DT 26444 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26444

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26444

A Full Review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Morning All!, I think that we have another puzzle from a mystery setter who is now alternating with Cephas. The clue type and count is quite similar but the wordplay has a different feel to it so I hope I am right. In any case it was a fun puzzle which I enjoyed solving. It also contained a couple of very good &Lit clues.

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           World Cup-winning footballer fades (6)
PETERS – The surname of Martin who was part of the ’66 World Cup Squad also means fades or dies out.

4a           Fine porcelain gives cheer to unpleasant place (8)
EGGSHELL – A charade of EGGS  (gives cheer to, e.g. urges) and HELL, the nasty place for nasty people. This is a very fine, translucent porcelain.

10a         Many questions make this degree a poor one (5)
THIRD – Two cryptic definitions for the price of one I suppose. If you are asked lots of questions you get the ‘Third Degree’ and a ‘Third’ is short for Third Degree at University which is a poor result for many.

11a         Work in factor for flight to Gretna? (9)
ELOPEMENT – Add OP (abbreviation of OPUS or musical work) into ELEMENT (factor) to give the action of a couple running away to get married – traditionally at Gretna Green.

12a         Composer ignores a Green artist (2,5)
EL GRECO – Remove (ignore) A from ELGAR and then add ECO , a prefix and abbreviation for ecological (green) to get a famous artist originally from Crete

13a         Crew cut back with extravagance in panic? (4-3)
FLAT-TOP – A shaved back and sides haircut with a flat top, synonymous with a ‘Crew Cut’. Verse Over The Top (back with extravagance) in FLAP (for panic)

14a         Revolutionary air à la ‘Les Mis’ embraced by the French (2,12)
LA MARSEILLAISE – A very good &Lit or ‘All-in-one’ clue where the entire clue provides both the wordplay completely and also the definition. The French national anthem from the Revolution is an anagram (revolutionary) of AIR A LA LES MIS inside (embraced by) LE (the in French). Les Miserables (or ‘Les Mis’ for the theatreland stage musical) is a play by Victor Hugo tracing the lives of various people in the run up to the June Rebellion of 1892 in Paris. Wonderful Clue!

17a         Old Mayor in revelling helped enjoy folk song (1’2,3,4,4)
D’YE KEN JOHN PEEL – Put KEN (Livingston, the former mayor of London) in an anagram (reveling) of HELPED ENJOY to get an old folk song. In this case the addition of the apostrophe (in the online version at least) helps if you are unaware of the work.

21a         Famous stone arranged in round (7)
ROSETTA – A famous stone tablet that helped translations of hieroglyphics since it also contained the same text in Egyptian Demotic script and also Ancient Greek. Put the word SET (arranged) into a ROTA – a round as in ‘round robin’.

23a         Pan requiring expertise and used by Michel Roux (7)
SKILLET – This flat bottomed frying pan is a charade of SKILL (expertise) and ET which is the French for ‘and’ i.e. how the French-born Michel Roux might say it.

24a         Eat this cooked with toppings of grated Parmesan (9)
SPAGHETTI – Another &Lit clue. A cooked anagram of EAT THIS plus the toppings – first letters – of Grated Parmesan gives you the pasta that you might eat with such toppings.

25a         Intend to carry Britain right to the top (5)
ABRIM – Two ways to read this and I am not sure it matters which you pick. To intend is to AIM. Include in this (carry) Britain and Right to get a word meaning ‘to the top’ of a cup or vessel. That or the BR comes from Britain and the definition is ‘right to the top’. My preference is for the latter; both B and BR are valid abbreviations for Britain but the definition ‘right to the top’ is more concise in my opinion.

26a         Screen in the middle best clothes industrial plant (8)
REFINERY – A charade of the middle letters of scREen and FINERY (best clothes) leads to an industrial plant that breaks down raw material (usually petroleum products) into usable fractions.

27a         Lousy racehorse left in care of old man (6)
PLATER – A mediocre horse entered into minor races. Put Left into (in care of) PATER – your posh old man!. Nice surface reading here.


1d           Having this, belt’s tight in fat person — not half (3-5)
POT-BELLY – A little bit tricky to get the wordplay here.  We need an anagram (tight i.e. drunk) of BELT. Then we need to take half of roly-POLY (a reasonable old term for a fat person) and place this around the outside. This is also a semi &Lit clue. It is not a complete &Lit as the use of ‘Having this’ to point to the definition does not form any part of the wordplay.

2d           Spare toothless so-and-so (9)
THINGUMMY – A clue that I liked very much. A charade of THIN for spare and GUMMY for toothless gives ‘so-and-so’ or ‘whodjamaflip’.

3d           More embarrassed about English member of stag party? (3,4)
RED DEER – If you blush more you are REDDER. But this about E for English for a type of (male) deer  – member of stag party being a slightly devious definition.

5d           Suitable position at university for convivial company (14)
GOODFELLOWSHIP – A charade of GOOD for suitable and FELLOWSHIP for ‘position at university’ also means convivial company in a social sense

6d           Group of musicians met an artful composer (7)
SMETANA – A hidden word clue, indicated by ‘group of’. The Czech composer is hidden in musicianS MET AN Artful.

7d           Top people from European Commission in English language teaching (5)
ELECT – The top people, or elect can be found by adding the abbreviation for European Commission into another abbreviation of English Language Teaching (the latter was unknown to me – I know about TEFL but that is about it!)

8d           Reprieves pullets heartlessly getting the chop (3-3)
LET UPS – Remove L – the middle letter of pulLets (like poulets – small chickens) and chop up (make an anagram) of the remainder. The definition is ‘reprieves’ as a noun

9d           Comparison in adverts making crazy offer and rebate (6,3,5)
BEFORE AND AFTER – A standard test in the advertising world, usually involving bluey-whiteness if I recall correctly. Anyway, its an anagram, indicated by ‘making crazy’ of OFFER AND REBATE. I was a little disappointed to see that the AND was unmixed in the clue – I have been marked down for that in clue writing competitions!

15d         Be suspicious when alarm’s let off (5,1,3)
SMELL A RAT – A phrase for ‘be suspicious’ is an anagram, indicated by ‘off’, of ALARMS LET. ‘When’ here is just a word leads you to the answer.

16d         Perhaps grandfather clock that’s antique (3-5)
OLD TIMER – A grandfather clock is a definition by example of an old timepiece (timer) . Old Timer is also a synonym for an antique, usually a term of endearment for an older person.

18d         Place to do porridge, put another way, the nick (7)
KITCHEN – Another very nice clue. A place where we may prepare a breakfast dish of porridge is also an anagram (put another way) of THE NICK. The cryptic allusion is that ‘do porridge and keep your head down’ is what you should do in prison, i.e. the nick!

19d         Two separate articles penned by Bloom — rising author (7)
NAIPAUL – The one clue that I required checking letters for in the online version. Place the letter A (an indefinite article) TWICE and separately into (they are penned by) the reversal of LUPIN (a Bloom – rising). I didn’t like this clue much as Bloom was capitalized to try and fool you into thinking of the author Howard Bloom and the punctuation didn’t help (although I know now that most punctuation can be safely ignored in most clues). In any case the definition is an Indian author now living in Trinidad.

20d         One will rub out monarch after long periods (6)
ERASER – A thing that will rub out a pencil mark is found by adding ER (for our current queen) after ERAS – long periods of time)

22d         Stick the workforce (5)
STAFF – A simple double definition to finish with.

Thanks to the setter for a fun challenge. You have had me for three weeks on the Saturday slot but next week it is Crypticsue’s turn – we will be alternating fortnightly to give us both a chance to review both setters. See you soon!

17 comments on “DT 26444

  1. Hi Gnomethang, in your hints for 9d you’ve put the anagram of the answer not the words in the clue “offer and rebate”. Sorry to be picky on an otherwise excellent review. Thanks to mystery setter as well.

  2. I thought this was a little trickier than normal for a Saturday, but not complaining!
    I have never heard of the folk song in 17a, and am unlikely to come across it again.
    Thanks gnomethang for the review.

    1. You obviously are far too young. In the 1950s we sang this folk song and many others. Perhaps that’s whats wrong with the youth of today, not enough ancient folk song singing!

  3. Hey I’m new here – fabulous site.
    1d I thought POLY could be not-half of portly, rather than exactly half of roly-poly

    1. Welcome to the blog Kevin .
      I hope you become a regular. In this case I think it must be half of roly-poly as if a setter says ‘half’ of some word removal then it must be precisely half the consecutive letters in order to be fair to the solver

      1. Yes I will become a regular – I’m just starting and this BD site is getting me off to a flyer as I’m studying the correct answers + rationale. I’ve attempted last 3 Telegraph prize crosswords and now do over half of the clues unaided!

        I still don’t understand 1d fully
        Does ‘fat person — not half ‘ suggest not half of PORTLY rather than half of ROLY-POLY?

        1. Sorry Kevin, your second message needed to be moderated again as you used a different name from the first – in future all should be well.

          The answer is no because to get POLY from PORTLY you only need to remove two letters (RT) which although consecutive cannot fairly be construed as half of a six letter word. This is one of those rules in place for setters in order to be fairer to the solvers. Also PORTLY is an adjective whereas the clue states fat person- meaning we need a noun (ROLY_POLY can be both a noun and an adjective).

          The setter might have chosen to say something like “fat – not right” which would instruct us to look for a synonym of fat (PORTLY) and remove RT (an accepted abbreviation for Right as in Right Angle).

          I hope this helps – sorry to be so long winded!

          1. Many thanks, I understand now. I can’t believe how good this site is – from the initial BD hints and discussion through to the full explanation of the solution. I’m hooked!

            1. Hello Kevin – welcome to the site, I think you’ll find it an invaluable aid to progressing in the cryptic world, I have been here for about 18 months or so now and would not have got on half as well without Big Dave and his merry band , everyone is really friendly and helpful, gnomey (gnomethang) is one of the ‘better’ solvers on the blog and as you can see he does some excellent reviews too, why not try today’s puzzle now and join in the discussion on today’s blog, see you round :)

              1. Mary, thanks, you seem a friendly bunch here. I’ve been lurking here for several weeks reading the entertaining posts and (gradually) improving my solving skills! I get the DT on Saturdays and take the xword to work on the train. I spend several days trying to solve it trying to avoid the temptation of BD’s hints and other help. No doubt I will dip into the conversation as my skills improve – I already see a vast improvement.

                Did I read on the blog that you have a touring caravan?

                  1. We used to have an old Sprite now we have a new Sterling Europa! Can’t believe the difference. Plan to tow across France to Spain in the summer. Thanks for making me welcome

                    1. we have a swift challenger 510 with two fixed beds it is 4yrs old but looks like new, we will try it out locally first & plan to take it to France in Sept, we were advised not to get anything bigger til we are used to towing, aren’t those motor movers magic!

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