DT 26271 – Hints

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26271- Hints

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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A few hints just to get you started – more than usual this week as some of the wordplay is a bit tricky.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them. A full review of this puzzle will be published on Thursday, 24th June.


1a    Currently in operation? (8,2)
A phrasal verb meaning that an electrical device is connected to the power and ready to be used

6a    Neglected child with a condition (4)
This neglected child is built up from W(ith) A and condition or uncertainty

10a    Secret no fix for family (4)
Take an eleven-letter word meaning secret or undercover and drop the last seven letters (a word meaning to fix or to intend for a particular purpose) and you get a Scottish family

20a    Free French translation (6)
A synonym for free that means the same in French, as long as you use it as an adverb – it comes from a Latin root meaning “favours”

27a    Disgraceful Charlie took item of footwear round lousy centre (10)
A word meaning disgraceful or shameful is built up from C (Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet) inside (took … round) an item of footwear with the sole bound to the foot by straps and finally the middle three letters (centre) of lousy


1d    Test out beastly place (4)
An anagram (out) of TEST gives a home for a badger

4d    Old message out of Rome? (15)
A charade of a prefix meaning old together with a message results in the act of expelling from the communion of the Church of Rome

7d    Somewhat brisk — notedly so (10)
A musical term meaning light and moderately quick – it’s in The Mine!

8d    Imagine female doctor in unusual costume (5,5)
A charade of a word meaning to imagine is followed by the setter’s idea of a female doctor – take the standard abbreviation for a doctor and add a suffix that is used to denote the female of an occupation – and you get an unusual costume that is suitable for a party- or maybe a fun run

23d    Headlight (4)
… for an angel!

24d    Bridge players gathering intelligence (4)
Rearrange(gathering) the four points of the compass that are used to denote bridge players into intelligence about recent events

The Saturday Crossword Club will open at 10.00 am (after Sounds of the Sixties on BBC Radio 2). Membership is free and open to all. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions before that time.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!



  1. Posted June 19, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    No problems here apart from a bit of confusion in understanding 20a having written the answer in. I was looking for the adjectival meaning which is not the same in French but, having checked, the answer is listed as an adverb. I liked 6a – nice and concise, and also the oo-er missus surface reading at 8d.
    Thanks to the setter and thanks to BD for the hints

  2. Franny
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I finished this this morning largely with your help, for which I thank you, especially with 4d. I agree that 20a is not exactly the same in French as in English, though near enough. And I don’t understand what ‘spectacular’ has to do with 17a. But I enjoyed the puzzle and it made a good start to a cold, wet Saturday. :-)

    • Posted June 19, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Took me a bit of thought Franny – think about ‘spectacular purpose’ as in ‘purpose of spectacles’ and wait for the sound of the penny…..

      • Caravaggio
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        I too had to look hard at the two aforementioned clues and, in the case of 20a, I’ve always understood that the derivation of the word was from the Latin.

        • Libellule
          Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          I would agree with you. Although the word does appear in my french dictionary, it is used in the latin context (as it is in a number of other languages). French for free is typically libre or gratuit depending on the context.

          • Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            I was going to say it means the same in Latin, but it doesn’t quite. It is a contraction of a Latin word meaning favours. I did look up the French translation and intended to mention that it was adverbial.

          • Caravaggio
            Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            Thank you, Libellule. My French isn’t as good as yours but my immediate reaction was to try and fit in ‘libre’ which, of course, is not a six-letter answer…

        • Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Per my comment above, I had a quick check on *ahem* Google Translate *ahem* and the answer was listed as an adverb as stated. My A level French is 22 years old now but I cant recall ever hearing or seeing the word in French.

      • mary
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Though i think that is quite witty, i don’t think you’d get away with it on COW?

        • mary
          Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          17a I mean

        • Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          I thought it was quite good, and better than many I have seen on COW

        • Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          I’d gnaw my own arm off to think of a CD like that.

          • mary
            Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            ok, ok, must be i’m just not clever enough to appreciate the geniusosity (if there is such a word – if not what is the equivalent?) of the clue

      • Claire
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        Gnomethang thank you!! We finished this in record time today but just couldn’t understand the reference to spectacular purpose. Finally came here & found your explanation – Great one! Lots of good clues today – only one I didn’t like was 10a. Looking forward to some sun in S London – far too chilly a wind today!

    • Franny
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Gnomethang, I never would have thought of what I wear on my nose, but found the answer by guessing and from the other end of the clue. :-)

  3. Barrie
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Excellent Saturday diversion. Just stuck on last clue, – 5d. Any help would be appreciated. Best clue for me was 18a.

    • Libellule
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      The dictionary in this case is the Oxford English Dictionary, put a woman’s name inside.

      • Barrie
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, wasn’t familiar with OED as the abbreviation for dictionary. Really enjoyed todays puzzle.

        • Posted June 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink


          The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the huge multi-volume dictionary. http://www.oed.com/

          The Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) is a shorter version, a bit larger than Chambers, which is used by some crossword editors (and by Countdown). http://www.amazon.co.uk/Oxford-Dictionary-English-Catherine-Soanes/dp/0198610572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276953543&sr=1-1

          There’s also the Shorter Oxford and Concise Oxford dictionaries!

          • Barrie
            Posted June 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            I am of course familiar with the Oxford English dictionary although I didn’t realise it came in so many forms. I had just never seen OED as the crossword abbreviation. Just as a side issue, it always amazes me how compilers can manage to find obscure meanings of words as in ‘fix’ in 10a. Destine as a word for determining the future yes but fix – no. However, I see it is listed as such in the OED. What comes first I wonder, the complier finding the obscure definition and then working it into the clue or vice versa?

            • Posted June 19, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink


              Electronic versions of the dictionaries make life easier for the setters in the same way as they do for solver.

              If you key the answer to 10a followed by * into, say, OneLook, WordWeb Pro etc. you get 40+ matches. Find one of those and key in the excess letters and you get a list of definitions:

              (often by fate) to ordain or appoint to a certain use or state
              To intend
              To fix
              To doom

              Presto, fix it is.

  4. mary
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Morning Dave, thanks for hints, I can only think of one bird that fits in 22a, but have never heard of a Loch **** or am i completely wrong here?

    • Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      The leaves are what you put in the pot and then add an abbreviation for Loch!

      • mary
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Oh yes, very clever, I like it, why didn’t i see that?

    • Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      … and Good Morning Mary.

    • mary
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Fav clues today 8d and 6a but didn’t realise you could use the first two letters here like this?

      • Libellule
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Re 6a With is another abbreviation.

      • Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        To which clue are you referring?

        If it’s 8d then I don’t think you can do that.

        • mary
          Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          No sorry, I meant 6a the first two letters of the answer

    • Libellule
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      You need another word for “leaves” followed by the abbreviation for Loch

      • mary
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Morning Libellule and thanks :)

        • Libellule
          Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          Good afternoon :-) Its soggy here…. but the weather is meant to improve tomorrow (I hope).

          • mary
            Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Sorry Libelulle, good afternoon :) the weather in West Wales today is cloudy/sunny, quite warm, we are lucky, i think part of the UK has had rain since yesterday

  5. Mr Tub
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    With just 15a left to go I’ve had a lot of fun this morning. My personal favourite was 25a.

    • Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      15a Left with gazetteer in Rose’s place that had been burnt (6)
      Combine L(eft) with a famous street atlas and put them inside where you might grow roses.

      • Mr Tub
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Big Dave: all done, and the sun has come out as well. Coincidence?

  6. Kath
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Managed today with not too many problems, although I didn’t catch on to the double meaning of “spectacular” in 17a across until I read the comments. Also couldn’t quite work out why 6a was what it was – always forget that “w” can mean with. The best thing about the puzzle today, for me anyway, was that there was not a single clue about ANY form of sport – three cheers for the setter!!

  7. crypticsue
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    My first thought on working my way through the across clues was to check that today was Saturday as I didn’t think this was the usual Saturday level (usually slightly easier, for me anyway). My first entry was indeed 25a. However, once I had 1a’d to the mindset of the compiler, I finished in very quick time and really enjoyed all the clever clues. PS. Dark clouds and odd showers in East Kent and still that pesky NE gale. Will it ever go away??

    • mary
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      please don’t send it here, nice and sunny at moment, :) I agree that this did seem a bit trickier than normal Saturdays

  8. Prolixic
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    The odd thing about Cephas’s puzzles is that I find the ones with trickier wordplay easier to solve, possibly because the wordplay directs you to the right answer more precisely. Whistled through this one. Many thanks to Cephas for the crossword.

  9. Nubian
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed that, windy here in Carcassonne with an odd spot of rain but the forecast for next week is a sizzler.

    • Collywobbles
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      It is now raining in Pezenas and has been raining on and off for more than a week. We might as well be in the UK. Can anybody help with 3d

      • Posted June 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        3d Eccentric included an unfounded rumour (6)
        Put AN inside an eccentric person to get an unfounded rumour (from the French for duck!)

        • Collywobbles
          Posted June 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Tks BD. I’m done. I’ve been off the Xword for a bit. Do you know why our details do not now automatically come up?

          • Posted June 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            WordPress claimed they had fixed it – I will write again.

  10. Geoff
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Oof! Finally got there … after three hours! Needed the hints, comments, lots of help and a fair bit of crypticsue’s cogitating.

    The clue and comments for 17a didn’t do what it says for some time and the left-side was last to go in. had a good chuckle at 8d!

    • Dinosaur Pete
      Posted June 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Geoff, a day behind the rest of you but your comment about 17a doing what it did suddenly made the light shine for me ! Now finished for the first time in weeks.

      Good to be able to get back now Purbeck Art Weeks are over and so I don’t have to spend all day invigilating our exhibition – back to normality, yippee !!

  11. Spindrift
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Stuck on 17a – got all of the checking letters but just can’t think of a phrase that fits. Ah! Wait a minute….yes…got it!
    Weather in Middle England is more like October – I’ve got the reading lamp on so I can see what I’m typing. Have we had summer?

  12. Lea
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Just finished it and it was fun. Had the wrong answer for 12d as was thinking of a totally different type of defence but got there in the end as it could only be certain phrases.

  13. Lea
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Forgot to say – clue of the day for me is 17a – very clever.

  14. Little Dave
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Typical Saturday standard really – a few very simple and the smaller answers posing the greatest difficulty. Nothing really to shout about – a bit like last night’s football debacle really.

    Still, the cricketers are doing well north of the border.

    Clue of the day? I’m struggling!

  15. Sheila
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Much better than last week! I had felt that I’d been improving quite a lot and got a good start, then thought I was going to grind to a halt like last week. But no, it was just a pause and a few hints got me going again, thank you. Didn’t like 17a, but thought 6a was clever and I don’t normally like those sort of clues. A 4 star Saturday crossword.

  16. peter
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Finished with minimal help

    18a made me laugh

    5d is weak

    10a stinks.

  17. Claire newbie
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Fave is 11D, but a novice so probably showing some xword naivity?

    • Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Claire

      We all like different clues for different reasons.

  18. dingo
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    5d . I can,t get this one. The dictionary is easy enough but can only see VAL as the woman which gives me a word I haven’t heard of.

    • Posted June 20, 2010 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Dingo

      The lady’s name is not VAL. The answer is a verb expanded from a two-letter expression of agreement or approval

  19. weekend wanda
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Like Prolixic I prefer the clues with the trickier word play because they are precise. Like an anagram – its either right or wrong – no room for negotiation. Short ones annoyed me this week. 24d only one I needed your help with (thank you). Answer could have been one of two words for me but could not work out why. I now know something about bridge! I did not get spectacular either – although got the answer. Clever. Contrary to most of you I preferred last week’s . Some of this weeks literally fell in because of the letters in place from the other answers. I do find Saturdays are very variable – I can hardly believe it is the same setter every week. Still enjoyable though!

  20. akap
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    14d has me totaly stumped. I think I have all the checking letters and have doubled checked those clues but still can’t even get a word that fits :(.

    • Weekend Wanda
      Posted June 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Not got the puzzle in front of me. If you can give me the clue and the checking letters you have, I’ll try and give you a hint.

    • Posted June 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      14d It gives high jumper an opening (7)

      The high jumper is a parachutist!

    • gazza
      Posted June 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      14d It gives high jumper an opening (7)
      Think of someone jumping from a great height (from a plane perhaps).

  21. akap
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou for saving my sanity.

  22. trish
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for hint 5d Just got stuck on womans name otherwise okay!

    • Weekend Wanda
      Posted June 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha