DT 26311 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26311

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26311

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Regular readers will know that I usually find Thursday’s “mystery” puzzle to be uninspired, but I am pleased to say I enjoyed this one. The setter has provided a good mix of clue types, which is a pleasant change.

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    Biblical character to tease about epistle (6)
{JOSEPH} – this biblical character is built up from a verb meaning to joke or tease placed around EP(istle) – easy for those who remember 22d from Toughie 399!

4a    Reliant three-wheeler initially showing signs of corrosion (8)
{TRUSTING} – a word meaning reliant is a charade of T(hree-wheeler) and showing signs of corrosion

9a    Perfect time to enter club (4-2)
{SPOT-ON} – an adjective meaning perfect or accurate is derived by putting T(ime) inside an old-fashioned woodenheaded golf club with the face slightly hollowed

10a    Secretly record song about liberal country (8)
{BULGARIA} – put a colloquial word for to secretly record and an operatic song around L(iberal) to get a European country

11a    Despatched criminal leader in need to reform (9)
{SENTENCED} – start with a word meaning despatched then put C (Criminal leader) inside an anagram (to reform) of NEED – to get the definition in an all-in-one (&lit) clue read the whole clue again

13a    State of silent exasperation (5)
{TEXAS} – a US state is hidden inside the last two words

14a    Outlaw’s horse in northern resort (5,5,3)
{ROBIN HOOD’S BAY} – combine an outlaw from Sherwood Forest (not forgetting the ‘S) with a type of horse to get a resort in North Yorkshire

17a    Little Sarah given talking to for sauce (5,8)
{SALAD DRESSING} – combine a three-letter abbreviation for Sarah with a word meaning talking to and the result a sauce

21a    French newspaper’s disregarding of French a complete failure (5)
{LEMON} – take a French newspaper (2,5) and remove the French for “of” from the end of its title to get a complete failure, as in a faulty product

23a    Punishment includes not drinking alcohol before going to bed (4,5)
{LAST THING} – take a punishment and put an abbreviation for teetotal inside to get a phrase that means before going to bed

24a    Toiling arduously about a method of printing (8)
{INTAGLIO} – place an anagram (arduously) of TOILING around A to get a method of printing in which the type or design is etched or engraved

25a    Bright light gets former mayor depressed (6)
{SUNKEN} – combine the brightest light in the sky with the first name of the former Mayor of London to get a word meaning depressed

26a    Singer putting heart in popular album (8)
{THRILLER} – this singer, usually a bird, has a quavering or vibratory sound – insert H(eart) and you get a popular (don’t count me) Michael Jackson album – the use of H = heart is debatable, Chambers giving it (as an abbreviation of the card suit) in the plural

27a    River systems approaching the sea could become salted (6)
{DELTAS} – these river systems approaching the sea are an anagram (could become) of SALTED


1d           Joust’s getting toppled in a precise way (4,2)
{JUST SO} – an anagram (getting toppled) of JOUST’S gives in a precise way or exactly

2d           Uncle Rod’s devious villain (9)
{SCOUNDREL} – an anagram (devious) of UNCLE ROD’S gives a villain

3d           Saw pirate in lead (7)
{PROVERB} – a saw or adage is simply created by putting an archaic word for a pirate inside the chemical symbol for lead

5d           Prehistoric dwellings with article missing from circuitous route (11)
{ROUNDHOUSES} – these circular domestic buildings dating from the Bronze or Iron Age are found by removing THE (article) from an expression meaning a circuitous route (5,3,6) – the latter expression is also slang for trousers as I discovered from Google!

6d           Show relief before troublesome youth once is seen (7)
{SIGHTED} – a word meaning to show relief is followed by one of those troublesome youths from the fifties (wasn’t he in Toughie 399 as well) to get a synonym for seen

7d           Ball collected by football team up in Scottish ground (5)
{IBROX} – put a ball or spherical object inside the Roman numerals representing a football team then reverse the lot to get the ground used by the blue half of Glasgow

8d           One can’t see vessel near centre of storm (5,3)
{GLASS EYE} – you can’t see with one of these! – combine a vessel used for drinking with the centre of a storm

12d         Rugby player getting tired out in track through London (7,4)
{CENTRAL LINE} – put a rugby player (the one who usually wears no. 12 or 13) around a hyphenated word (3,2) meaning tired out to get part of the London Underground

15d         Expensive bit of bling I obtain with restricted credit (3-6)
{BIG-TICKET} – an adjective meaning expensive is built up from B (bit of Bling) I and a word meaning to obtain placed around (restricted) a slang word for credit

16d         David’s son taken in by fortune-teller (8)
{PSALMIST} – David was acknowledge as being this – put S(on) inside a fortune-teller – although a bit clumsy, I don’t think there is a misprint here

18d         Cooked bird somewhere in Ireland (7)
{DONEGAL} – a word meaning (well) cooked is followed by another word for a girl (bird) to give an Irish county

19d         Butt in after one no-trump lacking manners (7)
{INTRUDE} – a verb meaning to butt in is a charade of I (one) NT (No Trumps) and a word meaning lacking manners

20d         Spies a toilet (6)
{AGENTS} – these spies come from A and a male toilet

22d         Measuring device agreed with every reading initially (5)
{METER} – this measuring device is built up from a word meaning agreed with the initial letters of Every Reading

Perhaps today’s setter will come out of the closet!

73 comments on “DT 26311

  1. Thoroughly agree with the sentiments BD. After a slow start I accelerated to the final clues (16d and 26a). Nice variety, as you say, and I liked 27a the best for its surface reading and the clue type.
    Thanks to BD and to our mystery setter.

  2. Have finished but will wait for rest of blog to understand some of them! fav clues 14a and 20d which was stupidly the last to go in and so obvious too!!

  3. I enjoyed this one too. Took slightly longer than usual and had to use the Gnome’s law for 16d 26a. I liked 8d and 18d . Thanks to setter and BD.

  4. In 19d int obviously is one no-trump but is that acceptable just to use the first letters here?

      1. I am a regular bridge player and, Chambers or otherwise, NT is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation for no trumps. Also, in bridge circles, C,D,H and S would be abbreviations for the 4 suits.

        1. And “H” is an acceptable abbreviation for “Heart,” despite being described as “debatable.” If somebody bids “one heart,” it gets written down in the ‘Telegraph’s bridge column (and everyone else’s) as “1H”. Similarly, a bid of ‘one no trump” is abbreviated “1NT”.

          1. Welcome to the blog Chris

            The reason Heart is debatable is because it is generally accepted in Telegraph puzzles that all abbreviations must be in Chambers 11th edition. If such a “rule” did not exist then setters would be free to make up their own abbreviations, resulting in anarchy! Chambers has the plurals of the suits as abbreviations but not the singular versions.

            1. As Pommers said when you complete a Traveller in Duplicate Bridge Tournaments, the suits are abbreviated to the first letters and NT for No trumps.

  5. This was a quality puzzle,thanks whoever you are and Gig Dave for the blog.
    Fav was 21a sheer quality

  6. It seems that you never know what you’re going to get on Thursdays. I thought that this one was excellent – nearly all the surface readings are good. Favourite clues 4a, 12d and 15d.

  7. 21a – apostrophe missing on CluedUp.
    Liked 4a, but of course they didn’t rust, being made of fibreglass. ‘The Plastic Pig’.
    Quite good today, although I wouldn’t have stretched the difficulty to 3*

    1. There are two types of single apostrophe and, although they both look the same, CluedUp can handle one of them but not the other. If in doubt it is best to check the printable version.

  8. I thought this was a good puzzle too. Just enough of a struggle and I managed to finish it with just a couple of letter hints from Clued Up. Started badly by putting “bang on” for 9a, thinking of violence instead of golf, but 1d put me right. I’ve never heard of 7d — dare I say it sounds to me like soap powder? Was unfamiliar with 15d too. My favourite clues were 17a and 3d, and I’d have added 16d but for a suspected misprint in Clued Up.
    Now I must find something useful to do on this rainy day. :-)

      1. Yes, that’s why I thought ‘son’ was a misprint for ‘song’ — David’s song, or would that have made the clue too easy?

        1. That could only work in this clue if S was an accepted abbreviation for song, which I don’t think it is.

  9. Ah ‘see’ 5d and 7d now, although I had the correct answers I didn’t quite understand them, this is one of the reasons this blog is sooo good, agree to disagree with the chairman again :) this was def a 3* for me

    1. Off to water my brothers garden now, lucky thing has gone to Austria and Oberammergau, think I’ve spelled it right! back later, good luck CCers once again it is doable for us with a little effort and a few ‘aids’ :)

      1. This and the toughie are good today. I wonder if anyone else other than me put ‘thus’ in 24a in the toughie.

            1. Me too , was trying to invent a new bone until the theme put me on the right track. Very devious.

  10. Oh dear, again!! Must be having an ‘off day’! I found this REALLY difficult and was hoping that it would have at least 4* for difficulty. It has all taken a very long time and finally fell apart completely in the bottom left corner. Wouldn’t have done 24 or 26a without the hints – thanks to Big Dave, as usual. I could see that 24 was an anagram but the word deserted me. Still can’t do 16d and can’t explain 12d or 15d – will have to wait for rest of hints. Liked 14a and 5, 8 and 18d.

      1. Thanks – now I understand 12d – just hadn’t spotted ‘all in’ in the middle – how stupid. Also now understand 15d. Would never have got 16d – had to look at the answer – thanks again.

    1. A football team has 11 men, take another word for a spherical object and put it inside the roman numberals for 11 and you get the name of a famous Scottish football ground.

  11. Had to check a few answers and needed a fair bit of help. Finally managed only 15 without any help and only because most already had first or other letters.

    Don’t know what it is about Tues/Weds/Thurs puzzles, just can’t get into them. Thanks for review, BD.

  12. Best Thursday crossword for ages, very enjoyable, as was the Toughie. Thanks Dave and thanks ?.

  13. Finished it OK but unlike most people on the blog I did not enjoy it. Found the clues obscure or maybe its the way my brain is today???

      1. 4 miles away at my brothers house hot and sunny, back home dull and cloudy!! think i’ll go cinema with the grandkids and watch The A-Team bet you all remember them?? it’s either that or get frustrated trying to do the toughie!

        1. Do try the toughie Mary. It is tough and takes a bit of getting into but its got a good theme and the hints are up now.

  14. The more I look at the explanations; and the more I look at the comments, mental inadequacy sets in!

    1. not at all tomtom we all feel or have felt like that at times, like me now trying the toughie, i have 5 answers so far and have come to a grinding halt :)

  15. Been out all day so have just got to it. Stumbled a bit as I couldn’t get my brain off the Reliant Robin for 4a and kicked myself when I worked out the clue. Another hesitation/stumbvle was 15d as I put pocket in to start with so got stuck on 23a until I sorted that one out. Even with cross letters I did not get 7d and had to look at the hint – still never heard of it but then I don’t like football so don’t worry about little things like that.

    My favourites were 23a (when I finally got it) and 16d I thought was superb and 20d was good as well. Didn’t like 26a!

    Thanks to setter and thanks for hints BD

  16. Completed without resorting to the blog, but took a while. A string of interrutions and long phone call didn’t help concentration.
    Rather liked 16d and 20d. Got 8d wrong to start with, which made 4a and 10a tricky! A good puzzle.

  17. Thought this quite an enjoyable puzzle, finished in reasonable time, for me, and without help from the Blog. Bottom right last to go when the penny dropped!

  18. Have just found this site and it’s an answer to all my prayers. Have been doing the Telegraph Crossword for years and nearly always finish, with lots of help from the Oxford Dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus, but don’t always understand why or how I got the answers, now I do.

  19. Definitely the best Thursday puzzle for ages. Lots of excellent clues. Really enjoyed this one.

  20. This site is soooo helpful. Not just because it helps you to find any answers that you are struggling with, but, of even more value, it helps you to understand how answers are reached. I actually got it finished today for the first time since joining the cluedup website. Really struggled with 3d (even with the tips!) and couldn’t believe 14a as I only visited there for the first time a few days ago.

  21. Hi all,
    i have been reading your blogs for a while now and quite enjoy them, I also find the hints very useful occasionally, especially today when I was stuck on 14A and me being a Tyke, albeit been living in the South East for over 20 years, many thanks to you all especially Big Dave.

  22. Only done this today and I agree – best Thursday puzzle for ages. No help on this one (except from the Pommers) and we finished it over lunch! GREAT !!!! Think I’m finally working my out of the CC. Thanks BD and ???

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