DT 26355 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26355

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26355

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

When I had finished this crossword, taking twice as long as usual to do so(but still relatively quickly), I wasn’t sure whether I had really enjoyed the process or not. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one – comments ranged from ‘lacklustre’, ‘no pleasure’, and ‘boring’ to it being a ‘typical Saturday puzzle’. I tend to solve the puzzle on a sort of automatic pilot as, if I think about analysing what the type of clue is, I have trouble concentrating on the solving process; so don’t think about this until I do the review and my conclusions about this puzzle are given at the end.

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    Timely way to go (9)
CLOCKWISE – following the direction of the hands on a clock.

9a    These men and women can be found in force (6)
POLICE – The force here are the men and women employed to maintain law and order.

10a    Impulse to do some light criminal work? (9)
PYROMANIA – this impulse is the criminal urge to set light to things.

11a    There’s nothing afoot (6)
UNSHOD – People and horses with no shoes on are said to be this.

12a    Bird changes quality of sound (9)
TURNSTONE – This bird, related to the plover and sandpiper, and named for its habit of turning over pebbles to fine food – TURNS (changes) TONE (sound quality).

13a    Place restriction on stock movement (6)
TETHER – to rope or chain cattle within certain limits.

17a    Not all appear to notice (3)
SEE – Three of the four letters of a synonym for appear – SEE(M) – create another synonym this time for notice in the sense of observing.

19a & 20a    Considered studying telepathy (7,7)
THOUGHT READING – A charade of THOUGHT (considered) and READING (studying)

21a    Finished fast? (3)
ATE – If you had finished fasting, having abstained from food completely, you would be keen to eat. Finished indicates the past participle is required so the solution is ATE.

23a    Be bold perhaps having aimed high (6)
LOBBED – Today’s first anagram (perhaps) BE BOLD produces the past participle of a word meaning to aim a ball high over an opponent’s head.

27a    Locals at home holding a wild person (9)
BARBARIAN – Crosswordland has many useful short words relating to inns, pubs etc. Here the local is a BAR. Locals indicates that you need two of them so BAR BAR. An A then goes inside (holding) IN (at home). Chambers does not go so far as to call BARBARIANS wild, merely without taste or uncivilised.

28a    Carry on again about birds on the way back (6)
RESUME – A synonym for carry on or begin again is made up of RE (again) and a reversal of EMUS.

29a    Tea in Lima splashing armour (5,4)
CHAIN MAIL – Knights of old wore armour made up of CHA (tea) and an anagram of IN LIMA (splashing). Obvious what the answer had to be but several people struggled to sort out the wordplay on the day.

30a    Get acquainted with position — the map’s right (6)
ORIENT – To determine the position of relative to fixed directions, is also another way of saying Eastern, and a map usually has the East on its right hand side.

31a    One of the fraternity’s forenames rewritten (9)
FREEMASON – An anagram of FORENAMES (rewritten – one of the clearest anagram indicators ever!) produces a member of a secret fraternity.


2d    Amateur excluded from plan (6)
LAYOUT – Non professional people, particularly members of the Clergy are referred to as LAY. If you are excluded, you are OUT, put them together to produce another way of saying plan.

3d    Go in confused by commanding officer speaking softly (6)
COOING – the abbreviation for Commanding Officer – CO – followed by an anagram of GO IN (confused) – in this case cooing means to murmur softly not the call of a dove or pigeon, particularly those in our garden who are anything but soft speakers!

4d    First person in cape to see apparition (6)
WRAITH – When you see cape in a clue, normally you think of ness or head, here it’s the name of the most north-westerly tip of the Scottish mainland – Cape WRATH. Insert I inside (first person in) to get another word for a spectre or apparition, usually in human form.

5d & 22d    Experimental master? (7,7)
SCIENCE TEACHER – Master was obviously going to be TEACHER, and SCIENCE teachers conduct experiments.

6d    Idle save room (6-3)
LOUNGE-BAR – If you idle you LOUNGE around. In this clue, BAR means except for or save, but the whole is a bar found in a pub.

7d    Where infant is fed up? (9)
HIGHCHAIR – A cryptic definition of a seat fitted with a tray used to make it easier for parents to feed their small children.

8d    No time to be tough! (6,3)
TENDER AGE – The opposite of tough could be TENDER, put this with AGE (time) to get an expression meaning youthful, delicate or not hardy.

14d    Unfilled vacancy in pantry? (9)
STILLROOM – Yet another cryptic definition – if there was still space on a bus, for example, you would say this as (4, 5); but put together it means a room in a large house where liquors or preserves are kept.

15d    Attack a good man in charge who is pompous (9)
BOMBASTIC – A nice charade – BOMB (attack), A, ST (abbreviation for saint – good man) and IC (abbreviation for in charge)

16d    Generate with Frenchman new pact (9)
AGREEMENT – Another anagram (new) GENERATE with M (Monsieur the Frenchman) produces a synonym for a pact.

17d    Way academician goes to terminus briefly (3)
STA – This one caused me a moment’s pause as I wasn’t sure about the solution but it’s the abbreviation for station, usually found on maps, made up of a charade of two other abbreviations ST (street) and A (academician).

18d    Before George at regular intervals (3)
ERE – At regular intervals indicates that you need ever other letter in George, in this instance the even ones, to give you a literary word for before.

22d    See 5d
24d    Old boy left before one, say, getting up to do a favour (6)
OBLIGE – a very easy charade here OB (old boy) L (left) I (one) and GE (EG [say] reversed – getting up).

25d    Coming from America, not Australian but European peninsula (6)
CRIMEA – An anagram (coming from) AMERICA but without one of the A’s (not Australian) produces the peninsula best known for the war in the 1850s.

26d    Accountant left one company cotton cloth (6)
CALICO – A cotton cloth imported from Calicut in India – the last charade CA (chartered accountant) L (left) I (one) and CO (company).

I think that the reason we weren’t as happy with this week’s puzzle as we were with those of the last couple of Saturdays, was that it doesn’t have a great variety of clue types. People have in the past complained about too many anagrams but this time there are only three and a half, no all-in-ones , a few charades, one even letter clue, and the rest are all cryptic definitions which I don’t mind but the whole obviously made the challenge slightly less entertaining than usual. However, I did particularly like 27a for the vision it conjured up, so this is my clue of the day. Let’s hope Gnomethang, and we, have more fun next time.

2 comments on “DT 26355

  1. Having voted, I suppose I ought to comment. This also took me longer than usual and I needed more help than I usually like to accept to finish it. So, on the whole, not much fun.

  2. Agree with Franny, not much fun. Thanks for review, Sue, even though your enjoyment of it wasn’t high either.

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