DT 26579 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26579

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26579

Hints and tips by Pommers

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

Hola From the Vega Baja on a beautiful morning. Just right for solving outside in the courtyard before it gets too hot. As usual an excellent Wednesday puzzle. I toyed with giving it 4* for difficulty as there are a couple of obscure words but they’re both fairly clued so 3 it is! Be interested to hear your views.

The idea of this blog is to give hints to help in solving, without necessarily giving away the answer. I’d be interested to hear comments on whether I’m getting the balance right between giving enough of a hint and giving too much away.

As usual the ones I like 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. Blimey! Free gold in passage (8)
{CORRIDOR} – A passage, especially one in a school building, is a charade of another exclamation of surprise (3), a word meaning free (3) and the usual term for gold (2). It always gives me hope when I solve the first across clue straight away! Unfortunately, today it was a false hope!

9a. Work out tax (8)
{EXERCISE} – Double definition. A term for work out, in a gym perhaps, is also a word for tax, in the sense of test. It took a while for the penny do drop on this one. I think the second definition is a bit weak.

10a. Couch in terms of antitheses (4)
{SOFA} – This word for a couch is hidden in the clue.

11a. No more men? It’s bad, but temporary lapse (6,6)
{SENIOR MOMENT} – A temporary lapse is an anagram (bad) of NO MORE MEN ITS. Think I had a few of these while solving today!

13a. A cop duo’s excited by TV series (8)
{DOCUSOAP} – A rather obscure word for a genre of TV programme is an anagram (excited) of A COP DUOS. This is one of the clues that nearly got the puzzle a 4* rating. It took me ages to spot the anagram as I was looking for the name of a TV series not a programme type!

15a. Room available for hire, accommodating one (6)
{TOILET} – The smallest room in the house. Take a phrase you might see on a sign advertising a room for rent (2,3) and insert (accommodating) I (one). I think this is my favourite, quite clever really as the room in question does only accommodate one!

16a. Bride lost heart, getting thank you letter from abroad (4)
{BETA} – A Greek letter is made from B(rid)E (loses heart) and the colloquial word for thank you.

17a. Ship with cargo of sweet potatoes (5)
{SPUDS} – Take the usual abbreviation for a ship and insert (with cargo) an abbreviation for a sweet or dessert to get a colloquial term for potatoes. I like the surface reading of this, very smooth!

18a. Regularly leave euro? Always (4)
{EVER} – A word meaning always is made from the alternate letters (regularly) of lEaVe EuRo.

20a. One who sees vehicle reversing, surrounded by Spanish cheer (6)
{ORACLE} – One who sees, the future perhaps, is made up of a vehicle reversed surrounded by what the Spanish shout at a bullfight.

21a. Postponing visit, initially in broken English (8)
{SHELVING} – Definition is postponing. Insert V(isit) into an anagram (broken) of ENGLISH.

23a. Carry votes on troubled extension to home (12)
{CONSERVATORY} – A home extension where you might sit and look at the garden is an anagram (troubled) of CARRY VOTES ON.

26a. Times chasing copy from summit (4)
{APEX} – Times is nothing to do with T or the newspaper, it’s times in the sense of 2 times 2 = 4. Take the mathematical symbol for this operation and place it after (chasing) one of the usual crosswordland words for copy. The result is summit or top.

27a. Cash given to former telecommunications facility (8)
{EXCHANGE} – A facility in the telephone system is a charade of the usual abbreviation for former, as in former spouse, and a handful of small coins. For some reason this was my last in! Perhaps the double unch didn’t help.

28a. New dog is trained to get ducks (8)
{WIDGEONS} – These ducks are an anagram (trained) of NEW DOG IS. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these!


2d. Medical instrument books getting zero room (8)
{OTOSCOPE} – A medical instrument for examining the ear. It’s a charade of the abbreviation for one of the testaments of the bible (books), O (zero) and a word for room in the sense of space.

3d. Confidence boosters scare as nurse gets jittery (12)
{REASSURANCES} – These confidence boosters are an anagram (gets jittery) of SCARE AS NURSE.

4d. Doctor working with energy is an idiot (6)
{DRONGO} – An Australian slang term for an idiot is made up from an abbreviation for a doctor, ON (working) and a word for energy or zip. I had actually heard of this word but I don’t think it’s is common usage even in Australia! According to Wiki the word comes from a racehorse of this name in the early 1920’s which ran very poorly – you live and learn!

5d. Looking embarrassed, love to try again (4)
{REDO} – A term for doing something again is the usual word for looking embarrassed followed by O (love).

6d. Call one group up, finding bugs (8)
{TERMITES} – A word for call or name followed by I (one) and a group reversed (up in a down clue) gives some bugs or insects, sometimes called white ants. This is another of the 4* candidates as I‘m not sure the first part works very well! Maybe somebody will explain it a bit better!

7d. Tree (English) in flames (4)
{FIRE} – A tree followed by E(nglish) gives some flames.

8d. One willing to try a right-winger getting cut short (8)
{TESTATOR} – Someone writing a will is a charade of a try, A (from the clue) and a right wing politician without its last letter (cut short).

12d. Before journey, miss the first course (6,6)
{MAIDEN VOYAGE} – Take a word for journey and in front of it (before) place a slightly archaic word for an unmarried lady (miss).  The result is a phrase for the first journey (course?) of a ship for example.

14d. Advertises connections to the national grid (5)
{PLUGS} – A slang term for advertises or promotes is also what you use to connect something to the elecricity supply. Another very nice surface. Sorry about the picture – had to get a car in somehow!

16d. Little brother feels pain and opens up (8)
{BROACHES} – An abbreviation for brother (3) followed by a word meaning feeling pain gives a term for opens up, a barrel of port perhaps.

17d. Cutting remarks finishing trial (8)
{SHEARING} – Definition is cutting. Take the last letter (finishing) of remarkS and a word for a trial or court case.

19d. Island adopted by strangely intense scientist (8)
{EINSTEIN} – This scientist (think relativity) is an anagram (strangely) of INTENSE with I(sland) inserted (adopted).

22d. Ran away, leaving returning bride poleaxed (6)
{ELOPED} – A term for ran away, with your future bride, is hidden but reversed (returning) in briDE POLEaxed.

24d. Daring to kiss (4)
{NECK} – Double definition. A very nice clue IMHO, short, sweet and to the point!

25d. A Geordie wife — not for the first time! (4)
{ANEW} – A followed by an abbreviation for the part of the country where Geordies live and W(ife) gives a term for not for the first time or again.

I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 15a and 17a.

The Quick crossword pun: {stray} + {tough} = {straight off}

92 comments on “DT 26579

  1. Very enjoyable today. As Pommers said, some obscure words (I was also looking for the name of a TV series for 13A rather than a genre of programme). Enjoyed clue, ermmmm, now which one was it? On the tip of my thingy? Oh yes, 11A. Also enjoyed 1A,27A, 28A, 4D (never thought I’d see that as an answer) and 16D. Favourite today was 17A – very clever clue and I didn’t try to fit YAM in there, honest I didn’t, never even crossed my mind.

    1. I did – for ages!! Had to go to Pommers for help on that one and to learn the error of my ways!

    1. Welcome to the blog Mobwhodoes

      The advertising of solving times is discouraged on this site. They vary enormously from person to person, which is why we use a star rating to attempt to show relative difficulty.

      1. I live 6 miles from a newsagent so I subscribe to Telegraph on line xword. If you look at that site you will see people posting times of less than 2 minutes to complete the cryptic xword! It takes me that long to do one clue, sometimes more!! What are your thoughts?!!

  2. Enjoyed this one except maybe for 13a, obvious anagram and solved by the checking letters, but can’t find a definition for that particular word anywhere, thought we were into neologisms. Best for me among many favourites was 17a.
    Thanx to Compiler and Pommers for an excellent review.

    1. Guess its the technical term for a ‘fly on the wall’ programme (or as I like to think of it, yet more cheap TV from the BBC)

    2. Hi Wayne
      Haven’t got Chambers but I came across this in dictionary.com
      Definition: a television documentary that follows the life of its characters, esp. a family or people of the same occupation, over time
      Etymology: docu(mentary) + soap (opera)

      Similar to DOCUDRAMA but that’s about fictional characters rather than real ones.

      1. Ooops,sorry, meant to post reply #3 below on ‘Reply’ to Pommers. Will get it right one day.

    3. 13a is in Chambers:

      A television series that follows the lives of real people over a period of time

  3. Hi Pommette, glad you’re enjoying good weather, dull and overcast (but warm) on South Coast. Back to the clue; Guess you learn something new every day, haven’t used dictionary.com before but will bookmark it now. Thanx for the detailed explanation, very helpful.

    1. Hi Wayne
      That was from me (changed now). I’m on pommette’s laptop as she’s taken the small netbook to the UK with her.
      Forgot to change the name D’oh!!!!!
      Dictionary.com isn’t bad but beware – it’s little American at times!

  4. Enjoyed this one. Took time to get some words but it was interesting and enjoyable to do so. Chambers a must for words like 13A. Enjoyed 20A, 15A and 8D
    Thanks to setter and pommers

  5. Highly enjoyable fare from our Wednesday Wizard. On balance, this was still a 2* for me in terms of difficulty as the more obscure words were very clearly clued. 15a and 17a were top clues for me too. Many thanks to Jay for the crossword and Pommers for the review.

    Anyone who enjoys Giovanni’s Friday crosswords should give his Toughie a go today. It is a very gentle Giovanni in Toughie terms and I would say roughly equivalent to one of his trickier back page Friday crosswords.

  6. Good start to the day. Finished without Pommers’ help, so thanks to compiler for setting the right level of difficulty for me. Enjoyed 17a, identified with 11a, hated 18a (I always miss alternate letter solutions).

  7. A gentle canter along the beach methought. Solved most of the clues in my head while sat waiting outside the doctor’s surgery for Mrs S. Guess which numpty forgot his pen?

    I am sure that you are all aware of the site but if not and you’re interested in words and phrases and their origins I would recommend Michael Quinion’s “World Wide Words”. Fascinating!

    1. I have just had a look at MQ’s World Wide Words. I agree, what a great site. Thanks for that!!

  8. I think 15a may actually be even cleverer than I first thought. If it’s a public one of these, where you have to insert a coin in order to get in, then it’s a ‘room available for hire’ which only accommodates one !

      1. If you follow the Telegraph ‘letters’ page there have been some wonderful examples of expressions for the bog etc.

        1. Must admit, I tend to refer to it as ‘The little crossword solvers room’. So easy to just sit and reflect on the glories of our setters in there

            1. You guys are so sharp you’ll cut yourselves one of these days (as my Granny used to say)!

  9. Phew! The first crossword this week that I’ve managed without needing the hints, and, in a few cases, the contents of the curly brackets! Faith in the cryptic bit of my brain is now restored!! :smile: I enjoyed this one – I think the 3* for difficulty is about right, for me anyway. I have never heard of “docusoap” but it was easy enough to work out – and it is in Chambers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen 28a with a “D” in the middle but it seems to be an alternative. For a long time I couldn’t get beyond “sneering” for 17d – it would have worked for “cutting” but not the rest of the clue but eventually saw it. I thought that 9a was a bit unfair – isn’t “work out” as in “exercise” all one word? I thought that 2d was a bit tricky – more commonly known as an “auriscope”. I liked 15 and 17a and 4, 12, 22 and 24. Also liked the unusually large number of anagrams! With thanks to Jay and to Pommers – I think your hints give just the right amount of help.

    1. Hi Kath, I was ‘missing’ yesterday, just hoping the situation has somewhat improved :-)

      1. Hi Mary – thanks – situation about the same, perhaps a bit better BUT sister now here and we (husband and I) are off to France for 48 hours leaving her in charge! :grin:

  10. Very enjoyable if somewhat simpler and more straightforward than we have had for some time (2* maybe ?). Agree that 15a worked on all levels so was more complete than you might first think. 8d was the main stumbling block and then when it came was so obvious doh.. Thanks to setter and Pommers

  11. If you want to know what I think then just read Prolixic’s comment at 6 above. He has taken the words from my fingertips. My only disagreement would be that my favourites were 11a and 17a.

    He has also taken what I wanted to say about the Toughie too!

  12. 3* methinks, as I needed a stroll in the car park before the old penny dropped into 15a. Had to work out the anagrams for 11 and 13 as my “little cheat website” couldn’t help, so that also justified 3*. An altogether satisfying solve, and my thanks to Messrs P & J

  13. Not too difficult today but very enjoyable nonetheless. Some lovely clues especially 15a, 1a and 20a. Although I got 18a I needed Pommers hint to see the construction. First time I have seen this done. Great review Pommers. Thanks to setter


    1. Hi Peter
      Re 18a. Not the commonest construction perhaps but it does come up regurlaly (!). Watch out for indicators like regularly, alternately and especially odd and even to denote taking the odd letters or the even ones.

  14. Hola Pommers from sunny (not) West Wales :-)
    Agree lovely crossword today finished quite early but this is the first chance I’ve had to get on the blog, fav clue, just one, 17a loved that one, 1a surely the word play gives a bit of misdirection here? Yes, blimey = cor, free = rid, or = gold, but the in does not add anything and in fact tells the solver to take ‘cor’ and put free and gold inside it, in which case the ‘or’ comes before the ‘rid’ which wouldn’t work! Just an observation, I know the ‘in’ is to make the clue read :-)

    1. Hola Mary, thought you were ignoring me for a while there!
      The clue certainly wouldn’t get shortlisted on COW for that reason but in real life setters get away with the odd extra word to improve surface reading. Same as BY in 13a – not really necessary but at least not misleading!.

        1. I think you’re barking up the wrong tree trying to pick a hole in this setter’s clueing!

          The construction is simply [wordplay] in [definition], which is perfectly fair.

          1. Not really Qix, it was the way I read it at first and therefor thought others might have taken it the same way

    2. In this clue IN is a link word between the wordplay and the answer and occurs frequently. It is easier to justify the other way around, i.e. “answer is found IN wordplay”.

    3. Thanks both for taking the time to reply, it wasn’t a comment made just to be awkward, but I do like to maybe provoke a little discussion ;-) Thanks once agin for blog Pommers, love the 15a picture Pommette, is it one of yours?

      1. Nah, I found it through Google. Don’t think either of ours would fit in a loo!
        I do have a rather amusing one of a previous cat, sadly no longer with us, but I don’t know where it is. I’ll have to ask pommette when she gets back from the UK. I would have loved to use it today!

  15. A couple of 11a’s – notably 14d and 17a, so thank to Pommers for help – otherwise finished quicker than anticipated from first read-through. Never heard of 2d but managed to work it out and then checked that it was actually a word! Ditto 13a – a particularly nasty clue, I thought! 15a definite fav but also liked 20a and 26a. Thanks to setter for enjoyable puzzle.

  16. Favourites are 15a (Inspired choice of picture pommers) and 17a, but all good really. Pommers- in answer to your question I think you are pitching the clues just about right, no gripes from me. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  17. Some tricky anagrams today (11a, 13a) but I managed to get them without resorting to electronic assistance (although Digby’s comment at #13 above suggests it wouldn’t have helped anyway!). In fact whole puzzle was done without any help except for checking 2d once I’d worked it out. 17d and 27a were the last in, but I do have a small gripe with 24d – I cannot find any online reference to this meaning ‘daring’. Chambers online suggests a number of phrases that do, but not the answer on it’s own. Is it mentioned in the book itself?

    Also, BD – any chance of the Quickie pun? I think I’ve got it, but it seems a bit weak to me, hence I’m doubting my answer… Thanks.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and Pommers for the review – like the pic for 15a, naturally.

    1. Chambers has this word as: Impudence, audacity (slang).

      (One of 13 definitions of that term as a noun)

    2. Alison

      Sorry – I got used to Pomette adding the pun, but forgot she was not there to do it!

      I too think it’s a bit weak.

  18. Hi AlisonS
    I think that here NECK is more in the sense of cheek or impudence. It’s another that maybe is a northern term. I’m well aware of it, coming from Manchester as I do, and I believe Jay is from the Wirral so . . . .
    It’s often used coupled with BRASS – to have the BRASS NECK to do something.

    I did find this in dictionary.com
    informal: impudence; audacity: “he had the neck to ask for a rise”

    1. I did look at dictionary.com, but obviously not hard enough cos I missed that!! Thanks to you, and Qix, for the info. :-)

  19. Thanks to Pommers and the compiler for a very enjoyable puzzle. I got totally confused with 15a, got the answers to 6d & 26a without understanding the wordplay, so I didn’t put them in. Had I done so I probably would have got 15a :-) Still enjoyed it though.
    Favourites were 1a and 13a, although I think 13a is an awful word for an awful programme, but that’s just me having a bit of a rant !

    PS. is there a way to change my avatar ? It looks a bit too frightening for me :-)

    1. Hi Heno
      Your avatar looks a bit like me when I’m trying to solve an Elgar Toughie!
      To change it I think the easiest way is to go to gravatar.com and register your email address.
      You can then get an avatar which will follow you from site to site

  20. Late today as I had to drive to that London. As a number of Jay’s puzzles I found this a very hard start but the down clues added enough checking letters to get to grips in a reasonable time.
    No real favourites since so many were well clued as we have come to expect on Wednesdays.
    Thanks to Pommers for the review nd Jay for the puzzle.

    1. Hi Gnomey
      I was the same, very slow start, only 3 across clues on first pass! That and the couple of odd words was why I toyed with the idea of 4* difficulty. There were a few easy clues to give checkers so i reckoned 3* overall was probably about right for most. Don’t look at my solving time on the website – pommette was wittering incessantly while I was trying to think so about 50% of it would be more accurate. If that time was correct it would be about 2 mins off being 5*!

  21. Hi Pommers & Franco, I’ve been to Gravatar and got a new Avatar, but had to change my name from heno to Henostat.

    1. Heno

      You should still be able to post as Heno – the avatar is linked to your email address – as you can see from your earlier comments!

      1. Thanks Pommers & Big dave, I’ve logged out of WordPress, so this should show as heno with the chicken logo :-)

          1. Hi Franco, it resembles my Surname.
            As an aside, it reminds me of an old Marx Brothers joke in reverse, when one is talking about a viaduc(t) and the other replies “why no a chicken ?” :-)

            1. Hi Heno, far too cryptic for me, after nn bottles of wine! Maybe someone else could provide an answer?

              1. I’ll explain it tomorrow, but in the meantime it would be interesting to see if there are any Marx Brothers fans out there.

              2. Vi a (why a in Jewish pronuciation) duc, = Why a duck? Reply ‘why not a chicken?’

            2. Hi Heno
              Clocked it from your email address! Good screen name!
              Mine is from my surname also,but in the Brian Johnson (Jonners – TMS) mode. I’ve been stuck with it for about 20 years, ever since he started calling Jonathan Agnew ‘Aggers’ and Blofeld ‘Blowers’!

                1. I was doing about 85mph on the M6 listening to that and almost crashed the car I was laughing so much!

    2. I had a similar problem when I started blogging and needed a Worpress account – ‘pommers’ (probably a relative!) was taken. However, you can have a screen name different from your user name and I don’t think duplicates matter. Gravatar is the same as far as I know.

  22. G’night all
    Going to bed now as it’s 0030 CEST and I’m a bit knackered!
    Good day though. Excellent Xword to blog and I went to the quiz with a couple of mates to stand in for pommette and we won!
    Thanks to those who commented on my level of hints – I’ll keep it about the same as nobody complained either way.
    See you all tomorrow.

  23. We’re off to France early tomorrow morning for a short escape – am SO hoping that it’s a Ray T puzzle – if it is it will keep me happy (and quiet) all the way through the tunnel and for a while after we arrive so it will also keep my husband happy! :grin: See you all on saturday.

    1. Have a good break Kath – sounds like you deserve one. Pommette in UK sorting out problems for her mother so I know where you’re coming from. Fortunately I have a sister who takes care of my aged parent – always comes down to the daughter for some reason.

      1. We are off to France next week to give sister-in-law break as she has taken my 95 year old mother-in-law out there to live in her wisdom!!!

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