DT 26403 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26403

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26403

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

This Saturday’s offering was one with which I initially struggled but found that going from the bottom upwards made everything soon fall into place. Typing this review has confirmed my thoughts on finishing – that the mystery setter should be thanked for providing a most enjoyable crossword, a nice mix of excellent clues and very good entertainment. (Cephas posted on Sunday afternoon that he wasn’t responsible for this one as after just over 200 consecutive Saturdays, he had this week off) The only shame is that it’s a Saturday puzzle as were it one of Gazza’s days to review, he would have had a field day inserting ‘suitable’ pictures throughout, but sadly the technological complications of so doing are beyond my computer skills!

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    Former PM in the Commons perhaps lying in the past (11)
CHAMBERLAIN – The name of a room where an assembly such as the House of Commons meets is a CHAMBER. Adding LAIN, the past participle of lie, as in rest – the result is the name of the Prime Minister at the start of the Second World War.

7a    After drink feature long discussion (5-2)
TEACH-IN The first of several clues today where you find a couple of words, move the spacing between to get a new phrase. The drink here is TEA and the feature is that part of the body most prominent on, for example, Jimmy Hill or Bruce Forsyth – the CHIN. Move the 3, 4 to be 5-2 and you get a long public debate with a succession of speeches.

8a    Nuts mixed up in a cult (7)
LUNATIC – Mixed up is a very obvious anagram indicator – IN A CULT rearranged makes someone who is crazily nuts.

10a    Have beer ‘n’ play around — it’s a man’s thing (8)
MALENESS – One of the many meanings of MESS is to play or trifle with. Insert into this ALE (beer) and ‘N to produce the noun meaning relating to masculinity.

11a    Appoint by way of token (6)
ASSIGN – a nice simple charade – AS (by way of) plus SIGN (token) produces a verb meaning to appoint or designate.

13a    Deer’s rear (4)
HIND – A nice double definition – a female red deer or the part behind.

14a    Antisocial type to annoy cowboy (4,6)
LONE RANGER – One of my childhood favourite TV heroes – another one of those clues where you have to move the letters around – LONER is the antisocial type and ANGER is to annoy. Move the R from the end of the first word to the second word and “hi ho Silver away”!

16a    Source of oysters, holiday’s food supply (10)
WHITSTABLE – an easy one for me as this seaside town is just 10 minutes down the road. An abbreviation of the Whitsun Holiday’s WHIT’S plus TABLE (where your supply of food for a meal would be put ) – Whitstable’s long standing claim to fame is as a supplier of oysters.

18a    Charlie tolerates alternative form of his name (4)
CHAS – C (Charlie is the NATO alphabet code for C) and HAS (tolerates) – one of the many shorter forms of Charles.

21a    Ad-lib performance needs mostly to get better (6)
IMPROV – To get better is to IMPROVE. The Mysteron tells you to remove the E (to get better mostly) – the ad-lib performance is an abbreviation of improvisation or spontaneous non-scripted performance.

22a    Keep quiet about sign — time to provide impetus (8)
MOMENTUM – MUM is an adjective meaning silence or an interjection meaning ‘not a word’ – both meaning keep quiet. The clue tells you to put inside MUM (about) OMEN (sign) and T (time). Momentum means impetus or force.

24a    Mineral one confused with garnet (7)
GRANITE – another obvious anagram indicator – confusing I and GARNET gives you a coarse grained igneous rock.

25a    Scotsman embraces queen from Asian country (7)
IRANIAN – More often than not, a compiler’s Scotsman is called IAN, an Indian queen would be a RANI (female version of a raja). IAN embraces RANI to produce someone from another Asian country – Iran.

26a    Giving affection, being very close (4-2-5)
HAND-IN-GLOVE – It’s move the letters time again – HANDING (giving) and LOVE (affection) – Change the letter spacing to 4-2-5 to produce a phrase which Brewers explains as ‘collusion or fitting each other intimately like hand and glove’.


1d    Padre rejects a former film star (7)
CHAPLIN – Take A (rejects A) from CHAPLAIN – a Christian clergyman attached to an institution and you get the surname of one of the most famous silent movie stars.

2d    Female in a volunteer force is a goddess (6)
ATHENA – What would a compiler do without those volunteers the Territorial Army? The Greek goddess after whom Athens is named is made up from A T (territorial) HEN (female) and A (army).

3d    Pussy Galore perhaps a slave girl (10)
BONDSWOMAN – Pussy Galore was one of James Bond’s lady friends – she appeared in Goldfinger – so she could be said to be Bond’s Woman. A bondswoman is a female slave or serf. Feminists would probably have something to say about the linking of these two definitions!

4d    What goes with rock drummer’s piece (4)
ROLL – Despite some discussion on the blog with regard to that well-known (well it is here in the South) fish supper of ‘rock and chips’, here the connection is of course Rock and ROLL. One of the items in a drummer’s repertoire of pieces should be, a quick series of beats on a drum – the drum ROLL.

5d    One doesn’t remember M. Caine as crook (8)
AMNESIAC – would you say that ‘crook’ was an Antipodean anagram indicator?! M CAINE AS rearranged produces someone suffering from memory loss.

6d    Stocking material making a profit (7)
NETTING – A double definition – Netting as in mesh material used in those stockings worn by many of the ladies in Gazza’s pictures; netting also means the amount of money left after all charges have been taken away from a sum received, thus hopefully leaving a profit.

7d    Axing unorthodox atom scientist (11)
TOMAHAWKING – an anagram (unorthodox) of ATOM followed by the surname of Stephen HAWKING (the famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist) – one of the (new to me) meanings of tomahawk in Chambers is as a transitive verb meaning to attack or kill with a Native American war-axe.

9d    Representative performance of ‘Carmen’ songs (11)
CONGRESSMAN – This representative is a member of the House of Congress in the United States – ‘performance’ tells you to rearrange CARMEN SONGS.

12d    What BP does is of no interest to teenager (4-6)
WELL-BORING – British Petroleum (BP) bores wells to obtain oil. A modern young person might use this expression if they were totally disinterested in something.

15d    Public schoolboy clutches saint from East European country (8)
ESTONIAN – Good old Eton, friendly school of compilers everywhere. A boys who attends here is an ETONIAN and the clue instructs you to insert (clutches) S – one of the abbreviations for a Saint – to get someone from a Baltic country.

17d    Find fault with fruit — one mark on it (7)
IMPEACH – To disparage or find fault with – I (one) plus M (German Mark) and PEACH (fruit).

19d    Top-level communication is something selling well (3,4)
HOT LINE – A special telephone link, originally the one between the Kremlin and Washington DC, or a particular product that is selling fast.

20d    What provides exercise to perform around a lake? (6)
PEDALO – a lovely clue: PE (exercise) with A and L(lake) inserted into DO (perform). Pedalos are, of course, used on boating lakes to provide exercise.

23d    Still one mythical creature (4)
YETI – An easy one to finish – YET (stlll in the sense of besides or even) and I (one) – these mythical creatures are supposed to be spotted in the Himalayas.

As I solved the puzzle, I put one of my ‘dots’ (meaning that I liked the clue) by 12d which remains my favourite, although 10a, 14a, 7d and 20d are close runners up. Will Gnomethang have a Cephas puzzle to review next week or will it be another Mysteron?

3 comments on “DT 26403

  1. Best Saturday puzzle for ages.
    I’ve taken up CrypticSue’s challenge and picked a random clue to supply an illustration for!

  2. I seem to recall not liking this puzzle at the time (hence not bothering to post any comment on Saturday).
    However having looked at the review, I think I was rather unfair – it is actually quite a good puzzle.
    Thanks to setter, and to CrypticSue.

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