DT 26358 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26358

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26358

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The usual entertaining puzzle from Jay, although I do have a few minor niggles.

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.


7a    Looking embarrassed by joke about new family (7)
{KINDRED} – the colour one goes when embarrassed is preceded by a verb meaning to joke around N(ew) to get family or relatives

8a    Presided over church broadcast (7)
{CHAIRED} – a word meaning presided over a meeting is a charade of CH(urch) and a verb meaning broadcast

10a    During which one is almost sure to be turned over? (10)
{SOMERSAULT} – a semi-all-in-one clue in which an anagram (turned over) of ALMOST SURE gives an action during which one turns over

11a    Burnt residue on bottom of grim food (4)
{MASH} – burnt residue comes after the final letter (bottom) of griM to get some food – does “bottom of” work on an across clue? Maybe

12a    Problem posed by second person insisting on detail (8)
{STICKLER} – a difficult problem is preceded by S(econd) to get a person insisting on detail

14a    Watch one chasing game (6)
{HUNTER} – a double definition – watch and someone chasing game with a rifle

15a    Charming woman accepting setter overweight? (5,6)
{FEMME FATALE} – an irresistibly attractive woman is derived by putting a woman around (accepting) the first person objective pronoun (setter / person compiling the crossword) and a word describing someone who is overweight – I don’t think this works as an all-in-one and, if not, then “woman” is doing double duty

19a    Friendly officer has one for the Queen (6)
{GENIAL} – a word meaning friendly is constructed by taking a senior army officer and putting I (one) instead of ER (the Queen)

20a    Disappeared, defeated without question (8)
{VANISHED} – a word meaning disappeared comes from a word meaning defeated without QU(estion)

22a    Cold greeting – cold but elegant (4)
{CHIC} – a charade of C(old), a greeting and C(old) gives a word meaning elegant

23a    Audit on inn destroyed by flood (10)
{INUNDATION} – an anagram (destroyed) of AUDIT ON INN gives a flood

25a    Persuasive talk from learner in noisy argument (7)
{BLARNEY} – this persuasive talk comes from inserting a L(earner) inside an informal word for a noisy argument

26a    Free of traffic ahead — explain (5,2)
{CLEAR UP} – a charade of a word describing that the road is free of traffic and a synonym for ahead gives a phrasal verb meaning to explain a misunderstanding


1d    Sally’s grave letters — love the way she finishes (7)
{RIPOSTE} – a sally or retort is a charade of the letters you might see on a grave, O (love), an abbreviation for a way and the last letter (finishes) of shE

2d    Lied about being out of work (4)
{IDLE} – an anagram (about) of LIED gives a word meaning out of work

3d    The sort of words that won support for artist? (6)
{WEASEL} – these evasive or misleading words come from W(on) and a support for an artist

4d    Talk of setback in feline (8)
{CHITCHAT} – this prattle is derived by putting a setback inside the most common feline

5d    Breaks up at mindless rioting (10)
{DISMANTLES} – a word meaning breaks up or takes to bits is an anagram (rioting) of AT MINDLESS

6d    Material seen through glasses, reportedly (7)
{PERSPEX} – this proprietary thermoplastic resin of exceptional transparency is a charade of a word meaning through followed by a homophone (reportedly) of a pair of lenses for correcting the eyesight (glasses)

9d    Seek approval for spicy dish left lacking in taste (5,6)
{CURRY FAVOUR} – a phrase meaning to seek approval comes from a spicy dish (found in Big Dave’s kitchen!) and a word meaning taste without the L(eft) (left lacking)

13d    Believe the joker could be plastic (6,4)
{CREDIT CARD} – a charade of to believe and a joker leads to your flexible friend

16d    Crown Derby manufacturer (8)
{MILLINER} – a hat has a crown and a derby is an American bowler hat, so we need someone who manufactures hats – this doesn’t work for me, and should at the very least have a question mark at the end

17d    Report complete support for crucial type of surgery (7)
{KEYHOLE} – a homophone of a word meaning complete comes after (support for, as this is a down clue) a synonym of crucial to get surgery performed through small incisions

18d    Month with zero spirit, and total propriety (7)
{DECORUM} – a charade of the shortened form of the last month of the year, O (zero) and a spirit gives total propriety

21d    Led off after show of agreement from head (6)
{NODDLE} – put an anagram (off) of LED after show of agreement to get a slang word for the head

24d    Split career (4)
{TEAR} – a double definition – a split in, for example, fabric or to career

While I smiled at 9 down, I have more than the usual number of niggles for a Wednesday puzzle – what do you think?

64 comments on “DT 26358

      1. Mary and I have created a lot of new words to use when blogging here. Perservate means to continue to look at the puzzle on and off until light dawns (similar to cogitation which is what I call it). We also have ‘numberals’ – a cross between numbers and numerals, together with a few other terms which escape me at the time of typing but I am sure Mary will have a list :)

        1. Until light dawns. I initially read that as until dawn lights…which is how long it takes sometimes.
          Sounds more sensible than the Stanley Unwin gibberish.
          Do you think you’ll make it into the OED?

          1. I think the word has to be seen several times or in print in something prestigious before they will ever consider it, but we could keep perservating and see how the numberals stack up!

        2. Have lost my list Sue (did write them down) so will have to start again, top 3 are already mentioned, we use these a lot ChrisH

  1. I both struggled and, like you, niggled with this crossword, particularly 16d. I was exceedingly grateful that I hadn’t committed myself to review it as it took me three times as long as usual to solve and I didn’t think it was as entertaining as a Jay puzzle can be. Thanks Jay for the struggle and BD for confirming my thoughts.

    The Toughie is tough today but lots of fun.

  2. Hi Dave, I know it’s only a typo and that I’m being pedantic but 11a should read “MASH” not “HASH”. 6d and 16d were the two toughies for me. Many thanks.

  3. Just didn’t do it for me today. Sorry. Eminently solvable but to many mundane clues; I groaned for the wrong reasons.
    1 or 2 nice head-scratchers, though. Took a while for the penny to drop for 7a and 19a. 6d had me perplexed for a while, too.
    2.5 stars.

  4. Nothing to moan about for me today. Any very minor niggles aside, I quite enjoyed this puzzle. Many thanks to Jay, and to BD.
    I also enjoyed the Toughie today, which I found quiet straightforward.

  5. No did not enjoy this really today, quite a few sticking points, had to resort to Daves help for 8a and 25a, If I have a favourite today it is 9d, I think a few clues were ‘toughie’ level and that for us CCers today it is almost a 4* but I may be wrong, will wait and see :) Thanks for help Dave, I would have been here a long time without you today

    1. Mary, did you manage to finish it? I only managed 5 clues, def a 4* for the CC. Didn’t enjoy this one any more than yesterdays which is to say not at all! Is it me or are the puzzles especially hard this week apart from Mondays lovely puzzle.

      1. No Barrie I didn’t manage it without Daves help, a few I got stuck on today and because I wasn’t really enjoying it, I didn’t perservate for too long! Was I right about the film yesterday being an adaptation of Brian Selznicks novel ‘The invention of Hugo Cabret’ ??????

  6. I got most of it done between 11 and 12 but I needed daves’s expertise for the down stage right corner,
    I e realised 19a was ‘genial’ but couldn’t for the life of me work out why, till the omniscient Dave explained
    it in his blog. I agree with you too , Dave, about the abstruse clue to 16d. Loved the picture of the Blarney
    stone. Thanks to Jay -3 star difficulty – and Dave.

    1. Re 19a, I was also flumoxed, wondering what the ‘al’ at the end had to do with the Queen, then I realised that I was looking at it the wrong way!

  7. Enjoyed this and agree with the star ratings. Favourites 15 and 19a and 9d. Just wondering about the convention of using the apostrophe s in 1d – especially as sally is the definition?

  8. Re 16d, I take ‘crown’ to signify the top of the head, alerting us that the Derby is that which goes on same. Not a teriffic clue, I agree, but not as bad as if the crown is that of a hat. Thought this one was pretty difficult, or perhaps I’m just tired.

    1. I partially agree, but I think it is a great clue. Crown Derby is a well known phrase for porcelain but here clearly (once you see it) refers to a hat – not the city Derby, not the horserace Derby, but the derby associated with the crown (of the head).

  9. To be pedantic, in 1d, I don’t think sally means the same as the solution – argueably it means the opposite. There seems to be a word missing from the clue for 15a, a second word for woman.
    I liked 6d and 16d best.

  10. Didn’t get far with this, about halfway, before needing the hints. And even then I needed some answers! Doubt I would ever have got 16d – am I alone in not knowing a derby is an American bowler hat ?? Did like 10a!

    Thanks to Jay and BD.

    1. As an erstwhile amateur trumpet player, I can advise that a ‘Derby’ is often called for in the scores to many American musicals, to give a certain timbre to the sound when hung over the end of the bell. I think you’ll find that such an effect is called for in ‘Chicago’.

      Quite often, a ‘soft Derby’ is called for. Presumably, its pronounced Durby, and is often brown(!), in the US of A.

      1. There, I knew I should have learned the trumpet when I was a teen. I got hold of one for a few weeks, but my parents thought it was loud and I should stick with keyboards.

        Don’t really know why, but have never been involved in a production of ‘Chicago’. Maybe it’s too late for most Am Dram groups, who concentrate on the earlier, ‘classic’ musicals.

        1. I was lucky enough to play in two productions of Chicago before it went to the West End. Really enjoyable to play and the band parts are a revelation – there’s a lot of stuff in there that isn’t apparent from the auditorium.

          Another show which disappeared from the Amateur stage was Mack and Mabel. I was lucky enough to play in a production whilst the Overture was still popular from the Torvill and Dean era. Amusement and Pathos in equal measure. The theatre I played at had a trick mangle, much used in panto. The Keystone Kops chase, with a succession of bodies going through the mangle, with strobe lighting to replicate b & w movies, stays in the memory!

    2. Hi Geoff, I think a 48 for us today with definitely some answers worthy of the toughie! so we can relax and not feel too bad about it :)

        1. Might be a 4* for you, bit more for me! Or is my head soggy with all this rain today ? The river will be rising by the weekend.

            1. About 30′ from and 10′ below the front door! But this side of the river didn’t flood in 2007, so no worries!

              1. Our cellar is under 3 inches of water – we’re nowhere near the river so don’t quite know what is happening. Do hope that it’s nothing to do with a bit of building work going on …. !

  11. I enjoyed today’s offering from Jay. Needed the hints to explain 19a – I always miss this type of clue that requires finding a synonym then replacing little bits of it with other little bits – Is there a technical term for this type of clue?

    Favourites were 6d, 16d & 15a (despite “double duty”).

  12. Enjoyed this today and agree with the BD rating.
    Favourites for me were 19a and 1d.
    Thanks to Jay and Big Dave.

  13. Good puzzle today – thanks Jay.
    Favourites 10a and 9d. Not keen on 16d but I suppose it works, sort of.
    Also thanks for the blog BD.

  14. BigDave,

    What! No comments about the updated CluedUp? How do you like their new, or should I say
    fully implemented, point earning scheme?

    I see BigDave only got 80 points for Cryptic 26358. And how many for Toughie 432?
    No name show on the Top Times leaderboard.

    Very few got full points for yesterday’s crosswords except perhaps for the “day after”

    1. Welcom to the blog Baldock

      Big Dave hit submit instead of save a few times too many at 1.00am! 6 strikes and you’re out now, but I don’t recall that being announced.

  15. I found this a bit of a struggle today – ended up with one clue (1d) which I absolutely couldn’t do until I read the hints, and one (19a) that I couldn’t explain. It’s taken me far longer than usual to do and, for that reason, I think it might be worthy of a bit more than 3* for difficulty – or am I just being a bit weedy today? I think that might be the answer as not that many people seem to have found it tricky. Favourite clues today are 15a (although I see what BD means in his hints – there’s probably a missing woman!) 22a and 4 and 6d. The proverbial four leggeds are being chucked at us from the Oxford skies today – absolutely foul! Would have done better going out to take our four legged for a walk wearing a wet suit and flippers than a mac and wellies.

    1. Hi Kath, I found it tough today too, a few I needed the blog for, personally a 4*, was raining this am but the afternoon has been bright and sunny, just thinking of taking my new book (which I’ve been waiting months for ) outside to read! It was forecast the proverbials here but so far………

      1. Closer to a 4* for me too – maybe it was the way that my brain was working (or perhaps NOT working today) but I really found it quite difficult. What is your new book – do hope that you managed a little time outside to begin it. Still raining and cellar now under a fair bit of water ….

  16. I’m just wondering about the fairness of the dash in 22a. It’s bugged me a bit. Does it serve any purpose apart from to ‘throw you off’ the answer? Could a comma have done the job just as well? I’m more than willing to be proved right or wrong!

    1. I think it just adds to the surface reading of the clue. I don’t think a comma would have read as well.

  17. I didn’t enjoy this one at all, but am glad to see CluedUp have closed the loophole which allowed people to get time bonus points to which they were not entitled!

    1. They have not done any such thing. Just look at Online Now now and see the full time points from archived crosswords from those who think that entering times for completed puzzles of around 2 mins and accumulating millions of points is some sort of achievement.

      1. Don’t understand this points stuff – could someone explain please? There again, maybe this is something that, to quote a good friend, I just don’t need to clutter my brain with!!

      2. There are obviously more holes in CluedUp that I realised. I was referring to the fact that you could press the back button, then the forward button, to gain 600 points on cryptic puzzles. I found this out quite by accident, after complaining to the site about its unfairness, and being fobbed off repeatedly.

  18. Good evening folks. 16d stumped me. Soooooo obvious! 6d was my favourite. 3* about fair in my humble opinion. Thanks to the Setter.

  19. I started this in late afternoon and made good progress but had to stop to join some friends for dinner who just came back from SW France where they were for three months.
    Back home, I got stuck on 6d & 13d so had to look at BDs blog for enlightenment. For 6d I was thinking only of fabrics and when I saw Perspex I guffawed as I used perspex rods as light guides umpteen times in my professional career. For 13d I was stuck on Porcelain – had a good read in Wikipedia re the factory in Derby! Never thought in US English re hat!

    As I remarked the other day one is always in Red Herring Land when solving Cryptics!

    Lovely blog BD and a very enjoyable puzzle Jay.

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