DT 26634 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26634

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26634

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

The long-awaited Thursday puzzle from Ray T has arrived – enjoy (I certainly did).

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    Cops, elite crew endlessly trained for special force (6,6)
{SECRET POLICE} – An anagram (trained) of COPS ELITE CRE(W) without the final W (endlessly) gives this special force of cops

8a    A French bit’s flipped? Take off! (7)
{UNSTRAP} – the French indefinite article is followed by a word meaning a bit together with the ‘S reversed (flipped) gives a word meaning to take off or release – the definition here is a bit loose

9a    Stand for breadbasket (7)
{STOMACH} – a double definition – a verb meaning to stand or tolerate and a part of the body for which breadbasket is a slang term

11a    It generates energy in relation to star perhaps (7)
{REACTOR} – an assembly of fissile material in which a nuclear chain reaction is produced is a charade of a two-letter word meaning “in relation to” or concerning and a star of stage or screen

12a    Roll around front of inn and make merry (7)
{ROISTER} – the first of two synonyms of a roll or register in today’s puzzle is placed around I (front of Inn) to give a verb meaning to make merry

13a    Sound of bird could alert him? (5)
{MINER} – a homonym of a bird that can be taught to imitate human speech gives someone who, in days past, was warned of the escape of toxic gases by a canary in a cage – I’ve been provided with a carbon monoxide alarm as part of the installation of my new wood-burning stove, so I have no need of a canary!

14a    Catholic Church containing King with a new sanction (9)
{CLEARANCE} – put C(atholic) and the Church of England around Shakespeare’s tragic king, A and N(ew) to get a sanction or authorization

16a    Game girl who’s striking, holding a weapon (9)
{BAGATELLE} – this old-fashioned game is created by putting a girl with strikingly good looks around A and the abbreviated form of a machinegun

19a    End of wood strikes shots (5)
{DRAMS} – the final letter of wooD is followed by a verb meaning strikes or hits to get the kind of wee shots that Scotsmen love – yes, I mean you BigBoab and Qix!

21a    Fancy one compiler concealing a trap (7)
{IMAGINE} – to get a word meaning to fancy put I and the first person objective pronoun (compiler) around A and a trap

23a    His work is usually framed (7)
{GLAZIER} – … to make a window

24a    Country’s old money (7)
{GUINEAS} – an African country followed by the S from the possessive ‘S gives old money that is still present in two classic horse races

25a    Fan letters providing support (7)
{TRESTLE} – an anagram (fan) of LETTERS gives a support composed of a horizontal beam on sloping legs

26a    Copies produced initially by art classes, mixed taking time (7,5)
{PLASTER CASTS} – these copies obtained by pouring a mixture into a mould are derived from the initial letter of Produced and an anagram (mixed) of ART CLASSES around (taking) T(ime)


1d           Support American backing up smear (7)
{SUSTAIN} – this verb meaning to support is created by reversing (backing up in a down clue) the usual two-letter American and add a smear

2d           ‘Guard dog, roll over!’ (7)
{CURATOR} – ignore the punctuation! – a person appointed by law as guardian is derived from a worthless dog followed by another roll or register (not the one in 12a) reversed (over)

3d           Observed government cut by one American state (9)
{EMPIRICAL} – a word meaning observed or pragmatic is a charade of the government of a group of states under the same sovereign power (Britain used to be one!) without its final letter (cut), I (one) and the abbreviation of a state on the West Coast of America

4d           Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ with huge exhibitionist (5)
{POSER} – here’s Ray’s signature clue! – put Elizabeth Regina (Queen) under (in a down clue) P(ressure) and a huge clothing size to get an exhibitionist

5d           More unstable column supporting toilet (7)
{LOOPIER} – a word meaning more unstable or madder is created by putting a column or pillar under (supporting in a down clue) a slang word for a toilet

6d           Moderate Conservative leader leading race (7)
{CHASTEN} – a word meaning to moderate or restrain is a charade of the initial letter (leader) of Conservative and a verb meaning to race or hurry

7d           God is pure, men beg to be changed (7,5)
{SUPREME BEING} – to get what God is you need an anagram (to be changed) of IS PURE MEN BEG

10d         Doctor treats here with case of lolly involved (6,6)
{HARLEY STREET} – an anagram (doctor) of TREATS HERE and the outside letters (case) of L(oll)Y gives a road in London where you may be treated by a Doctor

15d         Brisk stiffener? Get ice inside (9)
{ENERGETIC} – a word meaning brisk is hidden inside the middle three words of the clue

17d         A Gallic deviant is unfriendly (7)
{GLACIAL} – an anagram (deviant) of A GALLIC gives an adjective meaning  unfriendly or cold

18d         Tours around outside of course showing muscles (7)
{TRICEPS} – put some tours around the outside letters of C(ours)E to get these muscles at the back of the upper arm

19d         Unmentionables for parts of chest? (7)
{DRAWERS} – a double definition – unmentionable underwear or the sliding parts of a chest

20d         Amateur, through experiment, almost flies (7)
{AVIATES} – a charade of A(mateur), a word, from the Latin, meaning through and all but the final letter of a synonym for an experiment gives a verb meaning flies an aeroplane

22d         Follow tennis rules regularly (5)
{ENSUE} – a word meaning to follow comes from the even letters (regularly) of tEnNiS rUlEs

This certainly brightened up a dull morning.

The Quick crossword pun: {sock} + {rut} + {ease} = {Socrates}

66 comments on “DT 26634

  1. 5* enjoyment from me. The most enjoyable RayT I have solved for a while…
    Too many good clues to pick a favourite, although 5d made me smile!
    Many thanks to RayT, and to BD for the notes.

    1. Worst puzzle for me in ages. Was beginning to think I’d “cracked” Ray Confucius T’s puzzle styling. I actually finished one a few weeks ago. But today simply proved he is on a different planet. Managed the anagrams and few others but needed help all the way through (Thanks BD). His tortuous styling just irritates me.
      A trend I’m noticing is that those who solve the “toughie” and the back pager before breakfast seem to enjoy a toughie styling for the back pager.
      Well I don’t. This sort of puzzle simply puts me in a bad mood, to say nothing of the better half who managed three clues….has stormed out saying if this is his idea of “fun”….then ^%$$^&$&*censored.
      Hope you sleep well tonight Ray.
      I just need a large scotch

      1. Nigel
        I’m not quite sure who you are waving your finger at, but just to clarify a few points:
        I have never completed both puzzles ‘before breakfast’, in fact with some of the toughies, it is more like lunchtime, or early afternoon, or on some occasions, not completed at all.
        I enjoyed this puzzle; I thought there were some amusing, and clever clues. My enjoyment of a puzzle has nothing whatsoever to do with the level of difficulty.
        Having solved, or attempted to solve some of the puzzles in the ‘other’ papers, in my opinion, the DT provides some of the more gentle (less tricky) crosswords.
        That said… the DT is my preferred choice for crossword puzzles. Some are good, some not so good, but each person will have their own experience of it, and decide their own level of enjoyment.
        A setter cannot please everyone, but I see no reason why Ray should not ‘sleep well tonight’.

        1. Apologies if you thought I was wagging a finger at yourself. It was a general comment. It should be quite noticeable from anyone reading the blog that there is a large division on opinions on how easy/difficult it is to solve various setters. You only have to read all the “really enjoyed this Crossword”….versus the “really hated this one”, suggest that there are a wide variety of abilities in solving crosswords and also in getting on the same wavelength as the setter.
          I thought that this was what Dave’s Blog was about….helping people to understand and solve them.

          1. Apology not necessary, but thank you anyway :)
            I agree totally with your last comment – this blog has helped many people, me included, in the art of solving crosswords. Thank you BD!

  2. This might sound a bit silly, but ….. I can’t say I really enjoyed this one. Mainly as I was in a hurry and probably couldn’t appreciate the wordplay, sorry. Off to work now, might have another look when I get back.

  3. The usual Ray T slog, managed all but 2 clues but very little enjoyment for me, just very hard work.

    1. Recently I thought I was getting used to Ray T, but I was short of time today, and Brian’s posting above might as well be mine!

      1. Me too. I just can’t get on to his wavelength, so sadly it’s back to miserable Thursday as usual for me!

  4. Wednesday evening shed load of beer = poor night’s sleep = slow start to day = hard up hill struggle with crossword = lunchtime hair of dog = must try harder

    1. Must try harder: What at, the beer,the sleep or the hair of the dog.? All sounds fine to me, congratulations.

  5. Lovely stuff. Very difficult to pick out a favourite or two as the whole thing was so enjoyable, thank you Ray. Thanks to BD too.

    The Toughie is worth a go too, took me the same time as the backpager and made the smile on my face even bigger :)

    Great day for crosswords – there’s a Nimrod (Elgar) in the Indy and a themed puzzle in the Grauniad.

    1. Gnomey and I have a, as yet unproven, theory that setters are given ‘words of the week/month’ that they have to insert into their cryptics. The same word/s seem to turn up in all the available crosswords in a period of about 7 – 10 days.

        1. The one that drives me made is the wild cat the ‘ounce’ …. if I had a £1 for every time…. :)

          1. How about a Pound for every 16 Ounces? :-)
            (For our younger viewers, it’s what we used to weigh things in when we had sensible measures, and were still running our own country.)

      1. I love a conspiracy theory and crosswords (especially the cryptic variey) are perfect for such NB the DDay landing business.

        So then. Should we be concerned about a possible world order overthrow led by fenestrative (if this isn’t an adjective it should be) consultants?

        1. Thought it was a secret – to be revealed only on pane of death – but if you are putty in their hands…………..???

          (oh no – not one of those threads??)

        2. Hello WB, if I may call you that? Did you see Rubicon on BBC4 a couple of months ago ? That had the Cryptic Crossword Conspiracy coursing through it, if you’ll forgive the alliteration :-)

      2. “Bogeyman” appeared in today’s Toughie and also in Gazza’s NTSPP at the weekend. Is Gazza involved in the conspiracy?

  6. Hard work but great fun for me – 10d probably favourite. Thanks to Rufus and BD as usual – am actually beginning to understand and enjoy Rufus a lot more.

    On an unrelated matter, probably time for me to get a copy of Chambers. Currently on its 11th edition I think. Is there a 12th edition due in the near future does anyone know or should I just jump in and get the current one??


    1. There is a new edition out on 26th August so wait until then. It’s not Rufus today, he does Mondays. Ray T does Thursdays, but not every Thursday.

    2. Whoops – meant RayT – only excuse is they both begin with R and there were no checking letters?

    3. I’ll be on the list of those buying Chambers… perhaps we can get a discount buying in bulk! :)

  7. Many thanks to RayT, best back pager of the week, many thanks also to our leader for the great review.

    1. The Tuesday ‘mysteron’ just sneaks ahead of this one for enjoyment factor for me, but only by a whisker or two.

        1. Shows what quality Tuesdays was though doesn’t it. On any other week RayT always, for me, provides the most laughs and penny drop moments

          1. Certainly does! I think it was that excellent Tuesday puzzle which made me a bit unenthusastic about yesterday’s Jay – apologies to him for that!

  8. My brain was definitely in better working order today as I got over half of this pretty quickly, then slowed down a bit down the right-hand side. But finished in average time and had fun doing it. Favourites were 13a and 2d. Thanks to RayT and BD.

  9. Lovely classic RayT – A Queen song and some unmentionable undergarments (although sadly not coming loose or being otherwise removed this week!). Favourite by a mile was 10d which I am pegging as an &Lit (The Lolly involved adds to the description of the place as well!.
    Many Thanks to RayT and to BD for the review.

  10. Always enjoy RayT’s puzzles because they pose me a bit of a challenge and usually require a fair bit of head-scratching. This was well up to standard IMHO! A very satisfying solve which took me longer than the Shamus Toughie.
    Definate favourite 10d but also liked 13a.
    Many thanks to RayT and to BD for the review which I am now about to read.

  11. Thanks to ray T for another excellent puzzle and to Big dave for the hints, I only needed one today for 24across, but wouldn’t have got it without the hint.

    Favourites were 5 and 10 downs.

  12. Enjoyed this puzzle from Ray T.
    Faves : 9a, 16a, 26a, 5d, 7d & 10d.

    23a also turned up in 26633 of yesterday which I solved this morning- don’t always comment though.

  13. I feel a bit left out – nearly everybody is full of enthusiasm about today’s puzzle, and I just didn’t have any fun at all. Can anybody give me a clue as to how to get on to Ray´s wavelength, or am I doomed to be a Thursday failure?

    1. I’m even later Kath, have a great week off, see you when you return, I’ve only just completed this with a little help from Dave, thanks Dave, I managed 3/4 before being called away this morning and have just managed to get back to it! I must admit I wouldn’t have finished on my own, fav clue 19d :-) goodnight all see you tomorrow, oh yes at least a 3* maybe even 4 for me today

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed this. In fact it’s been a super week all round with Tuesday the highlight so far. I’d give this 2* for difficulty mainly due to the fact that the four big anagrams 1 & 26a and 7 & 10d were all pretty simple and provided lots of starts and finishes. I certainly consider it to have been a tad easier than yesterday’s which finished up as a 3* in the pommers poll. I think 3d was my fave. Can we possibly end the week with a puzzle to top the rest of the week? Let’s hope! Thanks RayT and BD.

  15. Evening all. A bit late in the day, but the usual thanks to BD and to everybody else.


      1. Thanks, Franco, for bringing my plight to Ray’s attention. I know I’m not alone in wishing I could get the same enjoyment out of his puzzles as do the majority of bloggers.

    1. Nice one Mr T, if I can call you that. Definitely A-Team stuff anyway.

      I liked “Bagatelle” best of all, largely because I remember a Farce that had a French man repeatedly saying “It is a mere Game of Balls,” instead of “It’s a mere bagatelle.”

      Maybe you had to be there.

    2. Thank you for the puzzle and for stopping by.

      As Setter, do you have a favourite clue?


  16. An enjoyable puzzle, thanks to RayT (and BD for the review).

    I thought 7d was a lovely clue and I enjoyed the anagram at 17d – had the letters but couldn’t see the answer…

    Enjoyed the two rolls in 12a and 2d.

    I found this a quick solve, but got the ‘biggies’ around the sides early on and that always helps. 2* difficulty, 4* enjoyment.


  17. It feels like ages since I did a Ray T puzzle (for some reason, I always have to work abroad on the weeks when it’s his turn) – and I had forgotten how good they were.
    Excellent offering – tough, but clever and fair…and very funny! My fave so far this week!
    Many thanks to Ray & Big Dave for the review…:)

  18. Took me ages and couldn’t complete SE corner – 10a &d and 20d – without help from hints – then having got them thought they were very clever clues! Actually a very enjoyable puzzle – I enjoy ones that take me longer because I can keep going back to them and hopefully solve a few more – if I do them in 30 mins after breakfast that’s IT for the day! (Reminds me of my Dad who used to start over “coffee break” in the morning and then firmly put it aside so he had another treat at tea time!) Didn’t like 8a – but then, I had “unstrip” which seemed to me to be totally opposite to the clue, so I appreciate the answer, which made a lot more sense!! Got 9a, though didn’t appreciate the slang term – so thanks to BD for the explanation! – and didn’t particularly like 14a though I guess it just about passes muster.
    I think 4* for difficulty and 5* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter and BD for the hints. There were quite a few anagrams – which I like because they get me off to a good start! – but they were very cleverly clued, I thought – particularly 25a, which took me ages before the “anagram penny” dropped! All just my opinion.
    ps: Why does this “comment” box keep changing? It was back to what it used to be yesterday???

  19. Very late today – have done crossword without needing hints although I also had “unstrip” for 8a which didn’t really make sense but the hint put me straight. I also had the wrong kind of 13a – right bird homonym but with an “O” as fourth letter -did wonder about it at the time. Fairly difficult I thought but I always love Ray T Thursdays.
    I’m never sure whether his trademark (or one of them anyway!) references to “Queen” means “Her Majesty” or the group.
    This took me a bit longer than usual – very slow start but then got going. I’ve never heard of the slang term in 9a.
    Liked 2 and 4d – best for me today were 5 and 19d.
    Thanks to Ray T and Big Dave.
    Demob happy – sister now here to look after our Mother – we’re off to France very early tomorrow morning for a week. :grin:

    1. Have a lovely break Kath ‘see’ you when you return, definitely a 3* at least for me today maybe even a 4, finished about 3/4 without Daves help, thanks Dave, fav clue today 19d, tickles me :-) , Goodnight all hopefully be earlier tomorrow, yawnnnnnnnnn!

  20. No pleasure from this; surprised BD gave it 4 stars too many incomplete or ill thought out clues. Worst for a long time.

  21. Having retired recently and deciding to try cryptic crosswords,I worked my way through Val Gilberts ” How to crack the cryptic crossword” to gain an insight, No 26,634 was my first “live” attempt and by Saturday 20th I had solved only 9 clues.I reverted to BD hints and am now convinced that I will learn much more by this approach than studying any more “How to”books. However, Ms Gilbert’s book provided most excellent background preparation and I would recommend it to any beginner.
    Thank you very much for a most interesting and informative site. I look forward to the day I solve the DT crossword during my morning walk!

    1. Hi jac – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve found us I hope that we’ll hear from you regularly.

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