DT 26436 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26436

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26436

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

A workmanlike puzzle from today’s mystery setter which is spoilt by the dreadful grid. Not only does it divide into four corners but four of the answers either start or end with two unchecked letters.  The only saving grace is that those four answers are relatively easy to get.

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    Praise a piano recital’s ending during interval (8)
{APPLAUSE} – to get this praise start with A and P(iano) and then put L (recitaL‘s ending) inside (during) an interval

5a    Decided to plant tree next to motorway (4)
{FIRM} – an adjective meaning decided or adamant comes from a coniferous tree followed by M(otorway)

9a    Extremely fashionable Russian river — that’s enlightening (8)
{CULTURAL} – a charade of extremely fashionable and a Russian river gives a word meaning enlightening

10a    Boss heads off into own workshop (6)
{STUDIO} – start with a boss or knob and add the initial letters (heads) of I(nto) and O(wn) to get a workshop

11a    A brace — it’s scrubbed to get rid of these? (8)
{BACTERIA} – an anagram (scrubbed) of A BRACE IT gives these micro-organisms – to get rid of them probably needs more than just scrubbing

12a    Arranges wife’s red roses to be collected on the way back (6)
{ORDERS} – a word meaning arranges is hidden (collected) and reversed (on the way back) inside the clue

14a    Warmth from the sun as I’m swimming (10)
{ENTHUSIASM} – this word meaning warmth is an anagram (swimming) of THE SUN AS I’M

18a    Penny-farthing going round one lake, for the most part (10)
{ORDINARILY} – another name for a penny-farthing, which previously came up in DT 25877, is placed around I (one( and L{ake) to get a word meaning for the most part

22a    Priest revealed how the animals got on to the ark (6)
{PAIRED} – a charade of P(riest) and a synonym for revealed gives how the animals got on to the ark

23a    Assuming the authority of pursuing criminal (8)
{USURPING} – a word meaning assuming the authority of is an anagram (criminal) of PURSUING

24a    Fit dog regularly taken out of doors (6)
{TAILOR} – a verb meaning to fit, as in to fit with a new suit of clothes, is built up from a verb meaning to dog or follow with the even letters (regularly) of dOoRs

25a    Childishly given food sent up around noon? (8)
{SPOONFED} – a word meaning childishly given food is created by putting a word meaning sent up or parodied around N(oon)

26a    Want new grass to be cut at the start (4)
{NEED} – a noun or verb meaning want comes from N(ew) followed by a type of grass without its first letter (cut at the start)

27a    Amazingly dry head when clutching edge of tank full of water (8)
{HYDRATED} – put an anagram (amazingly) of DRY HEAD around (clutching) T (edge of Tank) to get an adjective meaning full of water


2d    Course of action reducing boys in blue by an unknown quantity (6)
{POLICY} – this course of action is derived by dropping the final letter (reducing) from the boys in blue and then adding an unknown quantity

3d    Victoria, allegedly, wasn’t one to reflect on Germany (6)
{AMUSED} – Queen Victoria is alleged to have said “we are not” this – it’s a charade of A (one), to reflect or ponder and D (the IVR code for Germany – see The Mine)

4d    Channel 5’s out of range still (10)
{STATIONARY} – a charade of a television or radio channel and a verb meaning to range or fluctuate without the initial V (the Roman numeral for 5) gives an adjective meaning still

6d    Pinter established, to an extent, influence and importance (8)
{INTEREST} – a word meaning influence and importance is hidden (to an extent) inside the first two words of the clue

7d    Old-fashioned changes I’ve made with Liberal (8)
{MEDIEVAL} – an adjective meaning old-fashioned, or more accurately of the Middle Ages, is an anagram (changes) of I’VE MADE with L(iberal)

8d    Disorderly mobs going round ruin or failure to get these flowers (8)
{BLOSSOMS} – put an anagram (disorderly) of MOBS around ruin flowers

9d    Country club left out American (4)
{CUBA} – this country is a charade of C(L)UB without the L (Left out) and A(merican)

13d    Ideology from Berlin? (10)
{PHILOSOPHY} – you are meant to think that this ideology comes from the German city of Berlin, but actually it’s the profession of Sir Isaiah Berlin

15d    Broken a hip — lots end up here? (8)
{HOSPITAL} – an anagram (broken) of A HIP LOTS gives where you might end up if you did

16d    Increase that could be paid in France (8)
{ADDITION} – this increase is the French word for the bill in a restaurant

17d    Postholder? (8)
{ENVELOPE} – something that holds the post

19d    Journey with no time to carry weapon? This should protect you (6)
{ARMOUR} – drop the initial T (with no Time) from a journey or excursion and precede it (to carry in a down clue) with a weapon to get something that might protect you

20d    Oddball master is in good health (6)
{MISFIT} – this oddball is a charade of M(aster), IS and a word meaning in good health

21d    Old artist turned up without last of paintings (4)
{AGED} – to get this word meaning old reverse (turned up, a down-clue construct) an Impressionist painter and then drop the S from his name (without last of paintingS)

If you are doing today’s Toughie then remember the answer to 9 down – it might come in useful!

44 comments on “DT 26436

  1. Horrible grid to match a pretty awful puzzle. No idea who Sir Isaiah Berlin is or what 18a has to do with a penny-farthing. Going to watch the snow thaw, it will be more fun than this!! Still 2 out of 4 this week is pretty good for the CC.

      1. Hi Peter – same here – I can only see the hints on my iPhone. But looked up penny farthing on Wikipedia and can see how the answer fits but it is not very satisfying when needing to resort to this.

  2. I agree Barrie, the was a most unenjoyable puzzle I have done for a long time. It’s not often we agree Barrie but today you are the man !.
    Sorry to the setter but praise to Dave for putting a brave front on it.

    1. I agree. I had three goes at this and whilst some inspiration came, I was stuck on lots of clues. No me gusta!

  3. Not a crossword with which I gelled sadly. There were some nice clues but overall it did not really hit the spot for me.

  4. Understood very little about this one or even a few of the hints (sorry Dave!). Worked my way through it with little enjoyment, Echo Nubian, sorry to the setter, but thanks to Dave.

  5. Although it’s not a nice grid, I don’t agree that it wasn’t enjoyable. My only complaint is with 10a. The answer was obvious from the checked letters, but “heads off” doesn’t work for me.

  6. Really slogged away at this one. Back to the drawing board for the setter – if the majority don’t enjoy, then something is wrong!

  7. I enjoyed this one.

    I completely agree with Vince’s comment about 10A, though.

    Took longer completing this puzzle than I should have, looking at the finished grid, but that’s a good sign for me. Some nice misdirection in several of the clues.

  8. I found this one really hard work and, whilst solving, did say to Mr CS that Barrie wouldn’t be happy! I did however know the other name for a penny farthing. Thanks to the mystery setter and to BD.

  9. Unlike most, i enjoyed this crossword though the grid was poor, I liked 10a, 18a and 27a best. Thanks to BD for the review and to our mystery setter for the difficult excercise.

  10. I am sorry to say that I found this more of a chore than pleasurable; Solved over a coffee in Starbucks, but I felt a little disappointed at the end of it.

  11. My first comment for a while – hope everyone had a nice Christmas and that the new year is a healthy, happy and prosperous one.

    I didn’t like the grid and struggled with a couple – 23a and 10a but overall it was okay. My favourite clue was the penny farthing one – 18a – as I had to dig deep to get that one and was pleased when it surfaced and I was right.

    Thanks to mystery setter and thanks BD for the review.

  12. Until reading some of the comments and BD review I have never realised the significance of the “grid” and unchecked letters to some people. I found the crossword quite challenging in parts but overall enjoyable.
    Thank you to the compiler and Big Dave and may I take this opportunity to wish all a Happy New Year and may you all experience good health and good Chi.

  13. I found this difficult so was relieved to see that it had been given 3* – after the first run through I only had about six answers. I eventually ended up needing the hints to explain 22a (should have got that but didn’t) and to do 3 and 4d. Could there be a misprint in the clue for 10a? I agree with all the previous comments but just wonder if it should have been “…… heads OF into own …” rather than “heads” OFF. Just a thought …. ! I always enjoy crosswords but have to agree that I enjoyed this one a bit less than usual. No particularly favourite clues today. Thank you to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. Where are all the rest of the people who usually comment today? Is there anybody out there?!!

      1. Yes – was just coming back to say ignore what I said about 10a – having read the clue again it wouldn’t make any sense at all!! Or did you mean the silence is from all the people who AREN’T out there?

        1. Err something like that. Me I’m just waiting to get ready to join some of my former work colleagues for a couple of flaggons of finest porter.
          Have a nice evening Kath and don’t let it prey on your mind. We are the only two sane people left.

          1. Re: ” the only two sane people left” brings to mind an old saying my mother used; “Everybody’s mad except me and you, and even you’re a bit strange”. Enjoy your beer or two or………….

            1. Sorry, it should read “me and thee” not ” me and you”. Regretably you can’t demonstrate the Cornish accent on-line.
              Cheers m’dears!!!!

              1. Wayne, the quote you refer to was originally made by Robert Owen a Welshman who met and married a Lanarkshire lass back in, I think, the 1700s. He was recognised as the founder of the Cooperative movement and also New Lanark, I think the quote reads ” All the world olds’ a little queer save thee and me and even thee’s a little queer”

                1. Brilliant ! Thank you for that BigBoab, something new to add to my collection of old sayings and their origins. Thanx again.

                  1. That’s the one that I can remember too – are we allowed to quote it any more or is it no longer “PC” … ?

  14. Very hard going! Printed it off at 7am, and still have only solved 2 clues! I haven’t related to this one at all, but will have a look at the hints to try and work backwards from the answers.

    Not my favourite puzzle but thanks anyway to the setter and for the review.

  15. I must say the grid didn’t worry me at all – I was probably enyoying the commute in to work too much without the hassle of too many other commuters! Some nice clues and a fair challenge was this.

    On top of the cricket a good couple of days.

    Thanks to the Setter.

  16. I thought it was terrible, solved about half a dozen and gave up, don’t get this ‘charade’ type clue, very vague.

  17. Was this a Ray T? All single word answers and a tricky little rascal! Looks like it to me.
    I enjoyed it so thanks to the setter. whoever he/she is.
    BD, the grid’s worse than you said – 5, not 4, clues with 2 unchecked letters. But, what the hell? It was doable! Thanks for the review.

    1. Pommers, I’ve found 4, still looking for No 5! Wouldn’t that make the grid both dreadful and asymmetric?

    2. I don’t think that this is a Ray T puzzle for three reasons – the first one being that I normally really enjoy his puzzles more than anyone else’s – the second being that there is nothing funny or slightly risque sounding on first reading, or both – and the third being that he has not commented and he almost always does if it’s one of his. I am more than happy to be proved wrong – nothing like covering your back!! Oh yes, I’ve just spotted another reason why it’s unlikely to be one of his – the little crossword has lots of clues of more than one word.

  18. Very challenging – more like a Toughie for me!

    What comes first the Clues or the Grid? Or is it like chickens and eggs?

  19. Dreadful.

    I got none of these before coming here and having read the above comments I’m not surprised.

    Please can we have a zero star option?

  20. I’m afraid I’m one of the ‘didn’t enjoy’ folk today. Shame after all the fun I’ve had over the past week – Oh well, tomorrow’s another day!

  21. Once again I am in agreement with the majority. 10a I like Kath’s theory. But there were some nice clues but mostly these were anagrams. Fave was 14a.

    1. I was quite keen on my theory re 10a to begin with but, having read the clue again, it makes no sense when reading it – not very well expressed – sorry! And also, Ainsley, you and I are the only ones to have thought of it which makes me think perhaps not ..

    1. Ainsley,
      An unchecked letter (“unch”) is a letter which cannot be checked by a crossing answer. So in 8d the unchecked letters are 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8. The two consecutive unchecked letters at 1 and 2 (“double unch”) cause particular problems because they appear at the start of the word.

  22. I failed to finish this without recourse to the blog. I was sort of in a hurry today but even so…
    Looking at it again I thought that the grid didn’t help at all.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for confirming my suspicions on the checking letters.

  23. Can’t see what all the fuss is about. I may be the minority but I enjoyed it & thought 10a was my favourite.

  24. I attacked this puzzle on New Year’s Eve (Friday) after getting to my daughter’s on Thursday evening having enjoyed “Sleeping Beauty” at The Amsterdam Music Theatre.
    Solved it in bits and pieces as we were getting ready for a party with friends and the traditional display of fireworks at midnight!
    No dictionary nor electronic aids chez eux as they are not puzzlers!
    Got it solved but with two errors – for 9a I had out cellular – I knew the Ural river was involved – and for 27a I had shoved in hydrotic.
    Can’t complain under the circumstances – all my rockets worked and the free “Bomb” was magnificent – a whole sequence of explosions!

    Happy New Year to you BD and to all the setters and solvers!

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