DT 26431 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26431

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26431

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Our mystery setter serves up some Christmas fare today.

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    Quality shown by good ratings? (10)
{SEAMANSHIP} – a cryptic definition of the art of handling ships

6a    Very formal leaders of priesthood rotated in mass (4)
{PRIM} – a word meaning very formal comes from the initial letters (leaders) of the last four words in the clue

9a    Garment seen in marathon glowed (5)
{THONG} – a garment that really needs an illustration is hidden (seen) inside the last two words of the sauce

10a    Function to lift, we hear, junior employee (6,3)
{OFFICE BOY} – a function or responsibility is followed by a word that sounds like (we hear) to lift or encourage to give a young person employed to do routine tasks

12a    Inspector left facing novel problem (7)
{DILEMMA} – a charade of a senior police inspector, L(eft) and a novel about Miss Woodhouse, my favourite Jane Austen character, gives a problem

13a    Argument producing devastation around North (3-2)
{RUN-IN} – this argument is created by putting devastation around N(orth)

15a    French royal, a stiff one? (7)
{BOURBON} – a double definition – a member of the family that ruled France from 1589 until the monarchy was overthrown in 1848 and a kind of American whisky distilled from maize and rye.

17a    Company in a mine being developed getting a lot of praise (7)
{ENCOMIA} – put CO(mpany) inside an anagram (being developed) of A MINE to get a word, new to me, meaning a lot of praise

19a    Real nut crashed car (7)
{RENAULT} – an anagram ()crashed of REAL NUT gives a French car

21a    Work in retirement and employment on board for partners (7)
{SPOUSES} – put a short word for a musical work, reversed (in retirement), and a synonym for employment inside a ship (on board) to get these partners

22a    Block hidden by Italian villa (5)
{ANVIL} – a block used by a blacksmith is hidden inside the last two words of the clue

24a    Change of place concerning second girl (7)
{REMOVAL} – a change of place is a charade of a short word meaning concerning, a brief period of time (second) and the abbreviated form of a girl’s name

27a    Demanding relative getting housed in favoured temporary accommodation (9)
{INSISTENT} – a word meaning demanding is built by putting the shortened form f a female relative (3) inside (getting housed) a word meaning favoured and temporary accommodation used by campers

28a    Ridicule Greek character boarding sporty car (3,2)
{GET AT} – a phrasal verb meaning to ridicule or criticise is constructed by putting the Greek letter η  inside (boarding) a sporty car

29a    Organised footballer’s target: to capture heart of manager (4)
{NEAT} – an adjective meaning organised is derived by putting what is usually behind the goal (footballer’s target) around (to capture) A (heart of manAger)

30a    Recommend a ground to take over for one’s own use (10)
{COMMANDEER} – an anagram (ground) of RECOMMEND A gives a verb meaning to take over for one’s own use, without


1d    Ill-will with parking banned in ground (4)
{SITE} – take a word meaning ill-will and remove (banned) the P(arking) to get a word meaning ground or plot

2d    Helpful service describing skilful entertainer’s performance? (1,4,4)
{A GOOD TURN} – a part-cryptic double definition – one of these deserves another!

3d    Nurse providing a new cosmetic product (5)
{ANGEL} – an affectionate term for a nurse is a charade of A, N(ew) and a cosmetic product that can be used on the hair

4d    Seasonal figure giving present, first of many in hospital shortly (7)
{SNOWMAN} – this (very) seasonal figure is constructed by putting a word meaning the present, as in time, and M (first of Many) inside a short term for a hospital for convalescents and the chronically ill

5d    File man messed up in anger (7)
{INFLAME} – an anagram (messed up) of FILE MAN gives a verb meaning to anger

7d    Bird starts to roost on place for rubbish (5)
{ROBIN} – this seasonal bird comes from the initial letters (starts to) Roost On followed by a place for rubbish

8d    Dressing? Many a one is getting a makeover (10)
{MAYONNAISE} – this salad dressing is an anagram (getting a makeover) of MANY A ONE IS

11d    Fancy drink largely to remedy a cold with a hint of orange (7)
{CURAÇAO) – this fancy liqueur flavoured with bitter orange peel is a charade of most of (largely) to remedy, A, C(old), A, and O (hint of orange)

14d    Slip made by a proportion entering Swiss city (10)
{ABERRATION} – this slip or anomaly is constructed from A followed by a proportion inside (entering) a Swiss city

16d    Trifling items carried on some cattle reportedly (7)
{BAUBLES} – these trifling items sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning carried and some (male) cattle – the kind of tooth-sucking homophone that is usually confined to the first two answers in the Quick crossword!

18d    Film sheltered place containing early signs of this outstanding plant (9)
{MISTLETOE} – start with a film of watery vapour and follow it with a sheltered place around T O (early signs of This Outstanding) to get a plant that is very popular at Christmas – we have some in our garden, but it is too high to reach without a ladder!

20d    Weapon upset rep in commotion (7)
{TORPEDO} – this self-propelled submarine weapon is created by putting an anagram (upset) of REP inside a commotion (2-2)

21d    Early sign of disorder? (7)
{SYMPTOM} – a cryptic (?) definition of an indication of a disease

23d    Outlook obtained by good man in Roman road (5)
{VISTA} – this outlook is created by inserting Crosswordland’s usual two-letter abbreviation for a good man inside a Roman road

25d    One having restricted fare say in vehicle (5)
{VEGAN} – a person who does not eat or use animal products is derived by putting say, or for example, inside a commercial vehical

26d    Leading sailor following sun (4)
{STAR} – an actor playing a leading role comes from a sailor following S(un)

An entertaining puzzle.

52 comments on “DT 26431

  1. Very enjoyable today. Made early mistake by putting a gold star for 1d. Once corrected then got going well. 17a is a completely new word to me, and 16d, even after reading BDs interpretation, is stretching the point a bit.
    Thanx to setter and BD.

  2. Was it me being a bit duntish this morning or is this a tricky little rascal?
    However, an enjoyable solve and an entertaining puzzle.
    17a is a new word for me too.
    Thanks to the mysteron and BD for the review.

      1. Bit like me with ELT yesterday, you either know these odd words or you don’t. At least this one was fairly easy to guess from the wordplay and the checking letters.

      2. I’m with you there, Gnomey. Knew it in singular and it leapt out once I’d got a few downward letters.

  3. Very enjoyable and a good three star puzzle. I have to say
    that your picture for 9a has quite put me off my Christmas turkey!
    Favourite clues were 12a and 4d. Many thanks and merry Christmas to
    today’s Mysteron.

  4. Mysteron unmasked – it’s actually me making my first ever Thursday appearance! Anyway, thanks to BD as usual for his blog and all for comments. A very Merry Christmas in the meantime to BD and all the bloggers and contributors to this great site.

    1. Welcome to Thursdays!

      A very merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks for all the puzzles this year and looking forward to the year to come.

    2. Thanks Shamus, a great puzzle. Now I know it was you, I’m not surprised I thought it a little tricky.
      Very good puzzle as usual – please keep them coming!
      Merry Christmas from a fan of yours.

  5. Very pleasant puzzle. 17a was new to me today.

    Seasonal greetings to BD, setters, reviewers and bloggers for a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2011.

    Thanks to all for making my crossword solving even more enjoyable.

  6. Most enjoyable today. Slowed things down by putting “cordial” for 11D but once that was sorted only 11A to contend with. New for me also. Needed online solver to get this one.
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave for the hints. Off to clear my drive again, now running out of space to shovel the snow.

  7. I enjoyed this puzzle. I thought the degree of difficulty was perfect for a Thursday.
    My favourite clue was 15a.
    Like several of the other contributors here, 17a was a new word for me as well.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Shamus. I look forward to more puzzles from him next year.

  8. Has anyone looked at today’s Quickie? I’m sure it’s meant to be a pangram, but I can’t find an eff in my solution. Have I got it wrong, or is it not one? Many thanks to Seamus & BD for an excellent puzzle & debrief – though the illustration for 9a quite put me off my lunch!

      1. Tee Hee! Is that like a silent P? I can only think 8d “Decrepit person” is not WRECK. FROCK, perhaps, though I have never heard of it in this context.

  9. Thanks BD and Shamus, 17a new to me also. Merry Christmas to everyone, setters, bloggers, reviewers et al
    Toughie is interesting, the newspaper version has a highlighted diagonal across the middle with a festive message, which doen’t show on Clued up

  10. How lovely to find a puzzle I can do on a Thursday! Many thanks, Shamus. I’ve had such trouble this week I thought I was losing my touch. It must be all the pre-Christmas busyness getting to me. I managed without your hints, BD, but thank you for them anyway. I wish you could have found a prettier picture for 9a. I enjoyed all the seasonal references and even found 18d, but without understanding why — would never have worked it out from your explanation. Had fun looking for the Swiss city in 14d, it’s not my part of Switzerland but a good place for Christmas shopping. My favourite clues were 4d and 12a.

  11. Took me ages to get going then whizzed through the top only to get stuck on the bottom. Really chuffed to get 17a. Best clue for me was 1a (took me a while to think of naval ratings!). Toughest clue was 14d, needed help with that one.
    Overall a very enjoyable puzzle and my thanks to the mystery Setter.

  12. A very enjoyable Thursday puzzle from Shamus, thank you and happy Christmas to you too. I am pleased to say that I knew 17a too. My first thought on solving 9a was to wonder what Gazza-pic we would be treated to. Agree with Prolixic that the picture is not the most beautiful example fo the clue. Thanks to BD for the hints.

  13. Thanks Shamus for a most engaging puzzle and a Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks BD for the review if not the picture clue at 9a.

  14. A most enjoyable solve. Started very well and had to think quite carefully.

    I should have got 15a as it is my favourite kind of biscuit.

    Agree with comments about 9a—not a pretty sight! Especially when I am sitting on the crowded bus and I get one in my face, so to speak! Do they EVER look in the mirror? And don’t get me started on teenage boys with their trousers half down!!! Rant over.

  15. Not a good crossword for me today, I didn’t enjoy it at all , maybe because I started it late on, but I couldn’t have finished it without your help Dave, can’t even find a favourite clue today! sorry Shamus :(

      1. No Mary – absolutely agree. Maybe we are all a bit too busy at the moment ….! We should be – friends and family come first. :smile:

  16. Good little puzzle today I thought. Never heard of 17a before so was interested to read the dictionary definition. Although I got 16d, I’m still not happy with the wordplay – unless one ‘tries to fling (trifling)’ them during the game? Favourites were 1a, 12a and 18d. Happy holidays to you all…

    1. Clueless,
      In 16d trifling items is the definition. It’s a homophone (reportedly) of BORE (carried) followed by (on, in a down clue) BULLS (some cattle).

      1. Many thanks Gazza for clearing that up – in fact I had it as BOULLES!! Just living up to my name I guess… Merry Christmas!

  17. I agree with Shamus, as i’m new to the blog and have only managed a couple of appearances this year.
    So thanks to Dave, setters and everyone who has posted this year, my ability to finish this crossword would have decreased without you all!

    Merry Christmas all!

  18. Nice friendly puzzle for Christmas week, with the exception of 16D, which had a region-specific homophone, and another homophone that didn’t work at all.

    Still fun overall, though.

  19. Big Dave, completely off-topic I know (and you’ve probably been asked this before), but do you know any reason why the DT doesn’t publish the name of the setter of the daily cryptic? The Grauniad FT both do.

      1. Shame, because the DT crosswords have somehow become more interestng for me since I found your blog and get an indication of who the setter is. Makes it more personal somehow.

  20. 4* for me today.

    I managed all but 5 on the train.

    Having solved precisely 1 clue in the previous 2 days, that is progress indeed so a big thank you to the mystery setter!

  21. New to site – recommended by a fellow addict met on holiday! Quite often solve the clues but have to visit BD to understand how to qualify the answers – am I alone in this?? Have discovered many new words – “teg”, “caries”,
    and to-day’s “encomia” – all very good for Scrabble if I can begin to remember them. All good fun – great site, many thanks. I just hope that tackling the X-word every day is staving off the dreaded dementia?! Have a REAL job with the Toughie, though – so perhaps not?

  22. An enjoyable puzzle to solve before we get down to Christmas celebrations.
    Quickly done – nice job Shamus!
    I liked 10a, 12a, 15a, 17a, 4d, 11d, 14d & 18d.

    Nice picture for 9a BD!

    I shall be off from puzzling ’til next week as the family keep me occupied at this time of the year.

  23. Found this quite tough and had to resort to electronic aids. Still, days have become more enjoyable since discovering this blog.So thanks to all and a merry Christmas to everyone.

  24. I think that I now have to give up doing crosswords/commenting for the next few days – much as I love it there are too many other things to do. Eldest daughter is now home safely – she is the one that I was worried about as she was driving from a very snowbound (good crossword answer!) Birmingham – younger one coming from London tomorrow on the Tube (ie London to Oxford coach) so should be OK. I have started the crossword VERY late every day this week and failed dismally – brain not so good late in the evening after at least a couple of glasses of wine! I would like to wish everyone – all the clever people who set the crosswords, all the clever people who write the hints and all the people (all pretty smart or they wouldn’t even be attempting cryptic crosswords) who write the very entertaining comments – a very happy, peaceful and safe Christmas surrounded by family and friends. Most of all I would like to thank Big Dave for all the work he does on this most amazing site and wish him, Mrs BD and all his family a wonderful Christmas. :grin:

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