DT 26395 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26395

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26395

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Looks like today’s puzzle is by one of our mystery setters. It was nice to see such an open grid – the Telegraph could do with having many more like this.

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, 12a & 13a    Commit to a naval plan? (4,4,7,2,3,4)
{NAIL ONE’S COLOURS TO THE MAST} – a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning to commit oneself to a plan of action

9a    Euros he used to provide a new home (7)
{REHOUSE} – an anagram (used) of EUROS HE gives a word meaning to provide with a new home

10a    Donor at dance creating a storm (7)
{TORNADO} – an anagram (dance) of DONOR AT creates a violent storm

11a    Tramp from house to box office (4)
{HOBO} – this American tramp is a charade of HO(use) and Box Office

12a    See 1 Across

13a    See 1 Across

16a    Take it out of drain (7)
{FATIGUE} – both of these definitions are essentially the same meaning

17a    Regularly uncanny with sensitive material (7)
{NANKEEN} – combine the even letters (regularly) of uNcAnNy with a word meaning sensitive or astute to get this buff-coloured cotton cloth

18a    Prevent an execution (4,3)
{HEAD OFF} – a phrasal verb meaning to prevent gives the method of the execution of King Charles I

21a    Game played in parts of India and Bologna (7)
{DIABOLO} – this game in which a two-headed top is spun, tossed, and caught on a string attached to two sticks, held one in each hand, is hidden inside (parts of) InDIA and BOLOgna

23a    Cross the revolving gate (4)
{ROOD} – this cross at the entrance to a church chancel is a gate reversed (revolving)

24a    Support the workforce (5)
{STAFF} – a double definition – a long stick used as a support when walking or climbing and the workforce of a company

25a    Corny stuff for listeners (4)
{EARS} – a double definition – the seed-bearing heads of corn or organs used for listening

28a    Wine seller of new Tempranillo originating in grape-plant run (7)
{VINTNER} – this wine seller is constructed by putting N(ew) and T (Tempranillo originating) inside a grape-plant and then adding R(un)

29a    Announced trip in the dark compound (7)
{NITRIDE} – what sounds like (announced) a trip in the dark is actually a chemical compound

30a    Loathed pioneers designed walkie-talkies (15)
{RADIOTELEPHONES} – an anagram (designed) of LOATHED PIONEERS results in these walkie-talkies


1d    Westminster’s cardinal position (5,2,3,5)
{NORTH OF THE RIVER} – a cryptic definition of the position of Westminster with respect to the Thames

2d    Live like a friar? (7)
{INHABIT} – a word meaning to live or reside, when split as (2,5), describes a friar

3d    The burden on America (4)
{ONUS} – a burden is a charade of ON and the United States

4d    Offensive looking stye (7)
{EYESORE} – something that is offensive to look at, when read as (3,4), describes a stye

5d    Twig that the safety device is active (5,2)
{CATCH ON} – a phrasal verb meaning to twig or comprehend also means that the safety device is active

6d    Queen leaves pantry with cooking fat (4)
{LARD} – take ER (Elizabeth Regina / Queen) away from a pantry to get this cooking fat

7d    Ignorant French article on an item of merchandise (7)
{UNAWARE} – a word meaning ignorant is a charade of the French indefinite article together with A and an item of merchandise

8d    Instinctive reaction to nonsense — a toss-up arranged (15)
{SPONTANEOUSNESS} – an instinctive reaction is an anagram (arranged) of NONSENSE A TOSS-UP

14d    Shining silver of small value (5)
{AGLOW} – a synonym for shining is a charade of the chemical symbol for silver together with a word meaning of small value

15d    Telltale creep (5)
{SNEAK} – a double definition

19d    Decked an odder type (7)
{ADORNED} – decked here is as in the song “Deck the halls with boughs of holly” – it’s an anagram (type) of AN ODDER

20d    Diet, perhaps, involving blubber release (3-4)
{FAT-FREE} – a type of diet is a charade of blubber and to release

21d    Take barrier down to provide protection? (7)
{DEFENCE} – this could, but doesn’t, mean to take a barrier down – it does mean protection

22d    Too vain to travel to enthusiastic reception (7)
{OVATION} – an anagram (to travel) of TOO VAIN gives an enthusiastic reception

26d    Cancel a few sundowners (4)
{UNDO} – a word meaning to cancel or annul is hidden inside the final word of the clue

27d    Desire for sex, cocaine and heroin! (4)
{ITCH} – this desire is a charade of sex appeal in Crosswordland, C(ocaine) and H(eroin)

A few good clues in this puzzle, the key to which is getting the long answers.

87 comments on “DT 26395

  1. Most enjoyable cryptic of the week, not overly difficult but challenging. I liked 1a. (etc) and 27d. Thanks Dave and thanks also to the mystery setter.

      1. One feels one must spread illumination where necessary. Ones elevation to the House should not be mentioned. HAH!

  2. I know I am going to upset people but I found this quite a quick easy solve. Sorry but I did. Some very good clues and even the 15 letter ones were fairly user-friendly. A very nice start to the day, once I had moved all the age-related confetti and balloons (no, it’s not today, it’s tomorrow) from my desk to make room for the paper. Thanks to the Mysteron and BD.

    The Toughie is tough today – if it helps anyone start , the answer to 17a here is also in the toughie.

    1. I’m glad you said that about the toughie csue, I now need to get into both micawber and kcits heads! Am persevating on slowly…..

  3. I have to agree with Sue today, this puzzle was (in my opinion) the easiest one since I left the clueless club, at first because of the association between 1a, 12a, 13a, I thought it would be difficult but it all fell into place nicely and if this isn’t Rufus it has become my next favourite setter, don’t think it could possibly be Ray T???! fav clue, though an obvious one 2d:) a nice one for the CC today I think

      1. At the moment I am in the JOCC (just out of clueless club) and I think I will be here for a long time to come Sue, these puzzles don’t come along too often :)

  4. I found this quite difficult but, having finished it now, can’t really see why. I was held up by being completely unable to get 1a etc – it (they) was (were) the last to go in and even then it was a total guess and then look up – I’ve never heard the phrase before. I was also held up for a long time by putting ‘kiss’ for 23a – not totally illogical, I hope – a cross ‘x’ is a kiss and we always called those funny little revolving gates ‘kissing gates’! Oh dear – please don’t all think that I’ve lost my marbles!! :oops: That was sorted out once I got 1d. I liked 18a and 27d. Thanks to Mr or Mrs Mystery Setter and to Big Dave. What does an open grid mean?

      1. No doubt BD will correct me, but as far as I know there is no hard definition of an “open grid”. I take it as a term to describe one with considerably more white squares than black; and with alternate letters intersecting, as opposed to some where there are two consecutive unchecked letters in the answer (for which there is another word that escapes me). Anyway, it all fell into place pretty quickly for me, particularly the 4 long clues. Most enjoyable, but 2* difficulty IMHO.

        1. That was exactly what I meant.

          I think they are known as OO or EE to indicate that the across and down clues are in the odd or even columns respectively. Perhaps Anax might enlighten us!

          1. Oh blimey – now I’m even more confused! Still don’t understand OO or EE. Am now off to compare today’s cryptic with the toughie – almost wish that I’d never asked!! How pathetic is that? Thanks for replying Digby and BD – am sure that all will become clear some time …

  5. Very enjoyable today, did seem to be more anagrams than of late, or is it just me? never heard of 29a , had to check on tinterweb but other than that all good. Am with Kath on not knowing what an open grid means. Thanks to Mysteron and BD

        1. CluedUp, as was, seems to have been written by someone who was unaware that answers can spread across more than one clue, that some clues have punctuation in them (many apostrophes get dropped) and that some clues use italics – i.e. someone who is not a crossword enthusiast.. What you might call a triumph of design over content.

                  1. I’m the one that’s had a glass of wine, what’s your excuse? You can’t blame the dentist’s injection because you haven’t been there yet!

  6. Blue skies and sunshine here today but a really wild wind, has blown two panes out of the greenhouse, lucky it’s not glass

  7. Wrote 1 down in as soon as I read it. Must have had a good day as I really don’t know how it occurred to me.

  8. I was at first rather daunted when I saw all those long words framing the grid, but they turned out to be user-friendly, as CrypticSue said. Got 1a etc. thinking of the Duchess of Plaza Toro’s song in “The Gondoliers”, and once I’d done that everything just about fell into place. I may well be in the JOCC myself by now. I only needed help with 29a, and my favourite clues were 2 and 27d. Thanks, O Mysterious One, for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and to Big Dave for the hints. I always enjoy reading them, even on the rare occasions when I don’t need them.

    Thinking of you, Mary, and hope you don’t have too awful a dental ordeal.

    1. Franny,

      You suggested the other day that I should get Chambers crossword dictionary. There are 2 on the web. 1 from Amazon at £52 and 1 from WH Smith at £8.. Which one were you suggesting?

      1. Have a look at the £8 one and see what you think. That seems to be about the going price on Amazon, for the paperback at any rate.
        Good luck. :-)

  9. Nearly got there but had 18a as Hang … Knew 19d must be anag. so had to call on blog. Thanks again for saving wasted head scratching over ones own blunders. A good mixture of clues today I thought. Sun shining on Northern Riviera after wild night.

  10. Bit late today but solcvewd it quite quickly – last one is was the 1a etc as hadn’t heard of the term b efore. Several nice clues but think my favourite was 20d

    ~Thanks to setter and BD

  11. Mary

    Good luck this afternoon – hope all goes well.

    Had my first journey out in the car yesterday – it was lovely to be driving again. Not so nice to have to fill it up with petrol though. My son had left me less than a quarter of a tank – typical.

    Not nice herer this morning but the sun is trying to come through now.

    1. Thanks Lea, good to know you’re out and about, fancy your son not filling the car up for you, as you say typical :)

  12. Close to getting free today … but not quite! Put ‘hams’ in 25a and ‘nitrite’ in 29a because I didn’t quite understand it and had to look up a couple as well. Maybe another day …

    Jolly fine puzzle, most enjoyable, liked most of it; thanks to setter and BD.

  13. Nothing too troubling in this one; last one in 4d, because I read the clue as ‘Offensive looking style’ !

        1. Nor me! Think I might need some new specs. I’m OK when solving on paper but the screen of my netbook is a bit small for on-line solving.

  14. Enjoyable but agree not too difficult – I like big words but conversely there are too many 4-letter words in the English language for which I have no particular affection – most of them are ‘rood’ – where the flying fid did the word ‘spontaneousness’ spring from – thought this is ‘spontaneity’?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Are there nice words and horrible words?

          “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
          By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    1. I agree too although it is in Chambers – needed to check that before I had a good grouse about it!

  15. I’ve just been reading some book reviews on Amazon and found a couple of words which Sue and Mary might consider adding to their new dictionary, namely characature and isoteric – esoteric sports drinks, whatever next?

  16. Very pleasant crossword today. Fairly straightforward but with some nice clues.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog.

  17. Hola from La Cala Spain!
    Golf is of usual standard – particularly after yesterdays day off(on the beer!)
    Today’s not too troubling and I am just about to start the Toughie.
    Rest of the week pleasant, liked Micawber and Jay yesterday.
    Thanks to all and fir the rest of the week.

    1. What part of Spain are you in? Weather here in Alicante province is v good – warm and sunny and a good forecast for the next 4 days.
      Enjoy the golf (and the beer)!

  18. I like the open grid

    Generally this was difficult

    even having read Big Daves comments I cannot get16a 17a and 30a

    1. Oh good – SO glad that, at last, someone else has found it difficult.
      16a – another word for tire, also, in the plural, a word meaning clothes worn for menial duties (mainly military I think)
      17a – a three letter word for grandmother + a four letter word meaning sharp or avid – whole answer meaning cotton material
      30a – a ten letter word for phone preceded by a five letter word for transistor – whole thing meaning the kind of thing you can ring people on without being tangled up with wires etc

      Sorry – suspect I may not have added much to BD’s hints!! Apologies to ‘himself’!

  19. 7d – can you have just one ware? I’ve never heard it used in the singular form. Agree with Sue and Mary that this was a fairly easily solved xword. More a 2* but very enjoyable. Thanks to compiler and assessor.

  20. Enjoyed solving this one
    Favourite was 1a etc.
    Really, Dear Setter, clue 28a was extremely verbose – “wine seller” was sufficient instead of all that crap involving Tempranillo! Pass me the Rioja!

  21. Unusual to see such lengthy answers and overall this was quite easy in my view. Had it done by the time I got into Liverpool Street albeit a delayed service. Enjoyed it and thanks to the setter. 2*.

  22. This was nearly a clear run at work today after my escape from the cc a few weeks ago. However, I was beaten by 17a – even though I remembered ‘regularly’ as an indicator for the even letters, and had ‘keen’ in mind too! Oh dear, maybe a chardonnay too far last night. Thanks to setter and BD.

  23. Quite liked it, but finished it a bit too quickly. Getting the outside ones made it a bit of a breeze but there were a couple of nice challenges. As has been said before, each person has a different experience. I’ve suffered with crosswords that other people have told me were simple. Liked 2d. My sort of clue. Thanks to Mysteron and BD

  24. Excellent puzzle today, and review. Nothing too tricky (a couple of testers) but lots of good clues and a nice feel to it. 2 & 20d and 1 & 29a I enjoyed.

  25. The big clues around the edges were always going to overshadow those in the middle but it was quite a refreshing change. When I first started doing the crossword in the Western Morning News last year I used to photocopy it and share the workload with a colleague who had a passionate loathing for clues like 1a. She’d call them ‘two-ers’, making this one a ‘three-er’. I don’t recall seeing them that often in the Telegraph but I’ve always found them fun to solve.

  26. Now this is the sort of grid I like though it is rare.Someone please explain FATIGUE,I dont catch on.

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