DT 26391 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26391

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26391

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Once again, Cephas provided us with a most enjoyable crossword for a fine Saturday morning – a very nice mix of clues – a couple of which caused confusion for some on the day – but I thoroughly enjoyed both the solving and the subsequent analysis for this review.

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    Brave worker puts bitterness to one side (7)
GALLANT – One of crosswordland’s workers – the ANT – placed after GALL (bile or bitterness) to produce an adjective meaning brave, noble, splendid or magnificent.

5a    Couple of pints initially consumed by roofer, habitual drinker (7)
TIPPLER – The roofer is one who puts tiles on a roof – a TILER. Inserting two Ps (couple of Pints) inside produces the name of one who drinks habitually, albeit , according to Chambers, in small quantities each time!

9a    This the camel found unbearable (4,5)
LAST STRAW – if you know your proverbs, you will be aware that the final annoyance that breaks one’s resilience, or makes a minute addition to the burden, is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

10a    Circus worker not about to move energetically (5)
ROUST – This caused some discussion in our house as Mr CS thought a roustabout worked on a cattle ranch. Chambers soon put us straight – it’s a circus or oil rig worker. Remove the ABOUT from ROUSTABOUT to get a verb meaning to stir up.

11a    Area about to be bordered by a jail (7)
ACREAGE – A noun meaning an area measured in acres is formed by putting RE the two letter word meaning about – often seen in email reply subject lines – inside A and CAGE (jail for a budgie?).

12a    Put roughly out of particular refurbished coach (7)
RAILCAR – the clue instructs you to remove the letters of PUT (which are not in that order hence the ‘roughly’) from PARTICULAR and then make an anagram of the remaining letters to get the sort of coach you would find as part of a railway train.

13a    He said I was included but dithered (9)
HESITATED – Another way of saying dithered in the sense of wavering or being irresolute is made from a charade of HE plus STATED (said) with I inserted (included)

16a    Vehicle was blue (5)
MOPED – a lightweight motorcycle or suffering from low spirits or being miserable.

17a    Philip loses one animal or flower (5)
PHILIP – It took me a moment or two to realise that you need to move an I (loses one) from the abbreviated form of Philip – PHIL. Add OX (animal) to the PHL – the PHLOX is a well-known garden plant with clusters of white, red or bluish-purple flowers.

18a    Sang to a lover — calm, missing final note, and dead funny (9)
SERENADED – The past participle of a verb meaning the use by a suitor of a romantic song to entertain a lady – SEREN (serene or calm without the final E) followed by an anagram (funny) of DEAD.

21a    Part of body of potentially mean bod (7)
ABDOMEN – Potentially is the anagram indicator here. MEAN BOD rearranges to give you the part of the body between the diaphragm and the pelvis.

22a    Needs me to sort out estate (7)
DEMESNE – an anagram (sort out) of NEEDS ME – this estate is a manor-house with lands adjacent to it not let out to tenants.

25a    Tease not on in town (5)
TAUNT – remove the ON from the county town of Somerset – TAUNTON – this extreme sort of teasing is provoking or goading in a wounding way.

26a    Heartless girl loving to be attractive (9)
GLAMOROUS – One of those clues to be read carefully to see whether you have to find a synonym for heartless or attractive. GL (GIRL with the IR removed – heartless) followed by AMOROUS (loving) – attractive here means full of allure or bewitching.

27a    Unaffected by this gas (7)
NATURAL – a nice double definition – without affectation or the sort of gas that issues from the earth.

28a    Bird coming from wet tree? (7)
TWEETER – the chirp of a small bird is known as a tweet – an anagram of WET TREE produces a TWEETER – the question mark is there because, of course, the dictionary definition of a tweeter is a loudspeaker used for higher sound frequencies.


1d    Giant barbarian contained rising trouble (7)
GOLIATH – The barbarian here is a GOTH, a rude or uncivilised person. Take a synonym for trouble AIL – reverse it (rising in a down clue) and then insert into GOTH to get the Old Testament giant killed by David.

2d    Victor’s opponent (5)
LOSER – very straightforward – a victor is a winner, so his opponent was obviously the …..!

3d    Bewildered in the main (2,3)

AT SEA – Another nice double definition – If you are in a state of uncertainty or bewilderment, you would be like someone at sea who has lost their bearings.

4d    Agony as wrong guys are taken in (7)
TORMENT – A synonym for agony – TORT (a wrong for which an action for compensation or damages may be sought) with MEN inserted (guys taken in).

5d    Untamed, two deer stood tall (7)
TOWERED – an anagram (untamed) of TWO DEER – towered in the sense of very tall or elevated.

6d    According to Peter, Frenchman’s gobbled up tropical fruit (9)
PERSIMMON – this plum-like tropical fruit is a charade of PER (according to) followed by SIMON (St Peter’s first name) with M inserted (Frenchman gobbled up).

7d    Platform for a lad – punch thrown (6,3)
LAUNCH PAD – the platform from which a rocket leaves earth – an anagram (thrown) of A LAD PUNCH.

8d    Got one’s head down after lighting blue touchpaper? (7)
RETIRED – an old-fashioned way of saying someone had gone to bed in order to sleep, is also what you are supposed to do after you lit the touchpaper of a firework.

14d    One is not sure if one has it (4-5)
SELF-DOUBT – Another lovely clue – if you are not sure about yourself you would be suffering from this, but if you were suffering from self-doubt, would you be sure!

15d    Travelling clock (9)
TAXIMETER – This clock tells you the distance travelled, and therefore the cost, of travelling by taxi.

17d    Carriage transporting Stanhope that does not start (7)
PHAETON – an open four-wheeled carriage for one or two horses is made from an anagram of STANHOPE with the S removed (does not start).

18d    Nurse, Oriental female coming from the country (7)
SENEGAL – the abbreviation for a State Enrolled Nurse followed by E (eastern or from the Orient) and GAL (female) gives this West African country.

19d    New sketch of Ruby found by boat (7)
REDRAFT – Ruby is one form of the colour RED, this boat is more often than not made from logs – RAFT – put the two together to produce a new draft or copy of something.

20d    Cast assistant’s cupboard (7)
DRESSER – another double definition – dressers help members of a theatrical cast to put their costumes on and a dresser is a type of kitchen cupboard.

23d    Animal’s down in the dumps right away (5)
MOOSE – Take the R (right away) from MOROSE (down in the dumps or gloomy) – this animal is the American elk.

24d    Wanting a drink (5)
SHORT – two of the numerous definitions of the word SHORT are (a) being deficient or lacking in something) and a small drink of spirits.

I didn’t have one special favourite clue – there were lots of good ones to choose from, but I do think all the double definitions were particularly fine examples of this type of clue. Thank you Cephas for the entertainment which I , at least, was able to enjoy over two days – Saturday to solve and Sunday to analyse and take pleasure in all over again.