DT 26287 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26287

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26287

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Sometimes when you sit back and look at a puzzle again in order to review it you find that it is better on second reading. This one wasn’t.

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    Pet has got excited around middle of kitchen, making small stains (7)
{PATCHES} – put an anagram (excited) of PET HAS around C (middle of kitChen) to get some small stains

Some light relief:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a    Rode off before revolutionary charged (7)
{ORDERED} – an anagram (off) of RODE precedes a revolutionary (not Ernesto “Che” Guevara, today it’s one of those hiding under the bed) to get a charged or commanded

9a    Move stealthily and softly, tracking American Indian (5)
{CREEP} – a word meaning to move stealthily is derived from P (softly) preceded by (tracking) an American Indian

10a    Run into battle (9)
{ENCOUNTER} – two very similar definitions of the same word

11a    One study correct if diet’s connected (10)
{IDENTIFIED} – I (one) and a study are followed by an anagram (correct) of IF DIET to get a word meaning connected or associated

12a    Club sandwiches again — or indulge on the way back? (4)
{IRON} – this golf club is hidden (sandwiches) reversed (on the way back) inside the rest of the clue

14a    Article in no way reduced yet (12)
{NEVERTHELESS} – put the definite article between a synonyms for “no way” and reduced to get a word meaning yet

18a    Very careful with clay, oddly (12)
{PARTICULARLY} – very is the definition (it’s in the Thesaurus)– to get to it take a word meaning careful and add the EVEN letters of cLaY
looks like a mistake here, while regularly can mean either odd or even letters of a word, surely oddly can only mean the odd letters

21a    Light starts to emanate a soothing yellow (4)
{EASY} – a synonym for light, as in light work, comes from the initial letters of (starts to) the rest of the words in the clue

22a    PC with fast car that’s modified with head of engineering — it goes like a rocket (10)
{SPACECRAFT} – an anagram (that’s modified) of PC with FAST CAR and E (head of Engineering) gives a rocket

25a    The guards are revolting — King Lear had problems with his (9)
{DAUGHTERS} – a well-known anagram, indicated by “are revolting”, of THE GUARDS leads to Goneril, Regan and Cordelia – cue Barrie saying he’s never heard of them!

26a    Madras is here — an amount of wind I anticipate (5)
{INDIA} – Madras WAS here, as Rishi (and Giovanni) will tell you it is now called Chennai – it’s rather easily found inside the last three words of the clue

27a    River disease is most serious (7)
{DEEPEST} – the Jolly Miller’s river is followed by a disease or nuisance to get a word meaning most serious

28a    They might be heard in the police station or on the radio (7)
{SINGERS} – a truly awful double definition about which the less said the better – informers or vocalists


1d           Piece of cake to eat out (6)
{PICNIC} – an undertaking that is mere child’s play (a piece of cake) and to eat alfresco

2d           With melody at first, these could be intertwined (6)
{THEMES} – put M (Melody at first) inside an anagram (intertwined) of THESE – it’s meant to be an all-in-one, what do you think?

3d           Hopes this is working without Anthony’s last idea (10)
{HYPOTHESIS} – an anagram (is working) of HOPES THIS is placed around (without) Y (Anthony’s last) to get an idea – purists will argue that without doesn’t mean surrounding

4d           Flesh wound — one will probably put something on it (5)
{SHELF} – an anagram (wound) of FLESH leads to where you can put something

5d           Pitmen? (9)
{ORCHESTRA} – these musicians play in the area in front of the stage

6d           Coke perhaps finally spilled on mat (4)
{DRUG} – coke (cocaine) is a class A one of these – D (finally spilleD) is followed by a mat

7d           Went back to roll in grass (8)
{RETURNED} – a word meaning went back is constructed by putting to roll inside a tall stiff hard-culmed marsh or water grass

8d           Sends criminal to capture vessel that’s seen at night? (8)
{DARKNESS} – put an anagram (criminal) of SENDS around (to capture) Noah’s vessel to what can be seen at night, or not as the case might be

A bit more light relief:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d         Study reference shortly before lesson (10)
{REFLECTION} – a word meaning study or thought is built up from the shortened form of REF(erence) followed by a lesson read in church (well, that’s what Chambers says)

15d         Joke with chaps in wet when wife is missing gear (9)
{EQUIPMENT} – put a joke with chaps or fellows inside (W)ET without the W (Wife missing) to get this gear

16d         I’d spend a bit of leisure going round capital (8)
{SPLENDID} – an anagram (going round) of I’D SPEND L(eisure) gives a word which, as an interjection, means  capital of marvellous

17d         Journalists almost certain to be under this? (8)
{PRESSURE} – almost all of journalists as a profession is followed by a word meaning certain to get what most journalists are under all the time, or so they would have us believe

19d         Get muddled after initially playing spade (6)
{PADDLE} – put a word meaning muddled after P(laying) to get a small, long-handled spade

20d         Small lumps on skin coming up? You might get them with fizzy drinks (6)
{STRAWS} – combine S(mall) with lumps on the skin then reverse it all (coming up) to get something ou might get with fizzy drinks – in order to be able to drink them

23d         Eliot maybe put lettuce on expenses (5)
{COSTS} – start with thepoet’s initials (Eliot maybe) and precede them with a type of lettuce to get these expenses

24d         The woman holds onto old footwear (4)
{SHOE} – put the woman around (holds onto) O(ld to get this type of footwear

ARVE Error: need id and provider

That’s it folks!

83 comments on “DT 26287

  1. Agree entirely with your assessment and comments. CC members should note that you need to read each clue more than once and then apply a great deal of lateral thinking. Compared with the joy of recent puzzles, in my opinion, this is a very dull offering.

  2. This was a bit wierd this was.
    Big Dave, you have missed 13d which is a funny clue to be truthful.
    The rest of the puzzle is a bit odd too

  3. For a variety of reasons I haven’t been near puzzles for a couple of weeks and thought this might be a reasonable start.

    How wrong I was! Couple of semi-decent clues but the remainder were utterly forgettable and the cryptic definitions were probably purloined from Rufus’ reject bin. There is an art to the cryptic definition clues and sadly a number of compilers use them when they are either too lazy or unable to think of anything challenging and as a result the whole genre suffers (This is Big Dave’s Blog not Pseud’s Corner – Ed).

  4. Sorry, sorry
    Overall the answers to almost every clue seem to be sort of ‘well, yes I see what you mean but the connection is a bit thin’.
    Ref 1d, 11a, 28a
    Still a good work out, prepared me for the toughie which it is proving to be !

      1. Thanks BD… That’s one less to think about. That still leaves me 8 subtle clues needed !!!

  5. Maybe not vintage stuff but I still enjoyed it a lot more than last Sunday’s offering.

      1. Agreed, but I didn’t like the theme at all, and that’s no-one’s fault but my own!

  6. Not the greatest – I liked 22a and a few others but I didnt spend long enough on it to remember it – I’m enjoying the Toughie but in a similar position to Jezza after my commute.
    Thanks to BD and to the setter.

  7. All done except 2d with ridiculous amounts of help! This puzzle definitely not on my wavelength!

  8. I agree that this was not the most enjoyable puzzle I have done lately. I would say it is the most tedious. Didn’t find anything to redeem it – sorry. Took ages to gret some of the down clues even with cross letters. Often couldn’t understand what the setter was wanting.

    Oh well – tomorrow is Friday – my favourite.

    Thanks for the review Dave – will look at the downs when they are done to see why.

  9. I would take issue only on one aspect of the above – in that I found this somewhat harder than BD’s 2* difficulty rating. Took me longer than any other standard DT cryptic probably for several weeks. Maybe because some of the clueing was decidedly ‘iffy’, and also perhaps because I’d entered ‘amusement’ early on for 15d without reading the clue properly.

  10. Yes, well…………….!! I’m OK with 18a – “oddly = every other letter” works for me.

  11. Unlike almost everyone else I thought that this was OK. Was glad to see in the hints for 16a that Big Dave commented on “clay oddly”. Took a long time to get 20d and 28a. 1d was probably favourite clue today.

  12. BD – thank you for the downs – I couldn’t work out why 7 down and 13d were what they were. I knew they were right (thank heavens for clued up) but wasn’t sure.

    As for 2d – I got it but again wasn’t sure why – I thought at first it was an anagram of these and m but couldn’t find the indicator. Didn’t think of dd and am not sure I like it as a clue.

  13. Sorry to be different but I quite enjoyed this crossword, one or two inane clues but on the whoe enjoyable, I liked 13d best. Thanks to the mystery compiler and to BD for his, as usual, impeccable review.

  14. A few decent clues, but some very odd ones indeed. Like Lea, I found it very hard to see what the setter was getting at in several places. Just one I couldn’t sort out at all, 19d.

    Thanks for review.

  15. Hi
    I enjoy the site for the reactions to the puzzles, running the gamut from standing ovations to brickbats and rotten oranges. My only aversion regarding the DT’s crosswords is the use of references to footballers and screen idols of the distant past, it makes you feel terribly old if you know them! I solve the puzzles via CluedUp, the DT would have no appeal even if our Yorkshire Dales village had a newsagent. That site and yours intrigue me enough to ask what the members of the jury (your bloggers) regard as legitimately solving a crossword? Getting all the answers is obviously the objective but don’t all the aids seemingly employed, especially electronic word finders, make for full enjoyment but only partial solving. I’m sometimes baffled by the description of a particular puzzle as ‘easy’ only to read later in the comment that eg 17across’s solution was offered by Google. Obviously enjoyment is the name of the game and if crosswords aren’t harmless fun then very little is. However, the challenge of solving fully and quickly is at the core of the pleasure and so I’m asking if anyone solves fully ‘clean’ ie without using electronic aids, internet searches, reference books etc. I’m particularly interested in my fellow online solvers’ practice as the forbidden knowledge lurks so temptingly at our very fingertips. Of course, CluedUp allows for trying different answers until correct solution is achieved, a ‘getout’ I have used, especially with the Toughie where the odd total obscurity is hauled in to beef it up. Guilty as charged M’lud!

    1. Welcome to the blog lonny2

      As far as I’m concerned, the method used is down to the individual. We all need some form of help at some time, well most of us do.

      1. Speaking as a paper-reading Luddite, most days I do solve “clean” but then before the CC start, I have had years and years of DT cryptic experience/practice I will admit to sometimes checking a word I haven’t heard before such as 2d yesterday on google or in a dictionary or with the ever helpful Gnomethang in a “if 2d for example is what I think it is, then why” sort of way. Today’s Toughie is a case in point, at 9 am today BD warned me that I would need a dictionary and he’s not wrong, but again only to check that the answer I have from the clue’s wordplay is actually a real word and that I am spelling it properly.

    2. Hi Ionny2, with regard to your question, obviously we would all be able to solve ‘cleanly’ as you put it, but unfortunately we don’t all have the capacity or knowledge required every time, some of us have been doing these puzzles a relatively short time i.e. a year or less and are thrilled to be able to understand what the setter is asking us for i.e. the definition at last, or to recognise anagram indicators, inc. indicators, homophone ind. etc. whatever helps a person to solve the puzzle is I think acceptable, be it, Chambers crossword dictionary (my particular favourite) electronis thesaurus, google, whatever, if you are stuck, obviously we don’t go straight to the ‘helplines’ without trying to work it out first, also may i add that with the help of this blog we from the CC are all making fairly good progress and hope one day to be up there ‘cleanly’ with the best :)

      1. My problem now that I am a novice reviewer that I have to now find out what the correct terms for all the indicators are so that I can do a “proper” review. My main problem (and pet hate) are those pesky clues where you have to find every other letter, sometimes forwards and sometimes backwards.

        1. You speaking to me or Sue Dave, If me, I would love to but I really am not up to it, one day maybe :) if Sue, sorry for being presumptious !!

      2. Well said Mary!! His comments all sounded a little sanctimonious to me. Of course we would all like to solve ‘cleanly’ but with odd words that have not been used for centuries or are highly obscure, it is no sin to use a check book/site. And those of us who are in our crossword infancy need all the help we can get when Cephus or Giovanni serve up some really cryptic (but usually very fair) offering. I don’t include Ray T in that as you well know my opinion of his efforts!

            1. I think Dave probably means, forgive me if I’m wrong Dave, but this time last year or so, you hated Giovanni puzzles Barrie, so there is hope yet for RayT :)

      3. Would agree with every word, Mary. I have been doing these for not-so-very-long, and if I have to resort to using aids, then surely that’s for me to decide? I want to enjoy the puzzles, not go on a guilt trip because I’ve had to resort to help.

        That’s not to say I don’t want to stretch myself or raise my game, and I would become bored if there were lots of anagrams or easy clues, but sometimes I want easy puzzles, other times I want a more difficult one.

        Solving the puzzles is not a competition nor are there ‘rules’ by which one must abide!!

        1. Hear hear to all that expecially the last line. I sometimes read some of these posts and think “surely we are talking about a hobby, a pleasant pastime, something that it doesn’t really matter if you can’t do it all, there’ll be another one to try tomorrow.” I am actually very envious of all the aids available to new solvers these days, electronic this and that and Clued Up, not to mention the company on BD’s blog. At the risk of sounding old, it wasn’t like that in my early days!!

    3. The best discourse on ‘cheating’ (as far as I am concerned) can be located on Alberich’s Crossword site (accessible from Big Dave’s side bar on the right and on the left of the website click on ‘Cheating?’)
      I would suggest that he has set the tone about right. If I have finished a puzzle and someone asks if I did it all by myself I would always qualify the statement by saying where I had to look up an answer.

      1. Absolutely nothing wrong with looking up unfamiliar words. I was pretty sure of 9a, but couldn’t see where American Indians fitted in, until it occurred to me to look up ‘cree’ – new word for me. I might resort to an anagram solver on harder puzzles, just to get started!

        1. I’m with you Geoff!. So is Alberich! My defensive stance is from when people see you checking a word.
          TAMARACK was a good example at 18d in the Toughie today. I had figured out the wordplay entirely correctly but had never heard of the tree. Ditto for BICAMERAL and NOTORNIS. From my perspective I would like to be able to frame the word before hitting an “anagram me” button (which I have within reason) and if I do that I am stll playing to my rules. They are only my personal rules though!

          Your ‘Cree’ example is a good one – you have already got the sense of the clue from the shape of it:
          Definition at start or end: Call it ‘Move Stealthily’ so the rest is the wordplay.
          Softly = P(iano). Tracking = following after some other word fodder.
          I’m thinking about creep – What is ‘cree’ then? – is it a type of Indian?
          Check in the dictionary, yes.
          I dont believe you are cheating as you have done most of the dissection of the clue correctly but are missing some knowledge of a particular word (which I am guessing you had a suspicion about).

          I take this approach when necessary (and confronted with an unknown word) and usually am confirmed as correct. It isn’t cheating unless you are in some exam room and stuff the dictionary up your trouser-leg.

  16. 2d. BD suggests that this is an attempt at an all-in-one clue. A poor attempt, I would say!

    8d. If somebody ever bothered to compile a list of words that are not permissible as anagram indicators, I don’t think it would be a very big list. CRIMINAL?

      1. but intertwined (2d) isn’t at least its not in Chambers, I agree with Vince, not a good clue

  17. This smacks of a Ray T offering but whatever I thought it was horrible! If it is not Ray T I apologise!!
    Not going to waste any more time on this stinker, looking forward to tomorrow.

  18. Oooh! really didn’t like this one and I do appreciate how clever the setters all are but today it sort of feels as though the setter was struggling a bit, as you say Dave least said about 28a the better, I wouldn’t have finished this today without lots of blog help, a tough one for us CC today I think, never mind Giovanni tomorrow :) If I had to pick a fa clue it is probably 20d, but intertwined as an anagram indicator!? 2d

    1. I may have understated 2 down – intertwined is meant to indicate an anagram of THESE around M. That’s not saying I like it.

  19. Just seen the comment on 25a, this was one of the few clues I got today as I am a bit of a Shakespeare buff and was fortunate enough to see Robert Stevens version of Lear, masterful and truly disgusting, lovely!! Going to Waddesdon Manor to see the outdoor playing of the Tempest in 2 weeks, anyone who hasn’t seen the Kings Players, come along, you will have an excellent evening.

    1. I have seen it several times, but most memorable was the unexpected success of Richard Briers – a performance that failed to be ruined by Emma Thompson’s rather poor portrayal of the fool.

  20. Been out all day and just looking at it now. No, not for me today. I’ll make do with the one I started this morning from the DT book and wait for the Giovanni tomorrow.

  21. Thursday has always been a struggle for me and today was no exception. The only difference I did finish it but did not enjoy. Do enjoy all of the comments though.

  22. Today 9th July, Clued up has a mistake in 20a. It asks for the plural but the right answer is the singular. Terrible

      1. Ah!
        An email from a blogger has said that cluedup will only accept the singular online!
        my apologies as I have a print

        1. Just read your comment gnomey…. haven’t got as far as entering it on cluedup yet!
          Came into work early to do the crossword, and people insist on talking to me at the same time..

    1. But isn’t it a Eureka moment when you get it! With regard to 20a, its not a problem if you do it the old fashioned and to me “proper” paper way!

      1. I agree Sue but for a fiver a month you would think they would have a proof reader on Cluedup as well.
        It’s the little things that annoy
        I do believe there was a missprint in the hallowed journal the other day which someone referred to.

        1. Oh and also Sue, Out in the South of France, the paper is a day old and 3£ 50. Ouch

          1. I can really upset you now and tell you that in term time I can get the DT for 40p. Mind you the last couple of days supply has been a bit iffy so I went to the supermarket and got a full price copy. If I don’t get my crossword fix every day, I do start to twitch!!

            1. I am back in the UK in a couple of weeks so I may venture a hard copy once in a while, just for the smell of the ink and the stains on my fingers.
              Ah happy days!

  23. Mind you the new Toughie is absolutely brilliant, I am enjoying every moment. I don’t want it to end !

  24. Chadwick of kenya on 26287:a rather forgettable xword though it took me longer than usual to solve.please would anyone help me unravel these 2 stubborn clues:heat drinks after diluting(10,5) and :charity worker,perhaps,giving skin to taxidermist(8,7)

  25. chadwick ong’ara(KENYA):big dave,I dont have any checking letters but if it may interest you,it is from the times xword no 23,399.In fact,I will be grateful to have the entire solution,I am totally stumped.

    1. Chadwick

      Apologies for not responding sooner but I have been out all day.

      Times crosswords are blogged on the Times for the Times site but unfortunately they started with 23,435 which was published on 1st November 2006.

      Are you able to obtain a copy of the puzzle that can be emailed – if so send it to me at bigdave at bigdave44.com (replacing ” at ” with @) and I’ll see what I can do.

      1. In Canada, we get your DT xwords in the National Post about 2 months later. With their Brit-centric focus, they can be a real challenge. Also, sometimes, a British lack of appreciation of terminology or things North American can also be a challenge. In this xword for example, I would think of the Cree as primarily a Canadian native peoples not “American” (even though they are present in the US northern mid-west) and so the reference to “American” can throw people (or at least me) off.

        For what it’s worth, I agree completely with Lonny2. If a puzzle is solved with any outside help, in my books, “it doesn’t count”. The feeling you get when you solve one using only your brain is completely different (i.e. much more satisfying) than when any outside aids are used. Btw, after having finished a puzzle, I see nothing wrong with checking the solutions with outside aids; in fact, it can be particularly satisfying to confirm one’s solution to a clue without knowing the meaning of the word or even ever having heard the term; it can be surprising how often one can solve clues (e.g. in our case over here, Brit-centric items) by process of elimination supported by the cryptic portion of the clue and by common letter patterns.

        re Chadwick’s question, try “envelope stuffer” for the 2nd item. I’ll think further about his1st item.

          1. Absolutely, that’s where I get the link to your blog!

            Btw, I have also been meaning to mention this point to you. I (and I am guessing others) use an Apple iPhone & its embedded Safari “mobile” internet browser to look at your blog. The mechanism you use to allow highlighting of the clue solutions is non-functional. Thus, although I can see your hints, I can’t access the solutions. If your website could be tweaked to make it more ‘mobile-friendly’, it might be a useful improvement for many people. Thanks for an excellent site.

            1. It has been mentioned before, but I have yet to find a suitable answer. Apparently you can cut and paste the answer into a notepad app.

              The problem lies in the browser being used on your mobile which is not following the protocol correctly – try asking them to change!

              1. what about just putting a link to a separate page with the solutions in a list? people who don’t want to see need not follow the link.

                  1. Fair enough. I’ve often thought managing something like this could be a full time job. I don’t know how people do it. Anyway, thanks again.

                    1. CAwatcher – being oe of the de facto iPhone gurus here Big Dave is correct. You can only highlight between the curly brackets, Select, Copy and then paste into Notes.
                      That is the only way that I can see.

                      Hope it Helps!


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