DT 26404 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26404

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26404

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


I thought this was slightly more difficult than we have seen recently, but it is still a very typical and enjoyable Monday Maestro crossword.

If you can’t work out the answer from the hint, just highlight the space within the curly brackets.


1. Superficially read initial proposal and be less than generous (5)
{SKIMP} – A word than can mean to quickly read or glance through a book for example is then followed by P (the initial letter of proposal).

4. I leave Law to the big guns (8)
{ORDNANCE} – If you remove an I (leave) from a word that means a statute or regulation you are left with a word that describes cannon or artillery.

8. Apt to be not on the level (8)
{INCLINED} – A double definition, having a preference or a tendency or sloping or leaning.

9. Press forward with debts though not genuine (8)
{SPURIOUS} – A word that can mean provoke or urge (commonly found on a riders boots) is then followed by IOUS (debts) – definition not genuine.

11. Priceless mineral found in mountain pass (7)
{COMICAL} – Priceless in this clue means highly amusing. Put “any of various minerals consisting of hydrous silicates of aluminium or potassium etc. that crystallise in forms that allow perfect cleavage into very thin leaves” inside (found in) COL (mountain pass).

13.Arranged end to case histories, perhaps (9)
{ANECDOTES} – An anagram (arranged) of END TO CASE.

15. Standard indications of military rank (5,3,7)
{STARS AND STRIPES} – The standard referred to is the national flag of the USA.

18. Wellington’s damned bookmaker (9)
{PUBLISHER} – A reference to a famous quote of the Duke of Wellington, attributed to him when the courtesan Harriette Wilson threatened to go into print with her memoirs and his letters.

21. Troops stepped out in this formation (7)
{ECHELON} – A gentle cryptic reference to a specific formation of troops where each unit is positioned successively to the left or right of the rear unit to form an oblique or steplike line.

22. Cheering custom following papal trip (8)
{APPLAUSE} – Put USE (custom) after (following) an anagram (trip) of PAPAL.

24. A small deposit secures a low-down place in which he’s accommodated (8)
{ADHESIVE} – Put HES inside (accommodated) inside A and a slang term for a disreputable or run-down bar, nightclub or residence for the type of small deposit that might be used to glue something together.

25. Work back to back on location across the way (8)
{OPPOSITE} – Put the standard abbreviation for a musical work twice, but then reverse the second and add SITE (location) for a word that means placed or located directly across from something else.

26. New asset is more than enough (5)
{SATES }– An anagram (new) of ASSET.


1. Cheats and reduces the rent? (8,2)
{STITCHES UP} – Reducing the rent refers to mending a tear in a garment for example.

2. Artillery entered secretly (2,6)
{IN CAMERA} – The definition is secretly, think of this as (2,4,2). Two words for entered, is then followed by the abbreviation for the Royal Artillery.

3. A Royal in Canadian capital surrounded by crowd (8)
{PRINCESS} – IN and C (Canadian capital) is placed within a word that can mean a large gathering is also the daughter of a monarch.

4. Yet they may be evens (4)
{ODDS} – The amount offered by a bookmaker for a wager that is expressed as a ratio could also offer the potential to win the same as the amount staked.

5. Earned aggravation when closed (6)
{NEARED} – An anagram (aggravation) of EARNED.

6. Make fresh point about university and exit quickly (3,3)
{NIP OUT} – An anagram (make fresh) of POINT around U (university).

7. Provides encouragement for poaching, say (4)
{EGGS} – or frying, boiling, scrambling etc.

10. Meadows seen in unspoilt delight (8)
{PLEASURE} – Place LEAS (meadows) inside a word meaning free of impurities, for a word that means joy.

12. Craft projects (8)
{LAUNCHES} – Double definition, large boats, or throws.

14. Uncle Sam’s braces (10)
{SUSPENDERS} – The American term for braces, has a different meaning in English. Hmm I wonder how Gazza would provide a picture for this?

My guess is that Gazza might have used this picture!  BD

16. Cut-throat bunch of hustlers (8)
{RUTHLESS} – An anagram (bunch of) of HUSTLERS.

17. One sings his praises (8)
{PSALMIST} – Literally a composer of sacred songs.

19. She recovered her charges in rhyme (2-4)
{BO-BEEP} – A well-known nursery rhyme that refers to a shepherdess….

20. I’m taking a long time making representations (6)
{IMAGES} – Rrepresentations or likenesses of people or things are IM followed by a long period of time.

22. Albert shortly gets to be a singer (4)
{ALTO} – AL (Albert shortly) and TO.

23. See a mishap as no difficulty (4)
{EASE} – An anagram (mishap) of SEE A.

50 comments on “DT 26404

  1. I am glad you said you found it slightly more difficult as I did wonder whether my brain cells weren’t at full power this morning. No particular favourites but I liked the downs better than the acrosses. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  2. I did not find this any more difficult that Rufus’s usual Monday gems. Favourite clue was 12d. Many thanks to Rufus for the crossword and Libellule for the review.

  3. I personally found this a touch harder than usual Monday fare – 21a and 16d holding me up the longest. Still a fine example of Rufus’ work. Thanks to him and to Libellule.

  4. Totally agree with this puzzle being more difficult, at first I thought it was going to be really easy as a few went straight in but I wouldn’t have finished it without you help Libelulle, I am off out soon and didn’t really have the time to spend on it today, even if I had there were a few I’m sure I wouldn’t have got!never heard of 2d and is 21a cryptic? I really held myself up in the top N/W corner by putting scant for 1a although I couldn’t see where the ‘t’ came from! not one of my favourite Rufus puzzles, if I have a favourite it is 15a, and 5d closed and neared?? Good luck everyone – laters :) Thanks Libelulle couldn’t have done it without you todayl

    1. Mary,
      21a, you are meant to think of troops marching in formation…..
      5d, when you get close to something you get near to it.

      1. Don’t think this works. Close and near may have similar meanings, but ‘closed’ and ‘neared’ don’t. He closed the gap can’t be replaced with he neared the gap can it?

        I found this the usual gentle start to the week but had to admit defeat on 21a.

  5. A most enjoyable workout today. Lots of good clues of which I thought 1d was the best. Other goodies were 11 12 13 17 and 18. Thought the definition in 24 was a bit weak but on the whole a really nice start to the week.

  6. A good start to the week with no particular favourites. Looked at 24A for a while, could not resolve “a small deposit”, thought this would just be the letter “d”. For me the clue works better without the first three words.
    Thanks to setter and Libelulle.

  7. I do enjoy Mondays. I like the way that the setter gently nudges you toward the answers! This was my first go at the online rather than the newspaper version and it’s a lot easier to hide in the office. Even if I still have to print it off first. 1a, 3d and even 7d were among my many personal favourites.
    Thanks to the setter and to Libellule for the help with 21a.

  8. Enjoyable puzzle from Rufus today. It is funny how most people find the Monday puzzle the easiest, but I normally find it the trickiest of the whole week. Either I am expecting, and looking for something more devious and complicated than it really is, or perhaps my brain cells are not functioning properly after a lazy weekend!
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

  9. A nice start to the week although 18a was a bit of a history lesson rather than a cryptic clue but nevertheless enjoyable.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

  10. Rufus’s puzzles do brighten up my Mondays, especially a grey one such as this. I didn’t find it any more difficult than usual and worked my way happily through it until I ground to a halt with three clues left: 21a, which I never would have found without the Crossword Solver; 17d, which I might have found more easily had the pronoun been capitalised, and 24a, for which I agree with Pete. I liked the Wellington reference, but my favourite was 22a.

    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule. :-)

  11. I believe that Rufus is currently “on leave” for 3 weeks, but he has left us plenty to be going on with, including this pleasant fare for a chilly Monday morning. All the clues worked well for me, and 1 & 12d stood out. Thanks Libellule – will Gazza be adding a tasteful picture at 14d?

  12. A fairly easy start to the week, and enjoyable though I came unstuck on 16d. Never realised it was an anagram but I could only find one word to fit, so put it in regardless. Is 14d a cryptic clue? Seems to me you either know it or you don’t. Thank you Rufus and Libellule.

    1. Good afternoon all, could somebody tell me where the anagram indicator is for 16d? Am I being a dunce? Is “bunch of” an accepted indicator, never seen it before?

      1. Werm,
        Bunch – “A group of like items or individuals gathered or placed together:” – seems perfectly ok to me. Whether its in a list of “official” indicators is another question.

        1. Its not listed in Chambers Xword dictionary as an anagram and I have a feeling it wouldn’t be accepted on COW, I may try it to see :)

  13. Thanks Rufus for the lovely start to the week and thanks Libellule for the excellent review. I liked 4a and 1d best.

  14. Slighty more difficult ?? Quite a lot more difficult for me! But got there via several hints. Tried really hard to make scant fit 1a, but finally couldn’t. Once I had the first e, h and n of 21a it was obvious.

    Pleasant enough puzzle with a few smiles and thanks for the review.

  15. That was the quickest I have done a Rufus puzzle for ages – last one in for me was 7d and I can’t say I liked it. Best clue for me was 10a.

    Thanks to Rufus and thanks for the review Libellule – I will now go and read it…

      1. Keep the photos coming Dave, I know Gazza and I at least appreciate it. I do the crosswords in the DT because I find them a struggle, I don’t read the Sun because it is infantile and I’m sure the crosswords would be the same (if they have them ). I do, however, enjoy the badinage between yourself and Gazza re pictures of young ladies and besides, I like them.

  16. So helpful, thank you Lulubelle: couldn’t have done it alone. I too have never before seen ‘bunch of’ as an anagrams indicator.

    1. Without doubt, Mary Whitehouse would not approve, but to be fair, this is no worse than what you would expect in a Sunday supplement, and a lot more tame than what you get in Eastenders on a Monday night! And as BD said, ‘it’s all part of an ongoing joke’ No offence meant to anyone.

    2. Peta/Stephanie
      A couple of comments.
      1. I did not post the picture, although I did make a comment on the blog as to what picture Gazza might have used if he had blogged this crossword.
      2. I never include pictures when I blog, links to relevant information, yes, but not pictures.
      3. As other prople have commented, Big Dave posted the picture with reference to an ongoing joke, regular visitors will have recognised it.

  17. Well, here I am!! Better late than never or had some of you hoped that you’d seen me off for good? Spent morning in Oxford trying to do some more Christmas shopping. Came home, had very quick boost of much needed caffeine and nicotine, dog walk, visit to ancient Mum, came home again, made brownies for husband to take to work tomorrow, put supper together, lit fire and, finally, at about 6.00pm sat down to look at crossword. I did almost all of it very quickly and then it all went to bits in the bottom right hand corner. Ended up with four – 21 and 24a and 16 and 17d – that I just couldn’t do. Looked at the hints and STILL couldn’t do them so looked at the answers. I suppose I should have got them and if I had been doing the crossword at the normal time I probably would have done but today just decided to admit defeat. Best clues today for me were 1, 3 and 14d. As usual, thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  18. I thought it was bit more difficult today esp the south-east corner where I got stuck on 21 & 24. I liked 1d! Like others I thought the use of “bunch of” as an anagram indicator was rather dubious.

  19. All done save 24a – I found this quite easy today apart from this one.

    Fabulous picture above – just love those jeans.

  20. Haven’t done todays yet but after yesterdays comments re ‘picture’ todays clue at 21a is practically made for a reply :-)

  21. As confession is good for the soul, I admit that it takes me a whole week to finish the crossword and this week was grateful to Lilbellule (is this name an anagram?) for quite a few that left me in the dark. I shall probably keep quiet from now on but thank you for enlightening me each week.

    1. Hi Diana – welcome to the blog.
      Please do continue to comment. Libellule is a French dragon-fly.

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