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DT 26400

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26400

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Slightly harder than usual today, but another fine puzzle from Jay.

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    Virtually a stray, welcoming freedom at last (6)
{ALMOST} – a word meaning virtually or practically is built up from A and stray or missing around (welcoming) M (freedoM at last)

4a    Upset to be packing fish that’s out of date (8)
{OBSOLETE} – put an anagram (upset) of TO BE around (packing) a fish to get a word meaning out of date

10a    City professor’s position on transport for the disabled (4,5)
{BATH CHAIR} – a charade of a city in the south west and the position held by a professor gives this old-fashioned transport for the disabled

11a    Mock turtle’s original relative (5)
{TAUNT} – a verb meaning to mock comes from T (Turtle’s original) and a relative

12a    Song warning of dangerous seas (3,4)
{RED FLAG} – the title of a socialist song gives a warning of dangerous seas

13a    Universal excitement following a sign (7)
{AUSPICE} – U(niversal) and excitement or zest follow A to get a sign or omen

14a    A golden thank you that comes from the heart? (5)
{AORTA} – a charade of A, the heraldic term for gold and a colloquial thank you gives the main artery from the heart

15a    Return to help in highly thought of broadcast (8)
{RADIATED} – reverse (return) a verb meaning to help inside a word meaning highly thought of to get a synonym for broadcast

18a    Working in court he has no time for showing lack of courage (8)
{UNHEROIC} – an anagram (working) of IN COUR(T) HE without the T (has no Time) gives a word meaning showing lack of courage

20a    The ultimate in diet — bread and fish (5)
{TROLL} – combine T (the ultimate in dieT) with some bread to get a verb meaning to fish by trailing a baited line along behind a boat

23a    Film company look for provider of music (7)
{PICCOLO} – a charade of a short word for a film, a CO(mpany) and LO(ok) gives a musical instrument

25a    Early Christian given a job the Spanish rejected (7)
{APOSTLE} – this early Christian, one of twelve, is a charade of A, a job and the Spanish definite article reversed (rejected)

26a    Eager to begin opening occasion (5)
{EVENT} – E (Eager to begin) is followed by an opening to get an occasion

27a    Red tape sees equipment and morale destroyed (9)
{RIGMAROLE} – a lengthy and complicated procedure (red tape) comes from equipment followed by an anagram (destroyed) of MORALE

28a    Difficult patient gets tough (4,4)
{HARD CASE} – a synonym for tough followed by a patient gives a tough, a rough or aggressive person

29a    Looks for flight being announced (6)
{STARES} – a verb meaning looks sounds like (being announced) the kind of flight that you walk up to get to another floor


1d    Supporter backed authentic environment for love of trees (8)
{ARBOREAL} – reverse (backed) a female garment which is often referred to in Crosswordland as a supporter, follow it by a word meaning authentic and then put both around (environment for) O (love) to get an adjective meaning of trees

2d    Killer who’s no stranger to drama? (7)
{MATADOR} – this Spanish killer of bulls is an anagram (stranger) of TO DRAMA – I can’t quite fit “no” into the wordplay

3d    A village disheartened after cropper’s permitted absence (4,5)
{SICK LEAVE} – put A and VE (VillagE disheartened) after an implement with a curved blade and a short handle, for cutting crops (cropper), to get this permitted absence from work

5d    High street office’s eager bunch due a break (6,2,6)
{BUREAU DE CHANGE} – this office that is found in a typical high street is an anagram (break) of EAGER BUNCH DUE A

6d    Cereal boxes had initially produced such swearing (5)
{OATHS} – put this cereal, used to make porridge, around (boxes) H (Had initially) to get this swearing

7d    Learned English and Italian in vulgar surroundings (7)
{ERUDITE} – learned, as an adjective, comes from E(nglish) followed by IT(alian) inside (in … surroundings) a word meaning vulgar

8d    Finally, Close Encounters returns honour (6)
{ESTEEM} – E (finally closE) is followed by a word meaning encounters reversed (returns) to get a word meaning to honour

9d    Jumper asks for administrators of rough justice (8,6)
{KANGAROO COURTS} – a charade of an animal that jumps and a word meaning asks or solicits gives tribunals before which a fair trial is impossible (administrators of rough justice)

16d    One can’t appreciate the gravity of one’s journey (9)
{ASTRONAUT} – a cryptic definition of a spaceman

17d    The gloomy quality of a bright sky? (8)
{BLUENESS} – this gloomy quality could also describe a bright sky

19d    Swap leaders of ill-defined industry such as this (7)
{NUCLEAR} – swap the first two letters of a word meaning ill-defined to get an industry

21d    Forbidden access from the exterior (7)
{OUTDOOR} – a charade of synonyms for forbidden and an access gives a word meaning from the exterior

22d    Delivery address (6)
{SPEECH} – a double definition where the both are closely linked – delivery or communication and an address to an audience

24d    What might measure nervous reaction following work? (5)
{OPTIC} – a device for measuring drinks is constructed from a nervous reaction following Crosswordland’s work

No particular favourites today.

65 comments on “DT 26400

  1. Agree its slightly harder than usual Wednesday offerings today but enjoyable too. LIke you I have no particular favourites in what was a nice variety of clues. Thanks to Jay and BD.

    I recommend the Toughie to all – it is a Toughie but definitely doable.

  2. Indeed Dave, I thought “Oh no another one verging on toughie” after getting only one or two answers at the first sweep. Then everything seemed to go in like clockwork and I finished with a flourish. Very enjoyable puzzle.
    Fav was 1a and 27a.
    Thanks to Jay and to to you B Dave

  3. A lovely puzzle a degree of difficulty that made solving very satisfying with all the clues being fair and well signposted.
    7d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Jay and to BD

  4. Hi all, a 4* for me today I’m afraid and I very nearly gave up on it, having done only the bottom S/W corner after half an hour, kept perservating back and fore until eventually I had to go to the blog for 17d! not a crossword I enjoyed however I did have 3 favourite clues, 28a, 29a and 24d, yesterday was a disaster day for me as I had to go out am not getting back until 2.30 at which time son no1 arrived unexpectedly and stayed until 6pm ish at which time I had to go make dinner, then the telly took over and that was it! waiting in for ‘The wasing machine’ today, hoping they will arrive early rather than late! :)

    1. Considering my recent record, I wondered if we could start a branch association called the Occasionally Clueless Club (OCC) of which I would certainly be a member.

      I hope the washing machine has arrived and is a great success. :-)

      1. I wouldn’t be a member because I am Clueless on so many occasions but was it Nubian or Digby that said we are JOCC members, so that excuses us, Just Out Of The Clueless Club, you are not so Clueless so you could be president of the the OCC! :) machine has arrived, backlog of work waiting for it, have to wait for Chris to come home and plumb it in!

  5. A very enjoyable coffee break whilst clearing out the kitchen cupboards! I liked 14a – simply solved but such elegant surface reading. Thanks Jay and BD

    Horrible weather here on the Wirral.

    1. Patsyann you are so clever doing that in a coffee break, other way round for me I had to have breaks away from the crossword, not coffee, I hate it, love the smell, hate the taste

  6. A most enjoyable puzzle and I agree a little more taxing than usual. Many excellent clues but they could all be worked out. Took a little longer than usual therefore the enjoyment lasted longer.
    Favourite for me 25A.
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave.

  7. Usual fine stuff from Jay and none the worse for it, I liked 25a and 9d but the whole thing was great fun. Thanks Jay and BD for the review.

  8. Oh dear, another of those days when it seems I’ve made no progress and learned almost nothing … Got the NW corner in place plus a few more but was then well and truly stuck. Thanks for the explanations.

  9. That took me longer than normal for a Wed but it was good. I liked 4a and 9d but didn’t like 18a (for no particular reason).

    Also just got around to doing Sunday’s so that’s two for me today.

    Thanks for BD and Jay.

    1. Hi Lea, I didn’t like 18a either it’s just not a word that’s used much, doesn’t sound right somehow! How’s the driving going?

      1. Going well thanks. Felt almost normal yesterday as went for a pedicure and today went for coffee with friends. Difficult doing shopping with crutches but managed to wander around the shops.

        Hope your washing machine arrives and that you get it installed okay.

  10. A great crossword to brighten up a dreary morning. Many thanks to Jay for the crossword and to BD for the hints and tips. Favourite clues were 4a and 1.

  11. Fairly straightforward except for a couple of silly ones today

    Eventually worked out 20a although never heard the answer in that context in common parlance

    But the really awful one is 13a: to stretch “spice” to mean excitement is desperate in the extreme


  12. An hour or so of pleasant cerebral exertion, and my thanks to Setter & Solver. Can anyone help me to decipher the linked clues in the Quickie (where 7a might help with the Cryptic). Can’t work out how many of them are actually linked.

      1. Ahh – thanks Franco – I think that you are right. Not one of the better efforts, but Fairy Nuff.

        1. I thought it was quite good actually but nowhere near as good as the classic of the genre: “Shame” “Spawned”!

          Is it allowed to discuss the Quickie on this site?

  13. I did this in two shots today, interrupted by a visit to the gym, after which I feel virtuous but a bit stiff. Managed to do it all quite happily except for 21d and 29a, but when I read the hint for one the other just fell into place. So, many thanks to Jay and Big Dave.

    Incidentally, I didn’t like the clue for 13a either. My favourites were 9d and 23a. And I hope you’ll be able to play your flute again soon, Mary.

    1. Thanks Franny, me too, it’s so frustrating! since giving up on the more physical stuff, like squash, badminton, coastal walking, golf, latin and ballroom dancing etc because of joint problems learning the flute and also in the latter 18 months the telegraph cryptic have become my saviour :)

      1. Getting older is a real pain isn’t it. Hope you are back with the flute soon – any word on when it may be?

        1. As soon as I can adjust my ’embouchure’ really Lea, that is the position of the mouth, lips tongue etc. but with the ‘work done’ only temporary for five weeks or so, I will have to readjust again then but at the moment I am not getting much of a sound out of it!

  14. Enjoyed today’s but got stuck on SW corner, had ethereal for 17d which threw it all out but after persevating tipexed it out and finally got it right. thanks to Jay for setting and BD for the explanations for those I got but couldn’t quite work out why. :D cold and cloudy here in Dover area.

    1. I prefer ethereal Gari, much nicer word, we have partly blue skies here at the moment and the washing machine has arrived just going to measure see if it fits!

      1. Gari, can you still buy Tipp-ex? Have you considered investing in a propelling pencil with a rubber on the top? 17d – Why “ethereal”?

        1. you have to admit Franco it’s a much nicer word :) now propelling pencil with a rubber on top haven’t seen one of those for quite a while

              1. There is a new Telegraph puzzle magazine out tomorrow (I think its going to be monthly) and the first issue has a free gift of a propelling pencil. However, did you not see the letter in the Telegraph a couple of weeks ago where someone said that their father’s definiton of a cad was someone who completed the Cryptic in pencil :D

                1. I think that I must be a cad:

                  Or , with thanks to Chambers Thesaurus:

                  blackguard, scoundrel, rascal, rogue, villain, devil, knave, deceiver, miscreant, reprobate, wretch colloq. bleeder, blighter, bounder, rotter, stinker, rat, swine, scumbag.

                  Just off to buy a biro (and Tippex)

                  1. I always use pencil as I like to put putative answers in lightly and then go over them again if they turn out to be correct or erase them if not. But then I never go in for competitions where pen is mandatory.

                2. Is it a self -propelling pencil? If so I will have one!.
                  I will admit to being a cad last week in Spain as I had to use my golf pencil (no eraser) to complete some very expensive crossword puzzles!

        2. Hi Franco,
          The reason I thought of it is as below, and yes you can still Tipp-ex however in the workplace version (green label) it no longer contains harmful chemicals after a number of people managed to get it in their eyes and either lost their sight or permanently damaged their eyesight.

          E·the’re·al adjective 1. Pertaining to the hypothetical upper, purer air, or to the higher regions beyond the earth or beyond the atmosphere; celestial; as, ethereal space; ethereal regions. « Go, heavenly guest, ethereal messenger.» Milton. 2. Consisting of ether; hence, exceedingly light or airy; tenuous; spiritlike; characterized by extr …
          Found on http://www.encyclo.co.uk/webster/E/70

          1. Just a little further info on Tipp-ex
            In 1988 the Ayrshire Education Authority (AEA) banned the use of Tipp-ex in all its schools, by staff and students alike. The reason given was the possibility of the solvent (1,1,1-trichloroethane) being inhaled by children as a form of substance abuse. While a number of schools in the UK are known to have introduced similar rules, the AEA is the only local education authority to have extended it to an entire region. The decision was revoked six months later following complaints from staff, pupils and parents.

            1. Even more useless trivia:

              Liquid Paper, an American equivalent to Tipp-ex, was invented by the mother of Mike Nesmith, one of the sixties group the Monkees,

              1. Gari, thanks very much for the information about Tipp-ex! This gives me a very good reason to continue using a propelling-pencil and rubber!

                17d -” Ethereal” – I see the logic but I had a few checking letters that made it impossible.

  15. Weather in Alicante today is chilly (16C) and drizzle so I was well pleased to get a really good puzzle from Jay. Agree it was a bit trickier than normal but well clued and with good surface readings, as usual.
    Thanks very much Jay and also to BD for the blog
    BD – Is 2d a sort of semi all-in-one referring to the fact a Matador is no stranger to the drama of the corrida? Just a thought.

      1. Sorry BD, I didn’t explain myself very well – perhaps that’s why I’m not a blogger!
        What I meant was, if you accept a Corrida is a pretty dramatic event (debatable and I’m not going down that road!), then this particular killer is NO STRANGER TO DRAMA. Almost stands alone as a clue, but overlayed is ‘stranger’ as anagram indicator and ‘to drama’ as the fodder. Maybe I’m overcomplicating things and the ‘no’ is just to smooth the surface reading. . . . .

        1. Pommers

          I did understand you – what I was trying to say is that the extra “no” is there solely for the surface reading and doesn’t seem to play a part in the wordplay.

            1. Think we agree about it being for surface reading but I’m just trying to get Jay off the hook as I really like his crosswords!

  16. I hope Mary’s w/machine fits. Its a bit late now to measure it up!. Most enjoyable puzzle today. Got bogged down in NE, especially 13a until I finally saw the light. Never thought of the word as a sign but live and learn. Favs 14 16 17 18 25. Thought 22 was pretty poor as both definitions are too alike. Here’s hoping Mary!

    1. I really enjoyed this today, so much better than yesterday’s. All solved in relatively short order except 13a which took nearly as long as the rest of the puzzle put together. So, I’m with you Upthecreek 13a caused a bit of angst and I didn’t like 22. Other than those a nice puzzle and a 3/3.

      1. Thanks don 1991. Nice to know somebody is on the same wavelength. Still worried about Mary’s washing machine though.

    2. Thank you for your concern about my washing machine upthecreek, you will be glad to learn that it fits with an inch to spare and has performed its maiden wash on an eco cycle which my old machine did not have, hopefully there will be no need for any further discussion on it :) (fingers crossed)

  17. I took this and the Toughie to bed with me last night and found them a p[leasant enough workout, but I had seen a few of the clues, used in other puzzles.

    Still, a good puzzle which should (and seems to) have pleased the regulars.

    1. I cannot remember a puzzle where I had not seen at least one of the clues before. It must be very difficult to think of new angles for every clue, when you consider that the crossword has been in existence for 85 years!.

  18. Enjoyed today’s very much last in being 19d which I though was quite clever. Time to dwell on the Victoria Line today.

  19. A bit of a breeze today, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Started on the bus to work, finished on the bus on the way home.

    Agree with the comments about 2d. It’s double duty. Something that you either love or hate. Favourite was 14a for the same reasons mentioned. Actually made me smile. Easy to get but a great surface read.

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