DT 26415 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26415 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26415 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

A full review of this puzzle will be published on Friday, 10th December.


1a    Copper with spirit gets position in church (6)
Combine the chemical symbol for copper with an adjective meaning with spirit to get a position assisting the vicar in a church

4a    Photographic equipment captures the cat taking head of gerbil in sport (8)
To get this item of photographic equipment put a cat, as in a cat-o’-nine-tails, and G (head of Gerbil) inside a word meaning sport or humour

18a  One’s without issue and not married in church (8)
It’s a very good semi-all-in-one – a two-character abbreviation for childless (without issue) is followed by a church without M(arried) [Thanks Gazza]

20a   Cavalry out of Spain (5)
Another name for the cavalry is a charade of an originally French word for “out of” (4) followed by the IVR code for Spain [Thanks Mary] – note that the French word has been adopted into English, so doesn’t have to be indicated as  foreign

29a    Stick around Director General — one means to communicate (6)
Put a verb meaning to stick or fasten around the abbreviation of Director General and I (one) to get a means to communicate which involves the combination and distortion of two languages – a version of English being the best known


1d    Church has to drink ceremonially like a monk (8)
A charade of the Church of England and a word meaning to drink wine in honour of a god or goddess describes living like a monk

5d    Capital seat’s sound in traditional tune (11,3)
After the capital of the UK put two words that together sound like an originally French word meaning seat or rear to get a traditional tune

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9d   Film in which Muhammad Ali gets cut on head (3,5,6)
This famous film is a charade of the self-appointed title of Muhammad Ali without its last letter (gets cut) over (on as this is a down clue) a headland, like those in the South of Africa and South America and the North of Scotland [Too many people to thank all of them]

24d    Saint — last thereof to be taken in by Lord (5)
This Saint is derived by putting T (last letter of Saint / last thereof) inside (to be taken in by) a general term for a Lord

The Saturday Crossword Club is now open. Membership is free and open to all. Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

178 comments on “DT 26415 (Hints)

  1. Saturday crosswords are definitely improving, I enjoyed this one a lot, liked 5d in particular.

  2. I finished this after a few beers and a large amount of port whilst watching the excellent Ashes performance. I didn’t find it particularly inspiring or difficult at the time. In the sober light of day it has improved, however.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints.

  3. I always enjoy Saturday’s puzzles and did this one happily over breakfast, so glad to be of assistance if needed. I thought 20a rather obscure and couldn’t figure it out until I’d done it, liked 5 and 19d. Thanks to the compiler — Cephas, I think.

      1. Thanks Mary, but I found it rather ‘back to front’ like you. That’s often the case with me, I find the word and then try to fit it into the clue.

  4. I found 18a hard to justify, it looked like it was asking for a plural answer and even after getting the answer I still need the explanation for it.The rest of the puzzle was very enjoyable for a Saturday.
    Thanks to Dave for the blog and the Setter.

    1. 18a One’s without issue and not married in church (8)
      It’s a very good semi-all-in-one. A 2-character abbreviation for childless (without issue) is followed by a church without M(arried).

        1. Ditto, thanks Gazza! I think this Latin acronym(?) for “without issue” cropped up fairly recently. I remember storing it in my memory bank…….alas my retrieval system failed badly!

            1. Nick, it often happens to me that what originally seems to be a weak clue eventually turns out to be one of the best! (18a today a perfect example!). For that reason I never dare criticise the setter (unlike many others). I solved 18a correctly, but completely missed ALL the wordplay.

              1. It was one of those crosswords for me today Franco, solving correctly but missing the word play on several and really working hard to find it!

                1. meddyliau Great meddwl fel ei gilydd

                  That looks more like Welsh to me – “Great Minds…..”

                2. I still think it is a poor clue. Not the only one in which I got the answer without fully understanding the clue. 4a was another; perhaps it is discussed below….?

                  1. 18a: I’m no expert but if Gazza says “It’s a very good semi-all-in-one” – I will agree with him! However, each to his own!

  5. Nice puzzle if a little tricky in parts. Although I have completed it, I don’t understand some of the clues:
    1. If 22d is an american burrowing animal what has the first 3 letters to do with the Republican party?
    2. What has the best WW2 film got to do with the worlds greatest boxer?
    3. What has the animal in 20a to do with Iberia?
    Best clue for me 5d, terrible pun but made me smile! :-)
    Must admit I had to look up 15a, poetry is by and large a closed shop to me.

        1. Careful now!

          Cut indicates that the last letter of the two-word description of Muhammad Ali should be dropped. The rest of it is a headland, like those in the southernmost parts of Africa and South America.

        2. **** is a headland? Cut ******** ie *******(t).

          Please read the note at the bottom of the main post

        3. Barrie, I agree with all of your observations. I appreciate that I may be rather befuddled, having listened to some of the cricket, but I too will be pleased to see someone explain those answers.

      1. Thx Mary but where in the clue is the indication that it is French? Although I enjoyed the puzzle as a whole I thought some of the clues very sloppy.

          1. I am always being told on this blog if the word is used in English then it i acceptable and it is.

    1. Barrie, the American Republicans are said to belong to the ***** *** *****. 20a is as Mary says plus the international code for Spain. I hope this helps.

      1. Still doesn’t help I’m afraid. American politics is such a cesspit I try to avoid it as much as possible, bit like FIFA!! :-( GRRRRR!!

          1. Ah thats the ones trick I didn’t try!! Thx Mary, I can go and get the Xmas tree now without that preying on my mind :-)

            1. Can’t get out here, it rained really hard yesterday evening and during the night froze on top of it, even the dogs are sliding about! Once more I can ‘see the green green grass of home’ but no way am I venturing outside yet! it is raining again now on top of the ice!

    2. its tricky in parts but I think the clues work perfectly. The blog later in the week will explain better than I will but they are good clues.

  6. Very enjoyable crossword. Got stuck in bottom left corner until solved 22d, then all fell into place. Loved 5d and 9d. Off scuba diving now.
    Thanks to all.

        1. Ah! Dry suit then (or else do the have a dry pot t there?!!). When I was young and fit I dived out of Plymouth in March in a wetsuit – that was a bit chilly!

      1. Dry suit. Got to keep in training for Egypt and Turkey next year. Not so young (69) but reasonably fit. Plenty of good diving sites along south coast as you probably know.

  7. Well I’m glad you all enjoyed it today, personally I found some of the clues very obscure, I found it was a puzzle I could solve and then had to work out how or why? especially in 18a, I have never heard of that two letter abbreviation, also never heard of the 3 letter abbreviation at the start of 22d! In 1a the four letter word for with spirit I would not have connected with it, being ignorant I had to put 10a and 15a in my little machine, and 20a only got through the checking letters the first four letters being French? for ‘out of’ I also had to check this out, I also thought that 4a belonged in a toughie, although I got the answer straight away, it took me ages to work it out, definitely a ‘back to front’ puzzle for me today, 5d however was first to go in and that helped immensely :)

  8. The papers arrived today so this was a nice breakfast workout. Many good clues and I enjoyed 9 the best Also liked 10 12 15 19 20 and 29. For Barrie, Take off Ali’s last letter and add head as in wrath. For 20 think french. For 22 check out nickname.

  9. Thank you for the explanations – I’m pleased to say that I’m now seeing the light. Apparently, Sharne Warne is being reported as having said, “You’ve got to feel sorry for Ponting.” Well, Shane, we’ve got some news for you…

    1. Sounds like you have been given time off for good behaviour! Looks as though we have the joys of Cephas alternating with a Mysteron! I hope that our new Saturday inquisitor will drop by and introduce themselves before too long.

  10. Very enjoyable crossword and not too taxing. Somehow it did feel like one of Cephas’s puzzles – maybe he is having another week off? Favorite clue was 5d.

  11. Reading the comments I must be the only person on the planet who hasn’t got 5d! I’m sure when I do I’ll see off the top right corner and finish the puzzle!

    1. It’s a terrible pun, think the French for one’s behind with a capital city in front (is this OK Dave?)

    2. You need tha capital city of the uk, followed by a place in Ireland and a three letter word for tune or song – the place in Ireland plus the three letter word ‘sound ‘ like the french word for backside!

        1. Yuck! Another alleged homophone that really isn’t.

          Pity; overall I liked this crossword. Not too taxing, but fun.

            1. And me – thought it was one of the best clues (apart from some of Ray T’s) that I’ve seen for ages.

              1. I suspected that many people would think that it was OK :-)

                I got the answer straight away, which also suggests that it was fair. However, the “homophony” (if that’s not a neologism) depends on pronunciation, both of the solution and of the French word alluded to.

                The way that I would pronounce “air” would involve a rhotic “r”, and, of course, the final “r” in the French word in question should also be pronounced. Also, the vowel sound that I would use for “air” would not be the same as the grave-accented “è” in the Fench word.

                In order for the homophone to work, it would be necessary either to use a non-rhotic “r” sound in “air” and in the French word, or to use the “hard” “r” in both and, in either case, to equate the two vowel sounds.

                OK, now I’m losing the will to live. I know that my objection wouldn’t stand up in a “caught of lore”, but I am still slightly miffed by the puzzle the other day that had, as homophones, “pawn” and “porn”, and “moorish” and “more-ish”, both of which assume a similar accent to this clue.

                However, I did solve those clues without undue difficulty, so I’m probably just nit-picking.

                I should shut up now.


                  1. lol

                    Yes, I saw that one.

                    What business “tutees” has even existing as a word, never mind appearing as a solution in a crossword, is beyond me.

  12. Started late. Mrs C wanted to go to the market. Thoroughly enjoying it. Halfway through. 13a was good

  13. I was a late starter today too, but like many above I thought that this was the best Saturday crossword for a long time. I enjoyed several of the clues 10a, 12a, 13a, 27a, 5d, 9d, 19d and 24d to name but a few! I confess that I too missed the point of 20a but there can only be one answer given 3 of the 5 letters. Finally I often find an interest in railways a great help with crosswords and 10 across was the name of one of my favourite class 50 locos years ago!!..50040 for those in the know.

    1. Hi Rod, 20a is the French word for ‘out of’ – 4 letters, followed by the international code for Spain

    2. Rod Ash Shame on you. You did not mention Jubilee 45704 – now that was a proper loco. We also had 45693 last week!

  14. I agree with the majority that this was a very enjoyable puzzle today, and as BigBoab says, the Saturday crosswords are definitely improving.
    5d was my favourite too, and made me chuckle. Thanks to setter, and to BD.
    The contractions have started for Mrs J this morning, so ready and waiting for the drive to Kingston Hospital. This could be a long day! :)

      1. Thanks very much Mary. The hosptal is less than a mile from the house, and some rain during the night has washed a lot of the snow away, so hopefully the drive should only take 5 minutes.

  15. Didn’t take long to solve but am waiting to write the review to see how it grows on me. Good luck to Mrs Jezza.

      1. I don’t know about that – you seem to be giving quite a lot of hints. I will let you know either later today or else tomorrow, depending on how I get on with the other things I must do first.

  16. We had rain and it cleared the little bit of snow we had so I took advantage of a clear driveway to go out this morning and go to the bank, etc. Haven’t started the puzzle as my coffee break in Costa only had the Mail or the Times. Going to start in a moment but wanted to read the blog before I had lunch and then will get to it.

    Jezza – good luck to Mrs. J – hope all goes well for the three of you. Your job of support is just as important so keep smiling. I presume you have someone to look after the new baby’s sibling. Keep us posted.

  17. I thought this was a great crossword but found it VERY difficult – it has taken me all morning, on and off, and have finally finished. What a lot of comments – no time to read them all now as something has just started to come down – looks like rain mainly but with a few slightly thicker bits in it – going to get dog walk out of the way now and will do some proper commenting later.

  18. Took me ages to get going – too much time listing to the cricket in the small hours. I frankly found this to be the toughest Saturday puzzle for a long time – favourites were 9d amd 19d.

    Last in 22d. All done.

  19. Best wishes to Mrs. J. [ it could all be over by now] let us know the result, please. I actually got the paper today only the second time since last week, and yet again no mail!! I’m told the roads are passable now so really there’s no excuse for the Royal Mail. Milkie has delivered every time as usual, so if HE can why can’t Tesco and oil companies, Royal Mail and Ready-Meals supplier? Sorry to gripe but it gets pretty hard for O.A.P’s living alone and housebound!

    1. Welcome to the blog Kate

      There is a rule about giving whole or part answers for Prize puzzles, which is why you have been censored!

      You are on the right lines – the first two letters of the answer are an abbreviation of the words I have censored. According to Chambers this represents, presumably on family trees etc, without issue

  20. Sorry didn’t finish! Could only find *** for ‘without issue’. Is this what I need?

    1. Hi Kate you need a two letter abbreviation meaning childless or without issue, followed by a word for a large church without the first letter i.e. ‘m’ – not married – meaning not m! to give you a word for an unmarried woman, if I haven’t explained correctly I’m sure someone will correct me :) hope this helps

  21. Just back from what only can be described as one of the most unpleasant dog walks that we have ever had – even Annie was seriously unimpressed! It’s the kind of day when you really rather wish that you had a goldfish instead – only joking – we wouldn’t be without her! Right – on to the crossword. I found it tough today and having read through all the clues had only got about six, most of which were in the top right hand corner – not a great start! As so often happens I can’t quite see why I found it so hard now that I’ve finished. Both 10 and 15a just came out of the brain even though I didn’t know that I knew the words, if that makes any sense – probably from a long forgotten crossword. 18a had to be what it was but I couldn’t explain it – thanks to all the explanations in previous comments – a very clever clue now that I understand it. 20a likewise – is ….. really a synonym for ‘cavalry’ or am I still missing something? For no good reason I tried for ages to make 23a ‘scallop’ which it clearly wasn’t but then the light dawned. 22d took a long time too – had never heard of the first three letters meaning what they do but, as someone has already said, American politics is something that I don’t understand. Loved 3, 5 and 9d. Hope that everyone has a good Saturday evening and thanks to the setter and BD.

        1. Kath, My apologies!

          My liquid lunch was far too long! But still no excuse for my stupid comments! Mea Culpa!

          1. Absolutely no need for apologies – I envy you your liquid lunch – comments completely justified! I have to confess that I was also escaping the kitchen where my husband was putting in a new cat flap so the longer that I was somewhere else the longer I was not listening to him getting grumpier and grumpier – that is euphemistic for appalling language!!

  22. Hi, can someone illuminate me ( pun intended) as to the cat and game in the photographic equipment? Thanks.

    1. Welcome to the blog Spadeworker.

      The cat is as in a cat-o’-nine-tails and is letters 2 through 5. The clue says sport, as in humour, not game and is the container around the outside of the answer (positions 1,7,8)

  23. Well I finished before coming here but with a lot of help from the dictionary and key.

    4a I don’t understand.

    16d: What is an ashram, apart from a word that is not in (my edition of) Chambers?

    Too many charades for me. 3***

    1. Hi Peter 4a is not easy, you are looking for a word for some photographic equipment, the cat we are talking about here is a kind of whip, you put the head of gerbil i.e. ‘g’ in a 3 letter word for ‘sport’ as in enjoyment then insert your word for ‘cat’ after the first letter, whew that’s a hard one to explain :)

  24. OK the rain has stopped, we now have thick fog and I am about to brave it all, flute on back and make my way to church, I may be gone a long time!!

  25. Well I finally got around to it and enjoyed it even if it did take me longer than I tthought it should. We have been having no water problems – last night from 9:00 until about 3:00 a.m. Then again today from about 9:00 until about 3:00 pm. Luckily I had gone out before this morning’s cut off. Hope that is it for the time being.

    Puzzle was enjoyable – liked 18aq (I had remembered the without issue) and 15a (remebered Keats!!

    Thanks to mysteron and to Big Dave for hints. Look forward to your review CrypticSue.

  26. Thanks Mary. I’m now kate.cricket. I expected to be asked for a ‘user name’, didn’t expect my full name to appear!

    1. Kate,
      Do you want your name here amended to Golding?
      Also, it’s better, if you’re replying to a thread, to click on “reply” in the message that you’re inputting the follow-up for. That way all the posts in a thread stay together – otherwise it’s not clear what you’re replying to.

  27. I promised Mary I would return with my opinion on this crossword when I had drafted the review. Well I have just typed out the acrosses and can defnitely say that its grown on me. Off now to watch Strictly with a nice glass or two of wine. Should make the sorting out of the downs for the review later this evening very interesting! I will be back later to see if Junior Jezza has made an appearance.

    1. Not yet Sue! Contractions have stayed at 20 minutes all day, although the pain seems to be getting worse. I am fairly sure that we will be off to the hospital at some time in the early hours (as happened with our first). Mrs J has just read all the comments, and we would like to thank everyone for all the kind words. Signing off for now, but can assure you that I will be back as soon as there is something to tell. Thank you all very much :)

      1. A bit like “Strictly” then – we don’t know the result until tomorrow. Sorry – sure that you don’t need comments like that. I wish you all the very best of luck and look forward to hearing about it tomorrow.

    1. Hi hometown47 – welcome to the blog.
      3d Unscrupulous type to do for South African region’s uprising (9)
      The definition is an unscrupulous type. It’s a verb meaning “to do for” i.e. clean for, followed by a South African region reversed (uprising).

    2. Thanks! Got the SA bit but 1a was wrong so struggle with the other part of the clue! Now got in the spirit of thing and wow solved and can go have a cup of tea…..

  28. BD – I do hope that you occasionally have time to read all these comments and think what a fantastic thing you have created. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging to everyone else – thank you. What about designating a date when all the “lurkers” come out of the woodwork (or wherever else they are hiding) – there must be lots of them. Have a good weekend.

  29. Is there any way of looking at the hints but hiding the pictures? I would like a chance to try without the pictures first as they make it too easy but need the hints. Any ideas?

      1. Perhaps the pics could be a bit more cryptic? Sorry – don’t mean to moan – we couldn’t do it without you!

          1. I’d just like to say that I really enjoy the image hints and when they’re about music with a video (like todays)they’re great !
            After all, you don’t have to play the video !
            Sorry KathandRob but some of us get great pleasure from them.
            As for the puzzle, still got two corners blank and not getting much pleasure from it at all – a bit too devious and convoluted for my simple mind !

  30. Je suis une couche-tard watching us ‘Poms’ stacking up a formidable first innings lead of 269 – presently we are 513-4 at 4 am !
    Some consolation for losing out on our World Cup bid for our other National ball game !
    Didn’t get much help fron Dave’s hints on 3d . Looks like ***** rising but can’t figure the unscrupulous type. Also, couldn’t find any hints for 28a, but the ‘penny dropped’ after useful hints for 22d provided the first letter, which was followed by the well-known English artist to complete the clue. Far too many comments were made about 20a which I thought was fairly straightforward even without any savoir faire for the clue ‘out of”.

        1. What cricket?? :) Have you done todays, I am only halfway through after over an hour and stuggling with the R/H side!! still going to perservate for a while!

          1. Oz of course. We are 551 [runs] for 4 [wickets] but RSP. Yes, I have done today’s. What are you struggling on? See BD’s clip for 5d yesterday for 17 Mozart started writing music at 5.

  31. Hi – I’m an avid fan of the Saturday Crossword and have often used this bog for help. Needed all my books and dictionaries this week and managed to finish it but as usual there were one or two where I didn’t “get it”! Now I do, so many thanks.

  32. In Qix’s comment above re- the homophone, does anybody think we have a worthy submission for ‘Pseuds Corner’??

  33. I rather liked this one although it took me longer than usual – my favourite was 5 d which I thought was great.

  34. Enjoyed this CW, didn’t have time to do it yesterday as I was working all day then had to rush about to get ready for the works christmas do at Dover town hall, good meal good band and a free bar so I got slightly inebriated and had to walk the hangover off with the dogs before I settled down to do it, favourite clue was 25a being a proper Tyke born in Barnsley and then dragged up in Pontefract where Shakespeare’s Richard III quotes the murder of Richard II.

    Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
    Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
    Within the guilty closure of thy walls
    Richard the second here was hack’d to death;
    And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
    We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.

    Many thanks to BD and the Mysteron. :D

  35. I am late as always so no one will see this but I thought it was excellent. Not sure about all the complaints regarding the clues. For me they all worked well. It’s easy to confuse tricky clues with bad clues. These weren’t bad ones. In my opinion.

  36. Nearly there!
    Ashes distraction this weekend.
    I need help with 22d and 26a to put into envelope.
    I think I have 6d but it needs explaining!
    Thanks to all for hints on the blog.

    1. 26a Raise army to capture Italy (5)
      A verb meaning to raise is a word often seen in Crosswordland for an army around I(taly)

      6d Black market grips Britain (5)
      The heraldic term for black is a market or trade placed around B(ritain)

      22d Republican Party woman’s burrowing creature (6)
      A charade of an abbreviation of the term used to describe the Republican Party (see their Wikipedia article) and a female pronoun gives this burrowing creature

  37. Enjoyed this crossword but have trouble with 21d. I must have some letters wrong I think……..can anybody help please?

    1. 21d Help in group carrying out attack (7)
      The definition is carrying out attack. Put a synonym for help inside a group or clique.

  38. Very enjoyable xword and popular too judging from the high number of blogs.Happy new year to all in this blog from me here in Kenya.By the way,what has INTENDED got to do with marriage as I’ve come across this in several xwords I solved in the 90’S.

    1. Chadwick,
      “My intended” is someone I intend to marry, i.e. my fiance or fiancee.
      Happy New Year to you!

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