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DT 26663

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26663

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja. This puzzle is living proof that it doesn’t have to be hard to be enjoyable. It’s one of Jay’s easier offerings but I had a great time solving it and there’s quite a lot of blue today!

The clues I like most 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.


1a    Look agitated following massacre (8,4)
{BUTCHERS HOOK} – This is a bit of rhyming slang for a look, usually used without the second word. If split (7,5) it’s a word for agitated, in the sense of stirred following a word which can mean to massacre. For some reason this one took me a while! I’d got the first word meaning look but couldn’t work out what the rest of the clue was about – doh!

9a    The precursor to fire in which one cooks (6-3)
{FRYING PAN} –If you go from one bit of trouble to another you might be said to be out of this and into the fire! It’s also something used for cooking.

10a    Rejected story covering degree communication (5)
{EMAIL} –Take the usual untrue story and reverse it (rejected) and insert (covering) an abbreviation for a degree to get a form of electronic communication.

11a    Grant relief for part of complex empty (6)
{EXEMPT} – A word for grant relief or excuse is hidden in complEX EMPTy

12a    Broadcast late (mainly) and never to the point (8)
{RELEVANT} – A word meaning ‘to the point’ is an anagram (broadcast) of LAT (LATe mainly) and NEVER.

13a    Stiffener for the top of the bill before church (6)
{STARCH} – A stiffener used on shirts is made up of a word for the actor who is top of the bill followed by one of the abbreviations for church.

15a   International organisation looking embarrassed and bad-tempered (3,5)
{RED CROSS} –This international organisation is a word for looking embarrassed followed by a word meaning bad tempered or angry.

18a    Merry king’s rule for cabbage in salad (8)
{COLESLAW} –Shredded cabbage is a main ingredient in this type of salad. If split (5,3) it could be read as the merry old King’s rule. This one raised a smile!

19a    Royal Navy reserve finally in bed — for a bit of brass (6)
{CORNET} –This bit of brass is a brass musical instrument. It’s the abbreviation for the Royal Navy and E (reservE finally) inserted into a word for a baby’s bed.

21a    Blow share on dinner — with no starter (8)
{UPPERCUT} – A blow in the sense of a thump or a punch is the definition. Take a late evening meal and remove the first letter (with no starter) and follow with a word for a share or portion.

23a    More self-possessed in jail (6)
{COOLER} –Double definition of a word meaning more self-possessed or self-assured and a slang term for jail

26a    Food account put into good French (5)
{BACON} – Take the usual abbreviation for account and put it into the French word for good to get some food which makes great butties. Especially with HP sauce, although I seem to remember BD once saying he’s a Daddies man!

27a    Where refreshments end a great wrong? (3,6)
{TEA GARDEN} –This is somewhere you may take refreshment (no, not the pub) and it’s an anagram (wrong) of END A GREAT.

28a    All the same? (12)
{NEVERTHELESS} – I’m not sure how to describe this one so any suggestions gratefully accepted! It’s an all-in-one clue and the answer is a word which means ‘All the same’ as in ‘even so’ or ‘however’. If split (5,3,4) it’s a phrase which could be read as meaning always the same. At least I think it’s something like that.


1d    Batters food on counters (7)
{BUFFETS} – A word meaning batters or bumps is also food laid on counters where you go to help yourself.

2d    Ingredient of healthy meals? (5)
{THYME} – The answer is a culinery herb which also has medicinal properties so the clue is a quite clever sort of all-in-one! It’s hidden (ingedient of)  in healTHY MEals. Why is it that when I try to capitalise letters like this MSWord automatically puts them back in lower case? It’s probably a useful feature but highly irritating when blogging!

3d    Carefully selects tools to support labourer (4-5)
{HAND PICKS} – A phrase meaning carefully selects is made up of one of the usual workers followed by (support in a down clue) a tool used for breaking ground, which may be used by said labourer.

4d    Ready reckoner is proof enough — initially (4)
{RIPE} – Ready, in the sense of ‘ready to eat’, is made from the first letters (initially) of the other words in the clue.

5d    Longed for Attila, say, to suppress rampant greed (8)
{HUNGERED} – The people of which Attila was leader followed by an anagram (rampant) of GREED gives a word meaning longed or yearned.

6d    Honours even at first, but carrying too much weight (5)
{OBESE} – Some honours (remember it’s plural) followed by E (Even at first) give a word to describe someone who is very overweight.

7d    A vehicle loaded into orbiter may supply snack (8)
{MACAROON} –A type of light, baked confection is made by taking the earth’s satellite and inserting A (from the clue) and a vehicle. Not had one of these for years!

8d    Dishes delayed in case of prayers (6)
{PLATES} – Take PS (case of PrayerS) and insert a word for delayed or overdue and you’ll get a piece of crockery on which you might serve some 7d’s.

14d    Pepper that’s sort of special around mid-Wales (8)
{ALLSPICE} – This type of pepper, also known as Jamaica pepper, is an anagram (sort of) of SPECIAL and L (middle letter of WaLes).

16d    Two firms admitting hotel student consumed sweet (9)
{CHOCOLATE} – This is a very popular type of sweet or confectionary. Take two of the usual abbreviation for firm, insert H(otel) and then follow with a letter for a student and a word meaning consumed. A little complicated to explain so I hope that made sense!

17d    Get a tube in order to find bread in Paris (8)
{BAGUETTE} – An anagram (in order) of GET A TUBE gives a type of French bread.

18d    First of children with spouse is nearly 6 (6)
{CHUBBY} – C (first of Children) followed by an affectionate term for husband (spouse) give a word to describe someone who is a bit overweight but not as fat as 6d.

20d    They may lose heart with harangues from such rulers (7)
{TYRANTS} –TY (T(he)Y may lose heart) followed by a word for harangues or tirades gives some very autocratic rulers.

22d    Compass needed in mountains (5)
{RANGE} –Double definition. This compass or extent is also a group of mountains.

24d    Shelf life begins with slight advantage (5)
{LEDGE} – A shelf, on a rock face perhaps, is L (Life begins) followed by a word for a slight advantage, as in ‘having the ****’.

25d    Cure for a dry sense of humour (4)
{SALT} – This is a type of cure, as in preserve, which is popular in Spain for preserving fish. An old one of these is a teller of sea-stories which I suppose might be told with a dry sense of humour as they usually tell stories to enhance the navy’s reputation. I admit to having no real idea what it has to do with a sense of humour, dry or otherwise so any pointers welcome!
Thanks to Big Dave for informing me that Chambers has the definition ‘dry or pungent wit’! New one on me and shows I really MUST get a copy of Chambers

Lots of good ones in this but my favourites are 1a, 18a and 2d.

The Quick crossword pun: {polled} + {answer} = {pole dancer}

40 comments on “DT 26663

  1. Hello everyone
    I won’t be around now until about 1500BST. Last week’s visitors have gone home but now mother-in-law is here so we’re taking her up into the mountains to a good place I know for lunch. 3 courses plus half a bottle of wine and a coffee for €8.00!
    Promise not to leave her up there, although . . .!

  2. Good morning Pommers from a wet and cold West Wales, the sun was out earlier on but once again has hidden behind the clouds and I somehow get the feeling that is where it will stay!! Thank goodness once again for a Jay crossword to restore some confidence, the first one I’ve done in 4 days without some of the blog hints, although I did need one or two explainations, particularly the second part of 1a, fav clue today 18a, just one slight query with 27a, here it seems that ‘end’ is doing double duty, being part of the wordplay and part of the anagram, I thought this wasn’t ‘the done thing’ so to speak??

    1. Hi Mary
      27a works OK for me. Definition is ‘where refreshments’, i.e. where you would get refreshments. The anagram indicator (I refuse to use ‘anagrind’) is WRONG and the fodder is END A GREAT. Don’t see a problem with this!

  3. I agree that today’s offering is pretty easy but entertaining. I’m relieved to read the explanation for 1a, because although I solved it I couldn’t see why – and me a Londoner! I wasn’t convinced by 28a, it seems barely cryptic, in fact I was reluctant to put the answer in because it seemed too straightforward, but otherwise good fun. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  4. Agree with Pommers opening comment. I enjoyed this offering with a cup of coffee in the mild sunshine – probably the last we will see!
    Thanks to setter and Pomers for the hints.

  5. A gentle, but enjoyable offering from Jay today. Thanks to him, and to Pommers for the review.

    Back to the Toughie, which I am finding considerably trickier than yesterday’s piece of cake!

    1. Comment from Tilsit in an email this morning ‘Now That’s what I call a Toughie’!
      Off to lunch now – may give the Toughie.a try later but I usually struggle with Osmosis puzzles!

  6. Easier than I expected, but a nice variety of clues. Thank you to Jay and Pommers.

    Favourite clue was .. 1ac.


  7. Thought I was being really clever with OAST for 25d, (Dry, Cure?) but after a 2 hour wait, the site finally sent me back to the drawing board. Considered SALT, but not having a Chambers, rejected it.

  8. Having checked all my 10A, I gave this a quick 1A while sitting in a 27A (no 25D on the 4D 18A or 21A 26A 13A in a 17D though – it might make me 6D). I then had put my 1D in a 23A 8A as I still 5D for 14D and 2D on my 7D from the 3D 22D (on some 8D). 28A I should call the 15A as the 20D 16D 19A is 11A.

    All in all, quite enjoyed this one.

  9. Lovely straightforward foodie themed fun today, thank you to Jay. Too many clues to pick just one as a favourite. Thanks to Pommers for the review too.

    The Toughie is a right proper toughie – it takes ages to solve but has some very nice clues. You will need a short sojourn in a darkened room to recover once you have conquered it

  10. Had everything but 1a – these cockney ones are a trial for us northerners – thanks to Pommers for putting me out of my misery
    Liked 18 and 19a (being a brass band fan)

    1. For cockney rhyming slang, and a whole host of other useful, and quite fun, things you need a little book called “Schott’s Original Miscellany” by Ben Schott.

  11. Loved today’s puzzle, especially 1a although it almost defeated me. Still don’t quite see what 25d has to do with sense of humour. Too many good clues to pick any out, apart from 1a – oh, and maybe 18a and 18d. Looks as if I’ll be giving the toughie a miss today, judging by some of the previous comments!! With thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  12. It’s just me then.
    Thought today’s puzzle was a bit pedestrian, finished it in record time (for me.)
    1A was a good clue though and virtually last in.

    After all the fuss I make about not having a Toughie on Mondays, I suppose I ought to give it a go, but going by the above comments, as Captain Oates said,
    “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

  13. Enjoyable if untaxing crossword from Jay, thanks to him and to Pommers for the review and the lovely picture of a French loaf.

    1. Picture of French loaf took a bit of finding!
      Gazza once said that there is always a way to get a picture of a pretty girl into a review but I was beginning to despair today, until that one popped up! Had to key ‘girl with baguette’ into Google images though – how sad is that?

        1. Don’t remember ever seeing the pun illustrated but you’re right – Gazza would have done us proud!

  14. Phew, that was a lunch-and-a-half and I didn’t leave the M-i-L up in the mountains!
    On the subject of the crossword I completely missed the number of foodie clues – what am I like?
    Apart from 1a and 25d which both took me a while I think this might have been a 1* puzzle but I did enjoy it, so I stand by the 4* for that.
    1a foxed me ‘cos I had ‘butchers’ for the look and was trying to find something about agitated following it for the second word to give massacre! Completely forgot that a look isn’t just 1 word until the penny finally dropped that look is the definition!
    25d is a new meaning of the word for me and isn’t given in any of the on-line dictionaries that I looked at.
    Weather here beginning to cool down as Autumn approaches – not topped 30C since last Saturday and a very pleasant 26C up the mountain today.

  15. I thought I’d done this in absolutely record time for me until I came on here and found out I hadn’t. I got 12a wrong. Merde! I had ‘telecast’ although I couldn’t really justify it. However, since it fitted and means broadcast I just stuck it in an forgot about it. That’ll teach me. I wonder if it was a deliberate plant? For that reason only it gets a 2* for difficulty, otherwise it struggled to make 1.5*. On balance a 3* for enjoyment.
    A good foodie theme that left me feeling decidedly peckish by the time I’d finished. Cuppa and a slice of cake afterwards. I liked 1a and 15d was ‘smiley’.
    Looking decidedly gloomy here in Cotswoldland. What’s on the way from Wales I wonder.
    I think I’ll save the toughie for breakfast tomorrow since it sounds like a, well, like a toughie.

  16. So enjoyed having one I could actually DO his week – so thanks to Jay. And thanks to Pommers for the hints which, for once, I didn’t need but enjoyed reading.

  17. Enjoyed this one very MUTCH! Lots of laughs in it.
    1a, 2a, 18a, 21, 5d, 14d, 17d & 18d were my favourites.
    Rather much of foody fare.

  18. As others have said, a puzzle to savour even if not as difficult as Jay’s recent offerings (I got lots of the across clues so wasn’t sweating so much).
    Thanks to him and to Pommers for the review.

  19. Great puzzle today… only the second one I’ve solved without needing any hints, although I did to use them to explain how I got some of my answers. Thanks Pommers.

  20. G’night all. Taking M-i-L to apartment tomorrow for a few days (as we have no clients) so will not be around much until Monday – iffy internet there via a dongle at 56k connection speed! It’s OK for email but not much else!
    Have a good weekend and see you next week – I’m in the chair again next Weds when we have no visitors with us!.

  21. Thanks to Jay for a lovely puzzle, and to Pommers for the review and hints.can’t believe I couldn’t get both 1’s ! I was only thinking about the two meanings of 1d the other day and chuckling to myself about it.Favourite was 1a.

  22. Re 25 down:
    Nobody I know had heard of salt for wit or humour either. I have, however, discovered that ‘Attic salt’ or ‘Attic wit’ refers to the dry, delicate wit of the Athenians, often contrasted with the concise ‘Laconic humour’ of Sparta (Laconia was the regioin around Sparta).

  23. I had TELECAST at 12a but could not justify it in spite of 22 years experience,odd,not so,crypticsue?

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