DT 26439

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26439

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Welcome to the first Monday of 2011. Rufus has returned, and we have an enjoyable, but not overly taxing solve today. Some of you may need some help for some of the cryptic definitions – but I doubt it.

If my cryptic hints are not good enough to let you work out the answer, just highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Jobbers in bonds (11)
{BRICKLAYERS} – You are meant to think that this is a reference to a middleman who is involved in the exchange of stocks and securities among brokers. But this is actually someone who builds things using particular patterns of stone.

9. Quiet morning? Don’t you believe it! (4)
{SHAM} – SH (quiet) followed by AM (morning).

10. Fire prevention device? (6,5)
{SAFETY CATCH} – A locking device that prevents a gun from being fired.

11. Marine detachment (4)
{ISLE} – Not a group of jolly’s in this case, but a small landmass that is surrounded by water.

14. Auntie’s sort of curvaceous (7)
{SINUATE} – An anagram (sort of) of AUNTIES.

16. They’re flat but suitable for climbers, we hear (7)
{STEPPES} – Huge grasslands found in the Ukraine and Russia, sound like steps.

17. Departures could be set about eleven (5)
{EXITS} – Put an anagram (about) of SET around XI (Roman numerals for eleven).

18. Descriptive of a sharp drop in sweet production (4)
{ACID} – a type of boiled sweet that has a sharp taste.

19. A drink all round when there’s profit (4)
{GAIN} – A drink often served with tonic, is placed around A.

20. One result of plotting (5)
{GRAPH} – A diagram that exhibits a relationship, often functional, between two sets of numbers for example.

22. Try and make a little yarn go a long way (4,3)
{SPIN OUT} – The yarn could be a tale or thread, what would you do it you wanted to make it last longer?

23. Obvious way to get round foreigner (7)
{SALIENT} – Put ST (way) around another word for a stranger, ET perhaps, to get a word that means conspicuous.

24. Easy to reach but hard to touch (4)
{NEAR} – A word that means close by, can also describe someone who is miserly.

28. He may carry cases of dark, strong ale (5-6)
{NIGHT PORTER} – Someone who carries baggage during the hours of darkness could also describe a dark time of the day, and a strong beer.

29. Captured and shot (4)
{TOOK} – A double definition.

30. Fixed aim or intent to reach final conclusion (11)
{TERMINATION} – An anagram (fixed) of AIM OR INTENT.


2. Empty sheep range? (4)
{ROAM} – Put O (empty) inside a word for a male sheep.

3. A short cut for a shipping company (4)
{CREW} – Double definition, a short haircut, or a group of people serving on a ship.

4. Still getting in after hours, showing infantile habits (7)
{LAYETTE} – Put YET (still) inside another word for past the usual or expected hour and you have a word used to describe a complete set of articles for a new born baby.

5. A solar-powered cycle? (4)
{YEAR} – 365 or 366 days.

6. Instrument of torture set out for game (7)
{RACKETS} – An instrument on which the victim’s body is stretched, plus an anagram (out) of SET produces a game similar to squash.

7. One competing for supremacy on the board (5-6)
{CHESS-PLAYER} – The board referred to is actually a board game that can end in checkmate.

8. Ape or primate? One’s uncertain (11)
{IMPERSONATE} – An anagram (uncertain) of PRIMATE ONES.

12. Get rid of a couple of fools with one neat manoeuvre (11)
{ASSASSINATE} – The fool is an ASS (times two), then add (with) I (one) and an anagram (manoeuvre) of NEAT.

13. Supervisor of those working on paper (11)
{INVIGILATOR} – Someone who watches an exam to prevent cheating.

15. Number involved in tree-climbing exercise (5)
{EXERT} – Put X (the Roman numeral for ten) inside a reversed (climbing) TREE.

16. Checks rising symptoms of measles (5)
{STOPS} – Reverse an obvious symptom of measles, to find another word that means halts or checks. A clue where I needed the crossing letters to be sure of the answer.

20. Discharge from the Army? (7)
{GUNFIRE} – Shooting…

21. Used to make a lock fast, or to pick it (7)
{HAIRPIN} – A device for holding your hair in place, could also be used to open a lock.

25. How West Ham make an impact? (4)
{WHAM} – A forceful blow is constructed from W (West) and HAM. I hope nobody had any problems with this one.

26. Expression of annoyance as dart is badly thrown (4)
{DRAT} – An anagram (is badly thrown) of DART.

27. Less than one hour for action (4)
{ZERO} – A number that is less than one is also the scheduled time for the start of an operation.



  1. Mr Tub
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    4d was a new word to me and there were plenty of clues to enjoy today, 10a, 7d and 20d being among my favourites.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule, and a Happy New Year to all. Except the poor old Pargetters of course…

  2. Prolixic
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to Rufus for a gentle start to the week. Favourite clue was 14a. 16a also appears in Rufus’s Guardian crossword today. Thanks also to Libellule for the review.

  3. Barrie
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Good puzzle with some nice clues esp liked 23a and 21 both of which made me smile. Don’t understand a couple though, whats 24a got to do with being miserly or 29a to do with shot??? Not done yet, just the top left to do.

    • Libellule
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      24a, the answer is a synonym for miserly or stingy, as such a person who is near with their money would be hard to touch, i.e. difficult to get a loan from.
      29a, what happens when you use a camera?

    • tilly
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      29a as in photograph.

    • Spindrift
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      24a is an old definition of parsimonious and if you take a photograph you could also say you shot it. hope this helps

    • Barrie
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Thx for the explanations, never heard of the parsimonious one and I never made the connection with cameras DOH!

  4. Dickiedot
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks Libellule for the review, thanks Rufus for a lovely start to the week, faourite clue 23a

  5. Dickiedot
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    oops old laptop with a sticky ‘V’

  6. pommers
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Nice one Rufus, as usual.
    Favourite 21d.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  7. Nubian
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I found todays didn’t flow like a usual Monday from Rufus, lots of four letter answers and some clues a bit of a stretch. Never mind, I still enjoyed it.
    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

  8. BigBoab
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year Rufus and Libellule, lovely start to the year with a masterly bit of misdirection at 1a and 10a, favourite clue was 13d. Thanks to both.

  9. Libellule
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    As an aside, has anybody printed out the Herculis via the Telegraph Puzzles site, and then tried to do it?
    Things start to become very complicated at around 13d…

    • BigBoab
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Paper version is also flawed, 17d missing completely, answer to 16d is at 13d and the answer to the clue printed as 17d is at16d.

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        I would like to propose AMBITION as the answer to the clueless 17d in the Herculis. Do we want to write a clue for it too??

        • crypticsue
          Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          I see that the online version has been changed to the version that Kate Mepham obviously intended it to be

    • Sarah F
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the warning—saves my time, effort, paper and printer ink!!!

  10. Collywobbles
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Could you explain 1a a little more

    • Libellule
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Collywobbles if you click on the link i put into the “explanation” I think the answer will become a lot clearer.

      • Collywobbles
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Tks Libellule,
        I think that I’ve got it

  11. crypticsue
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Not a record time for a Rufus solve for me today but I did enjoy it so thank you and Happy New Year to him and Libellule. Hope Mrs Rufus is now on the mend.

  12. Sarah F
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Found this more tricky than usual Monday, and had to work hard at anagrams.

    Thought 1a was VERY devious! Fav clues 16a, 20a, 23a and 21d.

    Thanks to Rufus and reviewer.

    • Ainsley
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sarah – yes I agree very devious and I would not have got without the hint

  13. Kath
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear!! Managed to get myself in a bit of a pickle by putting “suez” for 3d! That made 1a rather difficult to say the least! :oops:
    Apart from that I didn’t have any major problems today although the first word of 28a took a while.
    Favourites include 10, 16 and 22a and 2, 7 and 12d – best of all 13d.
    Very cold and grey and generally miserable in Oxford today.
    Happy New Year and thanks to Rufus and Libellule – would NEVER have got 1a without the hint.

    • Libellule
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      SUEZ !?! – Ahh I get it…. thats more devious than the real answer :-)

      • Kath
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        It could have worked, couldn’t it? Only problem was that it was wrong!!

        • Prolixic
          Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          I toyed with Suez as a possible answer. Rather neat I thought!

          • Kath
            Posted January 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            But it sounds as if you had the wit to think about it rather than write it in with such confidence that you never gave it another thought!!

  14. Rednaxela
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    This took me slightly longer than usual on a Monday – there were 12 four-letter answers, which I always struggle with more than anything else! However, the answers could be worked out from some good clues and a little thought. Thanks to the setter and Libellule for the review

  15. brendam
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m usually in line with Rufus Xwords but this one I found slightly obscure! 20 and 29a in particular, I have looked at Libellule’s hints and still find them a bit iffy. Otherwise enjoyable enough. Favourites 15 and 21d, 23a. Didn’t like 1a, why in bonds? Thanks all the same to Rufus and Libellule and Happy New Year

    • Libellule
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Stretcher bond, Flemish bond, English bond, Common or American bond, Running bond, English Cross or Dutch bond, are all different ways (for example) of laying bricks. Click on the link in the hint and all should be explained.

  16. Collywobbles
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Where’s Mary?

    • Kath
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes – where IS Mary? Have never known her to be so quiet for so long. Do hope that she’s OK. Come back Mary – all is forgiven!!!

      • Collywobbles
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        I would’nt go that far!

    • Geoff
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Away for a few days, from the middle of last week – didn’t you miss her then ???

      • Collywobbles
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        I did

      • Kath
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes but it seems like quite a long time.

  17. Geoff
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this as soon as saw all those four-letter answers … wasn’t wrong either! Thought 1a was CONTRACTORS and spent a long time trying to find down words beginning with the relevant letters. Now sure I’m getting worse at these,

    Thanks for review.

  18. Barrie
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Would agree with the rating except for 1a which is def a 4 star difficulty !! :-)

  19. Addicted
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t start until about 1.30 to-day and did two-thirds, but had to resort to Libellule for help with 1a – had already got 4d – so then managed to complete. Many thanks for hints. Am usually fairly good with Mondays but then”go off” as the week “goes on”!!

  20. brendam
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Only just got back on line so thanks Libellule, now all is made clear. Didn’t know all those terms used in building, will try to remember. And yes, where is Mary?

  21. Pete
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Nice gentle start to the week/new year. On first run through I put draw out for 22A which did not help very much. Not a fan of four letter words, in crossword answers that is.
    Is it me or are our reply boxes wider than last year?
    Thanks to setter and Libellule for the hints.

    • Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      I changed the width of the comment / reply box over six months ago, and it should be 66% of the available space. If you reduce the width of your window it will become smaller – and vice versa.

    • Qix
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Some newspapers allow compilers to use only a limited number of grids; sometimes, those grids have many 4- (or even 3-) letter lights.

      One might be forgiven for thinking that, in these days of “DTP”, when most newspaper compositing is done on Macs and high-end PCs, it would be a relatively simple matter to allow arbitrary grid patterns, but it doesn’t seem to be the case at all newspapers.

  22. Zofbak
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Late start and late finish today – trouble with 1a and shouldn’t 2d have some kind of insert instruction for the “o”? Thanks Libellule for the hints and to Rufous.

    • gazza
      Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      2d Think of empty as meaning having nothing in. So it’s a sheep with O (nothing) in it.

      • Zofbak
        Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        Got it – many thanks Gazza.

  23. Qix
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    The usual high-quality output from Rufus.

    I wasn’t on the right wavelength at all today, and this puzzle took me about twice as long as it had any right to. However, I consider that to be a good thing in a crossword, and have to admire Rufus’ seemingly endless ability for lateral thinking.

    Nicely blogged by Libellule, and I had the same situation at 16D. In fact, I had assumed that the reverse solution was correct, and that delayed me not a little.

  24. tonyp17
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Struggled with this today which is unusual as I normally enjoy the challenge from Rufus.
    Perhaps because I was nowhere near 1a the top half never really got started.
    Thanks to Libellule for an excellent blog.

  25. Rufus
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to Libellule for usual excellent blog, and for all the comments from everybody.

    Update on Anna: she left hospital exactly a week after arrival in A&E on Christmas Eve. Operation on Monday, 34 staples in her tum, but being her, was walking the lengths of the hospital after a day in bed, wheeling her drip in one hand and hanging onto me with the other. As this is the third time this op was needed – stomach operations may always leave scar tissue that may cause future trouble – Anna knows from experience how to get speedily better. She still needs help – she cannot drive for at least a month – but is definitely on the road to recovery. Many thanks for all the kind message she has received!

    • Libellule
      Posted January 4, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the update re. Anna, glad she is feeling better. A very enjoyable crossword today. I liked 1a, but only because I have been building walls in my garden :-)