DT 26418 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26418

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26418

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable, if not overly difficult, offering today from Jay (I presume).  There is a fairly nice mix of clue types, although I expect some will think that there are too many “first and last letter of …” type clues in the 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.


1a Checkout lines (8)
{BARCODES} – A cryptic definition to start us off. These lines are not the queues in front of the checkout counter but those on the labels of the products passing across it.

9a Notice lease includes cover for home supporter (8)
{ADHERENT} – A synonym for follower or supporter is formed by placing the first and last letters (cover) of H(om)E between a short term for a public notice and a verb meaning to lease.

10a Nice road after start of the straight (4)
{TRUE} – Put a word meaning road – actually, street – in Nice (or anywhere else in France, for that matter) after the first letter of T(he) to get a word meaning straight (in terms of either veracity or alignment).

11a Depressed by putting in order for carpeting (8,4)
{DRESSING DOWN} – If you place a word meaning sad beside (by) another meaning ‘putting in order’ (e.g., arranging a display in a shop window), you will get a scolding.

13a Quiet craftsman showing favouritism (8)
{PARTISAN} – Start with the abbreviation for the musical direction for soft (piano) and follow it with someone who does skilled work with their hands to obtain an adjective meaning strongly loyal to one side, especially blindly so.

15a Strangely silent coves (6)
{INLETS} – An anagram (strangely) of SILENT gives us a word for small and usually sheltered bays on a rocky coast .

16a A Spaniard’s positive answer from a large part of the world (4)
{ASIA} – The largest continent is a charade of A + the Spanish word for yes (Spaniard’s positive) + A(nswer).  I had initially thought that the Spanish word for yes was clued by the phrase ‘Spaniard’s positive answer’ and that the final A was given by the one following ‘from’. However, that would imply that ‘from’ must be acting as a charade operator – which I just couldn’t justify.

17a Tips from the French politicians (5)
{DUMPS} – Combine a French word meaning ‘from the’ and an abbreviation for some British (or Canadian) politicians to get what a lorry does with a load of rubbish at what we now grandiosely refer to as a waste management facility.

18a Conceited individual in commercial transport (4)
{VAIN} – Insert I (individual; i.e., one) into a small commercial transport vehicle to get an adjective describing one having too much pride in themselves.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20a Rest room for boys — that’s inside (6)
{LADIES} – Rest room – yes; for boys – definitely not. Put a Latin abbreviation meaning ‘that is’ inside another word for boys to get a rest room – one for the so-called fairer sex.

21a Dull finish to her old hat (8)
{SOMBRERO} – A charade of a word meaning dark and gloomy + the last letter in he(R) + O(ld) is a wide-brimmed Mexican hat.

23a One-way ticket, given with no assistance (6-6)
{SINGLE-HANDED} – This was actually the clue I found most difficult to crack the wordplay. According to Chambers (online), ‘one-way ticket’ is a North American expression. Take the British equivalent, add a word meaning passed from one person to another and you have a word meaning carried out by oneself without any help from others (something Mary and her fellow members of the CC aspire to do).

26a A route out of the office (4)
{AWAY} – A very vague description of where you are when you are not in the office is formed from a charade of A + a synonym for road.

27a Copper leans on head of organisation supplying specialist doctors (8)
{OCULISTS} – Take a combination of the chemical symbol for copper and a verb meaning leans (in particular, as a ship might be said to do) and place it after the head letter of O(rganisation) to get a term for eye specialists.

28a Plea to have dinner during introduction (8)
{ENTREATY} – Put a word meaning ‘to have dinner’ inside a term describing one’s first experience of a subject or thing to obtain a passionate or desperate request.


2d Music bosses are idiots (8)
{AIRHEADS} – A word sum of a tune plus people with authority produces people one might think had inflatable skulls.

3d Direct grant in trouble welcomes one financial assessment (6,6)
{CREDIT RATING} – An anagram (in trouble) of DIRECT GRANT placed around (welcomes) I (one) produces the type of check that a bank might perform before granting you a mortgage.

4d Several grebes for example (6)
{DIVERS} – A double definition. As a noun, grebes are one example; as an adjective, the solution is a rather archaic term meaning several or various.

5d Speaks, for example, on ‘Origin of Species’ (4)
{SAYS} – A synonym for speaks is constructed from a word meaning ‘for example’ placed before (on in a down clue) the first letter (origin) of S(pecies).

6d Terrible hiding in case of serious wild parties (8)
{SHINDIGS} – An anagram (terrible) of HIDING is contained in the first and last letters (case) of S(eriou)S to give us a word meaning either lively parties or celebrations or noisy disturbances or rows.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d Ban Doctor Who at last (4)
{VETO} – The type of voting power held by permanent members of the UN Security Council is a word sum of an animal doctor and the last letter of wh(O).

8d Put up with error from substitutes (6,2)
{STANDS IN} – A phrasal verb meaning substitutes would mean tolerate a moral transgression if split (5,3).

12d End of term speech engagement (8,4)
{DELIVERY DATE} – A double definition. The first is not the end of a school term, but rather refers to the end point anticipated by an expectant mother. The second is a mildly cryptic allusion to the timing of a meeting at which a speech is to be given.

14d How to identify people caught in a mess? (5)
{NAMES} – Answer: the same way we identify anyone – by the word hidden (caught) in the phrase ‘iN A MESs’.

16d Trick dismissing one for a reference (8)
{ALLUSION} – The setter magically changes a word meaning a trick (the kind a magician might perform) into one meaning an indirect or veiled reference by merely removing the letter I from the start of the word (dismissing one …) and replacing it with the letter A (… for a).

17d Presides over spread (8)
{DISPERSE} – An anagram (over) of PRESIDES gives a word meaning to spread out over a wide area.

19d One runs twice with it, to worker’s annoyance (8)
{IRRITANT} – A synonym for annoyance is formed by summing I (one) + RR (runs twice) + IT + a six-legged worker.

22d Small-scale, but majority, holding 25% of deposits (6)
{MODEST} – An adjective that can mean variously humble, shy or moderate is formed by inserting the first two letters (25%) of DE(posits) into a word meaning the greatest number.

24d Nothing seen in rising star shows common sense (4)
{NOUS} – Put O (nothing) in a reversal (rising in a down clue) of the star at the centre of our solar system to get an informal British term for gumption or common sense.

25d Storage space retaining room for an altar (4)
{APSE} – The room where an altar is found is also found hidden and reversed in ‘storagE SPAce’. Retained, meaning ‘held back’, serves as both a hidden word indicator (held) and a reversal indicator (back).

Among my favourites were 12d, 16d and 25d (for the indicator doing double duty). I know some of these may possibly have been old chestnuts for the veterans but they were still quite fresh for me. Let us know which were your favourites. Now, I can’t wait to see what illustrations Big Dave will insert into this review. [Maybe later!  BD]

44 comments on “DT 26418

  1. Nice workout from Jay today with a good range of clues and smiles along the way. Many thanks to Jay and to Falcon for the review. Favourite clues were 1a and 25d.

  2. Could not get on the right wavelength today but got there in the end. Not so enjoyable for me.
    No problems getting access to the blog. I have it in my bookmarks. When I clicked on I did get a brief glimpse of a page with a red post box on it!
    Thanks to setter and Falcon for the hints.

  3. Forsooth, if I may make so bold, it doth annoy to view the mots of a bygone age being utilised. To wit 4d. Dost thou not consider our Antipoead cousins or indeed the other colonies in the Americas and beyond. Methinks it may cause a rumpus of unquestionable ire.
    Apart from that it was an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to Jay, if it be him and Falcon.

      1. I agree. 4d is a very satisfying clue, and I think the answer should be used more widely in modern English. Far too many words are being lost in the name of progress – a backward step in my view.

  4. Too much for me today, but the mid-week puzzles often are. Is it a year today or tomorrow that I found this site? and still in the CC! Will read the review.

    If anyone’s interested, Amazon are currently selling Chambers Dictionary for £20 …

  5. I was initially caught out at 1a as I wanted EULOGIES until I realized that they were talking about Real rather than Metaphorical checkouts!
    After that all was pretty plain sailing with 1a remaining a favourite.
    Thanks to Falcon and Jay.

    1. I put obituary at first for 1a, which made a bit of a mess of things until the down clues started falling into place.

  6. I too got caught out by 1a after being pleased to have thought laterally to get eulogies, the correct answer was banal. Not my favourite today, too hard for me with some very convoluted clues. No best clue today for me but lots of unpleasant ones with 7d being without doubt the silliest.

  7. Solid 3* fare today. Thanks Falcon, but be afeared of incurring Mistress Mary’s wrath – she is currently without the CC methinks (with due deference to Nubian’s comment #3)

    1. Mary is in Cardiff enjoying Christmas treats with/for grandsons so she won’t be back on crossword duty until tomorrow.

    2. We get the puzzles in Canada about three months after they are published in Britain. Thus I may well be a bit behind the times on news of the CC. If Mary has, in fact, graduated during recent months, let me congratulate her. I would probably, myself, be considered a member of that esteemed group, as I rarely complete a puzzle without assistance from my “electronic friends” – or, as I prefer to call them, my Tool Chest.


  8. 1a is living proof that it is possible to take the art of lateral thinking too far – I had obituary in at first! Agree with Barry about the convolutions – at one point I was very glad I hadn’t lined myself up to do the review but everything fell into place in an average time for a Wednesday. I liked 1a, 10a and 17a. Thanks to Jay and Falcon.

    Do try the Toughie – its tough but a thing of great joy!

        1. We were all rather morbid – I had obituary too. Had we been in jolly Christmas shopping mode, we´d have solved the puzzle more readily. But Christmas shopping isn´t a big thing in the Nora house – Señor Nora and I have a five euro present limit. I can recommend it – unwrapping gifts has never been so much fun.

    1. 1a took me for ever and, unlike lots of you who had great possibilities , I had a gaping hole for a very long time – eventually managed it.

  9. A bit of a lunchtime plod today. Got there but not many smiles along the way. 16d was my favourite.
    Thanks to setter and Falcon for the hints

  10. Again most enjoyable. Favs were 4 and 12 but also enjoyed 1 10 11 17 20 and 27. Only duff clue was 26 which i did not like at all. A nice diversion on a cold brrrrrrr morning.

  11. I particularly enjoy the wordplay in clues with four letter answers, there were eight today.
    Best clues for me were 10a and 26a.
    Thanks to setter and Falcon.

  12. Super crossword today from Jay ( I think ), lovely review from Falcon. Personal favourites were 17a and 12d.

  13. I also found this quite hard going, but managed to finish it thanks to you, Falcon. I took a long time getting 11a as I was looking for a carpet. Didn’t like 17d as I don’t like ‘over’ as an anagrind, also didn’t think ‘ay’ in 5d meant ‘for example’, thought it was more ‘forever’. Once you’d helped me get 1a I could solve 4d, and I think that and 23a were my favourite clues. So thank you, Jay, for a good mental workout.

  14. A good workout today, enjoyable with some really good clues but 2d, never heard the word before, and 26a I thought very feeble [ but better than anything I could do!] so thankyou to setter and falcon. favourites were 16d and 8d

  15. Managed today without any hints – but thanks Falcon for the great review and Jay(?) for the puzzle.
    17d was the last to go in as we initially thought 17a might be LAMPS but couldn’t see why this was tips! Until the Pommers realised 17d was an anagram! Had a bit of trouble too in NW corner as I was convinced a grebe was a wader !!!!!
    Oh well – back to the ornithlogy books for me.

  16. Many devotees love a really good all-in-one clue (or &lit = and literally so), but 20 across was a wonderfully amusing example of where the clue’s surface reading means the opposite of the answer, which I’d imagine is an equally difficult thing to achieve. I also loved 1a. Bravo, setter.

  17. Very busy day so rather late starting the crossword. I managed to finish without the hints although I needed the explanation for 25d. Did most of it in reasonable time but the last few (1a, 4, 5, and 17d) took as long as the rest of the puzzle put together. I also thought 17a could be lamps without being able to see why it should be. Enjoyed the whole thing – favourite clues 10 and 20a and 6, 7 and 12d. Really liked 7d although I noticed someone (?Barrie) thought that it was the worst clue in the crossword – I never was much of a ‘Doctor Who’ fan! With thanks to Jay, if he is the setter today, and to Falcon for the hints.

  18. Enjoyable today although I did fail to get 1a and 4d. 1a is quite clever – clearly too clever for me today. 20a was my favourite. Another good distraction from the Circle Line.

  19. big thanks for this site. i have tried for many years to solve the DT crossword but with little success – having in the past relied on the solution the following day to try to work out the previous day’s clues. I like the way you offer tips as to how to reach the answer without necessarily having to see the answer. This has helped me understand how the puzzles are created and to look for the word games. the only reason I buy the telegraph and now that I have you, I buy the telegraph more often. Thanks

    1. I agree – it is a brilliant site. Have been doing the cryptic for years but sometimes an answer is obvious but how or why is not so obvious. I found (or to be honest my husband found) this site several months ago and I now read it and comment every day – everyone is really helpful, especially at weekends when a few hints are given but no answers – you only have to say that you’re having trouble with a particular clue and there are immediately several replies to bail you out. Big thanks to BD and all who write the hints and, also, to all who comment.

  20. Many thanks to Jay and Falcon. Very enjoyable crossword today. Managed to finish without any hints even though it was a certain 3* for me. Lots of nice clues, I liked 4d too.

  21. Nicely balanced puzzle. Thanks to the setter.

    Thanks also to the reviewer for a nicely-written commentary.

    -11° C here today at 1pm, so grateful for hot coffee and two nice workouts from the DT, and for all the thoughts from those at Big Dave’s place.

  22. What a great crossword- some lovely clues and I can’t decide between 1a, 23 and 12d. On reflection 12d – it had me thinking of a speech you might make at a funeral instead for a while! V clever.

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