DT 26504 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26504 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26504 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.  I’m feeling generous this morning so there are a few more than usual!

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a    One has an excess of trouble and strife (10)
Trouble and strife is Cockney rhyming slang for wife, so this is a cryptic definition of someone who has several wives

9a    Place before Eliot possible producers of the Waste Land (7)
… the Eliot referred two is the author of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – you need his initials as the last two letters of the answer

10a    Ruling in the club when prince is absent (7)
Out-of-the-box thinking is required here – this verb meaning ruling is created by dropping the P(rince) from the start of a word meaning “in the club”

14a    Codebreaker switching sides heartlessly (6)
… this codebreaker was responsible for cracking the secrets of the Enigma machine

22a    Place to launch a nut say in California (4,9)
This place where rockets are launched is constructed by putting A, an edible nut (5) and a word meaning to say (4) inside the three-letter abbreviation for CAL(ifornia) – don’t be fooled: it’s actually in Florida not California!

25a    Surrey town to send down one ousting the French (7)
This Surrey town is created by taking a word meaning to send down (to a lower division, maybe) and replacing the French definite article with I (one ousting the French)

27a    Keep firm grip (10)
This keep is the central tower of a castle and it’s a charade of synonyms for firm and grip


1d    East European boom? (4)
A double definition – a person from Eastern Europe and a boom which controls the position of a sail

4d    Party with disguise representing queen in Middle East (6)
This party where the guests wear disguise is created by putting a two-letter synonym for representing and QU(een) inside ME (Middle East)

7d    Done in with two journalists (7)
… don’t forget that “with” can be abbreviated to W

11d    International conflict with Chinese rulers once a major threat (6,7)
This clue requires to be carefully lifted and separated – a charade of international / conflict / “Chinese rulers once” results in a major threat

13d    Old form of transport for men good for the environment reduced pain (10)
This old form of transport is a charade of a social gathering attended by men, a prefix meaning “good for the environment” and a synonym for pain with the last letter dropped (reduced)

21d    Get too much as composer endlessly rings out (6)
A word meaning to get too much put almost all (endlessly) of a composer inside OO (rings)

23d    Metal to conduct (4)
A double definition – a heavy soft bluish-grey metallic element and to conduct

The Crossword Club is now open. Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {cracker} + {tower} = {Krakatoa}

216 comments on “DT 26504 (Hints)

  1. A thoroughly excellent Saturday puzzle in my opinion. I was very slow to get going but as the pennies continued to drop I enjoyed it more and more. Many thanks to the setter and to BD. Let’s see what everyone else makes of it.

    1. Gnomey – totally agree! After 1st pass we had about 5. But persevated over a couple of vino tintos (had to have 2 as Pommette was slow on her one) and low and behold we solved it!

  2. A good meaty crossword for a bright Saturday morning. Many thanks to the Mysteron for the challenge and to BD for the hints. Favourite clue was 10a.

  3. Agree Gnomethang, a quality puzzle with good strong clues and a great sense of achievement when finished. Just as well all puzzles are not like this or we would have to buy each clue individually. Now that would make a few bob.
    Thanks to B Dave for the hints and whoever compiled this puzzle should make himself known in order to praise him fully.

  4. I enjoyed this Saturday crossword, although I wasn’t too keen on the clue for 12a. 11d was my favourite clue for the way it all fitted together and 14a was good. Thanks to setter and BD for the review

      1. I haven’t caught up on reading last week’s yet but will do so. I enjoy the comments (and the judging is superb). Often read it in the evening while dinner is cooking.

  5. Without a shadow of a doubt, for me the worst Saturday crossword in living memory!! Most of the clues make very little sense at all. HORRID!!! Thanks DT for an awful start to a Saturday, quite ruined my Saturday morning . :-(

    1. Barrie

      Perhaps you should take the advice given to you recently and switch to a tabloid. This is an excellent puzzle and your only complaint can be that it is too difficult for you. If you don’t try you will never improve.

      1. So how come I managed 4 out of the 5 puzzles this week. Don’t be so patronising! Your remarks are offensive.

        1. Barrie

          I’m tired of you describing puzzles as horrid just because you can’t solve them. If you read the other comments you will see that most other solvers enjoyed it, even if some of them struggled. If it’s too difficult for you then you are welcome to say so, but that doesn’t make a puzzle “horrid”.

        2. Stop being so sensitive Barry, you have been complaining about hard crosswords from the day you joined the blog. I bet you have also improved since the day you joined the blog. Four out of five puzzles completed is a thousand times better than when you first started when every puzzle was a mystery to you. We are all here to help you including me, believe it or not so pull your finger out and get on with it.

          1. Nubian is right Barrie, look at how we have come on since we started, with the help of everyone here, don’t forget lots of people on this page have been doing cryptics for years, myself under two years, so yes we can have our opinion on this page, but we can also keep perservating, give up too if we find it too hard and also say if we think some puzzles in our humble opinion are awful :)

            1. Just catching up. Next best thing after the crossword is reading the comments on a Sunday morning. What Barrie should realise is that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. We all find some easier than others – not necessarily the same ones! This was a “thinking outside the box” puzzle which I enjoy. I particularly like charades. I did most of it very quickly leaving the NE corner but perserved and managed with checking a couple of words in Chambers.

          1. If a woman is ‘in the club’ she is this without the ‘P’ first letter, not a word I know Collywobs

          2. I could not have done 10a and 25a without the pictures. I think that this crossword is too hard for me. Im giving up.

            1. Don’t give up Collywobs I nearly did but with Daves hints and everything else going it is now finished, thoough there are still some I don’t understand, what do you need help with??

    2. With Barrie here although I wouldn’t call it a horrid crossword, but for me it was a tough one and unusually now for a Saturday crossword, I needed lots of your hints Dave and all my ‘toys’ to finish it! still a few I don’t understand too, not sure if 9a is correct, can you get a plague of these? not one of my favourite crosswords but done & dusted, hopefully, thanks for the hints Dave, enjoy the sunshine everyone, and Come on Wales there is still an outside chance!

      1. I quite agree with you Mary. I carried on and I’ve nearly finished but couldn’t do so without help and I didn’t really find it enjoyable as is usually the case on Saturday

          1. 5d Merlin perhaps turns up something of a treasure re crosswords (8)
            The answer is hidden (something) and reversed (turns up) in the clue.

    3. Barrie it might be some consolatiom to know that my brother who has been doing Gaurdian and Telegraph cryptic crosswords ( whilst I enjoyed tabloids!) for over 40 years rang me a few minutes ago to say he thought that this was a horrible crossword today, he did go through the clues that he disliked and explained why but I couldn’t even begin to remember!!

    4. Hi Barrie
      I agree with all the other replies to this post. A puzzle you can’t make headway with isn’t ‘horrid’ , it’s a challenge!
      If you’ve done 4 out of 5 this week you are obviously improving your skill level and will continue to do so if you read the hints on this blog. You will begin to understand the more obscure bits of wordplay and in the process increase your enjoyment.
      Look at me! A year ago when I found this site I could perhaps finish 2 or 3 DT cryptics a week and in the others was always left with 3 or 4 clues that defeated me. When I looked at the answers I often couldn’t see where they came from. A year on this site and I’m blogging on Wednesdays! How’s that for an advert for BD’s blog!

      BTW, I also enjoy solving more and am trying much harder puzzles!

      1. Bless you , Pommers. You appear to have a fair degree of self honesty. I am struggling with Radler’s NTSPP at the moment but am not suggesting that it is all his fault.

        1. Hi Gnomey
          Have to admit I’ve given up on Radler for the time being! Can’t get on the wavelenght.
          However I may have a go at this one because the “puzzle within a puzzle” sounds intriguing!
          Anyway, just because I can’t solve them doesn’t make them bad puzzles, just too obscure for me (at the moment!).!

    5. 100% agree Barrie…..Ive always been under the impression that the Daily Telegraph crossword was for the middle of the road crossword doers and not the experts who can go elsewhere for much trickier crosswords and consequently thought that criticisms of your view were misplaced , patronising, and missed the simple point that it wasn’t that the clues were harder than usual IMO but the standard of the clues were inferior. Its easy to make the solutions overly obscure, quite another to make them conform to a certain standard of difficulty suitable for the intended readership. Obviously their intellects cant grasp let alone tolerate this rather obvious viewpoint.

      1. Welcome to the blog Charles

        You have missed the point of the discussion. Barrie has consistently described any puzzle that he is unable to finish as horrid, and recently has been putting that in capital letters, in case we didn’t notice.

        1. Point taken BD.

          IMO the divide comes between those “experts ” or advanced solvers who like a challenge and like it difficult and those like me who find it an achievement just to finish. For myself I can do without solutions which I have to refer to an encyclopedia,,(This is a cryptic Xword not a GK one) a lot of answers I still cant work out why they fully match the clue, and as for the F C clue….I am pyschic but not that psychic.

          1. Don’t forget that this is a prize puzzle. If it was too easy then it would be like those TV quizzes where they make their money from the cost of the phone call – an example from today “Granny Smith is a variety of what fruit? – A Banana; B Orange; C Apple”

          2. Hello Charles
            As a solver I’m somewhere in between how you describe yourself and an ‘expert’ – certainly not the latter (yet!).
            Since I started taking on the Toughie I’ve come across lots of words that I’ve never heard of and so can’t solve, BUT, I take a lot of satisfaction from cracking the wordplay! Very often I come to a conclusion such as – it’s got to be an anagram of ****, contained in ***, and all reversed, or something similar. If I’ve never heard of the result I either look it up or wait for the blog – either way I believe I’ve done the hard bit of working out how the clue works.
            Barrie’s problem is that he disparages the crossword just because he can’t solve it. IMO, if he can’t work out the wordplay I believe he is in no position to comment on whether it’s good or bad as he doesn’t know what he is commenting on!

  6. Agree with the comments above – hard going for me, but very good with some clever, and some witty clues. Just held up now on 15a – if 8d is also the name of a brand of frozen turkey, any pointers for 15a??

    1. Toadson, I’m not sure that anyone calls their wife ‘Butterball’ ;-)

      15a – Husband follows Queen in museum gallery (8)
      The usual abbreviation for husband after the short name of a London museum into which the abbreviation of our Queen has been inserted. Gallery is the definition.

        1. Im really really stuck Ive read all the clues but I still cant get 15a and 8 down – I had butterball ggrrrrrrrrr

          SOS, PLEASE HELP

          1. 8d One may call wife so fat her belt is tight (6,4)
            Put a full-stop after “so”. It’s an anagram (is tight) of FAT HER BELT.

          2. 15a Husband follows Queen in museum gallery (8)
            You want a gallery or terrace outside a house. Put the abbreviation for husband after a London museum (named after an old queen and her consort) with our current Queen’s initials inside.

            1. OMG Ive got it – blimey what a learning curve – I had completely the wrong answers but they still fitted! how did that happen Thank you so much can you guide on last one please 7d

              1. 7d Done in with two journalists (7)
                This a slang word meaning murdered violently (done in). Start with the abbreviation for “with” and add two terms for a journalist (the first a journeyman, the second the abbreviation for a senior one).

                1. Agree with the construction of the clue but I took the definition to ‘tired out’ = ‘done in’!

                  1. I think either meaning works. I went for the more violent meaning because it seemed to fit the surface slightly better, i.e. “Murdered along with two journalists” seems a bit more likely than “Extremely tired with two journalists”.

                    1. Fair comment Gazza – I yield to a master of the blogging craft!
                      The meaning I said came to mind first and it works fine so I didn’t really think about it further, but you are quite right that murdered/done in does fit better than tired/done in.

                    2. Chambers does define it as ‘exhausted’ – would we be more likely to have done in the two journalists than them us :)

              2. Definition: “Done in” as in Gangster Movies.

                Firstly the abbreviation of (w)ith, followed by a four letter word for a tabloid journalist, finally the Crosswordland journalist.

      1. As soon as I read that I realised that it is simply a colloquial term for ‘one’s partner’. Gnome’s law in fact! Probably gave a few people a laugh anyway. Now thinking about 15a…

          1. I’m afraid I also had the ‘less polite’ answer suggested by toadson, and it was only the addition of 15a that pointed out the error of my ways.


            1. What a coincidence! I called Mrs Tub ‘butterball’ only this morning. It didn’t get favourable reviews, and I don’t think it’ll happen again.

            2. I feel the need to cover myself here…

              My wife does not read this blog, but for the record she is slim and beautiful and I would not need such a term. I just struggled to fit words into the boxes provided.

      2. Gnomey, I still don’t understand it. I think that I’m having a bad day. Can you help a little more?

        1. Hi Collywobbles: the words ‘is tight’ are pointing you in the direction of an anagram…

            1. Ah! In that case you need to put the Queen in a London musem with the husband on the end to give you the gallery… She wouldn not have been amused!

                    1. Thanks to you both, I’ve now tidied up that corner and finished. What a crossword

                  1. Thanks Gnomy, I was put off by some of the other comments. I’m having a pint during the Rugby Mr. Tub

  7. One of the most enjoyable Saturday puzzles for a while.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.
    Glorious sunny day here in Wimbledon – off to London for the day to entertain the family!

    1. I would certainly agree there, toadson – my one major quibble today as the batsman in question is current and not particularly likely to go down in history as a W.G. Grace-like figure. I think you could get away with it in a Toughie (thinking CHER for singer) but its possibly a stretch on the back page.

      1. Yes, I agree about the batsman reference, hence my comment posted earlier, but I suppose with the ICC World Cup currently being played, it may be fair enough for cricket enthusiasts, although there are many solvers on here who complain about cricket references [not me, though!]

        1. Its certainly one of those judgement calls IMO. I think that sportsmen/singers should either be very well known currently (Els being a good example) historically famous (Pele, W.G.Grace, Babe Ruth, Sinatra) – that means that if the puzzle is syndicatefd or features in a compendium then the solver gets a chance to spot the person 10 years later.
          In any case its only a slight niggle for me – I solved the clue from the definition, other elements of wordplay and checing letters before spotting the cricketer.

    2. OK – I give up – I have the answer but not a clue as to why I have it. Who is the batsman? Can you tell I am not up on my cricketers?

      1. Lea, without spoiling the clue for everyone else, if you remove the definitionand the rest of the wordplay elements then you are left with an England batsman in the current team. That is assuming that you have parsed the rest of the clue!

        1. I have – thanks will do that and I agree – don’t want to spoil that one as it is a good clue, just don’t know the cricketers. Am getting better at the terms but the peopole – not a chance….

        1. Only the faint hope that Wales will win this evening, but that is as obscure as the clue

      1. Apologies, of course I’ve heard of him. I originally thought the his name was F******. Stupid of me

      2. Where have you been for the Ashes series. You could say he ****ed the Aussies goose for them by his stalwart batting and occupation of the crease. Old boy of Bedford Grammar School and a former choirister.

  8. Excellent Saturday puzzle! Favourites among many entertaining clues: 1a & 10a. Thanks to Setter & BD.

  9. Good fun but I found it a tad on the easy side. I thoroughy enjoyed doing it but finished it a bit too quickly so my Saturday enjoyment was a wee bit curtailed.

  10. For me this is about as good as a crossword gets. hard but fair. huge improvement on recent Saturdays

  11. I enjoyed that – printed it off early – went shopping and then for a coffee sitting in the sunshine and doing the puzzle. Good way to spend a Saturday morning. Gorgeous sunshine here today (and once the frost went away it is quite warm out.

    Thanks to setter and to BD for the hints – will read them now.

  12. An excellent puzzle for me.I really liked 10a and 8d. I do not like to disagree with contributers to this blog but BARRIE is out of order in my opinion about this crossword. On a lighter disagreement, this time with toadson, I think the cricketer in 12a is an English captain of the past and probably the future, because of his technique and all round tactical skills. Many thanks setter and BD.

    1. He certainly deputised in 2010 and he is the only Englishman to score 7 test centuries before the age of 23. So he has bags of potential to become “one of the greats”. Pity he hasn’t shown the same form recently!

      1. The said young batsman scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 in the last Ashes series!
        He hasn’t shown the same form recently – because the selectors, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t pick him for the World Cup!

  13. I have finished it, and enjoyed it. I’m so glad some of the other posters here found it difficult – normally when I struggle, the rest of the world knocks it off over a cup of coffee.

    Thank you for the above explanations of some of the wordplay (saved me asking about 12ac – and I do follow cricket).

    However, I do have an appeal. Can someone explain the wordplay in 21d? Thank you.

    Thank you to the Setter and to Big Dave for the review. Time to enjoy the beautiful weather …

    1. Ah.

      Got it. It’s Guiseppe ***** with no ending and some rings on either end. I’ve looked at it for ages – and saw it 5 seconds after that last post.



  14. Phew, that was hard word but very worthwhile! I think I managed about 3 answers on my own plus several more from the checking letters, 12a being one of the latter. I’ll certainly need the review to explain some of these. A hint needed, please, for 5d, can’t see this one at all.

          1. Oh my goodness – I hadn’t noticed that! I got the answer from the first two words of the clue and the checking letters and I wondered what the rest of the clue had to do with it. Brilliant.

              1. Sorry about the late reply, Steph! You may have the answer by now, but if you look at the last three words in the clue, reading backwards the answer [what Merlin was] can be found hidden.

      1. It is? Then I have something wrong in one of the across answers and the only one of those I don’t understand is 12a …

    1. Thanks Nick and Mary, all done now. What a great puzzle, If I can do it then I fail to see why anyone couldn’t! Many thanks to setter and BD, I needed most of those extra hints. Now to get out and enjoy the sunshine!

  15. I’ve been amazed by some of the previous comments because, at first sight, I thought that I was going to have trouble with this puzzle but didn’t because I persevered with it. Yes, it’s taken me longer than usual but I think that this puzzle is tough but fair.

    1. Fully agree – it should sort out the Ladies & Gentlemen from the Boys and Girls! Some really excellent, smooth clues. I tend to agree with the criticism of 12a, even though I’m a cricket fan. Perhaps working an explorer into the clue would have been more appropriate? Anyways, thanks to the Mysterious Egbert and to BD. Cracking day for tennis, then England in Dublin.

        1. So long as it’s a good game I don’t really mind who wins. England would be a bit flattered if they did manage the Grand Slam.

  16. Super stuff. I did struggle a bit with the acrosses but the downs came to my rescue. Barrie and Co might be interested to learn that there was a point when I said to Mr CS that if I didn’t stop struggling, I wouldn’t be able to finish so the review would be interesting! Luckily my brain switched up a gear and I finished it in the usual time for a Saturday Mysteron. Some really splendid clever clues – I will enjoy all the review-explaining later on but Mary has kindly shared her sunshine so I am off outside to enjoy it while it lasts.

  17. Enjoyable puzzle today. favourite was 10 because it made me laugh. Was waiting to see what the girls made of 12a! Also liked 1a [first in] 12 14 16 17 21 and 22. Thanks to the setter for a good workout.

  18. A bit tougher than I’m used to on a Saturday, but I do have a habit of making things difficult for myself. If you knew how long I sat staring at 23d you’d be ashamed of me, but 12a went in quite quickly. Thanks for the tip on 10a BD, it’s a new word to me that I don’t think I’d have worked out from the clue, and thanks to the setter for all the fun I’ve had solving it.

    1. 10a woulkd have been much more gettable if I hadn’t somehow put Atomic Warfare as the answer to 11d !!

  19. Strange how sometimes others find puzzles tricky which I manage to finish. On other days everyone says how easy it is and I’m well short of finishing

    Completing today’s crossword represents something of a milestone for me. This is the first time I’ve completed all six DT puzzles for the week without assistance in any form (probably assisted by Ray T’s absence on Thursday). About a year or so ago I could finish perhaps one a month.

  20. Very enjoyable crossword. Does a 1across have just one 8? The maths could be as tricky as all those mother-in-laws. Incidently BD I’d like to alter my username lonny2 to my actual one LonnyRees as I’ve recently done on CluedUp, there are some benefits and no drawbacks to doing so as far as I can see. Is this change feasible? Thanks.

  21. The linked clues in the Quickie are also cracking clues – I wonder if it’s the same setter? Whoever it is really should come out of hiding!

    1. The Quick crossword is usually by the same setter. Rufus had people like the late Steve Race setting Quick crosswords for him a while back but I believe he does his own now.

  22. My goodness that was a struggle – guess I must be in with the boys and girls rather than the Ladies and Gentlemen. Having read through the blog I now understand better 12a, which I had god but wasn’t able to fully understand the answer. It was tougher than the last few Saturdays but none the less enjoyable for that. Thanks to BD and to all the bloggers for the hints.

  23. Has anyone else discovered that if you pass your mouse over the pictures the answer appears? Sorry if I have given a cheating hint!

    I found this rather more difficult than Saturday’s used to be, but an enjoyable exercise for the little grey cells. Thanks to compiler and to Big Dave

    1. Patsyann, I noticed some time ago that when you hover the mouse over a picture, you are given the full solution.

      Seems strange considering that some comments on the Prize Puzzles are edited / deleted for giving away too much information !

  24. IMHO the best Saturday crossword for many a day. Some real crackers but I would pick out 11d & 22a – ingenious! Finished without looking at the blog which was a good thing as it looked like it really kicked off earlier when Barrie had a “Wendy” & threw all his toys out of the pram.
    Thank you very strong Setter & BD – now for the NTSPP before settling down to a rugbyfest!

  25. Gin clear sky here in Hertfordshire. Favourites were 1a and 10a. Not too sure about 12a. Did it when my son was having his clarinet lesson.

  26. Haven’t finished yet, must get out in the garden before the lovely sun goes, but just would like say it was nice to se a picture of the Surrey town for 25a where we used to live before arriving here in the Fens (well nearly !)

    1. Besides the obvious, its a clue writing competition and can be found on RHS of blog under ‘Quote of the week’ Apparently, Mary is quite a whizz at it!

    2. I think Mary may have popped out, COW refers to a Clue Of the Week competition, access to which you can find in the sidebar named DIY COW

    3. Hey Act, COW is a clue writing competition, the only ‘prize’ is to judge the next weeks if you win, it has certainly helped me understand cryptic clues to a certain extent and despite what UTC very nicely says, I’m not a whizz at it :) I have a go every week and learn by my mistakes, it is also great fun and everyone is as friendly as they are on here

  27. more difficult than previous weeks , but really enjoyed the challenge , thanks to BD and the blogs for the hints which were a great help .

  28. Have now finished ! Don’t like 6a, led up a red herring path, thinking of Becket as in Waiting for Godot rather than operating theatres !

  29. Without this blog I would have jumped in the river years ago – thank you so much for keeping me sane! Finished today with help from your hints, and even though I have filled in ;12ac I still cannot understand it! I do follow cricket and guessed the cricketer, but the first word still confuses me! Any more enlightenment welcome.

    1. Gordonbennet. 12a is made of ou three sections, you have a word meaning the benefit of, a second is the name of the cricketer and in between them is a word for what you do to an instrument before you play it.

          1. AH!! Now this was why I thought the reference was obscure. In my haste to finish this this morning I didn’t notice ‘that is’ in the clue. So I thought it was a 3 section clue, and the reference to the batsman was C***ie, which I guessed must be a nickname.

  30. Well, after my little rant at Barrie earlier, I have now done this crossword, sat outside local bar in the last of the afternoon sun! What a delight it was (and the crossword!). What was all the fuss about?
    A bit trickier than recent Saturdays perhaps but fair and entertaining – I enjoyed it!
    I think 1a might be my favourite but there are several good clues to pick from.
    Thanks to the setter, and to BD as always.

  31. Well played Ireland (it transpires that England aren’t as good as they thought they were). Wales now only need to beat France by 27 points (in Paris) to win the Six Nations – piece of cake :D

    1. Bah Humbug! Played like a load of wallies – England that is, Ireland deserved their win.

      1. We will still win the 6-Nations……please, Wales not too many points tonight!

        And the World Cup Cricket …if only England had picked the (12a) batsman – if he plays for Essex, he’s good enough for England!

    2. We were rubbish full stop. No fluid movements, trench mentality when we had possession. Ireland deserved the win and given my Surname I would rsther that Wales took the trophy.

        1. Yes indeed, Mary. What a disappointment! I don’t think that the absent – and disciplined – Shaun Edwards would have made any difference.

  32. I said the other day that Pommette is on a diet but she reckons 8d was a bit personal! How did the setter know?
    I wouldn’t have had the nerve to call her fat – as I’ve said before, I don’t like the sight of blood, especially my own!!

  33. Greetings from a bit of an interloper – long-time visitor, first-time commenter. Thanks, as always, to BD et al for the hints and preceding comments, respectively; BD especially, as I would never have unravelled 13d ‘in a month of saturdays [sic]’.
    For some reason, I felt compelled to add my two-penneth today. A thoroughly meaty challenge this Saturday – and one that I am still enjoying….! NE corner is still proving a challenge, but I will perservere. Per ardua…

    1. Hi MAV1967 – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve introduced yourself we’ll look forward to more comments from you.

  34. Glad I didn’t get chance today to try the crossword until now – I have appreciated lots of your helpful hints, thank you. Maybe I should have saved it until tomorrow when I may be more switched on.

  35. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s challenge some parts easy, some parts hard and the rest just “Doh !!” moments, don’t agree with Barrie regarding difficult crosswords, harder just makes me persevate more and compounds the satisfaction of completion which happens a lot more since joining the blog and learning from everyone.

    It has been a gorgeous day here in SE Kent pity I had to work but most of it was outside today.

    Many thanks to BD and the mysteron. :D

  36. Not crossword related, but is anyone else enjoying the sight of the beautiful Super Moon tonight? Shining through the window as I type.

    1. Yup! I’m sat outside during comercial breaks in ‘The Dirty Dozen’ (it’s on 5USA but nearly over) and I don’t really need the outside light on as it’s so bright here!

      1. Gnomey, there’s a YouTube video clip of JS playing ‘Surfing With The Alien’ [minus his hair] which is still one of my all-time favourites. In 2008, as there weren’t many customers in at the time and it was my birthday, I was allowed to go upstairs in the Hard Rock Cafe, in Manchester, and the first thing that met my eye was one of Joe’s guitars.

        1. You lucky bugger (although I have shaken his hand and have a signed album)
          He’s still me favourite guitarist and the studio version of this RIPS!. Me and dram (and my bro) went to see him at Hammersmith last November.
          Just check the backing band to see how good he is ;-)

          1. I’m sorry to be so late with a response, Gnomey. I’ve watched some video clips of Chickenfoot on YouTube but I haven’t been inclined to buy an album yet.

  37. I haven’t had time to read through the above yet, and have only just returned to base in very sunny S. Pommerania after a day out in Caravaca de la Cruz (recommend to all passing within the near vicinity) and the ignominy of England RU First XV’s performance, having had to watch it in the company of a Welsh-Chinese shrieking woman rugby fan who is in love with Ronan O’Gara. Tiresome.
    Enjoyed the crossword which was completed in between visits to the kitchen and microwave. I thought 10a and 15a were very nice clues ( especially if original). I’m always on the look-out for potential guests in Tilsit’s Retirement Home for Old Crossword Clues. After 30+ years at the DT Cryptic it merely depends on access to my declining memory storage unit.

    1. Ronan O’Gara – only on the pitch for about 10 minutes – but definitely Man of the Match – great tactical kicking!

  38. Blimey on two counts! Firstly I’ve found this REALLY hard and secondly, having come through to look at hints and comments, what a huge number of comments – it’s taken me about half an hour to just skim through them all!!
    Have finally finished but with quite a few that I didn’t understand – the comments have sorted all of those out so thank you to all.
    Lovely but difficult crossword. Started very late having gardened all day in the sun. Spent quite a long time looking at that spectacular moon – our garden is surrounded by fields on S, E and W sides so amazing view – husband has taken lots of photos.
    Too tired and too many wonderful clues to start to enumerate them all but thanks to whoever thought this one up, to Big Dave and to all the people who have commented.
    Good night all.

    1. Kath, Blimey – do you always read all the comments? I only read my own – I have a very bad memory – pardon?

  39. Am I the last? Too tired to read all the blgos – and goodness me what a lot of them to-day! -have been up to London to see a show and haven’t finished to-day’s yet, will try to tomorrow. However – could someone please explain 12a to me? I do believe I have the answer but it makes no sense to me AT ALL unless the beginning of the seond word is a cricketer?? and where does the rest of the wordplay fit????? Bit too much like hard work was to-day’s but would love to know the answers/explanations.

    1. 14a Codebreaker switching sides heartlessly (7)
      The surname of a famous codebreaker is a word meaning switching from one side to another without its middle letter (heartlessly).

  40. Mrs Pachy & I finished cracking this good puzzle this morning before any look at the blog.
    16D – how to know which of the last two words is an an anagram indicator and which gives the letters? Lucky we knew something about the definition.

    1. One of the two words has the correct number of letters for the answer and the other one doesn’t!

      In any case, the setter is under no obligation to tell you which part of the wordplay is which.

      1. sorry Big Dave, the way my eyes were working this morning, intricate only had eight letters & provided the same checking letters as patterns. A lot easier with better eyes in!

  41. i solved the RHS (bar 12a) quickly, and struggled with the LHS. I’ve just looked at 12a again and seen what it must be (I think) but I have no idea why, even after reading all the comments. I must be half lady, half girl, but with a bit missing.

    1. Welcome to the blog Liosag

      12a It contains advice to the benefit of batsman that is about to prepare for playing (7,6)

      The definition is “it contains advice”; that advice is usually a slip of paper with a prediction or motto written on it. The wordplay is a word meaning “to the benefit of”, an England batsman and the abbreviation if the Latin for “that is” placed around what a musician does to an instrument in order to prepare for playing.

  42. Am staring this a day late, but never mind!

    I Like to work through it slowly, so no rush

    Thanks to the setter, and reviewer.

  43. I must admit that without Big Dave’s hints and all the help on here, there’s no way I’d have finished this. And yet looking back over the satisfyingly finished crossword, I can’t see why I found it quite so hard. The more I do the more I learn!

  44. Further to my earlier comment just finished reading all the blogs! Brilliant. There was a similar puzzle perhaps 6 weeks ago. Butterball amused me! Good for me was the fact that with the exception of 12a once you had got it you knew it had to be right. I liked across 6, 9 (brilliant) (in reply to someone who thought it obscure I thought the initials v.g. and the first part of the clue is another word for place favoured by lawyers), 10 (although my last one in with dictionary help), 17, 22, and 25. Down 5, (got next to last but that is because until I wrote it in I thought the first five letters were an obsure word for journalist), 8, 11, 16, and 21. I am not so keen on the clues with proper names. I only usually do Saturday apart from holidays.

  45. Certainly testing !! However, patience and determination (with a lot of help from all of you and electronic gizmos) it’s finished.
    Definitely not horrid !!!!

  46. Managed this across two flu-packed days of napping, perspiring, crumpets and tea. A pleasant challenge and only requiring tips on three. Couldn’t see 12a at for the error of M****D.

    Thanks to Dave.

    More tea.

  47. Question for Big Dave. What makes a clue cryptic or not? I always thought that the clue should give two ways of deriving the word such as 26a. I don’t think 1a has two ways of deriving the word, so therefore is it really cryptic. There was one clue like this last week two, but Gazza felt it was cryptic. Otherwise very good crossword.

  48. hello everyone,i really enjoy the dt crosswords thanks mainly to this blog and big dave’s help and guidance.love the saturdays and with the help of you lovely bloggers usually manage to finish,eventually.i am a novice,but learning all the time,and proud to say i completed dt 26491( rated 4 star) without any help or any ‘cheating’. today is a struggle but i love a challenge,thanks to the setter.just stuck on one which is 17 across.i live in brighton and it is such a lovely day so if i can just get this one clue i can go to the beach for a beer. best wishes to you all and thanks big dave for all you do here.

    1. Welcome to the blog michael

      17a French lady among foreign girls sheds little light (8)

      Put the abbreviation used for a married French lady (the equivalent of Mrs in English) inside an anagram (foreign) of GIRLS to get a word that means “sheds a little light”.

  49. It depends on the type of clue, and I do not know all the words for them e.g anagram, hidden clue, charade. 26 a is straightorward cryptic as the answer is a word which is another word for both the words in the clue. 1 a is certainly cryptic. I could give you a straight clue for it but won’t as it will give the answer to latecomers but if you look in the dictionary it will give a straight clue. On the other hand the clue here is definitely cryptic. You have to be into rhyming slang for a start!

  50. got it and finished,took me ages though.off for my beer now,have a great weekend everyone.cheers.

  51. I enjoyed that, been reading this blog for ages and got down to the last two today before needing help. 15A and 10A being the last two.

    I only started today and it took me about an hour, don’t know if that’s good or bad, but usually I have to work on it all weekend.

      1. 10A Ruling in the club when prince is absent (7)

        The definition is “Ruling” – as a monarch might be. The letter P (for prince) is removed (absent) from the start of a less colloquial synonym for “in the club”.

        5D Merlin perhaps turns up something of a treasure re crosswords (8)

        The definition is “Merlin perhaps” (meaning that the answer is a term of which Merlin could be an example). “Something of” indicates that the answer is contained within the letters of the words that follow. “Turns up” means that the answer is reversed (this is a Down clue). So, somewhere inside the words “treasure re crosswords”, is, written, backwards, a term of which Merlin could be an example. It spans all three words.

        8 One may call wife so fat her belt is tight (6,4)

        The definition is “One may call wife so” – so we’re looking for a term that someone might use to refer to his wife (or, indeed, her husband). “Is tight” indicates that the preceding words are an anagram of the solution (“tight”, here, is synonymous with “drunk” – the letters are disorderly). So, a colloquial term for one’s spouse is an anagram of “fat her belt”.

        These three clues taken together illustrate several themes that are commonly used in cryptic crosswords. You’ll see them again if you keep solving!

  52. This one took me about twice the normal time to complete, and needed Big Dave’s clue to fully understand 10a. Enjoyable all the same. Liked 9a, 12a, and 8d best.

  53. Chnge that “can’t” to “coudn’t”! Bought an Oxford Crossword solver for £1 from a charity shop!
    Only to be used when one is still doing the Saturday crossword on Monday night, right?

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