DT 26580 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26580

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26580

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Two difficulty ratings today. The first is for those, like me, who sail through Ray T’s puzzles and the second is for those that struggle. Either way, the enjoyment level is the same.

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    Commanding American soldiers with physical exterior (11)
{MAGISTERIAL} – to get this adjective meaning commanding or authoritative put the usual American soldiers inside (with … exterior) a word meaning physical or tangible

9a    Girl is someone keeping supple (7)
{LISSOME} – hidden inside (keeping) the first three words of the clue is a word meaning supple

10a    Company facing start of military strike action (6)
{COMBAT} – a charade of CO(mpany), M (start of Military) and a word meaning to strike leads to this (military) action

12a    Staff more optimistic following Conservative leader (7)
{CROSIER} – the pastoral staff of a bishop or abbot is created by putting an adjective meaning more optimistic after C (Conservative leader)

13a    Rumours sweep preceding son’s return (7)
{SCANDAL} – rumours are created by putting a verb meaning to sweep or investigate before (preceding) a word meaning son (as in “that’s my …”) reversed (return)

14a    However, chap’s half masculine (5)
{BUTCH} – a charade of a conjunction meaning however or nevertheless and half of a CH(ap) gives an adjective meaning masculine

15a    King among men destroyed following Achilles’ lead (9)
{AGAMEMNON} – this King of Mycenae was commander-in-chief of the Greek expedition against Troy – it’s an anagram (destroyed) of AMONG MEN after A (Achilles’ lead)

17a    Pig’s head? (9)
{SWINEHERD} – a cryptic definition of the person who tends pigs – a black mark if you tried to fit Chief Constable in here!

20a    Bird’s dead degenerate (5)
{DRAKE} – this male duck is a charade of D(ead) and a degenerate or libertine

22a    Defend former wife with scheme taking one in (7)
{EXPLAIN} – to get this verb meaning to defend or justify, start with a former wife (or husband) and then put a scheme around (taking … in) I (one)

24a    Criminal let out from closed institution (7)
{CONVENT} – a charade of a criminal (3) and a verb meaning to let out or release to get a closed community of people, usually women

25a    Thus Tory leader holds fight for council (6)
{SOVIET} – put a word meaning thus (2) and T (Tory leader) around (holds) a word meaning to fight for or contend to get a council, especially one of those forming the machinery of local and national government in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

26a    Naked after day in hotel is reserved (7)
{INDRAWN} – put a word meaning naked or plain after D(ay) and then put both inside a hotel or tavern to get an adjective meaning reserved or introspective

27a    Changing tone, it helps her job? (11)
{TELEPHONIST} – an anagram (changing) of TONE IT HELPS gives a job loosely referred to by the clue


2d    Boils furiously in a hard scrap (7)
{ABOLISH} – put an anagram (furiously) of BOILS inbetween A and H(ard) to get a verb meaning to scrap or cancel

3d    Pickled with brine, I eat nuts (9)
{INEBRIATE} – an adjective meaning pickled or intoxicated is an anagram (nuts) of BRINE I EAT

4d    Starts to take alternate course, keeping steady (5)
{TACKS} – the initial letters of (starts to) the last five words of the clue give a verb defined by the whole of this all-in-one clue

5d    Charge from force on one holding up train? (7)
{RAMPAGE} – a word meaning to charge or run amok is a charade of a word meaning to force followed by (on in a down clue) a young boy attending a bride at a wedding – if you looked for a reversal here, you didn’t find it!

6d    A group performing in dump (7)
{ABANDON} – a charade of A (from the clue), a musical group and a word meaning performing gives a verb meaning to dump or desert

7d    Smash opening of bathroom cabinet clutching chest (11)
{BLOCKBUSTER} – a smash or success is derived by starting with B (opening of Bathroom) and then putting a cabinet or small cupboard that can be secured around (clutching) the upper front part of the human body, especially a woman’s chest

8d    Class dunce has nothing right (6)
{ASSORT} – a verb meaning to class or categorize is a charade of a dunce, O (nothing) and R(igh)T

11d    Secret society wrongly denies getting time inside (11)
{CLANDESTINE} – an adjective meaning secret is created from a society or tribe followed by an anagram (wrongly) of DENIES around (getting … inside) T(ime)

16d    Coke head in increase for habit (9)
{ADDICTION} – put C (Coke head) inside an increase or extension to get this habit or dependency

18d    Fairy stories produced by press (7)
{IMPLORE} – a fairy is followed by traditional stories to get a word meaning to press or beg earnestly

19d    First woman holding credit card up is devious (7)
{EVASIVE} – put the first woman around a type of credit card reversed (up in a down clue) to get a word meaning devious

20d    Guys surrounding exhibition case for strips (7)
{DENUDES} – put a colloquial word for some guys around (surrounding) the outside letters (case) of E(xhibitio)N to get a verb meaning strips or uncovers

21d    Bowls and fields around end of green (6)
{ARENAS} – these large, often bowl-shaped, stadia are created by putting fields or territories around N (end of greeN)

23d    Nick heavy weight up on church (5)
{NOTCH} – to get this nick or V-shaped indentation start by reversing (up) a heavy weight and then add CH(urch)

My only complaint about Ray T’s puzzles is that the answers often give little scope for illustration!

The Quick crossword pun: {mow} + {tor} + {read} = {Motörhead}

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42 comments on “DT 26580

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle today. All went in fairly quickly until getting held up in the SE corner. 26a and 20d last in for me. Favourite is 27a. Can I give it 2.5*? Many thanks to Ray T for lots of fun, and to Big Dave for the review.

  2. I always enjoy Thursdays and the RayT crossword. No French today but some nice bits of innuendo, as usual. Best for me was 17 which gave me a real chuckle. Keep them coming, Ray.

  3. I struggled initially in the NW and SE corners. On balance it was just me since I stopped, had a cup of tea then came back and all went in – I clearly wasn’t thinking the right way. Some very pleasing clues, 16d for example made me laugh. Thanks to RayT for the puzzle and to BD for the review and the excellent vid – right up my street!

  4. completely agree with the comments above. All going well until SE corner forced me away for a second cup of coffee. Did the trick though. Now I’m not sure if I’m a “sailor” or struggler. :D Many thanks Ray T and of course BD.

  5. Looking forward to a lovely day today – Pint of cider, test match on telly, Ray T in the paper. Decided it was a bit early for cider so settled for coffee, Test Match delayed due to a wet field, just got into crossword and phone rang (nobody there !!!!), started crossword again, parcel arrived and needed signing for. Third time of asking and phone rang again (would I like a new kitchen?). Finally got around to finishing it despite all the false starts. Took ages to finish the SE corner, then 20A clicked and everything fell into place. Enjoyed 10A, 12A, 14A, 24A, 2D, 5D and 11D. Favourite today was 1A.
    Right, back to the test match (we won the toss). Only have to do the ironing, shopping and a bit of gardening, THEN I can have my cider. TTFN

    1. If you sign up for the Telephone Preference Service, you won’t get any more of those calls and will be able to concentrate on cricket, crosswords, cider and coffee!

      1. I’m signed up and still get them! The trouble is that to report them you have to take the trouble to find out who they are, and some of the calls come from abroad.

      2. And doing a 1471 only lets you know that they didn’t leave their number. Makes Telephone Preference Service a bit of a waste of time really.

  6. Um – I don’t seem to be on Ray T’s wavelength at all!! I stand to be corrected, but if 3d is “pickleD”, shouldn’t the answer also be an adjective and not a verb – i.e. “to **********”? Also find some of the definitions a tad tenuous but I’m probabaly being a sour puss because I needed a bit of help with this one – thank you, BD. My school reports are haunting me – “Could do better if tried harder”!!! Will persevere.

    1. Inebriate is an adjective as well as a verb. There was a TV play in the 70s called “Edna, the inebriate woman” starring Patricia Hayes.

  7. Must be the heat affecting my brain but I really struggled with this one! Don’t know why because looking at it now there’s nothing over hard about it!
    Like others I found the SE corner the trickiest bit.
    Thanks to RayT and BD.

  8. No struggle for me so 2* difficulty but definitely 4* fun. No favourites just a nice Ray T so thank you to him and BD too.

    The Toughie doesn’t take long but without the same enjoyment level. I can recommend the Guardian, Indy and Times (still got the FT to do with lunch).

  9. Struggled with this one in parts today. Learnt new words though and enjoyed it. Can’t understand why the answer to 3d hasn’t got a d on the end as the clue is pickled ?
    Thanks to Ray T and BD

  10. Invented a new word TOCUS (TO + alternate CoUrSe) at 4d, but I have to concede that the real answer works better. Probably liked 18d the most, but plenty of other good & challenging clues made this a Double 3* for me. Cheers BD & Ray. We could do with a few of those at the Rose Bowl.

  11. I tried doing the same as Digby at 4d, briefly, and both bottom corners took a little time. Loved 17a once the penny dropped, but needed BD’s hint for 26a. Enjoyable overall, so thanks to Ray & BD.

  12. Thanks to Big Dave & Ray T, enjoyable so far, but I could only solve the whole of the left hand side. Can’t do any of the right hand side. I am going to look at the hints soon.

  13. Well, the right hand side was beyond me. Looking at the hints, there were still five I couldn’t get. Favourite was 17a.

  14. Other than his trademark one word answers meaning it can be tricky to get a foothold, i’ve never understood the block some people have with Ray T. But then i always struggle with Rufus on Mondays! Thought this was easier than his usual and could have been close to record time for me had i not tried to self justify implies as meaning press. Thnaks to Ray and BD.

  15. The usual good quality stuff from Ray T.

    Thanks to him and to BD, particularly for the “Ace of Spades” link. The current TV ad featuring an acoustic version is priceless!

  16. Great stuff. Did have to look up 26a to check that I hadn’t invented a word. Thanks as ever to RayT and BD

  17. Went way over time allowance to drag this puzzle kicking and screaming past the finishing line without recourse to aid, so a 3 to 4* difficulty for me. Ray T. ‘Nuff said.

  18. I always know it’s Thursday when I can’t do the crossword. I’m clearly not on the Ray T wavelength.

  19. Another Thursday “headscratcher” enjoyed it though, even if it did take longer than usual! The bottom right was a real tester!

  20. Took me all day, on and off. Thought 18d was very witty. Needed hint for 15a. Thanks to all involved, and good to see ‘The Ace Of Spades’!

  21. I disagree with BD’s ratings. I found this far more difficult than the usual Ray T Thursday puzzle, also less enjoyable. Nothing very risquée, and no mention of Queen (unless I am mistaken). SE corner – I don’t want to go there again! No stand out clues, apart from 17a.

  22. Not a Ray T classic for me. Still enjoyable but nothing near one of his best. interesting how differently we all see these puzzles. Still guess noone will see this post. night all.

    1. I saw it too! …..Having not been on the ray T wavelength AT all….maybe it was becasue I was busy all day and din’t get chance to have a go until 10.30pm after a couple of glasses of grape juice…but even looking at BD’s hints in my nocturnal wanderings, I’m thinking how on earth are you supposed to guess at what Ray is driving at in some of the clues. Back to bed for me now!

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