DT 26603 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26603

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26603

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

It is a pleasant enough offering today from Jay which I was able to solve reasonably quickly. Given that a few British expressions presented hurdles for me that would be absent for those of you in the UK, I expect you did even better.

Big Dave attached a note to the puzzle saying “With gold mentioned, the downs are almost Goldilocks and the three bears! ” And, with hair being mentioned in the across clues (10a), perhaps the theme is complete.

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.


8a Take as read and quietly carry on (7)
{PRESUME} – a term signifying take something for granted is a charade of the musical indication to play quietly followed by a word meaning to continue after a pause.

10a Dream of one American soldier cutting hair (7)
{IMAGINE} – to form a mental picture of something, one might start with the Roman numeral for one and then add to it a common short form for an American soldier which is found amidst (cutting) the sort of hair one would find on a horse or a lion.

11a Worried proletariat, lacking professional, with energy to strike in revenge (9)
{RETALIATE} – another way of saying strike in revenge is created by deleting the first syllable (lacking professional / pro) of ‘proletariat’, forming an anagram of the remainder and adding E(nergy) to the end.

12a Surgeons do it before cutting vegetation (5)
{SCRUB} – what surgeons do to prep themselves for an operation is also vegetation consisting of stunted trees and evergreen shrubs collectively.

13a White drops the last two for a record (5)
{ALBUM} – deleting the final two letters from another name for the white of an egg leaves a record which contains multiple tracks – could it be one released by the Beatles in 1968?

14a Almost burning anger (7)
{INFLAME} – a word meaning to anger, if split (2,5) and then pluralised, would mean burning.

17a Like to catch nags working to a deadline (7,3,5)
{AGAINST THE CLOCK} – An anagram (working) of LIKE TO CATCH NAGS describes the situation faced by a team trailing by a goal in the dying seconds of a match or a person working to a deadline .

19a Innocent person providing finance for show is conned initially (7)
{ANGELIC} – an adjective signifying heavenly virtue and beauty is a charade of someone providing financial backing to a theatrical production plus the initial letters of I(s) C(onned).

21a Sets down grounds (5)
{LANDS} – a double definition; one referring to setting down an aircraft and the second being the enclosed area around a manor house, for example.

24a Those without stockings are not commonly corrupt (5)
{TAINT} – a verb meaning to contaminate morally or infect with evil is formed from T – T(HOSE) without HOSE (stockings) – plus a decidedly non-U way of saying “are not”.

26a Stresses problems on the line? (6,3)
{POINTS OUT} – The definition is stresses (meaning emphasizes). It could possibly mean that there is trouble on the railway line.  [Makes a change from the wrong sort of leaves!  BD]

27a Criminal suffering, say, jail regularly (7)
{ILLEGAL} – an adjective meaning unlawful is a word sum of sick or unwell plus a Latin abbreviation denoting ‘for example’ plus the even (regular) letters of (j)A(i)L.

28a Partly cover finished drink (7)
{OVERLAP} – a verb meaning to partly cover is a charade of a synonym for finished or completed plus a verb meaning to drink (like a cat, for instance).


1d Old city’s role in South Africa (6)
{SPARTA} – this old Greek city is a job for an actor in an abbreviated South Africa

2d Run in to check out bear’s fractured bone (8)
{VERTEBRA} – a bone found in one’s spine is formed from R(un) – a cricket score – embedded in a verb meaning to examine or investigate thoroughly to which is appended an anagram (fractured) of BEAR (our first sighting of a bear today).

3d Cash advance? I’m all in, broke and can’t knowingly be seen (10)
{SUBLIMINAL} – another hybrid clue, this one being a charade of an advance payment on wages plus an anagram (broke) of I’M ALL IN, with the result being an adjective meaning targeting the area of the mind that is below the threshold of ordinary awareness. If one were to request such a cash advance in North America, one would likely be handed a sandwich.

4d Bitter fruit, low in calories, gets the glare of publicity (9)
{LIMELIGHT} – the setter’s recipe calls for an overused adjective meaning low in calories (no, not LO-CAL, the other one) to be added to a bitter citrus fruit to create an old form of theatrical lighting in which a bright white light was produced by heating a block of calcium oxide in a flame. This has figuratively come to represent the glare of publicity.

5d Girl’s form lacking leader (4)
{LASS} – strip the leading letter from a group of pupils to reveal a Scottish miss

6d Heartless raiders panicking in range (6)
{SIERRA} – an anagram of RAI(d)ERS without its heart (middle letter) would be a Spanish mountain range

7d Wild bear in wood’s time for a snack (3,5)
{TEA BREAK} – Here we have the second sighting of a bear. An anagram (wild) of BEAR is caged in a hard and durable type of wood used in furniture-making and shipbuilding to give us a pause for refreshments during working hours.

9d Old Testament character’s mess uncovered gold (4)
{ESAU} – the name of this Old Testament character, who was cruelly tricked by his twin brother, may be found by uncovering the middle letters of (m)ES(s) and appending the chemical symbol for gold.

15d Aspects include one illuminated one, in gents (10)
{FACILITIES} – this euphemism for a lavatory is constructed from another word for aspects (in the sense of the positioning of buildings or other structures in a particular direction) into which is inserted a charade which comprises the Roman numeral for one plus a synonym for illuminated plus yet another Roman numeral for one.

16d Accumulate a lot of money to support farm animals (9)
{STOCKPILE} – a verb meaning to accumulate a large reserve supply is formed from a word denoting a heap of money sitting under (supporting in a down clue) a collective term for farm animals in general.

17d Rising public disorder bill in America a shambles (8)
{ABATTOIR} – another name for a slaughterhouse is formed by reversing (rising in a down clue) a charade of a noisy public disturbance or disorder, usually by a large group of people (but, in law, merely by three or more people) plus a North American term for a restaurant bill (not check, the other one) plus A

18d Confess and leave a case of less costly errors (3,5)
{OWN GOALS} – these costly errors are the sort of scores a football player desperately wishes to avoid. The first part is a synonym for confess (although usually when followed by ‘up’). The second part is a charade of a word meaning leave or depart plus A plus the outside letters (case) of L(es)S.

20d Gruesome bear, say (6)
{GRISLY} – We encounter a bear for the third time. This synonym for gruesome sounds like (say) the largest of the bears, so called because its dark brown fur is frosted with white. The solution would likely be an apt description of our remains should we actually encounter one of these beasts in the wild.

22d Exercises if it’s found in drinks (3-3)
{SIT-UPS} – One typically performs these exercises immediately before taking notice. They consist of IT contained in small drinks.

23d Start off after victory for drinker (4)
{WINO} – the first (starting) letter of O(ff) placed after a synonym for victory creates someone, especially a down-and-out, addicted to cheap alcoholic drink.

25d Names dogs (4)
{TAGS} – in this double definition, the first is a noun meaning a nickname and the second is a verb meaning to follow or accompany someone, especially without invitation (usually accompanied by ‘along’).

As usual with Jay, there were a lot of fine clues but I don’t recall any one in particular standing out above the rest. However, I will give my ‘hiding in plain view award’ to 17a where the blatant anagram deviously escaped my notice almost to the bitter end.

The Quick crossword pun: {reverse} + {ticks} = {River Styx}

47 comments on “DT 26603

  1. I really enjoyed this one today. The bottom half took me longer to complete, which was also where I found the most enjoyable clues.
    Many thanks to Jay, and to Falcon for the review.

  2. Steady CW with some interesting Clues & the bears certainly appeared at times!
    Thanks to both J & F for todays puzzle

  3. Well I found the RHS OK, NW corner a bit longer, but stuck on SW corner, so thanks to Falcon for explanations, I hadn’t really heard of the term Angel in 19a before and wouldn’t have got 17d in a million years; I dont really see how the answer relates to a shambles….but I have not consulted Chambers; better stuff to do…like assemble some furniture that’s just arrived!

    1. You need an eight year old to help! They can assemble the stuff blindfold apparently!!

      1. I’d like to see them succeed with the kitchen cabinet a friend bought from the French version of the well-known UK supplier whose name was/is (?) an anagram of the initials of the international provider of funds to indebted governments. He was in tears (of rage and frustration) when I arrived and I was warned not to enter the kitchen. Being of stout heart, I waded into the fray and quickly ascertained that the problem was that the cabinet had been packed with two left-hand sides. :)

    2. ‘Shambles’ is another (old) word for an abattoir. The modern meaning of ‘shambles’ derives from the mess of carcasses, lights, pluck and other offal, and blood that was typical of such places in Medieval (and later) times.

      1. The Shambles in York is a fine example although it’s packed with tourists rather than animals going to slaughter…

    3. Furniture all assembled and out on the patio…..all ready for the rest of the rainy summer! It was nice while it lasted.

      1. And thank you all, for the explanation of shambles…..too much information methinks regarding the blood and gore – yuk

  4. I found the surface reading in 10a a little suspect, surely it should have read: “Dream of American soldier cutting one hair” , otherwise the ‘one’ refers to and therefore leads the American soldier.

    That aside, a nice Cryptic. I liked 24a, 2d and 15d, but my favourite was 17d.

    1. I can’t see anything wrong with the clue. The association between “one” and the American soldier was made by you – the wordplay is in the correct order.

  5. Very enjoyable today – just enough to make me look forward to another half-day in the office. Can’t say I really liked the clue for 10A although it was a fairly easy solve but I really enjoyed most of the rest. No particular favourite today as there were so many good clues.

  6. Must be me, found yesterday’s almost impossible and this one very difficult. 17d beggars belief!
    No fav clue today, found it too difficult. Thx to the blog without whom I would not have finished the pesky bottom left corner. Anyone know if tomorrow’s is a Ray T?

  7. This one took me a while to get started but I did enjoy myself. My favourites were 26a and 17d. Was I the only one who had a mum who, if you said something was a shambles, would reply that ‘a shambles is a slaughterhouse’? Thanks to Falcon for the review – lots of wordplay to unscramble when you were 17a :) Thanks to Jay for a very nice Wednesday puzzle.

    The Toughie too takes quite a bit of unravelling.

  8. I thought that I was going to whizz through this one – got first four across clues immediately then came to a complete halt and it ended up taking quite a long time and thoroughly testing the “little grey cells” so, for me, quite a lot more than 2* for difficulty. Although I got 17d I needed the hint to explain the first four letters – managed the upside down “riot” but just couldn’t see the rest. 15d took a while – kept trying to fit a “loo” into it somewhere – wrong!! I liked 12, 19 and 24a and 2, 16 and 20d. With thanks to Jay and Falcon. Off to make blackcurrant jam now. :smile:

  9. I found the bottom half a bit tricky in places until I remembered ‘shambles’. I also spotted the gold and the bears. Nice one Jay and thanks to Falcon for the review.

  10. Glad I wasn’t blogging today as I got up VERY late this morning, you wouldn’t have had the review yet if it were up to me!
    Went to see the band Chicago last night at the San Javier Jazz Festival – what a fantastic concert! Those guys may be getting on a bit but they’ve still got what it takes. Eric Burden and The Animals next week!
    Very enjoyable crossword with some more than usually complex wordplay I thought. Perhaps Jay had eaten a third Weetabix for breakfast or perhaps my brain is bit addled from last night?
    Favourites among many fine clues were 24a and 15d.
    Thanks to Jay and to Falcon for stepping in.

  11. Most enjoyable puzzle from Jay, many thanks to him and to Falcon for the review.

  12. Happy with this one, and even solved 17d – without quite knowing why. Thanks for the explanation (and me a frequent visitor to my capital city!!) Did anyone else solve the top 2 clues in the Quickie, but then couldn’t say them out loud sensibly? Thanks Ray, Falcon (and BD)

  13. This was a lot more difficult than usual for me on a Wednesday. 17d and 24a beat me all ends up. Thanks to Falcon for the explanations.

    I noticed the three bears, but not Goldilocks.

  14. Not quite as terrifying as yesterday’s, I thought, but still found it tough and wouldn’t have finished without some electronic assistance! Needed hints for 1d – hadn’t a clue on that one. Got the dreaded 17d, amazingly – also 18d but had to go to hints to discover why. Liked 6d but fav was 24a as had got the answer before quite understanding why, then it made me chuckle.

  15. I did this in two goes as I got asked out for coffee in the middle. Just as well, as the break must have stimulated my brain to finish. It was tough, but not too tough, though I needed Chambers a couple of times. Being a fan of anagrams, I enjoyed 17a, and once I’d written ‘riot’ backwards 17d revealed itself. Lots of good clues and I enjoyed the three bears, but my favourites today were 19 and 24a and 4 and 17d.
    Thanks to Jay for a lovely puzzle and to Falcon for his entertaining explanations. :-)

  16. Glad I’m not alone – seemed tough for a 2*. Shared others trouble with 17d – and SW corner generally – thanks Falcon for the help. Enjoyed it all though – thanks Jay. Among favourites was the little mentioned 23d – I know it’s not the most imaginative clue, but made me smile. Talking of which, off for a glass now…

  17. I have to admit to not finishing this today, I started early then had to leave it half done, I found it much harder than the two star rating and must admit to not enjoying it, a lot of clues where you have to find a word then shorten it or use letters off the end etc. not my favourite type, so for once I have decided not to bother finishing it, thanks for hints Falcon and sorry Jay ( I usually quite like Wednesday crosswords )

    1. I have observed that Jay frequently employs constructs like “case of …”, “heartless”, and such in his clues. I have therefore conditioned myself to be on the lookout for them in his puzzles.

      As for the difficulty rating, I always think that British solvers will find the puzzle to be easier than I do and therefore tend to err on the low side when awarding stars. Perhaps I am over-compensating.

      1. I found this to be a tricky little number. Judging by my solving time (at least double the previous two days) this goes down as a 3.5* for difficulty. I awarded myself a good pat on the back for getting 17d. Three days in a row without having to resort to any kind of assistance! I’m going to have to have a rub down with an oiled copy of the Radio Times!
        Thanks to Jay for a ‘goodie’ and to you Falcon for the review. Respect deserved, I most certainly couldn’t solve a puzzle in another language.

      2. Falcon

        I have adjusted ratings down because I thought I had struggled unnecessarily, and up because I had sailed through too easily. The only common factor is that someone always thinks that it is harder or easier than my rating.

        On this one, I agree with your two-star rating.

          1. I’m about there too but was not on the clock per se. It took a few more stops on the slow train than the last couple of 2** puzzles on the slow train. There you go – a perfect 3* rating!

        1. …and strangely enough since you reported yours missing my own electronic helpmate has gone on the blink & refuses to turn itself on despite new batteries. I think it may be on its way out.

    2. Hi Mary
      Bit late now after the other replies but if I had done this review, (which without Chicago I would have), I would have given 3* difficulty (and a piccie of a Cosworth version of.6d)! Difficult to assess as it wasn’t that hard a puzzle to solve but there was some complicated wordplay in some of the clues. My opinion, and as BD says someone will always disagree!
      When I first started blogging I gave a 4* rating to a puzzle, based on my solving time, and nearly all posters said it should have been 2*! I realized later that I had been held up for ages on 2 clues where I was ‘word-blind’, for want of a better term, so now I look at my time but also the solving performance and adjust accordingly. At least there haven’t been too many complaints an my last few reviews.
      No substitution clues today though!

  18. Thanks to Jay and Falcon for a very enjoyable puzzle. Lots of well written clues. Needed to look up 14 across, I had incense, but after that I got the rest ok. Favourites were 17 down and 11 across.

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