DT 26291 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26291

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26291

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

I would like to thank Gazza for stepping into the breach yesterday after the various power cuts I experienced. But in repayment, I get to blog this Shamus crossword (a first time for me). First off all, the crossword is a pangram, but although this crossword is a good workmanlike effort, nothing really stands out for me. We also have a bit of a cornery grid, and I thought the cryptic definitions were a bit weak.

If you cannot work out the answer from the hint, highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Detect behind fellow with us finicky type (7)
{FUSSPOT} – A finicky type or worrier, is constructed by placing a word for observing something suddenly behind F (fellow) and US.

5. Wife detained by weirdo, possibly deprived man (7)
{WIDOWER} – Wife (W) is added to an anagram (possibly) of WEIRDO is a man whose wife has died.

9. Stern batsman’s position facing trial, defensive move? (9,6)
{REARGUARD ACTION} – Another word for stern (stern is used here in the nautical sense), is followed by the position that a batsman takes at the crease, and then a judicial proceeding. All together it can mean the sort of defensive action that took place at Dunkirk for example.

10. Support amateur opera (4)
{AIDA} – An opera by Verdi consists of a word meaning to help, followed by A (amateur).

11. Open top of bottle, European drink (5)
{BEGIN} – The first letter (top) of B(ottle), is followed by E (European) and then a drink, often taken with tonic for word meaning to commence.

12. Long-legged bird eclipsed star (4)
{HERO} – You need to remove the last letter (eclipsed) – N from a (generally) fish eating wading bird to produce the sort of superman often found in legends.

15. Injury shown by some US sportsmen (7)
{OFFENCE} – An affront, is also an American football team that is attacking, although they would spell it with an S rather than a C.

16. One working hard close to fixing beam (7)
{GRAFTER} – The last letter (close) of (fixing) G is followed by the sort of beam you might find in your attic, result is someone who works hard.

17. Group of singers left to take in bit of music, nothing less (7)
{QUINTET} – A group of singers consisting of five people, is a musical mark with the O (nothing) removed which is then placed inside a word meaning departed.

19. Thrilling volume? Refuse to go into it (7)
{VIBRANT} – The definition for this clue is thrilling, take V (Volume) and put the coarsest part of ground husks inside IT. Refuse? A lot of people eat this for breakfast nowadays.

21. A cook ignoring latest longing (4)
{ACHE} – A, and another word for a cook, e.g. Gordon Ramsey with the last letter removed (ignoring) for a word that can mean to long for.

22. Race in old city run in hospital yard (5)
{HURRY} – A word for hasten, or rush consists of well known crossword old city (in ancient Sumer) followed by the standard abbreviation for run, this is then placed inside H (hospital) and Y (yard).

23. Some sweet wine for Remus, say (4)
{TWIN} – A hidden word in this clue describes what Romulus and Remus were to each other.

26. Illustrating a form of clean pixie motif (15)
{EXEMPLIFICATION} – An anagram (a form) of CLEAN PIXIE MOTIF is a word that means illustration by example.

27. Dubious American pastor entering cult (7)
{SUSPECT} – Put US (American) and P (pastor) inside (entering) another word for a body of followers for something that is thought to be untrue or unreliable.

28. Pin coverings? (7)
{HOSIERY} – Pins in this case are legs.


1. Service held up by student activity with love for disorder (7)
{FARRAGO} – Reverse (held up) one of the three armed services, then follow this with a period of fun at University associated with collecting money for charity, and then add an O (love) and you should end up with a disordered mixture.

2. Hand stiffens so terribly on son showing cold quality (15)
{STANDOFFISHNESS} – An anagram (terribly) this time of HAND STIFFENS SO on top of S (son) is the quality of being inclined to be aloof, or keeping others at arm’s length.

3. Bit of a daily attendant (4)
{PAGE} – A double definition, the bit of a daily, could be a piece of the newspaper.

4. Hidden danger with drugs reportedly — it’s familiar to high-level performer (7)
{TRAPEZE} – This high level apparatus is likely to be found in a circus, put another word for a snare next to a word that sounds like the plural for the drug Ecstasy.

5. A match that could be civil? (7)
{WEDDING} – A marriage ceremony.

6. Avoid term of endearment (4)
{DUCK} – an informal word for darling or sweetheart, is also a quick lowering of the head.

7. Very law-abiding but extremely off-colour? (6,4,5)
{WHITER THAN WHITE} – If you were brighter than the colour that reflects the maximum and absorbs the minimum of light rays then you might be this or alternatively you could also be very ill.

8. By the sound of it, more foul bitterness (7)
{RANCOUR} – A word that sounds like RANKER (more foul) is a word that also means a feeling of deep and bitter anger.

13. Military group with unknown togetherness (5)
{UNITY} – The state of being one, put what could be a military group, with a standard crossword abbreviation for an unknown quantity, in this case Y.

14. Dress on old actress once (5)
{GARBO} – A word for dress or clothing is followed by O (old) was also a famous Swedish actress.

17. Friends of knight in square getting excited (7)
{QUAKERS} – Put K (knight) into an anagram (getting excited) of SQUARE for members of the Religious Society of Friends.

18. Petty criminal detaining upstanding gentleman, one on paid visit? (7)
{TOURIST} – The petty criminal in this clue could be the sort who tries to sell tickets at inflated prices, put this around a reversed word of respect used to address a man.

19. Disappear round middle of afternoon in coat (7)
{VARNISH} – A word for disappear is placed around the middle letter of afternoon. The coat in this case is something that is normally applied to wood.

20. Note sent to French city for temporary occupation (7)
{TENANCY} – The seventh note of the musical scale in sol-fa notation is put in front of a city in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France is the temprary possession of a building under lease for example.

24. Primate taking in second part of church (4)
{APSE} – Another word for a monkey takes in S (second) is a semicircular or polygonal recess found in a church.

25. Film starts to jollify all with song (4)
{JAWS }– A film that was directed by Steven Spielberg can be found by taking the first letters (starts to) of the rest of the clue.

46 comments on “DT 26291

  1. Agree nothing really stands out today – 28a wins favourite stakes by just a nose.
    Briefly stumbled (17d) with K as abbr for knight (grr!), as I always expect that to be N.
    Thanks for crossword and review!

  2. A gentle Shamus puzzle. Favourites were 5a and 28a. Many thanks to the setter and to Libellule for the review.

  3. After a couple of days off in blistering heat I needed to get back in the swing gently. I zipped through yesterdays in quick time last night and found this mornings to be equally as easygoing. Is it the heat or the two day rest ?
    12a was a stretch, 17a took a bit of giggery pokery to work out but all in all pretty enjoyable.
    Fav clue was 28a.
    Phew ! it’s getting hot again.

  4. Apart from 1d, I didn’t find anything to think about for long. It would be nice (no pun intended) to see a different french town other than the one in 20d, which seems to appear quite frequently, and which I guessed before i’d finished reading the clue.
    Thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Libellule for the notes.

  5. I had a slow start for no good reason until I finally clicked and finished fine. I quite enjoyed it without finding anything to rave about. I liked 28a and 17d.
    Thanks to Shamus and Libellule.

  6. Obviously not on the right wavelength for this. Found it difficult and just couldn’t understand a lot of the constructs. No enjoyment here at all today, alas.

    Thanks for the review and glad you have your power back!

      1. Oops, sorry! I don’t keep cookies and guess that’s why I always have to type it in. Must have not checked it properly.

  7. Unlike everyone else I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it needed a lot of thought and working out on my part and a sense of satisfaction when finished without blog help :) I thought RayT usually set the Tuesday puzzles, just checking, it is Tuesday isn’t it !! Books and machines well used once again today, loved all the 15 letter clues, fav clues 28a, 16a, 6d
    Thanks for blog Libelulle, welcome back

    1. I’m with you Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It could just be the sense of achievement on Tricky Tuesday, but the effort that went in was repaid in full. 14d ws my favourite answer even if it wasn’t the best clue.

    2. Sorry Mary, for once you and I are not in agreement. Didn’t like this one at all, parts were very tricky and found many of the clues very complex. Even after spending 2 hours waiting for a costume fitting I still couldn’t get more than halfway!

      1. Is that halfway into the costume Barrie or halfway into the crossword :) I will agree to disagree with you this once

  8. A nice puzzle to wok at with me this afternoon!

    I’m not good at anagrams and sighed when I saw the long ones, but after coming back to it just now, saw 2d straight away which really encouraged me!

    Thanks for puzzle and review.

    1. That first sentance should read ‘work at this afternoon!

      Think the anagrams have scarmbled my brain!

  9. Having just completed the Quick Crossword over lunch with the wife, it looks as if Shamus went for the double pangram today…

    1. Once I saw the ‘z’ in 4d it helped to seek the ‘qu’ somewhere if it were to be a pangram!

  10. Libellule,

    In 11a., we start with the first letter of (B)ottle, not (B)egin, as that is the answer!

    Refuse/bran? Can anybody explain this?

    1. Vince,
      Re. 11a thanks – fixed.
      In Chambers bran is defined as being “the husks of grain sifted from the flour”, and because they were typically thrown away, bran was generally considered to be “the coarser part or refuse of anything”.

    2. Vince, Chambers gives the following:
      bran /bran/
      The husks of grain sifted from the flour
      The coarsest part of the ground husks, formerly prescribed medically, now eaten generally as a health food
      The coarser part or refuse of anything

      1. A bit of a pain today. The ‘refuse’ in 19a is a little tenuous, don’t we think?

  11. Enjoyable crossword without being overtaxing, 28a is a delight. Thanks Shamus and Libellule.

  12. Interesting to see 9a appearing on p3 of today’s DT article on Highclere Castle!

  13. Rather slow to get going on this one – too many people around, all talking at once and couldn’t concentrate – that’s my excuse anyway! Didn’t really understand 15a – still don’t even having read the hint. One main comment is that there are lots of initials used – 19a “V”, 22a “H and “Y” – thought that there were more than that but can’t find them now – maybe not. Are they really “allowed” if they’re not recognised abbreviations? I liked the four long anagrams and favourite clues today are 17 and 28a.

    1. Kath,
      Re.15a, the “offense” is the attacking side in American Football.
      In terms of the “initials” used throughout the crossword, all are valid abbreviations as per Chambers.

  14. Not with this one today, a real struggle and not finished. Even with hints 15a remains a mystery. Good job Libellule has power restored.

  15. Still can’t see Bran as refuse and could someone tell me what the musical mark is in 17a? Learned a new word today Farrago, had to look it up, wonder how I can slip it into the conversation in the pub?
    Didn’t much like todays, too bitty and required too much knowledge of music.

      1. Ah that makes sense, I thought it was some sort of musical term, spent ages going through the list in the Mine!!!

        1. You finished it then Barrie? well done, sorry about quip above, what are you getting fitted for if I may ask :)

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s challenge which was tricky in parts but rewarding. I managed it all save 11a – DOH!. I liked 9a. A good day topped off with my son’s cricket team winning through to the finals.

  17. hello libellule,the kenyan here.liked today’s but yesterday’s by rufus was richer in surfaces.i initially thought this was a Ray T as the style is uncannilly his.

    1. Chadwick,
      You can tell. To date Ray has never used any answers that are multiple words or phrases, secondly the quick crossword (usually set by the same setter as the cryptic) when set by Ray consists of single word questions.

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