDALOO} – a very hot and spicy curry is built up from wine, D(aughter) and A lavatory (colloquial)

8d           Circumspect about fellow on N American wine (10)
{CHARDONNAY} – a word meaning circumspect is placed around (about) a university fellow and the abbreviation for N American to get a white wine

13d         Grasses on drunk, slightly worse for wear? (10)
{SHOPSOILED} – a word meaning grasses or informs on is followed by a term for drunk to get a synonym for worse for the wear

15d         Brawl — no one charged (4-3-3)
{FREE-FOR-ALL} –  a double definition – a brawl that could mean no one is charged

17d         Surname prisoner keeps saying (8)
{COGNOMEN} – probably today’s hardest clue – an extra personal name given to an ancient Roman citizen, functioning rather like a nickname and typically passed down from father to son is derived from Crosswordland’s ubiquitous prisoner around (keeps) a pithy and sententious saying, generally in verse, embodying some moral sentiment or precept inside

18d         Target in range on circling island (8)
{AMBITION} – a target or aspiration comes from a range and ON around (circling) I(sland)

20d         Former king overturned by Greeks, ultimately (6)
{XERXES} – start with former, as in former partner, and the Latin for King, reverse them (overturned) and finish with an S (Greeks, ultimately) to get a former Persian King, in this all-in-one clue

22d         Chatter with minister, overlooking time (6)
{RABBIT} – a Cockney rhyming slang word for chatter (****** and pork / talk) is built up from a Jewish religious leader (minister) and T(ime) – I’m not sure that minister is strictly correct in this context; maybe someone else could elucidate as I thought that the Jewish leader was more scholar or teacher than minister (Yoshik, where are you?)

24d         Vow is old hat, possibly (4)
{OATH} – this vow comes from O(ld) with an anagram (possibly) of HAT

26d         Before end of encounter, draw level (4)
{TIER} – before R (end of encounter) put a word meaning to draw to get a level or rank

Several good clues today, but my favourite has to be 20d.  I had an email this morning from another setter wishing he had thought of it first!

43 comments on “DT 26239

  1. I quite enjoyed this , it was probably slightly more difficult than todays toughie which does not live up to expectations. I liked 19a.

  2. I liked this one. A few tricky clues, in particular the SW area, which seemed to take me forever to solve, but an enjoyable battle nevertheless. Thanks to setter, and to BD for the notes.

  3. I think that this was the most difficult, so far, this week.

    23a. Don’t agree that “elswhere” = “out”.

    17d. Never heard of this word. Had to look it up. Also didn’t know a gnome was a pithy saying, until I looked that up.

    1. Chambers Thesaurus gives out = away, absent, elsewhere, not at home, gone, outside, abroad

      The gnome is more usually reserved for Toughie-level puzzles.

          1. You are still correct! elsewhere = somewhere else, in/to another place, not here, absent, removed, abroad

            The problem is that the setter is looking for synonyms from one direction and the solver from the other.

  4. Once 16a had jumped out at me (and isn’t there a Columbian Blue coffee to add a bit of subtle surface reading?) the checking letters helped me to finish it off quite quickly. Agree with BD’s assessment – thanks.

  5. I’ve done the DT cryptic for many years and found this blog some months ago. Since then I’ve read it every day – only just summoned the courage to write a comment! It’s SO lovely to have some of the answers explained – really appreciated. I thought that today’s crossword was quite difficult. 17d provided me with two previously unknown words – the whole answer and the 5 letter word in the middle! I liked 13d very much.

  6. After the delights of yesterday I found this rather bland and straightforward in all honesty. 3d was good, long hidden clues are to be applauded and 20d I liked. Horses for courses I guess.

  7. I must agree with Jezza and thank him for the hint on 17d!. SW corner last in but the puzzle as a whole was fun to solve.
    3d and 13d were probably my favourites.
    Thanks to BD for the review and our mystery setter for the entertainment.

  8. First time poster. Not doing crosswords as regularly as I like. However, I found today’s to be quite straightforward. While I got 17d – I’m not sure of what the latter part of the clue is refering to (keeps saying). btw, brilliant site! As a Putneyite, I may have to amble over the bridge (passport ready) and pay a visit to the Sloany Pony (white horse).

    1. Welcome to the blog GadaffiDuck

      The saying, as is hinted above is a GNOME. Chambers defines this as a pithy and sententious saying, generally in verse, embodying some moral sentiment or precept

      The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday 3rd July (less than two months)

  9. Been doing this in fits and starts today out in the garden whilst trying to dodge the clouds, found it the hardest this week so far, still not got 17d or 20d

    1. OK I have both now, finished at last, not an easy one today at all, be interested to know how fellow CC got on and Barrie??

      1. Unfinished again, Mary. But full of a very unpleasant cold, so there’s my excuse. All done, except the SW corner and apart from 24a, there’s plenty of space! Must try harder …

      2. It really is a question of wavelength. I did this with almost no trouble at all — but still definitely Clueless. :-)

        1. Me too – I found this the easiest for some time. Might try the Toughie since everybody is saying today’s is not too tough.

      3. Not well, far too difficult for me. Follows the weeks trend for tough puzzles. Can never enjoy these types which take so long to do.

        1. Hope it’s not caused by stress due to particularly tough crosswords Barrie? seriously, hope you’re better soon, maybe todays will cheer you up :)

  10. Although I always enjoy doing the DT cryptic crossword, the utmost satisfaction comes from completion without having to refer to dictionaries etc., which I always regard as cheating and is no satisfaction at all.
    Am I to be regarded as a dunce because I’ve never heard of the 17d word and, therefore, as a consequence had no opportunity to complete the crossword. If the setter is being fair give us words which we, at least, have a chance, albeit remote of knowing. Sadly, for my education, the topic of a Roman’s third names’ evolution has never come up in conversation!!
    As was previously said today this word belongs in the Toughie and I’m of a mind to suggest the setter has made an error. Sorry but it’s three boos from me!
    Boo, Boo, Boo

    1. Agree with the last part of your statement Dennis but not the first, whilst I look forward immensely to the day that I will complete one of these without any aids, I do not regard it as cheating, as ‘learners’ at least speaking for myself, I am glad to be able to understand the clues now most days and to see what the setter is looking for, this is indeed progress, to be able to complete without aids is my aim, but that day is far off and it doesn’t deter from the enjoyment to use some help, completing these crosswords is an achievment for myself and many others who are still ‘learning’ and we do not regard it as cheating to use dictionaries etc. :)

    1. Dave, this is an old Greek race of people from former Persia. Taks a word for former (e.g. wife) and the Latin for king, reverse it (overturned) and add the S from the end of Greeks.

    2. You need a 2 letter word for former, a 3 letter word for king, turn them over, and put them on the last letter of Greeks, to give you the name of an old king of Persia.

    3. Thanks lads – I’m frantically trying to write up the down clues. 20d is an all-in-one, where the whole clue defines the answer

  11. A good crossword and certainly maintains the high standard of this week.

    In answer to BD’s response to 20d traditionally a Rabbi was a teacher and a Minister is a servant, i.e. servant of God and of God’s people.
    In the traditionalist Jewish “sects” a woman cannot be a Rabbi as she cannot rule over Jewish Law i.e. The Torah. However, as with the Protestant Church, Methodist and Baptist movements, excluding Strict Baptists, there has been progression towards seeing women as equals. This now extends to certain Jewish “sects’, and this has broadened the Rabbi into both teacher and minister, as women by their very being are pastoral. Is the clue correct? Depends which Jewish tradition you stand in!

    Clear as mud I think.

  12. I found today’s easier than yesterday, with the SW only holding me up. I had “hold out” for 23a, it does give “hold” as a synonym for “press” – I don’t think I would have got 13d or 17d anyway!

  13. I really enjoyed this one today, and did it all quite happily over breakfast. Only needed electronic help with 17d. Didn’t know ‘gnome’ was a saying — thought it was a Zurich banker or garden decoration. We live and learn. Thanks to the setter for raising this CC member’s confidence.

  14. By the way the best Welsh Rarebit is just plain grilled cheddar on toast, sprinkled with black pepper :)

  15. A nice Thursday puzzle from our mystery setter continuing the improving trend of recent weeks. Many thanks to our unknown tormentor and to BD for the notes. I have not tackled the Toughie yet as I have been sidetracked by Anax’s Independent puzzle and its contribution to the entente cordiale!!

  16. Enjoyed it and flew through save 17d and 25a that stumped me. Liked 13d – very clever.

  17. We finished unaided except that 17d was a new word for us and we resorted to the crossword key.22d/25a was funny.

    I don’t think 2d is really legitimate.

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