DT 26526 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26526

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26526

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Definitely not by Ray T, I didn’t enjoy this very much.

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    Love argument about transport (7)
{WORSHIP} – a word meaning to love or adore is created by reversing an argument and following it with a verb meaning to transport by sea

5a    Be glum when suspect goes round investigating at the start — that’s Poirot’s area (7)
{BELGIUM} – BE is followed by an anagram (suspect) of GLUM around the first letter (at the start) of Investigating to get the country whose most famous subject is the fictional Hercule Poirot – can you name six famous people from here?!

9a    Keep silent about toboggan? On the contrary, one takes it on holiday (7)
{LUGGAGE} – “on the contrary” is an instruction to reverse the wordplay, so put a toboggan around a verb meaning to keep someone silent to get something one takes on holiday

10a    One isn’t prepared for excitement (7)
{TENSION} – an anagram (prepared) of ONE ISN’T gives this excitement

11a    Very cross with broken meter in city (9)
{EXTREMELY} – a word meaning very or greatly is created by putting the letter shaped like a cross and an anagram (broken) of METER inside a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire

12a    Working’s funny? Not in the morning (5)
{USING} – to get a word meaning working or employing drop AM (not a.m. / in the morning) from a word meaning funny

13a    Good-for-nothing male in prison (5)
{TRAMP} – this good-for-nothing vagrant is constructed by putting M(ale) inside a prison or snare

15a    Crooked mercenary, perhaps (9)
{IRREGULAR} – this word meaning crooked or uneven could describe a mercenary soldier

17a    Caught and executed after old lover returned (9)
{EXCHANGED} – put C(aught) and executed by suspending by the neck after an old lover to get a word meaning returned

19a    Rotten sarnie — ignoring one’s more sensible (5)
{SANER} – an anagram (rotten) of SARN(I)E without the I (ignoring one’s) gives a word meaning more sensible

22a    Film star’s tirade after end of screening (5)
{GRANT} – this old film star, born Archibald Leach in Bristol, is derived by putting a tirade after the last letter (end) of screeninG

23a    Site Coe is developing for clubs (9)
{SOCIETIES} – an anagram (developing) of SITE COE gives these clubs

25a    Certain a dress is kinky around university (7)
{ASSURED} – to get this adjective meaning certain put an anagram (kinky) of A DRESS around U(niversity)

26a    Insinuated naughty child made up stories (7)
{IMPLIED} – a word meaning insinuated is a charade of a naughty child and a verb meaning made up stories

27a    Awfully rude about firm — Master requires propriety (7)
{DECORUM} – put an anagram (awfully) of RUDE around an abbreviation of a firm and then add M(aster) to get a word meaning propriety or good manners

28a    American inside turned angry, having a certain temper (7)
{NATURED} – put A(merican) inside an anagram (angry) of TURNED to get an adjective meaning having a certain temper


1d    Most outrageous Tom Sharpe novel captivated boy (7)
{WILDEST} – to get a word meaning most outrageous put a Tom Sharpe novel (4) around (captivated) a shortened form of a boy’s name

2d    Series of races great at sea, thanks (7)
{REGATTA} – this Series of yacht or boat races is derived from an anagram (at sea) of GREAT and a short word of thanks

3d    Strain to keep holding last bit of lucre (5)
{HEAVE} – a word meaning to strain or pull is created when a word meaning to keep or own is placed around the final letter (last bit) of lucrE

4d    Former priest going bald? (9)
{PRECEDING} – a word meaning former or earlier is a charade of P(riest) and a word meaning going bald

5d    Crazy corner in motor race? Just the opposite (5)
{BATTY} – a word meaning crazy is derived by putting a motor-cycle race inside a corner – similar construct to that used in 9 across

6d    French Polish? (9)
{LANGUAGES} – French and Polish are two examples (indicated by the question mark) of these

7d    Byatt’s first is a first (7)
{INITIAL} – This authoress is known by two of this kind of letter, and as an adjective it means first – my least-favourite clue in this puzzle

8d    Principal source of food for cattle around America (7)
{MANAGER} – this principal supervisor is created by putting a feeding trough for cattle around A(merica)

14d    Art peels off top of room — one might have to smooth things over (9)
{PLASTERER} – an anagram (off) of ART PEELS followed by the initial (top) letter of Room to give a tradesman who might have to smooth things over

16d    Resistance ahead of heartless schooling cut (9)
{REDUCTION} – put R(esistance) ahead of a word meaning schooling without the middle letter (heartless) to get a cut or decrease

17d    Enrolled Nurse happy to tour northern country (7)
{ENGLAND} – follow the abbreviation of an Enrolled Nurse with a word meaning happy placed around (to tour) N(orthern) to get a country

18d    Hugging fantastic lass I consider an excellent thing (7)
{CLASSIC} – hidden inside (hugging) the clue is an excellent thing, like an old motor car

20d    More curious about start of improvisation getting louder (7)
{NOISIER} – put a word meaning more curious around the first letter (start) of Improvisation to get a word meaning getting louder

21d    Around rim, claret settled (7)
{RESIDED} – put the colour of claret (3) around a rim or edge to get a word meaning settled or inhabited

23d    Soil’s lifted to insert European plant (5)
{SEDUM} – reverse this wet soft earth (soil), not forgetting the S from ‘S, and then insert E(uropean) to get a rock plant with white, yellow or pink flowers

24d    Suppose EC’s left to house a migrant (5)
{EXPAT} – start with a word meaning to suppose or presume then swap the EC for an A (EC’s left to house A) to get a migrant, like Pommers or Pommette!

That’s it for today!

The Quick crossword pun: {hoarse} + {tale} = {horsetail – a plant of the genus Equisetum (scouring-rush) with hollow rushlike stems}

70 comments on “DT 26526

  1. Can’t say I enjoyed this today. Didn’t help I got the wrong Tom Sharpe book :-( and still got a word to fit into 1D. Thought a lot of the the clues seemed fairly vacuous and some very ambiguous. No favourites today I’m afraid.

      1. I used the name of another series of his books, but without thinking that the name wasn’t actually the title of a book (even though it was in the title, then spelt it wrong (d’oh) and got boldest)

  2. I wasn’t big on the enjoyment factor today either – it was all a bit of a grind and the clues didnt seem to gel like the do on e.g. Wednesday. About average/hard for solving time.
    Thanks to BD and to the setter.

  3. Nothing startling, but I thought it was ok. I agree that 7d was awful, however I did like to see my favourite comic writer get a mention in 1d.
    For those that didn’t like this one, the toughie is better, and for the most part, not overly tough.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

    1. I liked 7d – mostly because I’d had a rant about ‘more authors, not read any of hers blah blah moan moan etc.’ … and then realised that it didn’t matter. Setter leads 1-0.

      I probably should read more, instead of spending time playing word games…

  4. Morning Dave I think I agree with the 3* today I found the bottom half easier than the top once again, top R/H corner last in for me, didn’t know any Tom Sharpe novels but did manage to work the answer out, didn’t help in getting 4d by spelling extremely wrong! and didn’t help myself by putting ‘replaster’ in 14d! just one favourite clue today 24d, I thought that was quite clever :-) Thanks for blog needed it to help me sort out that corner!

    1. when I saw 6d I thought, Aha, that’s the clue I submitted to COW a few weeks ago but on checking I had submitted French Polisher!! of course it was a completely different answer!

      1. I think there should have been a comma between French and Polish. As it is the answer should be singular.

    2. Ditto to nearly everything you wrote. Bottom half easier … I’m afraid that when I’m faced with an author I’ve never heard of (Mr Sharpe) I look them up on Wikipedia which sorts it out very quickly.

  5. Oh.

    I quite enjoyed it, but the sun is shining here and the tulips in the garden look beautiful. Does that make a difference, I wonder?

    Thought it was about a 3/4* for difficulty but that all the clues were fair.

    Liked 6d. Also enjoyed 4d, because I fell into the trap of trying to put ‘ex-‘ at the start. Liked 11a, again, because I was misled nicely.

    My wife is a big fan of 22a, apparently he’s incredibly handsome so she was pleased to see him today.

    Have a lovely day, everyone.


  6. Big Dave

    5a: Eddy Mercx, Justine Henin, Kim Clisters, Rene Magritte, Adolphe Sax, Jean-Marc Bosman…..

    Heh heh

      1. From Douglas Adam’s masterpiece:

        But though even words like “juju-flop,” “swut,” and “turlingdrome” are now perfectly acceptable in common usage, there is one word that is still beyond the pale. The concept it embodies is so revolting that the publication or broadcast of the word is utterly forbidden in all parts of the galaxy except one – where they don’t know what it means. That word is “Belgium” and it is only ever used by loose-tongued people like Zaphod Beeblebrox in situations of dire provocation.

      2. I’m sure that a better list could be made, I was only trying to get to six. As for the ‘scrapings’, I assume you mean the last one primarily…
        (Or maybe you don’t?) … Although he’s probably indirectly had more influence on the modern game than any other player.

        I did find out that Audrey Hepburn was Belgian, so next time she can replace one of the tennis players.


        1. Sorry, Nick, Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium (there, I said it again…) but she was Anglo-Irish on her father’s side and from Dutch aristocracy on her mother’s. Her mother was a born baronesse van Heemstra. She was never Belgian.

          She spent the war years in Arnhem in The Netherlands.

  7. This is the first puzzle in along time I really enjoyed and actually got 75% of it right before looking at the blog! Must be on the same wavelength as the setter. Thanks to the setter and BD

  8. I have to say I found the puzzle quite enjoyable, nothing to much of a stretch.
    Thanks to B Dave for the hints and the Riddler

  9. I didn’t enjoy this one much at all, seemed hard work and nothing stood out as a favourite clue – sorry Mystery Setter. Thanks to BD for the hints.

    The Toughie, on the other hand, took the same time as this to solve but is much more fun!

    1. Totally agree. The Daily is quite pedestrian while the Toughie managed to raise the corners of my buccal cavity.
      By the way – what happened to Spring? Here in West Bridgford the shorts worn last week hang forlornly in the wardrobe & I’ve just put a sweater on…never cast a clout until may is out as they used to say

      1. Cloudy grey in East Kent today but we are promised a return of spring for the weekend. I never cast a clout too early – think it comes from childhood when we didn’t go into summer uniform until after the Easter holidays, regardless of the weather so we were sometimes a bit chilly as I recall.

      2. But the may – as in hawthorn blossom – is indeed out, so that old wife’s tale doesn’t really work any more.

        1. …some might say it is another example of the effects of climate warming but applied selectively as it usually is by the doom mongers…

        2. I have just been for my post-work two and a half mile walk and can report that the may most definitely isn’t out here. We have blackthorn (sloe) and wild cherry but the buds on all the hawthorn trees are a long way from opening.

  10. I really struggled with this one, especially the NW corner. All in all a worthy Thursday challenge, IMHO.

    Harvest of previously unknown words:
    23d and the novel in 1d (thank you, Google!)

    No clues really standing out. I am still unclear about the wordplay of 24d and the nurse of 17d. No doubt the blogger will shed light.

    Thanks to Mysteron & the Boss.

    1. 24 down – start with EXPECT (suppose) and swap the EC for an A (EC’s left to house A) to get EXPAT (migrant).

      The abbreviation for an Enrolled Nurse is EN – other terms that are occasionally used are SEN (State Enrolled Nurse) and SRN (State Registered Nurse)

      1. Thanks, Boss! I did not mean to trouble you to post an explanation… I wrote my comment before looking at the blog. This is my usual routine. I should have made that clear so as not to bother you.

        These obscure abbreviations are tricky.

  11. I actually quite enjoyed this one. Nothing too contentious, I thought and a pleasure to solve. Quite liked 11a, 5d and 16d, although 6d was – what’s the word? I didn’t particularly like 15a as a definition for mercenary [although the word “maybe” was in the clue] and it was my last one with all the checking letters. Thanks to setter and BD for the review

  12. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as usual and found it really quite difficult – it’s taken me a long time and, although I finished it ie had an answer for everything, I needed the hints to explain quite a few.
    I liked 6 and 14d.
    Thanks to the mystery setter and to Big Dave for the VERY much needed hints.
    Chilly and grey in Oxford – off up the garden to see if any of our veggie seeds have germinated.

  13. I thought this was fine today and 7d was a fairly ‘novel’ clue :-) Takes allsorts eh.

    Thanks BD.

  14. By the way, BD, I’ve just had a look on the internet at an “Alphabetical List of Famous Belgians”. There are 263 names on there, and Hercule Poirot is number 160. I’d be hard pressed to name half a dozen though!!

  15. Neither good nor bad, neither hard or easy, in fact a wee bit mediocre though I did enjoy 5a. Thanks to the mystery setter and to BD. (Kcit’s toughie is much the same. )

  16. In my opinion, today’s was the worst complied crossword to appear in The Telegraph for a long time.

    Ludicrously obscure allusions, tenuous references and ridiculously contrived clues.

    I hope we don’t get one of these again in a hurry!


    1. I used to go to school with an Ashley Wilkes back in the 70s in York. Could it be the same person?

    1. Your not Mr Wilkes who used to be on Emmerdale are you ?, although you can’t be cos he was fictitious wasn’t he. Been in the garden, too much sun.

          1. Are you Ashley Wilkes from “Gone with the Wind?”

            Could you, please, be more specific about this puzzle having “Ludicrously obscure allusions, tenuous references and ridiculously contrived clues”.

            “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” – but I would be interested to know why you have judged this crossword so severely?

  17. haven’t got anywhere with this today.

    Going to have a look at the toughie– it’s had good comments.

  18. I’m afraid this was not my favourite puzzle. It just didn’t ever produce that “feel good ” moment when the answer clicks in.Now in 22a are we talking of Hugh or Cary?
    Thankyou anyway mystery setter and of course BD.

          1. Quite right Mary. I t’s a beautiful evening here and everything in the garden is lovely; and still a lot of blossom to come.

  19. Think this was bad? You should see the cryptic in today’s Guardian. The clue to 1a is ‘Late boss to tidy 5’. Ok, so before we can solve 1a we need to solve 5. But the clue at 5 is simply ‘See 18’. Ok, let’s look at 18. This clue is ‘What is 6? 2 says “fruit and veg”.’
    Oh god, now we’ve got to solve 6 and 2 before getting any further…and all this just trying to solve the first chuffing clue. Sorry to mention a crossword in a different paper but I had a look at the Guardian today for old time’s sake, it being my former paper of choice. Won’t happen again, not after that giant ball-ache, promise.
    Makes the Telegraph today seem quite decent.

      1. I stopped attempting the Guardian years ago …… Bunthorne defeated me – well and truly!

        1. The Guardian today is by Araucaria.

          His style is not for everyone, but today’s is actually pretty good, I think.

  20. I enjoyed this one, certainly not a Ray T 18d but thanks to the mystery setter. After a bit of a slow start it all fell into place nicely.

  21. I didn’t think that this crossword was that bad. It was nice to have a crossword where you had to think a bit more deeply about to solve. I think that this one took about the same time as the Toughie. If you want a real challenge today then Anax in the Independent is the one to go for.

    Many thanks to the Mysteron for the crossword and to BD for the review.

  22. Late starting (due to a golf day), late finishing (due to not being able to do it!!!) Actually, not strictly true – did do quite a bit and didn’t believe the answers, so had to check the blog to see if I was right. Sorry – have to agree with Skempie (first comment) – didn’t really like it, nothing seemed to flow and I thought was all a bit contrived, but could be that I was just knackered from the 18-hole work-out. And never heard of whatsit Sharpe, so that didn’t help!! tho’ I did get the answer. Wonder what tomorrow will bring? Am in the car for a couple of hours so, if partner is driving, I might have a chance!

  23. I must be out of step as I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Re 7d ;is it because she is always known by her initials rather than her full names as well as a being the initial of the first name?

    funny how often Ely is used as a city name; i suppose that technically it is a city as it has a (wonderful) cathedral, but it seems very small and intimate and uncity like.

    1. That was my understanding, but as she is known by “A S” I thought that it didn’t work very well in the singular. The wordplay is, I believe, referring to B being the initial for Byatt, which is saying that the initial letter is the initial and that’s why I didn’t like it.

      1. I thought the wordplay was just indicating that “A” was Ms Byatt’s first initial (of two). If she’d had only one forename and been known as A Byatt then the first “first” in the clue would have been redundant.

  24. Pored over this on the train from Cheltenham – NE corner had me stumped I’m afraid.

  25. Hi,

    Not sure that 8d is a particularly fair clue, a manger is a trough to place food for cattle to eat from, rather than a source of food. Not sure I would describe a dish or a plate as a source of food!
    I’m surprised nobody else has commented on this.

  26. Very late input from me. I Finished it around 17.30 hrs my time but had to drop it as my daughter and granddaughter arrived to take me to The Hague for a Chinese meal then to the Lucent Danstheater for the ballet which was Shen Yun Performing Arts – a magnificent show each act introduced by an Englishman and a Chinese lady who spoke lovely Mandarin – they both spoke English and Chinese.
    I recommend the show 100%.
    Re the puzzle – I concur with BD and others that it was below the normal.

    Looking forward to The Don’s tomorrow! In fact today as it is now 00.14hrs here.

    1. Correction – my daughter informs me that the man intodrucing each act with the Chinese lady was in fact American – he must have been from Boston his English was very English!

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