DT 26323 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26323

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26323

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

This was a mundane plodding sort of puzzle from which I derived very little pleasure.

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    Evidence of termites in all the ground after last of maple leaves (3-4)
{ANT-HILL} – a place where you might find termites is an anagram (ground) of IN ALL TH(E) without the E (last of maplE leaves)

5a    Smear something on a wound? (7)
{PLASTER} – a double definition – to smear and something put on a wound

9a    In essence, hard boring task (5)
{CHORE} – take a word meaning the essence and insert H(ard) to get a boring task

10a    Cause of wetness? We’re told to check sinks (9)
{RAINDROPS} – this cause of wetness (what a pathetic definition) is a charade of a homophone of a word meaning to check followed by a verb meaning sinks

11a    What the elderly often have to suffer (10)
{EXPERIENCE} – a double definition

12a    Do away with faculty after head of science departs (4)
{KILL} – a word meaning to do away with someone is constructed from a faculty or talent after dropping the initial S (head of Science departs)

14a    Many-legged larvae tracks (12)
{CATERPILLARS} – another double definition – many-legged larvae and tracks made up of a series of flat metal plates – these tracks are given in the ODE but not in Chambers, which only refers to the vehicle with the tracks

18a    She gets involved with active men’s exploits (12)
{ACHIEVEMENTS} – an anagram (gets involved) of SHE ACTIVE MEN gives these exploits – bad form to put the anagram indicator in the middle of the fodder

21a    Give medicine to patient? Doctor does (4)
{DOSE} – to give medicine to patient is an anagram (doctor) of DOES

22a    Yell scares criminal in an offhand way (10)
{CARELESSLY} – an not too difficult to spot anagram (criminal) of YELL SCARES gives a word meaning in an offhand way

25a    Cracked vice ring, police ultimately admitting (9)
{RECEIVING} – an anagram (cracked) of VICE RING with E (policE ultimately) gives a word meaning admitting

26a    Perfect indicator of current business transaction (5)
{IDEAL} – a synonym for perfect is a charade of the symbol for electric current and a business transaction

27a    One supposedly intelligent working on DPhil (7)
{DOLPHIN} – a supposedly intelligent aquatic mammal is an anagram (working) of ON DPHIL

28a    Moaned when sliced by end of crosscut saw (7)
{SIGHTED} – take a word meaning moaned and insert (sliced by) T (end of crosscuT) to get a verb meaning saw


1d    Novelist’s roguish, kissing queen (6)
{ARCHER} – a “novelist” is a charade of roguish and Elizabeth Regina – the word novelist implies that the person creates something new!

2d    To an extent, turns poor tommies back into fighting force (6)
{TROOPS} – hidden (to an extent?) and reversed (back) inside turns poor tommies is this fighting force

3d    Holding end of rope, Brian tied knots tight (10)
{INEBRIATED} – put E (end of ropE) inside (holding) an anagram (knots) of BRIAN TIED to get an adjective meaning tight or drunk

4d    Great learner driver changing gear (5)
{LARGE} – a synonym for great is built up from a L(earner driver) and an anagram (changing) of GEAR

5d    Sounds like the most important rule (9)
{PRINCIPLE} – a homophone (sounds like) of the most important gives a rule

6d    Sums up argument decisively, distressing school heads (4)
{ADDS} – a word meaning sums up comes from the initial letters (heads) of the rest of the clue

7d    Pit with coral snakes getting very hot (8)
{TROPICAL} – an anagram (snakes) of PIT CORAL gives a word meaning very hot

8d    Worked up stress when prepared to entertain the French (8)
{RESTLESS} – a word meaning worked up is an anagram (when prepared) of STRESS placed around (to entertain) the French definite article

13d         Pig at last producing young — brilliant! (10)
{GLITTERING} – start with G (piG at last) and add producing young to get a word meaning brilliant

15d         Excitement about firsts in Enigmatic Variations is rising (9)
{ELEVATION} – put a word meaning excitement around EV (firsts in Enigmatic Variations) to get a noun meaning rising

16d         At first, weak and injured deer went astray (8)
{WANDERED} – run together W (at first, Weak), AND with an anagram (injured) of DEER to get a word meaning went astray

17d         Centre-forward initially lay with hips broken — check for fitness (8)
{PHYSICAL} – an anagram (broken) of C (Centre-forward initially) LAY and HIPS gives a check for fitness

19d         View tapes broadcast around fourth of March (6)
{ASPECT} – a view is formed from an anagram (broadcast) of TAPES around C (fourth letter of MarCh)

20d         Went round like Cameron? (6)
{CYCLED} – a rather weak double definition – went round and went to work on a bike like “call me Dave” –  followed by security staff in a car!

23d         Crawls into bed, gesticulating (5)
{EDGES} –  a verb meaning crawls is hidden inside (into?) the last two words

24d         Good looking person is breaking first of damsels’ hearts (4)
{DISH} – to get this good looking person put IS inside (breaking) the initial letters (first) of Damsels’ Hearts

Get this one out of the way and move quickly to an excellent Toughie from Kcit.

57 comments on “DT 26323

  1. Very disapointingly dull. I did mark 14a, 27a and 24d as clues I liked but with hindsight can’t see why. However, the stunningly wonderful Toughie cheered me up no end. Its fairly tough but great fun when you finally work out the wordplay.

  2. Good morning Dave, finished without blog but had to look at a few on the blog to see how they are what they are, I enjoy every puzzle I finish :) but some not to the same extent as others! I agree with your comments on todays, there were an awful lot of ‘firsts and lasts’ as indicators and lots of anagrams but I’m not complaining about those, I found it a good workout though, still a tough one for CCers requiring lots of Perservation :)

    1. PS at first I put regal for 4d, well it could have been couldn’t it, until I got some of the other checking letters :)

  3. One of the rare occasions on which I have finished the DT Cryptic in one sitting completely unaided. However, I didn’t find it very satisfying – would prefer something a bit more challenging.

  4. Once again is there really such a word as littering, meaning to give birth to a litter, the only meaning I can find is in relation to rubbish!?

          1. Its in Chambers online which I use while I am at work as my nice new Chambers dictionary is far too nice to bring here.

              1. Until recently I used a 1949 edition of Chambers which I think my parents had as a wedding present. I will have a look when I get home and see if it has this interpretation of littering in that edition. It does seem to have a few words which have ‘gone out of fashion’ in more modern dictionaries.

                1. Marvellous to still have that Sue, my 11th edition, like yours, sparkling and new hasn’t got it, be interesting to know :)

                  1. Just got back late from work after ringing at a wedding – 4pm on a Thursday – never known that before! Anyway the old dictionary says the same as the new one.

              2. In the 11th edition of Chambers it gives:
                litter (verb transitive) (of animals) to give birth to.
                litter (verb intransitive) to produce a litter or brood.

  5. This was quite pedestrian, not a patch on the Toughie which should have been todays Cryptic. nuff said.
    Pete, I wondered whether you were inspired to visit Gibside because of my ramblings the other day. If so, then yesterday I spent the day at Abbotsford, former home of Sir Walter Scott near Montrose. The entry pirice was a bit steep at £7 though.
    Anyway, that has filled my entry today as I havn’t a great deal to say about the puzzle.
    Thanks for the review Dave.

      1. Yes I have, but with a fair bit of electronic help and some of the hints. I found it quite hard to see what a lot of the clues were getting at, the to an extent in 2d completely passed me by.

  6. Thursday really is “pot luck” day. Some weeks we get a really good puzzle, then we get one like this with no less than 13 anagrams and all the style of a 1d novel. The clues I enjoyed were …err, well none.

    1. Aw Gazza, it wasn’t really that bad was it, I love anagrams and if I could produce a puzzle half as good as this I would be well chuffed :)

  7. So far, it’s almost unanimous – sorry Mary! – that this wasn’t a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Can anybody tell me how “to an extent” (2d) indicates a hidden answer?

  8. Am I the first one who quite enjoyed this? I agree with the 2* rating as I managed it without any of the hints. Had a quick look at it fairly early this morning and then cut the grass before it had a chance to rain again – maybe the brain did some of the work before I actually started to write any of the answers in – it didn’t take very long. 11 and 18a were the last ones to go in – with 18a I couldn’t work out what letters made up the anagram – nothing seemed to be the right number, mainly as I was trying to use ‘men’s’ instead of just ‘men’. 11a just couldn’t see for a while. No particularly favourite clues today. Is it worth having a go at the toughie or will it totally defeat me?

    1. Toughie is what it says it is, but why not have a go and then look at the hints. There are some great clues and I am firmly of the opinion that the more cryptic clues you look at, the more chance you have of eventually understanding how the setters’ great minds work.

      1. In that case I’m not very hopeful and no longer have any excuse to put off doing vast pile of ironing – damn!

    2. I quite liked it too – maybe something to do with getting through it fairly quickly and without recourse to the dictionary.

  9. Lashings of easily spotted anagrams. I really did think that 20d was poor – some bloke called Cameron who was pictured on a bike recently doesn’t really help most overseas solvers nor solvers in the future.
    Toughie was excellent.
    Thanks to BD and our setter.

    1. You beat to the punch, Gnomey. I firmly believe that cryptic crosswords should be timeless. If you came across this one in 20 years time, who would know or care that Cameron once rode a bike. Or even who Cameron was!? Probably just about get away with 1d, as the defrocked Lord will still be sufficiently infamous.

  10. in light of the transport revolution in London at the moment, maybe a more appropriate 20d clue would have been “went round like Boris”!

  11. A quickly solved puzzle overloaded with anagrams of which i thought 17d & 27a were the best..
    Can’t say I rate it highly.
    20d a topical laugh!

    1. There seems to be some anagram antagonism amongst bloggers. Does anybody else love them, or is it just me?

      1. I think that crosswords should have a mixture of clue types, without any one type being overly represented. Personally I would like the number of anagrams per puzzle ‘capped’ at five or six (Today’s Toughie, which is very good, has only one anagram).

        1. I like anagrams if they are subtle – if they are just permutations of the letters they are boring.

  12. Hi Nubian, we have a friend staying with us from Barcelona who happens to be reading “Wedlock” which is about the Bowes Lyons so she wanted to visit Gibside. We were given the full guided tour with an expert which was excellent.
    Better than todays puzzle. I always enjoy the puzzles good or bad, more so when I finish without help! Sadly this was not one of the better ones. No real favourites but following the blog about littering!.
    Thanks to BD for the hints.

  13. Finished it without help so clearly I enjoyed it. That’s 2 on the trot. Back to Tuesday’s now where I have 3 still to go; I don’t give up Roll on tomorrow!

  14. Hello Nubian. Think Melrose is rather nearer Abbotsford than is Montrose. I wouldn’t want folk wandering on the coast between Dundee and Aberdeen when they should be down in the borders!

  15. After my struggles yesterday I was pleased to rattle this off before I reached Vauxhall Cross – very pleased. I actually thought this was a good puzzle 3d being my favourite. Strauss fishing and England 6 – 1.

  16. finished todays rather easily due to there being a plethora of anagrams, my boss atill can’t work out why I call her Aimless when her name is Melissa :D

Comments are closed.