DT 26424 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26424

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26424

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Jay never fails to give us a puzzle that is free of controversy. Here’s another one!

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    When trading stops for Charlie, falling behind schedule (7,4)
{CLOSING TIME} – when trading stops is a charade of C (Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet) and a phrase meaning falling behind schedule

9a    Deceived in speech by arguments against squeeze (9)
{CONSTRICT} – put what sounds like (in speech) deceived after “arguments against” to get a verb meaning to squeeze

10a    Friend shot by friend in Paris (5)
{AMIGO} – a Spanish friend is a charade of a French friend followed by a shot or attempt

11a    Road works have one new rule (6)
{ORDAIN} – an anagram (works) of ROAD followed by I (one) and N(ew) gives a verb meaning rule or instruct

12a    Rapid decline due to brawl after losing gold (4,4)
{FREE FALL} – a rapid decline is created by dropping the OR (heraldic term for gold) from a brawl (4-3-3)

13a    Turn back inside to avoid contact with ruler (6)
{SHOGUN} – put a turn or try reversed (back) inside a verb meaning to avoid contact with to get this hereditary commander-in-chief in feudal Japan

15a    Mixed trades so represented (8)
{ASSORTED} – a word meaning mixed is an anagram (re presented) of TRADES SO

18a    Money box or other container (5,3)
{BREAD BIN} – a charade of a slang word for money and a box gives a food container

19a    Wishes to dispose of one ‘super’ house (3,3)
{DES RES} – take the I (one) from wishes and split the result to get this informal term for a sought-after house

21a    Tory to offer incentives with complete lack of respect (8)
{CONTEMPT} – a charade of an abbreviation for a Tory and a verb meaning to offer incentives results in a complete lack of respect

23a    Emphasise the origin of safety lock (6)
{STRESS} – a verb meaning to emphasise is built from S (the origin of Safety) and a lock of hair

26a    Love to vote and look for growth (2-3)
{OX-EYE} – run together O (love / a score of zero in tennis), a mark used to indicate a vote and a word meaning to look results in a wild chrysanthemum (growth)

27a    Agree with partner — the game’s over! (9)
{CHECKMATE} – a charade of to agree or examine and a partner gives a move that ends a game of chess

28a    Unhappy mix, resulting in case of discord (11)
{DISGRUNTLED} – a word meaning unhappy is an anagram (mix) of RESULTING inside DD (case of DiscorD)


1d    Wraps up firms — one’s lacking energy (7)
{COCOONS} – a verb meaning wraps up is built up from the abbreviation for a firm repeated (firms) followed by ON(E)’S without the E (lacking Energy)

2d    Had made king, but lacked credit (5)
{OWNED} – a word meaning had or possessed is created by taking a verb meaning made king and removing the initial CR(edit)

3d    Puzzled by equipment carried by United going astray (9)
{INTRIGUED} – a verb meaning puzzled is derived by putting some equipment or kit inside (carried by) an anagram (going astray) of UNITED

4d    Get hold of rent after taking heart from fight (4)
{GRIP} – to get hold of is created by putting a rent or tear after G (taking heart from fiGht)

5d    Hobby requiring financial stake (8)
{INTEREST} – a double definition

6d    Dodge concealed by upping weighted average (5)
{EVADE} – a verb meaning to dodge is hidden (concealed by) reversed (upping, as this is a down clue) the rest of the clue

7d    Searched web for work — looked with intent (7)
{GOOGLED} – a verb meaning searched the web for is a charade of to work and looked with intent

8d    Column inches initially put into medical application (8)
{PILASTER} – this column, dearly loved by crossword setters, is created by putting I (Inches initially) inside an adhesive strip of material for covering cuts and wounds (medical application)

14d    Shelled beans found in more mature plant (8)
{OLEANDER} – put EAN (shelled (b)EAN(s)) inside an adjective meaning more mature to get a poisonous evergreen plant

16d    Public knowledge covering area passed (9)
{OVERTAKEN} – put synonyms for public and knowledge either side of A(rea) to get a word meaning passed, as in passed by another car

17d    Muscles needed to obtain beer? (3-5)
{SIX-PACKS} – an informal term sets of visibly well-developed abdominal muscles is also cans of beer held together with plastic fasteners

18d    Withdraw defender (unconscious) (4,3)
{BACK OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning to withdraw comes from a charade of a defender in a sports team and a synonym for unconscious

20d    Hang Southern States writer before break of day (7)
{SUSPEND} – a word meaning to hang is built up from S(outhern), the United States, a writing implement and D (break of Day)

22d    Setter absorbed by objective to improve! (5)
{EMEND} – put ME (the setter) inside (absorbed by) an objective to get a verb meaning to improve

24d    Half of them are sick of such correspondence (5)
{EMAIL} – combine the latter half of (th)EM with a verb meaning to be sickly to get online correspondence

25d    Rock back and look suggestively (4)
{LEER} – reverse (back) a word meaning to rock and the result is a verb meaning to look suggestively

Pleasant, if not too taxing.

A message for Don, who wrote to me earlier today: my reply was returned as undeliverable.

53 comments on “DT 26424

  1. Yep! – Typical Jay, as you say not too taxing but a few to make you think. No real favourites but enjoyed the whole thing.
    Thanks to Jay and to BD.
    By the way, the Toughie is a fair entry level Notabilis (i.e. not as hard as some of his!) with the usual fine cluing – well worth a tickle!)

  2. I agree Dave, nothing offensive here, I find now the Cryptic is a good brain starter to get to the Toughie so Mary, it’s time for moving up.

  3. Jays puzzles are rather like a favourite pair of comfortable slippers – something that you can slip into, relax and enjoy knowing that they are not going to pinch or chaffe. Many thanks to Jay for another enjoyable crossword and to BD for the notes. Favourite clue for me today was 12a.

  4. I too enjoyed the Jay this morning. Lots of nice clues I thought. Thanks to Jay and BD

    Re the Toughie – although my fellow members of the ACC solved it in no time at all, I struggled a bit with it. Well worth a go though.

    Off shortly to office Christmas lunch and I don’t have to drive home :D

        1. It was Pinot Grigio and I didn’t have much to eat! I am having 3 courses today so should be fine (famous last words).

      1. The Advanced Clueless Club – three members – Gnomethang, Prolixic and Me. Super lunch thank you. Smoked Salmon, Lamb Shank and the most fabulous Chocolate Truffle Torte. Couple of glasses of wine and a nice coffee. Now off for an inspection of the inside of my eyelids for a while!

        1. I now aspire to the giddy heights of the ACC!
          Maybe one day – I’ve a way to go yet methinks!

  5. I sat and looked at this for most of the morning and all was blank, got two or three and the rest were meaningless to me………..must be one of those days. Thanks BD for the enlightenment!

  6. When I first trolled through this puzzle I found about three words and thought I wasn’t going to be able to do this at all, but then solutions started dropping in one after the other until I was surprised to find I had only 3d and 13a to put in. They took a bit of perseveration but eventually dropped in too and I finished it with a sense of achievement. So many thanks to Jay and to BD whose hints are always good to read whether I need them or not.

    Lots of good clues, I thought, except for 23a which is surely a chestnut. My favourites were 1d and 28a.
    Keep trying, Dickiedot. :-)

  7. Thanks to probably my favourite weekday setter for another excellent puzzle, and to BD for the notes.

      1. Hi Mary – She is being very good, and sleeping well. We have just returned from Christmas shopping in Wimbledon, the 4 of us. I think I need a large drink to get over the experience :)

  8. Totally agree with Prolixic (comment 4) – nice Jay puzzle that has finally made me realise that I think I am finally emerging from the CC as I managed most of this on my own. Loved 19a, 1d and 8d.
    Thanks Jay for a good puzzle and BD for the review – even though I didn’t need it. Hurrah!!!!!!! (not so with the toughie though – see Pommers comment).

  9. Bit of a curates egg today, some lovely clues such as 27a and 22a and some horrid ones such as 11a and esp 9a (nasty!). Spoilt for me by yet more part anagrams (11a and 3d. Apart from that, an otherwise nice puzzle for me.

  10. Just finished it and must say I think that 26a and 10a join my list of horrid clues (how are you meant to know 10a is spanish for pitys sake!). Also can some explain to me how you get ‘googled’ from 7d apart from searching the web.

    1. Re 10A: When you set out to solve the clue, there’s no way to know that the solution is a Spanish word.

      Therein lies much of the joy of solving cryptic crosswords. The solution, in this case, is a word that’s pretty well-known in English, and most people would know what you meant if you used it in a sentence, so it’s fair enough as a solution.

      The beauty of cryptic crosswords is that each element of the clue can be interpreted in a variety of ways, including the “definition” element. The trick lies in holding the competing possibilities for each element in mind together, and wrestling with the permutations until the epiphany arrives.

      When you first begin to tackle these puzzles, finding the solution is everything. With a little experience, it’s often possible to be pretty confident of being able to solve most clues. Then, the enjoyment comes from the journey rather than from just reaching the destination.

      With this particular clue, the definition is clearly going to be “friend”. This word is at the beginning of the clue, and there’s little else in there that could be the definition (unless the solution was something to be found in Paris, perhaps). In order to arrive at the solution, it would be necessary to know the French term for friend, and the Spanish equivalent is, if anything, probably better-known in the UK. You could even think that the use of one foreign language term for “friend” might be a hint for the other.

      So, although you couldn’t possibly know beforehand that the solution was a Spanish word, the key is not to be drawn into too narrow an expectation of what the answer should be.

      It’s certainly not a “horrid” clue, IMO. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly what you’d expected, but that is the point.

      The setter might offer some misdirection, or might not make the path to the solution obvious, but they will, in a good puzzle, provide enough clues for you to find it. Most setters, I think, want people to solve their puzzles, but expect them to have to think in order to do so. Most “serial solvers” persevere because they enjoy the process.

      On the DT site, there’s a quote that sums things up nicely:

      “The ultimate aim of a setter is to do battle with a solver but to lose gracefully.”

      I don’t know who originally said that, but that’s what it’s all about.

      1. I absolutely disagree, all setters IMO set out to defeat the solver but usually in a fair way, some setters use tricks which are very effective in achieving that object.

        1. What was all that waffle about? 10a is now part of the English Language. Mary, do you think we ought to have a prize for the longest posts as well as for the number of posts [ for which you have the world record of 32]?

          1. The waffle was a discussion about the merits of the clue. Sometimes it’s useful to put things in context, I think. Feel free to disagree.

  11. Another mid-week puzzle disaster! Couldn’t get into it at all. Can someone explain 26a please? I can see the construct, but what has growth got to do with a wild chrysanthemum?

    1. Oh, I see it now, thanks to google; the ox-eye is a flower! Gardening is another word I can’t spell, along with football and cricket …

  12. Dave, do your snowflakes go all the way to the bottom of the blog, or do I need to visit the optician?

    This was more challenging than recent puzzles – I didn´t get 8d, to my shame, or 7d, or 19a. I´ll have to triple kick myself.

      1. The reason for asking was that I CAN see them – must be when they pass in front of the black text.

  13. Last on line, as usual, first sight of this puzzle not encouraging, hardly knew enough to start, came back later and did the lot! Finally enjoyable, liked 12a and 19a. thanks to Jay and B.D.

  14. Not last online. Only got to this after dinner. Personally found this easier than yesterday. Must have been assistance of Rioja. Satisfying solve with no grumbles. Thanks to setter and solver again. Battening down round the bothy fire for incoming snow. Too much…too early.

  15. Tricky methinks – 3* and some lovely clues to get the brain whirring. 19a was a bit iffy but overall a great challenge. Thanks to the Setter.

  16. Busy day for me so arrived at this late.
    Not an enjoyable experience today, could not get into this puzzle or remain concentrated. Really glad it was all over and I could do something else.
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave.

  17. Nice, like the last week or two. lots of enjoyable crosswords but we need a few tricky ones. all 2* at the mo. only time to do one and reluctant to move to the toughie.

    1. If you were thinking about trying the Toughie, today’s would be a decent introduction, and it’s well-worth solving.

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