DT 26673 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26673

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26673

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A pleasant return to my usual Monday morning slot with a typical crossword from Rufus.

Highlight the space between the curly brackets to reveal the answers.


1. Nice bit of fluff? Don’t whistle, that’s rude! (11)
{THISTLEDOWN} – An anagram (that’s rude?) of DONT WHISTLE are the plumed seeds of a spiky plant.

9. A snowdrop? (9)
{AVALANCHE} – A massive fall of snow down a mountainside.

10. Pinched note to relative (5)
{GAUNT} – G (a note) and the sister of one’s father or mother for a word that means thin and bony.

11. Very strange verse on love (4,2)
{EVER SO} – An anagram (strange) of VERSE followed by O (love) is a phrase that could replace the word very.

12. Explorer is eating last of sledge dogs (8)
{SCOTTIES} – The plural of a type of terrier is made from an English explorer who reached the South Pole followed by IS with the last letter of sledge inserted.

13. Don went down with a cry of pain (6)
{FELLOW} – A member of the teaching staff at a university or college consists of a word meaning dropped down and then OW (cry of pain).

15. Bless me! A boisterous get-together (8)
{ASSEMBLE} – An anagram (boisterous) of BLESS ME A.

18. Sort of banana has insect visible on the outside (8)
{PLANTAIN} – A coarse green-skinned banana used as a staple food in tropical countries
has crossword lands “worker” surrounded by a word that means open or in clear view.

19. It smoothly finishes off a piece of writing (6)
{SCREED} – Double definition. A smooth final surface applied to a floor or a long monotonous piece of writing.

21. Suitable moment for some fun (4,4)
{GOOD TIME} – A word that means suitable or efficient for a purpose is followed by another word for an interval or instance for a phrase that describes a pleasurable experience.

23. Individual away from work, just this once (3-3)
{ONE-OFF} – A similar clue to the last one. A single person, and then absent from work for a phrase that means something that is carried out only once.

26. Region holding northern sports venue (5)
{ARENA} – A word for region, district or locality has N (northern) inserted.

27. Allows real changes in better systems (9)
{TOLERATES} – An anagram of REAL (changes) is placed inside systems of betting on horse races to get a word that means to allowing without prohibiting or opposing something.

28. Instrument posh Richard played (11)
{HARPSICHORD} – An anagram (played) of POSH RICHARD.


1. One of many carried by the caddy (3,4)
{TEA LEAF} – What would you normally store in a caddy?

2. One wise man’s got the picture (5)
{IMAGE} – I (one) and an archaic word for a magician is also a likeness of something.

3. Entrance for vehicles (9)
{TRANSPORT} – Double definition, rapture or something that carries people or objects.

4. This way for a place? You bet! (4)
{EACH} – A type of bet made on the same horse for it to win, come second or third in a race.

5. Gloomy, although recovered from eye problem (8)
{OVERCAST} – Definition is gloomy or covered in clouds. Take a word that means at an end and follow it with a word that describes a slight squint of the eye.

6. The fall that followed Eve (5)
{NIGHT} – At the end of the day…

7. Performer tires at appearing in variety (7)
{ARTISTE} – An anagram (appearing in variety) of TIRES AT.

8. Not free of tax but ideal otherwise (8)
{DUTIABLE} – Another anagram (otherwise) of BUT IDEAL.

14. Spring’s finished, that’s clear (4,4)
{LEAP OVER} – Spring = jump, finished = at an end. That’s clear = jumping and nothing is knocked down.

16. Crank, socially and mechanically (9)
{ECCENTRIC} – Deviating or departing from convention, e.g. acting in an irregular or odd manner or a device for converting rotary motion to reciprocating motion.

17. One whose pictures attract lots of admiration (4,4)
{FILM STAR} – An actor or actress who plays leading roles in the cinema. Cryptic?

18. Ill-mannered person with dog in queue (7)
{PIGTAIL} – Queue here refers to a long braid of hair hanging down the back of the neck. The name of an animal is used to describe someone who is greedy or disgusting followed by a synonym for dog that means to pursue or follow.

20. Fed up with being exploited and rendered ineffective (7)
{DEFUSED} – Reverse (up) FED and add a word that means “taken advantage of “ to get a word that describes removing the triggering device of a bomb for example.

22. Act as a paid informer (5)
{TEACH} – Or impart knowledge or skill to somebody.

24. Open-air party is best (5)
{OUTDO} – Think of the open-air party as (3,2) to get a word that means to surpass or exceed in performance.

25. A pound’s put on for services (4)
{ALBS} – A, the abbreviation for a pound (weight) then S (plural) is a long white linen robe with tapered sleeves worn by a priest at Mass.

The Quick crossword pun: {farmer} + {cysts} = {pharmacists}

64 comments on “DT 26673

  1. I would if I could but I can’t – comment that is a as the site is inaccessible again. It’s now Oct 3 & we were told it should be fixed by the 7th. Going over to the Grauniad to get a Rufus for FREE!

    1. Every time I have problems getting in for several hours, I send them an email. If we don’t let them know the problems we are having every day, then maybe they assume everything is ok. It took 6 hours to get this one. It was worth the wait because it was thoroughly enjoyable and I learned a new word, 25d.

      1. I’ve e-mailed on several occasions & even managed to get an apology plus a month’s rebate however come the 7th & it’s still not fixed then I suggest that everybody on the blog sends an e-mail. That might wake the buggers up!

        Having said all that, this morning I got on first time of trying.

  2. A pleasant and gentle start to the week. I did get a bit stuck in the SW because 14d ‘leapt out’ at me!! However 26 a showed me the error of my ways. Still can’t access Clued Up so will wait till Friday and put a week’s worth in at a single session and no doubt become eligible for ‘solver of the day’ What a ludicrous aspect of Clued Up!!! Meaningless attribute! Thanks setter and LIbellule.

  3. Not sure about the difficulty rating, thought one or two clues were very tricky (19a & 25d – I do wish the setters would cut down on some of these obscure religious references, it is very tedious). Overall though a pleasant start to the week. My thx to Libellule for the clues without which i most certainly would not have got 19a. Also my thx to the setter for loads of lovely anagrams, yum!

        1. We had a rural dean once who took a service standing in front of a sunny stained glass window which shone through his 25d and allowed us to see his shorts and sandals!

  4. A nice start to the week. 12a, 19a, 27a and 25d were liked in a genteel fashion.

    In passing, I recently saw 16d spelled with an X instead of CC in a report … which made me read the sentence again. You know how it is, you read something containing a solecism and your brain stutters a couple of words later, so you have to reread it – sometimes more than once. Irksome!

    Still in passing, I recall seeing ‘gentile’ used in error for ‘genteel’. The context made the precise meaning a tad difficult to discern, even after a couple or readings.

  5. Enjoyable start to the work. Nice to see some of the more obscure words appearing (19A, 25D, Sorry Brian, but I like to see these words being used before they’re forgotten).

  6. Enjoyable start to the work. Nice to see some of the more obscure words appearing (19A, 25D, Sorry Brian, but I like to see these words being used before they’re forgotten). Thanks Rufus and Lib.

    1. Damn, its done it again. WordPress didn’t put my comment in, but when I tried submitting it said ‘Duplicate comment’. I refreshed and my comment still wasn’t there so I modified it a tad and bingo – there it is twice. Grrrrr

  7. The meaning of ‘queue’ in 18d was new to me, as was the robe in 25d. Have a good day all.

    1. And me – got really confused with that one – had to resort to the hints (thanks very much) will stick that one to the back of my brain where it will probably get lost with the rest these days

  8. Was there a crossword today? To be honest I have now given up with the Telegraph site and have asked for my money back..recently renewed. IT systems like theirs are not rocket-science. It is inexcusable that their IT department seem incapable of resolving this.

      1. ……although if he has already given up on the site, we may have to rename him “Rogerandout.”

  9. Like others, I can’t access the Telegraph site to download the puzzle. Can anyone help with a pdf or similar, please?

          1. Libellule has kindly sent me a pdf of the Xword which is much appreciated and I will use it. However, it does not replace the online version in terms of ease of use. When oh when will these people resolve the problem. I have been trying for an hour to get on to the site without success. Can we please have a deadline for resolving the problem – that is a specific deadline, not a shifting deadline?

  10. Very good crossword. I was completely defeated by 25d – shouldn’t have been – it’s been used before and I know the word but just couldn’t see it today. I was also very nearly defeated by 4d – not good on betting stuff. I’ve never heard of 18d as a queue – have scoured the Big Red Book and can’t find it in there although there are lots of other meanings that I didn’t know before which I’ll store up for future use! In 2d although the answer was obvious I had to check “mage” in the dictionary – I know magus but not that. Also I didn’t know the mechanical meaning of 16d. I liked 1, 13 and 28a and 1, 8, 20 and 22d. With thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    1. The 18d meaning of queue only ever appears in crosswords, cryptic or otherwise, these days.

      1. And you can hardly blame anybody for not saying “What an attractive queue you have” to a girl. Or a sailor. Or whatever.

      2. Don’t think that I’ve ever seen it before, even in a crossword – it really felt like something completely new to me rather than something that I’d forgotten.

  11. Slightly misled myself by entering “WELL OVER” at 14d, which still looks as good an answer to me. 25d was a new one to me, I wanted to enter “ALMS” for services, but couldn’t make the clue work. Many thanks to Rufus and Libellule (BTW – your answer to 18a isn’t obscured).

  12. Thank you to Rufus for another straightforward and enjoyable start to the week. No special favourites, just a good all-round solve. Thanks to Libellule too.

    Lostboy: The Guardian and Indy puzzles aren’t particularly difficult today either but should keep you occupied so you won’t miss the you-know-what!

  13. 25d I’ve never heard of Albs but i had the answer as ‘tips’ , which I thought fitted the bill.
    A pound is a tip (for dumping something) and tips are put on for services in a restaurant.
    Ah well, it seemed good at the time!
    Bytheway, is an alb so called because it is white? Just wondered.

  14. Not too difficult one I got a copy of the puzzle. Thanks to Libellule and Big Dave for their mails. I too, had WELL OVER for 14d for a time, and made 18d harder by trying to fit two letters inside PLAIT!! 25d last in for me – never heard the word before. Despite the hiccups, enjoyable over all.

  15. Like everybody, I enjoyed that thanks to Rufus et meci beaucou Libellule.

    In particular
    1. I liked the use of “better systems” in 27a
    2. I completely missed the use of queue in 17d, and could only come up with “Pugwash” as an answer. (Well, at least a pug is a dog.)
    3. Wrote “Leap Year” in to 14d, and then got all confused.

    And so, on the the Indy puzzle, thanks to CrypticSue, who has clearly had enough of my ATOM movement, and I don’t blame her, frankly I’m already bored by it myself. :-)

    1. With reference to your Pugwash (which was also all I could come up with); d’you think our new Roger (above) could perchance be Roger the Cabin Boy from that popular children’s documentary on Pirates?

        1. Well that’s not too bad – your first post and you’ve had two name changes already!

  16. Well it looks like it was lucky that I picked up a paper before taking a friend for osteopathy treatment. I worked the puzzle and completed all but two (and a third one wrong!). Got stuck on 18d and 21a (put in “free” for the second word of 14d so that held me up. I had heard of 25d before but don’t remember where.

    Good start to the week – thanks Rufus and also Libellule for the hints.

  17. Many thanks to Rufus & to Libellule who appears to have been the salvation of many of us today. What a refined blog this is.

  18. Another pleasant start to the week from Rufus!
    Faves : 12a, 19a, 27a, 3d, 6d & 25d. The last was a new word for me – I first thought it was an acronym for “Auxiliary Life Boat Services” but Chambers A-Z put me right!

    1. Now let’s not start on acronyms again. We had enough last week with some very spurious claims as to what constitutes an acronym & what is merely an abbreviation or initialism…. I may have lit the touch paper again entirely by accident you understand…

  19. Very enjoyable and challenging. I did think that 11a and 18d were a bit weak. Thanks to Libellule and Rufus

  20. Very gentle start to the week, in fact almost on the easy side for a back page cryptic. Enjoyed it and also learnt a new word in the process, 25D.
    Thanks to setter and Libellule for the hints.

  21. Glad I’m not alone re 25d – all I could come up with was alms” which didn’t seem quite right, so had to actually look in the curly brackets for that one! Got the rest though, in two sittings separated by a lovelry round of golf on a glorious day. Have to make the most of the sun whilst it’s with us! Re 18d – was also trying to fit 2 letters into “plait” until the penny suddenly dropped! Nice puzzle – thanks to Rufus and Libellue for hints.

  22. Love Monday’s puzzles because I can usually solve a good portion of it before I have to resort to the hints. Thanks Rufus and Libelluele

  23. I normally struggle with the Monday Rufus – but today I found it a lot easier than usual. Wot? No nautical clues/solutions today? Or, have I missed something?

    18d – (Pigtail / Queue) – I have definitely seen this before in either the DT Cryptic or the Toughie – quite recently ?

    Toughie No 266
    23a Stick with pigtail? (3)
    {CUE} A double definition. An old name for a Chinaman’s pigtail was a CUE, and of course, a snooker player’s stick is a CUE.

      1. Chambers defines cue as a twist of hair at the back of the head and queue as a braid of hair hanging down the back of the head, or pigtail. Just take your choice of hairstyle and away you go.

        1. I think I’ll stick with the short back & sides thank you!. There is nothing more pitiful than a middle aged man with a “queue” especially if he’s bald at the front as well. Images of Status Quo come to mind…

          That’s always discounting the Arthur Scargill Comb Over of course!

  24. Thanks to Rufus & Libellule, a nice puzzle, got beaten by 25d, was only thinking L for pound money. Favourites were 12 & 1a.

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