DT 26245 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26245

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26245

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A very gentle puzzle that, I thought, shouldn’t cause any problems. If you know differently then let me know.

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    Awards having no blemishes (6)
{OSCARS} – these famous awards are a charade of O (zero / no) and some blemishes

5a    See 5d

9a    Birds moult — one’s leg is broken (10)
{GUILLEMOTS} – the diving birds come from an anagram (broken) of MOULT I’S (one’s) LEG

10a    Flower from Fair Isle (4)
{IRIS} – the flower is hidden in the clue

11a    Entertainments having cuts ripe for change (8)
{PICTURES} – these entertainments are an anagram (change) of CUTS RIPE – don’t you go to the movies these days? – or watch a dvd at home?

12a    Crews on islands, reportedly (6)
{EIGHTS} – these boat race crews sound like (reportedly) aits / eyots (small islands) – particularly significant as the boat race passes the Chiswick Eyot!

13a    ‘Huge’ returns, doubled, are not up to much (2-2)
{SO-SO} – huge here is OutSize – reverse (returns) the abbreviation and repeat it (doubled) to get a word meaning not up to much

15a    Cockney friend from Cathay (3,5)
{OLD CHINA} – this Cockney expression for a friend describes Cathay – the friend is rhyming slang for mate; should the wordplay have included a reference to the first word in the answer?

18a    Took lengths to be restrained (8)
{MEASURED} – a double definition – to took the length of an object and restrained or careful

19a    Five leaving orgy for dance (4)
{REEL} – take V (five in Roman numerals) away from an orgy to get a Celtic dance

21a    Drink for Grand National runner? (6)
{CHASER} – a double definition – a whisky, perhaps, which is drunk straight after a weaker drink and a horse that jumps over fences

23a    Gain entry violently for rescue of characters (3,5)
{USE FORCE} – a phrase meaning to Gain entry violently is an anagram (characters) of RESCUE OF

25a    In France, it is Moon River (4)
{LUNE} – the French for moon is also the name of two northern rivers

26a    Moderately short dogs head off to balconies (10)
{MEZZANINES} – take MEZZO, a word meaning moderately as in mezzo-soprano and drop the last letter (short) then add a generic word for dogs, after dropping the first letter (head off); if you’re still with me you have these balconies or low storeys between two others

27a    May I have a look, while I think about it? (3,2,3)
{LET ME SEE} – a double definition – this phrase can have two meanings, depending on the context

28a    Emissary cutting off beneficiary from will (6)
{LEGATE} – an emissary, typically from the Pope, is derived by dropping the last letter (cutting off) from the beneficiary from a will


2d           Small car for Arab (5)
{SAUDI} – S(mall) and a German car combine to give this Arab

3d           Usain Bolt, after injury, showers (9)
{ABLUTIONS} – it’s great to find a new anagram (injury) like this one of USAIN BOLT, which gives showers, as in washing under a shower – not quite up there with the Britney Spears / Presbyterians one, but a close second!

4d           Drink for son, German, at start of the year (6)
{SHERRY} – this drink of fortified wine is built up from S(on), the German equivalent of Mr and Y (start of Year)

5d & 5a    Without him, you’ll have nothing to do (9,6,8)
{CROSSWORD PUZZLE COMPILER} – and neither would I

6d           Deceives girl about star part (8)
{MISLEADS} – a synonym for deceives is derived by putting the form of address for a girl around the star part in a film or play

7d           Risking a lot topping decoration (5)
{ICING} – remove the first letter (topping) from a word meaning risking a lot to get a decoration used for topping cakes

8d           Being 16, mad on the Church (9)
{EXISTENCE} – this word meaning being is an anagram (mad) of SIXTEEN followed by CE (Church of England) – and has nothing to do with 16 down!

14d         Phone round on river for hospitality for everyone (4,5)
{OPEN HOUSE} – an anagram (round) of PHONE is followed by one of many rivers of the same name (in Yorkshire, Sussex or East Anglia) to get hospitality for everyone

16d         Very distressing fieldwork (9)
{HARROWING} – a double definition – very distressing on the one hand and using a spiked frame for breaking up or levelling soil

17d         Merriest form of boats (8)
{TRIREMES} – an anagram (form) of MERRIEST gives these ancient Greek war-galleys with three banks of rowers – regular solvers will know about these, as well as their counterparts with one, two, four and five banks of oars

20d         Ability to remember about visit (6)
{RECALL} – one’s ability to remember is a charade of about and a visit

22d         Moisture first traced in joint (5)
{STEAM} – the moisture produced from boiling water is constructed by putting T (first Traced) inside a joint in a piece of material

24d         Strongbox for game isn’t finished on time (5)
{CHEST) – this strongbox is derived from a board game without its last letter (isn’t finished) followed by T(ime)

Watch out for a new puzzle from Anax this coming Saturday!

45 comments on “DT 26245

    1. That was what I was trying to say, without mentioning old or china.

      My grievance was that mate = china plate = china is the rhyming slang, so the word old is not clued. I take Anax’s point below, but still think there ought to be additional wordplay.

  1. Pretty straightforward stuff and no real complaints from me (I would agree regarding the Cathay clue).
    I Liked 12a and 25a.
    Thanks for the notes!

  2. Don’t know about others Dave but I found it quite hard at least 3* for me, still not got 4d and 2d back later when all will be revealed and I will be left wondering as usual how i could be so thick, duh :( fav clue 5a & 5d :) very true

  3. 15a. While the answer is the old name for China, this isn’t the def. That’s “Cockney friend” and I think it’s fine – setters are often drawn to the MATE/CHINA synonyms but in real life you’re far more likely to hear “How are you, my (3,5)?” than just “How are you, my (5)?”

    1. I have taken a straw poll from some, ahem, acquaintances, and they agree with you Anax. 9/10 cats plumped for the (3,5) option but corrected the spelling to ‘Me ow China’.

  4. For me this was 13a after the excellent start to the week with no real stand out clues,

  5. 11a. No, Dave, Americans go to the movies – I still go to the pictures! Although, I haven’t been for some time.

  6. I think it depends on what sort of a morning you’ve had as to how you rate this one. It was nice to apply my brain after a morning trying to find random bits of paper for various office colleagues. I found it quick to do but at the same time it had some very enjoyable answers – I liked 5 and 5 myself and 3 d reminded me of my dear departed dad for whom a bath was always 3d.

  7. I agree that this was a gentle puzzle but would also add that it continues the general improvement in the Thursday crosswords. I didn’t have any issue with 15a as the common usage is the 3, 5 expression.

    1. I guess that those who learnt their Cockney slang from Dick Van Dyke might agree, but I stick to my original assessment.

  8. I thought that this was more difficult than everyone else seems to think – took me a terribly long time to get going. 8d took me for ever and was the last one that I got – rather stupidly was fooled into thinking that 16 was referring in some way to clue number 16 – maybe that’s what we were supposed to think! 8d and 26a were not only my favourite clues today but also the last ones to be solved.

    1. Don’t worry Kath you’re not the only one to struggle, i took ages to get started too :) thought the same about 16 for a while! took a break came back to it and eventually completed it, but personally it was at least a 3* for me, wonder how rest of CC will find it, ah well it won’t worry Barrie, he should be in Barbados by now

  9. A nice balance of clue-types – 6 anagrams is about par I think. And 3d was a really good new one. So, BD, are you a 5d 5a Analyser?

      1. How about becoming a 5/5 yourself? If you can’t beat them, join them. BTW, are we assessing Difficulty or Enjoyment with our star rating? As today, perhaps, the
        2 aren’t always identical.

        1. Not much chance of that – I see enough good clues to know that I couldn’t compete.

          While on the subject Ana has provided a cracking good puzzle for Saturday.

          The star rating at the bottom of the post is intended for enjoyment only (read the words that appear when you hover over the stars). We provide a difficulty rating as a guide, although some days two stars can be four and vice versa.

          1. Just out of interest, while the 5/5 clue is undoubtedly good… well, I can only speak for myself, but if there was no such thing as crosswords I reckon I’d be doing something else.

                  1. he he he…I have had a sneak preview…I do think the peeps who went to the last sloggers and betters event will have a head start on this one!

                    1. LOL! puzzle was not even written or conceived at that stage! so you did not miss anything! BUT it will help you with some of the clues…..But of course Anax will give fair clues that anyone can get ( with obligatory head scratching! )

                    2. Was Anax concentrating on the proceedingsat the White Horse? He seemed quite preoccupiedby other things :)

                    3. mmmmmm????? not aware of the preamble bit……this could prove interesting….

  10. all I can say is that I am glad I found this one relatively easy as I have spent the rest of my lunch hour struggling with what is, for me at least, the toughiest toughie for ages. Presume the hint giver is also struggling as the hints are not up yet!

  11. Who is Usain Bolt? I tought this was a made-up name and therefore a poor clue!

    1. Welcome to the blog Patsyann.

      Usain Bolt is te current World and Olympic champion at 100 and 200 metres and holds the world record for both events. What more can he do?

    1. I thought it was very tricky today – toughest one of the week for me so far. Barely got half of it done before I resorted to using the hints.

  12. Hi Dave,
    I’m a relative newcomer to your blog, but would like to say thanks, as I find it a valuable tool for some of the more obscure clues.
    I usually attempt the crossword on the train journey home and pick up the blog via my mobile. Please keep up the good work, your gentle hints are much appreciated!

  13. 17d was a new one one me: I’m not too hot on boats. Apart from that I didn’t have too many problems but there were none of those groans that seem to escape when something suddenly dawns on me.

  14. Dipped in and out today so it spread over several hours – last in was 26a. 5d and 5a was a lovely clue. Thanks to the mystery setter. Hot and sultry in Hertfordshire.

  15. Have just been doing DT 26153 (Feb 2) which is in our National Post today. One of the comments on Feb. 2nd, by PJ, remarked on how fascinating the “Live Feed” is – and so it is. How clever of it to know not only my location – North Vancouver – but also the systems I’m using. Another computer-gazing time-waster for me…

    1. I know what you mean, Cherry, you could use it as a screen saver! By the way, how did you know that your National Post puzzle was the DT26153?. Was it from googling the clue(s).

      1. Falcon, who runs the National Post blog (see link in the sidebar), checks the clues against this site, works out the equivalent Telegraph number and publishes it. If you haven’t yet seen the blog, it’s well worth a look.

  16. The best Thursday puzzle so far!
    The 5d + 5a combination was magnificent – what more can one say?

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