DT 26621 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26621

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26621

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello from the Vega Baja on another beautiful morning!

Crosswords are always easier when solved in the morning over a cup of tea and piece of toast but this one must be a strong candidate for being the gentlest Wednesday puzzle since I started blogging, solved in less than half the time of last week’s! As is usual with a Jay puzzle there are 2 or 3 tricky clues to keep us on our toes and it’s not overloaded with anagrams, although there are enough to keep the anagram fans happy I think.

My favourites are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting 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.    Like a loud blonde’s relationship? (4,6)
{LOVE AFFAIR} – This relationship, which a gentleman might wish to have with a blonde, is a charade of a word meaning like (4), A (from the clue), the letter meaning loud in music and a word meaning blonde (4). String that lot together and split it (4,6).

6a.     Just about having a go (4)
{STAB} – A word meaning ‘a go’ as in try is hidden in juST ABout.

10a.    Discard shot game (5)
{BINGO} – A charade of a word meaning to throw in the trashcan (3) and a word meaning shot, as in try, gives a popular numbers game.  This is a bit sloppy IMO as the word for try is the same one as that used in the previous clue!

11a.    Share beds (9)
{ALLOTMENT} – A place where you might find beds in which to grow vegetables is also a word meaning share or ration.

12a.   Clear up and give correct points to club, finally (8)
{BRIGHTEN} – Clear up, in the sense of weather, is made from B (cluB finally), a word meaning correct and 2 points of the compass.

13a.    Keen on crossing river — it’s a short passage (5)
{INTRO} – A short passage, at the beginning of a piece of music perhaps, is a colloquial term for keen or enthusiastic with R inserted (crossing River).

15a.    Hastily repaired street might be so (7)
{COBBLED} – A street in the old part of town might have a surface like this. It’s also a word meaning hastily repaired or hastily put together. Most of the repairs on my house could be said to be like this! Apparantly these are ‘sets’ rather than the answer – thanks to WBGeddes for pointing this out.

17a.    Cry, getting credit for quiet during delivery (7)
{SCREECH} – A substitution clue. Take a word meaning delivery or oration and change the P to a CR (CRedit  for quiet) to get a word for a cry or scream. Nearly always one of these in a Jay puzzle and I’m getting much better at spotting them!

19a.    Ham is finished and cat worried (7)
{OVERACT} – Ham here is the definition and it’s nothing to do with cured pork! A verb meaning ‘to ham’ is made from a word meaning finished or ended followed by an anagram (worried) of CAT.  I liked this one because it conjured up a rather bizarre image! Perhaps my sense of humour is a bit too visual!

21a.    Eccentric degree students are after rum (7)
{ODDBALL} – This eccentric is a word for rum or strange followed by an arts degree and two students.

22a.    Material change only coming after revolution, ultimately (5)
{NYLON} – This synthetic material is an anagram (change) of ONLY placed after N (revolutioN finally).

24a.    Record volume for a computer (8)
{NOTEBOOK} – The sort of small computer which I use is a word for record or write down followed by a volume you might find in the library.  This sort of computer is a bit of a pain for solving crosswords because the whole grid won’t fit on the screen!

27a.    Sort of apprenticeship plate on walls of inn (9)
{INDENTURE} – Another word for apprenticeship is the sort of plate you may wear in your mouth placed on IN (walls of InN).

28a.    Quartz is corroded by silver (5)
{AGATE} – A type of quartz is the chemical symbol for silver followed (by) a word which can mean corroded, or even eroded!

29a.    Horse backed in front of good crowd (4)
{GANG} – Take a term for a horse reversed (backed) and follow with G(ood) to get this crowd.

30a.    Bitter rating sent abroad (10)
{ASTRINGENT} – A word meaning bitter is an anagram (abroad) of RATING SENT.


1d.    Left order for rounded projection (4)
{LOBE} – L(eft) followed by an order or award you might get from the Queen gives a rounded projection, on the bottom of your ear perhaps.

2d.     August never varies on revolutionary island in the Med (9)
{VENERABLE} – A word meaning august or praiseworthy is an anagram (varies) of NEVER followed by a Mediterranean island reversed (revolutionary).  Placing august as the first word cleverly disguises the unnecessary capitalisation, how many of you first thought of the month?

3d.     Surrounded by a mass, working girl begins (5)
{AMONG} – A word meaning surrounded by is A (from the clue), M(ass), a word meaning ‘working’ and G (Girl begins).

4d.     Ate loads, but ate nothing loaded with energy (7)
{FEASTED} – Ate loads is the definition and the answer is a word for ate nothing with E inserted (loaded with Energy).

5d.     For example, Channel traffic might precede them (7)
{ISLANDS} – This is a sort of all-in-one clue (I think). You need a word that could be preceded by either of the words ‘channel’ or ‘traffic’ to give a meaningful phrase in each case. Tricky little rascal and my last in!

7d.     Deal with engineers trapped in rubbish (5)
{TREAT} – Take the usual engineers and surround them (trapped in) with a word meaning rubbish or ‘cheap and cheerful’

8d.     Corner with talk of flowers? (10)
{BUTTONHOLE} – This word meaning to corner for a chat, in a bar maybe, is also the sort of flower gents wear on their suits at a wedding.

9d.     In-flight security? (5,3)
{STAIR ROD} – Not an Air Marshall! This security device is used to keep the carpet in place on a flight of stairs.

14d.     Reckoning there’s two hundred wearing new union tag (10)
{ACCOUNTING} – This reckoning or totting up is CC (2 hundreds) inside an anagram (new) of UNION TAG.

16d.     Start living, making money from scholarship (8)
{LEARNING} – L (start Living) followed by a word for making money or getting paid gives scholarship or knowledge.

18d.     Explain to a rebel worried about answer (9)
{ELABORATE} – A word meaning explain or add more detail is made from an anagram (worried) of TO A REBEL placed around (about) A(nswer).

20d.     Languages making one’s gut churn? (7)
{TONGUES} – A generic term for languages is an anagram (churn) of ONES GUT.

21d.     Unfashionable clothes have a longer life (7)
{OUTWEAR} – A word meaning to last longer is a charade of a word for unfashionable and a general word for clothing.

23d.     Boy with vacant expression is loaded (5)
{LADEN} – A boy and EN (empty E(xpressio)N) give a word meaning loaded.

25d.     Thinker, born to rule, reportedly (5)
{BRAIN} – This part of your body which does the thinking is B(orn) and word that sounds like (reportedly) to rule.

26d.     Raise game, though exhausted (4)
{BEAT} – To raise game, at a shoot perhaps, is also a word meaning exhausted or very tired.  I got the answer straight away as I had both checkers but it took a minute or so for the penny to drop on the wordplay! I was thinking ‘raise game’ as in play better in order to do this, D’oh!

Although there are only 2 straight anagrams here there do seem to be more partial ones than I first thought. I like all the ones in blue but favourite has to be 19a for the image of pommette’s cats in a panic because the ham had run out!

The Quick crossword pun: {weigh} + {twine} = {white wine}

86 comments on “DT 26621

  1. Beautifully crafted crossword from Jay today. Even with the easier ones, you never feel short-changed. Many thanks to Jay for the joy and to Pommers for the pictures (with a review added) – 22a is never nylon!

      1. No. Junior counsel. A lady with briefs is a barrister, a lady without briefs is a solicitor.

        1. Didn’t we do this a few weeks ago?

          A ‘female without briefs might well be a solicitor, but not of the legal profession.

  2. Very enjoyable, thanks to Jay and Pommers for the review, have you been taking lessons from Gazza regarding pictorial hints?

    1. I wasn’t actually looking for that sort of photo for 11a but when I keyed the answer into Google images it came up #2 so who am I to refuse?

  3. Really must disagree with todays difficultty rating, thought it at 3 * if not 4*. Very tricky indeed. No real favourite today, all far too tough for me.

      1. Ignore me today, just got back from a casting which always puts me in a bad mood. Grr!
        Probably also explains my complete lack of insight into a clever but tough puzzle :)

    1. Hello Barrie and welcome back, I have missed your comments on the blog, hopefully see you around a bit more in the future :-) since we left theclueless club, it seems to have shut down, which is a shame as I found it a very encouraging place to be! :-D

        1. Hi Carrie
          The CC is made up of those people on the site who have never solved a complete back page puzzle without any assistance – no books, dictioaries, electronic aids.
          Once you have solved a puzzle unaided you are out of the CC and there is no return!

          1. You can then move on to the naughty corner and enjoy lemon cake and chocolate brownies .. but there are different ‘rules’ for that club :D

  4. I found the RHS very tricky and needed much help; 5d and 26d were the hardest…enjoyable though! liked 27a in particular. I’d agree with barrie on a harder rating, but maybe the brain isn’t functioning too well today.

  5. Had a chance now to go through the answers (Thx Pommers), and for me a very unpleasant puzzle mainly I suspect because I found it so impenetrable. Ugh!

    1. I’m having the same trouble Bas, I think that it’s worth 3* at least although I have held out from referring to Pommers answers – so far

  6. Very pleasant puzzle today, not too tricksy, but with some nice clues. I haven’t got any particular favourites today, but I did enjoy 10A, 11A, 13A, 15A, 27A, 4D and 8D.

    1. Incidentally, I enjoyed the pun in the quickie. Reminded me of the old joke ‘What’s a crèche’ Answer ‘A collision between two cars in Kensington’.

  7. I agree with Barrie. Very tricky. Took me ages and I snapped at my wife when she asked me how I was getting on. I do wish pommers wasn’t so pleased with himself; not very encouraging for others.

  8. Hi Domus
    Have a look at last week’s blog – there were a load of comments saying my 4* rating was way OTT! It’s all very personal.

    I simply rate a puzzle on how long it takes me to solve it so,
    up to X minutes is a 1* (and if I ever give that rating I will have shattered my all time DT cryptic solving record).
    up to 2X mins is 2*
    up to 3X mins is 3* etc.
    Last week I was up at the top end of the 4X minutes (but nearly everyone on the blog said it was much easier!). Today I was spot in the middle of 2* time.
    I sometimes think it comes down to luck of the draw as to which clues you solve first. If all you get from your first few as checking letters are vowels, and very common letters like R, S, T etc then it’s not a lot of help but a load of less common consonants are a different matter and can unlock the puzzle very quickly.
    Maybe I’ll have a rethink next time.

  9. Thank you Pommers. Like others l found this really tricky. After an hour l only had 16d. Was thinking l was getting the hang of it but could not get going on this without a lot of help.

    A question, how do you know who set the crossword?


    1. We don’t always know who sets the crosswords but the setters often leave comments and there are certain patterns. We know from their comments that Rufus (Roger Squires) sets the Monday crossword, Jay (Jeremy Mutch) sets the Wednesday crossword and Giovanni (Don Manley) sets the Friday crossword.

      The crosswords for Tuesday and Thursday are set by different people each week. We know that RayT sets a number of the Thursday crosswords. He has a very individual style and often confirms that he is the setter. Some of his trademarks are that the Quick Crossword always has one word clues and answers, there is invariably a reference to his favourite group (Queen) in the cryptic clues (etc).

      The other Thursday setters are Mysterons (unknown setters) although I strongly suspect that Petitjean (who set today’s Toughie) is among their number.

      Tuesdays are usually Mysterons although Shamus (who also sets Toughies) sets some of them and usually lets us know which are his.

      1. Can I add another way of knowing a Ray T puzzle? There is usually a clue that sounds on surface reading very rude/risque/blue – call it what you like. I love these – they always make me laugh. My favourite example of one of these is “Kind of shrink underwear showing a revealing glimpse” (8,4)

      2. RayT often pops in to the blog if he’s the setter – but often in the evening. I think I might spot it more than others because I often do the crossword after dinner. I enjoyed today’s puzzle, and would mark it 2*ish for difficulty. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    2. Also Sundays are Virgilius (Brian Greer) and alternate Saturdays are Cephas (Peter Chamberlain) who is also a Toughie setter.
      If you want a bit of bio about the various setters and their aliases have a look here http://bestforpuzzles.com/index.html There’s a crossword Who’s Who section.

  10. I usually find Jay one of the trickier backpage setters but this very enjoyable crossword fell into place with no trouble at all Sorry to all you people who are now groaning but I have just entered my 42nd year of solving the DT cryptic so if I was still finding them difficult and time-consuming, I would have to be some sort of masochist to be still doing them every day.

    The Petitjean Toughie is challenging but very enjoyable too.

  11. Hi Pommers, I think you are a genius if you found this one easy, I agree with others that it was very tricky in parts at least a 3* for me today, I got really stuck on the top right hand quarter, complete mental blockage :-( , however I did enjoy the bits I could do and did have one clear favourite clue today 27a, thanks for hints once again Pommers needed quite a few today!

    1. Hi Mary
      I’m beginning to think my cryptic brain must work in a different way to everyone else on this blog! I really didn’t have any problem with this one but other weeks I’ve struggled and others have found it easy-peasy! Last week I was on the verge of needing help but Gnome’s Law came to the rescue which was lucky – as BD said – at 0230BST there wouldn’t have been much help available!
      Maybe the best way is just to give 3* every week!

      You’re right that the NE corner was the tricky bit and I wouldn’t have got 1a without 4 of the checkers.

      1. I am with you Pommers. Normally I find with a Jay that I panic going through the acrosses,, get saved by the downs and the whole thing usually takes me longer than any other backpager. I totally agree with your *s today.

        1. I thought I was in for a normal Jay today. Going through the acrosses I got as far as 19 before getting one but then the rest fell in and the downs rescued the top half!

          1. I got to 30 before I got an across clue in. I think I’ll routinely start with the downs, as they always seem to go in more readily. Does anybody know why?

  12. I found the top right hand corner VERY tricky and almost gave up and read the hints but then it all sorted itself out – last one in was 5d. I’m very bad at spotting the “swap something for something else” kind of clues as in 17a so that took a long time too. In fact that corner took about twice as long as the whole of the rest of the crossword. I liked 1, 15, (that applies to our house too, Pommers) and 19a and 2, 8 and 9d. With thanks to Jay and to Pommers.

  13. Sorry to be a pedant but your pic for 15A is of sets not of the answer. It’s good to be accurate it’s good to be Northern.

  14. It should be pointed out additionally that the shape of that in 15A is 1D like and not flat which is the difference in the character of the two.

    1. Thanks for the info. I’d heard of sets but never really understood the difference. As Gazza says, nowt wrong with pedants on a crossword site!
      BTW, I’m from Manchester – is that Northern enough?

      1. Pommers-in the debate for which is Britain’s second city Manchester is the only place that thinks the answer is London.

        Oh yes it is Northern enough.

        1. What Manchester thinks today the world will think tomorrow! You from my neck of the woods?

            1. Well if you Brummies and Londoners wish to fight about which is the second city then . ..

      2. I lived in Manchester for 35 years and always thought that “set(t)s” was a Northern word for cobbles – so thanks for the info.

        1. Sets are cobbles to me too, but I’m not sure if it’s my Geordie birth, or my ‘Ull upbringing.

  15. I found it not too taxing, except for 26d where I fell into the same trap [pun intended] before I had a glorious revelation and stopped grousing. OK, OK!

  16. I think the explanation for 5D is not quite right. I read it as a double definition: “For example, Channel” and “traffic might precede them”

    Thanks for the explanation for 17A, got the answer because it was the only word that fitted, but didn’t know why.

    1. Hi Ayayay
      You may well be right! Hadn’t looked at it that way. My thought was that the ‘for example’ was showing that Channel and traffic were just examples of the many words that would fit, like tropical, desert etc.
      Maybe Jay will let us know, he does sometimes post on here.

        1. Think you may have replied to the wrong post here!
          I was born in Stretford and brought up in Sale – small world! I remember the Stamford Arms very well!

  17. Hmm! I just noticed that in my paper version (I’ve not switched to the iPad version yet) the first two clues in the Quick Crossword are not in italics. Hence I didn’t twig that they formed a pun – despite entering them in order. Duh!

    1. The first two clues are always a pun. The italics are only used when the pun is three, four or even more words over two or more rows.

      1. You live and learn.

        And while we’re on about Manchester, my later education was in that city, but my previous abode was in 5d, just not the one illustrated above. And despite speaking French (well, patois) from the age of three, I failed my French oral O-level. Apparently, the examiner couldn’t understand my Norman (not ‘Northern’) accent! :(

  18. Having been surprised at last week’s 4* rating, was equally surprised at 2* today as couldn’t see why 17a or 26d were what they are, even though I’d put them in. So well done and thanks Pommers! Favourite clue 6a. Love wednesdays!

  19. Very good offering by Jay today, 2-3* for me. Last in 26d.

    Absolute torrential downpour for the last 30 minutes, nearly dark, thunder lightning – oh, of course, it’s the beginning of August!!

    Thanks to Pommers and Jay

    1. Oh no! Where are you? Do I need to get the washing in? I’m in the Cotswolds.

      As far as the crossword goes, I agree with Pommers, no problems today. The only one I had a problem with was 17a. I had the answer but couldn’t figure out why. Thanks for the explanation Pommers. Substitution of course. For some reason my fave is 15a.
      Pommers, you are beginning to rival Gazza on the imagery front. Thanks for another entertaining review and thanks to Jay for an ace puzzle.

      ‘Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory….’

        1. Hi Dave. I have actually been in contact with Eric re the event. I also had a look at the 3d puzzles and couldn’t make head nor tail of them! I think I might need an expert to hold my hand. Are there any tickets left? I think it would be really nice to meet the ‘galacticos’ of crosswordland, as long as you don’t mind me bumbling around looking a bit lost. Do I need to wear a name badge?!

            1. That looks very interesting too Dave. I’ll have to check the golf calendar for prior bookings. However, prior golf commitments notwithstanding and as it’s only about 10 miles away from me, I don’t see why not. Inspector Morse being my favourite crime drama, without exception, it would be nice to hear what Mr Dexter has to say. I hope to see you and any other contributors on Saturday.

        1. Thanks Andy, slightly reassured. Boiling here NE of Cheltenham and I reckon were due a cloudburst any time soon. My in-laws are over in your direction (Oakham). I must call and see if they’re still alive.

          1. I used to live in Oakham. It was a very sleepy little town back then (mid 70’s). If you do call them it may be difficult to tell if they are alive or not. :)

      1. Just West of Bristol here. Finished work, came home and cut the grass, had to come in though before I started burning.

  20. I’m with Barrie on this, I Can never really get to grips with Jay despite all of the comments about his wordplay.
    I also agree with Gazza, cobbles always were and will be sets!
    Thanks to setter and Pommers for his hints, not forgetting the pictures.

  21. Tough, but finished it, largely due to getting trapped in the Costa in Gainsborough by a massive downpour, and having to have a second coffee……..

  22. Thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable puzzle and to Pommers for the hints and review. I managed to complete it okay, but was held up by 8 and 26 down. Favourites were 1 & 17 across.

  23. Very nice and Archetyoal Jay puzzle, down clues easier than the across clues and the whole thang sat, as Qix, between 2-to-3 stars in difficulty although I was held up longest by only a handful so maybe leaning towards 2-star – just goes to show.
    Many thanks to Jay for the puzzle and Pommers for the review and the pictures – although I reckon gazza outperformed in the latter department today regarding tenuous links – Most welcome in any case!!

    1. By **/**** I really meant two for difficulty and four for enjoyment, so we agree!

      I didn’t think that there was any discrepancy in difficulty between the A and D clues, though; it all seemed very consistent, and very good, as we expect on Wednesdays.

      1. To me this was a perfect Jay puzzle! Not too hard overall but with a few trickier clues to make one think a bit. On top of that there is his usual near-perfect clueing and good surfaces so hence the 4* enjoyment – I really did think it was very good! Only gripe, the use of ‘go’ in consecutive clues (which I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been writing the blog).
        10/10 to Jay and it would be nice if he’d tell us whether I’m right in the parsing of 5d! (see post #16 and reply).

        1. Re 5d: I read it the same way as Ayayay.

          The clue breaks quite neatly into two when seen that way. Otherwise, the “for example” is unnecessary, and a comma or “or” would feel right between “Channel” and “traffic”, which would kill the surface.

  24. OK, g’night all. Off for a kip now. Back in 2 weeks as Falcon is in the chair next week.

    1. Oh Pommers! I shall miss you and your piccies….and I do like the way you follow the blog during the day.

      1. Hi Seemore and thanks!
        You’ll have to put up with me for 4 weeks in a row after next week!
        As for following the blog during the day it’s because WordPress sends me an email every time someone posts a comment so I have a look every hour or so. ( I just got a mail alerting me to your post).
        See y’all later

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