DT 26377 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26377

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26377

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

What should be an easy puzzle, even for non-experts! A couple of what I consider to be poor constructs kept the enjoyment factor down 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.


1a    Is it taken grimly with a touch of determination? (6,4)
{ATKINS DIET} – an anagram (grimly) of IS IT TAKEN and D (a touch of Determination) gives a regime suggested by the whole cluedid the setter have a bad experience with this?

6a    Homework before start of playtime (4)
{PREP} – another word for homework is a charade of before and P (start of Playtime)

10a    A small enclosure for small tree (5)
{ASPEN} – a charade of A S(mall) and an enclosure gives a small tree

11a    The raging river next to state lodge (9)
{GATEHOUSE} – an anagram (raging) of THE is followed by a river, the best-known of which is in Yokshire, and preceded by the abbreviation for a US state to get a lodge

12a    Expert seen in some art broadcast (7)
{MAESTRO} – this expert is an anagram (broadcast) of SOME ART

13a    Control concerning journalism (7)
{REPRESS} – a word meaning to control is a charade of concerning or about and journalism

14a    Special has no time eating dessert and cheese (3,9)
{RED LEICESTER} – take a special day, marked in colour on the calendar, and remove a T(ime) and insert a dessert to get a cheese

18a    Balance of one picture, so uneven (12)
{COUNTERPOISE} – a word meaning balance is an anagram (uneven) of ONE PICTURE SO

21a    The cord, twisted and set alight (7)
{TORCHED} – an anagram (twisted) of THE CORD gives a verb meaning to set alight

23a    Irreligious chap with endless capital (7)
{HEATHEN} – an adjective meaning irreligious is built from a chap, or male person, with the endless capital of Greece

24a    Dog-trainer holding top borzoi with a moustache (9)
{HANDLEBAR} – put a dog trainer around B (top of Borzoi) and A to get a moustache – a minor quibble with top Borzoi = B, many would frown on this

25a    Leo’s family’s quiet trip (5)
{PRIDE} – a family of lions is a charade of quiet and a trip

26a    Very good! Very good! Not as good! (2-2)
{SO-SO} – an interjection that means the same as very good! is repeated to get a hyphenated word meaning not as good

27a    Allowing for error, over-age kit is thrown out (4,2,4)
{GIVE OR TAKE} – a phrase that means “within a specified amount” is an anagram (thrown out) of OVER-AGE KIT


1d    Scares almost everyone with weapons (6)
{ALARMS} – a word meaning scares is a charade of most of a synonym for everyone together with some weapons

2d    Fish that’s asleep? (6)
{KIPPER} – a cured herring could also be someone that is asleep

3d    Where sportsmen go for round after round? (10,4)
{NINETEENTH HOLE} – where golfers go after they have completed a round of golf!

4d    Does it keep a churchman on a leash? (3,6)
{DOG COLLAR} – a cryptic definition of neckwear for a churchman

5d    Register retained in innocent error (5)
{ENTER} – a word meaning to register is hidden inside the last two words

7d    Course receiving permit for gambling game (8)
{ROULETTE} – put a course around a verb meaning to permit to get a gambling game

8d    Quiet free time, we’re told, is such (8)
{PLEASURE} – the musical symbol for quiet is followed by what sounds like (we’re told) free time gives what you might pursue in said free time

9d    That youngster, a thief with a camera maybe? (14)
{WHIPPERSNAPPER} – an old term for a cheeky young lad could be a thief who is taking pictures with a camera

15d    Early form of transport, aka ‘Feroan’? (4,5)
{IRON HORSE} – Chambers describes this as “a worn-out circumlocution for a railway engine” and if you split Feroan as Fe and roan it provides a charade of a chemical symbol and a bay or dark, with spots of grey and white, animal – a bit too contrived for my liking

16d    Drinks squashes (8)
{SCOTCHES} – a double definition – alcoholic drinks and squashes or brings to an end

17d    Copper runs to workers for fruit (8)
{CURRANTS} – a charade of the chemical symbol for copper, R and R (runs) and Crosswordland’s worker insects

19d    He is involved with penniless boy and girl (6)
{SHEILA} – an anagram (involved) of HE IS followed by a boy without the final D (penniless in the pre-decimal system) gives an Australian term for a girl

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Adjoining building where girl embraces former mate (6)
{ANNEXE} – an adjoining building is constructed from a girl’s name around (embraces) a former partner

22d    Some French graduate; one in emirate (5)
{DUBAI} – a charade of the French for some, a graduate and I (one) gives an emirate

A very pleasant puzzle for a Thursday.

62 comments on “DT 26377

    1. Try the Araucaria in the Guardian (free to download) – it has the theme you are seeking!!

  1. I finally emerge from the depths of the Cluess Club, blink, rub my eyes, and see you’ve only give it two stars for difficulty? It’s at least a twelve!
    Joking apart, even I couldn’t make too many mistakes with this one, but I’m still glad to be finished before I set off for Falmouth Beer Festival and now I have something to celebrate.

          1. Thanks again Mary – unfortunately not – think that this could be quite a lengthy business – very tedious and could absolutely throttle the builders! Thankfully they have accepted full responsibility as this is going to be an enormous insurance claim. Oh dear :sad:

  2. Good morning Dave, this I think is what Barrie was talking about in his comment yesterday, I know all the experts will be saying this was much too easy but as Barrie says for us ‘everyday solvers’ so to speak, this is the kind of puzzle we need to get us out of the CC, it certainly feels like a Rufus to me, short sharp witty clues, fairly easily solvable??
    There is of course the Toughie for the more experienced of us, so there should be no complaints all round today, yes, solved my second puzzle ever without any help, so I stay out of the CC now! If I’m not mistaken the Clueless Club in One Year Old tomorrow?? Just one query, 1a, is it allowed to take the front letter off any word by using ‘a touch of ‘
    if so does it only mean the first letter or can it mean however many are needed? Off to read blog now before going to beach to take some pics :)

  3. Agreed – a very pleasant Thursday puzzle – did the Radio Times puzzle first and then this so I am “puzzled out” for today.

    I liked 24a and didn’t have a quibble with the “B” but can see where many might.

    Thanks to setter and to BD

  4. A stroll in the park today, for the cryptic and the quick. All done before feeding the cats. Favourite clue 1a, though the last word sends shivers down the spine. After 102 days with the morning weather forecast stuck at “hot and humid”, we changed today to ‘fine”. Winter’s setting in. On toward the toughie this evening.

  5. Enjoyable puzzle and not too troubling. I needed you to explain 14a as I just threw it in and didnt really consider the construction.
    Thanks to BD and our setter.

  6. If B for top of borzoi could be frowned upon (and I didn’t have a problem with that) then isn’t that just the same as using the D for determination??

    1. Not at all – “a touch of determination” indicates a part of determination is required – the equivalent would be “top of borzoi”

    2. Just looked in Chambers crossword dictionary and ‘top’ is given as a head indicator, but can’t find ‘touch of’ ?

  7. I enjoyed this crossword very much but got completely stuck with 1a – just couldn’t do it. Even having decided that it had to be an anagram and had the right letters I STILL couldn’t do it – concrete in the brain I think! I wouldn’t call 10a a SMALL tree – they can get pretty big. Really liked 14 and 24a and 9 and 15d.

    1. Hi Kath, I got stuck on 1a too even, as you said, I knew it was an anagram. kicked myself when I had to resort to the blog for that one. I found this one harder than Tuesday’s and had to check the blog to understand the wordplay in a few. Still enjoyed it so thanks to the setter and to BD for the much needed help.

    2. Hope things are a bit brighter for you today Kath – has there been progression on your cement problem?

        1. What a nightmare for you – glad that the builders have at least accepted esponsibility otherwise you would have a real nightmare on your hands.

  8. Nice Thursday puzzle which didn’t take me long to solve. 19d has a mark by it which means I liked it when I was solving. Thanks to the second Mysteron of the week and BD as ever for his useful observations.

  9. PS Thanks, as always, to the setter – whoever he or she is – and to BD. Do we know who the setter is today?

          1. The answer to 10d in the quickie is the same as 2d in the Toughie, so if you work on the theory that the quickie and cryptic are usually by the same person, could Warbler have done all three???

            1. Sue, Probably a coincidence? However, I was struggling with 2d in the Toughie, so you have just crackled it for me – thanks!!!

              1. I too believe it a coincidence but just thought I would flag it up. Glad I could help with the Toughie.

  10. The weather here has been very cold and bright so I have taken full advantage of this and spent the last two days in the Dales. This means getting to the crossword in the evening when everyone appears to have left!
    Today I was earlier and agree with the 2* rating for this puzzle, it lasted barely a cup of coffee. Enjoyable though.
    Although I managed to get 14A after all of the down letters were filled in, I still do not follow the reasoning in the hints above.
    Thanks to Big Dave and the setter.

      1. Personally I don’t like “no time” to remove just one of the Ts – if there’s no time there should be no T remaining.

  11. V Pleasant puzzle today, probably too easy for the experts but I enjoyed it. Some nice clues 24a, 18a and 1a all made me smile esp 1a (my wife is always trying this!). Perhaps somebody at the DT listened to my pleas, if so a big thank you on behalf of us ‘ordinary’ folk.

  12. I know this is dreadfully pedantic….. but
    I would like to hear from the last fisherman who caught a kipper.

    1. Welcome to the blog Alastair

      I left out that a kipper is also “a male salmon during the spawning season after spawning” as I thought most would be aware of the smoked variety.

  13. Agreeable, if on the easy side. Liked 3d, or is this one bordering into “chestnut” territory?

  14. Enjoyable but not very satisfying. I loved the Tommy Roe recording Dave, haven’t heard it in years.

  15. Found this to be reasonably easy today although I did struggle on 1a, maybe that I’ve never had to succumb to one.
    Weather in SE Kent is nice and sunny today but with a chill in the wind, off to walk the dogs over the fields now. D:

    1. Just been for a walk across the NE Kent marshes where its equally nice and sunny but blooming cold wind.

  16. Done easily enough, but still needed the books, so still in the CC. 1a was the last to go in, after trying for ages. somehow, to make the anagram including an ‘a’; once Mary had given me a prod, I was asking myself, so where’s the definition?

    Good fun and thanks for the review.

  17. Zoomed through but got stumped with 1a – I’m afraid I missed the obvious anagram which was a “kick myself” moment. An enjoyable crossword for a beautiful gin clear day.

  18. Agree with several above. A breeze – except for 1a which had me completely stumped (a cricketing term, ladies). The second word doesn’t appear on my horizon I’m afraid.
    A complete reversal of yesterday’s toughie – Got 1a instantly, then – nothing!

  19. V easy but good fun. Quite a few nice clues but didn’t like 14a. Thanks for the blog but happily not needed today.

  20. A good puzzle with some long anagrams to tease out. I thought 1a was a poor clue as there is no sensible definition element, unless you take the whole thing!

  21. First time for ages I have finished it without any help or reverting to this blog.

    BD you are a gentleman and a scholar for running this site.

    1. The Atkins Diet is a particularly horrible form of weight loss regime requiring you to eat lots of meat etc with some very unwanted effects on the digestion. As the clue suggests it is grim and anyone who follows the diet would have to be very determined.

    2. Chadwick

      There is a link to the Wikipedia article in the hint.

      Also, could you please delete everything from the field labelled “website” next time you leave a comment. Thanks

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