DT 26680 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26680

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26680

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A big thank you to Gazza for stepping in to do the blog yesterday. I had to take an “emergency” trip to the dentist after losing a large filling.
I quite enjoyed doing the crossword today, but thought it was awkward to write up. Probably due to a lot of clues using the start or end letters of various words.

You can see the answer if you highlight the space between the curly brackets.


1. Initially arranged a wager with dodgy caliph outside (10)
{ALPHABETIC }– Take A and another word for a gamble and then place an anagram (dodgy) of CALIPH outside it to get a word that means arranged in order of the letters of a language.

6. Left brute food (4)
{LOAF} – A piece of baked bread is L (left) and a three letter word for a stupid or loutish person.

9. Master game and finally steal queen (5)
{RULER} – The definition is master. Take a topical 15 a side game, the last letter (finally) of steal and then add ER (queen).

10. My acting’s awfully athletic (9)
{GYMNASTIC} – An anagram (awfully) of MY ACTINGS.

12. Hold prisoner and almost become infected (7)
{CONTAIN} – A word that means to have within or hold is made from a slang term for a person serving a sentence in prison, followed by another word that means to be affected with pollution or contamination with the last letter removed (almost).

13. Where you’ll find locks made from tin and aluminium? (5)
{CANAL} – You would also find barges on them too. Another word for a tin, then the chemical symbol for aluminium.

15. Told fibs about American university being restrictive (7)
{LIMITED} – Spoke untruthfully around an engineering university in Cambridge, Massachusetts can also mean confined or restricted.

17. Perhaps water elm teen uprooted (7)
{ELEMENT} – An anagram (uprooted) of ELM TEEN. Interesting surface reading – however on reflection it does seem via a search on google that Water Elm is a valid species of tree.

19. Get in touch with shrink having run off (7)
{CONTACT} – Remove R (run off) from a word that means to reduce in size to produce a word that means to touch physically.

21. An example is a type of lorry by the French (7)
{ARTICLE} – “An” is an example… It’s an informal shortened term for a lorry that consists of a truck and a trailer followed by the French masculine word for the.

22. Reject outcast on return (5)
{REPEL} – A word for to ward off or keep away or drive back is a reversed (on return) sufferer of a contagious skin disease

24. Sound from hen can possibly lead to laying (7)
{CHANNEL} – Sound in this context refers to a long, relatively wide body of water. Its an anagram (possibly) of HEN CAN followed by the first letter (lead to) of laying.

27. Turn cartwheels around a friend? Absolutely! (9)
{NATURALLY} – An anagram (cartwheels) of TURN around A, followed by another word for an associate produces a word that can mean without a doubt or surely.

28. Worried stag hurdles these ultimately — you’ll find them on the edge of fields (5)
{GATES} – An anagram (worried) of STAG around (hurdles) the last letter (ultimately) of these.

29. Horse pistol? (4)
{COLT} – A simple double definition.

30. Risks coming with us to capture Royal Engineers (10)
{ADVENTURES} – The coming or arrival of something extremely important followed by US around the normal abbreviation for Royal Engineers are also risky undertakings.


1. Area surrounding river is outstanding (4)
{ACRE} – An area equal to 4840 square yards is top-notch or first-rate around R (river).

2. Copper pot almost clean? I’m corrected (9)
{POLICEMAN} – This copper is also an officer of the law. You need the first two letters (almost) of pot followed by an anagram (corrected) of CLEAN IM.

3. Protective garment for entering borders of Afghanistan (5)
{APRON} – An argument or consideration in favour of something is placed inside (entering) the outer two letters (borders) of Afghanistan.

4. Leaders from every nation happy to include new country (7)
{ENGLAND} – The first letters (leaders) from every nation, is then followed by a word that means happy or pleased around (include) N (new) produces a country that went home after the quarter final stage of the rugby world cup.

5. Titanic victim men sedated, to an extent (7)
{IMMENSE} – A word for huge or colossal is hidden between victim men sedated.

7. Frequently relax after son leaves (5)
{OFTEN} – Remove S (son leaves) from a word that means to make or become gentler to get a word that means many times.

8. Ladies’ skills? (10)
{FACILITIES} – A double definition ladies restrooms, or ease in moving, acting, or doing things.

11. Old article about one hospital department (7)
{ANCIENT} – AN (see 21a), then C (circa – about), plus I (one) and finally the hospital department responsible for the ears, nose, and throat.

14. ELO concert I organised, missing old type of music (10)
{ELECTRONIC} – An anagram (organised) of ELO CONCERT I with an O removed (missing old).

16. Beginning to tire with one who mocks promotional film (7)
{TRAILER} – The first letter (beginning) of tire is then followed by someone who expresses objections or criticisms is also a short filmed preview or advertisement for a movie.

18. Powered flight? (9)
{ESCALATOR} – A cryptic definition that refers to a moving stairway.

20. Mark was first to be amused (7)
{TICKLED} – A mark that is used to check off or indicate the correctness of something, then a word that means to be at the head of is also a word that means to be delighted or entertained.

21. Break down changing lane, say (7)
{ANALYSE} – An anagram (changing) of LANE SAY.

23. Softly pulling up dead part of flower (5)
{PETAL} – P (softly) and then a reversed (pulling up) word for recently deceased is also typically a brightly coloured part of a flower.

25. Most of the gin’s drunk — time for bed? (5)
{NIGHT} – An anagram (drunk) of THE GIN with the last letter of the removed (most of).

26. Demands 20% reduction in jobs (4)
{ASKS} – Remove T from a five-letter word for (20%) chores or duties for a word that means to put a question to.

The Quick crossword pun: {beech} + {buoys} = {Beach Boys}

56 comments on “DT 26680

  1. Hi All. Thanks to those of you who replied to my first blog late yesterday evening.Todays offering seemed a bit bland after yesterdays.Liked 24a after deciding it coudn’t be “cackles”. Was glad that for once 13a had nothing to do with hair!

  2. Thanks to setter, and to Libellule for the review.
    I also thought the surface to 17a was a little strange at the time, but I suppose Water Elm is a type of tree.

    Libellule – there is an extra letter in the answer to 21d.

    1. Jezza,
      A search on Google, proves your tree supposition to be right. I will amend the blog accordingly. I will also correct the typo. Thanks.

      1. I interpreted that entirely differently. I thought the answer to the clue was what water was once considered to be together with earth, air and fire, especially as it said perhaps water.

        1. 17a – Am I missing something? This posed no problems to me earlier, but now I’m beginning to have my doubts – so many comments?

          Definition: “Perhaps water” indicating one of the four elements.

          Wordplay: “elm tree uprooted” – an anagram (uprooted) of “elm tree”

          1. :oops: I’m definitely missing a proof reader!!!!!

            Meant to say: Wordplay: “elm teen uprooted” – an anagram (uprooted) of “elm teen”

    2. Odd – I read that clue as “Perhaps water – elm teen uprooted”, as water is one of the “answer” along with fire, earth, air. Still, I don’t suppose it matters how one gets there so long as one does get there! Lovely puzzle – enjoyed it though I found it slightly more difficult than yesterday. Thanks Libellule for hints – needed a couple explained, particularly the “mit” in 15a – never heard of that one.

      1. You are correct about 17a – we were commenting on the surface reading of the clue, as Libellule explains at post #10 below.

    3. Apart from the surface reading (eighteen months ago I would not have known what this meant) being a bit on the odd side, in my opinion anyway, I can’t see the reason for all the comments about this one. Isn’t it funny how a not very difficult clue can spark so much reaction.

  3. Its an odd world, I would only give this a single star for difficulty – it took much less time than yesterday’s Rufus! Perhaps the clues were more “logical” in explaining their wordplay. Fortunately for Domus I don’t eat eggs :}

    Anyway, thanks to the mystery setter for the crossword and to Libellule for the review.

    Shamus in the Toughie has given us a great crossword that lives up to the name.

    1. Agree – I finished this in a third the time of yesterday – suppose it depends on wavelength – or perhaps I was just stupid yesterday
      Thanks to Libellule and the setter for making me feel better than yesterday

    2. Agree – I was expecting to see a 1* for difficulty. Very unusual for me to read so many clues and instantly write the answers.

      (More like a “Saturday Kitchen – Omelette Challenge”.

      Thanks to the setter and Libellule.

  4. Not too difficult today but entertaining, with some great surface readings. I particularly enjoyed 13, 24 and 30. The Toughie is another story – I’ve solved just three clues and I’m stuck!

    Thanks to setter and Libelulle.

    1. If they were/are 3d,8d and 24d, they were the three I entered first (while waiting at Lewes) before I drifted off into a reverie that lasted into Victoria.

  5. If CSue thought yesterday’s was the easiest for 40 years what will she make of today’s! This seemed more like a Saturday Express Crusader, which I stopped doing a while ago. 18d was the only real cryptic. Lots of anagrams too. I guess we all have good days and are on different wavelengths but this was my fastest ever I think. Still satisfying to solve and made me feel clever for a change. Thanks all.

    1. Thought this was one of the easiest for a while and for me only a 1*. I must have been on the right wavelength today.
      Thanks to setter and Libelulle for the hints.

  6. Brrrrr – good morning everyone and Libelulle, so not nice to be back to this weather after a beautiful relaxing week by the pool in Tereife, glorious, I took a book of Telegraph crosswords with me, but don’t know what it was I just coudn’t get into them and left the book behind for the next lucky person, not having completed even one!!! however nice to be back on site and a lovely Tuesday crossword to get me back into the swing of things, particularly liked 13a, 22a and 20d also thanks to Dave for arranging to have the pdf of the crosswords an site each day, brilliant, though I did get in straight away today, thanks for hints Libelulle tho’ didn’t need them today, reading 18d as ‘powdered’ didn’t help at all! off to do some overdue chores now can’t believe I was still in Tenerife yesterday :-(

  7. I’d have to agree with Prolixic & Beangrinder – much easier than yesterday’s. Only 7 left after 1st pass, and complete after 2nd. Strange how different people on different days have different concepts of a puzzle’s difficulty.

  8. 17 across does not require water elm to be a tree. Water was one of the original element(s); earth and fire being the others

    1. Tony,
      Welcome to the blog.
      Re 17a, the reference to “water elm” concerns a discussion about the surface reading of the clue not what the definition of the clue is.

  9. Today’s puzzle took me a whisker longer than yesterday’s all time record but I am going to blame the man who was using a very loud drill right underneath our office. I too was slightly aggravated by all those ‘take a letter from the start or end of a word’ clues Thanks to the Tuesday Mysteron – no particular favourites for me today. Thanks to Libellule too.

    As Prolixic says, the Shamus Toughie is a very good, entertaining example, of the art of the Toughie. Give it a go, be prepared to mutter quite a bit and say D’Oh a lot :)

  10. I’ll echo the comments above. No real favourites and all over a bit sharpish.The Toughie made up for the lost time though. Thanks to Libellule and the setter.

  11. Thanks to the setter and to Libellule, a fairly straightforward but quite enjoyable crossword.

  12. I found the puzzle today pretty similar to yesterday’s, in ease/difficulty. Maybe I’m having a good week (or maybe I’ll wish I hadn’t said that by tomorrow!) I thought that there were a lot of good clues and enjoyed it very much. For some reason it took me a while to see 9a. I liked 10, 24 and 29a and 8, 14 and 20d. With thanks to the setter and to Libellule.
    Just loaded heavy bags of garden stuff into boot of car to take to the tip – could only just lift them. Managed to shut back of car at third attempt after much shoving and swearing. No car keys – eventually UNLOADED everything again and there they were!! Grrrrrrrrrr! :sad:

  13. Still working for me. Another record breaker with no recourse to the hints. Nearly encouraged to look at the Toughie.

  14. Thanks to the setter & Libellule. I went straight through this apart from 1d, got it from the hint but couldn’t see it myself. Quite a lot of nice clues, favourite was 21a. Now for the Toughie.

  15. May I point out that the Ewing Spindrift who appears on the DT leader board is not me & is more likely to be a distant relative on the distaff side of the family & is almost certainly the result of a dalliance Great Uncle Ozymandias had with one of the meme-sahibs while dealing with an outbreak of unpleasantness in the Sudan.

    1. A benefit of not being able to get on the site means I don’t have to see the leaderboard so I was unaware of the imposter but thanks for the explanation. Made me smile :-)

  16. A rather gentle puzzle today.
    Faves : 1a, 12a, 21a, 24a,4d, 8d,14d & 18d.
    Why are you all ranting on about “water elm” in 17a? Water is the main word – I like setters that introduce red herrings into the fodder!

  17. Thanks to the mysteron and Libellule – not too taxing today, but enjoyable.

    Derek (and others) – the surface reading of 17a implies that a teen uprooted a water elm. That’s why! We’re not talking about what the setter really meant, but the misdirection. :-)

  18. Greetings all, and thanks to Big Dave for the welcome. No problems anywhere today. Finished in xxxxxxxx minutes but I couldn’t submit it; this site has been playing tricks for weeks. I took Mrs M shopping today in Cockermouth; still not completely recovered from the flood but coming along.

    1. Sorry Paul, the convention is that we don’t mention times – just say quicker than usual, slower than usual or whatever.

          1. Thanks CS.
            Managed it (on another flight) all but the very final answer, which as it happens was the first clue, ie 1a. I had to read the hint and I am GUTTED that I didn’t get it!

  19. Had a bit of help today from a colleague I was sat next to in a meeting. Nothing too tricky, but I’d never heard of 10a in the singular before. Every day’s a school day. Thanks to the setter and Libellule for the review, I hope the dentist was kind.

  20. I found this a lot more straight-forward and more satisying than yesterday’s offering – I can never seem to get on Rufus’s wavelength.
    Quite liked 18d and 26d…but, yes, a fun solve!
    Thanks to Libuelle for confirming that my reasoning for 12a and 15a was right! :)

      1. Depends upon when you wrote it. YOu don’t remember the winner of the 3:30 at Newmarket tomorrow do you?. Probably Database Maintenance (or did it come second?)

            1. I think that we are talking on an old post because of an update of the software. Don’t know how I arrived back here in early October.

              Rubbish? Yes!

              Don’t put too much money on Cockney Trucker.

              1. My bets on horse races have happened only 3 times in 58 years – you really don’t want to know!

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