DT 26283 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26283

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26283

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Saturday’s offering from Cephas was, depending on how you solved it : a “challenging”, “tricky”, “enjoyable” “stinker”. I had a couple of moments of “how can I review this when I can’t get two of the clues” but some careful reading made me realise what was required and I finished in one fairly quick sitting. Didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous two days’ splendid offerings but I would say it was challenging but doable with cogitation – posters seemed to find a cycle ride along the Canal du Midi or a walk round a nature reserve or even just a nice cup of tea did the trick. It was nice to see that while Big Dave was taking a well deserved rest over a few pints at the White Horse, there were plenty of others ready to give assistance with those needing help with the trickier clues. There were over 200 comments on this puzzle, so I hope my review will help those who struggled to make sense of it all.

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.


1    Part that is holding others up on stage (10,4)
SUPPORTING ROLE – A part that is not a starring role in a play could be said to be holding up, or supporting, the rest of the cast

9    Prediction favouring Oriental players (8)
FORECAST – You are looking for a synonym for prediction which is made up of FOR (favouring) E (for Eastern – Oriental) and CAST (another term for actors in a play or film.

10    Raise objections when not completely reserved (5)
DEMUR – Reserved young ladies are usually DEMURE and the clue tells you to take one letter away (not completely). Remove the E and you get a word meaning to raise objections.

12    Some unpatriotic disturbance (4)
RIOT – A fairly obvious hidden clue here – another word for disturbance is hidden within unpatRIOTic.

13     Film direction taken by mental case (10)
PSYCHOPATH – This was one of the clues that required careful reading. I actually waited until I had the checking letters from the down clues in place before realising that I needed a word for a mental case made up from a famous Hitchcock movie PSYCHO and a synonym for direction (PATH)

15    First-class student (8)
BEGINNER – This took some thought as usually when you see First Class in a clue you are probably going to get A1. I soon realised that the student was someone starting out so the word needed was obviously BEGINNER.

16    Spiny plant cut sack almost completely (6)
CACTUS – Our eldest son has a very large collection of cacti so my first reaction every time I see “spiny plant” is to think cactus. This doesn’t always work but in this case is correct being an anagram of CUT and SAC (almost completely tells you to leave off the last letter K)

18    Be affected by continuous pain when it is pebbly (6)
BEACHY – This caused many comments. The main problems were caused by concentrating on the word ‘pain’ and missing the fact that the clue says ‘affected by continuous pain’ so here we don’t want ache but ACHY, the adjectival form. Put this with BE as the clue instructs and you get BEACHY which my trusty family heirloom 1949 edition of Chambers says means pebbly. My favourite clue of the day and I am definitely going to use ‘beachy’ when I am next on a pebbly beach.

20    Three got drunk simultaneously (8)
TOGETHER – Drunk tells you that an anagram is waiting to be solved. In this case, move the letters of THREE GOT around until you get a synonym of simultaneously.

23    Reason I make notes whilst arguing (10)
LOGICISING – I got the I make notes bit first – I SING – and then left this clue until I had solved the downs. It was obvious then that the answer was LOGICISING with LOGIC being the “reason”. I had never heard of this word but Chambers has logicise meaning to argue, so obviously logicising means arguing.

24    Little pig’s noise did not start (4)
RUNT – A couple of days ago OINK appeared in a puzzle which had stuck in my mind so it took me a while to come up with that other noise made by pigs – a GRUNT – which taking away the G (did not start) gives you a well known term for the smallest pig in a litter.

26    It became yours (5)
THINE – A very old fashioned way of saying belonging to you.

27    A flue five suffered having noxious vapours (8)
EFFLUVIA – Suffered tells you to make an anagram of A FLUE FIVE and effluvia is the plural of ‘disagreeable vapours arising from decaying matter’.

28    It’s impossible to guess why everybody is quiet (6, 2, 6)
THERE’S NO SAYING – Controversial clue of the day alert! Big Dave’s hint said “A phrase that means It’s impossible to guess why could possibly mean that nobody is talking”; I think Cephas may have wanted to use the more common phrase “There’s no telling” but that had too many letters. Talking = Telling = Saying He had the A from puma so presumably thought “that will do” which I think it “does” I do agree that an apostrophe should have been used in ‘There’s’. It’s not the world’s best clue ever but it didn’t merit the “stinker” epithet.  [The Telegraph, and most other newspapers, never show apostrophes in the enumeration.  BD]


1 Continue look into projecting part that’s pointed (7)
PROLONG – A projecting part that’s pointed is a prong, such as that on a fork, a well used crossword alternative for look is LO. Put LO into PRONG as the clue tells you to do and you get a word meaning to continue.

3    Egg senior cleric placed on cooker (4)
OVEN – In crossword puzzle land you usually have to put an O where the clue mentions ‘egg’. A senior cleric is a “venerable” dean and the usual abbreviation for this is VEN. Put them together and you get the major part of a cooker.

4    Lorry driver found a helpless maid in winding street (8)
TEAMSTER – ‘Winding’ tells you that an anagram of STREET is going to make up part of this word. “Helpless” maid – take away (less) aid (help) from “a maid” gives you an A and an M, the resulting anagram being a term for an American or Canadian commercial lorry driver.

5    See something on board (6)
NOTICE – Fairly obvious – boards informing you of events have notices and if you notice something you see it!

6    Attendant in set runs for electronic receiver (10)
RADIOPAGER – The attendant in question is a PAGE, an electronic receiver a RADIO and you need R for runs at the end, giving you a device which I and quite a few posters thought should be hyphenated. [Chambers has this unhyphenated.  BD]

7    A medical man in most recent thrash (7)
LAMBAST – There are many abbreviations for medical man – here you need MB for Bachelor of Medicine. The latest of anything is always LAST, put the medical man inside to get a word meaning thrash.

8    Gold box to 22 and score (11)
ORCHESTRATE – Here the ‘score’ relates to writing music. It’s a charade of OR (gold) CHEST (box) and RATE (another word for assess – the answer to 22d)

11    Chance for second-rate talent (11)
PROBABILITY – A word meaning chance is achieved by putting together PRO (for) B (as in B or second rate movies) and ABILITY (talent)

14    Chanticleer, leaving Cuba, moving out of difficulty (2, 3, 5)
IN THE CLEAR – The clue tells you to take C away from Chanticleer, then make an anagram out of the remaining letters (moving) CHANTILEER, which gives you a phrase meaning “out of difficulty”.

17    Negotiating a fort, Don moving both ways (2, 3, 3)
TO AND FRO – Another anagram indicator – negotiating – tells you to move around A FORT DON until you get a three word phrase meaning ‘moving both ways’

19    Do not start to pine despite great pain (7)
ANGUISH – Taking the first letter away (do not start) from LANGUISH, a verb meaning to pine, gives you another noun meaning great pain.

21    There was no holding him! (7)
HOUDINI – Our favourite escapologist is appearing almost as often as BD’s favourite diva these days!

22    Work out value of she-donkey? (6)
ASSESS – Another word for donkey is ASS and a lady donkey could be an ASS – ESS, giving you another way of saying work out value.

25    Turned up with mother wildcat (4)
PUMA – A nice straight-forward (while turning the component parts up!!) clue. Turn round UP to PU then add MA, a two letter childish word for mother, giving you a name of a type of wildcat.

Having reviewed all the clues, my conclusion is that it was a tricky puzzle which needed careful reading and a bit of lateral thinking. Big Dave, Prolixic, Gnomethang, Gazza and I, with all our years of experience, said that it was a challenge but the majority of people seemed to finish it with a bit of cogitation time, some long cold drinks, a copy of Chambers, and a few hints from the blog.  It’s Gnomethang’s turn again next week – will he get an easy-peasy puzzle or a “hot potato” to review. Only time will tell!

14 comments on “DT 26283

  1. Thanks for the accomplished review. I was frankly astonished by some of the objections on the day and couldn’t believe the number of posts for what was, in my opinion, a good puzzle that happened to be just a touch harder than normal.
    We’ll see about next week!.

    1. I don’t think there would have been so many posts if our esteemed leader hadn’t been having a well-earned day off. Various of us, mostly Gazza, tried to calm things down but ….!!

      1. You get a gut feeling for when the puzzle is going to attract a lot of interest. I did this one at midnight and had the hints post up by just after 1.00am and I knew by then that many would struggle.

  2. Excellent review crypticsue and I enjoyed reading the review of 28a which as you may remember ws the last one to go in for me on Saturday – my brain got stuck on the final word but made it in the end (after forgetting about it for a while.

    Thanks for the review.

  3. I think gnomethang made a valid point on the day, that we sometimes forget there is a talented human being behind these puzzles. I personally did not enjoy this particular puzzle, but there are plenty of other puzzles from Cephas I have enjoyed. Sometimes the setters receive a barrage of abuse, which in my opinion is often totally unwarranted. I have done the same in the past, but am trying to mend my ways! Thanks to Cephas, and to cryticsue.

    1. Very good point Jezza – I know that I couldn’t do their job at all and marvel and their brains to come up with so many variations on a theme.

  4. great review crypticsue, Sat was a ‘fun’ day on the site :) sorry you missed it Dave

  5. Thanks to Crypticsue for a great review. I will now buy Websters after failing to get 23a!!!

  6. In my opinion LOGICISING stuck out like a sore thumb. Perfectly correct word but never used really apart from semi-highbrow individuals who wish to appear highbrow (you know, the ones who say “commence to start”) or people who need to fill in a crossword grid. I suspect the latter in this case!

    1. The reason that I disliked this one is that LOGIC and LOGICISING are from the same root.

      1. Yep! Entirely true. I tend to miss that sort of (possibly glaring!) subtle nuance unless I have to think about it when writing a review!

    1. Welcome to the blog Lindsay

      There are no plans to blog codewords as all you can write about are the answers. Personally I never do them, but Mrs BD does.

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