DT 26364 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26364

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26364

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is the second occasion that I’ve had the honour to sit in the reviewer’s chair, so I am still a bit of a rookie – at least in this forum. Interestingly, the previous puzzle that I reviewed was DT 26346 and when Big Dave sent me DT 26364 this time, I had to do a double check to make sure I was working on the correct one.

Overall, I would say that this is a typical puzzle in terms of both difficulty and enjoyment. After quickly finding a starting point and making rapid progress through about half the puzzle, I felt that it would likely rate two stars for difficulty. However, the remainder of the puzzle proved more challenging and caused me to up my rating to three stars.

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 One forgets and means to change current account (8)
{AMNESIAC} – we start with a charade formed from an anagram (to change) of MEANS followed by the symbol used in physics for electric current and an abbreviation for account to give us someone suffering a pathological loss of memory.

9a Soundly beaten by Germany on the way (6)
{ROUTED} – the International Vehicle Registration code for Germany following (on) ‘the way travelled on a regular journey’ describes England’s fate on June 27 at Bloemfontein.

10a Without water, a journey is cut short (4)
{ARID} – in yet another charade – three in a row to lead off, a synonym for dry is formed from A plus a word meaning journey from which the final letter has been dropped (cut short). Perhaps this traveller needed water for his horse.

11a Media representative gift wrapping flag (5,5)
{PRESS AGENT} – someone who arranges publicity for a celebrity is found by placing another word for gift around (wrapping) a word meaning to grow weak or tired – or what a flag might do in the absence of a breeze.

12a Kept it in the family (6)
{INBRED} – a cryptic definition alluding to the legacy of marriages between close relatives.

14a Two of them prepared to be adopted (8)
{EMBRACED} – the final two letters of ‘them’ plus how one might have prepared themselves to receive bad news gives a word meaning to have eagerly accepted an opportunity (as I jumped at the chance to write this review).

15a Makes an estimate selecting the most reasonable (6)
{SANEST} – a synonym for most sensible or most rational can be found by selecting the correct sequence from the phrase “makes an estimate”.

17a Looking tired, heading off for cover (6)
{AWNING} – rather than a bedcover, you will discover a shade-producing cover commonly found above shop windows by removing the first letter (heading off) from a highly contagious action demonstrating tiredness.

20a Exclusion by pub one initially considers cruel (8)
{BARBARIC} – a word denoting not just cruel, but brutal, is formed by placing something that prevents, restricts or hinders after another name for a pub (or it would even work the other way around) and then adding I (one) + the initial letter of C(onsiders).

22a See boss start before I make purchases (6)
{BISHOP} – combine the first letter (start) of B(efore) + I + a word meaning to buy goods to get an ecclesiastical overseer (See boss).

23a Take steps against token performance (10)
{COUNTERACT} – put a playing piece from a board game together with a deed and the result may be to reduce or prevent the effect of something (dancing on the bar, perhaps!).

24a Perfect condition for strike? (4)
{MINT} – The surface reading of this double definition suggests a pending labour action in the establishment where our coinage is produced.

25a Bird following a second behind (6)
{ASTERN} – combine A + S(econd) + a type of sea bird to find the location relative to a ship where the bird might be found flying; and, if not this bird, then certainly its cousin, the sea gull.

26a Cause one to be dispirited? (8)
{EXORCISE} – a cryptic definition denoting ‘get rid of one’s demons’.


1d One married type’s impressions (8)
{IMPRINTS} – I (one) + M(arried) + a set of small embossed blocks produces the sort of impressions that might have been made by Gutenburg.

2d Manage to finish by thinking originally (4)
{TEND} – put a verb meaning to complete after (by) the first letter (originally) of T(hinking) to create a word meaning to manage (a bar, maybe); the word ‘by’ was used in a similar fashion in 20a, but this time there is no ambiguity as to the order of the elements comprising the fodder of the charade.

3d Leant over and gave some helpful information (6)
{TIPPED} – the nautical equivalent of this term would be listed; in the present tense, it could also be a noun that describes what I am attempting to provide you with right now.

4d In angry cry of pain start to brandish weapon (8)
{CROSSBOW} – the cry is not OUCH, but something shorter; put the first letter of B(randish) in a charade of a term meaning ill-tempered plus this exclamation of pain to get the type of weapon associated with a legendary Swiss folk hero.

5d Blair’s urge for transportation for such offences (10)
{BURGLARIES} – we need to transport the letters of BLAIR’S URGE to form a category of crime (one often misattributed to felines?).

6d Sort of person that’s below average (6)
{MEANIE} – this nasty person is made up of the abbreviation for a Latin expression meaning ‘that is’ following (below in a down clue) a statistical term denoting ‘average’.

8d Basket holding women’s yarn (6)
{CREWEL} – This fisherman’s basket holds W(omen), not fish, producing embroidery yarn rather than an embroidered fish tale.

13d Where to keep records of tie worn by caller (4,6)
{RING BINDER} – Like a circus, this record holder usually has three of its central elements; a word meaning to fasten tightly is contained in (worn by) another term for someone who contacts you on the telephone.

16d People over whom nurses go crazy (8)
{SURGEONS} – in medical dramas, nurses fall for these leading men of the operating theatre; but, in cryptic crosswords, they are reduced to anagrams (crazy) of NURSES GO.

18d My dog’s nose is twitching (8)
{GOODNESS} – an exclamation that could replace My! is an anagram (twitching) of DOG’S NOSE; for additional emphasis, the two expressions could be combined, and to be really emphatic one could even prefix them both with Oh!

19d Impregnable cover protecting church silver for a period (3,3)
{ICE AGE} – the impregnable cover is actually the first and last letters of I(mpregnabl)E, which also form a cover around (protecting) the sum of an abbreviation for the official state church in England and the chemical symbol for silver.

21d Stimulate a scheme to protect last of buffalo (6)
{AROUSE} – put A + a word meaning a plan intended to deceive around the last letter of (buffal)O to get a term denoting to initiate or get going.

22d Fool’s position in form at school (6)
{BOTTOM} – where this character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream might find himself ranked in a class at a British school.

24d Staff beginning to miss service (4)
{MACE} – this ceremonial rod representing the authority of the Sovereign is formed by combining the first letter of (beginning to) M(iss) and a service on the court which is certainly not a miss.

Today’s puzzle could serve as good lesson material for training on how to solve clues involving selecting the first and/or last letters of words. Five clues (20a, 22a, 2d, 4d, and 24d) specify the first letter of a word, while one (21d) requires the last letter, one (14a) the last two letters, and one (19d) both the first and last letters. In addition, we have one clue (17a) where we must delete the first letter and one (10a) where the final letter must be dropped.

Although no clue really seemed to stand out above all others today, I rather liked 12a and 24a for their sheer elegance and simplicity, as well as 16d and 18d.  But perhaps the most appropriate clue at the moment (as I burn the midnight oil) is 17a.

54 comments on “DT 26364

  1. I made heavy weather of this today, especially the top right corner, which I stared at blankly for ages!
    I enjoyed the puzzle, but definitely found this the hardest cryptic I’ve solved for a long while (perhaps just me having an off day!). Favourite clue, 18d.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Falcon.
    Onto the toughie….

    1. I got through the top half without any trouble, but the bottom left in particular had me scratching my head.

  2. I found this slightly more difficult than usual and it took me twice as long to solve. My favourites were 6d and 12a. Thanks to Jay for the workout and Falcon for the very comprehensive review.

  3. 8d and 14a took me nearly as long as the rest of the puzzle – I had mis-remembered the basket and was not aware of the fabric. 18d was my favourite (by a nose!).
    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and Falcon for another excellent review.

  4. This was a task and a half. 5d took an age as I looked at the clue and couldn’t focus on the answer , thinking of other things.Thanks to Falcon for the review and Jay.
    Now setting of back to the North East and the dark days of Winter.

    1. If you think that was a task and a half, wait till you try the Toughie. It lures you in with a false sense of this is less of a struggle than the Cryptic and leaves you groaning over the last three for ages. Thank goodness I know a helpful hint-giving Gnome!

      1. I found the toughie easier than this… although there were a few nasty ones, 13a, and 7d in particular.

          1. Just when I thought Iwas beginning to make some progress along comes one where I can only get 4 clues before resorting to the hints. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

            1. I know exactly what you mean!!! I was doing well the last week, then it feels like hitting a brick wall. Won’t resort to the hints just yet though!

              1. It’s always the way, just when you think you may get out of the Clueless Club, you’re back in the corner, I have a feeling we could be quite busy in there today! :-

                  1. Unfortunately not Gary, you will only get to be president in the unlikely event of myself completing a crossword completely unaided by books, machines etc. etc. :-D

  5. A good work-out with a couple of testing clues 12a and 8d kept me waiting a little. Thanks Falcon for your second very sound debrief. How did Canada make out in the World Cup, by the way?

    1. Should I take that as an innocent question or a cruel dig? Hopefully, the former.

      In Canada, association football is known as soccer – the name football referring to Canadian or American football (two sports with many similarities, but also having some quite significant differences in rules). Soccer is actually the most played sport in Canada (surpassing hockey – I mean ice hockey, of course), but not the most watched.

      Canada last made it to the FIFA World Cup in 1986 in Mexico (our first and only appearance). Canada also participated in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup in Japan.

      As for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Canada failed to qualify. According to Wikipedia, “Unfortunately, Canada could not advance beyond the so-called CONCACAF Group of Death, a group that featured higher-ranked nations Mexico and Honduras.”

      Reference: Soccer in Canada

        1. That is certainly fair enough. I have to admit that our national soccer team has not enjoyed much success internationally. However, we are unfortunate to be in a qualifying zone with a number of strong teams. So our team is no doubt stronger than one might judge strictly on the basis of World Cup appearances.

          As for my hint, I was merely attempting to sing from the songsheet provided by the setter.

          1. Everything on this blog – so far – has been good-natured. Take everything in the spirit it was intended. Cheers!

            1. I assure you that your remark was taken in a good-natured fashion. I intended my ‘cruel dig’ riposte to be done with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek – but perhaps it did not come across that way.

  6. I struggled to get a foothold with this one, but gradually picked up pace (a bit!). Solved it all so, for me, enjoyable. 3-4 stars.

    Liked 8d (last to go in) and 26a.

    1. Perervate Lizwhiz1 its easier than perservering :) Unfortunately my perservation is not helping me with the last few

  7. I found this very difficult today, only managed eight to start with, but after much perseverating succeeded in solving half. There were too many of the kind of clues I find most difficult — where you have to find synonyms and move letters around — so I needed our hints to finish (thanks you, Falcon) and even then was not very happy.

  8. I started off quite well with the top half but had almost nothing in the bottom half on the first run through. Eventually it all sorted itself out. Very enjoyable puzzle and review – thanks to Jay and Falcon. 12 and 26a were the last ones to be solved and, until I read the hints, I wasn’t sure whether 26a should end with E, T, or M. Didn’t understand where the i came from in 7a until I read the hints. Favourite clues were 20 and 22a and 4 and 8d – best of all was 18d. Had doubts about 16d – as an ex nurse I always found that the physicians were much nicer than the surgeons and have been married to one for 33 years!!

  9. Had to give in and resort to the blog today, although I found 3/4 of it quite straightforward, the rest really got me stuck, perservating and trelking didn’t help, maybe it’s because I started late, having been planting violas whilst the sun is shining, no excuses just couldn’t finish it, so thanks to Falcon for the hints, Although I didn’t finish on my own I did enjoy this puzzle, fav clues 17a, 18d, 22d, 20a

  10. I thought that this was great fun to solve with lots of clues going in quickly enough and then a final three or four to ponder over. Favourite clue was 18d. Many thanks to Jay and to Falcon for the review.

  11. A very enjoyable stretch for me. Only 8d was an unknown word for me, which was easily guessed. 26a took ages because I was convinced it was an anagram with very obscure word answer.

    Best DT cryptic in a while I felt. Had much of the smoothness of a Monday Rufus but a bit tougher. Thanks to setter and blogger today.

  12. Well I am just back out of hospital and thought I would see what the comments were like before I tried todat’. Think I will give it a miss today.

    Hospital provided Daily Mail so have been doing it for the past couple of weeks but will start in on DT again tomorrow. A friend kindly brought me Saturday’s telegraph so was able to do that. Nice to be back.

    1. Hello Lea, welcome back :-) we have missed you, I hope your operation was a success and you are up and about? todays is quite a nice one to start with really, a few tough clues but enjoyable, look forward to seeing you everyday again

      1. Thanks Mary – the op went well and I am doing all my exercises and getting around well on two crutches. Had a bit of a hiccup with the wound oozing but that is healing now so am on the road to recovery.

        Think better in the morning so will start tomorrow I think and hope it is a good one. Out of practice as the Mail seems to be totally different in setters. One day it seemed to ve all anagrams which threw me abit.

        Oh well – wait for tomorrow. :smile:

  13. It took several runs through before the first answer went in and it remained very slow from there on.
    Even after reading the hints I still do not understand 13d.
    Many thanks to setter and Falcon for the review.

    1. I think Pete it is a word for ‘tie’ i.e. bind inside a word for a ‘caller’ i.e. ringer

        1. A three-ring circus used to have acts going on in three separate rings at the same time. The phrase is now used to mean something spectacular or confusing (or both).

          1. Thanks Gazza, but am I being really stupid here, I don’t see how it relates to the clue at all?

            1. Thanks both, I couldn’t ‘see’ it because I’ve only ever called them ring binders, the no of holes never occuring to me, I think I have only ever used two ring binders, oh well live and learn :)

              1. Mary

                It is interesting to learn that the expression ‘ring binder’ is commonly used in Britain. As I mentioned, here one would almost invariably include a number to indicate the number of rings. And three-ring binders are so much more prevalent than other kinds that if one did not know how many rings a binder possessed one would probably just automatically call it a three-ring binder. So,it was an easy and logical transition for me from ‘ring binder’ to ‘three-ring binder’ to ‘three-ring circus’. Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those turns of phrase that does not transport well across the Atlantic!

          2. Falcon is just saying that, like a 3-ring circus, a ring binder (sometimes) has three rings – i.e. it takes paper with three holes.

          3. Yes, Gazza is correct, the reference was intended to be to a ‘three-ring circus’. In North America, the most common variety of ‘ring binder’ is the ‘three-ring binder’. In fact, I can’t recall ever having heard the expression used without a number to specify the number of rings (i.e., two-ring binder, three-ring binder, and four-ring binder being the usual types).

  14. Did 8 or 9 answers fairly easily, then off out for the day and just read the comments … probably not one for me today!

    What a good day in Oxon, sunshine all the way from mid-morning. Discovered a rather fine brew called Olde Trip in Burford at lunchtime. One of those slipped down a lot more easily than many of these clues would have!

  15. Well I really struggled with this, and was no-where near finishing before turning to the hints. Could someone please remind me that this is an enjoyable past-time, and I do these for ‘fun’!!

  16. Good challenge. Had to return a couple of times to it to finish – the last time after a particularly fine curry and a pint. Loved 18d

  17. I thought this was very tough, and have to admit I couldn’t finish it without the blog’s help. I think there were however a lot of very elegant clues, especially 22a. A very difficult puzzle from which however I learned a lot!

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