DT 26412 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26412

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26412

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

An excellent Wednesday crossword from Jay today. I enjoyed the solving process and am even more of a fan having written the review. A very nice mix of clues, some nice misleads and some lovely double definitions. I can already see the comments regarding my difficulty rating but that’s how I found it. I just hope you all found it as entertaining as I did. Thanks 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    Device used for inputting ‘B Flat’? (6)
(KEYPAD) – These devices are used on computers, calculators and mobile phones. The B is a hint to the first three letters of the answer and flat to the other three.

4a    Can opener call and score? (4,4)
(RING PULL) This type of can opener is found on the top of baked bean cans. A charade of a word meaning to call (on the telephone) and the word a young man might use if he had managed to attract the attentions of a young lady.

9a    Unusual thing for artist regularly absorbed by fish (6)
(RARITY) Something valued because it is unusual is made up of the even letters of aRtIsT inside the three-letter name of a type of fish related to a shark.

10a    Recruit a master of foxhounds? (8)
(HEADHUNT) People who are recruited in this way are usually those with quite high positions in life. A synonym for master and the term for a group of foxhounds or the chase in which they take part.

12a    Experiences a sharp pain in temples, losing heart (8)
(TASTINGS) These sorts of experiences can be of food or even defeat. Take the outside letters of TempleS (losing heart) and insert A and a synonym for a sharp pain, usually experienced with nettles.

13a    Sixth sense possessed by Dorothy finds tyrant (6)
(DESPOT) The three letter abbreviation for Extra Sensory Perception inserted into the diminutive form of Dorothy (think Eastenders!)

15a    To change once drilled is badly thought out (3-10)
(ILL-CONSIDERED) Today’s first anagram (to change) ONCE DRILLED IS produces a word meaning badly planned or thought out.

18a    To make sense, it shuffles and procrastinates (5,4,4)
(TAKES ONE’S TIME) To me the expression in the solution is not quite as strong as procrastination (putting something off) but more not rushing to complete something. An anagram (shuffles) of TO MAKE SENSE IT produces the correct phrase.

22a    Make good progress at first, protected by soldiers’ aura (6)
(REPAIR) The good old Royal Engineers are back – take their abbreviation, add a P (progress at first) and then another word for aura to produce a word meaning to mend or make good.

24a    A heavy blow for a manufacturer of grass? (8)
(HAYMAKER) A nice double definition – someone who mows grass and then dries it, or a wild swinging boxing punch.

26a    Half-decent bars provide lights etc (8)
(ENTRAILS) A charade of the second half of the word decENT and the sort of bars that form a fence – the whole is another word for the internal organs of an animal – lights being the lungs. Sorry vegetarians – but I had to explain the clue.

27a    Look back into American Indian form of cooking (6)
(CREOLE) The American Indians are one of the largest Native American populations in the USA, insert OL (look back) into their name – this cooking is famous in the US Gulf States being a mixture of French, West Indian and Latin American foods.

28a    Possible requirement for getting into Oxford? (8)
(SHOEHORN) A nice mislead here – spent a while trying to find an eight letter word to do with scholarships. These Oxfords are a type of footwear and if they were hard to get on you might use this tool.

29a    Colourful tree needing cunning protection (6)
(FLASHY) – Colourful in the sense of smart and showy – insert a three letter tree into a synonym for cunning.


1d    Combat a charge to support king (6)
(KARATE) A type of unarmed combat using blows and kicks – K (king) followed by A and a synonym for a fixed price or charge.

2d    Measure of the Met’s credit? (9)
(YARDSTICK) With all this snow, we can be forgiven for first thinking of the Meteorological Office here – what we actually need is the HQ of the London Police Force and the ‘S followed by a colloquial term for credit.

3d    Pile of earth left by workers? (3-4)
(ANT-HILL) Crosswordland’s second favourite workers would produce this sort of pile of earth to make their home.

5d    What cake could be made cold? (4)
(ICED) Another lovely double definition – particularly for the blogger who had just ‘skated’ her way to work. Cakes can be this and if you put something outside today it would soon become this!

6d    His finish is a stroke of luck (7)
(GODSEND) You need to take notice of the capital H here and its religious significance, then add another word for finish. – this stroke of luck is someone or something that is unexpected but very welcome.

7d    America ahead — about right to take over (5)
(USURP) the abbreviation for the United States, followed by an adverb meaning at a higher position with R for right inserted (about). This sort of takeover is usually done with force and unjustly.

8d    Scope given for student with insolent manner to be heard (8)
(LATITUDE) the abbreviation for a learner followed by a homophone of a synonym for a hostile or resentful manner. Here scope means freedom of action or choice.

11d    A place for football on the rocks (7)
(AGROUND) Where football is played or what a ship would be if it was stranded on rocks.

14d    Normally a suspect starts to unwind after lunch (2,5)
(AS USUAL) a charade of A plus a shortened version of SUSpect and then the initial letters (starts) of Unwind, After and Lunch – despite the snow, here at this blog business continues ‘normally’.

16d    Rates for sailor after organising free links (4,5)
(REEF KNOTS) The links here are used by sailors and others to join ropes. An anagram (organising) of FREE followed by the definition of rates here is the speed of ships (rates for sailors).

17d    People looking outside front of kennels wearing nothing (8)
(STARKERS) People who look in what would be considered a rude manner with the first letter of Kennels inserted. A colloquial adjective meaning having no clothes on.

19d    Vegetable that’s a bit crisp in a chutney (7)
(SPINACH) My most hated vegetable is hidden inside criSP IN A CHutney.

20d    Living forever without source of tension is wrong (7)
(IMMORAL) Remove the first letter of Tension from an adjective meaning to live forever to produce a synonym for bad or evil.

21d    Life support vessel (6)
(ARTERY) Without this blood vessel carrying oxygenated blood, your life would not be supported!

23d    Finally go, after a tip off from the terrace (5)
(PATIO) This terrace is an open paved area beside a house. An anagram (off) of A TIP and the last letter (finally) of gO.

25d    A slight sign of drinking too much? (4)
(SLUR) If you were drunk you might produce your words indistinctly in this manner. The second part of this double definition is a disparaging remark intended to damage a reputation.

I liked lots of these clues today. My particular favourites are 13a, 24a and 2d with my top billing going to 28a. Do let me know if you agree. Back to the day job now for a couple of hours until, hopefully, they send us home because of the bad weather.

104 comments on “DT 26412

  1. This was a wonderful puzzle and one that should be framed and hung on the wall as an example of the Setters art.
    I began by thinking I am not going to be ablle to do this in a month of Sundays. Then as each clue went in it became more and more enjoyable.
    Thanks for the hints Sue, I am now going to have a read through them.
    Big thanks to Jay for a fine fine puzzle.

    1. Just goes to show like beauty, crosswords are in the eye of the beholder, I thought it was awful today with clues making very little sense.

  2. Another high quality puzzle from Jay today, who continually provides good all-round entertainment.
    Thanks to Jay, and Crypticsue. I thought I was in the early stages of a migraine, and then I realised I had snowfall on my computer screen! :)

  3. The snow is a WordPress feature that runs for a few weeks around Christmas. I turned it on last year and then forgot about it, so it has switched on again automatically.

    1. I remembered the snow from last year, we still have plenty of it here but thank goodness we haven’t had another fall ………..yet!

      1. We haven’t got any. Thought it was supposes to snow last night but it didn’t. Grass is green – sky is cloudy but no snow. Not many places can say the same I am sure.

  4. Finished this once again between clearing ever more snow from my drive. Reaching a point where there will soon be nowhere to put it!
    Enjoyed this offering and particularly 1A, 28A and 16D.
    Thanks to setter and Crypticsue for the hints.

  5. Enough with the snow already! It’s bad enough looking outside my office window here at home without BD adding to it on my screen. Judging by the comments I’m looking forward to tonight when I’ve got more time to give to the solving arts.

  6. Problems with eyesight hadn’t occurred to me – I thought that there was something wrong with the computer – thanks to all for sorting that one out! :smile:
    Now on to the crossword.I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to do it at all – started off with the across clues and got quite a long way down before deciding to abandon them and start with the downs – not much better then suddenly it all just went together. 9a had to be what it as but I got into a tangle trying to explain it because I was fooled into thinking that the ‘RA’ at the beginning was the ‘artist’ (as usual) and couldn’t work out where the rest of it came from – eventually saw it. 24a also took a little while although I think I probably have heard of it before. Far too many lovely clues to mention individual ones – maybe, a bit randomly, 1 and 4a and 16d. Still very cold and icy here but not much snow – sister was coming down from Sheffield today to give me a bit of break from ancient Mum but they have about a foot of snow up there so she can’t get out. :sad: Thanks to Jay for a wonderful puzzle and to CrypticSue for the hints Although I didn’t need them today I still enjoyed reading them.

      1. Thanks – yes, could really do with a break – am sure that Mum needs a different face too – would do her good. Never mind – can’t control the weather, even on the computer!

  7. Super puzzle from Jay today. Many thanks to him and to Sue for the notes. I began slowly with only three or four answers in the grid but soon picked pace and enjoyed it more and more with each passing clue.

    My two boys are pretty hacked off at the moment – we seem to be living in the only part of the country without any snow! They were looking forward to a day off school only to be cruely disappointed again.

    1. We haven’t got any snow either and I cancelled a meeting this morning cause I thought we would have. Oh well – got to do the puzzle instead.

  8. How on earth could you make this a 2 star, it’s more like a 4!! I managed 4 clues and two of them I am uncertain. It is very challenging today.

  9. Hi Sue, thanks for review, haven’t read it yet, but will enjoy doing so, I agree with the 4* enjoyment rating but a 3* at least for me for difficulty, despite that a lovely puzzle, with a smattering of answers going in all over the grid at first, I like that as it gives you a chance to fill in all around. fav clue 11d! I thought at first 4d was going to be another ‘cricket’ but we have escaped today Kath :)

  10. An excellent puzzle from Jay – as Nubian said, one to hang on the wall.
    I would have given it three stars personally as there were a few twists along the way.
    26a was an offally good clue/definition and my favourite today.
    Thanks to CSue and Jay.

    1. I didn’t comment about the stars but agree with you Gnomey – thought it more a 3* than 2 but everyone is different and responds to different setters.

  11. Thanks for great review Sue, I didn’t realise 24a was a boxing punch and was wondering where the heavy blow came in??

  12. I enjoyed that – n/w corner went in quickly – followed by n/e, s/e and that last to go in was the s/w as was held up on 17d – didn’t like it when I got it either.

    My favourite was 14d and had to read your review to see why I had the right answer for 26a.

    Nice review CS – thank you and thanks to Jay for an excellent puzzle.

  13. As a learning process I thought I would go through the clues and I couldn’t even get half of them from the hints! Obviously I am just not on the right wavelength today. Still don’t understand what stick has to do with credit!

    1. It doesn’t – it’s “tick” that’s the credit – the “S” comes from the apostrophe after “Met”

  14. We are currently restricted on our internet use so its been quite interesting this morning watching all the comments come in by email. I knew that I didn’t need to worry about people needing help as Mary would be there to assist, as usual.

    My 2* rating is based on my solving time – even allowing for recovering from an icy journey to work and blogger’s panic – it didn’t take me that long to solve. Don’t forget Barrie that I have over 41 years of practice now – do you try putting the puzzle down for a couple of hours to let your subconscious cryptic cells ponder without you knowing – its amazing how often things you thought you would never get pop to the front of your brain.

    I hope Mary will be back on duty between 1.30 and 4 when I will take up the reins again.

    1. Good advice crypticsue. There was a last one in a Toughie a few weeks ago that had me stumped so I gave up and went to bed! Woke up at 3am with the answer!!! Weird thing the subconscious!

    2. Thanks for your confidence in me Sue but I’m sorry I have to go out about 2 but I’m sure Gnomey will be around and Kath, she is more confident of coming forward to help now too :0

      1. I am hoping they might let us go early again – we have heavy snow forecast for 3 – trouble is they wait until the snow is really bad before telling us that we can go if we are worried about driving home!

    3. Yes good advice Sue, Barrie along with Geoff, myself and several others forget what a short time we have been doing these puzzles :)

    4. I have been doing these for less than a year, so Sue sorry but you have 40 years head start which is why I find yours and the other reviewers hints tips and explainations so very helpful when I get stuck, even after having a break and then returning. Today I had 4 unanswered in SE corner , 24a a new word which is a good thing, 20d which is annoyingly obvious when I read your hint, 27a same, 16d was trying an anagram of free links. Hope everyone is safe, North Cambs we are OK not had snow for a couple of days but a few miles either direction is getting more currently. Cold though, Brrrr

      1. I think that if you’ve been doing these crosswords for less than a year you’re doing incredibly well to have only four left that you couldn’t do – well done! :smile: A touch on the chilly side in Oxford too – just back from very cold dog walk.

        1. Thanks Kath, not always so few left on a friday that’s for sure. Am slowly getting into the toughie as well but definetely have good and bad days on that, I need to learn the “mindsets” of the various setters, and frequently look at the categories section to see if there are similar clues of theirs to help in solving – (I hope that’s not cheating) Dog walk later this evening, untreated pavements, a rhodesian ridgeback who’s only to keen to pull me towards anything that moves equals a recipe for a fall sooner or later I can feel it…..

            1. And is it … ? Think you might be winding me up again! Ask Mary … but you’re quite right, I don’t do the toughies and, now being completely serious, I think that anyone who has only been doing cryptic crosswords for less than a year to even look at and get one clue in a toughie is fantastic.

  15. Early Chi Kung class today must have stimulated/invigorated me. Sailed through todays’ DT without any problems.
    Thanx to compiler.

  16. Nice puzzle with a good mix of clue types. I agree that 28A was the pick of the bunch.

    Very good review – but a little too anti-spinach in places!

  17. Unable to do the crossword this morning as we have no papers, apparently the Forth Bridge is closed. I don’t like doing crosswords on a screen so its back to the DT books of cryptic crosswords I’m afraid.

    1. If you joined Clued Up Bigboab they give you a free trial for so many days, you would be able to download your puzzles, print them out and do them on paper (as I do)

      1. Thanks Mary, Gnomethang has sent me a copy of todays cryptic and toughie. I actually like to read my paper as well as the crossword (sad eh?) but I’ll bear your advice in mind. Aren’t the people on this blog absolutely marvellous ? Re todays cryptic, I’ve just completed it thanks to Gnomethang, I enjoyed it very much and agree with the * ratings from Crypticsue. Thanks Jay and Sue. Just started snowing again here after a 2hr break.

        1. Yes it is a briliant friendly blog, and I wouldn’t have come on so well in 18 months of doing cryptics if it wasn’t for Dave and his merry gang of helpers, although the main topic is the crossword. almost any topic is open for discussion!

          1. I echo what Mary has said – three cheers for Dave and his merry men – sorry CSue, and woman!!

  18. IMHO the best DT puzzle this year. Many excellent clues including 4a, 24a, 26a, 28a, 17d, 19d.

    9a was obvious with the cross letters but I had to read the blog for the full explanation – thanks.

    When I was a young man (many, many years ago) one had first to pull then to score, there was a big difference!

    1. Agree the difference between ‘Pull’ and ‘Score’!
      However, I’ll forgive Jay for this one as I laughed out loud when the penny dropped!

  19. Jusr had a lovely bowl of homemade cawl to warm me up before I brave the outdoors, see y’all later :)

      1. Funny :) cawl is a traditional welsh dish on the lines of stew, made with lamb, carrots, swedes, potatoes, leeks, it is eaten with chunks of cheese and fresh bread rolls, can’t beat it on a cold day :)

        1. If you google the word they will tell you it is pronounced ‘cowl’, personally other than onions and the above ingredients I don’t use anything else, some people will use whatever root veg is to hand, after you have eaten the meat & veg you either mop the liquid up with your bread roll or drink it from the bowl – yummy! sometimes I use chicken or beef instead of lamb but then it isn’t traditional cawl!

        2. Can’t quite imagine eating something like that with cheese – lots of bread, yes, but cheese, no! Funny things aren’t they – regional traditions I mean. My Dad always ate strong cheddar with apple pie – sounds odd, but lovely! Oh yes, and another one of his which sounds even odder but which is amazing is marmalade with bacon and fried bread!

        3. Mary. You are not going to believe this but cawl and cauliflower have the same Latin base!

  20. Well I agree with others that this is a fantastic crossword. I always like Jay’s puzzles but this must be his best yet!
    Not too difficult (I agree with the 2* rating) but highly entertaining with some excellent clues. Far to many to pick a favourite, I’d have mention half the clues!
    Thanks a lot Jay, can we have more like this one please?
    And thanks crypticsue for the blog.

  21. Congrats to setter. Most enjoyable puzzle with 28 favourite. Also liked 1a 4 11 12 13 17 24 and 26. Are there any more left? Pleased for M and K that 11 was footy and not the dreaded cricket, otherwise they would never have got it!

    1. But we did do quite well on the cricket yesterday, didn’t we – and not a moan out of either of us!!

  22. A really enjoyable puzzle today – favourites: 28a, 10a & 2d. Thanks to CS for the review.

    With regard to 19d, there’s a letter in today’s paper complaining that “….Tesco does not consider spinach a vegetable but a salad ingredient”.

      1. My aversion to spinach is life long. My dad used to tell how as a baby when offered the ghastly stuff pureed, I spat it all round the kitchen so was never offered it again. I haven’t altered my view on it since.

  23. Have just completed the crossword over lunch… Took a little time to get stuck in but once started it rolled along nicely. Needed some extreme lateral thinking to get 28a. Very enjoyable crossword today. Can someone tell me how they know who the crossword setter is each day? Is there some sort of signature clue that indicates who it is?

    1. I asked exactly that question a week or two ago so will pass on what I learnt.
      Monday – Rufus
      Tuesday – Shamus (+ others)
      Wednesday – Jay
      Thursday – Ray T (+ others)
      Friday – Giovanni
      Saturday – Cephas
      Sunday – Virgilius

  24. put it down half completed,couple of hours later went back to it again and whizzed through it

    1. Yes thank you Mary. The main roads were fine – just the last bit through our village was still frozen and slippy. We are forecast more snow for tonight but they said that about this morning so who knows? Just sorting out jacket potatoes and sausages/vegetarian alternative for tea (cawl sounds lovely but I don’t think the seriously veggie Mr CS would approve).

      1. You can make it without the meat Sue, using just the veg and vegetable stock, but then once again it isn’t traditional cawl :)

      2. I bet that the seriously veggie Mr CS would love some of my spinach recipes, especially when it’s only just been picked from the garden!

        1. Oh yes, he likes spinach – its one of our many incompatabilities – me tea, him coffee, and so on. We have a shared dislike of pear drops but have agreed to differ on most things :D

          1. My first memories of spinach were watching Popeye:-

            I’m strong to the “Finich”
            ‘Cause I eats me spinach
            I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.

  25. Off to make tea/dinner chili meatballs and rice tonight with garlic and herb pitta bread, the diet starts after Christmas! :)

    1. Mary, my friend Davs Bach is always going on about cawl and caws and welsh cakes. Sometimes I think St Davids has sent out a missionary for Wales.
      We are having not just cod in breadcrumbs with new potatoes but M&S thick cod steaks in breadcrumbs. G and T ice and a slice time is fast approaching, sun, what there is of it will soon be over the yardarm. Snow continues to fall.

  26. All done last in being 10a. 2d has cropped up a few times. Enjoyable distraction from a chilly London-town. Thanks to the Setter. 2* difficulty – 3* enjoyment.

  27. I am just astonished by all the comments except Barrie’s! I couldn’t get into this at all, managed 5 answers, 2 more with the first two hints and decided to slink away and hide in a dark corner of the CC dungeon …

    1. Oh no – don’t hide in a dark dungeon, it’s too cold! Maybe tomorrow will be Ray T and it will be fantastic. Unfortunately, for all his fans, I suspect it won’t be him as he has done the last two Thursdays so I suppose it will be someone else. Don’t lose heart Geoff – everyone has good and bad days!

    2. Remember that many of the people posting here are experienced solvers. Familiarity with the conventions of crypto-cruciverbalism makes light of apparently abstruse clues, and leads to the appreciation of the subtle and often witty red herrings that are used by the best compilers.

      Reading the explanations of the bloggers here will make it a relatively painless and speedy process to progress from five solutions found to five missing, and beyond.

    3. you have been out of the dungeon for a long time now Geoff, no going back, remember no more hiding away, you are more than capable of todays crossword, you have done far harder ones! it’s just a case of being in the right frame of mind on the day and being determined not to let it beat you, remember help is just an email away :)

  28. Got to this late after helping to clear the footpaths in our village. A really good puzzle, with no obvious weak spots. Felt it was 3* hard, but perhaps my brain was still thawing out?

  29. Got them all quickly except 29a believe it of not. Was so sure that the “cunning” bit was going to be “sly”, so unable to come up with a sensible answer. When after around fifteen minutes daylight finally dawned, my groan I am sure was clearly audible to the smow shovellers out on the street!

    1. I also tried to make the “cunning” bit “sly” and then eventually the light dawned – wonder how many others did the same.

  30. Excellent crossword today. Didn’t get too many first go through but found one answer led to another. Prob just about 3* for me, just, but didn’t need any clues. Thanks for a great puzzle.

  31. Very enjoyable puzzle to solve from Jay – many thanks!
    1d was no trouble but for 2d I first put in decimetre thinking that it was an anagrom of “Met credit” – then spent a long time getting nowhere with the NW corner. After a strong G & T, took out the 10cm and put on my thinking cap and concentrated on 1a – got it and then remembered Scotland Yard – so got the right solution for 2d including the genitive ‘ on Met’s..
    Pressed on regardless after that!
    Best for me : 1a, 10a, 24a, 28a, 2d, 6d, 16d & 21d.
    Re 28a had a feeling that this was not about OU so thought about Oxford bags and then shoes.

    The snow came to NL last weekend – it is very cold. Nice blog CSue!

  32. Just as a final comment before thinking about general pre going to bed stuff (dealing with fire, quick last night out for our lovely collie etc etc) I can only wonder what the picture clue for 17d would have been had Big Dave or Gazza being writing the review today! What does anyone else think?

  33. What a great puzzle. Jay has exceeded even his high standards. Apart from the usual straightforward anagrams nearly every clue was a brain stretcher. Loved17d, 26a & 10a
    If Jay keeps this standard up there is going to be a lot of mundane tasks neglected.

  34. Re ‘tick’,I fail to understand how a native Brit like Barrie has not come across ‘to take goods on the TICK’ .This is chickenfeed to me here in Kenya,or what do you say,Crypticsue?

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