DT 26669 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26669

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26669

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Well, I’ve easily broken my all-time speed record for a DT cryptic on this one! But, as I said last week, they don’t have to be hard to be fun and I really enjoyed solving this one. What do you think? Was I just on the right wavelength today or are Jay’s recent puzzles getting a bit  easier?
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    Proposal must incorporate one tax as incentive (10)
{MOTIVATION} – Take a proposal, tabled at a meeting perhaps, and insert I (one) and a three letter acronym for a tax to get another word for an  incentive. By the way, TLA is a three letter acronym for a Three Letter Acronym!
Apparantly it isn’t! See comment #8 from Spindrift. It was a pretty feeble joke anyway!

6a   Mark is almost frightening (4)
{SCAR} – This mark on the skin is a word for frightening without its last letter (almost).

9a    Flower girl finally out of bed and home (5)
{LUPIN} – A flower is made up of L (girL finally), a word meaning ‘out of bed’ and the usual crosswordland word for home. I was out of bed at 0400 this morning trying to get into the website with little success! Took me nearly 2 hours of trying before it finally gave up and let me in – you nearly didn’t get a blog today!

10a    The sort of oils found in working grain silo? (9)
{ORIGINALS} – Think oils as in paintings! These sorts of paintings aren’t reproductions and they’re an anagram (working) of GRAIN SILO.

12a    Be good enough and much trusted at cooking (3,3,7)
{CUT THE MUSTARD} – A phrase meaning ‘be good enough’ or ‘make the grade’ is an anagram (cooking) of MUCH TRUSTED AT.

14a    Discharged soldiers left and relaxed (8)
{RELEASED} – Take some of the usual soldiers, L(eft) and a word meaning relaxed or rested and you’ll get a word for discharged or let go.

15a    Boozer, say, in the outskirts of Taunton (6)
{TAVERN} – This boozer isn’t the drinker himself but the slang term for the place where he may drink. Take TN (outskirts of TauntoN) and insert a word for say or state.

17a    Present times as a result of this (6)
{HEREBY} – A word for present, as in ‘in this place’ followed by a word for times in the mathematical sense (4×4 perhaps) gives a word for ‘as a result of this’ or ‘by means of’.

19a    Skilfully produced cheese rejected after spring (4-4)
{WELL MADE} – A famous Dutch cheese reversed (rejected) placed after the sort of spring from which you may draw water gives a phrase meaning skilfully produced.

21a    What Parliament may be doing fairly, but in an advantageous position (7,6)
{SITTING PRETTY} – This is a phrase meaning in an advantageous position. It’s made from a word for what parliament is doing when it’s in session and another word for fairly, as in ‘fairly attractive’.

24a    Journey made for a game of golf? (5,4)
{ROUND TRIP} – A journey which begins and ends in the same place. It’s also a cryptic definition of the journey around a golf course. I bet gnomey got this one straight away!

25a    Working, and ready for attack (5)
{ONSET} –This attack is a charade of a word for working (2), as in not switched off, and a word for ready which is used at the start of a 100m sprint for example.

26a    Disorientated, look at the road (4)
{LOST} – The usual 2 letter look followed by the usual road gives a word meaning disorientated.

27a    Imagined stains fade out (10)
{FANTASISED} – An anagram (out) of STAINS FADE is another word for imagined.


1d    Bloke regularly found after motorway exploit (4)
{MILK} – Take the alternate letters of bLoKe (bloke regularly)and place them after the motorway which runs from London to Leeds and you’ll get a word meaning exploit or use.

2d    Be the best independent state of current interest (7)
{TOPICAL} –An adjective meaning of current interest is made up of a word for the best, I(ndependant) and the abbreviation for a state on the western seaboard of the USA.

3d    Window dressing from Italian student wearing tie? (8,5)
{VENETIAN BLIND} –It’s window dressing in the sense that it’s an alternative to curtains. The first word is an Italian, from a city famous for its canals, and the second is a word for tie with the usual letter for a student inserted.

4d    Circle pitch on the outside in efforts to get awards (8)
{TROPHIES} – Start with O (circle), follow with PH (PitcH on the outside) and around them place a word for efforts or attempts and you get some awards sought after by sportsmen. Well, that was my thought process when solving!

5d    Drug ring sourcing products in upper Mongolia (5)
{OPIUM} – This drug is O (ring this time, not circle as in the previous clue) followed by the first letters (sourcing) of the rest of the words in the clue. As Mongolia actually does produce this drug the clue is a very clever sort of all-in-one!

7d    Riddle for cleaner with a debt halved (7)
{CHARADE} – This riddle comes from the party game where the syllables of a word are acted out for others to guess. Take a cleaning lady followed by A (from the clue) and DE(bt) (debt halved). Haven’t played that game for years!

8d    Impressive houses in recessed parts (10)
{RESIDENCES} – This is a word used to describe houses that are a bit too posh to be just ‘houses’. It’s also an anagram (parts) of IN RECESSED. You certainly wouldn’t describe my place as one of these – more like a shed!

11d    Works of art for military bases (13)
{INSTALLATIONS} –Double definition of three dimensional modern art and military bases.

13d    Hopeless hot racer’s love, initially, of big band music (10)
{ORCHESTRAL} – An anagram (hopeless) of HOT RACERS followed by L (Love initially) gives an adjective describing music played by a big band like the Halle or LSO.

16d    Run-down theatre has it after December (8)
{DECREPIT} – Definition is run-down or falling apart (a bit like me!). After the abbreviation for December place a type of theatre (3) and IT (from the clue).

18d    Pitch up with courses and short cuts for motorists (3,4)
{RAT RUNS} – These are short cuts for motorists, usually through housing estates, that are used to avoid traffic bottlenecks during the rush hour. Take a word for pitch, as in the black stuff on the road, and reverse it (up in a down clue). Follow with a word for courses.

20d    Heartless boy adopted by fools is pits (7)
{ABYSSES} – Deep pits are made from B(o)Y (heartless boy) inserted (adopted by) the usual fools.

22d    Pull up a policeman abroad (5)
{GARDA} –Policemen abroad, specifically in Eire, are a word for pull reversed (up in a down clue) followed by A (from the clue).

23d    Murphy has time for quiet game of poker (4)
{STUD} – Take a colloquial term for the vegetable that a Murphy is an example of and replace the P (quiet in musical notation) with T(ime)  (Time for quiet) and you get a variation of poker where some of your cards are dealt face up. The face down cards are known as ‘hole cards’, leading to the phrase ‘ace in the hole’ meaning something good but undisclosed!

I like all the ones in blue but favourites have to be 5d and 23d.
Oh, and apologies for the rather contrived excuse for a racing car but we haven’t had one for a few weeks!

The Quick crossword pun: {soda} + {feud} + {outs} = {sowed a few doubts}

73 comments on “DT 26669

  1. Certainly a lot easier. Unusually for a Jay crossword most of the across clues went in on the first pass. Perhaps he started with the downs this time. Thanks to Jay for the enjoyment and to Pommers for the review.

    Kcit in the Toughie is more back page level today so worth a shot.

  2. I really enjoyed this one today. A good mixture of clues, and I liked some of the surface reads. Many thanks to Jay, and to Pommers for the review.

    1. Started late and I’m halfway through but thoroughly enjoying this one so far. There are some clever clues. Havn’t used you yet Pommers but I probably will. Thanks to Jay

      1. Finished now and thoroughly enjoyed it but in 21a I dont understand why fairly means attractive means pretty.

        1. Hi Collywobbles
          Well spotted!
          It actually doesn’t and I meant to edit that hint before publishing but forgot!
          Fairly is pretty as in pretty good = fairly good.

          1. Thanks Pommers, I see it now and I did have to fall back on some of your clue explanations but, in all, there were some very clever clues.

            By the way, for us expats who use Clued Up, and maybe some folks in Blighty who also do, to get over the problem of getting onto the Crossword, if you stay on the site overnight and simply update the Criptic Crossword the next day you will get over the problems that we have all been having of gaining access.

            1. Never thought of that! I’ll give it a try but if all the ex-pats stay logged in overnight it will probably crash the site completely!

                1. I’ve just come home after 10 days in England, where I had no internet access but could get the Telegraph without a mortgage for the cost of the paper and the petrol to and from the newsagent.

                  I was full of hope today that maybe CluedUp would be fixed. I did the quick crossword, submitted it, filled the cryptic grid, all without mishap, but when it came to submitting, I saw that the same old problems continue. Now I can’t even get back on to the site to see if there are any messages about when it will be fixed.

                  But enough grumbling – I enjoyed today’s offering very much indeed.

                  1. Hi Nora and welcome back to sunny Espana!
                    Latest info from the web site is that the fix should be in place on 7th October but I’ll believe it when I see it!

                    1. Thanks. It’s good to be back, just in time to miss the heatwave in England, it seems.

                      7 Oct now – somehow that date doesn’t come before the end of September, which was the due date for fixing the site. Clued Up timewarp?

                2. Staying on the site – perhaps that is why some of us expats cannot get onto the site. I log off as soon as I have printed my puzzle so as to allow others on.

                  1. I have always done that but yesterday I discovered that staying on the site put me right for the next day. I can’t think why that should be a problem. Surely the technology should be fit for that

                    1. As I understood from the last message they are having server overload. I’m not very technical but I interpreted this as they are not running at full strength so are unable to handle more than a certain number of people logged on at a time. They also say it should be resolved in a few minutes which I don’t find it to be. I have to try anywhere from 30-100 times to get on and I am in the States, 6 hours behind the UK.

        2. Hi again Collywobbles
          The hint now reads as I meant to type it in the first place! I left out the second ‘fairly’ for some reason.

  3. Hola pommers, welcome back, I am glad to have a slightly easier one today as it helps me to believe I am not going backwards in my ability to do these, to be able to solve clues that I know I would have struggled with a year ago, is encouragement indeed, however it wasn’t all easy and I still needed a little ‘help’ last two in for me were 17a and 19d, I agree with Prolixic that the across clues were easier than the downs, I enjoyed this today but didn’t really have a favourite clue, now I can go and read my book, in dare I say it, blue skies and sunshine, yeees, at last, thanks for review pommers just about to read it before I disappear for the day, I may be some time……….. good luck all, enjoy :-)

  4. I had more trouble with the Quickie this morning than this puzzle. Still, quite enjoyable but if I complete the crossword very quickly I feel a bit cheated! Favourite clue, 3d. I agree the Toughie today is back-page standard, well worth a go. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  5. Ahhh. that’s better. Thoroughly enjoyed this offering despite there being no particularly tricksy clues to solve. I was going to have a go at the use of PITCH in two of the clues, but soon realised that they indicated different meanings, so no complaints there. Didn’t really have any favourites today, but I particularly enjoyed 15A as I know quite a few very nice boozers on the outskirts of Taunton (if anyone needs a list, feel free to mail me).

    Lovely day again today, and I managed to get the Blackberry working(ish) – at least I can make and answer phone calls and that has to be a start. Spent a good 3 hours on the phone trying to get my old number on my new phone and get connected to my wi-fi system, but only got passed to 4 different departments.

    1. You can’t say I haven’t already warned you about the Blackberry……..
      Wait till the nipple stops working due to over thumbing (f’nar f’nar) which is a Universal Complaint about them.

      I always advise two Field Engineering Modifications.
      1. Stick a bit of blutack on the back. This stops it flying off a train table when you go round bends.
      2. If (when) it starts to reboot for no apparent reason, place a small square of folded paper inside on top of the SIM. This stops it moving about and losing contact with the, errrr, contacts.
      Have fun!

  6. Ditto re personal record – don’t know why as it didn’t seem particularly simple at the time but all fell into place quickly. No particular favourie but liked 3d.

    Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  7. I got an iPad a month ago and have been happily doing the cryptic on that. This morning the Telegraph iPad downloaded without the crosswords so Lady Luvvaduck and I had to revert to doing the puzzle turn and turn about. An email to the Telegraph has elicited no response other than the usual automatic one. has anyone else had this problem?

    A great website!

    1. Welcome to the blog Lord Luvvaduck.

      Most people seem to have been having big problems with the Telegraph puzzle site for about 3-4 months!
      They try to blame it on a lightning strike but the site wasn’t working properly for several weeks before that.

    2. Another annoyed iPad reader here. The Telegraph iPad app needs … um … err. a bit more development !

        1. Thank you. I have recently started doing the crossword again after a 40-year gap (semi-retirement and an iPad make it much easier) and am enjoying it. I try to use only one of the hints here at a time and then go back and see what I can do for myself. One disadvantage (or is it an advantage?) of the iPad is that I can’t highlight the answer to see exactly what it is.

          Thanks to everyone here for this site.


          1. Philip,
            You can hold your finger on the text and size a ‘select’ box to include the whited out answer. the select ‘copy’ and then go to your notes or other text editing app and Paste it there by holding your finger on the screen and selecting the paste option. A bit fussy but OK if you are really stuck!
            Welcome back to the world of the Cryptic!

            1. Good morning, gnomethang. This sounds a bit complicated, but I shall try it. I suspect, though, I shall end up being happy just with the clues.

              The crosswords are back in the DT for iPad today, so I shall be at it this afternoon.


  8. Pommers – Re:1a Many moons ago when I had a corporate role I was corrected by one of my directors for using the word acronym when referring to our company name’s letters. I was told in fact that an acronym is a word made from the initial letters eg ERNIE, LASER, NATO, RADAR. I think this still stands or maybe I’ve just got my pedantic head on. Whatever!

    Still an enjoyable canter through the glades of Cruciverbilia & as usual a cracking review from your good self.

    1. Hi Spindrift
      Your director was quite correct! Just looked it up in the OED and it gives:
      ‘A word formed from the initial letters of other words’.
      I suppose therefore that VAT is an acronym as it is a word but TLA isn’t.
      Never realized that before so thanks.

    2. The new Chambers definition of Acronym is ” A word formed from or based on the initial letters or syllables of other words such as radar”.

      Not sure it follows that it also has to be written in a pronounceable form (like radar, scuba etc). We quite happily say BBC, DVLA etc as well as NIMBY, DINKY and others.


      1. Mmmm…. I would agree that NIMBY & DINKY are acronyms however BBC & DVLA are abbreviations or initialisms. Discuss.

        1. Here’s one……. Greater manchester Passenger transport Executive……… GMPTE.
          Now you may think that is unpronounceable, but if you pretend there is a “U” after the “G”, it works- rhymes with Numptie.

          As it happens they have now changed their name to “TfGM” ie Transport for Greater Manchester, in a pathetic attempt to emulate TfL.
          (This illustrates a pet hate of mine, which is making some letters in an acronym/ abbreviation lower case.)

          So I think you can pronounce anything given enough bloody mindedness, and therefore they are ALL acronyms. QED. :-)

          One other thought on acronyms etc……….. Did you know that “W” is the only letter in the English alphabet that has a name longer than one syllable (unless you count Izzard for “Z” (ie usually ZED)), thus making “W W W” longer to speak than “World Wide Web”, which it is allegedly short for.

          And, No, I have never just said “whirr” as the sound of three Ws in a row.

          1. Your pet hate is also known as an orthographic eccentricity or a typographical novelty…now enough already.
            Give my men wine, we ride at dawn!

  9. Faitly easy puzzle and didn’t take too long, but not happy with “parts” as an anagram indicator in 8d.

  10. I agree with everything that has been said already. Great crossword, very quick solving time today, probably faster than ever before although I don’t time myself. As birdie said, I feel slightly cheated if I do it very quickly but that happens so rarely that I suppose it doesn’t really matter! I didn’t know the arty meaning of 11d. I liked 9, 15 and 26a and 1, 5, 22 and 23d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers.
    Beautiful day in Oxford – blue sky and warm sun. Now, shall I make more coffee and take yesterday’s Beam toughie into the garden with me or had I better do some gardening? Decisions, decisions …….

  11. I agree with everything that’s already said – record for a Jay, very enjoyable and all that. No particular favourites – just a good start to Wednesday solving. Thanks to Jay and Pommers too.

    The Toughie is very user-friendly too, although I would recommend starting with the downs. If Lostboy is up for a proper challenge, then he should try Io (Elgar) in the FT It will keep him out of mischief for quite a while :)

    Glorious warm sun here too.

      1. Agreed, apart from the fight I had with its NW corner. I am all crossworded out now so I think I might go and enjoy the possible record heatwave. Apparently if it is still this warm or possibly slightly warmer on Sat, it will break the October record that’s been in place since the 1800s.

  12. Another enjoyable Xword for me. !d and 23d best clues for me and I usually don’t like 4 letter clues. Thanx to Compiler and to Pommers for his review.
    Took me ages walking round repeating the first three words of the Quickie until I sussed it, nice one.

  13. Enjoyable and my best time yet at xx mins. Ta to setter and ta for the explanations of 11a and 23d; the latter being the last to go.

    1. Sorry Wingnut, but the rule is that we don’t put actual times – just say best ever, worst ever, quickest ever and so forth.

      1. Hi Wingnut
        There isn’t a connection really. It’s just that I was searching Google images for something to illustrate the clue and came across ‘Hamilton’s Tavern’ and I already had him in the McClaren picture for 27a.

    1. Hi droopyh
      Don’t know why but your comment went into moderation! You changed email address or something?

  14. I couldn’t get yesterday’s crosswords until yesterday evening, can’t get them again today. Can anyone point me at a .pdf as Big Dave has done in the past, please?

      1. Yes please! I’m going nuts today. When I get the login page to open it ignores me. Maybe its because of the really shirty email I wrote yesterday.

  15. I see one of the bloggers is based in Port of Spain. Strange coincidence as I have a conference call to our distributor there this afternoon/morning.

  16. Thanks – while it is not good news, it is reassuring to know that I have not managed to foul up my iPad somehow.

    1. Good morning, my Lord.

      Have you found a way of getting the iPad to download the DT reliably? I thought that turing the iPad off at night with the download page active was the solution, but it didn’t work this morning. But a reboot of the iPad led to a successful result.

      The crosswords are back today !



  17. Just finished the puzzle sitting in the garden soaking up the sunshine. Absolutely wonderful.
    Enjoyed this very much – particularly liked 5d and 7d.
    Thanks to Jay and to Pommers
    Sending this from my blackberry so hope it comes through ok – sun is shining on the screen!

  18. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers for an enjoyable if untaxing morning which I have spent on the sea front watching the nautical world go by in between clues.

  19. Not difficult today.
    Faves : 10a, 19a, 3d, 18d & 23d.

    Weather here is still Indian Summer – yesterday’s clouds all vanished.

  20. Like many, I found that I solved today’s cryptic far more quickly than usual – I never time myself – but it might have been a personal best.

    Still, very enjoyable! A very nice change to solve the whole puzzle in one sitting and understand all of the wordplay. Thanks to Jay & Pommers!

  21. Thanks to Jay for a fun, though none too taxing puzzle, and to Pommers for the hints and review. I agree with Pommers star rating, as I breezed through this. Very enjoyable, favourites were 12,15, 16 & 25. The last being a Jay trademark substitution clue.

  22. This is the one day of the week when I can make time tackle the crossword in on sitting and it makes a difference, especially after the morning walk. Getting there but also still finding myself getting caught up in the surface meaning before I realise what I am doing. Had to use the blog at times and like Philip, I tend to use one hint when stuck, or to verify my reasoning, and then revert to my own devices for as long as I can. Many thanks to jay for a great puzzle and to Pommers for the lucidity of the hints.

  23. I went through this at the speed of a supercharged neutrino. So much so in fact that I’m not sure I had time to enjoy it!
    I enjoyed the TLA discussion above. Agreed that an acronym makes a word. However, radar didn’t exist as a word until radar was invented. So, why can’t TLA be a word? A little difficult to say I’ll grant you but, it probably means something in Swahili or some-such.

    Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    1. Hi Don
      I thinks it’s probably down to whether the ‘acronym’ can be pronounced – if it can’t be then it isn’t one! As you say radar, scuba etc weren’t real words until someone acronymed them!

  24. A satisfying crossword today. Got onto the site without yesterday’s difficulties and then got quite a few clues before I resorted to your fab hints. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments too… I suggested about acronyms needing to be words at work the other day but got told I was wrong, it’s good to know there are other people who think they should be words too!

  25. In view of all your comments perhaps I should have had the courage of my convictions and only given this one 1* for difficulty as Gazza did with the toughie!. I always said if I solve a puzzle in less than a certain number of minutes it’s a 1* and this was definitely in that range by quite a bit. To be honest I was a bit nervous of the flak I might get – see Gazza’s intro to his Toughie review.
    Anyway, off to bed soon so G’night All, maybe see you tomorrow.

    1. Sleep tight, Pommers, be not afraid. I always love your reviews and I would imagine that the setters feel the same I certainly would never give you flak for your reviews – they’re invaluable. Keep going.

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