DT 26286 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26286

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26286

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Another fine puzzle from Jay, our regular Wednesday setter.

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    Disconcerted by return of leading ticket seller (3,3)
{PUT OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning disconcerted is a charade of a leading, in the sense of being in front in a game, reversed (return) followed by an unauthorised ticket seller

4a    Decorate, with help from sailor (8)
{DECKHAND} – a combination of to decorate, as in to decorate the halls with boughs of holly, and to help gives a member of a ship’s crew whose duties include cleaning, mooring, and cargo handling

9a    Commotion across the French city (6)
{TOLEDO} – put a fuss or commotion around the French definite article to get this Spanish city

10a    Starts dance company with no restriction on labour (4,4)
{OPEN SHOP} – read this as (5,3) and it could be starts a dance – but the real definition is a place of work not confined to union labour

11a    Vehicle wear precedes sign of permanent damage (6,3)
{SPORTS CAR} – a two-seater vehicle capable of attaining high speed comes from a verb meaning to wear followed by a sign of permanent damage

13a    Diplomas once protective of craftsman (5)
{MASON} – a craftsman is hidden inside the first two words

14a    Notices the difference, certain I’d miss changes (13)
{DISCRIMINATES} – a word meaning notices the difference is an anagram (changes) of CERTAIN I’D MISS

17a    Ignore an interlude by getting drunk (4,1,5,3)
{TURN A BLIND EYE} – a phrase meaning to ignore is an anagram (getting drunk) of AN INTERLUDE BY

21a    Settle sources of rancour over offer, seeking talks (5)
{ROOST} – a word meaning to settle comes from the initial letters (sources) of the words in the rest of the clue

23a    Makes off with some works of art (9)
{ABSTRACTS} – a double definition, the second part of which refers to paintings

24a    Fearless, fashionable, cool — about right! (8)
{INTREPID} – fearless, in the way that the hero in a schoolboy book always used to be, is built up from words meaning fashionable and cool, or lukewarm, around R(ight)

25a    Food that’s unlucky when hard (6)
{CHEESE} – precede this food with hard and you get an interjection that means unlucky

26a    One privy to secret supporter of opener (8)
{GATEPOST} –a secret can be between you, me and this object which supports this frame for closing an entrance

27a    Stopped being formal in hearing (6)
{STAYED} – a word meaning stopped, in the sense of resided, sounds like (in hearing) it could be formal


1d    Volunteers accommodated in upper-class compound (6)
{POTASH} – put the Territorial Army (volunteers) inside a word that means upper-class to get this compound used in bleaching textiles, making glass, and making soap

2d    Time everybody on command — that’s difficult (4,5)
{TALL ORDER} – combine T(ime) with everybody and a command to get a difficult request

3d    The latest news in court appointments (7)
{UPDATES} – the latest news is a charade of “in court”, as in before the magistrate, and appointments, usually with a prospective partner

5d    Specialists accepting one group of workers for trials (11)
{EXPERIMENTS} – put these experts around I (one) and a group of workers to get a synonym for trials

6d    Dressed in mask — new member of the family (7)
{KINSMAN} – an anagram (dressed) of IN MASK is followed by N(ew) to get a member of a family

7d    Yearns for services to cover hospital (5)
{ACHES} – a word meaning yearns for is derived by putting John Isner’s services around (to cover) H(ospital)

8d    Long to be enveloped in sleep — that’s why! (8)
{DOPINESS} – put a word meaning to long for inside a slang word for to sleep to get why you may look as if you are sleeping

12d         The consequences of refining oil and car’s role (11)
{COROLLARIES} – these consequences are an anagram (refining) of OIL and CAR’S ROLE – just make sure that you spell them correctly!

15d         React badly — girl’s capacity ultimately for deceit (9)
{TREACHERY} – an anagram (badly) of REACT is followed by the possessive form of she (girl’s)and Y (capacitY ultimately) to get this deceit or betrayal

16d         Exciting group supporting prison (8)
{STIRRING} – a word meaning exciting is built from a group organized to control the market supporting (under, as this is a down clue) a slang word for a prison

18d         City that produced an idiot (7)
{ANTWERP} – this Belgian port is constructed from AN and an idiot

19d         How do I know they’re talking about me? (7)
{EARSHOT} – split this as (4,3) and it’s what happens when people are talking about you!

20d         A view, mainly, on day’s climb (6)
{ASCEND} – combine A with most of (mainly) a view and D(ay) to get a verb meaning to climb

22d         Group nicking silver from abandoned cottage (5)
{OCTET} – this group of eight musicians is an anagram (abandoned) of COTT(AG)E without the chemical symbol for silver

There’s nothing much in here to complain about, so this could be a quiet day! [Famous last words.]

50 comments on “DT 26286

  1. Typically excellent Jay puzzle. Favourites included 26a and 3d (which along with 9a foxed me for a while).
    Thanks to Jay and to BD for the review.

  2. Very enjoyable start to the day, thanks Jay and BD for review. Struggled a bit with 12d as I was trying to spell the word with a double rr but soon sorted it out. I liked 26a the best.

  3. Excellent puzzle, almost as good as the new toughie. The old grey cells are steaming away today.
    Fav clue 17a, I wonder why ?

  4. Yes, I repeat my comments……….I have completely lost faith in CluedUp and the scoring system. I often look at the Toughie but can rarely do it but submit it so it doesn’t stay in my “Saved Puzzles”. Up to now, naturally no points were awarded. However now when I do that I get the 800 bonus points, and 400 for the cryptic. I used to enjoy keeping my position on the Leaderboards, but not any longer when I can get 800 points for doing absolutely nothing.

    1. My biggest annoyance (given that I am not interested in times or points) is that I am unable to submit the weekly/monthly prize puzzles – it just says that it cant do it!

      1. I can’t do that because it’s only open to UK subscribers. Thought you were. AND I am (WAS) interested in points. Bit of a relief actually. Can get my life back now! I’ve been a subscriber way before these leader boards came about and it was a lot less stressful then.

        1. I AM a UK subscriber – it lets me open and solve the damn thing but not submit!. I’ll log a call I guess – on second thoughts it might be because I was out of the country at the time!. Aha!

          1. Still makes a farce of the whole scoring system. Oh well, won’t spend all my boring moments at weekends doing sodukos. Wow can do some gardening instead – in the freezing rain.

  5. Morning Dave, I love to be able to say that as opposed to ‘afternoon’ as it usually was for me this time last year! Finished at last 3* for me once again, got held up in top r/h corner for a while, showing my ignorance who is John Isner? although the answer was easy because of checking letters, this is doable once again for most of the CC but it does need some thought, some lovely anagrams to get us going from Jay , still quite dependant on my Chambers and electronic friend though, can’t ever see the day when I will do a complete puzzle without, so CC will be my crossword home forever – sigh :)
    Thanks once again for blog Dave

        1. Would you believe i actually watched that, how could i possibly have forgotten SO soon, very worrying…….. :(

    1. Agree with you Mary, no way is this a 2 star, its a good 3 bordering on a 4 in parts. 10a is a bad clue in my opinion.

      1. Presumably a bad clue is one that you can’t get!

        I can see nothing wrong with it apart from the surface reading being weak.

        1. By bad I meant that the surface reading is poor, I got the answer but still feel it is a weak clue

  6. I think the best smile I got was when I put in 1a and 2a in on the Quick Crossword :-)

    1. Fantastic. Am I the only one to be irritated by the way they explain the wordplay of the first two quick clues every day? Never had a problem working it out myself in the past.

      1. Agree with both of you! Though there was one recently that was so obscure I needed it explained. I use the Quickie as a brain warmimg-up exercise for the cryptics.

  7. A good all-round challenge from Jay, with plenty of variety. As did crypticsue, I had trouble with 12d – not the sort of word you’d want in a spelling test!

  8. I found thispuzzle enjoyable with a nice variety of clues. Favourite was 26a.

    That’s three comfortable finishes in a row, a STINKER must be looming methinks!

  9. Thanks to Jay and BD for a nice wee crossword and a grand review, I liked 17a.

  10. I had a lot (alot – never sure!) of trouble with 14a – I KNEW that it was an anagram but couldn’t get a word along the lines of, or coming from “discerning” out of my head. Once I have thought of a particular word that’s what always seems to happen! Got it in the end. The other two that caused trouble were 23a and 12d – didn’t even get them with the hints and had to cheat and look inside the brackets! Favourite clues today were 25 and 26a.

    One quick question for any of the seriously smart people who write the hints – is there EVER a day when you think that there might be one or more clues that you absolutely can’t do?

    1. I wouldn’t say I was seriously smart and I am only a notice reviewer/hint giver but most days I have to have a good think. This morning’s puzzle had two clues which I had to leave for a while and go back to. Its part of the joy of solving the DT Cryptic, even after 40 years. I think if it ever got that I could do every clue every day without any struggle at all , I would have to give up as it wouldn’t be so much fun as it is. Before I “met” Big Dave by chance a couple of months ago when googling for an answer, there were countless occasions when I gave up and had to look at the answer next day. Its quite handy having Gnomethang at the end of an email line as I find comparing notes with him on clues I’m struggling with often does the trick.

      1. I can’t type either and I’ve been doing that for 41 years! I mean novice not notice!!

      2. Although to be fair to crypticsue I have usually only just started the reply when the second email comes through saying “don’t worry, I got it as soon as I hit the send button”.
        I am about the same – rarely in the DT but often a couple to work on. Regularly in the Toughie which I finish unaided maybe 80-90% but often need hints. Today for example I missed 3d in the Toughie

      3. HI Sue, as a contrary Mary I think it would be soooo much fun if I could solve them everyday with no trouble at all……….Oh for the day :)

        1. If its any comfort, Gnomethang has tempted me into trying the Times Cryptic. I have been looking at it on and off for a couple of hours now and have only done a third of the answers. Its obviously going to take me some years to get my head round their style of clue setting, so I may just stick to my old friends the DT Cryptic and Toughie.

          1. I have a book of Times cryptics, and, depending on how I feel, the phase of the moon, etc,etc, I can do some of these without bother. Other days, I might as well be looking at Chinese!

            Have also a book of DT ‘Big book of Teatime crosswords’ which, I think are old ones, reprinted. They are difficult!

    2. Kath

      I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t get an answer – CluedUp tells you if an answer is correct – but there are frequent times when the wordplay eludes me.

  11. Thanks for all that everyone – just thought I’d ask! Thanks also, as always, for the hints (and the answers I couldn’t get today, even with the hints) Really enjoy reading the comments and all the banter.

  12. I did this this morning when I should have been packing. Enjoyed it and managed to finish with the minimum of electronic help. I didn’t realise that 17a was an anagram, thought of ‘blind’ for drunk and found the rest. Had trouble with 8d, and my favourite clue was 26a. Now I’m off for ten days in England and don’t know if I’ll see a Telegraph between now and then. But I’ll be back!

    1. Have fun Franny, it is raining in Wales today at least it is in the West, brollies and wellies order of the day :)

      1. Thanks, Mary. I’m taking an umbrella and a raincoat and hoping for the best.

  13. have just finished this, with aid of blog. Enjoyed it v much. Fav clues 26a, 17a 8d and 24a.

    Many thanks to setter and reviewer

  14. Thought this was a lovely crossword, but like Mary still dependent on my electronic help!
    Cooler here in Canterbury but that is a welcome relief. Still sunny but windy!!
    Thanks for all the work done by everyone on this site it is always reassuring to turn to!

  15. Looked at this too early in the morning and couldn’t put in one answer! In town all morning and then, after a jolly fine lunch on tesco vouchers, I’ve done about 3/4 and needed some of the hints for that. MUCH more than 2* for me. Receding quietly into one of the darker CC corners …

    1. There are no dark corners in the CC to hide Geoff, all is light and happiness in that you are in good company with at least half the people that do these, not everyone comes out of the corner to say :)

      1. You’re very reassuring Mary, even though you finish them quite often nowadays. The depressing thing for me is, it’s the OTHER half who post saying how easy it was!

        1. It doesn’t matter Geoff, it would be very nice if we all could, and I have been doing them for a year now, but if you enjoy them and the mental workout, does it really matter, only if you haven’t got the time to spend, so no more being depressed about it, be positive and think about what you have achieved not what you haven’t or in other words as my mother used to say ‘don’t think about how far you still have to go but look at how far you’ve come :)

  16. Sorry I really didn’t like this one at all. How you are supposed to work out for instance that 21 needs initial letters is way beyond me and 8d makes very little sense, why on earth should you look dopy when asleep? And 26a is just plain bizarre!
    Not a nice one today I feel.

    1. Barrie,
      OK I will rise to the bait..
      the word source strikes me as a fairly obvious indicator
      A synonym for dopey could be stupified
      obviously the phrase “Between you me and the gatepost” is new to you.

      1. Sorry but cannot see ‘source’ as an obvious indicator, the source of something is it’s origin so how can the origin indicate the first letter? Just feel that the whole thing was a bit sloppy today, not up to Jays usual tight standard. I’m probably still smarting a bit as well from that Ray T of yesterday, he always puts me in bad mood for days!!

  17. 12a involved me making a spelling mistake so 23a was undermined – schoolboy error! And I think my spelling is usually very good too – BAH! Enjoyed it despite these silly errors. Roll on tomorrow’s commute and DT 26,287.

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