DT 26517 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26517

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26517

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

First of all I would like to thank Gazza for stepping in at short notice last week, it was much appreciated. Crisis is now over and I can return to blogging the Monday crossword. I found this easier than normal and all seemed to fall into place quite quickly. Still good fun though.

The answers can be found by highlighting the space between the curly brackets


1. One abandoned by players on opponent’s ground (8)
{CASTAWAY} – Robinson Crusoe for example, players as in actors in a play, and a game that is not played at home.

6. Bet he’s in command (6)
{BEHEST} – HES inside BET for a word that is an authoritative command.

9. Horrified at being cut by jagged gash (6)
{AGHAST} – An anagram (jagged) of GASH inside AT.

10. A lunatic, crazy about boats (8)
{NAUTICAL} – An anagram (crazy) of A LUNATIC.

11. In the main, it’s classed as vermin (5,3)
{SEWER RAT} – Main here refers to a pipe that is used to carry away effluent, what kind of vermin might you find in it?

12. Aerial I’d put back on mast (6)
{DIPOLE} – An antenna, ID reversed (put back) and a long, relatively slender piece of wood for example.

13. Distinction comic actor got before the war, perhaps (6,6)
{LAUREL WREATH} – The other half of Oliver Hardy and an anagram (perhaps) of THE WAR is also an emblem of victory.

16. Involving the Third Form? (2,10)
{IN TRIPLICATE} – Three identical copies of a something

19. Greek god, part herald part messenger (6)
{HERMES} – The Greek god who was the herald and messenger for the other gods is made up from the first three letters of herald and also the first three letters of messenger.

21. Spinner overweight, likely to fall over (3-5)
{TOP-HEAVY} – A spinning toy and a word for having great weight describes something that is unstable or unbalanced through being overloaded.

23. Dame Fortune’s aristocratic sister? (4,4)
{LADY LUCK} – Another personification of fortune or chance.

24. Shows around Madras (6)
{DRAMAS} – An anagram (around) of MADRAS.

25. Worshipped bustle and colour (6)
{ADORED} – A three-letter word for fuss or bother, is followed by a three letter word for a colour of the spectrum, definition worshipped.

26. Brought down to a lower level? (8)
{SIPHONED} – Cryptic? What would have happened when you used a tube running from the liquid in one vessel to a lower level outside the vessel so that atmospheric pressure forced the liquid through the tube.


2. He drops a line, hoping for some response (6)
{ANGLER} – Another word for a fisherman.

3. Employment exchange? (5)
{TRADE} – Double definition, people associated with a specific industry or the exchange of one thing for another.

4. Damp course laid across another sort of course (5,4)
{WATER JUMP} – A topical clue. Something you might find at Aintree. It’s only negotiated on the first circuit during the Grand National.

5. China’s biggest banker (7)
{YANGTZE} – A plaisanterie éculée or a vieux marron take your pick. The largest and longest river in China.

6. Spring tide, say (5)
{BOUND} – Another double definition, a leap, and another word for TIED.

7. Switch musical composition (9)
{HAIRPIECE} – A thick strand of real or synthetic fur that is used as part of a coiffure, is also a “hippie” musical followed by a synonym for a composition.

8. Ship containing room to raise onions (8)
{SHALLOTS} – The usual abbreviation for Steamship is placed around a word for vestibule and a reversed (raise) TO are also a type of onions.

13. In speech, commend senior citizen — of London, say? (4,5)
{LORD MAYOR} – A word that sounds like (in speech) another word for to praise or glorify is then coupled with the nominal head of a city to produce the title that Alderman Michael Bear currently has.

14. Finished off and put on warm clothes (7,2)
{WRAPPED UP} – Double definition.

15. Popular batting order (2,6)
{IN DEMAND} – A phrase for popular or greatly desired is constructed from another word for the side that is batting at cricket, and then a word for an urgent request.

17. Is taken out to see groups of new recruits (7)
{INTAKES} – An anagram (out) of IS TAKEN.

18. Fly through during tea break (6)
{AVIATE} – Put a word that means by way of inside an anagram (break) of TEA to get another word for to fly.

20. Safe stretch of water (5)
{SOUND} – Double definition, a long wide ocean inlet for example, is also a word that can mean healthy.

22. Muse to appear after a very long time (5)
{ERATO} – The Greek Muse of lyric poetry and mime consists of a three letter word for a period of time that is considered as having a particular character followed by TO.

The Quick crossword pun: {fought} + {knight} = {fortnight}

81 comments on “DT 26517

  1. A pleasant enough start to the week. Nothing too tricky today, although I needed a dictionary to confirm 12a.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule for the notes.

  2. All very straightforward and pleasant. Thanks to Rufus for the crossword (and his offerings the Guardian and FT today) and to Libellule for the review.

  3. Apart from staring at 16a/4d and 26a for too long all was well. Not sure I like 26a as a clue – there wasn’t anything in the clue to suggest moving liquid under vacuum but no real gripes.
    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus – I will certainly be printing the Guardian and FT for later today.

  4. Welcome back Libelulle, I am in a hurry today as we are now practicing flute trios for Christmas would you believe!! So instead of perservating I really did cheat today and looked at your hints for the few I just couln’t ‘see’! I have now been brought into up to date with a i phone for mothers day ( albeit one one of my sons no longer uses as he has upgraded! ) so now I can take you all with me!

      1. Kath – my local craft shop is doing Christmas card workshops to give everyone a head start. As for myself I start in November and swear I will do better next year but never do.

        1. Eldest daughter has November 5th birthday and we don’t do anything about Christmas until after that.

  5. A little easier than usual perhaps. I wasn’t too sure about 26a either. Liked 2d as a concise but witty clue. Thanks to the setter and Libellule.

  6. Very gentle start to the week. Worked 26A out very quickly, but just couldn’t bring myself to write it in, it seemed too obvious and non-cryptic. Incidentally, shouldn’t the 2nd letter be Y, not I? Enjoyed 9A, 6D and 20D

    1. Encarta World English Dictionary gives ‘I’ as the main spelling with ‘Y’ as the alternative. Just as well it wasn’t a Prize Crossword.

  7. A nice jaunt for a Monday morning–thanks to Rufus & reviewer.

    Favourites are 12a, 11a, 7d, 8d.

    Agree about 26a as can’t see the cryptic part, and wouldn’t have got it without the comments.

  8. With everyone else on this one, comparatively easy with a bit of lateral thinking. Very enjoyable. Liked 6, 13 19a and 6 4 and 14d Thanks to Rufus for a pleasant crossword and Libellule for the competent hints

  9. Agree with the comments above. Only completed 4d having got all the checking letters for the second word. 16a eventually fell into place, again with all the checking letters and I would never have got 26a. The only word that I could fit was “supposed” but it made no sense in relation to the clue. And I agree with Skempie and Gnomethang about the spelling with a Y. Other than that, it was a pleasant Monday solve, so many thanks to setter and Libellule for the review

  10. A great relief after yesterday when the cryptic bit of my brain was just not working! I enjoyed this and did it quite quickly (for me) although I took quite a long time to get 26a and the second word of 4d. Was starting to look out for it to be a pangram when I got 5d – just when I remember to look for it …. ! I had never heard of 12a but it was easy enough to work out.
    I particularly liked 13, 19 and 23a and 7d.
    With thanks to Rufus (for restoring my confidence) and to Libellule.
    Off up the garden now to deal with a bad mole attack!

  11. Interesting watery theme today. Initially I thought it was going to be more nautical.
    Pleasant start to the week, nothing very taxing.
    Thanks to setter and to Libellule for the hints. Will come back later to read more comments on the blog.

  12. Nice easy start to the week. Got stuck for a while on 2d as I put the first word for 11a as water! Obviously changed it and was okay after that. I agree with the comments regarding 26a – I had it first off but couldn’t figure out why – definition only….

    Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule – nice to have you back. Gazza did a good job in your absence.

    1. I thought about ‘water’ for the first word of 11a but didn’t write it in – then got 2d.

  13. Easier than recent Monday puzzles..and gladly received by me at least. 12a a new word and 7d switch also new. Thanks to Rufus and Libe. Dentist today – came off worst in a fight with the corner of a bag of porridge this morning and dislodged front tooth. Silly, at my age too.

    1. Good luck at the dentist – the bag of porridge must have been a particularly fierce one – think you should change the brand!

  14. One of the many easy cryptic puzzles available today – and I should know I have done them all! Very enjoyable start to the day, my favourite clue being 16a. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    If you aren’t out enjoying the sun, the Rufus in the Guardian, Quixote in the Indy,the FT, the Quiptic and the Times are all recommended by me as ‘gettable’ by everyone.

      1. 8.15 – it’s very slow in the day job today and it’s surprising what you can hide under/inside a very large important looking file :D

        1. Let’s hope no one else in the office reads this blog CS or your secret will be out!!

          1. I think they must know really and Sue just keeps up the pretence, you must have nice boss Sue? :)

            1. The boss has been away for a few days. Back to before 9 crossword solving and lunchtime blog access from Wednesday :(

              1. There’s a Guardian prize crossword by Araucaria today too. Haven’t tried it yet, though.

    1. Just came in from painting my fence – bit windy out but not too cold. Fence looks good though.

      1. well done Lea, I must admit I enjoyed trio practice today but no energy for the garden now!

      2. Very windy here too, and quite chilly. Going back up the garden to sow some seeds – hope that it’s not so windy that they all get mixed up!

  15. I struggled most of last week so todays was a welcome change. Most enjoyable. Favourite clues were 7d and 13a. Thanx to Compiler and to Libellule.

  16. A nice easy canter today. Favourite was 16 with 4 and 13a not far behind. Didn’t like 11 or 26. The 1st word of 11 is not usually called a main whilst 26 can be spelled 2 ways and is not cryptic. Still, all the others were OK with some really good clues. Thanks to setter.

    1. main – a principal pipe in a system that distributes water or gas or electricity or that collects sewage

      1. as in

        Sailing, sailing over the bounding main
        Where many a stormy wind shall blow
        ‘Ere Jack comes home again.
        The complete lyrics and music are found in the Franklin Square Song Collection (1888)

        1. Nice one bakesi, main is uaually sea in crosswordland so this was deliberately meant to mislead us into the trap of putting ‘water’ for the first word!

            1. UTC: re main pest.
              Main sewer for sure, but sewer main also exists and that is a sewer.

              1. Spanish yes. Water yes. Markham yes. Sewer NO. Always a main sewer – not a main.

                1. Although Chambers does not give main on its own as a sewer, the ODE has the following:

                  A principal pipe carrying water or gas to buildings, or taking sewage from them.

  17. Reasonably quick solve today, but had to check 7d and 12a in the dictionary, just to be sure and, as others have commented, not entirely sure about ‘cryptic-ness’ of 26a. Did like 2d and 16a. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  18. Hi Libelulle, Re 15d, I understand the batting side in cricket is the ‘in’ side but don’t quite understand the wordplay, – in demand = popular, so how exactly does it work, it all seems mixed up to me?

    1. Hi Mary, Popular = Batting (IN) + Order (Demand) to my way of thinking, but open to suggestions from the more experienced.

  19. A rather aquatic puzzle from Jolly Roger this Monday!
    13a, 16a, 23a, 26a, 4d, 7d & 15d were best for me.

    Roast chicken for dinner tonight with French wine for a change.

  20. Also completed fairly quickly to-day – just got hung up on 15d as thought the “in” was the bit meaning “popular” – now I see the error of my ways. 18d was a quick recycle, wasn’t it? Am sure we had that last week. 12a new word for me but did work it out – then reached for Chambers to check!. Enjoyed that little work out – thanks to setter and hinter. Had better go and do something useful now, I suppose!

  21. I join the choir: nice and gentle start of the week. I add my voice to doubt the fairness of 26a. I had SUPPOSED in mind for a few minutes but could not think of a way to read in back into the clue. Just as well the third letter was checked because I was leaning towards thinking of some SUB*****. Then I went bovine because of the lower.

    Thanks to Rufus and the Firefly!

  22. It’s a tad depressing to read about how easy everyone found this – except me that is! I managed abut half of it before needing some help. Did put water in for 11a, but realised the error when I got 2d. Now have the song from Guys and Dolls (for which I once played in the band for a week) stuck in my brain from 23a!

    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    1. Perhaps only easy in comparison to the crossword yesterday – almost ‘retired hurt’ from cryptics FOR EVER after that one! Don’t know why but I really did find it completely impossible! Tomorrow is another day – keep perservating!!


  23. Everything in in good time with the exception of 26a. Of course I was thinking this was a cryptic clue!!!!!!!!!!!! In the end I gave up and put it in my magic machine. I haven’t stopped chuntering yet.
    I did spend a few mins wondering why I had 2d & 3d wrong when. I was convinced the first word for 11a was bilge (as in bilge rat and being an ex-matelot I thought that had to be it). It took a bit for that particular penny to drop.

    I’m off to Buckingham Uni for the crossword research next week. Anyone else been/ going?

    Thanks both.

  24. Does anyone know how exactly to read the wordplay of 16a?
    I have not been able to find the meaning of “involving” in the clue.

    Anything to do with “implicate”?

    I looked at “plicate” and it does exist as “folded, crumpled” but that does not help me much.

    Am I expecting too much from the clue?

    Curious wants to know.

    1. I think I have it.
      Think back to the days of carbon paper to do 2 copies of something. If you wanted to do 3 you would have to involve a 3rd form in the pile, and press a lot harder with your pen or beat the hell out of the typewriter!

    2. I agree it is a bit tenuous. If I hadn’t been taught to type and known that 2 sheets of carbon paper between 3 sheets of paper existed then I would have found this tricky. Like 26a it’s not a very cryptic clue.

      1. I think the crypticness is in the misdirection in that it make you think of the 3rd form at school!

    3. I think that “involving” here is best understood as “including”.

      “Involving” can also mean “relating to”, and the surface reading, I think, encourages that interpretation. However, the first sense of the term indirectly signifies the two other copies implied by the answer.

      1. I think that Qix has it.
        Think of ‘Form’ as a piece of paper to fill out. If it involves the third copy it would be the answer.

  25. I do like the way that Monday’s Xword is often quite gentle, it makes my morning commute so much more bearable. I’ll have to start tackling Monday Toughies now so I have something to do on the way home! Thanks Rufus and Libellule (sp?)

      1. Has the poster’s name got anything to do with the fact he thinks there is a Monday toughie? Only teasing!!

    1. Enjoy – Its Giovanni tomorrow (according to the Telegraph Puzzles website) who usually sets Friday on the back page. He’ll be fair as usual but a mite more tricky.

      1. Oh no – not sure that I can cope with another tricky crossword after yesterday – it might just make me cry!

      2. Having pressed “post comment” I realised that you meant the “toughie” tomorrow is set by Giovanni rather than the back page cryptic crossword. Just ignore previous comment!! Being stupid AGAIN!

    2. If you want a second helping on a Moday print out the Grauniad – it’s usually another Rufus but often a little trickier than the DT one. Today’s is good!

  26. I do enjoy Mondays! They make me feel a lot more clevererer than I really am….
    Thanks to Libellule and the setter.

  27. Lovely crossword. Enjoyed the watery elements.

    Didn’t like having to get up and check another ‘muse’…

    Did like 23a, 16a.

    Thanks to Libellule and Rufus.

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