DT 26256 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26256

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26256

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Light relief for some after yesterday, this is a reasonably straightforward puzzle from Jay.

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    Virtually unique service and comfort … (6)
{SOLACE} – a tricky one to get started – virtually all of a word meaning unique or exclusive is followed by an unreturnable tennis service to get comfort

4a    …service and structured care, making a killing (8)
{MASSACRE} – this is a service in church rather than a tennis court – follow it with an anagram (structured) of care to get the killing of many people

9a    Return looking embarrassed about enjoyment (6)
{REFUND} – to return a payment is constructed from the colour associated with embarrassment around enjoyment

10a    Creating a remarkable end to match? (8)
{STRIKING} – a cryptic definition of what is done to a match to produce the flame

11a    Man captured in photos gets profits (8)
{PICKINGS} – put the most important chessman inside a short word for photos and you get a colloquial word for profits

13a    Gun, with nothing left inside, is hot (6)
{STOLEN} – start with one of Crosswordland’s guns and insert O (nothing) and L(eft) to get a word meaning hot in the criminal sense

15a    Authority finally bans beer from bulk disposal of goods (9,4)
{CLEARANCE SALE} – combine a word meaning authority that has been given with the final letter of banS and a beer to get a bulk disposal of goods

18a    Icicle? (8,5)
{FREEZING POINT} – the temperature at which water turns into ice could be a cryptic definition of an icicle

22a    Picks up pen in serious case (6)
{SCOOPS} – a word meaning picks up, ice cream for example, is derived from a pen for poultry inside the outside letters (case) of SeriouS

24a    They regularly develop satire from neurotic disorder (8)
{HYSTERIA} – the even letters (regularly here indicates even letters although it can also indicate odd letters) of tHeY are combined with an anagram (develop) of SATIRE to get a neurotic disorder

26a    Type of performance from speaker no one backs (8)
{ORATORIO} – a performance set to music, with soloists, chorus, and full orchestra but without scenery, costumes or acting is built up from a speaker followed by O (no) and I (one in Roman numerals) both reversed (backs) – I found this confusing and was looking for a word ending ION (NO I reversed) and don’t remember seeing no = nothing = zero = O before, but Mrs Bradford has!

27a    A winning tune from the home help (2,4)
{AU PAIR} – combine A with having a winning score and a tune to get this young person who comes from abroad and performs light domestic duties for a family in exchange for board and lodging and pocket-money (home help)

28a    Turn, oddly, reluctant to cross (8)
{TRAVERSE} – take the odd letters of TuRn and follow them with a synonym for reluctant to get a word meaning to cross over

29a    Deadly heat waves in the outskirts of Liverpool (6)
{LETHAL} – a word meaning deadly is formed from an anagram (waves) of HEAT inside the outside letters (outskirts) of LiverpooL


1d           Fight for right to occupy southern headland (6)
{SCRAPE} – a fight is built up from R(ight) inside S(outhern) and a headland (like those at the southernmost points of Africa and South America)

2d           Mislaid file on revolutionary transport for complete generation (4,5)
{LIFE CYCLE} – an anagram (mislaid) of FILE is followed by a form of transport on wheels to give a complete generation

3d           Restrict penalty given to one in jail (7)
{CONFINE} – a word meaning to restrict is formed by putting a penalty after Crosswordland’s prisoner

5d           Skills required for topless roles (4)
{ARTS} – these skills are created by removing the first letter (topless) from roles in a film or play

6d           Knock down, lest changes include equipment (7)
{SKITTLE} – to knock down, as in a game played on an alley, is an anagram (changes) of LEST around equipment (not rig this time!)

7d           Cool approach to climbing mountain (5)
{CHILL} – a word meaning cool is a charade of C (approach to Climbing) and a small mountain

8d          Manoeuvre royal train to the front (8)
{ENGINEER} – a word meaning to manoeuvre is built up from a member of the Royal family with a train in front

12d         Running through work on band (6)
{GORING} – a word meaning running through, as a bull might do to a matador, is a charade of to work and a band worn on the finger

14d         Short sleep, protected by agent (6)
{SNAPPY} – a word meaning short, as in brief, is constructed by putting a short sleep inside a secret agent

16d         Hat off following Fermat’s surprising results (9)
{AFTERMATH} – put an anagram (off) of HAT after an anagram (surprising) of FERMAT to get the results of an incident – I was surprised to learn from Chambers that this word can also mean a second mowing of grass in the same season!

17d         Not working? Fire new branch (8)
{OFFSHOOT} – a charade of not at work with to fire a gun gives a new branch

19d         Speed rules American communications facilitator (3,4)
{ZIP CODE} – combine to speed or whizz with some rules to get part of a postal address in America

20d         One turned out to be a trespasser (7)
{INTRUDE} – start with I (one) and add an anagram (out) of TURNED to get a word meaning to trespass

21d         Quantity of oil arrived in sound measure (6)
{BARREL} – the quantity used for measuring oil (approximately 35 gallons) is created by putting the abbreviation for ARR(ived) inside a unit used to express a relationship between two sound levels

23d         City in bloom? A hamlet (5)
{OMAHA} – this US city is hidden inside the last three words

25d         Graduates accept one has prejudice (4)
{BIAS} – graduates with an arts degree are placed around I (one) to get a word meaning prejudice

A good puzzle for those who struggled with yesterday’s – I hope!

38 comments on “DT 26256

  1. Many thanks to Jay for a pleasurable outing for a fine Wednesday commute (towards Manchester today – I don’t know – the Gnome gets Quatar and I get Manchester, Newcastle and Cardiff so far!).

      1. Just discovered (on the train home) that they are giving away that nice red liquid you were longing for, so will decline the offer of a swap in this instance!

  2. As you say, a bit of light relief after yesterday. Some very nice clues here with some good surface reading and some reasonably diverting definitions. Favourites for me were 6d and 29a.

  3. Got absolutely stuck on 27a!! How stupid now I’ve read the blog!! thanks BD!

  4. I think I have seen 27a before but it is still enjoyable getting it.
    I enjoyed all the clues today.

  5. Really enjoyed todays puzzle. Some great misleading clues in there. I convinced myself that the 2nd word of 2d had CHE (revolutionary) in it somewhere but got there in the end.

    1. Cyclingbob, if someone with your handle has a problem with the second word of 2d, what hope is there for the rest of us?

  6. Easy one compared with yesterday! Finished by noon which is good for me. I enjoyed 18a and 7d.

      1. Phil McNeill has now corrected the mistake on CluedUp (in case you are looking for it, the second R was missing from restrict).

  7. I fully agree that this is easier than yesterdays HORROR (why was it not the Toughie DT?). However, the left hand side is certainly the trickier half with some fairly tough clues.

  8. Enjoyable puzzle. Got very excited by the z in 18a/19d and starting looking for a (newly discovered by me) pangram!

  9. I don’t mean to be awkward but the answer to 8d is not a train, it is the locomotive, the train is what follows behind as in bridal train!

  10. Perhaps someone could enlighten me about something that has puzzled (sorry for that!) me for years in crosswords. Why is there 3 dots after 1a and 3 dots before 4a when there does not appear to be any connection between them?

      1. Thx, I’ve looked at that and I am probably being thick here but like todays linked clues the example they give makes no sense to me. Where is the link between ERASURE and THE REST? Similarly where is link between 1a and 4a, I just don’t see it at all. They seem to be two totally separate clues and answers so why the dots??

        1. Barrie, in the example form the site that you quoted there is no thematic or wordplay link between the clues at all (s stated in the explanation. The only reason for the elision is because taking the two clues as a whole the surface reading ONLY is improved or creates a full sentence (ish!).

          The example directly below that example (WARREN/RABBIT) gives an example of where one clue does relate thematically to the other.

          Both can be used, the former probably to defend the setter against poor surface reading, the second to aid an otherwise difficult definition to squeeze in.
          The 2a and 4a combination today probably leans towards the first example.

          1. OK I can see where you are coming from, I just don’t think it adds much to the clue other than to confuse – at least it confused me :-) Perhaps I should just ignore these types of clues in future and treat them as two separate ones.

        2. Sometimes (most times, perhaps), it is not because the answers are linked but because the two clues read better together as one sentence. In today’s puzzle, 4a on its own would not read well as a clue or sentence in its own right. By using the ellipsis, the two clues are notionally one sentence. It can smooth some otherwise awkward constructions in the clues.

          1. Hmmm! So “Virtually unique service and comfort service and structured care, make a killing” reads well?

            1. To quote from my Crossword Guide (I’m beginning to sound like Don Manley!):

              Punctuation – usually included to improve the surface reading and should be ignored, but occasionally forms an essential part of the wordplay

              When should you not ignore it? You have to work that out at the time, there are no rules.

              Here’s an example:

              Settlement: unknown figure (6) [DT 25818)
              COLON (:) and Y (unknown figure) giving COLONY (settlement)

              1. Thanks Dave, I have come to conclusion that it is a device used by the complier to make the clues more cryptic so I shall take your advice.

          2. Read all the above with interest! Most times I can at least sort of see why clues are connected but must admit in this case I’m with Barrie. To me the two could stand alone and each read much better with a couple of small word changes. But there – I’m just a struggling solver and not a compiler! Thanks a lot BD – couldn’t have done without your hints today – this is not proving to be a good week for me :-(

  11. OK – I am in the minority – I found too many of the clues obscure for my liking – could not get on his wave length today at al and had to resort to the hints more than once.

    Thanks Dave – they are a godsend.

  12. Am I the odd one out? I found yesterdays puzzle comparatively easy compared with todays. Like Lea I thought it contained too many obscure clues. Enjoyable but I also needed the hints.

  13. Is it me…or am I just being pedantic? 20d down’s clue would suggest the person doing the trespassing not the act of trespass ie a noun rather than a verb which is what the answer delivers

    1. If you take the definition as “to be a trespasser” then the answer has to be a verb.

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