DT 26305 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26305

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26305

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

A mundane puzzle from our mystery setter(s).  I can’t see anyone owning up to this one.  Nothing really wrong with it, just lacking lustre.

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    Maverick girl, not entirely suitable (6)
{MISFIT} – this maverick is most of (not entirely) another word for a girl together with a synonym for suitable

5a    Quickly following vehicle, hardtop? (8)
{CARAPACE} – put a word meaning quickly after a vehicle to get the thick hard shell, made of bone or chitin, of the crab, tortoise, turtle, etc. – worth remembering, it comes up from time to time

9a    Insects from swamps a stupid boy collected (5,5)
{MASON WASPS} – these insects are created by putting an anagram (stupid) of SWAMPS A around (collected) a boy

10a    Piece of news I came across on the way back (4)
{ITEM} – a piece of news is built up from I and a word meaning came across reversed (on the way back)

11a    Womaniser reluctant to attend a wild party? Not quite (8)
{LOTHARIO} – this womaniser is a charade of the shorter spelling of a synonym for reluctant with (to attend) A and a wild party without the final letter (not quite)

12a    Cry of joy about king visiting EU area (6)
{EUREKA} – Archimedes cry of joy (I have found it!) when he hit upon a method of determining the purity of gold comes from a word meaning about and a K(ing) all inside (visiting) EU and an A(rea)

13a    Colour pocketed in The Crucible (4)
{ECRU} – the light fawn colour of unbleached linen is hidden inside the last two words in the clue – also worth remembering as it is the only word that fits the checking letters

15a    Dictatorial type in car, cold despicable person (8)
{AUTOCRAT} – a dictatorial type is a charade of a car, C(old) and a despicable person

18a    Sponge in complimentary pack (8)
{FREELOAD} – a word meaning to sponge or scrounge is built up from words meaning complimentary or without charge and to pack

19a    Primate’s cross and crown (4)
{APEX} – combine a primate and a cross to get the crown or peak

21a    Behind adult not inclined to leniency (6)
{ASTERN} – a nautical term for behind is yet another charade, this time A(dult) and an adjective meaning not inclined to leniency

23a    Italy out of order supplying artillery (8)
{ORDNANCE} – remove the I(taly) from an order or regulation to get this artillery

25a    Fine tune all right (4)
{FAIR} – combine F(ine) and a tune to get a word meaning all right or adequate

26a    Runs eastern diplomatic mission in exile (10)
{RELEGATION} – string together R(uns) E(astern) and a diplomatic mission to get exile – to the Championship, perhaps!

27a    Something added or removed? (8)
{APPENDIX} – Something added to a book or removed in an operation

28a    Hit son on pedal cycle (6)
{STRIKE} – this hit is a charade of S(on) and a three-wheeled pedal cycle


2d    Mental picture of him, a god (5)
{IMAGO} – this mental picture is hidden inside the last three words – you possibly know the word better as the last or perfect stage of an insect’s development

3d    Disaster, firm bringing one to this cheap hotel (9)
{FLOPHOUSE} – a charade of a disaster (like the Sinclair C5) and a word for a firm or business, Fraser perhaps, gives a cheap American hotel

4d    Showy girl reportedly after bit of tat (6)
{TAWDRY} – a word meaning showy comes from a homonym for Audrey (girl reportedly) after a bit of T(at) – I would have thought there was some mileage here in using the creator of the Thomas the Tank Engine series of children’s books: what do you think of homonyms that are not, in themselves, actual words?

5d    Flourishing scroll, top ‘Xanadu’ stars (6,3,6)
{CASTOR AND POLLUX} – an anagram, indicated by flourishing, of SCROLL TOP XANADU gives the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini, the Twins

6d    Poet to resist changes (8)
{ROSSETTI} – to get the surname of brother and sister poets Dante Gabriel and Christina you need an anagram (changes) of TO RESIST

7d    Earlier convent not completed (5)
{PRIOR} – to get a word meaning earlier you need to drop the last letter (not completed) of a convent

8d    Staunch friend’s defeat (9)
{CHECKMATE} – time for another charade – to staunch and a friend lead to a defeat in the game of chess

14d    One may not get a good deal out of one (4-5)
{CARD-SHARP} – a cryptic definition of a person who cheats in order to win money

16d    The car twice broke down; that’s its nature (9)
{CHARACTER} – an anagram (broke down) of THE CAR CAR gives a nature or disposition

17d    Trapped free kick taken by journalist (8)
{CORNERED} – a word meaning trapped comes from a free kick given after an opponent has put the ball over his own goal line and the ubiquitous head journalist

20d    More than one saw a Degas vandalised (6)
{ADAGES} – the plural of a saw or proverb is an anagram (vandalised) of A DEGAS

22d    Sound of organ that is spooky (5)
{EERIE} – combine what sounds like the hearing organ with the abbreviation for that is to get a word meaning spooky

24d    Thief caught by castle (5)
{CROOK} – this thief is a charade of C(aught) and another name for the castle on the chessboard

Once again, expertise in charades is a great help today!

38 comments on “DT 26305

  1. I liked this puzzle; 5d a brilliant anagram. Thought your comments were a bit snooty!

    1. All entitled to our opinions Domus and in my opinion I’ve never found Dave to be ‘snooty’, in the same instance we are all entitled to disagree :)

  2. Failed on the first word of the insects at 9a even though the word was staring me in the face – I had the MA left over and the correct synonym for BOY. Otherwise all were very straightforward with no real stunners – I quite liked 5d!
    Thanks to the Mystery Setter and to BD for the notes

  3. Found parts of this tricky, really liked 5d thanks to mystery setter and BD. 9a was a new one to me.

  4. I found the NW corner really troublesome, 1a, 9a, 3d, and 4d. Finished, but for me, there were no 12a moments!
    Thanks to BD for the notes.

  5. I reckon our mystery setter is American. I’m sure I have said that before. There are a lot of American words rolling around like Maverick and hardtop. Also 3d, 14d, 18a.
    My fav was 5a. Having just come back from France I was convinced it was Asterix and obelix and spent time trying to find the other x.
    Enjoyable puzzle nonetheless.
    Thanks for the blog Dave and Howdy to our mystery setter.

    1. You’ve said a lot of things that you don’t remember after. Like, “I’ll get this round.”

  6. Wow Dave, good morning, I found this really hard today it has taken me over 2 hours and a lot of help from my books and little machine, I was determined to finish it but for me it was at least a three star, be interesting to know what fellow CCers thought, going to read the blog now, cos there were several that i have solved and still don’t understand 5d and 9a took me ages to solve fav clue 27a, back later thanks mystery setter and you Dave :)

    1. After reading blog all becomes clear and I begin to wonder why it took me so long! being a Gemini I should have got 5d straight away, I didn’t like 3d and have never heard of it, also putting shark for second letter of 14d didn’t help although i did see the error of my ways, one of those crosswords once again where i am glad i persevered but more glad to have finished :)

  7. I liked this puzzle too. Couldn’t work out where all the letters in 12a came from until I read the blog – as usual, thanks for that. Managed 9a as we’ve had them here – and a right nuisance they are too! 1a and 3d were the last to go in for some reason. Liked 5d and 16d. Didn’t like the football stuff, but then I never do! Thought that it could have warranted 3*.

  8. I agree – not too inspiring but doable with a bit of thought. Did need help for 5a (thanks Dave – have added that to my word bank. I did like 15d and last one in for me was 23a so guess that is good as well.

    I agree with Nubian – there are more American turns of phrases here than normal.

    Thanks for the review Dave.

  9. Just one thing, 17d a free kick and a corner are not exactly the same thing are they!?

  10. Agree its a fairly average puzzle today. Like Gnomethang I struggled with the first word of the flying creature in 9a. Everyone should give the Toughie a try today , its tough but took me less time than the Cryptic. Thanks to BD for the review.

  11. What a mess I made of this! I put ‘loan shark’ for 14d (it if you ignore all of the hints in the clue that you don’t want to pay attention to it works perfectly), and the problems just spread out from there!
    Thanks for the tip with 5a Big Dave, it’s on my list of things to remember, along with 9a and, I am ashamed to say, 5d.

  12. Agree on the above regarding the lacklustre, mundane, average etc. I would personally give this at least 3* difficulty. I began, as per usual in the top left corner and after a few minutes of getting not very far, moved swiftly down. That was the last part then to complete with as many checking letters as possible.
    Interesting theory from Nubian, but would an American be as familiar with dead ball situations as 17d ?
    As regards the 5d anagram – it was incredibly obvious. A clever anagram to me would be a proper word or phrase with some further connection or relevance to the answer.

  13. Well, I think any puzzle that I can complete within an hour and almost without help is just fine. 17d was the last to go in, naturally, and only found after getting the words across. Being born under the sign of Gemini I found 5d almost at once and that was a great help.I liked 27a and 20d, but my favourite was 19a.

    This was an encouraging one for us CCers, and I might even have a look at
    the Toughie. :-)

  14. My grey matter must be on strike today, as I only got a dozen clues done before sighing loudly and resorting to the blog. Is 33 deg C a good enough excuse?

  15. Took me ages to get 9a even though I am a Mason, all in all a fairly good puzzle I thought.

  16. Dave,

    I’ve commented here before on the use of homonyms that are not actual words (4d), but got no response at the time. Presumably, not many see it as a problem??

    3d. Never heard of this, and had to look it up. Spent a long time trying to fit “dosshouse” to the clue, which prevented me from getting 1a & 9a, until the penny dropped.

    1. I must have missed it!

      A close cousin is the anagram fodder that produces mumbo-jumbo until you insert something else.

  17. This puzzle was better than the usual Thursday offering and the setter desreves a little more encouragement, be he or her American or not. persoanlly, I doubt the setter is anything but European. I found 18a amusing but like all these grids with long vertical clues once you’ve solved 5d you’ve solved the puzzle.

  18. An enjoyable puzzle for after supper. 5d came very quickly and I tend to agree with above comments made by Rupert. Will now try the toughie.

  19. I liked this puzzle especially 20d and 27a though I’m not sure I’ve got 9a and 3d right.

Comments are closed.