DT 26463 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26463

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26463

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

I thought this was a but harder than is normal, and I completed it in fits and starts. 11a is without doubt an old chestnut, but I am sure it will be appreciated by those who have not seen it before. Still – mustn’t grumble, its an enjoyable crossword.

If you need to see the answer, highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Prepares for action — reason may follow (6,2)
{STANDS TO} – A two word phrase that means to take up positions for action, becomes a three word phrase if reason is added.

6. It’s out of town and out of the country (6)
{SUBURB} – The residential areas that surround a city for example.

9. Promise father a part in the play (6)
{PAROLE} – The sort of promise that a prisoner might make, is PA (father) followed by a word for a part played by a performer.

10. You’re probably surprised when they go up (8)
{EYEBROWS} – A cryptic reference to the arch of hair above each eye. This reminds me of a very famous pair, responsible for the following quote “When you’re in a hole, stop digging”.

11. Pretty girl in crimson and rose (8)
{REBELLED} – Another word for a beautiful girl or woman is placed inside RED (crimson) and describes someone who fought against people in authority.
This clue is definitely a well known old chestnut, and is used as a title of a book about crosswords etc. by Sandy Balfour. Sandy Balfour credits Rufus for the clue in the book.

12. Coach building (6)
{SCHOOL} – Double definition, one of which is a place where people are taught.

13. He looks for a way to sell his wares (6,6)
{STREET TRADER} – Someone who might sell goods and services on a public highway.

16. Try to intimidate and upset Theatre Trust (5,7)
{UTTER THREATS} – An anagram (upset) of THEATRE TRUST might be someone who declares an intention to cause harm or misery.

19. Scratches from use of manacle on board (6)
{SCUFFS} – The usual abbreviation for Steamship is placed around a shackle that goes round the wrist to give the sort of scratches or scrapes that you might see on shoes.

21. Vessel sunk at the bar (8)
{SCHOONER} – Double definition, a two masted sailing vessel is also a large glass for sherry.

23. Vandalised relics to place in the cathedral (8)
{CLOISTER} – An anagram (vandalised) of RELICS TO is a covered walk that you might find at a cathedral or monastery.

24. He’s lawless — a little grasping also (6)
{BANDIT} – Another word for a small portion is placed around AND (also) is a robber.

25. It’s half-day closing, mate! (6)
{FRIEND} – The shortened version of the sixth day of the week is followed by END (closing) is also a person you know and trust.

26. Employees in steel-works making components (8)
{ELEMENTS} – Put MEN (employees) inside an anagram (works) of STEEL are pieces of something more complex.


2. A service the abstainer takes comfort in (3,3)
{TEA SET} – Put a word that means free from discomfort or worry inside TT (Teetotaller) to get a collection of china.

3. Loop-line quickly going North, then East (5)
{NOOSE} – Another word for promptly is reversed (going North), and then has E (East) added, is the sort of loop that a hangman needs.

4. Suspect wrongdoing, let alarms go off (5,1,3)
{SMELL A RAT} – An anagram (go off) of LET ALARMS is a phrase that describes “suspecting something is wrong”.

5. Above and just behind the clock (7)
{OVERDUE} – A word that means in a higher position, is then followed by another word that can mean fitting, to produce a word that means not arriving at a scheduled time.

6. Good players may make bloomers (5)
{SEEDS} – The sort of top players who might be at Wimbledon for example, are also “ripened plant ovules that contain an embryo.”

7. Age-old celebrations (9)
{BIRTHDAYS} – The type of celebration you have every year as you get older.

8. Uncooked, filleted and lean (8)
{RAWBONED} – The definition for this clue is lean, string together synonyms for the two previous words to get someone who has a gaunt physique.

13. Extent of usefulness on board (5,4)
{SHELF LIFE} – The length of time that something can be stored for.

14. Board bring in a head ready to educate (9)
{TEACHABLE} – The board is a piece of furniture used for dining, put this around a word for individual and you have a word that means willing to learn.

15. One who insists on giving direction to trout-catcher (8)
{STICKLER} – A person who makes insistent demands consists of S (South – direction) followed by the sort of person who might try and catch a fish using their hands.

17. Savings book (7)
{RESERVE} – A double definition, something kept for future use, or something to be obtained in advance.

18. Check one’s surrounded by others (6)
{RESIST} – A word that means withstand or to hold back is constructed by placing IS (one’s) inside another word for others, or remainder.

20. Stuffed dates dished out (5)
{SATED} – An anagram (dished out) of DATES for a word that means fully satisfied.

22. Cat found in a pound (5)
{OUNCE} – Pound in this instance is a unit of weight, and you might find 16 of them.

90 comments on “DT 26463

  1. Def a puzzle of two halves, the bottom came together quite easily but the top was a bit of a stinker. You really need to get 1a and 6a and then it falls into place. Never seen 11a before, don’t remember it in the DT before or at least not in the last few years that I have been doing the crossword.
    Thought it was a bit tough for a Monday. Best clue for me was 21a, the most hackneyed clue was 22d – now that is a crossword favourite!

  2. Not bad, top right corner took a little thinking about, but once I had 6a, the rest fell into place. Liked 19a.

  3. After yesterday I found todays quite straightforward. Cant identify any clue that gave me the ‘wow’ factor but still very enjoyable. Thank you to Compiler and Libellule for review.

  4. Certainly a bit trickier than normal judging from the solving time. I dont mind 11a turning up again – Its a clue worth airing!.
    24a was misleading but simple!.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  5. I agree that this was a little trickier than usual mainly due to the top right corner. I spent far too long trying to justify “export” for 6a before getting to the down clues and realising my inanity. I did not mind seeing 11a – rather like a vintage wine you are always glad of a second glass.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the crossword and to LIbellule for the review.

  6. I agree harder than usual today from Rufus, I had never heard 9a used in that sense before, last to go in were 6d and 6a, fav clues 1a, 7d, 15d, 19a 10a, also don’t remember coming across 11a before, thanks Rufus and Libelulle, needed your help for 6d & 6a today, plus lots of book and electronic friend! Not one to get anyone out of the CC today, unless I am mistaken :)

    1. Not one to get anyone out of the CC today That’s for sure, thus far I’ve managed just 4 and much of the rest is a complete mystery! I’ll give up soon, wall-to-wall sunshine and far too nice a day to stay in.

      1. Hard frost though Geoff but I agree make the most of the sunshine, rain is forecast for tomorrow! don’t give up, try again later :)

  7. Blimey, that took some doing for a Monday. I must have had a heavy weekend having spent yesterday walking round Durham city at minus 2. I think I must be still thawing out.
    Thanks to Libellule for the hints.

    1. What a lovely place to be walking around — though I agree it must be bitter! I sang with my choir in the cathedral a couple of years ago and loved it. :-)

      1. We just caught the last 15 minutes of evensong, very spiritually uplifting and it helped with todays puzzle ref 23a

  8. Typical Rufus craftmanship, at the top end of his level of toughness. 11a may be a chestnut, but definitely worth a reappearance, and 6d was a nice “Aahhh” moment for me. Many thanks to the Monday Maestro and Le Lundi Libellule.

    1. Thank you for sharing those links and pics. Looks like there was copious amounts of alcohol being consumed as an aid to the solvers, maybe that’s where i’ve missed out, must give it a try hic!

    2. BD – thank you for the links to the photos – looks like a good day (and evening) was had by all.

        1. Having recovered from her dramatic sex change, she is doing very well, thanks. Hardly sleeps unless almost upright, but otherwise following all normal routines. Thanks for asking.

  9. Had no problem with this one except for 13 and 15d, 6a and 6d. But after a cup of coffee the light dawned and finished in good time.Although I got 24a I didn’t see why until I read the blog and the same for 2d, in fact thought they were rather feeble, forgive me, so many thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

      1. Mary,
        I would agree with you, 2d has a silky smooth surface reading. whilst with 24a you just have to admire the simplicty of it within the context of the whole clue. If either of this had appeared on COW I am sure they would win.

        1. Oh yes, I love the apparently ‘simple’ clues, by the way Libelulle why don’t you take part on COW or do you under another name???

            1. Hi Wayne, if you scroll down, on the right hand side you will see a link to COW – ‘Clue Of The Week’ – it is a clue writing ‘competition’ site, it is nearly always good fun and since I have been on the site it has helped me so much in understanding clues better, you don’t have to be brilliant, you just have a go, if you should win, the ‘prize’ is setting the clue for the next week and wait for it judging the entries for that week, don’t worry, everybody is very friendly, BD & Gazza are on the site too and you might recognise other names, the site was set up by Anax,

                1. Thanks Franco, it is always better to be a runner up or on the shortlist, then you don’t win the ‘poison chalice’ :-D

                  1. Mary, I’ve just had a look at the latest COW results. I thought that your clue was very elegant with a nice surface readingI (The only one of the contenders that I understood!)

                    Congratulations on NOT winning!

              1. I had no idea that was there either! I really need to look around the site more.

                Either I’m getting better (doubtful!) or I had enough sleep last night, or I’m just more on the same wavelength with today’s setter, because I found this crossword easier than usual (although I still only managed 10 without coming to the site for help). I was totally thrown by 22d though – I got the answer, but I didn’t understand it because I was lacking that bit of vocabulary. Still, I enjoyed today’s a lot.

  10. Re: 14d. The answer was pretty obvious, however having read the Hints I cannot understand how ‘a word for an individual’ as described by Libellule relates in any way to ‘a head’ as used in the clue. Anyone able to throw a light on this please.

    1. Hi Wayne ‘a head’ as in each or per head, which is then put in the word ‘table’ to get your answer

      1. Thanx Mary. got the answer but couldn’t work out the ‘each’ bit to describe ‘a head’. Looks like you’ve educated me and one or two others.

    2. I’m with you on that one Wayne – I look forward to the explanation. That’s how the clue reads in the paper version too.

  11. Excellent surface reading to 25a. I enjoyed 11a as it was the book of the similar title that got me into crosswords. Thank to Rufus and Libellule.

  12. Yes, definitely a half-and-half puzzle as Barrie says — only with me it was the left half before the right. Then words started falling into place until I got stuck on the SE corner. Finally I needed a bit of help with 14d and Bob was my Uncle. Thanks to Rufus for starting my week so pleasantly — it was good to see your face at last on the photos, and merci to Libellule.

  13. I had 6Ac as ‘ABROAD’ (A B-Road) which had me confused for at least an hour – I was so convinced I had the right answer for 7d and then it didn’t fit :S

    Also, did anyone else notice the spelling mistake in the quickie?

    1. Marcus, 6a – you are not alone – the first in for me was “Abroad” or “A B-Road”. I’m sure I’ve seen it before! Definitely didn’t help with the NE Corner!

      1. Re 6a – See Toughie 440 – October 13, 2010 – Wish I hadn’t remembered it!

        16a A byway out of the country (6)

      2. Yes, I too put Abroad for 6a which had me stumped on the down clues for ages. Definitely much harder than previous Monday puzzles, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of it.
        Thanks to setter and Libellule for review

  14. I had a bit of a struggle today. I went completely off with 6a where I filled in ABROAD (a B-road) which kind of fits the clue. Once I went “Oh yes…” for 7d, I realised the errors of my roads and then things fell into place.

    I quite liked 10a and 13d.

    Thanks, Rufus and Libellule!.

  15. I struggled with this today taking twice as long as I normally do to solve a Rufus. I liked quite a lot of clues including 11a. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  16. Straightforward but enjoyable crossword from Rufus who always makes Mondays pleasant. Thanks Libellule for the review and Rufus for the gentle warm up.

  17. So glad to read that other people found this more difficult than is usual for a Monday – thought that it must be my inability to concentrate due to hole being knocked in our house – lots of noise, mess and muddle!!
    My first mistake was to put ‘balloons’ for 10a – I’m sure you can all understand how that screwed up the whole of the top right hand corner! Once I’d sorted that one out most of it came together, although it did take longer than usual.
    Didn’t understand 24a until I read the hint – managed to justify it by thinking that it could have something to do with a ‘one armed bandit’ taking (grasping) all your money – oh dear!
    Spent a while on 15d trying to make it a three letter word for direction followed by ‘angler’ (trout -catcher).
    Lots of clues that I liked today – 1, 19 and 25a and 6 and 8d.
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule – pleased that it was given 3* for difficulty or I might have had even more doubts about my brain!!

  18. D’oh! A crossword of two halves, and no mistake. Bottom half was very straightforward, but top was a bit of a stinker. Put in “ACERS” at 6D. Wanted to put “ABROAD” in at 6A but that didn’t fit with 7D. Much scratching of head ensued. Very enjoyable nonetheless. Many thanks all.

  19. I have just finished submitting my tax return (hate this time of year) and paid my tax bill so will get started on the puzzle. Reading the comments I wonder if I want to. I didn’t comment over the weekend nor much last week as was busy – besides tax return my social life was all crammed in to the one week. Why can’t it be spread out???

    More later

  20. Well I have done it and made a hash of 13a by putting market in and that meant 13d took ages to get. Obviously when I changed it I got it easily. No real favourites but a good start to the week.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to Libellule for the review

        1. No not yet. When I saw the surgeon earlier this month he said to wait until my x-ray and visit in April before I start back. Walking and doing exercises that the physio gave me but that’s all.

          How are your visits to your dentist going? Making progress?

  21. Didn’t get much further than this morning, so worked my way through the hints, thinking it was all so obvious …

    Also thought 6a was abroad. 11a was a new chestnut! Glad to have the ‘each’ of 14d explained. Thanks to Libellule for the review.

  22. Sorry, I was a little naughty in using 11 across again. I first used this clue in the Guardian in 1997. Little did I know that Sandy Balfour, living in S Africa at the time, had just become interested in cryptic crosswords, with another clue of mine, for EMIGRE, being his first ever solo solve. When he wrote about his love of cryptic crosswords after coming to England, he used 11 across as the title of his excellent memoir. Because of his book becoming very popular I hesitated to use it elsewhere. However, when the solution REBELLED fitted so well into today’s puzzle, I thought it might be long enough after14 years for any Guardian solvers to forget,and also not everyone bought the book.. But Libellule (merci beaucoup for your excellent weekly blogs!) obviously did!

    1. Roger,
      I thought it was familiar, but it was actually BD who remembered the book! Its still a great clue :-)

      1. You guys have long memories!
        Thanks again Rufus – Pommette is a fan of yours so we did your Grauniad offering as well today. Both great puzzles!

  23. Marginally tougher than recent Monday challenges and it took me a while to get away. I liked 15d best (also 25a).

    A good start to the week and hopefully the standard will be maintained.

  24. I really enjoyed this today – Plenty of good clues, but i did like 25a, and 2d.
    Many thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule for the review.

  25. Nice one Rufus – enjoyable and a bit tricky in places. Good entertainment!
    Pommette and I did this in 2 halves. We had 10 mins at it and only filled in about 4 or 5, then had to leave home to play bridge. Finished it in the local bar when we came back and I think some of the clues must have cogitated in the subconcious as we didn’t have much trouble. Maybe this two stage approach is the way to go?
    Thanks to Libellule for the blog.

    BTW, the Grauniad today is also a Rufus and is even trickier than this one. How he can guage difficulty so accurately I’ve no idea apart from it’s probaby 40-odd years experience! Long may he continue.

  26. Superb day in the capital of the north, sun shining and fairly quiet, so home late for todays offering. Agree a little trickier than usual but again question the 3* rating. Thought 24A and 14D were poor clues although solvable.
    If anyone is in any doubt where I was today it was Newcastle.
    Amazed at the memories some people have recalling a clue first used so long ago, or are they all recorded on a data base somewhere?
    Thanks to setter and to Libellule for the hints.

  27. Enjoyable puzzle from Rufus – a kind of Board Game! :)
    Clues that I liked : 1a, 6a, 13a, 21a, 26a, 6d, 8d, 13d & 15d.

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