DT 26597 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26597

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26597

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello once again from the Vega Baja.  We have a tricky little rascal today (to borrow pommette’s phrase) which has a theme, a bit unusual for a Wednesday puzzle so perhaps this one isn’t from Jay. I nearly gave it 4* for difficulty but then realised I’d spent a good portion of my solving time trying to fit a nine letter word into 24a before noticing the enumeration is (4,5) – D’oh!!!!!

As usual my favourites 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.    Bug found in metal perch? (10)
{SILVERFISH} – The first of the themed answers. This insect is a charade of a precious metal and the type of creature of which a perch is an example. The ? showing that perch is a definition by example.

6a.    Cut back before hardship finally becomes a potential source of pain (4)
(WASP} – Another insect which is certainly a potential source of pain! Take a word for cut and reverse it (back) and follow it with (hardshi)P (finally).  We have a lot of these at the moment but I can’t find a nest anywhere!

9a.    Man eating tail of marine carnivore (5)
{GENET} – A small African carnivore with a long tail is a word for a man with E (tail of marinE) inserted (eating). Never heard of this one but it’s now filed away along with the dreaded RATEL! At least the clue made it fairly easy to guess and a quick look in Wiki confirmed it.

10a.    Soft rock offering Coronation Street’s sound quality? (9)
{SOAPSTONE} – A type of soft rock often used for carvings, if split (5,4) would give the sound of Corrie or Eastenders.

12a.   Chap at devotions worrying it’s a kind of bug (7,6)
{PRAYING MANTIS} – Another insect! Take a phrase (7,3) for how you might describe a chap at his devotions, in church perhaps, and follow it with an anagram (worrying) of ITS.

14a.    Jet fighter almost precipitated a headache (8)
{MIGRAINE} – A rather nasty headache is made up of a Russian fighter plane and a word meaning precipitated (think weather) without its last letter (almost). Explaining some of these clues nearly gave me one of these!

15a.    Somewhat underpaid at shifting back areas for entertainment (6)
{STADIA} – These areas for entertainment, such as football matches, are hidden in (somewhat) underpAID AT Shifting but they are reversed (back).

17a.    Drunk certain to be missing one drink (6)
{NECTAR} – This drink of the Gods is an anagram (drunk) of CERTAIN with the I removed (missing one).

19a.    Bug expert caught in left arm (8)
{LACEWING} – This insect is the usual word for expert (3) inserted (caught in) L(eft) and a word for arm in the sense of the arm of a building.

21a.    Eating 12, for example, irons out vices weirdly (13)
{INSECTIVOROUS} – An adjective describing something that eats the themed answers is an anagram (weirdly) of IRONS OUT VICES.

24a.    Relatively fair game for abuse? (4,5)
{AUNT SALLY} – This throwing game played at fairs (and in pubs in parts of the midlands apparently) is also a term for a target for criticism. It’s also a character played by Una Stubbs in Worzel Gummidge!

25a.    Bring up level for the audience (5)
{RAISE} – A word meaning bring up or lift sounds like (for the audience) a word meaning to level, as in demolish.

26a.    Delivery of drugs to provide comfort (4)
{EASE} – A word for comfort sounds like (delivery of) the plural of a common recreational drug.  Not sure I’ve got this right so any better ideas gratefully accepted!

27a.    People with brass elephants? (10)
{TRUMPETERS} – These people playing brass instruments are also a word that could be used to describe elephants.


1d.   Food needing a bit of sauce in the past (4)
{SAGO} – A type of food, which I seem to remember getting as a pudding at school, is S (bit of Sauce) followed by a word for in the past, as in long ***.

2d.    Greedy person underpinning hunger for white meat (4,3)
{LONG PIG} – This is a Maori term for human flesh eaten by cannibals. Take a word for to hunger or yearn and follow with a slang term for a greedy person.  I think this clue only works properly if the flesh is specifically that of a white man, but I can’t find a reference to that definition. Perhaps Chambers has it!

3d.    Fiddling car tax avenges excesses (13)
{EXTRAVAGANCES} – These excesses are an anagram (fiddling) of CAR TAX AVENGES.

4d.    Makes footballers be quiet — one’s working inside (8)
{FASHIONS} – Definition is makes as in creates or styles. Take the abbreviation for the footballer’s organisation (2), the exclamation meaning be quiet (2), IS (ones) with a word which can mean working or operating inserted (inside). String the lot together and you get the answer.  Not an easy one to explain so I hope that makes some sort of sense!

5d.    Dross incorporating new words commonly used (5)
{SLANG} – The dross or rubbish associated with coal mines with N(ew) inserted gives a word for colloquial terms.

7d.    Embraced alterations to depot after a day (7)
{ADOPTED} – A word meaning embraced or taken on board is an anagram (alterations to) of DEPOT placed after A D(ay)

8d.    Recruitment agencies staffed by journalists? (5,5)
{PRESS GANGS} – These ‘recruitment agencies’ which used to round up crew for warships in Nelson’s day sound as though they might be made up of journalists.

11d.    Last article included in holiday studies (4,3,6)
{STAY THE COURSE} – A phrase meaning to last, as in continue to the end, is made up of the definite article inserted (included in) between a word for a holiday and a word for a period of studies.

13d.    Call up quote, accepting father’s set free (10)
{EMANCIPATE} – Definition is set free. Take a word for to call, or give a moniker to, and reverse it (up in a down clue). Follow it with a word for to quote with father inserted (accepting).

16d.    Fit new prams to carry oxygen, lacking information (8)
{PAROXYSM} – Take oxygen and remove the GEN (lacking information) and insert (to carry) what’s left into an anagram (new) of prams to get a fit.

18d.    A wicked thing in most of blackjack establishments? (7)
{CASINOS} – A and a wicked thing (there are 7 deadly ones) inserted into a blackjack without its last letter (most of) gives some places where you might play the card game blackjack. A clever semi all in one clue and definitely one of my favourites!

20d.    Provide encouragement through spin, perhaps, and anger (7)
{INSPIRE} – A word meaning to encourage is an anagram (perhaps) of SPIN followed by a synonym for anger.

22d.    One couldn’t be bothered keeping to the bridle roads (5)
{IDLER} – This chap who can’t be bothered, to work perhaps, is hidden (keeping) in brIDLE Roads.

23d.    Solutions provided by island parliament (4)
{KEYS} – These solutions are also the lower house of the parliament of the Isle of Man.

I liked the ones in blue but favourites are 17a and 18d.

The Quick crossword pun: {hike} + {hatching} = {eye-catching}

89 comments on “DT 26597

  1. Don’t talk to ME about enumerations ! I kept reading 11d as (6,3,4) and was looking for a Latin phrase with EGO in it!. Besides the two pesky 4 letter words at 6a and 23d this was tricky but not overly so. It felt like a Jay with the across clues not doing a lot until the down clues helped out. I would certainly agree with your favourites. Thanks to Jay (?) and Pommers for the review.

  2. Hola Pommers, que tal?

    I found this really hard today, it really ‘bugged’ me and my books and electronic friends are now taking a well earned rest! fav clue 6a, last one in 27a was just about to give up on it when I had a Duh! moment, not heard of 9a or 19a, thanks for hints once again Pommers off to ‘enjoy’ a very showery sportsday 3rd so far this year!!!!
    See y’all later :-)

  3. This was one where you needed to start with the downs and then work your way up from the bottom to the top of the acrosses. Took me slightly over average time for a Jay. Would agree with your favourites amongst lots of nice clues. Thanks Jay and Pommers too.

    The Toughie puts up a good fight today, especially the bottom half. If you can only do one clue in it, make it the marvelllous 8d.

    1. After attempting yesterdays toughie (first time in ages) and managing only 5 answers, I have decided not to try anymore, totally not good for my morale!! :-)

      1. I had a VERY quick look at the toughie yesterday, Mary, – only managed two – agree, definitely not good for the morale.

      2. I’m with you M. I was waiting for an appointment, and had a go……. I managed 3 answers and then gave up.
        Glad it’s not just me!

      3. You managed five, Mary? Well done! I only found two. I really shouldn’t even try — even the explanations are beyond me. I guess I’m not a Toughie person. :(

    2. Crypticsue
      Who set the Toughie today? I finished it earlier, but the online site does not give the setter today.

        1. I find it astonishing that on the rare occasion that there is a new Toughie setter, the DT Puzzles manages not to update the Toughie setters list on the web site (once you can actually FIND the correct page, that is.).

          1. Haven’t tried the Toughie yet, but you might think that some kind of subtle announcement might be in order when there’s a new setter.

            The on-line system appears to rely on someone manually updating the cunningly concealed page on a daily basis, which is asking for trouble.

  4. Didn’t find this one too tough except I’ve never heard of the answer to 9a, and I kept wanting to enter “soya” at 1d for some reason. I thought that 4d and 11d were clever, in that the definition was well hidden in both cases. Favourite though was 13d. Thanks to setter and to Pommers for the review and hints.

  5. Just realised I don’t understand 18d – what is a blackjack without its last letter cos?

    1. Blackjack does not refer to the game, but to a small, lead-weighted, leather-bound device for rendering someone unconscious – you should be able to
      find the right word through Goggle (then remove the last letter)

      1. Skempie

        It is assumed that anyone who is reading the comments has completed the puzzle, so you are allowed to say COSH. The ban only applies to the weekend prize puzzles.

            1. Only at weekends!

              You only get sent to the naughty step during the week for discussing the answers to the Toughie on the page for the regular cryptic and vice versa.

              1. As Mary will tell you, it’s very nice on the naughty step – last weekend there was even lemon cake.

          1. Hi Mary, I enjoyed our time in naughty corner. Hope you enjoyed the cake and Darjeeling.

    2. Because a blackjack is a slang term for something you might bash someone on the head with!

    3. It is also a small, black, tasty, licoricey, chewy sweet that used to cost 1D for 4 when I was a kid. They’re probably about 5P each now!

      1. Yes I remember them too, we used to get 6 for a penny in a little sweetshop called ‘Siop Bach’ mmm delicious !

        1. Dave, you never went to KC1 in Kidderminster by any chance did you, we had exactly the same fare from Tony’s bakery. You stuffed the doughnut into the middle of a soft bread role and ate it like a sandwich……memories

          1. We did similar at AHGS in York however our version involved scooping out a large bread roll then stuffing a mince beef pie inside!

      2. After reading this I’ve decided I have crosswords on the brain as I read it as 1-down and only after 5 mins retrying to work out what sago had to do with the price of fish did I realise you simply meant ” one penny”!

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed today’s outing (and not an Americanism in site)(as long as you don’t count 9A). Took me quite a while to work out why the answer to 26A is what it is, then had my own D’Oh moment as I realised that ‘delivery’ means as spoken. Had never heard of 9A but the answer was fairly obvious.

    Enjoyed 10A, 12A, 27A, 8D and 16D and today’s favourite has to be 13D.

    Incidentally, bright sunshine here just outside Brizzle until 3 minutes ago when it started teeming down with thunder in the not too far distance. Grrrrrrr.

    1. Meant to say that I thought the pun in today’s quickie was excellent even if I did keep trying to put HOBO in at 1A.

  7. I also thought that this was quite a tricky little rascal – only managed two across clues to begin with but did a lot more of the downs on first read through so then got going a bit faster. 6a and 15a were last to go in – I SO often miss the “hidden in the middle of the clue” answers, especially when they are not just reversed but spanning two lines as well. I couldn’t explain my answer to 18d – have heard of the card game “blackjack” but not its other meaning. Lots of good clues, probably too many to write them all down – perhaps 1 and 27a and 8d. With thanks to whoever set this one – ?Jay – and to Pommers for the hints. Good luck with the wasps, Pommers, – wait until it’s getting dark and then see if you can see the flight path where they are going back into their nest for the night.

    1. The easiest way to get rid of wasps if you can’t find the nest, is to set fire to everything in sight. Obviously its not the cheapest way or the most legal way, but its definitely the easiest.

      1. You can have good sport going after them on the wing with a badminton bat! My backhand’s improved no end!

        1. Poor wasps! They’re not my favourite creature by any means, but they are apparently very useful. My husband was looking up a humane way to deal with them only this morning, cos we’ve got a nest at church, and he found the following on a council website:

          “Wasps can be regarded as beneficial insects because they kill an enormous number of flies, caterpillars and other insects and this helps to prevent plagues of them occurring. They are also food for other animals such as blackbirds, magpies, starlings, dragonflies, spiders, mice and badgers, and they are pollinators of plants too as the adults drink nectar.
          So although wasps can be troublesome to us it would be unwise to destroy nests without good reason. If the presence of a nest is causing no direct problems, then it is best left well alone.”

          Something to think about before getting the racquet out…

          1. AlisonS,
            Generally agreed, we tend to leave the polistes alone – except when they take up residence in the car.

    2. My old Grandad used to have an unwashed jam jar half filled with water and the lid perforated with holes large enough for the jaspers to get in – the little b#ggers never got back out…

  8. An entomological puzzle for us today — what fun! I took quite a long time to get through it but enjoyed every minute. Also needed a good deal of help, plus your hints Pommers, to find 9a and 23d. 12a was first in and then the nice anagrams at 3d and 21a. I shuddered at 2d and laughed at 27a, which is my clue of the day, along with 10a.
    Many thanks to Pommers and to Jay for the buzz! :-)

  9. Oops better be careful Sue or I’ll be taking you with me, just as well I don’t know the answer then! ;-)

  10. Contrary to most, I found this straightforward… probably as I am a biologist! However I wanted to put SAGE in for Id and had never heard of 23d. Enjoyed the clues especially 8d! Thanks God the rain has stopped- one advantage of the SE! Thanks to the setter and to pommers for explaining 18d :)

  11. If I disappear off the blog for a while this afternoon it will be because of siesta. We have an Extreme High Temperature Advisory in force today and the weather centre at Alicante airport, which is right by the sea, is already reporting 35C and it will get hotter until about 1600CEST!! http://www.eltiempo.es is forecasting 38C for Almoradi!

    1. I was in Seville a few years back when it got to 42C! Dry heat, so it didn’t feel as bad as 28C does in UK…

      1. We’re only about 10 miles from the coast so it rarely tops 40C here but 38C is quite hot enough for me!

          1. Had a very nice holiday many years ago in a small village near Montreuil-Bellay. Nice part of the world but not, I think, normally that hot!
            BTW, I do like the Loire red wines and pommette likes the Saumur fizz better than Champers!

            1. pommers,
              Definitely not normally that hot – currently in the middle of a drought that seems to have been going on all year. I know Montreuil-Bellay, but am located near to Richelieu/Chinon. From a wine persepective I tend to prefer the whites. Tell pommette she has very good taste, because I would agree.

              1. I like the whites as well but I’m a red wine man really – like the Chinon red in particular!

      1. 47C in the shade? Are you sure? I advise you to buy a new thermometer.

        I watched “le Tour” last week-end – started in the Vendée, quite close to you, I believe. There was no mention of such extreme temperatures!

        1. Probably a number of factors, retained heat from the wall, maybe reflected heat, however the thermometer is accurate. I have to confess it was a very, very hot day. So have no idea what the real temp was + 38C I think or at least thats what the meteo was showing. The greenhouse was showing + 50C!

      2. I think Franco may be right! Is your thermometer getting reflected heat? Ours currently reads 37C but if I move it about 2 metres to the left it goes up about 4 degrees!

  12. Many thanks to Pommers for the review (you’re right about the E’s in 26Ac!) and to all for the comments and blackjack memories

  13. Many thanks to Jay and to Pommers, an enjoyable if not too taxing crossword and a very good review.

  14. An excellent backpage crossword today. If you want them harder then do the Toughie! Which incidentally I thought was a good one!

  15. Good puzzle, I enjoyed this, Thanks to the setter.

    Faves were 18d (I thought it was a clever use of blackjack (in/out of context)…… I’m a bloke so I knew what it meant) and 27a.

  16. Tricky little beggar today, finished it going to have to go through the blog to see why some of the answers are correct. Best clue for me was 12a, very clever. Never heard of a 9a before so learned something today. Not my favourite today as a little too obscure for me but thx to all anyway.

  17. Thanks to the setter & Pommers for the hints. 6a defeated me, but I got it from the hint. Found the rest quite hard, but the theme made it easier. Favourites were 10a and 21a.

  18. Didn’t find today’s too tricky, but it was enjoyable. Never heard of 9a before, but got it from the clue and then googled (there’s a really cute picture of a baby genet being hand fed in the images results). Needed the hints to get the homophone in 25a – I couldn’t get away from level being ‘flat’, rather than ‘destroy’. Duh!! Liked 8d and 17a, but fave for today was 27a – took awhile, but made me smile. Thanks to Jay & Pommers.

  19. Enjoyable puzzle – got the DT late this morning after two days without it due to a strike!
    Faves were : 1a, 10a, 12a, 19a, 21a, 27a, 2d, 8d & 16d.

    As for the theme we have had thousands of boudragues here this early summer. They are flightless grasshoppers.

    1. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers for a nice review.
      Here in PACA – Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur – it is very hot but we had a welcome torrential downpour on Monday!

      1. Some of your torrential downpour would be most welcome, even though our kitchen and garage roofs leak! It only leaks when it rains though and in true Spanish fashion I’ll get around to fixing it manana (Spanish speak for ‘In the fullness of time’ or ‘one day, if it’s not too hot’)!

  20. Just read my own review of this puzzle and now wish I’d given it 4* for enjoyment. The puzzle is better than 3* and I can only think I was a bit grumpy this morning because of my faux pas with the enumeration of 24a!
    Sorry Jay!

  21. Nice one setter! Enjoyed the crossword and all the comments today. Late finish due to golf and drilling lots of holes with my lovely Bosch today. Thanks Pommers had to resort to your wisdom for the last two missing holes. Thought 10a was a great clue.

    1. Hi Seemore
      Looks like only you and me still awake! I also liked 10a, a bit of a grin when the penny dropped!

  22. Very good indeed, this one. Even better than the usual Wednesday.

    THanks to setter and Pommers.

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