DT 26281 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26281

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26281

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

It’s mystery setter day again! Quite a good one today, with a few clues that had me scratching my head (but not for long, so only three stars for difficulty).

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    Person helping pianist with compelling work? (4-6)
{PAGE TURNER} – a double definition – a person who helps a pianist to follow the music is also an exciting book that you can’t put down

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6a    Superior role over in the Beehive state (4)
{UTAH} – a charade of Crosswordland’s abbreviation for superior together with a role, as described by what one is wearing, reversed (over – more usually used for down clues) to give the US State known as the beehive state (see The Mine )

9a    One who has depressant drug needs day off (5)
{OWNER} – the definition here is “one who has” – you get it by removing the D(ay) from a depressant drug

10a    Drink in here? Shop stocks nothing but (6,3)
{SALOON BAR} – this room in a pub is a charade of a beauty shop around O (nothing) together with a synonym for but, as in except

12a    Retired professors from Cambridge ultimately deserve one (7)
{EMERITI} – retired professors can be built up from E (CambridgE ultimately) a word meaning to deserve and I (one)

13a    Cheat German’s wife and daughter (5)
{FRAUD} – a cheat is derived from the German for wife followed by D(aughter)

15a    Student left breadwinner (7)
{LEARNER} – a student is a charade of L(eft) and the person who brings in the wages for a family

17a    Where youngsters play could make you spit! (7)
{SANDPIT} – the letters of an enclosure for children to play in are found in S & PIT – I can’t say I like the very much, what do you think?

19a    Staff showing inordinate respect (7)
{SCEPTRE} – this staff is an anagram, indicated by inordinate, of RESPECT

21a    Opening cut first (7)
{PREMIER} – the opening of a film, without the last letter (cut), means first – spot the similarity with 13 across in DT 26271: ” Opening night doesn’t stop being first used in importance (7)”!

22a    Oscar goes to silent film (5)
{DUMBO} – put the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Oscar after a word meaning silent to get a Disney film about a flying elephant

24a    Kind, the French folk in court (7)
{CLEMENT} – a word meaning kind, in the sense of gentle, is built up from the French definite article and some people inside the abbreviation for C(our)T

27a    Account deficit above 500 — large amount (9)
{OVERDRAFT} – a deficit in a bank account is a charade of a synonym for above, 500 in Roman numerals, and a colloquial word for a large amount

28a    Instruct adult in college (5)
{TEACH} – a word meaning to instruct comes from A (Adult as a film category) inside a short word for a technical college.

29a    Guard part of castle (4)
{KEEP} – a double definition

30a    Old lady collapsed in annexe, perhaps (6,4)
{GRANNY FLAT} – an elderly lady is combined with a word meaning collapsed, like self-build furniture, to give an annex especially built for said elderly lady


1d           Game in south coast town, on the radio (4)
{POOL} – this game similar to snooker sounds like (on the radio) a town that neighbours Bournemouth

2d           Drink that may get soldier and general drunk (6,3)
{GINGER ALE} – a drink usually used as a mixer comes from an American soldier followed by an anagram (drunk) of GENERAL

3d           Brusque, in sister’s estimation (5)
{TERSE} – a synonym for brusque is hidden in the rest of the clue

4d           Runs one downhiller maybe finds more dangerous (7)
{RISKIER} – combine R(uns) I (one) and a downhill sportsman to get a word meaning more dangerous

5d           Cream cakes — girl’s got her sixth in her mouth! (7)
{ÉCLAIRS} – ouch! – take the possessive form of this girl, and move the sixth letter to the front to get these cream cakes

7d           I chewed up a bone (5)
{TIBIA} – take I and a word meaning chewed, reverse them and add A to get the shinbone

8d           Present journal includes most original of titbits passed on (10)
{HEREDITARY} – combine a word meaning present with a book in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences, insert T (original of Titbits) to get a word meaning passed on to a descendant

11d         Crime of receiver (7)
{OFFENCE} – this crime is a charade – OF with criminal jargon for a receiver of stolen goods

14d         Stopped up with paperback, a mystery (6,4)
{CLOSED BOOK} – combine a word meaning stopped up with a paperback to get a subject that is not known or understood at all (mystery)

16d         Unfortunate down-and-out in Rupert’s place? (7)
{NUTWOOD} – the place where Rupert Bear lives is an anagram of two words in the clue indicated by unfortunate [Thanks Mary]

18d         Coloured cosmetics used before gathering for dancing game (9)
{PAINTBALL} – combine coloured cosmetics used by soccer fans with a gathering for dancing to get a a type of war game where the ammunition used is fired from compressed-air guns – allegedly this game helps with team-building: no doubt a concept cooked up by the people operating the game

20d         Enclosed den — not in cryptic style (2,5)
{EN CLAIR} – you need the abbreviation for enclosed followed by a 4-letter word for den, to give you a French phrase that means, clear or not cryptic! [Thanks Mary – the ODE definition is “in ordinary language, rather than in code or cipher” and it is used for unencrypted communications]

21d         Quickly passing over new English city (7)
{PRESTON} – follow a word meaning quickly with N(ew) to get a city in Northwest England

23d         Extremely merry on organ? I strongly disagree (2,3)
{MY EYE} – the outside letters (extremely) of  MerrY on one of the sense  organs to get an exclamation that means I strongly disagree

25d         Record number of competitors (5)
{ENTRY} – this double definition is an old chestnut

26d         Guess capital of Somalia’s very warm (4)
{SHOT} – a guess or attempt comes from S (capital of Somalia) with a word meaning very warm

I rather thought that 17 across would cause consternation, and so it turns out.  The rest of the puzzle (with the possible exception of 5d) is much better.

103 comments on “DT 26281

  1. For me, not as good as last Thursday, but still enjoyable. Thanks BD for explaining 17a; the answer was obvious from the checking letters, but I missed the reasoning behind it.

    1. For 17a; the only justification I can come up with is that AND reversed is DNA and this COULD MAKE YOU. Bit far-fetched?

      1. Steven,
        Where youngsters play is the definition…
        If you take the word SPIT, one way of describing it could be S and PIT (which coincidentally is the answer…) geddit??

        1. If you don’t you are in good company, read the rest of the blog for enlightenment :)

  2. 17a. I didn’t like this either. I got the answer without fully understanding why. A little too vague for me!

  3. not quite finished, trying not to look at anything yet, but though got 17a, still don’t see how the and gets there!!

    1. I see what you are saying but I still don’t ‘see’ it and I definitely don’t like it :) I think I’m having another off day, I have been trying to open todays page by clicking on the 29th July!! I thought the answer to 22a was Wings, isn’t that the name of the only silent film to get best picture award, and of course the association (wings – goes), no ? oh never mind, i realised my mistake after about 1/2 hour!!! anyway good morning Dave :)

      1. The more I look at 17a, the more I just do not see it!!! Th answer is obvious but no sorry grrrrrrr!

          1. OK finished, needed your help for 2 today Dave, neverheard of the term at 20d, though I do understand it :) 17a is still bugging me! back later

      1. what they are saying Nora is that the definition is ‘where youngsters play’ which is a sandpit, if ‘you’ look at it as s + pit instead of s and pit it gives you spit, but its a bit like putting the horse before the cart you have to think what the definition could be and then work it out!!! I think I’m just getting more confused, if you can’t think of sandpit as the answer how could you work it out?

  4. Hi Big Dave,
    Well 20 looks like it is going to be a regular feature, nothing wrong with todays clue either.
    Overall a good puzzle with one or two châtaignes scattered about.
    Favourite clue was 30a but that is just my old RN humour coming through, disgraceful really.

    Just as an aside, My wife and I went for a meal last night and the lady owner of our regular restaurant said to her ” ah Madame vous et soignee ce soir ! “. I thought this is the DT getting me back, I will hear that word on a regular basis now for the rest of my life.
    C’est la vie

            1. I know its the wrong page but just want to say thank you for the joy that is today’s splendid toughie. It was such a good start to the day I have been in a good mood all morning. Anyone who doesn’t usually try the toughie should give it a go.

        1. Shining ? Shining ? It’s blisteringly hot !, currently 34 and climbing. When I came out here I was six foot tall, I swear I am now down to at least 5′ 10″. Still the old RN training helps…lots of salt and alcohol followed by the odd curry. It must have been great during the time of the Raj, G and T’s taste absolutely superb out here around 7:15 pm.
          Only a couple of weeks left and we are driving up to Ypres for a two day stop off before going to Amsterdam for the ferry.

  5. Another lovely warm day here in Switzerland. It almost consoles me for having watched Federer lose yesterday. Looking forward to Murray/Nadal. I got through this comparatively fast, mainly needing help with 22a which stumped me. 16d took me a while also, as my memories of that bear are dim. Two French words/phrases at 5d and 20d — will someone complain? I got 17a without knowing why also, and my favourite clue was 30a. :-)

    1. Well done Franny, raining here today, hope the weather is good at Wimbledon, is it ladies semis today? also enjoying watching junior wimbledon, a few Brits through there, have a nice day :)

      1. Yes, it is the ladies semis today, but I’m off to the pool. I hope the weather improves in the UK as I’m going for a ten-day visit next week and don’t know what to pack. :-)

        1. It’s not cold today just wet, the weather seems lovely in Wimbledon, just hope it stays ok for you :)

  6. Just making a start on it. Think I’ve got 20d ok. Haven’t found any anagrams yet, to help me so must look harder!

    Wet here in Auld Reekie but hope it will clear later!

    1. where is Auld Reekie Sarah, not many anagrams today but there is one to get you going at 19a :)

      1. Thanks for that Dave, you live and learn, sigh, think i have led a very sheltered life!

        1. Hi, Mary

          Auld Reekie is Edinburgh, so=called because before the Clean Air Act of the 1960s, the city was covered in smoke from 1000s of coal fires. No such smoke nowadays, just car exhaust fumes!

          Just looking at 19a now–my brain must be really slow today as I had to check it on the blog………….!

    2. Wet or dry it’s a beautiful city. Someone told me they are thinking of ditching the new tramway, is this true ?

      1. Hmmm…………if you lived here, Nubian, you would know that TRAM is a strictly forbidden 4-letter word. The thinking on this changes almost by the hour, not helped by our wonderful SNP ‘government’ who inherited the mess from the Labout lot. It is all going to cost the ratepayers a huge amount of money with very little to show for it!!

        Glad you like the city.

  7. Not bad today but not as good as last Thursdays by a country mile. Still stuck on 16d and 20d. I agree with you Mary, just can’t see 17a, how does ‘and’ relate to ‘you’? Hated 12a but did like 1a. Learned today that inordinate is an anagram indicator. I spent ages trying to get in SW, NE, SE, NW ie the inordinate points of the compass. Never occurred to me it might be an anagram indicator! Also how do you get a salon from the clue in 10a? I got the answer but still can’t see where the salon comes in.

    1. 16d is where Rupert Bear lives and is an anagram of two words in the clue indicated by unfortunate :) 20d, you need the abbreviation for enclosed followed by a 4 letter word for den, to give you a french phrase that means, clear or not cryptic!

        1. Diplomatic (and I think military) messages that are not sent in code ie encrypted so “cryptic” – are sent ‘en clair’ which I think may be what the setter is getting at with this clue.

      1. Still don’t get it, where on earth is Nutwood? I thought a bear lived in a den. I can see the anagram now (weak anagram indicator I thought) but Nutwood? Too obscure for me.

        1. Rupert, Rupert The Bear
          Everyone knows his name
          Rupert, Rupert The Bear
          Everyone come and join ….
          In all of his games

          Today in Nutwood the sun is shining and Rupert is playing with all his friends in the sandpit :)

          1. Ah! Was never into Rupert the bear, I always thought he was a big softie. I was always more a Dennis the Menace man :-)

          2. That’s a lovely word Dave in the Rupert clip – anthropomorphic, wonder what they’d do with that on COW?

    2. I wasn’t happy about inordinate as an anagram indicator, but Chambers Crossword Dictionary says it’s ok! One of the word’s synonyms is “unrestrained”, but it’s borderline.

      1. it could indeed Geoff, maybe that is where the ‘and’ comes in, lets see – youngsters play in sand, if it gets in the mouth it could make you spit, sand spit/sandpit………..no still doesn’t make sense!

  8. Like lots of other people I STILL don’t understand 17a – the answer was obvious but …! I really enjoyed all the rest of the crossword today – perhaps because it’s the first one this week that I have sailed (well, nearly) through in a reasonable time. Have we had a single crossword recently that doesn’t assume some basic knowledge of French/German? Maybe that’s fair as there are plenty of Brits who go abroad on holiday and assume that they can get by on English ….! Lots of lovely clues – too many to mention – best, for me, today was 30a.

      1. My French sister-in-law has a pretty good go at MY DT cryptic whenever she is here – makes me mad if she gets to it before me!!

        1. I have a sister-in-law that lives in France and speaks fluently, she has just gone back to Callac, after a visit, but she was no help even with the French bits :), thank goodness for ‘o’ level French

    1. For 17a try redefining the answer as (1,3,3) and then see what that makes (for) you.

          1. Yes I see what you say but no I say it doesn’t work, not for me anyway, but thanks for trying :)

  9. Although a million miles away from the joy that is today’s toughie, this was a good Thursday offering. I too noticed the reappearance of 21a. Agree with comments on 17a. I think the other things such as 16d and 20a are obvious to anyone who has spent as many years as me being a 1a of all types of reading matter.

  10. found it remarkably easy today which is unusual for me! I agree that 17a was a dreadful clue. I immediately thought of sandpit but thought the ‘pit’ was too obvious in the clue… and where are you supposed to get the word ‘and’ from in the clue?????
    Gorgeous here in canterbury so off to read my book in the garden!

  11. another i don’t understand is 5d? cannot work out where the answer comes from although it was obvious with the checking letters

    1. Its the girl’s name xxxxxx’s Take the sixth letter along and put it “in her mouth” mouth here being “front” or “head” as in river so you put it ahead of the rest of the name

  12. Hi folks – I have been out of circulation as I have been busy preparing for a job interview so was pleased to get this done before my interview at 1030 today. It was a welcome distraction and I would rate it at 2* in terms of difficulty. I agree that 17a is weak. Overall a pleasant challenge.

    1. Agreed that 17a is not a great clue, but it’s not as dreadful as some people seem to think. Just rephrase “could make you spit” to “could spell out ‘spit’ for you”.

      1. I do see what you say Gazza but why the you? OK, OK, this is where I throw in the towel, and the bucket and spade! :) off to watch Wimbledon, back later

        1. Mary

          If you anagram the answer you get P and ITS, which is what the original clue is…!!

            1. As you say Mary, time to throw in the towel….
              To be honest, I didn’t really think it was that bad; it was one of those clues that required thinking outside the box. I was more annoyed with myself for failing to spot it!

  13. Just one I didn’t get, 1d, not good at homophone indicators. Otherwise all done, needing 4 hints and several explanations.

    No idea what ‘hat’ has to do with ‘role’ (6a), but found the answer in The Mine. Wasted ages in 14d, trying to find a word for ‘stopped’ that could be reversed. Liked several clues, with 12a and 11d near the top of the list, but my favourite, by another country mile, was 30a, laugh-out-loud time!

    Thanks to setter, thoroughly enjoyable, and BD for great review.

    1. If you are doing two different jobs you are said to be wearing two hats – each one representing a different role.

  14. Thanks Mary. A good interview and I will hear the result next week. Looking to move within my organisation. Can relax tonight watching my son play cricket without my nose in journals etc.

  15. What a furore 17a has caused !! Am in agreement but as everyone seems to have the answer, why all the fuss?
    Nubian, how lovely to have a “soignee” wife. I think I used to be but old age and a couple of broken hips hardly produce that adjective any more!

  16. On the whole a good puzzle. Agree with everyone about 17a and if you guys can’t come up with a good explanation it must be a very poor clue. Think Gazza’s idea probably what was in the stter’s mind but . . . . !
    Favourite was 30a.
    I had a bit of trouble with 15a as, when I read it, I immediately thought “student followed by L = breadwinner”! Getting 14d showed me the error of my ways.
    Weather in Alicante 33C and clear sky!

  17. I limped home today having started late after getting up at 01:30 UK time, travelling home and having a pint with mates.
    I’ll call it a day off because I was a bit slow on the uptake today. 17a was doable but not a great clue as per consensus and Gazza/BD (or even BUFO as stated above!) have the wordplay as I read it.
    Thanks to Bufo for the notes ( ;) ) and our mystery man for the puzzle.
    I’m goung to bed and will enjoy today’s Toughie tomorrow morning.

    1. Whoops – that’s what happens when you have two editing windows open at the same time – I updated the wrong one!

  18. I enjoyed this overall but must agree with the majority re 17a; perhaps Seamus could explain the wordplay?

      1. Apologies Dave; i misread your earlier comment. A bit unfair to expect Seamus to explain it then!!

  19. Thanks to our mystery setter for an enjoyable puzzle and to BD for the notes.

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