DT 26642 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26642

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26642

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

The usual straightforward start to a Saturday morning from Cephas  (thank you to him), this time with leanings to the French side of the Channel and the added bonus of a Pangram.  The clues I particularly liked are highlighted 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.


3a           Penny and one pioneer left out to find leader (4-6)
PACE-SETTER – This person sets takes the lead in order to set the pace in a race.  P (Penny) , ACE (one) and SETTER (a settler or pioneer with the L for left out  or omitted).

8a           Author’s alternative source (6)
ORWELL – The surname of the author of Animal Farm, amongst other works, is a charade of OR (alternative, either/OR) and WELL (a source of water).

9a           Balloonist crashing near auto (8)
AERONAUT – an anagram (crashing) of NEAR AUTO gives an alternative name for a balloonist.

10a         Officer Charlie meets a new islander (8)
MAJORCAN – An inhabitant of the island of Majorca.   MAJOR (an army officer) + C (in the NATO Alphabet C is  Charlie) + A (from the clue) and N (new).

11a         With crunch, credit’s a guessing game (6)
CRISPY – The adjective relating to the crunch factor of something.   CR (credit) and I-SPY (the guessing game mostly used these days to entertain bored children on long journeys).

12a         Well banged up, or fine? (2,4,4)
IN GOOD NICK – Lovely cryptic double definition – banged up in a very good prison or in good health.

14a         Similar writing (13)
CORRESPONDING –  Another double definition:   similar or matching; writing letters.

20a         William’s scruffy tuxedo concealing love letter (6-4)
BILLET-DOUX –  The first of several clues with French connections today.    William shortened to BILL and followed by an anagram (scruffy) of TUXEDO, then split 6-4.

22a         Chirpy little creature having cardiac trouble, not right (6)
CICADA –  A large chirping insect can be obtained by removing the R (not right) from CARDIAC, and then rearranging the remaining letters (trouble is the anagram indicator here).

23a         Where a heel may come clean? (8)
FOOTBATH – A cryptic definition of somewhere your heel (and the other parts of your foot) could be washed.

24a         Frenchman turning emerald — with this? (3,2,3)
MAL DE MER – The French word for seasickness, a condition where one’s face normally turns a greenish colour, is an anagram (turning) of EMERALD.

25a         Dramatic departures (6)
EXEUNT – A cryptic definition of the direction in a play for the actors to leave the stage – well known to anyone like me who had to study Shakespeare plays for O and A level. 

26a         Plain where river runs to one side (10)
FORTHRIGHT – Plain here means straightforward – the river FORTH and the RIGHT, rather than the left, side.


1d           Mulled over anagram about alcohol (8)
ARMAGNAC – A dry brandy distilled in SW France: an anagram (mulled over) of ANAGRAM and C (circa, about).

2d           Kick-off in no time? (4,4)
ZERO HOUR – The exact time for beginning something or launching an operation:   ZERO (no, nothing) and HOUR (a period of time).

3d           Head of couture in tartan, being cool (6)
PLACID –  Inserting C (the first letter, or head, of Couture) into PLAID (a long piece of tartan cloth) results in PLACID, coolness and calmness of nature.

4d           Century and a half with an ancestral group (4)
CLAN – A tribe or collection of families with a common ancestor.   C (the Roman numeral for 100 which is, of course, a century);  L (the Roman numeral for 50 (half a century) and AN (from the clue).

5d           Naughty gal cutting single track mixed hit (8)
STRICKEN –  I got this from using the checking letters .  Had I not been doing the review, I might not have bothered to find out the how and why.  However I am,  so here goes.    The best way to sort out the wordplay is to read the clue backwards.  Hit is the definition.   SINGLE TRACK  mixed indicates that an anagram is required, but obviously there are too many letters.   GAL cutting tells us that we need to cut or remove the letters G, A and L from SINGLE TRACK and the anagram indicator naughty confirms that these letters are not found in that order.

6d           Sunniest perhaps without us turning up for the game (6)
TENNIS –  An anagram (perhaps) of [SU]NNIEST from which the  US has been removed (without US) – a game played by hitting a small ball over a net with a racquet.

7d           Supply eastern motor-racing team (6)
EQUIPE – a team in motor racing and other sports.   EQUIP (supply) + E (eastern).

13d         Force independent politician to meet the Spanish (5)
IMPEL – To force, instigate or urge:  I (independent) MP (Member of Parliament, politician) and EL (the Spanish word for the).

15d         One making mummy and me present in decorated marble (8)
EMBALMER –  Someone who preserves a dead body, as the Ancient Egyptians did with their mummies (and daddies and pharaohs – sorry – but  how could I resist!)  Insert ME into an anagram (decorated) of MARBLE.

16d         Grateful to be owing money! (8)
INDEBTED –  Another double definition:  owing gratitude to someone or, alternatively, owing money to someone.

17d         Sin of excess adding to US city (8)
GLUTTONY  –  One of the seven deadly sins, this one relating to excessive eating.   GLUT (excess, oversupply), followed by (adding) TO from the clue and NY (the US City of New York).

18d         Sign inhibiting a violent woman (6)
VIRAGO – Inserting A into the astrological  sign of VIRGO produces a violent or bad-tempered woman.

19d         Outlaw born with sex appeal (6)
BANDIT – An outlaw or brigand – B (born) +  AND (conjunction indicating with, also) + IT (an informal term for sex appeal).

21d         Former book about this French missile (6)
EXOCET – A French subsonic tactical missile is a charade of EX (former) followed by  OT (Old Testament) into which has been inserted (about) CE (French word for this).

23d         Turn up after father gets jumper (4)
FROG – We have lots of these very noisy jumpers in the stream near us.   A charade of FR (abbreviation for a religious father or friar) followed by a reversal (up) of GO (turn, as in it’s my go to review this Saturday prize puzzle, not Gnomey’s turn).

It’s my turn to have a go at the review next week too so I’ll ‘see’ you next Friday.