DT 26645 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26645

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26645

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.  A real piece of Wednesday wizardry today! Some very clever clues, good surfaces and some great ‘penny drop’ moments! I’ve given 3* for difficulty but I’ll leave that up to you to comment on. I don’t actually know my solving time as I got into the website, clicked print and it chucked me out. 45 minutes later, when I finally got back in and the puzzle opened, the clock was already running from my first attempt!

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.


6a    They’ll provide a send-off — mixed salad and punch! (6,4)
{LAUNCH PADS} – These places, where a space shuttle would have been sent off from, are an anagram (mixed) of SALAD and PUNCH.

8a    Note incorporating origins of all right scores at golf (4)
{PARS} – A note added to the end of a letter has inserted (incorporating) AR (origins of All Right) to give some scores at golf – scores that are ‘all right’ but not brill!  I like this clue!

9a     Hanging around, admits love for housework (9)
{HOOVERING} – Take a word for hanging around or loitering and insert O (admits love) and you’ll get some housework, possibly done nowadays with a Dyson!

11a     Productive element in electric heaters (4)
{RICH} – Something productive, as in a seam of ore perhaps, is hidden in electRIC Heaters.

12a     Traitor has nothing for a degenerate (3)
{ROT} –  The degenerate here isn’t someone like me but the verb! Take the usual crosswordland traitor and replace the A with O (nothing for A).

13a     Theatre audience chase complimentary drinks — here? (4,5)
{FREE HOUSE} – The term for the audience in a theatre is placed after (chase) a word for complimentary, in the sense of ‘at no charge’. The result is a type of pub not owned by a brewery, which also sounds as though it ought to give complimentary drinks!  Another favourite – the pub that is, although the clue’s pretty good too!

16a     Bloodsucker’s escape being broadcast (4)
{FLEA} – This insect which sucks blood sounds like (being broadcast) to escape or run away.

17a     Popular fellow — before feeble anger (7)
{INFLAME} – Definition is ‘to anger’. It’s a charade of the usual word for popular, F(ellow) and a word meaning feeble or weak (excuses perhaps?). I was full of these excuses at school when I did this to my teachers and so got a lot of detentions!

18a     Journalist at the back of wine cellar jumped (7)
{VAULTED} – A rather unusual word for a wine cellar followed by the normal crosswordland journalist gives a word for jumped, by a gymnast perhaps.

20a     Muzzle new crew? (4)
{GANG} – I think this classes as a semi all-in-one. Take a word for muzzle, as in prevent from talking, and insert (muzzle) N(ew) and you get a word for crew or group of workers.

21a     Distributed cards, due to changes (6,3)
{HANDED OUT} – Definition is distributed. Start with the word to describe the set of cards you’ve been dealt and follow with an anagram (changes) of DUE TO and then split the result (6,3).

23a     Shut inside, finally welcome shade (3)
{HUE} – HU (sHUt inside) followed by E (finally welcomE) gives a word for a  shade or colour.

24a     Handle tail of eel covered in batter (4)
{HILT} – This handle, of a sword perhaps, is L (tail of eeL) inserted (covered) by a word meaning to batter, in the sense of punch or slap.  I spent ages on this thinking of cricket, baseball or even batter on fish before the penny finally dropped! My excuse is the stress of getting into the website!

25a     At anvil, he forged a monster (9)
{LEVIATHAN} – This monster of the deep is an anagram (forged) of AT ANVIL HE.

29a     Bird shot is heard (4)
{TERN} – The answer is a seabird. You need to think of a word for shot, as in ‘it’s your shot’ or ‘it’s your go’ and it sounds like (is heard) the bird!  I hope that makes sense. Not easy to explain so if anyone can do better please post a comment!

30a     Grub from us in mobile canteens (10)
{SUSTENANCE} – This food or nutrition (grub) is an anagram (mobile) of CANTEENS with US inserted (in).


1d     Whip, when grasped by left hand (4)
{LASH} – This whip is a synonym for when surrounded by (grasped) LH (Left Hand).

2d      Interested in ignition regularly missing (4)
{INTO} – Remove alternate letters (regularly missing) from IGNITION and you’ll be left with a colloquial term for being interested in something. Like me and motor sport!

3d      Type of butter that’s a bit spring-heeled (4)
{GHEE} – A type of clarified butter used in Indian cooking is hidden (a bit) in sprinGHEEled.  Admit it – who thought ‘goat’ when they read ‘butter’?

4d      Food for a politician sheltering in bothy? (7)
{HALIBUT} – This food is actually a fish, and an expensive one at that! Take a more English word for a bothy and insert (sheltering) A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for a political party or one of its members. Not sure I’ve ever eaten this fish but I have had a lot of turbot since I moved to Spain as it’s farmed and therefore quite cheap.

5d      Follow regular source of trouble for mile maybe (5,5)
Keep tabs on regular time for race (5,5) Newspaper version
{TRACK EVENT} – ‘The mile’ is an example (maybe) of one of these. Take a word for follow (5), a word for regular (4) and T (source of Trouble) and split the result (5,5).

7d      Isolate and get grease off (9)
{SEGREGATE} – A word for isolate or separate is an anagram (off) of GET GREASE.

8d      Cabinet member’s responsibility for artist’s work (9)
{PORTFOLIO} – Double definition. A word to describe the responsibility of an individual member of the Cabinet (there’s usually one member without one of these) is also a word to describe the collected works of an artist.

10d      Struggle for sound of German interrogation in English? (3)
{VIE} – This word meaning to struggle or compete with someone sounds like the way a German might pronounce ‘why’ (interrogation in English). I think Jay may have been watching too many old war movies!

13d      Dreams supporters welcome volunteers with measurements (10)
{FANTASIZES} – Definition is dreams. Take some supporters, especially of a football team, and insert (welcome) the usual volunteer soldiers and a word for your measurements. Pommette’s has gone down from about 22 to 16!

14d      I lengthen edited composition, free from prejudice (9)
{ENLIGHTEN} – An anagram (edited) of I LENGTHEN gives a word for ‘to free from prejudice’. I’m not completely sure what the word ‘composition’ brings to this clue, unless it’s the anagram indicator. If so,  I don’t know what ‘edited’ is there for.  Perhaps someone will enlighten me!

15d      Refuge assists these council employees (4,5)
{HOME HELPS} – These are council employees that give assistance to the old or infirm. Take your refuge, or where you live, and follow with a word meaning assists. Think my 85 year old mum could do with one of these but she’s too proud or stubborn – not sure which!

19d      Jack finishes early — is hotel dishonest? (7)
{KNAVISH} – Take the other word for the Jack in a pack of cards and remove the last letter (finishes early) and follow with IS (from the clue) and H(otel) to get a word meaning dishonest.

22d      Morse code for party time? (3)
{DOT} – This is actually only one half of what’s used in Morse code. The usual party followed by T(ime).  I suppose some cruciverbalist telegraphers may have used this as a ‘code within a code’ to mean ‘party time’ but perhaps that’s stretching things a bit!  It usually means the letter E.

26d      Region where soldiers are protected by motorists (4)
{AREA} – Take some of the usual soldiers and round the outside  (protected by) place a motoring organisation to get a region.

27d      Principal facilities aboard? (4)
{HEAD} – Double definition. The principal, of a school perhaps, is also the term used by sailors for the ‘facilities’ on a boat.  As a sailor I think this clue is great, unlike the facilities!

28d      Pleasant corner of market lacks hotel (4)
{NICE} – Take word describing a small but specialist corner of the market and remove H (lacks Hotel) to leave a word meaning pleasant. Nice to see this word clued without reference to a French city!

No pictures of cars, boats (unless you count the loo) or girls this week ! What’s the world coming to?
I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 27d and 13a. Oh, and 9a which I thought wonderfully silly!

[As usual, Pommers has missed the Nina!  Look around the edges of the grid. BD]

The Quick crossword pun:  {wrest} + {oration} = {restoration}

71 comments on “DT 26645

  1. For me far easier than the last two days and certainly much more enjoyable as well. 9a made me laugh and I hope to get plenty of 8a later when golfing. Thx to the Setter for a most enjoyable puzzle and to Pommers for the explanations to a couple of answers I didn’t fully understand (like where the P came from in 8a)

  2. Thanks for the review Pommers and thanks to Jay for the crossword – all good fun but no particular favourites today. I thought that this was a ** based on my train stops.

    In the paper, 5d is clued “Keep tabs on regular time for race”.

    I am not sure that 20a really works for me as muzzle is doing double duty as an containment indicator and part of the wordplay.

    1. Re 20a: I think that “Muzzle” here means “put in a gag” or something similar, so it indicates both a word and a position.

  3. Pleasant and straightforward. Thanks to Jay, and to to Pommers.
    10d reminded me of an instance many years ago, sitting in the back of the car at Dover, when a customs officer found it extremely hilarious to shine a torch into my father’s eyes, and say ‘ Ve have vays of making you talk..’ Rather bemusing since we had just come back from France..!

  4. Not too difficult but, with the benefit of hind sight (?hindsight), perhaps one of those days when it could have been better to start with the down clues – seems to happen quite often on Wednesdays. I needed the hint to explain why 27d was what it was and had to look at 20a for a while before I made sense of it. I thought that the hint for 29a was fine and certainly couldn’t think of a better way of doing it. I liked 6, 9 and 24a and 3 (no – didn’t think goat or ram) 4, 15 (I seem to be my 89 year old Mum’s one of these) and 22d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers. Off to do more useful “stuff” in the garden now.

      1. OK – thanks – really should read all the “instructions” at the beginning of Chambers – find it quite hard to interpret all their little “squiggles”!!

      2. Politely, “hind sight” would be a view of a stag. Impolitely, it would be looking out of your backside.

        Nice puzzle today, done in four “station stops”.

        1. I love ‘station stops’. I suppose they have to say that in order to distinguish between scheduled stops and all the others. My favourite train delay excused was from the guard who apologised profusely for being late because he’d been stuck in the lift. Until that one, cows on the line was the top of my list.

        2. Well – I’m neither a stag nor looking out of my backside! Whether or not I’m TALKING out of my backside depends on when and who you ask!!

  5. Hola Pommers, I really liked this one today, maybe because it came together nicely and was not too complicated, I agree about 14d, I don’t see the need for ‘composition’ apart from making the clue read, I see edited as the anagram indicator but can see no other purpose for composition, fav clue today 10a, a 2 to 3* for me today, wow I can actually see some blue sky today must be summer ariving!! :-)

  6. Even though my pet hate are the grids with so many short words (3 and 4) this was okay. I haven’t submitted on line so not sure of spelling for 13d as I put “s” not “z”. Z always makes me think of American spellings and is another pet peeve of mine.

    Thanks for the hints Pommers – and well done to Pomette for the reduction – no matter which way it is spelt.

    Thanks for puzzle Jay

  7. Moning all. Yup, missed the Nina – must do better!
    I wonder why 5d is clued differently in the paper – anyone any ideas?

    1. 5d – no idea why there are different clues in the paper and the “web-site thingy”! I had always presumed that the puzzles were compiled, edited and polished well in advance of the publication date!

      PS! 3d – “Butter” – this took me a long time – thought of goat, ram, and all other such animals! Nice misdirection!

      1. I had goat at first, more because I wanted it to be rather than that I thought it was the right answer.

  8. Excellent fun today. First read through got me panicking a tad, but after getting a few down clues, everything fell into place. Some very clever clues here and some excellent word play, I particularly enjoyed 27D which is probably due to coming from a naval family where the Little Crossword Solvers Room was always referred to as the Head.

  9. you could argue that you edite the letters which are composed in the anagram – rather tenuous though!

  10. Found this more enjoyable than last two days. Managed most. Just got bogged down with 5d&8d. Was looking for an italian artist in 8d!! Your hint pommers provided the “penny dropped” moment thank you.

  11. This was one of those Jay puzzles where the downs went in quicker than the acrosses, and it seemed to be taking ages, whereas my time would indicate about 2.5 star difficulty. Thanks to Jay – my favourite clue of all was 10d. Thanks to Pommers for the excellent explanations (does Pommette mind you mentioning her size in public, although I do agree the reduction is wonderful?).

    The Elkamere Toughie is tough in places but very enjoyable.

    1. Cleared with pommette before posting – I hate pain! I think she’s quite proud of her efforts and quite rightly so IMHO!

  12. I thought that I posted already- must have got lost in the Aether. Many thanks to Jay for a fun and not too tricky puzzle (for me today at least!). Thanks also to Pommers for the usual accomplished review.

    1. Hi Phil
      I think Qix explained it better than my hint in #2 above. Muzzle means ‘to put in a gag’ so the clue reads ‘put N(ew) in gag to get crew.
      Couldn’t really say that in the hint as it gives the game away completely!

  13. After yesterday raced through this today. For me a 1* or 2* only, guess I must be on the right wavelength today. Did not stop me enjoying it though.
    Thanks to setter and Pommers for the hints.

  14. Like others, I found this much easier than Monday’s and Tuesday’s puzzles, but also found it more enjoyable. Mrs. n wanted me to complain about 10d when the penny dropped and I explained why I had laughed aloud! An excellent clue. Thanks to the compiler and to Pommers for his expanations.

  15. Whoops – I meant thanks to the compiler and to Pommers for his explanations. Fatfingeritis again!

  16. I should probably know by now, having been reading this great blog for almost a year and a half, but what is a “Nina”?

    1. Hi Kath
      A Nina is a hidden message in a crossword. If you look at the edges of this grid where the sinle letters stick out you will find 2 words spelled out – well each one twice in fact!
      It will take a greater mind than mine to explain what the is the significance of this message, if there is any!

      My favourite Nina for a while was from Virgilius (well actually Brandan in the Guardian I think it was) earlier this year. It was a similar grid to this one with letters sticking out at the edges. reading round them there was the message THERE IS NO THEME IN THIS CROSSWORD.
      (I missed that one as well until it was pointed out!).

      1. Thank you, Pommers – found it without getting dizzy from going round in circles! Will start looking out for them, AND pangrams. Oh dear – could be too much for my brain – am probably better at planting cauliflowers and broccoli which is how I’ve spent the morning. :smile:

        1. I’ve never come across a Nina before either, but will be looking out for them now. Aren’t crossword setters clever people?

      2. Never noticed befor either, Light and Shade hmm, there doesn’t seem to be a themem on that, maybe just light and shade as in the square colours? Clever though :-) IMHO

        1. Hi Mary
          Think you’re right! You have the ‘Lights’ for the answers and the shaded squares.
          As you say – clever!

          1. Sorry pommers forgot to say thanks today, this dull weather is affecting my brains, as ever thanks for a great review :-) hope the sun’s still shining down on you, the weather here has been so lousy, we have actually booked to go to Tennerife in Oct!! I haven’t flown for 11 years and said I never would again, a complete moment of madness!!

            1. Weather here still v hot and sunny (over 30C again today) but it’s just beginning to cool off a little in the evenings – September tomorrow and that’s our rainy month! We’ll propably get some heavy thunderstorms soon. Actually had one on Monday afternoon but it only lasted about 30mins and then the sun came back!
              Tenerife in October should be very pleasant. Mid twenties I would guess.
              Have a great time there.

  17. Thanks to the setter & Pommers for the hints and review. Enjoyed this one a lot, Favourites were 10 & 27d. 3d was also very good, I kept thinking sheep until I realised it was written -in :-)

  18. Thanks for review and hints, definitely needed for a few clues today. I also wondered why there are different clues in the online version from the paper. .The trouble is that I can never seem original as so many people post their comments and views so early : when some have started I haven’t even got the paper, let alone looked at the crossword. i don’t think that the time change for those living overseas fully explains it either ! you must all be very early beginners.

  19. I really enjoyed todays’ puzzle and it’s the first time that I have finished a 3* one on my own. Thanks for the hints Pommers but I am pleased to say that, for the first time, I didn’t need them

  20. I did enjoy this one today, a lot more than the others this week. Needed a few hints but mainly to confirm my reasonings. Not flying through them yet but beginning to “see” the way. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the hints. Thanks too, for the introduction to Nina.

    1. Hi Jac
      Told you that you’d get better rapidly! If you’re only using my hints to confirm what you’ve already thought you’re more than halfway there!

  21. Thank you to the setter for a most enjoyable puzzle and to Pommers and other folk for deciphering the thinking behind 20a. I guessed the answer, but it was great (as always) to come to this site to understand the ‘why?’.

    Having finally completed Toughie 623, and noted the comment attached to 17d, I paid a visit to BD’s kitchen. A curry fan like me, hurrah! And my most favourite pudding ever is tiramisu! I knew there was some reason why I was drawn to this site.

  22. Tks you 2. I think that I’m improving. We have tropical storms here tonight so we are battening down the hatches

    1. Hi Collywobbles
      You’re in Languedoc if memory serves?
      Been weather warnins all day today for Catalunya so perhaps the nasty stuff is heading your way!
      Batten down and pour a glass of the vino collapso!

      1. No chance of a tropical storm in the UK today! Dank, dark, dreary, dismal, drab and depressing!

        And I’ve lost my thesaurus!

        1. 20/20 cricket not doing too badly though! See Mary’s post – sge’s going to Tenerife!

  23. I’m not usually too keen on the Wednesday puzzle, but this all slotted into place quite nicely, and didn’t take long to solve.
    Last one in was 4d, but my favourite was 10d.
    Good stuff, I thought! :)

    1. Hi TimCypher
      Yeah, 4d was one of my last in as well. I think FOOD=FISH is fine but a particular species of fish? Thought it pushing it a bit for a backpager. This and a couple of other instances were what caused me to go for 3* difficulty instead of the 2* indicated by my solving time.

  24. Much easier and far more fun than Monday and Tuesday. Pleased with our progress. And interested to learn about Ninas

  25. I agree re Monday and Tuesday’s crossword. I regard myself as a novice having only this year taken to the crossword in earnest (displacement activity!) and rarely get all the way through. This time I was almost there – just needed to resort to Pommers extra clues. It does however take me a long time and I find coming back to it helps. How I envy those of you who complete a crossword over a cup of tea!

    My real puzzle at the moment is why I seem to have difficulty with some puzzles more than others even when they seem to be similarly rated here on this excellent website.

    1. Hi Meg – welcome to the blog.
      I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the difficulty ratings. They’re very subjective and often depend on how quickly you can get on to the compiler’s wavelength.
      One thing is certain – the more you practise the better you get, especially if you use the blog to understand how the clues work.
      I hope that now you’ve introduced yourself you’ll be a regular commenter!

      1. The website’s fantastic but I have to resist the temptation to take a peek – at least until I ‘ve got the next day’s puzzle in front of me. I suppose I ought to get a life.

  26. The clues where i had to resort to Pommers were: 17a; 18a; 10d 19d – could kick myself that I didn’t get the reference to cards – did get the ish bit but how could i not get the rest??? Also needed to check my answers to: 29a and 27d – got the answer but not a sailor

    Generally not very familiar with crosswordland stuff and so have to work quite hard – am making notes but think this might spoil some of the fun!

    1. I think you’ll be surprised just how quickly with the aid of this site you will improve. I’d still be staring at a blank grid most days of the week if I hadn’t used this blog to see how the clues are constructed.

  27. I presume that we have no hints for todays’ puzzle because, like me, the hinter can’t get onto the Telegraph Crossword website. This is now getting beyond a joke. I think that it is time that our subscriptions are refunded. Does anybody know how we can get in touch with whoever is responsible

  28. Well I have sent two emails complaining about the website. Have yet to have had the courtesy of a reply. I think that they should a) issue refunds to all users b) take the advice of the #1 player on the leaderboard (how on earth do they have so many points by the way?), and shut the website down until it is fixed c) send all users a regular email as to progress being made d) change their host!

    1. I wonder whether one of the reasons for the poor performance of the site is that the database has become so bloated by the activities of those people whose sole purpose in life seems to be to play every puzzle on the site to get themselves to the top of the leaderboard. If it stores every puzzle they have played, their time and points, it must have grown like topsy. It does not excuse poor database design but having a massive cull of the historic entries might speed things up for the rest of us!

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