DT 26616 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26616

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26616

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

For me this was very much a curate’s egg, with some good clues interspersed among the not-so-good. Two difficulty levels – the first for the over 55s and those who like anagrams, the second for the rest.

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.


7a    Hull bird confronts former rival (7)
{EMULATE} – by positioning Hull at the beginning of the clue it looks like the setter is concealing Kingston upon Hull when he is actually concealing Parkinson’s nemesis – a charade of the bird that Rod Hull used as a puppet and a word meaning former gives a verb meaning to rival

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8a    ‘In Particular’ — a Blyton novel (7)
{NOTABLY} – this word meaning “‘in particular” is an anagram (novel) of A BLYTON and is nothing to do with The Famous Five

10a    With toasty fare dished up it’s a tempting invitation (4,3,3)
{STAY FOR TEA} – an anagram (dished up) of TOASTY FARE gives a tempting invitation to have a meal

11a    Have a strong desire to thumb a lift down the Old Kent Road? (4)
{ITCH} – a word meaning to have a strong desire is created by dropping the initial H (Cockney / as spoken in the Old Kent Road, which is in London’s East End) from a verb meaning to thumb a lift

12a    Kinky nude lump is a regular swinger (8)
{PENDULUM} – an anagram (kinky) of NUDE LUMP gives is a rod with a weight at the end that regulates the mechanism of a clock (regular swinger)

14a    Combined with energy an overall sharpness (6)
{ACUMEN} – start with a word meaning combined with, as in study-cum-bedroom, and E(nergy) and put them inside (overall) AN to get a word meaning sharpness

15a    Heads of romaine lettuce are tastefully scattered in nouvelle cuisine that’s impracticable (11)
{UNREALISTIC} – the initial letters (heads) of Romaine Lettuce Are and Tastefully are scattered inside an anagram (nouvelle) of CUISINE to give an adjective meaning impracticable – I might have excused this clue if the result was a decent surface reading, but it isn’t

19a    Part 2: Paraphrase ‘quelque part’ (6)
{SEQUEL} – a follow-up (part 2) is hidden inside (part) the clue

20a    Reluctant to say anything after disastrous Act I’s performance (8)
{TACITURN} – an adjective meaning reluctant to say anything is created by putting a performance after an anagram (disastrous) of ACT I

22a    Plans reviewed for junk mail (4)
{SPAM} – reverse (reviewed) some plans to get junk mail

23a    Others twig rewording is to make the illiterate appear literate (5-5)
{GHOST-WRITE} – an anagram (rewording) of OTHERS TWIG gives an action that makes the illiterate appear literate by producing a readable manuscript for them

25a    A pint is ordered for musician (7)
{PIANIST} – an anagram (ordered) of A PINT IS gives a musician

26a    Rush about wildly and crash into messenger (7)
{RAMPAGE} – a word meaning to rush about wildly is a charade of a verb meaning to crash into and a messenger


1d    Suppress start of spillage above dam (7)
{SMOTHER} – a word meaning to suppress is created by putting the initial letter (start) of Spillage in front of (over in a down clue) a dam, but not the kind you find on a river

2d & 3d    Show little interest in what Miles Davis used to do with his trumpet (4,2,4)
{PLAY IT COOL} – a phrase meaning to show little interest in describes what Miles Davis used to do with his trumpet

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d    See 2d

4d    At present no amount of money over a year covers salary cap (8)
{NOWADAYS} – a word meaning in the present time is a charade of NO, from the clue, an amount of money in the possession of a yuppie, A, also from the clue, Y(ear) and the initial letter (cap) of Salary

5d    Being all fingers and thumbs it’s the job for her (10)
{MANICURIST} – a sort-of-cryptic definition of a person, usually female, who cares for fingers and thumbs

6d    Ice mass beginning to get more flimsy (7)
{GLACIER} – to obtain this large mass of ice start with the initial letter of (beginning to) Get and add an adjective meaning more flimsy

9d    Triesman originally probing feigning and provocation (11)
{STIMULATION} – put the initial letter (originally) of Lord Triesman, a former Chairman of the Football Association, inside (probing) a word meaning feigning to get a word meaning provocation – I thought he was probing cheating by those at FIFA with their snouts in the trough

13d    Haunt where French and English troops get time for unwinding (10)
{DÉNOUEMENT} – a charade of a haunt of vice, the French for where, E(nglish), some troops and T(ime) gives the unwinding or unravelling of a plot

16d    European Union record is initially embarrassing to praise (8)
{EULOGISE} – a charade of the European Union, a record, IS from the clue and the initial letter of Embarrassing gives a word meaning to praise

17d    Brussels ruled out of euphemism for birthplace of rock’n’roll (7)
{MEMPHIS} – an anagram (unlikely) of (EU)PHEMISM after the European Union (Brussels) has been removed gives the city in Tennessee that was home to Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio, regarded by many as the birthplace of rock’n’roll

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d    Peer got special ward (7)
{PROTÉGÉ} – an anagram (special) of PEER GOT gives a ward or pupil – anagram indicators get increasingly less relevant

21d    Captain Fantastic not one for sleep (6)
{CATNAP} – an anagram (fantastic) of CAPTA(I)N without the Roman numeral for one (not one) gives a short sleep

24d    Complaints with no case ready for action (4)
{RIPE} – take a synonym for complaints and remove G and S, the outside letters (no case), to get a word meaning ready for action

Anagrams are present in eleven of the clues – and I didn’t think much of several of their indicators.

The Quick crossword pun: {Howe} + {tomb} + {annuals} = {how-to manuals}

42 comments on “DT 26616

  1. Hmmm…. Lots of anagrams, food and music related clues. Looks like Petitjean’s back on Thursday duty.

    Just into 3* territory for both difficulty and enjoyment for me. Favourite clue was 21d. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  2. Definitely 3* + territory for me….. some bits were easy, but I got horribly stuck on NE corner; lacier = more flimsy?!?! flimsy clue; I thought I was looking for a word that meant more flimsy and I thought 14a was horrid. 23a was my favourite. Thank you BD and setter.

  3. Never one to demonstrate ‘True Humility’, I’m not too sure that any parts of this were “egg-cellent” [sorry, should I get my coat now?]. Nevertheless,17d was my favourite.

    1. In my case a day off today! What is the significance of the ‘over 55’ comment, by the way?

  4. As stated above, some good, some bad. Not too difficult today but I’m not sure about emulate meaning rival. 20A favourite for me today.

  5. Expected a RayT today but this one was OK, if a little on the easy side. Thought 23 was great but 5 was all wrong. Still, it was a nice workout in the sunshine.

  6. Having a ‘cushy job’ has given me plenty of time for the back page and Toughie puzzle this morning. Nothing too tricky in either today, although I await an explanation of one of the Toughie across clues.
    Favourite clue 21d.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  7. This was one of those strange cryptics that appeared very hard when I was trying to solve it but the time taken was the same as for an ‘untaxing’ one. Lots of nice clues so thank you Mystery Setter and BD too.

    The Toughie is, as Jezza says, not that tough either. There is an excellent Pasquale (Giovanni) in the Guardian and a Nimrod in the Indy which are both well worth a go when you have finished the Toughie.

    Not going to comment on either my age, my day job or anything else in case I get into trouble :D

  8. Not my favourite crossword of the week, too many anagrams, however I did enjoy several of the clues and had to scratch my head a bit before 13d came to me. Thanks to the setter and to Bd for the review.

  9. Being an ‘anagram’ lover I was grateful for all the ones in this puzzle, a three star at least for difficulty and enjoyment for me today, have just completed although started early on, have been summoned to gardening duty on and off all day! two favourite clues 20a and 23a, had never heard of 13d or 2/3d, thanks for hints Dave although I didn’t need them, I still needed lots of help from my electronic friend and worked a lot of the clues backwards, enjoy the sunshine all you who have it, I sent ours to Sue yesterday, hope she is grateful :-)

    1. I’d be very grateful had the sun actually arrived. We are promised some over the weekend but I will believe it when I see it.

        1. It came out as I was driving home. Just had a lovely walk in glorious hot sunshine. Thank you Mary. You can have it back next week but can I have it the week after as all the great nieces and nephews will be down to camp in the garden and go to the seaside and it will be no fun if it’s raining.

  10. Have finally finished this one now but I thought that it put up quite a fight – for me anyway. Maybe it’s something to do with having had no time to even look at the crosswords for the last couple of days – seem to be becoming an almost full time “carer” for my Mum at the moment.:sad:
    I was slightly put off this one right at the beginning as I’d been hoping for a Ray T. Having gone through all the clues once I only had four answers – not too encouraging. I liked 10, 12 and 20a and 13 and 21d. Thanks to whoever set this one and to Big Dave.

  11. Thanks to Big Dave & the mysteron. I enjoyed this one a lot, but found it quite difficult. Had to resort to the hint for 7 across, got it before reading it all, thanks Dave, I remember that interview well, Parky lost his cool :-) 1d was last in. Favourite was 20a.

  12. For me a fair puzzle rather spoiled by the unintelligible bottom left corner. how many people I wonder untangled 16a, a bizarre clue. 17d wasn’t much better. Not a pleasent experience i’m afraid. Thx to BD for the explanation, how on earth did you manage to get 19a?

    1. Are we talking about the same puzzle Brian?

      There is no 16 across, 17 down was a relatively straightforward anagram with the answer heavily signalled by “birthplace of rock’n’roll”, and 19 across was hidden in the clue.

      14 across was, perhaps, over-tricky for a back-page puzzle.

  13. In the absence of RayT, I was expecting a more critical and disparaging review from BD. I agree with the “Curate’s egg” – some very “straightforward” clues, others quite taxing. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the Emu clip – I’ve seen it so many times, but it’s always nice to see Parkie under attack!!

    1. Before Brian says Touche, I meant to say “…..it’s always nice to “see” Parkie under attack!!”


  14. Not a favourite and think two stars is on the generous side. Came to the puzzle late because we have enjoyed great sunshine here in N. Yorkshire. Back to normal now with drizzle and low cloud.
    Did not like 14A even after reading the hints.
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave for the hints.

  15. Knocked this off quickly at Lunch having driven to Slough (so no crossy time on the train!). enjoyable enough and not too hard (but 14a was left until I had completed my post-parandial cigarette). Thanks to the setter and to BD

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