DT 26438 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26438 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26438 (Hints)

Big Dave’s New Year Crossword Club

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Happy New Year.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a    Not so far from college with competitor who was not successful (6)
This word meaning not so far is a charade of C(ollege) and a competitor who was not a winner

14a    Not going over the top? (3,2,5)
This phrase has two different meanings, depending on the context – “not going” as in broken and “over the top” as in excessive

21a    Skirt Eastern capital that is vast (4)
To skirt, as in to stay close to, is followed by the capital letter of Eastern to give a word meaning vast

26a    Warn engineer to take 30-second delay initially (6)
A word meaning to warn is a charade of the Royal Engineers, half of 60 seconds and the initial letter of Delay


2d    In place of occupant becoming officer (10)
A charade of a word meaning “in place of” and an occupant gives this army officer

5d    Stress centre-half left put in action (7)
Take a word meaning to stress and remove half of CEN(tre) to get a word meaning put in action

6d    Bill for peanuts? (4)
A bird might keep peanuts in this bill – unless I’ve missed something this is not my favourite clue!

13d    On time, ape thing used in play (6,4)
A charade of on time and to ape gives the script used to supply forgotten words to actors in a play

24d    Sound barrier (4)
A double definition, a sound made when the sound barrier is broken and a barrier stretched across a harbour

Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

97 comments on “DT 26438 (Hints)

  1. Happy new year to one and all. With the exception of 6d where our setter may have some arcane knowledge denied to us mere mortals, this was a gentle start to the year. Favourite clues were 5d and 26a. At one point I thought we might have a pangram so tried hard to get Quit into 5d to no avail! As I then could not find a J or XI gave up on the idea.

    Many thanks to setter and to BD for the hints.

  2. I’ll echo Prolixic’s good wishes for 2011 and I too completed this puzzle without any difficulty. However, I do concur with the observations regarding 6d and thought that the clue was a poor one.

  3. I wasn’t sure whether it was last night’s champagne or the crossword but I was confused for some time with 5 and 6 down. Thanks to the setter and BD and Happy New Year to all.

  4. I’ve looked at 6d from all angles & still can’t see why it is what it is. Not big & not clever as my father used to tell me. All the rest was the usual fare for a Saturday. Are we having a NSPP today what with it being a “holiday”?

  5. Happy and prosperous new Year to everybody, finished it, found it hard to concentrate on, got to agree with everyone re 6d.

  6. Lack of concentration prossibly down to last nights celebrations along with the omission of the ‘k’

  7. Thank you Dave, and thanks for letting me know,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I suddenly had a feeling I am in a worse state than originally thought :-)

  8. I’m still pretty in the dark re: 6d as well – I did find a definition online that says “A usually firm, tapering tip on certain plant structures, such as some seeds and fruits.” but that doesn’t really go far enough. Problem is that I’m down to review it on Friday!
    Thanks to BD and the setter.

    1. I think it’s just a weak cryptic definition. The setter wants you to to think of a bill (invoice) for a trifling amount (peanuts) but it’s actually the sort of bill a bird would use to crack a nut.

    2. As a matter of interest how are you nominated to carry out a ‘Review’. Do you volunteer or are you “volunteered” !

      1. Wayne

        There’s no set procedure, although I have found that the old press-gang technique works well!

        If you would like to have a go, just let me know.

        1. An inability to say “no” often suffices, Wayne!
          As BD says, though, new blood is always welcome; I’m still hanging out for Mary’s first review…..

        2. Hi BD, thanks but no thanks. I have enough trouble solving the crosswords without having to get into explaining cryptic definitions, double definitions, hidden words, reversals, charades, containers, odd/evens, deletions etc.etc. although I could describe anagrams.
          I take my hat off to the folk who have mastered this/these technique(s) and provide such excellent ‘Reviews’

  9. Hi all, 1st time here. Happy new year:) 6d was the first in for me but I’m struggling to justify 20d. Can anyone help please?

    1. Welcome to the blog Treemonkey

      20d Endless support in part that is gloomy (6)
      Put two of the three-letter support garment word by women inside a synonym for part to get a word meaning gloomy.

  10. Not the best start to 2011, in fact this was the type of crossword that made me give up weekend crosswords for a while, bah humbug! Now that is off my chest may I take this opportunity to wish everyone on Big Daves’ Blog a very happy and prosperous New Year. Aw ra best youse yins doon there frae us yins up here!

  11. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!! Bit of a hard slog through todays (probably the excess of Champagne last night),Thought it was pangram but can’t find the Q so perhaps barking up the wrong tree. Just stuck on the last two 20d and 22a, can’t get my mind round either of them Grrr!

      1. DOH!!! So obvious but couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Thx for your help, as always much appreciated.

    1. Ah always forget the womens support garment in crosswordland and although I have an answer to 22a as being the front half of a luxury car make, what it has to do with a former cop is still beyond me.

        1. I found that clue rather difficult to decipher for the answer. Whilst pondering on it at church today when the New Year pastoral letter was being read out I came up with two possible interpretations. It sounds like the former police commissioner Sir Robert M**** or the initial letter M was the title used in James Bond novels to refer to the gentleman who equipped him with his gadgets before his assignments. This individual was a retired police commander if my memeory serves right.

  12. Rather relieved to have completed this one, I was beginning to think the last couple of weeks that I’d made no progress at all with the puzzles. Struggled a fair bit with 5,8,20d and even though I have a word for hit in 23d, I don’t understand the clue at all!

    Thanks to setter and BD and Happy New Year one and all!

  13. Nice start to the year. Thanks to Big Dave and the setter. Happy New Year to All, just tea and toast please and turn the tele down!

  14. Happy New Year everyone, I’m relieved that i’m not the only one feeling a little jaded this morning !

    Despite the befuddled head, a state I’m used to although not always due to the night before ! I quite enjoyed todays offering and finished in record time – for me that’s on Saturday! Have to agree about some of the clues but Hey! it’s the New Year let’s not be too picky !!

  15. Happy New Year to all. Re 6d, in Charles M Schulz’s comic strip “Peanuts”, Snoopy’s best fried was a yellow bird called Woodstock. This is the only connection I can make with the clue. Thanks to setter and BD

  16. A Happy New Year to one and all.

    I only needed help with 20d and 22a and they both seem so simple when you finally get the answer.

  17. Happy New Year to all crossworders. Despite all that has been said about 6d, I still don’t see it. It’s not the worst clue that I have ever read but it’s close

  18. Agree with Barrie above – if it’s what I think it is, still don’t understand??! But did the rest with some help on 5d and 20d

  19. Hi all and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Rather belated but, along with many others, it took a while to get going today! Enjoyed todays CW – not too difficult for a tricky morning, so thanks setter. However……. even with BD’s clue I can’t get 5d – can someone put me out of my misery so that I can get on with the rest of the day? Liked 23a and though 26a was very clever – ‘ping!’ moment when I realised where the 30-second fitted in. :-)

    1. It’s quite hard to do without using the answer! Try thinking of to stress in the sense of the old song – “You’ve got to stress the positive”, then remove CEN to get the answer

  20. Hello, Telegraph Crossword Editor here.
    Excuse my intervention but I can’t sit by and watch the setter take the flak for a clue I tweaked.
    Of course, the hazard of being the editor is that there’s no one to check one’s ideas. But, having said that, I can’t see the problem. If the clue had come to me from a setter I would have had a good laugh.
    I guess some solvers must buy their bird food from a different shop to me!
    Best wishes

    1. Phil,
      Can you tell me why we have the same Giant GK Crossword, as we had last week on ScrewedUp? (apologies that should read Telegraph Puzzles).

  21. HAPPY NEW YEAR to each and everyone!! Not a bad start to the year, but like you all, 6d I do not like one little tiny bit! And then realise it’s a lot better than I could do and amongst some really good clues does it really matter that much? 2d and 23a my personal favourites, so many thanks to setter and B.D.Carry on the good work and keep us entertained in the manner to which we have become accustomed!

  22. Apart from 5d, which I stared at for ages, this was a gentle start to 2011.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD. Happy New Year to everyone!

  23. Happy New Year one and all. Finished without too much angst. I feel 2011 will provide a prize win for me finally.

  24. 6d – I put “****” but like most here don’t like it much. I wondered about “****”, which would fit peanuts, but I can’t get the “Bill” to fit, except bill as an account?

    1. Welcome to the blog Bob

      Please read the message at the bottom of the post about providing whole or partial answers to the weekend prize puzzles. We discuss puzzles freely during the week, but this one will have to wait until the full review is posted.

  25. Still can’t get 5D. Beginning to doubt if I have 10a and 14a correct as the bit of the clue for 5d that relates to “centre half” doesnt seem to fit in anywhere……pls help!! I think 10a is (first word) amongst other things the name of a magazine and (second word) what some people might have been last night.

    14a – what you might see on a sign on (eg) a lift that isnt working?

    so with that I can see a word that does fit and does mean to action but doesnt correspond with the clue………..??

    1. Welcome to the blog Putter

      Insert half of CEN(tre) after the second letter of your answer – does that give you a word meaning to stress?

      1. yep got it now. Many thanks! didnt read the clue properly………………I thought half of centre remained (ie left in) in the answer not left as in omitted………phew.

        1. re 5d I got into such a tangle – would never have got it – even having read the hint I had to think really very hard about it.

  26. Happy New Year from us two (or should it be ‘we two’!). Started off the New Year feeling decidedly peaky and nothing to do with alcohol intake….things can only improve! Anyway, thanks for the hint on 6d – still don’t get it!

  27. Happy New Year to everyone, especially all the great people who work so hard to make this such a wonderful site – it is VERY much appreciated, as are the clever ones who set the puzzles and all the rest who write such entertaining comments. I can’t remember when I first “arrived” here but I really am a total addict!! Now – the crossword – well, along with everyone else, I am suffering from too much food, too much wine and a 4.00am bedtime so I was really quite surprised when I managed to whizz through most of this one quite quickly. Then I came to a grinding halt with one clue that I absolutely couldn’t do (5d) and three that I couldn’t explain (14a and 20 and 23d) I had forgotten that it was Saturday (after the last week it could be any day at all!) so was completely devastated when I eventually gave in and decided to look at the hints, and, if necessary, the answers, only to find NO ANSWERS and only a few hints. Damn and blast!! All sorted now. No particular favourites today. Thank you to whoever set this one and to Big Dave. Do hope that UpTheCreek isn’t flooded in Queensland. Where is Mary?

    1. Kath

      If it helps, you posted this on 13th May 2010:

      “I’ve done the DT cryptic for many years and found this blog some months ago. Since then I’ve read it every day – only just summoned the courage to write a comment! It’s SO lovely to have some of the answers explained – really appreciated.”

    2. Kath, Happy New Year!

      I always enjoy your comments! :smile:

      But, may I suggest a New Year’s Resolution for you – very easy?

      Please, try to use the “carriage return” button at the end of sentences to make your comments more easily read?

      :smile: :smile: Hic!!!

      1. Happy New Year to you too, Franco. :grin:

        Glad that you enjoy my comments.

        Please note that I am using “carriage return” at the end of every sentence. So far so good.

        Given the length of some of my comments I think that if I do this all the time they will take up SO much space that I might be banned from commenting!!

    3. Best wishes for the New Year Kath. You will be pleased to know that I am keeping my head above water! The problems are further up north. I think Mary must have overindulged!

      1. Happy New Year to you Upthecreek. :Smile: So pleased to hear that you haven’t drowned! Don’t know where Mary has got to – she hasn’t been around for a few days – do hope that she is OK – she normally says if she’s off somewhere. Maybe you’re right and she has overindulged!

        1. Thanks Kath. Maybe Mary is stiill in shock from the Wolves result! Just having a nice cool glass of wine in 80 degrees. Would you wish Mary HNY for me when she emerges as I am off into the outback.

  28. Hello Libellule,
    Thanks very much for pointing out the lack of a Giant GK on the website today. Many apologies to all GK solvers — it’s up now.
    Phil (still enjoying 6d)

    1. Phil,
      What’s up?
      Re. GIANT GK – No. 12,346
      2ac The Four −−; collection of violin concertos by Vivaldi  (7)
      Still looks like last weeks 2 ac.

      1. Get to it via “Latest Puzzles” – it’s number 12,347

        The “Home” menu seldom reflects corrections made during the day.

  29. Happy New Year everyone ! Just finished that, I’ve been doing chores all day for the outlaws coming tomorrow. 5d was the last one in …. couldn’t get that without BD mentioning that song ….. now I can’t get it out of my head! Anyway, easiest dt this year …. don’t you think …..

  30. Happy New Year everyone!!
    I was out from early today so only just completed this one.
    I didn’t think it was that easy. I liked 14a, 17a, 26a and 20d.
    I also think the fuss about 6d is unfair, there’s no rule to say you can’t add words to a clue to confuse or put people off……good for peanuts.

  31. Been busy all day so just finishing this off. Just the right level for me today!

    I know someone has explained 23d and 5d , but I still can’t see them! Help!

    1. Sarah F

      5d – BD has given a better hint above. However, the definition is a verb meaning “put in action”. Wordplay is remove half of (cen)tre from another verb meaning “Stress/emphasise/make something more evident “.

    2. Hi Sarah F – re 23d – I think that someone (probably BD) has given a hint about it way back in the coments but in case you haven’t gone back through all of them here goes – you want a four letter word meaning hit – there aren’t that many if you already have first and third letters – then add eye to it and look it up – it is a type of salmon.

  32. Just want to add a postcript to the 6d difficulty… I just looked across at my parrot who was eating peanuts and there was the answer looking back at me! Didn’t phase me at all. Happy New Year all.

  33. HNY to all! Did this while half watching Morecambe and Wise from 1974! Still funnier than most stuff on today! Put answer to 6d in without thinking it might be controversial. Guessed the car in 22a without understanding why until reading blog. D’ oh! And that’s why I love doing cryptic crosswords – there’s a challenge every day, and what one person can’t see others can and vice versa. Brilliant! Thanks to all and may 2011 be a great cruciverbalising year.

  34. Heartily agree with Ian’s thoughts about cryptic crosswords in post #34.

    I found this one very straightforward, as the Saturday DT cryptics often are. In fact, it felt as though the setter had consciously tried to simplify things.

    I wasn’t so keen on 6D, in common with others. For me, “peanuts” as a definition by example of “bird food” didn’t work. However, it might be that the setter has clued that word many times before, and wanted to avoid repeating a previous clue style.

    In any event, it was a pretty decent puzzle, and a suitably gentle introduction to 2011.

  35. 5d and 6d , what??? . Got 5d from the blog and 6d must be ****, asterisk it out BD if you like, really duff clues.

  36. Just finished of this morning having had visitors yesterday. I was struggling with the SW corner, but when I came back to it this morning it all fell into place. I have no favourite clue this week , but I did not like 22a. To me the answer is an abbreviation and almost slang.
    That said a Happy New Year to you all , and many thanks for the hints over the last year.

  37. A very belated happy new year to you all. I have struggled to finish the crossword once again – but love reading the comments and banter on the blog.

    Thanks to everyone who so kindly offers a different way of looking at the clues – I find these immensely helpful.

    And thanks to BD who masterminds the whole operation – it was a desperate search for help that led me to the blog and has been a regular Saturday habit ever since.

    Best Wishes to All for a properous and happy new year

  38. We did all but six before coming here

    5d is difficult and I only realized what it was after the very last hint

  39. Evening all (ala Dixon Of Dock Green)

    6 down need not be the answer hinted at here you know. There’s a guitarist by the name of Bill **** whose surname is also the same as a weight of peanuts which also answers the clue and rather better than that currently being touted.

    1. Welcome to the blog Jabod

      I haven’t pointed out for some time that all answers given by, or hinted at, by reviewers have been “verified” on the Telegraph Puzzles online site. There is no doubt as to the “expected” answer, but had said guitarist been better known then your solution would be excellent!

      1. Ignoring the guitarist bit Dave (and he’s not that unknown) I’ll add this bit in as well: what does the bill on a bird do that also is a weight of peanuts?

          1. Well, Thursday we’ll find out :–)
            I really don’t like the popular answer as it doesn’t answer the clue properly (as you yourself inferred) and has the same, if not more so, weakness(es) as mine but at least mine has a far better relationship to peanuts.

            Just re-read your verified bit in your first post. I have to say that that clue/answer combination is an abomination and the editor should have struck it out (unless, of course, there is a correlation between the answer and peanuts that no-one knows about which is worse than the guitarist connection above.)
            Now goes off to sulk :–)

  40. Hi everyone and Happy New Year. Yes, where is Mary?

    6D, are we looking at a unit of weight?

  41. Am I the only one not to get 25 Across ?
    Done all the others, so any help would be appreciated.

    1. Welcome to the blog Martyn

      25a Admiration I have for each (10)
      It’s a charade o a word meaning admiration and IVE (I’ve / I have) and the answer means for each, in the sense of relating separately to each of two or more people – fill in the blank “they chatted about their ———- childhoods”. (definition and example courtesy of the Oxford Dictionary of English

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