DT 26588 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26588

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26588

A full review by Gnomethang

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

Morning All!. It was fun to provide the hints on the day and my solving time put this into the 3-star territory although a few clues caused some discussion on the day so it may have been harder for some. Reviewing the puzzle a few days later I realized that there were loads of clues here which I found to be well constructed and have given it four stars for enjoyment.

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           White collection in Paris fashion (7)
ALBUMEN – The white (of an egg). The ALBUM (collection of e.g. photos) and EN, the French word for IN, meaning inside, indicated by ‘Paris Fashion’. Lots of comments on the day suggested that ASPIRIN might be an alternative answer (an anagram – fashion – of IN PARIS) but I don’t buy it – the definition in that case would be too loose (white collection??)

5a           Those who care for Tamworth perhaps get its initial colour (7)
PIGMENT – A lovely clue!. Tamworth is a variety of pig (the ‘perhaps’ points out that other pig varieties are available!) so the people looking after him would be the PIGMEN. Add T (the initial of Tamworth) to get a natural colouration.

9a           Have debt held by gent one means to cut (5)
MOWER – A nice definition of ‘means to cut’, means being the apparatus or wherewithal. OWE (have debt) inside M(iste)R.

10a         Indian city bar with good supply (9)
BANGALORE – Another clue that caused some problems until BD suggested “Whisky Galore!”. Galore means ‘with good supply’ or ‘in bucketloads’. Add this to BAN (bar or veto) and you will find an Indian city.

11a         Burial mound, see, for Spooner’s craft (10)
NARROWBOAT – The Reverend Spooner gets his initial syllables the wrong way round. If he were to say BARROW (a burial mound) and NOTE (see/record) then he might come up with this inland water craft by mistake. Note that the homophone of NOTE (NOAT) is not defined but the Spoonerism clues are implicitly homophones – please let me know if you disagree with me.

12a         Spot round marks characterising duck (4)
SMEE – This duck is a small white crested variant of the merganser (another Crosswordland duck!). Place M (for the old German currency) inside SEE for spot/locate.

14a         Rather drunk Lord’s perhaps taking in old amusement (5-2-5)
MERRY-GO-ROUND – Another favourite from this puzzle. The amusement in a funfair is a charade of MERRY (rather drunk) and GROUND (Lord’s Cricket Ground  for example) with O inserted (Taking in O(ld) – the abbreviation for Old)

18a         Most important element generated by insect queens (12)
QUINTESSENCE – This is the one thing about a person or thing that defines them. It is also an anagram (generated by) of INSECT QUEENS

21a         Revel losing head a little bit (4)
IOTA – The answer is a ‘Little bit’ – the wordplay is r(IOT) with A (in the clue). My only concern was that the first word should have been REBEL but almost all of my fellow bloggers pointed out that Chambers almost immediately equates REVEL with RIOT – I know, I should have looked!

22a         Art’s seldom beaten these (3,7)
OLD MASTERS – A great semi All-In-One. An anagram (beaten) of ARTS SELDOM leads to the group of artists held as paragons of their craft.

25a         Prepare mint? (4,5)
MAKE READY – A cryptic definition for ‘prepare’, ready being a slang term for money, the preparation for which is known as minting.

26a         Eat out before covering overdraft (5)
ERODE – The poetic ‘ere’, meaning before, placed around OD, the abbreviation for overdraft, gives the verb meaning to eat out or wear away.

27a         O’Connor is unable to sing in harmony (7)
DESCANT – A charade of the famous singer DES and CANT (unable to) gives ‘an ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme’. This is a verb in this sentence but can also be a noun. Who was it that constantly made jokes about Des O’Connor’s singing?

28a         Kick off with skill after half-time perhaps (7)
RESTART – A very good clue. Place ART (skill) after REST (what is taken at half-time in a football match for example). In this case the whole sentence reads as the definition  (the after half-time qualifies this as a restart not a start) so this is a semi all-in-one.


1d           Nut gathered from palm on Dominica (6)
ALMOND – A not too difficult hidden word – the nut being gathered from the last three words.

2d           Shady American low-lifes hang out here (6)
BOWERY – Two definitions: Like a leafy bower affording shade and also a New York city district known for cheap bars and derelicts. The second definition was unknown to me but with checking letters and a visit to Chambers all was made clear.

3d           One manipulated subject of computer game almost caught (10)
MARIONETTE – A puppet manipulated by strings. Of course we all remember MARIO (and his brother Luigi) from the classic Nintendo game. Add all but the last letter from NETTE(d) (almost caught)

4d           Wealthy man flipped an old coin (5)
NABOB – the word AN reversed (flipped) then BOB, an old shilling, gives us the second definition in Chambers, ‘A person of conspicuous wealth or high status’.

5d           Charming figure gives writer confusion (9)
PENTANGLE – A figure traditionally associated with Black Magic and witchcraft (Charming in the spells sense) is a charade of PEN (writer, the thing that writes) and TANGLE, a confusion or mess.

6d           Attack farm resident? (4)
GOAT – A reasonably chestnutty charade. If you attack someone you GO AT them.

7d           Very large and not very small animal back-to-front (8)
ENORMOUS – Start with NOR (and not) then add the MOUSE (very small animal) and finally take the last letter E and move it from the back to the front.

8d           Sickness with rapidly rising disease grips the man and is terminal (3,5)
THE BENDS – The common name for the ailment caused by surfacing from a scuba dive without sufficient decompression stops. TB (the disease Tuberculosis) contains or grips HE (the man) and ENDS (is terminal) follows.

13d         Cooks bring in container holding special dishes (10)
FRICASSEES – The definition here is dishes. A fricassee is actually a meat or poultry stew. The wordplay is a little complicated for a back pager, there is an insertion of S(pecial) inside CASE (container for e.g. clothes) which is ALL inserted into FRIES (cooks).

15d         In consequence of potentate beset by worry losing head (9)
RESULTANT – The consequence or upshot is created by SULTAN (an eastern potentate) being put inside (is beset by) (F)RET (worry losing head). Beset means to be encircled or overcome.

16d         Sea creature swallowing ormer without shell writhed (8)
SQUIRMED – Quite straightforward wordplay but some people on the day were confused by ‘ormer’. It is actually a variety of abalone found near the Channel Islands but for the purposes of the clue all we need to do is remove its outer letters (without shell) and place the result, RME, inside SQUID, the sea creature. This gives us the definition, writhed.

17d         Note money for betting slips (8)
MISTAKES – A very good ‘lift and separate’ here where one must insert the mental crowbar between betting and slips (the definition). Just add MI (a note in the tonic sol-fa scale) to the front of STAKES (money for betting).

19d         Hat for American agent or Australian (6)
FEDORA – FED (a US federal agent) + OR + A(ustralian) gives the soft felt hat with a low brim that can be flipped up.

20d         Priest in a religious group gives direction (6)
ASPECT – One abbreviation for priest is simply P. Put this inside A SECT (a religious group) for a word meaning direction in the sense of aspect/standpoint in life, for example.

23d         Dignitary dressing right (5)
MAYOR – Another lovely short clue. The dressing is MAYO(nnaise) and adding R for right we find the local dignitary or worthy.

24d         Star group putting end to tour in America (4)
URSA – To finish we have a start group, either major or minor, named after the Latin for bear. Put the end of touR inside USA.

Thanks to the setter for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Crypticsue will be taking you through the Saturday puzzles for the next two weeks whilst I will be back on the Sundays.

4 comments on “DT 26588

    1. Welcome to the ‘blog Rosabella . Sorry for the delay but your first time post needed moderating. All future posts from you at this email address will go straight through.
      Glad we could help and please drop by regularly – we aim to be grammatical, some are more successful than I!

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