DT 26480 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26480

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26480

A Full Review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This crossword came at the end of a very strange week for the DT Cryptics with the usual order of level of difficulty being much disrupted, and the Prize Puzzle followed the trend being trickier than normal – still only 3* difficulty for me, although I appreciate others will have given it a 4* rating. Thanks to the Mysteron for setting us all the perfect challenge for a very very wet Saturday.

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    Chicken and fish having inside uncooked sent back (6)
COWARD – Not something for Sunday lunch but the adjective meaning frightened, scared or cowardly. Insert RAW (uncooked) into COD (fish).

4a    King in London area admitted minimum kind of staff (8)
SKELETON – a term meaning a workforce reduced to its lowest strength. Insert K for King into the abbreviation for the part of the country where London is situated the S(outh) E(ast ) and follow this with LET ON (admitted as in revealed or divulged).

9a    OK position for footballer, forward leading team (6)
ONSIDE – an adjective meaning to be in the correct (OK) position to play or receive a ball legally, ie not offside. ON (towards or to; in the direction of) and SIDE (team).

10a    Religious leader to live with new order (8)
BENEDICT – My last one in and it was only having a couple of Pope-related clues recently that made the penny drop. The name of the current Pope is a charade of BE (live) N (new) and EDICT (order).

11a    What slows horse-drawn vehicle? An insect (9)
DRAGONFLY – DRAG slows or causes something to move tediously. A FLY is an old type of stagecoach or a light vehicle drawn by a horse so DRAG ON (a) FLY would slow it down. Can’t wait for warmer weather when these beautiful insects will be back hovering over our pond.

13a    Beat and stirred broth (5)
THROB – an obvious anagram (stirred) of BROTH produces this strong pulsation.

14a    It marks a certain stage of life, e.g. a pa’s forties going crazy (4,2,7)
RITE OF PASSAGE – even if the strange combination of words hadn’t got you thinking, going crazy was the very obvious anagram indicator. EG A PAS FORTIES rearranges into a ritual marking one’s transition from one stage of life to another.

17a    Ruthless businessman fools person on excursion, taking in first of tourists (5,8)
ASSET STRIPPER – These businessmen acquire control of a company and then sell its assets for financial gain. Some ASSES (fools) and TRIPPER (someone on an excursion) with T (the first letter of tourists) inserted.

21a    Requiring taxi, the French send a message (5)
CABLE – These messages were sent via a cable long before the days of email, text or Twitter. CAB (taxi) plus LE (French for the).

23a    Cockney resented a scuffle (4,5)
EAST ENDER – An anagram (scuffle) of RESENTED A gives you the term for the residents of that part of London within the sound of Bow Bells. Chambers lists this with a hyphen 4-5.

24a    North’s very cold, about zero — it’ll help you sleep (8)
NARCOTIC – Chambers defines this as a type of drug producing torpor, sleep or deadness.  N (North) ARCTIC (very cold) with O inserted.

25a    Chestnut-coloured strand (6)
MAROON – A nice double definition – maroon is either a noun meaning brownish-crimson or a verb meaning to put and leave ashore (ie strand) on a desert island.

26a    Really, learner’s expelled by teacher that won’t allow alterations (4-4)
READ-ONLY – These types of files can be looked at on a computer but not changed. The key to the wordplay (or as Prolixic called it “the sneaky substitution indicator”) is the phrase ‘expelled by’. The first L (learner) in REALLY is expelled by, as in driven out and replaced by, DON (a teacher at a university). I didn’t have any trouble solving this clue but many others did leading to over 200 comments on the puzzle, 3,038 views of the hints page and a record number of visits to the blog on the Saturday alone.

27a    Unconventional view in this place’s yard (6)
HERESY – Opposed to the usual or conventional belief – HERE(‘)S + Y (yard).


1d    Making a show in Cyprus is not bright (6)
CLOUDY – Gloomy when the sky is full of clouds as it is as I work on this review – LOUD (in a flashy, showy or vulgar way) inserted into CY (the IVR code for Cyprus).

2d    Crew is tossed around ocean — they’re not as clever as they think (9)
WISEACRES – An anagram (tossed) of CREW IS placed around SEA (ocean) – the relevant Chambers definition for one of these people is the wonderful ‘a simpleton quite unconscious of being one’ .

3d    British soldier breaking code penetrating traitor (7)
REDCOAT – The last clue required you to put an anagram round another word, this one does the opposite. An anagram (breaking) of CODE is inserted into a RAT (traitor) to produce the name of a historical British soldier, so called because of their bright red uniform jackets.

5d    Footballing skills support young professionals (5-6)
KEEPY-UPPIES – Lots of discussion about this clue too. KEEP (support) and YUPPIES (Young Urban Professionals) – this football skill involves using the foot and/or knee to prevent the ball from hitting the ground for as long as possible. Some people felt that it should be KEEPIE but Chambers has the skill as a KEEPY-UPPY, the plural of which is KEEPY-UPPIES.

6d    Turn up place for filming actual Shakespearean character (7)
LAERTES – Up in a down clue indicates a reversal and in this clue turn up makes it even clearer. A film SET and REAL (actual) reversed gives you the person who kills Hamlet with a poisoned sword. And no, I hadn’t read the play but I had heard of the character.

7d    Dispenser of justice, three times Queen? (5)
TRIER – Someone appointed to decide on a challenge, eg a juror, TRI (a combining form denoting threefold) and ER (the abbreviation for our current Queen, Elizabeth Regina).

8d    Bar with standing-room only has such famous people (8)
NOTABLES – Another nice double definition – a bar with NO TABLES at which to sit or a person of distinction or importance.

12d    Pay old politician coppers (4,3,4)
FOOT THE BILL – To get an expression meaning to pay a bill in full you need the name of the leader of the Labour Party back in the early 1980s, Michael FOOT and THE BILL (a slang term for the police force).

15d    Are moored suitably in landing place (9)
AERODROME – I thought this a very nice attempt to mislead the solver. ‘Moored’ led me to believe that I was trying to find something boat/water related out of an anagram (suitably) of ARE MOORED. Of course the landing place I wanted was that used by aeroplanes!

16d    Lancer of boils, one uses fliers (8)
FALCONER – Again, I spent a moment thinking of obscure medical instruments, but boils is the anagram indicator LANCER OF rearranged – someone who breeds or trains falcons or hawks.

18d    Draw explorer and artist (7)
TIEPOLO – Cue much muttering about not knowing the artist. However, it was perfectly obvious from the word play TIE (draw) and (Marco) POLO, and the name of this Venetian artist was also rattling around in the back of my memory banks. Perhaps he’s been in a crossword before!

19d    Lords always having servant around (7)
PEERAGE – Take a boy attendant or PAGE and insert EER (e’er: a contraction for ever or always, much used in poetry) and you get the body of peers, barons or nobles.

20d    British tennis player Murray shows spirit (6)
BRANDY – BR (British) and ANDY (Murray) – an alcoholic spirit distilled from grape wine. 22d    Fool about in Islamic dress (5)
BURKA – A loose garment with veiled eyeholes which covers the whole body, as worn by some Muslim women – BURK (the less common spelling of this term for an idiot) and A (abbreviation for about).

The Saturday Prize Puzzle is traditionally the easiest of the week – I always assumed it was to tempt people into trying a cryptic crossword on a day when they might have more time and/or someone had a deal with a collector of postage stamps and was trying to entice more people to enter the competition! This was slightly tougher than usual but, having sorted out the wordplay for the review, I am not entirely sure why I found it so difficult as there were only a couple of clues that held me up. My favourite clue was 11a and my anagram indicator of the day is ‘scuffle’. I am back on Sunday duty for the next couple of weeks leaving Saturday reviews in the hands of young Gnomey.

5 comments on “DT 26480

    1. CS wont be on until a bit later Collywobbles but TRI is another word for three times, thrice or threefold. Often used as a prefix as in trifoliate – having three leaves

  1. Enjoyed 5d although I kept thinking of Guppies as that is the group I belong to. (Geriatric old yuppies). As for for the foot and knee explanation it reminded me of the Chinese footballer – knee shintoe!

    1. I think I remember that footballer, Yoshik. Didn’t he get his first International Cap in the ’62 world cup against England?. I think our sweeper was Tony Chestnut.
      I’m here all week!

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