DT 26693 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26693

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26693

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Canada where we are bracing for the first frost of the season. Today, we have a quintessential Jay puzzle, populated with lots of charades, plenty of clues where one must either take or delete the first, last or middle letters, and sprinkled with a few substitutions (A for B type clues). It took me longer than normal to complete it – but that is undoubtedly due to attempting to watch a hockey game at the same time (and, yes, my team did win).

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 Flag message understood by party (5,5)
{JOLLY ROGER} – a word used by a radio operator to signal that a message has been received and understood is placed after (by) an informal term for a party or celebration to create a flag flown by a pirate ship.

6a Enveloped in sound, engrossed (4)
{RAPT} – a word that denotes filled with an intense and pleasurable emotion sounds like one that means enveloped (like a Christmas gift, perhaps).

10a TV and press doctor has answer for cold (5)
{MEDIA} – in a trademark Jay clue, we start with a colloquial name for a doctor in which we must substitute A(nswer) for C(old) to get a collective term for television and the press.

11a Suppression of blue joke comes first (9)
{CRACKDOWN} – the definition is suppression (as one might refer to actions by authorities when events start to get out of hand). It is a charade of a joke (one that may sometimes be wise, and in this case comes first) and a word meaning depressed or sad.

12a More than enough bread pinched by a day worker (8)
{ABUNDANT} – a small, unsweetened roll is contained in (pinched by) a charade of A plus D(ay) plus the usual worker from the hills.

13a Change undergone by inert chemical (5)
{NITRE} – an anagram of (change undergone by) INERT is a chemical which is not only a critical component of gunpowder but was once (apparently erroneously) reputed to have a deflating effect on virility.

15a Copper, bent, is thirsty (7)
{PARCHED} – the abbreviation for a copper coin plus a word meaning bent (like a cat’s back) produces a synonym for very thirsty.

17a China’s study on incomplete shift (7)
{DRESDEN} – adding a private room where quiet work or study is carried out to the end of a piece of womens’ apparel that is missing its final letter creates a type of German porcelain.

19a Ever so sorry about black look (7)
{OBSERVE} – this word meaning to watch something carefully is an anagram (sorry) of EVER SO around B(lack)

21a Perverts unhappy with first and second (7)
{SADISTS} – these persons, who derive pleasure from brutish behaviour, are a charade of a word meaning unhappy plus IST (1st) plus S(econd).

22a Play for time — everybody’s on the way (5)
{STALL} – a synonym for play for time or delay is a word sum of an abbreviation for an urban roadway and a word meaning everybody.

24a Praises almost grown-up friends sacking leader (8)
{ADULATES} – the solution is a verb that denotes praises or flatters someone far too much. It is a charade of a word meaning fully grown or mature with its last letter deleted (almost) plus an informal British term for friends with its first letter removed (sacking leader).

27a Fished with hook and line after net broke and twisted (9)
{ENTANGLED} – start with an anagram (broke) of NET and append a term for fished with hook and line to reel in a word meaning caused something to get caught in some obstacle.

28a Hotels accommodate ducks with a tremendous fuss (3-2)
{HOO-HA} – these ducks would be found on a cricket scoreboard – not a pond. Place two of them between two H(otel)s and add an A (from the clue) to get excited and noisy talk or a commotion.

29a Hitches a ride, revealing dress (4)
{SARI} – if you look carefully, a traditional garment worn by Hindu women is hidden in the first three words of the clue.

30a Start do late — cunning or pretentiously creative? (4-6)
{ARTY-CRAFTY} – we need an adjective that might describe a work that is quaintly artistic, especially when produced by a non-professional craftsman or artist. To create it, we start with a synonym for a do or social occasion from which we lop off the first letter (start late). Then we append a word meaning cunning or sly.


1d Bound to start (4)
{JUMP} – a double definition in which the first means to bound like a rabbit and the second to flinch in fear or surprise.

2d Peeress offers to protect last of tiger beetles (9)
{LADYBIRDS} – these spotted beetles who are the friends of gardeners everywhere come from a charade of a title of honour for peeresses followed by a synonym for offers (the kind submitted at an auction) into which the last letter of (tige)R is inserted.

3d Long story about the end of time (5)
{YEARN} – to produce a synonym for long or pine, we wrap a lengthy and incredible story (perhaps one told by the fisherman at 27a) around the last letter of (tim)E.

4d Old church — difficult place to find fruit (7)
{ORCHARD} – where one would find fruit growing. It is a charade of O(ld) plus an abbreviation for the church headed by the Bishop of Rome plus a word meaning difficult.

5d Dignified, but terribly elated, accepted vote (7)
{EXALTED} – an adjective meaning noble or dignified is an anagram (terribly) of ELATED having taken in (accepted) X (vote).

7d A base in operation (5)
{AFOOT} – an adjective or adverb meaning being prepared or already in progress or operation is a word sum of A (from the clue) and the bottom or lower part of something (such as a mountain).

8d Resents changes incorporating aim for compassion (10)
{TENDERNESS} – a word meaning gentleness or kindness is an anagram (changes) of RESENTS containing (incorporating) a synonym for aim or goal.

9d Young shaver getting to fleece boss? (8)
{SKINHEAD} – a youthful gang member with shaven dome is a word sum of a verb meaning to fleece or swindle and the person in charge.

14d Provides cover for leading gun emplacements (10)
{UPHOLSTERS} – a verb that means replaces the fabric on the chesterfield (for example) is a charade of an adjective describing the position of the leader in a competition plus the type of gun emplacements that would be found on the hips of gunslingers in the Old West.

16d Uncompromising bad luck? Not quite (8)
{HARDLINE} – if the final S is deleted (not quite) from a British nautical expression (4,5) meaning bad luck we get an adjective that might be used to describe an an uncompromising course, opinion, decision or policy.

18d Hastily wrote and ran away (6,3)
{DASHED OFF} – this double definition can mean either wrote something hurriedly and without much premeditation or left quickly – perhaps without even showing the courtesy of a proper farewell

20d Internet entrepreneur’s shop has no right at first (1-6)
{E-TAILER} – I was a bit surprised to find that the definition for this entrepreneur who sells goods through the Internet actually is in Chambers (the big red tome). Ironically, it is not to be found at the Search Chambers online site. It is formed by removing the R from the beginning [no R(ight) at first] of the type of shop which sells goods, either individually or in small quantities, to customers who will not resell them but who buy them for their own use.

21d Soft and soggy sort of cephalopod guy eviscerated (7)
{SQUIDGY} – an adjective meaning soft, pliant and sometimes soggy is a charade of an eight-armed mollusc and the outer shell of G(u)Y (guy eviscerated).

23d Area and end of football pitch at which one may worship (5)
{ALTAR} – this table for worship is the sum of A(rea) plus the last letter of (footbal)L plus a dark, sticky liquid used for filling ships’ seams.

25d A house in the outskirts of Bognor to loathe (5)
{ABHOR} – a charade of A (from the clue) plus the abbreviation for house contained in the outer letters (outskirts) of B(ogno)R produce a synonym for loathe.

26d Eccentric city supporting South Africa (4)
{ZANY} – an adjective meaning eccentric or amusingly crazy is a short form for the most populous city in the US following (supporting in a down clue) the International Vehicle Registration code for South Africa.

I would have to say that 14d is my favourite clue (it was also one of the last to be solved). The first word in the solution to 1a (the one meaning party) and the solution to 30a were new to me, so it was satisfying to be able to get them. Also I had never encountered the British nautical expression at 16d – and feared that I would never decipher it. A Google search returned a plethora of hits pertaining to American rock band Nine Inch Nails which featured some rather salty language. Luckily, buried among them was an excerpt from a book by William Safire that contained an explanation of the expression.

The Quick crossword pun: {lodes} + {harmony} = {loads of money}

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50 comments on “DT 26693

  1. Found this harder than normal – but was helped by getting 1 across straight away and thinking it might be a pangram, which helped to get the “q” in 21d and the “z” in 26 d (didn’t think “Sany” was a word:).

    Thanks to Jay and Falcon

  2. Ahh, it must be Wednesday. First run through of the across clues resulted in 3 answers (and one I was unsure of), heading into the down provided the answers to most of the missed answers and enabled me to finish the crossword without too much head scratching (don’t you hate getting splinters in the fingernails). Some interesting answers (28A and 30A are not words I would expect to write into a crossword grid, but all good fun) and some very clever and well thought out clues (1A,10A,17A,9D, 14D and 20D in particular.

    Back to sunshine here at the moment, lets hope it stays that way for a bit.

  3. Thank you for your hints Falcon they really helped me complete this one. Ignorance of the sea world made me struggle with 21d as l did not realise this creature had eight limbs too (shamefaced grin). Liked 26d and 28a.

      1. According to Search Chambers, they have “eight sucker-bearing arms and two longer tentacles which they use to seize fish”.

          1. Is there a marine biologist in the house? We may need an official ruling. Are they arms and tentacles or arms and legs? Are tentacles limbs? Chambers says that a limb is simply “an arm, leg or wing” but Oxford says “an arm or leg of a person or four-legged animal, or a bird’s wing” (which would seem to rule out eight-armed – or eight-legged – cephalopods). Perhaps we should just agree that squid have ten appendages.

  4. Enjoyable, but a quick solve for me today. However, I wouldn’t have known the International Vehicle Registration code without looking it up. Thanks to Jay and to Falcon.

  5. Morning Falcon and thanks for clues and hints, only needed 26d today, not my favourite type of crossword, where you have to shorten words, think of another word to go alongside the shortened word etc. etc. however I did manage to finish it and there were a few clues I liked inc. inc 21a, 22a,28a, thought 30a was a misprint at first! and didn’t help myself by putting ‘laudates’ in at 24a! Good luck all off , to see a local show with friends and grandchildren later, a mixture of High School musical and Glee!

    1. I initially wrote in APPLAUDS for 24a, which would have satisfied the first part of the wordplay (almost grown up) if the entire solution had been an anagram. It took me a long time to stop trying to justify this choice and get back on the right track.

  6. Never thiught of “hard lines” as having a nautical origin. Ater some research, I haven’t come up with a definitive answer, but have found two references to the same biblical qotation. Ps 16:6: “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places: yea, I have a goodly heritage”. The “lines” in this case being one’s “lot in life”. Would be interested if anyone’s found anything better..

      1. I stand corrected if the “nautical” reference is incorrect. My source was a line found in Watching My Language: Adventures in the Word Trade by William Safire. In an essay on the political connotation of the expression “hard line”, he says in passing “Hard lines was a British nautical expression meaning ‘bad luck’ – hard line money was hardship pay – but that had little if anything to do with its political sense.” Thankfully, I didn’t attribute the expression to the lyrics of Nine Inch Nails!

        1. My Dictionary of Slang says the origin is “probably nautical” from ropes unmanageable due to wet or frost.

  7. Very enjoyable as usual on a Wednesday. I did think there were a number of peculiarly English things in there which might cause problems for Falcon. Thanks to him and Jay too.

    The toughie is by Excalibur.

  8. An enjoyable, not too taxing, puzzle from Jay.
    Faves : 1a, 17a, 21a, 27a, 30, 2d, 14d, 21d & 26d
    Re 26d, apart from the IVR connotation SA in Dutch & Afrikaans is ZA – Zuid Afrika!

  9. Quite tricky in places and again didn’t finish without clue for 30a which I had divided 6-4. Checked everything else but the obvious….stupid! Thanks.

  10. I thought that this one was really quite difficult for a Wednesday but maybe I just used up all my cryptic brain cells trying to do the toughie yesterday! It has taken me a fair bit longer than usual and I needed the hints to explain a few – 10, 11 and 15a (that was just me being slow on the uptake!) I didn’t know that 16d was a nautical expression and couldn’t get beyond “arty farty” for 30a! Like crypticsue I had wondered if some of these answers were so English – British, I suppose – that they could give Falcon a headache, but obviously not! Completely missed the fact that it was a pangram. 14d was the last answer to go in. I liked 1, 6, 19 and 29a and 2 and 26d. With thanks to Jay and Falcon. Thanks also to crypticsue and Pommers for their words of encouragement to me after my toughie attempt yesterday – perhaps I’ll give Friday a miss! :smile:

    1. The British expressions may not have given me a headache, but they did keep me cogitating long into the wee hours of the morning. Actually, I’ve become quite adept at tracking down previously unknown (to me) British expressions. I also – as per usual – failed to notice that the puzzle is a pangram.

      1. I lived in the UK for 27 years before coming to Chicago and remember some of the British expression but they have invented a few new ones in the last 40 years.

  11. PS Having walked round muttering the first two quickie answers in as many different ways as I could think of I finally gave in and looked! Thanks for that too – not sure that I would have got it.

  12. It took me a little longer than usual today and nothing to do with a hockey match! Thought 14d a tricky little rascal and it was my last in.
    I was looking for a pangram after the Q,Z and J appeared but unfortunately there’s no X – shame!
    Entertaining stuff so thanks, as usual, to Jay and also to Falcon for the review. I could have a good long lie-in this morning now our visitors have gone!

  13. What a lovely crossword today. Was able to complete with help only needed for 20d as I just have never heard of that word for on line trader. Really liked 18d and tanks to setter and Falcon.

  14. Very enjoyable puzzle today. Liked 1a and 14d. Last one in was 26d. Thanks for the help Falcon. Must learn my IVRs…….. I find it interesting to know people’s last clue in.. or at least the one that took the most time solving. Thank goodness we are all different. Thanks setter and Falcon.

  15. Odd one today, a mixture of simple clues with totally impenetrable I.e. how are you supposed to know that za is the road code for south Africa, there is no indication in the clue that it is the road code. The left side was nice but the right side was very tricky. Another one this week that I have needed these excellent hints. Having said all that it is a million times better than yesterday’s trial! Ugh!

  16. I did find this crossword very difficult and resorted to the hints a number of times, many thanks Falcon. I really do not like crosswords which play around with words and letters in this way.

  17. Just turning to herald xword and found identical clue to 21a in it. Setter is Dux. Is this Jay?

    1. Strictly speaking it’s a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet, like “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” but it has been extended to mean a crossword that contains all the letters of the alphabet.

  18. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle, and to Falcon for the review and hints, a few of which I needed. Some very clever clues. I had very artful for 30 across, which messed me up. Favourites were 21’s & 23.

  19. I was being particularly dense yesterday – couldn’t work out why ‘P’ was copper (sigh) even though the answer was obviously PARCHED.

  20. A little trickier than normal from Jay. Thanks to him, and to Falcon for the notes.
    Playing catch up on some of this week’s earlier puzzles.

  21. Big Dave, thank you , and the Puzzles Ed., for supplying the crosswords each day while some of us were having access problems. We seem to be more or less back to what passed for normal now, so thank you once again.

  22. Thanks Gazza, these crosswords are certainly good for one’s general knowledge, hopefully it’ll come up again some day :o)

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