DT 26406 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26406

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26406

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Our Wednesday Wizard casts his spell and the result is another fine puzzle.

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.


7a    Surprise visit — finally left in tears, sadly (7)
{STARTLE} – it’s all in how you read it! – a verb meaning to surprise is built up by putting T (visiT finally) and L(eft) inside an anagram (sadly)of TEARS

8a    Drink for a trainee policeman before work (7)
{ALCOPOP} – this drink that resembles a soft drink but contains something rather stronger is a charade of A, L (Learner / trainee), a policeman and the short word for a musical work

10a    Discover sectarian plot (9)
{ASCERTAIN} – a word meaning to discover is an anagram (plot) of sectarian

11a    In plain terminology, lay to rest (5)
{INTER} – a word meaning to lay to rest is hidden in the clue

12a    The social status of actors with bearing (5)
{CASTE} – a Hindu social status is a charade of the actors in a play followed by a compass bearing

13a    Listen to adverse reforms and hope he isn’t there (9)
{EAVESDROP} – a word meaning to listen to other people’s private conversations is built from an anagram (reforms) of ADVERSE followed by (H)OP(E) (HE isn’t there)

15a    Beat favourite? In a race one might (7)
{WHIPPET} – a charade of to beat or lash with a teacher’s favourite gives a racing-dog

17a    Wallow in humour (7)
{INDULGE} – a double definition – to wallow in and to humour

18a    Recalls son chasing dog with no tail (9)
{RETRIEVES} – a verb meaning recalls is built by putting S(on) after a dog trained to find and fetch game that has been shot without its last letter (with no tail)

20a    American cut back in case of tension (5)
{TEXAN} – someone from the Lone Star state is constructed by putting a word meaning to cut reversed (back) inside TN (case of TensioN)

21a    Violent behaviour caused by going outside after a drop inside (5)
{AGGRO} – this violent behaviour is a built by putting GG (GoinG outside) after A and followed by RO (dROp inside)

23a    Badly alarmed to find broken stones in street (4,5)
{ROAD METAL} – an anagram (badly) of ALARMED TO gives broken stones used to surface a street

24a    Dramatic scene created by a unionist attached to board (7)
{TABLEAU} – a scene in which the action is frozen for dramatic effect is created by putting A U(nionist) after a board

25a    Company board rebuilt a place in Spain (7)
{CÓRDOBA} – CO(mpany) is followed by an anagram (rebuilt) of BOARD to get a place in Spain


1d           A reflective lover insists car should be fixed (10)
{NARCISSIST} – this type of lover is named beautiful youth who rejected the nymph Echo and fell in love with his own reflection in a pool – it’s an anagram (should be fixed) of INSISTS CAR

2d           Go without food, seeing value initially in look (6)
{STARVE} – a word meaning to go without food (are you reading this Tilsit?) is built by putting V (Value initially) inside a word meaning to look

3d           Ten years with books makes you dissolute (8)
{DECADENT} – a charade of a period of ten years followed by the second part of the Bible (books) gives a word meaning dissolute

4d           Awkwardness at navy concealing technology offering direction (6)
{SATNAV} – hidden inside (concealing) the first three words of the clue is the technology offering directions to motorists

5d           Completely obscured crops in rising river (8)
{ECLIPSED} – a word meaning completely obscured, as the moon occasionally did to the sun,  is built up be putting a verb meaning crops or cuts inside a  river ( the one the Jolly Miller once lived near) reversed (rising)

6d           Trophy given to second place (4)
{SPOT} – put a colloquial term for a trophy after S(econd) to get a word meaning to place or position

7d           Irish, for example — and runs church with complete investigative authority (6,7)
{SEARCH WARRANT} – a charade of the body of water of which the Irish is an example, R(uns), CH(urch), W(ith) and a word meaning complete or absolute

9d           He ran appraisal awkwardly, lacking source of specialist equipment (13)
{PARAPHERNALIA} – an anagram (awkwardly) of HE RAN APPRAI(S)AL without the S ( lacking source of Specialist) gives a word meaning equipment or apparatus

14d         Family member welcomes a vote for rest (10)
{RELAXATION} – start with a family member and insert A and the mark made to record a vote to get a word meaning rest

16d         Hostage to public relations? Is one right? (8)
{PRISONER} – this hostage is a charade of Public Relations, IS, ONE and R(ight)

17d         An illustration of popular mental attitude? (8)
{INSTANCE} – an illustration or example is a charade of a word meaning popular and a mental attitude or viewpoint

19d         The merit of rotgut, oddly, in struggle (6)
{VIRTUE} – a word meaning merit is formed by putting the odd letters of RoTgUt inside a verb meaning to struggle

20d         American magazine adopting British tone (6)
{TIMBRE} – put an American magazine around (adopting) BR(itish) to get a tone or quality

22d         Derision at enormous return on energy (4)
{GIBE} – a word meaning to deride is built from a word meaning enormous reversed (return) on  (over in a down clue) E(nergy)

While I have no particular favourites, I did enjoy this puzzle

49 comments on “DT 26406

  1. We are on a roll this week, another enjoyable feast and the toughie is proving a good workout too.
    Thanks to Big Dave and the Setter

  2. Morning Dave and everyone, I really enjoyed this, I found that most of the clues read well and were worked out from the word play, I went wrong on 14d by putting av at first instead of ax!! which held me up in that corner for some time! It took me ages to understand 7d although it was easy once you got the checking letters, this is a clue that I didn’t think could be worked from the word play, unless you are extremely clever! last to go in 23a, a fairly obvious anagram but had never heard the term and had to google it, lots of good clues today, my favs however 8a 13a, 21a, personally I would say at least 3* for me, thanks for hints Dave, off to read them now :)

  3. Once again Jay does not disappoint – excellent crossword, nice clues and fair. Favourite clue was 1d. Many thanks to Jay and to BD for the review.

  4. Another nice not too taxing puzzle. Favourite was 23 as its a few years since I heard that term. I thought Mary might struggle on that one but she skated through again. Also liked 1 8 13 19 20d. Well done setters – I have not had anything to moan about yet this week. On to the Toughie.

    1. Had to google 23a gnomey, never heard it before although the wordplay was clear if you haven’t heard the term you are not convinced its right, at least I’m not!

  5. I’m 3/4s through this puzzle and thoroughly enjoying it. Haven’t used BDs’ hints yet which is a good sign. Its’ sunny and warm outside so I think that I’ll finish it in the garden

    1. How lovely to even be able to think about doing a crossword in the garden – we would need all our winter woollies today. Where are you, Collywobbles?

  6. I seem to have trouble getting started on the Cryptics this week but finished this one in my usual time. Some very nice clues from Jay, thank you – I liked 1d and 9d best. Thanks BD.

    Barrie’s favourite setter has provided us with an excellent Toughie too.

  7. I enjoyed that.

    What else is new but my last one in was the four letter word at 22d – took me ages and kicked myself. when I got it. Also I was trying too hard with 4d until I realised it was hidden.

    Enjoyed 1d most of all.

    Thanks for Jay and to BD for review.

  8. Perhaps another day for starting with the down clues, although, as Crypticsue pointed out yesterday, you don’t know that until you’ve tried the accrosses! This was definitely a 3*, or even a bit more, for me today or maybe I’m just not having a good crossword week. I’ve never heard of 23a before although it was easy enough to see that it was an anagram. I got myself in a proper muddle with 4d – tried to make it an anagram of ‘at navy’ – no – tried to find a word using ‘RN’ and ‘IT’ and something (?) else – no!! Eventually saw it staring at me from the middle of the clue! Oh dear! :oops: Favourite clues today are 8, 13, 21a and 1, 5, 9d. A touch on the arctic side in Oxford today but at least sunny and not much wind so off for dog walk soon.

    1. Kath – For 4d I too tried sevceral options before it hit me in the face that it was hidden – trying to make things too complicated – that’s what it is.

  9. PS Oh dear again. I seem to have lost my manners as well as my brains today – thank you Jay and Big Dave.

      1. Definitely …. too much else going on … thanks Mary. It’s certainly a good excuse when your brain has an off day!

  10. Enjoyed this one, found21a difficult + must admit that altho’ i got anagram for 23a had not heard that expression before. Best clue = 21a. thanx.

      1. Thank you BD. Have be doing crossword for 20 years + but only just found your blog, admit to being a technophobe tho’.

        1. Obviously not enough of a technophobe to stop you being able to do this! it’s a wonderful blog – I hope that you enjoy it, and learn as much from it as I have in the last few months since my husband discovered it. NB He is great on the computer but can’t do the crosswords!

  11. Goodness, two stars! And I haven’t been able to do this at all. The brain cells not working and wave length out the window. I’ve barely managed to finish the right-hand half and will now read your hints hoping to finish at last.

    Back in the corner for me :-(

    1. It’s not an easy one Franny it took a lot of perservating to see me through, but it is a clever one, at least I thought it was :)

  12. Thanks to Jay for another fine puzzle, and to BD for the notes (especially the wordplay for the second word of 7d which I totally missed at the time).
    Favourite clue 21a because although I knew the answer, it took me a while to parse it correctly.

  13. Hello all. First post given just found the blog and that this was first time I have got close to finishing one of the DTs – all but 21a and 22d. Surpised myself by knowing about stoney roads. Liked 13 best

  14. Another day at the crem with no access to the blog, so now finished with the help of just a couple of hints. There were a few I didn’t understand that were obvious in the end. Much kicking of self at 16d …

    Jolly good puzzle, thanks to Jay and BD.

  15. All done without too much angst – last in 17d although 23a was a new phrase for me. Ta to the setter. Come on England – will be tuned in to what’s happening at The Gabba.

  16. Great crossword today. 1d was my fave. A little query on 18a if son is chasing dog shouldn’t the son be in front of the dog? I have had this before and been confused. Didn’t spoil the enjoyment and solved the clue ok. Be interested in thoughts.

  17. I found this crossword v tricky indeed. maybe just one of those days. I got there in the end. v enjoyable with lots of good clues. keep up the good work all.

  18. Enjoyable puzzle – not too taxing!
    I liked 8a, 23a, 5d & 7d.

    Your pigture of Cordoba, BD, reminded me of a frustrating attempt to park the car there – we were trying to visit the cathedral – something special was going on – but all the parking areas were full and stoutly manned by policewomen. We drove around the town but were completely unsuccessful so abandoned the visit! Most of the streets were one-way.

  19. Dont’ you just hate it when the clever clogs say how easy it all is. I still struggle after about 18 months of trying. I generally finish now (as I did this one) but still get annoyed with some of the clues. E.G. Virtue(19 down). Oddly, I did’nt pick up on the oddly. Not the setters fault.
    Even with Daves explanation Ive no idea how search warrant (7 down) fits in with the first two lines of the clue and whats broken stones got to do with anything in 23 across. Finishing the crossword is not the point, its how everything fits in thar matters.
    Just to add a positive note, I liked 9d
    and 14d

    Oh and 2a
    PS how do all the regulars know who the setter is?

    1. 7d – (Irish) SEA + R(uns) + CH(urch) then W(ith) + ARRANT (complete, as in arrant nonsense)

      23a – Road metal is what the stones used for building roads are called – it’s in Chambers. As I mentioned, such roads are called metalled roads.

        1. A combination of the setter telling us and established patterns. We were all fooled last Saturday when Cephas came on to say it wasn’t one of his.

    2. Hi Bob, don’t be put off by people saying how easy it was or how quickly they finished it, like yourself I have been doing these crosswords for just under 18 months, only once have I managed to complete one without lots of help from my books and little nachines! (thus I got out of the Clueless Club, a mythical club set up for us less able solvers) this blog has been enormous help to me, having ‘found’ it not long after I started these, some days I find I am more able to do these than others, I can go back and fore all day sometimes, but I rarely give up, it all depends whether you enjoy it or not, there are some genius solvers that visit the site, but they are hardly ever boasting, just giving their views and opinions and they are all really helpful and friendly, especially on a weekend when there is no full blog because these are prize crosswords, hope you carry on enjoying :)

      1. Thanks Mary, I do enjoy doing the crossword, but get cross with myself for missing some obvious clues. However I do find some of the conventions hard to justify (see Daves excellent answer above) for 7d. I may invest in a chambers dictionary as they seem to have more definitions. I have a little Seiko Oxford which very often comes up trumps.

  20. Dont give up,Bob,keep at it and you will get to solve clues like 7d by instinct as we experienced solvers.Thanks Jay and BD.

    1. Thanks Chadwick (and Mary) I doubt if I will ever be a natural solver. Im probably too literal and although Chambers may have a certain definition I would not consider it proper to use certain synonyms. I only completed 3/4 today and if I can’t find the answers tomorrow I shall check this wonderful blog.
      Bob H

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