DT 26508 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26508

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26508

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley.  Yes, I’m up in Yorkshire staying with Tilsit for a couple of days.  Tonight we are off to Manchester to the Guardian Extra presentation by new Toughie setter John Halpern, (Dada, Paul, Mudd, Punk).

Once again Thursday brings us a puzzle stamped with trademark Ray T clues.

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              I get slab prepared outside fish market (12)
{BILLINGSGATE} – put an anagram (prepared) I GET SLAB outside one of Crosswordland’s favourite fish to get a (fish)market

9a              Clothes stoutly made, top to toe (9)
{TRAPPINGS} – these clothes are constructed by taking a word meaning stoutly made and moving the initial letter to the end (top to toe)

10a           Jewel with tip of ruby set in ring (5)
{PEARL} – This jewel is created by inserting the first letter of Ruby inside a ring of bells

11a           Voracious Attila facing Goths, readily yielding initially (6)
{HUNGRY} – a word meaning voracious is a charade of Attila’s tribe followed by (facing) the initial letters of Goths  Readily Yielding

12a           Hard compiler, plus, as admitted, fair (8)
{HANDSOME} – between H(ard) and the compiler, as the first person objective pronoun, put a conjunction meaning plus and a synonym for as to get a word meaning fair

13a           Shouted with pride? (6)
{ROARED} – a cryptic definition – made a noise like a group of lions

15a           Get eating endless dish, scoffing (8)
{DERISIVE} – a word meaning to get or deduce placed around (D)IS(H) gives a word meaning scoffing or contemptuous

18a           Genesis, Collins’ opening helping to keep energy (8)
{CREATION} – this genesis is built up from the initial letter (opening) of C(ollins’) followed by a helping placed around (to keep) E(nergy)

19a           Sort of betting odds on display (6)
{SPREAD} – a double definition this sort of betting is constructed from the 2 letters for ‘odds’, 2 letters meaning on or about, and 2 letters for a display (thanks Jezza)

21a           Headgear for one leg before in tests (8)
{TRILBIES} – these items of headgear are derived by putting I (one) and LB, as in leg before (wicket), inside some tests or attempts

23a           Film doesn’t end without right old caper (6)
{FROLIC} – an old-fashioned name for a film, without its last letter, is placed around R(ight) and O(ld) to get a caper

26a           Broke heart of one in turn (5)
{SKINT} – a word meaning stony broke is created by putting the middle letter (heart) of oNe inside a turn or sketch

27a           Contrivance very quietly replacing Liberal in Coalition (9)
{APPLIANCE} – this contrivance is constructed by putting the abbreviation for very quietly instead of (replacing) the first L(iberal) in a word meaning a coalition – I would have liked to see the word “first” preceding Liberal to indicate that it is the first L that needs to be replaced

28a           Holds on catching batsman, showing guts (12)
{CHITTERLINGS} – put a word meaning holds on around another word for a batsman to get these guts or intestines


1d           More masculine although he minces! (7)
{BUTCHER} – a double definition of a word meaning more masculine and a tradesman who minces meat

2d           Nod head following Shakesperean character study (5)
{LEARN} – the first letter (head) of Nod follows a Shakespearean King to give a word meaning to study

3d           Kind of tense and not all there (9)
{IMPERFECT} – a double definition – a tense in grammar and a word meaning not all there

4d           Go north of the border (4)
{GANG} – a Scottish (north of the border) word for to go (especially for BigBoab)

5d           Sheer slapper embracing hunk, head over heels (8)
{GOSSAMER} – a word meaning sheer or flimsy is constructed from a slapper or promiscuous woman placed around a hunk reversed (head over heels)

6d           Lukewarm’s food returned around start of ‘Porridge’ (5)
{TEPID} – a word meaning lukewarm comes from a food regime reversed (returned) around the first letter (start) of Porridge

7d           Georgia’s beginning to open border for petrol (8)
{GASOLINE} – a charade of GA’S (Georgia’s), the first letter of (beginning to) Open, and a border gives another word for petrol

8d           Do down (6)
{FLEECE} – a double definition – to do or rip off and down or a soft covering of fluffy hair

14d         A brisk single’s swallowed providing drink (8)
{APERITIF} – A is added to a word meaning brisk which swallows (has inside) I (a single)and is followed by a two-letter synonym for providing to give a drink just before a meal.

16d         Objective is Independent peacekeeper’s leader in army (9)
{IMPARTIAL} – an adjective meaning objective or unbiased comes from I(ndependent) followed by P (Peacekeeper’s leader) inside army as a nounal adjective

17d         Bond chap beat up around introduction to novel (8)
{COVENANT} – a name for a chap, an old buffer, is followed by a word meaning to beat (as in leather) reversed (around) with N (introduction to Novel) inside giving a word meaning a legal document similar to a bond.

18d         Copper on trial having highest appeal (6)
{CUTEST} – a charade of the chemical symbol for copper and a trial leads to a word meaning having the highest appeal

20d         Lady’s dead posh and game (7)
{DUCHESS} – this lady is a charade of D(ead), U (posh) and a board game

22d         Set from tenor penned by composer (5)
{BATCH} – a set is created by putting T(enor) inside a composer

24d         Red head’s heart flipping in sheets (5)
{LINEN} – take a former communist leader (Red head) and reverse the middle three letters (heart flipping) to get some sheets

25d         Head off decline seen in church (4)
{APSE} – remove the initial letter (head off) from a decline or failure to get something found in a church

That’s it folks!

The Quick crossword pun: {Finn} + {gun} + {ale} = {fingernail}

86 comments on “DT 26508

  1. I thought this was quite tough in parts today, and I certainly would not win any prizes for my solving time!
    That said, I thought it was a very good puzzle, and I enjoyed every minute of solving it.
    Many thanks to RayT, and to BD.

  2. The bottom half was more akin to a Toughie I thought. The clues were fair but my brain was cloudy, bit the weather.
    Thanks to Ray T and to B Dave.

  3. Welcome back RayT with another cracker. Great cricket clues to please the ladies – can’t wait for their comments! Favourite was 5 and also liked 2 3 9 14 15 19 and 28. Lovely puzzle from the king.

    1. Methinks this lady has protested too much! Ready to give in if Big Dave will agree to adding a list of cricket terms in the mine!

  4. We, husband and I, really struggled with this one. We always do the crossword in bed, it was a very late breakfast this morning! Last in was 17d. Thanks to Ray T for a good start to the day.

  5. Today was the exact opposite of yesterday – started off really well and came to a grinding halt with about eight clues left. Eventually managed to finish only needing the hints to explain 19a (I thought that the ‘SP’ at the beginning was the betting odds and therefore didn’t understand where the rest came from) and 24d but will wait for that one – not that I’m being impatient ….. ! I have to admit to trying to fit ‘Phil’ into 18a somehow but it just wasn’t going to work!
    I really enjoyed this crossword although, for me, it was somewhere between 3 and 4* for difficulty.
    Lots of wonderful clues today including 1 and 9a and 1, 5, 17 and 20d.
    With thanks to Ray T and Big Dave.
    The Quickie pun is good – had to keep saying it before I finally twigged.

    1. Kath
      Re 19a, the answer is the ‘sort of betting’, constructed by the 2 letters for ‘odds’, 2 letters meaning on or about, and 2 letters for a display.

  6. North By North West was fairly straightforward. Absolutely adored 1a, a work of art.
    Was proud of myself that I got the Caledonian variant of 4d.

    Really struggled with the bottom/right. The 28a word is new to me but I will treasure it for its beauty ;-)
    Last in was 17d. It is about time I remember that gent. It’s a Roma word, innit?

    Nice charades, some of them well hidden. Only half of one anagram! Maybe that it why I found it tough-going. I usually get anagrams quite quickly, possibly a reflection of a scatterbrain ;-)

    Tip for those who find anagrams hard: jot down the letters roughly evenly spaced in the rough outline of a circle so that visually no one sequence stands out and grabs your brain. This prevents getting fixated on certain orderings. Works for me…

    1. Oh, forgot again! Thanks to the Beamer for his fine puzzle and to the Chief for his review!

    2. Everyone seems to have their own way of writing down the letters of an anagram. I do it similarly to you – my Mum, in the days when she could do crosswords, used to put them in a straight line. Does anyone else have other little peculiarities?

      1. If I need to write them down, I write the letters in a rectangle. For me, it’s easier to see letter combinations that way.

          1. I put the letters in a 3 across grid & always make sure I write them down in a different order as to how they appear in the clue Eg:

            1. Somehow think that would make sure that I could never do an anagram again – but interesting and never seen it before.

                1. No – don’t know what it is but don’t usually have that much difficulty with them once I’ve decided which letters go into them – THAT’S the bit I sometimes find hard.

  7. Couldn’t get going on this at all today, 3 cups of coffee and still only half finished. Had to revert to the ultimate CW solving technique – half hour of shooting things on Quake, all fell into place after that. Loved 1a, 27a and 3d

    1. Just one thought – wonder when the answer to 1d will become non-PC as it might offend gays?

  8. Found this tough again today, brain just not in gear, guess to much sun. Await BD Review to down clues to explain my guesswork.
    Loved the pun in the quickie.
    Thanx to Compiler and to BD as usual.

  9. What a splendid day. The sun is shining in a lovely blue sky and Ray T is on the back page with a superb Thursday puzzle. I loved so many clues including 28a and the splendid 1d. Thanks to Ray and BD. Kath- I am a straight line anagram sorter outer.

    The Toughie is nice and Thursday-ish tough, so give it a go.

  10. I didn’t get into yesterday’s puzzle at all, so am getting into today’s one instead!

    Like others, have started it well, but it is quite tough. However, about to take the puzzle out with me into the sunny park, and see how I get on!

    thanks to setter and reviewer, and the hints—think I will need them!! By the time I am home, the Down hints will (hopefully) be available!

  11. Beautiful day once again, crossword done outside in sunshine, just popping in for a moment tough one today I thought, in 27a it is the first time I have seen a clue where you replace one letter with two, is this allowed as a rule?? 26a couldn’t make my mind up whether to put skint or stint at first! don’t understand 24d, waiting for Daves explaination, two clue I really liked 1d and 13a, enjoy sunshine :)

      1. Oh dear. Not that it has made any difference to anything but I’ve got the middle the other way round so that my answer means ‘sheets’ ie bedclothes. I’ve ‘flipped’ the middle three letters of the ‘red head’. How are we supposed to know whether the answer is the ‘red head’ or the ‘sheets’? Please forgive me for being dim yet again!!

        1. Kath,
          You’ve got it right, as verified on-line, but it could have been the other way round and the checking letters don’t help. So, it’s a good job that it’s not a prize puzzle.

          1. Am I going mad, or should the hint to 24d above be the other way round (The answer is the ‘sheets’, not the ‘red head’)?

            1. I’m wondering the same, each time I re-read the clue I decide it’s the other way round.

              1. As gazza pointed out, Telegraph Puzles gives a correct solution when the sheets are entered. Having said that I don’t know if they realised the mistake and allowed both. In any case I put the sheets in first and was OK.

          2. Thanks – it’s nice to know that I’m neither being stupid nor going mad. I do wonder sometimes! :smile:

              1. I do quite like it (has there ever been a Ray T clue that I haven’t liked) but got in a bit of a muddle about which centre was supposed to be ‘flipped’!

      2. Thanks for that Gazza, would never have spotted it, yet it’s so simple, wonder why that is??

    1. There’s nothing wrong with replacing one letter with two in that way. One letter could be replaced with several, or several with one, as long as the clue’s written properly.

  12. Very hard going for me this morning but got there in the end. Had to guess a few and then get confirmation from BD. Thanks to setter and of course to BD. Off to enjoy some sunshine now and tackle the Toughie later on.

  13. Many thanks to RayT for a super crossword and to BD for the hints. Favourite clue was 28a.

  14. Still struggling with this one – 14 and 17 D have me completely stumped. Too difficult to be truly enjoyable :) but quite pleased I got 1A.

    1. 14d A brisk single’s swallowed providing drink (8)

      A is added to a word meaning brisk, swallows (has inside) I (a single) to give a drink just before a meal.

      17d Bond chap beat up around introduction to novel (8)

      A name for a chap, an old buffer is followed by a word meaning to beat (as in leather) with N inside. This gives a word meaning a legal document similar to a bond.

  15. A very enjoyable treat from Ray T. Many thanks to him for stretching the brain cells and to BD for the review. Favourite clue was 5d.

  16. A very enjoyable puzzle from Ray T – many thanks. A lot of excellent clues!
    1a, 9a, 21a, 23a, 27a, 28a, 5d, 14d, 16d, 20d & 24d to pick a few.
    Is the London fish market still in the original area – I had a feeling it had moved or am I confusing it with the meat market in Paris (which certainly did move)??

  17. Repetitious use of initial letters:
    10a tip of ruby = R
    11a Goths, readily yielding initially = GRY (6)
    18a Collins’ opening = C
    2d Nod head = N
    6d start of ‘Porridge’ += P
    7 beginning to open = O

    1. I agree – didn’t mind 2d so much but generally I hate this use of capital letters – to me that’s not “cryptic”, but perhaps I’m “old school”? Hated 19a – dreadful clue- and can’t really work out 9a, despite the hints. Fav clue was 1d – now, to me, that IS “cryptic”.

      1. 9A is a pretty cunning clue. Starting with a word meaning “well-built” (“stoutly made” – it is often followed with the word “lad” in some parts of the UK to describe a muscular young man), you then move the first letter to the end. This gives a word which means “clothes” in one sense, but is more commonly used to mean symbols or adornments that are associated with a particular office or achievement. “The _________ of office” is a phrase that might be used to refer to ministerial cars used by cabinet members, for example.

        I disagree about 19A; I thought that it was a pretty decent clue.

        As for the use of single letters, I have no problem with it. Some might say that it was overused in this puzzle, but I didn’t find it intrusive or offputting at all. As I pointed out, the “initialisms” were clued differently each time, and they were mostly worked smoothly into the surface readings. I don’t think that there’s anything particularly “old school” about disliking this method of clueing; I can’t remember a time when such devices weren’t used, and I can’t think why they wouldn’t be thought of as cryptic.

  18. It was a real wake up call at 3 a.m. when I started solving this. Some lovely clues that soon got me going. 5d and in particular 1d had me laughing and were firm favourites.
    Many Thanks to RayT and to BD for the puzzle and review respectively.

  19. I enjoy sitting on the sofa with a nice coffee and use my ipad to access this blog. However today I did as usual but what has happened to the site. I just get adverts. I can see the homepage which has also changed to a pic of a big cartoon cat but when I go any further it takes me to ads only. Anyone shed any light (I am having to use my laptop to access the site and its fine. Have they redesigned for ipad or iphones? If so its not working

    1. John,
      Your comment had to be moderated as you’ve changed your handle from Openside32 (both should now work). I’m afraid I can’t help with the ipad problem but i expect someone will be able to.

  20. Is it my computer or has BD not yet finished his blog?? I can find only as far as 8d – so far???!

  21. my goodness, you are tardy with the clues today!! you must be having a v late breakfast!!

    1. It’s been a bit of a struggle today sharing a PC with Tilsit and not having all my productivity aids to hand. All done now.

  22. Phew. One of those rare days when I completed the Toughie – though I didn’t understand all the answers without the hints – and failed on this. 15a, 28a, 17d, 16d, 24d all evaded me. Great puzzle. Like 1d and 24d now!

  23. Been out today, enjoying the sunshine, so late starting this. Got held up by putting “beefier” at 1d which didn’t help me with solving 9a and 11a. Ah well, sorted that out and then got stuck on 28a – a word I’ve not come across before [despite the cricket reference, I couldn’t solve it], but I will put it in my memory bank. I had no problem with 24d – and I only do the paper version, but I can see the problems that others may have got into. Thanks to setter and BD for the review

    1. I did that too! Then I realised the correct answer which certainly does help with 9a and 11a

  24. Thanks to RayT and Big Dave for that.

    It took me longer than it usually takes for a Toughie today – thought it was very very hard indeed. I enjoyed 1d and 12a.

    Glad that some others have found it difficult as well, I thought I was just tired. I also put absinthe in for 14d, which didn’t help at all.


  25. Hi All, Pommers & Pommette have been absent on parade today as we’ve had visitors (although I understand pommers slipped into the other puzzle over his mid-mornibng cuppa). More importantly, we haven’t even done todays cw – will have to do it tomorrow morning.
    Night all see you on the morrow when hopefully a nicer day will arrive in Spain. Cold & wet here again today.

      1. Surprised you’re still awake after such an early start! Note from Paco, owner of Brasseria ‘El Risao’ on its way to confirm we were there from 1400 to 1700CET having lunch!
        I did actually print the RayT this morning but the wine has got in the way! We’ll do it tomorrow as a warm-up for the Giovanni.

    1. Well . . . . finally did this over lunch today (bridge tournament got in the way yetserday too – no note though today!).
      Had me totally beaten – and I usually like RayT. Pommers even stumped on a 3, a very rare occurence for him.
      Tough work out, or maybe it’s just too much wine and bridge.
      Thanks though the RayT and BD – we could not have finished without you today.

  26. Did not get very far today but am trying to learn from the hints.

    I am probably being stupid but In15a how does ‘endless dish’ become ‘is’? To me it should be ‘dis’

  27. Didn’t like this one at all. Reading it over this morning’s breakfast it still doesn’t “click”. By contrast, yesterday’s Toughie was straightforward and, to me, much easier.

  28. Really enjoyed this one, just didn’t have time to comment yesterday. I actually sussed what was going on with 9a and 27a – they’re the kind of wordplay I normally miss. Had to resort to the hints for 5d and , although I got 17d, I had no idea why til reading the explanation and even then I had to go look up the 1st 4 letters – never heard that before. Favourites were 9 & 18a and 1 & 3d. Thanks to Ray and BD. (Also loved the pun in the Quick.)

  29. Been away for a week or so. Catching up now and this was the hardest back page puzzle of the week by a country mile in my opinion.

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