DT 26504 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26504

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26504

A full review by Crypticsue

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

Another good Saturday cryptic from our mystery setter this week. Took a few minutes for various pennies to drop, but I had no problems after that. Thank you to the Mysteron for a good mix of splendid clues, which I had the great pleasure of enjoying twice while sorting out this review.

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    One has an excess of trouble and strife (10)
POLYGAMIST – A cockney might refer to his wife as his ‘trouble and strife’. The clue is a nice cryptic definition leading you to a term for someone with more than one wife (an excess thereof).

6a    Was enigmatic Becket initially something absorbing in theatre? (4)
SWAB – staff in an operating theatre would use these to mop up bodily fluids – an anagram (enigmatic) of WAS followed by B (Becket initially).

9a    Place before Eliot possible producers of the Waste Land (7)
LOCUSTS – Locusts devour everything in their sight, so creating a waste land. LOCUS (a place or locality) followed by the initials of the author and poet T S Eliot (one of his works was, of course, The Waste Land).

10a    Ruling in the club when prince is absent (7)
REGNANT – I was surprised how many people hadn’t heard of the expression ‘in the [pudding] club’ meaning to be PREGNANT. Remove the P for Prince (is absent) to get an adjective meaning ruling or reigning.

12a    It contains advice to the benefit of batsman that is about to prepare for playing (7,6)
FORTUNE COOKIE – These baked pieces of dough with a maxim inside are often eaten at the end of a Chinese meal. A charade of FOR (to the benefit of), COOK (an English cricketer) and IE (that is) with TUNE (prepare for playing) inserted (about) . Some people quite rightly pointed out that if this crossword was reproduced in, say, ten years time, not many people would know the name of the cricketer.

14a    Codebreaker switching sides heartlessly (6)
TURING – Alan Turing was involved in the very early days of computer science but is best known for his work on breaking the Enigma code in the Second World War. Remove the middle letter N (heartlessly) from TURNING (switching from one side to another).

15a    Husband follows Queen in museum gallery (8)
VERANDAH – A type of roofed gallery along the front or side of a building. H, the abbreviation for husband, is put after the Victoria and Albert Museum, commonly known as the V AND A, with ER inserted (Elizabeth Regina).

17a    French lady among foreign girls sheds little light (8)
GLIMMERS – the abbreviation for Madame (MME) inserted into an anagram (foreign) of GIRLS – glimmers are feeble rays of light.

19a    Short wave broadcast live turn (6)
SWIVEL – the abbreviation for Short Wave followed by an anagram (broadcast) of LIVE – turn as if on a pivot or pin.

22a    Place to launch a nut say in California (4,9)
CAPE CANAVERAL – This is the place in Florida where space rockets are launched . Into the abbreviation for California, CAL, insert A PECAN (a nut) and AVER (say, declare) and then split the result (4,9).

24a    Excuse sailor needs to finish crossword? (7)
ABSOLVE – To acquit without blame. Crosswordland’s favourite sailor, the AB plus SOLVE (which is what you did to get this clue and finish the rest of the crossword).

25a    Surrey town to send down one ousting the French (7)
REIGATE – This Surrey town was easy to spot – I (one) replaces LE (the French word for the) in RELEGATE or send down

26a    Leather cover (4)
HIDE – the skin of an animal, quite often made into leather, or a verb meaning to conceal or cover.

27a    Keep firm grip (10)
STRONGHOLD – STRONG and HOLD are synonyms for firm and grip. Merge the two words – a keep or stronghold is a type of fortified refuge.


1d    East European boom? (4)
POLE – Someone from Poland or a boom/pole which controls the position of a sail

2d    Devil is cruel if disturbed (7)
LUCIFER – one of the many terms for the devil – a very obvious anagram indicator disturbed meant it was just a matter of rearranging CRUEL IF to get the solution.

3d    Enjoying good food almost organic in production (13)
GASTRONOMICAL – another anagram (in production) of ALMOST ORGANIC – the adjective relating to the enjoyment of good food and wine.

4d    Party with disguise representing queen in Middle East (6)
MASQUE – A party where people wear masks as disguises. Insert AS (representing) and QU (QUeen) into the abbreviation for the Middle East.

5d    Merlin perhaps turns up something of a treasure re crosswords (8)
SORCERER – I did like this very long sentence containing a hidden reversal (up in a down clue). The description of what Merlin was can be found backwards in treasuRERECORSwords.

7d    Done in with two journalists (7)
WHACKED – An adjective meaning exhausted or done in* – W (with) HACK and ED (two journalists (one Chambers calls a journalistic drudge and the other is in charge of a newspaper). *Some discussion on the blog on this one which concluded that the meaning of ‘done in’ here would be murdered rather than overtired! It could be a bit of both, as having your reputation ‘murdered’ in a tabloid might make you extremely overtired with the whole thing!

8d    One may call wife so fat her belt is tight (6,4)
BETTER HALF – Lots of people tried to suggest that they might refer to their wife as a butter ball – presumably before they had the checking letter from 15a. Mr CS daren’t refer to me as anything but his better half. This can be obtained from an anagram (is tight) of FAT HER BELT.

11d    International conflict with Chinese rulers once a major threat (6,7)
GLOBAL WARMING – A charade of international in the sense of worldwide or GLOBAL , WAR (conflict) and MING (an old Chinese dynasty). It’s been so cold this winter; some have doubted this is a major threat to the future of the Earth.

13d    Old form of transport for men good for the environment reduced pain (10)
STAGECOACH – An old form of horse drawn transport. A charade of STAG (a term for a male deer commonly used for men, especially those out on pre-wedding celebrations), ECO (concern for the ecology of the environment) and ACH(E) (pain reduced).

16d    Part of church making intricate patterns (8)
TRANSEPT – another anagram (making intricate) PATTERNS rearranged makes TRANSEPT, the part of a church at right angles to the nave.

18d    I am set in position enforced by authority (7)
IMPOSED – I(‘)M POSED or put into a position (eg in preparation for a portrait). Run the words together to get the past participle of a verb meaning to set by authority.

20d    Performing on vocal my output is hot stuff (7)
VOLCANO – Hot stuff in a crossword quite often means chilli but here it relates to lava produced by a volcano – yet another anagram (performing) ON VOCAL.

21d    Get too much as composer endlessly rings out (6)
OVERDO – to get too much or go too far – remove the last letter (endlessly) from the Italian composer VERD(I) and insert the four remaining letters into O O (rings).

23d    Metal to conduct (4)
LEAD – a nice double definition to finish with – a heavy metallic element or to show/guide the way.

My favourite clue, although it was hard to pick just one, was 10a. Gnomethang’s turn to enjoy reviewing the Saturday puzzle next week, while I have fun on Sunday.

10 comments on “DT 26504

  1. Sorry CrypticSue, I found this a bit pedestrian, a bit like one of my supposed computer generated puzzles. One or two clues where ok 5d, 14d, but the rest seem to come from the book of crozzy clues.
    Regardless thanks for the incisive blog of hints and to HAL for the puzzle (I’m sorry Dave, I just didn’t enjoy it)apologies to Arthur C Clark

  2. I am cracking up, Sorry Sue, just started to read the blog and relized I am on the wrong puzzle. That will teach me .
    Apologies again.

    1. I did wonder as I didn’t think I could be so far off the mark with my thoughts!

      1. Thanks very much for your understanding Sue, you may remove my input regarding the todays crossword if you wish.

  3. Thanks for the blog on the above crossword CSue. I enjoyed reading it…finally! Mrs Nubian says I deserve short shrift. Ooer, looks like my list of chores are about to get longer and that after having washed the drive and cleaned all the windows yesterday, Death where is thy sting ?

    1. Good for Mrs N, that’s what I say.

      Don’t worry – you are not alone in being confused, nearly every week there is a post on the Saturday review commenting on the Friday morning puzzle.

      Don’t upset Mrs N too much, you might need her help with today’s themed Toughie :)

  4. Senior moments being what they are, Mrs N managed to get into the wrong car the other day. I was there sat waiting and I thought , why is she getting into that car. ? We all have our crosses to bear, Don’t worry, she gave me permission to tell you that.

    1. Nothing wrong with getting into the wrong car!
      In the 70’s when Ford only had about 6 different keys my dad was called out of the office one morning so went down to the carpark, got in his Ford Granada and drove off in a hurry. He told me he’d gone about 2 miles before he realised he was changing gear and thought – mine’s an automatic!

  5. Excellent review CS – thanks, I had enjoyed doing the puzzle and it was refreshing to read the clues again.

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