DT 26383 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26383

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26383

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Unmistakably a Ray T production, although I did have a quick peek at the Quick crossword in order to check and it comprised one-word clues. I found this to be one of his easier puzzles and came close to incurring the wrath of some by giving it two stars for difficulty.

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    Bird gives public official cricket score (8,4)
{MANDARIN DUCK} – this crested Asiatic bird is a charade of a high-ranking public official or bureaucrat and the cricket score that no batsman wants to achieve

9a    Lie, possibly, with fantastic ‘Castle in the Air’? (9)
{CELESTIAL} – an anagram (possibly) of LIE is merged with an anagram (with fantastic) of CASTLE o get “in the air” or more accurately heavenly – merging two anagrams like this only works for me if they are juxtaposed, not intermingled

10a    In hippodrome, garlanded last character (5)
{OMEGA} – hidden inside the clue is the last character of the Greek alphabet

11a    Decoy outside nicked heartless mugger (6)
{BANDIT} – put a decoy or lure outside N D (NickeD heartless) to get a mugger or robber

12a    Top detective’s manor (8)
{DISPATCH} – a word meaning to top or kill is a charade of a senior detective, the ‘S, and a criminal’s manor

13a    Made academic head absent (6)
{EARNED} – made here means paid for working – take an adjective meaning academic and remove the first letter (head absent)

15a    Ruffles someone’s head for no reason (8)
{NEEDLESS} – a verb meaning ruffles or provokes is followed by S (Someone’s head) to get an adjective meaning for no reason

18a    Backing second new leader in case (8)
{SANCTION} – backing or permission is generated from S(econd) followed by N (New leader) inside a court case

19a    Fly in jet set section (6)
{TSETSE} – a small fly that transmits trypanosome parasites and causes sleeping sickness is hidden inside the clue

21a    Vibrating items are more erotic! (8)
{STEAMIER} – an anagram (vibrating) of ITEMS ARE gives an adjective meaning more erotic

23a    Scrap perhaps, boxing ring’s first shock (6)
{FRIGHT} – take a scrap or brawl and put it around (boxing) R (Ring’s first) to get a shock

26a    See about say, funeral song (5)
{ELEGY} – put a well-known see or diocese around the abbreviation for say or “for example” to get a funeral song

27a    Hate to be a man, I suspect (9)
{ABOMINATE} – a verb meaning to hate or loathe is an anagram (suspect) of TO BE A MAN I

28a    Dope showing brains (12)
{INTELLIGENCE} – a double definition with dope as in information,


1d    Bra came undone provoking horror (7)
{MACABRE} – an anagram (undone) of BRA CAME gives a word meaning provoking horror

2d    Stocking new line, working around end of day (5)
{NYLON} – one of a pair of stockings is built up from N(ew) L(ine) and a synonym of working around Y (end of day)

3d    Can, missing round, get sober (9)
{ABSTINENT} – start with a can and put a word meaning missing around it to get a word meaning sober

4d    Goddess lives and breathes (4)
{ISIS} – this Egyptian goddess is a charade of synonyms for lives and breathes (both being the same word!)

5d    ‘Motley Crue’ with mild treatment for instrument (8)
{DULCIMER} – anagrams (motley) of CRUE and (treatment) of MILD are once again intermingled to get a musical instrument like a flat box with a sounding-board and wires stretched across bridges, played with hand-held hammers – I have the same reservations as I had with 9 across

6d    Munch slice of meat around start of meal (5)
{CHOMP} – a word meaning to munch is created by putting a slice of mutton, lamb or pork, usually containing a rib, around M (start of Meal)

7d    Feeling tense isn’t, strangely, losing last of marbles (8)
{SENTIENT} – an adjective meaning feeling or responsive is an anagram (strangely) of TENSE I(S)N’T without an S (losing last of marbleS)

8d    Cinders, after midnight, splits (6)
{GASHES} – put some cinders after G (mid niGht) to get some splits or cuts

14d    Gave up getting plastered! (8)
{RENDERED} – a double definition – plastered as in plastered a wall

16d    Renouncing weapons and winning (9)
{DISARMING} – another double definition – winning as in likeable

17d    Report’s about finished on time (8)
{COVERAGE} – a report or story is a charade of C (circa / about) and synonyms for finished and time

18d    Ends of yews in branch structure (6)
{SYSTEM} – put Y S (ends of YewS) inside a branch or stalk to get a structure or organization

20d    Limit previous wife’s time on about yours truly (7)
{EXTREME} – a limit is a charade of a previous wife and T(ime) on (as this is a down clue) about and yours truly

22d    American native’s origins after might of ancient race (5)
{MAYAN} – put A N (American Native’s origins) after might or shall to get a word meaning of an ancient American race

24d    Scrap and win, boxing clever, finally (5)
{GRAIN} – a scrap or small quantity is constructed by putting a verb meaning to win around (boxing) R (cleveR, finally)

25d    Shot completely left missing target (4)
{GOAL} – a shot or attempt is followed by a word meaning completely without the final L (Left missing) to get a target

Back soon with the Toughie!

45 comments on “DT 26383

  1. I guessed it was a Ray T too and sort of confirmed this by glancing down the paper page to the quickie. Very enjoyable – not quite 2* solving time for me, more 2 1/2*. Favourite clues 1a, 12a, 23a and 25d. Thanks to Ray and BD.

    Apart from the SW corner, I would recommend the Shamus Toughie today – didn’t take me that long (sorry but it didn’t!) and has some nice wordplay.

  2. I also figured it was a RayT production. This was another puzzle where it helped to start on the Down clues – I had two across answers after the first pass but about 10 Downs. I needed a bit of pencil chewing to get 14d/13a at the end but apart from that not too tricky and a very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to BD and to RayT

    1. There was a letter in the DT this week to the effect that the definition of a cad was someone who used a pencil to complete the DT Cryptic! I am sure your pencil chewing was just metaphorical :D

  3. I too guessed this was a Ray T (1d and 21a had his fingerprints all over them! Great fun to solve and not too difficult. Favourite clue was the aforementioned 21a. Many thanks to Ray T and to BD for the review.

  4. Ray T fingerprints all over this one! Always a pleasure to solve one of his, and nothing too troubling today.
    Thanks to Ray T, and BD.

    The Toughie was also good fun. Solved without any difficulty, although not sure about the wordplay for 25a. (Waiting for BD to enlighten me!)

    1. I have just started solving the puzzle, so it will be a little while.

      Meanwhile, feel free to comment here, but please don’t give away wordplay or answers.

  5. Tell me I am mad if you like but all the answers together conjure up a description of ‘The garden of earthly delights’ a painting by Hyronimous Bosch which was the subject of a tv programme I watched the other night. I wonder if Ray T saw it although as you say he lives in Paris so probably not, interesting though.
    I enjoyed the puzzle overall but got stuck in the bottom lhc. 17d had me stumped as I was determined that ‘about’ was ‘re’ instead of ‘circa’ (c) how annoying is that ? .
    Oh well, enough rambling, Thanks to Ray T and B Dave.

  6. Cannot believe this was a Ray T effort as I managed all but 6 clues even though I must admit I didn’t fully understand many of the others. Still don’t get 25d, what was the word with the missing L? Also I thought the ruffles in 15a didn’t really work as a meaning for provokes. However, strangely enough I rather enjoyed today (never thought I would hear myself saying that!!) esp 1a.

      1. Ah Go as in having a shot and all as in completely, thanks now I understand, I was looking for a single word DOH!

      1. Thanks Lea but it’s a long slow process; however,as someone once said ‘Life is about enjoying the journey not the destination’ :-)

  7. Am enjoying this week – half term & therefore a chance to have a go earlier in the day than usual. Often too tired by evening!! Was pleased to do all but 3 of todays before resorting to the blog (thanks BD) which is unusual for a Thursday! Out now to enjoy the sun & sights of Sherbourne – a few days away from the madness of London & the builders (hope yours are behaving better now Kath!)

    1. Thanks – concrete now, at last, gone from main sewer – thank you to all who have been sympathetic, especially for refraining from any of the more obvious comments – don’t think that I need to say any more, other than that some of our very close friends have been less tactful …. ! Good luck with your builders Claire.

  8. Enjoyed that – nice use of “scrap” in two of the clues!

    Nubian – I too took forever with 17d – in fact it was the last to go in for me. Once I had the connecting letters I was okay but first off I couldn’t see it as I too wanted to put re in.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Big Dave.

  9. I had the right answer for 12a but couldn’t see where the definition was. I thought top detective was DI and just didn’t twig that top meant the word for the answer! Thanks for explanation BD. Another enjoyable exercise from RayT.

  10. Hello All, another day when I don’t think I’ll get a chance to do this, still tired after being hijacked yesterday by one grandson, been shopping for grandaughters first birthday tomorrow and expecting two other grandsons plus son down for dinner anytime and I fully expect that they will stay the rest of the day, hope to be back to ‘normal’ by Saturday :)

      1. I agree – family is the most important which is why I am so late commenting today – ancient Mum still in hospital and causing a few problems …

  11. I think that I am due a break, I must be alone in saying that I did not enjoy this today! It did not flow for me and took longer than usual.
    Off to Scotland for a week, I do not think they have the Telegraph where I will be going, definitely no internet, for my use anyway!
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave for the hints and tips.

  12. I agree Pete. It took me ages, I needed this website help and enjoyed not at all; not clever cryptic clues.

  13. Oof! That was a real piece of earth (3) for me. Looking back at the clues now there’s not one which isn’t screaming out to be answered, but at the time they were all perfectly puzzling. Well done Ray T and I can’t thank Big Dave enough for the hints and tips.

  14. Thanks to BD and to all who took the time to comment. It looks like I’m slowly bringing my arch-critic over to my side!

    Well done that man…

    Ray T

    1. I love your crosswords – today has been hijacked by other things so haven’t enjoyed it as much as usual but it definitely had your fingerprint on it!! Thank you for another wonderful one!

  15. I solved this one with more of my normal celerity – after my struggle with yesterday’s toughie!
    Ray T – there were some nice clues here but also a few weak ones. For example in 22d one should not confuse may and might – they are different tenses!
    I am not nitpicking as my education in English and other languages was carried out by very strict teachers.

    Finally, I must apologise in my comment to yesterday’s toughie where I used a comparative adjective instead of an adverb – slower for more slowly.
    You can do this in other languages but not in correct English!

    1. Quite right to point out that ‘may’ and ‘might’ are not the same. Not different tenses but different modal auxiliaries however, and in everyday speech most people don’t differentiate between the two.

      A little bit of setter’s latitude for the surface reading I’m afraid!

      Ray T

    2. I just looked again at my comment yesterday and discovered that use of the adjective there was OK.

  16. I have been reading this blog for some months now and I feel that it is time to make a comment. I have always found the crosswords of Ray T [or Beam] to be a good challenge, although some people may [or might] not agree. Keep up the good work Ray!!

  17. I found this pretty hard but for there in the end. Thanks for the puzzle and the review. Sleep well all.

  18. Had a tough day today hence very late comment and failure to finish it without a couple of the hints – 18a and 14 and 17d – OK, three hints. Totally worn out now but needed to finish this so wanted to read the hints and the comments. RayT is definitely my favourite setter – something ALWAYS makes me laugh which I suspect I have said before. The ones that did that today, when I really needed a good laugh, were 21a and 1d. Many thanks to RayT and BD. Hope to be back tomorrow in fighting form – oh dear, have just remembered that tomorrow is Friday ….

    1. Well done Kath, glad your drains are sorted! You did better than me, what with exploding ovens as well I have had no energy for the crossword today but love the blog, maybe, just maybe I will get a chance tomorrow :0

  19. I’m with Kath on this one. Tired brain and stuck on SW corned. Had to get a hint for 18d – so obvious! – and the rest fell in to place. I’m usually in harmony with RayT’s puzzles but this one just eluded me. At least 3*.
    Haven’t looked at the toughie yet. Ah well, looks like two toughies tomorrow.

  20. Lovely puzzle today, always enjoy Ray T, did it in my break during my nightshift, unfortunately I don’t get to see the DT through the day as I am in bed. 8) The comments are reading better everyday, many thanks to BD. :D

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