DT 26397 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26397

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26397

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Afternoon All!. I must confess to not having fully read the Saturday review on account of being held up on a Valle Romane Golf Course on the Costa Del Sol. Having said that I detected a certain polarisation in the Love it/Hate it camps from scanning the comments. Personally I found it fairly straightforward but fun.

Don’t forget that the aim is for a Prize Puzzle that will encourage entries and in this regard it I think it works. The usual gentle cryptic definitions always help!

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           Cool cat kind of pants (7)
HIPSTER – We start with a double definition: A cool jazz cat and the type of trousers he might wear. Niiiice!

5a           Clansman and little Elizabeth play (7)
MACBETH – The Scottish play (that actors never refer to by name) is a charade of MAC(Donald) for clansman and Beth, a diminutive of Elizabeth.

9a           Ronald in charge after short time, how idiotic (7)
MORONIC – Add another diminutive, this time of Ronald, and IC for In Charge to a MO (short time). The result means idiotic or stupid.

10a         A grain’s removed from the wine cocktail (7)
SANGRIA – One of crosswordland’s old favourite drinks is an anagram (removed) of A GRAINS.

11a         Dislike of old digs I used mainly to start with (5)
ODIUM – A word for dislike or approbation can be found in the first letters of the phrase Old Digs I Used Mainly.

12a         Collusive South American cries (2,7)
IN CAHOOTS – Collusive or colluding with. A charade of INCA (an old South American) and HOOTS, the cries of a bird (e.g. an owl)

13a         Near this joint it could be a shade blue (7)
KNUCKLE – A cryptic definition referring to the phrase ‘near the knuckle’ for something that is a shade risqué (blue)

14a         Clear about extremely nasty theft (7)
LARCENY – A crime of theft (particularly in America). Make an anagram (about) of CLEAR then add the outside (extreme) letters on NastY

16a         Back of poem (7)
REVERSE- Back or backwards. The OF here is important as it is synonymous with on, about, reference, RE or CA (Circa). These abbreviations and conjunctions are interchangeable in this regard. Add ‘verse’ after RE for ‘poem’

19a         One who backs horses? (7)
SADDLER – A cryptic definition that tripped me up for some time. The man who puts saddles on the backs of horses. The problem is that he doesn’t back the horse he simply creates the things that go on the back of the horse!.

22a         Incomplete crest shown by bird (9)
PARTRIDGE – A charade of PART (incomplete) and RIDGE (crest) for a common game bird.

24a         Stick 150 in Greek capital (5)
CLING – Another charade of CL (150 in Roman Numerals – consult The Mine if necessary!) IN and G(reek) leads to a word for stick or hold on to.

25a         One interrupted Dickensian actor (7)
OLIVIER – I don’t know if this is an old chestnut but I have seen it a few of times. The Dickensian (character) is OLIVER. Interrupt this with an I and you get a great actor: Dear, dear Larry Olivier.

26a         Small group allowed to produce poem (7)
TRIOLET – The poem here may be unfamiliar to some. It is a poem of one stanza with 8 lines and a specific rhyming pattern (ABaAabAB). The small group is a three piece TRIO and you need to add LET for ‘allow’ to complete the charade.

27a         Back to furnish capital (7)
FINANCE – A cryptic definition here which I think works quite well even though the whole thing is quite close to the answer. Furnish is the word that diverts you in the surface reading.

28a         Band means to find road round town (7)
RINGWAY – The answer is a road that runs round a town (e.g. a bypass). Take a charade of RING for ‘band’ and WAY for ‘means’


1d           Where one may retire while suspended (7)
HAMMOCK – A reasonable cryptic definition for the string bed hanging between two trees.

2d           Mostly innocent place, one’s usual haunt (7)
PURLIEU – Ones stomping ground or manor. Take most of PUR(e) then add LIEU (for place).

3d           Surreal art — Ken met canvas creator (9)
TENTMAKER – A surreal anagram of ART KEN MET leads to a person who creates tents and camping canvases.

4d           Rest from shipwrecked liner going round city area (7)
RECLINE – An anagram (appositely indicated by ‘shipwrecked’) of LINER placed around EC, the postal district for the City of London. Rest here is a verb meaning to lie back or lounge.

5d           Play that is noted (7)
MUSICAL – A gentle cryptic definition for a stage performance that contains songs.

6d           Deacon, churchman, accepted shellfish (5)
CONCH – This caught me out for a while, but the shellfish is contained within (accepted by) deaCON CHurchman

7d           It depends on the listener (7)
EARLOBE – So long as you remember your Latin you will be fine!. Pendere – to hang, gives us pendant, pendulous and also depends (lit. Hangs on). Thus the answer is either Earlobe or possibly Earring but checking letters will give you the former.

8d           Utterly unreliable evidence (7)
HEARSAY – A cryptic definition of unsubstantiated vocal rumours (indicated by utterly). Whilst this would not fool experienced solvers the surface reading misleads quite well, I feel.

15d         Introduce barmy cut (9)
REDUCTION – A Barmy anagram of INTRODUCE leads to a cut or diminution.

16d         Agent on top of building receiving admonishment (7)
REPROOF – A word for admonishment is a charade of REP (a REPresentative or travelling salesman, agent) followed by the ROOF of a building.

17d         Change but not study interpretation (7)
VERSION – Take CONVERSION (for change) and remove CON (for study, swot or read) to get to an interpretation (of events)

18d         Finish with unusually sore back (7)
ENDORSE – Start with END then make an anagram (Unusually) of SORE to get a verb meaning back or sponsor. A very simple construction with a very good surface reading, as we have to ‘lift and separate’ the SORE BACK portion.

19d         Lieutenant found in precipitous place of refuge (7)
SHELTER – I was brought down by thinking of STEEP for ‘precipitous’ when in fact the required synonym is SHEER. Insert LT for Lieutenant and you have your place of refuge.

20d         Brought down by rebuilding, I’d allow (4,3)
LAID LOW – A simply rebuilt anagram of ID ALLOW gives a phrase for ‘Brought down’

21d         Clearly didn’t start properly (7)
RIGHTLY – Take the first letter away from (b)RIGHTLY (for clearly) to set things arights.

23d         Work to rule (5)
REIGN – A cryptic definition of what Her Majesty does. Gawd Bless’er!.

Thanks to Cephas for another Saturday puzzle that I enjoyed with a pint in good weather!. Back to CSue next week (I believe that this is her current abbreviation).

5 comments on “DT 26397

  1. I was in the ‘love it’ camp – to the extent that I wished that it was my turn to review so that I could enjoy it all over again. Excellent review, thank you.

  2. Me too, I enjoyed this one, lucky you Gnomethang no golf over here my course is waterlogged, thanks for the review

  3. I thought this was better, and more enjoyable than recent Saturday puzzles. Thanks for the notes,

  4. Managed to squeeze it in between a tennis match; Remembrance Day rehearsal; and the Village Quiz. I seem to recall being quite tired come bedtime!! I agree that it was at the high end of average for a Saturday.

  5. I thought that 26a was the most cryptic clue of the lot.
    A triplet is three rhyming lines but this may not be a poem! A triolet definitely is.

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