DT 26555 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26555

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26555

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello again from the Vega Baja. You’ll be pleased to know that I solved this one at a more sensible time of day than I did last week’s so it’s only getting 2* for difficulty!

The usual excellent stuff from Jay (presumably) with a nice mix of clue types and some unusual uses of common crossword terms. While I didn’t find the solving hard, writing hints for some of these was at least a 5* rating!

As usual the ones I liked best are in blue and if you want to see the answer highlight the space between the curly brackets.

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  Wearing nothing in queen’s variety performance (7)
{CABARET} – To get this sort of variety performance, which you might watch in a nightclub, take a popular pet of which ‘Queen’ is the term for the female (pommette has 2 fat ones!) and insert (in) a word to describe someone who is wearing nothing. 
It’s usually the term for the male of this pet which turns up in crosswords. This one makes a nice change and caused me a bit of head-scratching before the penny dropped!
ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a  Hesitation expressed prior to a certain wiping out (7)
(ERASURE} – A word meaning wiping out or deletion is a charade of the usual crosswordland hesitation, A, and a synonym for certain.

9a  How a horse might be complaining, eating noisily outside (9)
{WHINNYING} – The definition is ‘how a horse might be’ or something a horse might be doing. Take a word for complaining or moaning and place it around (eating) NY (NoisilY outside).

10a  Instrument detained during transit arrangements (5)
{SITAR} – This musical instrument of Indian origin is hidden (detained during) in transit arrangements

11a  Person with long-held conviction (5)
{LIFER} – A slang term for someone serving a long prison sentence.

12a  Composer changing some things lacking tune at the end (9)
{SONGSMITH} – A person who writes vocal music is a anagram (changing) of SOME THINGS without the letter E (lacking tunE at the end).

13a  Star writer anticipates tense approach (9)
{PENTANGLE} – A five pointed star is a charade of something you may write with, the first letter (anticipates) of  T(ense) and an approach, in the sense your ‘take’ on something.

16a  Crazy Horse accepts races (5)
{BATTY} – Take a type of horse and insert (accepts) the famous motorbike races held in the Isle of Man to get a colloquial term for crazy or nutty. Pommette has been known to use this term to describe me!

17a  Singers regularly using ballet tops (5)
{ALTOS} – These singers are the alternate letters (regularly) of bAlLeT tOpS.

18a  Failed to welcome second group and split up (9)
{DISBANDED} – Definition is ‘split up’ (in the past tense). Take a word for failed or expired and insert (to welcome) S(econd) and a group of musicians.

20a  Instrument that might damage a coin in circulation (9)
{HARMONICA} – This instrument, sometimes called a mouth organ, is a word for damage or hurt followed by an anagram (in circulation) of A COIN.

23a  Dodgy beer with lemonade has no source of nutrition (5)
{SHADY} – To get a word meaning dodgy or unethical take a mixture of beer and lemonade and remove (has no) the first letter (source of) Nutrition. When I first read this clue I thought that ‘dodgy’ was going to be an anagram indicator rather than the definition – clever!

25a  Take a breather, accepting one will take test again (5)
{RESIT} – A second go at an exam or test is a word for taking a breather with I inserted (accepting one).

26a  Modified or widened cover during night (9)
{EIDERDOWN} – This is a sort of cover you may appreciate when in bed on a cold night. It’s an anagram (modified) of OR WIDENED. I’m old enough to remember these from the days before duvets!

27a  Calms down poorly seated viewers at last (7)
{SEDATES} – An anagram (poorly) of SEATED with an extra S (viewerS at last) gives a word for calms down.

28a  Time to study the French foot mechanism (7)
{TREADLE} – This foot mechanism used to be found on sewing machines before the days of electric motors. It’s a charade of T(ime), a word for study at university and a French definite article.


1d  Sort of primrose garment worn underneath Jersey? (7)
{COWSLIP} – To get a sort of primrose you need to take a farm animal of which Jersey is an example and follow it (underneath in a down clue) with the sort of garment a lady may wear underneath her dress. Not sure that ‘underneath’ isn’t doing double duty here.

2d  Short short shorts? (5)
{BRIEF} – This word meaning short is a word for shorts (or underpants) without the last letter (short). I think that this hint is about as confusing as the clue but I can’t think of a better way of putting it!

3d  Bypasses revolutionary garrison, capturing leader of division (4,5)
{RING ROADS} – Bypasses are an anagram (revolutionary) of GARRISON with a D (leader of Division) inserted (capturing).

4d  Works with temperature on medium (5)
{TOILS} – T(emperature) and a medium that an artist may paint with gives a word for works hard.

5d  Organises technologists (9)
{ENGINEERS} – A nice double definition. These technologists are also a word for organises in the sense of brings about.

6d  Fools conduct an appraisal, failing to finish (5)
{ASSES} – The usual crosswordland fools are a word for conduct an appraisal without the last letter (failing to finish).  Nice to see the fools as the answer for once instead of being part of the fodder!

7 d Tinned tuna (without a name) is dished out — perfect! (9)
{UNTAINTED} – An anagram (dished out) of TINNED TUNA without one of the N’s (without a N(ame)) is a word for perfect or untouched. We seem to have had several clues with this sort of construction already!

8d  Chance of crude oil finally being found inside? (7)
{EARTHLY} – In all the blogs I’ve done so far this is the clue I’m finding hardest to write a hint for but I’ll give it a go!
The definition is chance, in the sense of “You haven’t an *******”. Take a word for crude or vulgar and insert (found inside) the last letter (finally) of oiL.

14d  Authenticated a title raised in famous surroundings (9)
{NOTARISED} – Definition is authenticated, by a solicitor perhaps. Take A, the title of a knight of the realm reversed (raised in a down clue) and around it (surroundings) place a word for famous or well known.

15d  Vertigo as a result of nasty snide digs (9)
{GIDDINESS} – A symptom of vertigo is an anagram (nasty) of SNIDE DIGS. I get this if I get more than about 10 feet off the ground!

16d  Show of hesitation entering old golf club restaurant (9)
{BRASSERIE} – To get a sort of up-market bistro take an old term for a type of golf club (a No.2 wood I believe) and insert (entering) the usual hesitation. This word is also French for Brewery.

17d  A day in this place — and start selling bonds (7)
{ADHERES} – A charade of A, D(ay), a word meaning ’in this place’ and the first letter (start) of Selling gives a word meaning bonds or sticks.

19d  Leading lady fiddled, pocketing money abroad (7)
{DOYENNE} – To get a leading lady or prima donna take a word for fiddled, in the sense of conned, and insert (pocketing) the currency of Japan.

21d  Group from Everest losing heart after month (5)
{OCTET} – This group of 8 musicians is E(veres)T (Everest losing heart) after the abbreviation of the 10th month of the year.

22d  Check it appears on gold standard at last (5)
{AUDIT} – The chemical symbol for gold, D (standarD at last) followed by (appears on) IT gives a word for check, of your accounts perhaps.

24d  Steer clear of article on space (5)
{AVOID} – An indefinite article followed by a synonym for space gives a word meaning to steer clear of.
There seem to me to be quite a lot of insertion/deletion clues in this one but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment.
I think my favourite has to be 1a for its unusual use of the word ‘queen’.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {ARDOUR} + {SNAILS} = {‘ARD AS NAILS}

68 comments on “DT 26555

  1. Thanks to setter and to Pommers. All went in fairly quickly today, except that I initially used “SECT” as the synonym for group in 18a, which gave me a different answer that still seemed to satisfy the clue. Favourit clues were 16a and 16d.

  2. Fine review Pommers – I must agree on 1a as a favourite, particularly for the surface reading. Also on the fact that explaining some of these might be tricky.
    Toying briefly with DI S SECT ED at 18a held me up for a while.
    Thanks to you and to the setter.

  3. I found this puzzle a bit of a chore and so it subtracted from my enjoyment of it. Funny how some crosswords affect you like that.
    Thanks to Pommers and Jay

  4. Enjoyable as always from Jay. Thanks to him, and to Pommers for the review.
    Favourite clues – 23a, and 19d.
    Last clue in was 2d – I can’t imagine there are many words that fit with those checking letters!

  5. Hi Pommers thanks for the review and all the lovely pictures! I’m sure the men will appreciate the one at 6d, very unusual :-) not my favourite Jay crossword today, had never heard of 12a or the word for a golf club in 16d, still don’t quite understand 18a, where does the ‘failed to welcome’ come into it? I must still be rusty after over a week away! no fav clue I’m afraid

    1. Another synonym for ‘failed’, as in came to an end, is the first 2, and last 2 letters of the answer.

    2. Welcome back Mary. Hope you had a good hols.
      I see Jezza and Gnomey have explained 18a. I’ve updated the hint to make it a bit clearer.

      1. yes thanks Pommers, off again next week, it doesn’t half interfere with my ‘crossword lifestyle’ !!

        1. Mary, you need 3 thins – a laptop or netbook, a dongle and a subscription to Telegraph puzzles. The world’s your oyster!

          1. What?!! To me, at least, you’re talking not just a foreign language but one with a different kind of alphabet. Oh dear – really don’t understand at all. :sad: and :oops:

            1. Translation:

              1. A portable computer

              2. A gadget to plug into it that gives you internet access via the mobile ‘phone network (available at ‘phone shops)

              3. Pay the Telegraph £35 or so for a year’s access to their crosswords online

  6. I enjoyed this one and didn’t have too much trouble with any of it apart from 12a – tried for ages to think of the name of a composer – it didn’t work. 18a took a while too although ‘dissected’ never occurred to me – the problem was that NOTHING occurred to me! I liked 1 and 9a and 1, 2, 5 and 15d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers.
    Off now to continue the battle that I’m having getting to grips with new mobile phone – I’m SUCH a technophobe! :sad:

    1. Hi Kath taken me a while to get used to my iphone and didn’t really want one, but I love it now and wouldn’t be without it but normally I am just as much a technophobe as you, even Sky plus mystifies me and I’m told a two year old can do it!

    2. Kath – Mike’s secretary used to call him a “techno peasant”. Why do you think I do the editting of the blog once he’s written it and put all the pictures in?

    3. Thanks to all – STILL struggling – definitely need to consult a small child!! Can just about manage Sky but wouldn’t even dream of attempting an Iphone even thought husband and both daughters have them.

      1. As Apple used to say “it just works”.

        The iphone is one piece of technology that really doesn’t require a manual. It’s really easy to use.

  7. I didn’t like 18a either, Mary. It had died = failed then welcoming ‘s’ and ‘band’. Didn’t like it, but enjoyed most of the rest of the puzzle, although I needed the hints to finish. I often find Jay’s puzzles difficult, but thank him nonetheless for the challenge. There were a number of excellent clues, if I’d had the brains to work them out. Best for me were 1d and 23a. Many thanks to Pommers for putting me so often out of my misery. :-)

  8. An excellent Wednesday puzzle – lots of lovely clues and great fun. My favourites were 1d which made me smile a lot and 23a for the amount of time I spent trying to put L for lemonade into a non-existent anagram! Thanks to Jay, Pommers and Pommette. Gazza seems to be having a bit of an influence on the choice of illustrations for this crossword :D

    Lovely toughie today too – tough but gettable so give it a go.

    Mr CS and I are off to Sicily tomorrow for a week – I have the Daily Telegraph Holiday Book of Cryptic Crosswords ready to pack in case I can’t cope without my daily puzzles. :D!

    1. Couldn’t find a reasonable excuse to put a boat or racing car in today so went the Gazza route instead!
      Have a good hols!

      1. 15d. These days If I had to climb a mast to sort out any rigging repairs I would feel a lot more than giddy….Tenuous I know just trying to find you any opportunity

    2. Sicily sounds great Sue, have a lovely time, I did take crossword book away with me but couldn’t concentrate!

    3. I don’t normally do the weekend puzzles, so I printed several off to take to Brazil with me. I thoroughly enjoyed going back up to the room after breakfast and lying in the hammock on the balcony overlooking the beach, puzzling! Wish I was still there…

  9. Thanks to Jay for a nice uncomplicated wee crossword and to Pommers for the hints and the picture for 6d.

    1. I like 6d but have to confess pommette found it! All I asked her for was a picture of some asses (I was thinking donkeys at the time)!

  10. Reasonable level of puzzle, quite enjoyed it.

    Thanks Pommers for explaining 8d- I had the answer and the make up, but could not work out the definition at all.
    Might try the Toughie again tonight.

  11. Finished with a sense of satisfaction as some of the constructs were challenging for me. More of a 3*. Thanks to all.

  12. I found this one much harder than last week’s, but got there in the end, needing quite a few hints along the way. I hadn’t heard of 12a before either, although it was fairly apparent from the anagram and with a couple of checking letters in place, not sure if the term can be applied to the likes of Schubert/Schumann etc …

    Thanks to Jay and to Pommers for another fine review.

  13. Very enjoyable puzzle. Lots of musical references! 13a used to be one of my favourite bands in the good old days!

    Thanks to Pommers for a very amusing review!

    1. Pommette liked them too so you nearly got a video – but she preferred the 1a one!

      1. Liked the captions when hovering over the photos in the review!

        6d – I thought for a moment it was a hidden clue, but just the opposite.

        “Some Pink Floyd al(bum covers) – Oh, and ……”

  14. North West corner took me ages because I had Goldtop for 1d.
    Well, why not? Sort of primrose = gold. Garment worn underneath = top.
    Goldtop = Jersey milk. Obvious, I thought.

    Incidentally, in the comments on this website is it part of the protocol not to mention actual words used in the answers but only their positions i.e 12d or 7a?
    It looks that way but I just wondered.

    1. Hi Harport its OK on weekday crosswords but totally taboo on weekend prize crosswords Sat & Sunday, you will be mercilessly deleted by BD if you do! :-)

  15. Good enjoyable puzzle today

    Never heard of that usage of “queen” in 1a

    1. Hi Ashley. The term “queen” in felines is most often used in the breeding world to describe a female of breeding age – especially in Persians and Siamese. That was where I first came across the term. Pommers doesn’t know that much about felines except that our 2 fat ones eat a lot!

  16. Liking these blogs, and finding some of the explanations very helpful – usually one left over that I’m stuck on (today 26a…dur). But noone seems to have shown appreciation for Pommers’ illustration for 2d ……made my morning anyway!

  17. Two sessions again to-day and finally finished with help from Pommers – many thanks. 1a took me ages but finally saw the word that would make sense and worked it out backwards, if you see what I mean! Nice clue – liked 20a too. Now off to pack for Turkey tomorrow, which I’m looking forward to once the dreaded South Terminal at Gatwick at the crack of dawn is behind us! May still be xwording as staying with sister-in-law who I believe gets it off the net.

    1. And from me too. Enjoy yourself – Turkey must be lovely at this time as year.

  18. Enjoyable puzzle today, not too tricky. Liked 2d and 23a, when I got there – like Sue, I tried making an anagram out of beer and ‘l’ and I found one: rebel. But, this is not a source of nutrition however you look at it!! Nice misdirection.

    Thanks to Jay and the Pommerses. :-)

  19. Nice puzzle from Jay!
    My favourites : 9a, 20a, 1d & 16d.

    Nice review from the Pommes!

  20. Great puzzle today. Needed a little help with 26A and 12A. Thanks to all concerned.I am going to have a go at the Toughie now- for the first time.

  21. The usual quality crossword from Jay. With such consistency it’s easy to become blasé but each clue oozed care and attention. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers for the review.

  22. slow start but it all came together. sticky nw corner… managed to convince myself that there must be a primrose called a singlet, so that didn’t help! Funnily enough, it became a bit easier when that penny dropped. Thanks to my favourite setter and pommers for the review

    1. Hi Milkyboy – am SO glad you said that – I thought about “singlet ” for ages but didn’t put it in becos I just couldn’t justify it – nice to know someone else is on the same wavelength, even if it’s the wrong one! Onward and upward!

    2. For me it was “Jersey” with the question mark that made me think ‘cow’, and then it became fairly obvious!

      1. My favourite clue. Another excellent review, Pommers – thanks to you and Jay.

        I think your review oozes care and attention as well!

  23. I enjoyed it. Got in very late, but still had a go.

    Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    Favourite clues were 2d and 11a.

    Goodnight all…

  24. Nice crossword with some that made me scratch my chin for a while – 2d was fab.

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