DT 26415 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26415

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26415

A full review by Crypticsue

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

This Saturday’s Prize Puzzle was the work of a mystery setter and to start with I was a little mystified as to what I thought about it. I completed it in really quick time without really paying close attention to the wordplay and so it has taken the writing of this review for me to realise that it was a very good Saturday puzzle, by which I mean that it wasn’t too difficult, with a nice mix of clues and providing something for all levels of solving ability. So thank you Mysteron, whoever you are.

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    Copper with spirit gets position in church (6)
CURACY – The office of employment of a curate in a church – The chemical symbol for copper CU and an adjective meaning zestful, risqué, but in this case spirited.

4a    Photographic equipment captures the cat taking head of gerbil in sport (8)
FLASHGUN – This photograph equipment is made up of a three letter word for sport in the sense of amusement and inserting into it another word for whip (here cat refers to a cat-o’-nine-tails, a sort of whip or lash) plus the G (head of gerbil).

10a    Valiant, he wrestled monster (9)
LEVIATHAN – an anagram of VALIANT HE (wrestled) produces this biblical sea-monster described in the Bible in Job 41.

11a    Have completed preparation to besiege (5)
BESET – If you are ready you could be said to BE SET (to go); merge the two words to get a verb meaning to surround with hostile intentions.

12a    Merseyside town’s centre for lager produced illicitly (7)
BOOTLEG – Bootle is a town on Merseyside. Add a G (centre for lager) to produce a word meaning illicitly produced alcohol, or CDs or videos or…..

13a    In a month Forces’ sweetheart will get ham (7)
OVERACT – October is the month required, abbreviate it to OCT, insert the Christian name of the Dame who sung to troops in the Second World War. The definition of ham required here is that of an actor who rants and overacts. (Brian Blessed just came into my mind – can’t think why?!)

14a    Fool takes son in dance (5)
TWIST – This dance was all the rage in my early teens – Put S (son) inside another word for a fool.

15a    I engaged in rewriting my Donne and Keats work (8)
ENDYMION – An anagram (rewriting) of MY DONNE plus I – this is John Keats’ poem which begins ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’.

18a    One’s without issue and not married in church (8)
SPINSTER – To quote Gazza “this is a very good semi all-in-one” – a two letter abbreviation of sine prole – SP – meaning without issue / children, and the name of an abbey or priory church – a MINSTER – with the M (not married) removed. What a lot of posts there were on this one on Saturday!

20a    Cavalry out of Spain (5)
HORSE – Horse can be a collective name for cavalry as well as just a single animal – HORS (from the French meaning outside of) with E (the IVR code for Spain). This was another of the clues that produced numerous posts on Saturday.

23a    Seafood needs work after none caught (7)
OCTOPUS – This eight armed creature is more popular as seafood in Mediterranean countries than here in the UK. A charade of O (none) CT (abbreviation for caught – cricket again!) and OPUS a musical work or composition.

25a    It’s risky to upset such as Richard III (7)
YORKIST – Richard III belonged to the House of York – the most clear anagram indicator (upset) instructs you to rearrange RISKY TO.

26a    Raise army to capture Italy (5)
HOIST – An army is sometimes known as a HOST, insert I (IVR code for Italy) into the middle to get a verb meaning to lift or heave upwards.

27a    Director in mishap is unsettling central position on board (9)
AMIDSHIPS – The abbreviation for director (D) inserted into an anagram (unsettling) of MISHAP IS – I don’t know whether crossword compilers have been on a cruise together lately but ‘towards the middle of a ship’ has appeared many times in newspapers’ cryptic crosswords recently.

28a    One going back to work on artist (8)
RETURNER – A preposition meaning concerning, or with reference to, added to the name of one of this country’s great artists, TURNER, produces a person returning to paid employment after a paid absence such as maternity leave.

29a    Stick around Director General — one means to communicate (6)
PIDGIN – PIN in the sense of fasten or stick to something with the abbreviation for Director General – DG – and I (one) inserted. Pidgin (English) is a mixture of English and another language used to communicate with foreigners.


1d    Church has to drink ceremonially like a monk (8)
CELIBATE – Monks are famed for being this – the abbreviation for the Church of England – CE- plus the verb meaning to make the pouring forth of wine in honour of a god or goddess LIBATE.

2d    Italian food for a violinist to sample (7)
RAVIOLI – ‘sample’ is a very good hidden word indicator – inside foR A VIOLInist is the name of a small square pasta case with a savoury filling.

3d    Unscrupulous type to do for South African region’s uprising (9)
CHARLATAN – These unscrupulous types are also known as quacks or frauds. The famous cleaning lady (char) Mrs Mopp in the wartime radio show It’s That Man Again had the famous catchphrase “can I do you now sir”. So, the ‘type to do’ in the clue refers to a cleaning lady, so take the word CHAR and put it before the reversal (uprising in a down clue) of the South African region of NATAL.

5d    Capital seat’s sound in traditional tune (11,3)
LONDONDERRY AIR – I thought derriere had long become part of the English ‘language’ but there was a deal of muttering on Saturday about French words being used in English crosswords (similar comments being applied to 20a). The capital of England LONDON plus a homophone of the French rear end – the whole being a famous Irish anthem to which the words of the song Danny Boy are usually set.

6d    Black market grips Britain (5)
SABLE – B for Britain inserted into SALE (market) SABLE is the heraldic noun and adjective for black.

7d    Secret police tamper with postage (7)
GESTAPO – The German secret police in Nazi Germany – an anagram (tamper with) of POSTAGE.

8d    No gallery to provide written description (6)
NOTATE – NO plus TATE (gallery) – this verb means to write down (usually in specialised signs or symbols, such as music or ballet moves).

9d    Film in which Muhammad Ali gets cut on head (3,5,6)
THE GREAT ESCAPE – What would Christmas be without a showing of this film? – Muhammad Ali was known as THE GREATEST – remove the last letter (gets cut) and add a word meaning a head of land jutting out into the sea. Split THEGREATESCAPE into 3, 5 and 6 and Steve McQueen will be ready to ride his motorbike again.

16d    One in exotic ashram greeting Indian holy man (9)
MAHARISHI – a leading instructor in the Hindu faith (Indian holy man) – put I (one) inside an anagram (exotic – yet another anagram indicator ) of ASHRAM and add HI (greeting)

17d    Abandon joint set after breaking (8)
JETTISON – an anagram (after breaking) of JOINT SET – the act of throwing (abandoning) goods overboard.

19d    Loyalist leader of Protestants attending disturbance (7)
PATRIOT – People loyal to their country. A nice charade of P (leader of Protestants) AT (attending) RIOT (disturbance).

21d    Help in group carrying out attack (7)
RAIDING – A synonym for help (AID) inserted into another word for a group (RING)

22d    Republican Party woman’s burrowing creature (6)
GOPHER – I learned two new things today. Firstly, the traditional nickname for the Republic Party in American is the Grand Old Party, abbreviated to GOP. The woman in the clue is HER. Secondly the term GOPHER can apparently be applied to a number of burrowing animals, including the pouched rat, a ground squirrel, a southern USA land tortoise and even a burrowing snake.

24d    Saint — last thereof to be taken in by Lord (5)
PETER – A Lord of the Realm is known as a PEER. Insert the last letter of the word saint to get the name of one of the more well-known apostles and saints.

My favourite clue was the slightly controversial 5d. I also liked all the different anagram indicators – every time you pick up a crossword, it seems there is a new way of telling us to muddle up some letters to get the answer. I don’t know whether it will be a Cephas or Mysteron Prize Puzzle next week, but Gnomethang, maybe wearing his Captain Scarlet costume, will be on hand to sort out the review.

4 comments on “DT 26415

  1. Thanks for the review, crypticsue. I have taken the liberty of correcting a small typo (ON at the end of Leviathan).
    I didn’t much enjoy this when I solved it at 2a.m. Saturday morning but then I was halfway down a bottle of port at the time.
    On sober reflection I would agree that it is a pretty fun solve. Let’s see what we get tomorrow!.

    1. Notice, dear reader, that he doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of the Captain Scarlet suit – I leave you to draw your own conclusions!!!

  2. I really enjoyed this one. Agree with 5d as favourite clue, but I also liked 9d. Thanks to unknown setter and CrypticSue.

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