DT 26505 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26505

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26505

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Usual stuff from the Monday maestro, with a nice mix of cryptic definitions, anagrams etc all with smooth surface readings.

You can reveal the answers by highlighting the space between the curly brackets

1. Ancient city captured in erudite books (10)
{LITERATURE} – Crossword Land’s usual two letter ancient city of Sumer is put inside (captured) by another word for learned to produce a word that describes written material such as poetry, novels, essays, etc.

9. Lent, for example, at an exorbitant rate (4)
{FAST} – Lent is referring to the forty days from Ash Wednesday until Easter, and what you are supposed to do at this time is also a word that describes moving quickly.

10. Cook sent in more soup (10)
{MINESTRONE} – An anagram (cook) of SENT IN MORE is also a thick soup of of Italian origin.

11. New style navy (6)
{MODERN} – A word meaning up to date is constructed from a word for the current fashion or style, followed by RN (navy)

12. Salerno a French city? Could be! (7)
{ORLEANS} – An anagram of SALERNO is also a city on the Loire in north central France.

15. Put a foot wrong and he may bail you out (7)
{STUMPER} – A cricket clue, you need another word for a wicketkeeper.

16. Reductions in fare for conferences (5)
{DIETS} – Food regimens are also national or local assemblies in certain countries e.g. Japan.

17. Record finish of race (4)
{TAPE} – What you might use a cassette for, and what the winner of a race might break.

18. Might be in or even out (4)
{IRON} – An anagram (might be) of IN OR for the sort of evening out that is done to clothes.

19. It is essential to return at six-fifty at the outside (5)
{VITAL} – A word that means indispensable is created by reversing (return) AT inside the Roman numerals for six and fifty.

21. They’re at liberty to be privileged citizens (7)
{FREEMEN} – A double definition, people who are not slaves and possess the rights or privileges of a citizen are also people who might have been granted freedom of a city.

22. Cut loss from one of the Plagues of Egypt (7)
{LOCUSTS} – An anagram (from) of CUT LOSS are the grasshoppers responsible for the eighth plague.

24. Rising disgust (6)
{REVOLT} – Double definition, a rebellion and a feeling of repugnance.

27. Ten on trial perhaps — for being racialist? (10)
{INTOLERANT} – An anagram (perhaps) of TEN ON TRIAL produces a word that means lacking respect for beliefs other than your own.

28. Produce a work of art from scratch (4)
{ETCH} – To cut or corrode a design or decoration on metal or glass for example.

29. Rose and made a speech without a single drink (10)
{ORIGINATED} – A word for having made a formal speech is placed around (without) I and GIN (drink) to give a word that means to bring into being or create.


2. Girl is to receive Religious Instruction (4)
{IRIS} – Put the abbreviation for Religious Instruction inside IS for a girl’s name and flower.

3. Issue Oriental blend (6)
{EMERGE} – A word that means to come forth is E (Oriental – East) followed by a word that means to mix together in gradual stages.

4. Stagger to us and collapse (7)
{ASTOUND} – An anagram (collapse) of TO US AND for a word that means amaze or bewilder.

5. Initially thought to come from outer space (4)
{UFOS} – The abbreviation for little green men’s mode of transport.

6. Excuses may mean the taxman ignores some charges (7)
{EXEMPTS} – To free from a duty e.g. tax and also to excuse someone from an obligation. A double definition? To me the two definitions are virtually identical.

7. Prepare to fight for a rump steak that’s rare (4,2,4)
{TAKE UP ARMS} – An anagram (that’s rare?) of A RUMP STEAK for a phrase that means to commence hostilities.

8. Migrant workers in transit, moving round the East (10)
{ITINERANTS} –An anagram (moving) of IN TRANSIT around E (east) are people who travel from place to place doing jobs.

12. Dismissed from brotherhood for not working (3,2,5)
{OUT OF ORDER} – Something that is broken and not capable of functioning, might be someone who has been expelled from a group of monks.

13. Kissagram agency — an insincere profession? (3,7)
{LIP SERVICE} – A phrase that means to express insincere support or respect could also be what people from a Kissagram company provide.

14. A sedentary occupation (3-2)
{SIT IN} – An organised protest where people refuse to move.

15. Go quietly, as a thief will do? (5)
{STEAL} – A word that can mean to move stealthily, is also the removal of property without permission.

19. It makes people unfit for high positions (7)
{VERTIGO} – A sensation of dizziness caused by a fear of heights.

20. The German rock singer teaching the French one (7)
{LORELEI} – A siren from Germanic legend who lured sailors to their deaths is made up from a word for knowledge and learning followed by a masculine French the, and then I (one).

23. Head off from English county to see Italian region (6)
{UMBRIA} – Remove C from a northern English county to get a mountainous region in central Italy.

25. A case for a seamstress (4)
{ETUI} – I only ever see this word in crosswords, its a small container for needles etc.

26. Hothead raised the stake (4)
{ANTE} – So which word is the right answer? I had to wait for checking letters to be sure. Reverse a famous Sicilian volcano for the contribution you would make to a pot of money at a poker game.

The Quick crossword pun: {forger} + {Czech} = {forge a cheque}

101 comments on “DT 26505

  1. Gentle start to the week from Rufus. Thanks to him & to Libellule.

    25d is the first cryptic clue I solved – I think it was in the Independent some time back in the Stone Age. Or so it seems this morning having watched 3 rugby matches over the weekend with my sons while being generously lubricated with John Smith’s Finest.

  2. In the time I allowed myself today, I was beaten by 2 of the dreaded 4 letter clues (5d and 18a), though they seem reasonable enough once the answer is known. (Isn’t that always the case?) The alternative meaning for ‘diet’ was new to me, though the answer was clear without it. I remembered 25d from a previous occasion – proof after the Saturday discussion about Barrie’s posting, that we learn all the time. Thanks to the setter and Libellule.

    1. “The Diet of Worms” lingers in my brain from history lessons long since forgotten.

  3. I’ll put down the fact that I stared at 5d and 15a for ages to Monday Morning Bleary Eyed Wazzock Syndrome. The usual gentle Rufus puzzle – surely 25d has to go soon!
    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  4. Typical Monday morning puzzle, got stuck on three, but with the second cup of coffee, everything fell into place. Enjoyed 16a, but they be something to do with the fact I’m a cricket nut.

  5. Lovely start to the week, just right for the warm spring day here.

    Clue 20d took me straight back 45 years to Senior 1 and our German teacher teaching us the song ‘Die L—-‘, and I can still remember the tune!

    Thanks to Rufus & Libellule

  6. Nice and easy start to the week. Favourite was 15a and I can’t wait for Mary’s opinion. There were many interesting clues with no complaints at all. Thanks to the setter.

    1. Hi UTC, sorry to disappoint you but I got that one quite easily, owzat! or something similar :)

  7. Morning Libelulle, have completed eventually without the hints but with ‘help’ distracted by one son arriving for a cup of tea! 5d believe it or not was last in, the 4 and 5 letter clues held me up for a while today, thanks once again to Rufus, fav clue 13d

  8. I started with some trepidation when I saw there were 8 four letter words, and for the life of me I would never have got 25d without looking at Libellule’s hint and answer – but it is a word I shall remember in future, so thanks, Libellule for that. And I stared at 18a for ages until the penny dropped. Otherwise, everything went in smoothly enough. I liked 15a – a cleverly disguised cricketing clue. Also liked 19a and 13d. Thanks to setter and Libellule for helping me out today.

  9. I also looked at 5d for ages, then got it but couldn’t explain where the “U” came from as I explained the last three letters by the ‘”initially” at the beginning of the clue and the first letters of the last three words of the clue – oh dear – that doesn’t sound very clear.
    Didn’t care for 15a – what a surprise! Also to begin with I thought that 18a was going to be another cricket clue.
    In general I enjoyed this one although, for me, it’s somewhere between 2* and 3*. Another “off day” perhaps.
    Favourites include 11 and 19a and 12 and 20d – best of all 13d.

    1. Kath,
      I had similar thoughts about 5d. I wonder in fact whether it was originally intended to be an “initial letters” clue but then changed.

      1. Thanks Gazza – so glad that you had similar thoughts – pleased also that you could understand my somewhat garbled sentence!

        1. 5d – I had the same thoughts about an “initial letters” clue – if not, what is the relevance of “Initially”?

          “Initially thought to come (f)rom (ou)ter (s)pace” – or does this break too many rules?

            1. Thanks, Mary! Oh My God – how obvious – spent far too much time thinking about this clue – and missed it completely!

          1. I think that the reference to initially is that the answer is in the initial letters of (U)nidentified (F)lying (O)bject(S) which are thought to come from outer space.

            1. Thats how I read it. If it was initial letters we would need “Initially thought to (insert word beginning with U here instead of come) from outer space.

    2. 5d makes no sense at all to me as I too cannot see where the u comes from

      If the clue is not initial letters I feel it just doesn’t make sense!!

  10. A fairly normal Monday puzzle apart from a couple of clues I didn’t like.
    15a if you are not a cricket fan then it is difficult as it is almost a general knowledge clue and
    25d definately is a general knowledge clue, you either know it or you don’t, there is no help in the clue.
    Still, can’t have everything I suppose. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  11. The usual high-quality stuff from Rufus today, well dissected by Libellule.

    The Rufus in today’s Guardian is also excellent.

  12. Alas, there was too much about this that I didn’t understand. Got about halfway before needing help and a few hints. Didn’t know 25d and nothing in the clue to help with it. 19d one of last in, when checking letters in place.

    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    1. 25d also has an outing in the Herculis today at 18a “Small ornamental case for sewing articles or cosmetics” :-)

      1. Although the answer is in fact a “a portable container for carrying objects” i.e. case for needles etc, I believe you are meant to read the clue where case is equivalent to “a situation or an event that” that requires the services of a seamstress…. in other words the clue is an attempt at misdirection.

      2. I don’t think it is cryptic – more general knowledge; and you either know it or you don’t. It may have been better if the clue read something like “A case for a seamstress used in domestic science tuition”. Apart from that niggle, I enjoyed the rest of the crossword.

  13. Lovely start to the week from Rufus and LIbellule. Thank you to both. 25d has not only been in cryptics but also in GK crosswords for more years than I am prepared to admit.

    Glorious sun and blue sky here today so I am off out for a lunchtime stroll. Shame I will have to come back to work again this afternoon.

  14. Sat in glorious sunshine in the garden to complete this offering. Don’t know whether it was the sight of the sun or something else but I found it difficult to maintain concentration today. As a result I idi not particularly enjoy it although it was a gentle stroll.
    Thanks to setter and Libellule.

  15. Im going to 7d, get out my 25d, make a banner shouting NO MORE CRICKET terms and stage a 14d!

    Other than that I thought it was a great start to the week.

  16. Well I thought that 15a was a super clue, so there! And 20d was a nice misdirection on a word we seem to find quite as often as 25d.

  17. Hi all,

    Haven’t started this yet so forgive me for butting in. I was wondering what the NSTPP’s are! Are they only available on the website? I’m still on the old fashioned newspaper version so don’t know what they are.

      1. Hi Don NTSPP stands for ‘Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle’ and is published on this site on Saturdays, the compilers or setters are not the usual tabloid ones, but people more ‘local’ to the blog itself, I am sure one of these people can explain it better for you :)

          1. Don, They are published every Saturday at 12:00 midday. If you use the Calendar in the top right and click on Saturday you will get a list of all publications on the day (usually the daily DT Prize Puzzle hints and tips, then the NTSPP and often a review of dsame in the evening. There are a number of regular setters there and a few less frequent guests. The difficulty varies a fair bit (in my opinion) but ranges from an average weekday back page to an intermediate to hard Toughie. I would say that I find Radler’s the most difficult. They are definitley worth a go though.

            1. Thank you both, Mary and Gnomethang.
              After a bit of suasage fingered clicking around I’ve found it and will give it a go.
              I’ll look forward to it as a welcome addition to my Sat/Sunday routine.

  18. Not overly tricky today, but didn’t really seem to flow for me. Had to look at hint for 15a, then gave up and looked at the answer! Might have guessed it if I was feeling brighter. And I shouldn’t have given up quite so quickly on 5d and 18a, but at least I knew 25d although, as someone else mentioned, I’ve only ever come across it in crosswords.
    Thanks to Rufus & Libellule.

    1. Me too re 15 a – I hate cricket clues!!
      Thanks to Libellule for saving my sanity.

  19. 4/5 done in good time today but I chalk some problems up to a lack of knowledge of indicators (ancient city? – and the whole wording of 2d?) and own lack of gumption/ability. A learning day today.

    Thanks Rufus for a pleasant solve and much needed tips Libellule.

    1. Matt, the ancient city of UR has been around in crosswords since about the time of the city itself!. It is one of those crossword words to commit to memory.

      1. Thanks gnome, I am picking up about three or four of those a week at the moment. Recent additions being dope and FBI agents. It is like learning a new language!

  20. I am surprised that there are no complaints about 26d – I always think this type of clue is very unfair.

    1. For me, the fact that I have seen the clue so many times meant that I just had to have one checking letter to put the correct answer in. For any other word I would probably agree!.

    2. Why is it unfair Jezza, it took me a while to get it but I can’t think of any reason why it would be unfair?

      1. Hi Mary

        Because the answer could be one of two possibilities – the clue is ambiguous to which one it is. You need to have one of the checking letters to know which is the right one.

        1. Oh well ignorance can sometimes be a blessing then because I just can’t think what the other can be :-D !

            1. Mary,
              It’s unfair because the answer could be either Etna or ante, i.e. it’s not clear which is the definition.

              1. Dunce again! Its so clear now that you have explained it Gazza, I just didn’t see it the other way round as I had the checking letters, I’m obviously not cryptic enough yet! rather than unfair I think it makes it more fun when the definition could be either :) Thanks for that – Duh!

              2. Gazza is corect and it is considered unfair because you don’t really know what the definition is, Ximenean principles state (as summed up by Azed) that a good cryptic clue contains three elements:
                1. a precise definition
                2. a fair subsidiary indication
                3. nothing else
                If the answer could be Etna or Ante – then we do not have a precise definition.

            2. Hi Mary, I think that Jezza’s gripe is that the clue can be “read” two ways – is the correct answer the “hothead” or the “stake”? Until you have a checking letter, it could be either.

              1. These devious setters! I think it was mentioned the other day on this site that setters don’t need to indicate which definition they are looking for; it’s up to the solver to work it out using checking letters from other solved words. That’s what makes crosswords so interesting/infuriating. All part of the fun. In this case, I don’t think it was 12d [to continue a theme!]

        2. I would have thought that if an answer had to be unambiguous and easy, it would probably belong in The Sun and people would be expected to do the crossword in pencil

  21. The usual gentle start to the week from Rufus – thanks!
    I liked : 15a, 18a, 13d, 20d, 23d & 26d.
    Felt that 5d was slightly weak surface reading.

    Weather here still magnificent – no equinoctial wind this time – unusual!

  22. My knowledge of siren’s and German rocks being utterly non-existent I would never have solved 20d in a thousand years. So, thanks to Libellule for the excellent hint from which I managed to solve the clue without looking at the answer. Wikipedia provided the ‘why’. Other than that a gentle introduction to the week. Even got 25d which, like ennui and litotes, only ever comes up in the crossword. I wonder how many other words, like those, I only know because I’ve remembered them from previous crosswords. Anyone else got any good ‘cryptic use only’ words?

    1. Assuming that it takes less than a thousand years to read all the posts on this blog, you could have found the siren in T 273, DT 26172, DT 26213, DT 26402, and T471, to name just a few, and have a few hundred years in hand.

      1. Just the opposite of litotes in fact. I may have been exagerating ever so slightly!!

    2. That could be quite a list, Don!. I usually try to point them out if I am blogging (or like today with UR). There are lashings of words that are practically obsolete in current usge but still exist in crosswords and equally there are plenty of flora and fauna (particularly African and South American) that you only hear of here – The RATEL (or honey-badger) for example.

      Just a thought to Big Dave – do you think that it is worth compiling a list of such crosswordland obscurities in’The Mine’? – I would be happy to get the ball rolling.

      1. That’s a llist I would like to see. Other people may feel we have Chambers for that sort of thing. My particular favourite is the use of See and the answer always appears to be Exeter.

        1. We had GLOUCESTER in DT26498 and dont forget the useful ELY as in “Right to see bank = R – ELY). It is one of those words that is easy to overlook and has the advantage of meaning other things – V for VIDE for example..

      2. One for the list, in today’s Rufus in the Grauniad – Soldier = a piece of toast.

      3. I have been toying with adding “Big Dave’s Top 100 Crossword tips”, including ER (queen), RM (jolly) etc.etc.

        Any thoughts welcome.

        1. I for one would welcome it BD. For instance, RM (jolly) has got me stumped already. I’m beginning to get the hand of the shorthand but, I find that in the toughie, with the longer ‘wordy’ clues, I am left ‘clueless’. I love this site as it is helping me learn how the clues work courtesty of the hints and fellow bloggers and your idea is a good one.

          1. A jolly is a slang word for a Royal Marine.

            There are books you can buy for abbreviations and I don’t want to try and compete there – Chambers XWD claims over 10,000 entries. There is Also Mrs Bradfords invaluable Crossword Solvers Dictionary.

          2. I agree with your comment regarding the Toughies. I look at them every day and, like you, I am often left clueless. I can sometimes manage several clues, but from about the start of this year, I have actually only managed to complete a handful – and those only by the added hints provided by this blog. But I will not give up!! There was a clue for “soldier” in a Toughie some while ago. I can’t remember the exact wording of the clue, but you needed to split “soldier” to read “sol dier” ie someone who died in the sun. The answer was Icarus. As I say, devious these setters! [but clever]

            1. I agree Rednaxela, Nil desperandum! However, by the time Friday toughie arrives I am left scratching my head. I’m with you in having managed only a handful of toughies so far this year. Although having said that there was an occurence last week when the toughie was considerably easier than the back page cryptic. Explain!

            2. 22a Mythological soldier? Toughie solver might interpret it thus (6), Toughie 494, the brilliant Elgar at his most devious

        2. BD, on the subject of crosswords. I give the Enigmatic Variations a peek every week and frankly don’t even understand the instructions. Do you or anyone else offer any guidance?

          1. Probably the best thing to do is to look at a puzzle in conjunction with the corresponding review on Fifteensquared.

            Personally, I find life is too short to spend several days on one puzzle.

            1. Thanks BD, I’ll give it a try. I sometimes think the E.V. must be completed by a Cray Computer.

        3. I am ‘sort of’ thinking of two different things. I initially thought that Don was alluding to words that you only come across in crosswords and not normal parlance (e.g. Ratel, Ur, astilbe, possibly See and others that I can’t quite place at the moment!).

          Abbreviations are different – we can all buy a book of approved crossword abbreviations that would give abbreviations for ‘sailor’ but I don’t know of a book/list that highlights the arcana. Equally some of these words are fine for specialists: gneiss for a geologist, astilbe for a botanist (or even gardener) and ‘jolly/jack/tar/RM/OS/AB’ for a pirate would all be well known.

          “Big Dave’s Top 100 Crossword tips” would be a great thing for reference. Perhaps what I was thinking of would be the sort of things (like UR and Ratel) that I have ONLY seen (as a laymen) in crosswords.

          1. I’m currently working on James Bond movies – actors, villains, Bond girls, songs, singers, composers, orchestrators. It’s nearly finished – I might add authors and scriptwiters. A labour of love!

              1. It’s probably in the same place as my book on Alzheimer’s!! Damned if I know where I left it.

          2. You were correct Gnomethang, those types of word are what I was alluding to. My original thoughts seem to have ‘morphed’ somewhat. It was, as you so eloquently put it, arcana I was referring to. Perhaps an Idea would be to start the list and add to it as individual words or phrases arose. Most of the abbreviations are well established and, as you and BD point out, there are books available detailing them.

    3. How often do you see ‘ounce’ with a meaning other than 1/16th of a pound except in a cryptic crossword?

  23. I wish all crosswords were like this one. It was interesting, challenging and fun

  24. Evening folks – a rare day in the garden so I expect to be aching tomorrow!

    Did not get the paper until late afternoon and found it good fun although I think 5d is rather weak.

    Not used to manual toil!!!!

  25. Hello After Eighters. Not an easy work out or gentle start to the week as others have suggested – well for me at least. Found it quite tough but do-able apart from 25d. Didn’t like 15a – I see and understand the reference but a wicketkeeper dies not ‘bail you out’. Also 20d found impossible and needed hint.

    1. I find this amazing. 20d and 25d are crosswordland chestnuts and they were my first in. 25d is even in today’s Herculis! With regard to 15a, surely to bail you out is to remove the bails. I was also surprised with the reaction to 26d. That is another one from the ark and the checking letters were not hard to work out. Why do we have to be so finicky?

    2. Heh, funnily enough, 20d was one of my first in (I recall it from a school field trip). But, the rest of it I found a slog, and not too much fun.

  26. Well, I think Rufus should be ashamed of himself for disturbing the peaceful retirement of 23d, 25d and 26d!
    Otherwise very enjoyable so thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

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