DT 26353 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26353

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26353

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

One of our mystery setters has produced a puzzle that gave me little pleasure. There were one or two good clues, but I had seen them before which rather took the edge off.  [Subsequent to writing this, it turns out that Allan Scott, aka Campbell, is the setter.]

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    Phone left in recess (6)
{BLOWER} – an old-fashioned slang word for the telephone is built by putting L(eft) inside a shady recess in a garden

5a    Extremely fashionable black suit (2,6)
{IN SPADES} – a phrase that means extremely is a charade of a word meaning fashionable and a black card suit

9a    With bandleader in capital (10)
{WELLINGTON} – combine W(ith) and a famous bandleader to get the capital of New Zealand

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Formerly working with church (4)
{ONCE} – a word meaning formerly is a charade of a synonym for working together with the Church of England

11a    Article in French daily exposing drink (8)
{LEMONADE} – put an English indefinite article inside a French daily newspaper to get a soft drink

12a    Mistake made by fielder at Oxford? (4-2)
{SLIP-UP} – this mistake is a charade of a cricket fielder and a word meaning in residence at university

13a    Unsatisfactory, a bygone king (4)
{OFFA} – combine a word meaning unsatisfactory with A to get a bygone king of Mercia

15a    Verse by Forster used in a song and a prayer (3,5)
{AVE MARIA} – put V(erse) and the initials of the author of A Passage to India inside A and an operatic song to get a prayer used in Catholic worship

18a    Musical instrument popular in Bordeaux (8)
{CLARINET} – this musical instrument is derived by putting a word meaning popular inside the another name used for wine from Bordeaux

19a    Before end of encounter, draw level (4)
{TIER} – put a draw, as in a match where no side wins, in front of R (the last letter of encounteR) to get a level or stage
19a    Draw rand out of bank (4) (dead-tree version)
for the newspaper version, draw is as in the CluedUp version and it’s followed by R(and) to get a bank

21a    Terrible rage after child makes accusation (6)
{CHARGE} – an anagram (terrible) of RAGE after CH(ild) makes an accusation

23a    Work out problem (8)
{EXERCISE} – a straightforward double definition

25a    Flaw detected round edge of crown cork (4)
{BUNG} – put a flaw in a computer program around N (edge of crowN) to get a cork or stopper

26a    Pancakes – declines cold ones (4,6)
{DROP SCONES} – these Scotch pancakes came up on Eggheads recently! – a word meaning declines is followed by C(old) and ONES

27a    One may get led astray in just this sort of district! (3-5)
{RED-LIGHT} – a cryptic definition of put an anagram of LED inside a synonym for just to get a district in which ladies of the night operate – this turned out to be a better clue than I had realised; thanks to Allan Scott, the setter, for pointing this out

28a    Dish produced by Greek character on foreign isle (6)
{MUESLI} – this breakfast dish is comprised of a Greek character (for M) followed by an anagram (foreign) of ISLE


2d    European city, for example, featured in story (5)
{LIÈGE} – this Belgian city is created by putting the Latin abbreviation of “for example” inside a story or falsehood

3d    Feel elated having small part broadcast (4,2,3)
{WALK ON AIR} – a phrase meaning to feel elated is a combination of having a small part in a play and to broadcast

4d    Where plane lands makes fugitive lose heart (6)
{RUNWAY} – where an aeroplane lands is a fugitive without the middle A (lose heart)

5d    Originally without appeal, where tour ends? (2,3,4,6)
{IN THE LAST RESORT} – a phrase that originally meant without appeal, but now means as a last expedient, could also mean where a holiday tour ends

6d    Serving up endless wine is ominous (8)
{SINISTER} – reverse an aromatic Greek wine, without its final letter (endless), and IS to get a word meaning ominous

7d    Dressing made from first-rate oil abroad (5)
{AÏOLI} – a garlic-flavoured mayonnaise is a charade of first-rate and an anagram (abroad) of OIL

8d    Private individual (9)
{EXCLUSIVE} – a double definition

14d    Good hand from capacity crowd (4,5)
{FULL HOUSE} – another double definition – a hand at poker consisting of three of a kind and a pair or a capacity theatre crowd

16d    Vegetable all right to be eaten by ambassador on the wagon? (9)
{ARTICHOKE} – a grey-green flower-head, served as a vegetable, comes from the two-letter word meaning all right inside (to be eaten by) the form of address given to an ambassadors after a shortened form of a large wagon – it’s that debatable use of “on” in a down clue again; whatever the crossword editor says, I still don’t like it

17d    Weaker party grounded, unfortunately (8)
{UNDERDOG} – the weaker, or less-fancied, competitor is an anagram (unfortunately) of GROUNDED

20d    Planes (American) abandoned cargo (6)
{JETSAM} – a charade of aeroplanes and AM(erican) leads to cargo jettisoned from a ship and washed up on shore

22d    Splendid beer served up (5)
{REGAL} – a word meaning splendid comes from a wimpish sort of beer reversed (served up)

24d    Give out letters in magic formula (5)
{SPELL} – a double definition

Look out for a new Toughie setter today. It’s about the same difficulty as this one, so why not have a go?

84 comments on “DT 26353

    1. The paper clue doesn’t make as much sense as the Clued-Up one used by BD for the hints. Presumably that’s why it was changed??!

    2. Presumably this was in the paper version. You sometimes get last minute changes to clues that appear in Clued Up that are not in the paper (or vice versa).

  1. I found this less difficult than yesterday but not as ‘easy’ as Monday and Tuesday. Agree with recognising some of the clues (how many people will struggle to spell 28a again?), Did like 16d. Thanks to BD and the Mysterious One.

    I too heartily recommend the Toughie, apart from 1a for which the assistance of Gnome’s Law and Prolixic was required before I had a Eureka moment, its great fun and not too tough.

    1. 1a was my last to go in the Toughie. I was along the right lines, but took me a while to find the right word!

      1. I love those clues where you know the word, have all the letters but can’t necessarily spell the answer!

        1. Agreed, I was convinced it was rhodo or pholi something and had a running fight with myself to accept what was obviously an anagram. I was trying to get an area of London initially

  2. Morning Dave, once again no Ooh! Aah! moments, though I did find it quite difficult,I thought 7d was spelt with another L as in alioli? In 26a, I thought it wasn’t ‘the done thing’ to us a complete word from the clue in the answer?? If I have a favourite today it would probably be 3d, personally, I used a lot of bookwork etc. to enable me to finish this and had to read the blog after to get the explainations to quite a few, doable for CC if you feel like perservating!

  3. In comparison to recent Thursday puzzles, I found this one more enjoyable.
    Intrigued about the new Toughie setter; when I solved it earlier, I did not notice any of the usual setters’ traits.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  4. Thursday seems to be computer generated crossword day and as no one as yet has owned up to these puzzles and for several weeks I have stated my belief in such, it only goes to confirm what I think. Again if I am wrong I apologise to the setter but one or two clues are a bit unhelpful. e.g. 15a and 27a. These do not give you an ability to work out the answer. You either know it or you don’t.
    5d I always thought started with ‘as’ and not ‘in’
    No real Favs
    Thanks for the Blog B Dave and ‘The Mysteron’

  5. Mnay thanks to the Mysteron for today’s puzzle. I thought that this was fairly gentle – a lot easier than yesterday’s crossword. Favourite clue was 18a. Thanks too to BD for the review.

    I can thoroughly recommend the Toughie – we have a new Toughie setter today with an excellent debut puzzle with lots to tease and amuse. Hopefully he or she will drop by to say hello.

  6. Solid and reasonably enjoyable but as others have noted nothing inspiring. 6d and 18a near the top for me.

    Ditto the Toughie – solved in about the same time as this one but very enjoyable.

    Thanks to BD and our mystery setter.

  7. I got bored with this, alas, and gave up with six incomplete when 22d, which imho is not a beer, dawned on me.

    1. Another computer glitch, it doesn’t know the difference between beer and lager, Or the setter is European

      1. Last time I was in the NE, I discovered Timothy Taylor’s rather fine Landlord. Have found it in Oxford since as a guest beer.

    2. Hi Geoff I’m sure you would have finished if you perservated! but this was a puzzle where I wasn’t sure whether (talking about weather! have all you lucky people still got sunshine??) to ‘keep at it’ either :)

      1. We were promised rain this morning but it didn’t appear. Quite cloudy and the promise of rain later, probably when my friend and I are past the point of no return on our walk.

      2. Beautiful yesterday; heavy rain woke me in the small hours, lashed down earlier this morning, plus a little sunshine. I can nearly see the grass growing …

    1. 28a was the one recently that caused many people to question their spelling, check shopping lists and breakfast packets. Hopefully the correct spelling stuck in their minds ready for today..

      1. Unfortunately the correct spelling didn’t stick in my mind but I did at least know that I couldn’t spell it so looked it up. I blame my husband who always spells it museli on shopping lists so I get very used to seeing it like that!!

    1. Thanks Allan. Presumably you are claiming ownership of this one!

      Once you are convinced that a clue is a cryptic definition, you do stop looking for further wordplay.

  8. Would only give this 2* for difficulty. I found it much easier than yesterdays offering. Once again I agree with the comments made by Nubian relating to the ability to work out the answer.
    I also have the paper version and therefore the different clue to 19a.
    Thanks to Big Dave for the hints.

    1. Pete, I’ve had a good look at the blog and it is obvious I don’t know what I am talking about. Those clues are very well hidden. Praise to the Mysteron

  9. I thought that Thursdays’ cryptic was supposed to be difficult. I found this easier than most but most enjoyable all the same

      1. Tks BD. I agree that the word ‘on’ is off putting and probably prevented me from seeing the raison d’etre

        1. During a previous discussion the Telegraph’s Puzzles editor contributed this:

          “I raised this question of “on” with Rufus a while ago, and was happy with his explanation of “on” meaning “in addition to” (as in Chambers). It may not be the convention for Down clues, and of course in one way it appears to go against logic, but you can justify it — just!”

          They may be happy, I’m not!

  10. If anyone has the paper and is a fan of John Wayne, on page 27, there is a themed crossword competition (you can win £1,000 but I bet your chances are about as good as getting a pen on Saturday!)

  11. I enjoyed this! Had to reverse engineer the clue from other letters for 16d wasn’t familiar with HE abbreviation but am now!
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the additional clues. Can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be learning and completing these puzzles on a regular basis now….perhaps I’m not as ‘past it’ as I had feared! Thanks to all.

  12. I quite enjoyed this puzzle today, liked 15a and 27a particularly, thanks to Campbell and to BD for the usual great review.

  13. After several interruptions (walk dog, ironing, make bread and had a visitor) have now finished. I found this easier than yesterday’s crossword but couldn’t make any sense of 25a, even though the answer was obvious, until I read the hint. Agree with 3* for difficulty and also agree with some of the comments about 5d – have always heard it beginning ‘as a’. I enjoyed doing this, even allowing for another sporting reference (12a) – rugby and bridge in the same clue yesterday and cricket today – wonder what it’ll be tomorrow – something else of which I have no knowledge at all!! Weather not nice today so might even have a look at the toughie. Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints.

      1. Wonder why you’ve failed – we don’t ever buy it as I make it in quite big batches and then freeze it. I’m absolutely delighted that my elder daughter has just started to make it too – was worried that it might die out in our family. Could tell you what to do but am a little worried that other ‘crossworders’ might find it a bit boring and I would hate to be excommunicated from reading the blog or commenting!!

          1. Thank you. Maybe more on this subject tomorrow – my afternoon, and rest of day, was hijacked by my 88 year old mother falling over and now in hospital with fractured femur. Just home, totally knackered ….. Would be very happy to give bread making lessons! It’s really not difficult – just takes perseverance!

        1. The only risk in crosswordland of discussing ways to make bread is the risk of a visit from the police for the offence of counterfeiting.

        2. I possibly don’t knead it enough, there’s been a stodgy layer of dough near the bottom of the loaf.

          1. … I too suffer with a stodgy layer at the bottom of my loaf. I put it down to years of alcohol abuse! :)

          2. I failed my ‘O’ level cookery exam, because my bread was not cooked in the middle, on the outside it looked great, why did that examiner have to cut it!!!!!

    1. It happens more often than you would think. My view on this one, particularly as the Clued-Up one is easier to follow, is that the setter/editor changed their minds about it after the type had been set for the paper version and so changed the on-line version.

  14. An unusually early input from me – the DT arrived early!
    I solved this one in record time and don’t agree with BD that it was poor!
    A very mixed bag of clues from a geographical standpoint. B, CH, F, GR, NZ and Bonnie Scotland.
    Best for me 6d & 14d.

    1. I didn’t say they were poor, merely that they gave me a sense of déjà vu. If you haven’t seen, for example, the lemonade clue before I’m sure you’d say it was good.

  15. Yes, quite an easy one today by Allan Scott, although I got the answers to a few before I understood how they were consructed. I had ‘Ave Maria’ in 15a but didn’t realise how till Big Dave pointed out it was Forster’s initials that made it work. Likewise 16d, ‘artichoke’ was solved but it took Dave’s explanation to see how I
    got there. I still do not like the messy anagram of OK, Cart and HE and where does the I come from?

    After a lovely, warm few days here in Jersey when I could do my Codewords, Quickie and Cryptic sitting in the sun outside, we were back to the rain and cloud this morning,

  16. A new experience for me today. I tackled today’s cryptic while attending about 2 hours of optometric eye tests – lots of waiting time. The last clues in were a bit of a blur! I ended up with extremly dilated pupils – but alas, this was caused by the eye drops that I was given – rather than finding this puzzle particularly attractive. Think I solved it – but will have a closer look tomorrow.

  17. I did all but two on the train. Needed help with 8d

    I agree that lager is not beer.

    The one I could not do was 19a Draw rand out of bank (4) (dead-tree version) and I still don’t understand it.

    As it was changed, presumably someone spotted what a poor clue it is. When something like that prevents completion it is disappointing. 1* today.

  18. Liked the puzzle, liked the blog, comments were v good. And I ‘got’ 27a I must be getting better. Sleep well all.

  19. Couldn’t finish 20d since I had piella for 28a. I hate it when you have a watertight answer and it turns out to be wrong…pi & ella meets the Greek and the isle. Thanks to the blog for revealing all again.

    1. I’ve tried “Paella” but never “Piella” – but I’m sure it must be preferable to “Muesli”.

Comments are closed.