DT 26648 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26648 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26648 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, and provide hints for them.

Feel free to let off steam about the continuing, non-lightning-strike related, problems on the site and the lack of recompense or honest explanations.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a Treating cancer a doc gets agreement (10)
The surface reading of this clue is so bad it might just as well said “An anagram of CANCER A DOC gives an agreement”

12a Home Counties Tory feeling apprehensive about Parliamentary process (6,7)
A charade of the usual two-letter abbreviation for the Home Counties, a three-letter abbreviation for a Tory and a word meaning feeling apprehensive gives a Parliamentary process

21a Repel nag still running — it’s not won many races (7-6)
Having been brought up in a family where my uncles either worked for bookmakers or gave all their money to them, this was easy for me! This is a horse which is entered in a particular type of race because it is not expected to win in any higher grade, or because it can do well against moderate opposition – the winner of such a race is auctioned off afterwards – it’s an anagram (running) of REPEL NAG STILL

27a Punk group left surrounded by unknown people (10)
To get this punk group put L(eft) inside some unknown people

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d Principal supporting structure (4)
A double definition – an adjective meaning principal or chief and a supporting structure for a bridge or similar construction

3d Starting new life, getting about in pink (13)
A word meaning starting new life or rebirth is a charade of a two-letter abbreviation for about, IN from the clue and a flower hat is also known as a pink

11d Teaches snooker skill, a novel hobby (13)
Combine a word meaning teaches or tutors and a snooker skill to get a hobby that is also the title of a novel by Scottish writer Irvine Welsh and a subsequent Danny Boyle film starring Ewan McGregor

23d Where officers eat hash (4)
A double definition – the name for where military officers eat and a hash or shambles

The Crossword Club is now open.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {myrrh} + {Curie} = {Mercury}

144 comments on “DT 26648 (Hints)

  1. Reasonably difficult for a Saturday. 21d had me flummoxed for a while & favourite clue is 7d. My 80 year old mother will have no chance with 27a though!

    1. I do so agree; 7d is brilliant. I needed all available letters and then laughed aloud at the answer. This is the sort of challenging puzzle which keeps my synaptic conections in condition.

    2. Neither has a 67 year old Dinosaur !!!

      And with the greatest respect to those of you with French connections, I thought the prize crossword was an English event – didn’t realise the E.U. had elbowed its way in here as well !!!!

  2. I had no problems accessing on the iPhone. I thought this was one of the easier Saturday crossword for me with only 21a requiring a bit of thought. Many thanks to the Mysteron for the crossword.

    1. For the last 2 mornings I have had no problem accessing the site through my PC. I thought we might have turned the corner but reading BD’s comment it would appear it was a false dawn

  3. There were a few to make me think but overall not too tricky. Thanks to the setter and BD.

    When I got on the site this morning I couldn’t help noticing a user at the top of one of the leaderboards – FIXorSHUTsite :D

      1. I don’t understand the attraction of submitting entries purely to appear on the leader board. In fact I think it may have been our own CrypticSue who commented that it was a question of how fast you could type rather than any particular strength with regard to solving.

        By the way it may just be me but the automatic spell check doesn’t appear to be fully functional.

          1. That explains it. I use Safari to access the grids & Firefox to print off the NTSPP. Don’t ask.

              1. I said don’t ask but since you have here goes. Safari because The DT recognizes my registration & Firefox doesn’t. And Firefox for the NTSPP because Safari doesn’t like PDFs. I guess I’ll have to wait for No.1 son to return from his travels to fix it for me.

        1. I solved today’s puzzle in fairly quick order but could probably type it into Screwed Up in about a fifth of the time. Fortunately for me, I have a life so have never been tempted to do so :)

        1. 21a is an anagram (running) of repel nag still to give a less well known phrase for an underperforming horse. With checking letters in place it is easy to fit in the missing letters

                    1. Collywobs there is nothing wrong with using an anagram solver, it is better than sitting all day puzzling over it if you are really stuck, it then allows you to get on with the rest of the crossword, there is no ‘cheating’ as such, it is often great to be able to see what the setter is after and if then you need ‘help’ go for it :-), there are many, many days I wouldn’t finish without :-)

        2. 3d put together a two letter word meaning about the in from the clue and another word for a pink (the flower) for a word that means starting a new life

          1. Many thx for 3d, would probably have got it if I hadn’t misread 9a and put the in the last letter of the spice than than another word for refrigerate! Still no idea about 21a and none of my anagram programs will sort the letters. know little or less about horse racing.

      1. Gaps all over the place for me – I’ve got 12a but I can’t see why.

        Looking forward to 21a falling into place.

        1. One of the few I have got. Try the compass area for home counties, the usual abbreviation for a Tory then a word meing apprehensive or really not looking forward to something then it gives a process in taking a bill through parliament

          1. Thanks – that makes sense.

            Have you got 11d – if I had that I think might be able to stagger home – the West side is finally complete!

            1. A word split 6,7 could mean teaches snooker skill. As one word it is a book title and a hobby unfairly or fairly attributed to anoraks!

            2. A book (and a film) result from adding what snooker players are good at to another word fror teaches.


    1. Thanks Brian and Prolixic – relieved to have finished, but disappointed to have missed out on pleasure of the penny dropping on that one!

  4. I can see posters’ comments but not BD’s hints – frustrating! However thanks Prolixic your help to Brian has been very helpful

  5. Finished at last but I have to say it was a bit like pulling teeth today, not pleasant and very hard work. No favourites at all today. Thx to those who gave me some much needed assistance.

  6. I haven’t started this one yet but I thought I would let you know that I have just received a consolation prize of a Telegraph notebook and pen for DT 26630. Not much of a return after submitting them for some 15 years but I will admit to a little thrill at receiving it.

    1. Congratulations. I wonder how many correct solutions are submitted each week? Thousands?

      I’m afraid I save on stamps and envelopes, but always fill in the box below with a silly name and address.

  7. A horse which is entered in a ******* ***** because it is not expected to win in any higher grade, or because it can do well against moderate opposition, which may result in a betting coup

    Red hot ******? How many ?s does it have? I always thought one

    1. Alan,

      Traditionally, we don’t give checking letters or partial answers so I have removed the offending letters. BD may send you to the naughty corner but apparently there is some very nice lemon drizzle cake there!

      In answer to you question about the spelling of 9a, Chambers gives the single letter version as a variant.

    2. It’s the American spelling apparantly which seems to be acceptable for an English crossword.

      By the way, where is Mary today?

  8. Another straightforward Saturday solve, thank you Mysteron. No particular favourites, I will see what takes my fancy as I type the review. Thanks to BD too for the hints.

  9. 3d made me think for a while … but only because I put the wrong head on when I got up this morning. A brief pause for a bacon butty in potato and rosemary bread did the trick though.

    1. 8d, A word meaning to put off, with the last letter missing encloses a ..nother word for a gun going north

  10. This has taken me a long time and I STILL can’t do the tropical island – 16d. I eventually managed the 21a horse that’s not much good but only by luck and guesswork – it was obviously an anagram but never heard of it. Have made a guess (again) at the first word of 19a although can only find it in the dictionary as being to do with tennis and not golf. Am I particularly dim today? :sad: I did like 12,17 and 27a and 2d – best for me today was 20d. With thanks to the setter and to BD.
    Any help with 16d and first word of 19a would be very much appreciated.

    1. 16d You need a word meaning breezes (4 letters) which is reversed (from thee south). Inside this put a four letter word meaning long and thin to find the name of a tropical island

      1. Thanks to Prolixic and Spindrift – got the pesky island now – should have got it before really – have had a rather bad crossword day (me, I mean, not the crossword) – this one has really taken much longer than usual.

        1. I got the island, but had no idea why until I read your explanation, Prolixic. Thank you for clarifying.

          I’d never heard of 15a, and probably won’t have cause to use it again, so no doubt I’ll promptly forget it after today. Similarly 21a.

    2. 19a You have the answer in tennis terms. In golf if you first word a second word you would fall behind the other players.

  11. I can’t justify 5d as meaning the same thing as the answer, had this not been a prize crozzy it would have been easier to discuss but I don’t see the connection. Can anyone help?
    Apart from that an enjoyable crossword.
    Thanks to B Dave and yes, I agree the on line version is becoming unbearable. Why should we thank mystery setters if they havn’t the decency to tell us who they are ?..Harrumph!

    1. 5d, the answer is an old fashioned word for fare (as in food). It is given in Chambers as such.

  12. I’ve struggled with today’s puzzle too and I was grateful for the hint for 21a – thank you Dave – but, generally, I found that the constructs were laborious and, for once, I began to lose interest as there were no ‘Eureka!’ moments. To those of you who feel like throwing in the towel [as I nearly did], keep going and you’ll get there in the end.

  13. Struggling with 13d really getting annoyed could anyone give me a hint? – I even got 21a – quite proud of myself since I don’t do sport :)

    1. Jan,

      You need a 6 letter word meaning cursorily reads followed by a 4 letter word for a gang to give something that if applied to you would be very painful.

      1. Got it many thanks :) Save me having it in my mind all afternoon in my yoga workshop – not good when you’re trying to meditate

  14. A really tough one for me today, not even sure I have everything right! thanks for hints Dave but those weren’t the ones I had problems with today, however perservation has won out even though I’m not quite sure! have visitors now so may be back later, horrible rainy day here!

    1. Sorry Mary but it’s 27 degrees plus here – brilliant sun too – its nearly too hot to sit outside but I thought I had better on your behalf :D

    2. We’ve had a really lovely couple of days – hot and sunny – but today is grey and a bit generally uninteresting although not actually raining. Off to do some gardening now.

    3. You are both very lucky, it is not only horrible and rainy but cold too, we had a beautiful day on Thursday with the promise of more to come but it didn’t :-(

      1. I’ll swop you some Spanish heat for some rain. My garden is parched after an extremely hot August. We had the first cool night last night in three months – autumn is always welcome!

  15. It was ‘alright’, I thought. As I think a few people have mentioned, some of the definitions seemed a bit of a stretch, but I thought all the clues were fair.

    I’ll take 11d as a favourite.

    Thanks to the Setter and to Big Dave. Enjoy the weekend,


    1. Welcome to the blog Miguel

      In future you might find it better to select “Reply” on the comment to which you are replying – it keeps the thread together.

  16. Most of this went in without a struggle, but there is always a couple to cogitate.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.
    27a takes me back.. ‘sitting on the beaches looking at the peaches’…

    1. Welcome to the blog Simon

      16d Tropical island that’s long and thin braced by breezes from the south (3,5)
      You are looking for a large island – put a word meaning long and thin inside (braced by) the reversal (from the south) of some breezes.

    1. 27a you are looking for the name of a well-known (even to me!!) punk group. Take a word meaning ‘unknown (to you) people) and insert L for left.

      20d look at what I just said to Collywobbles. Possessive adjective meaning belonging to a girl/woman and an anagram (unravelled) of clue.

  17. Can somebody help with 20d. I’ve got all the checking letters, I think, and only one word fits – which is wrong

    1. Are you sure it’s wrong? You are looking for the first name of a famous fictional detective

      1. Thanks Collywobbles, I’ve just realised all the wordplay in 20a.

        Definition: “Detective’s given name”. Wordplay: “of woman” (3) & “clue unravelled” (4) – anagram of “clue”.

        But I still don’t understand your question above: “was he hairy?”

  18. I’m struggling still. I have three of the letters for 5d and just cannot think of an answer. Kicked myself when l got 27a loved a lot of their stuff

    1. Carrie,

      The answer is an old word for fare (as in food). You need an abbreviation for caught followed by a word meaning that woman. Add an abbreviation for oriental inside this to find the answer.

    2. It’s made up of 3 parts – caught, that woman and the crosswordland letter for Oriental which is inside that woman. I hope that the explanation is not more complicated than the clue

    3. Thank you Collywobbles and Prolixic. Finally got it :) Had to do a lot of searching for the reason why it was the word l thought it was.

      Enjoyable crossword 16d caused grief because I’d filled in 19a incorrectly

      Two new ones for me were 15a and 21a

      Liked 27a because of the nostalgia

      Thank you BD and the setter

      1. Well i thought id give this a WEE try even though i did Dread posting though, but thanks for the well come! Im now going to enjoy my plughmans tea down the inn! Enjoy the extra hints to 10a & 12a 18d

  19. All done after a sluggish start. 27a provoked memories. I saw them play twice in the early 1980s – Jean Jacques Burnel et al, Magic.

    1. 15a Make tough old queen a Liberal (6)
      A word meaning to toughen by heating and cooling gradually is a charade of an old Queen of England (4), A from the clue and L(iberal). Easy when you know how!

  20. I enjoyed today’s puzzle. Favourites are 17a, 3d and 11d…anything for a rail enthusiast! Thanks to Big D for clarifying 21a.

  21. Have not got very far yet only 1a. Dave’s clues are worse than the compilers. I think I will give this one up.

      1. If you had been reading the blog for the last week you would know that I had a hard drive crash a week ago. I got my laptop back yesterday and am spending all my time reloading data and software. I have not yet had time to add the pictures that act as gimmes!

            1. I thought that he was descended from the novelist, not the railway chappie!

              Robert Louis Stevenson or Robert Stephenson ? Who knows? Who cares?

        1. I have more pressing things to do than read blogs all day, you should get out more. If I haven’t completed the DT crossword in ten minutes I move on to more productive activities such as pointing and repairing chimney brickwork damaged in the winter frost, changing wc syphons, unblocking downpipes from chutes, maintaining taps, hedge cutting and laying, tree lopping, science blogging on ‘wattsupwiththat.com’ (10 to 15mins) promoting the sceptic viewpoint etc etc

          1. And being a pain in the *rse. Sorry, Dave! I’m pleased to see that you’ve now added some pictures to yesterday’s hints and I couldn’t resist the temptation to click on to ‘Golden Brown’ which, if I’m not mistaken, was an ‘in’ name for heroin at the time.

  22. Finished it again, but it was a mighty struggle. Once I’d worked out that daft horse clue, I was able to finish fairly quickly. I worked out the anagram and then had to look it up to check it was a real phrase.

  23. Found this a bit hard, stuck on 10a,14a,2d and 4d. it beats me how I manage all the others and fall at the last!!!!!

    1. Did you want some hints, or have you found that now you have posted your comment, you have now got the solutions?

    1. 4d One criminally burns roasts in cooking (8)
      Someone who burns things as a criminal is an anagram (cooking) of roasts in.

    2. 2d Like a cricket ball to deceive, catching edges (7)
      This is the colour of a Test Match cricket ball. Put a verb to deceive around (catching) edges.

    3. Nalced – 10a – An anagram of “Ernest” (corrupt) placed around (“accepts”) a word for small – especially in Scotland – giving the definition – Bribe.

  24. For the slow people out there. I shall give you some extra clues. As i think most of us must have it by now.

    8d. *****
    9a. *****
    26a ******
    2d. *****
    22d. *****
    20d. *****
    4d *****

      1. Oh spoil sport. Well i cant really call what i do a job, More of a life style choice! An i thought they where quite funny! Are you not amazed somedays how slow people are? Most seem to think they want you to finish the whole crossword for them! I can understand 1 or 2 little hints.

        An i thought i was rather peotic! You must have had a little chuckle!

      1. II think you will find that this is more a ‘naughty corner’ issue, probably one where the lemon drizzle cake has all been eaten :D

      1. Well i think some people still wouldnt have worked the answers out even if i spelled them for them! but point taken! I shall have my cake and eat it!

        An its CPL Rusty to you Sir/Ma’am

        1. CPL Rusty.
          It is not your job to give the answers out to a prize puzzle before the closing date. Nor is it necessarily your job to decide upon and publicy declaim upon the solving abilities of fellow members of this forum.
          My apologies on not giving you your full title but you did not declare it.
          As for me, I am a bloke, not a Sir nor a Ma’am (nor even the concierge!).
          What I WILL say is that we are all friendly people here and welcome everybody. If they don’t play by the rules they will get appropriately censored. You happen to have tussled with the owner of the site and someone else who can censor you so please don’t push your luck.
          I hope you stick around and play nicely.


          1. well said that man! I couldn’t beieve the arrogance of Rusty’s tone ( no title notice – where I come from you have to earn respect before its given to you)

  25. An awful lot of comments this evening – has the After 8 club reformed? I for one am givng up now, turning off my computer and going to rest the grey matter in anticipation of Virgilius tomorrow. Good night one and all.

  26. After Rusty’s comments am reluctant to ask for help this morning! ! Only started the crossword today – would like some pointers for bottom left corner please. Just CAN’T see 21a. Sorry if I’m being dense Rusty!!

    1. Have you checked BD’s hint and a couple of pointers in the comments?. It is an anagram (running) of ‘Repel nag still’ and BD gives the definition. TOu often see the first word before STAKES on race cards. Its a bit difficult to give a more explicit hint except to say that the second word crops up from time to time in the back page puzzle (including one that I reviewed in January this year, nudge nudge!)

    2. Since you asked nicely I’ve extended the hint for this one.

      Please ignore comments like the one to which you refer – it takes all sorts! We look after our regulars here.

  27. Finished!! Thanks to Big Dave/Gnomethang and others. Great feeling – wouldn’t manage it without help though! About to try NTSPP – 082 now.

      1. Just done the quick crossword for saturday 3rd in the telegraph… Cannot find the answers anywhere… we’re major rookies at crosswords. Could you possibly share the answers…

        1. The answers will be published in the Telegraph tomorrow.

          While I don’t want to publish a list of all of the answers, please ask here if there are one or two that are proving particularly awkward.

          By the way, the first two (the ones that constitute the pun) are at the bottom of the post – just select the space between the curly brackets with your mouse.

  28. Enjoyed this one but nearly defeated by 2d and 5d……………….11d, 3d and 21a my favourites. Must have a different mindset as found this quite easy when others found it tricky – and vice-versa.

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