DT 26260 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26260

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26260

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A typical start to the week from Rufus. Enjoy.

If you cannot work out the answer from the hint, just highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Black spider which is deadly – or worse, initially (5)
{WIDOW} – A type of venomous spider can be found by taking the first letters (initially) of a number of words in the clue.

4. Goes on to make money (8)
{PROCEEDS} – A straightforward double definition, to move forwards, or to make money or a profit from something.

8. Like a shattering snore by a worker? (8)
{RESONANT} – An anagram (shattering) of SNORE followed by a typical a crossword insect worker describes a resounding noise, of which a loud snore would be a good example.

9. Celebrated form of mahogany (8)
{HOGMANAY} – An anagram of MAHOGANY is also New Year’s eve in Scotland (one for Bigboab!).

11. Gains knowledge from books in studies at university (5,2)
{READS UP} – A phrase used to describe learning or attaining knowledge, could also be someone taking a course at university.

13. Strangely uncordial feature of wet weather (4-5)
{RAIN-CLOUD} – Another anagram (strangely) this time of UNCORDIAL is typically something you would see in the sky just before you get wet.

15. Show resolution and reject pleas for disarmament (5,2,4,4)
{STICK TO ONES GUNS} – A double definition a phrase commonly used to describe showing determination and not changing your mind, could also be cryptically described as not wanting to give up your weapons.

18. Flattery works with Eastenders, say (4,5)
{SOAP OPERA} – The Eastenders referred to here is a television programme.

21. Sort of oil possibly seen in holiday centre (7)
{LINSEED} – An anagram (possibly) of SEEN inside (in) the three central letters of holiday.

22. Elizabeth includes us in commercial enterprise (8)
{BUSINESS} – US IN is placed inside (includes) a shortened form of Elizabeth for a “commercial operation”.

24. Tight contest in which the winners manage to pull back (3-2-3)
{TUG-OF-WAR} – A contest in which opposing teams pull on a rope and try to pull each another over a line.

25. Many spoke but mumbled (8)
{MUTTERED} – Many is I assume a reference to the Roman numeral for a thousand or the abbreviation for a million, this is then followed by another word for spoke. Definition for this clue is mumbled.

26. Sound director made fun of (5)
{GUYED} – A slang word for making fun of, sounds like guide (director)


1. Key workers in army outfits (10)
{WARDRESSES} – The key workers in this case are female prison officers.

2. Edited fifty diaries of ex-P.M. (8)
{DISRAELI} – An anagram of L (Roman for fifty) and DIARIES was a Victorian Prime Minister.

3. Air hose provided for pilots (8)
{WINDSOCK} – A device that is used to indicate the direction of the wind.

4. A course for non-drivers? (4)
{PATH} – Something you would walk along.

5. C.O. in charge set about Sergeant-major – great! (6)
{COSMIC} – A word meaning large or significant is constructed from CO, IC (in charge) around (set about) SM (Sergeant-major).

6. Nothing more than a 50-50 chance, nevertheless (4,2)
{EVEN SO} – Another word for having equal probability is then followed by O (nothing). Is also a phrase that can mean nevertheless.

7. Alert secret agent captures ringleader (4)
{SPRY} – If you put a secret agent around R (ringleader) you have another word meaning nimble or agile

10. Eastern trail one meandered (8)
{ORIENTAL} – An anagram (meandered) of TRAIL ONE will give you another word for Eastern.

12. Superior lady with unmarried sisters in her care (8)
{PRIORESS} – The (mother) superior lady is in charge of a convent of nuns that are subject to an abbey.

14. In distress, daughter is told what to do (10)
{DISORDERD} – D (daughter) followed by a word meaning to be commanded will give an adjective that means confused or deranged.

16. Might a pen have written it? (4-4)
{SWAN-SONG} – For me, the best clue in the crossword. A writer’s or musician’s last work might have been written by a female bird.

17. Modelling nude, wary of making a move (5,3)
{UNDER WAY} – An anagram (modelling) of NUDE and WARY, for the sort of movement you might associate with a ship.

19. State benefit is about right (6)
{ASSERT} – Put a valuable resource around R (right), you need to find another word for state or affirm.

20. Decorated about noon, has to deliver a speech (6)
{ORNATE} – A similar clue to the one above put N (noon) inside another word for speaking in a formal manner to find another word for elaborately decorated.

22. Wide smile gives support (4)
{BEAM} – A straightforward double definition.

23. Endlessly scrutinise the horses (4)
{STUD} – Remove the last letter from a word meaning to look carefully at, and you have another word that can mean a collection of horses.

38 comments on “DT 26260

  1. Morning Libelulle, afraid its not very nice in Wales today, at least not this part. got stuck on 3 clues, so was grateful for your help, 1d, don’t think i’ve ever seen that used? similarly 26a but no excuse for not getting 14d, otherwise a nice Moday morning puzzle, hope the sun is shining where you are and you have a nice day :)

    1. Mary,
      Weather is warm, but a bit overcast. So quite pleasant. Thankfully its not as hot as it was on Saturday.

  2. Bit of a ‘Heads down and see you at the end’ for me today. I looked up and it was done.
    Certainly agree with your and Mary’s choice of favourite.
    Many Thanks to Libellule and,of course, Rufus

  3. Very easy today. Hardly a challenge.

    Agree with 16d being clue of the day. Also liked 3d.

  4. That reminded me of the puzzles we used to get in the Western Morning News before they ‘improved’ it.

  5. Just what I needed after struggling with a Times puzzle out of a book–got nowhere with it and had to look up most the answers which is a bit pointless!!

    Good to turn to Rufus, and really enjoy the puzzle!–many thanks, Rufus, and Libellule for the blog.

  6. Oh dear – a dismal failure today! For some inexplicable reason I had “sign post” for 16d!! I quite often can’t do a few clues but rarely get them wrong. Really don’t know what happened. Consequently had some difficulty with 26a. Don’t know what I used to do on days like this before I (or to be more truthful my husband) found this blog!

  7. I know it’s not nice to be disparaging but I really thought this was the simpest crossword I have come across in the DT for a long time, its only saving Grace was 16d. Thanks for the review Libellule.

  8. I enjoyed this, and put in answers quite happily until i mucked myself up at 14d, which for some reason I thought was ‘distraught’. This, of course, made the SE corner all but impossible and I needed your hints to finish. Thanks Rufus and Libellule.
    I thought 16d was brilliant but would never have found it by myself. I liked 1d and 18a. :-)

  9. A nice pleasant Monday – took me a few minutes to get 12d as had put in “by” instead of “to” in 15a. Once I got 12d had to change it of course. Agree with everyone – liked 16d and 3d.

    Thanks Rufus and thanks for the review Libellule.

  10. The nice thing about a Rufus start to the week is that there are rarely any clues to get heated or contentious about. Maybe not the toughest of challenges, but just right for a Monday morning.

    1. Nora,
      According to the “Free” dictionary on the intrernet:
      Guy – (tr) to make fun of; ridicule
      [short for Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), English conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot]
      It seems that this is not a new slang term at all :-)

  11. I enjoyed this, but I was stuck for a while after putting “distraught” as the solution for 14d. Favourite clues 8a, 3d and 16d. Also, 17d raised a smile.

  12. A nice start to the week except for 16d which was just awful and 26a which I just don’t understand!!
    Best clue for me is def 1a.

  13. A nice straightfoward start to the week. Many thanks to Rufus and to Libellule for the notes.

  14. I like 1d, 12d, and 16d. Actually there is a common theme to these three: key, superior and pen are nicely misleading.

    1. Just read the blog. I thought in 11a that the second word meant “at university” .

        1. Gnomethang,
          How much is a hint and how much is an exact explanation of the word play?

  15. Nice start to the week.
    Hot here in Carcassonne Libellule,29 to 31.
    It feels like a storm brewing.
    I just 5 euros on the sunday times and there was no cryptic crossword apart from the mephisto, is there something different about them or are they cryptic with an odd layout ?

  16. I nearly finished.

    I rate this as poor though.

    I don’t understand 16d – what does a female bird have to do with the clue?

    18a 14d, 20d are all rather weak.

    1. Its not one of Rufus best crosswords, in that a number of people will think its too easy, but for those learning their way in, this is a good crossword to play with. Re. 16d – A PEN is also a female swan.

  17. Pretty straightforward, but needed some help with a few. Didn’t get 1d, as I put SWATS in for 11a, which I can hardly to believe as I was in the university all day …

    Didn’t get 15a as didn’t associate that with ‘flattery’. Tops was 16d of course. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule for the excellent review.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, but agree that most of it was quite straightforward. It was a double dose today as Rufus also set the Guardian (available FOC online), which had some cracking clues in it.

  19. Quite straightforward today, but 26a was anew word to me. 16d was a very good clue and I spent way too much time putting ‘solo’ or ‘self’ as the first word!!

    In the explanation, above, for 14d, should it read: D (daughter) followed by ‘IS’ then a word meaning to be commanded will give an adjective that means confused or deranged.

    1. YES! Please read my comment above. Next Monday you get all of the wordplay in the answers. Do NOT complain!

        1. Sorry, I hope I haven’t caused any offence here…? I wasn’t complaining, I just noticed what I thought to be an error and it might have helped others. I guess not, it was a pretty straightforward clue after all!

          1. Steve,
            The crossword was so straightforward it took me at least another hour to come up with the hints when I posted it !!

  20. I agree it was not the most difficult but I found it most enjoyable nevertheless. 16d is a classic that really made me smile. Many thanks Rufus and to Libellule for the review.

  21. Loved 1a – super clue and 3d nice too. 3* as there were a couple of stickers – 26a and 16d.

  22. Not the most difficult but just what I needed after a 2 hour drive home in heavy traffic! 16d came to me straight away but could I get 4d? Could I heck – it didn’t help that I had SUCCEEDS in for 4a! Doh!

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