DT 26568 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26568

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26568

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

I thought that several of the clues in this crossword were too difficult for a back page puzzle, and have increased my difficulty rating accordingly.

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    Stoke violent protest (7)
{POTTERS} – The nickname of Stoke City FC is an anagram (violent) of PROTEST

9a    Spanish backing what trawlermen do (8)
{CASTANET} – a hollow shell-shaped piece of hard wood used as an accompaniment to Spanish dances could be, if split (4,1,3) what trawlermen do

10a    Can a tailless male deer constitute game? (7)
{CANASTA} – a charade of CAN, A and a male deer without its final letter (tailless) gives a card game

11a    Lust and ardour continuously flag (8)
{STANDARD} – hidden inside the first three words of the clue (continuously) is a flag

12a    What French twits devoid of intelligence play? (6)
{QUOITS} – the French for what is followed by T(wit)S without wit / devoid of intelligence gives a deck game

13a    Gangs bred a mongrel as surprise attacker (10)
{SANDBAGGER} – an anagram (mongrel) of GANGS BRED A gives a surprise attacker

15a    Money starts to cause annoying shortage here (4)
{CASH} – this money comes from the initial letters (starts to) the last four words of the clue

16a    Work of art by Cezanne or Klee, perhaps, in treated canvas (9)
{TARPAULIN} – an anagram (work) of ART is followed by the first name shared by the two artists and IN to get a treated canvas

21a    Call to a boat from a boat (4)
{AHOY} – a call used to hail another vessel, when split (1,3), gives a large one-decked boat

22a    Strange how all life becomes over-familiar (4-6)
{HAIL-FELLOW} – an anagram (strange) of HOW ALL LIFE gives an adjective meaning excessively friendly and familiar – usually followed by –well-met

24a    Amorous hero ticks boxes (6)
{EROTIC} – a word meaning amorous is hidden inside (boxes) the middle two words in the clue

25a    Crimson-skinned bean caused aversion (8)
{REPULSED} – put the colour of which crimson is a shade around the edible seed of a leguminous plant, for example a bean, to get a verb meaning caused aversion

27a    Nurse reminiscent of the one-time Mrs Bono? (7)
{CHERISH} – a verb meaning to nurse could possibly mean reminiscent of the one-time Mrs Sonny Bono (not the U2 singer)

28a    Devotee of art in revolutionary Spain (8)
{PARTISAN} – to get this devotee put ART inside an anagram (revolutionary) of SPAIN

29a    Women dismissively labelled this perm cut a mess (7)
{CRUMPET} – these women regarded as objects of sexual desire are an anagram (a mess) of PERM CUT


2d    Undead vampire wearing expression of awe that’s prophetic (8)
{ORACULAR} – remove the D (un-dead) from the start of Bram Stoker’s vampire and insert the result inside (wearing) a word that sound like (expression of) awe to get an adjective meaning prophetic

3d    Unwilling to spend money without running water left or illumination (8)
{TEALIGHT} – put a word meaning unwilling to spend money around (without) EA (running water – ouch!) and L(eft) to get a form of illumination – a small round candle

4d    French restaurant loses initial support after riot about grill (10)
{ROTISSERIE} – start with a French restaurant, drop the BRA from the beginning (loses initial support) and put what’s left after an anagram (about) of RIOT and if you are still with me you get a grill with a rotating spit for roasting and barbecuing meat

5d    Tease a bit unfairly (4)
{BAIT} – a word meaning to tease is an anagram (unfairly) of A BIT

6d    The end of Weissmuller left Tarzans floundering with lines (6)
{STANZA} – an anagram (floundering) of TA(R)ZANS without the R (the end of WeissmulleR left) gives some lines of poetry

7d    Increase in radical green housing for Los Angeles (7)
{ENLARGE} – a word meaning to increase in size is derived from an anagram (radical) of GREEN around (housing) LA (Los Angeles)

8d    A tense, tired crook acquiesced in humiliation (3,4)
{ATE DIRT} – A T(ense) is followed by an anagram (crook) of TIRED to get a phrase meaning acquiesced in humiliation

11d         The first sign of sun and everyone on England’s coasts is wearing summer gear (9)
{SANDALLED} – a charade of S (first sign of Sun), AND, everyone and ED (EnglanD‘s coasts) gives a word meaning wearing summer gear

14d         Beauty accepting weight the recipe for fashion-leader (10)
{BELLWETHER} – put a beautiful woman around (accepting) W(eight) and add THE and R(ecipe) to get a fashion leader

17d         An iota of substance in message delivered by elderly relative? (8)
{NANOGRAM} – an iota of substance could, conceivably, be a message delivered by an elderly relative – perhaps to a Manchester United striker!

18d         Trivial matter of unions striking about sun on workplace floor (3-5)
{NON-ISSUE} – a trivial matter is created by putting an anagram (striking) of UNIONS around S(un) and then adding E (workplacE floor)

19d         Joining Liberal Party he gets treatment (7)
{THERAPY} – insert (joining) HE inside an anagram (liberal) of PARTY to get some healing treatment

20d         Insignificant role of twin elements (3-4)
{BIT-PART} – an insignificant rôle in a play is made up off two words meaning elements or pieces

23d         Encouragement the Duke of Edinburgh familiarly voiced (6)
{FILLIP} – this encouragement sounds like (familiarly voiced) the first name of the Duke of Edinburgh

26d         Cheese on board attracted a mouse (4)
{EDAM} – this Dutch cheese that tastes like rubber is hidden inside the last three words of the clue

No less than three hidden words and thirteen clues which include anagrams – too many for my liking.

The Quick crossword pun: {wet} + {won} + {Zappa} + {tight} = {whet one’s appetite}

87 comments on “DT 26568

  1. I would certainly agree with that BD. There were some rather oddball words floating around (although 14d being unknown to me was gettable from the wordplay). On reflection it was pretty good and I liked 17d in particular.
    Thanks to BD and the setter.

  2. I quite liked it – one or two to think about, but on the whole fairly straightforward. The NW took me the longest to unravel.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  3. Yet to tackle the Cryptic (suitably warned) but I thought that the linked clues in the Quickie were a good laugh!

  4. I can’t wait for the non-football brigades reaction to 1a [and 29]!! There were some very good clues including 1 9 11d 12 16 22 and 27 but my favourite was 17. I was expecting a RayT but this puzzle was a worthy substitute.

  5. I also found this a bit more difficult than usual, in fact I found it hard even to start! Could do with further explanation of 3d – I can’t see the connection between “EA” and “running water”.Can you clarify? Thanks

    1. I can say little more tha “it’s in Chambers“.

      ea (dialect)
      * A river
      * Running water
      * A drainage channel in the Fens, sometimes eau, as if taken from French

    2. I meant to mention that! – I only took a flier with the checking letters and thankfully the answer was confirmed. I then looked up EA to see what was going on! This is one clue which belongs in the Toughie IMHO.

      1. I’m definitely with you on that – that’s just too obscure. Still, one to file away for the future…

      1. The first time I saw EA in a puzzle, I thought it was referring to the river EA, in Biscay, Northern Spain.

        1. Arg………
          EA= Electronic Arts, the Video Game Studio.
          I can tell you that putting WI in this answer instead of EA made that corner hard. :-(
          Guessed it in the end, but, Crivvens….

            1. Hi Spindrift,
              I am as it happens, but this is more “Oor Wullie” and “The Broons.”
              I’m a quarter Scottish- my Grandda Archie is from Ecchlefechan.

              1. Sure you don’t mean Daft Wullie or Medium Sized Jock of the Nac Mac Feegles?

  6. Wow – excellent puzzle today, not at all easy. Some complained of yesterday’s being very tricky – this one exceeds yesterday’s a hundredfold. Only one word (1D) that I’d never heard of before which took a fair bit of working out. I thought that the answer to 14D was something to do with sheep – never considered sheep to be fashion leaders I must admit (despite my Welsh ancestry).

    Felt 1A was a touch obscure (especially as I read the first word as Stroke, d’oh) and I’m not sure that 22A is ‘over familiar’ but perhaps that’s just me.

    Enjoyed 9A, 10A, 11A, 12A, 13A, 25A 4D, 6D and my favourite must be 17D – just the thought of receiving one at a stag night tickles my sense of humour.

    1. It was difficult to mention the sheep in the main blog without using the word “bell”

      Here’s what Chambers has to say:

      * The leading sheep of a flock, on whose neck a bell is hung
      * A ringleader
      * A setter of a standard, pattern or trend, a leader (economics, etc.)

      1. That’s all very well, but I tried tospell it as “Weather”, and got stuck. Eek.

  7. Very enjoyable, liked 9a 16a 27a 29a 14d 23d. Took a while to get started but fell into place once I got going, thanks to the setter and BD for the hints

  8. Sent the chauffeur down to fill up the Hispano Suiza and had finished this difficult puzzle when he returned half an hour later.

    1. What a wonderful image that conjures. Either that or you’re as mad as a box of frogs!

  9. Another day off work, but only did just over half in what I consider reasonable time. Some good clues though.

  10. I didn’t enjoy this one at all. Libellule and I often have an email ‘moan’ on a Sunday about the GK in that paper being full of odd words just to achieve a pangram and I did wonder whether this was what was being attempted in both the cryptic and the quickie today. (Yes, I do know they are not pangrams). Took me three times as long as normal but without any of the usual fun. Sorry mystery setter but that’s my view of today’s cryptic. Thanks to BD for the explanations.

    The Toughie is a much more friendly, entertaining, example of a good crossword.

    1. I got so frustrated after solving just four clues in the time it usually takes to complete the crossword that I resorted to the blog. I tend to dread Thursdays, and decided today to try to think positively, but it did me no good. I might make a habit of going into crossword hibernation on Thursdays.

      1. This was one of those very very rare days where I almost gave up after only doing part of the crossword as I wasn’t enjoying it and thought I ought to stop and do something else more worthwhile. As the something else was work, I persevered to the end! I have just read it all through again but am still not a fan.

        1. It’s all subjective, I suppose, but I thought that there were some excellent clues here. 11d, for example, is beautifully constructed, I think.

          1. I’m with CS. I feel like I’ve been beaten up.
            I finished it, but I feel like it’s finished ME.

            1. Beautifully constructed maybe, but a horrible answer. Am trying hard to think of a sentence where I could use it!

              1. It’s not a terribly commonplace word, but the clue is so straightforward that even if you hadn’t previously been aware of the term, you could be very confident that it was the correct answer once the idea had occurred to you.

                As for usage, it would be analagous with “shod”, “bespectacled”, etc.

  11. I enjoyed this puzzle, and thank the setter for it.

    It’s quite tricky by back-page standards, and took me twice as long as the Toughie today (although the Toughie is particularly un-tough). I didn’t notice the number of anagrams while I was solving it, and it didn’t detract from the puzzle, for me at any rate.

    I loved the “undead vampire” in 2d, although the clue was ruined by a non-homophone.

    The “running water” in 3d is not often used, although it is a standard-ish Crosswordland term. It also appeared in a Toughie recently.

    I don’t know who the setter is, but I hope that we’ll see more of them.

    Thanks to BD for the analysis.

  12. I agree that this was more difficult but thought it improved with solving. Many of the answers resulted in my thinking – “why didn’t I see that earlier”. There were one or two clues that were more Toughie standard than backpage.

    Overall, I agree with the four stars for difficulty found it more enjoyable than some.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  13. I tend to agree with Prolixic on this one, only when I finished it did I realise I had quite enjoyed doing it, afew too many anagrams for my taste however. Thanks to BD for the review and to the mystery setter for a very reasonable crossword.

  14. Had no idea for 1A but I guess thats revenge for all the cricket clues we get!

  15. Opinion seems divided on this one, but I’m definitely in the “didn’t-like-it” camp. There were far too many anagrams and a horrible homophone at 2d as well as the obscure words mentioned above. The only clue I really enjoyed was 17d.

  16. I think I am in the Prolix/Bigboab camp. The further I got into the puzzle the more I found I was enjoying it and looking back the more obscure words are clued reasonably fairly.
    Having looked at it again, I must agree with Qix on the construction of 11d too.

    1. You have a good point about the balance between the familiarity of words and the complexity of the clues. More obscure words are perfectly fair game, I reckon, if they are clued relatively simply. It’s also quite difficult to fill a 15×15 grid entirely with everyday words every single time. I didn’t think that the vocabulary in this one was particularly difficult, but that’s always a subjective judgement.

    2. I suspect without any evidence other than a few too many glasses of Rioja that you were wearing your “slightly mad hat” :;

  17. I was firmly in the ‘not keen’ camp for quite a while, but did warm to it later on.

    I think, on balance, it’s nice to have variety as we go through the days and weeks. I do the Toughie some days and this did have more ‘toughie-style’ clues, but looking back they all seem to be fair enough.

    I like football, so I’ll give a thumbs-up to 1a. I can’t decide whether 2d is brilliant or dreadful.

    New words for me were: 9a 13a and 14d.

    Didn’t we have 23d in a very similar form quite recently????


    1. Indeed we did, Nick. On the day when all the blokes were on a golf course ignoring the Royal Wedding on DT26539:

      21d Boost when the groom’s grandfather’s spoken (6)

  18. Wow.
    I could write an essay on this one.
    I went wrong so many times.
    Started 3 d with “TWI”…… and wrote it in the grid.
    Spelt Wether as Weather. Tried to write it in and couldn’t.
    Thought Bono was part of U2.
    Had the Cheese been “made backwards”, I’d have got it a lot quicker. I put “Trap” in……… mouse- trap, Geddit?
    Thought answer to the Tarzans clue was something to do with Nazca…….. Aztec lines in Peru.

    On a positive note, thought there were some ace clues.
    1a, 9a, 12a because j’aime French words, 29a, but the best for me was 17d, which made me laugh.

    Somehow managed to stagger to completion, but I think more to do with me being stubborn than anything.
    I’m having a lie down now, but might try the Toughie once my brain has stopped spinning.
    5 out of 5 for difficulty.

  19. Yet again another made-up word to make the clue work . Cherish meaning to be like Cher is awful

      1. Do you think the setter read our dialogue on “Tangerineish”?

        At least the answer wasn’t “Chery”.

        “Ms Cole loses her butt to be more like one of her predecessors (5)”

  20. This one was tough and I resorted to the hints for a few, and even the answers for some, but then I’m not a football fan. (I had sussed out that 1a was an anagram, but I couldn’t see the relevance of either potters or spotter.) 9a made me smile, as did 17d, but fewer obscure words would be preferable. I did love the pun in the Quick today – very clever. :-)

    Thanks BD for the much-needed explanations and to the setter for the challenge.

  21. And another thing. Chambers dictionary is used for spelling but completely ignored for homophones. ‘Or’ is not a homophone of ‘Awe’, they have distinctly different ways of being pronounced. Yet another example of lazy clue compiling

    1. One of the problems with homophones is that they often depend on a particular kind of pronunciation. I agree with you about “awe” and “or”, but many wouldn’t. Similarly some people would accept “caught” and “court” as homophones, and some “farther” and “farther”. None of those would work for me.

      I think that homophones are overused.

      1. They work in Yorkshire where we think a homophone is somebody who doesn’t like the gay community.

        1. Nice one SD.

          If you want homophones, you want to try working in Dundee.
          Every word there ends with a noise like a seagull coughing- “eh.”
          e.g. Peh= Pie.

          Eh itself can mean I, eye, aye, eh, a and quite a few more.

          Awe and Or are probably both pronounced “Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

  22. Now today’s I loved! 11a, 27a and 23a I thought were great clues. Mind you 9a made me groan, terrible pun :-) nor sure I fully understood 3d, how do you ea out of water?
    Thanks to the setter, so much better than the usual Thursday puzzle.

    1. Brian BD has explained in comment in #5 above , I think a few of us needed help with that part of the answer

      1. Ah missed that one, thx. Funny tho, yesterday’s I thought was a real stinker and could only manage 2 answers but I found today’s much easier. Be boring if we were all the same :-)

        1. Brian I sailed through yesterday’s except for two but found today’s a nightmare – as you say – be boring if we were all the same.

  23. I’m in the “didn’t enjoy this at all” camp – perhaps it’s because I’m not a nice bit of 29a! Maybe more of a 17d!

  24. Found it really, really difficult and have now to go and lie down in a darkened room. Thanks to BD for the rather more civilised clues.

  25. I’m still not quite sure which camp I’m in – at the time I thought it was really difficult and didn’t enjoy it too much (not necessarily because I was finding it difficult) but I’m just beginning to think that it was OK. It was certainly a VERY welcome diversion from the boredom of sitting in fracture clinic OPD for three hours with my ancient Mum snoring loudly beside me!!! AND it’s my birthday damn it!! What a way to spend a birthday – never mind – husband cooking supper tonight, phone calls and cards from daughters and good friends coming on Saturday evening. Perhaps I should stop moaning. :grin: Back to the crossword – I didn’t recognise 1a as a football reference – just thought it was to do with the potteries. 10a took ages – the only male deer I could think of was a ‘buck’ which didn’t help. 27a took a long time and as for 29a – words fail me – can only wonder what picture Gazza would have found! Think I’ve written enough already apart from saying thanks to the setter and to Big Dave and that I really loved 12a.

    1. Congratulations. On these occasions I always err on the side of caution and say wlecome to your quarter centenary – though I am probably a few too years too early.

      1. Thanks very much to all of you – just about to go outside into the sun to have what will probably be the first of quite a few glasses of wine. :grin: I could be a little late here tomorrow ….

    2. I didn’t know it was your birthday, Kath, so belatedly wish you many happy returns. :-)

      1. Thanks, too, to Jezza and Franny – have just had several glasses of wine, lovely supper outside – all cooked, and cleared up by husband, and more phone calls from wonderful daughters – what could be better. Just hope that I will be in some kind of state tomorow to tackle the most difficult crossword of the week (in my opinion anyway). Good night all ….. zzzz

  26. I found this very difficult, but managed with a great deal of effort and help to complete all but four words, for which I needed BD’s hints. 3d was one of them, as I hadn’t found the four-letter word at 15a, and I solved it from the across letters. I’d never heard of ‘ea’ as water either. If it’s dialect, I wonder how it’s pronounced? Being one of the non-football team, I thought 1a was something to do with the potteries at Stoke-on Trent, so it didn’t present too much of a problem.
    16a made me gasp when I got it. There were many good clues, but the ones I enjoyed most were 12a and 17d.

    Thank goodness, I say, for the anagrams, as without them I could never have got started. And thanks to BD for his explanations and to the setter for the mental workout. :-)

  27. I’m going to sit on the fence on this one. I agree with the 4* and think this puzzle should have been on the inside (toughie for the on-line folk). I am giving myself a pat on the back for finishing this albeit with the help of 3 of BD’s hints. I ground to a halt in the SW corner by glibly filling in ASPIRANT (don’t ask, I still feel silly). 14d took about 20 mins to drag out of Chambers. I didn’t know that 22a meant that, I thought the whole phrase meant something like ‘hello old chap, nice to meet you’.

    Most enjoyable were 27a and 17d.

    Thanks Dave and the setter (I think).

  28. Nearly lost the will several times but managed to stagger on knowing that others had also found this baby hard work. Amazingly I finished but too drained to remember very much about it. Going to revive myself now with a generous measure of Dark Star IPA. Thanks, although that’s not quite the word I’m looking for.

  29. Had to check here why the answers to 11a (a real ‘doh’ moment when I realised) and 3d were what they obviously were. Otherwise I was in tune with it from the start … for once!

  30. A tad hard today but I/we enjoyed it! Laugh out loud moments with NANOGRAM and CRUMPET. My friend (who has stayed an extra night) and I solved this between us in about my normal time but it was interesting that he got the clues quickly that I would have struggled with and vice versa! We did behave sensibly last night and went to bed at about 0130 after only about 2 cases of wine but pommette has been really off-colour today! Is there such a thing as delayed hangover?
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. Quite sure that there is such a thing as a delayed hangover – it’s called “I’ve had too much to drink for several nights in a row, too many late nights and I’ve had enough of visitors now – please all clear off!!” Do hope that Pommette feels better soon. Don’t you think that 12a was wonderful?

      1. Hi Kath and a delayed Happy Birthday from me!
        I guess you’re about right on the hangover front!
        Agree about 12a.

  31. I groaned and laughed in equal measure at 17d. I enjoyed it. I find it satisfying to arrive at an answer that I’ve never heard of through logic alone. Weird?

  32. Not posted for ages but have to say I’m also in the unimpressed camp. Some of the clues were incredibly colvoluted.
    And does Erotic really mean amorous?

  33. Haven’t posted for ages but wanted to say how much I enjoyed this puzzle. Perhaps it’s just me but I didn’t think there were any really difficult words cf cargo cult loosestrife monstera and prosit which we’ve had this week and which I had never heard of.

  34. And I liked the card game clue which reminded me of playing the game as a youngster with my grandma

  35. We’ve come to this a bit late, as usual. As boaters, we get the paper mid-morning, so we always do the previous day’s puzzle over breakfast. Enjoyed this puzzle, though some of the clues gave us brain-ache. We surmised that the EA in 2d stood for Environment Agency, who ‘run’ water! (Viz Thames-Severn Water’s slogan: “Running water for you”.) This puzzle has certainly engendered a lot of comment. Is it us, or have quite a few of the recent puzzles been more testing than usual? We normally complete them over our porridge with no problem, but a couple of times recently we’ve had to consult BD for guidance on solving the last two or three clues, or for an explanation of the solution we have found!

    1. There’s no truth in the rumour that I have asked the setters to make the puzzles more difficult in order to increase the popularity of the blog!

  36. I didn’t find this nearly as difficult as I expected to. I solved the majority of it without recourse to hints etc. Never heard of the phrase in 22a though so had to look at BD’s explanation. Loved 27a. Took a while figuring out why Nanogram was correct but I think I was trying to be a little too literal in thinking ogram had to be a message of some sort. Very enjoyable – many thanks to BD and to setter.

  37. It’s not often that I don’t complete the back page crossword, but I completely failed on 1a. I did think it was an anagram of protest, but being such an ignoramus about football, I had no idea that the answer was the nickname of this club. Oh well, live and learn! Thank you to the contributors on this blog for unboggling 1a.

  38. Just realised that my previous post sounds a bit big-headed. Please note that for me to complete any puzzle can take up hours and hours of thinking time (I’ve never tried to complete a puzzle within a timeframe – I’m much too slow). For me the enjoyment is in eventually completing it – and invariably I can only do that with the aid of my trusty dictionaries and thesaurus. Just thought I’d clear that up!

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