DT 26624 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26624

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26624

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A slightly trickier than usual offering from the Saturday Mysteron this week which caused problems for quite a few posters (and quite a few lurkers too judging by the number of visits to the hints page).    Analysis for this review has revealed lots to make me smile and I have highlighted my favourites in blue.

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           Returning sick of Mexican food (4)
TACO –  A very thin crisp rolled pancake with a meat filling enjoyed by fans of Mexican food is found in a reversal (returning) of CAT (a noun meaning to vomit) which is then  followed by O (of, as in cat o’nine tails).

3a           Flying Dutchman perhaps and German leader smuggled drug to artist (5, 5)
GRAND OPERA – A charade of  G (German leader) RAN (smuggled) DOPE (drug) and RA (artist), split 5,5.   I spent a while trying to fit ghost into this, as I always think of the Flying Dutchman as a ghost ship that can never reach port.   However, here we need to be aware that it is also the title of a grand opera written by Richard Wagner.

8a           Where film is not exposed (2, 6)
IN CAMERA  –  Before the advent of digital cameras, film was always found IN [a] CAMERA.   This is also an expression meaning in secret, or in private, ergo not exposed.

9a           I am like Father William perhaps seen through the looking-glass (6)
IMAGED – Always nice to have a chance to recite a bit of Lewis Carroll.  Alice recites a poem ‘You are old Father William’.  So if the Mysteron were like Father William he/she might say ‘ I  AM AGED’.  Remove the spaces to get IMAGED which means like a likeness in a looking glass or mirror.  Although ‘looking glass’ is also a link with Carroll and Alice, the poem actually appears in Alice in Wonderland and not Alice through the Looking Glass.

10a         Withdraw making cry of pain in fight (3,3)
BOW OUT – A term meaning to withdraw or retire from a situation – insert OW (a cry of
pain!) into BOUT (a wrestling or boxing fight) and split 3,3.

11a         Cause to resent bit of bile in one throwing out (8)
EMBITTER  – To make more bitterly hostile –  place B (one letter or a bit of bile) into EMITTER  (an electronic device that throws out electrons or electromagnetic waves)

13a         Pieces of leather concealed in yachting centre (8)
COWHIDES –  Chambers defines this as the hides of cows made into leather – Insert HID (concealed) into COWES (home of the world’s oldest regular yachting regatta).

14a         Cut tax (6)
EXCISE – a double definition – (a) a verb meaning to cut off or out; or (b) a tax on certain commodities.

16a         Strong drinks right in small measures
SHORTS – An informal term for strong drinks of spirits is obtained by inserting R for right into SHOTS (small measures of alcoholic spirit).

19a         Record systematically time a vehicle mostly departed (8)
TABULATE – To record systematically in a table or synopsis –  another charade, this time T (time), A (from the clue), BU(S) (a bus, or vehicle, mostly) and LATE (departed, deceased).

21a         Expression of praise that’s not rare (4,4)
WELL DONE – If this had a hyphen, it would be an adjective meaning thoroughly cooked, ie not rare.  Without the hyphen, it’s an expression of praise to someone who has accomplished something.

22a         One exhibiting uninspiring lot (6)
SHOWER –  A double definition that depends on how you pronounce the word –  either someone who shows or exhibits  something; or a disparaging term applied to a particular group of people one disapproves of.

23a         Note sound of man’s voice (6)
TENNER –  A colloquial term for a £10 note sounds like the term for an adult male voice between a baritone and an alto.

24a         Defect in bicycle wheel perhaps made discordant noises (5,3)
SPOKE OUT –  An expression meaning spoke boldly and made contradictory or discordant noises could also be a description of a bicycle wheel being made defective by virtue of having a spoke missing or out.

25a         Tracking down Mafia boss in East Anglian town (10)
HUNTINGDON  – Insert a DON or Mafia boss into HUNTING (chasing or tracking down prey) to get the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.  One always thinks of East Anglia comprising the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, but apparently it includes Cambridgeshire too.

26a         Without places to recuperate (4)
SANS – The French word for without SANS is also an old informal term for sanatoriums – hospitals where convalescents recuperate.


1d           Traffic delays follow vehicle overturning near Kansas (9)
TAILBACKS – A line of traffic stretching back from something obstructing or slowing down the flow –  TAIL (follow) plus BAC (a reversal (overturning) of a CAB or vehicle) and KS (abbreviation for the State of Kansas).

2d           Once more flying over centre of Austria, out of touch (2,7,6)
ON ANOTHER PLANET – If you were flying again, you could be said to be ON ANOTHER PLANE.   Add the middle letter of AusTria, and you get a completely different expression, this  time an informal one meaning that you were out of touch with reality.

3d           Made special appearance and blustered, taking in English (7)
GUESTED – Insert E (English) into GUSTED (blown boisterously) to get GUESTED which would refer to an artist who was not a regular performer on a show but making a special appearance.

4d           Head of Academy established American composer in film (7)
AMADEUS  – ‘Amadeus’  was the title of the film about the life of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart– a charade of  A (the head of Academy) MADE (established)  and US (American).

5d           Dee – river producing very slow flow (7)
DRIBBLE – Dee here doesn’t refer to  the Welsh river but to D, the fourth letter of the alphabet,  which is then followed by the river RIBBLE to give us DRIBBLE, a verb meaning to trickle or flow slowly.

6d           They fool about sporting lacier jockstrap (9, 6)
PRACTICAL JOKERS – An anagram (sporting) of LACIER JOCKSTRAP produces people famed for playing foolish tricks on others.    Yes, Gazza, I do realise that my illustration isn’t quite what you would have put here, but you are supposed to illustrate the solution, not the anagram fodder, aren’t you??


7d           Tree covering more than half of Channel Island (5)
ALDER – A tree of the genus Alnus is the first five letters, ie more than half of the eight-letter Channel Island of ALDERNEY

12d         Spaces in electronic manuscript (3)
EMS – Units of measurement used in printing to denote the point size and spacing of type – E (electronic) and MS (manuscript).   We have had a lot of instances lately of EM needing to be inserted into other words to get a solution, so I did like the idea of needing the measurement itself this time.  It might help me remember it next time its needed.

15d         Curses late unreliable cars touring Spain (9)
EXECRATES –  A synonym for curses is a charade of EX (late, former) and CRATES (decrepit cars) with E (the IVR code for Spain) inserted.

17d         Screaming colour
HUE –  A double definition – a noun meaning  screaming, shouting or clamour can also mean colour, tint or dye.

18d         Mac’s accessory to wear mostly keeping one out of rain (7)
SPORRAN – Brilliant stuff, not least because of the deceptive link between Mac and rain.    Mac  here refers to a Scotsman and the accessory he wears with his kilt is, of course, the SPORRAN.   SPOR(T) (wear, use or exhibit) and RAN (rain with the I (one) removed.

19d         Sweet, made up in plaits (7)
TRESSED – Reverse DESSERT (sweet or pudding course) to get TRESSED (braided in plaits).

20d         Instrument gives start of ballad equally well (7)
BASSOON – A large woodwind instrument  – B (start or first letter of Ballad) and AS SOON (equally well, also)

21d         One spelling ‘Transposition’, disregarding ‘S’ (5)
WITCH – Someone who casts spells  –  Transposition or SWITCH with the S removed (disregarding S).

Lots to puzzle over and then enjoy in this one, thank you Mysteron.

6 comments on “DT 26624

  1. Really well done here Sue, a tough puzzle to solve ( I didn’t finish it) let alone review, an ‘A star’ for you :-D

  2. This was one of a few DT puzzles I saved from last week to keep me occupied for a rather long plane journey back from the US last night.
    And, yes, I did find it very difficult, but finished around 2/3 of it unaided.
    Many thanks to CrypticSue for the illumination on the clues I couldn’t fathom (especially 9a, 11a, 18d).
    I think 22a was my favourite – big groan as the penny-dropped, but rewarding as I dropped it! :)
    I really do think that 26a should have some sort of indicator (French, continental, abroad or something) to indicate that you’re looking for a foreign word – that annoyed me now I’ve seen the answer.

      1. Sure, I appreciate that the English language is a bit of a sponge when it comes to absorbing foreign words.
        But I still didn’t like it in a clue.

    1. A certain Mr Shakespeare used the word to express ‘without’ in 1600 in the famous Jaques speech in As You Like It

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