DT 26389 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26389

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26389

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

A quick glance at the Quick crossword reveals that all bar one of the clues are single words, confirming that the odds are heavily on Ray T today. There will be howls of protest as this puzzle is even more difficult than usual.

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    Housing Eastern workers in temporary accomodation (8)
{TENEMENT} – don’t let the incorrect spelling of accommodation put you off! – this housing is constructed from E(astern) and some workers inside temporary accommodation for a camper

9a    More rambling has-been getting Oscar (6)
{LOOSER} – a word meaning more rambling is derived by putting a has-been around O(scar) – don’t miss the hyphen in has-been which turns it into a noun!

10a    Producer of sugar cane, say (4)
{BEET} – this source of sugar sounds like (say) to cane

11a    Pulling back trigger ends in recoil (10)
{RETRACTION} – this pulling back is derived by putting T R (TriggeR ends) inside a recoil

12a    Heavier rock for the audience (6)
{BOLDER} – a word meaning heavier, of a typeface, sounds like (for the audience) a rock

14a    Nice friend, guy’s friendly (8)
{AMICABLE} – the French for (as spoken in Nice) friend is followed by a guy or rope to get a word meaning friendly – my first thought was that the guy was Vince, the current Business Secretary!

15a    ‘Gunners’ at Zaragoza producing substitute (6)
{ERSATZ} – hidden inside the clue is a word, of German origin, meaning a substitute

17a    One won’t stand for old people! (6)
{AGEIST} – a cryptic definition of someone who Discriminates on grounds of age

20a    Most musical soprano with very little strain (8)
{SWEETEST} – a word meaning most musical is a charade of S(oprano), a Scottish adjective meaning very little and to strain

22a    Strike time before the French dispute (6)
{BATTLE} – a charade of to strike, T(ime) and the French definite article gives a dispute

23a    Preparing dinner, I get part of recipe (10)
{INGREDIENT} – an anagram (preparing) of DINNER I GET gives part of a recipe

24a    Exhibit nasty vicious yearning initially (4)
{ENVY} – the initial letters of the first four words give a word defined by the whole clue

25a    Earnest single male losing heart (6)
{SOLEMN} – a synonym for earnest is built from a word meaning single followed by a male person without the middle letter (losing heart)

26a    Most callous is sent to stir (8)
{STONIEST} – a word meaning most callous is an anagram (stir) of IS SENT TO


1d           Dash off and run off after fabulous lady (8)
{PENELOPE} – to dash off, as in to write, is followed by a word meaning to run off (to Gretna Green?) to get this fabulous lady who put off her suitors by saying that she would marry only when she had finished the piece of weaving on which she was engaged, and every night unravelled the work she had done during the day

Especially for Gazza!

2d           Run and hide (4)
{PELT} – a double definition, to run fast and the hide or skin of an animal

3d           Dread blunder by Tory leader (6)
{TERROR} – a bit of an old chestnut, but topical nonetheless – this dread is a built up from a blunder preceded by T (Tory leader)

4d           Cutting cocaine before making tracks (8)
{CLEAVING} – a word meaning cutting is a charade of C(ocaine) and making tracks or departing

5d           Bond embracing girl? Say it isn’t so! (10)
{CONTRADICT} – put a bond or agreement around a girl’s name (2) to get a verb meaning to say it isn’t so – a typical Ray T clue!

6d           Shy about cold cream (6)
{RECOIL} – a word meaning to shy away from is a charade of about, C(old) and the cream that you apply to keep out the sun’s rays

8d           Painter’s god around Italy (6)
{TITIAN} – this painter is constructed by putting one of the elder gods and goddesses overthrown by Zeus around I(taly)

13d         He’s ardent, I fancy, showing crush (10)
{DISHEARTEN} – an anagram (fancy) of HE’S ARDENT I gives a word meaning to crush or demoralize

16d         Temperature measurement after marching (8)
{TREADING} – T(emperature) is followed by a measurement, of the electricity meter perhaps, to get a word meaning marching or pacing

18d         Put on jeans, tucked in sort of shirt (8)
{TELEVISE} – to put a show on the TV is created by putting a well-known brand of jeans inside a type of casual shirt

19d         Force opening of security lock (6)
{STRESS} – this force is a charade of S (opening of Security) and a lock of hair

21d         Lecherous desire, touching below! (6)
{WANTON} – a word meaning lecherous is a desire with ON (touching) underneath (below, as this is a down clue)

22d         Shakespeare character, ass perhaps (6)
{BOTTOM} – this character from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is transformed into an Ass – and ass is another name for this part of the body

24d         Correct trend upward (4)
{EDIT} – a word meaning to correct is a trend reversed (upward in a down clue)

No doubt many will say this should have been a Toughie, but I enjoyed it.

79 comments on “DT 26389

  1. I enjoyed todays puzzle, the only clue I found weak was 20a and 21d reminded me of one of my favourite soups.
    Thanks to Ray T and B Dave.
    The Toughie is brilliant today and I am working through it with great pleasure.

  2. Emails with fellow blogger suggest this is harder than normal, with a number of us finishing in the NE eventually. 3 clues up there (along with an incorrect ending to 11a) accounted for 1/3 of my solving time (and 1/3 of Prolixic’s solving distance!).
    Thanks to RayT and to BD

        1. I suppose ‘pulling back’ could be read as a noun but, having read the clue again, ‘recoil’ has to be ‘reaction’ rather than ‘reacting’ – maybe I’m wrong though …?

  3. Like BD, my immediate thought was of the groans when people start this crossword, with or without realising that it’s probably a Ray T! I struggled with the NE corner for some time and eventually called on another member of the Advanced Clueless Club for a hint for one clue which enabled me to finish off my other stragglers – thanks Prolixic. Some very good clues, of which one of my favourites is 18d. Thanks to Ray (if it is definitely you) and BD.

    If you think this one is difficult, wait till you see the Toughie – that’s all I am prepared to say :D

    1. Less than half of toughie completed, have given up for time being, might have another peep later to see if any inspiration hits, doubtful to say the least

    2. Just finished the toughie and enjoyed it immensely, I must have arrived at the Rubicon, although I don’t think I’m quite ready to cross yet.

  4. This was very entertaining but a bit more difficult than the usual Ray T puzzle. I agree with Crypticsue that 18d is good, but my favourite is 1d.

  5. No howls of protest from me! I thought it was quite difficult – definitely worthy of the 4*. I still can’t explain the answer I have to 8d so will wait for the down hints. I’m still no good at recognising the styles of the various setters, except, sometimes, for RayT – the two clues that make me think it is him today are 21 and 22d. When I got 15a I started to watch out for it being a pangram – oh dear – wrong again! Enjoyed this crossword very much. Favourite clues today are 5, 21 and 22d. Right – now off to do battle with the minefield that calls itself Social Services – not getting anywhere with them about my ancient Ma. Many thanks to RayT (assuming it’s him today) and to BD. Thanks also BD for pointing me in the right direction to look at photos.

      1. Mary – STILL haven’t focussed on Daphne or Eggheads so have no idea what you DON’T look like!! Very scrambled tonight – too much to worry about with my Mum.

    1. Me too – the fact that the clue has an -ing word misleads you into believing that the solution should be -ing too. Apologies for the fact that all this -ing does seem to resemble trying not to swear :)

    1. Got the time wrong! got to go back at three, however I have finished this managing miraculously to get a copy :) I got 1d all the wrong way, by thinking of to dash off as ‘elope’ after ‘pen’ which I equated to a run as in an animal run !! never mind right answer :) fav clue 18d, one quibble is oil the in same as cream in 6d, a tough one for CC today even tough for the advanced class way above us!

        1. Thanks Geoff all bad news! lots of money, lots of antibiotics and lots more appointments lined up :(

              1. No, but
                a) I’ve been relieved of a king’s ransome over the last few years – they put you on a ‘plan’ which means visits every few months. You’re never too sure whether they are really necessary.
                b) My dentist spends all his spare time flying (i.e. in the cockpit). I pay for the aviation fuel.
                c) My daughter works for a dentist.
                Believe me, they’re loaded.

                1. OK – give in – I know what you mean. Our dentist is lovely and I trust him BUT I think he is more interested in the young – implants etc etc.

                  1. I know my dentist personally and he is lovely but I would agree with the loaded bit and we are on that monthly plan though I haven’t been for 5 1/2 yrs!! We are now discussing implants etc. as you say money…………….!

          1. Oh, poor you! Much as I loathe going to the dentist I can’t help feeling sorry for them – what a RUBBISH job – everyone hates it! Always think that a job as a washing machine repair man must be quite good from the morale point of view – you are always welcomed with open arms!!

  6. Very entertaining puzzle from Ray T (if indeed it be he, but the hallmarks are there)! As others have mentioned, the NE corner upped this puzzle from a two to a three stopper.

    Favourite clues were 18d and 5d.

    It’s not like me to niggle about clues (but I claim it is my turn). I felt slightly cheated that the answer to 6d was given in the clue to 11a – with both having very similar definitions too. Niggle over. It did not detract from a cracking puzzle.

    1. Agree with everything you said. An excellent puzzle in spite of niggle.

      Client cancelled – giving me time to tackle this puzzle in one go and make a start on the Toughie.

      Thanks BD and Ray T.

      1. We actively discourage discussion of solving times as they are different for everyone. Prolixic uses train stops, like I use stars, to convey the level of difficulty.

  7. One man’s meat………… I found this a quite do-able 3*, but maybe benefited from getting 11a right by luck, rather than judgment. Had 15a correct, but needed BD’s explanation as to why ER and not RE (didn’t spot the hidden word). I wonder why Ray T spoilt his one-word convention in the Quickie – he could have used “imp” or “urchin” at 18d. Many thanks to the A Team.

  8. I was stuck on four answers, on which I had three ideas but didn’t put them in as I couldn’t make them work, and what do you know, they were right! I just wasn’t thinking cryptically enough.

  9. No howls here either, some puzzles are going to be harder, c’est la vie, but surprised myself by completing most of the lower half plus a couple more. Thanks to Ray T for making some of it doable and to BD for the review.

  10. That was a lovely puzzle – thoroughly enjoyed it evcen though I was stuck on 4d for ages – nice clue though when I did get it but my favourites were 18d (top) and 22d.

    Thanks to Ray T and to BD.

  11. Almost toughie standard for me, at least a Tuesday Toughie, but Pommette and I got there in the end! Only real problem was 8d where we had the answer but didn’t know why, so had to Google the God which we’ve never heard of before.
    Very satisfying to finish this as at first pass it didn’t look very promising.
    Thanks Ray T and to BD for the blog.

      1. Did it begorra! Haven’t seen last Sat puzzle due to being in Cornwall. The Mother lives too far from a newsagent for me to get the DT without a car and she gets the Daily Mail!!!!!!!! Had to put up with that for a week as she also doesn’t have internet access! A crossword desert if you ask me!
        I thought when I found out about Tian that it would come up again, but it seems it already has. I’ll remember for the future.
        Aren’t crosswords a learning experience as well as fun?

  12. Yes, a nice work-out for a Thursday, though I needed the Blog on a few. My favourite was 1d, which caused a chuckle – and I did a general Knowledge one at the weeked that had the Titans, the race that preceded the Olympians, which took care of 8d very quickly. I confused myself in the NW corner by putting down ‘wilder’, as a word play on Oscar’s surname in 9a and that threw me off the scent for 4 and 5d . Silly me!

  13. How odd! This certainly wasn’t 4* difficulty for me, but then again some days I look at the verdict and see that my 4* for difficulty has only been given 2*, so I agree with Digby, one man’s meat etc. I didn’t notice a stand out clue, but 20d was a bit weak…
    Thanks to BD and the setter, I hope Mary’s getting on alright with the dentist!

    1. If you need stretching have a go at the Toughie! Nubian may have cracked it, but I’m finding that it has a very hard shell!!

  14. Not a promising one at first but evetually got into the swing. 18d definitely my favourite and 1d not bad either – these were the last two I completed. And thanks Gazza for your message yesterday.

  15. OMG another impossible Ray T. What a waste of money the DT has been this week for me re the crossword. Terrible!

    1. Oh dear, never mind Barrie, it really is just a case of you have been away from it off and on for a while now, remember you are still like me only Just out of the CC – ‘JOCC’, it will be a long time if ever I make the ‘A’ team :)

            1. Kath. You are not being thick but maybe have not read the above comments fully.. I am the only man to stand up and say that I had a massive crush on Lady Penelope when I was a kid.

  16. Pretty much concur with what others thought- northeast corner rather tough and took the longest to figure out – this type of grid construction also makes it more difficult.

  17. Very enjoyable puzzle from Ray T.
    Best for me : 10a, 20a, 1d, 13d, 18d & 22d.
    22d recalls something which an old Irish professor used to say :
    “When I sit on my ass with my arse on my ass, the paradox springs to my mind that my arse is in front of the arse of my ass and the arse of my ass is behind” .

    Many thanks BD for the picture of the Glasgow tenement block – how I remember those red sandstone ashlar blocks.

  18. Well, I’m having a howl — and I thought I was beginning to get on to Ray T’s wave length! He must have been in Toughie mode. I didn’t enjoy this at all, and it took me much tearing of hair to complete much more than the SW quarter. I didn’t like 17a and wish the clue for 5d had indicated that the girl’s name was upside down.

    Many thanks, Big Dave, as I needed many of your hints to get through this. :-(

    1. Franny – Hope you’re down off the ceiling by now – all that bubbly. Like a certain scene from Willy Wonka.

  19. Difficult one today and like others had difficulty with NE corner especially as I too got ending wrong on 11a. Thanks to the blog for helping me sort this out.

  20. Evening all. Many thanks to BD for the dissection and to everybody else for your comments.

    Ray T

    1. I think it’s lovely that you read all the comments and always write something – thanks for yet another of your wonderful crosswords.

  21. I expected to have to wrestle with this one, but found it pleasingly solvable. No favourites, but quite enjoyable. Now for the toughie!

  22. Another brilliant Ray T teaser. Favorites were 6d, 18d, 21d, 22d, all typical of this master setter.

  23. Have always wanted to be the first to comment – have always failed! Maybe I’ll change and decide to try to be the last to comment – a challenge or what? HAVE to go to bed now – totally knackered but have enjoyed reading all the late comments.

    1. Sorry Kath, I’m late tonight, can’t sleep yet, mouth bugging me, so guess I’m last, unless……………………….

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