DT 26586 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26586

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26586

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment *

The best thing about this puzzle for me was that it was all over very quickly. Eleven of the twenty-eight clues involved an anagram – which should please some of you.

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    Faculty garden designer? (10)
{CAPABILITY} – a faculty or the first name only of a famous designer of gardens – the designer is more usually known by first name and surname

6a    Ditch canned laughter (2-2)
{HA-HA} – a ditch or vertical drop often containing a fence, e.g. between a garden and surrounding parkland or a representation of a laugh, canned or otherwise

9a    Around fifty guests ejected for having no bottle (7)
{GUTLESS} – put the Roman numeral for fifty inside an anagram (ejected) of guests to get an adjective meaning having no bottle or cowardly

10a    At heart accepting change of direction is cockeyed (7)
{ATHWART} – start with AT HEART and change East into West (change of direction) to get a word meaning cockeyed

12a    Surprisingly wild men hunger for routine (13)
{UNDERWHELMING} – a rather obvious anagram (surprisingly) of WILD MEN HUNGER gives a word meaning routine or disappointing – like this puzzle!

14a    It’s harsh for new family in the centre of Bude (6)
{UNKIND} – a word meaning harsh or cruel is created by putting N(ew) and a synonym for family inside UD (centre of Bude)

15a    English southern — principally cockney — slang makes French scoff (8)
{ESCARGOT} – a charade of E(nglish) S(outhern), C (principally Cockney) an a word meaning slang, especially criminal slang, gives something that is traditionally scoffed by the French

17a    Skiing event in decline (8)
{DOWNHILL} – a double definition

19a    Description of 15 belied translation (6)
{EDIBLE} – a description of 15 across, or any food come to that, is an anagram (translation) of BELIED

22a    Nothing in a game plan had structured beginning and end (5,3,5)
{ALPHA AND OMEGA} – put O (nothing) inside an anagram (structured) of A GAME PLAN HAD to get the beginning and end (of the Greek alphabet)

24a    Knowing in retrospect something of Eric, it’s on guitar (7)
{GNOSTIC} – an adjective meaning knowing or shrewd is hidden (something of) and reversed (in retrospect) inside the last four words of the clue

25a    Runny brie tart is timeless snack (7)
{RAREBIT} – an anagram (runny) of BRIE TAR(T) without one of the Ts (is Time-less) gives Mary’s favourite snack – a better setter would have indicated that only one of the T(ime)s is to be removed

26a    Nosh high teas (4)
{EATS} – a word meaning nosh or food is an anagram of TEAS, indicated by “high”

27a    He’s a deeply disturbed dreamer (10)
{SLEEPY-HEAD} – yet another anagram, this time HE’S A DEEPLY is disturbed to get a dreamer


1d    Regularly scraggly? Frank? Far from it (4)
{CAGY} – the even letters of two words from the clue give a word meaning guarded, or not frank

2d    Pull off enthralling books with whatever happens to be available (3,4)
{POT LUCK} – put a word meaning to pull off feathers from a bird to prepare it for cooking around a collection of books from the Bible to get whatever happens to be available

3d    Do-gooder hid a greenbelt development (8,5)
{BLEEDING-HEART} – this do-gooder is an anagram (development) of HID A GREENBELT

4d    Sheen rumoured to be womaniser (6)
{LUSTRE} – this sheen sounds like (rumoured to be) a womaniser

5d    Box in international contest concealing pain (3,5)
{TEA CHEST} – this large box is created by putting an international sporting contest around (concealing) a pain

7d    Fabulous style magazine losing energy (7)
{AMAZING} – an adjective meaning fabulous is an anagram (style) of MAGAZIN€ without the E (losing Energy)

8d    Totally nude (10)
{ALTOGETHER} –a double definition – in the second definition the answer is usually preceded by “in the”

11d    Comedy duo with enthusiastic replacement for partner doing very well (4,3,6)
{HALE AND HEARTY} – start with a comedy duo and replace Pace, the partner, with a word meaning enthusiastic to get a phrase meaning doing very well

13d    Unwisely drag equal number into court (10)
{QUADRANGLE} – put an anagram (unwisely) of DRAG EQUAL around N(umber) to get a court(yard)

16d    Based on observation, half of lilac in Ilchester is on the up (8)
{CLINICAL} – a word meaning based on observation is hidden (half of) and reversed (on the up) inside three words in the clue

18d    After trimmed wig, frizzy toupé is total disaster (7)
{WIPEOUT} – WI (wig without the final letter / after being trimmed) is followed by an anagram (frizzy) of TOUPÉ gives a total disaster, especially for a surfer

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Blackberry bush bishop found on hike (7)
{BRAMBLE} – another name for a blackberry bush is a charade of B(ishop) and a hike in the country

21d    Nice evening for a party (6)
{SOIRÉE) – a French word (Nice is in France) for evening gives an English word for a party held in the evening

23d    Unfinished art exercise kept for reproduction (4)
{STUD} – drop the final Y from an art exercise to get where a horse is kept for breeding

In retrospect solving this one after solving Micawber’s Toughie was a mistake resulting in this being a bigger disappointment than if I had solved them in the opposite order!

The Quick crossword pun: {tut} + {chief} + {Ely} – {touchy-feely}

115 comments on “DT 26586

  1. Good morning Dave, I loved the anagrams :-) a good way into a puzzle for me, was this RayT today? if so I agree one of his easier ones, but still a 3* for me with help from my ‘friends’ , I sometimes think I am making no progress at all! I didn’t understand 15a, although I had the answer and have never heard of ‘argot’ before, I saw Hale & Pace some years ago in Swansea Grand, we had taken two of the boys to see them as we loved their TV shows, when we got there it was an adult only night but they took pity on us and let them in, we had more laughs watching the two boys in fits of laughter than watching the show, which was brilliant, fav clue for me today 8d, loved the double definition, may be back later not sure, if not Hi Kath, and keep :-) ing !! (difficult I know)

    1. Mary

      You’ve been given your answer in “Comments” where you asked the same question. No, this is definitely not one of Ray’s.

    2. A mixture of food and music related clues and high anagram count could indicate that Petitjean (Toughie setter) has become one of the back page setters as these are some of his hallmarks.

  2. Enjoyed it today, much easier than earlier in the week! You might describe it as 12a!!
    I was like Peter Griffin on redbull. I hear you asking who’s Peter Griffin? And what’s Redbull? Are there any Family Guys out there?!!

    1. I love Family Guy- it’s my favourite comedy show at the moment, and, like the DT croswword, it seems to be available every day.
      And Red Bull is fine- but much improved by putting a vodka in it!

  3. Pretty easy and not great I agree. 11d was not a good clue. Hardly a timeless comedy duo and has any non-UK solver a chance with this one?.

  4. I didn’t really mind this and didn’t notice the anagram count. In all it was a fairly quick solve with my time just getting it into two star territory.
    I initially had HO-HO in at 6a until I remembered that it was not the ditch created by Capability Brown, but rather the one created by Berthold Stuttley (“Bloody Stupid”) Johnson in Terry Pratchett’s “Interesting Times”. Its a bit like a ha-ha only the Ho-ho is 50 feet deep. Has claimed three Palace gardeners. Also once trapped Dr. Cruces, then head of the Assassins’ Guild.
    Thanks to BD and the setter.

    1. Nice to see someone has some taste. You might have mentioned his garden pond – 200yards long, 4 inches wide, a salmon can only go one way and has no chance of turning around in it.

          1. Poo! – I have just looked and my copy is obviously on ‘long term loan’ to someone. Thinking about it I believe it is in Holland with my sister and bro-in-law – as a Dutchman he has been getting into Pratchett and the like in the last few years.

    2. Family Guy…….. Discworld…. Father Jack…….Pete and Dud……..Hale and Pace……
      It’s like a connoisseur’e guide to great comedy.

      Apart from Hale and Pace, obviously.

  5. A bit anagammy for me today. Very easy puzzle I thought and so didn’t overly enjoy it but quite satisfying to finish. Felt more of a Monday puzzle in my opinion.

    No particular favourites, but did quite enjoy 1A, 15A (nice to see Argot making an appearance), 5D and 16D. I thought 14A had more than a shade of yesterday in it – do the compilers have a weekly pre-setting meeting in order to synchronise their clues?

  6. There seems to be a certain snobbishness about anagrams. I don’t mind them, especially if they’re apposite. That said, too many of them spoils the enjoyment.

      1. Hello Mary, I’m certainly not ‘holy’. I am a father and I have a wonderful daughter to prove it. The epithet stuck after I slumped in my armchair one night, somewhat ‘tired and emotional’, and that same daughter likened me to Father Jack. :-)

    1. The original Telegraph Style Guide recommended no more than six anagrams in a puzzle (I picked up my copy from the pavement when it was thrown out of the window!).

      1. Was it The Times that once only permitted two? I started doing the DT Cryptic in the mid-’70s and it was a rarity for me to finish it. Nowadays I rarely don’t finish it – and I don’t think that’s got anything to do with my skills!

  7. OK off to dentist (AGAIN) hopefully back later, then that’s my lot for a week :-( I know I could get the crossword in France, just won’t have the luxury of time to do it!!

    1. Have you filled in the form for all these holidays you keep taking? You never seem to be here any more :D Have a lovely time and try not to miss us.

      1. Sue, this is not a holiday, a call of duty morelike to visit 95yr old mother-in-law who now lives with her daughter in France (2 calls of duty in the 3 months she has been there so far! I didn’t go on the last one 2 weeks ago) and of course I’ll miss you all, as much as you miss me :-( Ha Ha

    2. Good luck at the dentist and in France – sounds as if you could need it! How long are you there for – in France I mean, not at the dentist? Assume that you go to give your sister-in-law a break. Do hope that they live in a nice bit of the country ie far enough south for some decent weather at least, and that you get some time off for good behaviour! :smile:

      1. Unfortunately no Kath she now lives in Brittany, she used to live in the south, then moved to the Languedoc region and now as I said Brittany, though they have been having slightly better weather than us, so here’s hoping, see you in a weeks time, be good!

        1. Thanks Mary – see you in a week. Brittany is lovely although I suspect the weather is little different to what we get. Do hope that all goes OK. I will be good – unfortunately there’s little time to be much else at the moment!!

  8. I solved this in quite quick time so probably didn’t have time to notice all the quibbles outlined above. No particular favourites. Thanks to the mystery setter and to BD.

    The Toughie today is by Micawber and is a thing of great joy which should be given a try by all.

      1. Agree with the above comments on the Toughie. It’s tremendous fun, right from the start.

        1. I remember seeing Dud sing this on ‘an audience with Dudley Moore’ which seems to be impossible to find on youtube or anywhere else for that matter (except VHS!).

        1. Currently on the front page of Telegraph Puzzles:

          Telegraph Puzzles loading issues

          We apologise if you are having difficulty loading onto the site. We’re experiencing technical issues and are working hard to fix these and resume our puzzles service. Sorry for the interruption, please bear with us

          1. Considering we pay for this, unlike many other papers, its pretty poor service! :(

            1. SE Trains have just agreed to give commuters a voucher when the train is over 30 minutes late. Perhaps the Telegraph could give everyone some free days to make up for all the troubles, particularly thisweek. That message Qix quotes above has been on the site for some days now.

              1. Now reads:

                Telegraph Puzzles loading issues

                We apologise for the continuing problems that are affecting subscribers’ access the site at certain times, and which are causing delays in the updating of leaderboards. We are trying to fix the problems as quickly as possible.

          2. I was wondering why I was not on the leaderboard – I see that it is updated every 3 hours. I thought it was every 20 minutes!

  9. I enjoyed this – lots of anagrams, I agree, but I like them. I did think that it was quite easy but the occasional easy crossword does wonders for the self-confidence! I didn’t think that the spelling of 4d was very clear from the clue – it really could have been either, couldn’t it – so had to wait to get 12a. I’ve never heard the word “athwart” although the answer was obvious. Neither have I heard of 3d except as a plant!! Liked 14 and 27a and 8 and, best of all today for me, 18d. With thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  10. It’s not very often that I manage to look at Thursday’s crossword but I have today – as rain stopped play in the garden – and found it most enjoyable. My compliments to the setter and to BD.

  11. Totally agree with others who felt slightly under challenged today.. will try the Toughie and see if I can do any! Wish me luck!

  12. Anyone using the Telegraph’s iPad application for today’s crossword might have struggled with 18d. Looks like their software cannot handle ‘é’. So you end up trying to add an anagram of ‘toup’ to ‘wi’!

    1. Welcome to the blog NS

      I don’t think the problem was restricted to iPads – I had to look at the printed version to get the clue.

      Problems like this have remained unfixed since the site first opened. I seem to remember that there are two types of inverted comma – those that the site can cope with and those that it can’t!

    2. I’m an iPad user too – can’t see the toughie on it. Bit frustrating. Especially on a day like today when I can actually complete the normal and am looking for an extra challenge.

  13. Just imagine the eager anticipation that today’s setter felt when he/she logged onto the blog to see how it was received, and the look of total despair when faced with Big Dave’s review. It would be no surprise if they never set another puzzle. Not that BD would be too concerned, by the sound of things. I didn’t think it was that bad – perhaps a Desmond?

      1. Steady on! – I just tried that, we don’t want the thing grinding to a halt!. Luckily I printed mine out at just after midnight so my time os pottom of the shop! Jezza is in there on page two.

        1. I haven’t succeeded in submitting my completed version yet…. every time I go back to the site – its not working. I thought todays was an “average” Thursday crossword, probably on a par with what we were getting before Jay and Ray T were swopped around. Mind you I have to agree that 11 anagrams is far too many.

        2. Very Odd – I thought I replied to the comment above about clicking ‘top’ or ‘next’!. Still a few bugs in Worpress too!

    1. No names, no pack-drill but sometimes I feel that some reviewers forget that the Cryptic is aimed at a general audience, rather than the cognoscenti who are the main contributors to this blog. In no way do I include myself in that description.

      1. Agreed. The Toughie is there for those who prefer hard core. The back page should have wider appeal. Judging by the number of responses to each type of puzzle, that is indeed the case. Personally, I enjoyed this crossword. Easier than many? Yes, but so what? Plenty are not. Liked 8d but thought 11d a bit iffy.

        1. I just found this post by MattD on Fifteen Squared which I think says it all “Not every puzzle should be difficult, sometimes it’s good to have a not too strenuous journey through a setter’s mind. Surely there should be a variety of levels so that an occasional solver who buys the paper can have a good go on one day and then another day there’s one for the Crossword Olympians we have on this site which leaves the occasional solver lost. “

          1. I agree with all that even though I am a regular “doer” if not always an entirely successful solver! i don’t know who MattD is or what Fifteen Squared is – what am I missing?

            1. Kath, Fiftensquared is another crossword website (psst! link on the right hand side of this page!) that caters for the Independent, Guardian, Financial Times, Private Eye and many other barred thematic puzzles of the Inquisitor and Azed stylee.
              You aren’t missing anything unless you indulge in these puzzles but if you do and are stuck for the solution then that is the place to go. One of the main differences between fifteensquared (or ‘255’), Times for the Times (T4TT) and this site is that Big Dave doesn’t spill the answers out in plain view.

              1. Thanks for all that information. The DT cryptic is the only crossword that I do – sometimes the quickie also but probably only if someone says the pun is a good one.

  14. This one took me about as long as Monday’s did, but wasn’t half as satisfying – Monday’s made me feel clever, today’s was just a tad 12a! That said, I did think 10a and 16d were clever, so maybe the setter just needs a bit more practice – it’s a very hard job and you have to start somewhere. So, thanks to the setter for the effort and don’t give up! And thanks to BD for the review.

  15. Well, to-day’s has caused quite a debate, hasn’t it? I personally didn’t find it all that easy and certainly couldn’t have completed it without the anagrams AND some help from my electronic friend. Did solve 11d but only from the checking letters and a bit of guesswork – who are/were this duo?? Never heard of thm And is 12a really a definition of “routine”?? At a stretch, I suppose? Pleased to have completed it which is more than I can say for others this week! Thanks to BD for explanations.

  16. Perhaps I am unsophisticated, but I like anagrams as they are an easy way of getting started sometimes.
    I do not see what ‘canned” adds to 4a
    I enjoyed this apart from 12a which although i knew it was an anagram was difficult to get.

    1. “Canned” suggests a particular type of laughter … for example, as distinct from “Ho, Ho” (Terry Pratchett notwithstanding).

  17. I agree in regard to 12a, I can’t find a definition including ‘routine’. That, though, was the worst clue in what was, overall, a ‘routine’ ;-) puzzle.

  18. There I was all chuffed at having completed today’s crossword, and now after reading most of the comments above my ego has deflated. Oh well, I still enjoyed it!

    1. As long as you enjoyed it then stay chuffed! Could be worse, you could have completed it and found it utterly dire.

    2. Well done RachQ don’t be deflated, stay chuffed, it wasn’t so easy for us mere mortals, for me it was at least 2/3* and if you enjoyed it then it was a bonus :-)

    3. Well done on having completed it – if you enjoyed it then the setter has, I hope, achieved what he (or she) set out to do. I enjoyed it too – re-inflate your ego NOW! :grin:

  19. Thanks to Big dave & the setter. I really enjoyed this one, probably because of the high number of anagrams, Big Dave was right :-)
    Needed a couple of hints, I was certainly thwarted by 10 across :-)
    Favourite was 15 across.

  20. Lovely puzzle today really enjoyed it, def not a normal Thursday, for me so much better. Thx to the setter and for all at the blog

  21. As I always attempt the Quickie before the Cryptic, I noticed immediately, with some disappointment, that it was not Ray T today. However, despite being fairly easy, I found it very entertaining! Thanks to the setter.

    No-one has commented on the Quickie pun – I found this to be one of those that you have to say out loud, before finally understanding. Also, I’m still stuck on 23d in the Quickie. I’m not familiar with the works of Monsieur Poulenc.

      1. Oh Dear! Another plus point for today’s setter (if he/she provided the Quickie).

    1. The first thing I do (well, as far as crosswords are concerned anyway) on a Thursday is to take a very quick look at the quick one – a few seconds tells me if it is going to be RayT – if it is then I try to delay starting as long as possible because I know that it will be wonderful! :smile: Like you, Franco, I enjoyed todays too.

  22. Wow!
    Considering the ease that I completed this one with (thank Heavens following some of my earlier failures this week), what an amazing amount of discussion.

    Family Guy…….. Discworld…. Father Jack…….Pete and Dud……..Hale and Pace……
    It’s like a connoisseur’e guide to great comedy.

    Apart from Hale and Pace, obviously.

  23. Still not sure what to make of that. It probably took me longer to read the review and comments than it did to fill in the grid. BD’s rating may be firm but is probably quite fair. There didn’t seem to be a lot of ‘solving’ required.

  24. There I sat with my evening Glen Morangie (other malts are available) and cigar to settle in for my usual battle and excessive use of this site, only to finish without recourse to the hints. Oh well I have spent some time looking about my garden instead.

        1. What may confuse germane lingo in Scotland? (12).
          I’ll leave the other ones to you lot, particularly the anagram possibilities of Lagavulin!

            1. C’mon, UTC, lets have some wordplay too, you know how this works!
              Whay do I think that our local setters are now reaching for their pens/quills/ipads and map of Scottish distilleries?. Whay don’t we make it a round robin competition?

        1. ALL whisky gives me a thundering headache – husband says that is because I only ever drink it when I’ve already had too much to drink! :sad:

        2. I’d recommend Cardhu and Talisker.

          I think that Prolixic had a good point about a theme…

        3. I like Edradour from the smallest distillery in Scotland. Difficult to come by down here in England! Well worth a try!!

  25. What a lot of comments today – I don’t remember a weekday with so many – I know that weekends sometimes have lots. I’m sure that BD will now bring out his statistics and prove me wrong!! :smile:

    1. Hope that today’s setter appreciates both the good comments and the less favourable ones!

      I raise my glass of sparkling Highland Spring to him/her!

  26. I didn’t know I had the 1a to finish this 7d -ly easy 13d but this was 8d a 25a of acrostic today. After a 16d analysis i managed to complete the 22a I record time for me and after a lunch of 26a not including 15a I retired with a 27a and thought of myself what a 23d!

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