DT 26317 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26317

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26317

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I nearly wore out the blue highlighter today! Our mystery setter has compiled an excellent puzzle, without resorting to over-difficult clues. “Please, sir, can I have some more?” as someone once said.

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    Balloon, first of many captured by radar image (5)
{BLIMP} – to get this balloon, used for observing, advertising, etc. put the first letter of Many inside an image of an object on a radar screen

4a    Be persuaded to visit (4,5)
{COME ROUND} – a double definition

9a    Without one, coaches left ship (9)
{TRANSPORT} – remove I (without one) from a verb meaning coaches and add a nautical term for left to get a word meaning to ship, as in to convey from one place to another

10a    Parrot beginning to mimic a crow’s cry (5)
{MACAW} – a large, long-tailed, brightly-coloured tropical American parrot is built up from the first letter (beginning) of Mimic, A and a crow’s cry

11a    Carry out guillotine (7)
{EXECUTE} – both definitions are verbs

12a    Paint a picture of harbour fish (7)
{PORTRAY} – a word meaning to paint a picture is a charade of a harbour and a fish

13a    Fellow attached to the Spanish church (6)
{CHAPEL} – combine a fellow with the Spanish definite article to get a small church

15a    Outlook, sort cafe developed (8)
{FORECAST} – this outlook is an anagram (developed) of SORT CAFE

18a    Work willingly with others in activity ahead of dance (4,4)
{PLAY BALL} – a phrase meaning to work willingly with others is a charade of an activity and a dance

20a    Copied record, single, inside (6)
{CLONED} – a verb meaning copied comes from a record (aren’t they called albums these days?) with a word meaning single inside

23a    Attempt, with wife, to share expenses equally (2,5)
{GO DUTCH} – combine an attempt with Cockney slang for a wife to get a phrase meaning to share expenses equally

24a    PM in car spy sabotaged (7)
{AUTOPSY} – PM here is not an abbreviation for Prime Minister; think again! – combine a car with an anagram (sabotaged) of SPY

26a    Big cat needs power to make sudden swoop (5)
{OUNCE} – the definition is a big cat – if you add P(ower) to the front of him you get a sudden swoop

27a    A revolver held by beautiful girl in game (9)
{BAGATELLE} – put A and a revolver inside a beautiful girl to get a game played on a board with balls, the object being to put the balls into numbered holes or sections

28a    Parisian salesgirl in motorway eating area (9)
{MIDINETTE} – I didn’t know about this salesgirl worker in the Paris fashion or millinery business (apparently much seen in cafés at lunchtime), but she was easily derived from a motorway and an eating area

29a    Instrument in transit, a radiometer (5)
{SITAR} – this Indian instrument with a long neck and a rounded body, played by plucking the strings, is hidden in the last three words of the clue


1d    Flatter round base of aquatic plant (9)
{BUTTERCUP} – put a phrasal verb meaning to flatter around the last letter (base) of aquatiC to get a plant with golden-yellow flowers

2d    How movie ends is silly (5)
{INANE} – split this word meaning silly as (2,2,1) to get how the word moviE ends

3d    A way through unspoilt meadow (7)
{PASTURE} – put A and an abbreviation for a way inside a word meaning unspoilt to get a meadow

4d    Private room near top of tower (6)
{CLOSET} – a private room is a charade of near and the first letter (top) of Tower

5d    A figure of speech to hamper translation (8)
{METAPHOR} – this figure of speech is an anagram (translation) of TO HAMPER

6d    Deep regret about the South invading again (7)
{REMORSE} – deep regret is built up from a word meaning about followed by S(outh) inside (invading) a synonym for again

7d    In doubt, new curate about new home (9)
{UNCERTAIN} – a word meaning in doubt comes from an anagram (new) of CURATE around N(ew) followed by Crosswordland’s short word for home

8d    Wife in small boat bringing gift for new husband (5)
{DOWRY} – just put W(ife) inside a small boat, with flat bottom, sharp bow and stern, especially suited for surf-riding to get a gift brought by a girl for her new husband

14d    Finished among a group left behind (9)
{ABANDONED} – put a word meaning finished or over inside A and a group of musicians to get a word meaning left behind

16d    Dicky berated, biting ends of dinky toy (5,4)
{TEDDY BEAR} – put an anagram (dicky) of BERATED around (biting) the ends of DinkY to get a furry toy

17d    Group of characters in sacred river needing help (8)
{ALPHABET} – this group of characters is a charade of the sacred river from Kubla Khan and a word meaning to help, usually to commit an offence – if you had never heard of the sacred river then take this advantage to read the whole poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge!

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where ****, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

19d    Marsh bird from intensely cold North (7)
{BITTERN} – this marsh bird of the heron family with a loud deep call is a charade of intensely cold and N(orth)

21d    Young child enthralled by stories? That’s an understatement (7)
{LITOTES} – put a young child inside (enthralled by) stories or fabrications to get an uncommon word for an understatement

22d    Hit by the Parisian band (6)
{BANGLE} – combine a hit or blow with the French definite article (the Parisian) to get a band or circular bracelet worn on the arm or leg

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    Good scope for stable lad (5)
{GROOM} – run together G(ood) and a synonym for scope to get this stable lad (or ladette!)

25d    Religious set’s guide (5)
{PILOT} – a charade of a word meaning religious and a set gives this guide who conducts ships in and out of a harbour

There is much to enjoy and to savour in this puzzle, with some excellent surface reading. If only every Thursday was like today!

58 comments on “DT 26317

  1. I thoroughly agree. Although a large proportion of answers went in on first reading there was enough in the remaining tooth-suckers to make this very entertaining. Favourite for me was 4d for the lovely smooth surface reading.
    Many thanks to our mystery setter and to BD for the review and the excellent Video.
    (Good day to attempt the Toughie by the way!)

    1. Re the video, I think I was about 16 years old at that time, and seem to recall quite liking them (and not just for their music!) :)

  2. I’ve got a feeling that I should’ve remembered 21d and 28a was new to me, but apart from those two I zipped through this. 24a was a good one, as was 17d. All good stuff, cheers to BD and the setter.

  3. Morning Dave, completed once again with all my ‘aids’ but without the blog, agree with everything you have said and like all the same clues too, good luck again fellow CCers, if i can do it so can you, by the way anyone seen Barrie and Geoff these last few days? thinking of putting up a ‘missing’ poster in the CC! :)

    1. Geoff hides in the deepest, darkest recesses of the CC, where even gremlins fear to tread, on Tue/Wed/Thu, ‘cos he can’t do them …

      After about 45 mins today, I’ve managed 6 answers. Didn’t do any better on Tuesday, had a jolly nice day out in the Chilterns yesterday and didn’t want to spoil my evening by being defeated yet again. Seems to me you need a really vivid imagination for these three days. I frequently can make nether head nor tail of most of the clues.

  4. I found this easy, but enjoyable. Onto the toughie, and then the packing; fed up with the weather in London, an impromptu week in Marseille tomorrow (where hopefully it is sunnier than here!) :)

      1. Thanks for that Geoff – then I can confirm that if you are
        President, then I am probably the Secretary. I had real problems today, like you …

    1. Hi Kate the CC is a mythical club set up for us circumverbalists who are not as quick or clever as the rest, the phrase was ‘invented’ by someone who I don’t think we see on the blog anymore, but we have religiously kept the CC going, it is just a bit of fun and nice to know that there is somewhere we can hide when we need to, there are lots of members of theCC I’m sure they will let you know who they are, I have set myself a target, the only way I will get out of the CC is when I can solve a whole crossword without using any books or electronic aids!! (sometime never I think), Geoff has been amember for the last few months but he is getting closer to the door, BD gave us our own page but it seems though we are not as bright as the rest we still like to mingle with them, and we didn’t make use of it! So welcome to the CC Kath – you are not alone!! :)

          1. Fully applied and now the grid is complete, but it was another blood, sweat and tears affair. I got 90% of the top half completed fairly easily, but the bottom half was something else.

            But now I can agree with BD’s rating. A very fine puzzle accompanied by a very fine review with hints that kept me thinking. I really don’t understand why I find these mid-week puzzles so difficult. But, a few new words in the lower half, 28a, 21d and that meaning of 26a.

            1. See, Geoff your perservation paid off again :) not a very nice day today think I’ll take a book to the beach (2 miles away) and read in the car!!

  5. hi,

    Lost my ‘cheating machine’ recently, this site has been an enormous help.I think I’ve done today’s puzzle but have to leave some answers blank for a mate I’ll meet in the local later. He gets upset if he can’t flex his brains cells as he imbibes a pint or two of real ale.

    There are four Telegraph readers in this pub and there is friendly rivalry amongst us to be the first to complete the crossword. Sadly, I usually come second, but then I spend most days at work, unlike the usual winner who is retired and can spend the whole day .working the thing out,

  6. Hear, hear, Big Dave! And many thanks to the compiler of this delightful puzzle. After yesterday’s total braindeadness, I sailed through this very happily and even finished in time for today’s CluedUp. Now breathless from blowing own trumpet, but will certainly be back in my CC place before long. Shall I try the Toughie? That might do it.

    I had to memorise figures of speech once at school, so 21d emerged from the depths. Other favourite clues were 16 and 25d, and 1 and 26a. :-)

    Incidentally, I’d like to try the COW, but get a message saying that the site is blocked “due to your security preferences” and warning of deadly viruses. What to do?

    1. Franny, use Internet Explorer on the COW and all will be well. There are a couple of images in the website engine (provided by the ISP) that Firefox and Chrome object to.

      1. Thanks, Gnomethang, I’ll see what I can do. I’m off on holiday next week so may wait until I come back later in the month.

  7. Another enjoyable puzzle and for me more taxing. Coffee very cold by finishing time. Enjoyed 24a while 28a another new word for me. Agree with BD rating.
    Thanks to BD and the Thursday setter.
    By the way what is COW?

    1. COW is a site set up by Anax, if you look at the side of this web page under the comments, you will find a link to it, if you have a problem, do it the way Gnomey suggests above, it is good fun, a word is posted each week, by the previous weeks winner and you have to make up cryptic clues for it, you can have as many gos as you like, i have found that it really helps to understand cryptid clues by joining in this, have a go it is fun and everyone just as nice and friendly as here, you will see a lot of familiar ‘faces’

  8. Great crossword with some brilliant clues – zipped through quite a few and then came to yet another grinding halt in the top left hand corner. Couldn’t do 1a or 1d, or 9a and couldn’t explain 2d – needed the blog for that one. Took a long time to see that ‘PM’ in 24a was neither political nor afternoon – then the penny dropped! 28a was a new word but reasonably easy to work out, especially having got alternate letters, and then look up. Lots of favourite clues – too many to write them all down! Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints.

  9. PS Have also learnt that there are two Cockney rhyming slang thingies for wife. I only knew “trouble and strife’ but, having looked up “dutch’ have discovered that it’s also ‘duchess of Fife’! Inventive chaps these Cockneys!!

  10. Very good indeed. 28a is another word I have only met in DT crosswords over the years. 21d even longer ago, from having to plough through the likes of Cicero in my youth when I had a long list of other things I’d rather have been doing…

  11. Hi all! Just finished and thought I’d blog to say how much I enjoyed 10 and 24a and particularly 2d. A class act of clue setting with the possible exception of 28a which I felt was a bit obscure for me. Only a minor grumble though.thanks to all as usual for the entertaining blog.

  12. Typical British beach weather so I did this puzzle wrapped in a blanket while No2 son “I’ve come down from London to swim so I will” was freezing to death in the sea. Never heard of 28a. As BD says, lots of good clues but 2d made me smile the most so I will pick that.

  13. Also meant to say that I’ve been a CC member, but have improved no end since discovering and using the blog every day. Big up to BD, Gazza et al

  14. Thoroughly enjoyed today, sped through most of it only to be slightly held up in the bottom right corner. Last in was 24a. Bring on the Friday puzzle.

  15. Another fairly straightforward crossword today; enjoyable until being spoiled by the desperately obscure 28a


    1. It’s the only word that fits the checking letters, so I suppose the setter had to go with it, or re-set the SW corner. At least he / she made the clue reasonably simple. Agree with most of the comments, and with C’Sue’s selection of 2d as my COTD. Thanks BD – I’ll send you another blue high-lighter!

  16. Very pleasant crossword today. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the notes. For those awaiting the Toughie review, BD has delegated this to me today. It will be up shortly.

  17. A really good Thursday puzzle – lots of lovely clues but think my favourite was 24a. New words in 21d and 28a and memories of English Lit in school with 17a. Can’t spout it now but had to memorise several verses of this. Thanks for the link BD.

  18. I must be brain-dead today as I am only just getting at this, and really struggling, despite all the above comments! Perhaps after my evening meal, I will be more alive.

    No shame in using the review, for which I am very grateful, although I hope to get reasonably into the puzzle, first.

  19. Found this quite reasonable and enjoyable. New word at 28a for which I had to resort to Puzzlex, a handy freeware crossword puzzle aid, for those who haven’t come across it.

  20. Did the top half this morning and was then dragged out for a six hour bike ride. After 35 miles I am back and have tried finishing the crossword and do you know something Crypticsue’s theory about going away to cogitate doesn’t work. If it had not been for this blog I would have went round the bend. Thanks Big Dave, there were at least 4 or 5 that were a mystery to me.
    New words 21d and 28a.
    Thanks also to the myster setter.

    1. I should think the 6 hour bike ride was too much for the little grey cells! I still stand by my theory that cogitation is sometimes the best way to treat a tricky puzzle. Having had two days away from daytime computer contact did me good as I was forced to cogitate on until I got the answers just like the old pre-BD days.

  21. DOH! Was convinced 24a was to do with the time or the political post thus the clue stumped me. I agree that this puzzle was really good and I too learnt a new word in 28a.

  22. Liked 17d – I did Coleridge for A level ( Ancient Mariner) and if memory serves, I saw on Call Mt Bluff that the verb Porlock is to interupt..

    Also 21d a word I did not know until Ethel the Frog – a Monty Python sketch where Doug and Dinsdale terrorise the East End – one of them, Doug I think, nailed peoples heads to coffee tables whilst Dinsdale used puns and (a word meaning) understatement. Dinsdale was later troubled by a giant hedgehog called Spiney Norman

    1. “DINSDALE!”
      I believe the pursuing policeman was Harry ‘snapper’ Organs.
      Good work, Sir!

      1. Of Q Division if memory serves and I am sure led to one of my favourite scens in MPFC. Two lines spoken in a police station.
        “Morning Super”, second PC “Hello wonderful”

    1. Sheepdog

      If you select REPLY on the comment to which you are replying it keeps the threads together. Didn’t matter today, but on a busy day you could find several comments in between.

  23. We finished this unaided eventually before coming here.

    I liked 17d

    28a I’m in two minds about. It offends my view that crosswords should be reasonably doable. Good word though. I think “dinette” upsets me most – ugly word.

    2d – yuk.

  24. I don’t get 20a. If single is LONE (rather than ONE which I originally suspected) then record is CD? But a record made from vinyl; completely different thing from a CD. Surely the clue should read disc, not record. Or am I missing something here?

    Re 23a I didn’t know DUTCH was slang for wife. I thought the clue was referring to a Dutch Wife, which is an inflatable sex doll, and it seems has other similar meanings


  25. Concerning 20a I think the records to which you are referring are called vinyl records these days. Chambers gives an all-encompassing definition:

    “A disc (or formerly a cylinder) on which sound is registered for reproduction by an instrument such as a record player”

    The Old Dutch in 23a is a well-known musical hall song:


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