DT 26341 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26341

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26341

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thursday has become Mystery Setter day, and this is yet another one. Relatively easy, with some nice touches.

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    Winner given embrace by old writer (6,4)
{VICTOR HUGO} – a charade of a winner, an embrace and O(ld) gives the French author of Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)

6a    Cunning tramp miles away (4)
{ARCH} – a word meaning cunning is derived by dropping the M(iles) from a tramp or trudge

9a    Happen to reach route through mountains (4,2,4)
{COME TO PASS} – a phrase meaning to happen could be to reach a route through the mountains

10a    Touch a bottom? Almost (4)
{ABUT} – a word meaning to touch or adjoin comes from A and most of a bottom

12a    Free bar (4)
{SAVE} – a double definition – to free someone who is trapped and bar, as a preposition, in the sense of all except

13a    Governess bringing in a ring for religious leader (9)
{AYATOLLAH} – put an Indian governess or nursemaid around A and to ring a bell to get a Muslim religious leader of the Shiah sect

15a    Machinist’s function (8)
{OPERATOR} – a double definition – someone who operates a machine and a mathematical function

16a    Hold forth against extremely touchy taskmaster (6)
{TYRANT} – put a word meaning to hold forth or declaim after the outside letters of (extremely) TouchY to get a hard taskmaster

18a    Complain about onset of pig flu (6)
{GRIPPE} – put a word meaning to complain around P (onset of Pig) to get an old term for influenza

20a    Until now other resort’s linked to strike (8)
{HITHERTO} – a word meaning until now comes from an anagram (resort) of OTHER after to strike or knock

23a    Extraordinary beginning involving league’s leader (9)
{STARTLING} – a synonym for extraordinary or unexpected is derived by putting a word meaning beginning around (involving) L (League’s leader)

24a    Lad holding key for the trunk (4)
{BODY} – put a lad around a musical key to get a trunk or torso

26a    A monarch not quite sharing common origin (4)
{AKIN} – A and most of (not quite) a monarch give a word meaning sharing a common origin

27a    Unable to see colleague crossing far side of wide cul-de-sac (5,5)
{BLIND ALLEY} – combine unable to see with a colleague placed around the end (far side) of widE to get a cul-de-sac

28a    Fight anticipated by Left (4)
{DUEL} – a fight between two people is obtained from a synonym for anticipated followed by L(eft)

29a    Occasionally won hand with ten high (3,3,4)
{NOW AND THEN} – a phrase meaning occasionally is an anagram (high) of WON HAND and TEN


1d    Reserve following very bad habit (4)
{VICE} – A word for reserve follows V(ery) to give a bad habit (thanks Jezza)

2d    Weigh up ordinary member in custody (7)
{COMPARE} – to weigh up the options comes from O(rdinary) and a Member of Parliament inside custody or protection

3d    Very angry, orphan that we upset (2,3,7)
{ON THE WARPATH} – a phrase meaning very angry or in a mood for battle is an anagram (upset) of ORPHAN THAT WE

4d    Figure pathogen’s spread (8)
{HEPTAGON} – a seven-sided figure is an anagram (spread) of PATHOGEN

5d    Talkative type making joke about small airline (6)
{GASBAG} – a talkative person is derived by putting a joke around S(mall) and a large airline

7d    Raging bull with ear infection (7)
{RUBELLA} – an anagram (raging) of BULL and EAR an infectious disease producing a pink rash for which we hold the Germans responsible!

8d    Axe project in severe reduction (7,3)
{HATCHET JOB} – a charade of an axe and a project leads to a severe reduction

11d    Travel times? Directors get lost (2,2,3,5)
{GO BY THE BOARD} – a charade of to travel, times as in multiplication, and a formal group that administers a company leads to a phrase meaning to get lost or be discarded

14d    Losing ground, ground in part of New York (4,6)
{LONG ISLAND} – an anagram (ground) of LOSING is followed by some ground to get a part of New York city

17d    Where Richmond is unspoilt, I assume initially (8)
{VIRGINIA} – where is Richmond? On the Thames? In Yorkshire? No. it’s the capital of this US state and it’s a charade of unspoilt, I and the first letter of (initially) Assume

19d    One with Ms West drinking gin in picture (7)
{IMAGINE} – put I (one) and the fabulous Ms West around (drinking) GIN to get a word meaning to picture

21d    End of December hold-up involved a seasonal visitor (7)
{RUDOLPH} – the end of DecembeR is followed by an anagram (involved) of HOLD-UP to get a red-nosed seasonal visitor

22d    Bespoke tailor in district of Venice (6)
{RIALTO} – an anagram (bespoke) of TAILOR gives a district of Venice with a famous bridge over the Grand Canal

25d    Song suggested by that man on the radio (4)
{HYMN} – this song, usually sung in church, sounds like (on the radio) that man

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

43 comments on “DT 26341

  1. I reckon it is that American guy again, e.g. 14d,17d
    The puzzle was still enjoyable though, so thanks to B Dave and the Mysteron….oo eer!

  2. I spent quite a long time staring at this and thinking I couldn’t do any of it. Then 27a came to me, and gradually the rest as my morning coffee began to have its effect. I’m glad to have been able to complete it. Liked 1a but my favourite was 18a. Last in was 12a, for which I needed letter hints.
    A challenging Thursday, I thought:-)

  3. Another good puzzle following on from last week. 18a was my favourite for the surface reading.
    Many Thanks to BD and our mystery setter.
    (By the way – Busman appears to have swallowed a dictionary in the Toughie!)

  4. A fine crossword from our mystery setter. Many thanks to him/her for the challenge. Favourite clues were 3d / 19d. Thanks as ever to the indefatigable BD for his notes and blogging skills. I know what the Gnome means about Busman!

  5. This was rather good. Completely stuck on 13a, putting ‘heptOgon’ in 4d didn’t help a lot. Needed a prod to get into the lower half and nearly finished it. 80% today, making progress then – at least I’m no longer hiding in the CC corners! Back to the keyboard; the welsh choir are recording a new cd on Saturday and I need to practise!

    Thanks to setter and BD.

      1. Franny, their website is at http://www.oxfordwelshmvc.org.uk/whoswho.html and if you type ‘oxford welsh male voice choir’ into youtube, you’ll get several vidoes of un in concert, with me playing piano or organ. Our newest item for the cd is Bohemian Rhapsody, which has a nightmarish piano part and a very interesting entry in wiki – I didn’t know songs could have an ‘outro’!

  6. I really enjoyed this crossword from the mystery setter for a second week, I thought it merited 3* for difficulty but then I’m quite a bit thicker than most of the Bloggers ( not only round the waist ). Thanks BD for a superb review and to the mystery setter for a cracking crossword.

  7. Hello from sunny Devon!
    I too ran through the Across clues and thought ‘oh, no’. However, this was definitely one for those who start with the last of the Down clues and work backwords. Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Favorite clues? 1a and 5d.
    Now for the toughie.

  8. The Mysteron certainly provides us with a nice Thursday puzzle. No particuar favourites. Thanks BD for the explanations,. I do like the picture for 28a.

  9. I agree with several of you – when I read the across clues I though OH NO but got a couple fo the down and then was away for a while. I was with Franny on the fact that 12a was last in for me (but didn’t use letter hints for it).

    My favourite was 8d – first one in.

    Thanks to BD and to the mysteron. (nice new word for Mary!!).

    1. Mysteron, nicely invented term for our Thursday setter :) now we have also, numberals, perservation etc. harrumphtions, percussive, the list is growing :)

      1. The Mysterons were Captain Scarlett’s foes. Hope that Crypticsue is not implying the Setter is a wooden puppet!

  10. Loved this crossword even though I couldn’t quite complete without your help in SW corner Dave! 18a hadn’t heard before then couldn’t see the anagram indicator in 14d! I was almost convinced it was going to be a pangram, well done Geoff, but you can’t have my seat by the door in the CC yet! good luck with the CD

  11. Nothing too taxing, and a pleasant solve over a cup of coffee this morning.
    BD, re 1d, I think a typing error. I think the wordplay is V(ery), followed by a word meaning ‘reserve’.

  12. Enjoyed(ing) this on a sunny Colonel from work, glass of Rioja in hand on sun lounger. Can it have really have been September in the normally frozen Tundra. Haven’t got 12a (last one to go in) yet and stubbornly refusing to give in and read blog hint.

      1. Colonel = Colonel Gaddafi = haffi = half-day. Had to resort to blog for 12a …. thanks as usual.

  13. Defeated! The Pommers and me just could not see 12a and finally gave up ar 20:30 (CET). Managed the rest without any trouble or hints. Now joining Beangrinder and going to have a rioja with my meal.
    Thanks to BD and ?? for an enjoyable puzzle.
    Might start the Toughie later!

  14. Agree with ‘She who shall be obeyed’ about it being enjoyable. Don’t think we gave 12a enough cogitation time – it may have come to us eventually.
    Thanks for the hint Gnomethang, I’ll give the Toughie a miss today!
    Thanks to BD and the Mysteron.

  15. Only started this after supper and took while to get into it. Once in it flowed quite well. 11d was the last one in, could not sort it out earlier. I also pencilled in gossip for 5d on my first run through.
    Enjoyed this puzzle but from my point of view it is worth 3* for difficulty, particularly when compared to some of the recent puzzles.
    Favourite for me was 20a.
    Thanks to the Mysteron and Big Dave for the hints.

  16. I rather liked this puzzle although given its 5* rating I was a little put off at first but then the answers gradually came.

  17. Currently on hols in the US but still trying the Dt cw but has anyone ever tried to use an iphone or othe smartphone to access the blog? If so could they tell me how to reveal the words in the brackets?

    1. I have this problem too on iPhone. My cumbersome solution is to cut and paste the block between the brackets into Internet explorer search box. There has to be a better way…surely?

  18. Enjoyed this one today although finished it at work at midnight got stuck on 8d for a while couldn’t think of any 7 letter alternatives for axe other than chopper, then the thick penny dropped, thanks to the mysteron and BD

  19. Straightforward puzzle but enjoyable.
    1a, 13a, 8d, 11d & 14d were best for me.
    Somewhat of a geographical nature.

  20. Another relatively easy puzzle, I wonder if that means today’s could be more of a challenge. 18a & 7d were my favourites. Time for me to get to the newsagent before he sells out of the DT & before it starts to persist it down again!

      1. I’ve got a long way to go on these things – I failed to get 6a, 12a, 13a and 18a (hmmm maybe I have a fear of ‘across’ clues). I kicked myself when I read 12a though, had said ‘Save’ out loud but had forgotten that meaning of bar. I want to be one of the plentiful folk on here that call this standard easy! Patience is a virtue, they say….

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