DT 26397 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26397 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26397 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

A full review of this puzzle will be published on Thursday, 18th November.


1a    Cool cat kind of pants (7)
A person who knows and appreciates up-to-date jazz is also the name for low-rise trousers

12a    Collusive South American cries (2,7)
A short phrase meaning collusive or collaborating is a charade of a member of a South American people of Peru before the Spanish conquest and an owl’s cries

19a    One who backs horses? (7)
Someone who makes leather goods for the backs of horses

28a    Band means to find road round town (7)
A charade of a band or loop and a means or method gives a road round a tow, like the one that never got built around London!


1d    Where one may retire while suspended (7)
A cryptic definition of a bed made of canvas suspended from two supports by cords at both ends

7d    It depends on the listener (7)
A cryptic definition of the soft, rounded fleshy part hanging from the lower margin of the “listener”

17d    Change but not study interpretation (7)
Start with a word meaning a change and remove CON (study) to get an interpretation

23d    Work to rule (5)
A cryptic definition of what a monarch does

The Saturday Crossword Club opens at 10.00am.  Membership is free and open to all.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

118 comments on “DT 26397 (Hints)

  1. Not wishing to be derogatory about the Setters but this one seems again to be written by computer. There is certainly a great divide between the quality of puzzle from one day to the next. Some defend it as style but to me it can be just laziness. discuss.
    Thanks to B Dave for the hints. great cycling weather today, I’m off for a ride

    1. I’m not capable of telling whether this has been written by computer, but I’ve done it nonetheless. 12a and 3d are nice clues. 2d is a new word to me. Thanks to all involved.

  2. Morning Dave for some reason I found this much harder than previous Saturday and although I have finished it with the help of one hint from yourself I can’t say that I enjoyed it, 2d, I am not sure if this is correct, is it a French word?? lots of words appear more than once, eg ‘back’ appears in at least four clues, play at least twice also poem, won’t be around much today folks, will be here for next half hour but then have to go seek out a new washing machine!! through necessity not choice! Good luck all, a tough one for the CC today IMHO :)

    1. Good luck with finding a new washing machine – necessity makes us spend more money than we want.

      Hope you are feeling better today Mary.

    2. It actually comes from the French indeed but had no idea and didn’t even know the word! Just found it thanks to your very question, Mary!
      Hope you found a ggood washing machine!…. A+

    3. Hi Mary! re 2d there is a place south of London whose name is a homophone of it. The trams used to go there when I lived in Streatham a very long time ago.

  3. Thanks for the start dave. Didn’t recognise 28a other than a previous name for Manchester airport. Thought 11a was an infrequently used noun but still plodding through.
    Seem to have too many Ks in 13a fory liking. Ho hum

  4. Good morning all. I agree in part with all the above comments. I know it takes time to produce a good crossword but some of these clues were just definitions…..13a, 19a,1d.
    12a, 16a and 3d were my favourites.
    I had to resort to google for 2d which serves me right for sticking to a Collins dictionary which doesn’t include this word!

  5. Lots of interruptions doing this but it came together nicely once I changed my original for 7d – I had hearing (made sense to me) on first run through. Obviously it was wrong so took it out and ignored it until I got the across answers.

    Thanks for hints BD – nice pictures!!

    1. No she hasn’t – as Mrs N will tell you, ladies of a certain age know how to pace themselves pink bubbly wise – I was out getting goodies for a family/friends birthday lunch tomorrow. You may also wish to note that in my opinion its much better being the age I am now that it was being 59. Mind you that could have something to do with being on day 4 of a 6 day celebration :)

  6. Sorry far too tough for a Saturday, very little fun in staring at a blank grid with almost no way in. Not my favourite.

  7. A 1* puzzle for me I’m afraid.

    I doubt if even a computer would have come up with 1a, 28a or 1d.

    I got up early for this and it has disappointed.

  8. Stick with it Barrie – on first read through I didn’t get any answers until 19a.

    Similar to Lea I had wrong answer at first for 7d – but my answer was more of an adornment.

    I agree with Mary – too many ‘backs’ – is that a clue to the puzzle being computer-generated?

    I always enjoy looking at the picture hints – thank you BD – shame there isn’t also a male version of 1a :)

  9. I seem to be in the minority today in that I thoroughly enjoyed solving this crossword, even to the extent of regretting that it’s the Gnome’s turn to do the review as I would have enjoyed working out the explanations too. My favourite clue was 12a. Thanks Cephas and BD.

    1. I agree with you Sue – it was an enjoyable puzzle and 12a was my favcourite – followed closely by 9a. My ex-husband’s name was Ronald and this clue fits perfectly.

  10. As this was the first crossword this week I could see clearly, I was disappointed. Not enough oomph to get me going, although I did like 12a. Have had strange eyelid infection in both eye and was allergic to the initial treatment, which caused my eyelids to swell up even more, thus restricting my reading capabilities. Hopefully meds now sorted.

  11. Not a great puzzle – some dodgy clues and a few too easy. On a positive note I like 12a – quite clever. Streets behind the puzzles set for this week. BAH!

    Off to watch Tottenham Hotspur today.

  12. I found this a bit harder than the usual Saturday puzzle – went quite a long way down the across clues before I even did one. For a little while I wondered about 19a being ‘breaker’ ie someone who ‘backs’ (gets a young horse used to being ridden) so ‘breaks it in’ – is anyone still with me or am I rambling? Anyway, it was clearly wrong which I discovered quite quickly. I had a bit of trouble in the bottom left hand corner and ended up with a few gaps before the light dawned with 16d and then all was fine. Liked 12, 13 and 25a and 21d. Thanks to the setter and BD – how did I guess the picture that would go with the hint for 1a?!! Hope that everyone has a good weekend – good luck with the washing machine, Mary, and hope your mouth feels better today.

    1. Please can you share some of your light on 16d?? I thought I’d got everything except that one but I can’t seem to find anything to fit.

      1. Think of another name for an agent (not spy) and what is at the top of a building to get the definition of admonishment.

  13. I’m really struggling with this one. Not the usual enjoyment for a Saturday challenge. I wonder who the setter is – if, indeed, it is a real person! It has spoilt my weekend

  14. I started this puzzle later than usual but, to be totally honest, I’ve struggled like Collywobbles above, haven’t enjoyed it and, after years [I’m not telling you how many] of completing this crossword, I’m convinced that the standard of the Saturday crossword is deteriorating. I can only hope that my Saturday improves by Wales beating South Africa in Cardiff…

  15. Have to admit I’m really struggling to make a breakthrough in the SW corner – apart from BD’s hint. Will have to give it up this afternoon, take the pooch for a walk and then head to Murrayfield to watch the slaughter.
    Any help on 22a gratefully received!

    1. Incomplete crest shown by bird (9)

      Think of it as two words 4 (incomplete) + 5 (crest) to get a bird

            1. One split second of inspiration doesn’t make me a complier/setter. I am in awe of those who do it on a regular basis. Maybe well over 40 years doing the Telegraph crossword has finally rubbed off!

      1. As Sitting Bull said to Custer ‘Heap Oral Nonsense’ . I think I’ll stick to the day job.

  16. Like many others I’m really struggling with this one and not deriving a huge amount of pleasure from it either. However, if somekind soul could give me a clue for either 17d or 25a I might stand a chance of ending my misery !

    Thanks in anticipation ………………… and I hope the washing machine does all you wish from it Mary !!!

    1. dooh !! have just revisited BD’s clue for 17d but am no nearer getting 25a – Dickensian actors aren’t my strong point !

      1. The Dickensian is one of his eponymous heroes, add one and you’ll find an actor who has a theatre named after him.

  17. A gentle late afternoon solve this Saturday.
    I liked 1a, 5a, 12a, 13a, 25a & 17d.

    Re 1a – I could not find reference to the phrase “cool cat” in either Big Chambers or Anne B’s but it is in Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang.

    I recall a TV programme for teenagers of US origin in which the star lad was very cool and the other one very flustered which my kids followed years ago. Have forgotten its title.

    1. Peter

      Your comment at # 8

      “A 1* puzzle for me I’m afraid.
      I doubt if even a computer would have come up with 1a, 28a or 1d.
      I got up early for this and it has disappointed.”

      led me to believe that you had finished!

        1. Hi Peter, glad you finally got 27a – it’s more than I have but Dickens never held a great appeal for me ! I’m resigned to waiting until next week to find out what else I’ve got wrong because I can’t think of any well known actors (or theatres)beginning with O !

          Never mind next Saturdays must be better – mustn’t it ? !1

                1. And with help from Mrs D.P. I’ve got it !!! Amazing what happens when the pressure’s off !! Finished with all your helpful hints so thank you one and all.

            1. PS 25a is a VERY well known character from a Dickens novel (think musicals) – stick an ‘I’ in the middle of it and you have an even better known actor!

    2. I’ll give it a go …
      3d an anagram (surreal) meaning a person who constructs temporary dwellings
      13a if something is a touch risque it could be said to be a bit close to the …….
      19d a five letter word meaning precipitous with the usual shortening of Lieutenant inside meaning refuge
      21d an eight letter word meaning clearly without its first letter means properly (as in correctly)
      24a latin numerals for 150 and then follow the rest of the clue to make a word meaning stick
      26a a group of three musicians followed by a three letter word meaning allowed, the whole answer being a type of poem
      27a if you back something you provide ……. or money to cover expenses
      Hope that some of that is a little bit useful – good luck – keep at it! :smile:

        1. Oh no – so which is right …. we will have to wait for Thursday. I’ve never heard of trip as a small flock of sheep and it’s not in Chambers so I’m going to stick with what I originally said.

          1. Surely the answer is a poem so the small flock of sheep cannot be right. If you went that way you would get an answer relating to a multiple birth not a poem!

  18. I think I have finished, but not sure if I have 24a right. The only answer I can fit in is a South American country . The only part to get to this that seem s to make sense is 150 which I take to be Roman numerals.I cannot make any sense of the Greek capital part of the clue. Please can somebody explain the clue?

  19. I quite liked today’s puzzle. I do not understand the comments (above) about it being set by a computer. Presumably, these comments were written by those who know little about computer programming.

    Has a computer ever compiled a cryptic crossword? If so, who wrote the program – Mr & Mrs Mysteron?

        1. I think I must now retract my apology having read Eric Albert’s words more carefully. To quote:-

          “There are three parts to constructing a crossword:
          coming up with a theme,
          filling in the grid,
          and writing the clues.

          Until artificial intelligence makes some serious leaps, humans will do the heavy lifting when it comes to theme creation and clue writing. But the second part, filling grids with words, is quite computer-friendly. It’s here that machines have revolutionized the construction of crossword puzzles.”

  20. Yes got that now .Ta Unfortunately that puts my answer for 21d wrong. I think I have all the other clues right. I have stuggled today. For the last few Satudays I have managed to finish without help. As a pensioner my weekly aim is to finish the Saturday puzzle and keep the grey matter working. Not this week though!!

    1. I once had a conversation with a very good friend and fellow crossword solver. He said that he does crosswords to keep “the little grey cells” working and I said that that was one of the reasons that I do them too. His answer was “So it doesn’t work then”!

    1. If you put a ‘B’ in front of your answer you then have an eight letter word meaning ‘clearly’ – perhaps as in a clear light.

    2. 26a – Google says “******* is a one stanza poem of eight lines” – that is the definition. Wordplay is – a small musical group, followed by a synonym of “allowed”.

  21. A really helpful website. My first posting on here.
    I enjoy the Saturday puzzle but have come a cropper on the NE section today
    Help with 5a and 5d needed please.
    My pick of the puzzle is 9a today.

    1. Hi David – welcome to the blog.
      5a Clansman and little Elizabeth play (7)
      This is known as the “Scottish play” and it’s a charade of a Scottish nickname and a diminutive form of Elizabeth.

    2. This is a really great website – everyone is helpful and friendly – I’ve become totally addicted since I (actually my husband) found it many months ago. re 5d – think of a play that has a lot of singing and dancing (noted) in it – lots of very popular ones always on in the West End.

  22. Back from White Hart Lane – lots of lively debate above. I wish you luck with your entry David. I too will try. AGAIN!

  23. Contrary to a lot of the views above, I thoroughly enjoyed it and only needed a couple of hints.

    My day is also complete after hearing the England vs Australia rugby score. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

  24. Been out all day,since before the paper even arrived. Done now, but don’t understand a few. One I can’t wait for is 15d; someone explain please!

      1. Yes …! Well done. Perhaps tonight I will be the last to comment. I’m clearly never going to be the first …. ! Goodnight all. Have a good Sunday.

    1. Yes I know, I should have read the blog properly before I posted, but there were 90+ msgs when I got here

  25. Post mortem – I liked 12a and 16a. Kicked myself about 13a when I eventually got it! Mistake was to forget that certain letters go together – and once I got past running through the vowels the penny dropped. Even crosser about not getting the reason for 15d. Two words fitted and one (the right one) was obviously better, but why? Took me a long time and thinking more about the word barmy to get it was an anagram (usually the easiest to solve). I agree that 28a little used so far as I know. Round my City we have a ****road. Not a favourite overall – sorry setter.

  26. Quite enjoyed it. Fave clues 5a, 9a, 22a & 24a…. Yet, I need help for last 2 clues: 6d & 21d if anyone there… Thanks

    1. 21d – The definition is ‘properly’, and you are looking for a synonym for clearly, without the first letter (didn’t start).

      1. Thanks ever so much Jezza…;-) Of course, it’s crystal clear now that you’ve ‘spelt’ it out for me!! I obviously feel stupid for not seeing it myself but never mind! I still haven’t got 21d though but I keep looking…

    1. 16a – The definition is ‘Back’, constructed by a word meaning ‘of”, or about… and a synonym for ‘poem’.

  27. Little Dave,

    How much does a basic ticket to White Hart Lane cost these days. Went years ago and saw Alan Gilzean and Jimmy Greaves playing for Spurs v Sunderland maybe. Took my wife so it couldn’t have cost much.

    1. I’m afraid I don’t know the ticket prices – was taken as a treat. I actually support West Brom but exiled in Hertfordshire. Good game though.

  28. My Collins English Gem Dictionary (3″x2″x0.5″thick); had it since 1960, has 26a in it. Who needs Google.

  29. 28a is Chris Huhne’s constituency in Southampton, which I was hoping he would lose in May.

  30. Finished at last but only with lots of help from this wonderful site. Thanks to all.
    I think this was the most difficult Saturday X word for some time. Didn’t get started until Sunday after the Grand Prix.
    Thanks again.

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