DT 26257 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26257

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26257

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A pleasant enough stroll for a Thursday morning, very friendly for newer solvers, and very reminiscent of the Everyman puzzle from the Observer newspaper, presumably the same setter. Setting these puzzles does require a particular skill, despite what many may think, and our compiler today demonstrates this very well.


1a    Traveller may take along this immoral woman (7)
{BAGGAGE} Quite a tough clue to start with today, though it’s a simple double definition. How many of you knew that the word for suitcases was also one for a lady of dubious virtue?

5a    Artist on track in struggle to survive (3,4)
{RAT RACE} A standard abbreviation for artist (RA = fellow of the Royal Academy) and add to this a word meaning track or find to get another word for the daily grind we all face.

9a    Fellow eating last of cobbler before cheese (7)
{GRUYERE} A word meaning chap or fellow, the first name of Mr Fawkes, takes in R (the last of cobbler) and add to this a poetic word meaning before. This will give you a delicious cheese.

10a    Beginning to coach more promising staff (7)
{CROSIER} A word sum. C (beginning to coach) + a word meaning more promising or brighter. I think we had this spelling of the word a few weeks back. I am more used to spelling this word with a “Z” instead of an “S”.

11a    Graduate twice brought in to reshape one’s old school (4,5)
{ALMA MATER} Two short abbreviations for a graduate (put together making an affectionate name for Mother) go inside a word meaning change or amend. This gives a two-word phrase referring to one’s old school or college.

12a    Novelist in bar? Yes, losing face (5)
{INNES} For me, the weakest clue in the puzzle. The “in” is completely superfluous and almost unfairly misleading. A word for a bar or pub has ES (YES, losing face, i.e. without its first letter) added to it to get a novelist many below a certain age will probably be unfamiliar with, but his first name is Hammond. His works were very similar to Nevil Shute and suchlike.

13a    Additional passage from book court disregarded (5)
{EXTRA} A word sum, but one with a subtraction rather than addition. A word meaning “A passage from a book” has CT (for court) removed from the end and it leaves a word meaning additional or surplus.

15a    Deep chasm in one area of former Red Sea state (9)
{ABYSSINIA} A word sum. A word for a deep trench particularly in the sea + IN + I (one) + A (area) = The former name for part of North Africa including Ethiopia.

17a    Like a rook initially trapped (2,1,6)
{IN A CORNER} At the start of the game of chess, where you’d find the rook. This also means trapped or boxed-in.

19a    Nobleman executed? That is strange (5)
{EERIE} A word for a Nobleman or Lord “beheaded”, i.e. without its first letter. And add “i.e.” , meaning that is. You’ll have a word meaning scary or strange.

22a    In favour of church showing influence (5)
{FORCE} If You are in favour of something you are this. Add to it “CE” (Church of England) and you get a word meaning influence or stress.

23a    Has to step off as quickly as possible (9)
{POSTHASTE} First anagram of the day. Switch round the letters of HAS TO STEP to get a phrase, sometimes spelt with two words (4,5), meaning very quickly.

25a    Senior I upset becomes more rowdy (7)
{NOISIER} An anagram (indicated by “upset”) of SENIOR I gives a word meaning more rowdy or louder

26a    Out of play though maintaining contact (2,5)
{IN TOUCH} A double definition. In Rugby if the ball is not in play, it can be said to be this, or if you are keeping contact with someone you’re this

27a    Unknown character, crazy having lost head in a New York city (7)
{YONKERS} In Crosswordland “unknown” usually means X or Y. Here it is “Y”. Think of a slang-ish word for crazy, nuts, doolally and remove the first letter (having lost head). This will give you an American city in NY State famous for among other famous people Ella Fitzgerald and Jon Voight.

28a    Perhaps country family’s cat returned holding head of dormouse (7)
{KINGDOM} “Perhaps country” is the definition here. Take a word meaning family and add to it a word for a cat (In Liverpool, it usually has GY or GIE after it), but it is reversed. Insert the first letter of Dormouse (its head) for the whole word.

Back after a glass (or two) of fruit juice with the Downs….


1d        Important match viewed from a hunting lodge? (3,4)
{BIG GAME}  A double definition.  A phrase meaning an important sporting match and the phrase for animals that you’d see from a hunting lodge in Kenya.

2d        Good of us to receive half-hearted epicure (7)
{GOURMET}  A word sum.  G (good) + a word meaning “of us” +  MEET – “half hearted”, i.e. half of the heart removed.  A complex clue, perhaps more complex than need be.

3d        Best people a mate tricked (1-4)
{A-TEAM}  An anagram (indicated by “tricked”) of A MATE gives a phrase in popular use nowadays to mean the elite or best people

4d        Fourth letter in chart — see it any differently? The reason? (9)
{EYESTRAIN}  One of those nice clues where the whole thing sort of provides qualification of the definition.  The fourth letter in CHART goes inside an anagram of SEE IT ANY, gives a word associated with ocular problems.

5d        Come back again about aggressive dog (5)
{RECUR}  A word sum.  RE (about) + a word for a dog, not a breed though.

6d        Adopted children disagreed (4,5)
{TOOK ISSUE}  A word meaning adopted or accepted is added to a legal word for children.  This gives a phrase meaning disagreed with something.

7d        Gin cocktail swallowed by rising star in French city (7)
{AVIGNON} An anagram (indicated by cocktail) of GIN goes inside a word for a star that is reversed (rising).  This gives a French city famous in song for its bridge.

8d        Use air differently over a land mass (7)
{EURASIA}  An anagram of USE AIR takes A to form a geological name for the land mass from Western Europe to Eastern Asia.

14d      Together in the past (2,3,4)
{AT ONE TIME} A phrase that means “in the past” also rather cryptically can mean “together”  Not one of the better clues, to my mind.

16d      Measure criticism after cart overturned (9)
{YARDSTICK}  The definition here refers to a measure, as in a ruler, rather than any descriptive word.  A word for a cart, particularly a brewery delivery cart, is reversed (overturned) and added before a word meaning criticism.

17d      Popular unfounded belief in childhood (7)
{INFANCY}  IN (popular) is added to a word meaning an idea or unfounded belief to lead to a word meaning childhood.

18d      Soldier over in Scottish isle is put on trial (7)
{ARRAIGN}  Reverse an abbreviation for an American soldier and put it inside the name of a Scottish island.

20d      Ring in extremely remarkable safe (7)
{RESOUND}  Another use of “in” that serves no purpose. RE “extremely”, i.e. the extremes of REMARKABLE is added before a word meaning secure of safe.

21d      Market town girl’s overacting (7)
{EVESHAM}  Not too far from Big Dave Towers is this market town.  Think of the First Lady (not the US one) and add to her the name for someone who overacts.

23d      I chat over by square in capital (5)
{PARIS}  A trendy word meaning I CHAT, think street patois, reversed then takes S for Square to give a famous European capital.

24d      Suddenly discover successful record playing (3,2)
{HIT ON)  A word sum to finish on today with a word for a successful record taking a word meaning playing as in being part of the field of play.  You could also read it cryptically as a phrase meaning “having a successful record playing”.

Thanks to our Thursday Teaser for an enjoyable puzzle today.

21 comments on “DT 26257

  1. A pleasant reintroduction after a few days off. 4d was probably the pick of a generally good bunch of clues.

  2. A perfectly enjoyable crossword today. 15a, 18d and 7d were among the favourites.
    Hands up how many people had ‘Yankees’ at 27a.

    Thanks Tilsit and to our Mystery Setter

  3. I enjoyed this a lot, I thought it deserved at least 3* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment. Thanks Tilsit and thanks to the setter whover he/she is.

  4. Many thanks to the mystery maestro for today’s puzzle. Gentle and enjoyable, it was a nice start for the commute into the office.

  5. Not sure about the difficulty rating today, I thought parts of this were very tricky. never heard of the answer to 10a, had to look it up (another religious clue!). Thought 15a, 27a and 12a very difficult. Best clue for me was 9a, very clever. Took me ages to get 22a as I couldn’t get PRO out of my head!
    Probably just me but apart from Monday I thought this has been a very difficult week for the DT crossword.

    1. Barrie,
      In this instance I would agree with you, I think this is worth more than two stars for difficulty. It certainly made me think.

      1. I thought this was very difficult.

        I agree 12a is weak.

        I would never have solved 1a, 9a or 10a left to my own devices.

  6. Like Digby I’ve had a couple of days off and this eased me back in quite nicely. I enjoyed 16d. Did anyone else think this was a particularly nice looking grid today?

  7. I enjoyed today’s puzzle but thought it was quite difficult in places and the answers to 10a and 27a were new to me. I was one that put in ‘Yankees’. I also put in ‘rescued’ for 20d! Cluedup put me straight there. I actually found this more difficult than the last couple of days. Hey ho. 17a was my favourite. Simple but clever.

  8. I did enjoy this puzzle. Lots of good clues. Wished I had done it before tackling the Marmity Toughie as it would have been better to finish with a good solving experience on such a lovely sunny day.

  9. With regard to the use of “in” we had a discussion some time back in which it was said (not by me) that “definition can be found in wordplay” but not the other way around.

  10. Toughest one of the week by a long chalk in my book and a fair struggle too. 27a is a new one on me and it also didn’t help that I stupidly spelt 15a wrong – DER!! Some nice clues and the trickiness was demonstrated by the fact that I fell 5 answers short. Thanks to our mystery setter. Off to the coast tomorrow so will tackle DT 26,258 from Waterloo to Bournemouth. Lovely.

  11. Only a 2*?? There were quite a few rather tricky ones that I didn’t get and several enjoyable clues that I did get.

    Thanks for the helpful review, Tilsit.

  12. Enjoyed this, especially 15a, 17a and 1A

    I didn’t get 1a, but I ought to have……….I remember a girl in my class being severly ticked off for referring to another teacher as ‘an old bag’!!

  13. In the minority, but I thought this was a bit… dull, not sure why, just not for me. I did like 18d and 20d. Worth 3 stars for difficulty but no much for fun for me. Sorry.

  14. Excellent crossword and very enjoyable. My only problem was that I missed the tense in 6d and put ‘take issue’ instead of took!. The K in 10a didn’t help for a while!
    Thanks for the review Tilsit, at least I now know where the MET in 2d comes from!

  15. Hi Tilsit – many thanks for the review. I attempted this one with my sister-in-law. We couldn’t get 4d, 9a or 12a. Oh well! I am a bit rusty as I haven’t been crosswording as much as usual this last couple of weeks! Need to get my eye in again.

  16. 1a was a well used description of a woman of negotiable virtue when I was a lad up North

  17. I’m coming in rather late as I’m catching up on missed puzzles. Anyway, I enjoyed this one very much and finished it in the course of yesterday without help, electronic or otherwise. This is very encouraging for one so firmly entrenched among the Clueless.
    I did put ‘rescued’ for 20d and spelt 10a with a ‘z’, though it looked funny. The novelist at 12a brought back memories of green Penguins and Michael, who had a detective called Appleby.
    A last comment: I think your photo of 9a shows Emmenthal rather than Gruyère.

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