DT 26486 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26486

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26486

A full review by Gnomethang

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

Morning All!. I was not sure on the day if this was a Cephas or not but having reviewed it I am pretty sure that it is – and a good one at that. The number of charade type clues convinced me.

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.


4a           Prying person occupied with main part (8)
BUSYBODY – A word sum to start; BUSY (occupied) and BODY (the main part) for a noseyparker.

8a           Counter work by model (6)
OPPOSE – To counter (e.g. an attack) OP(us) – the usual abbreviation for a musical work plus POSE (model – sit for an art class – this is quite usual in Crosswordland)

9a           Look before groom gets to tone down photograph (8)
AIRBRUSH – A very good clue as the surface reading is very natural and creates a plausible story. Start with AIR (a look or appearance) and then add BRUSH for groom (as you might do to a horse). To tone down (or otherwise enhance) a photograph is the definition.

10a         Grace ill prepared for this reaction (8)
ALLERGIC – probably one of the first in for many. A simple anagram of GRACE ILL for a description of a bad reaction to a substance. (I have a fantastic anagram to ‘ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK’ but fear that the clue will not fit in this margin!)

11a         Weight that’s just the same without me (6)
GRAMME – A cryptic clue on the basis that GRAM and GRAMME are the same measure and the ME can be removed. This took me a while to spot.

12a         Chuck has a humble property (8)
BUNGALOW – Lovely clue for an American! BUNG (throw – also being a man’s first name in the US!) with A LOW (humble or base) gives the ground floor only property.

13a         Alpha female’s articulate and prosperous (8)
AFFLUENT – A for Alpha, F for female then FLUENT for articulate or conversant. Prosperous is the definition.

16a         First to take one drink into examination (8)
ORIGINAL – Take note on ORAL for examination or test – this comes up quite a lot. Place I + GIN (one drink) inside to find a synonym of ‘First’, primary or leading.

19a         Unbalanced bottom light presumably (3-5)
TOP HEAVY – If the bottom is light then presumably the TOP is HEAVY or unbalanced.

21a         Might Frenchman have cryptic clues? (6)
MUSCLE – Now this is my favourite as the surface reading is smooth and the definition is the little word at the front. Might or power. Nevertheless one needs M(onsieur), the formal address of a man in France, plus a cryptic anagram of CLUES to get to the answer.

23a         Eyebrows may rise when it’s plunging (8)
NECKLINE – In certain circles the excessive showing of the décolletage may be deemed ‘un peu de trop’ and would lead to raised eyebrows. The neckline of a dress is the plunging definition.

24a         Split group of soldiers (8)
DIVISION – A double definition being a split or fraction and a group of infantrymen

25a         Leonard back behind bog plant (6)
FENNEL – The FEN is the bog, the reversal of LEN (Leonard) reversed (back) after/behind gives the aromatic cooking herb with yellow leaves.

26a         Banned peacekeepers start to look terrible (8)
UNLAWFUL – Another charade with the definition of ‘Banned’. The peacekeepers in Crosswordland are usually the United Nations. The add the start of L(ook) followed by AWFUL for terrible.


1d           Give a hand to lad playing with a pup (7)
APPLAUD – The definition here is ‘give a hand to’ i.e. clap. Now then peeps, some solvers don’t like this but I don’t mind at all. Take LAD and A PUP and make an anagram (playing). The thing here is that the anagram fodder (the letters that you need) is split by the anagram indicator . I read this perfectly well as A playing with B meaning A + B being played with. Please let us know your thoughts!

2d           What solicitors do to remain available? (2,7)
GO BEGGING – A double definition. The solicitor in this case is not a member of the bar but someone who solicits alms or favours. Going begging also means remaining available.

3d           Boy meets girl in bay (6)
BENGAL – Another charade of BEN (a small form of Benedict or Benjamin i.e. a boy) and GAL (an oldish word for a girl) leads to a famous bay in India and possibly the largest in the world (he says without checking!)

4d           East London passage that has a dark side? (9,6)
BLACKWALL TUNNEL – A cryptic definition of the horrible Thames crossing that when split as (5,4) might mean dark and side.

5d           Get rid of mum’s wig on holiday (5,3)
SHRUG OFF – Mum is SH (as a command – be quiet!) then RUG is wig (like it!) followed by OFF for ‘On holiday or ‘away’). ‘Get rid of’ is the definition as in ignore.

6d           Exclude two leading raiders from Scottish island (5)
BARRA – The Scottish island is formed by adding BAR(exclude) and the first two letters (two leading) of RAiders.

7d           Council workers sent mud flying (7)
DUSTMEN – Where would you be without the local refuse collectors?. They are an anagram (flying) of SENT MUD.

14d         Tube stress? (9)
UNDERLINE – A tricky definition with cryptic definition. To stress is to mark out or underline and the Tube (Underground Metro) is a line that goes under the city.

15d         No faith in faith (8)
UNBELIEF – I’m not sure what to make if this clue!. If the second ‘faith’ was capitalized I might be OK with it. As it is I guess it is a cryptic definition.

17d         Indian Ocean island gathering (7)
REUNION – A small island in the Indian Ocean and also a type of gathering for e.g. old school members.

18d         Declare English taken in by one seeking retribution (7)
AVENGER – Place ENG (an abbreviation for English) into AVER (declare, say or state) to get a synonym for Nemesis.

20d         Calm down quickly if held (6)
PACIFY – We have had PACY used in a few crosswords recently. Put IF (held) inside it to get a word meaning ‘calm down’.

22d         Country most likely to crack? (5)
CHINA – A simple cryptic definition to end with – the fragile crockery and the fastest developing country on the planet.

I’m on Saturday next week where I am expecting a mystery setter. Sue is sorting out the Sunday puzzle for you (in about 4 hours).

1 comment on “DT 26486

  1. Hi Gnomey, nice review.
    I don’t have a problem with clues like 1d so long as the suface reading makes it work properly, as it does in this case. As you say it’s quite clearly ‘A playing with B = C’.
    Agree about 21a but also like 23a, but that’s just because I’m a dirty old man as well as a grumpy one!
    I, too don’t know what to make of 15d! To me the answer should be ‘INBELIEF’ for the clue to work properly, but that’s not a word!

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