DT 26356 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26356

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26356

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A bit more difficult than normal? Or was it just me who had to look up and check 2d? Regardless, its still the usual entertaining stuff from Rufus.

If you want to reveal the answer just highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Safe to criticise one who never grew up (5,3)
{PETER PAN} – A slang term for a safe, till, or cash box, is followed by a word for expressing a negative opinion usually associated with an analysis of a play or performance. The person in this instance who never grew up is a character created by J. M. Barrie.

6. Peruvians head east as a precaution (2,4)
{IN CASE} – An ancient South American civilisation is followed by E (east) is a phrase that is normally used in the sense of “if something happens”.

9. John, half-gone on the bottle, is jolly (6)
{JOVIAL} – JO, half removed of John and a word for a small medicine bottle.

10. Is able to sign for Norwich City FC (8)
{CANARIES} – CAN (is able) followed by the sign of the Zodiac for the Ram, gives the nickname for Delia’s favourite football club.

11. Heather Lake’s underwear (8)
{LINGERIE} – Another word for heather is followed by one of the Great Lakes is also women’s underwear. (No photo!).

12. At holiday times it may be busy or in repose (6)
{RESORT} – A place where people go for relaxation or recreation is also OR inside (in) another word for repose.

13. Abandon Britain, say, to live in isolation here? (6,6)
{DESERT ISLAND} – aka Robinson Crusoe.

16. Is role an army at sea? Yes (5,7)
{ROYAL MARINES} – An anagram (at sea) of IS ROLE AN ARMY.

19. Illegally take trick, all the tricks (6)
{KIDNAP} – The definition is “illegally take”, for example a person. A word for deceive or tease for fun is followed by another word for the highest bid in whist that announces the intention to win five tricks, the maximum number in a hand.

21. Ivor’s out to become a skilled performer (8)
{VIRTUOSO} – An anagram (to become) of IVORS OUT.

23. Factory shutdowns designed to cure loss (8)
{CLOSURES} – An anagram (designed to) of CURE LOSS.

24. Study about river, backing required (6)
{NEEDED} – All must be reversed (backing), put another word for a study around DEE (river) to give a word that means required.

25. Fiddles for dances (6)
{TWISTS} – Double definition.

26. Not looking forward to daughter going to university (8)
{DREADING} – The abbreviation for daughter and then a university town in Berkshire, (which is also spelt the same as what one might do at University, see Jezza’s comment below) is also a word that can mean to anticipate something with alarm, distaste or even horror.


2. Greek-Cypriot union is one’s design (6)
{ENOSIS} – An anagram (design) of IS ONES. A new word for me, but its the goal of a group of Greek Cypriots who wish to bring about the union of Greece and Cyprus.

3. Examining some money in great detail (5)
{EYING} – The answer is hidden within “money in great”.

4. Friend to attempt maths problem? It doesn’t come to much (6,3)
{PALTRY SUM} – Other words for “friend” plus “to attempt” and finally “maths problem” results in an idiom that describes a small amount of money.

5. United Nations comes up with patent source of energy (7)
{NUCLEAR} – Reverse (comes up) UN and add a synonym for patent, e.g. blatant or obvious.

6. Victor, out West, is a pretty good shot (5)
{INNER} – Remove (out) W (west) from another word for a victor, to get another word for the ring next to a bulls eye in archery.

7. A case of building up ready for the maiden flight (9)
{CHRYSALIS} – A cryptic definition of the sort of thing a moth or butterfly would be encased in.

8. Cutting off the lady on a telephone call (8)
{SHEARING} – A word often associated with cutting the wool of sheep is constructed from SHE (the lady) and a phrase associated with making a telephone call.

13. Doctor agonised over second opinions (9)
{DIAGNOSES} – An anagram (doctor) of AGONISED plus S (a second).

14. One caring terribly about lack of knowledge (9)
{IGNORANCE} – Another anagram (terribly) this time of ONE CARING.

15. Barrister who has joined the family after the match? (3-2-3)
{SON-IN-LAW} – The husband of your daughter.

17. Edited version of the Bible (7)
{REVISED} – Another word for preparing a new version of something is also the officially authorised revision of the King James bible.

18. Article getting serious towards the end (6)
{ASTERN} – A (article) and a word for hard or severe in manner results in a word meaning to the back of a ship for example.

20. Breaks up the band (5)
{PARTS} – The band in this instance is a STRAP.

22. At university, object to tip (2-3)
{UP-END} – The usual crossword word for “at university” and a word for goal or purpose, is also what would happen if your turn something over.

84 comments on “DT 26356

  1. Good morning Libelulle, what a lovely Monday morning crossword from Rufus once again, just right to encourage us CC members, we really need someone like Rufus :) a nice mixture here with anagrams to get us going and a few misleading clues eg 13a and 17d, where at first it looks as though it will be an anagram, I had to look up 2d also, but there was nothing else it could be really, 19a, was obvious what the answer was but I didn’t know the second part of the clue! favourite clue, though there were many, was 15d,
    Thanks for blog Libelulle though I didn’t need it today, I am just off to read it now, good luck fellow CCers, a nice one for us today, thank you Rufus

  2. I have a strange knack of retaining obscure words which meant I did know 2d, I was on for a record time again but got stuck on 19a/20d, although when I got the latter, it was obvious what the former had to be – clever wordplay I thought. My other favourite was 7d. Thanks to Libellule for the explanations and Rufus for the Monday morning enjoyment.

    1. I have much the same strange knack, but in this case remembered 2d from having Greek Cypriot friends. :-)

      1. 2 down was the first one i got mind you i wasn’t aware it was an English word i knew it thanks to all the years i spent in Cyprus – not in the Eoka days i hasten to add i’m not quite that old

  3. A nice gentle start to the week. 20d is another example of a clue that you need to have intersecting answers to decide which way to enter, which makes it unfair to me.

    A small grumble, but the usual Monday morning fun from Rufus!

    1. Tilsit, I see what you mean, but I think the surface reading works if you take it as one word, then 3. And as you say, 25a had to end in an S, which confirmed which way was up! 7d & 12a were the sticking points between me and a PB, but a nice kick-off to a new week, so thanks to Rufus and to Libellule.

  4. This was a nice start to the week from Rufus. As I lived in Cyprus for three years in the early 1970’s, 2d held no problems! I too was making good progress only to be held up for a while by the CD at 7d. Favourite clue was 20d for its simplicity and misdirection. Many thanks to Rufus for the crossword and to Libellule for the blog.

  5. I also had to look up 2d, although the anagram was fairly obvious. Rattled through this in minutes, then spent an age on the last two, 19a and 20d.
    Re 26a, is it not just coincidental that the Berkshire University, is also spelt the same as what one might do at University? (If that makes sense?)
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

    1. I seem to recall that University being used in crosswords several times in the past because of that coincidence.

    2. Jezza,
      Re 26a – your comment does indeed make sense, and a re-read of the clue makes me think it was deliberate.

  6. A nice start to the week but would someone explain to me what barrister has ti do with the answer to 15d
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule

        1. No I don’t think so because Barrister isn’t a synonym for ‘in law’, it just means that after the wedding ‘the match’ the son-in-law, by being a Barrister is ‘in law’, just a CD I think, I am sure someone will make it clearer :)

  7. I was heading for a record time, but got stuck with 19a/20d. In fact, had to seek electronic help – which helped with 19a, but finally needed the review to explain 20d! I spent more time on these two clues than on the rest of the puzzle.
    Thanks Rufus and Libellule.

  8. A stroll in the park today, 2d excepted, which I too had to look up. 22 mins including the quickie, a record for me. Rather liked 19a and 24a for some unknown reason. I see we had another ‘undergarment’ clue, a bit of a trend developing!

    1. Well done ChrisH , though it was a good time for myself it was definitely not a stroll in the park, had to struggle through a few bushes but ended up with just a few scratches :)

  9. I found this a bit trickier than usual, being held up on 2d, 7d and 20d.
    Lots of good clues as we have come to expect.
    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  10. Like so many others I go stuck for ages on 19a / 24d. For once I didn’t mind the football reference in 10a – one of the few football names I know thanks to Delia! Thank you Rufus and Libellule

  11. I found this much more difficult than the average Monday puzzle – thought that it might have had 3* for difficulty – maybe just me! I’ve never heard of 2d but it obviously had to be what it was, neither have I come across the last three letters of 19a with that meaning, and I STILL don’t understand how the barrister got into 15d – wondered for a while if ‘son’ was some kind of slang term for ‘barrister’ but couldn’t find it in a dictionary anywhere so probably not! I agree with Patsyann – for once could cope with the dreaded football stuff in 10a thanks to Delia! Favourite clues today are 1a and 13a. Thank you Rufus and Libellule.

    1. Like you Kath I am still a bit unconvinced by the explanation for 15d. I know all the literati try to justify why it is what it is but no one ever seems to say “I’ts a duff clue” and be done with it.

  12. Must rank amongst one of the easiest puzzles in weeks, enjoyable all the same. Solved the anagram in 2d then needed to confirm in the dictionary.
    Favourite 7d.
    Thanks to setter and Libelulle.

  13. Ive been on holiday for a while, away from internet and printer but took with me some old unsolved puzzles of which i finished a few. Back now and today’s I did in under 45 mins, a PB for me. Only had to look up 2d having guessed it from the crossing letters and the fact it was an anagram. Liked 7a and 16a.

  14. Normal Rufus crossword, enjoyable and fairly untaxing other than 2d. Thanks Rufus and thanks Libellule.

  15. Finished three quarters of it almost without stopping writing but then spent a relatively long time on the SW quadrant. Still, no more than two stars for difficulty.

    Favourite clue 15d. Unlike some others I see no problem with this clue. In law is a good enough reference for a barrister, and the answer is one who has joined the family after a wedding match. What’s the problem?

    1. My problem is the connection (if any) between the son and the barrister – maybe I am being particularly dim today but I STILL can’t get it!

      1. The new family addition is a son-in-law right? Try reading this slowly: son…..in…law. It sounds like the son is working in law eg maybe as a barrister.

        Some clues are like jokes, if you don’t get it first time any expanation sounds feeble. Anyway I liked it.

    2. I am with Michael on this one. If Rufus had only put ‘one who has joined the family after the match?’ there would have been complaints about the clue being too simple and, as Michael says ‘barrister’ and ‘in law’ are a good enough connection.

      1. I agree here, I saw nothing wrong with this one, we were obviously led to looking for someone who worked ‘in law’ who joined ‘the family after getting married, the 3 letter first word made it obvious, yes/no?

  16. For 7d I had so many cross letters that the answer jumped out at me without having to think too much about it. But if I had been given this clue on its own it would have stumped me for ages because the clue just does not look like an all-in-one cryptic, it looks for all the world as segmented. Very clever.

  17. Agree with comments about how enjoyable this was. 2d and 15d spoil things a bit for me, the former too obscure and the latter too loose. But loved 16a, is this an example of an all-in-one anagram?

  18. I’m surprised at all the criticism of 15d. I thought that it was a witty cryptic definition, and it was my favourite clue.

      1. The ‘fuss’ Sue arises from the the fact that clue uses the word ‘barrister’ as if it has some meaningful addition to make to the answer above and beyond the fact that the person in the answer is connected to his new family by law.
        Making a stand for a clue is a noble thing, but my argument is the fact that I don’t think, apart from B Dave, I have seen any Contributors openly critisize or denounce a clue as inadequate or even slightly questionable. A bit reminicent of a closed shop. I use 15d merely as an example of such.
        I apologise if I am being too pedantic or OTT but just occassionally you might expect the odd discerning voice now and again.

        1. I think Nubian you only have to read Barries posts to see that is not the case, I think clues are quite often criticised and complained about, I do it myself and we all have the right to voice what we think as you rightly so, have done today :) apologies to Barrie

                1. I well remember Barrie’s (?) rant over the Clerihew – it went on for days!

                  (Strangely enough the FireFox spell checker has just objected to “Clerihew”!!)

                  1. And it still rankles!!! Liked todays even with 2d. The last to go in was 26a, sorry its still a poly to me! Did like 1a though, made me smile :-)

          1. Nubian,
            I don’t object to people criticising clues (if I blogged the Saturday prize puzzle, I’d criticise quite a few, myself), but in the case of 15d I think that it’s a perfectly good clue, much better than, say, 21a (Ivor who?).

        2. A tad unfair Nubian, I used to have a good moan about the standard of some of the clues we sometimes got on a Thursday, but like a number of people I did not have a problem with 15d. The answer as derived from the clue seemed obvious to me and wasn’t worth any further comment.

          1. I was not trying to be unfair Libellule and if I have been I apologise. I accept it may be a sweeping statement to say all Contributors defend clues regardless. It is just the impression I get that if a blogger has a valid criticism, it is poo pooed in such a way as to give the impression that they are a little ‘inadequate’ in getting it and that the answer or explanation was obvious to anyone. I will not use the word ‘condescending’ as I think it is too strong it is just that sometimes an occassional ‘it could have been put better’ or ‘the clue suffered from a lack of clarity in not’ might encourage the dooer to persevere.
            I merely highlighted my feeling in order to get an impression of the general feeling of all and use it as a learning experience, not a pointless whinge.
            My intention was not to insult anyone.

            1. Apologies for opening up a can of worms here. To my mind, 15d was just one of those clues I filled in quickly as the answer was obvious, and having finished the puzzle didn’t give it another thought. Incidentally, my review of Saturday’s puzzle does comment on the clues in that puzzle generally, although having reread my draft i haven’t singled out any particular one for criticism..

            2. Nubian,
              Its not a problem :-) It was a surprise to me that some people saw the clue differently. As I said I thought it was obvious and it was one of the first clues I put in. Just gies to show everybody has different opinions – and that as far as I am converned, is a good thing.

        3. Nubian, last week there were many complaints (especially from “the Ladies”) about references to Cricket, Rugby, etc. Funnily enough – no complaints today about 10a! The Delia factor!

        1. I’m with Nubian, though wouldn’t want to fall out over it. The one thing that stands out about this blog is how we’re all different and see things differently, finding clues have differing levels of solvability on different days, often depending on the weather or if the sun is over the yard arm yet.
          Perhaps Rufus would like to comment on 15d?

          1. I’m still with Nubian and I wouldn’t want to fall out with anyone over it either, especially any of those who are far cleverer than I am on the crossword front!! Have kept quiet for the last few hours as I was beginning to feel a touch on the outnumbered side. I think trying to persuade Rufus to comment is a great idea.

  19. Thanks for a very pleasant start to the week from Rufus, and to Libellule for the hints. I found this fun and straightforward until I got stuck on 19a and 7d, which held me up for a long time. Lots of good clues, but the one I liked best was 4d.

  20. Breezed through today’s only got stuck on 2d and had to look it up, I thought 15d was a good clue and got it straight away, thanks to Rufus and Libellule. :D

  21. I am sure that most if not all criticism here is meant to be constructive with no element of censure. Anyone who has tried to compile a crossword themselves will know how difficult it is. But if I were the compiler I would be interested in knowing which clues solvers liked the most, and the least, as it would help me.

    Personally I thought 17d was the weakest clue in a very good puzzle of a suitable standard for Monday. I stand by 15d as the best although it seems obvious that it is not to everyone’s taste.

  22. Moving away from ones legal in-laws (15d), I was very surprised to see that “up-end” (22d) is hyphenated!

  23. I quite liked this one. Just right for a Monday. I had to suppress a snigger over 11a and had one of those “well-I-never” moments at the aptness of the anagram at 16a.

  24. This was a treat, although I only got halfway with it. Been out all day, cutting a hedge, lunching with a friend and doing bits of the puzzle along the way. Was looking forward to finishing it and now I’m home, I find I left the paper with my friend … :sad:

  25. found todays a little tricky. dont understand 15d. i am now a member of clued up, so saving the environment and saving money. look forward to the prize xwrds.

  26. Finished without too much angst my favourite being 7d – very nice. 2d is a new word for me. Got this done on the commute in save 3 that I polished off on the way back.

  27. My guess is that people’s objection to 15d is that a Barrister who becomes a son-in-law would thus be a “son-in-law in Law”, so technically there’s a mismatch in strict logic and the joke doesn’t work, except that if the barrister is male and has married your daughter he’s still a son-in-law regardless of his occupation. So it works, but on a humourless level, the fact he’s a barrister is extraneous but not incorrect.

    If I were a setter with this idea, I’d look for a way round what could be seen as a minor logical error, but it’s amusing and close enough with an interestingly humorous and cryptic definition, so I’d probably accept it and think that the law-related hint by using “barrister” instead of “man” brought it from somewhat difficult to pleasantly cryptic territory and added a layer of humour compared to simply the ‘after the match’ humour.

    15d made me smile, so it’s fine by me.

    Anyhow, thought I didn’t get to participate in much of the solving today, it was an enjoyable crossword to look over.

    I’m also kind-of OK about the ambiguity of 20d. It seems common enough for straight reversals to work either way (and homophones, such as Brighton/brighten in a clue I solved the other day) and require the checking letters to be absolutely sure whether the one that reads slightly better is indeed correct or, as in this case, is false. I do love the certainty of the dual-solving of cryptics, but this brings just a little of the uncertainty of the Quick/Straight crossword into cryptic solving. Relying on other entries to solve a clue is rarely seen as a problem in straight crosswords or cross-referenced clues (which seem to be outlawed in the DT, but appear in the Toughie and several other papers).

    1. Dynamic.
      The questionmark at the end of the 15d clue covers everything.
      When one tackles cryptic Xwords one is completely lost in Red Herring Land.
      Hence the fun!

  28. The usual gentle Monday fare from Rufus. Thank you.

    Best for me was 7d.

    5d is strictly an adjective not a noun – I am a retired physicist/electronic engineer and the use of adjectives as nouns always annoys me. We are not French!!

    Thanks also to Libellule for not putting in a photo for 11a! I remember the Divan a few days ago.

  29. What an enjoyable test from Rufus. I will probably now retire until Saturday as I generally only solve a few anagrams and little else from Tuesday to Friday.

    Have also enjoyed and completed Dante’s (aka Rufus) prize crossword in today’s FT available here http://www.ft.com/arts/crossword

    Wish I understood why I can get to grips with Rufus/Dante and Cephas but not the other setters.

  30. Very entertaining and slightly tougher than the more recent Monday crosswords. Thanks to all concerned.

  31. I’m really surprised at the number of comments on this puzzle. Pommette and I read the across clues, in order, and filled in the answers, sometimes after some thought. Then the same with the down clues – except 15d which only became obvious with the checking letters. Not my favourite but ,in my opinion, not worth all the strife.
    I thought it a great, but not too difficult, puzzle – just my standard!
    Thanks to Rufus for an entertaining start to the week. Also thanks to Libellule for the blog.

  32. Vintage Rufus.The last for me was 7d.I initially thought of stairs or air travel then the answer came out of the blue.Could someone help here,I am stumped:Lightweight dress shortened for climbing gum-tree(8) C_O_I_A_ and:Welshman extremely likely to go off new exercises(5,5) DAILY -O-E-

    1. .. and your first is COOLIBAH (a gum-tree) – it’s COOL (lightweight?) + HABI(t) (dress) reversed (climbing, presumably it’s a down clue?)

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